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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BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,394 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,394
Reviews: 2,863
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 4,138
Gots: 4,665 | 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: 10,394 | Reviews: 2,863
Photo of coldmeat23
4.33/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Approx 50 degrees
Had on-tap @ Founder's on 4-22-2009

Pours an opaque black color, which was expected. About a one-finger head of mocha colored foam sits on top. Retention is very good. Lacing is spotty and slightly sticky.

Big coffee notes dominate the nose. There is a nice presence of chocolates, both milk and dark. Nice roasted barley malts. The bourbon is fairly understated. It does bring a nice presence to the table. Nice vanilla notes and a certain butteriness. I guess I just expected it to be more pronounced, from all the hype surrounding this one.

Coffee still dominates in the taste, like the nose. Good chocolate taste, also. The bourbon is, thankfully, a little more present here than in the nose. Good floral vanilla quality. Nice, big, brown sugar notes. Hints of oak and toffees.
This one is actually quite well balanced. If GI BCS is too over-the-top for you, give this one a try. It's much more subtle.

Nice, upper-end of the scale, medium body. Almost makes it into full bodied. Nice smoothness with a low level of carbonation. Low enough that I think it would benefit from just a little more. Then it could be creamy and delicious.

Yes it is 10%ABV, and you get an indication of that when drinking it. But the flavors are so wonderful and it is so smooth that you tend to want to overlook that part and just drink another.

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

So I was slightly disappointed in the bottled 09 KBS and heard that the on-tap version was immensely better. When I heard Party Town in Florence, KY was getting a keg and selling growlers, I had to give it a try. Review is from a pour into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours super dark brown with slightly oily-looking residue sitting atop the completely headless liquid. Little specks of cream-colored lacing attempt to cling to the glass, and slide away quickly.

Smell: Delicious aromas of bittersweet chocolate and dark coffee combine with slightest hints of vanilla, chewy malts, sweet oak and very subtle bourbon.

Taste/Mouthfeel: So much milder than the bottle pour! The feel is smooth as silk, with a slight sticky wetness that's heavy enough to hold the flavors on the tongue awhile. The taste is full of delicious bourbon that doesn't overpower the accompanying flavors of dry, charred oak, barely sweet bitter chocolate, dry roasted coffee and subtle bitter hops. Really nice balance that isn't overpowering in any way. Even the alcohol, while present, isn't overwhelming.

Drinkability: Moderate for the style. The warming sensation is really nice and the mouthfeel is very satisfying. I certainly wouldn't drink too many at once, but only because I know better.

I have to say that I'm so much more impressed by the draught version of this beer. The flavors were much more well-blended and balanced and the alcohol was better contained. In the bottle version I really felt like the bourbon came across in the nose and taste waaay too hot and seemed more like rubbing alcohol. I'm hoping the rest of the 4 pack I have aging comes out like this growler did.

Photo of Brew33
4.58/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well I think I picked up one of the last 4 packs in the Midwest not spoken for in 2009.

Pours pitch black with a very thin head. The smell is all Bourbon, distinct and alcoholic. The taste was very smooth. Complex, rich, earthy, strong bourbon finish. Wow. This is legit. A sipper to be sure. Alcohol heat is present but not dominant.

This is an excellent beer, def worth trying if you can get it. Not something I'd drink a lot of but it's a really nice beer.

Photo of nc41
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One hell of a big brew. Looks kinda flat then the head appears at the end of the pour. Nice rich Bourbon nose. Taste you have to experience. If you like Bourbon or whiskey in general you'll love it. Exceptional in every way. Loses a few points for drinkability because it's so damn dominating. A one at a time brew, but it's also priced that way too. A can't miss if you like world class stouts.

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

when we got this into the store me and the guys had to try it. the aroma is light coffee with a hint of chocolate. the body is thick and rich. the flavor is is full of coffee and chocolate with a nice lacing of bourbon in the finish. In my opinion it is worth every penny you pay

Photo of mhatters
4.77/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at TJs in a 10oz glass

Pours a coal black with a really small line of a tan head.

The nose has a strong roast, with a big bourbon back note. The malt is overpowered by the coffee at first, but appears at the end with what I perceive as a hint of vanilla

The bourbon pops out at first, but the coffee roast and malt comes through pretty quickly. The vanilla is there at the end, a sweet touch at the end of the sip.

The finish is powerful and the whole experience is warming and beautiful. A classic beer that is worthy of any quest to find it.

Photo of asabreed
4.89/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle split with friends into some tasting glasses.

