Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,849 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,849
Hads: 11,064
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 4,385
Gots: 5,261 | FT: 412
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,849 | Hads: 11,064
Photo of bowersdm
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - jet black like used motor oil with a hint of a dark brown head that in a flash was gone. (as to be expected with bourbon barrel aged beers.)

S - chocolate, roasted barley, tobacco, smoke, charred barley, oak, vanilla. the smell is essentially Breakfast Stout that has a bourbon barrel tinge to it. very coffee heavy.

T - very coffee heavy. coffee, roasted barley, espresso, smoke, tobacco, charred malt. vanilla, oak, and alcohol come into play as the beer warms. there's also some dark chocolate in the finish. Essentially it tastes like sweetened guinness draught that's been bourbon barrel aged, but that's simplifying it too much because it's so much more.

M - thick and viscous. it appeared to leave a film on my glass.

D - very good beer. I'm glad i picked up a few (seven) extra bottles for cellaring.

Additionally: Does it live up to the hype? Yes. Definitely one to seek out if you're an Imperial Stout fan.

 960 characters

Photo of errantnight
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Joe 1510.

Just shy of exceptional... but really really good.

Pours engine oil black, with hardly a lick of head. Expected.

Smells roasty roasty roasty. Chocolate and coffee and a bit more roast, with raisin-y/prune-y sweetness. It's just a bit... flat. All really good, but I'm pulling here, doesn't explode. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh... but I wasn't disappointed.

Taste is more of the same, FINALLY a beer where bourbon compliments and mingles but doesn't overwhelm. The coffee is still definitely predominant (how is the FBS I've got floating around in my fridge going to taste if this is how much coffee is going on here?!), malt flavors are rich and full, sweet, but a beautiful balancing dryness. Grainy, though.

As wonderful as this is... difficult to justify lengthy attempts to acquire it on a regular basis. Would love to have this around as a local brew, though.

Really don't see how this is a top 10, but nothing this good is going to raise any kind of serious complaint from me.

 1,005 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Opaque black in color. Soft brown head with a touch of cranberry color pours one finger thick and quickly dissolves into a micro bubble blanket that covers the top of the sample. Thin and spotty lacing.

S: Burnt coffee bean. Dark chocolate. Vanilla. Dark fruit. Oak aged bourbon.

T: Deep roasted day old java is goggled up by a rich and sweet dark chocolate swirl. Some earthy hop presence. Burnt malts add a touch of bitterness that is followed by the sweetness of dark fruits. A soft taste of vanilla is taken over by oak and the subtle warming sensation of the bourbon.

M: Creamy and thick. Minimal carbonation. Warm and drying.

D: A well crafted stout. Creamy and rich with a nice complexity that makes this brew interesting. I am glad I got to try this hard to find beer.

 827 characters

Photo of chiral3
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer lives up to the hype. I supposedly got two from one of the fifteen cases in my state right now.

Pours pitch black, like spent oil, and not much head, no doubt due to the gravity and viscosity. Not much of a bouquet as expected.

The taste is everything you would hope from this type of beer: complex silky layers of deep chocolate, vanilla, and roasted coffee. A boozy hint as to its abv comes with the pull.

I am consistently impressed by Founders and, while this is no different, it goes to the top of the list in my opinion.

 542 characters

Photo of KevSal
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

update: finally tried this guy fresh (huge thanks to dblab!) and it hits the palate much more to my liking, taste up from 4.0 to 4.5

friday night, 5th night of big beer review (should be big beer stout review)
found out i preliminarily qualified graduate! time for something special. all this talk of KBS lately made me crave one. thank you dave (daveDahl) for parting with one of these guys for me to enjoy!

2010 poured in a SN tulip snifter

A- looks really good, creamy 1 inch medium brown head. delicious looking for sure.

s- as soon as the air seeped out i can immediately smell it. stron nutty and vanilla smell. a big whiff confirms this, but it has a strong wood smell as well. smells good but its really unique to this beer. very different than other bourbon barrel stouts

t-taste a lot like the nosel and continues that unique characteristic. while it taste really good it must not be my thing. chocolate notes up front on my first sip.lots of roasted malts and coffee.only a slight acl burn and the after taste is really good.

m- this makes the beer shine, its pretty close to perfect in the mouth, not too much carb and very creamy. coats the mouth and leaves behind great flavor

o- very good beer. i can see why people love it soo much. i will definitely seek out more sometime in the future, good think i got a few more, i bet next year this guy will be great as well. founders continues to impress me with a solid line of beers.

