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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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9,232 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,232
Reviews: 2,568
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 3,752
Gots: 3,455 | FT: 242
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: 9,232 | Reviews: 2,568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spaceycasey
3.84/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from at the Blind Tiger in Manhattan

A - pitch black with no discernable head.

S - Wow, what a complex aroma. Bourbon, coffee, oatmeal, vanilla, cocoa powder, dark chocolate. I spent a good amount of time just smelling this beer. One of most interesting experiences I've had with the aroma of a beer in my life.

T - The bourbon and coffee were most prominant, almost as if sucking on boubon-soaked coffee beans. Rich malty sweetness but almost astringent roastiness.

M - full bodied and rich, but a slight slickness of the tongue.

D - Sharing with friends would prolong my ability to consume these, but fairly average drinkability for the style.

Photo of brewdan
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin tan head.

Smells like awesome dark roast coffee and chocolate with a hint of vanilla.

Tastes like it smells; rich roasted dark coffee with a splash of bitter dark chocolate and a hint of bourbon and vanilla. Amazing.

Mouhfeel is creamy and smooth.

Dangerously drinkable although more than one or two would be a problem due to ABV.

I think the thing that sets KBS apart is that the bourbon and barrel aging don't overwhelm the beer. There are plenty of dark roast coffee and bitter dark chocolate notes to go along with the bourbon and vanilla from the barrels.

Exceptional brew that makes me glad that I live in MI.

Photo of Snow81
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black as night, no light penetrates this beer

Head: Thick dark frosty brown head

Smell: Burnt roosted malts with big vanilla and sweet oak, hints of toffee and a subtle heat

Taste: Big smooth bourbon with dark burnt malts and a small amount of heat on the back of the palate, hints of a coco bean and or the after taste of sucking on an espresso bean

Weight: Wow nice heavy thick body with low carbonation

Finish: Great glass of bourbon, thicker, richer, and I won't say cheaper but yum how sticky it is on the lips

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

Pours a pitch black very thick with a small dark brown head which recedes into a lasting ring with nice lacing.
Aroma of bourbon, roasted coffee and malt.
Taste followed the nose with roasted coffee, bourbon and vanilla.
Medium body, creamy and smooth with light carbonation. The alcohol gives a nice warm ending.
This is one of the best stouts that I have had, very worthy of all the high ratings and hype.
I thank my son for the two bottles of KBS he put in my Birthday beer gift.
Great job Founders.

Photo of sk8man121
4.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle obtained in a trade w/ craytonic.

12 oz bottle poured into Unibroue snifter.

Before beginning, this is my first KBS and I want to make clear that the cap popped with almost no sound and poured no head whatsoever. Someone please feel free to BM me and let me know if this is common, as I'm worried perhaps I got a bottle with some issues.

A: Pours jet-black with no head whatsoever, even with a vigorous pour. Filmy mocha lacing sits atop this brew. As I said, this may be an off bottle, but I'm not impressed with how this looks at all.

S: Cocoa powder is strong upfront, as is vanilla, maple syrup, leather and a hint of freshly ground coffee beans. Smells great, although I'd like there to be a bit more bourbon present.

T: Mmmm...as roasty as it gets, and not overly sweet. Vanilla, cocoa and bourbon; the bourbon is a bit strong, but welcomed as far as I'm concerned, as the heat really brings out the more complex flavors in this brew. Outstanding.

M: Carbonation is low, which may be the result of a potentially poor bottle. Nevertheless, it fits the style and works fine. I'm happy to say that this beer isn't syrupy or overly viscous at all.

D: If I had a few more of these, I'd happily session them so long as I had nothing else to do. The high ABV (11.2%) is hidden extremely well; this drinks more like an 8% stout. I may have hyped this a bit too much in my own head, but I'd by lying if I said this wasn't a pleasurable experience.

Looking forward to keeping my eyes peeled for more KBS in the future.

