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

2,848 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,848
Hads: 11,060
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 17.54%
Wants: 4,386
Gots: 5,257 | FT: 413
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: 2,848 | Hads: 11,060
Photo of WreckedPalate
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%

Coffee and chocolate galore. Bourbon present, not over done but not understated either. Little thin, very little head retention, and aroma is faint. Jet black pour, 12oz bottle, 2013 vintage.

 191 characters

Photo of klewis
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Markgugs for this one.

A: Pours thick and solid black withvery little head or foam. Little lacing.

S: Deep smell of burnt coffee, charred wood, and alcohol.

T: Like the smell, earthy with burnt flavors. Prominent flavors of coffee and anise with noticable alcohol. Quite full-flavored and complex. Unforunately, I find the taste to be quite similar to Founders' other stouts.

M: Thinner in body than expected, although still a bit hefty. Moderate carbonation with a creamy texture.

D: Quite good, but not worth the hype in my opinion. The taste is good, but nothing special, and the alcohol is a bit hot.

 629 characters

Photo of leantom
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First time having KBS. Did the flavor match the hype? Here goes:

A: No head - leaves little lacing as well. Kind of disappointing, but I guess this is to be expected given the high specific gravity of the beer. Black but slightly reddish.

S: Bourbon, but not overwhelming like in Backwoods Bastard - I can smell this beer without getting sick. Detect vanilla from the oak and some bitter chocolate. Overall, not very complex - kind of disappointing.

T: Very bourbony - bourbon flavor completely coats the aftertaste. After a minute, however, the chocolate takes over somewhat, leaving an indelibly stouty taste on the tongue (you have to wait a moment after gulping, but it's there) However, I fail to see the hype over this beer. It's good but not incredible.

F: Somewhat lighter than expected - not very interesting.

O: A good beer, however by no means great. Would have again if it was offered to me or I had ready access to it, but would not go out of my way to purchase it.

 998 characters

Photo of retry4z
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On Tap at Reagal Beagle. 10 oz pour into a goblet. Dark with cola-brown at the edges with 1/2 finger head. Notes of bourbon, vanilla, and licorice on the nose. Taste of heat upfront with bourbon, licorice, and vanill bean. The bourbon is on the subtle side, with alcoholic taste dominating but not completely overpowering. Leaves something to be desired for a bba stout.

 370 characters

Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: If milk were black

S: Worthy of 2 high fives. Like bourbon molasses syrup. Actually pretty one dimensional, but you still gotta love the smell of thick viscous bourbon barreled black beer.

T: One dimensionality in the nose leads to short of expectation tastes. Dry roast, slighter bourbon, stale coffee, not much else.

M: Low-medium carbonation. Drying due to the malts. Lacks silk.

O: FBS is better. This being released how it is and in the quantities it is, I wouldn't seek it out again.

 499 characters

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A big thanks to my buddy Brian Welzbacher, founder of Beer Is OK, for providing me with this tasty treat. Aged about 6 months

A- Pitch black with an outstanding 1 finger head that hangs around for a while . Magnificent lacing and impressive retention. Beautiful as can be.

S- Smelled of delicious coffee and cocoa upon first take. Amazingly different aroma the second time around. Almost like a new beer. Bourbon, oak, and booze on the second take. There is certainly some layers of complexity at work here.

T- Huge coffee, cocoa beans, and malted milk riding on an intense wave of bourbon barrel character. Espresso with a perfect amount of hop supplements the beer and creates a welcoming balance. Lots of roasted goodness along with the warm booze builds a nice complexity.

M- Full flavor, full body. A bit boozy fut not too distracting. Creamy, chewy, still smooth til the last drop. Goes down way too damn easy. Damn you Founders!

O- Very impressive brew that can be quite difficult to find out my way. I was hoping some aging would take the edge off some and bring out more of the chocolate flavors, but it could have probably used another 6-12 months. An outstanding breakfast stout none the less.

 1,209 characters

Photo of websherpa
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pitch black no opacity, beautiful chocolate brown colored head, 1/2 finger thick. No significant lacing. The head is really what makes this beer look so good.

Smell: Way too much of the bourbon up front. Besides that, plenty of vanilla.

