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: 3,169 | Ratings: 12,395
Photo of mgbickel
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at founders, reviewed from notes.

Poured into an 8oz. snifter. Served with a single finger khaki colored head that stuck around for a while before a slow dissipation. No trails of fluff present. The body is black and black. No light can penetrate this...

The nose has lots of coffee up front. The backbone consists of roasted malts and a slight, smoky aroma.

Flavors follow the nose. You can pick up accents of oak and earthy undertones (peat). Lots of bourbon characteristics. Buttery.

The mouth feel is medium-thick, creamy yet slick. Very little carbonation.

This is a fantastic beer! Well worth all the hype. I need to find a bottle to compare, but hard to imagine it getting much better!

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Photo of devilben02
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a modest espresso-brown, foamy head. The aroma explodes with a big coffee and chocolate presence, with lesser notes of sweet bourbon and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is much more bourbon-forward, with chocolate, an earthy hop character, and caramel coming out in the finish. The coffee is much less pronounced in the flavor than in the aroma, but maybe it just seems that way because it is overwhelmed by the dominant bourbon character. Regarding the texture, KBS is mouth-filling and creamy, but it is smooth enough that it doesn't come off as thick and chewy. It's easy-drinking, especially for 11% alcohol, but with the cacophony of complex flavors, palate fatigue becomes somewhat of an issue.

Overall, drinking KBS is as pleasurable and comforting as sitting in front of a dying fire in a wood-paneled library of a mountain cabin after a fresh snowfall as you drink fine whiskey and slowly drift off to sleep.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours black with a brown head that clings to the glass.

Smells of strong bourbon with some chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Tastes fo bourbon and creamed coffee with a little chocolate finish. This is a really smooth beer with no hint of alcohol apart from the bourbon flavor.

Nice and smooth in the mouth with a creamy feel.

This is wickedly drinkable. Nice depth of flavors and incredibly easy drinking.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a 16 oz snifter...

And in giving it a rather vigorous pour for the last 6 ozs or so, I manage to create a 2 finger head that settles to a murky and ominous cloud that hovers above a dark and stormy sea of Kentucky goodness.
This thing is dark. I mean- driving down a country road with no headlights in a rain storm dark. I'm holding this up to the brightest light in my house, and I'm unable to see through it even at the edges. Upon swirling though, you do notice a deep mahogany/amber color that glints and shimmers with flashes of stunning beauty. The head is a light caramel color and seemingly composed of very tight and fine little bubbles. The lacing is spotty, but it seems to be the norm for these big bourbon barrel stouts.

The smell is huge on chocolate and coffee, with notes of vanilla and oak. The bourbon is hiding amongst them, but isn't really jumping out at me. All of those smells translate to the tongue and create an intensely flavorful experience that isn't for the weak of heart. The bitter coffee and unsweetened cocoa notes hit first with an underlying sweetness that I can only attribute to the malts working together with the added vanilla. As this has warmed up, the bourbon has really moved into a much more noticeable position in terms of the smell and taste. It is much more pronounced, and quite delicious. The oaky vanilla notes have gained some ground too. Upon my first few sips with this, all I could think was how well balanced this was... How strong must the other flavors have been to hide the bourbon and boozy bite? Why can't I taste the slightest hint of alcohol yet?

It seems that as the beer warms, the coffee and chocolate notes fade and the barrel aging kicks it into high gear. Wow. There's a nice alcohol bite hitting me now that is smooth and warming. I say this completely secure in my status as a heterosexual male that is nearing 30 years old-- This beer is utterly fabulous.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. The body isn't nearly as thick or full as you'd expect. It is actually light and creamy smooth. The carbonation level is about perfect for being a barrel aged brew. Certainly no complaints here. The beer does clock in at over 11%, so one of these is plenty. As a matter of fact, it has taken me 31 minutes to... (last sip)... finish this beer. Fantastic.

What an enjoyable half hour.

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Photo of firkinhophead
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours jet-black with a decent head of mocha foam. pretty good stickage for 11+%
aroma of mocha, java, toffee, and vanilla. damn, that is nice. like a caramel machiatto.
tastes of rich, chocolately ovaltine. on steroids. seriously the most chocolate beer i've had. solid dark coffee flavor in there, too, but mostly a caramel and chocolate like a rolo candy. some milk sugar that is like sweet cream. vanilla, hint of bourbon, but subtle. a bit of warm burn. bourbon comes on strong as it warms.
couldnt be thicker in the mouth. sticky and lipsmacking.

