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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.

2,805 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,805
Hads: 10,807
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 17.54%
Wants: 4,275
Gots: 5,077 | FT: 416
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,805 | Hads: 10,807
Photo of yungbrew
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic. Great beer. Taste is remarkable especially considering the alcohol content; however sometimes I get a syrupy aftertaste that I could do without. If it has a lower ABV this would probably be my favorite beer ever. Big Lushious is better in my opinion

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Photo of JaredSammy
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L - pitch black to brown edges.
S - brown sugar, coffee, chocolate, bourbon.
T - Bourbon boozy front end. chocolate and coffee middle, smoky marshmallow finish.
F - extra soft pillow feel. A bit thinner than most imperial stouts I assume the barrel aging causes this. great carbonation bubbles for days.
O - I wouldn't say this is the best imperial stout I ever had but it is an excellent bourbon barrel aged stout. Parabola > KBS.

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Photo of Willvoll
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A beastly stout. Very strong. Appearance is blackish brown. Mouthfeel is boozy and thick. Smell is a sign of things to come.. Taste is coffee, smoke and whisky. Get it if you can

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Photo of MeLoynes
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 02/12/15. Pours black with medium brown foam into snifter. Smells of chocolate, bourbon, oak, caramel, and vanilla. Tastes of roasted malt with strong bittersweet chocolate notes, caramel and oak. Creamy with light carbonation.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 03/04/2015, 12 oz bottle.

Poured into a snifter.

Pitch black color, opaque, with a small tan head that sticks to the side of the glass. Decent retention initially, but fades the longer it sits. Sparse lacing, and a quick swirl of the glass reveals some legs from the barrel aging.

Heavy chocolate malt aroma. Some coffee mixed in, as well as a hint of vanilla. The alcohol is quite prominent, though it’s more reminiscent of straight alcohol or vodka than bourbon. Not much complexity. Chocolate definitely dominates here.

Upon tasting, the bourbon hits you right away. It’s amazing how well-masked it is in the aroma yet jumps out as soon as you take a sip. You get more of the chocolate too, but the coffee is a distant memory.

The texture was my least favorite feature. A bit too thin given the strength of the aroma and flavor. Medium to full bodied, but could definitely benefit from more. Moderate sweetness from the combination of bourbon and chocolate, yet not overdone. Long lasting flavor.

KBS was something I had wanted to try for a long time and it lived up to expectations. I previously missed out on several opportunities to try it at bars. The timing just never seemed to work out. Then, when I was least expecting it, the local store near my office had “found some bottles in the back” and individually scattered them throughout the beer section. A lucky find indeed...

#5 Beers of Fame; #16 Top 250 Beers; #16 Top Rated - USA; #2 Top Rated - Michigan; #10 Top Rated - American Imperial Stout.

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Photo of James_Michaud91
4.16/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick, opaque, pitch black, with a small brown head that fades quickly. Smell has a TON of chocolate with some minor coffee notes (2 or 3 year old bottle). The flavor is again dominated a bit by the chocolate, but it is still really tasty. As it warms in the glass the roasted malt flavors begin to wake up a bit. Would love to try this a little fresher when the coffee is a bit more prominent. The texture of this beer is damn near perfect, thick and mouth coating without being cloyingly sweet. Really glad I got to try this.

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Photo of TomMorris
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Was lucky enough to catch this on tap at World of Beer in Stamford, CT.

Look: Mine came out pitch black with about a full finger of chocolate-brown head, which quickly dissipated.

Smell: WOW, just brilliant. Huge notes of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla held together nicely by bourbon; smells like a decadent chocolate cake coated in bourbon. Quite possibly the best-smelling beer I've yet to experience.

Taste: The immediate taste is an explosion of chocolate with some lighter coffee notes that somewhat quickly fades into a pleasant bourbon and vanilla after taste. After the fantastic and assertive nose, the taste was much more subtle and balanced. Definitely delicious, but lacking the punch I was hoping for.

Mouthfeel: Definitely the weakest part of the beer. This is actually incredibly easy to drink despite the complexity and abv; it does start out thick and viscous but it very quickly becomes thin after contact with the tongue. I would love for this to be thicker and chewier.

Overall: Without a doubt a fantastic beer, probably even one of the top 10 I've yet to try, but I could fathom it being even better if the taste matched the strength of the nose and the mouthfeel had more substance. I would still call this a world-class brew, but it's just lacking that little something that would make it really special.

