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

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

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Reviews: 3,162 | Ratings: 12,370
Photo of MikeWard
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A back to back drink of a 22oz 2017 version and a 12oz 2015 beer. Shared with my young friend Caleb.

poured into a snifter and goblet, black as night, with a large oatmeal/coffee colored head. looks outstanding.

Aroma is faintly of bourbon, more pronounced in the 2017. Coffee notes are forward in both versions, chocolate as well, more so in the 2015.

This is as close to perfect as it gets for BBA imperial stouts. The coffee/chocolate/hints of bourbon mesh so well in both years. As noted, bourbon is less in 2015, chocolate is more, but both stand tall on their own merits, and there is little to tell between them.

Feel is between medium and full on both, closer to medium.

Overall, this is a beer I've been longing to try for years now, and it did not disappoint one bit. Already looking forward to 2018.

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Photo of cnealc
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 2/14, opened 4/15. Poured into tulip glass around 50-55 degrees. Reached 60 probably by the time I was finished drinking it.
L - Dark brown, not quite black, with a dark tan head.
S - Coffee, chocolate, some vanilla.
T - Bitter coffee and chocolate up front, a little heat from the bourbon barrels. Very well balanced and easily drinkable. Doesn't have the same level of boozieness I was expecting that a lot of other BA stouts have.
F - Low to moderate carbonation. Not too thin but not a super thick beer either. Almost has a nitro mouthfeel. Very creamy.

O - First time I have had the oppourtunity to try KBS, and it lives up to the hype. Only regret it only getting two.

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Photo of JohnnyB
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 version. Finally!! A real treat to be able to pick up a couple of bottles of KBS. A perfectly balanced and flavorful stout. Lives up to expectations.

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Photo of joeylorenzo44
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer was very good this year. The flavors only became more enhanced as the beer warmed up a little. Chocolate to bourbon smell with a dark black look. This is a beer to enjoy not to drink fast!

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Photo of braker649er
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I wasn't sure what to expect with this beer's stellar reputation, but I was pretty excited the first spring this beer came to Seattle. Drank in a tulip around 55-60 degrees. What strikes me most is the sheer fresh power of the flavor.

L - dark to black with a tan head that lingered as a thin foam line
S - lots of scent, booze, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, vanilla,coconut, pecan?
T - all those flavors! Rich on the chocolate and bourbon, and not very sweet. I perceived a nuttiness, maybe coconut. I don't think I've given a 5 for flavor before.
F - big on booze, but not cutting. Like elixir
O - believe the hype. this is a very excellent brew.

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Photo of Absolut
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Jet black.

Smells of bourbon, coffee and brown sugar.

Smooth vanilla bourbon flavor with a coffee kick.

Delicious. Worth the hype

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Photo of rgk3
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Impossible for light to penetrate this chocolatey brown beer! Absolutely beautiful with lingering tan head. Smell and taste are strong coffee with the appropriate bitterness of dark chocolate. Fantastic as expected, but I'm actually looking forward to aging a few just a little.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours decently thick and sits pitch black in the glass with almost not head to speak of. I had a 2016 in 2017 and the barrel note had really subsided from when fresh. You get much more coffee up front. Little bit of booze and a touch of barrel. The taste is kind of sweet up front followed by a pleasant roasted bitterness that leaves a slightly chocolate aftertaste. The beer feels decently thick and silky with a touch more carbonation that I would like for a beer of this style. Overall the beer is still very good but this is not a beer that gets better with age. The flavors which I remember being bright and vibrant have become muted and dull. Definitely drink fresh to get the most out of this beer but it is still excellent even a little past its prime.

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/14/2017. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Great dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, dark bread, light smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon barrel notes; with solid strength. A bit of booze as it warms. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, dark bread, light smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Light roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, dark bread, light smoke, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome roasted bitter/sweet balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Slight dryness from roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness as well. Light-medium carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety, and slightly tannic/chalky mouthfeel that is awesome. Minimal warming alcohol for 11.8%, with zero barrel booziness. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged imperial coffee stout. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Pretty much perfectly balanced between barrel, malt, and chocolate/coffee flavors. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ssm462
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a great stout. Enjoyed the 2017 more than the 2016. Looks very rich and soupy. Smell has less alcohol in it that 16. More chocolate on the nose. Tastes mellow. Great texture and creamy mouth feel. More hot cocoa than barrel. I recommend this beer over 2016 and it seems to be easier to get this year (atleast in Florida).

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Photo of Terptwerp
4.27/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at Duckworth's in Huntersville. It is a very good imperial stout with hints of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. I was expecting a little more bourbon than there was. The flavors blended together very well. A very good beer, but not my favorite bourbon barrel stout.

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.12/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a goblet of KBS 2017 on tap at Bier Baron, DC.
Look: Dark black, with little head. Dissipated quickly too.
Taste: A lot of herbal notes, with hint of coffee and dark chocolates. However, it was really boozy.

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

2017 Edition

Look: Beautiful thick dark milkshake-esque look. Silky smooth tan head. Looks like a nitro. Super nice lacing. Loving the look of this beer.

