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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: 3,012 | Ratings: 11,712
Photo of RacerX5k
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had one single last year and one single bottle this year and was not impressed at all. Thin, black licorice, with an unpleasant aftertaste. That review would be a generous 3.0 very average. This is not that review. When I saw the draft pop up on my list at an out of the way bar I purchased a good bit of Heady at last year, I thought, well, if I dont like it its only 7 bucks, and if I dont go after work Ill never know. So off I went. And what a pleasant surprise.

Walked in there is only 2 people in the bar and thats good. My 8 oz pour listed at $7 was only $5 and thats better. Beer looks real good, smells just ok (which does get better as you go), hints of chocolate, coffee, bourbon. First taste blows me away, nothing like the bottle. Big chocolate, coffee flavors mixing with a beautiful bourbon barrel in perfect harmony. Finishes dry, stout like dark fruits. Really impressive balance of flavor, thick and rich. 3 pours later I had my 24 oz bomber equivalent for $15 now thats what Im talking about. Something to chew on and contemplate this rainy, quiet, Monday afternoon. Founders you have finally impressed this Bourbon County lover. I will never care to have just one bottle, but this was a real treat.

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Photo of Rope
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was my extreme luck to get this bottle, someone had it on hold and never showed up. The fool.

Black, black oil spilling into the glass. A thin burnt yellow head appeared, and disappeared. A delightful dance of hop oils before the last couple drops went into the cup.

Coffee first, coffee ice cream second, and a sweet alcohol finish.

I can see what the hype is about. The coffee bitter combines well with the hop bitter to make this not too sweet like many bourbon barrel aged beers. Like the smell, it leaves a sweet alcohol presence.

Microbubbles surrounded by the oil. Heavy, could keep you warm all winter long. Luckily though, it doesn't hover on your palate unpleasantly long.

A giant in the category, the best I have had so far. I am curious to see how Dark Lord tastes in comparison.

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Photo of Donco
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Edit to review (3/18/16):
Just tried a bottle of 2016 KBS and it's the best fresh version I've had since I began drinking beer in 2013.

2015 from a bottle.
Although I had rated this beer highly back in 2013, I had not reviewed it. So now (March 2015) I am adding comments on this beer fresh.
Look is reminiscent of Founders Imperial Stout. Jet black with a bit of head when poured into my Founders tulip glass.
Smell: Wonderful bourbon/coffee as it warms.
Taste: Better than last year's version when fresh. Let this warm from fridge for at least 25 minutes. Then beautiful coffee/bourbon/chocolate comes out with a significant hit of bitterness on the end (again, like Founders IS).
To me, this year's version is better than 2014 and well worth the crazy search. Even better with about 6 month aging.

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

Had this both on draft at the Founder's Brew Pub at the release party and picked up my alloted 2 cases while there. If you are a big bourbon stout fan this one's for you. This is a totally different beer than the regular breakfast stout from Founder's ( one of my favorite craft brewer's). Bourbon is very present both in the nose and taste with a heavy coffee taste mixed in as well. Just go ahead and throw a shot of bourbon in a cup of day old cold coffee and you get the picture! I personally like the regular Breakfast Stout from Founder's better but that's my personal taste. Try them both and make up your own mind ..Thy are both worth seeking out!

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Photo of rawthar
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow. I thought it almost lived up to the hype after I had a bottle a few weeks back, but after having it on tap at Teresa's this weekend, it surpasses.

All of the countless best flavors of the best of the bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts, with a delicious dry oak undertone that pulled the whole thing together sort of like the Dude's rug pulled the room together.

Screw it, let's go bowling.

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Photo of biga7346
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


A - Pours deep mahogany, flat, black and dense; pours flat with a slight lift of chocolate-colored foam.

N - Whiskey, oak and cream, strong notes of vanilla bean, cocoa, burnt toast, boozy; very bready backbone like biscuit, reminds me of a chocolate brownie. Suggestions of dark, sugary fruits like fig, raisins, glazed fruit and even candy corn.

