CBS is an Imperial Stout that has been tainted (in a good way) with coffee and chocolate (apparently imported chocolate) and then aged in bourbon barrels that were recently used to store maple syrup. How appropriate that this special release was done so in the month of December. This beer starts with a chocolatey flavor but you can almost feel the maple syrup once it's down the hatch. This is one of the few beers I've had that once it's in my mouth, it feels light as air. Careful though! 11.7% will sneak up on you quickly. It's worth the $30 a bottle, but you should probably have a friend to share it with. I'm writing this as I am half way through the bottle...probably good I'm not at the bottom of the bottle as I write this.
Appearance ( )
If you pour this one quickly, the head is a dark creamy tan (almost chocolatey-caramel) and the beer is pure black...no light seems to be able to get through...almost like you'll be drinking soy sauce. It's a far cry from that, but that's what it looks like. Those that say otherwise didn't pour their beer into a beer into a normal glass. This one, black as a black hole, creates anticipation.
Smell ( )
I smell the bourbon, but not too much because it's masked by the chocolate and coffee. I get a slight black licorice smell as well. Maybe a bit of umami and slight maple. Rich, that's for sure.
Taste ( )
This one is up at the top 3 from Founders. I think the only one I like better is either the Backwoods Bastard or KBS...both of which might beat this out if I wasn't in the mood for chocolate and coffee...and when is that? Hardly ever. Since it's a breakfast stout, I could see drinking this in the morning...but you wouldn't get much done after that. You can taste the boozy 11.7% ABV.
I taste chocolate immediately, followed by some coffee/licorice. Then a coating of maple syrup after it's gone. What a phenomenal experience. The bourbon taste led to a phenomenal warming feeling.
Mouthfeel ( )
This is where things get a bit weird. I expected a heavy mouthfeel, but instead, I experienced one of the lightest beers on the tongue I've had. It almost floats on the tongue and you have to swish it around a bit to get the full effect. Light and airy...like the chocolate notes I experienced at the start. Perfect carbonation.
Overall Impression ( )
One of the top experiences in drinking a beer. If you don't like bourbon barrel aged beers, you probably won't like this one...but if you do, this one is a treat. I've read online some people say they've purchased a bottle for Christmas morning. I like where their head is at, but it's a tough one to finish by yourself...and if I started this Christmas morning, I'd have a tough time making it through the day.
I really enjoyed this one. The anticipation was more than the results, but worth it. I'm glad Founders did a nationwide roll out of this product (living in Florida and all).