Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
3,056 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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): 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 3,056 | Ratings: 11,999
Photo of BeerStud187
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really good. It's mostly what you expect from the other reviews, but you do taste the alcohol. Look, this is a really powerful beer, not a milkshake or a cafe latte. The first time I had it I either hadn't had the right beers or food before it and found it harsh and disappointing. Then I tried it again and it was really good and blew away some other stouts I was tasting next to it. It does have all the chocolate, coffee, barrel, stout flavor that you'd expect from the other reviews and is delicious, but it doesn't go down easy. It's a complex sipper that you know you're drinking. Will grow on you and become better and better.

 640 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: pours jet black, some nice tan head, about a fingers worth. Not too much lacing, leaves a ice ring around the glass, but this, too, eventually disappears.

S: WOW! lots of rich, dark chocolate. coffee and roasted malts also present. Some nice oak and bourbon notes present as well. Chocolate is the real dominating thing on the nose. This beer smells delicious.

T: Tastes great. a nice mix of coffee, chocolate, oak, vanilla, bourbon. It all intertwines very nicely. No one thing dominates the taste. The bourbon is more present and fades into the background as it cools. bourbon is nicely present in the aftertaste as it lingers in my mouth.

M: great mouthfeel. thick, creamy, carbonated well for the style.

O: this is an incredible beer! no wonder it is so highly sought after. WOW

 829 characters

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look - dark as night with a slight tan head and slight lacing that doesn't really stick
Smell - malty, sweet smell. Almost like maple syrup smell. Sweet vanilla and dark chocolate some coffe. Also has that oak bourbon barrel scent
Taste - taste like strong coffee with bourbon added. You can taste the bourbon for sure! Get's better when it's a little warmer. Has that coffee, vanilla and dark chocolate
Feel - medium carbonated thick pallet. Very smooth and creamy.
Overall - great beer! If you like coffee and bourbon you'd love this beer!

 544 characters

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

Poured fresh (2012 vintage) in March of 2012.

Review from a rather informal set of notes.

A: Nice, dark coffee-colored beer with a thin, almost non-existent head, typical of a high ABV beer.

S: Delicious smell of coffee, roast, vanilla and booze (which I love in a nice big stout).

T: Wow. A bit of bitterness, but not overly so. I got very little hops (I'm not a fan of hoppy stouts). Boozy, but in the best possible way (I like my big stouts a little boozy) as the bourbon flavors (vanilla, oak, etc) shine right through as well as the coffee. Can tell this beer as a little age on it already as the flavors seem to be distinct, yet meld together at the same time.

M: Thick, but not too thick. Went down very, very smooth for a 11% beer. Very little carbonation.

O: This is a very, very hyped beer, and after trying some, I can see why. Luckily, I live close to the brewery and have a generous brother-in-law who gave me this bottle, as, although it's fantastic, I'm not sure I'd go through the hassle some do to get it (I personally don't want to go through that hassle for ANY beer). That being said, I don't want to minimize it as it's probably the best beer I've had to date. Founders again hits the nail squarely on the head!

 1,241 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into my favorite snifter
Bottled on date: 02/17/12
100th BA review

Big thanks to BobSmooth for this one, awesome trader...

A: Pours black as night, with only the slightest degree of browning on the edges.  Completely opaque and moderately viscous.  A very agressive pours yields only a faint outer rim of mocha colored head.  But the small amount that is there manages to leave a fair amount of spotty lacing.

S: Roasted malt, booze, a big oak character with the accompanying bourbon notes, a significant degree of bakers chocolate and some mild coffee.

T: There are a  very small number of beers in which I take the very first sip and literally say wow. This is one of them.  The palate profile on this one is complex and incredibly well balanced   The bourbon character is big, but not overwhelming. Other flavors noted are a hop bitterness, a hint of dark fruits with raisin noted, woody oak, some booze, dark and bakers chocolate, roasted malt, a touch of vanilla, and an almost astringent anise character.  There is a significant booze presence but it acts as a nice balancing agent.  Coffee and dark chocolate linger forever in the aftertaste. Fantastic.

