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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BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,402 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,402
Reviews: 2,865
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 4,140
Gots: 4,670 | FT: 375
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: 10,402 | Reviews: 2,865
Photo of tlazaroff
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh my lord! I smell debittered coffee, vanilla, slight oak, chocolate, raisin, ripe plums, molasses, and brown sugar. This has quite the enticing bouquet!

First thing I noticed is that the lacing is better than expected for such a high ABV beer. It's minimal, don't get me wrong, but its better than I expected. The solid brown head dissipated quickly into the black abyss which is KBS. No light getting through this one at all.

Oh my god! I'm turning into a religious person, apparently. The beer starts sweet. Its sweet like brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Hints of other flavors come through on the mid-palate like the coffee. I also get a grain-like taste that is akin to cheerios. The finish is chocolate, vanilla, and coffee with a slight taste of alcohol.

Full bodied with medium carbonation. It has a nice viscous thick feel to it, while being silky smooth too. Very little alcohol burn on the sweet finish, and would pair great with a nice bold cigar or desert.

Photo of SavvyStudent
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: pitch black and very thick like syrup. Little lacing
S: a predominating bitter chocolate, cherry sweetness, and molasses. Not as potent as I would have hoped with all of the hype.
T: a unique dry bourbon flavor behind a bitter chocolate. Well balanced and focused in those two notes for me.
M: heavy with little carbonation
O: an amazing well balanced beer but not up to the hours finding and extreme hype. Worth a try but have enjoyed other BB Stouts that surpass this. Hopefully it will aeg well.

Photo of southside
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer so much I can't stop drinking the homebrew clone that tastes exactly like it. It's so well balanced, it is well worth the hype. The bourbon aroma and notes add such a great complexity, but are so well hidden that the ABV is quite surprising to be so high. Can't imagine how good this would be if you let it sit for 6 months or so. The body is nice and thin which pairs well with the taste. This is worth the effort to find a bottle even though it's becoming near impossible.

Photo of newk340
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

allowed to warm for 15 mins following refrigeration before being served into a new belgium goblets and shared with hu5om:

A: very dark beer, nearly opaque when held to the light with a quickly dissipating head.

S: very distinct bourbon smell, slightly stings the nasal passage while leaving a lingering heat, overpowers any coffee or chocolate smell that may be present.

T: initial bourbon explosion with a nice segue into a smooth coffee middle and an oaky chocolate aftertaste.

M: slightly milky and smooth all the way down the throat.

D: a premium breakfast stout, very delicious, would definitely try again!

Photo of williamjbauer
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared with good buddy Eric before going back to the grind at work. Bottled served in two pilsner glasses, refrigerated and allowed to warm to room temperature.

A - Black with a ruby tint with a huge 3 finger dark brown fluffy head with excellent retention and great sticky lacing all around our glasses.

S - Warming bourbon notes, chocolate, coffee, flaked oats, oak wood notes, dried fruits. The perfect blend of stout and bourbon aromas.

T - This is one hell of a sipping beer. Really does embody the character of a bourbon while still fully hitting the great chocolate, coffee, espresso bean, vanilla, malt, and a touch of flakes oats that you expect in a stellar imperial stout. The balance is truly refined and my brain bounces quickly from the bourbon flavors back to stout notes, but these are blended masterfully and the alcohol is very much present, but draws out the other flavors rather than inhibit.

M - Very warming booze with a full body and low carbonation. Chewy.

O - One of my favorite beers of one of my favorite styles. This really did live up to the hype and I can't wait to get my hands on another. Next time it will be drank on Christmas eve by the fireplace with dreams of sugar plums and bourbon casks in my head.

Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into tulip. 2011 release.
A: The vibrant, black body is deep and very dark, even held to the light this beer looks like a beast. The tan head resembles the color of the bottles label. The head formation pours a one finger thick froth. The retention falls quick, but is adequate for style. Lacing is minimal, but small amounts are left on the glass.