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Photo of govlady
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle

A - Very Dark, pours just a tiny bit of head, which disappears rather quickly.

S - A lot of Bourbon, Chocolate.

T - I taste what I smell. Bourbon and Chocolate. Hint of Vanilla and Coffee, but the bourbon and chocolate are overpowering.

F - On the thin side compared to some of the other BA's out there.

O - Beer tastes great. I love it. Slighty less than the CBS, primarily because of the maple syrup, but a damn good beer.

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Photo of deepsleeper
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a bunch of top 20 beers. This is the one I liked the most. Better than Black Note, Bourbon County, and whole bunch of dark stout beers. I like the name too, it's fun to say KBS.

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Photo of Vultr_of_cultr
3.78/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer starts off as the perfect stout--gorgeous color, light, creamy head on the pour and an amazing smell. Strong chocolate and caramel notes, with coffee and vanilla developing on the palate as well. However, the overwhelming (and at times, overpowering) flavor is the bourbon notes. They hit hard and linger long after the others have gone, being outlasted only by the residual sweetness. I suppose I should have expected it in a bourbon-barrel-aged brew, but it seemed to totally overpower the other complex subtleties in the beer.

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Photo of mrblonde37
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

An awesome beer! I have been lucky to have it in the bottle and on tap. I will crack my 2014 in a couple of years and cannot wait to see how it has improved.

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Photo of mlockman
3.77/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cellared for six months, I found it overall not very impressive. Lacked the strong bourbon flavors I was hoping for; maybe I'm just in the "fresh is best" camp, though I haven't had the chance to try it fresh.

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Photo of Maxwell5
4.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

On tap at Founders and from the bottle more recently. Basically a perfect beer all around with great pitch black look, bourbon and chocolate smell and perfectly balanced coffee/chocolate/bourbon flavor and thick MF you'd expect for the style. Outside of CBS, I don't know that I've had a better beer.

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Photo of Cheeseboo
3.29/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Truth be told, I am not a fan of Bourbon stouts because I don't like to drink hard liquor. To me, a beer should taste like a beer, not like anything else. The bourbon flavor is overwhelming. I know that some people love this stout, but I'm not a fan. I would much rather have something smooth and creamy that doesn't assault my taste buds with alcohol. My brother paid something like $30 for a 4 pack of this and I don't feel it is worth the money. Again, I'm not a fan of hard liquor, just beer.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I could literally fill myself up drinking this for breakfast, assuming I'm not doing much else that morning. Rich, thick, dense, black as sin, and decent foam on medium carbonation, the texture of a great beastly stout is there. And it gets better once you sip it. This is, for my money, the superior big brother of CBS, and while it shares textural qualities, it's a different animal and, aside from being easier to find, my preferred brew.

Not overtly chocolatey, but plenty of cocoa and coffee for sure, which keeps it from being overwhelmingly sweet. The bitterness of the flavor works here better than any stout I've had before, I think. There's also a mesmerizingly chalky, tannic texture to the bitterness brought on by the cocoa and oak - what I assume is charred oak from the smokey smell that, mixed with a hint of vanilla, makes me dream of this beer days later. God, there's so much going on in this beer that it's hard to say much else besides "drink the dang stuff!"

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Photo of Stevem68
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark chocolate color, has a nice aroma of bourbon, chocolate and coffee. The flavor follows the aroma but its very smooth. This is a very flavorful beer that drinks incredibly sooth for how heavy it culd be

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Photo of woemad
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of LehighAce06. No bottling or “best by” date, but it’s the 2015 vintage according to the label. This was a longtime want.

Poured into an Iron Goat snifter, this was inky black and quite viscous looking as it poured out of the bottle. There was a modest tan head that dropped quickly, which was not a surprise given this beer’s potency, but a collar of tan foam remained afterwards. The lace reminds me of pictures of distant clumps of trees on the African Savannah.

Boozy and sweet aroma, in that order. It smells like a dessert. Although the label boasts of 70 IBUs, no hop aroma seems able to cut through the scents given off by the dark malts, bourbon, chocolate and coffee.

This beer tastes rich and decadent. Chocolate and bourbon lead the assault on the taste buds. The coffee flavor is more subdued, kicking in after the initial flavor blast and providing a kind of backbone of rich bitterness to the sweeter aspects. There’s a big, boozy undercurrent here. It doesn’t exactly dominate things, but it keeps you aware at all times that this is a BIG beer. Slight dry, hoppy zap at the swallow, but that’s about the extent of any standout hop character.