M/D:  Silky smooth with a chewy mouthfeel.  Full bodied but not as thick as some other stouts I have had.  Has a nice warming quality.  ABV is noticable but not negatively so, and the drinkability is surprisingly high for such a big beer.  I really dig the smoothness but it could be a touch thicker.  

O: This is a beer I've been waiting a long time to try.  I was like a kid on Christmas opening up the trade package today and seeing the big "KBS" letters.  Even with all that hype and expectations, I was not the least bit disappointed.  Is it my all time favorite stout?  No, I think that still belongs to Peg's Rare DOS, but its neck and neck with the Abyss for number 2.   A world class brew.  

 1,909 characters

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. :-)

 346 characters

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

This year's batch picked up from the brewery.

A - Pours black and viscous with no head to speak of even as I poured more aggressively at the end. It could definitely use more head but still beautiful.

S - Coffee and bourbon. Definitely a good breakfast. Slight malt quality to it. Time for my catch phrase. I wish they made candles that smelled like this.

T - Bourbon, chocolate and coffee. The coffee is by far the strongest flavor. The oak comes through in the aftertaste followed by a bit of burn. Not too much burn though. The lingering taste is just amazing.

M - Thick. Very Nice.

D - I'm trying not to house this thing. Must... be... strong. The high ABV is definitely not a problem here. Well hidden.

This is a great beer. Well worth the 5 hour drive to get a case. Funny though, I remember previous years relieving my neuralgia.

 842 characters

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

A - Definitely black. Not even sure a flashlight would shine through it. Very small amount of light brown head at the top.

S - You can really tell they piled in the malts with this guy. I got mostly a coffee scent with some alcohol laced in there as well.

T - Very, very smooth. I picked up a lot more chocolate in the taste than I got from the scent, but that is most certainly not a bad thing. Finishes with a nice bite from the alcohol, but at 11.2 abv, I'd say that's to be expected.

M - Very solid. A little more carbonation than I had expected from such a dark, alcoholic beer.

D - Great stuff. Seems like a perfect beer for winding down at night. Malty, rich, smooth, and strong enough to make you sleepy.

 720 characters

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

dense black color with a minimal tan head and lacing. love the bottle label. dark dried fruit, chocolate, coffee, vanilla in the nose with just a hint of whisky. fortunately this does not smell boozy despite the barrel aging, no small feat given that and the abv. taste is lots of the above with big sweet dark malts mingling with not-overdone roastiness and just enough bitterness. again just a touch of the whisky character. big and lush mouthfeel and veeery smooth. looong complex finish is semi-sweet but manages not to be cloying. light creamy carbonation is perfect for this style. this was some amazing shit, what i liked the best was that it was not overly whiskyish or boozy. this was like having a decadent chocalatey dessert that managed not to be overly sweet. get you some.

 786 characters

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

Wow...Pours a pitch black with a small tan head. The head died quicklt, probably due to the extras the beer has added to it. Aroma of chocolate predominate with boubon, coffee, vanilla, and roasted malt. Taste is simply mana from heaven. A nice coffee and bourbon flavor, some chocolate, vanilla and barrel aged oak. A very complex beer, sweet up front with linering roasted barley bitterness. Not totally balanced but so wonderful nonetheless. A very big wonderful oak barrel aged stout.

 488 characters

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

2011 Batch - Bottled 02/25/11 @ 13:02 (Time Stamped? Thought that was cool!)

Pours black with a one-finger dark chocolaty brown head...looks delicious! Lacing is amazing on this...once again looks delicious (mouth waters). Awwww bourbon! But not over powering, very well balanced with chocolate and coffee. I love bourbon, it's right up front on this one but no heat, "awesomely" balanced...followed by sweet chocolate, malts, and a bitter coffee... soooo delicious! This is so smooth and velvet like. Overall drinkability...well I'd consume a shit-ton of it if I had access to it...for me it's out of area and I paid a fantastic beer store in NJ a premium to ship me 2-4 packs (average cost per bottle $11.29 incl. shipping)...it's worth it to me once a year. Highly drinkable...hard to find, worth the extra yes.