S: The aroma shows wonderful elements of all ingredients. The chocolate comes off strong, with a nice mellow note of coffee. The oak bourbon is present, but not overpowering. A medium to high intensity aroma, but again not tacky and overpowering. The aroma project a very smooth beer, by a well rounded, complex aroma.

T/M: The front of this brew shows a smooth, robust chocolate and coffee battle, the creamy body is second to none. Bourbon flavors a very subtle, as not to shadow any of the other complexities. An oatmeal mouthfeel texture builds the foundation for this big stout. The malt sweetness is very nice and helps to hide the high ABV. I find the coffee and chocolate notes to be at the fore front and would see how this beer is respectable fresh as well as a great one for aging.

O/D: This is a very drinkable high gravity stout, with great flavors and smooth body I could drink a couple of these. Seeing as it is "highly acclaimed" and treated like gold, I can see why now. Great brew.

Photo of icculus304
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle from Beer Baron - Livonia (bought it in March 2010). Snifter. Pours deep black with very little head. Nose of vanilla, coffee and alcohol/bourbon barrel. Very balanced taste. Smooth and creamy mouth-feel with a nice bourbon finish. Great beer!

Photo of alleykatking
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Split a bottle with my roommate tonight. His first time and I think he hated it. Doesn't like stouts though.

A- Poured into a pint glass. Quater inch head that slowly went away after a short while leading to a nice lacing around the sides of the glass. Pours pitch black very much like motor oil.
S- Smells of burnt coffee and bourbon undertones. Also, a strong soy sauce smell which kind of makes my mouth water for some reason.
T- Hints of bourbon and oak. Big stout taste which the roasted malts come through and the coffee taste with this one. Little chocolate taste that lingers after it goes down.
M- Heavy! Coats the tounge nicely in a bourbon coffee overload. Little bit more chewy than most stouts I had.
D- This is a beer that I can enjoy when I'm looking for something different than what I have been drinking.

All in all Founder's never ceases to amaze me with their beers. My roommate on the other hand never ceases to amaze me with his chugging skills when he doesn't like a beer.

Photo of dfclav
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Decided to open this up today, on my birthday - my first one ever.

Poured into a snifter.

A - totally jet black, I hold every stout up to a light test and most of the time in my snifter I will see some shade of brown or red. Not in this baby. Pours a 1 1/2 finger head with nice cascade and nice lacing.

S - Simply fantastic. Big bold coffees shine here with a nice background of bourbon and roasted malts. Chocolate notes and a slight bit of vanilla extract beside the bourbon.

T - Coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The coffee isn't as prominent in this beer as in Founders Breakfast Stout, but it is replaced by a very well integrated bourbon character. As it warms molasses and a bit of burnt sugar stand out more. Roasted malts and a very subtle hop note on the finish.

M - Founders just has the mouthfeel category down to a science in all of their beers. I really don't think a single brewery in the world can match them. This is just unbelievably smooth for such a high ABV, flavor heavy beer it is stunning.

D - this beer is over 11% ABV and it just seems to evaporate in my glass i'm drinking it so quickly. Fantastic job of hiding the alcohol. This beer is worth buying a case at whatever the cost, because if you have one you won't want to stop at that. Wow...

Photo of sugarbrew
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, poured from a 12oz into a nonic imperial pint glass.

A- Oily, impenetrable black pour with some understated lacing. A thin, creamy caramel head lingers densely around the edge of the glass.

S- Bitter chocolate, cracked, dark roast coffee and smoky hickory wood. A powerful and outstanding smell deserved of a brandy snifter.

T- Triumphant. Dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla bean and bourbon notes rise like an Italian aria. Deeply kilned and roasted malt are overwhelming, resonant and thunderous, with carefully balanced adjuncts lingering in the finish. I hate to jump on the bandwagon and proclaim this to be the finest imperial stout I've ever tasted, but I have no reason to lie to you.

M- Can the body get any fuller? This beer coats the tongue richly, like chocolate pudding. A splash of CO2 complements its charred-chocolate character, but a nitro tap would improve its consistency to the point of perfection.

