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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: 2,976 | Ratings: 11,575
Photo of k3n
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage.

Thick, viscous black. A vigorous pour gives me an inch of dense head, which quickly retreats down to a thin sheet with patchy spots. Minimal lacing. No light intrudes the body, and the color stays evenly black all the way to the edges.

Nose is roasted coffee and booze. Bitter chocolate in the background.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. The flavors are intense but the feel of the beer is relatively light. Flavors follow the aromas, roasted coffee beans, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, and some alcohol heat. Finish is moderately long.

Halfway down the glass, I'm continuing to be impressed by the mouthfeel of this beer. There's a definite heft and creaminess to it, but it doesn't get over-bearing. Also, unlike other barrel-aged stouts I've had, the bourbon aspect is quite mellow, and doesn't crowd out the rest of the beer. A+ for drinkability.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz.bottle to pint.

A: Pours molasses black with a big brown head with decent retention and some web-like lacing.

S: Smells of strong bourbon, alcohol, roasted malts and some coffee with a very melded chocolate and vanilla note. Smells amazing. What's interesting is that the smell is fairly mild, not in an non-complex way, just a can't smell from a foot away like some beers. Not a bad thing, just not a trait you often see...I mean smell.

T: Strong bourbon with chocolate notes. Coffee kicks in on the finish, however it's complimented by bitter oakiness. This is amazing. It's complex but not as "extreme" as GI GCS, which I like because that helps the drinkability factor.

M&D: Good carbonation and a heavy body are great, but what really impressed my is the mouth-drying bitter feeling you get. The mouthfeel blew me away, I've never had anything like it. It's pretty drinkable for the abv content and it's not too heavy. I could probably do a couple bottles.

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Photo of boomer31
4.13/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got via trade back in the summer. The night before Christmas Eve thought I'd treat myself.

A-Black with a little little tan head that fades quickly but sticks to the glass

S-Coffee and a hint of bourbon

T-Coffee, lots of chocolate and some bourbon. Not nearly as much bourbon as expected but a very nice balance.

M-Smooth, nice low carbonation.

D-Way too drinkable! Not as much bouron as I was expecting. Could it have faded with the months in the cellar? Probably not.

A good beer and would like another, but probably won't seek it out via trades. The chocolate is very heavy but is balanced out nicely with the bourbon.

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

Another stout tasted over Thanksgiving '09.

From notes:

Darkest brown, thin head, little lacing.

Roasted coffee malts, negligible chocolate.

More coffee, hint of dark fruit (cherry), coffee finish

Soft, little carbonation at first, flattens fairly quickly.

Definitely want another, but have to drive to Thanksgiving dinner!

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Photo of pwsoldier
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to koopa for hooking me up with this!

A - Pours blacker than black. A paper-thin layer of bubbles tops the beer, then dissipates into a thin ring of brown. Lacing is fairly light.

S - So much going on here! Notes of black coffee and dark chocolate jump out, accentuated by notes of bourbon and maybe a pinch of anise.

T - Smooth notes of vanilla and roasted malt sweetness quickly give way to sharp bitter notes of chocolate and coffee. Plenty of spicy bourbon notes in the finish. Some alcohol tries to poke through, but ultimately remains hidden for the most part. The bold bitter notes of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon linger on the palate.

M - Full-bodied and very rich. Carbonation is low, the better to bring out the bold flavors.

D - Very easy to drink despite the high abv. This is an incredible stout, and I certainly wouldn't mind getting my hands on more of this stuff!

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Photo of steve8robin
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from an awesome tip from Yamar18...

A: Perfectly pitch black. No head but little mocha colored bubble along the top of the brew.

S: Smells very well balanced. Coffee, oatmeal, and oak scents eminate from the glass. Smells delicious!

T: Awesome balance! Just like the smell, the coffee and oak flavors are balanced perfectly! Coffee hits you up from first and almost a caramel type flavor on the backend from the oak and bourbon. Is not one bit hard to drink and very complex flavors! Not many brewers get that right.

M: Fantastic cabonation

D: Despite the complexity of this brew, not one aspect is overpowering so it goes down surprisingly easy.

All in all, this brew is fantastic. I can't believe I took so long to try it. Definitely one of my faves! Founder's has a great thing going here. Recommended for craft beer-aholics and people looking to expand into craft brews alike.

