Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
12,637
Reviews:
3,233
Avg:
4.56
pDev:
8.77%
 
 
Wants:
4,498
Gots:
6,681
For Trade:
528
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 12,637 |  Reviews: 3,233
Reviews by BigTomZ:
Photo of BigTomZ
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review based on 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a nice rich black with only a thin head and the slightest lacing.

S: Smells of bourbon, coffee, a little chocolate, and more bourbon.

T: The taste follows the nose. Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and more bourbon. There is also some vanilla and wood character to be found. Definitely, but I doubt such a bourbon foward beer could be done much better than this.

M: Feels smooth and soft. Not really thick, but definitely not too thin.

D: This is so drinkable because of how good the taste is. I could easily polish off a pack in a day, but I know the ABV would catch up. I also wouldn't want to drink up my supply.

I have had these ranging from fresh to 2 years old. While the beer evolved its character over time, every bottle was excellent.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SoCold
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well it's official. KBS is the greatest beer of all time, ALL TIME. It's like breakfast stout and dragons milk had freaky circus sex. Nine months later had a kid. Then that kid spent a year in a cave learning how to be a ninja and that ninja kicked the s**t out of my taste buds.

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Photo of don1481
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My then-28 week pregnant wife bought me this bottle on KBS Day. To celebrate the arrival of our son at home after 6 weeks in the NICU, I'm having this.

12oz bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: Pours a very, very dark liquid from where no bubbles can escape. A caramel colored head sits atop of this for a bit.

Smell: Chocolate? Check! Coffee? Check! Bourbon? CHECK CHECK CHECK! Some vanilla hints to the aroma, as well. This smells heavenly.

Taste: It kinda tastes like a bourbon-infused mocha. Just the right balance of chocolate, coffee, vanilla... and booze. Honestly, this is right up there with BCBS in my book. Whereas BCBS is a little more complex in its flavor profile, this has a certain "rough around the edges" hit to it that makes it stand out in a different way.

Mouthfeel: Goes down smooth. Leaves a coffee and booze aftertaste.

Overall: I still have a second bottle in my basement. I'm going to age it until the next round of BCBS comes out late this year. Very excited to see how some more aging goes with this.

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Photo of bgold86
2.24/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

One of the most disappointing BBA stouts I've ever had, have "enjoyed" both fresh and aged, coffee smell and taste was old and stale, quite the letdown. Perhaps the greatest downfall of this beer minus its vegetative nature is its incredible thinness. Perfect example of a hype beer.

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Photo of ProfessionalJ
2.94/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

i am completely baffled with the hype over this beer, and this is coming from someone who loves bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts (barrel aged grimm double negative and barrel aged bomb being some outstanding ones i've tried in the last few months). i took an hour off of work to grab two four packs from two different beverage centers (4 pack limit) thinking i had my hands on gold and fifty dollars later i'm stuck with what i think is the worse imperial stout i've ever had. i don't get it? i much rather have a plain old founders imperial stout than this crap, here's my taste review cos it looks good but who cares
taste; rubbing alcohol. maxwell house. carnation instant breakfast. vantage cigarette butts. jim bean. rubbing alcohol.
KBS kentucky bullshit stout

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

Notes from a 2014/2015/2016 vertical completed on 4/13/16:

2014 - bottled 3/23/2014 - aging mellowed this out. The 11.2% takes the stage, pours black with limited head, and great coating in the mouth. The oak is very subtle, as is the coffee. Chocolate sweetness is very present throughout sip to swallow.

2015 - bottled 2/12/2015 - CHOCOLATE IN MY FACE! So much more oak -- the vanilla is markedly present on the finish. Same black pour with just a tad more head than the 2014. The coffee is more present on the finish. The alcohol is harder to find in this one... but it's there.

2016 - bottled 2/11/2016 - Barrel on the nose, smooth barrel and coffee on the lips. Finishes chocolate. Burns in the back of the mouth... and that caused me to check the label... 12.4%. Yep. Pours thick with a bit more head than 2015. Less chocolate with this one, as the taste is predominantly barrel and alcohol.

The 2015 aged very well... I enjoyed it more than the 2014. The 2016 seems to be an entirely different beer. It's fantastic and with another year on it, will likely be much better than the 2015. Buy all the 2016s.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Complete... utter... total... Stygian black. Despite a big blast of July sunshine behind the glass, there's no hint of lightening at the edges. I think I said the same about Founders Imperial Stout, but I don't know that I've ever seen a darker dollop of foam. The head is 'coffee with a small splash of cream' brown and is incredibly thick and rich. There's even a huge amount of lace for such a high-ABV ale.

