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: 3,161 | Ratings: 12,368
Photo of GormBrewhouse
3.92/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2017 bottle, pours dark brown/black, smells mostly of bourbon some malt, tastes mostly like bourbon, feels thick with some bourbon burn. Overall a good beer but more of a bourbon beer, many others available these days that offer more.

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Photo of Mikec1115
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L- Poured from a bottle. Dark black with a 1 finger brown head that quickly dissipated. I knocked it a little because I prefer a head that sticks around longer.
S- Starts with a dark chocolate then erupts with the whisky, raisin, figs.
T- WOW... taste follows aroma with the chocolate starting the parade followed by coffee, whiskey, raisin, figs, vanilla. Every taste compliments the others, wonderful blend. Evermost slight bitterness but no discernible hops. Perfectly blended. One notch below great sex.
F- Very thick as it should be.
O - Founders always knocks it out of the park with KBS. I tried to clone it once and it was the most expensive brew I've ever made. Paid $22 for a 4 pack and it is a deal. Expensive but so worth it.

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.99/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L- Dark, dark brown. Almost black. Looks like oil. Nice two finger brown foamy head.
S- Beautifully mixed between Coffee, molasses, woody-oak, and bourbon aromas. Extremely complex.
T- Even better than the aroma, in my opinion. The sweetness of whiskey is present along with the sweetness of vanilla and dark chocolate, there is also a strong presence of oak combined with the bitterness of roasted flavor of dark coffee beans. Extremely tasty.
F- Little carbonation, thick and heavy. Exactly what you'd think.
O- Wonderfully crafted. Exceptionally complex. This beer is art, and this beer is the best beer I have ever had. Hands down. I honestly don't know what else to say.
Good job Founders!

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

2017 release poured into a Teku glass. Consumed on 04/23/17.
Look: Pours like crude oil and is pitch black. Has a brown head that is stubborn to form from being such a massive beer.
Smell: Coffee, wood, chocolate, bourbon, light alcohol that's subdued under the rest of the aromas.
Taste: Bourbon comes through first and foremost, but dances with the coffee, chocolate, wood, and vanilla notes in perfect harmony.
Feel: Very little CO2 as you'd expect. The beer is chewy but not syrupy.
Overall: I love dark beers way more than should be appropriate for someone born and raised in San Diego, and I really fell in love with this beer. It lives up to the hype and if you're a dark beer lover like me or enjoy barrel-aged beers, this is a must-try and perhaps the quintessential bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.

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Photo of NoVAMilitia
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opaque, dark color, lighter head than I expected hence the 3.5.
Coffee/Smokey smell with a hint of subtle burnt strong coffee. 4.
Bourbon pulls through at end of taste--especially when temp is ~50 degrees F. Flavors at 39 degrees (temp of my fridge) are not as organized. Coffee is definitely there. 4.5
The mouthfeel is small bubbles, much smoother than other 11% ABC beers. 5
Excelled beer. Special occasion that a buddy gifted me two bottles to try. The only other time I tasted KBS was at the Three Penny in Montpelier, VT. 5

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

I have searched long & hard for this one, & I have FINALLY found some! On to the review...
2017 release out of a 750ml bomber.
A: Jet black with a small dark tan head that sticks around nicely.
S: Wonderful stout aroma, almost... Guinness Forgein Extra Stout like! With a hint of bourbon & vanilla in there.
T: Oh baby! Initially follows the nose, but opening up to more barrel flavors of vanilla, honey, & amaretto! VERY faint alcohol on the tail end, but nothing like it should be for a 11.8% brew, it masks it well!
M: Finishes slightly sweet with a tingling of carbonation on the tongue. Perfect for a beer like this!
O: Ok, now I see what all the fuss is about. This beer is without a doubt the best BBA beer I have EVER had. In my top beers of all time in fact! Seek this out & try it if you have not yet, it is well worth it.

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

This 12 oz bottle is from the 2017 release and so fairly fresh.

The dark dark brown, almost black, liquid pours out into a snifter glass with 1/2” dark tan head that slowly but visibly recedes to a thin film over part of the liquid and leaves a partial ring-like band of lacing on the sides of the glass. Sipping creates some arches, patches and small legs of lacing, some of which cling as other slide back down to the tiny ring of foam around the glass.

The aromas are first noticeable when the bottle is opened. In the glass they remind of Bourbon, but also include some coffee, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, and some touches of oak from the barrels. While bourbon is there it is very well integrated with with the other aromas and almost hard to sort out from the other aromas.