Appearance: Not much head on the black-as-night brew, but of course a gorgeous opaque body. Swirled head's a mocha color with seemingly a bit of amber.

Smell: Huge bitter black coffee at first, and as it starts to warm the oak and wood notes come through, along with clean and beautiful vanilla aromas, and the sweeter bourbon aromas. Wonderful and heady and hugely complex.

Taste: What I love about this, in addition to the finish, which seems endless, is the transformation of flavors and complexity going on. Bitter black coffee at first, along with dark fruit, and then it slides into the honey and vanilla and wood flavors, with beautiful oak notes. There's no oak monster here. The barrel notes are complimentary and perfect overall, while the bourbon also doesn't dominate, but adds its own layers of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Big and chewy and creamy with near-perfect carbonation levels letting all the flavors do their thing.

Drinkability: Hell. Yes. What an amazing beer. All of us were blown away. It takes smart and talented people to craft such a beer, and thankfully Founders has done it. Glad I finally got a chance to try this. Worth going out of your way for.

Photo of bonbini26
4.78/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Pete from Shoprite Liquors in Westfield for holding 2 of these for me.

A- Pours a dark dark brown, with a foamy tan head, no light going through the glass, with sticky brown lacing left behind

S- The smell of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and light oak. The bourbon is not overwhelming either

T- Sweet chocolate, roasted coffee, burnt burbon, suttle vanilla and malts

M- Medium body, low carbonation, silky smooth, sticks to the inside of your mouth, you almost don't want to swallow it. Alcohol is just right too, nice and balanced

D- I split a bottle with my father and it was not enough, drank at cellar temperature and even as it warmed to room temperature it was just as good, simply an outstanding beer.

Photo of raoulduke37
4.55/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another great brew from Founder's. Thanks to sarahspat for this awesome trade. Poured it into a tulip glass and man was this a thick beer, black as night, with a very small brown head. A little bit of lacing makes this one look promsing. Smells of smoke, coffee, oak, almonds, and definitely vanilla. The taste is unbelievable roasted malts, hinting at espresso beans. So incredibly delicious. This one is creamy and thick like a good stout, but with a kiss of carbonation that cuts through it and gives you a pleasant break. Simply a magnificent beer.

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

This poured pitch black with dark tan head. It smelled like bourbon-soaked oak and roasted coffee, with some vanilla and oranges and cream. It tasted like roasted coffee and milk chocolate followed by strong bourbon and oak, then a bit of smooth brown sugar and cooking vanilla and fresh oranges. It was thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a lasting smooth and bitter oak aftertaste. Overall this had a fantastic flavor that was bold and complex, yet delicate and easy to drink. It hid the alcohol well, to the point that you really have to be careful drinking this one. It had great body that was silky smooth. I couldn't get over how well the different flavor elements were blended together. Simply delicious. This is a great beer that meets the hype!

Photo of PerzentRizen
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass at cellar temp this beer has a 1 inch dark tan to light brown head that reduces rather quickly. The beer itself is pitch black - it actually sucks the light out of the lightbulbs in the room. I can see my relection perfectly from all sides and the top of the beer. It's like peering into the depths of my soul and discovering a moonshiner.

The smell is of freshly roasted coffee, light bourbon, hints of bittersweet chocolate, and roasted barley. This isn't quite as over the top in the scent department - a little overhyped in this regard. I heard stories of this beer being smelled three states away - I can't smell it from 3 feet away.

The taste is like no other stout I've had. It's not quite as rich and chewy as BCS - which is a good thing. Althought that beer was good it lost points for the over-the-topness. The flavors here are an echo of the original aroma. There is a rich coffee and chocolate flavor that hits you first. Then you get a hop kick that bitters then recedes with the coffee and then you're left with a malty sweetness and a lingering flavor of chocolate nibs and resiny hop oils and coffee finish. This is one long beer. As a side note there really isn't much bourbon taste in the beer - there is the scent of bourbon.

The mouthfeel is lighter than expected but it is perfect for the style. This isn't watery but it's more in line with a coffee stout. It's still much thicker and more chewy than the regular breakfast stout.

Drinkability is over the top here. I could and would drink this more often if it were possible. Between the rarity and cost this is a rare treat for me. I did enjoy it greatly. If you get your hands on this one and you like coffee you will love this.

