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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)

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9,491 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,491
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 4,020
Gots: 3,698 | FT: 262
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: 9,491 | Reviews: 2,620
Photo of uustal
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep, deep black with a one-finger dark brown head. Traces of the head stick around and the lacing is above average for the style. Aroma of bourbon mostly, also hints of chocolate and coffee. The bourbon leads the flavor profile. It's definitely the highlight. Really nice. You get the bourbon flavor without the alcohol heat. Awesomely integrated with the vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavors of the Breakfast Stout. The vanilla, chocolate and coffee play second fiddle, but are there. Really smooth and again, just very good overall flavor.

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.59/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a dark black with a finger of mocha head.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee.

T: Sugary chocolate with a bit of bourbon and coffee in the lingering taste.

M: Thick and almost syrupy.

D: Not an everyday drinker by a longshot, but its damn delicious. Its rich yet rough from the bourbon taste. All around its an amazing flavor experience.

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

As I mulled my beer selection at the sterling Sun Singer, pondering whether to select Trois Pistoles or Pranqster, the excellent manager approached me and excitedly asked, "You want some KBS?" Stunned, I responded wide-eyed, You have Kentucky Breakfast Stout?!? He then reached over to the singles shelf and handed me the last two bottles of KBS. As I looked at them adoringly, then leaned back my head, closed my eyes and smiled, he walked past with a casual, "You're welcome." Thanks hardly seem sufficient.

A thin but persistent patch of mocha foam tops the blackest stout body imaginable. KBS, it seems, is where light goes to die. Incredibly, beautifully black. Very nice aromas, filled with bourbon, coffee, vanilla bean, and molasses. The smell isn't massive, but rather full and complex.

A sip of KBS is a glimpse into stout Heaven. The bourbon is pervasive but permissive, coating but allowing for the myriad flavors to emerge in stages. The first half was loaded with bourbon, fresh ground coffee, and vanilla bean--plenty of stout bitterness packed with flavor. What emerged in the second half was a surprising sweetness mixed in--a milder vanilla, loads of fruit especially berry and citrus, capped by a smooth bourbon finish. A work of art.

The velvety smooth mouthfeel brings plenty of hops with the creamy texture. Full, flavorful, and shockingly accessible. It is astounding how submerged the 11/2% ABV is, for this was far from a sipper, astonishingly enough.

This one easily lives up to its billing, no small task given its well-established reputation and that of Founders. KBS has, for me, joined the long litany of Founders legends and is also ensconced at the top of my favorite stouts. This beast is the stuff of legends; simply amazing.

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

A- 4.5 Pours a dark, dark brown. You can tell it is brown and not black because of its thin, dark tan head. Ultra fine bubbles lace the sides of the snifter smoothly. It looks great overall but I was hoping for just a little more head retention. Not that this is keeping me away, obviously...

S- 5 Dark roasty malts, chocolate, and coffee dominate. There is a definite bourbon aroma in the background which balances its sweet smell nicely. I can smell the oak from the barrels as well, which is a surprise! It smells as perfectly as you'd imagine from reading its label.

T- 5 As you'd suspect from its aroma, this wonderful stout is bursting with flavors of chocolate and coffee. There is much more heat from the bourbon present in the taste than the smell, which is to be expected. I love that about this beer, though! It has a strong, excellent kick and it balances the initial sweetness perfectly, reminding me of its potency.

M- 4.5 Nice feel to this medium-full body stout. It isn't too heavy considering the strength of the brew, but it does coat the mouth well. There is just a bit of syrup on the tongue from the booze which leaves my senses tingling. There is a mild carbonation.

D- 4.5 One thing I love about this complex, beautifully crafted stout ale is that it really isn't that complex to decipher. All of its flavors are pronounced in their respective ways as it is balanced perfectly. It is definitely high in volume and flavor... And unfortunately, price. At $23.99 / 4-pack, it lost some of its "drinkability" for me before I was able to snag it off the shelf (or should I say from the employee who brought it out to me from the back room of the last store in town to have it stocked). Honestly, it is just so limited, so expensive, and so powerful that I couldn't see myself drinking more than one (maybe two on a special night). I'd rather hoard it! I'm wishing now that I would have saved one from last year to compare it with vertically... I'll be sure to do that for the 2012 batch! Excellent beer.

