Review Date 6/2/2012 Last Updated 11/9/2014
Beer. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Is that the slogan for Founders Breakfast Stout? If it’s not, it should be. The label, after all, features a robust looking child wrapped in a bib and sticking a spoonful of oatmeal in his mouth from an aptly-labeled bowl that says “Founders” on it. Better not let the folks on the Alabama Liquor Control Board see that.
In any event, while the child gets the oatmeal in this whimsically fantastical label, you the adult are privileged to enjoy the precious liquid inside. That’s because this high-octane 8.3% alcohol by volume oatmeal stout (it’s the oatmeal that connotes the breakfast connection) is highly prized by beer geeks everywhere. In point of fact, it’s actually the most readily available of the three Founders stouts, the other two being the elusive (and at times ridiculously expensive) Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (10.6% ABV) and Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (11.2% ABV and aged in Oak Bourbon barrels).
I’ve seen the latter sell for over $100 a four-pack on Ebay, which is a bit more than I’m willing to pay for a beer. So, for now I’ll stick to the Founders Breakfast Stout, of which I can get ten times as many bottles for the same price. Truth be told, I still think it’s a little pricey at $9.99 a four-pack. Come on Founders. You could at least give us a six-pack for that price.
Anyway, Founders says this about the ingredients of the beer on their website:
The coffee lover's consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.
Technically, they do call this a “double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout” on the label. Ratebeer and Beer Advocate both call this an Imperial Stout, but I disagree. I think the Canadian Breakfast Stout and the Kentucky Breakfast Stout fit more in that mold; Founders Breakfast Stout strikes me more as a potent coffee stout seasoned with chocolate. I suppose you could make an argument for an oatmeal stout, but coffee is the most predominant trait here I think.
I first enjoyed Founders Breakfast Stout on draft at Taco Mac on Christmas Eve, 2011 as a sort of early Christmas present to myself. The beer is a seasonal release for September through December, but tonight I’m sipping a bottle in the month of May I picked up last fall.
My bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout pours to a jet black color with a humongous rocky tan head formation and a potent coffee nose. As I sip, a substantial chocolate note is quickly subsumed by copious amounts of espresso coffee, with strong flavors of licorice and roasted barley thrown in for good measure. The roasted barley bitterness serves to dry in the finish, along with some bitter coffee roasted notes as well. The beer does have 60 IBUs of hop bitterness, but it’s the roasted kind that strikes me more forcefully.
What about the oats you say? They add a silky smoothness to the body that makes the beer glide gracefully over the tongue and keeps you coming back for more. In truth, this is a very impressive beer indeed, and though I was tempted to knock off a half star for the price, I pondered and concluded that I would certainly come back for more at the price. Thus, a full five stars are due this very wonderful beer.
Update 11/19/2014: Picked up a 32-ounce growler at Stout's Growlers for just $8. As chocolaty and roasty and delicious as ever. Excellent dessert in a glass on a fine fall evening.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.