T/M - Chocolate brownie, biscotti, quite fudgey, chocolate chips, vanilla bean, coffee and cream all set against a chewy, dense mouthfeel; balanced for a BBA imperial stout - it has just the perfect touch of bourbon whiskey and charred oak in the finish.

D - World class, alcohol is tucked away nicely.

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Photo of bierenutz
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured into a glass, a dense, 2+ finger width, light brown head appeared and remained for several minutes leaving a fairly uniform residue around the glass. The beer was very dark, virtually black with redish hues and so thick that direct sunlight could not penetrate through.

S-Potent malty-coffee-chocolatey aroma is immediately evident with hints of vanilla, oak and bourbon fighting for their place.

T-Despite the lack of aging, the bourbon is well masked until after the swallow and the heat then reveals itself. The coffee and chocolate flavors meld well together and there is a smooth silkiness throughout the tasting process.

M-Very thick and creamy and the liquor presents itself at the swallow with a slight bitterness and heat which should mellow with aging.

D-Excellent sipping beer. I started at cellar temperature and allowed it to come to room tempature as I sipped and enjoyed this one for over and hour. I can't wait to crack the next one!

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Photo of STKPICR0720
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle date 2/17/12

Wow this brew is amazing. Well worth getting no matter what it takes. The alcohol is prevalent but hidden well. Boozy to the nose but wow great mouth feel. I would love to drink this brew at least a couple times a week if my waistline and budget could cover it. A truly phenomenal brew hats off to Founder's well done, well done.


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Photo of larsenju
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to psychotia for setting me up with this!

A-Black with a rich brown head, 1 finger, dropped relatively quickly leaving a pretty decent amount of lacing.

S-Smells like a top shelf bourbon. Very creamy sweet caramel with a little toffee and vanilla along with a nice oak character. Just a little heat (11.2, really?!) completes the bourbon aroma, and that is all backed up with a big smooth chocolate, a little biscuit, and finally some freshly roasted coffee beans. The coffee didn't really take center stage for me, but rather acted as a bridge for the other aromas, well played Founders.

T-Coffee and chocolate are a little more prevalent here with the bourbon taking a back seat, but it does come out after a second with some sweet brown sugar and caramel notes, vanilla, and just a touch of oak. For me the flavor was kind of a reversal of the smell, smell was bourbon first, then beer, the flavor was beer then bourbon. I started to get a little more heat here, still not on pace for what it actually is, but again it reminded me more of an actual bourbon.

M-Very low carb, super creamy and smooth, very nice.

D-One of the best I have had, I felt like everything was incorporated very nicely, and the ABV is hidden very very well. I recently had Peruvian Morning (great beer, don't get me wrong) but I feel like Founders did a much better job using the coffee to add complexity, rather that just adding another ingredient. This beer truly lived up to the hype.

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Photo of israel
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Goliath for this one..
poured into an ommegang tulip

A - pours a near pitch black color and quickly engulfs the glass with nothing but darkness and a cappuccino colored head that quickly dissipates into a thin covering with some clinging to the sides of the glass

S - aromas of bourbon and oak are in the foreground followed by a nice blend of coffee beans that all together seems perfectly balanced. The nose on this thing alone is a master piece; with this much complexity it would seem easy to muck this beer up, but founders pulls it off beautifully..

T - the taste follows suit with the aroma perfectly and everything you would expect from the smell is there in the taste. Deep and very complex, outstanding. lots of vanilla and maltiness along with some bourbon flavors that just go deeper and deeper. I have a feeling that after a bit more warming of this beer I could come back and write a whole nother review. what a fantastic beer..the flavors linger and linger; outstanding

M - ow carbonation and the body is very pleasing for all the flavors not too heavy but not too thin either. Enough mouthfeel for this beer to hang on well after each sip..

