1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,096 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,096
Reviews: 2,540
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 3,577
Gots: 3,345 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,096 | Reviews: 2,540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brez07
4.58/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to NorthsideFred for sending this bad boy my way. 12oz bottle poured into a Brooklyn snifter. 2010 vintage

A: Dark, dark brown pour that leaves a... wait, where did it go? There was a thin mocha head that disappeared fast, leaving a ring around the glass. No lacing

S: Notes of cocoa nibs, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, nut and malt fill the air. Very complex. Just the slightest hint of alcohol present in the finish [update: Alcohol is much more present after this warms up]

T: Just as wonderful as it smells. The alcohol is much more present however, leaving a nice warm feeling after swallowing. I'm fairly certain the heat is the only thing keeping this beer from being amazing. Has a nice roasted, bitter finish

M: One of the smoothest, creamiest beers I've ever had. Just the right amount of carbonation. Leaves a bitterness on the tongue after a few sips

D: This is truly one of the best stouts I've ever had. Definitely a slow sipper right now though. The bourbon is a little overpowering currently, but damn I can imagine this being fantastic in 6-12 months. Glad I have another bottle stored away

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

2010 vintage in a trade from chcfan. Thanks, Chris!

A: Absolutely pitch black with a brownish coffee tint (may be my imagination). No light penetration when held to a lamp. Pours with half a finger of tan-colored head, which recedes into a collar with light filming on top of the brew. No lacing.

S: Coffee, caramelly bourbon, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, and some booze sting.

T: Follows the nose perfectly. Coffee and bourbon are quite strong; I know this isn't barrel-aged FBS, but I swear that's the first thing that comes to mind. Vanilla and roasted malt, with the mid-taste seeing a rounded out coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. Oak hints throughout, but the finish is all alcohol and chocolate, with a pleasant warmth on the way down (an occasional burn, though). Very impressive.

M: Velvety and creamy from the full body and low carbonation. A little alcohol warmth at the end of a swig, but it's not fusel-y.

D: The recipe change threw me off a bit last year, but the 2010 vintage is amazing. I enjoy this more than Peruvian Morning (another bourbon coffee stout), and more than some other competitors in the style. Really top-notch stuff, and it amazes me that it's so plentiful and relatively cheap. I should get a case of this or something.

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

On tap at the Flying Saucer 5/2/10

A: pours thick and black as night. Small thin light brown head with little to no lacing

S: vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, oak, boozy all dancing together. very complex, very fantastic

T: bourbon comes on first and gives way to vanilla and chocolate, oak, dark roasted fruits, figs, molasses. flavors change as it warms

M: thick, chewy, heavy, with mild carbonation

D: at 11.2% abv very drinkable. a sipper for sure but that part of the beauty of this beer. the more it warms up the more flavors come out in it.

Overall, an amazing beer. So complex and wonderful. I'm guessing this beer with change a lot over time and I'm looking forward to it.

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

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...

Photo of glid02
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeremy - thanks! 2007 vintage.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts, coffee, and bourbon with hints of vanilla. The coffee is more intense than it was fresh and the bourbon is more restrained.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors kick things off. Smooth coffee flavors join in shortly thereafter. Midway through the sip vanilla and bourbon flavors make an appearance, the former more intense than the aroma intimates. Mildly sweet oat flavors kick in right before a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall I thought this was still a phenomenal beer after a few years on it but I was a bigger fan when it was fresh. The bourbon flavors are much bigger although it is boozier when fresh. In any even, it's worth a shot fresh or aged.

Photo of phishisphunk
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Enjoyed at cellar temperature.

A: Brownish black in color, not too terribly dark. Slight tan head evolves with a vigorous pour and recedes to the outer rim of the glass. Looks thin, leaves very scant residual lacing on the glass.

S: I love the smell of fresh KBS. Predominantly coffee and bourbon with light vanilla and oakiness. The bottle I am currently enjoying also has a mild to moderate aroma of alcohol, a first for me while enjoying KBS. One of the best smelling beers I have ever had the pleasure to sniff.

T: This batch is a little hot. I have had this aged a year, which was incredibly smooth with diminished coffee, but this has some pungent alcohol. But overall, very enjoyable. The taste follows the nose very well. Creamy, smooth, coffee, vanilla, bourbon. But not overly done with the bourbon. Compliments the base beer very well. Some mild earthiness is still hanging around as well as mild residual chocolate from the original breakfast stout.

M: Very creamy with little carbonation as one might expect from a beer of this sort that has already been aged for some time.

