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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.

2,808 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,808
Hads: 10,820
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 17.54%
Wants: 4,284
Gots: 5,087 | FT: 414
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: 2,808 | Hads: 10,820
Photo of rowingbrewer
3.1/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 bottle poured into a Southampton snifter, served at cellar temp.

This beer pours nearly pitch black With a very thin mocha colored head that quickly dissipates. The smell is heavy on the bourbon with hints of vanilla and a hint of coffee, there is also a strong roasted malt character to the nose. The flavor is bourbon and slightly boozy a lot of roasty bitterness too barely a hint of vanilla a little more coffee and no residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is thin and lightly carbonated. Overall I was not as impressed by this beer as I thought i would be, the body was too thin there was no residual sweetness and to me it felt like the bourbon and roasted malts were just butting heads.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.12/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1/2 pint on tap, oily and shiny body with a wisp of head that recedes to a bubbly ring. A bit of lacing.

Whoa, right from the first sniff loads more bourbon than I remember from the bottled version. Roasted malt and coffee are no match. Come sippin' time, the bourbon once again drops the hammer. Coffee's actually pretty strong as well. Dark fruit and chocolate are overwhelmed by the bourbon/coffee 1-2 combo, and roasted malts are mostly an afterthought. Holy mackerel this is boozy. Kinda like Bourbon County Stout randalized through chocolate chips and espresso beans. An intense experience, but not something I'd seek out.

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Photo of bgramer
3.17/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A big thanks out to "WhoKnew" for throwing in a bonus bottle for me!

It poured a dark black with a minimal wispy tan-colored head that quickly disappeared. Remnants of the head sticks to glass and leaves a trace as I drink it down.

As I swirl it about the carbonation rises and surprises me with more flavor hinting at coffee, chocolate fudge, something burnt/roasted, maybe some vanilla(?) until I finish it off. The flavor continues into the aftertaste which turns into a subtle hint of bourbon that's just the perfect balance.

This is very balanced and extremely smooth. The mouthfeel is very full-bodied yet light and made for an easy drinkability but it's bursting potency commands your respect hence the sippability.

This is a world-class stout, deserving of it's rank on BA.

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Photo of RichardMNixon
3.18/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Tried it a second time out of concern that I got the wrong beer the first time. Looks nice in the glass, dark body with a thick dark head rare in beers this strong. Aroma is mostly booze with some stale coffee and splintery wood once it wams up. Tastes confused, like an imperial stout with bourbon poured in, and a fair amount of acid. Finishes syrupy and acidic.

Can't understand the obsession with this, I'd suggest you could add a shot of bourbon to an FBS, but I like FBS too much to waste it.

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Photo of danedelman
3.2/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this in a bottle at Black and Blue in Easton

A-deep dark black with no light shining through and zero head.

S-lots of coffee, bourbon and chocolate. Some Anise in the background and has a booziness to it too.

T-very similiar to the smell. coffee, bourbon and chocolate, thick chewy stout.

M-very thick and chewy. great stout.

overall, not worth the price, not worth anything for the hype this gets at all. Would have thought much higher of it if it wasn't such a WHALE!!


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Photo of squaremile
3.21/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

'10. Pours a nice dark brown/black with a quarter inch head, typical for Founders stuff. Nose is a lot of espresso, some minor notes of bourbon and vanilla. Taste is more of the same. Not sure how people describe this as a bourbon bomb, in fact it is quite the opposite. This is a coffee stout to me. It's all espresso on the tongue. Must say it's a bit disappointing. Mouthfeel is a tad fizzy. Definitely not a top 20 beer.

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Photo of Mattygross44
3.27/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.5

I just cant join the hype beer club with this beer it had a very pungent taste off the bat very sweet almost tarty as it warmed it got better but as a very die hard stout drinker and a ex bourbon whiskey drinker this just was a mediocre beer for me. Some of the beers that get a 75-88 score on here taste sooo much better to me. I guess ive been spoiled with parabola and other top of the line as people say beers for to long ...Michigan you can keep this out on the east coast and i will enjoy my west coast stouts out here!! Def would not buy glad i got in a trade.

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
3.27/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black like the night sky of the countryside of Kentucky. about a fingers worth of chocolate colored head resulted from a moderately aggressive pour, doesn't last too long. No light can be seen through the body of this beer whatsoever.

i can smell strong boozy notes up front and immediately upon putting my nose to the glass. scents of vanilla/licorice, some dark chocolate, sweet rich malt. Very enjoyable nose.

