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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2,746 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,746
Hads: 10,481
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 4,157
Gots: 4,757 | FT: 384
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,746 | Hads: 10,481
Photo of Chris_Burton
3.67/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep black body and a large, fluffy, beige head from an aggressive pour, which soon died down. Unsurprisingly, the nose is dominated by bourbon. Lots of coffee and chocolate flavour as to be expected from the style, but with a boozy, bourbon finish. Mouthfeel is as smooth as silk.

KBS is a beer with a huge reputation, but I have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed with it. I've had many imperial stouts I'd rate higher than this. I guess I'm not a fan of the bourbon flavour (if I have a whisky, I'll make it a scotch). I'm grateful I got to try it, but unlike some other hard to find imperial stouts I've had the pleasure of trying, I won't be too sad if I never have another one. (684 characters)

Photo of KevChiTown
4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dry, almost like powdered chocolate, wet coffee grinds, very mellow bourbon warmth. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, so much so it's surprisingly drinkable. Drinking it not sipping it. Really good beer, but doesn't blow my mind. Unfortunately, I think the reputation proceeds it. (271 characters)

Photo of crazycatcouple
3.73/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2014 version, liked it better fresh (15). Personally i don't see what the hype is all about, plently of beers in the same style for less money and readily available that taste better in my opinion. Seek this out if you truly enjoy coffee in your beer. (251 characters)

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L: It looks fantastic, it's inky black with a thin tan head.

A: The aroma is a wonderful blend of bourbon and chocolate. My only disappointment in the aroma is that there is no coffee. (I am drinking a fresh one too, 2015, I'll review a 2014 below)

T: It's a great blend of bourbon, chocolate and coffee. Very well made with the 11.2% hidden. With that said, it is not blowing my lid off, but mighty tasty.

F: The mouth feel is what is really holding it back. It doesn't coat my mouth and the flavor leaves as soon as arrives. It's a good flavor that I want to last longer with every sip!

O: Very good and worth getting, but not worth the effort to get more than 12.

Followed up the 2015 version with the 2014. The 2014 is lacking every category.
A: Dark but with no head. 4.0
S: Almost none 2.0
T: Little bourbon, no chocolate, but no alcohol at all. But I want flavor....3.5
F: Even worse than the fresh bottle. 2.0
O: Don't age it, the best characteristics fade away. 3.0 (999 characters)

Photo of ovaltine
4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: aggressive pour into a Schell's snifter yields one finger of tan head. Body is jet black. The stuff of legends.

Smell: bourbon, chocolate, caramel. Didn't pick up the coffee, but I'm not a coffee drinker, so I may not know what I'm doing.

Taste: the bourbon is prevalent, but as a guy that DOES NOT LIKE BOURBON, it's not oppressive - as a matter of fact, it blends so well with the chocolate flavors that it is virtually masked to this non-bourbon drinker. And I taste the coffee. Simply magnificent.

Feel: smoooooooooth, like a good sippin' whiskey, a little creamy.

Overall: I've been holding a bottle of this for 2 months, but when I received #2 in a trade this weekend, I decided to crack one open (Little O is a lucky budding beer nerd - he'll get the 2nd bottle). It lives up to the hype and more. Impeccable balance for an 11.5% ABV beverage, Founders shows again why they are a world-class brewer, IMHO. (929 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Founders KBS has a thin, tan head, a super-dark brown appearance, some bubble streams, and noticeable tan chunks roiling about. Lacing is minimal. The aroma is of a strong bourbon smell, with background dark-roasted malts. Taste is of the same, with vanilla, chocolate powder, dark coffee, bitterness (not so high), and sweetness. Mouthfeel is mostly heavy, with a velvety aspect coming into play, and Founders KBS finishes somewhat powdery and fairly drinkable for such a strong beer.

RJT (491 characters)

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.84/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5 smooth and subtle for such a strong bourbon stout.managed to bag about 8 of these,drunk 5 casking 3.the ones i drank right away were worth all the hassle of finding them.cant wait to age a few. great drinkability, superb balance of flavours and as with most founders brews, gets better and better the further you go down the of the best. (363 characters)

Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.81/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While this beer was extremely enjoyable, it did not live up to the hype for me. I got subtle notes of vanilla and chocolate, but was not getting much from the bourbon barrels. I was definitely expecting more flavor from the bourbon barrels and coffee... Overall, the beer was very smooth/balanced and drinkable for 11%.

