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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.40%

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."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,011 | Ratings: 11,706
Photo of nawpnawp
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been drinking a different BA stout now almost every other day, so I am happy to have this now that I can compare it to other beers that I've had very recently. It's certainly a good beer, but I don't understand the hype. Perhaps it has a generic enough taste to appease all palettes, but nothing stands out to me. The biggest thing it has going for it is the mouth feel. It has a great thickness and creaminess that I really enjoyed.

Overall, I would never turn one down and will probably buy it yearly if I see it, but I would not seek it out.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with 1 finger mocha head that dissapeared quickly and lightly laced. Scent was rich chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and light bourbon. Scent was very strong right after pour, then faded quickly. Flavor was roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, burnt oak and bourbon. There is a definite, though satisfying, bourbon heat that lingers. Mouthfeel is moderate with lively carbonation. As the beer warms it seems to soften. The dark chocolate flavors blend to milk chocolate and I begin to taste light brown sugar.

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Photo of DannyDan
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours out a black hue with a thin tan head that maintains really nice lacing and retention.
S. Coffee, bitter dark chocolate and bourbon hit the nose and makes you want to drink this.
T. The taste starts out with some coffee, followed by some vanilla and bourbon and finishes off with some very bitter dark chocolate. Chocolate and bourbon is in the aftertaste.
m. The mouthfeel is very smooth and very creamy in which the taste melts in your mouth. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
O. A very very good beer that I wish was more available and a little bit lower in price, but it is a must try and get it if it is available.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to redhaze! (review from notes)

Pitch black... opaque... can't see any light pass...

dark tan head forms quite large.. stays for a bit.

chocolatey aroma.... coffee-hints... some alcohol... faint tar-like smell and dried fruit... was good but hoped for more.

Excellent creamy mouthfeel (standard for Founders)... well done.

Huge coffee and chocolate... good alcohol burn... some raisin and balsamic flavors. Very good... VERY good flavor.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage

Appearance - dark brown almost black body with tan head

Smell - whiskey, coffee, dark chocolate, oak, ash, coconut

Taste - whiskey, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, coconut, oatmeal

Mouthfeel - fuller end of medium bodied, low carbonation, sticky beverage, whiskey notes are prominent upfront, chocolate and coconut and coffee in the back end

Overall - good BA beer that isn't as in your face with the booze as BCBS

Price Point - $19.99/4pk 12 oz bottles

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Photo of Josh012012
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

updated rating whiled drinking a vertical of kbs . felt compelled to do this because it has changed a lot. my original rating was 4.65. note... did 10 blind tastings at different points during the night.. the kbs with 1 year plus on it won every time..

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour is a black body with a finger of mocha colored head that retains very well.
Sweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon on the nose.
Great taste of chocolate, vanilla, roasty coffee, slight bourbon, alcohol warmth, and oak barrel.
Drinks full with slight carbonation. Gets dry at the end.
A great beer that shines on all fronts allowing all the components to come out.

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Photo of Melachai
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

KBS has an wonderful dark chocolately, caramel color. The head is a lighter version of the same color, with small frothy bubbles that fade shortly after pouring.

The dominating smell is the bourbon barrels it was aged in with some coffee in the background.

The is full, rich and strong. The first taste is of the same bourbon you smell, followed by coffee and warm malts.

Mouthfeel is heavy and creamy with mild carbonation.

This beer is very drinkable, but I don't know if I could drink more than one in a night due to the heaviness in flavor and alcohol content.

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Photo of mentor
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle provided by deejaydan as part of BIF33. I've been eager to get my hands on a bottle of this...thanks for the opportunity. Pours really thick. Hard pour to get a half finger of dark brown head over a pitch liquid. No edgings when held to light. Smells espresso, chocolate, molasses. Not so much oak or whiskey as I was expecting.

Tastes incredible. Potent dark and sweet with some booze. Dry roast and coffee with a smoothing chocolate. Whiskey in underneath, both in flavor and in burn. Molasses and fig. A tough ofblack patent sour. Actually, probably alot of sour, but the other flavors are so intense the sour is buried. Thank goodness for the dry finish with cleansing alcohol, because if the thick mouthfeel was able to set the liquid on the tongue it might come across asoverly sweet. Modestly carbonated and forms a fine carb sting on the flat of my tongue. Wet sweet espresso in the aftertaste keeps my mind on the flavors thathave just graced my palette.