The flavors are also a very complex and well integrated package that is noticeably Bourbon-like but includes the coffee with chocolate, a bit of dark bread, some sweetness, some vanilla both as part of the Bourbon flavor profile but also from the oak since there are also a few woody notes from the oak way in the background. The alcohol is well concealed.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy smooth with some light, fairly persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the complex flavor profile begins to fade to away, allowing a bit of warmth/bite from the alcohol to emerge in the back of the palate along with some coffee like bitterness mingled with some noticeable but very light Bourbon character which seems to persist in the back of the palate a very long time, even after the bitterness is gone.

This is absolutely a well made beer and is well worth having again. I expect I’ll be doing so since I’m not convinced I’ve unraveled all that is intertwingled in the flavor profile. That said, KBS is also a one a night sipping beer, both because of the high ABV and because of the challenging complexity of the aromas and flavor. BTW, this beer is fairly temperature sensitive in that when still chilled the aromas and flavors seem to be all about the Bourbon. But once it warms…. The beer definitely lives up to its reputation and is worth trying at least once. In some ways I think I enjoy the KBS more than I did the BCBS from Goose Island. But then it’s also likely my palate has matured a lot since I had my first 4 pack of BCBS.

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Photo of Cepher
4.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours opaque brown with a thikn head dissapating to an espresso like foam around the edges. Smells of oak and bourbon with a hint of alcohol combing through. The taste is unparalleled layers of flavor. Starts with the oak/burbon on top. With creamy coffee chocolate following. Feels as creamy as it tastes. Overall I feel it lives up to the hype. I was lucky enough to score a case of this and didn't hesitate for a moment at the high price; after getting only one of the 2016 release.

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Photo of LordofWord
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12-ounce bottle. 2017. Outstanding. I just wanted to comment that people who don't think this has enough bourbon barrel in it are out of their mind. It is a readily apparent flavor, and any more of it would upset the balance of this beer.

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Photo of DavidR_9
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Refrigerated 2017 KBS 12oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass (all I had).

The pour is so deeply dark and viscous. I gave it a heavy pour at the end to promote a taller head. It went from a finger a bright khaki-tan ultra finely carbonated head down to a darker half finger of mocha tan around the edges, punctuated by bigger beautiful bubbles. Smells of coffee/chocolate ice cream with a hint of woody bourbon heat
and tobacco. Taste is verily similar to the smell but the burn from the bourbon comes across pretty heavily, however, the finish is a lot more delicious bitter coffee notes and creaminess, especially as the beer warms up to room temperature. This brew is densely packed with flavor without feeling too viscous on the tongue. Really great imperial breakfast stout. It lives up to the hype. Would have rated closer to 5/5 if it had a bit more balance to the alcohol burn.

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Photo of beyondthepalace
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Coffee ice cream covered head which quickly dissipated. Drank very smooth with some coffee and chocolate and very little bourbon. Very easy drink ability with not much booziness throughout. I enjoyed it yet I was expecting more out of this. Glad I have another one to enjoy later on to compare.

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Photo of Sammydabull54
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2017 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with nice tan head, good lacing. Smells of coffee and chocolate w/ a hint of bourbon. Taste strongly of coffee/choc more bourbon as it warms. Very very good!

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Photo of umichfan
4.21/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at el Bait Shop in Des Moines, Iowa, served in a 6oz flight glass.

To be fair, I tasted this beer in a flight next to el Hefe (Madhouse), Biscotti Break (Evil Twin), and Exorcism at Sunset (Clown Shoes). Poured black with a toasted almond color head and toasted coffee notes in the nose. Definitely some cocoa notes and some coffee and lactose. Finished disappointing, however, with a thin feel and underwhelming linger. Overall a very solid beer, especially for the style, just didn't hold up back to back with other heavy hitters.

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Photo of MVotter
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L - Color of coffee, with a thin tan/grey head.

S - Sweet malts, caramel, sugar, vanilla, smoke, butterscotch diacetyls.

T - Chocolate malt, bourbon, Irish cream, milk-stoutish.

F - Effervescent, medium-heavy mouthfeel, full texture, dry.

O - Despite the presence of sweeter notes, this brew manages to maintain a dry feel. Definitely a sipper, given its ABV, its thick texture, and its masquerading as a carbonated liqueur.

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Photo of andrewh995
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black in color with a 2 finger brown head. Smells of booze, chocolate, and coffee. Tastes of heavy sweet chocolate and coffee notes with tons of bourbon. The alcohol could be more hidden but it doesn't take away from the beer. Medium-high creamy mouthfeel.

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

Oh, my. This is an amazing beer that is not simply a barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. A wonderfully complex work of art with a stunning nose, a sexy, lingering head and the taste of mocha, bourbon and vanilla mixed so well, that you know that you've just come across something great.
Two warnings however: it's very strong, so sip lightly and it's also quite pricey for a 355mL, so save up.
One of the best beers I ever had and rightly ranked #28 overall on this site.

