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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.40%

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."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,014 | Ratings: 11,717
Photo of rorykanderson
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Blind tasting of a 2016 bottle side by side with three very notable peers. Obvious standout in both aroma, taste and mouthfeel. We were hoping that wouldn't be the case since this is such a pain in the ass to get, but alas - it's worth the effort. Chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, vanilla, coffee and some solid heat on the backend. The heat subsided noticeably and gave way to the incredible flavors of chocolate and coffee as it neared room temp. Silky mouthfeel with a pleasant sweetness that mingles incredibly well with the base bitterness. Bourbon takes the Oscar for supporting role by providing warmth, vanilla and oaken complexity. World class.

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Photo of Arkrebel
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - what you would expect from a stout. Dark black color with a dense carmel colored head.

Aroma - strong coffee notes with chocolate mixed in. Faint bourbon and vanilla aromas underneath.

Flavor - first is the coffee and chocolate as you'd expect from the aroma. Following that is a vanilla hint with a bourbon finish.

I will admit that stouts are not my go to style. But there have been some that have impressed me. This would be high on that list. The posts here vary on this one from adoration to those that think it's overrated. Any beer that carries as much hype as this release will have fans and haters. For me it was a very good example of what it represents itself to be. If you like stouts at all and or are a fan of barrel aged beers this should be on your short list.

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Photo of scottsoileau
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to update my review. First review was on tap and while it was really good, I have to say I was disappointed. Tried today from the bottle and enjoyed much more. Aroma of barrel, coffer and chocolate were MUCH more pronounced. Flavor was "hotter" which I enjoy. All in all a less drinkable but more enjoyable experience. Plus I was able to score 2 more bottles

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Photo of craftaholic_227
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L- Very little head, little to no lace
S- Has a strong coffee and oatmeal smell
T- very strong coffee flavor with a hint of chocolate but you can taste the heaviness because of how much alcohol is in it. The batch I had was 12.4%
F- not as thick as i would expect it to be. It is watery.

Overall it was a great aged stout!

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Photo of Maestro0708
4.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours black with dark head.
Smell: Coffee and chocolate with bourbon.
Taste: Again, coffee and chocolate notes. Subtle taste of bourbon. 12.4 ABV but doesn't taste it.

Overall: This is a world class stout. I was thrilled to find this one and I'm so glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Joe_Boxer
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from a 2014/2015/2016 vertical completed on 4/13/16:

2014 - bottled 3/23/2014 - aging mellowed this out. The 11.2% takes the stage, pours black with limited head, and great coating in the mouth. The oak is very subtle, as is the coffee. Chocolate sweetness is very present throughout sip to swallow.

2015 - bottled 2/12/2015 - CHOCOLATE IN MY FACE! So much more oak -- the vanilla is markedly present on the finish. Same black pour with just a tad more head than the 2014. The coffee is more present on the finish. The alcohol is harder to find in this one... but it's there.

2016 - bottled 2/11/2016 - Barrel on the nose, smooth barrel and coffee on the lips. Finishes chocolate. Burns in the back of the mouth... and that caused me to check the label... 12.4%. Yep. Pours thick with a bit more head than 2015. Less chocolate with this one, as the taste is predominantly barrel and alcohol.

The 2015 aged very well... I enjoyed it more than the 2014. The 2016 seems to be an entirely different beer. It's fantastic and with another year on it, will likely be much better than the 2015. Buy all the 2016s.

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Photo of jradar
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 edition

Bourbon dominates the nose, hints of chocolate, coffee sneak through but it's subtle.

Aforementioned bourbon hits first on the swallow. Warm whiskey burn while the characteristic oak and wood elements are upfront.

Chocolate and finally a bitter coffee flavor sit on the back end.

No need to harp about this beer or the hype that surrounds it. Ignore the jaded BA vets and try it for yourself because, despite the price, it's worth it.

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Photo of stannard2
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Once again founders proves why they are the industry leader of making the best beers in the craft beer market. The Kbs stout is an awesome beer with a smooth taste. You can smell the coffee and the bourbon and it's blended perfectly. I wanted to say that I tried it but for $19.99 for a 4 pack this poor ole boy won't be getting any more for quite some time.

