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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2,755 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,755
Hads: 10,504
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 4,163
Gots: 4,773 | FT: 386
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: 2,755 | Hads: 10,504
Photo of ritzkiss
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8oz pour at the brewpub, in a snifter. Arrives a placid jet black, pretty much no bubbles. Little lacing.

Nose is earthy, strong bourbon, roasty goodness, light sweetness.

This is the ultimate sipping beer. The flavors are complex and demanding. Peat, bourbon, vanilla, roasty malts, a dry hop finish. Warming alcohol in the back. Much more demanding than CBS which I had before and more rewarding. The dry finish helps it pair well with more options and it doesn't have that overwhelming sweetness. Smooth carbonation. (521 characters)

Photo of Casey10
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow - got this in a trade, fantastic beer.

A - Dark no light will show threw this.

S - Wonderful burnt coffee, dark chocolate, booze.

T - Unbelievable chocolate, hides the 11.2 abv very well

M - Smooth, frothy but at the same time chocolately, numbs the taste buds in a good way.

D - Better than good less than exceptional as if you drank this one it might be very hard to drink another. (392 characters)

Photo of deereless
4.67/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: The color of ebony, only a hint of light passes through at the edge of the glass, lots of sticky foam on the glass, noticeable body - 4.75, S: One whiff and I'm in sensory overload, whiskey in upfront but not overpowering, loads of vanilla and chocolate, coffee is also present, some minor signs of charring - 5.00, T: A massive palate, lots of chocolates malts and even more espresso, some pureed burnt raisins, though there are hops they are overpowered by the huge malt base, like the nose there is a solid presence of vanilla, one tasty beer - 4.50, M: Thick and silky, lingers on the tongue - 5.00, D: One of the most impressive beers I've had to date, a true gem, but as I say that I will concede that I still think Goose Island's Bourbon Brand County Stout edges it out, as a side not the beer is now labeled 'KBS' instead of Kentucky Bourbon Stout - 4.50 (865 characters)

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.15/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been all the rage lately. The hype with this beer is reaching Dark Lord status (which I will also be reviewing soon!). Lets see what I think:

A: Pours pitch black. No light will penetrate this beer even when held directly up to the Sun. Head is very small but is a dark brown color. No lacing is left with each sip.

S: Big coffee smell. Some oak. There is an alcohol presence as well.

T: Massive complexity. The first thing you will taste is the big roasted coffee flavors. You can taste the Bourbon as well. Lots of oak. The finish is a mix of vanilla and chocolate. That is the best part of the beer in my opinion. Alcohol is also pretty prominent.

M: Very thick and creamy. Coats the mouth with each sip. Silky smooth. Very nice.

D: This is a big beer. 11.2%ABV is nothing to underestimate. This is a sipper. I doubt anybody could chug this. This is a beer to savor. Very rich and flavorful.

This beer is very very good. Is it worthy of all the hype? Personally, I don't think so. Founders Imperial Stout is superior to this, In my opinion. But you do get a massive complexity, even for an Imperial Stout. If you can find it, pick it up. But, I think there are better Imperial Stouts out there that are much cheaper and more widely available. (1,268 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times now, thanks to recent distribution in NJ and a great trader named GbVDave- trade with him!

This review is the 2009, released under the name KBS- and it pours black as all hell into a DFH snifter, but with no visible head aside from a late forming film of mocha, leaving oodles of spotty lacing.

Really a beautiful aroma. Just boozy enough, the coffee and chocolate from the regular BS are there backed by roasted malts with tones of bourbon coming through. The slightly sweet vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak are wonderful.

A lot of the same flavors come through in the taste. Alcohol just slightly present- enough to let you know its there. But not intrusive. Such a full, coating mouthfeel of chocolate and roasted coffee beans. As drinkable as could be for a monster of this ABV and style. Overall, I liked this release a lot more fresh than the 2008- the slightly tweaked recipe was definitely an improvement. It will be interesting to see how this one develops with a little age on it. (1,017 characters)

Photo of alcstradamus
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours black as night with a dark brown sliver of head that fades very quickly leaving just a tiny ring. Wish there was a little more head, next time I have one I will give it a hard pour straight into the bottom of the glass and see what it does. The color was very nice while it lasted.