 1,451 characters

Photo of DividedAvery
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into my New Belgium Snifter

A: Pours pitch black and has a one finger brown head that lingers for quite a while.

S: Whiskey is the main smell I'm getting off of this which hides some coffee, vanilla and chocolate flavors. My mouth is really salivating

T: Wow, lots of bourbon on the taste. In fact that's the dominating flavor for me, bourbon heat. Hidden behind the bourbon is some good coffee and vanilla notes with a great chocolate aftertaste.

M: strong. That's the best word to describe it. Thick as it should be and a little creamy

O: I'm not happy with the amount of booze heat there is in this stout. In my mind after a year or two this could turn into a truly amazing beer. Parabola at this same age had a lot more smoothness to it's character and so itstill ranks higher for me but overall a great beer..

 845 characters

Photo of kylegillick
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 12oz. Bottle Aged 1 year

A- Black with fine brown lacing

S- coffee, chocolate, and slight hit on Bourbon

T- Complex stout. Coffee is not overpowering, but certainly there. Chocolate, with hints of vanilla. Very smooth with a bit of a bite at the end. 70 IBU adds a sold bitterness. The oak and Bourbon add a great aftertaste

M-very thick. Classic full bodied stout. HEAVY

Overall: Great for Coffee lovers. The oak aged adds complexity and flavor. Too much hype for this beer, but it is great none the less.

 519 characters

Photo of levifunk
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

'07 bottle

appearance - black. medium carbonation
smell - smoke! so smoky I can't smell anything else
taste - smoke is in the flavor, but not as strong as the nose leads on. Its a smoked coffee taste rather than the campfire smoke smell. The caramel sweetness comes in beautifully.
mouth - thick! even with the good carbonation it feels chewy.
overall - so glad I got to try the '07. Booze is almost undetectable. very mellow.

 461 characters

Photo of GBRunner24
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not going to do a full review, but I'm sitting at Founders right now and life couldn't be better.

KBS is an amazing beer, but honestly I enjoy Backwoods Bastard a bit more. Mouthfeel is great; smell is full of chocolate notes, coffee, and beer. First taste is fantastic, but the alcoholy burn at the end is what pulls the score down for me. I wish I could've gotten a bottle to age it a bit, however I'm glad I could experience the last keg of KBS of the year

 460 characters

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark, thick black. Tan head. Usual stout appearance but maybe with a bit darker head.

Aroma hits with bourbon, chocolate, and coffee.

Alright, so I've had this before - a long time ago when I was drunk and couldn't wait to try it. I remember not being ready for the flavors that hit my palate (as I was semi-knew to the brew scene). Now, I get a less-intense flavor. Coffee, toast, milk and cream, sweet/bitter chocolate, oats and bran, graham cracker, and not a whole lot of bourbon!

The beer, however, goes down so nicely. It's perfectly creamy and full-bodied without being too cloying.

This is still a world-class beer, but I'd give it a 94 overall. I was not disappointed at all, but not shocked at the supposed greatness (lack of bourbon notes). Regardless, this is a wonderful beer.

 805 characters

Photo of nflmvp
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured very aggressively into a snifter, leaving a thick, one finger dark creamy head. Dispated within a couple of minutes leaving a light creamy foam. It was so dark as to be nearly jet black but just a touch of light shows through the outside edges.

Smell is that of cocoa, coffee, caramel and marshmallow. Taste is sweet but not too sweet. Coffee pokes through in a big way but the finish is lightly alcoholic. Surprisingly light considering the ABV. Mouthfeel is thick and coating and again, it seems VERY creamy. Other than the coffee taste, this has many similarities to cream soda...sweet, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is VERY good. Very well rounded. I'm happy I splurged for a four pack but I'm afraid I can't afford to drink it as much as I might like to, based on the price of $17.99 a four pack.

 816 characters

Photo of sfoley333
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Poured black with a dark tan head that foamed up two fingears than faded a minute later. Smell is dominated by coffee with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and a whiff of charred fussel oak. Taste coffee with darkfruit, molasses, and a alcohol warmth. While a great sipper or really drunk start to the day I could enjoy a couple but with 10 abv you might have weird afternoon.

 424 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage served on-tap, 10 oz pour in quasi-snifter glass. had during Founders event at the Craft Ale House, so notes are brief.

appears jet black, with nice thick head of dark tan colored head. aroma is tons of bourbon, with a bit of vanilla in there. same with the taste. It's dominated with bourbon flavor, but I'm not really picking up any of the coffee that is said to be in there. It appears during the year of aging it has faded away. the alcohol has blended in nicely, no trace of the 11%abv.

mouthfeel is excellent, super smooth, thick and creamy. I had a glass of Fonder's regular Imperial Stout right before this, and the mouthfeel and drinkability of KBS blew it away comparitively.