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Photo of Zac88
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful black with a nice light brown head that you can smell from a foot away. Smells of rich bitter coffee, some strong dark chocolate, caramelized molasses and a little boozy. You can tell from the first sip this is going to be a special beer. I waited a minute or two before taking my second sip just to let it sit and let the flavors develop. This is the first beer I've ever had that taste almost exactly as it smells. Starts almost the opposite of drinking coffee. Usually you get the smooth coffee taste then you get the bitter coffee after bite. This beer starts bitter goes smooth in the middle and finishes with a sweet then bitter dark chocolate after taste. This beers so complexed and has so many different flavor profiles it's hard not to love it. Once again Founders proves they're one of the best dark beer makers.

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Photo of aval89
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: dark as night. Nice creamy , khaki head. Tight bubbles.

S: fresh espresso beans. Dark chocolate with caramel. Very roasty with hints of molasses/oatmeal. Minimal booze on nose.

T: right up front you get with a semi sweet/bitter dark chocolate. Then you get hit with espresso/coffee notes. Finishes sweet with some of that caramel you get in the nose. After taste is a bit charry with some oatmeal like flavors. The alcohol warms you on the finish as well. Definitely get the bourbon notes.

MF: thick, creamy, boozy at times. Exactly what you'd expect.

O: very nice, very robust, a lot going on!

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Photo of BierRunner
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely dark color with coffee and chocolate on the nose. To quote a friend, it tastes like chocolate cake dunked in coffee. What makes it outstanding is its balance when dealing with such big flavors. No one thing overly dominates and a long pleasant finish lingers after the sip. Mouth feel is viscous, like motor oil (if motor oil could taste amazing).

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Photo of thatche2
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz into a tulip glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with little but creamy tan head with good retention. Good lacing around the glass.

Smell is a lot of chocolate with some vanilla and roasted malt flavor (not much coffee). There is also a delicate bourbon flavor without too much heat.

Taste follows the nose but some vanilla and cold brew coffee flavors balance out the chocolate and roasted malt. The bourbon flavors are beautifully intertwined with a little heat on the back-end. As it warms, some bitter coffee starts to come out. There is some good sweetness up front and on the mid palate with a fairly dry finish (bitterness is fairly low).

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium to full in body with nice effervescence. This beer is slightly more watery than some of its peers but it works well overall.

Overall this is an outstanding coffee/chocolate stout. It is relatively easy to drink considering the bourbon and array of chocolate/vanilla flavors. The bourbon profile may be more delicate and well balanced than any beer I have had. Excellent.

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Photo of Pierre_Pressure
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drinking side by side with Avery Brewing's Tweak.
A: Pours with a 1/4 head which dissipates quickly leaving a light brown lacing. Body is a nice dark brown, almost black.
S: Faint coffee aroma followed by alcohol, not unpleasant, but not as bold as I would have liked.
T: Right off I'm hit with a strong coffee flavor with a hint of chocolate. As it warms the flavors shift and I find the chocolate coming through more.
F: Very slight carbonation. Thinner than I prefer for a stout, but still has some body to it.
O: I've found some brewers have a tendency to make their coffee stouts overwhelmingly coffee-centric. While coffee is still the star here, it doesn't come across as a cold coffee with alcohol, rather it presents as a fully integrated drink with multiple elements presenting themselves. There is a sweet spot temperature-wise when drinking this. As it warmed, it started becoming more intricate and flavorful, but towards the end of the glass the alcohol was becoming more present in both the nose and flavor. Overall, this is definitely one of the best I've had in it's class and definitely the best bang for your buck.

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Photo of Jeffwise
4.98/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pure greatness. Way too smooth for everything going into this beer and the abv. I'm not much on hype but this definetely lives up to its hype. Extremely bummed I have to drive 30 minutes home because I could sip on a few of these and love each sip more and more

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Photo of gdiddy13
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes it was good. No it's not the best thing I've ever had. I feel like the hype+scarcity of getting your hands on this beer it what drives it to get the 100 score.
That's not to say it is bad. It is good, not great and I liked it more as it warmed up. Let's all calm down a bit about this beer.

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Photo of Seanem44
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally landed this whale. Really one of the last big must-have beers that I should have had in the past put eluded me.

I enjoyed the beer a lot. Strangely, I didn't really taste a lot of coffee though the chocolate was there. The bourbon was there most definitely.

For this beer, I'd say the warmer the better. Even warmer than 55 degrees. Honestly, I may sound silly, but I wouldn't be afraid to drink this at room temp. The beer got increasingly smoother as it warmed up from my usual 55 degree start point.