Photo of Jeffo
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is one of those highly anticipated brews that everyone tries to get their hands on every year. We were lucky to see a few bottles of Founder's regular Breakfast Stout trickle over here, and it quickly became one of my favorite beers of all time. When I saw some KBS included in a couple trades this past winter, my mouth started to water almost immediately. A big thanks goes out to NYCWheatFan and Masterski for giving my 1 year old boy some drooling competition in this house.

From a bottle into a snifter. I think I'll keep this bottle too.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Pours out thick black and sits jet black in the glass. Pour yields a small, medium-thick looking mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a sparse wisp and ring. Only the ring remains until the end and leaves some nice splotchy lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts, with lots of bourbon and vanilla as well. Some nice coffee beans in there as well as hints of cocoa, but the bourbon qualities really shine here.

TASTE: Really good, and much bolder and more balanced than the nose had led on. Roasted and smoky malt, bourbon and vanilla through the middle from the barrels of course, with some bitter coffee and chocolate at the finish. Some boozy heat near the end as well. Bold and lingering aftertaste is full flavored and well balanced. Like their regular Breakfast Stout, the flavor progression here is great; tells a story from start to finish.

PALATE: Medium body and very soft and creamy on the palate. Soft carbonation and somewhat lighter than anticipated. Goes down very smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. A bit of heat and a little bite at the end. Nice stuff, but could use a little more weight.

OVERALL: This brew is definitely worth the hype. The nose had me expecting a bit of an overly strong bourbon stout, but the taste profile is extremely well balanced, going through several stages from start to finish. Great stuff. I had to force myself to slow down. Definitely worth standing in line to get some of this every year. Given how much I loved their regular Breakfast Stout, I guess it's no surprise that this one was right up my alley. Thanks again for hooking me up with this world class brew gents!

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken on March 16, 2010

A-Pitch black with nearly motor oil like consistency. Small mocha colored head dissipates quickly leaving a dense ring of foam.

S-Dark chocolate, espresso, bourbon, vanilla, burnt sugar. One of the most complex, unique, and intense noses I have ever encountered, simply amazing.

T-Bourbon explosion to start. Chocolate fudge, espresso, cream, coconut, and hint of brown sugar. As it warms the espresso stands out alongside the bourbon more and some oak flavors creep in. There is also a slight alcohol presence. Very, very complex to say the least.

M-Thick, rich, creamy, and silky smooth. Almost syrupy.

D-Good, but due to its complexity, its high alcohol content, and especially its strong bourbon flavor cut into the drinkability. I couldn't drink two of these in one sitting. I love this beer, but that would just be too much.

Overall, one of the most unique drinking experiences of my life. I love this beer and recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the style. I will save the other bottles for special occasions.

Photo of ptykozoon
4.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~Very nice lil extra courtesy of hayesez~

A vigorous pour reveals the typical dark-dark-dark brown & caramel head with underwhelming retention but great lacing.

Woof! Pungent! Getting a lot of milky chocolate goodness, a tiny touch of liquor i.e. bourbon and a tiny bit of coffee. I want to say I smell cherries even though I know they're not in there. In any event there is a sugary/fruity characteristic and complexity. Very much exceptional.

Incredible; this stout, like Parabola is just ace with the chocolate. It tastes rich and milky. The bourbon aging is there to a small extent and allows the chocolate to taste yummily burnt. Complex, sweet and bitter. Think chocolate milk on acid.

Smooth and satisfying mouthfeel, if just a bit too alcoholic/dry for my tastes.

I wish they sold these here. Deserved hype. But these small bottles are definitely enough for me..hiccup...

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I thought I reviewed this awhile ago, guess not. Its raining hard and breezy here in the northeast, good time for a KBS. Pours like sludgy motor oil, tan head that fades before you even knew it was there to a thin tan ring. Aroma is so heavy on the coffee, chocolate, and licorice, and a bunch of smoke. Flavors follow, thick complex malty mouthful, chocolate, anise, licorice, smoke, and coffee.
Can't really beat the mouthfeel factor on these big stouts, thick rich and luscious and chewy. I mean yeah the alcohol is hidden pretty well, and it drinks well but how many of these are you really planning on drinking in a sitting. I forgot how unique this beer is.