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Photo of MysterySwirl
2.65/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Opening a 2009 - this beer is opaque black with little head and a strong coffee flavor. Smells charred and bitter as if they burnt the coffee before putting it into the barrel.

This one tastes more chocolate-y and bourbon like. The vanilla notes are much more muted this year than the previous years and I honestly prefer the extra vanilla's presence. Not really complex flavor but decent mouthfeel. Honestly, I enjoyed the aroma more than the taste bc I could pick out the sweet/fruit notes better that way.

This beer isn't that complex. Maybe I've been spoiled - maybe it's not aging well with the bourbon notes mellowing and bringing out the coffee... I just know that it didn't live up to my expectations.

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

2009 "KBS" style 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pitch black engine oil. Seems thick on the pour. Thin brown head that leaves spotty lacing as it goes down.

S: Bourbon on the first smell. Roasty malts, chocolate and coffee when I go back in for more.

T: A little bourbon on the front end, then the chocolate and roasted malts come in. This one does end with a nice little burn to it. Not too much though. I found this to be pretty well balanced looking at the ABV coupled with the barrel aging.

M: Full bodied and low carb. Not surprising for style.

D: This one is a heavy hitter but surely enjoyable. Has mellowed a little since my last taste in March 2009. Very good I would say great stout overall. I think it is a great beer that I will look forward to reviewing against this coming years version.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to review this again after having it a few times. This was a 12 oz. bottle of the 2009 "KBS" variety poured into a chalice.

Thick, black, creamy, and opaque. In appearance, essentially everything you could expect from a stout.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup, coffee, and dark chocolate.. probably one of the best beer smells I've experienced.

The flavor is very sweet up front, again with that mix of vanilla, bourbon, and coffee. Alcohol makes its presence known, but for 11%+ this is drinkable as hell.

The first time I tried this I didn't quite buy into the hype, but now I am a believer. This is one of the best all-around beers I've tried.

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Photo of auroracrisis
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a couple of glasses of this last night at The Chase Tap Room in Lexington. It was great to finally see something this rare go on tap in this town and I am hoping it happens more often.

Pours a smooth, deep black with a one finger head that dissipates after the first sip into a small brown ring around the edges of the snifter.

The smell was absolutely intoxicating. Lots of bourbon and coffee notes blended together in perfect unison. The smell of this beer doesn't get any weaker as you drink either, it just keeps jumping out of the glass and up your nose as you drink down your glass.

The taste is smoothed out bourbon with lightly roasted coffee. There is great balance in the taste which could have been due to the age of the keg (being 8 or so months old) but I am pretty sure it's like this fresh as well (from what I can remember it being like out of the bottle months ago). Absolutely delicious and pretty much the definition of balance in a bourbon stout.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Smooth until the last drop with minimal carbonation which causes the beer to go down much faster than it should at such a high abv.

Drinkability is dangerously good. I had two glasses of it in about an hour and had to tell myself to slow down so I didn't get too intoxicated.

Overall, this is probably one of my favorite beers of all time and I am glad I finally had the chance to try this on tap and have a couple glasses as well. Well done, Founders!

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Photo of caskstrength
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 KBS bottle. And a few 2010s too.

Total blackness, just a trace of head. Worried already about carbonation. Newer bottles with more carbonation.

Smell is exactly what I was expecting. Coffee richness with some boozy bourbon.

Taste is as the smell predicts. Thicker, boozier version of breakfast stout with heaps of bourbon mixed in. But not much else. I was hoping for some unexpected complexity, but it didn't really show up. But who cares. This beer is not about unexpected complexity. This beer is about coffee/alcohol/bourbon, and it's about coffee/alcohol/bourbon done right.

Mouthfeel is thick and appopriate enough for the flavors and style and abv.

Met expectations, which were pretty high. Deserves it's ranking. A beer I would always like to have around. If you like the whiskey barrel, and you like coffee stouts...pull up a chair.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.34/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer is very black with hardly any brown in the light. The head is very disappointing as there is none and after finally pouring a medium tan head fizzles for seconds and is gone. There is no lacing.

The aroma is very strong but dominated by mostly roasted coffee. There is not much complexity as you get a little alcohol but that's it.

