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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.

2,809 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,809
Hads: 10,829
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 17.54%
Wants: 4,286
Gots: 5,092 | FT: 415
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: 2,809 | Hads: 10,829
Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #300! A HUGE thanks goes out to Scoobydank for giving this bottle to me as a birthday present! Bill, you are the man!

Poured into New Beglium Globe Glass.

Pours a 1/4 finger cocoa brown head. The little head doesn't last long, but the etching brings up some carbonation bubbles. Leaves some lace rings for the little bit of head. Color is a dark dark chocolate brown. The tone of brown is like no other beer I have had.

Aroma: Just amazing. Chocolate. Cocoa. Quality coffee. Hardly, any of the 11.2% abv shows here. A little vanilla. A very robust and complex beer. The blend of chocolate and coffee is just perfect. A nice layer of bourbon and oak go with the other flavors so well. If I could only smell one beer in the world, this would be it (to date that is).

Taste: A little alcohol with the bourbon up front. Strong coffee. Chocolate. (As I am reviewing this, I look at the bottle and realize the side says Malt Beverage brewed with chocolate and coffee. Well at least Founders doesn't lie). Vanilla is definitely doesn't hide here. After I sip on this a bit more, I realize that the alcohol I am tasting is the bourbon. As the beer warms up a bit, the bourbon begins to taste better and better. Very amazing tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich, and creamy (just like CBS). The bourbon loves to shine through the longer it stays in my mouth. Leaves a very chocolate malty aftertaste. Full bodied. The carbonation level is right on the money for a beer like this (a medium level). Ends a little dry and hot.

Honestly, I don't really know if there is anything wrong with this beer. This big stout is drinking better than a lot of other beers I have had and it is so much darker (not implying that darker means anything). My beer is almost gone already and I want more of it. I am so impressed with Founders for this beer. They managed to make an 11.2% abv beer be so damn drinkable. If I had more I would easily want to crack open another. I will be buying as much of this as I can next year if it makes it to MN. A must try!

Edit: As I just took the last sip, I was so sad that I realized I had no more of this amazing liquid. If you can get any of this, don't pass it up... ever!

Edit2: Changed a few things for the fresh 2010 batch. Nothing too major.

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Photo of aewinte1
3.95/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to GREGER for hooking me up with this

A- Dark black with very little head, carbonation, or lacing to speak of.

S- Smells kind of like someone took a shot of bourbon and poured it into a beer. Slight coffee and smokey scents, but everything is shot down by the alcoholic smell

T- Starts off like a regular coffee stout then BANG, the alcohol kicks. The alcohol burn is quite strong and masks a lot of the flavors. At the same time the bourbon barrel aging definitely imparts its flavor. This, to me , tastes more like liquor than beer, which is weird because the ABV is by no means ridiculously high.

M- mouthfeel is good as it firsts hits the palate then goes somewhat downhill due to the alcohol bite.

D- drinkability on this one could not be higher than a 3. I could not possibly drink two or three of these in one sitting. This is not just due to the ABV, but also how much the alcohol comes through and is not masked superbly.

Overall, a good beer, but the dominating alcohol taste really prevented me from truly appreciating this beer as the alcohol masked a lot of the other flavors associated with this beer.

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Photo of RickS95
3.93/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful beer. Coal black with a thin brown head.

Hints of chocolate, coffee, whiskey and hops in the nose. The malt is overwhelming and not in a bad way. On top of everything already mentioned, there's a splash of caramel.

Lots of roasted things going on. Extremely powerful flavors, but everything is muted by the intense alcohol.

The alcohol is extreme in this beast. It's the dominant flavor and completely overpowers everything else. Still, you pick up the oak, chocolate and coffee. Despite 70 IBUs, there's little acknowledgement from the hops.

It's thick. It's almost chewy thick. Sweetness early on. Chocolate, coffee and bourbon start to take over. Normally where the hops would say hello is an onslaught of alcohol heat. Chocolate and coffee bitterness in the swallow, followed by a lingering bourbony heat. Um, yeah, full bodied if ever there was a full bodied beer. The alcohol isn't hidden at all. It's front and center. With all that, you can expect a dry finish.

