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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,807 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 2,807
Hads: 10,814
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 4,281
Gots: 5,084 | FT: 417
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,807 | Hads: 10,814
Reviews by ABCJiugui:
Photo of ABCJiugui
3.5/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Edit- second bottle
No date on bottle, but aged at least 3 months (according to the store I bought it from).

A- same as below- head is minimal, even if the pour is hard, dissipates quickly with no lacing to speak of. Then again, what are you expecting with an RIS of this kind? For what it is, it is pleasant to look at.

S- milder coffee (this is a big difference), vanilla is more present. Bourbon is still a bit lacking (again, my experience is limited). Alcohol tingle is milder upon exhale than a fresh bottle.

T- MUCH milder coffee bitterness. Still present, just not overpoweringly acrid and out of balance as in a fresh bottle. Sweetness is more obvious as a result and flavors are more in balance- not particularly chocolate as some might think, but there is a roasted malt sweetness that comes thru. Bitterness is more reserved due to age (drank with smoked fish and fatty foods).

M- mild carbonation at this point, smooth, full bodied, but not chewy- still a little slick.

Overall, an AGED bottle, even one as few as a couple months, makes a world of difference for me. If you enjoy the coffee flavor, drink it fresh by all means. As for the bourbon/wood flavors, it's still muted, but a bit more pronounced with age as things are more in balance without the coffee overpowering everything. I also drank mine with smoked salmon and eggs, so it was more fitting as a literal "breakfast" stout, and the fat perhaps blunted the coffee onslaught. I still don't think this warrants anything near its price, and fresh, I was tempted to toss it outright.

NOTE: I can only recommend a few months of aging- accounts from beer buyers at wine shops I frequent have mentioned the flavor being quite bad when past 1 year or close to it. As I have yet to have this experience, I'd limit my recommendation for aging to a few months.

First review 3/23/08
bottle from a fresh 4 pack, poured into small tulip, no date.

A- opaque dark brown with lighter brown edges against light. head is espresso foam colored, dissipates quickly into thin rim around that leaves surprisingly good initial lace.

S- Coffee outright (not espresso, but black coffee). Oak wood/woody smell is also strong (perhaps this is the bourbon wood smell, I'm not that familiar with bourbon). Vanilla was apparent when I ATE something with vanilla extract in it (in this case, homemade biscotti), otherwise I can't smell it over the coffee and oakiness. Finishes very coffee in the nose upon exhale, and almost smoky (I assume due to the oak aging).

T- Slightly sweet, quickly goes to sharp coffee finish, first sips reveal refreshing hop bitterness- citric in nature, leaving the impression that the beer is drier than it actually is. Both coffee and hops linger to tickle/tingle the mouth a good bit. Really reminds me of a cup of black coffee with a couple sugars in it. I don't know think that's a good thing- more malt and sweetness would have given a better balance, as well as more muted coffee bitterness.

M- Smooth, light but sharp carbonation. Surprisingly light in feel in the mouth- not nearly as viscous as one might expect from 10abv.

Overall, a nice american double imperial stout, but not the greatest. It has its own particular coffee forward character, but for me, it doesn't warrant such high praise- my own taste leans towards sweeter chocolate stouts (I tasted/smelled very little chocolate in this, despite what others wrote). I do feel the coffee and woody flavor is quite overpowering in comparison to other components- again, more malt and sweetness would offer more balance to this beer. I fear labeling this beer overrated, but on a personal subjective basis, this is not an all timer for me. I do have 4 more bottles to try, so perhaps my view will change, as I think my expectation for something thicker and more sweet may have colored my judgment. In the end, a nice (particularly if you love coffee), but not great beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of don1481
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My then-28 week pregnant wife bought me this bottle on KBS Day. To celebrate the arrival of our son at home after 6 weeks in the NICU, I'm having this.

12oz bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: Pours a very, very dark liquid from where no bubbles can escape. A caramel colored head sits atop of this for a bit.

Smell: Chocolate? Check! Coffee? Check! Bourbon? CHECK CHECK CHECK! Some vanilla hints to the aroma, as well. This smells heavenly.

Taste: It kinda tastes like a bourbon-infused mocha. Just the right balance of chocolate, coffee, vanilla... and booze. Honestly, this is right up there with BCBS in my book. Whereas BCBS is a little more complex in its flavor profile, this has a certain "rough around the edges" hit to it that makes it stand out in a different way.

