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: 3,091 | Ratings: 12,166
Photo of DaltonCastle
3.74/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First time trying this legend of a beer-

Looks- Poured a typical imperial stout jet black color.

Smell- Dark chocolate and coffee not picking much of a bourbon barrel quality

Taste- again Dark chocolate and coffee again not much of a barrel presence.

Feel- A lot thinner than I anticipated plus has a boozy burn to it.

Overall- Not worth the hype nor the cost in my opinion.

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

2015 bottle; Will follow up on the last of four from this year when I get to it...but I like this one better.
A: A properly black beer with nice brown cap on the pour, minimal lacing, head all but disappeared quickly. Still nice at 11+%
S: Bourbon, dark chocolate, boozy heat, hint of vanilla, touch of coffee.
T: The chocolate and vanilla shine here, smooth but mellow bourbon especially through the finish, oatmeal, some dark fruits hiding in there somewhere. What's left of the coffee just contributes to the roasty malt and intense chocolate flavor, it's definitely still tasty. Mighty tasty.
F: Smooth, a touch slick, just a bit thin, but enjoyably creamy and solidly medium+ body. Little carbonation, but plenty enough to be enjoyable to sip on til it's gone.
O: Preferred to 2016 even if the coffee's faded. Very very good.

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Photo of MNAle
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(2016 Release)
Very dark, opaque. 1 inch tan/brown head, creamy and think, recedes slowly. No visible carbonation, but then, nothing is visible except black. Initial odor is bourbon, a bit boozy, follow by distinctly chocolate with coffee underneath. Some roastiness as well. Thick mouth feel, but still no carbonation on the tongue. Mild, coffee, bourbon, chocolate initial taste with a nicely bitter and bourbon finish. As you drink, it leaves a thick, clingy, stringy lacing down the glass. A bit boozy, but just wonderful overall.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.32/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: San Diego Wine Company in Miramar (San Diego), Calif.
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received on April 23, 2016
Consumed: April 27, 2016
Misc.: Bottled on March 3, 2016 at 1:21 a.m. ET

Thanks, Tom!

My wife’s uncle, Tom, brought this as a gift, along with Trapistes Rochefort 8 and Acoustic Ales Instant Triple Karma. Unbelievably nice as I hadn’t had the chance so have either. I had obviously really been looking for this one. Wasn’t sure what he paid for it (was able to check the other prices on the place’s website), but have heard others pay anywhere from $7 for a single bottle to $24 for a 6-pack. Have unbelievably high expectations for this one. I’m talking 4.60 range.

Poured a pitch black color with two fingers of frothy, tan head. Great uneven, spiderweb lacing. Very good retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smelled dark milk chocolate and black coffee malts. After second effort got smooth bourbon, oaky wood, booziness, toffee, caramel, crayon, hints of vanilla and roasted hazelnut. Reminding me a bit of Tioga-Sequoia’s Autumn Rush. (Smell - 4.25)

Taste followed the nose nicely. Still reminding me of TSAR. Got dark milk chocolate, boozy bourbon, oaky wood, creamy vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate milkshake, roasted coffee malts, toffee, caramel, Oreo cookies, wet cocoa and hints of spice (cinnamon?). (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.75)

This was just an awesome beer. I still think I slightly overrated it a tad with the pedigree, but so be it. It is not elite to me, but just a great beer. (Overall - 4.25)

4.32 | 96 | A

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Photo of dream
3.99/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: This beer pours pitch black with a slight brown retention. A very nice looking stout.

Smell: Smells strongly of bourbon and coffee.

Taste: Very strong (but smooth) bourbon beginning note, transitioning into a mid way coffee note, then back into a relatively smooth bourbon finish.

Feel: Not bad, but not as thick as other barrel aged stouts I've had. It could use some maturation in this area.

Final Verdict: After enjoying many high end barrel aged stouts such as BCBS, Parabola, Black Tuesday, and Pugachev's Cobra, I would have to say that KBS ranks below these in terms of an all around world class barrel aged stout. With that being said, coffee lovers might find this brew to be awesome and on a perfect 5 level, though the non infected BCBS Coffee is superior to this.

