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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10,383 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,383
Reviews: 2,858
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 4,134
Gots: 4,653 | FT: 374
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: 10,383 | Reviews: 2,858
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.45/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow! This beer is worth all the hype. Amazing stout! It was very enjoyable.

Poured into a chalice. Pours very dark black and a very thin brown head.

Smells very boozy with coffee and bourbon notes.

Taste is wonderful! This beer is very good. Alot going on with this one! Coffee and roasty flavors followed by slight alcohol burn mixed with the bourbon and oak which balance well with each other! This is the best barrel aged beer i have ever tried. The vanilla taste comes out in the beer in the aftertaste with a bit of boozy taste, but it is not overwhelming at any time! It is done well.

Mouthfeel just adds to this beers appeal! The mouthfeel wonderful. It is like a thick silk on your toungue with flavours that coat your mouth making you want another sip.

The drinkabllity is right where it should be for a beer of this class. After i drank this beer i wanted another, even though i know that one was plenty! At almost 12% this beer goes down easy. I enjoy sipping and savouring the beer, but i really want to drink several in one sitting. If you in joy stout u owe it to yourself to get this beer!!!

Photo of angelmonster
3.87/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer in trade with SonicDescent

Pours a thin 1 finger chocolate head. Body is pitch black and no light is seen through the beer. Head retention was barely above average and lacing was a little better.

Smell is similar to Breakfast Stout, lots of bitter chocolate and coffee. Smells very sweet like Bourbon County Stout, has that soy sauce aroma mixed with some alcohol. As beer warms up the oak from the barrel comes out nicely.

First taste I'm getting is definitely alcohol, but not really bourbon. This is more like just raw alcohol, maybe vodka. Not getting the vanilla flavor that I love from Bourbon. Bitterness is definitely coming through in this beer also. As the beer warms up the oak is more pronounced. Heat and warming sensation from the alcohol is very present. Unlike Breakfast Stout, the chocolate and coffee flavors are less present, they really take backseat to alcohol, oak and bitter after taste.

Carbonation of the beer is good, not under carbonated by any means. Body is similar to Breakfast Stout, not as rich as I would have hoped and the head was gone pretty fast.

This beer is definitely a sipper. Not very session able but a few of these would go a long way. The barrel aging was apparent, which was nice. Only wish that the alcohol was dialed down a bit. Cant say I agree with the ranking of this beer on best of BA but still a great stout

Photo of Crittervision
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fack it. Best beer to share. So good. Coffee-y bourbony. Damn. Lacing slowly falls from the top to the 7/8 area of the glass. So goddamned good. A+s throughougt.
Sooo good. To the no I won't do it. Too damn good. Luckily I have a lot left. My favorite I've tasted but i know I'm gonna love CBS since I looove maple syrup.

Photo of jdklks
4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an absolutely gorgeously thick pitch black with a nice little brown head. smells amazing. bourbon, coffee beans, chocolate, vanilla, etc.

this one is big. heavy alcohol in the nose. chocolate/bourbon sweetness up front. alcohol burn on the backside of the tongue and going down. a bitter roastiness throughout, that retains only a hint of the coffee bean flavor suggested by the smell (seemingly due to the bourbon taking over the coffee flavors). a nice dark chocolate flavor accompanies the bourbon, making this a great dessert beer. absolutely destroys regular breakfast stout. it tastes (and smells) like a mix between bourbon county stout and black butte XXI, for those of you who are familiar with those two beers.

it may be slightly over-carbonated, but it has the "motor oil" thickness so essential to the mouthfeel of great imperial stouts. drinkability is hindered by the on-the-verge-of-overwhelming alcohol presence.

Photo of Tetano
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful is all I can say. Dark with a thin brown head, and a swirling middle in which small bubbles of flavor rose up from the depths.

S-Earthy malty goodness with a fine hint of Espresso and woody sweetness I assume is from the aging process.

T-Taste was complex. You can definitely taste the espresso and the oatmeal backbone which holds up well with the heat of the alcohol. The sweetness of the bourbon comes through. This beer is to savored like a finely cooked steak and should be sipped slowly allowing all the favors to cross your palette.