D - I try not to read too much into hyped beers, but this one is well deserving of any recognition it receives. This beer is utterly unbelievable in its complexity; where do I order cases of this stuff???yeah right we all wish..

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Photo of gregy55902
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really loved Founders CBS, and I'm hoping this is on par. Founders is, by a decent margin, my favorite Michigan brewery (love Dark Horse and Bell's as well). Obtained one 12oz bottle from Andy's in Rochester, MN.

A - Pours a nearly opaque motor-oil black color into my XL snifter. Not entirely gentle on the pour - an aggressive 1-finger head forms and dissipates within a minute or two leaving beautiful bubbles and lacing.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, toffee, maple, roasted malt, anise, and various dark fruits.

T - Very complex taste. Vanilla, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, roasted malt. It really tastes incredible and gets better the more you drink it. The flavors linger forever, with chocolate and coffee being very prominent.

M - Very smooth for what it is. I usually have a hard time drinking 'bourbon beers' and this one is definitely a sipper, but it has a rich taste that is meant to be enjoyed slowly. Founders BB-aged it for a long time (1+ year), and it shows - it is 11.2% but there is minimal bite (on par with DH Plead the 5th).

O - This is a monster of a good beer and is right up there with the CBS. It may be hard to appreciate if you don't love a good imperial stout, but if you do then it is entirely worth seeking out. Another extremely well-crafted brew from Founders.

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

Not caramelly. Not hugely bodied. Very strong, stiff bourbon + fresh roasted coffee aroma, which mostly obscures the roasted fruit flavors. Not excessively boozey. Finish is a wonderful bourbon/coffee melange. Very little hop presence.

My guess is that there was some bourbon left in the barrels when the beer was racked into them. Otherwise, I don't see how you get this much bourbon flavor in the beer.

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

Very delicious imperial stout. Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of bourbon with hints of coffee, vanilla, and malt. The alcohol comes through on the smell and taste. This stout has it all sweet and malty on the front, bitter and biting alcohol on the back. Thin mouthfeel. Notes of vanilla and coffee which linger on the tongue through the finish. This is most definitely a snifter worthy stout.

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Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 4.5 Pours a dark, dark brown. You can tell it is brown and not black because of its thin, dark tan head. Ultra fine bubbles lace the sides of the snifter smoothly. It looks great overall but I was hoping for just a little more head retention. Not that this is keeping me away, obviously...

S- 5 Dark roasty malts, chocolate, and coffee dominate. There is a definite bourbon aroma in the background which balances its sweet smell nicely. I can smell the oak from the barrels as well, which is a surprise! It smells as perfectly as you'd imagine from reading its label.

T- 5 As you'd suspect from its aroma, this wonderful stout is bursting with flavors of chocolate and coffee. There is much more heat from the bourbon present in the taste than the smell, which is to be expected. I love that about this beer, though! It has a strong, excellent kick and it balances the initial sweetness perfectly, reminding me of its potency.

M- 4.5 Nice feel to this medium-full body stout. It isn't too heavy considering the strength of the brew, but it does coat the mouth well. There is just a bit of syrup on the tongue from the booze which leaves my senses tingling. There is a mild carbonation.

D- 4.5 One thing I love about this complex, beautifully crafted stout ale is that it really isn't that complex to decipher. All of its flavors are pronounced in their respective ways as it is balanced perfectly. It is definitely high in volume and flavor... And unfortunately, price. At $23.99 / 4-pack, it lost some of its "drinkability" for me before I was able to snag it off the shelf (or should I say from the employee who brought it out to me from the back room of the last store in town to have it stocked). Honestly, it is just so limited, so expensive, and so powerful that I couldn't see myself drinking more than one (maybe two on a special night). I'd rather hoard it! I'm wishing now that I would have saved one from last year to compare it with vertically... I'll be sure to do that for the 2012 batch! Excellent beer.

