Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.40%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,983 | Ratings: 11,597
Photo of egajdzis
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black color with a small tan head, that left light lacing on the glass, Aroma of vanilla, tons of roasted malt, espresso, with smokey malts, nuts, and faint dried fruits. Taste of more roast, chocolate malts, vanilla beans, nuts, dry wood, and faint bourbon... a touch of alcohol in the finish.

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Photo of chickencoop
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First off, not a fan of the double imperial stouts so don't listen to me, but the hype surrounding this opened my eyes. On that note, putting this in perspective with it's peers, this is pretty solid. Big dark pour, bourbon smell carries throughout, finish was big booze, with booze on top. I liked this, not so much drinkable, but one of the best imperial stouts i've ever had, complex and huge in every sip.

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Photo of pdoran10
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Drank at Haute Dish along side CBS this fall.

Pours out a vicious black with half a finger of tan head. not very lively, but complex looking.

Smell is chocolate hint of vanilla, and bourbon and oak flavors all pretty tame.

taste is a mellow beautifully blended mixture of bourbon, roast, chocolate. Very smooth harmony they really got the bourbon flavor amount just right here.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy with very low carbonation as many barrel aged stouts are. works fine here.

A very complex but smooth big beer that I could have a few of in one sitting. Surprisingly drinkable. Great brew!

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Photo of berserker256
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer at the 4th annual Michigan Brewer's Guild Beer Festival in Comstock Park at the Fifth/Thirsd Ballpark. This lovely beer was served to me in na a 6 ounce clear plastic cup. It was blackish and retained a head of hickory-colored large bubbles. It was thick and delicious with low carbonation and had motor oil-like qualities... In a good way. It was rich like a heavy burnt oatmeal milkshake. It was semi-sweet like a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar but also had bitterness and slightly smokey heavy overtones. It was God Damn delicious. I wish I had more than 6 ounces. Sort of viscous and fatiguing to drink in any kind of quantity.

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Photo of montageman
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Very thick, almost syrupy pour that is topped off by a little bit of lacing. This is one dark beer - pitch black & beautiful. The smell is dominated by espresso & high quality espresso at that with a bit of vanilla in the background. Complex is the best way to describe the taste - espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, and a little sugary sweetness. A nice tasting beer, but the taste cannot live up to the smell. Mouthfeel is disappointing - the carbonation adds to the complexity, but I would like more creaminess here. All of that said, this is a highly drinkable stout - perfect for dessert on its own or paired with any number of sweets. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass....Jet Black with minimal to no lacing. The smell is very coffee forward with a hint of Oak and Vanilla. Taste, there is a bit of bourbon up front; as this warms the bourbon is more noticeable, coffee comes up as well as a bit of vaniila and some chocolate. Alcohol is certainly well hidden. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Awesome beer!

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Photo of IdrinkGas
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: As black as it gets with a very small mocha colored head. Lacing is practically nonexistent.

S: Oak, chocolate, coffee and big bourbon notes.

T: Tons of competing flavors. Vanilla, bourbon, oak, coffee and dark chocolate. Some heat in the finish. Boozy finish helps remind me to savor it.

M: Bigger bodied stout with an appropriate level of carbonation.

One of the top beers for a reason. This is how I like my stouts!

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Photo of spinrsx
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle received in trade with igeunard - 2012 edition

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a small size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, bourbon

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and vanilla. There is also some coffee, wood, and some bourbon. There is also a bit of a nuttiness.

Overall - One of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had. The chocolate flavours are very rich and you can tell they used high quality ingredients. It's bold yet well balanced and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden.

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Photo of skipxtracer
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on draft at the founders event at tap and mallet. Dark black with no head. I am not usually crazy about stouts but this is incredible. Dark chocolate, coffee, coconut flavors. A little effervescence at the end. I can't believe how great this tastes.

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Photo of Hayes86
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A little mild on flavor. It is creamy and had a thicker feel. Minimal lace. Got 3x as good as it went from cold to warm. Chocolate forward. Good stout. Just not sure if its the best. Going to have to try this again. Better the second time for sure.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2014 release for the first time. Wouldn't say I was disappointed, but I was surprised. Surprised that it tasted a lot like the regular breakfast stout, which isn't a bad thing, just expected it to be a different animal.