M-The carbonation is there even though its lost in the initial blackness. This beer is thick like a good cup of Joe. It coats the tongue nicely and stays in the mouth allowing you to get through all the levels of flavor.

D - This is one beer session my friends, any more than one is a waste. Hey take your time with this one is all I can say. So I lowered the score on drink ability. You will not crack this one open after mowing a lawn, but if you definitely like to end the day on a high note this one will do.

Photo of MasterSki
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #350 - finally getting around to reviewing this classic brew. Picked up a ton of the '09 vintage at the release party. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - One finger of dark tan/mocha foam that slowly dissipates to a solid cap and ring and leaves a pretty solid lace. Pitch black brew, with no light anywhere to be found. The only thing lacking is head volume, which is forgivable for a 11.2% brew.

S - Intense smell of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and roasted malts. Strongly reminds me of a Coffee Crisp chocolate bar soaked in whiskey, which is a great thing as I love both of those things. As it warms up there are more subtle notes of wood and hazelnuts. It's just a wonderfully balanced and well-integrated combination of flavors.

T - The taste is terrific, but not quite as rich as the smell. Very strong onset of chocolate and vanilla flavors, before transitioning into light whiskey and a strong roasty bitterness that lingers well into the aftertaste. Never tastes particularly hot or over-the-top.

M - Very low carbonation, super creamy and soft in texture, with a mediuum-thick body. Leaves behind lots of residual stickiness that complements the roasty aftertaste. There's a nice bit of warming that happens after a while.

D - This is one of the few high ABV barrel-aged stouts where I want more than a single 12oz bottle. The lovely sweet flavors keep the booziness from getting out of hand and the wonderful texture makes it something I just can't stop sipping.

It's exceptional that a beer that is pretty readily available (at least during March) maintains such a high level of quality. One of the few stouts in the top 100 that isn't overrated.

Photo of steadydose
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Twist of 12 oz. bottle acquired in a trade

Bottle opened with a hiss, initial smell is fantastic.

KBS is thick with a heavy body. Dark Black, a little foam that looks like a dark brown froth, poured into my tulip glass.

The smell is fantastic, lots of chocolate, roasted coffee, a hint of bourbon which all come together nicely.

I taste a really good chocolate stout, good bitterness on the finish, the bourbon is well integrated, not boozy. I personally like a little more bourbon heat. KBS is so balanced where all the flavors meld well together, and no flavor profile is too dominating.

The mouthfeel is excellent, thick and creamy mouthfeel with the perfect amount of carbonation. My favorite aspect of this beer.

Overall, for a stout coming in at 11.2%, this stout is as drinkable and delicious as I have ever had. Glad to have another bottle, going to need to trade for some more and stock up for winter.

Photo of washburnkid
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotta love trading!!

KBS is black with a tan head. Very little retention or lacing. Aromas are all vanilla and bourbon. They are heavy but most definitely inviting. Despite being hot (this is the most recent release and it's still very strong on the alcohol), the flavors are smooth, going down like a fine bourbon should. Vanilla, spice, and a bit of coffee bean. That is all, but that's not to say there isn't complexity. Everything here is so finely layered, while also pulling together to effectively create a delicious imperial stout that demands to be sipped on for dessert! Big body and low carbonation. I look forward to trying this again after a year or two. Age will do this beer some good.

Photo of bbeane
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized wine glass. No head. Looks like oil when you pour it. Black in color... no light can be seen through it when held up to one

S- Strong bourbon smell with some coffee overtones and maybe a slight hint of vanilla

T- Can taste the bourbon the whole way through. Where it lacks the vanilla in smell, it makes up in taste. Can definately taste the vanilla mixed in with with the heavy bourbon and mild coffee overtones

M- Pretty smooth tasting... no carbonation. Definately leaves a bourbon flavor in your mouth as well as throat after the swallow

D- Very tasty... I would drink more. Could definately see the alcohol catching up with you


Photo of projectflam86
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at a special tasting.

A- Pours a deep black color with a thin mocha head that leaves some mild lacing.

S- Huge aroma of roasted malt and bourbon. Vanilla bean and oak scents blast through and can be smelled even across the room!