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Photo of mullenite
4.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle

Pours completely black with a short tan head that didn't last very long. Settled to a layer of oily looking bubbles on the top of the beer.

Smelled nearly completely of dark roasted coffee with a very light sweetness.

Taste was similar to the smell but with the sweetness coming through as a noted bourbon presence. No malt comes through, just coffee, bourbon and alcohol heat. Very hot beer.

Medium body with average carbonation.

Overall not bad but not my favorite coffee or bourbon barrel beer.
2008 Bottle

Appearance is identical to the 2010 bottle. Short head with poor retention.

More bourbon and less coffee than the 2010 bottle. Much better balance of flavors and some dark caramel malt coming through.

Taste is similar to the smell with a lot more bourbon and a lot less coffee than the 2010. The bourbon comes through nicely and accents the slight coffee flavor.

Body is a little bit thinner than fresh but not watery thin. Carbonation stayed the same which is a good thing.

Overall I much preferred the 2008 to the 2010. The alcohol has mellowed nicely and the bourbon and coffee have a nice balance.

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Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black thick liquid. Almost no head from a vigorous pour. Tiny rim of bubbles around the rim of the glass. Lacing is good. Coats the glass as I swirl the remaining sips around.

S- Lots of Dark chocolate with Coffee undertones. Hints of Vanilla and oak are detectable.

T - Wonderful stout. Lots of sweet Malt goodness. Dark Chocolate and the dark fruits play well off each other. The Bourbon complements the finish very well.

M - Light for such a deep stout. The carbonation is a touch light.

O- This is an amazing stout. Its just missing a bit of carbonation and a few notes in the taste to be called perfect.

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Photo of samie85
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes; originally consumed 5/01/10 at Quenchers Saloon.

A- Pours from the tap thick and oil slick black with a brown one finger head served in a snifter. Leaves nice lacing, even with vigorous swirling.

S-I'm getting some chocolate malt, rich bourbon, vanilla and oak notes.

T-Chocolate, oatmeal bourbon and coffee with a bourbon, roasted, and dark chocolate dry finish. It's so mellow, everything is so well integrated.

M-Really smooth and thick with low carbonation: chewy and viscous would be other words to describe this one. Nailed the mouthfeel for me.

D-Really, reallly, really easy drinking for the ABV (did I emphasis really enough?). KBS goes down way too easy. Based on Breakfast Stout (being the base beer) and Backwoods Bastard (another barrel aged beer from Founders) I was really expecting not to like this one as much as I do.

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Photo of scarnold8
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to hayesez for this one. He is very generous and an awesome dude.

A - Pours thick and black with thin tan/brown head.
S - I get a ton of bourbon. Hint of the alcohol and not really much else.
T - I love it. There is a lot of bourbon and roasted malt. For the amount of alcohol and bourbon taste it is very smooth and goes down well.
M - Somewhat thick, although not as much as expected for the style.
D - Surprising high. I could easily have several of these, though I probably shouldn't.

Very impressed with this beer. I am a big fan of stouts and especially bourbon barrel aged stouts. This did not disappoint.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
4.34/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque jet-black color with no appreciable head. Thin rimming of bubbles form a tan foam that pools on the surface in paisley islands. Enticing aromas of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, malted milk, and bourbon. Smooth and silky mouthfeel. Light-bodied with understated, yet active carbonation. Taste mirrors the nose with precision. Opens with broad strokes of coffee, chocolate and malted milk before moving into earthy undertones of vanilla and bourbon. Alcohol is well buried for the extreme ABV. Finishes with a tang of black licorice. One complex, smooth and satisfying sipper.

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Photo of FishGetter
3.96/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, midnight black apperance. Very slight head rims around top of glass.
Spent coffee ground aroma with dull chocolate aroma. Faint tones of oak barrel.
Sweet chocolate blends with dark coffee flavors. Some faint burbon comes on at the end with strong alchol that warms mouth. Drink finishes hot and boozie with Kalua like flavors
Enjoyable mouthfeel, smooth and silkie medium body, close to heavy.
This one may need some time to age to let the alchol mellow out and let the other charecters peak. Look forward to trying another bottle in a year or so. As is, decent offering.

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Photo of juhl31
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

-any way to come up with the's black.
good brown head that stuck around well for what it is

-awesome! probably the best aspect. good bourbon mixed with coffee smell. the vanilla and roast come in there nice too

-what small aspects that lack in breakfast stout are definitely made up for in KBS. the same black coffee taste is there and mixed with the bourbon just makes it more rich and round

-excellent. not overly syrupy and a lot of warmth on the mouth and throat.