Photo of 2BDChicago
4.88/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Very, very complex in the very best way. First is a coffee, but an exotic blend, then a deep rich molasses, and a little whiskey fire.

1st Taste: Soft, extremely full, burnt brown sugar, and bourbon with a tad of dark, semi-sweet chocolate in the background.

Overall: You know this is a big beer. Costs a ton, aged a year, and as Van Halen says "everybody wants some.", and after this first tasting session I know why. It's statement of the obvious to say this brew has a huge personality. There's a a ton flavors that float around in the background...vanilla, oak, cocoa, oatmeal...go on and on. The sweetness doesn't seem to be malt, but from any of dozens of dark fruits and brown sugar variations. It's presence in the mouth is almost 3D, creamy and oily. And if you like the taste of whiskey fire, buddy this is your beer. Some might argue it's not the best brew in America, I think it's in the running. And, it shows the strength of the mid-west's dominace of the american whiskey(bourbon) barrel aged brews.

Photo of Rhynes2
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So glad that I found this beer. Not much to say for the head or for lacing but the full body flavor makes up for it. Deep dark color has a nice creamy ring around the top but not much else. Alcohol smell is a little noticeable in the nose but not to an extreme. Roasted Malts and vanilla show through on this one. Great stout And I would recommend this to anyone.

Photo of Alexmc2
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, thick, small tan head that fades quickly.

Smell: Smell is of coffee, alcohol, grain, chocolate, bourbon and hints of vanilla.

Taste: Initial taste is lots of bourbon cask flavor with some coffee. Vanilla comes out more as it warms along with molasses. Some nice sweetness and the alcohol heat is in the background, being present but by no means overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Lovely balance, smooth for a big beer like this.

Overall: Great beer. The heat is acceptable for an 11+% stout. Could I drink this every day? No, but this is a fantastic beer to go to on a cold spring day.

Photo of n2185
4.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Doing a side-side with a 2010 and 2011 bottle.

A: Both pour a thick, jet black with a finger of chocolate head. Head retention is surprisingly good for a big, bbal stout as it fades to a solid, brown cap. Lacing is good as well as they tint the glasses brown.

S: 2010--Some roasted malt up front followed by a creamy, semi-sweet chocolate aroma. There are some light coffee aromas in there as well. The bourbon follows closely behind, providing aromas of vanilla, oak, and of course bourbon.
2011--Lots of dark chocolate and coffee up front on this baby. Full-bodied, robust, delicious coffee. Behind it comes a creamy-sweet vanilla aroma along with the bourbon.

T: 2010--Mmm, creamy, dark chocolate on the tongue followed by vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The finish has a robust--but not overly bitter--coffee flavor along with some warmth from the bourbon. Everything is so well balanced here--the coffee not too bitter, the bourbon not too strong, the chocolate and oak providing a light sweetness but not too much.
2011--Similar to the 2010, but much more coffee-forward. Dark chocolate and that full, robust coffee are first and foremost. The bourbon along with its vanilla and oak flavors come next, more present than in the 2010 but still not overwhelming. A surprising piny hop flavor comes afterward, providing some bite to go with the lightly bitter and full-bodied coffee flavors. The finish has a light bitterness to it from the hops along with some alcohol burn, but not too much.

M: 2010--Thick thick thick and creamy with low carbonation. This beer is like drinking dark chocolate, coffee, and bourbon flavored silk.
2011--About the same, though with a bit more bite from the hops and slightly more burn from the bourbon. Still amazing, though.