Photo of goldbot
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2/8/2010. Review from notes taken on 6/25/2010.

Pours a pitch black with ample brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving a haze on the surface. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Loads of dark chocolate and roasted coffee hit the nose immediately, followed by strong bourbon notes and plenty of alcohol aroma. Some vanilla and oak in the mix as well.

The beer comes on like a thick chocolate milkshake. Roasty coffee, lots of vanilla and a smoky, woody bourbon flavor. Dark chocolate towards the end smoothed out with more vanilla and a warming alcohol flavor.

Incredibly smooth and creamy. Oak tannins. A bit hot, especially as the beer warms. This beer is certainly world class to me. Plenty of drinkability; very complex, a pleasure to taste.

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

i am not sure of the last time i saw a head so dark. it lasted only a couple of minutes but was rich-looking while it lasted. the lacing looks like it might be pretty solid

chocolate-coffee aroma hits hard right up front. deep, dark, baker's chocolate, too. none of that milk garbage. toffee. there's a little hop in there, just to remind me that i'm sniffing at a beer and not baked goods (seriously, a blind sniff would yield thoughts of cake or ice cream)

thankfully not as sweet as my nose had warned my mouth that it would be. nevertheless, a mouthful of coffee and sweetchocolatey. hops have been used artfully, if to perform no other role than that of picture frame--keeping everything on one plane.

a 5.0 was not given for drinkability because i could only drink a couple. if "deliciousness" were a category this beer would receive a 5.0 in that. as for any other numbers that might surprise people: i could sniff this guy all day (and sip it) but it's really not all that refined. if i am to evaluate this with the same criteria as I am to evaluate a belgian, KBS just lacks delicacy (though i will say that the bourbon barrel element is subtle)

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- The body is a nice dark chocolaty brown in color.

S- The smell of dark malts and bourdon. Woody scent since age in bourbon barrels.

T- I can taste coffee and chocolate. And a bourbon taste finnish at the end.

M- Very smooth like whiskey.Nice on the pallet.

D- This beer is amazing with coffee and light bourbon flacors coming out. Oh such heaven.

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

Poured into a small sampling glass this brew is thick like chocolate milk with a dark chocolate color and a nice firm tan head settling into a solid cap. This brew has strong hints of chocolate, burnt caramel, and light vanilla. The taste is thick and oily with nice burnt malts and a slight chocolate finish. The taste lasts long after the last drop and ends dry. This gets more complex as it warms and was delicious. Must have on a Saturday for breakfast when not working.

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

My first KBS! Bottled in February 2010. Pours an extremely dark black. Even when light is brightly shown behind it, it remains pitch black. Poured aggressively to get over an inch of a very tan, almost brown, thick, frothy head. The smell is very lovely with so much complexity. It seems so well-balanced just by the aroma. Some mixtures of bourbon whiskey, dark chocolates, light coffee, and sweet sugars. The taste is just as complex and smooth as I was hoping for. When fresh, this beer blows a fresh BCBS out of the water IMO. Not too boozy whatsoever. The bourbon flavors are present, but not the slightest bit overwhelming. Some amazing chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes as well. Amazing taste. The beer's mouthfeel is just as I expected...maybe even a little lighter. It is thick and a bit syrupy/oily, but EXTREMELY drinkable. Outstanding beer!

Photo of largecar73
4.82/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

120z stubby bottle into a chalice.

A: Absolutely black with a one finger mocha head. Tiny carb bubbles dancing just under the head. Lacing is nice.

S: Bourbon is the first scent that enters my nostrils. Followed by coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, and roasted malt. Very nice.