If manly beers are your thing, this is the one for you. As soon as you think you like aggressive beers, try this. I hated it four years ago when I first had it. It was just too much. Now, my palate has matured. Yes, it's still a bit much, but I appreciate what Founders has done. This beer doesn't apologize for what it is. If you're lucky enough to find this beer, I suggest letting it sit for a while until you graduate from other imperial stouts.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pure black like motor oil with a sampling of dark brown/cocoa colored head.
Smell is strong of roasted malt coffee, cocoa, like fresh brewing coffee.
Taste is like drinking fresh brewed mocachino that's cold with a lot of roasted taste.
Finish is crisp with a chocolaty ground coffee bean after-taste which lasts with me several minutes after the last drink.
Drinks incredibly well, zero alcohol bite, the smoothed roasted character.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into two snifters at Sierra Grille in Northampton, MA. Bottle was $9.

Pours a inky jet black color that is very viscous, yes like motor oil. The head is laughable.

Smell is a wave of warm alcohol, vanilla, dark chocoloate and bitter roasted coffee. Very complex and aromatic.

Taste initially is bitter chocolate and vanilla combined. The flavors enhance from there, coffee, toffee, bitter black coffee and chocolate liquer or Kahlua. As it continues to warm a lot of the Bourbon barrel flavors come out. This is a great sipping beer...

Very smooth drinking beer that half a bottle of was definitely plenty to enjoy.

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

Thanks to Sickpuppy at "Should I Drink That?"!

I'd be dying to try this beer for years and upon finally scoring some expected an orgasmic experience, and, as usual, my personal over-hype marred my experience somewhat. Guess that's my fault.

This was a great beer, no question, but it simply did not floor me as I had hoped. A kinda thin mouthfeel and not as bourbony as expected, or hoped.

Tastes of roasted coffee, vanilla, and chocolate malt. Silky smooth with not even a tad of boozy bite. Impressive! And thus incredibly drinkable for the hefty ABV.

I liked it the more I had it, but I still would have to put Bourbon County Stout and Black Ops ahead of it in the bourbon-barreled beer game.


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Photo of jdhilt
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a three finger dark brown head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Sweet roasted coffee nose. Flavor is sweet roasted coffee, don't detect the bourbon barrel, high ABV is hidden, almost burnt coffee finish. Nice stout. Pricey at $6.95 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of jsh420
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition

pours black as midnight with a 1/4 finger tan head that leaves some spotted lacing

smells of big coffee and smokey bourbon little vanila and chocolate

taste is also big coffee bourbon woody vanilla and bitter chocolate - this beer is so much better with a few months on it - fresh the booze takes over and thats about it - i bet it will get even better by next year

mouthfeel is thick low carbonation - this beer is a sipper (one that could last all all night)

drinkability is great - sure one bottle is all i would want as complex as one bottle is - its a great way to finsish the night

also poured about 1/6 of the bottle into a glass with some ice cream and oh boy this beer works so well

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Photo of m2paulun
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark black with no light penetrating the glass. A half inch head appeared after a hard pour. The head was a dark mocha color that did not stick around.

S - Roasted coffee beans up front. After that there is a sweet smell of bourbon mixed with vanilla.

T - The taste is where this beer really shines. There is a nice balance between the flavors. First is coffee. After the beer starts to warm up a bit the chocolate really becomes present. At the end you can taste the bourbon, but it is not really strong. I really enjoyed that the bourbon was not overwhelming. Alcohol is present, but hidden well.

M - Smooth and creamy as a milkshake.

D - Would love to drink more than one, but probably should not.

One of my favorite beers since getting into craft.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8oz pour at the brewpub, in a snifter. Arrives a placid jet black, pretty much no bubbles. Little lacing.

Nose is earthy, strong bourbon, roasty goodness, light sweetness.