O: 2010--Overall, amazing. I was worried the coffee would fade too much or the bourbon would become too weak, but they are both still there and the beer is phenomenal even with a year on it. The coffee flavor is a bit less apparent and the bourbon a bit smoother than the 2011.
2011--Also amazing. So much delicious coffee and dark chocolate going on here with the bourbon very present but not overwhelming. The hops also provide a surprising kick towards the end.

In the end, I thought the 2011 would be far superior, but it's very close. Trying to pick a favorite is like trying to pick a favorite child. I think the fresh bottle has the slightest upper hand in the aroma, though I think I prefer the 2010 by just a hair in the flavor department for allowing more of the dark chocolate flavors to shine through. Regardless, I would take either vintage over any other imperial stout I've had any day of the week. I cannot say enough good about this beer--it truly is my favorite beer and I am someone who generally has difficulty listing my favorite of anything. Absolutely phenomenal.

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

Served from a 12oz bottle into a stemless snifter.

A: Pours near black with a thin tan head that quickly fades and leaves little lacing.

S: Damn! You can smell this beer from the moment you pop the top. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup are all present. Coffee shines through with chocolate in a big way.

T: Coffee is huge here! Rich, strong espresso. Bourbon pulls its punches and plays second fiddle. Vanilla is strong throughout.

D: Big and boozy, but far from hot. This beer demands respect, one in done, but in the best possible way.

Overall: No doubt, this is a great beer. The flavours are complex and strong and the bourbon is perfectly attuned. That being said, where I come from, beer drinkers draw battle lines over the best bourbon barrel beer. I fall on Goose Island's side. As good as KBS is, it doesn't reach the level of BCBS, especially considering it was twice as expensive.

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

First review. Can't believe I've never reviewed and have been on BA for a while.

2011 12oz Bottle. Bottled on 2/25/11.

A- Pours pitch black with a small tan head. No light getting through this baby.

S- Bourbon upfront followed by vanilla and dark Belgium chocolate.

T- Lot's of fresh coffee upfront, dark Belgium chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, burnt sugar. Coffee and slight boozy aftertaste.

M- Low carbonation, but very creamy and smooth.

O- Wow, thought this might be a booze bomb, but is incredibly well balanced and dangerously drinkable. One of the tastiest and most unique beers I've had in a while. Have another bottle to age and hoping to grab a couple more bottles.

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

Managed to land a 4 pack of 2011 KBS. I couldnt hold off any longer, I had to crack one of these bad boys and have it fresh. I have drank almost half of this tulip before even writing the review. So, so goddamn good.

A - Pours an incredible oil slick black with a one finger creamy mocha head that fades incredibly slowly for something with this much ABV. Not much in the way of lacing, but I expect that. There is a nice mocha halo when this does fade into the swirling cloud.

S - Coffee, bourbon, more coffee, and more bourbon. Some light burnt malts there as well but coffee and bourbon dominate the nose.

T - Wow, this is amazing. So much rich coffee flavours and strong, delicious bourbon notes. Some light vanilla and big alcohol flavours. With some age, letting the ABV mellow out, this stuff would be even more crazy.

M - Oh so thick and creamy and smooth. This is what stouts are supposed to feel like. So thick and delicious.

O - Yep, this stuff lives up to the hype. Just stellar aged stout. I look forward to aging my other 3 bottles!

4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into tulip. 2011 release.
A: The vibrant, black body is deep and very dark, even held to the light this beer looks like a beast. The tan head resembles the color of the bottles label. The head formation pours a one finger thick froth. The retention falls quick, but is adequate for style. Lacing is minimal, but small amounts are left on the glass.

S: The aroma shows wonderful elements of all ingredients. The chocolate comes off strong, with a nice mellow note of coffee. The oak bourbon is present, but not overpowering. A medium to high intensity aroma, but again not tacky and overpowering. The aroma project a very smooth beer, by a well rounded, complex aroma.

T/M: The front of this brew shows a smooth, robust chocolate and coffee battle, the creamy body is second to none. Bourbon flavors a very subtle, as not to shadow any of the other complexities. An oatmeal mouthfeel texture builds the foundation for this big stout. The malt sweetness is very nice and helps to hide the high ABV. I find the coffee and chocolate notes to be at the fore front and would see how this beer is respectable fresh as well as a great one for aging.

