Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company
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Ratings: 8,197 | Reviews: 2,499 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Stevedore:
4.1/5 rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Context: 12oz bottle of the 2013 vintage (just obtained today in the Great KBS Derby of Madison 2013) poured into a Bell's tulip. This is the first I've had of 2013, but I've had 2012 in the past. Disclosures: there is the potential for the extra work of obtaining this beer to influence this review, as I left work early and drove across town to get some.
Aroma: Smells just as good as I remember it. Very big, pungent nose that I can smell coming out of the bottle. Very, very bourbon barrel forward nose- vanilla and oak dominating. There is some dark brewed coffee, and some cocoa and chocolate malt aromas that comes to the front as it warms up. While its dominated by the bourbon barrel characteristics, it's up there with BCBS and Black Note when it comes to aroma.
Colour: Looks great. Pours a viscous jet black body- not quite Ten FIDY but really thick. It may be the way I poured it, but it comes with nearly no head whatsoever and leaves just a thin brown collar. It might have to do with me drying my tulip glass by hand with a towel just before drinking this. I'll revisit when I drink another one in a clean dry glass, but even then- the relative lack of head is pretty typical of imperial stouts. Also, the lacing is pretty average- it's there and sticks, but there isn't a ton of it. Overall it beats some of the other BA stouts I've had but not by much.
Flavour: Nice. The first sip of this beer kicks me in the face with its bourbon barrel-forward character. Tons of vanilla and oak. Just like the nose. It's pretty much all bourbon barrel for the first few minutes. And as it warms up, I can make out cocoa and dark chocolate malt flavours, almost on the bitter side even. Warming up some more, the coffee definitely makes its appearance, tasting like cold brewed coffee- not too stale, not too pungent- not too coffee forward like people seem to always be saying about fresh KBS. A nice progression of flavours that continue to layer on top of each other. It's quite fun to sip on as it goes from fridge-cold to room temperature.
Mouthfeel: Compared to what I remember of last year's, it's actually a bit thicker on the body which I'd classify as on the thinner side of thick body. Last year would be thicker side of medium bodied. This could be pure semantics or pure folly. It's as creamy as ever that leaves my palate with a dry finish. Carbonation is average for beer in general, and is just about right for this kind of beer. The aftertaste is a nice, smooth mix of bitter coffee and chocolate and the bourbon barrel oak flavours. And I definitely feel the heat as the beer warms up to room temperature. This beer doesn't disappoint in the mouthfeel department.
Overall: Despite all the naysayers saying this year's KBS is thinner bodied, has no bourbon, etc., it seems to me that this is the same KBS that we've all come to enjoy. I'm happy to have gotten my hands on some of this year's vintage. It's a nice, complex beer that's great to sip on- it really should be released 3 months earlier in the winter. It's a very good bourbon barrel-aged coffee imperial stout that any BA stout fan would really enjoy and that's as simple as that. Ignore the hype, taste the beer and be happy.
Old rating: 4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5, total score 4.48
Note: I would consider holding onto this beer for a month or two to see if the bourbon barrel contribution mellows out a bit and to see if you can get some of the underlying malt flavours.
Re-review (2014 vintage): Picked up a bottle of this perennial treat on KBS Day yesterday, 4/1/2014. Poured into a Founders' etched snifter today, 4/2/2014. Essentially, it's very similar to last year in terms of my tasting notes. However nose-wise, I feel that the coffee is very subdued, and the bourbon is a bit watered down. Not as much vanilla (from the bourbon/oak) or oak presence here. The bourbon really doesn't hit me in the face as much as it did in last year's vintage. Flavourwise, plenty of sweet chocolate flavours, dark malts, milk chocolate, some coffee which is clearly not as noticeable as BCBCS et al. On the backend, there is more of a solid straight bourbon flavour that is initially sweet and a bit ashy, but the barrel contribution is relatively minimal. Good mouthfeel, viscous but a bit hot, leaves a nice warmth in my stomach as I drink it. But overall this is a slight letdown for me considering how much I enjoyed last year's version. It could very well be palate evolution or bottle variation.
Serving type: bottle
04-03-2014 02:02:57 | More by Stevedore
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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 8,197 ratings.