Review by Cory Smith
This has officially been the worst sporting weekend in Cory Smith history. The basketball team I coached looked terrible, my Buckeyes snapped their 24 game win streak, and the Browns (in predictable fashion) blew a 12 point lead with two minutes to go against the Patriots. After all of this turmoil and heartache, I just need a beer. No, I need a big beer, a beer that is bold, flavorful, and highly alcoholic. This is a time for Founders’ Breakfast Stout.
I’ve heard great things about Founders’ Breakfast Stout, but, surprisingly, this will be my first experience with it. I know that their Kentucky Breakfast Stout is supposed to be out of this world good, but since the original FBS was all I could find, I’ll take it.
FBS is called a “Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout” which makes it the perfect companion to pancakes, french toast, or a farm-fresh omelette. Ok, I’m only half kidding. Breakfast stouts are named so not because they are made to be consumed in the morning, but because of the breakfast flavors and ingredients that are associated in the brew. Founders brews their Breakfast Stout with “an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee”. It sounds impressive and amazing, so let’s dive in!
Poured aggressively into my over-sized snifter, this beer looks like a bulb of black ink settling below a layer of cinnamon. The beer itself is completely opaque, and it’s the deepest color black you can imagine. It’s strangely beautiful. The head was minimal, but a dark tan/cinnamon color and it dissipated within minutes. If I tilt the beer in the glass, the carbonation and lacing clings to the sides letting me know that this is, indeed, a carbonated beverage.
The smell is like walking into the coffee aisle in the grocery store. It smells like dark grain, burnt and roasted, with heavy notes of fresh-ground coffee beans. The alcohol isn’t present, hops aren’t either, all I get are black malts, coffee/espresso, and the faint smell of dark chocolate. The aroma is perfect for the style of beer, let’s hope the flavor is the same!
Founders’ Breakfast Stout is a thick, chewy, milkshake of a beer. The beer has the consistency of whole milk, most likely thanks to the copious amounts of oats in it. The carbonation is also perfect. I hate to use that as a description, because, quite frankly, it doesn’t tell you anything, but it’s just true. When I drink a stout, I don’t want a ton of carbonation, but I don’t want a flat beer either. FBS has plenty of the tiny bubbles that tickle your tongue, but don’t feel abrasive as they go down.
As the beer touches my tongue I am hit with a blast of coffee and burnt grain. Burnt is usually a word that has a negative connotation, but not in this case. It is a delightful blending of dark coffee beans, dark roasted malt, and semi-sweet chocolate. There is almost no hop flavor in this beer, but with the darkness of the grains it is still fairly bitter. In fact, the bitterness is the thing that lingers most. Just like if you were to drink a strong coffee without any sweeteners, the flavor hangs in the back of your mouth. Also like a good cup of coffee, the high alcohol content will easily warm you up on a cold winter morning. That being said, it’s tough to actually taste the alcohol behind all of the other flavors in this complex brew.
I’ll be completely honest, when I started this review I was in a slump of sports-induced depression, but now that I’ve cracked open the FBS, I can smile again. This beer is just THAT good. To be extremely nit-picky, I could use a little less bitterness in the aftertaste, but this still receives the grade of 98 from me. This is very close to beer nirvana. I don’t know what could possibly make the Kentucky Breakfast Stout that much better, besides the hint of bourbon, but I’m excited to try it if I get the chance. If you are a fan of stouts and big, dark beers, you need to try Founders’ Breakfast Stout. It has quickly earned it’s way to the list of my top favorite beers of all time.