D: As I said earlier, this batch is a little hot (maybe a funny bottle, I had it around Easter and remember it being pretty well balanced as always). But overall pretty mellow for a beer at 11%. If this was more accessible and readily available throughout the year, I would drink it all the time. Have no problem consuming a whole bottle. One of Founder's best and always worth seeking out.

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

Poured into a snifter

A: Pours a pitch black with a dark brown lace ring of head around the surface of the beer. This beer looks like engine oil.
S: Smells of bourbon, roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate
T: Bourbon flavor up front, which turns into roasted malt then dark chocolate with a hint of dark fruit and then finishes with an oaky flavor. Amazingly this flavor is balanced enough that there isn't a lot of "heat" to the flavor and all the different flavors seem to compliment each other.
M: Very thick and chewy mouthfeel, slight carbonation.
D: This is a fine sipping brew with a complex flavor and a high ABV. Sit back and enjoy.

Photo of ZX6Chris
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Dark as night. A hard pour produces a little film of very fine dark tan head. A little swirling and the glass gets coated with bubbles on the inside.

S-Mostly vanilla, chocolately, oaky and bourbony. But all the smells seem to compliment each other instead of overpower each other.

T-Vanilla and chocolate then the oak and bourbon barrel come through. The alcohol comes out a little in the end but nowhere near the 11%. Very oaky aftertaste. The wood stays in your mouth after the beer is gone.

M-Surprisingly light for such an amazing beer. I'd say medium body and very lightly carbonated.

D-The aroma draws you in, the taste makes you stay.

I was honestly surprised at how light the mouthfeel was for such a big beer. Very easy drinking for a bourbon barrel ages 11% stout. I'm gonna keep this on my want list.

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

This is deep black with a reddish brown head that disappears into bubbles. Coffee is the first note that hits the nose followed by milk chocolate, light maple syrup, bourbon, and a bit of oak. I almost don't want to drink it because it smells so good. Almost. The bourbon is not shy in this. Comes out right away in the taste, but smooths out into oak-hinted toffee, creamy chocolate, and roasted coffee which lingers and bitters a bit with a mild whiskey burn at the end. A little chewy with a sweet malt feel and a little carbonation, but velvety and well-blended--a great libation. The label disclaims any remedies, but this is a cure for all that ails.

Photo of beerguru15
4.58/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After hearing about this beer from this site and from friends and related sites I just had to try it.

When first pouring the beer I noticed that it was a Jet Black color with a Dark Tan head which depreciated quite quickly.

When smelling the KBS I noticed a strong coffee and chocolate smell

The taste was excellent! A combination of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and a "barrel" taste, which was a great combination.

the KBS had a strong but smooth mouthfeel and aftertaste

Overall I found this beer to be very drinkable and quite tastey. This beer can defiantely creep up on you and I look forward to purchasing this each year when it first comes out. Well worth the hype

Photo of bobsy
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle tasted side by side with Founders Breakfast Stout.

Pours pitch black with a finger of khaki head that quickly drops to a wispy film, leaving only a few lone streaks of lace on the glass. The typical appearance you expect for a barrel-aged stout. Sweet bourbon aroma brings wood, brown sugar, vanilla and spice, while the base beer has some delightful dark chocolate and coffee notes. Its certainly the kind of beer that telegraphs its quality by its scent.

Sumptuous, rich and luxurious flavour elevates this into the top echelon of imperial stouts. The balance between the base beer and the barrel character is perfectly recognised, and a harmonious marriage is created. Sweet and smooth on the tongue, with great chocolate, vanilla, and brown sugar notes. Creamy coffee, irish cream, a touch of wood - its all there. Wonderfully integrated bourbon and a prime dessert beer. Full mouthfeel, with a smooth, slightly chewy viscousness, and a soft carbonation that works just perfectly. Slightly warming alcohol, but very well-hidden considering its weight. Certainly not noticeable enough to stop me drinking this in record time!

I really liked this, and think it may be one of the best examples of barrel-aging I've come across. The bourbon adds just the right notes to this beer, and transforms it into something sublime, and truly worthy of its accolades. Everything about it is rich and decadent, making this a luxury to drink.

Big thanks to Eric for the bottle!

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Pours black like oil with a thin brown head. It smells of coffee, chocolate, slight toasted malt slight booze. The taste follows with vanilla and bourbon. So delish! Let this warm a bit. This ale is full bodied- almost syrupy but in a fantastic way. I would love to drink 4 of these but the ABVs remind me to consume slow. This will only get better with age. My second favorite beer of all time.