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Photo of RexBanner
4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter. Aromas of dark roast coffee and 70% cocoa. Thick and dark, like motor oil. Taste followed the nose very close with the exception that the chocolate was more pronounce and a slight syrupy vanilla taste was present . Alcoholic esters were present although very subtle for an 11.2% ABV brew. Finish was sharp.
Overall: Very nice stout. definitely a sipper. Too bad I was only able to get one bottle from my supplier. I'd rather have this than BCBS. Founders should think about making this more readily available to folks. Good stuff!

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Photo of mully
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a thick brown head with small bubbles leaving leaving a good lace. Black body, no light gets through around the edges solid looking.

Chocolate Whisky coffee and a little malt no hops

Bitterness, patent malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee and chocolate

smooth like silk big and creamy heat from the booze

Does not hide the alcohol, it displays it like a work of art. No beer bongs for this beer, but it is very drinkable.

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Photo of FishGetter
3.96/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, midnight black apperance. Very slight head rims around top of glass.
Spent coffee ground aroma with dull chocolate aroma. Faint tones of oak barrel.
Sweet chocolate blends with dark coffee flavors. Some faint burbon comes on at the end with strong alchol that warms mouth. Drink finishes hot and boozie with Kalua like flavors
Enjoyable mouthfeel, smooth and silkie medium body, close to heavy.
This one may need some time to age to let the alchol mellow out and let the other charecters peak. Look forward to trying another bottle in a year or so. As is, decent offering.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After coming up empty handed in my search for this brew, I was delighted that Greg at the Trion had secured a few for his frequent customers to try. Poured an intimidating dark red, almost black with a milky chocolate head that retained forever. Aroma was bourbon, coffee, chocolate and roast malts and it was good. Same with the taste, this is a monster of a beer. Dense and chewy, with all those stout flavors amped up to an incredible level. As it warmed the tastes continued to change with coffee, bourbon, and the malts being front and center at different times during the experience. It was a little sweet and I can't imagine having more then one of these. Honestly, to me, I like the Founders Breakfast Stout a little better, just because I find it more drinkable. If I had to have just one more sip of a Founders Stout, this would be the one, but if I was to have one to go back to over and over again, the breakfast stout would take the day.

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

Thanks to hooliganlife for this one. A stubby bottle poured into my Delirium snifter. A small tan head forms on a black brew, recedes and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell is of strong dark coffee, alcohol and a slight hint of vanilla. This was poured at cellar temperature 55*F, I expected a little more for the nose.

The taste is pretty amazing. The first few sips reveal something like a cafe mocha with vanilla, pretty sweet but amazing. More sips bring a strong coffee taste and a lingering taste of vanilla. The bourbon barrel is there but is not very prominent. The taste finishes with a bitter astringent coffee taste.

A good medium mouthfeel. I was kind of hoping for something a bit thicker. The mouthfeel is acceptable, not perfect.

If I had access to this beer, I would have some on hand when I felt like a great coffee stout.

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Photo of zchall23
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2/25/11
Served in a Dogfish Head Signature Glass

A: Jet black color with a lighter espresso colored head that lingers.

S: Exquisitely balanced scents of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and a light caramel note.

T: Chocolate quickly, but smoothly, transitions to bourbon, with a malty vanilla flavor on the finish.

M: Creamy full bodied feel that has a nice gentle warming effect when swallowed.

O: The more I have this beer, the more I love it; I can sincerely say that this is one of the best beers in the world! I advocate hitting the Founders brewpub to see if you can get fortunate enough to get this on nitro, or other remarkable beer.

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Photo of JoshVandy
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter on April 27, 2011.

Bottled on February 25, 2011.

A- Pours a beautiful oily black hue into the glass with a fantastic dark tan head that slowly dissolves with a gorgeous lacing.

S- Sweet bourbon and chocolate hit me up front. Oak notes come through as well. Glorious and well integrated. As it warms, faint coffee and a stronger bourbon characteristic come through. I could smell this all day.

