Michigan Maple Jesus Evil Twin Brewing Canadian Breakfast Stout clone?

Michigan Maple Jesus by Evil Twin

(C)2017 popsonhops

Tasting: March 4, 2017
Style: Imperial Stout
Beer #:1,038
ABV: 12%

Michigan Maple Jesus

Someone asked me if some craft beers are simply copies of other craft beer recipes. While I have had many similar beers, it seems to me that the variables with hops alone make the options limitless. There are about 100 commercial hop varieties and each can be added in any quantity and combination. Hops can also be added at the various brewing stages, bittering, aroma or even dry/wet-hopping. If you note similarity, it may be that you pick up similar use of hops or other ingredients. I’ll give the example that a hop like Mosaic imparts an acrid cat pee and tangerine flavor while Galaxy imparts a citrus and passion fruit flavor.

It’s not to say that people don’t attempt to replicate or interpret a recipe. If you are going to attempt, why not pursue a legend? In this case, does Michigan Maple Jesus resemble Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) from Founders Brewing? Evil Twin owner, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso offered the following tweet.

Even the Michigan reference ties this to Michigan Maple Jesus Stout to the Michigan based brewer of CBS – Founders Brewing. I’ll also note that this beer is made by Michigan brewer, Dark Horse Brewing for the nomadic brewer.

It’s been about four years since I last had a CBS so my palate memory (if there is such a thing) is long forgotten. This is where my blog comes in handy. I noted five years ago that CBS was unmistakeable in maple sweetness. The sweetness initially masked the vanilla and wood of the barrel influence. Yet, the vanilla and oak influence eventually made their way to the surface. Initially, the same impression here. A wallop of maple syrup and some raisin. However, a wave of rum booziness that scorches quickly overruns. That’s where the comparison to CBS ends. A vigorous swirl in the glass tames a little but this beast needs to settle down. I have another bottle in my cellar and I’ll check back another time. For now, I’ll but the semi-clone at 90 points.

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Founders – Canadian Breakfast Stout

Tasting: November 7, 2011
Style: Stout

cbs

Founders annual and seasonal releases fly off shelves – that is if they even make it to the shelves. Demand for their annual and seasonal beer is so crazy that I’ve heard of people stalking beer trucks on Founders delivery days. I was somewhat happy to hear that they’ve just christened a brand new brewing facility. But, it makes me wonder what increased productivity will do to their legend. Do the hype, scarcity and quality extend the mystic — or will better availability damage that legend? As Craig said to me yesterday, he was on a diet that allowed him to eat bacon and eggs everyday. After a couple of weeks, he wasn’t interested in bacon and eggs anymore. I’d argue that instead of simply increasing output of certain brands – Founders would be better served with a wider line of these limited editions as well as a marginal increase in productivity to keep enough in the hands of their faithful following. It’s an interesting lesson in supply and demand economics.

For now, I’ll just stick to the latest in the string of Founders legend – Canadian Breakfast Stout. But in order to do that, I’ll have to take a couple steps back to give you an overview of the breakfast stout series.

Breakfast Stout is purported by many to be the base ingredient to both Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) and Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). According to what I’ve read, Founders denies that claim. I agree — CBS and KBS remind me more of their Imperial Stout offering — than this stout. The term breakfastcomes from their use of oats and coffee as featured ingredients. It is a seasonal offering by Founders and is fairly available at decent stores between November and February. Read my review of Founders Breakfast Stout HERE .

Kentucky Breakfast Stout is an annual stout that is aged in bourbon barrels. It is scarcely available in March. To date, this is my second ranked beer at 97 points. Read my review HERE.

Now this takes us to the main event — Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). CBS began as an experimental brew that made appearances at Founders own brew pub and at special tasting events. Reviews on websites like Beer Advocate and Rate Beer began the buzz that stoked a desire in every KBS lover, myself included. The hysteria even caused Founders to issue a statement on how CBS was rationed by state. What made this stout so interesting was that the label described it as an ale brewed with chocolate and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. I found that odd — was it two different barrel agings? A quick read online and I discover that there are maple syrup manufacturers that are aging their syrup in bourbon barrels as well. So, it appears that Founders is brewing this stout in a third generation barrel (first bourbon, then syrup, then stout). It checks in at a solid 10.6% ABV.

The Cloverleaf in Caldwell tweeted that they were going to tap a sixtle (1/6 keg) on Monday, November 7th at 5 pm sharp. I arrived at 3 pm sharp. Had a couple of warm ups (Harvest Ale and Backwoods Bastard) – and waited patiently. They poured everything that they had by 5:16. Not much difference in the appearance from KBS – but the taste was out of sight. Really rich and sweet. No issue tagging this as having maple syrup influence. To me, it was almost too sweet and overpowered that beautiful wood and vanilla that I enjoy in KBS. However, as I worked my way down those familiar flavors returned. This is definitely world class – and I will nudge it past KBS at 98 points – but if push comes to shove – I could still make a case for KBS to be slightly ahead.

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