I smell the bourbon, but it doesn't come through in the taste all that much. I think the coffee cancels it out. I do like it more as it warms. I read someones post about unnecessarily barrel aging great beers. At the time, I didn't agree (I usually say age anything and everything) but now I think I do. Breakfast stout didn't need any improvement and I don't think that aging this flavor profile made it any better.

Dont get me wrong, it is still an outstanding brew, not sure that it lives up to all of the hype and prestige, but that is quite difficult too. If I was rating on that aspect alone I would be more around 4 overall. I rated based on as if grabbing off the shelf or blind tasting. There are equally good versions of this style in my opinion.

Edit: If you are looking for a bourbon/whisky forward barrel stout with less coffee, I just had Full Pint's Rye's Rebellion that is an exceptional.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've tried this beer a number of times from a bottle and the vast majority of the time I have been somewhat disappointed with the lingering bitter aftertaste. Almost burnt-like from the coffee / chocolate. Still a world-class beer but I don't know that I'll go out of my way to grab multiple bottles of it next time around. Perhaps I should try it on draft and see if that makes any significant difference.

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Photo of md1313
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fantasic beer. Pours black with hints of bourbon coming through. The barrel is strong right off the get, with the chocolate smoothing things out in the end. Slight bitter aftertaste from the chocolate. I think a touch of age make this a perfect beer.

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Photo of Auracom
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (2011 vintage) in a mini snifter on March 19th, 2011, shared with my old roommate of 3 years. We were both pretty ecstatic to try this one.

Clearly, KBS' reputation precedes itself.

A - As expected, really. Very dark, close-to-pitch-black coloring. Virtually no head nor retention and very little lacing on the sides. Swirling leaves a light brown coating on the glass. The visuals convey an attitude of "okay, let's get on the important stuff already."

S - The nose isn't as huge as I thought it'd be. Clearly the bourbon is the emphasis but Founders didn't go for broke and did a great job of avoiding overkill here. Everything secondary to the bourbon is subtle and points to complexity - coffee beans (of course), chocolate, caramel, and a *very* slight roasted -almond- quality.

T - More of the same notes as the nose in a similar mellow fashion. A bourbon focus/emphasis on the front end with secondary character following closely behind. The mellow nature of this brew is really something to behold. Founders gives you the flavors as advertised and does so in a truly relaxed manner. KBS exudes craft in every aspect of the taste. Bourbon gets more prominent as the drink reaches room temp; this was neither better nor worse for me.

M - Not quite as expected. Not completely full and not at all chewy. Medium body, average carbonation that doesn't really come through until the backend of the drink.

D - Incredibly drinkable. Absolutely no ABV presence, not even when room temp. Honestly, I feel like the slightly-thinner body contributes to a higher drinkability for this particular brew. It doesn't drink like any other stout I've had. It wasn't really necessary to sip this one beyond trying to savor my 6-7 oz.

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Photo of semihobo
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one bottle of KBS in March for $6.49 (I believe this is currently a personal $ per oz record, unfortunately), drinking it now for no particular reason. 12 ozer in a chalice.

Very little head that quickly subsides to nothing. Black, black, black. No "ruby highlights" or anything, just black. Cool wild west medicine-style label design.

Smells of cocoa and cold-brewed coffee. Bourbon smell is subdued, beautifully smoky and peaty. No smell of alcohol.

Surprisingly smooth. Chocolate and coffee are understated, nothing too over the top or one-note. More like very strong coffee than the char you see in many imperial stouts. The bourbon emerges toward the finish and is gently smoky. Some vanilla phenols go well with cocoa. These have to be the least-noticed 70 IBUs ever. They provide some bittering but hardly play a dominant role. Alcohol is well-masked, although the fact that the beer has the bourbon flavor helps -- an alcohol burn would feel totally appropriate. Finish is nice and bitter, equal parts hops and coffee.

