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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

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

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9,103 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,103
Reviews: 2,542
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 3,582
Gots: 3,357 | 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: 9,103 | Reviews: 2,542 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of muletrane
4.58/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Jet black with no light shining through whatsoever. A vigorous pour only yielded 1 finger of tan head and minimal lace.

S: Lots of bourbon here. Nice roasted coffee and chocolate notes as well.

T: Nice roastiness up front. Then comes the chocolate and coffe notes with a boozy bourbon finish. Nice lingering roastiness and bitterness in the finish as well.

M: Heavy body/low carbonation. Silky smooth all around. Slightly sticky

This a real nice stout with lots of big flavor and nice subtleties. If it wasn't so expensive I would revisit this more often.

Photo of match1112
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: if it were any darker it would be black instead of brown. no head or lacing just a little mocha colored ring on top.

s: bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon. there is also a little coffee and vanilla in there but mostly bourbon.

t: wow more bourbon. the coffee peeks thru a little, very well blended.

m: nice and smooth, a little burn from the alochol. has a full body with a creamy feel to it.

o: very impressed with the balance of this beer. i was expecting to be doing shots of bourbon but this is so much more.

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

Thanks to Dr. K and N. Ketchum for hooking me up with some KBS. I was kind of saving this for a special occasion, but my computer broke on Monday, and my television broke today, so now I'm just getting my drink on.

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a chalice. When my wife gets up tomorrow, I'm asking where my other chalice went, because I'll bet someone broke it.

A) It pours out a jet black and it looks pretty heavy. There was about a half finger of tan head. The head dissipates rather quickly into a nice ring around the glass. There were bits of sticky lacing.

S) The initial aroma was of bitter dark chocolate and hints of coffee. As this warms, there is a transformation in aroma to the sweetness of the malt and the presence of the bourbon.

T) Off the bat, I was tasting a smokey/burnt coffee flavor. This meshed together well with the malt and bits of chocolate and vanilla. Then the bourbon takes over, leading to a boozy coffee finish. This beer really has many twists and turns.

M) Pretty full bodied brew, with not much carbonation. The texture is really quite smooth, but there is also a sticky quality. The aftertaste lingers about for maximum savoring of this stout.

O) I have not consumed many barrel aged brews, but I found his to be quite enjoyable. I can understand now, why this is such a sought after beer. I've had folks tell me the alcohol is hardly detectable in KBS, however I would disagree. I found it quite detectable, but not in a negative way. Again, this may be my own inexperience with barrel aged stouts. In the end, this is a pretty complex brew, that is well put together, and a pleasure to drink. After one bottle down the old hatch, I'm feeling pretty good, and pretty relaxed. Looking forward to cracking one of those bottles of CBS. Thanks Founders...

Photo of capeannbass36
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle 02/25/11

A- Rough pour into a tulip. Damn near black. no light getting through this. Topped with a one finger, dark tan head that dissapated quickly.
Light lacing left behind throughout.

S- Bourbon, coffee, chocolate. Sweet roasted malt.

T- Follows the nose. Little more intense. Some more chocolate with a hint of vanilla. Belly warms immediately after swallow.

M- Low carbonation. Slick and oily.

O- Bought 2 single bottles, 1 each from two different shops back in April or May?? Initially did not understand the hype. After 7 months, I think the somewhat aged bottle tastes way better?? Kind of tired of the Founders hype and lack of availability...but this stuff is DAMN F-ing tasty!

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. My first KBS! I am excited. 2011 vintage.

Appearance - Jet black with a small tan head. It dissipates with some wispy lacing on top. Looks better than FIS for sure.

Smell - Coffee, bourbon, and heavy roasted malts. Dark, burnt chocolate. What's amazing is how well all three components shine through, without any one overshadowing the others.

Taste - Follows the smell. Bourbon first, then some coffee, followed by a very roasty malt character. It's fairly bitter throughout, mostly from the coffee and the roasted malts, which give off even more coffee flavor. Distinguishable is a chocolate flavor, but it's very dark and very burnt. I first thought the malts were a bit harsh, but on a second tasting, I appreciate more than Founders could maintain the intense stout flavor among the bourbon and coffee.

Mouthfeel - Amazingly light, considering the ABV. Low carbonation, but that's to be expected. It finishes quite bitter, which makes the lingering flavors a little bit harsh. A thicker beer might make for some mellowing of these effects.

Overall - I've edited this review upon drinking a second bottle on 3/7/12. It tastes decadent now. Really spectacular blend of flavors. The coffee has faded to my liking and I get a touch of the vanilla from the barrel which was previously masked.