Anyone thinking of offering me this in a trade is strongly encouraged. This beer was a truly wonderful experience. Not immensely complex like a top-notch quad. Just tasty and well balanced.

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Photo of vonnegut21
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch poured into a tulip.

A: Pours deep black, with a slight tan head that fades quickly. Looks like a barrel aged stout should.

S: Thick coffee and roasted malt. Bitter chocolate and hints of bourbon. Lighter on the bourbon than I remember from previous years.

T: Coffee and baker's chocolate dominate. Hints of caramel, toasted malt, hops and bourbon. Very drinkable.

M: Moderate carbonation and decent body. Maybe a bit thin for a stout of this magnitude.

O: A classic beer for a reason. A really delicious barrel aged, coffee stout. Tough to find, but worth the hunt. If you like coffee in your stouts, this is a must have.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Rattle N Hum-NYC on 4.2.11.

Into an 8 oz. wine glass this appears the expected black or the darkest brown color with a "chocolate milk" tan color head and a consistent lacing. The nose is a lot milder than I would have expected but it's still an attractive one with light notes of coffee bean, cocoa, and vanilla cream. A smooth and creamy malt mouthfeel with a mild and crisp carbonation delivers into a deep and earthy fudge chocolate ice cream noted finish. Caramel also lightly echoes on the palate. As I neared the end of my third and final glass, I also sensed the warming quality reminiscent of a whiskey drink or a cool sipping rum. These were going down so smoothly with such a cleverly hidden abv that I could have had a couple more...Very nice brew and I can't wait to cross paths again soon...

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Photo of roger617
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 "Flavored Stout" poured into Cigar City Hunahpu's snifter at 50 degrees.

A: Black, pours with less than a finger of khaki head that reduces slowly and leaves a ring of fairly large bubbles around the rim.
S: Strong coffee up front, which overpowers most other aromas. I can slightly detect chocolate and bourbon, but they certainly take back seat.
T: Similar to taste, coffee very dominant up front. The bourbon is ever so smooth and present, with chocolate there to balance out just enough sweetness to bring it all together. Very well done in the flavor. As it warms up the complexity just keeps opening up.
M: Carbed well, smooth, silky. After taste reminds me very much of my morning coffee, making this very hard to simply sip.
O: If I were doing a blind taste test, I don't think I would rate this one among the best. While I don't want to take away from how great of a beer this is, I think the hype is mainly due to availibility. I did enjoy the 2013 on draft this Summer as well, and remember it being much more complex than in the bottle. All this being said, I do recommend anyone who's a fan of the style to seek it out and give it a try, as it is a great beer. I would only recommend to not give into the hype, and please don't give a life and limb to acquire.

Edit 7/14/14
This review desperately needs updated. 2014 was a much better year in terms of personal yield, and I've enjoyed a few from this year already - this review to come later. I have been working through a vertical dating back to 2009, and have to say I am getting much more respect for this beer.

The 2009 surprised me, as it was a twist off bottle. It poured with absolutely no head to speak of, and the carbonation level was super low. The biggest aroma and flavor was chocolate. There was a powerful yet pleasant bourbon presence in both the aroma and flavor - but bourbon was definitely backseat to chocolate.

The 2010, pry off bottle, is almost the reverse of 2009. The bourbon takes lead, and while the chocolate is present, it by no means is dominant. I also detect subtle vanilla as well in the flavor. Carb level is still appropriate, and very similar to the fresh 2014 batch.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from BA orbitalr0x as part of BIF 33, this much anticipated beer came in a stubby bottle with a label design reminiscent of bygone time. When poured, the deep brown opaque body aided by a mocha colored, one finger thick, foamy head was inviting and imposing at the same time. The aroma was heavily laden with dark roasted coffee and freshly hewn oak. I took a half a point off for the smell being a little too acrid, and lacking either the chocolate or dark fruit undertones of other imperial stouts. The taste was naturally coffee driven as well, with the Bourbon barrel aging providing a smoother, and drier feel than was expected in a stout of this strength. The vanilla like oak tannins and the substantial hop and roast grain bitterness came through much clearer towards the end of each sip, before being subdued by the eventual warmth of the peppery ethanol. The mouthfeel was abundantly thick and just a hair short of chewy. The hefty punch of alcoholic strength made this a fine late night digestif, but detracted from the drinkability a little. If you drink this at breakfast, call in sick and go back to bed till noon.