Overall - I was certainly glad I came out to the event and got to try this elusive beer, and now want to try a fresh version.

 830 characters

Photo of BarrelO
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 edition.

A: Body is pitch black. Tan head is somewhat anemic but leaves quite a bit of lacing.

S: I'd say it's about 60-40 between the coffee and the bourbon.

T: Lots of coffee and toffee. Also plenty of bourbon and vanilla. Starts out strongly alcoholic but mellows out as it warms up. Each element vies for dominance initially, but they all come together eventually in a perfectly balanced symphony with no one element overwhelming the others.

M: Smooth and creamy.

D: I'm not that much of a fan of bourbon barrel-aged beers, but this is one where the hype is warranted. I'm sure it'd be even better after about a year.

 666 characters

Photo of Winter
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours, as so often said before, like "motor oil". Black with a brown head. Aroma is huge with alcohol. Bourbon combines with dark chocolate and oak. The mouthfeel is thick and coating... chewy certainly. To call this a "big beer" is an understatement. Burnt malt and expresso coffee on the front. The bourbon flavor makes an enormous impact midway. Vanilla and oak follow. Things finish with a linger alchohol and vinous taste. There's no disguising the 10% abv here.

Equally good, in a different way from the regular breakfast stout. The coffee flavor isn't as apparent, but the bourbon really shines in this example. It's a shame this is so hard to come by.

 662 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate enough to get two bottles from BC2. Thanks nlmartin and bax72!
Even on a very hard pour only a thin dark brown cap appeared, then fell quickly to a skim of fine bubbles and a thin ring. The beer itself was black, but with the thinnest of mahogany edges when held up in bright light. Some spotty lace clung to the glass between sips. Assertive roasted coffee aroma, some grounds, toffee and caramel, with wood character in the background. Thick and sweet pretty much sums up the first sip. There was a lot of coffee and roast flavour, but also equal parts dark and milk chocolate along with rich caramel. Oak played a role in the middle, growing into a whiskey barrel, alcoholic finish. Still, it stayed quite mellow for all the powerful flavours. Lots of alcohol warmth, low carbonation and a full, heavy body. Quite viscous and palate coating. Great stuff! Definitely a sipper, but a very nice balance for such a big, flavourful beer.

 951 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark oil black with a dark tan head that left lacing and sticky sap looking head on the top.

Smell of strong bourbon, coffee, dark roasted malts.

Taste of sweet malt, bourbon and oakiness. Roasted chocolate and caramelized sugars are heavily in attendance. The booziness is mainly presented in odor, but this tastes quite palatable and very smooth at the high abv. At first I am reminded of Bourbon County Stout but this seems to be smoother and more evenly rounded. Both are great, I think this one is a little better and does not burn as much as BCS.

Lots of bourbon, chocolate and coffee. Not much roast, which surprised me. Little to no oak. However, the flavors present are excellent. They mesh well and are wonderfully assertive. Lots of vanilla and some caramel, as well. Actually, this is one of the most vanilla-forward beers I've had in awhile. Alcohol is present but stays inside the bourbon aroma.

Mouthfeel is relatively thick with a light carbonation. There is no ugly charred flavors rearing their head which makes this more desirable to me. I would say when compared to FBS, this is slightly smoother, not as dry with the oatmeal flavors and not as much char flavor whether or not it is just the bourbon barrel masking these flavors.

Id def get more of these if they were not so pricey

 1,323 characters

Photo of richalexander78
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011. I had my doubts about thia one before i tried it, but it was awesome! Very dark, thick as mud. Complex and easy to drink with lots of complexity. Plenty of vanilla from the barrel ageing, not to mention some licorice flavor. This is a sip and savor beer for even the most hard core beer drinker. This is the type of stout I love trying and there are few of them. Well done, and cant wait to have another.

 410 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark thick black liquid pours into the glass creating a compact and powerful looking dark brown head. Impressive looking beer.

S - Coffee is the biggest thing here. Then there's some vanilla and bourbony notes. dry smoked meats, some earth. Good smells.

T - Coffee and vegetal flavors and bitterness on the front, bourbon undertones throughout. Some chocolate. One of few beers I have that the taste lives up to/exceeds expectations from the nose. A great tasting beer.

M - Super smooth, and a decently thick body. Not as thick as I'd expect, but still a big and full bodied beer.