Photo of Brent
3.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was a bit confused at first due to a label change - my bottle was only designated "KBS." Pour was an amazing, thick used-motor oil black (only a beer geek could find that description appetizing). Aroma was dense with caramel, oak and vanilla. First few sips were almost overpowering, with a silky-sweet dark caramel, tinged wiht bourbon. Alcohol hit hard at the end, with an off-putting rubbing alcohol burn. As the beer warmed and I acclimated to the flavor, the sharp pepper of the alchol diminished, but never went away. The imbalance of the alcohol was the only detraction from an otherwise outstanding beer.

Photo of thirdeye11
4.26/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ktown67 for this during an in person trade.

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours the blackest of blacks, with a semi-vigorous pour it has no head, but the bubbles settle to the top and form a 1/2 finger of dark tan bubbles. No lacing on the glass, and some odd sediment that lingers on the sides of the glass.

S: Smell is awesome. So complex for a stout which are normally one dimensional. Coffee and dark unsweetened cocoa powder, whiskey/bourbon and even some woody notes that are muted. Even some cream in the smell.

T: Having this and the standard breakfast stout from Founders this week have opened my eyes to the style which I generally don't like much. Lots of coffee, some unsweetened hot chocolate powder, maybe some marshmallow creme, whiskey is on the finish as is some bitternes that I wish wasn't. Very complex it isn't lacking anything I want. The bitterness is really not bad at all, and on the very lowest end of the spectrum compared to most stouts I've had. I really like this one, creamy too!

M: Almost perfect. Creamy, coating my mouth, but slightly more carbonation and it WOULD be perfection.

D: Very high for a strong flavor beer. I could have 2 or 3 of these no problem.

Recommended for any beer drinker even if you don't drink stouts because it's awesome. Complex, flavorful, delicious, even refreshing which is odd to say.

Photo of TK5150
4.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2008 Vintage. Second time having this vintage.

A- Pours black with a very brown head.

S- Big coffee, bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. Aroma is excellent.

T- Lots of coffee and chocolate with a solid bourbon presence as well as vanilla and cocoa on the finish. High point of the beer.

M- Smooth, medium full bodied. Gets thicker in the mouth near the finish.

D- So tasty, I could drink a bunch of this.

Overall, this is a far superior beer to the standard breakfast stout, and one of my favorite beers to boot. Aging this has really improved it. Awesome stuff.

Photo of NCBeernut
4.33/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Oily and pitch black like you would expect from a big stout like this, but basically zero head and no lacing. Even at 10%, I expect at least a decent head from an imperial stout.

This is going to be delicious. Plenty of bold chocolaty coffee with obvious hints of mellow bourbon that gives off a little vanilla with it. A slight edge of alcohol.

The special additions and ingredients really shine. Layers of chocolate and dark roasted coffee with a little cream and infused with subtle but noticeable bourbon. I really really like how the bourbon isn't overpowering like it is in GI BCS. Hints of vanilla hide within the bourbon flavors, but want to be noticed. No hop bitterness. Even the coffee doesn't add much bitterness. Fairly sweet all the way through. Nice warming sensation from the alcohol. Rich, velvety and creamy. My only complaint, not enough roasted malt flavors. A sipper, but with the alcohol pretty well covered, a possibly dangerous one.

Photo of ottovon
3.58/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

got this in a trade with stoutfiend27. thanks!

A: Pours a jet black, with a brown head that fell quickly.

S: huge coffee smell, with a hint out bourbon and vanilla.

T: dominating taste is coffee. there is some roastyness. bourbon and vanilla is in the background. as it warms the bourbon, vanilla, and some chocolate come through more. and you can taste some alcohol.

M: medium with low carbonation. warming of alcohol.

D: it is a good beer, but could probably only drink 1 or 2 in a sitting, and not because of the abv.

bottled on: 02.16.09
drank on: 04.24.09

Photo of cdViking
4.15/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed in bottle on 4/24. Thanks Tuthill for the trade.

The pour is absolutely amazing, wonderfully dark with a minimal head brown head that slowly rises. Smells very strongly of oak and coffee, and a little bit of dark chocolate. Taste is not quite exceptional but great nonetheless, reflecting the smell with a subtlety of bourbon that adds complexity. Its silky smooth and tastes almost frothy, but the carbonation in my bottle was almost nonexistent. Its a wonderfully tasty beer (moreso than the wonderfully boozy BCS), but I couldn't fathom having more than one of these in a session.

Photo of aglose45
4.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter glass at Tally Ho, Bethlehem Pa.

A: Pitch black/ licorice colored, dark ivory/ khaki colored head, which was very minimal and did not last long.