O/D: This is a very drinkable high gravity stout, with great flavors and smooth body I could drink a couple of these. Seeing as it is "highly acclaimed" and treated like gold, I can see why now. Great brew.

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

A: This beer is black and beautiful, with a small amount of tasty-looking-head, could a stout be more beautiful? That question is rhetorical, the answer is no.

S: Bourbon and Vanilla and...nope, that's it.

T: A lot of Bourbon and Vanilla and a little coffee and chocolate, wow, just like the smell, how odd.... I don't drink much Bourbon, but I do sip on some Scotch, and this brew is wonderful

MF: Smooth and creamy with a little carbonation, fuck'n A.

D: As far as Stouts go, I have not had, nor can I imagine having, a Stout that is more drinkable.

To sum up this beer let me offer a quote from the once great "former crack-head" Lawrence Taylor:

"It's the world of prostitution," he said during the Fox News interview. "You never know what you're gonna get. Is it gonna be a pretty girl, an ugly girl or whatever it's gonna be."

Now let me make that relate-able:

"It's the world of stouts. You never know what you're gonna get. Is it gonna be a pretty stout, an ugly stout, or whatever its gonna be"

Oh, LT, it was pretty alright.

Photo of BB1313
4.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a vicious black, no light getting though this one. Very thin mocha head and little lacing. This stuff is like motor-oil, no joke. Definitely one of the thickest beer I've come across. The aromas are heavy on the bourbon.. but then the strong milk chocolate will hit you w/ some vanilla. The bourbon is heavy in the flavor as well, almost diminishing all of the other flavors going on. This is a pretty complex brew. There's also nice oak/woodiness to this one, which is very noticeable in every sip. The coffee and tobacco is definitely present as well. Extremely boozy, almost too boozy, not letting the other flavors shine or develop. I can argue the flavors are unbalanced, but they work in the end. The mouthfeel is phenomenal, extremely thick and chewy. Practically no carbonation. Finishes warm, actually hot. Drinkability is okay.. this is a quintessential sipper, one's enough to please. KBS loses points from me for lacking balance in the flavor department.

KBS is a great beer. I'm not going to say it's over-hyped because it's an excellent beer. There's no denying its' complexity. It's definitely a treat.

Photo of ccm414
4.83/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 12 oz bottle... thanks BeerMaverick!

A- Black. A little chocolate looking around the edges. Not much head, a little less than one finger. It disappears relatively quickly leaving some slight lace on the glass.

S- Not overwhelming but nice on the nose. Coffee notes that are nicely complimented with hints of chocolate. Sweet malt with heavy bourbon scents. Excellent combination!

T- Pure bliss. One of the best. Great coffee flavors with hints of chocolate and vanilla bean. The bourbon also really comes through in the perfect amount, has an almost spicy feel to it. Slight alcohol burn towards the finish, but its just the right amount that lingers. Very enjoyable.

M- Medium to heavier bodied beer here. Lightly carbonated. Coats the palate nicely and almost feels like it coats the entire mouth with a film of flavor.

D- Very drinkable. Can probably become dangerous at 11.2% abv. It has a nice drinkability with the pop from the bourbon.


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

Pours a gorgeous dark brown, without much a head, and without much lacing. On the pour, this beer looks as thick as molasses. I'm not sure if I find this more intimidating or inviting. Definitely has me excited.

Smells mostly like chocolate and coffee to me. A little backdrop of bourbon. If I smell it really quickly, it almost smells like a tasty, tasty chocolate milk.

Holy mother of God, this is one of the tastiest beers I have ever had. Thick, rich chocolate-ty goodness. Definitely coffee, and a little bit of a bourbon-y taste. Myself, I'm not tasting much of a vanilla presence, but I'm not too mad about it.

Mouthfeel is a full, rich, and thick. After you start drinking this bad boy, it really sticks with you. I'm going to be happy having this linger in my mouth when I'm done.