-fantastic beer. KBS surely brings it.

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Photo of traviserickson
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Motor oil with chocolate foam and a thick head with sugary lacing.

S: Bourbon with a heavy sour and thick alcohol and roasted chocolate overtones. Smells a bit more boozy that it tastes.

T: Well burnt chocolate with a mild roasted hop character. Toffee, very malt forward with a nutty malt, boozy taste.

M: Well rounded with perfect carbonation. Super thick without coating the mouth afterwords. Syrupy, but in a good way.

D: Amazingly good, I could get myself into some trouble with this beer.

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Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

09 Vintage

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Pours pretty much black no light gets through this one at all. Pretty much no head and no lacing.

S: Strong coffee aroma. A little bit of bourbon and vanilla as well.

T: The coffee comes through in the forefront followed by hints of vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon is subtle and not overpowering, which is a good thing in my opinion. A bit of roasted malt flavor comes through but it takes a back seat to all of the bigger flavors in this beer.

M: More carbonated than I expeced, but still a nice smooth mouthfeel.

D: This is my first time having KBS and this is great stuff. Going back to the regular Breakfast Stout after this is gonna be tough. Incredible beer. I will savor every one I that have.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The ladies like it!

Mud brown head shows off incandescent bubbles. Bubbly, circular retention with a little bubble island in the middle. Bubbles, bubbles everywhere. Opaque black.

Aroma is bourbon, glorious bourbon with a big, snarling stout underneath. Molasses, dark chocolate covered raisin, cocoa, oaky vanilla, an alcoholic nose tickle--lotsa depth.

Taste is sweet, burnt brown sugar, dark, bitter roast malt, raisinettes, and plenty of bourbon. Alcoholic heat well balanced by bold flavor.

I have previously used the term kitten puncher to describe big, dark, almost evil stouts. This beer is all that but so, so decadent. It's a sexy kittenpuncher.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had it on tap at the founders tap room. $6 for an 8 oz glass on a monday (cheap pint night)

A - pitch black with a thin head that leaves a nice lacing

S - smells a lot like bourbon a little like coffe and oak.

T - tastes like it smells. bourbon is the predominate flavor. a bit of oak and burnt maltiness. fairly sweet. I'm sure there is a lot more complexity but I'm just not good enough to list all the flavors.

M - Medium body. feels like silk. perfect carbonation for the style. the alcohol leaves a fairly noticeable feel.

D - alcohol is too strong to be very drinkable. but with the KBS I don't think drinkability is what founders is going for.

This beer had a lot of hype but I was not disappointed. When I'm not a poor college student I will have this again for sure.

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Photo of beerhan
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It made me giggle.

This is one of the finest stouts on the planet. The local good beer bar had one keg of this and decided to have a founder's party and have nothing but founder's beers on tap. KBS was the prize of the night. It goes down very smooth with a very strong coffee overtone with a vanilla and bourbon after taste. The alcohol is hidden very well. It took me at least four glasses to even tell how strong this was. Overall fantastic. Best BBS stout to date.

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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.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

New Beer Saturday! A HUGE thanks to erikkoppin for this amazing extra. Cheers!

2010 vintage.

Appearance - Completely pitch black in color. A 20 LED flashlight is held up to the glass and zero light penetrates, even around the edges. Pours into my Bell's tulip with less than a finger of dark mocha head that quickly dissipates and leaves little lacing. Overall, a very ominous looking brew!

Smell - Heavy coffee, coco chocolate (bittersweet), oak/wood, slight vanilla, and a hint of bourbon.

Taste - I know I shouldn't mention the mouthfeel till the appropriate section but damn. The taste is quite similar to the nose. Despite the bourbon being one of the last scents I smelled I taste this and the coffee heavily up front. This is followed by a heavy dark/bittersweet chocolate flavor which is completely infused with oaky/vanilla flavor. Extremely complex, extremely flavorful, extremely enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - As mentioned, holy cow. The first sip makes me think I'm drinking whole milk. Quite a creamy, thick viscosity we have going on here. Slight carbonation but any more and it would ruin this beer.

Drinkability - A massive sipper for sure. I am enjoying this with some Trader Joe mini chocolate peanut butter cups. They go amazing with this. I am extremely grateful to have this, being able to try the normal Founders Breakfast Stout earlier this year. Very enjoyable on this slightly chilly Southern California night. Thanks again to erikkoppin who is an amazing and generous trader.