Smell: Rich baker's chocolate, perhaps some dark chocolate, perfectly mixed with an expensive tasting dark black chocolate. Touch of malt balls. Whiskey barrel aging is evident in the nose. Gives it a nice subtle heat. Cherry oak. Amazing. Smells very high quality.

Taste: AMAZING chocolaty taste. Like melted m&ms and cold rich coffee. Nice touch of whiskey heat. No trace of alcohol though. Very simple but RICH. Excellently balanced. Would be incredible with a nice big breakfast skillet. The hype is real, this is worth it. Blows their normal breakfast stout of the water.

Feel: Thick, nitro feel. Surprising mouthfeel.

Overall: Absolutely amazing. One of the best beers I've ever had. Incredibly balanced and measured. Simple. Rich. Premium. This is the epitome of what a stout shout be. Cave aged for one year in Jack Daniel's whiskey barrels. Worth the price and lives up to the hype for sure. 9.5/10.

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Photo of BrewsOverHoes
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, 2017 Version, poured into a Founders KBS glass! Proper?

Look: Deep and dark, pitch black as I pour, light mocha head on the top, not lingering for too long. Didn't seem as dense (motor oil consistency) as year's past.

Smell: Plenty of roasted malts, dark chocolate and fresh coffee grounds; lending to a hint of vanilla (from the barrel) and the bourbon is subdued at the end.

Taste: Following suite with the aroma; vanilla, chocolate, a bitter espresso, and roasted malt. Not a boozy or hot beer at all, the bourbon is integrated nicely and pokes it head out as this warms to room temperature.

Feel: Not going to lie: I wish their was a touch more thickness and body. Seems a hair lighter than past batches and it's noticeable to me; not just to be objective and say "Last year's was better." It's not watery thin by any means, yet just a complexity I'm missing. The carbonation is nice and it's really drinkable sitting at 11.8%.

Overall: KBS is always worth a search if it's readily available to you in April. Definitely a big beer, but it goes down so easy it's frustrating how quick it goes. Just a world class stout as usual. Excellent, all round.

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Photo of Tampalocal5577
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This is the 2017 bottle. The 2017 batch is good but not legendary. The negative thing I'll say is that the mouthfeel is thinner than past years. It's almost as if they added more water to stretch it further to make more money. It's still KBS but just not on the level of past years. The fact that I'm willing to trade a few bottles tells the story.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Noticed that the Nashua Garden had some bottles of this, so I sez "what the fuck, Gus?" A touch pricey at $11 for a 12oz bottle, but like I sez.... WTF!?!

Had no snifters so I used a shaker pint for my pour. It's a very dark, opaque brown, with some scant beige foam at the edges. Lacing is somewhat light but still ok. Aroma has a luscious mix of choco, caramel, molasses and bourbon. Body is medium to medium-plus, and it is rather smooth.

Flavor picks up where the nose leaves off... Choco, vanilla, mocha, caramel... has some subtle intimations of dark fruit.... on the back side there's some earthy, tobacco-like notes.... Overall, pretty frigging tasty. World beater? Ummmmm....... no...


4.4/5 rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of c_tails
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2017 bottled release
gosh this is one of the finest beers i've tried, factoring in that i snagged a 4 pack at the store for 21 bucks...dare i say i enjoyed this more than the 2016 BCBS (obviously understanding that the KBS has the coffee/chocolate flavorings). The bourbon here just feels much more warm and rich and pronounced, its such a perfect combination of flavors, just a really really pleasant drinking experience

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

After years of failure to get it, I finally had Founders KBS. I should say I never stood in line for it, but I often stopped at the store after work the day they got it, and they were already out. This year they still had a couple left three days after they arrived at the store. I've heard that the 2017 version was not as good as previous releases, I know nothing about that, I still loved it. Hyped beers may not always be worth the hype but they are often (but not always) hyped for a good reason, and that is true for this one.

Look: it’s jet black with a thick mocca colored head that stays.

Aroma: the aroma is roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla, maybe a hint of bourbon.

Taste: There's roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, some bourbon, exactly as I expected. However, it is really well put together in a perfect mix like Neuhause's best chocolate cake with coffee.

Feel: medium body, creamy and smooth mouthfeel

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Photo of The_Epopt
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells exactly like it should and how you want it to. Well balanced between alcohol and flavor, nothing hot on the tongue. Slides down the throat too easy for a high ABV beer.