D- So bold that I can't call it sessionable. This beer is a meal, one so satisfying that another plate would just be decadent. Drink this like a fine liquor, or digestif, perfect for after dinner. I wish Michael Jackson (the beer critic) could have lived to try this.

On this St. Patricks' day, I am proud to be from Michigan. This is stout ale. This is real American beer.

Photo of sugarman71
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I stumbled on this by losing a bet...and now I cannot get enough of this. I don't know what it is ... the bourbon taste? the smoothness of the entire pour? It is something spacial! Definitely one of my favorites and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a different tasting stout.

Photo of biga7346
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012

A - Pours deep mahogany, flat, black and dense; pours flat with a slight lift of chocolate-colored foam.

N - Whiskey, oak and cream, strong notes of vanilla bean, cocoa, burnt toast, boozy; very bready backbone like biscuit, reminds me of a chocolate brownie. Suggestions of dark, sugary fruits like fig, raisins, glazed fruit and even candy corn.

T/M - Chocolate brownie, biscotti, quite fudgey, chocolate chips, vanilla bean, coffee and cream all set against a chewy, dense mouthfeel; balanced for a BBA imperial stout - it has just the perfect touch of bourbon whiskey and charred oak in the finish.

D - World class, alcohol is tucked away nicely.

Photo of endincolorado
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presented in one of Founders' signature short, brown bottles with a very cool label featuring a yellowed-parchment look and western-style font.

Pours thick and black as sin, with a very dark tan head that rises a moment after the pour and settles slowly after into the viscous fluid beneath. When this beer is sloshed around it moves slowly and with a purpose. Great dark sheets of lace cling all around the sides of my snifter.

The aroma is sweet and woody with dark fruit and black coffee. The hint of bourbon in the nose takes me back to touring the inside of Maker's Mark distillery near Bardstown in Kentucky and the annual Bourbon Festival for which I make the trip down.

The flavor of this beer cannot be topped. The rich and full, syrupy texture delivers sweet roastiness, smoke, wood, a healthy booziness, fruit, coffee, and chocolate, all in a perfectly harmonious medley.

I could drink this until my vision blurs and the world goes dark around me. Realistically, one ought not to do this, and the price tag would prevent any frugal man from indulging in more than one per sitting. If I had to choose my last meal this beer would help wash it down.

Photo of syrupjoe
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoying at home. 12oz bottle into snifter. 2011. Pours black as used motor oil with a one finger caramel tan head.

Nose: Cocoa, peat, dairy, coffee, roasted malt. Honestly smells like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in cold press coffee.

Taste: Dark chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, toffee, peat, booze. A hair off of perfection due to booziness.

Low carbonation with a silky smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The depth of flavor on this brew is unmatchable. Very well rounded and bold. This is one of the best beers I've ever had. Incredible!

Photo of beerdrifter
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer many times, so I figured it's probably time to review it since it's one of my all-time favorites. This is the 2012 version. Super thick, jet black pour with one finger caramel colored head that fades pretty quick but with excellent lacing. The nose is simply amazing! One of the greatest smelling beers of all times. Dominated by the bourbon, but not far behind are the roasty coffee, chocolate, and oak along with hints of vanilla and booze. The taste is just as stellar. Perfectly balanced with the bourbon, coffee, oak, and chocolate once again the stars. Hints of toffee, vanilla, and dark fruit round it out nicely. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and smooth as silk with a wonderful subtle, warming alcohol burn on the finish. The influence from the barrels is absolutely amazing. Huge woody character much like I get when drinking a good oak aged wine. Overall, this is as close to perfection as you can get for the style. And it's consistently spot on every year. Truly world class from the best brewery in the world!

Photo of Themorganburke
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look- Pitch Black coloring- beautiful.

Smell- strong chocolate and coffee notes

Taste- Initial chocolate taste, smooth bourbon taste on the way down.