Taste: Bourbon all day. It's not bad, I just wish it left room for the other flavors. Besides that I get vanilla primarily again from the barrels and "supporting" chocolate flavors. This beer also has a very significant alcohol presence. All in all, it's a pretty simple beer that rests most of it's flavor on the barrel aging. I wish there was more to the beer and less of the barrel to be honest. As per usual though, the bourbon barrels come through in the finish with a beautiful long and smoky finish that makes you think this beer is worth it after all.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol makes this too spice but otherwise a well built beer.

Drinkability: This isn't a bad beer by any stretch. Given the choice though I would reach for Ten Fidy over this every time. The beer just doesn't balance it's flavors well, it's too boozy and it's best attribute is the finish, rather than it's taste on the palate.

 1,156 characters

Photo of benito
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Getting ahold of this was a coup. To make a long story short, my mom wheedled the last bottle out of Holiday Market for me. Wow.

A: Absolutely opaque with a thin-though-everlasting head, which is a deep, coffeeish tan in color.

S: Coffee dominates and overpowers most everything else. In some ways, it's a pleasant aroma, yet it is ultimately so much less than it could be.

T: Though coffee dominates here too, it's not in any way overpowering. There's a rich vanila flavor that hits midway through the tongue, and it finishes with a dry and very bitter aftertaste. You can remark a distinct alcohol tinge throughout, also.

M and D: Syrupy and heavy (as one would expect), with an admirable complexity that develops more and more with each sip. The range of flavors across the tongue is remarkable: coffee, vanilla, alcohol, tar, tobacco, leather, cocoa, and brown sugar.

Overall, this is a fine, if not awe-inspiring, brew. I might have liked a little more bourbon flavor and presence, but that's a secondary concern. I would happily pay another $6 for another 12 ounce sample of Kentucky Breakfast.

Drink it, if you can find it.

 1,150 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: On-tap at Crane Alley, Urbana, IL
Date: 2013-11-24
Glass: Founder's Snifter

Founders' KBS is a good, fairly balanced stout that does not push its bourbon character to the forefront, which typically masks all other elements of the base beer. The result is a modestly coffee-chocolate syrup forward stout with nuances of bourbon, ethanol, and vanilla. The 2011 version features less subtle bourbon and vanilla than the 2013; perhaps brought out by extended aging. Regardless, 2011 or 2013, this isn't a beer that I think deserves the hype, nor is it one of the best beers I've ever tasted. Above average, but nothing exceptional or that I'd go out of my way for again.

Arrives with 0.5cm tall head of tan-colored bubbles, small and dense in size, leading to a frothy appearance. Foam retention is poor, fading to a thin ring around the glass in under one minute, leaving a ghostly island of foam atop the body of the beer. Lacing is good, a large scattering of dots and lines cling to the glass' sides after each sip. Body is a dark brown to black color, opaque, with light bringing out dark amber-red hues around the perimeter of the beer. Carbonation not visible through the opaque body.

Aroma is a bit milder than expected, of dried leaves, oak, instant coffee granules, chocolate syrup, vanilla, and no apparent bourbon. Good, but not amazing or one of the best aromas I've ever smelled in a beer.

Overall flavors are of dried coffee, chocolate syrup, modest ethanol and bourbon, with slight vanilla and smoke. Front of palate picks up freeze-dried coffee granules, chocolate syrup, mild bourbon and ethanol, hints of vanilla. Mid-palate of chocolate syrup, freeze-dried coffee, mild bourbon, mild ethanol, extremely faint vanilla: fairly rich, good, but not as deep or amazing as expected. Back of palate finds ethanol, freeze-dried coffee, and chocolate syrup. Aftertaste of smoky, freeze-dried coffee granules, with mild cocoa and sweetness, and lightly acrid bitterness.

Beer is medium-heavy to heavy in body, with low carbonation that makes this slightly foamy (1/5), but mostly smooth (4/5) on the palate. Appropriate for the style and this beer in particular. Closes dryly, with moderate to medium-heavy stickiness lingering on the palate.

 2,259 characters

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.

 209 characters

Photo of Brabander
3.77/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This review is for Liam, the newborn son of Kevin (Schmaltzy). A new BA is born!!

Got this bottle from jeff2486 when we saw each other in Brussels. I brought him a sixpack with westies and he gave me two bottles of the best USA beers.