 815 characters

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

I was fortunate enough to pick up a few bottles of '09 this past weekend and was absolutely thrilled. This has been incredibly difficult to locate.

A - I never know what to say when it comes to stouts - it's an opaque pitch oil black. Has a nice one finger creamy toffee colored head which eventually subsides and leaves a thin lacing around the glass.

S - The aroma is dominated with bourbon and coffee grinds. Also picking up vanilla, oak, and a little bit of smokey roasted malts.

T - The palette is beaten with strong coffee and bourbon booziness. Other characteristics include bitter chocolate, woody oak, vanilla, smoky malt, and some "bourbonized" vanilla tang. After the sip, KBS leaves a coating in the mouth rich with bourbon, vanilla, and bittersweet chocolate that lingers for several minutes.

M - Medium Heavy body and complete silk on the tongue. The alcohol leaves a moderate amount of warming on the way down.

D - Exceptional but the strong booze base makes this perfect to be sipped slowly from a snifter glass.

Without a doubt, KBS has to be one of the finest stouts I've had to date. I understand there's alot of hype with this beer and sometimes I'm a little skeptical because of it. However, this is an exceptional beer and lives up to its reputation. I understand Founders added a few more tanks to the brewery so I hope this means KBS will at the very minimum be put in the brewing rotation twice a year instead of once. I'm packing two bottles away in the cellar to see how it progresses over time. This was a memorable tasting.

 1,559 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, this brew appears black in color with a finger of dark brown head across the top that quickly fades to just a ring around the inside of the glass. Spotty lacing remains on the glassware. A light swirl revives the cap briefly.

The aroma of this brew is sweet with a scent of chocolate laden coffee. It is quite earthy with hops and has a rich vanilla sweetness throughout. A bit of a musty grain character fills the back end of the nose. There is a tangy bourbon influence here that brings the entire smell of this brew together in a wonderful way. As it warms, the bourbon notes come to the front of the aroma with quite a bite.

The taste of this brew has a bold display of roasty grain bitterness tasting like chocolate and rich espresso. A solid bourbon influence is in this brew with both a tangy alcohol presence and warmth throughout the mouth and down the back of the throat. There is an earthy taste of hops mixed with grain in the aftertaste. As the brew warms there is a light oaked quality that imparts a dryness to the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew that is surprisingly lighter than expected. It is modestly carbonated presenting just enough bubbly on the tongue. This is a bold and tasteful brew that was enjoyed on a cold snowed-in day and is equally enjoyed as a nightcap or by the fire. Don't let it fool you, for all the beers that are out there that masterfully hide the amount of alcohol they have, this one is bold and out in the open. However, what makes this brew stand apart from the rest is that the boldness of the alcohol works perfectly with the other flavors included. Awesome stuff.

 1,657 characters

Photo of stewart124
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

No bottling date but I picked this up in 2010.

No pop or release to the cap and I initially worried but then during the pour I could see carbonation. Fairly subdued but there. Little to no head just some tan bubbling atop this inky black stout.

Oak, vanilla, light roasted coffee and subtle traces of bourbon in the nose.

The mouthfeel is as much velvet as I hoped for and silky smooth. Almost full-bodied or just maybe a notch below. Plenty of bitterness that is spicy with almost a peppery note. Roasted malts aplenty without being acrid. Vanilla and oak really round this beer out or at least give it another dimension.

There is so much in the taste but it blends so well. There is a milk chocolate as well as dark chocolate. Molasses comes into play along with some prunes. Clean esters that make it feel like an American Double but this doesn't get too overpowering with alcohol. The bourbon is muted. I am not sure if this is due to letting it age or if this was intended.

