Beer review – Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. The food? Top notch. Seeing friends and family? Brilliant (in appropriately small doses). A Muppet Christmas Carol? Sublime.

For all we like to pretend we’re not materialistic hoarders, however, a big part of Christmas is the presents. I made a resolution this year to give better, more thoughtful gifts this year. In one respect, I’ve definitely succeeded – my present to myself, a bottle of Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout.

Phwoar, now this is a beer and a half. An 11.7% breakfast stout, infused with chocolate and coffee then aged in maple syrup-treated bourbon barrels. A lot of time and effort has gone into making this beer, and it really shows.

Served with the traditional Christmas sides of brussels sprouts, parsnips, and cauliflower

Appearance-wise, CBS is black-brown with a rich and full toffee coloured head. Perhaps it’s because it’s Christmas, but the first note I get from this one on the nose is sherry. That’s swiftly followed by coffee, then dark malt and sweet smoke. It’s a pretty intense ride right from the start.

On the tongue CBS is sweet with notes of cola and cherry, turning to chocolate once the first flash of bubbles fade – sweetened milk chocolate rather than dark, more like Cadbury’s Options than Godiva. There’s a hint of that maple syrup, which makes it perhaps a little too sweet for my tastes, but that subsides as the chocolate gives way to smokey bourbon on the finish.

CBS is a lovely beer, but not without its flaws – while some may enjoy the maple syrup flavour, for me it leaves the beer overly sweet and a little sickly; the blend of coffees with which it’s infused distract too much from the underlying malt. Still, this is a nicely constructed beer and a great way to kick off a marathon Christmas day drinking session. A solid 4/5

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