This is the ultimate sipping beer. The flavors are complex and demanding. Peat, bourbon, vanilla, roasty malts, a dry hop finish. Warming alcohol in the back. Much more demanding than CBS which I had before and more rewarding. The dry finish helps it pair well with more options and it doesn't have that overwhelming sweetness. Smooth carbonation.

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Photo of Casey10
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow - got this in a trade, fantastic beer.

A - Dark no light will show threw this.

S - Wonderful burnt coffee, dark chocolate, booze.

T - Unbelievable chocolate, hides the 11.2 abv very well

M - Smooth, frothy but at the same time chocolately, numbs the taste buds in a good way.

D - Better than good less than exceptional as if you drank this one it might be very hard to drink another.

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Photo of deereless
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: The color of ebony, only a hint of light passes through at the edge of the glass, lots of sticky foam on the glass, noticeable body - 4.75, S: One whiff and I'm in sensory overload, whiskey in upfront but not overpowering, loads of vanilla and chocolate, coffee is also present, some minor signs of charring - 5.00, T: A massive palate, lots of chocolates malts and even more espresso, some pureed burnt raisins, though there are hops they are overpowered by the huge malt base, like the nose there is a solid presence of vanilla, one tasty beer - 4.50, M: Thick and silky, lingers on the tongue - 5.00, D: One of the most impressive beers I've had to date, a true gem, but as I say that I will concede that I still think Goose Island's Bourbon Brand County Stout edges it out, as a side not the beer is now labeled 'KBS' instead of Kentucky Bourbon Stout - 4.50

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been all the rage lately. The hype with this beer is reaching Dark Lord status (which I will also be reviewing soon!). Lets see what I think:

A: Pours pitch black. No light will penetrate this beer even when held directly up to the Sun. Head is very small but is a dark brown color. No lacing is left with each sip.

S: Big coffee smell. Some oak. There is an alcohol presence as well.

T: Massive complexity. The first thing you will taste is the big roasted coffee flavors. You can taste the Bourbon as well. Lots of oak. The finish is a mix of vanilla and chocolate. That is the best part of the beer in my opinion. Alcohol is also pretty prominent.

M: Very thick and creamy. Coats the mouth with each sip. Silky smooth. Very nice.

D: This is a big beer. 11.2%ABV is nothing to underestimate. This is a sipper. I doubt anybody could chug this. This is a beer to savor. Very rich and flavorful.

This beer is very very good. Is it worthy of all the hype? Personally, I don't think so. Founders Imperial Stout is superior to this, In my opinion. But you do get a massive complexity, even for an Imperial Stout. If you can find it, pick it up. But, I think there are better Imperial Stouts out there that are much cheaper and more widely available.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times now, thanks to recent distribution in NJ and a great trader named GbVDave- trade with him!

This review is the 2009, released under the name KBS- and it pours black as all hell into a DFH snifter, but with no visible head aside from a late forming film of mocha, leaving oodles of spotty lacing.

Really a beautiful aroma. Just boozy enough, the coffee and chocolate from the regular BS are there backed by roasted malts with tones of bourbon coming through. The slightly sweet vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak are wonderful.

A lot of the same flavors come through in the taste. Alcohol just slightly present- enough to let you know its there. But not intrusive. Such a full, coating mouthfeel of chocolate and roasted coffee beans. As drinkable as could be for a monster of this ABV and style. Overall, I liked this release a lot more fresh than the 2008- the slightly tweaked recipe was definitely an improvement. It will be interesting to see how this one develops with a little age on it.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours black as night with a dark brown sliver of head that fades very quickly leaving just a tiny ring. Wish there was a little more head, next time I have one I will give it a hard pour straight into the bottom of the glass and see what it does. The color was very nice while it lasted.

S--Holy cow this is big, boozy and complex. Roasted malts, coffee beans, oak, vanilla, trace amounts of whiskey.

T--This is a smack across the jaw with a baseball bat. I'm happy to note that the whiskey flavors here are balanced well with the coffee notes. I was afraid it would be too hot but it definitely is not. Just a nice mix of coffee, oak, and bourbon. Perhaps a bit too much of an acrid coffee bean roastiness, but below that quite superb.

