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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

9,108 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,108
Reviews: 2,545
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 3,590
Gots: 3,363 | FT: 243
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,108 | Reviews: 2,545 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of metter98
4.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured out of the bottle with little carbonation, almost resembling the viscosity of motor oil.
S: There's an intense aroma of bourbon intermixed with notes of coffee and vanilla.
T: Bourbon flavors really stand out in the initial taste, but they are nicely balanced with the hints of coffee and vanilla. The bourbon flavors are strong, but not overpowering. The taste and balance improves as it warms up and the coffee flavors begin to come through a little more.
M: It has a medium-bodied feel on the palate and the alcohol is very well hidden, but detectable in the finish with some warming sensations.
D: This is a beer to sip to appreciate all of the flavors come through as it warms up.

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a bubbly tan head that leaves tracks of lacing around the glass

Smell: Wow! Bourbon and coffee dominate the nose with chocolate shavings underneath

Taste: Starts with a smooth Bourbon-influenced chocolate flavor; after the swallow, the Bourbon arises and meets the coffee tones, imparting a mellow flavor; the finish is relatively sweet but that bitter coffee flavor persists to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth; not as thick as I expected and there is very little carbonation despite the foamy head

Drinkability: This is a wonderful stout to contemplate as an after dinner sipper

Photo of BEERchitect
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

KBS is as complete of an assault on the tastebuds, as much so as any beer I've had. In many ways, the complexity of roast, espresso, malted milk, and cocoa-rich chocolates is overwhelming, but in others it's beautiful in its simplicity.

The beer opens with a creamy and viscous pour. A mousse-like head forms on at the top of the glass as the opaque black beer settles and cascades while the foam rises. The head reliquishes some over the 11.2% abv. Only nitro-infused beers look better.

Extremely bold aromas of espresso, cocoa beans, and roasted barley take hold of the nose. But their intensity is unmistakable. Strong alcohol scent rises as the beer warms and stimulates the olfactory senses. Simple yet pure.

Flavors take over where the aroma ends. Extreme flavors of espresso, cocoa, and roasted barley set the tone. Malt sweetness takes a far backseat while fully attenuated malt flavor gives just enough of a foundation to support the robust complementary flavors. A subtle grassy, piney hop flavor begins to rise after I become acclimated to the cocoa-coffee attack. Esters and phenolic spice are also left behind, not to muddle the pure Stout flavors. Again, the alcohol flavors are evident and gives a bit more complexity to the taste.

The mouthfeel is stupid-crazy. Creamy, rich, and round while also smooth, velvety, and somewhat powdery. Bitterness arrives from a lot of angles: hops, espersso, cocoa, and alcohol. Never cloying, the beer has attenuated extremely well for a malty-rich texture and no residual sweetness left to the mouth.

Interestingly, this whole review has gone without the mention of the bourbon barrel aging. The barrels have taken the rough edges off of the base beer, as oak aging usually does, but the direct bourbon influence is not that apparent. The added alcohol adds a hint of cherry flavored alcohol (maybe a bit of cough syrup) and only a hint of boozy bourbons. Too light on the caramels, vanillans, and simple oak flavor to mention above the intensity of coffee and cocoa.

The beer is complex in its sheer proportions of relatively few dominant flavors, yet simple in its intent. Coffee- Cocoa- Malt- Hops. And it succeeds at every faucet. It has earned its way onto the worlds greatest beers and rightfully so.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy from CBA and Moejuck: Poured a deep black color stout with a small foamy head with limited retention but some lacing. Aroma of coffee and vanilla is well balance and even more so then the regular version. Taste was a nice and well balance mix between some coffee, vanilla and light bourbon. The alcohol was hidden and didn’t overpower the beer, coffee was well balance as oppose to the regular version and body was oily with a full texture. I have to admit to being quite impressed with this after having been totally disappointed by the regular version.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Rare opportunity for me in the southeast to have this one. I had about a shot glass if it once before.

A: thin off white head with excellent lacing on a jet black body. A little more head and it would be perfect. May be pour related and do to the fact it is on draft

S: aroma is dominated by milk and dark chocolate and oak with vanilla, bourbon and dark fruit notes. I was sitting under a fan and yet the the aroma stayed full on the nose.