Edited a third time as a result of drinking this multiple times over the course of two days. Side by side, it's better than Black Note.

Photo of scottyr2
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fortunate enough to have this on tap at Big Beers and Barleywine tasting in Dayton Ohio.

Incredibly black with a nice, tight toffee colored head. The smell of the bourbon is prominent, along with a nice mixture of vanilla, butterscotch and chocolate.

Taste- wow. The sweetness of the bourbon blends beautifully with the chocolate and slight scorched butterscotch tastes. From sip to swallow, a wonderful experience. This is a must taste for any big stout drinker.

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

Impenetrably black in appearance, with a large head of fine, tan foam. Brilliant and detailed lacing.

Nose is big, even sweet, with plenty of dark chocolate notes alongside a definite pronounced bourbon character. Already, this one promises to be a unique and powerful experience.

Taste is strong -- thick, chewy, rich, and creamy. Mix of chocolate, some coffee, and a lot of sharp bourbon whiskey. Strong on the bourbon at the finish.

This one's a profound ale -- swirling with big, definitive, and distinctive flavors. An ultra-sensory experience, here. Wow.

Photo of QuentinCall
4.1/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Ormsby's in the ATL.
Very nearly black with a quickly dissipating head, minuscule lacing. Wonderfully dark, dense and gentle, not blatantly upfront about any of its 11%. The wood, vanilla and coffee are all here, well-balanced and mutually coalesced. Yes, the appearance and mouthfeel may be somewhat lacking - both are, ultimately, perfectly reasonable, just spartan and slack - but the taste makes this a non-issue. It is well-rounded, extremely drinkable and elegantly indicative of its various components. An almost ideal Imperial Stout.

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

Found this at a random beer shop in Philly. It's very well balanced and is well worth the hype. The bourbon aroma comes through strong. There are other complex aromas in there which make it very enjoyable. The alcohol really sneaks up on you with this one.

I'm glad I have a couple of bottles laid down for later. It was worth the trouble to get it. It is funny that I had to get my brother to bring me bottles from Philly when I work around the corner from the brewery.

Photo of mjyoung
4.22/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split w/ bbb099. Drank 10/5/11.

A: A delectably dark, oily pour with a thin head that leaves a labyrinthine trace of lacing and swirl of surface bubbles. I'm pretty excited.

S: Definitely a tad boozy, with impossibly strong notes of malt, coffee, vanilla and a wee bit o' bourbon as well. Extremely intriguing, but not quite over the top.

T: Whooo. Definitely got a bit of a bite to it. Strong notes of malt and acrid coffee dominate the front, with a bit of vanilla and sweeter toffee coming through in the finish. The finish is lingering and smooth. I approve, but it's a bit more harsh than I'd like normally.

M: A bit chewy, but not as hefty as I was expecting. Good carb, and it sets really well on the palate.

O: Very good. Extremely good. If I could get this in a 4 pack at my local beer spot this would be quite dangerous. Kudos to Founders!

Photo of bbb099
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to scottfrie for this amazing beer! Shared with mjyoung.

A - Mocha colored head that dissipated almost instantly, leaving a thin ring of head around the glass. Color of the beer itself is pretty much jet black.

S - Incredibly strong aroma of coffee, bourbon and licorice with quite a bit of alcohol scent to it.

T - Complex mix of chocolate, coffee, and spicy bourbon tastes. Has an alcohol bite to it and it goes down warm.

M - Minimal carbonation, a little flat. Body is a little light, but still good.

O - One of the better imperial stouts out there, could maybe use a little aging.

Photo of rhong187
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage poured on nitro tap (notes taken from Philly Beer week)

A - jet black, with a half finger head. Gosh, this looks amazing on nitro...

S - oak, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, perfection...

T - The coffee hits you right away, followed by the bourbon and a small amount of vanilla. Barely any booze, just a wonderful taste. I thought this was the best beer I ever tasted when it was fresh, and it just got better..

M - so smooth, low carb, minimal alcohol burn...

Best beer I've ever had so far. Worth every bit of the respect that it gets. If you see it, buy it.

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

2010 Bottle

A: Pitch black with a minimal tan head. Fair amount of lacing left behind.

S: Bourbon right from the start. Followed by coffee and some dark chocolate. Also notice some alcohol and a bit of roastiness.

T: One complex beast but still balanced. A great blend of coffee, dark chocolate and bourbon, with the appearance of some vanilla, a hint of oak and some alcohol burn. Amazing flavor.