I will cellar some, though I have heard it best to drink it fresh. Overall, KBS did not disappoint. I know a lot of people compare to BCBS. I won't. They are two different beers, both enjoyable in their own.

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Photo of KCBeerBoy
4.14/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Iconic taste, excellent smell. Not a huge stout fan, but you can't go wrong with this one! Thick and lovely looking. Slight coffee taste with a big aftertaste (but not very big for 12.4% ABV, which is awesome) and a notable bourbon scent

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Photo of Sheppard
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with tan head. The aroma permeates the atmosphere unleashing bourbon and coffee notes. It tastes like chocolate, coffee, bourbon. Hints of vanilla in there as well. If there is anything to criticize, it's that it's a little thin. It hides the booze well. KBS is an excellent BA Stout, but not necessarily one worth the outlandish hype and hoopla surrounding its acquisition. Founders just makes wonderful stouts.

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Photo of ajcuster89
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love keeping up on my vert with this beer. Haven't had a 2016 yet, but I cracked a 2015 and the coffee hasn't fallen off yet. HUGE chocolate flavors, subtle coffee, and a smooth bourbon finish that lays on the tongue. Great beer.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Has an amazing look, pours black like used motor oil with no light coming through. Nice small dark caramel colored head that stays put. Smells very sweet and malty with a hint of bourbon. Can taste coffee and roasted malts with bourbon at the end.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ink black with a nice finger of mocha-colored head. Dissipates fairly quick, but a swirl brings up a layer of foam through the glass. Smell initially made me think it was chocolate bourbon candy. The bourbon definitely dominates, with chocolate and coffee underneath. Taste is the same, with the coffee coming in more in a slightly bitter aftertaste. Sweetness is slight. Alcohol is almost nonexistent, which is amazing at this ABV.

Feel is a full, rich medium. It can seem a bit thin compared to other viscous imperial stouts, but it's really nice and appropriate.

Overall, an awesome beer. Maybe not as complex as some upper-tier imperials, but dang fine.

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Photo of HeadyHopHead
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype. Definitely a top-five stout. Bourbon isn't nearly as pronounced as Goose Island BCBS, but the coffee notes make it oh so balanced. If only it were as easy to find as Breakfast Stout!

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

So much anticipation with this one. Sharing with the wife and she took first sip and is loving it. Also drinking it in front of real fire place at home on a cold, rainy spring Sunday.

Pours a dark brown with a thin, off-white head.
Smells of coffee, sweet malted bourbon.
First sip allows coffee, chocolate and bourbon to come through in which all blend together nicely with the malt. A good bourbon burn on the back side. I will allow to warm up. As it warms, some vanilla notes appear.
The mouthfeel is nearly perfect along with the bourbon burn finish.

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Photo of badgustav
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the bottle, poured into a tulip, temp @45. The beer is a deep chocolate brown, almost black in color, with a thin nut-brown head that dissipates but continues to lace the glass. On the nose there is coffee, first and foremost, followed by chocolate maltiness. Coffee leads on the tongue but opens up to chocolate, sweet malt, hints of bourbon, and then a surprising hint of malt bitterness that finishes with a roasted coffee and dark chocolate bite. There is a light astringency I associate with wood aging. The mouthfeel is rich, smooth, and not cloying as one might expect. In all, one of the best barrel aged stouts I've had.

As the beer warms up, notes of vanilla and oak become more prevalent. It's a beer that keeps on giving

I'm not doing this beer justice. Suffice to say, if I ever see it again, I will buy as much as I can.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.21/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 release

L-The beer pours thick, viscous, and black. No light penetration whatsoever. The head is about 2.5 fingers of fine mocha. The head almost looks like a nitro pour. Lacing clings everywhere and lasts throughout.
S-The nose is coffee immediately, with hints of chocolate midway, finishing with some alcohol at the back end.
T- The taste is initially a pleasant chocolate which transitions to some coffee. There is some bourbon presence, but its much more muted than it is in a BCBS. The alcohol in the nose is covered much better than expected.
F-The carbonation is light as you would expect. The beer isn't as full in mouthfeel as some other stouts, but is thick enough not to detract.
O- As someone who is not a coffee drinker, I was concerned I wouldn't like this beer. Those doubts have been pushed aside. While it's not something I could drink every day, it is an excellent treat. The coffee bitterness is balanced out nicely by the chocolate. The bourbon presence is more muted than I was expecting, but still the beer is enjoyable. I'd rate it a touch below BCBS in the grand scheme.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,014 ratings.