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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,805 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,805
Hads: 10,805
Avg: 4.56
pDev: 17.54%
Wants: 4,274
Gots: 5,074 | FT: 417
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,805 | Hads: 10,805
Photo of mdagnew
4.24/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

3355ml bottle bought online from McHughs, Dublin

Poured jet black - nothing gets through even when held up to the light. Dark dirty brown head poured thick and foamy then faded to nice thickish covering... very faint lacing...

Aroma - Strong coffee, toasted chocolate malts and vanilla, light oaky bourbon, some sweet milk chocolate, oats, bittersweet cocoa, faint leathery notes, woody, some faint liquorice traces, light spicy hops, burnt brown sugar...

Taste - Lots of creamy chocolate and rich dark coffee to the fore, vanilla, roasted malts, dark fruits, faint smoky notes, some liquorice, some peppery hops, nutty, light molasses sweetness, warming alcohol just coming through

Feel - Very smooth and creamy with just a little sharpness after... full bodied... very drinkable considering it's 11%

Overall - An excellent stout and one i'm glad to have tried although it didn't quite live up to the hype... don't get me wrong i really enjoyed this but there are much better Impy Stouts out there (BCS for one). Definitely worth trying though...

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Photo of jbredbeard
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was expecting a little more coffee notes, however a very good stout. Nice, mild coffee aroma, mild coffee flavor ends with a sticky sweet malt bitterness that really finishes it off. Alcohol shows up towards the bottom of the glass, excellent!

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz Bottle bottled on 02/12/2015 poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours an opaque brown with a finger of mocha head

Smell: Rich Chocolate, and licorice

Taste: An impeccable blend of chocolate and coffee with oaky vanilla undertones, roasted notes in the finish with some bourbon

Mouthfeel: Medium and low carbonation

Overall: Often times, we have heard silly phrases like, "nectar of the gods". This meets that definition. Putting aside any hype or disdain for the honors this beer has received, this has shaken up my expectations for a barrel aged beer. Often times I have enjoyed a world-class BA stout or barleywine and thought to myself, "wow, I'm curious how this will be a year or several down the road". That does not apply to KBS. All of the disparate elements are present: bold coffee notes, decadent chocolate, rich malt flavors, oak barrel, and boozy heat of bourbon.

The combination of these notes is so seamless in a way that one does not overpower the other. That is where this beer succeeds. It is from this balance that I initially have not wanted to age this beer any further. I truly first sipped this beer and could not offer any other suggestions for improvement. I will not say this is the perfect beer because that just may never exist. Yet, KBS has become a benchmark for flavored, barrel-aged stouts for me.

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Photo of KellyScottMad
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Why is everyone so high on Founders? I don't understand the fascination with this place. I think they brew good beers and some great beers, but I don't think that they should be tops on all of these lists. With that being said, this Imperial Stout was good, but it wasn't great. Granted it is better on tap at the brewery itself, but still not great in my eyes. I really try to like these guys, but not worth the hype in most cases.

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Photo of oregonduck
4.07/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 bottle. First off, this bottle was aged over a year which seemed to help as I tried a 2015 bottle recently and wasn't very impressed. 2015 was very boozy and felt like it needed more time. 2014 is solid, and a very nice BA beer, but even aged 1 year KBS seems overhyped. It is very good, but I don't think it is elite like the FW barrel aged beers. In fact, I recently tried a Lagunitas High Westified Imperial Stout that fresh was very comparable and similar to KBS at 1 year. For the details, KBS smells very nice, has a great, sweet smell almost like vanilla ice cream. The taste is more bittersweet chocolate, but not too hot as the age helped mellow it. The feel is on the thin side for an Imperial Stout. Overall very nice, but not elite like all of the hype would suggest.

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Photo of jtk21351
4.98/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The best stout I've ever had, hands down. It was like drinking a liquid Hershey's chocolate bar with a brilliantly smooth finish. Highly recommended, totally lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Malt_Man
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L) Very dark chestnut brown, opaque. Thin bubbly tan head.

S) Bourbon is the major smell. Some sweetness, some chocolate. No beer.

T) Lots of things happening here... boozy but not overpowering slightly sweet bourbon flavours come in first, followed by subtle bitterness from roasted malt. Ends on a mellow caramel / slightly sweet malty note.

F) Lovely density to it. Alcohol warmth at the end is very nice. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste, but nothing like as strong as other stouts can be.

O) Lives up to the hype. £5.50 well spent, will buy another perhaps later in the year.

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Photo of drew42e
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with small caramel head. Notes of chocolate, bourbon, coffee in both aroma and taste. Bit boozy though, but not unexpected at 11+%. Bourbon really comes through. Mouthfeel isn't as thick as other imperial stouts, but makes it drink very smoothly, despite the heavy bourbon undertones. Finish is warm. Excellent stout but would put behind Goose Island BCBS among my favorites of the genre.

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Photo of Chris_Burton
3.67/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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Photo of KevChiTown
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of crazycatcouple
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
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

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Photo of ovaltine
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
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.


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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

exceptional.so 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 bottle.one of the best.

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Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
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!

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Photo of Themorganburke
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of MA_hops
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

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Photo of NonSnob_BeerSnob
3.92/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of dd43
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Photo of Richard-Scott
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
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!

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Photo of jdhowe
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Photo of Brondeau
4.79/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of njnj2000
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of garyloveman
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,805 ratings.