T- Easily the best part of this beer. Bourbon and vanilla at the start, but very subtle and mellowed. Followed closely by a chocolate presence and then more bourbon-laced vanilla in the finish. Not a trace of alcohol to be found. Absolutely fantastic.

M- A little light on the carbonation, but makes up for it in its insane smooth and creamy feel.

O- Easily one of the best barrel-aged beers I've had, and does not disappoint in its complexity and well-integrated flavors. A very hyped up yearly release that delivers in every way.

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Photo of surfcaster
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 Bottle enjoyed in parallel with an Event Horizon

A: Pitch black in a tulip. Pour with low carbonation and a thin small brown head that tracked down the glass.

S: Even after warming on the counter, this kept smelling better through the pour. Lots of bourbon with some light coffee and vanilla notes.

T: Just delightful. Bourbon hits you first but is so integrated that the other flavors immediately follow as you send this one to the back of the tongue. Even at 11%+, no burn at all and a long lingering finish.

M: Decadent. Rich, smooth.

O: Just about perfect. I love having this in a 12oz format to enjoy by myself and if I want to share, I just open a second. One of the best examples of the style there is. MAKE MORE.

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Photo of phishdaly
3.65/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark chocolate brown with a faint tan head

S - chocolate syrup, sweet bourbon

T - dark chocolate, sweet bourbon, raisins. Immediately taste the chocolate notes, followed by a sweet bourbon, and a little overwhelming alcohol warmth. Not picking up any coffee.

M - full bodied. A little syrupy. Would prefer a little more carbonation.

Overall - I feel these big beers win ratings for alcohol content. The alcohol is a bit too much. Though it may mellow out with aging. I've been getting into single malts and small batch bourbons/whiskeys. Barrel aged beers tend to be too reminiscent of sweeter low quality whiskeys. I was attracted to this beer for the time and care listed in it's preparation. I would try it again, but am glad I only got a bottle for now at $6/bottle in NYC. Would like to age one and see how it matures.

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Photo of macktbone
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a surpise offering from ThirdLap for absolutely no occasion at all. From the bottle and split into Low Ball type glasses to get a true example of the product.

A-Obsidion reflectivness with medium brown edge hanging onto the glass. Minimal head but nice to look at.

S-Quad Espresso. This one was a 5 for me, my first in relation to smell. This was tough for me to put into words but; Dirt, nuts, with a little mint. Roasted malt. [crazy time] Granite and stones after a rain. You know that granite that turns one color when it gets wet then goes back when it dries...? This is what I'm talking about.

T-Old coffee, tea and small after heat of bourbon.

Second Smell- cherries and bitter sweet chocolate.

Second taste- anise aftertaste

M-very limited carbonation and average stout creaminess.

D-not a feasable daily stout, but great on a Sunday morning or for no appearant reason at all.

Aging the bottle since first review and decided to crack it for Father's day 2010.
Much smoother after the year has passed, the vanilla on the nose is much stronger and the bourbon heat has become much sweeter. I think I would raise the rating on this if you could get ahold of an older, well aged bottle!

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Photo of StarshipPoopers
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Completely opaque black with a considerable amount of mocha brown head. Lots of lacing clings to the glass.

S - Even a few minutes out of the fridge it already has many layers to start picking through, but it's a treat once it's warm.

T - Bourbon and vanilla sweetness countered by coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts. Incredible complexity without being overpowering or too unbalanced. The oak is also noticeable in amongst all of the other flavours. It's an exciting beer from start to finish.

M - Quite heavy. While not completely motor oil, it's texture is very thick and syrupy. The full body helps to leave an excellent aftertaste as well, with all of the flavours still lingering long after the beer is finished.

O - An incredible beer that I am glad to have gotten a hold of. I had worried from the aroma that it might be on the sweet side, but Founders have done an excellent job in achieving a perfect balance. I'll be searching for this after the next release, I'd love to see what a longer time aging this would produce.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,012 ratings.