Every ingredient that's said to be present is easily noted in the nose. I'm a little disappointed that coffee is in the foreground and bourbon is in the background. I wanted 'Kentucky' to be emphasized more than 'Breakfast'. That said, this is still an incredible aroma. It smells like a prodigious amount of roasted and black malt has been used, complemented nicely by espresso, vanilla and bourbon whiskey.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is delicous beer. My first few mouthfuls tell me that it doesn't live up to my (probably unrealistic) expectations, but that's the last time in this review that I'll be anything other than positive. I know one thing, I'll buy every bottle that I can get my hands on each and every year.

The flavor profile consists of a monolithic maltiness that is Stonehenge-like in size. Think dark chocolate fudge cake flecked with pulverized coffee beans and swimming in dark caramel and molasses sauce. Of the accessory flavors, vanilla is the most prominent, followed by a burnt sugar, bourbon barrel character that, again, should be more up front. As a bourbon whiskey lover, I wish my favorite liquor saturated every sip.

The most amazing thing about KBS is how completely the alcohol is buried. Other than the beginnings of tongue numbing as I reach the halfway point of the bottle, I have a hard time picking it out. Maybe that because it tastes like bourbon rather than like ethanol. In any case, there's no need to age this beer since there's no alcoholic heat whatsoever. Of course, I'm drinking it almost four months after its release.

I'm tempted to bump the flavor score as the beer warms, but can't quite do it. For all the reasons stated above, I can imagine a better KBS, so this one will have to settle for a less than perfect flavor score. The mouthfeel is luxurious. It's medium-full with a heavy silkiness that promotes gulping rather than sipping. I could get into trouble in a big hurry with this beer.

I don't believe there's a brewery in existence that can match Founders when it comes to big stouts. Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, and now Kentucky Breakfast Stout are three of the most incredible beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Never has twelve ounces seemed so much like six. Good thing I have three more bottles to go.

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Photo of EagleAgedStout
2.06/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am in disbelief, this beer fell flat on it's face! Drinkable is the nicest description I'm willing to grant this failure. I would take a backwoods bastard over a KBS evey time. If you want a great bourbon barrel aged beer, do yourself a favor and try anything from 50/50 in Truckee, CA

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Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3/5  rDev -34.2%

Driving 4 hours to find a beer at a grocery store doesn't make it good, even if it was $20+ a 4 pack.

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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.

RJT

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Photo of JakeScully
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured the 12 oz bottle into a mug. No head, or fading super fast.

Man this is heavy, yet drinkable as hell with its note of vanilla, coffee.

Slightly superior to Founders breakfast stout which is already exceptional. Worth every pennies I spent to find it in Europe. Awesome beer... Cheers!

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

2015 KBS Bottled 3/05/2015 drank on 4/10/2015

Look: Pitch black like you just turned the lights out in a bright room, brunette head like Monica Lewinsky, decent lacing.

Smell: sweet, boozy scent takes the forefront, chocolate, spice, and very slight coffee linger in the back. Smells like it would smell if you snuck a jack and coke into your starbucks cup before you go to work, without the scent of shameful alcoholism.

Taste: Very bourbon forward, like the aftertaste left in your mouth after a sip straight from the bottle if you chased it with cold coffee (good cold coffee). Chocolate chills in the background and is forgotten until the brew warms a bit, which brings a bit more of a mocha character heightened by the malt. Heat from the bourbon isn't as present as its sweetness, which was alleviated by the beer getting a bit warmer.

Feel: Nice and velvety without being like a syrup. Perfect median between what you would expect from a stout and a bourbon, very pleasant but heavy if enjoyed with anything other than a dessert or by itself.

Overall: I try not to think of beers as products of their own hype, but hype as a product of a beer. That being said, this is a very good BA stout that deserves a lot of credit and deserves to be sought after. Perhaps it is overblown due to availability, but it is a mistake to discredit this beer or any in its same class due to its scarcity or popularity. It is extremely complex and well balanced and only improves as you sip. Highly recommend seeking out at least a couple bottles annually. Excellent.

I am aging three bottles from this year and will update with a review at 6 months, followed by a side-by-side comparison to next year's version.

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

This is my favorite of the bourbon stouts that I have tried. Goose Island is a great bourbon stout as well, but I find this one a little less boozy overall which makes the difference for me. It's a great beer, but don't let the "breakfast" in the name fool you as this beer packs a punch. You might not want to drink it and then head to work. :-)

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
3.81/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Second year in a row that it didn't live up to the hype for me... nice body and creamy feel with burnt chocolate and some coffee flavors... but lacks complexity and bourbon sweetness--- much prefer bcbs as my staple stout.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

KBS is as complete of an assault on the tastebuds, as much so as any beer I've had. In many ways, the complexity of roast, espresso, malted milk, and cocoa-rich chocolates is overwhelming, but in others it's beautiful in its simplicity.