T: I had this one cold then let it warm up to are how it changes. The bourbon dominated when cold. As it warmed I got more chocolate, oak and vanilla. I must say I want more coffee which was more in the after taste. Last years seemed to have more coffee.

M: thick body but doesn't overly coat the palate, smooth with moderate carbonation. Carbonated a bit more than I wanted for the style to make it perfect but damn close.

Overall: I have tried many great beers and this one is at the top of that list. Best thing about it honestly is that it lives up to the hype which for a beer this highly rated is difficult to do. My biggest knock was not enough coffee to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is dangerously hidden

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Complete... utter... total... Stygian black. Despite a big blast of July sunshine behind the glass, there's no hint of lightening at the edges. I think I said the same about Founders Imperial Stout, but I don't know that I've ever seen a darker dollop of foam. The head is 'coffee with a small splash of cream' brown and is incredibly thick and rich. There's even a huge amount of lace for such a high-ABV ale.

Every ingredient that's said to be present is easily noted in the nose. I'm a little disappointed that coffee is in the foreground and bourbon is in the background. I wanted 'Kentucky' to be emphasized more than 'Breakfast'. That said, this is still an incredible aroma. It smells like a prodigious amount of roasted and black malt has been used, complemented nicely by espresso, vanilla and bourbon whiskey.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is delicous beer. My first few mouthfuls tell me that it doesn't live up to my (probably unrealistic) expectations, but that's the last time in this review that I'll be anything other than positive. I know one thing, I'll buy every bottle that I can get my hands on each and every year.

The flavor profile consists of a monolithic maltiness that is Stonehenge-like in size. Think dark chocolate fudge cake flecked with pulverized coffee beans and swimming in dark caramel and molasses sauce. Of the accessory flavors, vanilla is the most prominent, followed by a burnt sugar, bourbon barrel character that, again, should be more up front. As a bourbon whiskey lover, I wish my favorite liquor saturated every sip.

The most amazing thing about KBS is how completely the alcohol is buried. Other than the beginnings of tongue numbing as I reach the halfway point of the bottle, I have a hard time picking it out. Maybe that because it tastes like bourbon rather than like ethanol. In any case, there's no need to age this beer since there's no alcoholic heat whatsoever. Of course, I'm drinking it almost four months after its release.

I'm tempted to bump the flavor score as the beer warms, but can't quite do it. For all the reasons stated above, I can imagine a better KBS, so this one will have to settle for a less than perfect flavor score. The mouthfeel is luxurious. It's medium-full with a heavy silkiness that promotes gulping rather than sipping. I could get into trouble in a big hurry with this beer.

I don't believe there's a brewery in existence that can match Founders when it comes to big stouts. Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, and now Kentucky Breakfast Stout are three of the most incredible beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Never has twelve ounces seemed so much like six. Good thing I have three more bottles to go.

Photo of jaydoc
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.9/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well at long last here it is. The fabled and much adorned Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I was finally able to get my hands on this one, and did not waste anytime in getting my review up here. This was one mean beer, I have to say. This one hurt me, mostly because I did not know it was. Poured a very deep dark black, thick like a shake and a full two finger head of caramel brown foam at the top. Nice gradual settle down left behind some very nice side glass lace. The smell was wonderful, full of sweet caramel and lactose sugar with a rich coffee and chocolate undertone, simply to die for as for as RIS’s go. The taste was so complex and diverse, I did not know what I was trying, this one was nuts to say the least. Full on assault of sweet caramel and chocolate from the very start, as this mellowed some very nice coffee tones. Very full, rich, and robust profile. This was one not to take lightly. The feel was like a dessert shake. Such a warming feeling, with really no hint of alcohol at all. Overall I would have to say this definitely lived up to its hype. It was a fantastic offering and easily one of the best RIS I have ever had. It fully deserves its reputation and its rating on here. A truly top notch beer that everyone should have to try at least once, definitely and whole hearted recommendation from the BA.

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

Review #200 comes courtesy of imperialking. Jeff was kind enough to hook it up with two bottles of KBS...as extras!