O (D) - This beer tastes great. It is something I want to drink. It's got a high ABV and is a big beer. It's expensive. I would buy this regularly if I could, and even though there are issues with it, overall I think it's quite excellent (taste trumps).

 842 characters

Photo of Dools9
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to Founders branded snifter.

A: Black as hell, head was about a finger of chocolate colored head that receded to a skim layer. Looks decadent.

S: Sweet vanilla and oak bourbon combined with loads of dark and milk chocolate, some black coffee and a light whiff of booze.

T: Sweet bourbon, vanilla, very dark chocolate, espresso coffee.

M: Smooth, full, creamy ,lush.

O: Absolutely phenomenal. Drinks like liquid luxury, alcohol is so well masked with the exception of a welcoming warmth going down. Wish i had a few more bottles, but thankful to be able to have tried this one.

 589 characters

Photo of maxk
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first foray into bourbon barrel aged stouts, so I might as well start with one of the best.

A: A deep, rich black. It looks rich and thick with a beautiful, caramel colored head. The head settles down after a few minutes to leave a nice blanket of bubbles atop the fluid. It leaves a trail as it slides down the glass.

S: Lots of chocolate, a little bit of coffee. It has some bourbon booze in there too which really tickles the nostrils in a pleasant way.

T and M: Lots of oak and bourbon are still prominent. There's a bit of coffee there too. These flavors really dominate the palate. There is a tiny bit of some dark fruitiness, but it's incredibly buried. It feels big, rich, creamy and chewy in the mouth with no astringency. So smooth and chewy. It's pretty hot from the booziness, even after over a year.

I really enjoy this beer, but I can't help but feel like it's a little bit unbalanced. The bourbon really dominates. Of course this is my first beer of the style, so keep that in mind, but the bourbon is really intense.

 1,050 characters

Photo of Myotus
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 03Mar15) into a Spiegelau stout glass.
LOOK: Pours with a half finger's worth of khaki foam that halves itself after 50 seconds. Black in color with orange tint. Rising bubbles are very small in size and moderate in quantity. Lacing is thick and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of molasses, figs, and plums, entangle with mild aromas of vanilla, sweet chocolate, sweet coffee, and subtle aromas of oak, bourbon, and bitter roasted malts.
TASTE: Initial taste is of strong molasses, fig, and plum flavors. Mild sweet chocolate, vanilla, and sweet coffee flavors enter right after. Next, enters mild flavors of oak along with subtle flavors of bourbon and bitter roasted malts as all flavors persist, except for vanilla and coffee, which grow stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied with hints of carbonation. Goes down smoother than a Keystone and creamier than cream itself. Finishes with a moderate dryness.
NOTE: An amazing imperial stout, however, I feel this is strongly hyped. I have definitely had better.

 1,034 characters

Photo of kbnooshay
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as hell with a finger width brown frothy head that didn't stick around for long. Light moderate lacing. The smell upfront is bourbon whiskey and butterscotch with coffee, and sweet creme hints. Smells rich with dark chocolate aromas. Tastes bourbony too! Also, lots of coffee and chocolate flavors. Light vanilla flavor but I didn't get much oak. Espresso! At times the sweetness is a bit much. Tastes rich like a fudge brownie. Feel is fairly viscous. This is great!

 479 characters

Photo of theirishdago
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

At first glance this stuff is like motor oil, black and viscous. The head is nice and thick and creamy with a dark tan color to it. My first aroma I got was the bourbon, then dark chocolate and a fresh cappucino smell. The taste of this stuff is just amazing. I almost feel guilty drinking it, it's so decadent. Huge cocoa up front with a nice bourbon finish. The bourbon flavor is well balanced with the coffee, just enough to let you know it's there. This stuff is potent, although the alcohol is well hidden. I gave it a lower score in drinkability only because I had trouble finishing my second pint. I guess if I were a bigger man, it would have been easier.

 663 characters

Photo of BTPete
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 "KBS" style 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pitch black engine oil. Seems thick on the pour. Thin brown head that leaves spotty lacing as it goes down.

S: Bourbon on the first smell. Roasty malts, chocolate and coffee when I go back in for more.

T: A little bourbon on the front end, then the chocolate and roasted malts come in. This one does end with a nice little burn to it. Not too much though. I found this to be pretty well balanced looking at the ABV coupled with the barrel aging.

M: Full bodied and low carb. Not surprising for style.

D: This one is a heavy hitter but surely enjoyable. Has mellowed a little since my last taste in March 2009. Very good I would say great stout overall. I think it is a great beer that I will look forward to reviewing against this coming years version.

 809 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,849 ratings.