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Breakfast Stout

Other reviews for this beer:
Eddie Glick one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer read it ›
Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, MI

Style: Stout
ABV: 8.3%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (World class.)

Last year our intrepid webmaster, Eddie Glick, wrote the most accurate, detailed, and informative review to ever grace this fine web site. After praising the many virtues of Founders legendary masterpiece, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Eddie summed up his lengthy commentary with the following phrase:

Holy fuck.

Come to think of it, that wasn’t his summation … that was the entire review. To be fair, Eddie followed that up earlier this year with a review for Founders Breakfast Stout, a different beer altogether (though similar to Kentucky Breakfast due to its penchant for perfection), in what turned out to be a far more detailed and informative piece. However, the Kentucky Breakfast review will forever go down in lore as the one time in history that Eddie Glick was rendered speechless. We can but hope we can find another brew that has similar effects, one that is far cheaper and more readily available.

The reason I bring this up, besides the obvious parallels of Kentucky Breakfast and Breakfast Stout and the fact that I’m re-reviewing Breakfast Stout (that’s misleading … it’s simply another review), is that Nigel would like to briefly share his thoughts on the most legendary curse word in the English language, the mighty f-bomb.

I occasionally reference f-bombs in my reviews, but I tend to do it with the “f---“ or “f—k”. Don’t get me wrong, Nigel drops enough f-bombs in his casual daily discourse to make the fine lads on the crew of the HMS Pinafore blush. However, I try to keep things relatively sophisticated when I write (read: as sophisticated as one can while drinking heavily, listening to underground hip-hop, and browsing online porn) and I don’t think that a big, fat f-bomb in the middle of an article or review looks terribly professional. And, after all, we are professionals here at So, should you ever read a Nigel review and see the word “fuck” (with the obvious exception of this particular piece), let it be known that the potty-mouthed Eddie Glick did some casual editing and put his wonderfully perverted touch on it. Thus, Nigel found the Kentucky Breakfast review to be crude, lewd, and completely unacceptable. But that’s just me, and that has nothing to do with my current review; I just wanted to share some random thoughts.

As for Founders Breakfast Stout, it’s a beer I’ve long wanted to review it but until now never really had the opportunity. With its limited release and hefty price tag, I don’t drink Breakfast Stout too often, but I do typically try to get a four-pack each year when it comes out, perhaps restocking that four-pack should they linger on the shelves beyond their typical window. Breakfast Stout is one of the finest brews out there, a clear-cut five mugger, but it’s not something that fits into my regular rotation.

Breakfast Stout is aptly named due to the fact that it’s rich, creamy, and milky, with a nice, sugary touch, along with a grainy, oatmeal-like maltiness and a pleasant touch of roasted coffee malt. It’s almost as if Founders went into a greasy spoon diner at 5 a.m. to see what the elderly were indulging in for an eye-opener, then took those ingredients and made a beer out of them. While that sounds like a terrible, creepy concept, when executed by the brewing geniuses in Grand Rapids, the result is brilliant.

Breakfast Stout pours relatively lifeless, much like the geriatrics that had their breakfasts stolen by Founders brewmasters. A mild brown fizz is present immediately upon the pour and evaporates instantly, leaving only the slightest of tan lace at the very edge of the glass. Black as night, Breakfast Stout has some sedimentation but overall is thick, dark, and dead. Aromas are pleasant and complex, though surprisingly mild. Coffee and roasted nuts are the strongest, but are well balanced with sugary aromas of caramel, molasses, and toffee. A general hint of cocoa is present throughout, as is a slight earthy aroma of oats and other grains. While all of these ingredients have wonderful aromatic qualities on their own, when combined they seem to fight with each other and temper the aroma more than I would prefer.

But then again, who cares about the damn aroma? Breakfast Stout tastes phenomenal, rendering any other qualities it may or may not have completely meaningless. Founders has done an incredible job creating a beer that is chock full of a wide spectrum of flavors, but doesn’t overwhelm with any of them. It’s powerful but balanced, flavorful but mild, strong but exceptionally drinkable. Initial flavors are balanced between milk chocolate and a lighter roasted coffee, with noticeable darker sugary hints of toffee and molasses. Secondary earthy notes of oats and barley come through next, easing the roasted and sugary inundation that had the potential to overwhelm earlier in the drink. As if that wasn’t enough, there is a very mild hop profile (you have to look for it … it’s largely squashed by the other flavors) and a touch of vanilla. Yes, it’s strong (8.3 percent ABV). Yes, it’s loaded with flavors. Yes, it’s thick and sugary and dark. But all of that aside, Founders has crafted a masterpiece that is exceptionally drinkable, masks the alcohol, and, if not careful, could ruin your breakfast the next morning after you drink an entire four-pack. Full bodied but remarkably smooth on the palate, Breakfast Stout leaves a noticeable but inoffensive aftertaste. It’s a bit too strong to be considered a session beer, but you’ll have to fight yourself to resist the temptation.

All in all, Breakfast Stout is as good as you heard and better than you think due to its sneaky ability to throw tons of fantastic flavors and you without overloading them to the point that they punch you in the face. It’s a brew with superior flavor and balance, and one that will be enjoyed by a wide audience of beer lovers. While indeed pricey ($10-$15 for a four-pack, depending on the retailer) and often hard to track down, Breakfast Stout is a worthy investment that should be enjoyed at least once every year. Give it a shot, and perhaps you too can utter the immortal words of Eddie Glick.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on October 6, 2008.
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