A: KBS has that wonderful motor oil like pour with a thin layer of mocha colored foam.

S: While I'm not much of a coffee fan, the coffee aroma in this beer is amazing. There are also great chocolate, roasted malt, and ever so slight bourbon scents.

T: Talk about flavor! There are huge coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and bourbon flavors in this. The alcohol is definitely there, but it's not quite as boozy as I was preparing for.

M: This is a great thick, chewy, creamy beer.

D: The drinkability is surprisingly good for such a strong beer. The beer is not "hot", and the flavors are absolutely sensational. I'm glad that I have another one of these to enjoy.

Photo of Knapp85
4.66/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Managed to score a few bottles of this at Abe's Cold Beer when they got in a very limited supply of them. The sale price wasn't too bad for this beer surprisingly enough.

The beer itself pours out as a really nice black stout. The head does vanish pretty quickly. The aromas of coffee come first than the bourbon and vanilla come trough later. The taste is powerful. It's got to be sipped over a set period of time, don't waste this and drink it fast. Sit back and enjoy it. I also felt that this beer was a little thinner than I expected which was a bit of a bummer. I have one bottle of this left and I'm gonna age it for just a bit before I crack it open. Just want to see if anything changes in it.

Just opened a bottle of this that I bought in June 2010 and split it with a friend. I found this to be even better now after some time has passed. The smell and taste of the beer is much better overall I think. Just a great beer for sure.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.78/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a viscous-looking black body with a small, short-lived tan head.

Smell: Heavy aroma hits with strong notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla beans, fine pipe tobacco, charred wood, and a smooth, well-aged bourbon.

Taste: Ah, the hearty, robust taste of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and strong vanilla-flavored coffee hit you immediately. A ripple of dark caramel follows. Distinct, yet subtle bourbon flavor with tastes of wood and dark brown sugar. Hint of dark fruit. Just a perfect amount of subdued sugary sweetness. Dash of coarse ground black pepper. Perhaps some mild hops along the way upon warming. Sweetish bourbon, roasty taste on the slightly warming finish. A lingering woody bourbon aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Pleasingly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Remarkably drinkable for being such a powerhouse of a beer. This beer is SO GOOD that it can be hard not to just go on and on about how awesome it is.

Photo of oberon
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Man was I glad to get my hands on some of this,pours a opaque black with a quick to form mocha colored head that was gone quite fast,oh the aromas the bourban barrel shows thru with its oaky,vanilla tones that match perfectly with the highly roasted somewhat dry earthiness and bitter chocolate notes of the beer its a 5 no doubt.Flavors all come together in near perfection the oakiness is more subdued on the palate wich is nice I dont like overpowering wood flavors like some beers aged in wood have,anyways the complexities are immense vanilla,unsweetened chocolate ,roasty malt,earth,and even a light note of malted milk.What can I say its awesome Iam gonna savor the 8 I have for sure.

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

Appearance - Impenetrable black with a thin coffee-colored head.

Smell - Intense coffee and bourbon stings the nostrils. Java-chocolate brownie. Not much complexity here, but that's not a bad thing.

Taste - Coffee, double chocolate brownie, burnt bread and a hint of vanilla. Very dry. Boozy bourbon clings to the roof of the mouth while a sharp, drying bitterness consumes the palate in the finish. This is pretty hot, boozy stuff - the alcohol doesn't hide itself much.

Mouthfeel - Dry and medium-to-full in body, certainly not the fullest imperial stout I've tried, but very rich in flavor.

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Some days, when it's only 7º outside, you need a stout of this fortitude, there's just no substitute.

Black oily pour into an Arcadia glass. Mocha tinged foam sticks around for a minute, then retreats to the edges. Served around 50-55º, don't drink this straight from the fridge, it will mute some of the smell and taste.

Special aroma of dense fudgy chocolate, and woody vanilla traces from the barrel. A little bit of ashy char is there too, though not over the top. Flavors deliver on what the nose hints at, rich chocolate, minor coffee undertone, vanilla, oak, and trace heat from the 10%. Over time it really develops and builds, a long finish connects between each flavor-packed sip. Some light bitterness that is identical to unsweetened chocolate is there, and lingers in the finish.