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Photo of Premo88
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into vertical goblet
(2017 release)

L: classic black-and-tan stout look in the glass, though it's clear dark dark brown/claret pouring out of the bottle; pushes up about 3/5-inch head of tan foam, doesn't stick a ton but it's keeping a very thick, soapy-bubble collar and most of a skin ... this collar is something else and fun to look at

S: figgy fruitcake, dusty Belgian dubbel/quad note, molasses-chocolate milkshake with lots of whipped cream, vanilla extract; as it warms, becomes an all-chocolate milk shake ... milk chocolate, cafe mocha, a hint of dark chocolate and loads of vanilla to sweeten it even more ... so perfect it's not even a question

T: bourbon smoothed out by chocolate, cafe mocha, sharp astringent coffee; then smoothing out and sweetening up with loads of milk chocolate as it warms; the alcohol is present ... not what I'd call "hot" (surely the time in the barrel tamed it some) but there is definitely a pinch of alcohol flavor and loads of warmth in the throat; bourbon flavor exists mostly in the finish and aftertaste, even some oak wood in there, but this isn't peaty single-malt Scotch -- this is sweet ol' Kentucky nectar

F: light for a big stout but well filled out with good carbonation ... still has a thick quality to it, almost chewy at times, but overall no more than a firm middleweight

O: obviously good, KBS' best quality for me might be that it comes in four-packs of 12 oz. bottles, a much easier serving size to deal with than the 22 or 25.4 oz. bomber which is often standard issue for big BA stouts; it doesn't stand out from several of the other good BA stouts I've had, but it definitely hangs with all of them, and the smooth milk chocolate finish as it warms is better than most; I'll buy this often ... as often as I can find it in my neck of Texas

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Photo of Nickwierda
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow best vintage (2017) of the past three years hands down (I've only had Kbs 15, 16, and 17).

A: stout black. Head is lighter though, unlike FIS which has one of the darkest heads I've ever seen on a beer.

S: super coffee forward with dark chocolate to undergird it. When cold it also has overtones of that medicinal/herbal thing you sometimes get from bourbons. Even a hint of a red fruit/cherry note that I find in Bookers. As it warms, though, the medicinal/red fruit thing fades and the vanilla comes on strong.

T: honestly I feel like this is basically a specialty coffee drink. Some place near me does a Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk that is rich and sweet but also has a beautiful smokiness/roastiness to it. This tastes like that, with a bit more dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla sweetness. Very very little booze or heat to speak of. Very little bourbon flavor either, which is not a knock on this beer by any means.

M: much thicker than I remember. Medium-full, carb is just a bit less than silky. A toouuuch prickly but I'm nit picking here.

O: this shit is the bomb. Every time I've had KBS I've liked it but never as much as this 2017 vintage. It's a complete beer. Each individual component - the roasted malt, the chocolate, the coffee, the barrel - does its job so well, harmonizes so well with the others; none takes precedence, all meld beautifully. No clashing of flavors, no clunkiness, no rough edges. If this is them trying to up their game in an increasingly competitive marketplace, bravo. I will definitely seek out other offerings in this series this year.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I certainly understand the buzz around this. I'm glad I picked up four more that I can age and maybe that will cut the booze taste and smell that are the only things that keep me from giving it a perfect score. I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said. Just a great beer experience.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 355ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2016. 2015 vintage; bottled Feb 2015 with an ABV of 11.2%. I've been sitting on this bottle for a while - I hope it has aged well. I haven't seen this beer in the UK before or since, so I feel fortunate to be able to try it.

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. Pours a very dark brown hue that appears pitch black in the glass. Yields a small head of frothy mocha-coloured foam that swiftly subsides to a patchy surface layer.

S: Aroma of rich dark malt with notes of roasted grain, subtle coffee, brown sugar/molasses, earthy yeast, mild bourbon, faint chocolate, a twinge of vanilla and a warming whiff of booze. Fantastic.

T: Tastes of intense roasted malt with substantial bourbon undertones. Notes of roasted grain, dark malt, bourbon, wood, molasses, mild coffee, earthy yeast, a hint of vanilla, faint chocolate and an alcoholic twang on the finish. A substantial malt-driven bitterness upon swallowing. The flavours are not as well meshed as the aroma, though impressively complex nonetheless.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation. Decent body but not as thick as might be expected. The alcohol dries the palate somewhat. Aftertaste of roasted malt, bourbon, yeast and bitter coffee.

O: A top-notch brew that deserves the recognition it receives. Looks the part, while the aroma and flavour are a heady mix of dark malt, bourbon, coffee and yeast. Body is OK but could be thicker and creamier for the style. Perhaps not the best bourbon barrel-aged stout I've tried - I feel the bourbon is a tad too dominant to the detriment of balance. However, a great beer and worthy of sampling if you have the chance.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer grows on you at each sip. The balance might be the main attribute of this beer.

Pitch black with a thin brown head.
The smell is quite interesting. It's a perfect mix of cocoa powder, coffee and booze. Smells like a good tiramisu tastes like. Nuttiness on top.
The taste is still about the nuts (mostly hazelnut), the coffee and the coffee. The bourbon oak brings a good balance to this complex smell. The booze is strong here. Quite a sipper.
This beer is thick but not much and astringent. The carbonation is quite low.
One of the best beer I've ever had. The best use of bourbon barrel I've had in a beer to date.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.06/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Echo Tap and Grille in Mountainside. Pours a jet black ebony hue with moderate frothing. Pungent aroma replete with hints of chocolate and molasses. Similar overall flavor profile.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,370 ratings.
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