The alcohol is very strong in the taste as well. Big bourgon flavors, lots of oakiness. Not tasting any kind of coffee, a hint of chocolate in the back, though. The booze really dominates everything else, its a bit overpowering.

Full bodied, but maybe not quite as thick as I had imagined it, which is a bit of a disappointment. I'm definitely getting a warming sensation in the back of my throat, which is always good on a cold night.

I can't get this in Oklahoma, and at 11.2%, i don't think i would want to drink very often if i could. This is definitely an interesting beer to try, but probably not one i would want to drink again and again. Thank you Beerwolf for the opportunity to try this beer.

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

Check this, homes... There's a reason this is an A+ and boris is only an A (really lower, but grade inflation and all). It's awfully pretty. Pours deep and dark. No head? What? Oh. Wait. Ha. You just had to wait for the bubbles to rise up. There they are! A decent-sized head of tiny dark bubbles. Would be better if they lasted longer.

Smells like Quick. Really - nothing but chocolate milk. Well, and a little smoke...

Tastes like Quick with a little smoke. OK, not quite so sweet. But pretty close. Ah, OK, it's bitter, too.

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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 shbobdb
3.3/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Welcome to Starbuck's, would you like to try our Irish-American Coffee today?

'Cause that is how this beer tastes. It tastes like coffee and bourbon together with a nice sweet backbone. It tastes pretty good, since I like coffee, I like bourbon, and I don't mind a little bit of sweet with both . . . but what is lacking in this beer is the, ummm, beer element.

It pours jet black. Maybe at the bottom of my glass I can get a hint of red, but not really. The head is thin and flimsy, but it does stay there and it leaves a nice lace as I drink this malt beverage.

It smells like fresh ground coffee with a nice amount of vanilla present. A little bit of the oaky bourbon shows though. It smells like a very nice coffee.

The taste is quite pleasant. The coffee and bourbon play together with the vanilla supporting both and a nice sugary-sweet backbone.

The mouthfeel is a little flat and slick. Coffee with a dash of motor oil.

Look, this is a fine beverage, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Smirnof Ice is brewed with malt, does that make it a beer? There is nothing beery about this beverage. It is an Irish-American coffee malternative.

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Photo of trippytbta
3.33/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter, bottle had no date that I could find on it

A: black with slight tan head

S: a little char and coffee

T: First chocolate and coffee, then when u swallow, it's very alcoholic (not in a good BA way), almost like its spiked with vodka...

M: thick and heavy mouthfeel and lingers on the palate.

Overall: This one was a let down for me. Especially being from the West Coast and finally getting to try it. I love my BA stouts and this one just tastes like it was spiked with vodka.

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Photo of jcdgoad
3.33/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had my brother pick up a four pack at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor and Fed Ex it too me. I was very excited to try this beer. Unfortunately it did not live up to the hype. I'm not saying this is a terrible beer, but I just don't think its as good as advertised. I tasted the bourbon, vanilla, and coffee. The mixture just tasted a bit off to me. I"ll take a Bells Expedition Stout or an Old Rasputin any day over this beer.

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Photo of craytonic
3.33/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from last year's release, so just a little over a year old.

Appearance: Like motor oil, I put it directly next to a light bulb and nothing got through my snifter. Nice coffee foam, almost no lacing.

Smell: Mostly old coffee and lots of dark malts, barely any bourbon, I wish it was the other way around. It is actually more alcohol than bourbon - barely any of the molasses, vanilla, etc I would like to smell.

Taste: Old coffee, lots of licorice, soot, charcoal, dark malts, fudge, blackstrap molasses, and hardly any bourbon. Something burnt. I really don't get the reviews saying the alcohol is concealed - on both the aroma and taste I get raw, pure alcohol smacking my nose and tongue like a 2x4. Let me clarify that is alcohol, not bourbon I taste.

Mouthfeel: A little grainy, I couldn't help but think of sand or used coffee grits.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper, the coffee and raw alcohol are overpowering.

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Photo of Landshark67
3.34/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paid $30 for a 4-pack

Appearance: (5) Completely black with dark brown head. Minimal carbonation. Head dissipates quickly.

Aroma: (3.5) Chocolate & Charred malt with bourbon - a little raw.

Taste: (3) Burnt malt, bourbon and a little oak character. Not cloyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel: (3) Typical stout but with more heat and a medicine finish.

Overall: Good but not great beer, certainly not epic in my book. I expected a lot more out of the beer. It may improve with some time but it still lacks the roundness of a Bourbon County or Surly Darkness.

