Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

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

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10,383 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,383
Reviews: 2,858
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 4,134
Gots: 4,654 | FT: 374
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,383 | Reviews: 2,858
Photo of semihobo
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one bottle of KBS in March for $6.49 (I believe this is currently a personal $ per oz record, unfortunately), drinking it now for no particular reason. 12 ozer in a chalice.

Very little head that quickly subsides to nothing. Black, black, black. No "ruby highlights" or anything, just black. Cool wild west medicine-style label design.

Smells of cocoa and cold-brewed coffee. Bourbon smell is subdued, beautifully smoky and peaty. No smell of alcohol.

Surprisingly smooth. Chocolate and coffee are understated, nothing too over the top or one-note. More like very strong coffee than the char you see in many imperial stouts. The bourbon emerges toward the finish and is gently smoky. Some vanilla phenols go well with cocoa. These have to be the least-noticed 70 IBUs ever. They provide some bittering but hardly play a dominant role. Alcohol is well-masked, although the fact that the beer has the bourbon flavor helps -- an alcohol burn would feel totally appropriate. Finish is nice and bitter, equal parts hops and coffee.

Very low carbonation, moderately heavy body, both appropriate to style. Slightly oily finish.

An excellent beer, both in general and within the style. Must acquire more...

Photo of mhksuccess
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into FFF teku
it is pretty dark little or no head at all
smell is of mostly coffee hints of chocolate come through
taste is similar with heavy coffee and slight bourbon and chocolate on the back end
very smooth i like the coffee flavor is nice not overpower and not acidic
i think i do prefer this beer with some age on it
but overall it is a nice contender

Photo of NateMarshall420
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great brew. Fresh you can really taste the barrel but if you'll wait it out and let a few age they are better with time. Very enjoyable!

Photo of infi
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 02/11 – originally had during Thanksgiving, but now reviewed with a proper sized pour!

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

Black body with very little carbonation. Very thin, mocha-colored head that reduces into a cap and leaves mini bits of speckled lacing. Smell is full of dark-roasted coffee and dark, bittersweet chocolate pieces. Great barrel-aged qualities, with the oak, vanilla and bourbon– all leaving aromatic identities. The bourbon presents a thin amount of heat towards the end.

Taste is actually filled with coffee-like roastiness, but also massive amounts of oaky tannins, vanilla and caramel. Great amount of bittersweet chocolate on the end, which leaves a subtle astringency in the finish. The bourbon leaves a thin burn at the end too, but not as hot as I originally remembered. Complexity arises further as you let warm. Very, very comparable to Parabola in taste with its flavor qualities.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied– not as big and thick as other bbl-aged ones. Just about silky with little to no carbonation in feel. Amazing tasting beer, even for how fresh it might be (~5mo old). Not as great as CBS, but definitely has the clout. Drink one now or age further – you won't be disappointed.

#3 of 9.

Photo of upton7418
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Poured into a snifter

A: Jet black. Thin tan head that doesn't last long. Not much lacing.

S: sweet malt and Bourbon slight alcohol smell

T: Smooth, sweet Coffee and chocolate with a lot of bourbon though not overpowering like most bourbon barrel beers i've had. Alcohol is extremely well hidden and no taste of it

M: low carbonation and very thin and easy to drink. aftertaste lingers and continues to add flavor while the beer itself is gone very nice

O: very good taste i've tried few like it, alcohol does sneaks up as it's very well hidden. would definitely buy again especially as a yearly thing as long as i can find it which was tough this year. worth the hype yes worth the money still debating. very sweet and bourbony but not overly so.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of micmillon18
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got 4 pack in a trade from hotpipes29 and thanks much to him. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. From the cellar, I chilled it for about 20 minutes. Sadly no born on date though I know its this year's batch. The legendary KBS...will she live up to the hype?

A - Pours a motor oil black with a small, sticky copper head. Minimal lacing.

S - Prevalent scents of bourbon and vanilla. Hints of expresso find their way in. Incredibly balanced aromas.

T - There are so many layers to this beer, each so definable. It starts with a bitter chocolate and vanilla flavor. Coffee/ expresso flavors follow which are perhaps the most profound characteristics of this beer. It finishes with a slightly hot bourbon note and a lingering coffee taste. Chocolate and hot alcohol strengthens as the beer warms. Founders has found a near perfect balance between these three tiers.

M - Full bodied and incredibly smooth. Semi dry finish.

O - Outstanding barrel aged stout, perhaps the best of its kind. It's certainly a sipper and one to enjoy over the course of an hour, perhaps more. However, with that said, the booze might be slightly too hot at times, especially as it warms. Luckily, I have the good fortune of possessing a four pack. I'm looking forward to testing this one in stages. See you again in a few months KBS...

Photo of andrewinski1
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bendurgin for procuring this nice growler tick. Poured into a tulip from a 32 oz screw-top growler. The color is black. There is a small layer of tan bubbles that isn't quite a full head.

The aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. I wouldn't know this was a beer from the aroma. I would think it's mocha ice cream or something.

The taste emphasizes the chocolate in the front. There is a nice coffee finish. There is a hint of oak that is more noticeable after a few sips.

This is medium bodied but the carbonation is filling.

This is really great. The coffee comes through nicely when fresh.

Photo of spoony
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 355 ml bottle (bottled March 5, 2015) to a snifter.

A-The pour is thick looking and dark; nearly black. The head is mocha in color and starts at one finger tall but fades quickly to a thin film on top. Not much in the way of visible carbonation. No lacing.

S-The aroma is an intense and lovely mixture of drip coffee, milk and dark chocolate, some milkiness, and nice assertive bourbon flavors like caramel and vanilla. It is medium sweet with a little bit of molasses and berry fruit.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with a nice blend of typical stout flavors like chocolate, roasted barley, and molasses. The barrel character is strong and the flavors are well-balanced. I get vanilla and caramel mostly. Booze is not hidden, its right up front, but it works well here.

M-The feel is lighter than I expected, but still average for the style. Carbonation is mild and fits nicely.

O-This is a damn good beer, but I don't know if this one lives up to the hype for me. Everything about this beer is done well, and the balance is there, but nothing really shines for me. The bourbon is very prevalent in the flavor and it works, but there are other beers with similar flavors, better feel and nicer looks.

Photo of Shogun250
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rating is for 2015. Seems lighter ten previous years. Not the motor oil as I expected. Usually get it in draft though.

Photo of LyonsHead
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 release

A: pours black, completely opaque... most opaque beer I have ever seen in fact. small dark tan head with really good lacing.

S: Big coffee aroma that gives way to bourbon and roasted malt, There is a good dose of chocolate in there as well. Im gettin a bunch of really dark dried fruits. reminds me of burnt raison oatmeal cookies with coffee for desert. Im also gettin a smoky campfire and licorice

T: This beer is hugely sweet right from the get go. There is a great malt presence that is in danger of getting overlooked due to the bourbon flavors. Lots of rich roasted malt, burnt bread and coffee from the malt. The actual coffee that was present in the aroma is takes a back seat in the flavor which seems odd cause you would think the aromatic property would be the first to drop off. The benchmark and profile of this beer lies in the bourbon. there is a huge bourbon flavor that is very strong but it doesn't mask everything else, there is a real complexity to this beer. Finally as you swallow and take that first breath you're hid with a nice alcohol warming and flavor. its not harsh or overbearing like i feared, it just makes for a nice warming affect. I wish this beer was released in the fall and not the spring, just seems like a camp fire beer to me (to each his own)

M: With the appearance and sweetness of this beer you'd expect you could cut it with a knife, but its surprisingly short of chewy... now that being said, its still full bodied just not as chewy as i had anticipated

D: If you define drinkability as how many you can suck down in ten minutes then cross this off the list. For me drinkability is synonymous with enjoyability. And this one's up there. Its a solid A beer, Its not my favorite beer, and I can't see drinking it all the time but it definitely deserves a spot in the cellar... vertical serious would be real cool.

Photo of Dave128
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a THICK rich black. There is pretty much no head not that I was expecting any. Comes out almost like a sauce. A small ruby head rises after the pour is finished and fizzes out to the edges.

S - Coffee, Chocolate, and Dark roasted malts. I was expecting to smell more bourbon, but I really don't get much of it at all :(

T - Like the smell, rich and complex. Gets much better as it warms. I made the mistake of pouring this one too cold and wasnt too impressed, but now its true colors are showing. Bittersweet. Alcohol bites pretty hard in the finish on some sips.

M - Heavy with perfect carbonation. Like drinking a liquid breakfast.

Photo of Kanebanger
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours coffee black with a thin tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass

S: Smells of toasted malt, coffee, and some notes of chocolate. On top of those a smell of bourbon and a hint of vanilla

T: Small bourbon bite leaves the mouth dry. Huge does of bitter chocolate followed by a marshmallow like sweetness with a touch of coffee and rich brown sugar

M:This went from creamy and sticky to dry and bitter. They both worked complimented each other nicely and kept anything from being too overwhelming

D: Very drinkable, very tasty. Comes pretty close to living up to the hype.

Photo of spark3148857
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into Founders snifter:

Pours midnight black with a mocha head that dissipates pretty quickly to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Aroma is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and sweet bourbon. Huge notes of chocolate and coffee up front give way to sweet and then bitter bourbon note that coats the mouth. This is my first KBS, and here is where I think Parabola edges this beer out: at this point Parabola explodes with a huge chocolate malt creaminess whereas KBS seems to fade out on the bourbon note. That being said, while it doesn't exceed my expectations of this super hyped beer, KBS at least meets them.

Photo of bowersdm
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of errantnight
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of chiral3
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of KevSal
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of DividedAvery
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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..

Photo of kylegillick
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of levifunk
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of GBRunner24
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of nflmvp
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of sfoley333
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,383 ratings.