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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)

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2,776 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,776
Hads: 10,597
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 4.18%
Wants: 4,184
Gots: 4,897 | FT: 394
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: 2,776 | Hads: 10,597
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 HopHobo
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-pours a deep brown/black with a 3 fingers head.

S-Smells of chocolate, vanilla and coffee...a very deep complex smell, many layers here.

T-Wowzer, this beer is amazing probably the best stout I've had to this point in my life. Taste is like the smell very complex, strong coffee and vanilla flavor with hints of bourban and chocolate. The alcohol is well hidden in the beer.

M-Has a nice mouthfeel very thick and creamy...this is how a stout should be.

D-So I've had this beer before on tap and in bottle I love this beer so much I would like to freeze it into ice cubes and skate on it. I could drink it all day/night long. Probably not a good hot weather beer...but here in the cold North its perfect!!! (711 characters)

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

2011 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Combine the darkness of bourbon with black coffee and you'd still have something that let more light in than KBS. Absolutely tar black. Pours with a 1" thick dark mocha head that fades quickly but provides excellent lacing.

S: The nose is a perfect blend of bourbon and chocolate. Neither dominates, instead complimenting each other. Also included in the nose are faint notes of roasted malt, and perhaps some dark fruit. This is the most balanced bourbon barrel aged stout I've ever smelled.

T: Again, the bourbon is present, but not overpowering. An excellently blended combination of bourbon, chocolate, hints of vanilla, roasted malt. I've never tasted anything this complex and yet this harmonious. Nothing is out of place, and every sip reveals something new.

M: As viscous as you could hope for. KBS slithers down your throat, hanging on for dear life, letting you savor that amazing flavor for as long as possible. Carbonation is as low as can be without being nonexistent.

O: This is absolutely the best beer I've tasted to date. For being over 11% ABV, there's absolutely none of it in the taste. It's not too bourbon-y for somebody like me who had a bad experience with Jack Daniels in college, but not so light that it doesn't make a difference. And what a difference this makes. I will absolutely buy every bottle I can get my hands on in the future, and probably trade none of it away regardless of the asking price - it's too good to not drink myself. (1,514 characters)

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

a - oily black with a slight amount of copper/red head and lacing. im excited..

s - boozy, caramel, COFFEE, roasty, smokey, very sweet as well. getting more more excited.

t - mmm vanilla n coffee. pretty boozy.. but that explains the 11.2 ABV. so in that case it actually does a pretty good job masking it. you can definitely taste the oak as well.

m - lusciously silky smooth but still a pretty vibrant carbonation feel. the aftertaste kinda leaves me with the feeling of whiskey. kinda numbing and warm.

o - i mean damn, thats good. no wonder everyone raves about this one. just like the description says, this is NOT the standard breakfast stout. this is a whole nother' ball game. a much more serious, not fucking around, kind of a stout. (748 characters)

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

A- pours a deep oil black with a thin molasses tan head that has. Thin lacing. The carbonation is perfect for this beer.
S- immediately you get light bourbon notes on the nose. But not overly boozy smell. A great balance for a barrel aged beer.Roasted malt smell. Smell of candied almost burnt sugar.
T- Woody bourbon at the front that is so delicately balanced. This beer gives some smoky notes but everything about the tastes here are perfectly balanced.
M- medium body with great flavors from front on the taste to the end.
O- this beer lives up to all the hype it is given. It is definitely one of my favorite barrel aged stouts! (633 characters)

Photo of todisht
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage.

Deep, deep brown in color. Beautiful, brown head. The bourbon barrel aging gives this beer a nice smooth feel in the mouth. Even with the high alcohol content you hardly notice the taste. All around great beer. One of my favorites. I'm saving one for next year. Excited to see how it tastes after it's had some time to mellow. (341 characters)

Photo of Cheeseboo
3.29/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Truth be told, I am not a fan of Bourbon stouts because I don't like to drink hard liquor. To me, a beer should taste like a beer, not like anything else. The bourbon flavor is overwhelming. I know that some people love this stout, but I'm not a fan. I would much rather have something smooth and creamy that doesn't assault my taste buds with alcohol. My brother paid something like $30 for a 4 pack of this and I don't feel it is worth the money. Again, I'm not a fan of hard liquor, just beer. (502 characters)

Photo of ccm414
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 12 oz bottle... thanks BeerMaverick!

A- Black. A little chocolate looking around the edges. Not much head, a little less than one finger. It disappears relatively quickly leaving some slight lace on the glass.