Very low carbonation, moderately heavy body, both appropriate to style. Slightly oily finish.

An excellent beer, both in general and within the style. Must acquire more...

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Photo of mac31
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon, rich chocolate, and graham cracker sweetness are what first strike my palate. Soft vanilla low lights are there, cropping up from time to time. Just as the sweetness is on it's descent, the bitterness from the hops kicks in. This is quite the hoppy ale, big clean bitterness. The hops are earthy, herbal, slightly floral with a touch of spiciness. The rich chocolate flavor advances to bittersweet chocolate and coffee in the finish. The bourbon present from start to finish, it lays low mid palate. The bourbon is a component of the beer, not the dominating flavor, which I really appreciate. Cereal grains linger on after the finish. The alcohol is well covered. Highly drinkable for a 12.4% beer. The body is slight for a stout. Nicely balanced. This is a flavor bomb, for sure. A great beer. For my palate, it's a little sweet at times. But that's a little nit picky.

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Photo of mhksuccess
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into FFF teku
it is pretty dark little or no head at all
smell is of mostly coffee hints of chocolate come through
taste is similar with heavy coffee and slight bourbon and chocolate on the back end
very smooth i like the coffee flavor is nice not overpower and not acidic
i think i do prefer this beer with some age on it
but overall it is a nice contender

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Photo of infi
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 02/11 – originally had during Thanksgiving, but now reviewed with a proper sized pour!

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

Black body with very little carbonation. Very thin, mocha-colored head that reduces into a cap and leaves mini bits of speckled lacing. Smell is full of dark-roasted coffee and dark, bittersweet chocolate pieces. Great barrel-aged qualities, with the oak, vanilla and bourbon– all leaving aromatic identities. The bourbon presents a thin amount of heat towards the end.

Taste is actually filled with coffee-like roastiness, but also massive amounts of oaky tannins, vanilla and caramel. Great amount of bittersweet chocolate on the end, which leaves a subtle astringency in the finish. The bourbon leaves a thin burn at the end too, but not as hot as I originally remembered. Complexity arises further as you let warm. Very, very comparable to Parabola in taste with its flavor qualities.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied– not as big and thick as other bbl-aged ones. Just about silky with little to no carbonation in feel. Amazing tasting beer, even for how fresh it might be (~5mo old). Not as great as CBS, but definitely has the clout. Drink one now or age further – you won't be disappointed.

#3 of 9.

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Photo of upton7418
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Poured into a snifter

A: Jet black. Thin tan head that doesn't last long. Not much lacing.

S: sweet malt and Bourbon slight alcohol smell

T: Smooth, sweet Coffee and chocolate with a lot of bourbon though not overpowering like most bourbon barrel beers i've had. Alcohol is extremely well hidden and no taste of it

M: low carbonation and very thin and easy to drink. aftertaste lingers and continues to add flavor while the beer itself is gone very nice

O: very good taste i've tried few like it, alcohol does sneaks up as it's very well hidden. would definitely buy again especially as a yearly thing as long as i can find it which was tough this year. worth the hype yes worth the money still debating. very sweet and bourbony but not overly so.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of micmillon18
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got 4 pack in a trade from hotpipes29 and thanks much to him. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. From the cellar, I chilled it for about 20 minutes. Sadly no born on date though I know its this year's batch. The legendary KBS...will she live up to the hype?

A - Pours a motor oil black with a small, sticky copper head. Minimal lacing.

S - Prevalent scents of bourbon and vanilla. Hints of expresso find their way in. Incredibly balanced aromas.

T - There are so many layers to this beer, each so definable. It starts with a bitter chocolate and vanilla flavor. Coffee/ expresso flavors follow which are perhaps the most profound characteristics of this beer. It finishes with a slightly hot bourbon note and a lingering coffee taste. Chocolate and hot alcohol strengthens as the beer warms. Founders has found a near perfect balance between these three tiers.

M - Full bodied and incredibly smooth. Semi dry finish.