Feel- Definitely a sipper.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The legendary founders KBS. Never did I think I would find a bottle without trading. Picked it up at my local mix and six for 6.50 a bottle

A - Fuel black with no head to speak of. Thought it was kind of odd but because of the ABV it seemed right. No bottle date on label or bottle.

S - Right up from the bottle I got oak and coffee but in my tulip glass I can smell coffee and bourbon with more oak. Slight burnt sugars also.

T - Warming bourbon followed by vanilla, oak, then bitter coffee and chocolate finish.

M - Wow the bourbon packs a less than mild punch than expected! Still very noticeable yet the bitterness of the chocolate and coffee malt take some of the heat off.

D - What to think... Really an amazing brew that I guarantee at least an A in this reviewers opinion. Strong flavor and high ABV with expected high price tag. May have it again if I hit up the brewery.

Photo of liamt07
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591, via the Support Your Team BIF! Cheers dude, a dream come true to sip this one. Into a brandy snifter, bottled on February 18, 2010.

Pours pitch black, less than half a finger of DARK brown head, leaving some bubbles and a collar in its wake. Lacing is trace. Nose is wonderful: loads of dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon, a general lovely roastiness, more coffee, a touch of alcohol. Taste is bourbon sweetness upfront with some molasses and licorice, melds seamlessly with lots of coffee and some lesser chocoalte. Lingering alcohol burn in the throat; long, long finish. Nose and flavour alternates between being dominated by either bourbon or coffee as it warms, pleasing everytime I raise this to my nose. Very warming, smooth, creamy and sweet in the mouth with some stickiness. Excellent drinkability for the ABV.

Photo of yoko
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is clearly the most amazing Stout I have ever had. Sampled at the January 2005 EBF, it remains in memory with clarity. Wow! The visual, smell and taste were of extraordinary synergy. A short tan head accented the rich, deep blackness. Superb coffee and chocolate malts warmed and woven with Burbon tempered by oak cask character. Smooth, thick, big, present. The texture, dimension were divine. The burbon drip was endless and with comfort as it warmed ceaslessly. It remains on my palate to this day!

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Jet black body. Dark khaki head. Settles into a thin, frothy ring.

S: Tons of coffee. Bourbon, Chocolate milk, loads of sweet vanilla, underlying everything is a strong oaky character.

T: Coffee upfront, balanced with a sharp bourbon bite - although its far from being what I would call overbearing. Tons of bitter chocolate, comes across like a thick chocolate milk. The finish and aftertaste is consumed by sweet vanilla, which brings everything together perfectly.

M: Full body. Creamy. Moderate carbonation. Booze is hidden well.

O: Founders can do no wrong, and this one is no different. It lives up to the hype. The balance in this one is incredible. The bourbon bite upfront is strong, but the chocolate and vanilla balance it out to perfection.

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kentucky Breakfast Stout is yet another outstanding brew from Founders. Pouring almost pitch black with a light layer of dark brown foam, it's aroma is full of coffee, chocolate, with hints of vanilla and bourbon. The taste yields this array of flavor, with both the vanilla and bourbon having greater interplay with the dominating coffee and chocolate. Some roasted flavor is evident as well. The alcohol provides a bit of warmth, but in a very pleasant way. KBS is delicious, and very drinkable. Given the ABV, it's not likely something you'd session on, but it's a great way to start or end an evening.

Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely.

Photo of dav3290
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed 12/25. Finally busted one of these out for Christmas. First time having.

A - Perfect. Dark and rich with a thin brown head

S- Best smelling beer I've ever had. The strong coffee and bourbon notes meshing together are heavenly.

T- While not as great as the smell it's easily one of the top 5 best tasting beers I've ever had. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak, all incredible.

M- Only knock on KBS is I which it was a bit fuller. Kind of thin. Still great.

O- One of the best beers made in the world easily compares to BCBS. So glad I have another bottle. Was afraid getting this at 9 months old the coffee would die down but it's a force in this one. Just an amazing beer.

