Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company
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Ratings: 8,419 | Reviews: 2,505 | Display Reviews Only:
4.38/5 rDev -5.4%
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!
03-17-2010 19:54:07 | More by TMoney2591
4.43/5 rDev -4.3%
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.
02-12-2008 01:18:43 | More by emerge077
4.45/5 rDev -3.9%
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.
03-24-2010 22:02:07 | More by zeff80
4.5/5 rDev -2.8%
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.
03-20-2008 23:50:22 | More by largadeer
3.98/5 rDev -14%
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.
04-20-2009 22:59:29 | More by NeroFiddled
4.5/5 rDev -2.8%
Thanks to Brewandbbq for an '08 bottle sent to me quite some time ago. The '09 I sampled directly afterwards is compliments of me.
For sh*ts and giggles sake, we're going to keep up with the tasting of ridonculous beers today. We did the Westys, now let's do the KBS.
Pours totally black with a thin tan head. Nose is whiskey, yes. Vanilla and boozy tones. Flavor is whiskey tones. Heavily influenced by the barrels, yes. I want to say I feel like it is interfering with the original Breakfast Stouts character. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is slightly lower. This is nice and I certainly don't dislike it, but like I was saying: why mess with a damn good recipe?
For comparisons sake, I found the younger bottle of KBS much less "Kentucky" than Breakfast Stout.
04-11-2009 23:53:57 | More by RblWthACoz
4.33/5 rDev -6.5%
Acquired from both plaztikjezuz and jpm30 in concurrent trades, so a big Thank You goes out to them. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.
A: The beer is a deep black color, with a very thin brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is of roasted coffee, vanilla, creamy chocolate, oats and dark malts.
T: The taste is very malty with strong roasted flavors of coffee, vanilla and chocolate as you would expect. There's a significant alcohol sting and a mild hops presence, but there's also a nice balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.
M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.
D: Tasty, goes down easily for a beer with 10.00% ABV, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is one of those good big stouts that is worth drinking for a while until the ABV catches up to you.
04-03-2008 04:05:51 | More by TheManiacalOne
4.6/5 rDev -0.6%
Appears pitch black in color not a spectrum of visible light passes through this glass. Head was thick after a vigorous pour but did not hold up very well, due to the barrel aging and high alcohol. Lace does patch rather well with sporadic chunky style lace patterns.
Aroma has a black patent malt that is unrelenting with massive whiskey barrel approaches going on. Vanilla, oak, charred wood, and dark chocolate with a milky softness going on, it's quite incredible the array of flavors this beer hits you with. Whiskey finesses it's way in there with loads of fusel alcohol snaring the nasal passages.
Flavor a wonderful collision of imperial breakfast aka chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal stout aged on whiskey barrels. I can't wait to taste the Canadian Breakfast Stout due to be on tap at Fathead's soon. Pure flavor with charred oak, milk chocolate, and bitter coffee roasts coming together I'm sure there's a ton of hops if the IBUs weigh in at 70, but it's hard to detect with everything going on here. Great stuff.
Mouthfeel is velvety smooth yet viscous in girth if that makes sense. It has the gravity but doesn't weight you down, a bit of alcohol burn does take your senses on but it's really well hidden at the end of the day.
Drinkability is fantastic one of those beers that you buy a four pack and sit on it every 4 months just to enjoy it. Great tasting Michigan brewed beer that has kicked this style up a notch and created many other folks' inspiration.
07-16-2009 16:23:03 | More by WVbeergeek
4.5/5 rDev -2.8%
On tap @ Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) on 4/22/10. 8 oz of the 2010 edition served in a snifter.
Pours black as midnight in the glass, with a thin covering of reddish & burnt looking mocha colored head. Swirling elicits a huge creamy flare-up that drenches the sides with thick swathes of lace and dark goo. I'm surprised by just how much of the Breakfast Stout is coming through upon first whiff. Roasted coffee and chocolate form a decadent smelling pillar in the nose, which the bourbon and vanilla notes rises up and wrap themselves around. Woody tannins and a touch of floral character lend this a certain degree of gentleness in the nose despite this being such a powerful bouquet.
