KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
13,325 Ratings
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.30%

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

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13,325 |  Reviews: 3,374
Photo of tom10101
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of AndyCowles75
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MLaVioletteJr
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of cfh64
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of WalkerHater
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cakennedy2006
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first official review.
Just received this 2011 vintage of Founders KBS today; paid $8.99 per single 12oz. After tax its $40 a four pack! Better be worth the hype.
A- Pours a very thick black with a slight brown head that doesn't stick around long at all.

S- The first scent I pick up is a bourbon and "boozy" smell, followed by chocolate. Wow, its as if I'm smelling a chocolate liqueur with a strong bourbon note!

T- Okay, not as boozy as I expected from the smell but the bourbon flavor has a strong presence. Following the bourbon I taste cocoa or dark chocolate. I'm finding it hard to break past the dominant bourbon flavor (maybe this mellows with age??). The closer to the bottom of my glass and the warmer it gets I can pick out some vanilla notes. Isn't this suppose to be brewed with coffee?? If so, it's a minority in this pool of bourbon chocolate.

M- Full Body, light carbonation, and goes down very smooth for a beer with an abv of 11.2% You wouldn't guess by the smell but the alcohol stays pretty well hidden throughout.

O- Considering the abv this is very drinkable and very smooth. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the bourbon flavor but if I was this would be the perfect brew! I'm very glad I came across this one; just not too happy about the price I paid for it ( $40 a 4 pack!?) I highly recommend this to any bourbon barrel-aged stout lovers, still a must try even if not. Can't wait to age and compare this one!

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Photo of lloydboss
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Phurley2
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of litheum94
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/25/11.

Pitch black body with zilch head. Some bubbles form on the edge, but that's it. Weird.

Aromas of chocolate covered espresso beans and charred oak. Some vanilla and a hint of floral hops.

Nice flavors of coffee and milk chocolate. Some vanilla and bourbon.

This isn't really a very complex beer, but damn is it good. I'll let my other bottle age for a bit.

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ajm5108
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The bourbon in KBS is probably the most well-blended of the seemingly endless parade of bourbon aged beers. Many of these end up too boozey & hot for my taste, but KBS doesn't punch you in the face with the bourbon. It is a creamy beer, heavy but smooth, not too thick or cloying. A good amount of roasted coffee upfront, a little oak with the vanilla & bourbon coming in as support, with the faintest bit of cherry cola. My personal favorite bourbon aged beer.

Update for 2016: thinner than I remember from years past. Coffee is still dominant upfront, but I picked up a lot less of the vanilla / oak flavors, and more straight bourbon alchohol flavor. A stepdown for me

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Photo of tut2528
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2/25/2011 (ranking based off of this release consumed on 12-26-12)

A: pours black as night, with absolutely no transparency. creates about 1/2 fingers worth of head formation, that is dark tan colored. you can see the alcohol sticking to the glass.

S: massive bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet milk chocolate, fudge, alcohol soaked figs, sweet molasses, some coffee notes. beautifully balanced, immensely complex. just simply awesome!

T: again, the complexity is awesome. pleasant balance of bourbon, oak, chocolate, and dark fruits. coffee is more prominent here than what the nose portrayed and the alcohol is surprisingly very evident despite having nearly 2 years on it.

M: for me this was a disappointment, the brew is completely full bodied which is absolutely perfect, but it seems flat. and to my surprise, I get more coffee and hops lingering around with an intense alcohol burn (thought i would get more of a sweeten molasses or chocolate aspect).

O: its awesome but hands down Bourbon County Stout dominates this brew in every facet IMO. I have tried this brew 4-5 times now and this is the first time having it aged. I also feel that this is better fresh than with the age on it (not as flat.)


2013 Release Fresh

From the Smell to the Mouthfeel, it is all Coffee and bit bitter dark chocolate. very subtle bourbon here and there is a slight creaminess. no alcohol presence so it drinks quite nice. But this years doesn't cut it for me.

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Photo of kinggimp
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The bourbon in this beer is way to overpowering. It tastes more like bourbon than beer.

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Photo of thirdeye11
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ktown67 for this during an in person trade.

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours the blackest of blacks, with a semi-vigorous pour it has no head, but the bubbles settle to the top and form a 1/2 finger of dark tan bubbles. No lacing on the glass, and some odd sediment that lingers on the sides of the glass.

S: Smell is awesome. So complex for a stout which are normally one dimensional. Coffee and dark unsweetened cocoa powder, whiskey/bourbon and even some woody notes that are muted. Even some cream in the smell.

T: Having this and the standard breakfast stout from Founders this week have opened my eyes to the style which I generally don't like much. Lots of coffee, some unsweetened hot chocolate powder, maybe some marshmallow creme, whiskey is on the finish as is some bitternes that I wish wasn't. Very complex it isn't lacking anything I want. The bitterness is really not bad at all, and on the very lowest end of the spectrum compared to most stouts I've had. I really like this one, creamy too!

