Monday, November 21, 2011

Beer Review: Founders Breakfast Stout

Reviewing Founders Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing Company.
Score: 96

2011 bottle served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pitch black used motor oil. Completely opaque. Even with maybe three sips left in the beer, the body stubbornly keeps out light. Pours maybe one finger of tan head, but it doesn't stick around for long. Tan lace coats the side of the glass as you drink. 4.5/5

Smell: Prominent bitter/roasted coffee and roasted oat flavors (someone left the percolator running!) mask a lot of the beer's aromatic subtleties, but swirling helps to bring some of the other smells out of hiding. Some silky milk chocolate, a little oaky and and a touch of ethanol. The nose is interesting because it is simultaneously acrid from the coffee and creamy from the chocolate. Most stouts tend to be one or the other in my experience. 4.5/5

Taste: Bitter black coffee dominates the flavor. Dark chocolate quite noticeable as well. A little acidic, but smooth. Also has some cooked spice/oak flavors that I may be be mistaking for what is really the oatmeal character of the beer. Some earthy hop presence. Finishes dry with malty coffee breath and a little alcohol sting as the beer warms. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly oily, with very little carbonation. Malty/bitter finish. 4.5/5

Overall: Incredibly drinkable, and aggressively coffee flavored, Breakfast Stout lives up to its hype as one of America's best stouts. Founders is my favorite brewery, and this is my favorite of their seasonal (I'm omitting their limited/rare release beers from this definition) releases. It is probably the best stout you can get a hold of without have to stalk a distribution truck, though Old Rasputin and Peche Mortel certainly give this beer a run for it's money as a top tier easy-access beer. I feel sorry for the people outside the Founders distribution network! 5/5

Recommendation: This is about as close to perfect as beers come. I'd probably recommend that casual drinkers sip this one a little colder, but the flavors in this beer get really complex and robust at room temperature.

Pairings: Brownies, Coffee Cake, Oatmeal. Might make a great after dinner dessert for BBQ. Pretty much anything you'd pair coffee with would work here.

Cost: $11.49 for a four pack.

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