I would take a Prairie Bomb! over KBS any day of the week! (384 characters)

Photo of Themorganburke
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look- Pitch Black coloring- beautiful.

Smell- strong chocolate and coffee notes

Taste- Initial chocolate taste, smooth bourbon taste on the way down.

Feel- Definitely a sipper. (181 characters)

Photo of MA_hops
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If you thought Founders Breakfast Stout was epic, this is Epic 2.0. Reminds me of a more potent FBS, the bourbon taste/aroma makes the already existing flavors/smells more pronounced. Thin, silky smooth mouthfeel...this is a real treat! (236 characters)

Photo of NonSnob_BeerSnob
3.92/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This is a man's beer at 11.2% and I can see why it is rated so highly. The high alcohol content is balanced nicely and the bourbon flavor is very smooth. My first mouthful had strong coffee flavor then it was straight bourbon.

Not being a bourbon fan, I was hoping for more coffee. Still a very well crafted beer even if it is not my flavor. (343 characters)

Photo of dd43
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Based on the 2015 bottling. Poured into a stout glass after allowing it to warm on the counter for 20 minutes. An imperial stout at fridge temperature makes no sense.

My pour was on the gentle side, and thus head formation was on the low end. Inky black in appearance, very opaque. Head is a lovely milk chocolate brown in color.

Aroma wise you are hit with a blend of vanilla, a slight nutty/coffee note, bittersweet chocolate, and most definitely alcohol. Descriptors like "hot" and "boozy" apply to this beer more so than a lot of other high ABV stouts that I've tried. No hiding 11.2% in this big boy. The alcohol makes itself known again on the exhale, in an almost whiskey-like fashion. It feels appropriate given the style and the brewer's intentions for this beer.

Malt flavors are that of roast coffee and dark chocolate, hop bitterness on the side palate is present but not overwhelming. There is also a wood character that must come from the aging barrels, wine aficionados would call it oaky. The mouthfeel is silky smooth but with less body than I was expecting given the overall portfolio of appearance, flavors and aromas in this beer.

One thing that could make the 2015 bottling even better is to age it for 9 months to a year. I think the alcohols would transform and get toned down somewhat, allowing the other flavors to come to the fore. That said, this is worth seeking out when your local craft beer bar has it on tap. (1,448 characters)

Photo of Richard-Scott
4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I'm not a stout fan but this is freaking incredible. On tap at Cugino's. Tried numerous times over past 4 years and it never fails. Surprised I could get it so late in Spring! (182 characters)

Photo of jdhowe
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage came off a little thin. Very boozy, and the thin body worries me that age isn't necessarily the way to go. Didn't like it as much as the 2013 or 2014 fresh, which were both very nice. Still a great beer -- dusty char from the oak really shows itself and gives a unique barrel character that I find very enjoyable. (329 characters)

Photo of Brondeau
4.79/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Incredibly complex. Some sweetness of chocolate masks the alcohol. Tasted to me like a liquid Tootsie Roll. Sourced from a nice employee at Ancona's in Wilton, from the back room. (182 characters)

Photo of njnj2000
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am sorry. This is going to be a very subjective review. Not really a review I would say.

This is the first time I have drunk Founder's KBS, and it is the last American draft beer I will have for years. I lived in the US for 15 years, and moving back to my home country. Everything didn't work very well today, but the bar I went alone this evening and this very beer made my day.

I am quite a lot sentimental this evening, and I am overrating this a bit, but this beer deserves 5 for making my crappy last night in the United States into a great one.

Good bye. (565 characters)

Photo of garyloveman
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black. Smells like fresh chocolate. Tastes of chocolate a little smoke and some fruit and bourbon on the end. Nice velvety mouth feel. Great beer. (157 characters)

Photo of Muscatjo
4.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was very lucky to find this on tap at Crunchy's. Very nice taste. The bourbon is strong and fragrant but mesh's well to create a strong finish and great flavor. (162 characters)

Photo of Schmitfaced414
4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Took a little effort to get a hold of 10 bottles of the '15, but it was well worth it. Going to enjoy drinking and sharing this beer throughout the rest of this year. (166 characters)

Photo of anteatr23
4.34/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not very familiar with stouts or reviewing stouts, so I'll just keep this short and tell it like I feel it. Very drinkable, very flavorful. Chocolate is the biggest flavor that stood out to me here. Creamy chocolate and roasted coffee. I fully respect this beer and the hype. (283 characters)

Photo of Jjski
4.34/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Retraction of last year's harsh criticism of KBS. 2015 version is brash, bold, and coffee heavy with a pleasing hint of bourbon. Not a barrel heavy beer, but coffee, dark roasted malt and cocoa notes abound. Viscosity has improved.

