Tommy sent me this bottle of a beer that I’ve had in the past, most recently about five years ago. I decided to first do a short review of it on its own, then compare it directly with a beer that it is often compared to: Founders Breakfast Stout.
Beyond the Pour grade: A-
There must have been an issue with the hop harvests last year, at least in the midwest. Nearly all of the fresh-hop beers that I saw reviews of last year seemed a little lackluster and bland. While I ended up giving the 2010 Founders Harvest Ale a B+ overall, I definitely didn’t think it was all it could be.
I don’t want to bother shooting another review for this one, but I wanted to give the 2011 a shake.
Even just starting the pour I can smell the nice fresh resiny hops. Beautiful floral notes, some nice pine background. Almost like a Christmas tree. I’m more attuned to hops than I was last year, but I suspect it’s definitely a more pungent hop aroma.
Ditto for the flavor. A bit more earthy, but with those definite pine and floral resins. Slight golden malt backbone provides just a tiny bit of sweetness, but this beer is definitely a showcase for hops. At 6.5% it’s not quite as big as a traditional IPA, nor is it quite as heavily bittered, but drinking this beer less than two weeks after bottling (bottling date: 09/22/2011) definitely fulfills my hop quota.
If the 2010 bottling was a B+, this is an A-, maybe even an A. Ridiculously drinkable as well. Drink it fresh or don’t drink it at all.
Beyond the Pour grade: A-
It’s been a long wait for this one.
Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) hasn’t even been brewed since 2007. Yeah, I know there are some places that have put it on tap in the last four years, but those are all from kegs produced since 2007. It’s a beer that has never, ever been bottled. So when they announced that they would be releasing 750mL bottles as part of their backstage series, the entire beer geek world lost their shit.
Myself included. I’m psyched to get to try it, so psyched that I put it ahead of other beers in my upload queue and shot and edited a review the night of release, all in a (likely futile) attempt to get it reviewed first on Youtube. Since I can’t guarantee I’ll be first, I decided to open up a bottle of Founders KBS as a direct comparison to the maple bourbon-barrel version.
In short? Both are awesome beers, although CBS gets a tiny bit cloying as I get to the bottom of the 750mL bottle due to the amount of sugar. I wish it was a 12oz-er instead. The sugar makes this version even smoother than the already very-smooth KBS, but it also masks a lot of the roasty subtleties of the original beer.
In short, while both are excellent, I think KBS is actually the better beer.
Beyond the Pour grade: A+