Mouthfeel: Goes down smooth. Leaves a coffee and booze aftertaste.

Overall: I still have a second bottle in my basement. I'm going to age it until the next round of BCBS comes out late this year. Very excited to see how some more aging goes with this.

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Photo of SoCold
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well it's official. KBS is the greatest beer of all time, ALL TIME. It's like breakfast stout and dragons milk had freaky circus sex. Nine months later had a kid. Then that kid spent a year in a cave learning how to be a ninja and that ninja kicked the s**t out of my taste buds.

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Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3/5  rDev -34.2%

Driving 4 hours to find a beer at a grocery store doesn't make it good, even if it was $20+ a 4 pack.

101 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Complete... utter... total... Stygian black. Despite a big blast of July sunshine behind the glass, there's no hint of lightening at the edges. I think I said the same about Founders Imperial Stout, but I don't know that I've ever seen a darker dollop of foam. The head is 'coffee with a small splash of cream' brown and is incredibly thick and rich. There's even a huge amount of lace for such a high-ABV ale.

Every ingredient that's said to be present is easily noted in the nose. I'm a little disappointed that coffee is in the foreground and bourbon is in the background. I wanted 'Kentucky' to be emphasized more than 'Breakfast'. That said, this is still an incredible aroma. It smells like a prodigious amount of roasted and black malt has been used, complemented nicely by espresso, vanilla and bourbon whiskey.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is delicous beer. My first few mouthfuls tell me that it doesn't live up to my (probably unrealistic) expectations, but that's the last time in this review that I'll be anything other than positive. I know one thing, I'll buy every bottle that I can get my hands on each and every year.

The flavor profile consists of a monolithic maltiness that is Stonehenge-like in size. Think dark chocolate fudge cake flecked with pulverized coffee beans and swimming in dark caramel and molasses sauce. Of the accessory flavors, vanilla is the most prominent, followed by a burnt sugar, bourbon barrel character that, again, should be more up front. As a bourbon whiskey lover, I wish my favorite liquor saturated every sip.

The most amazing thing about KBS is how completely the alcohol is buried. Other than the beginnings of tongue numbing as I reach the halfway point of the bottle, I have a hard time picking it out. Maybe that because it tastes like bourbon rather than like ethanol. In any case, there's no need to age this beer since there's no alcoholic heat whatsoever. Of course, I'm drinking it almost four months after its release.

I'm tempted to bump the flavor score as the beer warms, but can't quite do it. For all the reasons stated above, I can imagine a better KBS, so this one will have to settle for a less than perfect flavor score. The mouthfeel is luxurious. It's medium-full with a heavy silkiness that promotes gulping rather than sipping. I could get into trouble in a big hurry with this beer.

I don't believe there's a brewery in existence that can match Founders when it comes to big stouts. Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, and now Kentucky Breakfast Stout are three of the most incredible beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Never has twelve ounces seemed so much like six. Good thing I have three more bottles to go.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Founders KBS has a thin, tan head, a super-dark brown appearance, some bubble streams, and noticeable tan chunks roiling about. Lacing is minimal. The aroma is of a strong bourbon smell, with background dark-roasted malts. Taste is of the same, with vanilla, chocolate powder, dark coffee, bitterness (not so high), and sweetness. Mouthfeel is mostly heavy, with a velvety aspect coming into play, and Founders KBS finishes somewhat powdery and fairly drinkable for such a strong beer.


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Photo of RutgersEng
4.24/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle with unknown date. I have to thank Dan for supplying this bottle on my retirement after 40 years.

Poured black with almost no head, but plenty of lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is of toasted almonds, vanilla and bourbon and very much like most barrel aged stouts. I have been looking for KBS for more than 3 years. It doesn't usually make it out to the west coast. I was very glad to finally get to try this.