M: Almost perfect. Creamy, coating my mouth, but slightly more carbonation and it WOULD be perfection.

D: Very high for a strong flavor beer. I could have 2 or 3 of these no problem.

Recommended for any beer drinker even if you don't drink stouts because it's awesome. Complex, flavorful, delicious, even refreshing which is odd to say.

 1,393 characters

Photo of UnDeadly
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes, Founder's Tap Takeover at Thirsty Monk, Asheville.

A: Opaque black, creamy foam with small bubbles, persistent through the beer, light-medium lacing

Sl: Sweet milk chocolate, light bourbon with a tinge of burning alcohol

T: Surprisingly dry in a very pleasant wany, starts with the sweet milk chocolate, moves to dark chocolate and then into coffee. Bourbon notes are light and present throughout, though never overwhelming.

M: Minor heat from the alcohol but considering the strength it is acceptable, even warming if the weather is appropriate. Carbonation does not sting, and the mouthfeel is quite full and creamy.

O: Please sir, may I have another? Was fortunate enough to have this both in bottle and on tap, no drastic difference. Only thing that would keep me from having more is price and availability!

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Photo of Kbogac
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of bottles of this at a local micro-brew pub. I'd had it once before but never a full serving just a taste.

Poured into a snifter. Dark and heavy with minimal foam. The initial smell was not very exciting. Dry earthy coffee smell with some malt that improved as it warmed. The taste also improved as it warmed up. The first taste was upfront coffee and roasted grains with a alcohol finish. As the beer warmed up the alcohol disappeared and was replaced with a nice coffee molasses finish. Not as sweet as I expected but overall excellent. Deep dark burbon and coffee. As good as it gets.

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Photo of grapeshops
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Shy_Traveler45
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Stevedore
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Context: 12oz bottle of the 2013 vintage (just obtained today in the Great KBS Derby of Madison 2013) poured into a Bell's tulip. This is the first I've had of 2013, but I've had 2012 in the past. Disclosures: there is the potential for the extra work of obtaining this beer to influence this review, as I left work early and drove across town to get some.

Aroma: Smells just as good as I remember it. Very big, pungent nose that I can smell coming out of the bottle. Very, very bourbon barrel forward nose- vanilla and oak dominating. There is some dark brewed coffee, and some cocoa and chocolate malt aromas that comes to the front as it warms up. While its dominated by the bourbon barrel characteristics, it's up there with BCBS and Black Note when it comes to aroma.

Colour: Looks great. Pours a viscous jet black body- not quite Ten FIDY but really thick. It may be the way I poured it, but it comes with nearly no head whatsoever and leaves just a thin brown collar. It might have to do with me drying my tulip glass by hand with a towel just before drinking this. I'll revisit when I drink another one in a clean dry glass, but even then- the relative lack of head is pretty typical of imperial stouts. Also, the lacing is pretty average- it's there and sticks, but there isn't a ton of it. Overall it beats some of the other BA stouts I've had but not by much.

Flavour: Nice. The first sip of this beer kicks me in the face with its bourbon barrel-forward character. Tons of vanilla and oak. Just like the nose. It's pretty much all bourbon barrel for the first few minutes. And as it warms up, I can make out cocoa and dark chocolate malt flavours, almost on the bitter side even. Warming up some more, the coffee definitely makes its appearance, tasting like cold brewed coffee- not too stale, not too pungent- not too coffee forward like people seem to always be saying about fresh KBS. A nice progression of flavours that continue to layer on top of each other. It's quite fun to sip on as it goes from fridge-cold to room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Compared to what I remember of last year's, it's actually a bit thicker on the body which I'd classify as on the thinner side of thick body. Last year would be thicker side of medium bodied. This could be pure semantics or pure folly. It's as creamy as ever that leaves my palate with a dry finish. Carbonation is average for beer in general, and is just about right for this kind of beer. The aftertaste is a nice, smooth mix of bitter coffee and chocolate and the bourbon barrel oak flavours. And I definitely feel the heat as the beer warms up to room temperature. This beer doesn't disappoint in the mouthfeel department.

Overall: Despite all the naysayers saying this year's KBS is thinner bodied, has no bourbon, etc., it seems to me that this is the same KBS that we've all come to enjoy. I'm happy to have gotten my hands on some of this year's vintage. It's a nice, complex beer that's great to sip on- it really should be released 3 months earlier in the winter. It's a very good bourbon barrel-aged coffee imperial stout that any BA stout fan would really enjoy and that's as simple as that. Ignore the hype, taste the beer and be happy.