The taste is like the aroma but stronger. Its all coffee but bad stale and bitter coffee. Its simple without any complex flavors. At the end there is a little bourbon and charred wood.

The feel is ok but the drinkability is really down.

I was very excited to finally get my hands on this, but after I did I came away very disappointed. Its not drinkably, not complex, and just not a great RIS.

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Photo of Anthony1
4.02/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smell is Bourbon and sharp strong coffee. The overall aroma is sharp like fresh strong lightly roasted coffee. Every sniff brings more of that wonderful coffee and bourbon aroma with all the subtle scents you would associate with those smells. Bitter chicory, vanilla, caramel, wine, nuts, oak, and slight amount of black pepper are all in there. I could smell this 24/7 and never get tired of it; they should make a cologne that smells like this.

Taste is slightly sweet and full of smooth coffee and bourbon flavor. Quite strong and tasty vanilla flavor with a tasty chocolate and bourbon aftertaste. Smooth and never bitter

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick as oil...and dark as too. Little to no head present. A thin ring apears...dark brown. Aroma is very strong, like coffee, chocolate, and slightly bitter. I pick up a little burbon, boozy scent too.
Heavy vanilla, coffee, choclate, raison taste. Not as sweet as a Dark Lord(Three Floyds), but similar in the raison/coffee taste. Very heavy, almost like watered down syrup in consistency. Even more flavors as beer warms up. Very solid Imperial Stout!

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Photo of hayesez
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a drink of this beer for the first time at Dark Lord Day a couple of years ago, and remember being a little underwhelmed. However, it was early afternoon by that point...

Received this one in a trade with brewCzar - thanks for the hook-up!

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Very little head with just a hoola-hoop of tan foam. Very dark and viscous with a small amount of nice lace.

The smell of this thing almost knocked me over at first. It took me quite a while to place the specific coffee smell in there but I finally got it. When you've left your pot of coffee on the fire in hunting camp all day, all of the water has evaporated, you just have that "sludge" at the bottom...if you've ever stuck your nose in there, then you know what I'm talking about. That deep, strong, coffee sludge smell. There's also a bit of vanilla and some dark cherries in there as well, but the hunting camp sludge is out in front - and it is wonderful!

So much more impressed with the taste of this than I remember! As anticipated, I got smacked with a lot of coffee on the front, but this beer is much more complex than that. The chocolate in the middle was very pronounced as well...almost a milk chocolate as opposed to dark. By the third drink, I was stuck on the bourbon taste - right there on the back of the tongue. This was probably the most impressive part of the beer. The bourbon was very strong, but in a very positive way - it really stuck with me long after I'd finished the drink. If you like bourbon, I have full confidence that you will be impressed with the way it is incorporated in this brew! The beer was not alcoholic either - impressively smooth.

This beer is nearly as thick as it looks. It coats the mouth and lingers around long after the beer is gone. Outstanding.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the KBS. I have six more sitting in my basement and look forward to keeping those around for a few years. Definitely a beer that I'll always have on hand!

Consumed - 11/24/2009

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Photo of womencantsail
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #200 comes courtesy of imperialking. Jeff was kind enough to hook it up with two bottles of KBS...as extras!

A: KBS has that wonderful motor oil like pour with a thin layer of mocha colored foam.

S: While I'm not much of a coffee fan, the coffee aroma in this beer is amazing. There are also great chocolate, roasted malt, and ever so slight bourbon scents.

T: Talk about flavor! There are huge coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and bourbon flavors in this. The alcohol is definitely there, but it's not quite as boozy as I was preparing for.

M: This is a great thick, chewy, creamy beer.

D: The drinkability is surprisingly good for such a strong beer. The beer is not "hot", and the flavors are absolutely sensational. I'm glad that I have another one of these to enjoy.

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Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Speedwayjim.

Appearance: Jet black with 1 finger of chocolate colored head, motor oil thick, the head dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: Roasted dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Opens with a rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Strong malt backbone as the two flavors revolve around as the bourbon shows it face at the finish with a breif hint of licorice and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium Bodied, medium carbonation and smooth throughout.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy the Breakfast stout but better, maltier and richer in flavor.

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Photo of Donerik
3.43/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I liked this the least of the three breakfast stouts, I found the tastes mudded.