S--Holy cow this is big, boozy and complex. Roasted malts, coffee beans, oak, vanilla, trace amounts of whiskey.

T--This is a smack across the jaw with a baseball bat. I'm happy to note that the whiskey flavors here are balanced well with the coffee notes. I was afraid it would be too hot but it definitely is not. Just a nice mix of coffee, oak, and bourbon. Perhaps a bit too much of an acrid coffee bean roastiness, but below that quite superb.

M--Medium to full bodied, a bit more creaminess would put this over the top

D--Definitely a slow drinker here due to the intense flavor, but at over 11% ABV what do you expect really? Definitely a beer for those who adore brashness, although perhaps not quite refined enough to be truly drinkable. 6 oz. served at nearly room temperature would make for the best drinking experience with this brew. (1,142 characters)

Photo of gameface23
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of a great friend.

A: Pours pitch black with a slight brown halo when held up to the light. The head was non-existent when poured into my snifter and there wasn't a single carbonation bubble to be found.

S: Coffee, vanilla, caramel, a certain "sawdust" aroma that isn't as unappealing as it sounds.

T: The booze isn't as well-hidden as I would have liked, but that is the only flaw in this beer. Coffee and chocolate with oak.

M: Perfect. It's thick without being cloying. Silky smooth.

D: This is a sipper. A delicious, delicious sipper. The only negatives are the price and the fact that it is pretty boozy. I went to kiss my girlfriend and she said, "You smell like coffee and booze" (707 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap @ Founders.
8oz pour into snifter.

A - A silky black with a fluffy head with a tight tan color. Super sticky, lots of lacing along the edge of the snifter. The head does not disipitate at all, it just hangs around.

S - Chocolate covered coffee beans, bourbon, caramel.

T - Milk chocolate, bourbon, slight bitterness, coffee beans. I would smack my lips together over and over after every taste, so good!

M - Smooth, creamy, soft, medium-full bodied but not overly so, just right. Very little fizzy carbonation, perfect.

D - So easy, so scary!

I didn't think KBS could get better but out of the nitro-tap, it is! (629 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a case from Green's in Columbia by a friend of mine. Thanks again Dan! Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a jet black with no hints of any colors even when held up to the light. The head was extremely short lived but was a beautiful chocolate color when it was there. The ring of bubbles that does remain leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Vanilla, oak, bourbon, coffee, and dark roasted malts all join together to make a wonderful complex and inviting aroma.

T: I hate to do it a bit of an injustice by saying see the smell category and change aroma to taste, but it is perfect for this one. What an incredible tasty and complex brew. The vanilla and bourbon make it a real special treat to me.

M: It is a bit thinner than I would expect for the style. The oak also makes it a bit harsh in the mouth for me even though I like the flavor it gives it causes the mouthfeel to suffer a bit.

D: The ABV is well hidden, but you still naturally want to sip this one to savor it. With that said, it does drink easier than quite a few of its style competitors.

This is a great brew and worth all the accolades and posts it gets. Once again a big thanks to Dan for getting a case for myself and a friend to share. I have traded quite a bit of it away for some other gems to various local buddies. I am pretty sure I am going to keep the rest of it for myself. (1,404 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.9/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, the beer appears nearly black with a small brown head that disappears almost instantaneously.

The aroma is brimming with coffee and roasted malt character. Beneath the coffee titan lies some dark chocolate. The hops have absolutely no prayer of being noticed. As the beer warms bourbon notes become apparent.

The flavor is, well, a ton of coffee. To be honest, there's too much coffee in this beer for my taste. The notes of chocolate are understated. The roasted malt profile is very strong. Hop bitterness is present at a moderate level, but the hop flavor is overwhelmed by coffee and roastiness, which is to be expected. Bourbon is more noticeable once the beer warms, but it's still not prominent. The finish is bitter coffee and acrid.