Incredibly smooth (oats?), not heavy or syrupy, yet it's a sipper. Perfect to sit and contemplate without weighing you down. There's a reason it's ranked so high...it's a very balanced imperial stout, possibly the most balanced i've ever had.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours the way a big, bold stout ought to: deep pitch black (or is pitch "KBS-black"?) with a quarter-finger of burnt sienna head that dissipates into a flat cloud lingering on the surface. A slight bit of sudsily-ringed lacing is left behind. The nose has a seemingly unhealthy amount of wood in it, almost as much as a small forest. There's also some bourbon, maple syrup, molasses, dark roast coffee, and charcoal smoke, making this one of the darkest-smelling brews I have ever had. That said, the coffee, wood, and bourbon o'erwhelm the other notes a bit, leaving me an iota unfulfilled. The taste marks a second manifestation of the nose: heavy wood notes, bourbon, molasses, vanilla, smoke, nutmeg, dark roast coffee, toffee, and a hint of chunky peanut butter. This is a fair improvement on the nose, and leaves very little to be desired. The body is indeed pretty hefty, but not too much so. The low carbonation, thick chewiness, and spitefully smooth feel all lead to a high drinkability, though this brew is clearly not a gulper; rather a highly enjoyable deep-sipper. Definitely lives up to the hype!

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

a huge thanks to drlovemd87 for making this a reality. he is a gentleman and a classy BA. the holy grail here, it pours a chocolate brown color, dense and creamy looking, with an inch or so of espresso colored head that doesn't budge. the nose is awesomely coffee heavy. not acidic, but bright and mellow at the same time. some mild dark chocolate notes, a ton of roast, but not bitter at all. the flavor really features this coffee, somehow with a neutral ph. the ultra roasted barley gives an almost smoky flavor, while the chocolate stays in the background. I am most blown away how I taste no alcohol at all in this beer. the founders imperial is hotly alcoholic, in this beer, its totally hidden, even though its stronger. some bourbon hints with char and vanilla come through, but this beer isn't sweet at all. not teeth coating, not heavy. its remarkable how drinkable it really is. the coffee feature is as good as it gets, almost weirdly refreshing, like an iced coffee. the depth and complexity of this fine ale is second to none, and the perfection of its craftsmanship is mind boggling. I cant remember a beer so highly hyped that delivers as well as this gem does, save pliny the younger. its that good. thanks again to drlovemd87, youre a bloody legend mate!

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of zeff80
4.45/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 version into a goblet

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one finger, bubbly, caramel-colored head of foam. It left thin rings of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and bourbon. These three aromas were all very balanced, none overpowered the others. There were very mild notes of vanilla and toffee.

T - Some boozy, bourbon flavors with dark roasted coffee flavors. Nice chocolate, caramel and toffee flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer with some warm alcohol heat.

D - First of all, it's delicious and fairly easy drinking considering its potency.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Put on the spot to order a beer quickly, a quick gander at the cooler revealed a beer I'd never had before with a label that read KBS. OK, I'll have that. DOH!!! Once delivered to me I realized that it was Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founder's. I'd had it before, but the label was different. So, OK, I was having brunch and coffee and bourbon and stout seemed appropriate, and this is a beer that can stand up to (actually dominate over) a spicy mushroom enchilada. What I was not prepared for was the price... $12!!! Damn, if only I'd known.

Anyway, I'm sure there are a million reviews for this out there, so I'll keep it simple. I prefer the Breakfast Stout. I think that the Bourbon just adds a bit too much to the mix, and it clearly increases the perception of alcohol, whether there's more there or not. It also cuts down on the really nice coffee flavor that the standard Breakfast Stout has, and I think, the malt flavors as well.

What's nice about the Breakfast Stout is that it's really complex, but that's kind of lost in the KBS because the Bourbon characteristic cuts through a lot of it (at least at the end of the glass).

So although this is not a beer I'd throw out of bed (you know what I mean), it's just not quite as good as the beer that spawned it.

Oh, and I kind of have to ding it for points on the appearance as the head drops immediately, and it leaves little lacing.

Cheers!

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,108 ratings.