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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: 3,008 | Ratings: 11,698
Photo of DaltonCastle
3.74/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First time trying this legend of a beer-

Looks- Poured a typical imperial stout jet black color.

Smell- Dark chocolate and coffee not picking much of a bourbon barrel quality

Taste- again Dark chocolate and coffee again not much of a barrel presence.

Feel- A lot thinner than I anticipated plus has a boozy burn to it.

Overall- Not worth the hype nor the cost in my opinion.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.74/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Raznug for this!

A- Body is a thick, vicious, motor oil black. An aggressive pour only produces a coffee colored head of <1/2 finger which quickly fades to a thick collar. Collar has perfect retention. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Nose is complex and balanced. Vanilla, oak, and sweet bourbon come through first in the nose with a big roasted chocolate backbone. There is also a slight hint of alcohol.

T-The flavor is somewhat dull upfront but what can be noticed is vanilla, an essence of sweet bourbon, chocolate, oak, and some roasted flavors. Tastes like a roasted coffee upfront. The finish is a huge blast of roasted malt flavors and bourbon heat. Left to linger is alcohol astringency and heat, roasted malt flavors and bitterness, and a hint of vanilla and oak.

M-Medium tingly carbonation and a body that is balanced with thick stout qualities and alcohol. Decent, but a little thinner than I like.

D- This is a decent stout, and one I have been looking for for awhile. It is also only my 2nd bourbon stout. It was an honor to try it and if I see it around I will pick it up and age it, but its a little too hot with alcohol for my tastes. Good overall, but there are much better stouts out there.

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

I really felt like I missed something the first time i tried KBS. I then tried it again. And then a 3rd time. I didn't miss anything, its just not at all what its cracked up to be.

YES its goood, but there are so many better beers out there. The flavors of this beer are like 3rd grade soccer. They are all just kinda running around, doing nothing of real importance. Finally, I dont think the gravity of the beer stands up to the flavor.

I will age the hell out of my last bottle and hope that it may change my opinion but as of right now there are a handful of coffee stouts/porters that I would say are better then KBS and even more of the barrel aged variety

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours almost pure black, thin layer of brown head. No lacing, but coats the glass well.

Smell -- Bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, and some charcoal.

Taste -- The bourbon is very pronounced. Strong oakiness, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, some charcoal. Finish is chocolate, char, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel -- Velvety, full-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Sharp alcohol bite in the finish.

Drinkability -- The bourbon character is very sharp, so much that it burnt my sinuses. Mind you, I enjoy barrel-aged stouts, and Founders Breakfast Stout - what is essentially the base beer - is a favorite of mine. However, I just couldn't fall in love with this one like everyone else. A noble brew to be certain, but I may stick to my tried and trues in the future.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Its been a while... Issues no one cares about, school problems, and the similar stories we've all heard. What you DO care about... is that this is the 2011 KBS... one bottle, overpriced, but worth the tick since I seemed to have lost my 2010 review somewhere. Poured into a snifter purchased on DLD and consumed and reviewed simultaneously.

A- Nothing amazing about the looks. Solid lacing, inky darkness, you know the drill. Not disappointed, not impressed.

S - Strong roasted coffee hits. It morphs quickly to be laced vanilla and burnt grain. Not acrid, but amazing. It is truly a nice mixture of heavy burnt and charred with a light roastiness to the back end. Fresh ground coffee comes close to this. It has some sharpness, but not like other bourbon barrel beers. Its more tangy dark fruits rather than spirits. The bourbon gives it a nice molasses backbone that is too faint. I want more of that. The vanilla at least is present throughout and at an adequate amount.

T- Here is a shock. Nothing like I was expecting from the nose. First thoughts are acrid sharp burnt grains. Than a wave of heat, bourbon, alcohol comes pounding through. Sharp, prickly, and pointed. Not overwhelming, well done. There is something missing though.

The opening stages of roast, grain, and sweet dark fruits are gone in seconds while the bourbon layer sticks around for the entirety of the liquid and even into the finish. As it warms, the bourbon layer has a nice sweetness of molasses more apparent. Hints of brown sugar and heavy syrupy nature sweetness.

Finish is ethanolic, hot, sharp. There is some roasted nature and acrid characteristic that outlasts the bourbon. Sometimes some cocoa that makes it an amazing experience.. however it is a minor occurrence when I want it all the time. Starts to turn paper-y and cellulosic. Very interesting.

M- Full bodied, creamy, a bit hot and sharp. Sticky for sure to a T. Breadbasket full, whew. Overbearing if you aren't careful. Needs to cut itself back in the bourbon and work it in somehow. Turns into this crazy bourbon mess if you aren't sure of what you are doing.

O- All of the problems really bring it down overall. Individually it shines in areas, but it never works as a team player. What happened? It definitely is better than I remembered, but surely I would never buy it again. As long as this review sticks around...

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Photo of GRPunk
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap poured into a snifter

A- This one poured almost jet black with some brown noticeable at the edges. There was a small brown head and good lacing.

S- It was a really sweet scent of roasted malts, whiskey, and vanilla.

T- Definite whiskey and vanilla flavors along with the roasted malts.

M- Very smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation. It was a little thick, but as expected for the style.

D- This one is a little overpowering to be considered really drinkable.

Overall- While I can't say this is a bad beer, I think I went into drinking it with some really high expectations. I found the whiskey flavor to be a bit too broad for my taste. It just ended up being a little too sweet (lots of vanilla tones). My lower drinkability score didn't come from the high alcohol, I knew what to expect there. It was more of the overly sweet tones.

I'm looking forward to giving the regular breakfast stout a try in the near future. I'm a big fan of the style, and of Founder's, and want to check out a more traditional version.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Beertelligence
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Second time having this beer, first time was last year's, liked it better than this year's.

Beer pours jet black, minimal to no head whatsoever. some lacing, not much though. You get a real subtle bourbon scent, not too overpowering. Strong coffee, chocolate, and caramel notes. You, get a medium mouthfeel with a strong boozy finish one this one. Overall, a great beer. Missing oak flavors in my opinion.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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!

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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

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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 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,008 ratings.