Full bodied, with a rich, sticky, coating, velvety mouthfeel.

God, I love this beer! It’s great after a late breakfast and coffee, but would be amazing after a dinner or as a nightcap. Going forward, my problem is that I’ll have to trade or do more BIFs just to get this beer again. Thanks, Kevin!

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Photo of crob3888
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours the color of cold brew coffee - mostly black with brown around the edges, and a nice small brown head that sticks around and leaves some lacing.
Smell and taste are both dominated by a ton of chocolate, smooth cold brew coffee notes (no bitterness), and flavors of chocolate covered dark cherries, vanilla cream, caramel, and a smoothness from the bourbon and oak. Overall, it deserves the hype, a great beer.

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Photo of emalc
4.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage, bottling date 2/11/15. I've found quite a bit of variation between the different batches this year, even in a side-by-side blind tasting, but this is the first one I've sat down to do a proper review on.

L - Body pours opaque dark brown with garnet highlights. Thin beige head dissipates quickly.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, molasses, and oak leap off. The oak becomes more prominent as it warms. Moderate coffee roast and milk-chocolate covered almonds. A hint of brown sugar and licorice. No hops, esters, or phenolics. I'm looking for the ethanol, and can't find it - very well masked, even with the prominent bourbon character. I could smell this for hours.

T - Dark chocolate, oak, and coffee predominate. Again, the oak intensifies as it warms. Roasted and chocolate malts are vivid, and a bitterness from the roast and the bittering hops in the finish keep it from even thinking about being cloying. For me, though, the oak is too far out of balance and gives a tannic astringency that really knocks this version down a peg. The alcohol is present here, far more than the aroma lets on.

F - Tannins from the oak gives a significantly astringent finish. Moderate alcohol warming. Medium body - a somewhat fuller mouthfeel could better support the substantial character of the beer. Medium-low carbonation and creaminess.

O - This vintage is over-oaked for my tastes, which really pulls it down a notch compared to some others batches/vintages that I've had. The nose is tremendous, though, and if Founders can ever nail both the nose and the taste in the same batch (as they've done separately, in my opinion) then we've got a real contender for top honors.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle less than a year old into a tulip glass
Appearance: black with decent carbonation. Bubbles of varying sizes. Alcohol lacing.
Aroma: vanilla, roasted almonds, marshmallow, milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. Great nose on this beer.
Taste: chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt, and coffee. There is roasted bitterness, creaminess, coffee, and alcohol warm in the finish. The lingering taste is very pleasant.
Feel: Body is medium to full.
Definitely taste the 11% in this once it hits the back of the throat. The noise and finish on this beer is very nice. The taste is good but the alcohol in the middle could be mellowed a bit.

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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on several 2014s. Definitely lived up to the hype of it. I'll be curious how the flavor will change with aging. My favorite part about this beer is the lingering aftertaste of chocolate and coffee along with the mouthfeel. Well done Founders.

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Photo of SoCal_Matt
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle poured into a Teku glass.

A - Very dark brown with just a bit of khaki head that settles quickly.

S - Extremely bourbon forward and oaky.

T - Lots of great bourbon and chocolate, coffee is an afterthought and barely noticeable, and has a bit of vanilla as well.

F - A bit thin for a BA stout. I would say on the plus side of medium bodied at best with minimal carbonation.

O - A great beer for sure, but lacking the thickness that I love in a beer of this caliber.

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Photo of VetsPackage
3.82/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Keep getting these 2015s as free extras in trades for good reason. Disappointing only because of the rave reviews this one gets. Unbalanced bourbon character heavy in oak and lacking in the toasted marshmallow sweatness. Thin body is another let down, all around just leaves you wanting more for a beer that gets the accolades it does.

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Photo of jkinzey
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 3/4/15. Poured into snifter. Look is very dark with little head. Smells of bourbon, chocolate, roasted coffee but not overpowering. Taste is very nice, not too hot. It is a little thin with no lacing left on the glass. A good beer, but not worthy of its ranking or its demand IMO.

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Photo of ljbonadonna92
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black color with a small amount of lacing. Smells like coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and sweetness. KBS tastes of coffee at first followed by vanilla and the smallest bit of alcohol heat, and sweet bourbon that coats your tongue and lingers for several minutes to finish it all up. This beer was fun to drink and definitely memorable. One of my favorites at this point. Now I gotta go find some more.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,805 ratings.