Photo of Spica66
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage

Very boozy. Wonderful bourbon aroma. Black as night. Thin head. Not like Founders Breakfast Stout (one of my favorites). This is a Fabulous beer! Better than Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island. I am going to lay this one down in the cellar to see what it does...

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

A: Pours coffee black with a thin tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass

S: Smells of toasted malt, coffee, and some notes of chocolate. On top of those a smell of bourbon and a hint of vanilla

T: Small bourbon bite leaves the mouth dry. Huge does of bitter chocolate followed by a marshmallow like sweetness with a touch of coffee and rich brown sugar

M:This went from creamy and sticky to dry and bitter. They both worked complimented each other nicely and kept anything from being too overwhelming

D: Very drinkable, very tasty. Comes pretty close to living up to the hype.

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

had an 2009 and 2010 side by side. both were incredibly good but in a very different way. the coffee had almost completely faded in the 2009 and the chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon mix were out of control good. the review is for the fresh bottle

a- thick pitch black liquid. cocoa brown head reduced to a thin film and collar. expected and appreciated for this big black abyss of a stout.

s- big coffee shines above a still fairly strong mix of chocolate and vanilla. the bourbon was surprisingly not that prevalent. it all seems like the textbook aromas for a BA stout, but simple done right is good

t- so, incredibly smooth for a BA stout. big coffee and chocolate fight for the top dog of the flavors. the mix into a blend of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. the mix of all those flavors is really sublime. the 70IBUs advertised on the label does a good job of keeping the sweet/bitter battle balanced and enjoyable.

M- thick, and very silky. doesn't overly coat your mouth and really has an exceptionally decadent mouthfeel. the feel is aided by a subtle carbonation level.

d- it's a very rich beer even for a RIS. rich and delicious though. I'd never let a drop be wasted. I'd drink it until I passed out and is well worth the $20/4pk

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

Had a taster while I was in line at the Veritas release.

A- Black with brown head nice lacing left around the edges.

S- Coffee, heavy milk chocolate, roasted malt, nice vanilla bourbon oak smell, just a nice bourbon smell not strong or overpowering.

T- Similar to the smell, loads of milk chocolate and vanilla, roasted malt and coffee later with a nice vanilla bourbon oak finish. Smooth.

M- Full bodied Stout that is very creamy, almost chocolate milk creamy, with light carbonation and light bourbon notes that balance the beer nicely.

D- Easy drinking if you like chocolate milk, loads of flavors, creamy, smooth, dry finish. Never noticed 11.2% alcohol.

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

Poured from an '09 vintage bottle into a NYC Craft Beer Week glass.

A: Dark as night, pours with little to no head. Has a sticky, syrupy aspect to it.

S: Authentic coffee and chocolate aromas. A rather spectacular nutty smell too. Some signs of oak, but no signs of bourbon. Note that as the beer warms up a lot more vanilla and toffee characters come through.

T: So rich and delectable. The most ideal, perfect, dessert beer. I mainly get that perfect mix of chocolate and coffee and a hint of the bourbon. Some oakiness follows. Not sweet or acrid, just right on point - this beer really opens up when it warms up.

M: The carbonation is surprisingly okay. Not chewy, not oily or slick, just right for the style and ABV.

D: All I can is, "Another one please?"

Overall, a decadent beer that is unmatched. Cheers Founders!

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

2010 vintage. Poured a deep, dark, opaque black, impervious to the light. A surprisingly decent amount of chocolately brown head formed initially, but receded to the edges fairly quickly. A big nose on this one, with loads of freshly brewed coffee, along with bourbon and dark chocolate. The bourbon presence is dominant on the palate as well, along with vanilla, oak, roasted malt and chocolate covered espresso beans. The alcohol is very well hidden in this one, making it dangerously drinkable. After being unimpressed with this one last year, I am extremely glad I got a couple more this year. A truly outstanding beer.

Photo of honestdave
4.93/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 12oz. bottle 2010 version into a snifter.

A: Color is dark chocolate with slight creamy chocolate head. Recedes quickly but small creamy ring remains as I allow it to warm in the glass.

S: The smell is incredible! Chocolate, coffee, and bourbon come through big time. The aroma of this beer is at least half the enjoyment, maybe more. I swirl it in the snifter as it warms and enjoy the unbelievable aroma.

T: Intense dark chocolate along with the coffee and bourbon flavors give this beer a truly unique taste. You can tell the high alcohol is there; but does not take from the flavor of this sipper.

M: Thick mouth feel with slight carbonation. Alcohol is warming and wonderful.

D: This is an awesome stout and one that I will be able to enjoy again and again. I will age a few and will love to taste again after a year or so.