The beer is robust, with low carbonation and a creamy, grainy mouthfeel. (840 characters)

Photo of rpstevens
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to abbddull for sending a 4 pack of this to Portsmouth! Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

The beer is black with a thin mocha head that fades quickly. The lacing is oily and slow moving down the sides of the glass.

The smell is coffee, vanilla and a hot bourbon in that order. The coffee smell is very strong at the start of the nose, a roasty coffee.

The taste is more bourbon forward than the smell, but the coffee and vanilla are definitely still there and it strikes a nice balance.

The alcohol presence is a little too strong to drink more than one of these, but as a sipper this is definitely a very pleasant experience. (644 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.94/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Finally getting to the KBS. Pours a very thick oily black with absolutely no head, no bubbles, no lace, nothing. This just looks like dirty motor oil in a glass. Nose is full of coffee, vanilla, bourbon, almonds, and bread.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Great viscous mouth that is easy to sip. I waited awhile after pouring to drink this. At first I was tasting huge coffee flavor that finished slightly boozy, but as it warmed and I continued to drink, I was getting more vanilla and a faint nutty finish. Drinkability is low for me as it took about an hour to finish this one, and I could never have another right away.

Very good beer, but I gotta be honest, I prefer the original Breakfast Stout. Ah well, to each his own... (733 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Capone's on 5/23/09. Served in a snifter. Thanks to FooFaa for the round!

A - Black body with one-finger creamy mocha-colored head reminiscent of a milkshake, but reduced to a thin film and left some spotty lace around the glass.

S - Lovely, aromatic blend of sweet vanilla notes, bourbon and chocolate, the latter especially as the liquid warmed up. Woody and oaky notes add quite a bit of depth and complexity to the aroma. Wonderfully balanced nose overall.

T - Amazing flavor that combines vanilla, bourbon, woody/oaky notes, sweet and bitter chocolate and earthy hops. Alcohol is virtually buried underneath all of the wonderful flavors of this complex stout.

M - Creamy and luscious mouthfeel with a slick, oily texture providing a bit of chewiness. Softly carbonated. Finishes with moderate bitterness and a subtle alcohol warmth on the palate.

D - Amazingly drinkable for 10% ABV! This is simply an awe-inspiring beer that needs to be sampled on tap. Definitely one of the most flavorful stouts I've had the pleasure of drinking. This is an amazing beer to say the least! (1,096 characters)

Photo of KI9A
4.37/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black, some head.

S: Bourbony malt. Coffee, chocolate.

T: Follows nose, add vanilla to the mix. Nothing overpowers the rest. Great balance of boozy bourbon, bitter chocolate, and sweel vanilla malts.

M: Heavy body, but not "gooey". Wraps your mouth up in goodness.

D: High ABV limits the D on this, but, a fine sipper. (330 characters)

Photo of DarbyOGill
4.67/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours just like regular Breakfast Stout, jet black with one finger of brown head.

S: A nose of coffee, alcohol, soy sauce, and roasted malts.

T: Wow, it is like Breakfast Stout on steroids. Starts with a strong, bitter flavor of coffee followed by a nice chocolate taste. Almost like a mocha coffee. After the strong coffee and chocolate it gets boozy but nicely accompanied by roasted malt. I also get a tinge of oak which balanced out the alcohol flavor very nice. Very nice alcohol and oaky aftertaste. I didn't get the soy saucy taste I usually get with most stouts, which was a little surprising since I picked some up from the smell.

O: This is the finest stout I have ever had and if I ever see it on the shelves again I will surely pick up some more. (764 characters)

Photo of DannyS
4.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in trade with Kirok1999. Poured from the Iconic stubby screwtop bottle into a pint glass.

A - Motor oil inky black with a bare tint of chocolate brown. Almost no head, but leaves faint legs like a wine or whiskey.

S - Lots of rich roasted coffee and chocolate, with a shade of sweet vanilla and bourbon. Heady, aromatic, and lovely.