I poured this one in my struise glass. Pitch black fluid with almost no head. You have to pour the beer with some force into the glass to get some.

There is no carbonation visible. The smell is very strong with burned coffee and dark chocolate. You can also smell the barrels this beer was in.

For me the taste is too strong, i like the fresh American beers better.

Thanks Jeff for giving me the chance to try this one!

 660 characters

Photo of Barleythenred
3.78/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: light dark pouring with a oaken head

Smell: Coffee and little vanilla with a lot of malts

Taste: more malts then anything else

Mouthfeel: smooth but not too think a definitive stout feel

Good but i still go all hands down by price , taste, smell, and appearance to bourbon county

 295 characters

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.

 539 characters

Photo of brdc
3.79/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Derek hoppymeal for the opportunity!

Pitch black brew with little of a dark brown head that dissipated very quickly.
The aroma is rich, with roasted malts, chocolate, strong coffee, and a hint of whiskey/bourbon.
Taste is powerful and pleasant, but disappointingly unidimensional.
Coffee, and more coffee, drowning most of the other tastes in there, that include molasses, caramel and bourbon, but those unfortunately, just occasionally reach your palate given the excesssive coffee.
Medium bodied, it is a pleasant brew, but the coffee can get overwhelming (mind you, I do not drink coffee). If you are a coffee lover, this might be a great brew.
Interesting anyway.

 675 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.79/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mully for this one. He posted a note in the Midwest forum that a Hudson store rec'd a case or two & I promptyly left home for the 25 minute drive that netted me my first Kentucky Breafast Stout. Last ones in Chicone's!

Even a hard pour gets only a bit of head - I think all of the beer's energy is going into its unique weirdness with nothing leftover for show. And as is proper for an Imperial Stout, it's a very dark version of black. The smell's a little disappointing. COFFEE, it screams. As it warms it gets a little more subtle, but there's still nothing else. I think I could slip this into my wife's coffee mug & she'd never notice the difference until it hit her tongue.

Taste is...strange. I think this is the most complex beer I've ever tasted & for that I have to give it props. There's the coffee, the bourbon, & all sorts of other stuff I can't identify. Again, as it warms to its proper temp, the beer gets better.

Mouthfeel is thick & full, stout-like. Drinkability is really good, it's going to take me an hour at least to down this, the only note is there's a touch *too* much coffee to make it perfectly drinkable.

Overall, really good, but there's still two stouts I'd put above it. Not to say I'm not happy to still have several in the beer fridge!

 1,285 characters

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.79/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is impressive...and yet not. Quite a conundrum we have here.

The beer pours out as a rather uninspiring black mass. Not quite as thick and chunky as many big stouts and no head at all - even with a vigorous finish to the pour. No head, no lacing.

The smell is complex and inviting with lots of dark malts including both caramel and molasses coupled with strong notes of coffee with a touch of vanilla and chocolate. No hops to speak of and (surprisingly at 10% ABV) no sweet alcohol notes.

Flavor is complex but a bit heavy on the coffee. Again the previously mentioned malt flavors with a good dose of coffee adding both a dark note and quite a bit of bitterness. Disappointingly no real oaky notes like I've found in many other barrel aged stouts. There are faint hints of bourbon but it's pretty far in the background.

Mouthfeel is silky and smooth but a but cloying and with no carbonation to speak of there's a pretty persistent sugar coating on the tongue.

You know, this is a good beer but in the end it's a disappointment. There aren't the kind of oaky or bourbon characters I'd have expected in a barrel aged stout. Side by side there may be differences between the Breakfast Stout but it just didn't warrant the fanfare. Either the stout needed more barrel aging, the barrels needed more residual whiskey or perhaps a coffee heavy stout just isn't a good candidate for the process.

 1,416 characters

Photo of wcudwight
3.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to swedejay53 for the bottle.
Looks like used motor oil in the glass. No head & minimum lacing.
Smells like chocolate and burbon and vanilla.
Lot's of super rich chocolate in the flavor. Coffee flavors linger in the background. Also you can taste the burbon but it's not as prominate as I would have thought. Huge malty beer with a ton of sweet flavors.
Syrupy thick beer. Coats the mouth and throat as it goes down.
Good beer. I prefer the regular Founders Breakfast Stout but I wouldn't turn this one down. In fact it's time I start searching for another.