Serving type: bottle……..and on tap later in the evening

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Photo of jrallen34
3.34/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer is very black with hardly any brown in the light. The head is very disappointing as there is none and after finally pouring a medium tan head fizzles for seconds and is gone. There is no lacing.

The aroma is very strong but dominated by mostly roasted coffee. There is not much complexity as you get a little alcohol but that's it.

The taste is like the aroma but stronger. Its all coffee but bad stale and bitter coffee. Its simple without any complex flavors. At the end there is a little bourbon and charred wood.

The feel is ok but the drinkability is really down.

I was very excited to finally get my hands on this, but after I did I came away very disappointed. Its not drinkably, not complex, and just not a great RIS.

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Photo of schellsbeer
3.35/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes from Early December 2008.

A - Very Dark Brown to almost black. Thin with little head present.

S - Alcohol is very present. Bourbon. Clean and crisp. Quality in the smell.

T - Strong Alcohol Burn for a 10%. I have had better in which the alcohol was greater but its taste was hidden. I was expecting more from the smell. Also, I wish it was thicker. Hard to get in Minnesota so I am greatful for trying. Some Coffee and chocolate taste but overpowered from the booze taste.

M - Thin but very smooth.

D - Not really. Not found in Minnesota. Also, because of the high alcohol content, a sipper at best. Just not my favorite.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.35/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decided to review this beer after having a 2009 next to a 2010 last night. I'll use the fresh one as the review but will leave some extra notes.

Beer pours out black with a caramel head. Nose is soaked with bourbon and chocolate. KBS holds a dark roasted aroma. But it's not overpowering.

This years batch seems a little less carbonated than last years, making it richer and smoother on the palate. Oak, bourbon, chocolate, and roast malt mix together on your taste buds. Still not very over powering. Bourbon is not as hot as some people say it is. I get more chocolate than anything in this batch.

Extra notes: I want to say that KBS, for me, has always been all over the place in flavor. Some will be heavy on bourbon and some will be heavy on chocolate and then the rest will all fall within that range. I've only actually had a few bottles that were fully balanced. But after I was able to get that rarity/hype factor out of my head I can say that I've never actually been blown away by it. And for a stout that has won so much fame, it's no where near as complex, decadent or robust as something like Bourbon County Stout. It excels in drinkability. It's smooth and silky but doesn't cause any fatigue in your tastebuds.

The 09 vintage, thanks to screw off caps, was awful. It had started oxidizing and tasted like wet cardboard and chalk. The nose was even worse. Underneath that, I don't feel like this is a beer to even bother aging. All the things that make this beer good are right there in the beginning and then after a year they start to fade and leave a pretty boring BA stout.

Drink these fresh people.

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.35/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased from Hop City, in Atlanta. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours jet black with a dark mocha head which dies down quickly. Decent lacing.
S - Heavy coffee with subdued notes of bourbon and oak.
T - Tastes strangely like a coffee malt/milkshake with a bitter lactose chocolate kick. I've complained that some beers weren't complex enough, but KBS is overly complex without being harmonious
M - Thick, heavy, sugary sweet. Fully body with a LOT of residual sugars. Good carbonation though.
D - Medium. As said earlier, there is a lot going on, but it all lends itself to the sweet side. One bottle is MORE than enough.

Overall - I have had KBS many times. New. Old. Fresh. Aged. Honestly, this beer is over-hyped and under-performing. It has complexity but nothing meshes together, and I fear too much would put my in a diabetic coma... A decent (not great) beer that is nowhere near Founders best offering.

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Photo of oregone
3.36/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Solid ba stout. Deep with tan head that is expectedy reticent.
S: Green pepper. Just all kinds of weird on top of the chocolate and coffee and assorted other desireable aromas.
T: Peppers still the dominant note. Coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla find their way in somewhere.
M: Good mouthfeel with some carbonation lightening the weight. Nice thick silkiness.
D: I could certainly have a few of these, and it's good enough that I wouldn't steer clear.

I waited to review this again after the last batch had the intrusive peppery notes (which some others in my group didn't get) that gave it a less than stellar showing. This is from a different batch, and is distinctly more pronouncedly green (and noticed by all) to its deteriment. Have to assume that it's a characteristic of this beer, and it's not to my taste.

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Photo of biglite351
3.36/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - super dark with just a hint of brown around the edges.

S - not nearly as good as I was expecting. Mild bourbon with malts and caramel.