Overall, I've been waiting for what seems like an eternity for this beer, and I'm so happy I finally got it. If you can't tell....I'm a huge fan just like everyone else. Believe the hype for this beer. Incredible.

Photo of StLThrash
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle poured into my New Belgium globe.

A - The darkest of dark. Thick, dark, brownish/black with minimal tan head and some light lacing.

S - Mmmm... get lots of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. A great bouquet of flavors. Almost like a spiked chocolate milk!

T & M - Just like the smell but better. You get deep, dark, robust coffe and dark chocolate, with a kick of bourbon and a hint of vanilla. As it progresses, you get a little bit more bourbon and alcohol. Very smooth and drinkable for an 11.2% stout. You can't drink a lot of this or it will knock you on your ass, but wow is having one just amazing. Medium, chewy body with some rich sweetness.

Overall - glad I was able to score some of this during recent release. Well worth the wait. They should release this beer in the coldest part of winter, not at the beginning of spring in my opinion... this would best be enjoyed on a cold, dark, snowy night in front of a fire.

Great job Founders - another great beer.

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

2010 Vintage poured into a Surly Darkness Tulip 3/22/11

Pours a beautiful black with a chocolate brown head of a finger thick that dissipates to just a little fine brown lacing on the glass.

Smells first of coffee and chocolate and then lots of bourbon. This is a mouth watering mix of awesome.

Taste coffee is still present after a year of aging but is consumed by the tasty sweet vanilla, bourbon, and a little chocolate taste in the back.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Bourbon resin stick to the palate and stays but it bring its coffee friend along as well.

Drinkability is good. Such a smooth beer but the bourbon has a little to much pop after the coffee has faded. The 11.2 ABV is fine with me as I like to get a boozy kick after a half glass; it lets me relax and really lets me enjoy all that this brew has to offer.

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

2011 vintage.

Lovely deep syrupy brown, with a cascading, frothy, abundant coffee-tan head that lasts and lasts. The head turns thick and pillowy as it subsides. Doesn't get much better than this.

Smell, which pours out of the bottle when you pop the cap, has coffee and chocolate up front, with strong bourbon notes and dark roasted malts. As it warms up the bourbon starts to come out more, with a nice sweetness in the background. Amazingly smooth and rounded for a loaded, barrel-aged imperial stout.

Been awaiting this first sip for a long time. Here we go. The bourbon is the first thing that hits, but it's not overpowering like it is in so many barrel-aged beers. Next come the smooth dark malts and a bit of chocolate, in a smooth transition. Finish has some bitter coffee. A touch of warming alcohol on the back end, but you have to look for it. The flavors bounce around in the mouth, coming in little mini-waves. As with many of my favorite beers, there are a lot of different things present here, but they all fit together quite well, with no single flavor dominating. I let it warm up a bit, and the bourbon came with a wallop. So in the future, I'm going to drink it a bit on the cold side to enjoy the other flavors.

Wow this is thick. It has a chewy, almost sludgy character, but still feels rather frothy and light in the mouth. Quite surprising. It doesn't feel like it coats and lingers as much as many thicker stouts do, but the flavors remain and continue to assert themselves for quite a while.

An all-around standout imperial stout. Great balance of bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts (in that order), in both the nose and the mouth. This one lives up to its billing. I could drink quite a few, if it wouldn't knock me out. And btw, where's the alcohol? I don't even notice it.

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

Aroma upon opening is huge. Big notes of bourbon were initially apparent, giving way to coffee, dark chocolate and tons of sweet molasses. Very rich. As rich and thick as they come.

Pours perfectly black, with a thin dark coffee brown head.

Now for the taste. It's immediately evident that is very thick. Oily. A bit boozy in the front from the bourbon. Man, is that bourbon evident!! Most beers of this style don't come close. Next, the coffee this is brewed with is very noticeable, along with a good dose of chocolate and thick, molasses sweetness. Finishes with an alcoholic bite from the bourbon and with a little bitterness from the roasted malts. Basically, it's thick with coffee, chocolate and molasses upfront, with a boozy, roasted finish.