Summary: Founders does an awesome stout and the KBS is one that you have to try to believe!

Photo of Kamahl75
4.18/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this at a local bar in a small bottle poured into a goblet in March 2010.

I did like this beer a lot. The smell was a signal of the taste with a strong coffee, vanilla, chocolate and sweetness like from molasses. Had not enjoyed a bourbon barrel breakfast stout before, became a fan. A little bit of alcohol in the mouth and not quite as smooth as the tap version of course. Overall a beer I would definitely drink again as an after dinner drink. Wish I could try it on nitro like some of the other posters.

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

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 02/15/10.

(A)- Pours thick & as dark as the blackest night. Produced a frothy & large 3+ finger almost dark brown head with some good retention behind it. The head actually became a tan color as it finally settled to a light layer of froth on the surface. Left some legs of foam on the sides of the glass.

(S)- Dense aromas of coffee grounds, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, and light bits of wood. Rich & decadent. I could really smell this all day; a combination of all my most favorite smells rolled into one.

(T)- Exactly like the smell. Wonderful combo of coffee & chocolate with vanilla & brown sugar. Sweet, but not overly so. Finishes up dry & slightly bitter. Let this warm up to cellar temp.

(M)- Great carbonation level & balance. Sweet, yet dry & bitter to smooth it all out. Very impressed with how smooth this years is; great alcohol integration. There is a warmth to it going down, but in no way harsh or overpowering whatsoever. I am really surprised how smooth it is this fresh already!

(D)- Everytime I have had this beer, it continually surprises me and amazes me at the same time. An amazing example of the style that never disappoints. Founders just knows how to do their stouts; KBS/CBS/BS are overall just fantastic & perhaps my most favorite lineup of beers.
This years release will not disappoint if you havent had it yet & are wondering the quality of the batch. In fact, it may just be better than last years. Simply a delight to drink & enjoy, I didnt want it to end.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.25/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark dark black with a decent amount of caramal foam forming in the Duvel tulip glass. Smells of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. This taste follows suit with some bourbon and oak lingering in there too. Its very smooth overall and a very solid stout. Its easy to drink for the 11.2%, but it does catch up to you after a couple. Still prefer the Canadian Breakfast Stout over this, but its still pretty good.

Photo of jhoban19
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: KBS pours black as night with a finger's worth of rich brown foam. The head settles quickly into a thick ring around the outside of the glass. Random spots of lacing move around with each sip and follow the beer down the glass.

S: Immediately out of the fridge initial aromas of coffee grounds, dark roasted malt and milk chocolate. I'm not getting any bourbon just yet, but we'll see what happens as this baby warms and opens up. Could be that this bottle has been aging in my cellar for close to a year and has mellowed. Now that I've let it warm, some bourbon does come through, but never too much, and certainly not as much as I was expecting.

T: the flavor of KBS follows the aromas lock, stock and barrel- dark roast coffee and milk chocolate. I have to be careful because I could put down the entire glass- I'd like to let it warm a little to see how it transforms. As it warms hints of bourbon start to appear and become more prevalent the closer it gets to room temperature. That said, it never overpowers.

M: Thick, rich, smooth and creamy. While still fridge temp, KBS reminds me of a glass of good chocolate milk made with more chocolate than milk. As it warms, like the flavors, the warming feel of bourbon presents a nice balance to the creamy smoothness.

D: Kentucky Breakfast Stout is way to drinkable for an 11.2% brew. Dangerous as it may be, it's well worth the risk. I prefer the Canadian Breakfast Stout over KBS, but not by much. This is an excellent brew from start to finish.

Photo of tegelaar
4.9/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black with no head. Nice lacing with cocoa colored rings forming as you drink. Smell is very sweet with strong coffee and chocalate smells. This thing tastes insane! Totally blows you away with intense chocolate and to a lesser extent coffee. The Bourbon adds the perfect burn and sweetness to this beer. It's so smooth and effortless to drink. This is a top rated beer for a damn good reason! What an experience.

Photo of Banger530
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was good to have this again. I used to live within walking distance of Founders before moving to Phoenix, and I miss it.

2010 Bottle

Poured a deep, dark, black with about a finger mahogany head.

Smelled of bourbon, roasted coffee, and chocolate. Very nice. I could have just smelled and been happy.

Taste like burnt coffee, chocolate, and of course bourbon. Well balanced throughout and left a boozy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full. Full-bodied beer. Lightly carbonated, enough to compliment the taste.

Very drinkable. One of my favorites.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,096 ratings.