S- Not overwhelming but nice on the nose. Coffee notes that are nicely complimented with hints of chocolate. Sweet malt with heavy bourbon scents. Excellent combination!

T- Pure bliss. One of the best. Great coffee flavors with hints of chocolate and vanilla bean. The bourbon also really comes through in the perfect amount, has an almost spicy feel to it. Slight alcohol burn towards the finish, but its just the right amount that lingers. Very enjoyable.

M- Medium to heavier bodied beer here. Lightly carbonated. Coats the palate nicely and almost feels like it coats the entire mouth with a film of flavor.

D- Very drinkable. Can probably become dangerous at 11.2% abv. It has a nice drinkability with the pop from the bourbon.

Cheers! (977 characters)

Photo of jamespub
4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 KBS from a large "fish bowl" snifter served at 60* F

A- Beautiful black, brown head, sticks to the glass. The way a stout should look.

S- Smells good, but seems to be less boozy than last year. Still has a great smell of coffee, bourbon, and booze.

T- Taste is incredible, but seems to be lacking from the 2010 variety. It is flavorful, but doesn't have the bourbon flavor that I remember. It is a very good stout. One of the best. But each bottle I've had so far (10 total) each one tastes very different. The first few were very strong on bourbon, the next were strong on coffee, and the last few have seemed to be more balanced, but weaker in overall flavor. You do get it all though. Bourbon, chocolate, alcohol burn, with a very nice coffee finish.

M- Sticks to the tongue, and stays with you. And thats all the good flavors. I want a stout to stick, and this one does. however, it does feel a little thin when compared to it's appearance.

O- A top notch stout. If I had not tried an 09 BCBS, the batch 1 of the boulevard RIS, and GI Big John from this year, I probably would have rated this A+, but those stouts impressed me in overall quality and flavor, thereby raising the stout bar. From what I remember from last years KBS, it would have held it's own much better. I just feel that the 2011 batch is a little bit thinner. (1,345 characters)

Photo of Kevin-Wieken
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
Founders Brewing Company, Michigan
---from bottle to tulip---

Almost entirely black, deep brown around edges when held to light. Little khaki head.

Mocha and bourbon, very subtle, hint of vanilla

Dark chocolate, bold coffee, slightly burnt malt, heavy bourbon – very awesome

Medium bodied, good bitter to sweet, starts and finishes with bourbon, 11ABV gives it a warming feel and makes this beer last a good while

Definitely worth the hype. I was able to secure three bottles (2014) and paid dearly for them. I would do it again. Very complex and inviting stout. Almost perfect! (660 characters)

Photo of Sandbarunner
3.43/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

There is an awful lot hype behind this beer. This is great for Founders and stores.
I would like to start off by saying last years KBS was much better. There was a much brighter Bourbon nose last year. This year the bourbon notes are very light and the taste is not really there. The chocolate is good, but I would prefer a heavier Bourbon flavor.

That is my review from last year above...

Much weaker flavor this year that is so eclipsed by the hype that I am disappointed . (477 characters)

Photo of Czarkazm
4.64/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 3/21/13 which I had buried underground for exactly 2 years. Pours a mahogany brown color. Opaque in the glass with absolutely no light shining through. Dark tan head with lots of lacing. Surprisingly very coffee forward on the nose, even with two years on it. Rich milk chocolate, vanilla, sweet caramel, little bourbon character, with dark fruits starting to come through. Incredible, velvety smooth mouthfeel! Had a bottle of the 2015 recently which I was a little disappointed about and didn't review. Don't think this one lost much at all. Robust espresso and vanilla dominate the flavor, along with some burnt malts, oak, fresh cocoa, and molasses. The 2013 batch swept me off my feet when it was fresh, and I gotta say, my love is still strong with this one. (783 characters)

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

I think I can honestly say that this is my favorite stout ever. I've got to give a BIG shout to rockstarnati who traded this to me...as an EXTRA! Thanks a million, dude.

Appearance: Poured into my DFH snifter. After bringing the pour a literal FOOT high from the glass, there was a milk chocolate-brown 1/2 finger head. I swear, this stuff would look like a tiny dark spot against the backdrop of space. Light simply does dot penetrate into this beer.

Smell: I work at a coffee chain and have to smell coffee at its freshest and at its most stale states. I'm not easily impressed by coffee-infused stouts. Really only Peche Mortel has knocked my socks off in that regard. Well, it's been dethroned. There's a sublime aroma of chocolatey coffee beans here, with a nice oak underbelly and the slightest hint of bourbon. I'm salivating.

