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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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,752 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 2,752
Hads: 10,495
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 4.18%
Wants: 4,160
Gots: 4,772 | FT: 388
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: 2,752 | Hads: 10,495
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
4.98/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | 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. #hybridvigorpour (169 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)

Photo of DeFaz
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Midnight in color with a surprisingly small head. Smell and taste are complex and wonderful with primarily coffee flavors but the down point is that the alcohol is not concealed at all. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected but not bad. Overall I believe this is somewhat overhyped but being new to the style I can't compare and still really enjoyed it. (364 characters)

Photo of tigerhawk
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: poured with a half finger head, thin film when settled, not intensely black appearance

S: immediate hit of milk chocolate

T: interesting layers of coffee, chocolate, bourbon, with a slight tendency to be a bit boozy

M: average mouthfeel

O: so many layers to this beer, it is an excellent beer I would drink whenever the chance. It is slightly heavy on the roast for me personally however would not call it over roasted. Very good beer. (447 characters)

Photo of Clockwork420
4.14/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep black, very slight tan slick on the top. Smell is bourbon. Dark chocolate. Taste is dark chocolate, coffee, and bourbon strong. Its boozy. Mouth feel was on the thinner side. Overall its good. Is it good but it really isnt cult classic good. I wouldnt fist fight a person for some, but would drink it any time it was available if you get my drift. (358 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage.
Black pour, small half finger beige head, quick to a frothy string and a really thin film on top. Moderate lacing.
The smell is pretty intense and brings up front exactly what you'd expect: dark, but also some milky chocolate, a lot of coffee powder on top, some Bourbon, caramel and vanilla, not too heavily roasted malts. At least not charred to a crisp. Alcohol doesn't show up yet, a bit of hop tends too, tho.
An interesting, layered sip. Starts with a bit of dark fruit, washed with some clear Bourbon, a bit boozy at first, but it gets just warmer later on. There's a hint of brandy in there. Clear chocolate goodness follows, not the darkest kind, but really rich, with a touch of molasses, more caramel, oaky vanilla and some roasted grain. This nice, but moderate sweetness leads to a pretty contrasting finish, dominated by acidic black coffee, some bitter hop underneath, making up a dry feeling that goes well with the last bite of alcohol.
Each new sip renews the Bourbon taste, making it more and more clear. Still, the alcohol becomes manageable and you're left with nice coffee bean, cocoa and light roast in the aftertaste. Medium body, with a smooth, slightly prickly carbonation, works quite well.
A big bad imperial stout that's well worth the hype. Still, not the perfect monster that i was led to believe, so don't break your neck looking for it. A toe or two would suffice. (1,411 characters)

Photo of spoony
4.39/5  rDev -3.5%
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. (1,219 characters)

Photo of witschen
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

People seem to love to hate on KBS but it's the smoothest easiest drinking big imperial stout on the market in my opinion. Flavors are all apparent but not overwhelming like other stouts in its class. I like the lack of dark fruit flavor vs BCBS. Perhaps less bourbon? (268 characters)

Photo of CraigP83
4.81/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very little head almost looks flat. Smell is milk chocolate, roasted coffee and some whiskey. Taste is a melted Hershey bar, coffee is a little muted, good bit of boozyness some people might say it's to "hot" but I enjoy that in these types of beers. I didn't get any vanilla. Mouthfeel is silky chocolate milk. Excellent stout but the price and availability would be a huge deterrent in future purchases. (405 characters)

Photo of beerbully
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into cuvee

A- Black like motor oil, very small 1/4 inch tan head, mild lacing

S-chocolate, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, molasses,

T-chocolate and coffee upfront gives way to oaky bourbon flavors which fades into vanilla that slips into a slight cola

F-thick, full bodied, creamy, more carbonation than expected based on the pour

O-Great beer, flavors are well balanced with none overpowering the other..........nice variation of flavors from the chocolate / coffee to the oaky bourbon and vanilla / molasses / caramel (537 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: like motor oil. Slick tan film on top.

S: roasted coffee immediately assaults your nostrils in the best of ways. Vanilla, baking chocolate powder, oak, some bitter roasted malts. More roasted coffee

T: holy cow is this good. There is an intense coffee bean flavor right up front followed sweet oak and vanilla. Dense melted milk chocolate and a hint of cola. On the end of the taste is some mild bourbon

M: it's a silky mouthfeel that sits at about medium. More carbonation than expected, almost like drinking a soda

O: super smooth beer here. It's delicious. Coffee is the standout, but everything else works perfect in here (634 characters)

Photo of MikeMess99
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. Delicious. Very smooth, not too dark, not too bitter or carbonated. Basically perfect. As a stout fan ranks in my top beers of all time. (154 characters)

Photo of NilocRellim
4.56/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured a very dark brown, almost black; perfect stout colour.

Smelled of scotch and sweet caramel/molasses.

Great whiskey/scotch flavour with hints of molasses/treacle. There was a faint sweetness, but not as much as you would think. Dis not taste like a sipping beer (unlike many other bourbon-barrel beers). Very heavy/hearty beer.

Would I buy it again? Definitely! (370 characters)

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,752 ratings.