The taste is very rich up front with crunchy coffee chocolate roast before bourbon and vanilla character just absolutely DRENCHES the back of the throat with warm sweetness. The bourbon does have some sharpness to it but never does quite get stinging (although it is close). It definitely does spread a boozy feel across the palate and in the chest. The tannic notes from the oak has a touch of raw and green feel to it, with the bourbon and wood leaving a lot of deep dryness in it's wake. The mouthfeel is full bodied and rich, with a big creamy feel that fills the mouth up with flavor. I'm getting some of that 11% ABV but most of the alcohol appears to come from the bourbon and stays out of the body for the most part, helping keep this a very steady sipper.
It's hard for me to say if I like this beer fresher, with the coffee and vanilla popping, or if I like it more with some age and all of that bourbon and wood showing itself a little stronger. Makes me wish that I had tried a glass of the 2009 next to it. Always the tough decisions to make on these ridiculous pre-DLD trips to Founders in the wake of the Black Party the weekend before...
05-03-2010 19:56:12 | More by Kegatron
4.88/5 rDev +5.4%
Got this from joe151 in an ongoing trade that hopefully yields him a fraction of the beer happiness I think he's sent my way! Cheers, Joe!
Pours oily black with 2+ fingers of mocha/brown head into my La Chouffe tulip. Superior lacing good head retention
S: Big time bourbon smells, coffee & oak, fades a bit as it warms
T: Kahlua, coffee grounds, vanilla & oakyness up front. Chocolate comes through as this warms, along with mocha, a bit of booze, & vanilla. Finishes a little dry, with coffee, chocolate, & bourbon accents with enough restraint to pull everything together
MF: Very rich, dry, with lively enough carbonation to push the flavor out. Becomes fairly warming half way through & super sticky
Drinkability is through the roof for both the style & ABV. Damn near flawless, yum. This damn near pulled a straight-line five, lucky bastards in Michigan that can hoard this!
05-04-2008 04:46:21 | More by russpowell
4.65/5 rDev +0.4%
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.
08-10-2009 20:30:01 | More by MasterSki
4.45/5 rDev -3.9%
Deepest ebon hue, an impentrable blackness, above which nestles a modest ring of earthy brown, espresso tinges.
Aroma is chocolate first, followed by coffee, then molasses, brown sugar, and licorice.
Taste: Full and thick as it boards the mouth, slipping rich, deliciousness everywhere...this is stoutness of the highest order. Bourbon flavor is here, but feels less sweet than the same stuff straight from the bottle, an impressive blend of flavors. Further in, I can taste the charcoal, even.
So huge, and rich, and very rewarding. Each sip has enough flavor to taste a good 20 minutes, if you're not too thirsty...definitely a sippin' stout! If you don't take your time, you're spoiling a wonderful experience.
I must say, this is a hyperbolic label, but it's all truth in advertising. Gotta wonder how they slip it past the beurocracy, with it's jesting claims of giving relief from all manner of ailments. It is most assuredly "good for everything a stout ought to be good for."
Very nice bedtime brew. Wish I had a case or three to last me a spell.
Way to go, Founders, another impressive ale!
(and thanks to AKSP!)
07-20-2006 08:14:46 | More by feloniousmonk
4.35/5 rDev -6%
2010 release, had to try it, couldn't wait.
Poured into a goblet. Beer is black and appears thick. Forms a thin head of brown bubbles that is diffuse on the surface and quickly breaks. Head leaves some lacing on the glass, carbonation is low.
For being aged in bourbon barrels, I expected a little more booze. Strong sweet, coffee aroma. Booze and bourbon secondary in the nose. Smells good, not as forward with the bourbon as I thought the BCS is in general. Still smells good.
Its not hot, moderate in body, finishes nicely. Sweet up front, not a lot of bitterness in the back, highly drinkable in the palate. Second taste, chocolate, slight, hint of bitter this time in the back, like coffee. Overall an exceptional beer truly.
04-05-2010 05:31:15 | More by drabmuh
4.95/5 rDev +6.9%
I had this on tap at Capone's during the Philly Beer Week promotion.
Served chilled in 5.5oz snifters - I had 3.