M: Low in carbonation but thick with a smooth, creamy body.

O: An amazing beer. Ages very well. I look forward to it's release each year.

Photo of mocktm
4.47/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge huge shout-out to cpferris for this bottle as part of his classic rock LIF. The regular Breakfast Stout stands as one of my all time favorites, so I am psyched to finally have a couple bottles of this.

Viscous and dark, no light stands a chance in hell of penetration. Brown highlights accents the edges with a thin layered cap of espresso colored head to top it off. This is an '09, so the carbonation has seemed to have faded a bit, but that's a sacrifice I'm more than willing to make for what time has done to the flavor profile.

Explosive aromas on the nose: bourbon whiskey on the forefront plus unmistakable scents of strong coffee, dark chocolate and just an iota of vanilla. I'm also picking up some hints of herbal/leaf elements in the background as well as mild whiffs of booze.

First taste reveals an affluence of malt sweetness, unleashing relentless waves of chocolate, caramel, as well as bourbon obviously. A slight herbal twang is present in the aftertaste, camouflaging the expected high ABV, which is rendered almost undetectable.

Medium bodied, this is actually a little lighter than I anticipated, but it still posses a silky smooth quality that makes it an absolute delight.

Overall, I have to say as much as I enjoyed this, I actually prefer the original Breakfast Stout. The bourbon seems to overbear the subtle nuances that are more apparent in the regular variety that make it my personal favorite stout, but this is still certainly a world class beer. Cheers!

Photo of dmsohyea
4.68/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle of the 2011 vintage poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown with just a wisp of tan colored head. The head swirls around in the glass for the duration of the sample.

S - A lovely, citrus hop aroma dominates the nose. Under all that hoppy goodness is some chocolate, coffee, and bourbon.

T - Wonderfully complex. Starts out with a bit of hoppy bitterness and some chocolate. Mid-palate some strong coffee notes come out and it finishes with a nice touch of bourbon. All of the flavors meld nicely and nothing is over powering. Wow, just a great brew.

M - Low carbonation and upper medium body. A little alcoholic, but it feels more like a kiss of bourbon than an overly alcoholic beer.

O - Just a great brew that more than lived up to expectations. I haven't been surprised by a beer's complexity like this since Veritas 009.

Photo of southside
4.83/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer so much I can't stop drinking the homebrew clone that tastes exactly like it. It's so well balanced, it is well worth the hype. The bourbon aroma and notes add such a great complexity, but are so well hidden that the ABV is quite surprising to be so high. Can't imagine how good this would be if you let it sit for 6 months or so. The body is nice and thin which pairs well with the taste. This is worth the effort to find a bottle even though it's becoming near impossible.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.61/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: in any drinking vessel, pitch black beer with a finger of dark tan head

S: dark chocolatey malts produce espresso aromas to compliment the higher notes of whiskey barrels

T: real good stuff - all advertised tastes of chocolate, bourbon, coffee, vanilla are there; some sweetness and some bitterness - true "bittersweet" - a fine drink and exemplary of Founders' typical quality.

M: thick without being syrupy or sticky, the bourbon barrel-aging almost lifts the drink from your palate after each sip

O: totally get why this beer is so highly-rated. It comes out once a year in limited quantities and then its gone. Buy whatever you're allowed to when you get the chance.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Lagunitas pint jar

A: pours a motor oil black, with thin thin dark brown head, disappears instantly. Nice lacing left behind throughout the enjoyment of this treat

S: boozy, chocolate and vanilla abound.

T: dark chocolate bitterness dominates, but behind that is sweet vanilla, dark roast coffee, and bourbon heat.

M: velvety, thin but chocolate bitterness lingers, bourbon heat warms the palate in a pleasant way

O: Great beer, I'd like to keep a few to drink occasionally. Very accessible, goes toe to toe with the FW beers and Bourbon County amongst others.

Photo of inlimbo77
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz (2010) bottle poured into Pinocchio's brandy snifter. I've had this one before but never reviewed it.

A: Pitch black color with reddish hues on the corners. Basically no head unless you swirl. Then you get a little tannish head. There is some sticky lacing left on the glass.

S: Vanilla and roasted malts. Dark chocolate notes. Some of the coffee that you get in the normal FBS. But for sure, bourbon is there. The nose is extremely complex, and inviting.

T: This is more than a beer. It intense. Some boozey notes in the back of throat. Definitely some alcohol burn. You get the dark chocolate, the roasted coffee, some vanilla, and bourbon. My tongue was loving it, even with a palate that was destroyed from the tasting.