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Photo of Holderness
4.53/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L -- Just as dark as -- or possibly darker than -- Speedway Stout, which is quite the achievement. Aerated pour produces a two finger light-brown head that dissipates to a thin, dense film of foam. Moderate lacing.
S -- Strong aromas of milk chocolate, espresso, bourbon, and caramel. Hints of plum and vanilla.
T -- Tastes like an Irish coffee that's had a liberal amount of chocolate syrup added to it. Damn good and damn drinkable.
F -- Huge mouthfeel that complements the high ABV well. Minimal carbonation doesn't overpower the many nuanced flavors going on here.
O -- Truly a meal in a bottle

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Photo of Just-the-sip
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The rumors were true. This is pretty amazing stuff. Not sure if it's $22 amazing but they were selling it in pretty big bottles. 750mL. Smell of coffee and chocolate, taste coffee up front, cocoa, back end vanilla. Bit of maple in there too. Feel is chewy and thick. Love this stuff. Just wish it were in 6 packs here rather than giant bottles. Well done Founders. Well done.

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Photo of jaketaz
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2017 batch found in FL and poured hard from bottle to goblet. The first thing I notice is the thick, dark head resembling coffee Haagen Dazs. Dissipates quickly and doesn't leave much leg, body thick but not completely black - like a strong coffee.

Contrary to what I'm reading here I only smell a little bit of chocolate, and milk not dark. Most of the aroma is coffee and bourbon barrel, including what you would expect from the barrel toast (salted caramel, vanilla, black cherry). I thought it smelled super chocolatey at first, but it's just the placebo effect from reading too many reviews. The nose is vanilla dominant.

It's impressively smooth considering the amount of alcohol, I'm having trouble coming up with any heavyweight stouts that can match this for smoothness (Marshal Zhukov being one of the few). For my money it trounces Goose Island's "Bourbon County" series, easily beats Stone's "W00tstout" and obliterates Weyerbacher's "Sunday Morning". The whiskey barrel heat is just obvious enough to identify and doesn't make the taste harsh at all.

At $26 a 4-pack in my area I can't say for sure whether it's worth it compared to Founders' regular "Breakfast Stout". To my taste the smoothness isn't superior, the aroma is possibly inferior. But I am glad I bought it to finally experience what all the hype is about. I would say this beer's best attribute is its balance and smoothness... for all the hype barrel-aged stouts get they tend to be abrasive and bitter. This is almost 12% abv and loaded with coffee, but I think even a stout newcomer could get into this.

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Photo of brunsojw
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Scary how easy this is to drink. Not overly boozy for what it is. Smooth. Just straight chocolate, coffee, and a hint of bourbon. World class beer. 2017 vintage.

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

Bottle poured into teku glass

Motor oil black. Thick, dense , frothy tow finger brown foam cap , sticky lacings, settles to a layer of brown bubbles

Aroma of bourbon, tobacco

Prominent bourbon taste on the forefront, can feel it , roast malts. Whiff of vanilla. The bourbon overpowers the vanilla and coffee

Good beer

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Photo of mfrank421
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a tree house tulip :)

Looks pitch black with a thin tan head

smells strong of coffee, coffee dominates the smell and i only get slight hints of bourbon barrel and chocolate, smells sweet and and decadent though, the smell warms me up on a cool spring night.

tastes so much more complex then it smells. The coffee is predominant, but the chocolate and barrell realy factor in on the back end. There is no way this has 11.8%, I mean, i know it does, but HOLY sniff nuggets this is wildly good.

Mouth Feel is thick and creamy and perfect. WOW.

Overall...pour this cold and drink it as slowly as possible. the way this beer changes over the course of a 45 minute 12oz consumption is so beautiful its like a freakin piece of art. its beautiful.

EXCEPTIONAL beer....waaaaaaaay better then previous years IMO

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Photo of AcesFullup
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a phenomenal stout that does exactly what's on the label.

This is a heavyweight like Mike Tyson in his prime.

Heavy yet balanced chocolate and coffee flavors are at the fore.

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Photo of stoffystouts
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Watching "battle of the bastards" and Ramsey Bolton just got his a** kiced

Time to celebrate!

from the 2017 batch

12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. I like my stouts room temp so it never saw the fridge

Wow! 2017 is a great year for KBS

Dark as night! Chocolate notes are out of this world. Heavy bourbon warms upfront then comfortably settles as you ease into this one. Coffee, mate! gets better and better with each sip

one of the best

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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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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,368 ratings.
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