The taste follows the nose with some coffee, burnt almonds, vanilla and bourbon notes. I do like coffee stouts and glad that this was done very well. Although the coffee was forward and the burn in the back of the throat testified to the barrel treatment. It was a little more rough than I expected for a refined barrel aged stout. It may need more aging and I don't know what year this bottle was from. When compared to BCBS or King Henry it didn't seem to measure up. I think it is more closely related to barrel aged Victory at Sea or perhaps Black Xantus. I found the date and it is from 12/12, therefore it has rested for 2 years in the bottle/cellar. With that knowledge, I am going to have to reduce the rating a bit as it has rested 1 1/2 years in the bottle. When compared to other 2 year aged coffee stouts it is in the middle of the pack.

Overall it is a very good coffee stout, and I enjoyed every last ounce of it. But it left me wanting for more refinement that perhaps longer aging will help. The coffee is noticabley similar to Black Xantus, but Black Xantus gets really really good after two years of cellaring and perhaps this would also. I'm glad that I could have a chance to drink and rate it. After letting it warm it does improve and becomes more blended and refined. I would wait for it to warm for 15 to 20 minutes to get maximum enjoyment.

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Photo of YeahRightt
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 KBS Bottled 3/05/2015 drank on 4/10/2015

Look: Pitch black like you just turned the lights out in a bright room, brunette head like Monica Lewinsky, decent lacing.

Smell: sweet, boozy scent takes the forefront, chocolate, spice, and very slight coffee linger in the back. Smells like it would smell if you snuck a jack and coke into your starbucks cup before you go to work, without the scent of shameful alcoholism.

Taste: Very bourbon forward, like the aftertaste left in your mouth after a sip straight from the bottle if you chased it with cold coffee (good cold coffee). Chocolate chills in the background and is forgotten until the brew warms a bit, which brings a bit more of a mocha character heightened by the malt. Heat from the bourbon isn't as present as its sweetness, which was alleviated by the beer getting a bit warmer.

Feel: Nice and velvety without being like a syrup. Perfect median between what you would expect from a stout and a bourbon, very pleasant but heavy if enjoyed with anything other than a dessert or by itself.

Overall: I try not to think of beers as products of their own hype, but hype as a product of a beer. That being said, this is a very good BA stout that deserves a lot of credit and deserves to be sought after. Perhaps it is overblown due to availability, but it is a mistake to discredit this beer or any in its same class due to its scarcity or popularity. It is extremely complex and well balanced and only improves as you sip. Highly recommend seeking out at least a couple bottles annually. Excellent.

I am aging three bottles from this year and will update with a review at 6 months, followed by a side-by-side comparison to next year's version.

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Photo of Mehinaman
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite of the bourbon stouts that I have tried. Goose Island is a great bourbon stout as well, but I find this one a little less boozy overall which makes the difference for me. It's a great beer, but don't let the "breakfast" in the name fool you as this beer packs a punch. You might not want to drink it and then head to work. :-)

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Photo of jdhowe
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage came off a little thin. Very boozy, and the thin body worries me that age isn't necessarily the way to go. Didn't like it as much as the 2013 or 2014 fresh, which were both very nice. Still a great beer -- dusty char from the oak really shows itself and gives a unique barrel character that I find very enjoyable.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Second year in a row that it didn't live up to the hype for me... nice body and creamy feel with burnt chocolate and some coffee flavors... but lacks complexity and bourbon sweetness--- much prefer bcbs as my staple stout.

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Photo of BladesOfBarley
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For years, I've wanted to try this gem, and despite my best efforts, I was never able to snag even a single bottle; but alas, this year I succeeded! Thanks to my friend Jake, who works at Vineyard Liquors in Plano, IL I was able to score a bottle of this and Firestone Walker's Parabola (cue squeal of delight!), and safe to say, this beer not only met but FAR exceeded my expectations. However, it's hard to really describe this beer because of how harmonious the flavors, aromas and textures play together, alas, this being a beer 'review', I shall sum it up as best I can.

Midnight black, aromas of mellow bourbon and chocolate; vanilla, coffee, bourbon and chocolate dance playfully and beautiful upon the palette.

Maybe it's shock, but that's the best I can do right now!
Some day, I would to trade / buy a bottle to sit on for a year.


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Photo of TampaRainman
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015. Marked improvement over 2014. Big coffee punch, blast of hot bourbon booze. Roasty chocolate. A few months will probably do this bad boy some favors, but a nice return to form.

