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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

8,967 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,967
Reviews: 2,532
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 3,500
Gots: 3,288 | FT: 236
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,967 | Reviews: 2,532 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by zackward:
Photo of zackward
5/5  rDev +8.2%

zackward, Apr 06, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of don1481
4.71/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

don1481, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of RutgersEng
4.21/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

RutgersEng, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of Bmonster
5/5  rDev +8.2%

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.

Bmonster, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

KBS is as complete of an assault on the tastebuds, as much so as any beer I've had. In many ways, the complexity of roast, espresso, malted milk, and cocoa-rich chocolates is overwhelming, but in others it's beautiful in its simplicity.

The beer opens with a creamy and viscous pour. A mousse-like head forms on at the top of the glass as the opaque black beer settles and cascades while the foam rises. The head reliquishes some over the 11.2% abv. Only nitro-infused beers look better.

Extremely bold aromas of espresso, cocoa beans, and roasted barley take hold of the nose. But their intensity is unmistakable. Strong alcohol scent rises as the beer warms and stimulates the olfactory senses. Simple yet pure.

Flavors take over where the aroma ends. Extreme flavors of espresso, cocoa, and roasted barley set the tone. Malt sweetness takes a far backseat while fully attenuated malt flavor gives just enough of a foundation to support the robust complementary flavors. A subtle grassy, piney hop flavor begins to rise after I become acclimated to the cocoa-coffee attack. Esters and phenolic spice are also left behind, not to muddle the pure Stout flavors. Again, the alcohol flavors are evident and gives a bit more complexity to the taste.

The mouthfeel is stupid-crazy. Creamy, rich, and round while also smooth, velvety, and somewhat powdery. Bitterness arrives from a lot of angles: hops, espersso, cocoa, and alcohol. Never cloying, the beer has attenuated extremely well for a malty-rich texture and no residual sweetness left to the mouth.

Interestingly, this whole review has gone without the mention of the bourbon barrel aging. The barrels have taken the rough edges off of the base beer, as oak aging usually does, but the direct bourbon influence is not that apparent. The added alcohol adds a hint of cherry flavored alcohol (maybe a bit of cough syrup) and only a hint of boozy bourbons. Too light on the caramels, vanillans, and simple oak flavor to mention above the intensity of coffee and cocoa.

The beer is complex in its sheer proportions of relatively few dominant flavors, yet simple in its intent. Coffee- Cocoa- Malt- Hops. And it succeeds at every faucet. It has earned its way onto the worlds greatest beers and rightfully so.

BEERchitect, May 05, 2006
Photo of dvsbizzyb
2.1/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Tried a 2011 bottle on May 15 with two of my friends on our "Epic Beer Tasting Day". The line-up consisted of 2010 Darklord, Rare Bourbon County Stout, , 2011 Hanahpu, 2011 KBS, 2010 Abyss.

Appearance - It pours a very dark brown, almost black in appearance. Had a very thin mocha colored head that quickly disappears.

Smell - Bourbon? Nope I didn't smell any of that. I smelled mostly burnt coffee/caramel and nothing else. Disappointing to say the least.

Taste - The alcohol is just too overwhelming in this. I couldn't taste anything but alcohol. I thought it would have a wonderful balanced flavor of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon, but got nothing of it.

Mouthfeel - Very thick as it coats your whole mouth and burns your throat as it goes down. Not a pleasant experience at all.

Overall - Overrated! Very disappointed.

dvsbizzyb, May 21, 2011
Photo of zander4dawin
4.51/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours black as night with the thinnest head imaginable the dissipate rapidly. Smell is roasted nuts, chocolate, and fresh paint. Dark chocolate taste with a smooth cherry vanilla sweetness in the background with roasted toasty coffee malt notes. Smooth velvet texture and I mouth coating chalky aftertaste. Incredible smooth taste given it's ABV.

zander4dawin, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.88/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Shroud0fdoom for hooking me up with this one! 12 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a bit less than a finger high, with a khaki shade. As expected, retention isn't great. Minimal lacing is left on the glass.

S: Wow, this is almost a dark chocolate bomb. But note the almost - it's the underlyling, subtle notes that turn this into a winner. Bourbon, black coffee, vanilla, oak, and bourbon are all soft yet expressive. And did I mention how great the chocolaty tones smell? The nose could be a bit beefier, but damnit I'm still impressed with its aroma.

T: At first, I'm getting nice chocolate flavors, which build into a bourbon-laden middle. On the finish, I'm getting gentle coffee, roast, and vanilla. The alcohol notes also seemingly shift from bourbon to Irish cream in a way. Still, it's never too alcoholic or harsh (really, the bourbon and oak notes are subdued in the best way). I'm enjoying this a lot...but there's something missing. The more I sip it, the more it hits me: the flavors are a bit muddled. Don't get me wrong, it has great complexity, it's just the individual notes are a bit undefined. It's a bit difficult to discern the chocolate/coffee/vanilla/roast notes from one another. Otherwise, this is still a VERY good brew.