The beer opens with a creamy and viscous pour. A mousse-like head forms on at the top of the glass as the opaque black beer settles and cascades while the foam rises. The head reliquishes some over the 11.2% abv. Only nitro-infused beers look better.

Extremely bold aromas of espresso, cocoa beans, and roasted barley take hold of the nose. But their intensity is unmistakable. Strong alcohol scent rises as the beer warms and stimulates the olfactory senses. Simple yet pure.

Flavors take over where the aroma ends. Extreme flavors of espresso, cocoa, and roasted barley set the tone. Malt sweetness takes a far backseat while fully attenuated malt flavor gives just enough of a foundation to support the robust complementary flavors. A subtle grassy, piney hop flavor begins to rise after I become acclimated to the cocoa-coffee attack. Esters and phenolic spice are also left behind, not to muddle the pure Stout flavors. Again, the alcohol flavors are evident and gives a bit more complexity to the taste.

The mouthfeel is stupid-crazy. Creamy, rich, and round while also smooth, velvety, and somewhat powdery. Bitterness arrives from a lot of angles: hops, espersso, cocoa, and alcohol. Never cloying, the beer has attenuated extremely well for a malty-rich texture and no residual sweetness left to the mouth.

Interestingly, this whole review has gone without the mention of the bourbon barrel aging. The barrels have taken the rough edges off of the base beer, as oak aging usually does, but the direct bourbon influence is not that apparent. The added alcohol adds a hint of cherry flavored alcohol (maybe a bit of cough syrup) and only a hint of boozy bourbons. Too light on the caramels, vanillans, and simple oak flavor to mention above the intensity of coffee and cocoa.

The beer is complex in its sheer proportions of relatively few dominant flavors, yet simple in its intent. Coffee- Cocoa- Malt- Hops. And it succeeds at every faucet. It has earned its way onto the worlds greatest beers and rightfully so.

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Photo of PerfecTool
4.09/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a great beer - everyone knows that. An outstanding bourbon aged stout, no doubt. However, I'm not sure it's worth all the hype. If you've never tried it, it should definitely be on your list. I wouldn't break my neck to get it though. I actually prefer Sunday Morning Stout.

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

For years, I've wanted to try this gem, and despite my best efforts, I was never able to snag even a single bottle; but alas, this year I succeeded! Thanks to my friend Jake, who works at Vineyard Liquors in Plano, IL I was able to score a bottle of this and Firestone Walker's Parabola (cue squeal of delight!), and safe to say, this beer not only met but FAR exceeded my expectations. However, it's hard to really describe this beer because of how harmonious the flavors, aromas and textures play together, alas, this being a beer 'review', I shall sum it up as best I can.

Midnight black, aromas of mellow bourbon and chocolate; vanilla, coffee, bourbon and chocolate dance playfully and beautiful upon the palette.

Maybe it's shock, but that's the best I can do right now!
Some day, I would to trade / buy a bottle to sit on for a year.

Salude!

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Photo of Xenoreactive
2.78/5  rDev -39%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Hype beer. Avoid the strangling drama of this brew.

Had a vertical from fresh to 5 year aged. All were unimpressive and considerably overblown.

One positive note is that the ABV is in double digits, so you might forget the mediocrity after 2 or 3.

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Photo of RutgersEng
4.24/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle with unknown date. I have to thank Dan for supplying this bottle on my retirement after 40 years.

Poured black with almost no head, but plenty of lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is of toasted almonds, vanilla and bourbon and very much like most barrel aged stouts. I have been looking for KBS for more than 3 years. It doesn't usually make it out to the west coast. I was very glad to finally get to try this.

The taste follows the nose with some coffee, burnt almonds, vanilla and bourbon notes. I do like coffee stouts and glad that this was done very well. Although the coffee was forward and the burn in the back of the throat testified to the barrel treatment. It was a little more rough than I expected for a refined barrel aged stout. It may need more aging and I don't know what year this bottle was from. When compared to BCBS or King Henry it didn't seem to measure up. I think it is more closely related to barrel aged Victory at Sea or perhaps Black Xantus. I found the date and it is from 12/12, therefore it has rested for 2 years in the bottle/cellar. With that knowledge, I am going to have to reduce the rating a bit as it has rested 1 1/2 years in the bottle. When compared to other 2 year aged coffee stouts it is in the middle of the pack.

Overall it is a very good coffee stout, and I enjoyed every last ounce of it. But it left me wanting for more refinement that perhaps longer aging will help. The coffee is noticabley similar to Black Xantus, but Black Xantus gets really really good after two years of cellaring and perhaps this would also. I'm glad that I could have a chance to drink and rate it. After letting it warm it does improve and becomes more blended and refined. I would wait for it to warm for 15 to 20 minutes to get maximum enjoyment.