T- Big rush of bourbon initially which mellows into a combination of vanilla, oak, and bittersweet chocolate flavors. Roasted malt and coffee in the finish. The bourbon and alcohol are both apparent but not bothersome.

M- Big and full bodied. Low carbonation with a lingering roasted/vanilla bourbon aftertaste.

D- Overall a huge brew with a nice bourbon flavor that wasn't over done.

Photo of zminor
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally sitting down to review this. Got my first bottle in a trade several months ago (thanks duffman!) and immediately fell in love. Thats the short review. Longer version below.

Appearance is gorgeous, but certainly nothing too groundbreaking for a stout. Dark, thick, with a wonderful light colored espresso head that sticks around for a while. Excellent lacing and retention.

Smell is a nice blend of bourbon, coffee, vanilla, and milk chocolate. There isn't one element that really smacks you in the face, but the subtlety sends my heart aflutter.

Taste begins with a hint of chocolate, followed by vanilla and coffee with a beautiful wave of bourbon underneath it all. The bourbon doesn't make it too hot as happens with other stouts, but rather elevates the flavors to another level. Spectacular.

This is a creamy, rich beer that is way too easy to drink. 12 oz is the perfect size for a beer like this. If I had to pick one stout to drink for the rest of my days, I think this would be it.

Photo of drgonzo3705
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep black beautiful looking beer with little head that dwindles to a tiny ring around the edge. Not much lacing going on.

S: Big coffee nose with a nice oaky undertone and a splash of bourbon.

T: Nice bitter chocolate and coffee up front. Some oak and bourbon rides smoothly underneath.
M: Full bodied and just chewy enough. Good carbonation. Leaves a nice stout coating in your mouth.

D: Not too bad at all definitely a sipper but so worth having.

Photo of adamette
4.6/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle that I got as a $21.99 four pack from Warehouse Beverage on Mayfield Road in Cleveland. It was not on display. I chatted up the guy working the desk and asked him if there was any "Beer Advocate" beers that he had. He showed me these and I was sold. This is certainly the "KBS" vintage version. Poured into my Murphy's Irish Red pint glass.

A Actually medium to dark brown 1.0 cm head over an ink black body that looks awesome. The head dissipated within a minute or two, though.

S You know, the most prominent smell is a cereal like grain along with the dark malt. I think that it is from the Bourbon aging process. Really interesting, inviting.

T ohhhh wwwowww! What a taste explosion! The first sensation I get is a really great, mature Stout with deep, dark malt and chocolate notes. Then comes a wave of bourbon like alcohol that rushes in and then ebbs out and leaves me with a great aftertaste of a finely crafted stout. I have no doubt why this is no highly rated now that I have tasted it. Incredible.

M Thick, syrupy, with a bite of alcohol and yet smooth at the beginning and during the long finish but the middle is like a thunderclap of alcohol. One of the "biggest" beers that I have ever had mouthfeel wise. For the style, that is a plus in my book.

D You know, I thought it wasn't that good (it is such a huuuge beer) but I found myself reaching for it over and over until it was gone. I am upgrading my rating!

Notes: What a great experience. I am glad that I spoke with the guy at Warehouse Beverage to score this one.

Photo of gabrielsyme
4.45/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Most recent vintage, a.k.a. 'KBS.' Served in my Bell's tulip glass.

Pours ominously dark, like a strong cup o' joe, with only a sliver of brown lacing. On the lips, it is surprisingly silky, almost oily, not nearly as thick as the color would have you believe. Taste is - wow, starting sweet, maybe with some alcohol hotness, then turning into dark chocolate, bitterness coming out, espresso flavors in the finish. Based on the smoothness of the mouthfeel and the flavors that remain interesting throughout, it is highly drinkable, though the alcohol will catch up to you.

I don't know if it's worth the hype necessarily, but it's a good beer.

Photo of baggio
4.07/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


A: Pitch black with a small beige head.

S: Roasted grain, Coffee, Bourbon, Vanilla.

T: Chocolate, Espresso, Bourbon, Grain, Dark caramel.

M: Very smooth with low carbonation. Body is a bit thin.