I honestly think founders just took the base Breakfast Stout and barrel aged it because that's exactly what it tastes like to me. You won't get the chocolate, vanilla and char notes in this stout - It's all coffee IMO. I actually enjoy drinking the regular founders breakfast stout more than this.

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

I was very fortunate to pick up two 4-packs of KBS at a small store in VT. I've never tasted it before so I had to try one and I'll cellar the rest a while. I often feel that many hard to find beers are over hyped, but not this one. It poured out of the bottle to reveal a thick 1.5 finger brown head with lots of lacing. The aroma was rich and complex with chocolate, coffee, bourbon, oak, and raisin all coming through. The mouthfeel was thick and silky. The first taste is predominantly bittersweet chocolate with a medium bourbon. The beer finishes with a light oak and coffee taste followed by an alcohol warmth. I am usually an IPA person, but this is one of the best beers I have ever tried.

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

Founders KBS!!! I didn't expect to get my hands on this in South Dakota but nabbed 6 bottles. Other BBS's I have had and can compare to are BCBS, Dragon's Milk, and Central Waters. Fairly thick, decent brown head that stuck around, and opaque. Those expecting a bourbon-forward BBS will be under-impressed, as this is more coffee forward, with a lingering chocolate taste. I really like having a beer that has the coffee taste without the strong coffee bitterness many stouts have. Though this tastes quite different from the others, I like it as well as BCBS and Central Waters, and prefer it over Dragon's Milk. ABV aside, I could sit and drink a lot of these. As with most all stouts, this gets better as it warms. Based on other reviews I had half-expected it to be an OMFG experience, and though it's not that, it will go on my favorite whale list.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(2016 release) This seasonal imperial stout from Founders is a great-looking beer: a giant pebbly brown head lasts nicely atop an impenetrable black body, devoid of highlights save for a slight orange glimmer at its base; lacing is quite good, consisting of bands and caverns. The nose is medium-big in intensity; it leads with bourbon and oak, backed by subdued milk chocolate, brown sugar and modest alcohol undertones. The palate is a seamless blend of bourbon, milk chocolate and molasses riding atop a quite assertive undercurrent of alcohol; it lands just a bit on the sweet end of the balance. The finish is a good hit of booze and chocolate, followed by the onset of a slight chocolate flavor that lingers, with a modest oaky bitterness, for a few minutes. Mouthfeel is on point for the full body, and quite warming; the texture is viscous, sticky/creamy, and slightly peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. The bourbon character is nicely done- it is central to the flavor and aroma, but not domineering in either case. While the oak is very prominent on the nose, on the palate it plays coy, declining to act the diva as can sometimes be the case with barrel-aged stouts. (12 oz bottle, 73 days after pkg)

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Photo of WallingBrew
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

yes, it has consistently lived up to the hype.
yes, I believe it is worth seeking out each year.
Mad props to Founders for consistently putting out a phenomenal and world class beer.
I have found it to be more available in the south vs. the mitten (way to go Virginia and Florida).
Easily a top 5 beer and great for gifting.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black pour with brown foam; good clarity under fairly long lasting cap; medium to heavy lacing. Coffee, roast malt, and vanilla on first go by; bourbon in the nose as liquid warms. Flavors of chocolate, vanilla, cocoa powder, coffee, bourbon, and lite oak; more bourbon than barrel and mild roast coffee finish. Dry, lite oak, full mouthfeel; still, a creamy tongue coating; moderate plus carbonation. Overall, excellent nuanced barrel aged flavors.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had it in a bottle, at $15 a pop (I had two), at the SOHA Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor NYC. So glad to cross this one off my beer bucket list. I mentioned I had two because it was that good.
Pours a thick and viscous jet black color with a coffee and dark tan head. This dissipates and leaves a lacing that is modest but persistent.
The aroma is intoxicating. So much going on; coffee, chocolate, oak, bourbon, vanilla and dark fruit. This matches the taste. It is truly a slice of heaven to feel this in your mouth. Full bodied, viscous, chewy and smooth. The sweetness is balanced by alcohol that is not overpowering, and a slight espresso roast bitterness. This is one of the greats!