M--Medium to full bodied, a bit more creaminess would put this over the top

D--Definitely a slow drinker here due to the intense flavor, but at over 11% ABV what do you expect really? Definitely a beer for those who adore brashness, although perhaps not quite refined enough to be truly drinkable. 6 oz. served at nearly room temperature would make for the best drinking experience with this brew.

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Photo of gameface23
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of a great friend.

A: Pours pitch black with a slight brown halo when held up to the light. The head was non-existent when poured into my snifter and there wasn't a single carbonation bubble to be found.

S: Coffee, vanilla, caramel, a certain "sawdust" aroma that isn't as unappealing as it sounds.

T: The booze isn't as well-hidden as I would have liked, but that is the only flaw in this beer. Coffee and chocolate with oak.

M: Perfect. It's thick without being cloying. Silky smooth.

D: This is a sipper. A delicious, delicious sipper. The only negatives are the price and the fact that it is pretty boozy. I went to kiss my girlfriend and she said, "You smell like coffee and booze"

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Photo of Sean9689
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap @ Founders.
8oz pour into snifter.

A - A silky black with a fluffy head with a tight tan color. Super sticky, lots of lacing along the edge of the snifter. The head does not disipitate at all, it just hangs around.

S - Chocolate covered coffee beans, bourbon, caramel.

T - Milk chocolate, bourbon, slight bitterness, coffee beans. I would smack my lips together over and over after every taste, so good!

M - Smooth, creamy, soft, medium-full bodied but not overly so, just right. Very little fizzy carbonation, perfect.

D - So easy, so scary!

I didn't think KBS could get better but out of the nitro-tap, it is!

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a case from Green's in Columbia by a friend of mine. Thanks again Dan! Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a jet black with no hints of any colors even when held up to the light. The head was extremely short lived but was a beautiful chocolate color when it was there. The ring of bubbles that does remain leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Vanilla, oak, bourbon, coffee, and dark roasted malts all join together to make a wonderful complex and inviting aroma.

T: I hate to do it a bit of an injustice by saying see the smell category and change aroma to taste, but it is perfect for this one. What an incredible tasty and complex brew. The vanilla and bourbon make it a real special treat to me.

M: It is a bit thinner than I would expect for the style. The oak also makes it a bit harsh in the mouth for me even though I like the flavor it gives it causes the mouthfeel to suffer a bit.

D: The ABV is well hidden, but you still naturally want to sip this one to savor it. With that said, it does drink easier than quite a few of its style competitors.

This is a great brew and worth all the accolades and posts it gets. Once again a big thanks to Dan for getting a case for myself and a friend to share. I have traded quite a bit of it away for some other gems to various local buddies. I am pretty sure I am going to keep the rest of it for myself.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, the beer appears nearly black with a small brown head that disappears almost instantaneously.

The aroma is brimming with coffee and roasted malt character. Beneath the coffee titan lies some dark chocolate. The hops have absolutely no prayer of being noticed. As the beer warms bourbon notes become apparent.

The flavor is, well, a ton of coffee. To be honest, there's too much coffee in this beer for my taste. The notes of chocolate are understated. The roasted malt profile is very strong. Hop bitterness is present at a moderate level, but the hop flavor is overwhelmed by coffee and roastiness, which is to be expected. Bourbon is more noticeable once the beer warms, but it's still not prominent. The finish is bitter coffee and acrid.

The beer is robust, with low carbonation and a creamy, grainy mouthfeel.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to abbddull for sending a 4 pack of this to Portsmouth! Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

The beer is black with a thin mocha head that fades quickly. The lacing is oily and slow moving down the sides of the glass.

The smell is coffee, vanilla and a hot bourbon in that order. The coffee smell is very strong at the start of the nose, a roasty coffee.

The taste is more bourbon forward than the smell, but the coffee and vanilla are definitely still there and it strikes a nice balance.