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Photo of squaremile
3.21/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

'10. Pours a nice dark brown/black with a quarter inch head, typical for Founders stuff. Nose is a lot of espresso, some minor notes of bourbon and vanilla. Taste is more of the same. Not sure how people describe this as a bourbon bomb, in fact it is quite the opposite. This is a coffee stout to me. It's all espresso on the tongue. Must say it's a bit disappointing. Mouthfeel is a tad fizzy. Definitely not a top 20 beer.

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Photo of kramerjt
4.26/5  rDev -6.6%
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 gregmoscetti
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I really felt like I missed something the first time i tried KBS. I then tried it again. And then a 3rd time. I didn't miss anything, its just not at all what its cracked up to be.

YES its goood, but there are so many better beers out there. The flavors of this beer are like 3rd grade soccer. They are all just kinda running around, doing nothing of real importance. Finally, I dont think the gravity of the beer stands up to the flavor.

I will age the hell out of my last bottle and hope that it may change my opinion but as of right now there are a handful of coffee stouts/porters that I would say are better then KBS and even more of the barrel aged variety

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.03/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, goblet, bottled 2/18/10. I wanted to reserve this special beer for my 100th review. Circumstances have made it convenient to savor it early.

Well, here it is, black as night in the mountains with a serious little cappuccino brown head. Soon a frothy ring on top of a liquid that no light penetrates with spotty lacing. This is the darkest thing since Ten Fidy.

The nose is spicy with bourbon and rich with coffee. We're talking Kentucky coffee rather than Irish coffee. Loads of vanilla, cocoa powder, black coffee, oak, hop spice, and a bit of alcohol. A very deep dark chocolate note develops.

There is a massive amount of woody, oak flavor that enhances or comes across as spice, slightly peppery and singeing. The boozy bourbon no doubt is the originator of this spice, but the hops are generous in helping it along. Sweet vanilla, sweet oak, dark chocolate, bitter bourbon, black coffee in the finish.

Satiny and creamy in the mouth with minimal carbonation.

Anyway you cut it, I do not believe this to be a drinkable beer. Even though the alcohol is apparent in a pleasant way, it limits consumption. Boozy is a very appropriate word. The belly feels fire, one can get their whiskey fix, and enjoy a well crafted beer for likely no more than 12 ounces.

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Photo of klikger
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 oz. from 2007 bottle poured into a tulip glass

A - Motor oil; not much head or lacing

S - Smoke, coffee, mildew? Sad, but true

T - Bourbon is definitely lingering despite the aging, as is some heat. I'm tasting more tobacco than coffee or chocolate here. This tastes very good (no mildew, thankfully), but not quite at the level of the 2008 or 2009 which I had last year.

M - Still has some heat; relatively thin for an imperial stout.

D - 2 oz. was decent, but I'd gladly have 4 or so more. An entire bottle would be overkill.

12 oz. bottle from 2010 poured into a DFH shaped pint glass

A - Significantly more head, partially due to the pour. Similar consistency as the 2007.

S - Alcohol heat & bourbon

T - All bourbon & heat for me...this needs some time. I prefer Founder's Breakfast Stout to this at the present.

M - Syrupy, albeit somewhat thin; warming

D - This is enjoyable in small quantities presently. I'm confident that it'll be much more drinkable in a year, but this still is a sipper and definitely not sessionable.

Overall, this is a top-notch stout. Right now, it's too boozy to enjoy all of the complexities of the bouquet and flavor, but I can't wait to crack them open in 3 to 6-month intervals over the next couple of years. I've had too many good KBS experiences over the past couple of years to mark this down in any one category, but aging will improve the current batch, without a doubt.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a thin tan head, but still leaves ample lacing on the glass.

Strong, inviting aromas of malt and bourbon along with dark, pruny fruit.

The bourbon taste comes through strongly, but that is on a foundation of dark chocolate ice cream and dark, aged fruit that creates a wonderfully unique taste impression. Really tasting like a chocolate boozy dessert, like a bourbon chocolate ball. Finishes with a bitter hoppy dryness, along with a lingering bourbon note.

Body is moderately thick, with a little prickly carbonation.

This is an awesome, although quite boozy beer. Good for a nightcap, but more than that will cause trouble. It is an exemplar for a craft brewed stout. Every swallow is a delight.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,395 ratings.
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