I must have gotten a bad lot last year. This is my 4th yearly sampling, and this one is back on track. I prefer bourbon heavier, but this is my own personal shortcoming... Not the beers problem. Well done Founders. As a big fan of your standard and limited releases, this beer deserves praise at this price point.

I have been lucky, diligent, and cunning enough to score at least 12 each year. These ones are worth keeping ( if I could prevent my gorgeous, brilliant, and youthful wife away from them)

Suggestions to try in this category: Big Bad Baptist is a winner, and economical. Java Bourbon Eclipse is great, and NOT economical (874 characters)

Photo of senglish7
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first stout that truly made me enjoy this style of beer. Sweet, chocolatey on the front end, with the familiar bourbon bite on the back end. Truly a fantastic beer. (168 characters)

Photo of justinp444
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A dark black beer with no clarity on the edges, it has a inch thick beige head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak, with bourbon-y syrup smell. Taste is first of milk chocolate and coffee, then oak and bourbon, and finishes with vanilla . It is a warm boozy beer with tons of different highly concentrated flavors, overall fantastic. The only thing I would change is the mouth fell, it is a bit light. (410 characters)

Photo of ElevinoFive
4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

MI's world-famous stout in bourbon... They do so many great ipa, rpa, and dark styles that can be hard to find, and also have done the centennial dance. #vigorpour (163 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.31/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Good God, finally. I've been interested in this ever since I started enjoying the style 2.5 years ago. I couldn't ever manage a bottle, but I got a howler (32oz growler) fill for $27 including tax earlier today. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. My expectations are stupidly high... which is probably a bad thing.

Appearance: Poured down the center of the glass and gave a thick and creamy brown head about two fingers high that went down to a thin layer. The color is, of course, pitch black, and there's basically no lacing. Great looking beer as a whole. (4.5/5)

Smell: Very nice. Really a lot of coffee in there, which I wasn't really expecting -- dark roast coffee is one of the first things I pick up, followed by roasted malt, and a little bit of chocolate, too. Really, I don't know what it is, but I don't pick up an insane level of oak or vanilla -- I do get a fair amount of bourbon though, that's for sure. KBS definitely smells "hotter" than some other BBA'd stouts I've had. (4.75/5)

Taste/feel: And this is where I'll lose some friends (as if I have any) -- it's just not quite blowing me away. I will say, it's unique and unlike BCBS (the popular comparison). Coffee stands out in a huge way with KBS, being at the forefront, and then it's very heavy on the bourbon, with a pretty bitter finish -- this is not at all syrupy sweet like many others in the style, and for that, I appreciate it... but I'm not sure that it's worthy of a 100 rating on this site. Of course, I'm just one unpopular opinion. It's just that I don't get an overwhelming amount of depth in this beer. It's a lot like black coffee with a shot of bourbon, and just a little tiny bit of vanilla/oak/barrel... but mostly coffee and bourbon. The aftertaste is that dark roast coffee with a bit of a boozy burn, and a fair amount of warmth. Maybe it's because this is fresh and/or from the tap, but my jaw's certainly not to the floor. As it warms up a bit of dark chocolate hits the back of the tongue on the finish, but some more barrel character would go a long way here. (4.25/5, 3.5/5)

The mouthfeel of this is, as I figured it would be, quite nice. It's not super thick and heavy like some other BBA'd stouts, but it's got a reasonably nice feel and makes for an excellent sipper.

A great beer, but without a doubt, a very disappointing one, simply because I was expecting this to be, if not my all-time favorite beer, right up there. It turns out it barely cracks my Top 50. I'll finish my howler tomorrow and make rating adjustments if necessary, but as of now, this is just a very good (albeit overhyped) BBA'd stout. I don't think this beer is better than BCBS, or the far lesser known but still insanely awesome Bourbon Ben's Asthma by Short's. It's a beer I'd most definitely have again, but I wouldn't seek it out aggressively. If I do find this beer again, I hope it's in a bottle, so I can put a few years of age on it in hopes of developing more depth and also mellowing it out.

TL;DR: Certainly buy it if you see it, but I wouldn't trade my cellar away or drive far too pick up a bottle/growler/case/what have you -- it's not the best in the style, in my opinion. Definitely ecstatic that I got a chance to try this beer though. Pretty freakin' marvelous.

(4.25/5) (3,275 characters)

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.