Founders Backstage Series, perhaps most famous for bringing Canadian Breakfast Stout and Blushing Monk (amongst others) to large format bottles, returns with its latest offering to close out 2014. ‘Stout season’ is a marketing term the social media types at Founders love to use when the weather turns. They urge craft beer aficionados to start stocking up on what are perhaps their best offerings, Imperial Stout and Breakfast Stout. So it is no surprise that come December, Founders Big Lushious comes along as yet another dark beer option for the dark, cold winter.
The commercial description tells us what they are going for :
This deep, rich stout is packed with flavor: roasted malts, all-natural dark chocolate, a subtle suggestion of burnt coffee grounds and a kiss of tart raspberries. It’s big but balanced. At 7.8% ABV, Big Lushious is a sumptuous, extravagant dessert beer fit for enjoying with friends and family around the holidays or to celebrate a special occasion. But really, this beer can make any occasion special. Don’t worry; we won’t call you a lush.
I am reminded of a recent Founders ‘tap takeover’ where the brewery rep kept urging imbibers to get a pour of their raspberry beer Rubaeus and blend it with the KBS. It sounded sacrilegious to most of the Kentucky Breakfast Stout fans, but the raspberry sweetness did offer a nice element to the chocolate of the stout. So when they announced Big Lushious, I was hoping it would prove as delicious a blend.
Pouring with active carbonation from the 22 ounce bottle, Founders Big Lushious fills the air with raspberry and hot chocolate notes. The head is the color of wet sand, huge with large bubbles and lingering for a time. When you taste Big Lushious, all that raspberry in the nose is there right up front, with a pleasant tartness, trailed by cocoa powder and roasted malts and sweetness that puts it well beyond other Founders stouts in that aspect. A very rich beer, some would qualify Big Lushious as a ‘dessert beer’, we had it with the addicting Destination Donuts from Columbus, Ohio without being cloying. Not a fan of super sweet brews like Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee, for me this is just tart enough that I was able to enjoy a large pour and wanted more. The body is thick enough for a stout, with the strong carbonation rushing the liquid to the finish. The last taste is still chocolate and tart raspberry with a warming note from the alcohol.
The scintillating bottle art promises dark chocolate and red fruit decadence. And without a doubt Founders Big Lushious delivers on that promise. In the same manner that their summer delight Rubaeus tastes of the true sweet/tart natural flavor of raspberry, the Big Lush wraps chocolate notes around a nicely balanced fruit flavor. A well crafted sweet stout with excellent adjuncts. If you like the combination in truffles or donuts, you will love the latest Founders Backstage release.