T - Bitter burnt coffee and chocolate flood the palate, backed up by the heady, floral vanilla and the slightly sweet, slightly boozy bourbon. Finishes with faint hop/coffee bitterness, but otherwise clean.

M - Heavy and smooth, almost oily, with mild carbonation adding a bit of levity to the viscous, chewy mouthfeel. Elegance, thy name is KBS.

D - Definitely a sipper due to its ABV and weight, but the booze is well hidden and actually adds to the experience via the bourbon flavor. Excellent for casual sipping and surprisingly not too hefty in the gut.

overall - A definite winner. It's sharp, bitter chocolate and coffee contrast oh so well with the sweet, heady, smooth vanilla and bourbon. The notes are simple, but so well executed. A joy to drink. (1,106 characters)

Photo of treyrab
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to warriorsoul for this beauty!

Poured into a pint glass....

A: Poured thick black with low carbonation. Very little head, but the head is the darkest I have seen!

S: The smell is phenomenal! Tons of dark roasted coffee blended with warm vanilla and bourbon. The smell is huge, you can smell this from a mile away!

T: The taste is similar to the smell, but the bourbon takes control. The bourbon hits you first, followed by a hint of vanilla, then some coffee. But this is not bitter nor does it really have a bite to it. Pretty light on the palate.

Overall, a very good beer that I would recommend. It was a little thin for me and lacked on the roast, but the bourbon was fantastic!

Second time having this beer it was much, much better. Pitch black sludge with a dark mocha head. Incredibly scent of dark coffee, sweet bourbon and coffee with a deep, robust flavor of the aforementioned. Fantastic. (913 characters)

Photo of AVDeuph
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ironically us folk in Michigan have a harder time getting this beer, once it's out, than do most of the other states that Founders distributes to. Therefore...

Thanks to LauraAlberts for this bottle, acquired via trade.

A: Very dark and completely opaque, a one-finger mocha head that dissipated in a few minutes.

S: A thick malty and coffee aroma that welcomes the bourbon aspects very easily and naturally. Clearly balanced.

T: Tastes like espresso, black malts, maybe some dark sugar, and bourbon of course. The bourbon is completely contained within the other flavors, this is a very nice balance akin to the aroma.

M: Low but dainty carbonation; it is just enough to keep the beer from being cloying or too slick. Very coating, definitely a sipper.

D: Well, just because you could drink two or three doesn't mean you will. This beer is meant to be enjoyed slowly and, in my opinion, occasionally. You wouldn't want to spoil the majesty by just throwing a few back.

A fantastic beer by Founders. I'm definitely saving a few for aging.

Edit: I've recently had this beer both on tap and on nitro-tap. Tap is the way to go, nitro-tap is least preferable actually. The alcohol really came out in a bad way for whatever reason on the nitro tap (1,253 characters)

Photo of mjl21
4.57/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Josh! 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No bottling info is given. Comes in at 11.2% and 70 IBUs. The artwork is different than the one pictured here on BA.

A-Black in color and looks thick coming out of the bottle. There really is no head at all and it leaves a miniscule sandy ring. Lots of nice lace streaks are left.

S-When it is first poured, it has a stronger coffee aroma than the FBS. There is some roast malt and dark chocolate. As it warms the bourbon barrel characteristics really come out. Get lots of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. I will say that it is not the strongest bourbon smelling beer that I have tried.

T-Lots of oak and bourbon flavors hit first. Lots of sweet vanilla immediately follows. The coffee flavors come out in the back of the mouth and in the aftertaste. Once this has sat in the glass for about 15 minutes they all come together for a great tasting beer.

M-Thick bodied with a nice carbonation level. The bourbon is definitely detectable going down and leaves a warming feel in the belly.

D-Due to the high abv and the fact that it is not hidden means this is best left as a nightcap.