M: Full bodied chewy mouth feel.

O: A+ rated beer. It's definitely a sipper on a cold night or in this case one for the night cap. But I'd drink this year round, if I could get my hands on more!

Photo of hopking311
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok so 2010 vintage KBS takes the cake I cant lie.. Side by side notes were extremely hard especially after drinking a beer or two and then having to deal with 2 of what are possibly the best beers Ive ever had and had only heard about prior to this day not to mention 11+ octane for each..

Here we go with 2011.. keep in mind these notes precede the vintage 2010.

2mm tan head dissapates to awesome glass coating lace.

smells of rich bourbon oak, chocolate, getting more coffee notes on this one than the aged bottle. f..king incredible nose

smooth still full body mouthfeel.. Creamy

immediately tasting chocolate, coffee, roasted malts.. trailing off ..

Overall... Drunk...

I cant tell you how lucky I feel to have had this experience.. Great beers side by side..
Cheers Ben..

Poured Deep black

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

Served on draft into a 10 ounce snifter glass. Body is dark brown, teetering on black with obvious brown highlights. Thin tan head forms a ring once it settles out. Big bourbon, wood, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt on the aroma. Same on the taste with lots of bourbon coming at the end. Lots of chocolate and coffee are the focus but the wood aging adds nice layers of complexity. The feel could be a bit thicker but overall this is easily one of my favorite bourbon barrel stouts.

Photo of RHCP313
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to exitmusic00 for a great trade!

2011 Vintage
Poured from a 12oz bottle, split 3 ways into standard tasting glasses.

Playing: Frightened Rabbit–The Midnight Organ Fight

A: Pours a slick, oily black. Espresso head barely gets a chance to form, and dissipates leaving a full opaque black circle outlined by tan head. Ominous, and looks like a lunar eclipse from above.

S: First scents are sweet roasted coffee and sweet chocolate reminiscent of cake frosting. Maple, vanilla and oak with a woody backbone come through. Burnt sugars and dark ripe fruit.

T: Strong mocha flavor, giving both espresso and semi-sweet chocolate even amounts of flavor. Smooth, very palatable vanilla heat comes through from the barrel. Maple and caramel round it out.

M: This is no doubt a heavy beer, but feels smooth and drinkable on my palate. Perfect bite of carbonation up front moves across creating a creamy, silky mouthfeel. Honestly delectable.

O: Let this beer warm up! I served it a bit cold, but its transformation to cellar/room temperature was a pleasure. It's true that they say this beer is dangerously drinkable. It lives up to it's hype. It's complex without being overbearing. Its flavor is smooth and well-rounded but diverse and really takes you on an adventure. 11.2% ABV? Could have fooled me. Now, how to get more...

Photo of MS22
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review has been a long time coming. With the official arrival of Fall, and hence "stout season" I'll have at it.

The smell is nothing short of amazing. Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and a hint of cream. No astringent smell that often comes when you get in the 10%+ range.

Taste follows the smell, loads of coffee and cocoa. The vanilla and bourbon on the backbone are in perfect harmony with the overall taste. This is the prime example of a stout aged in bourbon barrels for me. Nothing over the top, just a balance that is not achieved by any others.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, not overbearingly coating or sticky like many bourbon stouts.

Overall this is the beer for me. The one I'd rank top 5 that never seems over-hyped.

Get some. Store some. Drink many.

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

2009 KBS

2009 tap pour into a Unibroue tulip.

A- jet black with a two-inch tan head that left a thick, foamy lacing as it slowly faded away.

S- bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso

T- Vanilla is present at the front. The bourbon hits hard, then fades into dark chocolate and espresso. the dark chocolate stays until the end while the bourbon fades bringing on a black cherry-like flavor. The bourbon eases back in at the finish with a soothing burn as it goes down.

M- thick, but not mouth-coating. A perfect level of carbonation throughout; just enough to know it is there.

O- Unbelievable. I had only tried current-year KBS on tap and this blows it away. It starts and finishes with an unparalleled deliciousness. Now I can't wait to open my bottle of 2009 that has been taunting me for over a year!

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

pours a midnight black brown with very little head. no light transmission.

smell is strong coffee molasses with maybe some fruit. lots of excellent smoke and toasted notes.

taste is flavor overload. awesome strong flavor. only a small sip and pow! sweet toasted coffee with a slight bitter finish chocolaty goodness.

mouth is thick with medium carbonation.

very very good. not as much bourbon as expected. very smooth with excellent flavor.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,103 ratings.