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Photo of lanamj
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served into a Triple Karmeliet tulip.

A- Dark black with a mocha head that is thin but holds well and has great lacing. Nice and dark but seems a little thin.

S- Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, fresh coffee beans, oak, dark fruit and a slight hint of tobacco. What a nice aroma. Plenty of pleasent smells that are expected from a beer of this caliber.

T- Bitter coco, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, dry oak finish, and alcohol heat. Very deep and rich, with lots of complexity. Some hop bitterness reside in the fresher bottle, I have had aged KBS ( 1-2 yrs ) and it's not quite as bitter throughout.

M- Smooth and easy drinking. A little thin for such a complex stout, but by far one of the most solid barrel aged ales on the market. The alcohol burn is noticeable but blend well with the other strong flavors.

O- One of the best. Although I do feel there are better, even within founders own line up, KBS is a beautiful stout every year. The traditional flavors that one expects in a barrel aged stout are all present and well represented. I will and always have been a fan.

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Photo of Monfort
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I literally dumped this beer in to my Kasteel glass knowing it wouldn't foam over. Color is a nice deep black with a golden tint around the edges of the glass. This beer has to be served slightly cool to be truly appreciated, when served under 65 degrees its nose and palate become muddled and not as pleasant. I poured this beer at about 45 degrees, I let it decant and warm up to about 65 degrees to room temperature. Wow! opened up and warm this beer shows how amazing it truly is. The nose includes nuances of vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, bourbon, oak, sweet oatmeal, cappuccino and chocolate. All of these characteristics follow on the palate, absolutely delicious with a lingering aftertaste that please. The mouthfeel is full bodied but not chewy or oily. Great beer I can't wait to get some more.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured a deep dark brown basically black with a minimal tan head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, bourbon, brown sugar, and molasses. The flavor was of roasted malt, spices, bourbon, and molasses. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this is and always will be quite an excellent brew. This one that we had could use a little age on it to help mellow out the bourbon flavor some as it was quite hot. Still great regardless of this fact with a pretty awesome flavor and nice aroma to go along with it. Glad I got to try this one on tap.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 2014 batch. Sampled on April 2, 2014 and served around 50 degrees.

The pour is deep dark brown to about black. with a quick lasting dark brown head. Opaque. Attractive and inviting to look at.

The aroma has a dark malt and dark fruit character that is expected for a stout. The promised coffee and chocolate notes seem more muted. But I do pick up some alcohol.

Thin to medium body. I might have liked it to be heavier.

The taste also has the same sort of dark fruit, dark malt character with a modest bitter finish. Everything merges together well but I am not sure if this lives up to the hype. Of course this was the first year I had it.

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Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Some days, when it's only 7º outside, you need a stout of this fortitude, there's just no substitute.

Black oily pour into an Arcadia glass. Mocha tinged foam sticks around for a minute, then retreats to the edges. Served around 50-55º, don't drink this straight from the fridge, it will mute some of the smell and taste.

Special aroma of dense fudgy chocolate, and woody vanilla traces from the barrel. A little bit of ashy char is there too, though not over the top. Flavors deliver on what the nose hints at, rich chocolate, minor coffee undertone, vanilla, oak, and trace heat from the 10%. Over time it really develops and builds, a long finish connects between each flavor-packed sip. Some light bitterness that is identical to unsweetened chocolate is there, and lingers in the finish.

Incredibly smooth (oats?), not heavy or syrupy, yet it's a sipper. Perfect to sit and contemplate without weighing you down. There's a reason it's ranked so high...it's a very balanced imperial stout, possibly the most balanced i've ever had.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken 4/3/11

Appearance: Super black, not much of a head, but some tan lacing - very oil-like in appearance

Smell: Bourbon, and epic burnt malts - some caramelized malts, sugar - coffee, chocolate - pretty crazy, but not overwhelming

Taste: Remarkably balanced in terms of flavor - in other words, it isn't a bourbon bomb - tons of coffee, vanilla, chocolate - burnt malts, roasted malts - complex, with some earthiness and nice, burnt bitterness

Mouthfeel: I had this in 2010 and it was silky-smooth - in 2011, I found it to be less perfect - smooth, medium body, a reasonable amount of alcohol heat

Overall: A modern classic? Yes.

This beer absolutely blew my mind the first time I had it. When I had it again (the source of this review), I was less blown away but still impressed. This is such a solid beer. There are very few beers that do bourbon-barrel aging better.