 564 characters

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

Pours out black and very thick. The head finally came up after I finished pouring. It grew to about 1/2 inch and then fell into a thin layer on top and almost went away completely. Lacing is strong and very nice. Smell is a slight bourbon with chocolate tones and a light cappacino backround. Taste is bourbon with roastiness and a little aftertaste of chocolate tones. A little warm on the tongue with a harsh carbonation on the palate. Very peppery in the finish and on my palate. Overall, I will let this baby age a little more before opening a new one. I don't even taste any vanilla which I got a nice flavor of from a small sample from MABZ last year. His last bottle God bless him.

 705 characters

Photo of beardown2489
3.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Smells of a peppery coffee (3 months old) with a tinge of alcohol. Very thin mouthfeel. Taste is there and gone. Not much residual sweetness. Remaining flavor is coffee and hints of alcohol.

After a while on the glass you pick up some cocoa notes but still subdued.

It's not a bad example of the style. It's just not what you'd expect from a brewery with as much experience as Founders. They helped influence this coffee bourbon style. I just wish they'd get with the times and update the base beer. More base malt, more oats, less efficient yeast, thicken this thing up.

 576 characters

Photo of bradford
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to davide169 for finally helping me track down a bottle of the much acclaimed Kentucky Breakfast stout.
One of the darkest black beers I have ever seen. The only one that compares off the top of my head is Dark Lord.
Smelled very good. Lots of roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon.
Taste left a little to be desired. I felt like it didn't quite live up to the hype for me.
Mouthfeel seemed a bit thin to me. Perhaps the legend got the best o me and I expected something that was just impossible to live up to.
This is a good beer, and I wish I had more. As far as stouts go, this is one of the better ones out there, but I think I was just expecting too much from this one to possibly deliver. Recommended

 733 characters

Photo of blankenhoney
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 edition poured into a KBS glass

A: dark dark dark with a mocha/khaki head

S: sweet fudge, wet coffee grounds, and vanilla

T: dark chocolate that overwhelms the subtle vanilla and oak flavors from the barrel; nice roasted coffee and raisin flavors but, again, they're in the background and drowned out by the chocolate; rough, unfinished, and unpleasant booziness was a surprise, given the modest abv

M: low carbonation; very sticky

O: not bad but not great. dark chocolate is the dominant player here, which is kind of a shame. kind of hard to detect the barrel in this year's batch, and coffee also took a backseat. i hate to be that guy who says it was better last year, but it was better last year…or at least i remember liking it a lot more last year

 766 characters

Photo of Ready4aHeady
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Second year in a row that it didn't live up to the hype for me... nice body and creamy feel with burnt chocolate and some coffee flavors... but lacks complexity and bourbon sweetness--- much prefer bcbs as my staple stout.

 222 characters

Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While this beer was extremely enjoyable, it did not live up to the hype for me. I got subtle notes of vanilla and chocolate, but was not getting much from the bourbon barrels. I was definitely expecting more flavor from the bourbon barrels and coffee... Overall, the beer was very smooth/balanced and drinkable for 11%.

I would take a Prairie Bomb! over KBS any day of the week!

 384 characters

Photo of mattcrill
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one.

Aroma: Straight up bourbon to start with. Not a good sign. Where is the stout? A touch of wet paper, alcohol, a bit of vanilla oak, and oh yeah...there it is...a touch of chocolate malt peeks through as this warms up. Still, the aroma is a bit intimidating.

Appearance: Dark black fading to chocolate edging. A tight tan cap with nice lacing. The head retention is very impressive.

Flavor: Thankfully, much better than the aroma. Strong on the bourbon but chocolate and roasted malts manage to give a good fight. Warming alcohol presence and a milk chocolate sweetness that gives way through the session.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and low carbonation. Coats the throat on the way down.

Overall impression: By far one of the best barrel-aged stouts out there. That being said, most of them stink. I can't imagine having more than one of these and thankfully, I split the 12oz. bottle. You should definitely give this a try as it's one of the better examples out there. Still, it would be nice to have one that's more balanced between the stout and the bourbon. If Founder's beers aged better, I would say stick this one away for a couple years. Glad I had the chance to try it.

 1,248 characters

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.

 335 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,848 ratings.