M: Generally, the feel is soft and creamy, but a combination of decent carbonation (for the style) and mild alcohol bite the palate a bit. The bite is never harsh, though. Like many BA beers, it's a bit on the thin side (by no means is it insubstantial, however). A very pleasant sipper that isn't overly sweet.

O: Hmmm. I like this - a lot actually - but I'm honestly not blown away. I think my expectations were too stratospheric for this one. After having the "Big 3" of barrel-aged imperial stouts (this, Parabola, and BCBS), I'd put BCBS 1st, Parabola 2nd, and this one 3rd. But to dismiss this beer entirely would be folly: it's more (dare I say) 'elegant' than the other two, every bit as complex, and well balanced with a delicate bourbon character. Like I said, it's just not extremely exciting: BCBS is over-the-top in the best way possible, and Parabola - despite its incredible harshness - is loaded with a metric ton worth of twists and turns. This just seems a little muddled and unexciting in comparison. I'd definitely drink this again. I'd still buy this again if I got so lucky. But I wouldn't chase trucks just to get my hands on this again.

ThisWangsChung, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of Vaison
1.4/5  rDev -69.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I don't really wish to put down a highly regarded beer but I feel this one is very overrated. I think it is unbalanced and tastes more like someone dropping a shotglass of bourbon in a stout. I could almost not notice the coffee or chocolate properties because of the overwhelming bourbon taste. I know most won't agree with this but it was a drainpour for me.

Vaison, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of oberon
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Man was I glad to get my hands on some of this,pours a opaque black with a quick to form mocha colored head that was gone quite fast,oh the aromas the bourban barrel shows thru with its oaky,vanilla tones that match perfectly with the highly roasted somewhat dry earthiness and bitter chocolate notes of the beer its a 5 no doubt.Flavors all come together in near perfection the oakiness is more subdued on the palate wich is nice I dont like overpowering wood flavors like some beers aged in wood have,anyways the complexities are immense vanilla,unsweetened chocolate ,roasty malt,earth,and even a light note of malted milk.What can I say its awesome Iam gonna savor the 8 I have for sure.

oberon, May 03, 2006
Photo of IronCity1822
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

IronCity1822, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of davemarc87
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

davemarc87, May 03, 2014
Photo of aszatk01
5/5  rDev +8.2%

aszatk01, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I was initially offended that someone had dared to ruin Breakfast Stout by adding bourbon flavors. I am NOT a fan of this wretched trend to put every good beer into a Bourbon Barrel just to be big and bad ass.

As the Kentucky Breakfast warmed from cellar to room temp and as my taste buds adjusted, I stopped minding. I took about an hour and a half to drink my first bottle, which I feel was a wise call because the spectrum of flavors changed drastically over that time period. What was at first strong, harsh, and bourbony became smooth, creamy, and complex. Notes of oak and vanilla became more pronounced and wonderful flavors and aromas of chocolate and coffee appeared and then grew stronger. Finally a bit of chicory, coconut, and maybe sassafras (I don’t remember what sassafras tastes like but I feel like it’s in here) enter into the picture. The bourbon mellows drastically as KBS warms and loses its modest carbonation.

Mouthfeel, once warm, is a splendid rich, full bodied lusciousness. Finish is slightly bitter with a mild alcohol burn. Strength is very apparent. I’m buzzed after just one bottle.

I’m impressed. A case of this might turn me into a Bourbon Barrel convert. Drinkability isn’t all there but the appearance, which I have neglected to touch on is great. Pours like crude with minimal brown, splotchy lacing and cream trails. Well worth the price.

DaPeculierDane, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

DanGeo, Apr 11, 2013
Photo of Smokesnotes
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Smokesnotes, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.43/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 Vintange, aged two years... Thanks, Mick! Pours dark as hell as it glorps itself into the glass, barely making a sound. A deep tan head slowly forms, never getting too big, but perching at a reasonable size and leaving some nice, wet lacing in its path. Who said high gravity stouts couldn't have a nice head?

Big bourbon presence in the aroma, right from the start, but it remains smooth, silky, and inviting; never "hot". Big-time oak and wood notes, outlined with a nutty presence; toasted and again, soaked in booze. The coffee brings up the rear; a nice collage of bitter-roasted coffee beans and a underlying malt sweetness. French blend, cream and sugar, please.

Though I didn't get it at first, after a few more whiffs, super thick and dark fudge becomes apparent. Deep, dark chocolate fudge - bittersweet, savory, and dense. The nose on KBS is fantastic, and I can understand why this beer is held to such high regard. So complex and robust, yet so approachable at the same time.

KBS hits my tongue feeling silky, smooth, and carbonated well considering that it's almost three years old at this point. Not as huge of a mouth feel as Founders' Imperial Stout, but this is still a full-bodied and lightly chewy stout, no doubt. Big, robust, syrupy bourbon flavors are the first things to attach themselves to my palate; heavy yet smooth, well-integrated, and non-abrasive.

Mild notes of oak and vanilla back up the bourbon flavor as well, showing a strong barrel presence in this finely aged stout. Roasted malts are abundant, of course, as is that dark fudge that snuck itself into the aroma later on. Super thick fudge-cake, exploding with dense cocoa flavors and bittersweet chocolate morsels. The wood and oak flavors get heavier as the sip goes on, followed by a bit more nuts and coffee beans.