A - Black, brown head, low retention, as expected, beautiful

S - Smells good, coffee, bourbon, unmistakable aromas of both combine with roasted malt.

T - a bit of a let down here, the three tastes from the aroma just kind of mudd up, the coffee was a bit too overpowering and the bourbon flavor doesn't come all the way through, just as an alcohol.

M - didn't finish as well as the rest of the family, a bit more burning

D - 1 was my limit on this, I've had more than one of both of the others, I didn't enjoy this beer the same way as the others, it was in the finish.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Motor oil black, almost no head, very thin tan coating disappears leaving almost no ring. Perfectly opaque. Full nose with rich smell of roast coffee, espresso, burnt toast and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with substantial body. Bitter taste with astringent bourbon impressions very pronounced, bakers chocolate and burnt coffee, chocolate almond biscotti, some nuttiness. Very complex stout with a huge taste, velvet feel although just a touch too astringent... I could live with a steady supply of these!

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Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick deep brown/black with a hint of brown foam. Leaves traces of lacing.

Lots of deep roasted malt, bourbon scent, moderate coffee and a hint of vanilla.

Lots of chocolate with notes of coffee, vanilla and bourbon. Perfection! So perfectly blended and outstanding tasting.

Rich and creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied, but not syrupy and sticky. Smooth and dry finishing.

Should be a sipper of a beer, but it makes you want to sip frequently. Outstanding beer, give me more.

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Photo of dasfunker
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It's my birthday and I did nothing but work for 12 hours. I came home and fell asleep for two hours, so technically, it's no longer my birthday. Be that as it may, I got up and decided to hit the beers. I'm getting a kegerator next week and my refrigerator is currently loaded with 200+ beers. Luckily I'm a chef and can bring food home, because I sure as hell have no where to store it. Irrelavent. Drank many other beers. Decided to have a special beer for the occasion. Good God this is good. I'm not a scientific rater. I'm not going to break this down to categories. What I will say is that I hate coffee. I also hate bourbon. And if I could, this beer would flow from every tap in my home. I went through hell to procure just one 2007 bottle of this Felix Felicitas, and my advice to everyone is: If you find it, buy it. All of it. Elbow people in the face if they get too close before you get it home. You will not regret it. Cheers!

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oil can black color with a thin tan head. High ABV keeps the head down and there is no lace. Smell of bourbon with some coffee and burnt malt in the background. Taste hits you up front with the bourbon and then the coffee and burnt malts slip in. Some dark fruits and raisin flavors slip in there too. Very full mouth with very litle carbonation. Some major burn in the finish. Overall this one is exactly what you would expect. Big, in your face, full of alcohol. Well done Founders.

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Photo of PALMEJ1
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

received from mikesgroove as part of "review this" BIF. bottled 2/17/09 poured into dfh snifter

a-pours so thick. even with a 10-12" pour the beer does not splash, it barely moves. little one finger head settles quick. foam ring around the glass is almost a pinkish brown.
s-you can smell this one from 3 feet away. chocolate and espresso comes first. little wood and some alcohol but its smooth and it blends together nicely.
t-big flavors right from the start. chocolate, alcohol, woody notes, mild liquorish. there's a clear taste of molasses, more than most stouts Ive had. the wood/bourbon flavor contributes a big smokiness along with the roasted malt. big time heat you can feel in your gut. I only got mild coffee in the taste. Big but good.
m-thick! the thick mouth does work excellent with the big flavors to make a memorable experience.
d-the heat did distract me. not the mildest 11% I've had, however I did not have a problem finishing the bottle.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped this for my 100th review. 2009 vintage

A- Pours an oily black with a short lived burnt brown head.

S- Heavy bourbon barrel, rich dark chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, a bit of smoke in there, gourmet coffee. Truely wonderful, I could sniff this for days (that's what she said).

T- Similar to the nose. The smoke, coffee, cocoa, and bourbon flavors integrate nicely. 11.2% hidden fairly well.

M- Light carbonation and slight viscosity, subtle silky tannins smooth it out nicely but not as full as I expected.

D- Powerful beer, but tastes great enough to drink a few glasses. As great as this is, I may have liked the Canadian Breakfast just a little more. Just a hair.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,976 ratings.