O - Outstanding barrel aged stout, perhaps the best of its kind. It's certainly a sipper and one to enjoy over the course of an hour, perhaps more. However, with that said, the booze might be slightly too hot at times, especially as it warms. Luckily, I have the good fortune of possessing a four pack. I'm looking forward to testing this one in stages. See you again in a few months KBS...

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bendurgin for procuring this nice growler tick. Poured into a tulip from a 32 oz screw-top growler. The color is black. There is a small layer of tan bubbles that isn't quite a full head.

The aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. I wouldn't know this was a beer from the aroma. I would think it's mocha ice cream or something.

The taste emphasizes the chocolate in the front. There is a nice coffee finish. There is a hint of oak that is more noticeable after a few sips.

This is medium bodied but the carbonation is filling.

This is really great. The coffee comes through nicely when fresh.

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Photo of spoony
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 355 ml bottle (bottled March 5, 2015) to a snifter.

A-The pour is thick looking and dark; nearly black. The head is mocha in color and starts at one finger tall but fades quickly to a thin film on top. Not much in the way of visible carbonation. No lacing.

S-The aroma is an intense and lovely mixture of drip coffee, milk and dark chocolate, some milkiness, and nice assertive bourbon flavors like caramel and vanilla. It is medium sweet with a little bit of molasses and berry fruit.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with a nice blend of typical stout flavors like chocolate, roasted barley, and molasses. The barrel character is strong and the flavors are well-balanced. I get vanilla and caramel mostly. Booze is not hidden, its right up front, but it works well here.

M-The feel is lighter than I expected, but still average for the style. Carbonation is mild and fits nicely.

O-This is a damn good beer, but I don't know if this one lives up to the hype for me. Everything about this beer is done well, and the balance is there, but nothing really shines for me. The bourbon is very prevalent in the flavor and it works, but there are other beers with similar flavors, better feel and nicer looks.

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Photo of LyonsHead
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 release

A: pours black, completely opaque... most opaque beer I have ever seen in fact. small dark tan head with really good lacing.

S: Big coffee aroma that gives way to bourbon and roasted malt, There is a good dose of chocolate in there as well. Im gettin a bunch of really dark dried fruits. reminds me of burnt raison oatmeal cookies with coffee for desert. Im also gettin a smoky campfire and licorice

T: This beer is hugely sweet right from the get go. There is a great malt presence that is in danger of getting overlooked due to the bourbon flavors. Lots of rich roasted malt, burnt bread and coffee from the malt. The actual coffee that was present in the aroma is takes a back seat in the flavor which seems odd cause you would think the aromatic property would be the first to drop off. The benchmark and profile of this beer lies in the bourbon. there is a huge bourbon flavor that is very strong but it doesn't mask everything else, there is a real complexity to this beer. Finally as you swallow and take that first breath you're hid with a nice alcohol warming and flavor. its not harsh or overbearing like i feared, it just makes for a nice warming affect. I wish this beer was released in the fall and not the spring, just seems like a camp fire beer to me (to each his own)

M: With the appearance and sweetness of this beer you'd expect you could cut it with a knife, but its surprisingly short of chewy... now that being said, its still full bodied just not as chewy as i had anticipated

D: If you define drinkability as how many you can suck down in ten minutes then cross this off the list. For me drinkability is synonymous with enjoyability. And this one's up there. Its a solid A beer, Its not my favorite beer, and I can't see drinking it all the time but it definitely deserves a spot in the cellar... vertical serious would be real cool.

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Photo of Dave128
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a THICK rich black. There is pretty much no head not that I was expecting any. Comes out almost like a sauce. A small ruby head rises after the pour is finished and fizzes out to the edges.

S - Coffee, Chocolate, and Dark roasted malts. I was expecting to smell more bourbon, but I really don't get much of it at all :(

T - Like the smell, rich and complex. Gets much better as it warms. I made the mistake of pouring this one too cold and wasnt too impressed, but now its true colors are showing. Bittersweet. Alcohol bites pretty hard in the finish on some sips.

M - Heavy with perfect carbonation. Like drinking a liquid breakfast.

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Photo of Kanebanger
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,983 ratings.