The alcohol presence is a little too strong to drink more than one of these, but as a sipper this is definitely a very pleasant experience.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.94/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Finally getting to the KBS. Pours a very thick oily black with absolutely no head, no bubbles, no lace, nothing. This just looks like dirty motor oil in a glass. Nose is full of coffee, vanilla, bourbon, almonds, and bread.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Great viscous mouth that is easy to sip. I waited awhile after pouring to drink this. At first I was tasting huge coffee flavor that finished slightly boozy, but as it warmed and I continued to drink, I was getting more vanilla and a faint nutty finish. Drinkability is low for me as it took about an hour to finish this one, and I could never have another right away.

Very good beer, but I gotta be honest, I prefer the original Breakfast Stout. Ah well, to each his own...

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Photo of ffejherb
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Capone's on 5/23/09. Served in a snifter. Thanks to FooFaa for the round!

A - Black body with one-finger creamy mocha-colored head reminiscent of a milkshake, but reduced to a thin film and left some spotty lace around the glass.

S - Lovely, aromatic blend of sweet vanilla notes, bourbon and chocolate, the latter especially as the liquid warmed up. Woody and oaky notes add quite a bit of depth and complexity to the aroma. Wonderfully balanced nose overall.

T - Amazing flavor that combines vanilla, bourbon, woody/oaky notes, sweet and bitter chocolate and earthy hops. Alcohol is virtually buried underneath all of the wonderful flavors of this complex stout.

M - Creamy and luscious mouthfeel with a slick, oily texture providing a bit of chewiness. Softly carbonated. Finishes with moderate bitterness and a subtle alcohol warmth on the palate.

D - Amazingly drinkable for 10% ABV! This is simply an awe-inspiring beer that needs to be sampled on tap. Definitely one of the most flavorful stouts I've had the pleasure of drinking. This is an amazing beer to say the least!

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Photo of KI9A
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black, some head.

S: Bourbony malt. Coffee, chocolate.

T: Follows nose, add vanilla to the mix. Nothing overpowers the rest. Great balance of boozy bourbon, bitter chocolate, and sweel vanilla malts.

M: Heavy body, but not "gooey". Wraps your mouth up in goodness.

D: High ABV limits the D on this, but, a fine sipper.

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Photo of DarbyOGill
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours just like regular Breakfast Stout, jet black with one finger of brown head.

S: A nose of coffee, alcohol, soy sauce, and roasted malts.

T: Wow, it is like Breakfast Stout on steroids. Starts with a strong, bitter flavor of coffee followed by a nice chocolate taste. Almost like a mocha coffee. After the strong coffee and chocolate it gets boozy but nicely accompanied by roasted malt. I also get a tinge of oak which balanced out the alcohol flavor very nice. Very nice alcohol and oaky aftertaste. I didn't get the soy saucy taste I usually get with most stouts, which was a little surprising since I picked some up from the smell.

O: This is the finest stout I have ever had and if I ever see it on the shelves again I will surely pick up some more.

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Photo of DannyS
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in trade with Kirok1999. Poured from the Iconic stubby screwtop bottle into a pint glass.

A - Motor oil inky black with a bare tint of chocolate brown. Almost no head, but leaves faint legs like a wine or whiskey.

S - Lots of rich roasted coffee and chocolate, with a shade of sweet vanilla and bourbon. Heady, aromatic, and lovely.

T - Bitter burnt coffee and chocolate flood the palate, backed up by the heady, floral vanilla and the slightly sweet, slightly boozy bourbon. Finishes with faint hop/coffee bitterness, but otherwise clean.

M - Heavy and smooth, almost oily, with mild carbonation adding a bit of levity to the viscous, chewy mouthfeel. Elegance, thy name is KBS.

D - Definitely a sipper due to its ABV and weight, but the booze is well hidden and actually adds to the experience via the bourbon flavor. Excellent for casual sipping and surprisingly not too hefty in the gut.

overall - A definite winner. It's sharp, bitter chocolate and coffee contrast oh so well with the sweet, heady, smooth vanilla and bourbon. The notes are simple, but so well executed. A joy to drink.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,809 ratings.