Taste: The perfection of the balance among the flavors and body is impressive, to say the very least. The roasted malt and coffee notes hit immediately, but very quickly open up to reveal deep, semisweet chocolate and oak flavors. The bourbon is still only a pleasant hint, and it hits closer to the finish and in the aftertaste. I'm in love.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, in the most beautiful way. My mouth almost feels coated with a film from all this mature malt. The carbonation is extremely low but it seems better for that. There's no cloying sweetness, but the semisweet chocolate notes do make my sweet-sensitive taste buds perk up a little. There is very little alcohol fuming in the finish, which is amazing considering the 11.2% ABV and the bourbon remnants.

Drinkability: This is surely a "sip slowly and savor the hell out of it" beer. For stout lovers, this is that dusty little wooden cup hidden among all the jeweled chalices. Shamelessly drinkable. Just watch yourself, or you will get sucked into the black hole of intoxication. Which is probably almost as dark as this beer. (1,933 characters)

Photo of muskabeatz
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a beautiful, thick, opaque black with a one finger mocha-colored head. Fair head retention.

S- Sweet,slightly boozy, some caramel, woody, rich coffee and a bit of dark chocolate.

T- Coffee and chocolate up front, accompanied by a nice vanilla that comes out more as the beer warms. Very rich, although I could do with a bit more bourbon flavor. A bit of woodyness littered throughout the beer as well.

M- Not the heaviest of hitters, but plenty thick and viscous. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Very very drinkable and it only gets better as you go. The alcohol is deceptively hidden, but you'll know it's there by the time the beer's gone.

I've drank two bottles of this years KBS purchased from two different locations, and they proved to be a bit different, so I scored them based on the better of the two. The difference seemed to be in the mouthfeel and the alcohol presence, with one being thinner and boozier that the other that was thick and has less bourbon presence. I'm curious to see how time will treat these... (1,042 characters)

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

After numerous phone calls and a bunch of stops at different bottle shops, I slowly pour into a snifter. Black as night color, giving way to chocolaty head which quickly dissipates and leaves slight lacing. Aromas of chocolate, wood, bourbon, and faint malt. The taste is second to none, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak, with a cohesive coffee flavor pulling everything together. The booze is apparent but melds well with the other flavors and definitely adds to the enjoyment of this beer rather the detracting from it. Mouthfeel is exactly like I remember it to be, silky, creamy, with a touch of carbonation... Overall this is one exceptional stout and well deserving of all its accolades, I just hope I can find some more because I see myself wanting to revisit this one very soon. (786 characters)

Photo of mwill7287
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12-oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet (snifter is unfortunately in Boston right now). Thanks to Warehouse Beverage in South Euclid, OH for holding on to a few bottles into April for latecomers like me!

A - Pitch black, with a thin mocha brown head that retains around the perimeter throughout the drink. Spotty surface with mid-low carbonation. Little lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Wonderful bouquet of rich, sweet chocolates and some coffee. Bourbon from the aging barrels swarm throughout the smell. Such an inviting whiff.

T - At first, dominantly chocolate, sweet but not overpowering a la Young's Double Chocolate Stout; a very natural-tasting and balanced sweetness. Bourbon tones detected in the nose are very present on the tongue. Transitions to a bit of sourness, a la Peche du Mortel. Finish and aftertaste and mild, not tongue-scorching, and leave behind traces of sour and bourbon. Hard to complain.

M - Begins tingling on the tip of the tongue, shifts to warm alcoholic feeling as it rolls across. Creamy. This beer has a high ABV but is hid relatively well. The bourbon tones slow me down halfway thru the drink.

O - Worth the hype. Taste pokes its head above the rest of a very strong pack of Imperial Stouts. Smell is divine. Dark as night. Rolls across the tongue and down the throat without a fight. As Founders advertises, "Good for everything a stout out to be good for." (1,416 characters)

Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Live in NW WA rec'd in a beer trade with my buddy DWitt. Beer cold is really good. Let it warm, it is amazing...
Worth the hype. KBS is best stout to date. Cant imagine how good it taste kegged
With age, this beer would be mind blowing. So if anyone had the beer cellered, contact me. Pink Q Tip

A- (299 characters)

Photo of Rinkor16
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle opened on 12/30/13. I've been saving this for a while. Thanks Kayn169

A: Pitch black. Very little head that dissipated rapidly.

S: Lots of coffee, roasted malts and chocolate.

T: Follows the nose pretty well. Coffee up front, roasted malt and chocolate. The bourbon is very faint, which is nice.