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - Pours motor oil black with a good one finger's worth of cappuccino colored head. Retention settles to a thin layer but remains until the end; sticky lacing.

S - Immediate smell after pouring is like Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. After sitting for a bit, notes of coffee bean, espresso, chocolate, and a woody/earthy aroma come through. A bit of alcohol is also present in the nose.

T&M - Thick and full bodied but smooth. Many bold flavors; chocolate, vanilla bean, cocoa nibs, and a big earthy presence. There is a woodsy, ashy quality here that contributes to the earthy factor. Fresh roasted espresso beans and coffee notes. The finish is somewhat tannic with a bit of alcohol warmth, and the chocolate and coffee notes seem to linger forever.

D - I wouldn't guess that this was over 11% ABV. What a tasty, deicious and drinkable beer. So many flavors but all well balanced. This is a home run from Founder's, and it would get solid 5's from me but for the high ABV impacting the drinkability

Notes - I was actually expecting this beer to be over hyped and not as good as described...I was very happily proven wrong. I think this beer would be fantastic with dessert or as an aperitif, but my pairing preference would be tiramisu.

Photo of pburland23
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Beer pours a dark, dense black. No light escapes when held up to a lamp. Pitch black. A thin wispy layer of brown head appeared and quickly dissipated...not surprising from a stout.

Smell is dominated by dark chocolate, a touch of bitter coffee, bourbon and a faint hint of woodiness. There's a lot going on in the nose of this beer. Quite complex and aromatic.

Taste starts off with the traditional flavors of a stout including roasted malts and a touch of coffee and chocolate. As the sips progresses, the sweetness of bourbon (vanilla and oak) trickles in and provides balance to the malt, coffee and chocolate. I really expected the bourbon sweetness to absolutely dominate the flavor. I'm quite pleased that Founders used bourbon as a complimentary player to the stout rather than making it the star of the show. It's that kind of sophistication in brewing that makes KBS a world class beer.

THe mouthfeel is thick and oily. As expected with a big stout, there isn't a lot of carbonation, but what is there works well. For an 11.2% beer, this one is a dangerous beer as the alcohol is cloaked so incredibly well, it's not even funny.

Overall, an exceptional beer. Sophisticated, complex and delicious. Glad I got a chance to enjoy one of these.

Photo of dookiepower
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into my Bruery tulip

Appearance- with a normal pour KBS yielded a 1 1/2 finger head that had pretty decent retention and lots and lots of lacing on the tulip. It poured motor oil black with a very viscous body that just looked amazing coming out of the bottle. A very great looking beer, almost proud of itself inside the tulip with the mocha colored head.

Smell- I sniffed the bottle right after I opened it and got all coffee. Then once I poured it I sniffed again and got all chocolate. After a few minutes and letting it rise in temperature there was a great dark chocolate and coffee smell that seemed to have a small amount of bourbon and a little heat coming off it. I didn't detect any wood in the smell from the barrel but it was all bourbon if anything that I got from the barrel. Also a nice smoky almost tobacco note was extremely nice. Overall a great smelling beer.

Taste- Wow, a great lead off with a beautiful malty chocolate kick that moved into a deep coffee flavor with a beautiful beautiful bourbon backbone. No detection of alcohol at all over the entire hour that I nursed this baby. As it warmed the chocolate became more pronounce and the coffee subsided, and was replaced with even more marvelous bourbon. In the taste however I can get a bit of oak and vanilla from the barrels, not overpowering but just the right balance to let you know it was bal-aged.

Mouthfeel- going along nicely with the pour the mouthfeel is a nice and thick creamy goodness. It was a very very smooth and full bodied beer that I really loved. If anything I would want just a little bit more viscosity but thats nitpicking. The carb was right on for a stout noticeable but not too much.

Overall- Wow so far my favorite stout. KBS was nothing short of amazing for me. After having a not so great time with Abyss (I'm not a licorice fan) I was hesitant towards big bal-aged stouts, but not anymore. I wish I was closer to Michigan so I could get this goodness every year. What a beer.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,402 ratings.