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Photo of nawpnawp
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice black with a creamy head. The nose and taste are a powerful chocolate profile that is extremely solid. The coffee is there, but very hidden from the burst of chocolate. The mouthfeel is very, dare I say, chewy.

I've been drinking a different BA stout now almost every other day, so I am happy to have this now that I can compare it to other beers that I've had very recently. The biggest thing it has going for it is the mouth feel. It has a great thickness and creaminess that I really enjoyed. It is very drinkable and hides the 12% abv as well as any other beer.

Overall, I will probably buy it yearly and go out of my way obtain it off the shelf.

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Photo of rypkr
3.99/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a big fan of sms I'm excited to try this.

A - 2016 poured into a snifter. Dark chocolate colored with thin mocha head. Looks incredibly thin for a 12.4% BA stout. Low score here.

S - smells great. Lots of chocolate and coffee when I first popped the top. As its sitting in the snifter it's airing out and surprisingly doesn't smell that strong of the aromas I was hoping for. Very little bourbon namely.

T - Lots of coffee and Los of chocolate malt. Very, very creamy. Vanilla and oak are very prominent as well. Tons of alcohol but much less astringent than the sms I'm familiar with. More bitter than sms as well.

M - like mentioned above, it starts very creamy, much more than was expected to given the appearance however finishes annoyingly watery.

Overall - very good but IMO sms is a much more enjoyable beer. I enjoy the creamy mouthfeel of this beer more but overall EVERYTHING is muted in comparison to sms. This is a jr bacon cheeseburger next to Triple with cheese.

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

Smell is amazing. Initial sip is bursting with boozy bourbon goodness. This tastes very similar to BCBS. This is the March 2015 bottle. I didn't intend to age it, I just bought it like that. I wish I had a fresh one but I could say that this still tastes amazing. Not much coffee notes but I do taste figs.

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

2016 KBS, no age on it.

Before I begin my review, let me preface this by saying I have, as of now, found my favorite beer with KBS. This is the first time I've tried it and I was left in shock. It has everything I personally look for in a beer and it's beyond well balanced.

Look: Looks dark brown with a minimal head on the pour. Appeared to have a thicker viscosity on the pour.

Smell: It smells fantastic! Chocolate, coffee, sweet heavenly awesomeness. I would say if you've never had this, smell breakfast stout and add a hint of bourbon.

Taste: Perfect in every way! Subtle bourbon with coffee and chocolate, all working together to perfection. As it warmed up, it began to bring the bourbon hint a little more to the front, but nothing overpowering. I prefer my beverages cold, but with sipping drinks you can't help but let them climb to room temperature.

Feel: Full mouth feel, not too thick or thin (like water). I would say it's right where I needs to be.

Overall: I just found a place that had 4-packs for $12 a piece, needless to say I stocked up for the year. I've read it doesn't age too well so I recommend drinking it within the year. But I'm going to experiment now that I have that ability. As always, sip responsibly!

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Photo of mac31
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon, rich chocolate, and graham cracker sweetness are what first strike my palate. Soft vanilla low lights are there, cropping up from time to time. Just as the sweetness is on it's descent, the bitterness from the hops kicks in. This is quite the hoppy ale, big clean bitterness. The hops are earthy, herbal, slightly floral with a touch of spiciness. The rich chocolate flavor advances to bittersweet chocolate and coffee in the finish. The bourbon present from start to finish, it lays low mid palate. The bourbon is a component of the beer, not the dominating flavor, which I really appreciate. Cereal grains linger on after the finish. The alcohol is well covered. Highly drinkable for a 12.4% beer. The body is slight for a stout. Nicely balanced. This is a flavor bomb, for sure. A great beer. For my palate, it's a little sweet at times. But that's a little nit picky.

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Photo of brewmeister1984
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not my preferred style but I enjoyed this one. Nice coffee and bourbon notes and was pretty smooth considering the ABV. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again though.