T: Bourbon is the first thing I noticed here too. Also expresso, a touch of oak, bitter dark chocolate, and some dark fruit. The hop profile is muted but here also. This is a complex beer.

M: Very thick, and oily, but not overly so. I detect little carbonation. I've tasted plenty of stouts, and this one seems spot on for the style in my opinion.

D: It's hard to believe that this is an 11+% beer! I've had 9% beers that don't hide the alcohol this well. This is a slow sip and savor beer, but each sip begs you to take another. I only wish I would have picked up more.

This is a fantastic stout fully deserving of all the accolades it receives.

Photo of cooch69
3.73/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Breakfast Stout is very very brown almost black, with a very thin light brown film on top that lasts all the way. It smells of VANILLA , alcohol and espresso, With an emphasis on the vanilla. The aromatics are pretty powerful, so I was wondering if it was going to be over the top. But the body was really good. It was mellower than the nose would have suggested. KBS is very creamy and smooth going down. Definately a sipper, but one that can be enjoyed in the finest of moments. Every founders beer I tried so far was really good, but for some reason I prefer the original Breakfast Stout. That's not to say that I wont be trying this again in the future.

Photo of thecarster1
3.9/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a tulip, pours like syrup, black motor oil coloring, slight wispy lace.

s- deep dark roast coffee, bourbon, bready, this beer isn't messing around, you can smell the strength, but only a touch of alcohol.

t- strong, bready, fresh black coffee, toffee, molassas, alcohol, this is the strongest, most flavor-intense beer i've ever had. this is putting me through my paces.

m- so thick and mouth filling - the thickest beer i've ever had.

d- the drinkability isn't great here just because of the strength, this is a huge beer and definately a sipper. definately glad i had the chance to try this, and pop a couple in my cellar to see if they will age well.

Photo of jpmclaug
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my Stone IRS snifter

A - Black body with a brown/red tint to it. circle of tan head rests on top

S - Bourbon, oak and vanilla all resting on top a solid malty body. Maybe a hint of cherry as well? Smells fantastic.

T - Nice bourbony flavor on top of a roasted malt monster with a hint of coffee. Picking up a lot of coffee flavor toward the end of this. Nice touch of heat at the end

M - heavy low carbonated body with a hint of creaminess.

D - A lot easier to drink than I expected. The bourbon flavor in this is noticeable but mingles well with the other flavors rather than dominating them for a pleasant taste. I wish I had bought more of this when I had the chance but the lesson was learned. Great beer. Worthy of its accolades.

Photo of blackdog1101
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

A - Pitch black, with a tan, short-lived head from a hard pour into the middle of the goblet. The lacing clings to the glass, and there is a long-lasting ring of bubbles around the perimeter of the glass.

S - I immediately got the smell of chocolate from the aroma released from the hard pour. Sticking my nose in the goblet I also get coffee, vanilla, caramel, and alcohol.

T - This is where it's at, and it doesn't get any better than this. Coffee and semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and a bit of bourbon, all backed up by the sharp notes of the hops and alcohol. I get the sense of a bourbon-soaked chocolate cake like you might have over the Holidays. Very rich. There's just a ton of flavor going on here.

M - Slick and creamy, with some bite from the alcohol. Without the bite I think the beer would seem cloying.

D - This is absolutely one of my top three beers. I've had quite a few of these, both from bottles and on tap. In my opinion KBS fully deserves the accolades it receives.

Photo of berkey
4.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip 08/11/10. I've been looking forward to this one for awhile.

Pours completely black. A rough pour coaxes up a small tan head which settles to a narrow ring along the perimeter of the glass.

The aroma is incredible on this beer. Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and wood almost completely manage to mask the alcohol which lingers nicely in the background.

Chocolate on the entry and more coffee as is progresses across the palate. Seems there's a fairly prominent hop flavors for the style which actually seems to enhance the bitter sharpness of the coffee character. Of course alcohol comes through on the aftertaste in a beer as strong as this but it's relatively subtle and adds a pleasant warming. I let it warm quite a bit before sampling but even more chocolate and an almost dark fruity character start coming through as it completes the journey to room temperature.