A great stout that lacks a bit in body and malt to be world class. Still very good and well worth a try!

Photo of mikey711
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I split a bottle with two of my friends last night. I had my friends write down there some notes for the review the most appropriate being "if God is female then Jesus undoubtedly was breast fed KBS 17 times a day".

Regardless KBS is a great beer. Viscous black with good lacing. Lotsvanilla caramel coffee and char smell and flavor. It seems like KBS has everything a beer can have. Theres dark chocolate and bourbon notes as well. Incredibly easy to drink for such a big beer. It is still a little hot but overall there is not much to complain about.

Photo of KCHopHead
4.37/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from newer logo'd "KBS" 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium Snifter. Unfortunately, I did not have this for breakfast because that would've been perfect.

A - Dark dark stout that shows a tan head (like a RIS). The top showed pockets of head like a belgian yeast typically produces. Great lacing on this guy.

S - Simple, wood and alcohol. Roasted malts and coffee could be picked up beyond.

T - Gets dinged a little because of the sharp alcohol burn, but a fantastic brew otherwise. Lots of chocolate and roasted malts. Heavy oak flavoring to match the bourbon taste.

M - Heavy, creamy, good carbonation. I do like Imperial Stouts with heavy carbonation to let the flavors dance around like a Dark Lord. This is no Dark Lord however.

D - I really wish this was more than 12 oz. I'd like to taste on a 750 ml all night.

Photo of pepsican
4.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a finger high dark tan head. Very strong coffee ground aroma, a bit of vanilla and toffee. Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, vanilla, and a just a tad bit of bourbon, but that is a stretch even. Amazingly hides the alcohol almost completely. Dry, slightly sweet finish with a little bit of carbonation. Thick and almost chalky, not quite. Very enjoyable.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A: Poured like motor oil with no head. Just little foam bubbles.

S: I get some bourbon but it comes across to me more as a sweet vanilla. I can't get any coffee but I do pick up some chocolate and toffee.

T: Sweet vanilla with a touch of that toffee flavor. Again no coffee, in years past the coffee has been more present if I remember correctly. I'll go back and drink a 2008 soon.

M: Smooth as can be for a beer this big!

D: I love this beer every year and I will drop the $20 a four pack until they don;t make it anymore.

Photo of b3barron
4.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a stemless red wine glass.

This is the first time I have tried the 2009 batch which I believe they have changed the recipe for.

Very balanced with less bourbon than in past years and more chocolate...which is think is attributable to the recipe change. Fresh coffee grounds at first taste and chocolate lingering throughout. Some hops and bourbon on the finish.

This has been a favorite for a while now though I prefer it on draft (also fresher for me) but borderline incredible nonetheless and a must try for fans of big stouts.

Photo of marvin213
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as the dickens, there's basically no head even seconds after the pour. I didn't exactly rush this gem into its container, but only the thinnest layer of tan CO2 bubbles capped her off. Lacing leaves its mark as I swirl the liquid, and traces of carbonation do continue to make their way to the surface--both marks of a well-made beer. This "highly acclaimed" beverage looks the part, and I actually second-guess the label's claim that this stout ale does not provide relief for various ailments.

It's complex and a bit on the cold side, but the KBS doesn't smell quite exceptional like its Yankee Candle-esque, relatively ordinary counterpart. I do smell the sweet bourbon--oh-so-sweet bourbon. It gives it a sweet, stout aroma--not like the buttery, creamy variety characteristic of milk stouts, but a unique, bourbony one. It's not overwhelming like whiffing a freshly opened Jim Beam handle, and it's not subtle as if I'm doubting its presence. The only thing missing pre-taste is a foamier cap that might take both ratings to "exceptional status."

The taste is neat and eerily refreshing. Forced to choose sides, I'd say the bourbon is more on the subtle side of taste. Initially doubtful about the "stout ale" style, I now think it's aptly categorized. It's got drinkable qualities reminiscent of ales, but with the heartiness of a stout. Essentially everything about this beer is so well done. I can even appreciate the oak--despite the potentially overpowering stout and bourbon components, the oakiness leaves its mark. It gives the beer a tannin-like quality with post-swallow residuals.