A - An onyx shade with a thin cap of medium brown like crema on espresso. The clarity is opaque and the head retention is decent w/ spattering of lace taking hold to the small snifter.
S - At once the full nose has fruity deep plum and aromas of bourbon with vanilla and cocoa odors following closely . the notes of wood follow the dark malt, but no strong roasted aroma, simply a coffee, vanilla, bourbon and chocolate blend that smells slightly of alcohol
M - The feel has the oaky tannin of a bourbon barrel yet smooth coffee oil and cocoa astringency are all downplayed by the full foundation of sturdy stout. The chewiness is moderate as is the carbonation and the dry finish still carries a slight note of alcohol from the bourbon barrel with some hops and spiced notes of cocoa, coffee and vanilla
T - The taste....whoah, the taste! That took me back for a second to fresh KBS I tried after Dark Lord day 2 years ago - a full on chewy chocolate malt and vanilla flavor which submits gradually to a hop like pine spice and coffee note which leads to the element that gives the beer its name -bourbon and oak. The mild yet sweet bourbon is drenched in vanilla creaminess and cocoa flavors which have sweet and roasted edges and tinges of nuttiness from the wood complete the flavor. Like a fudge truffle with its rich full cocoa notes and the bourbon taste is the icing on the proverbial cake with intense pine hoppiness creating a contrast that makes fresh KBS the best stout I have had probably with exception of Canadian breakfast stout. The hop finish is delicious and provides a mild bitter dry finish
D - I consider the KBS experience the top of the pack, the pinnacle if you will, I had three of these and as strong as it is it still seems balanced and not at all like an 11% stout. The barrel is used deftly as an ingredient and adds to the delicious tastes of the stout, coffee and vanilla without intrusion, the flavors are all melded together expertly and I think the draft is ever so slightly more drinkable than the bottle.
06-13-2010 17:07:39 | More by Slatetank
4.85/5 rDev +4.8%
Acquired this beauty thanks to BEERchitect. I've been dreaming of cracking this open for weeks. I've woken up in a cold sweat a few times dreaming of dancing Founders bottles with KBS letters flying out at me and into my mouth, and rivers of dark tasty liquid showering me in droves of awesomeness. And now its finally time to sample this thing. I feel like that virgin 17year old at prom that finally steps into the hotel room with his date, made of beer.
A: AS it pours it leaves a dark stain on the air. As it rims around the glass it also leaves a dark brown syrup on the sides, it so thick I can't even call it a stain. I can only match the thickness of this to 40W oil after it came out of a 200k mile car and was there almost all 200k miles. I can almost see chunks of grains floating out with it, but I think that's my brain on KBS. A very faint almost detectable head starts to appear, but it's just a tease as it fades from memory and leaves a few small cliques of bubbles
N: Despite being able to smell the roasted malts and chocolate from the stains on the air, I decided to go in deeper. I think I need someone to cover me. The nose is so overwhelming I think my insides just stained a dark coffee brown color. Tons of coffee and roasted malts just come billowing out of the glass on a horse of dark bakers chocolate. It does remind me a lot of regular breakfast stout at this point, but then comes the awesomeness of the bourbon and oak. The remnants of the bourbon and alcohol dance their way into my nostrils burning the edges slightly as my nose both cringes and begs for more like a sadomasochistic kid getting his first taste of the whip. Did I mention there was some coffee and chocolate there?
T: Oooohhhh snap! Here comes the train. The molasses thick oil like liquid slowly spreads out over my tongue. Lots of sweetness and chocolate come spreading out. The coffee instantly wakes my ass up, hence breakfast. The alcohol taste and burn really just lashes out at my mouth with hot pokers almost as if my mouth has just died and gone to hell. The bourbon taste starts to come through once the heavy set chocolate and coffee attempt to die out. And by attempt to die out I mean when your mouth starts to become used to it because this stuff never goes away. More dark sweetness that could only have come from the depths of Candyland hell start to berate my taste buds for attempting a second sip. It leaves a thick coating all around the mouth as if it was secretly made of wax that sticks when warm. It also seems to leave a slightly milky residue bringing me back to 5th grade and dousing my milk with so much chocolate I used to just take the Hersheys plastic container and fill IT with milk rather than the other way around. Some quick oats dash their way into the taste enough to make a horse blush. A touch of oak and vanilla round it off, if you can say that.