M: Right amount of carbonation. Medium bodied.

O: Always a treat. I had this about a year ago. Just as good as I remember. It rightfully deserves a top 10 on BA. (474 characters)

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

Pours a near pitch black with a kahki head that leaves little spots of lacing down the tulip glass I poured it into.
Aroma of vanilla and bourbon and a hint of black coffee.
Big mouthful of thick malty goodness and mellow bourbon(maybe Makers Mark?).
Alcohol is in your face at first,then smooths right down to a semi-sweet finish.
Lots of complex flavors in this brew,too many to try and list.
This is a must try offering from the folks at Founders. (450 characters)

Photo of Zach1251
4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A solid representation of a barrel-aged imperial stout - strong dark chocolate, espresso, and bourbon on nose. Big bodacious malts, some cacao, and coffee on the body. A little lingering heat, but the finish is surprisingly thin though, which keeps this beer from being out of control tasty. (291 characters)

Photo of drewaha
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011. Hard to rate vintage to vintage but this is the best beer I've ever had. Had a 2012 as week and the aroma and the bourbon were not as present. The balance of the malt, hops and bourbon is amazing. Tons of vanilla and oak. Ridiculously good. Glad I saved one. But wish I had saved it ;) (292 characters)

Photo of jdflyer06
4.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to an unbelievably kind dude at DLD '09. It's been about a year so I thought I'd crack this bad boy open. Poured into a snifter.

A: Black, pitch black. The head is pretty thin but leaves some sticky lacing as it goes down.

S: Coffee notes dominate as well as dark chocolate notes. Hints of vanilla as I take it in as the bourbon has mellowed out a bit. Woody and oaky. Very sweet in the nose.

M: Rich and creamy with some soft carbonation. A little bit of heat in the throat. Just about perfect for the style and ABV. Finishes fairly clean with a bit of a dry afterbite. Awesome.

T: Coffee and dark chocolate up front, followed by vanilla and oaky notes. Just as I expected. The flavors are nicely balanced. Not the most complex tasting beer but extremely well done. Some alcohol comes through but is pretty well hidden given the ABV.

O: An excellent offering from Founders. It has some obvious differences over their standard breakfast stout. It's a nice change of pace but I'm glad to have the traditional breakfast stout around all year with this to bring a nice surprise once a year. I actually prefer the Canadian Breakfast Stout which I was lucky enough to try last year. The drinkability is low but honestly, who wants to drink this all night? It's decadent and a perfect one-off. (1,306 characters)

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

Aquired in a "bottle auction". 2009 vintage

A- dark dark brown. No head to speak of. Just enough of a lacing to tell you it's carbonated.

S- Amazing. I couldn't wait to drink this beer, once I smelt it. coffee, vanilla, raisins, and bourbon lingering in the background

T- The taste follows the smell pretty closely. There is a roasted coffee, vanilla, I want to say slight maple, and an aftertaste that reminds me of a White Russian. The aftertaste lingers for quite some time, occasionally revealing hints of chocolate, port and quinine. Very complex, yet very well integrated. A classic bourbon stout. Worth moving to Michigan for.

M- utterly coats your throat. The aftertaste sticks around for a while and morphs as it goes. I'm waiting minutes between sips.

D- This beer is delicious and goes down surprisingly well for this style. That said, how many 11% ABV stouts do you want to drink in a sitting? This beer would be great with fruit or chocolate deserts. I also like that it is not terribly sweet for this style. It IS on the sweet side, but not as cloying as some. (1,079 characters)

Photo of rhodeska
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ridglens, wolfah, and kruthar for stopping to pick this beer up for me!

This had a really nice pour, just a bit of orangish foaming head, and had a great aroma from the start. Really good smells of coffee, some roasty, and a bit of alcohol in there too.

The first time I had this beer, I got only the strong strong coffee taste out of it. However, as I grew in my tastes, I got a much more blended taste of coffee, a little sweet, some good alcohol burn, and a great beer. I really could see myself drinking this at any time of day, an extremely drinkable beer that lives up to its trading value. (609 characters)

Photo of travis224
4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a mocha head that disappears pretty quickly leaving spots of foam on top. The nose is pretty serious. Bourbon, coffee, chocolate maybe some caramel or vanilla. The taste is just as complex, all of these flavors working on different levels. If I could pick one out that overpowers the others it would be the coffee, a bit sharp but still delicious. You get the booze but it's not super in your face. Great beer, glad I got to try it. (449 characters)

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,776 ratings.