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Photo of CBlack85
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Mac's Speed Shop Steel Creek. Served in an 8 oz. pint glass.

The beer is completely black with no visible highlights. There is a big, creamy, dark brown colored head that slowly recedes leaving behind bits of lacing.

Lots of roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. The bourbon is definately present but not overpowering. It really mingles well with the rest of the aromas present. There are also some smaller hints of toffee that round out the nose.

The dominant flavors are that of roasted malts, caramel, some coffee, and to a lesser degree chocolate and vanilla. Like the nose the bourbon is noticable but not dominating. Just a hint of alcohol burn that lets you know that it is there. A very well crafted beer. Full bodied and mildly carbonated, dangerously easy to drink and very smooth.

This beer is a terrific, well crafted RIS. Definately one of the better examples of the style. Founders has achieved just the right bourbon presence while still being amazingly drinkable. Good stuff.

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Photo of Boccu
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent bourbon stout. Big founders stout fan. Better than last years. With that said it is still not as well rounded or as complex, bourbon rich as BCBS. Just way over hyped under produced bourbon stout by founders.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on nitro-tap at the 2011 KBS release with my good friend TCGoalie.

Nitro KBS is served up an inky black with a nice tan head that has great retention. It pretty much looks like normal KBS but with a bit more of a whipped head.

The aroma is quite different and a bit muted. Luckily, it is muted in a good way. The alcoholic nature of the bourbon and the astringency of the roasty malts and coffee give way a bit to a nice toffee and chocolate sweetness with a bit of vanilla mixed in. It is a much friendlier nose that is not necessarily better or worse than normal, just pleasantly different.

The flavor is quite similar to normal draft KBS, but still seems a bit less intense. Coffee, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee and molasses are all present, as is a decent hotness.

The mouthfeel is super smooth and velvety, making this stuff dangerously drinkable. The finish is sweet and slightly roasty as well as seemingly toned down just like the aroma and flavor.

I enjoy KBS no matter what form it is in and this glass is no different. If I had to choose between only having draft or nitro the rest of my life, I would probably take draft KBS. However, if I see nitro available I will surely go for it as delicious and hard to find treat.

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Photo of jwc215
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BrewerB for this!

Pours black with a brown head that becomes a wisp. A bit of lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, coffee, roasty with bourbon.

The taste is of chocolate, coffee, bourbon - wow - this is tasty! (I think I might like the actual coffee and chocolate used in the other Breakfast Stout a bit more, but I'm far from complaining). It has a great bourbon character to it, while allowing the dark complexities and roast to come through. Doesn't get too sweet, as there is roast and a dryness in the finish.

Silky smooth, it has just the right touch of carbonation to keep it full but not too thick or syrupy.

Awesome! Overhyped? Nope. Very well-done - a great sipper!

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Photo of liquidcraft
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours up nice; rich black with a short, enticing mocha head. I've drank my share of these but never with the attentiveness of a review. The smell is heavy with bourbon, but chocolate and coffee are there in full support. I like that the flavors are present above the roasted scents that often accompany stouts.

Taste is just straight up comforting. I'm all about whiskeys and the bourbon variety is no exception. Chocolate and coffee come up first with some of the classic oak-imparted flavor. Bourbon comes heavy in the finish providing a sweet and boozy sensation. There is no mistaking the alcohol in this one but it works for the benefit of this beer, I think the warmth adds to the experience of this. Its carbonated nicely, it wouldn't hurt to be thicker but I dig the balance of KBS. Founders rarely misses the mark with their beers.

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Photo of BrahnSolo
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 4-25-11

2011 bottle poured into Duvel Tulip.

KBS pours a jet black with a dark tan colored head that quickly dissipates. Leaves a light brown stain to the glass as it's swirled. Little lacing is left behind.

First to hit the nose is a light, roasted coffee, followed by a creamy, chocolate sweetness. Bourbon character has died down since the last taste I had soon after this years release, but it is still strong. Light oak.

Bitter coffee, chocolate, and dark roasted malts come to the front, only to be quickly upstaged by a strong bourbon kick. The more it warms up, vanilla and oak surface, followed by a peppery spice.

Carbonation on the lower to mid range, leaving the flavors to shine. Thick and oily, coating the mouth.

Overall a very complex, rich stout. Surprisingly drinkable at 11.2% ABV, but one is enough in a session.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,011 ratings.