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Photo of danh53
3.97/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kyle for sharing this during the NCAA finals. Pours a dark brown with small, brown head. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, coconut, booze. Taste follows the aroma. It has a bitter finish and a distinct alcohol burn. Thin mouth feel. Decent beer, but not worth the trouble to seek it out for one bottle limits.

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Photo of Jahjehwa
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015, on tap and in bottle are both amazing (No hype required). I won't compare it to the other bourbon aged beers because it has its own unique way of doing things. To me the bourbon is present but it is more subtle and doesn't overwhelm the other flavors of chocolate and coffee. I do love the bourbon heavy beers as well, but KBS is much smoother and refined imo. Had a chance to meet Jeremy K. The brew master at a local seminar and local tapping. Smaller town in MN and was not crowded at all. Very laid back and humble about all his beers. I haven't rated a lot of good beers that I should have. I would say, don't pick a favorite. Also just because it's new and super rare and you got some, doesn't make it better or worse than those who have been perfecting their style and can make more of it. Beer isn't a hipster fashion trend it's been around a long time and will be for a long time.

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Photo of brother_rebus
4.01/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Boozy burbon no-bubble breakfast burps.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap 2015 iteration

A: pure darkness no light is getting through this guy, almost no head whatsoever

S: huge amounts of chocolate, nice coffee, and very very slight bourbon

T: so much chocolate the bourbon is very quiet on this years you get hints of the oak and maybe some of the vanilla and the coffee pushes the entire beer forward.

M: Medium to the slightly full side

O: this years was the absolute best I've ever had. I have never really liked this beer because of the explosive heat from the bourbon and the watery mouthfeel. This year was a complete 180 it was just fantastic. I was very surprised how soft the barrel characteristics were this year, it really complimented a great beer versus taking over the entire taste.

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Photo of mlockman
3.77/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cellared for six months, I found it overall not very impressive. Lacked the strong bourbon flavors I was hoping for; maybe I'm just in the "fresh is best" camp, though I haven't had the chance to try it fresh.

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Photo of Bmonster
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Well, here it is, the legendary KBS. Released only once a year, this is a stout at its heaviest and most complex. Huge amounts of coffee and chocolate are added to dark malts, then aged in oak bourbon barrels. The result is the a beer with a perfect rating.

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Photo of Jjski
4.34/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Retraction of last year's harsh criticism of KBS. 2015 version is brash, bold, and coffee heavy with a pleasing hint of bourbon. Not a barrel heavy beer, but coffee, dark roasted malt and cocoa notes abound. Viscosity has improved.

I must have gotten a bad lot last year. This is my 4th yearly sampling, and this one is back on track. I prefer bourbon heavier, but this is my own personal shortcoming... Not the beers problem. Well done Founders. As a big fan of your standard and limited releases, this beer deserves praise at this price point.

I have been lucky, diligent, and cunning enough to score at least 12 each year. These ones are worth keeping ( if I could prevent my gorgeous, brilliant, and youthful wife away from them)

Suggestions to try in this category: Big Bad Baptist is a winner, and economical. Java Bourbon Eclipse is great, and NOT economical

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Photo of chessiejackson
4.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Was lucky enough to enjoy this on tap at my local pub. Absolutely delicious. Enough said.

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Photo of Delz
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Really liked this one. Rich flavors throughout.

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Photo of Trevor11
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very powerful beer. Had both 2015 and 2014. The aged beer was more enjoyable with the mellowing of the strong flavors and prominence of the alcohol in this barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of Deshaies
3.87/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

April 2015 / 12oz Bottle. Got a really strong bourbon taste and smell, but a bit underwhelmed by the beer, coffee and vanilla notes which was described. Decent mouth feel, but slightly muddled flavor. Might have been over excited for this one.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For Raul it is about damn time! I mean, finally being able to sip on this bad boi is like fantasizing about the captain of the cheerleading squad and then her finally letting you play with her pompoms.

The hype?

Yeah, this gosh darn thang is pretty good. Beautiful roasted coffee and chocolate on the nose - which also shows up in da flava. Although, where Raul sees a bit of a letdown is n tha mouthfeel. Not as Irina Shayk "silky" as Raul would like - not that Cristiano Rinaldo wouldn't date this thang - but Parabola and Stone Espresso Stout definitely are a bit smoother.

Still, Raul agrees. Raul agrees well and good.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,807 ratings.