This is really a great beer that is deserving of all of its praise. The only way this could get better would be to have even more bourbon hitting the nose. (1,312 characters)

Photo of mugglesandhops
3.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been wanting to try this for a long time finally got a chance to drink it. Thanks to Davey for sharing this one. Poured 2008 bottle into snifter. Pours a Opaque black with a dark thin head that faded pretty fast. good lacing on the side of the glass. Smells like the breakfast stout but with some vanilla and bourbon in there, more bourbon than anything I think. Taste was pretty hot, I was surprised how hot this still was after a year of settling down. Still a very very tasty beer. Oily and creamy mouthfeel. I wouldn't be able to drink more than one of these in a sitting, in fact I'm glad a shared a 12 oz. with someone. (625 characters)

Photo of UA8
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an opaque engine oil black with a thick brown head that looks like it was nitro poured (but it wasn't).

S- Fresh espresso, bourbon, dark chocolate, and dark roasted malts.

T-Leads with sweet dark roasted malts and cocoa. Mipalate is of heavily roasted coffee. Finishes with delicious smooth and warming bourbon flavors.

M- Pretty darn viscous could be a bit thicker for how I like my Imperial stouts though. Medium low carbonation.

D- Man this stuff has so much more bourbon flavor, which is good in my opinion, when its fresh. I could happily have 2-3 of these. (575 characters)

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.33/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

notes from early april 2009. comparing the aged '08 recipe with the modified '09 version (both in 12oz twist-cap bottles)...

lacing a bit less.

bourbon aroma has mellowed out quite a bit. trace vanilla. dried cherries?

flavor is similar to before, with less bourbon, but also seems to be thinning out...

feel might be a tad thinner.

head is much more stable

bourbon aroma more upfront, woody, with coffee and roast.

bourbon and wood more apparent again, but almost no vanilla. trace of chocolate?

everything else is the same.

still a nice beer, though overrated slightly. no change in scores needed, imho.


no dating to be found, but vendor is reliable and says it's from earlier in 2008. poured into snifter.

opaque brown, almost black. brownish tan head that very slowly fades to thin layer. decent web of lace all down the glass.

immediate woody bourbon aroma upon opening. espresso-like coffee upon pouring. these dominate the nose. couldn't pick out much else.

flavor is roasted coffee, almost espresso, with some malt and alcohol sweetness peeking through, then hint of wood aging and whiskey, but then the coffee/charred malt/hop bitterness comes in again and carries into the finish, which also gives another hint of bourbon. grassy+coffee aftertase.

tad thinner than expected, but initially smooth before some acidic astringent character comes in later for texture. accompanied by a gentle carbonation.

very good, but not sure if it lives up to the hype. (1,540 characters)

Photo of jwhawkins81
4.66/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma - Coffee and Bourbon

Appearance - No carbonation with a thin collar of a head that left a decent amount of lacing. Dark brown color.

Taste - Tastes a lot like it smells, coffee and bourbon. Is this a beer? Because I have never tasted anything like this before. A ton of flavor from coffee and bourbon and smooth roasted stout notes carrying everything across the palate.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly thin but still nice.

Drinkability - Surprisingly drinkable for an 11.2% ABV beer. I sipped this one for over an hour. Alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms to room temperature but still quite enjoyable.

Notes - A sipping beer anyone should be happy to enjoy. At this price thank goodness it is only around once a year. Better than the regular FBS. (758 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.92/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a totally thick texture. There was a small amount of tan-colored, lasting head and good lacing.

S: A big aroma of malt, coffee and alcohol.

T: Tasted of coffee, vanilla, malt and bourbon. Very complex with a big taste.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth, yet slightly slick finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is definitely a drinkable beer. One of the best imperial stouts out there. (453 characters)

Photo of gyllstromk
4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with thin brown head. Wetter than typical for imperial stouts.

Nose is vanilla, alcohol, roasted malt, wood, coffee.

Taste is sweet vanilla cream soda, a roasted chocolate malt blast,
bourbon, finishes with a hint of wood and warming alcohol.

Creamy, with an alcoholic aftertaste and warm bourbon burn.

You could have more than one but you probably don't have more than a few. (393 characters)

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,755 ratings.