The coffee is a little less present on the palate than it was in the aroma, but it's still very much there; roasty, creamy, and bold. The aftertaste is full of more thick fudge, nuts, coffee beans, oak, vanilla, all over the fading bourbon background. One of the most beautiful and elegant things about this beer - as it warmed up, the alcohol warmth never got any hotter. If anything, it almost mellowed out a bit and become even easier to drink... very dangerous for an 11.2% ABV stout. I didn't want this one to end.

What a huge stout, tons of things going on, and a beautiful display of how bourbon-barrel aging can turn beer into a work of art. KBS was an excellent beer, and while I certainly think it might be a *touch* overrated in the sense that there are many other "just as good or better" beers of the same type that aren't nearly as hard to get your hands on, it's still a fine beer, regardless - there's no denying that.

tectactoe, Mar 14, 2013
Photo of ricke
4.22/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewdan for this one.

Pitch black and viscous pour with a minimal beige head that dissipates quickly and leaves a minimal ring of lacings.

The smell is dominated by smooth bourbon aromas, wood and coffee. Notes of nuts, chocolate syrup, fudge, vanilla and muted roasted malts. Actually quite balanced.

The flavor is rather sweet with lots of coffee and bourbon character. The body is not as full as I had thought it would be, but the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. The chocolate is more pronounced in the taste than in the smell. Notes of woody bourbon, powdered chocolate, lots of vanilla, oak and roasted malts. Hints of licorice and fudge. Perhaps a note of tar. The finish is bitter and has a nice warming feeling to it.

All in all, surprisingly balanced. Not the big bourbon bomb I thought t would be. For a beer this big it's very easy to drink.

ricke, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of DavyJones
5/5  rDev +8.2%

DavyJones, May 01, 2012
Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.2%

t2grogan, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.22/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm hmmm, I've been a-waitin fer this one fer awhile. Poured this rascal after just a short time in the fridge.

A: Pours nearly black as a country night, with just a touch of brown in the body into an oversized wine glass. The head is a 1/2 finger, perrrtty mocha-brown that fades quickly, I reckon. The lacing is a wacky, sticky mixture of dots and clumpy, curvy snakes.

S: A hefty helpin' of dark, roasted coffee is the biggest aroma in my sniffer, but that is wonderfully balanced by some sweeter smells, them bein' dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. The bourbon-oak smells are present, but relatively far back in the bouquet.

T: This seems to be a reverse of dominance of flavor as opposed to the smell. The oak, bourbon, and acidic coffee tastes are more of the dominant flavor, overbalancing the chocolate and vanilla tastes a bit. This is a really a complex sipper. The more I get acquainted with it, either I'm just getting used to the bitter heat, or the sweet flavors pop a bit more, because it's getting more and more balanced with time. It's really a three movement piece, with the acidic, bourbon-oak the allegro first movement, the sweet chocolate/vanilla/caramel the adagio second movement, and the puckering finish the swashbuckling third movement. Bottom line, I think all of these flavors will meld more with age. I'm happy that I have sufficient supply to try them at different stages of life.

M: This pretty much has every color of the rainbow. It is creamy, yet puckering, full, yet light and airy at times. I think I would rate it higher if the puckering bitterness wasn't the overriding impression to the palate.

D: Out of curiosity to figure this beer out, I could definitely have another. However, the high a.b.v. and the bitterness in its current form lend me to say the drinkability is only good. I think I'll be updating this review in the future when the beer has had plenty of time to do its bottle-aging dance.

TCHopCraver, Mar 20, 2010
Photo of OhioBobcat
4/5  rDev -13.4%

OhioBobcat, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of MadScientist
4.78/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: A black beer with think, creamy dark brown head. The head is thin but long lasting and easily roused.

S: A rich nose loaded with strong chocolate, coffee, caramel, a vanilla oak character and bourbon aromas. There is a fair amount of carmel to toffee like sweetness, some licorice and a medium floral alcohol sweetness. No hops to speak off.

T: The same flavors as in the nose with the coffee and chocolate leading the pack at first then the vanilla and cinnamon oak flavors take over mid-palate along with the caramel malt sweetness and bourbon. A lot of the dark roast character along with just a hint of charcoal are tasted throughout. There is a medium hops bitterness with the balance being about even but slightly towards the malt sweetness. The finish is semi-sweet with a lingering aftertaste of coffee, roast, bourbon and chocolate.

M: A full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation. A medium amount of alcohol warmth sits solid on the throat and chest.

O: The flavor and fanfare is everything this beer has claimed to be; a stout richly layered with balanced flavors of roast, chocolate, coffee and bourbon barrel aging. The alcohol is well hidden under all that is going on but the warmth

MadScientist, Aug 10, 2013
Photo of irs17
5/5  rDev +8.2%

irs17, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.25/5  rDev -8%

CavemanRamblin, Jul 30, 2014
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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 8,967 ratings.