Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Founders - Breakfast Stout Review

Brewery: Founders (MI)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.3%
Grade: A

Pitch black. Barely any head. Smells amazing. Your well-balanced breakfast, in a beer. I can't quite capture why Founder's Breakfast Stout — the "plain" version of its popular, highly-rated trilogy — is so easily superior to most other coffee stouts / porters. Maybe it's that most coffee beers strike me as two-dimensional: you judge the coffee, and then roasty/sweet malts, and those two elements rarely seep out beyond their narrow boundaries. But Breakfast Stout is nuanced. Breakfast Stout doesn't scream "coffee beer" to me — it screams "delicious stout... and more!" 

Breakfast Stout is super smooth, with a presence that — flavor-wise — is actually relatively subtle. Every flavor that you want to come through, comes through, just melded together into a shape-shifting silky elixer. Coffee doesn't smack you over the head, allowing the "oatmeal stout" side of the thing to seep through — creamy, textured, almost like a dash of half and half to mellow out a dark-roast iced coffee. The roasty stout character is still the dominate malt flavor, but it's passive enough to let everything else have its turn, and strong enough to anchor them. Best of all, it's not overly sweet, and there's a nice drying-bitter finish that's quick and clean.

It might lack the pizzazz of its elder brothers, but Breakfast Stout is balanced and flawless. If it weren't for the 8.3% ABV, I could definitely drink this with my bagel every morning.

Availability: Fall release. 12 ounce bottles. Not nearly as hard to come by as its elder siblings.

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