T - sweet with mild coffee and chocolate. Obvious bourbon but not overpowering.

M - decent coating with tingles moving around entire mouth and throat.

D - it is a bit too strong for more than one, but you do want that one...

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Photo of cokes
3.38/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Generally ink black, but with translucent burnt magenta edges. A cocoa powder head rises momentarily, then falls back to a narrow rimming.
For a beer of this pedigree and production, the nose is weak. Sure, it has fudge, burnt coconut, vanilla nougat, and espresso, and watery bourbon. But they're turned waaaay down so as not to piss off the neighbors.
Taste wise, it's a chocolaty fudge bomb, with a trace of vanilla, a dollop of molasses, a brief espresso flourish, and a lesser bourbon-barrel (aka: oak, hazelnut, and further vanilla) finish. It's thoroughly tasty, but honestly, a Snickers bar more complexity....and would taste about the same if one was to dunk a bar in bourbon and cover it in coffee grounds.
The body is flaccid and actually sparse. If you're looking for a thick and beefy and coating barreled-imperial/double stout, you're in the wrong place. And this is what screws the whole thing up. There is no body, no mouthfeel, no depth, no weight, no linger, no life. This is plebeian, not imperial.
It's drinkable because the flavorings are pleasant, the booze is non-apparent, and I enjoy Bourbon. It's nearest point of reference is Bailey's and coffee, but those fans will still hate it because it seems dilute.
Considering the style, the source, the hype, and everything else, this is so fucking overblown it's sick. It actually one of the poorer Bourbon-barrel-aged Stouts I've come across.
Fresh or aged- and I've had both, and I love Founders, especially their Breakfast and Imperial Stouts, and I love Bourbon- this simply not very good under any parameters, and incredibly (and succinctly):

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Photo of hopluva1
3.39/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottled 2-25-11
served in a snifter @ 50*

This is my first time trying the much anticipated KBS.
In the glass it looks great, black coffee with a 1 finger light brown with a hint of red head that sticks around a while.

For me that was the highlight of this beer, the taste is big coffee, oak, maybe a bit of dark chocolate. The flavor reminds me of cold burnt coffee (i personally did not get any bourbon barrel). It seemed a little simple for a world class stout, and with all the hype i must say i was disappointed.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.4/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got in a trade with BeerBeing - thanks! Since trade not sure the year but notch definitely shows March. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my trusty pint glass. Had a cool label with fake claims of health cures. Was pitch black even when head against the light. It had an average sized dark brown head that settled into a collar with just a little lacing. The aroma was strong! It was coffee, coffee, more coffee and then several shots of bourbon thrown in. Also had a good vanilla aroma in the background. Gotta admit that I'm just not a fan of the bourbon/oak barrel aging of beers. Keep trying em hoping that I'll grow into it but I guess I want my beer to taste like beer and not whiskey. The taste pretty much followed the smell. Was an Irish coffee more than a beer. Got marginally better as it warmed but for me this one is overhyped. Glad I tried it as I like to try new things but this is one and done for me. (3, NA, ML, O?)

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Photo of beagle75
3.4/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an half-pint snifter.
2011 vintage

A: Opaque black, showing dark brown light at the edges, with a few scattered bubbles of beige foam. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Old wood and hot boozy bourbon stand out with remarkable clarity. There is little in the way of roasted qualities, other than the charred oak of the barrel. As it warms more coffee shows, followed by briny shoyu.

T: Begins dry, with a thin thread of roasted malt preceding rampant spirituous bourbon. Acidity is moderate to high, making the dark flavors struggle needlessly. Chocolate becomes detectable when acidity recedes into the middle, finally adding a layer of flavor that is able to complement the untamed bourbon presence. The finish demonstrates a bitter edge, while other previous flavors are able to marry more closely in the presence of mellowing vanilla.

M: Medium viscosity, disjunct on the palate at first due to due to scathing acidity and alcohol heat, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: The barrel treatment is a process that is all about refinement, where value is added to a product. Amongst barrel-aged stouts, KBS is a relative bargain even after emerging from the oak, but its qualities appear amateurish at times, compared to its contemporaries. Flavors find themselves mostly at odds with each other early, but become passably simpatico during the latter two acts. Challenging textures in the mouth do not help, yet there is still something appealing about it--compared to bourbon it is basically the same taste, but easier to tolerate for the non-spirit drinker. I can appreciate why this profile would appeal to so many, and it does qualify for an extreme candidate of the sub-style.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,808 ratings.