Carbonation is very low but that's not really a huge problem for me in this style. Wish the body was a bit fuller but I'm not going to sweat the details too much as this is a very enjoyable beer.

What's this? A Bourbon barrel aged Stout that allows the barrel influence to do it's work without drowning out the base beer? What a concept! Founders never seems to disappoint and this is among their top offerings I've tried so far.

Photo of rjhaupt
4.47/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Practically black with a very light head, tiny carbonation bubbles fighting their way through thickness. An intimidating void.

S - Aroma hits you even as the glass sits on the table. Smells rich and sweet, like fresh-ground coffee and cocoa without the abject sweetness of a mocha. The notes of bourbon linger in the background.

T - The first note that hits is a surprising tartness, which is indicative of it's 70 IBU rating, but it is immediately followed by the sweetness you expect from this kind of beer. The coffee flavor brings up the rear and finishes very mildly leaving a pleasant carmel aftertaste. Gets a much stronger bourbon character once you let it warm up to room temp.

M - Perfect. It's velvet on the tongue. If it weren't for the taste you might not know it was there.

D - The only reason this rating is so low is because you have to drink it at breakfast. You just have to. Any other time of day and it wouldn't be a breakfast stout. However, the kind of mornings for which you need a breakfast stout are limited so the drinkability is necessarily a bit low. Definitely not gonna give you the same buzz as a cup of coffee.

Photo of coryking
4.02/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have had several different vintages of this beer with several different cellaring ages on it. From an 09 vintage tasting with no cellaring on it...

A: Nothing to special. Pitch black, no carb, I like, but not good for judging.

S: Now we are talking! Bourbon, vanilla, molasses, some dark fruit, obviously coffee, toffee, and chocolates. Whoa, more bourbon now. This is going to be hot.

T: I love it! The love isnt shared amongst everyone doing the tasting. Hot bourbon. This beer needs aging. Im a bourbon fanatic, but this is too hot for a beer. I will say that this thing is super complex and fun to sip, savor, and discuss!

M: Viscosity is a little lower than I was wanting and expecting.

D: Not really drinkable for most. The 12oz bottle was shared with a friend. More than enough. This beer truly drinks like bourbon. Warm it up, give me a 2oz pour in a snifter and call it a night.

Amazing, complex beer nonetheless. Epic, yes. But there are so many better ones out there.

Photo of uturn
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz capped bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter.

A: Pours dark brown to just about black, leaving a thin dark tan head.

S: The first sniff you get is loaded with coffee, then you find some cocoa and a mild hint of the bourbon.

T: As far as the taste goes, it's of roasted coffee, chocolate and just the right amount of bourbon, if you dig down you could pick up some of the vanilla.

M: Thick, rich and creamy.

D: You only get some mild heat form the 11.2%, but it's still a sipper for sure.

This is the "best" bourbon barrel aged stout I've had to date.

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

Found this at a 10th anniversary celebration for a bar I frequent. Poured a very dark brown/black with light head and a strong vanilla/coffee aroma. Taste was intense, largely of vanilla, and bourbon. Definitely something you sip as opposed to full on drinking. If you can find it, definitely worth a taste.

Photo of Lazerlobe
4.3/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


A: Pours thick, black and creamily with minimal beige head.

S: Old coffee, booze, woodsy scents and light vanilla

T: Bourbon and percolated coffee dominate first, with molasses, oak and booze filled chocolate subtly working their way in. I'm having a tough time picking out the hops because the rest of the beer is overwhelming. Pretty hot still, but the aftertaste is like tiramisu with a kahlua based sauce drizzled over it.

M: Luxurious and creamy, the carbonation is spot on. Gentle mixing with the tongue whips it in to a velvety cream.

D: My first KBS, I'll let the rest mellow out a few years. A solid drink all around.

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,232 ratings.