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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 DenisKolkin
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 ml bottle served cold into a tulip. Purchased 9 of these for $7.25 apiece. This has been on my beers to try for 3 and a half years so I made sure to stock up. Still can barely believe its in Canada. Best before December 2017. I believe this is most recent vintage and advertised at 11.9% ABV. A fine way to conclude the Canada Day weekend.

Appearance - dark, dark brown, nearly black ominous. Capped with a finger and a half of frothy tan head. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Good if not quite great head retention.

Smell - dark chocolate and secondarily coffee to an extent I have rarely experienced. Vanilla shines through too with something akin to marshmallow as it warms. The bourbon starts showing up in copious quantities as the beer gets closer to room temperature. Effing phenomenal. Quite possibly the best nose on a beer ever. If not then in my lifetime which is good enough for me.

Taste - chocolate and creamy with some vanilla, plenty of bourbon as well. Bold flavors throughout, but the flavors ramp up a couple notches of intensity as it warms. Complex with lots of roasty notes and some bitterness, yet enough sweetness and richness to be a dessert beer on its own. At times can finish a little hot and boozy.

Mouthfeel - smooth, voluptuous, dense and heavy. Well carbonated, yet easy enough to drink on a summer's night. Flavours stick, but not cloying and the beer has enough balance to make this the truth.

Overall - as the label reads KBS is a very different beer than the breakfast stout. While it doesn't put out just incredible intense (coffee) flavor it's puts out many, culminating in a delicious dessert beer that's just fine on its own. While possibly not quite as good as the original, still an incredible beer worth all the praise it has ever received. Worthy of the hype!

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Photo of rockaroo
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm sure I'm a clown compared to previous reviewers.

Looks perfect and smells like bourbon and ice cream to me. Very pretty beer to drink.

very smooth taste .Dark Chocolate ,vanilla, bourbon. Those are all top notch complex flavor profiles .

savoriness level is great.

I opened this beer expecting to be disappointed. 2017 release sat on the shelves at my local and seemed like a fall off from previous years. To me it tasted aged or overly mellowed already upon release. Now it just the same solid beer it has been over the years, smoother maybe.
Buy as much as possible rating increased. Founders is great.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review as of 12/27/15
it's good, it is not great. It is perhaps the most memorably overrated beer that I have ever had, tastes hot and and a little too hopped for the style. Sorry folks, I'm not new to beer, craft beer, or imperial stouts, and this is just really nothing special, thought that new holland dragons milk was far better. two ehh's up
A: 3 S: 3 T: 3.25 F: 2.75 O: 3

2017 Review

A: 1 finger beige to khaki head (the color is somewhat layered), good retention, mild lacing (which becomes more prominent), pitch black and oily body

S: immediate soy sauce, chocolate, a roasty coffee note and a sticky, toffee-esque aroma as well (reminiscent in moments of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale), subtle metallic penny quality, the roasty coffee note is the most prominent thing here (though the boozy note become much stronger as the beer settles).

T: Immediate chocolate, coffee and cinnamon with a hint of bitterness (which becomes slightly more prominent) and a mild soy-esque umami character, there is a boozy note here and while it is definitely present, it is not overwhelming, some warm vanilla notes here as well (a side note in regards to the vanilla, it becomes noticeable as the beer sits, and will be drowned out by bitterness if you swill the beer. For that reason, only swill the beer to get aroma). The cinnamon becomes more prominent as the beer settles out. the bourbon is most present in the general warmth and aftertaste (I get more booze than outright bourbon though I do get some bourbon). The boozy note smoothly blends in with the richness of the coffee as the beer settles out.

M: not nearly as thick as one might think though full and silky nonetheless, with a tinge of sharpness from the carbonation

O: Where to begin with this beer, it seems like I feel differently about it every time I have it. This time I'm feeling that it is superb and complex, but not as good as I recall from the first time I opened one of the 2017s. Don't get me wrong it's an excellent beer, but there is something personally about this beer that keeps me from loving it, I think that I personally, might like it better if it were either just a tad sweeter, or a tad less bitter (not that it's overly bitter but the bitterness distracts from the richness of the beer). Nonetheless, it is a superb beer (not as good as barrel aged el gordo IMHO) and is more or less worthy of the praise it receives.

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Photo of Urk1127
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My first barrel aged beer ever and now i see why its a big deal

Black, tan head. Little head but covers the entire top
Brown sugar, very sweet, chocolate, vanilla, alcohol
Hides the massive alcohol its not even there. Massive french vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar
Hidden alcohol but bourbon is there. Extremely smooth

This beer is so well made its insane. I love the vanilla that comes out. I dont get much coffee but thats ok. This is great.

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Photo of TampaRainman
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015. Marked improvement over 2014. Big coffee punch, blast of hot bourbon booze. Roasty chocolate. A few months will probably do this bad boy some favors, but a nice return to form.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,637 ratings.
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