Old rating: 4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5, total score 4.48

Note: I would consider holding onto this beer for a month or two to see if the bourbon barrel contribution mellows out a bit and to see if you can get some of the underlying malt flavours.

Re-review (2014 vintage): Picked up a bottle of this perennial treat on KBS Day yesterday, 4/1/2014. Poured into a Founders' etched snifter today, 4/2/2014. Essentially, it's very similar to last year in terms of my tasting notes. However nose-wise, I feel that the coffee is very subdued, and the bourbon is a bit watered down. Not as much vanilla (from the bourbon/oak) or oak presence here. The bourbon really doesn't hit me in the face as much as it did in last year's vintage. Flavourwise, plenty of sweet chocolate flavours, dark malts, milk chocolate, some coffee which is clearly not as noticeable as BCBCS et al. On the backend, there is more of a solid straight bourbon flavour that is initially sweet and a bit ashy, but the barrel contribution is relatively minimal. Good mouthfeel, viscous but a bit hot, leaves a nice warmth in my stomach as I drink it. But overall this is a slight letdown for me considering how much I enjoyed last year's version. It could very well be palate evolution or bottle variation.

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Photo of kramerjt
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the better beers I've had in 2010. Poured on tap at The Bomb Shelter in Milwaukee, WI.

Shared a round of this delicious dark and complex beer with some friends, and while one was enough for that night -- its a beer I'd like to try again.

Love the intensity of the flavors, including the big bourbon notes.

Big fan of Founders Brewing overall. Cheers to them for creating this awesome brew.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Oil black, opaque even in a thin glass. Thin dark tan collar lasts and leaves tidemarks. An impressive sight.

S) Sniffing a bourbon barrel, strong wood, almost tannin notes. There is a chalk dust edge to this as well. Deep in there are a few hints of west coast, citric hops.

T) Coffee, dark and manly coffee. Molasses sweetness, bourbon, all intense tastes that cover hops and even malt. So much going on, and all of it set at "11".

M) Slick, heavy, low carbonation, bits of chew.

O) Wow. Bourbon is a bit heavy handed, but a truck full of flavors that ends up being fairly smooth and drinkable. The alcohol started slowing me down as I reached the end.
Great beer, but not an everyday event.

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Photo of Veristic
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

KBS served @ 45* into a stemmed pokal, consumed on 5/9/12. Bottled 2-17-12. Side-by-side with CBS & regular Breakfast Stout.

A- Nothing more than an extremely thin light tan sheet of head, dissipates quickly to a tiny crown. Dark brown, nearly black body. No real lacing.

S- Out of the neck, it smells of massive oak & bourbon. Once poured, coffee, oak, a little boozy. Hints of vanilla.

T- Chocolate, oak, bourbon. A little boozy. Boozier than CBS, warming. Some coffee & dark roasted grains. Finish is dry with some dark roast lingering. More bourbon & chocolate once warm.

M- Warming all the way to the chest. Full body but not as creamy & coating as CBS.

O- Smelled better than the CBS but the CBS wins on mouthfeel. The KBS was also boozier than the CBS.

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Photo of fearfactory
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jesus_plaza
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.27/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm hmmm, I've been a-waitin fer this one fer awhile. Poured this rascal after just a short time in the fridge.

A: Pours nearly black as a country night, with just a touch of brown in the body into an oversized wine glass. The head is a 1/2 finger, perrrtty mocha-brown that fades quickly, I reckon. The lacing is a wacky, sticky mixture of dots and clumpy, curvy snakes.

S: A hefty helpin' of dark, roasted coffee is the biggest aroma in my sniffer, but that is wonderfully balanced by some sweeter smells, them bein' dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. The bourbon-oak smells are present, but relatively far back in the bouquet.

T: This seems to be a reverse of dominance of flavor as opposed to the smell. The oak, bourbon, and acidic coffee tastes are more of the dominant flavor, overbalancing the chocolate and vanilla tastes a bit. This is a really a complex sipper. The more I get acquainted with it, either I'm just getting used to the bitter heat, or the sweet flavors pop a bit more, because it's getting more and more balanced with time. It's really a three movement piece, with the acidic, bourbon-oak the allegro first movement, the sweet chocolate/vanilla/caramel the adagio second movement, and the puckering finish the swashbuckling third movement. Bottom line, I think all of these flavors will meld more with age. I'm happy that I have sufficient supply to try them at different stages of life.

M: This pretty much has every color of the rainbow. It is creamy, yet puckering, full, yet light and airy at times. I think I would rate it higher if the puckering bitterness wasn't the overriding impression to the palate.

D: Out of curiosity to figure this beer out, I could definitely have another. However, the high a.b.v. and the bitterness in its current form lend me to say the drinkability is only good. I think I'll be updating this review in the future when the beer has had plenty of time to do its bottle-aging dance.

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 13,325 ratings