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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just a shade south of black. Small tan head. Nose is bourbon and sweet chocolate with hints of coffee. Smooth bourbon and dark chocolate flavor on a bed of coffee. Vanilla and oak shows up, as well. Mouthfeel is like an oily pillow - soft and slick. Flavors carry well from start to finish.

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Photo of klaughlin08
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First review here on BA.

Relatively new to the beer game, but this has been on the list as for a recommendation since I started enjoying beer. First beer I truly loved was regular Breakfast Stout, so had high expectations for this one...

...and it delivered!

Pitch black with beautiful tan head

Smell was at first a little underwhelming - only hints of the barrels and coffee. As others have mentioned, the smell was fairly muted - just smelled like a great stout.

Taste was where this beer took it away. Sweet, roast, nutty, caramel, bourbon... if I had to describe this beer in one word it would be "harmony". None of the tastes dominated any other, but rather they all played a part in the beauty of this beer.

Overall, I'd say this stacks up there with the top beers I've had of this style. Bravo.

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Photo of DoctorD
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured jet black with a 1/4" head and amazing lacing down the glass. Surprisingly, the bourbon smell was not as forward as I have noted in most other barrel aged beers. But the taste makes up for it - decadent chocolate and coffee give way to a bourbon bite, followed by a sweet coffee aftertaste. Really amazing how the flavors blend together. I fou nd it to be a bit thin and it didn't stick in my mouth as much as BCBS. Because of this, it desn't feel as luxurious or powerful as Bourbon County, but it was just as smooth and I believe had more adjunct flavor. I am surprised to say it lived up to the hype and I am glad to have tried it, although I still give the slight edge to Bourbon County due to mouthfeel.

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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 JWH90
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 release in 12oz bottle. Opened on 4/18/16. Look was that of motor oil with a tan head about half an inch thick. Smell was simply amazing. I could really sense the coffee and chocolates when taking in a big whiff. Taste, ah the taste of KBS, was outstanding. I could really taste the bourbon and coffee undertones in this one when fresh from my beer fridge; however, the chocolate presented itself with more character as it warmed in my glass. Feel is exactly what you want in a BA stout of this caliber. Not thin but also not insanely thick. Just perfect. Overall, this is one of the best beers I have ever had. I completely understand why there is so much hype surrounding this beer. I have only a few bottles left from this years release. I might have to break into the ol' cellar and do some trading to get my hands on more. Cheers!

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Photo of EMH73
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap. Pours black with a quarter inch caramel head that left almost no lacing. Smell was coffee, chocolate and just a hint of vanilla. Taste was dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, vanilla and a hint of oak. The ABV was noticeable (in a good way), but I did not get any bourbon flavor. Creamy and smooth mouthfeel. An exquisite beer.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this years ago but it was almost a year old at that point.

This is the 2016 batch.

Smells like dark chocolate and coffee. It is a little mild and one noted/ familiar. But it smells really nice. NO bourbon to speak of, however.

Tastes great. Great mix of coffee, dark chocolate, and some heat from the barrel. It does come off as a little hot to me. But a real nice amount of bitter, dark chocolate.

The biggest difference for KBS this year is the mouth feel. It's still not great, but it is better than it was. Medium plus body.

Overall, very enjoyable, but a little harsh. Before it was a little thin and predictable. But this batch seems a touch too harsh. Still great though, just not world class.

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

Blind tasting of a 2016 bottle side by side with three very notable peers. Obvious standout in both aroma, taste and mouthfeel. We were hoping that wouldn't be the case since this is such a pain in the ass to get, but alas - it's worth the effort. Chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, vanilla, coffee and some solid heat on the backend. The heat subsided noticeably and gave way to the incredible flavors of chocolate and coffee as it neared room temp. Silky mouthfeel with a pleasant sweetness that mingles incredibly well with the base bitterness. Bourbon takes the Oscar for supporting role by providing warmth, vanilla and oaken complexity. World class.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,166 ratings.
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