S: Notes of bourbon, chocolate, followed by a sweet malty/ alcohol flavor. There is a hint of bitterness in there as well.

T: STRONG bourbon flavor up front - delicious. this is followed by chocolate and roasted malts, maybe a bit of caramel. There is a subtle bitterness to it, which fits in perfectly for this brew.

M: Medium bodied, very smooth considering the immense bourbon note and high alcohol content. Great carbonation (somewhat light) for the style.

D: I could drink this beer all night. It goes down great; the flavor leaves you wanting more.

Photo of Yesac
4.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Solid jet black, small layer of brown colored head.

S- Some smokey bourbon, big on dark roasted coffee malts. Strong spicy boozy scent.

T- Just the right amount of bourbon blended in. Perfect. The spice and hints from the bourbon highlight a nice underlying heavy black stout. So complex, even some hop bitterness is present at the end.

M- Frothy mouthfeel and very thickly bodied. So smooth. Not dry or sticky. Sweet hints of bourbon are left on the palate. It's perfect.

D- If you can handle the bourbon and like stouts this is for you. So smooth and well balanced and maintains a great complexity.

Photo of charlesw
3.29/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

Photo of theghost3
4.84/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Appearance is pitch black with just an outer light brown ring for a head. Moderate lacing.

Smell is strong of roasted coffee, oak, and dark chocolate malts. It also kind of reminds me of a bold cabernet. The taste is strong of the roasted coffee & oak. There's also faint whiskey & dark fruits. The aftertaste is dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is acidic & oily. There's an alcohol warmth that's just like bourbon.

This is a drinkable beer. Very complex. Watch out for the ABV as the most recent batch is 11.2 percent.

Photo of bound4er
4.25/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. A firm pour produced about 1/4" of a light brown head that settled quickly to a well covering skim. Dark as night stuff - light does not penetrate through this beer. Lacing is average - lots of small dots and thin lines.

S. Chocolate, coffee and barrel influences such as vanilla, mocha, etc. Very nice but I was expecting a bit more. Some alcohol pokes through as it warms.

T. Initial wave of vanilla and chocolate flavors with a mild and unobtrusive hit of booze. There is a very nice back end hop bitterness to this beer and a long, flavorful finish that hangs around for a few minutes.

M. Full bodied and palate coating but not overly thick or syrupy.

D. Nice sipper - as others have noted, surprisingly drinkable given its ABV but one is enough for me.

This is a well crafted beer. I like it much more than FBS but I am unsure if this beer warrants all the hype, especially given its high tariff. I give Central Waters Peruvian Morning the nod over KBS.

Photo of bhalter8
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After being such a big fan of the regular breakfast stout I was excited to see what the barrel aging did for it. Aggressive pour into my goblet yields almost zero head, amazing really. A swirl of the glass offers little lacing, as well. The color is oil black. The smell is pure alcohol, the aging really took over the sweet malt and coffee aroma in the original version. This is not to say that aroma completely left the beer, its still there, and makes for greater complexity in the smell. The barrel aging comes through in the taste as well, big bourbon heat upfront followed by the blend of coffee and dark chocolate undertones. A nice hop bitterness even finds a place in the amazingly complex taste. I have to say KBS may have the best consistency for an imperial stout ever, just the right thickness, and silky smooth to boot. This thing is definitely a heater, as easy as it goes down, it later reminds you that you are indeed sipping on a barrel aged stout by leaving heat in your throat and mouth behind.
I have a few bottles, so I am glad I will get to revisit this beer, as it was completely unimpressive looking, but such an amazing, great flavor.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev -14.1%
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!

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

After reading the somewhat amusing label (at least they tried) I gave this guy a slow pour.

A: Dark swampy brown black, with a thin veil of moss brown goodness. Lacing was nominal, but still somewhat evident. Low carbonation.

S: Big chocolate notes, bourbon, coffee bitterness, nose hair twitching alcohol.

T: Much like the smell, biggest element is authoritarian chocolate. The coffee and bourbon are noticable, the coffee more subdued than the bourbon. They mix well to create a very tasty beer. 11% alcohol is hidden well. I must say that maybe if I would have tried this before other bourbon barreled beers I'd like it more.

M: Quite full bodied, coats the tongue quite well.

D: Enjoyable. A real treat to drink. High ABVs would keep my lightweight ass away from downing more than 3 in a sitting, but a very good sipping brew. I guess I am still blown away by Goose Islands BCS.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,394 ratings.