M: Really? Have you not figured out by now? Super thick and sticky, a viscosity of some huge number. The alcohol burns the edges of the mouth and any flesh that dares stand in it's way. Could use a slight bit of more carbonation, but that is most likely a product of the aging.
F: Finishes semi sweet, like just chewing on a piece of rubber coffee cake and then biting on some baker's chocolate. The thickness fills all the pours and taste buds so much so that I don't think I'll be able to taste my dinner tomorrow. The coffee's caffeine can't be absorbed anymore as everything is coated with that huge thick substance, more solid than liquid. The slight oak and vanilla, followed by bourbon and more alcohol seem to fade last on the tongue, except the chocolate and coffee which never disappear. With it being so ridiculously thick and strong tasting I can barely continue to sip it.
Final thoughts: While I'm sitting here enjoying this amazing beverage that I have been having wet dream about, I think my house is on fire, my son is probably in the corner chewing on wires or something, and the Patriots are somehow getting their butts kicked by Buffalo, but none of that matters as my world fades into a vertigo feeling as I blissfully attempt to consume and digest this crazy stuff. It's almost as if I'm living vicariously through myself trying to enjoy this, or am I still dreaming. Perhaps its a coma I slipped into when I took my first sip of it. I don't even think there is a word in the English language to describe it, so I'll make one up. This beer, is it still really a beer at this point, anyways this beer is transcendingerompteous. Need I say more? Can't wait till this stuff comes around again.
Edit: The Patriots came back to win with :50 left in the game, 2 hours later, just as I was finishing up the KBS!
09-14-2009 23:49:34 | More by jlindros
4.54/5 rDev -1.9%
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!
05-11-2013 17:20:11 | More by StonedTrippin
4.88/5 rDev +5.4%
The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a warm black and chocolate malt scent along with a beautiful bourban whiskey aroma. It's got a coffee-like aroma that really draws you in. The taste is perfect. This is the best tasting stout I've ever had. It has a very complex palate of flavors ranging from sweet and creamy to earthy and coffee like. The bourban barrel aging really mellows it out and greatly enhances the taste. The mouthfeel is perfect as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I enjoyed this on tap at the brewery. It was the last stop on my roadtrip and was definately worth it. I wish we could get this in NY. This is the best stout I've tried. It's about as close to a perfect beer that you're going to find.
10-09-2007 15:15:46 | More by WesWes
4.65/5 rDev +0.4%
First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA
Poured a thick brown-black with a small, dense mocha head that mostly dissipated, but laced well. Scents of chocolate, molasses, and bourbon. Lots of coffee in the taste, sweet chocolate and vanilla bean, and bourbon that actually isn't too strong, but rather somewhat mellow and masked by the malt roastiness. Complex and delicious. Super, super smooth, and I almost caught a tiny bit of a subtle fruit finish. Full bodied, and definitely very drinkable.
Better than CBS. Easily.
06-10-2011 13:11:12 | More by Rifugium
4.8/5 rDev +3.7%
Poured from a bottle into a Hunahpu's glass.
Appearance: Pours a thick black color with a layer of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.
Smell: Roast and bourbon, this smells so smooth. Dark chocolate sweetness with some warmth from the alcohol.
Taste: Sweet, smooth bourbon and roast. Dark chocolate with a hint of dark fruit. The roasty coffee bitterness stays on the tongue through the end of each sip. So smooth and easy to drink.
Mouthfeel: Thick body with very smooth carbonation and a slick finish.
Overall: One of my favorites. I'm glad I finally got around to rating this. I'll have it again every time I get the chance.
04-21-2012 02:34:04 | More by oline73
4.63/5 rDev 0%
Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this beer. This has been on my to-try list for years and it didn't disappoint.
The beer pours a thick black with a brown head. The aroma is bitter coffee with some chocolate as well. The flavor is very complex with bourbon, oak, chocolate and coffee. The aftertaste is heavy on the chocolate with a strong warming from the alcohol. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. An outstanding beer overall.
04-02-2010 21:18:40 | More by Mora2000
Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 8,419 ratings.