I'm wading into mouthfeel territory now, and it's difficult to separate the two. The beer's complexity gives rise to a tasting experience in which I taste a bourbon stout while I feel an oaky ale. I've yet to perfectly rate a beer, and perhaps it's ridiculous obstinance at this point. Still, as I enjoy this cold beer that I poured (gently) into my Flying Dog pint glass, I wonder if only serving style is what's holding this back. Next time, I'll serve it slightly warmer, in a snifter. Ah, next time....

Photo of spointon
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this fine example of a stout-ale from a wee-but-corpulent 12oz brown bottle into a stemmed globe-style glass bearing the strange image of a red bicycle with bulbous tyres.

A= This ale poured as dark as pitch with a shy, elusive head that showed its tawny face and retreated immediately into the murky depths, leaving behind nothing but an uneven skim. Of lace, there was just a few spotty deposits hither and yon on my glass, but nothing to excite even the most easily aroused.

S= I found this stout to be odiferous in the most pleasant sense, with subtle notes of wood, whiskey-spirits, and dark ripened fruit dancing a gavotte behind the larger characteristics of coffee, fire-roasted malts, and alcohol.

T= Startled from their reverie, my tastebuds received immense flavor and pleasure from the first sip of this potent elixir. Dark roasted grains bestow a delicious espresso and bitter chocolate character, made only more sublime by their subtelty and balance against the other contributing flavors of treacle, toffee, and dark cherries. The conclusion of each sip brought out exquisite bits of vanilla, wood, leather, and a beautiful warming alcohol.

MF= Shockingly average body that started off well carbonated but lost a good bit of that to the atmosphere in short order. This felt creamy and smooth despite the roasty bitterness and carbonation.

D= No matter what the epic nature of this fine ale's ABV caused me to believe, the flavors and aroma combined to endear it to me forever. I would gladly give whatever the bar-maid asked to have another glimpse of this in my glass and dare I say I would do so multiple times of an evening. Highly recommended...huzzah!

Photo of Plenum
4.23/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one dark brew. There's not a bit of light making it through here. Some lacing left at the end, but a thinner beer than I thought it would be.

The smell is definitely that of bourbon...lots of it. Can taste the coffee and hints of chocolate. Bourbon lovers will definitely take to this beer.

Good mouthfeel, good drinkability. An excellent example of the style. Glad I have another 5 backed up in the cellar...will be nice to see how these age.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with xpimptastikx (great trader by the way).
Poured into a snifter.

A- Blackest of the black. No light can make it past this beer's gravitational pull. A small brown head arrives late and leaves early leaving only a wisp of itself on top and a little lacing.

S- Swirling the glass brings out the charred wood and vanilla that's hiding under the strong aroma of coffee. This is delicious. Founder's should put out candles scented with KBS.

T- There's even more going on here than there is in the nose. I'll do my best to figure it out... Chocolate and coffee are big. The bourbon is toward the finish, right before more coffee, but it isnt overpowering at all. In fact none of the flavors here overpower any of the others, rather they all compliment each other nicely.
Bitterness is akin to a cup of black coffee.

M- Thinner than I thought based on looks. Hardly any carbonation. This is just silky smooth, helped along by some milk sugaryness.

D- This is pretty rich, like a piece of fudge or some chocolate pie. Its very nice, a damn good sipper. Kick back and celebrate an awesome ale.


Photo of akorsak
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hot damn! Served on tap at the brewery. Like a dream come true.

A: The stout is black with a tan head. Dark and absorbing. Great to look at.

S: The nose is heavy with coffee. Bourbon and lactose follow with a pronounced sweetness. But the coffee? Oh how wonderful.

T: Each sip is a treat. Coffee and chocolate are dominating, follwed by a mild sweet bourbon flavor. Lactose lends a milky smoothness. There is just far too much going on to truly appreciate how awesome the ale is. I liked the maple ale but this one takes the cake.

M: I rated the bottle version of this perfect on all aspects. The mouthfeel really lives up to that original rating. I'd let it sit on my palate for hours.

D: Just friggin' awesome. Thank you, Founders, for making this.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,383 ratings.