Definitely one of the thickest beers I've ever had. This is like a coffee and chocolate milkshake with bourbon in it. Lots of bourbon. For its high ABV, I'm very impressed by its drinkability. Give me this over most imperial stouts any day.

Photo of StayWhatYouAre2
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into a Central Waters snifter.

A- Very dark. Not quite pitch black, but the look of some very heavily used motor oil. A pretty hard pour only yields a half finger head that is caramel brown. There is some pretty sticky lacing that leaves some very nice patching.

S- When first poured the smell was heavily dark chocolate up front with hints of sweet bourbon, bold roasted coffee and vanilla. As the beer begins to warm the bourbon takes center stage as the dark chocolate joins the coffee and vanilla in the back seat. The smell of alcohol only intensifies as time goes on and takes on the presence of oak as it warms.

T- Very bold dark, bitter chocolate hits you right up front as you take your first sip just as it does in the smell. As the beer sits on your palate and reaches the back there is plenty of warm, mellow bourbon that finishes with a sweet vanilla and roasted coffee. Much like the smell, as the beer warms the flavor of bourbon and coffee become stronger and stronger until they almost match the flavor of the strong flavor of dark chocolate.

M- Very smooth and balanced. Definitely one of the most mellow bourbon flavors I have tasted in a beer with this alcohol content. Carbonation is low, as expected, and the finish is drying.

D- The beer as a whole has a very rich flavor and should not be drank as a session beer, but rather a sipping dessert beer on special occasions (unless you were lucky enough to get more than a case). Very worth seeking out if not available in your area.

Photo of aficionado
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black body with a 1 finger caramel colored head and low lacing.

Pleasant, mellow bourbon aromas that don't hurt your sinuses when inhaled. Freshly made dark chocolate fills up the nose as if you were a chocolatier in a bakery. The same goes for the quality coffee aromas as if you were a Barista in a coffee shop. Some mild vanilla on the back end to bolster the rest of the aromas.

Decadent Belgian bittersweet dark chocolate, roasty bitter espresso, real Madagascar vanilla beans, and the most smooth bourbon flavor I've ever encountered. Simple, but extremely well executed.

Quite smooth indeed given the alcohol content, the richness, the low carbonation, the thick mouthfeel, the sweetness and the bourbon notes. I would love to brew this, but I doubt I could pull it off without decades of practice. It's very drinkable. The head brewer and all of his relatives are quite possibly the luckiest beer drinkers in America.

2012 update:

Drinking this again in a Chimay Chalice. Not too cold.

More sweet dark chocolate this year with a decent amount of bitter espresso. The vanilla and oak are tamed and balanced like always. Smells a little hotter than the taste. Smooth, creamy, lush mouthfeel.

In the past 3 years, I preferred 2010 > 2011 > 2012.

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

2011 12oz. bottle poured into a Bells tulip glass

It pours a nearly pitch black with a 1 finger head rising from the depths of the beer. Retention is medium and a minimal amount of lacing lines the glass. Impressive head formation and retention for a 11%+ beer

The nose is a hodgepodge of sweet bourbon, chocolate and roasted coffee. The coffee and chocolate fade towards the end and a little nose hair tingling alcohol aroma wafts up.

In the taste the chocolate isn't as present but up front a medium strong roasted coffee. The barreling then becomes very evident with a strong dose of vanilla and then a nice smooth bourbon taste. The finish is a hint too strong in the alcohol burn down the throat, but I'm sure that'll age out.

The body seems very thinned out by the bourbon, not thick and viscous in the least. Carbonation is medium low. There is also the alcohol burn previously mentioned. I really just prefer more body in an Imperial Stout.

I've had this a number of times and am just getting around to reviewing it. While I do like this beer and think it's great, it's just never been world class to me.

Photo of weizenbob
4.74/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, 12 ounce bottle, no bottle date, poured into a large wine goblet.