Perfectly balanced and really drinks like a 6% stout. I couldn't ask for much more except some more Kentucky bourbon. This may take away from the balance though. Simply delicious!

 1,165 characters

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

Well this certainly is an amazing brew. It was recommended by a co-worker, and of course Save-On had some. It was pretty pricey, but for this quality ... a bargain.

The appearance is exceptionally fine, with tiny bubbles and deep crystal black. Those bubbles produce a sublime aroma of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, malts and alcohol. Once the bubbles stop, it is all alcohol.

The taste is a beautifully balanced mix of all those great ingredients - chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and a huge hoppy, malty stout. Perfectly balanced. The aftertaste is a lovely booze taste, but no burn. This is a dangerous brew.

This is so good I will need to check my notes of other brews to make sure I did not over-rate it. I will look very soon to see if there is any more at the store. Awesome.

 779 characters

Photo of hophead247
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oily black with a nice tan head that disappeared almost instantly. The aroma is strong coffee, light bourbon, alcohol, roasted chocolate, roasty all around. The flavor was also strongly coffee, chocolate, light bourbon again, alcohol is well contained, vanilla extract shows. Different taste for an impy, not quite as sweet. The palate is smooth and rich. Alcohol finishes warm and creates a mild warmth in the stomach. Excellent beer.

 444 characters

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

Pitch black with a two-finger, latte head. Decent lacing for the 11% abv.

Smells like Kahlua. That's awesome. Dead on Kahlua. So, a chocolate and vanilla liqueur. Super rich. Amazing.

Very rich. Chocolate and vanilla. The bourbon is very subtle at the edges. Syrupy in feel but thin in texture. Gosh that's rich. There's a roast there that really backs up the chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon. I can tell right away that I'm going to let this get nice and warm.

Man, this is freaking delicious. The bourbon swirls in with the chocolate and vanilla along a coffee spine. A few quick sips and I realize the trouble this one can cause. It's a damn dessert and an incredible beer.

 680 characters

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

On tap at the Flying Saucer 5/2/10

A: pours thick and black as night. Small thin light brown head with little to no lacing

S: vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, oak, boozy all dancing together. very complex, very fantastic

T: bourbon comes on first and gives way to vanilla and chocolate, oak, dark roasted fruits, figs, molasses. flavors change as it warms

M: thick, chewy, heavy, with mild carbonation

D: at 11.2% abv very drinkable. a sipper for sure but that part of the beauty of this beer. the more it warms up the more flavors come out in it.

Overall, an amazing beer. So complex and wonderful. I'm guessing this beer with change a lot over time and I'm looking forward to it.

 684 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received in a BIF from SpeedwayJim, thanks Jim!Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown with 2-3 inches of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coffee, bourbon, roasted malts, and vanilla. Hints of coffee.

t - Tastes of coffee, vanilla and bourbon. It tasted sweeter than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it a lot. A great combination here as everything is quite balanced. Also some roasted malts and maybe a little chocolate.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Perfect.

d - I loved KBS. I'm a huge fan of bourbon stouts and this might be the best one I've ever had. I thought the coffee, vanilla, and bourbon in the taste was perfected balanced and that the mouthfeel was perfect for a stout. It's a touch hot, but I still really enjoyed it. Would love to get more of this one.

 855 characters

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

A - Pours a thick black with a creamy, tan head. Quite a bit of lacing on the glass. Nice looking stout.

S - Smells very strongly of coffee. Chocolate tones are there too. A little vanilla in there too. The scent of bourbon comes in a bit later but its definitely there.

T - Tastes just like it smells: rich, roasty and complex. The coffee and chocolate flavors play off each other beautifully. Whiskey tones are there the whole way, although not overpowering. Its a nice complimentary player. Alcoholic, whiskey like finish.

M - So smooth and creamy. Low carbonation level is perfect. Absolutely amazing mouth feel.