A very aggressive pour yields about half a finger of dark mocha head. Retention is low, which is unsurprising given this stout's alcohol content. Sticky lacing leaves small patches on the glass. The brew is very dark, though not quite pitch black. I loved the color of the head but I wish it could have held on longer.

Though KBS is supposedly a different base beer than regular Breakfast Stout, the aroma is reminiscent of that brew. Like Breakfast Stout, KBS is also brewed with chocolate and coffee. Like Breakfast Stout, those scents are very prominent and literal in the nose. There is a trace amount of oak to be noticed but for all practical purposes the aroma is dominated by chocolate and alcohol. Regardless of whether or not it is the same beer as Breakfast Stout, it smells delicious.

Then came the first sip. At the expense of sounding like a Founders fanboy, I think my mouth just had an orgasm. A quick glance in the mirror confirms that I am indeed making the "oh" face. Make no mistake; this is NOT the same beer as Breakfast Stout. Flavors are full and wonderfully blended. Chocolate is forward on the tongue with a sweetness reminiscent of raisins. There is a beautifully smooth alcohol presence. It's very noticeable but also quite mellow for a stout of this strength. A year in bourbon barrels has done this beer good. The result is greater than the sum of the parts.

The mouthfeel is incredible. Everything about this beer has blended together into one unified smooth caress of the mouth. The body is heavy; the carbonation is mild, and the alcohol is velvety. The weight is perfect and this stout is unbelievably smooth.

Unfortunately, 11.2% ABV does not a drinkable stout make. This beer smells, tastes and feels amazing, but the alcohol content and overall cost make this prohibitive to session drinking. That's not a huge worry however as this is very much a dessert brew; and one 12 ounce bottle is more than enough for one sitting. This is really quite an astoundingly constructed beer.


The Two Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
This bottle cost almost as much as a six-pack of Schlitz and it was completely worth it.

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

12oz bottle (2011) poured into a balloon snifter:

A: Pours completely pitch black, absolutely no light gets through this. I got just over a finger of mocha brown head that was really frothy and actually took a good couple minutes to dissipate.

S: Chocolate fudge, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak. The flavors are just bursting from the glass.

T: First thing out of my mouth (and repeated quite a lot) was "WOW!". Chocolate fudge with vanilla is really the best description for the overall base of this beer. I don't get as much alcohol in the taste as was suggested in the nose (fine by me). First thing is that awesome chocolate followed by vanilla and sweet bourbon. The bourbon flavor is no where near overpowering, it just adds another dimension and brings the nice oak and vanilla sweetness, not just that boozy alcohol taste like many other bourbon barrel ales have. There's a bit of medium roast coffee in the background and I get a nice bit of earthiness as well, I'm not sure if it's from the high-quality coffee used or the barrel. There seems to be just a hint of dark fruits in the background towards the finish. Tons of dark roasted malt, though not charred. Finish is dry and just a little warm, getting mostly chocolate, vanilla and oak. I'm shocked just how little alcohol is apparent, again you get mainly the flavor of the bourbon, not the alcohol burn. Just an incredibly delicious, balanced, and deeply complex flavor profile.

M: Medium carbonation to low, just enough to give a little "umph" in the middle. This is very thick and chewy, close to TenFidy thick. Very smooth and luscious, it coats the entire mouth and slides down the back of the throat with ease. The barrel did a hell of a job smoothing this out, it's velvet. Probably the best texture behind '11 Kate.

O: Does this live up to the hype? Absolutely. I can honestly say this was even better than I imagined, and I had high expectations. Probably the most perfectly balanced bourbon barrel aged stout. When I first tried a BCBS, I thought it we be perfect if the heat was turned down (in a year old bottle), the bourbon was less boozy and overpowering, and with a little more depth/complexity. KBS is the beer with those improvements, in my eyes, the perfect balanced bourbon barrel aged beer. It's like a moist, chewy espresso chocolate cake soaked in bourbon with vanilla ice cream... but way better!

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,491 ratings.