D - This one lived up to the hype for me. Surprisingly drinkable for an 11% beer too.

 708 characters

Photo of awalk1227
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed on 3/29/11, this was purchased at 5 Points Bottle Shop in Athens. 2011 vintage.

A: A deep brown, almost black pours out. It's pretty dark, like a cold void. A tiny cap of mocha head forms and dissipates into a thin light brown collar.

S: Bourbon, coffee, maple syrup all adorn this one. It's sweet and slightly boozy and just smells like a monstrous stout.

T: Wow! While a sipper for sure, this beer continues to throw new flavors at me with each taste. At first I get rich, vanilla bourbon. Then I get a deep chocolate, both dark and milk varieties. Then a robust, coffee note finishes. This beer is both sweet and bitter at the same time. Very complex.

F: Founders nails mouthfeel. It's silky smooth, coating and slightly oily on the tongue and teeth, with a bittering aspect on the finish. I want to keep sipping it but savor it at the same time.

O: I'm glad this beer comes in 4 packs. It's not a "1-bomber beer." This is one you would reach for every time at the liquor store if it was always on the shelves. I've heard people buy cases of this stuff. I don't blame them. Unfortunately I could only get hold of two this time, and I always look forward to more as extras.

 1,190 characters

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

Served on tap at TJs in a 10oz glass

Pours a coal black with a really small line of a tan head.

The nose has a strong roast, with a big bourbon back note. The malt is overpowered by the coffee at first, but appears at the end with what I perceive as a hint of vanilla

The bourbon pops out at first, but the coffee roast and malt comes through pretty quickly. The vanilla is there at the end, a sweet touch at the end of the sip.

The finish is powerful and the whole experience is warming and beautiful. A classic beer that is worthy of any quest to find it.

 561 characters

Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter. Bottled 2/17/12.

A - Pours a pitch black color with a short tan head that dies quickly to a thick halo. Patchy lacing.

S - Dark roast, bitter chocolate, coffee, a strong oak aroma, and some bourbon. Some wisps of vanilla bean, but nothing compared to the other components. The aroma is a little different from any other beer I have smelled. The chocolate and coffee components are prominent, but there is also an overwhelming roasted, earthy, woody aroma that is undoubtedly form the oak barrel. The bourbon smell is as strong as any BA stout I have come across.

T - The flavor is dominated by the bourbon throughout. It starts slightly bitter with a mix of oak and baker's chocolate. This progresses to a sweet middle of the vanilla I didn't pick up in the nose and some fresh coffee bean flavor. The finish and aftertaste are big bourbon with an oak dryness and burnt flavors. The bourbon flavors are present and the beer is very large at 11.2 ABV, but I would classify the alcohol finish as warm, not a burn.

M - The feel is sticky and lightly carbonated. There is a slickness from the booze and it coats the mouth well. Nicely done.

O - I was happy to get a few of these and tonight decided to finally try one. I was very impressed with the strong roasty aroma which I found to be a complex blend, the likes of which I have never smelled. There was a ton of barrel in this one, with the bourbon and oak flavors dominating. The complexities in the flavors developed as the beer warmed (although it started at ~55*) and I enjoyed it more and more with each sip. It is an amazing beer, but not my top beer ever.

 1,655 characters

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

On Draft. A- opaque and very dark; S- mild tannin and bourbon, roasted malt with obvious vanilla; T- mild bourbon and vanilla somewhat dominating over roasted malt and tannin, with suggestions of coconut; F- surprisingly a little on the light side for such a full bodied stout; overall, this beer is what it's cracked up to be.

 327 characters

Photo of K-Dog
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Being from Michigan I gave the luxury of getting about 2 bottles each year if I'm lucky. This is last year's release with a year of age. Awesome and worth the effort of hunting this down. Drink slowly and let warm to room temperature to fully appreciate. Molasses chocolate and vanilla flavor. As good as it gets. Can't wait to get a few bottles next week to replenish for the cellar.

 387 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,999 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!