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: 3,089 | Ratings: 12,161
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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Photo of hooliganlife
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at growlers

pour was dark cocoa black, light cocoa head. not much lacing, but a very nice dark cocoa color.

mainly whiskey up front with hints of vanilla and coffee behind it. very light chocolate and roasted malt.

the booze was big and bold. tons of whiskey up front. lots of vanilla backing it up. the chocolate and coffee were a bit subtle compared to the whiskey and the vanilla. the flavors need more time to both mellow and blend. this was very hot.

very thick, very filling. the booze factor burned the gums and left some tingle.

i live KBS but this needs to age to REALLY enjoy what it is capable of doing. i enjoyed 1 pint but 2? probably not. it is way too hot.

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Photo of levifunk
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

'07 bottle

appearance - black. medium carbonation
smell - smoke! so smoky I can't smell anything else
taste - smoke is in the flavor, but not as strong as the nose leads on. Its a smoked coffee taste rather than the campfire smoke smell. The caramel sweetness comes in beautifully.
mouth - thick! even with the good carbonation it feels chewy.
overall - so glad I got to try the '07. Booze is almost undetectable. very mellow.

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Photo of opwog
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Now listening to...clocks ticking, fans blowing and toilets flushing

2010 batch from bottle into a large widemouth scotch glass.

A - Jet black body, so meets expectations there. Head was about a nice single finger of dark rust.
S - Aromas were much tamer than expected, but pleasant. Vanilla, coffee and bourbon, but only a hint of actual booze.
T - Here is where KBS gets its reputation. This is a perfect blend that is only slightly high on the vanilla for my taste. Otherwise... bourbon, coffee, roasted malts, chicory, oak, chocolate and the booze in the taste compliments such bold flavors.
M - I was surprised that this was not actually thicker than it is. Don't get me wrong, this is thick enough to hold up, but the whole breakfast stout aspect gave me the impression that it would be meatier. But having said that, I was completely happy with the mouthfeel and level of carbonation.
D - OK, I am sure this is where my rDev is going to dip, but I think that anybody who rates the drinkability of an 11+% beer in the 4+ range is out of their mind. This is a very strong beer and after just one, I was feeling every point of that ABV. It is also rich like cheesecake and I couldn't just sit around eating piece after piece of cheesecake. It took me close to an hour to drink a 12 ounce bottle. Enjoyable - yes, drinkable - 3.

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Photo of Brez07
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to NorthsideFred for sending this bad boy my way. 12oz bottle poured into a Brooklyn snifter. 2010 vintage

A: Dark, dark brown pour that leaves a... wait, where did it go? There was a thin mocha head that disappeared fast, leaving a ring around the glass. No lacing

S: Notes of cocoa nibs, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, nut and malt fill the air. Very complex. Just the slightest hint of alcohol present in the finish [update: Alcohol is much more present after this warms up]

T: Just as wonderful as it smells. The alcohol is much more present however, leaving a nice warm feeling after swallowing. I'm fairly certain the heat is the only thing keeping this beer from being amazing. Has a nice roasted, bitter finish

M: One of the smoothest, creamiest beers I've ever had. Just the right amount of carbonation. Leaves a bitterness on the tongue after a few sips

D: This is truly one of the best stouts I've ever had. Definitely a slow sipper right now though. The bourbon is a little overpowering currently, but damn I can imagine this being fantastic in 6-12 months. Glad I have another bottle stored away

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

2010 vintage in a trade from chcfan. Thanks, Chris!

A: Absolutely pitch black with a brownish coffee tint (may be my imagination). No light penetration when held to a lamp. Pours with half a finger of tan-colored head, which recedes into a collar with light filming on top of the brew. No lacing.

S: Coffee, caramelly bourbon, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, and some booze sting.

T: Follows the nose perfectly. Coffee and bourbon are quite strong; I know this isn't barrel-aged FBS, but I swear that's the first thing that comes to mind. Vanilla and roasted malt, with the mid-taste seeing a rounded out coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. Oak hints throughout, but the finish is all alcohol and chocolate, with a pleasant warmth on the way down (an occasional burn, though). Very impressive.

M: Velvety and creamy from the full body and low carbonation. A little alcohol warmth at the end of a swig, but it's not fusel-y.

D: The recipe change threw me off a bit last year, but the 2010 vintage is amazing. I enjoy this more than Peruvian Morning (another bourbon coffee stout), and more than some other competitors in the style. Really top-notch stuff, and it amazes me that it's so plentiful and relatively cheap. I should get a case of this or something.

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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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) on 4/22/10. 8 oz of the 2010 edition served in a snifter.

Pours black as midnight in the glass, with a thin covering of reddish & burnt looking mocha colored head. Swirling elicits a huge creamy flare-up that drenches the sides with thick swathes of lace and dark goo. I'm surprised by just how much of the Breakfast Stout is coming through upon first whiff. Roasted coffee and chocolate form a decadent smelling pillar in the nose, which the bourbon and vanilla notes rises up and wrap themselves around. Woody tannins and a touch of floral character lend this a certain degree of gentleness in the nose despite this being such a powerful bouquet.

The taste is very rich up front with crunchy coffee chocolate roast before bourbon and vanilla character just absolutely DRENCHES the back of the throat with warm sweetness. The bourbon does have some sharpness to it but never does quite get stinging (although it is close). It definitely does spread a boozy feel across the palate and in the chest. The tannic notes from the oak has a touch of raw and green feel to it, with the bourbon and wood leaving a lot of deep dryness in it's wake. The mouthfeel is full bodied and rich, with a big creamy feel that fills the mouth up with flavor. I'm getting some of that 11% ABV but most of the alcohol appears to come from the bourbon and stays out of the body for the most part, helping keep this a very steady sipper.

It's hard for me to say if I like this beer fresher, with the coffee and vanilla popping, or if I like it more with some age and all of that bourbon and wood showing itself a little stronger. Makes me wish that I had tried a glass of the 2009 next to it. Always the tough decisions to make on these ridiculous pre-DLD trips to Founders in the wake of the Black Party the weekend before...

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Photo of glid02
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeremy - thanks! 2007 vintage.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts, coffee, and bourbon with hints of vanilla. The coffee is more intense than it was fresh and the bourbon is more restrained.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors kick things off. Smooth coffee flavors join in shortly thereafter. Midway through the sip vanilla and bourbon flavors make an appearance, the former more intense than the aroma intimates. Mildly sweet oat flavors kick in right before a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall I thought this was still a phenomenal beer after a few years on it but I was a bigger fan when it was fresh. The bourbon flavors are much bigger although it is boozier when fresh. In any even, it's worth a shot fresh or aged.

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Photo of phishisphunk
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Enjoyed at cellar temperature.

A: Brownish black in color, not too terribly dark. Slight tan head evolves with a vigorous pour and recedes to the outer rim of the glass. Looks thin, leaves very scant residual lacing on the glass.

S: I love the smell of fresh KBS. Predominantly coffee and bourbon with light vanilla and oakiness. The bottle I am currently enjoying also has a mild to moderate aroma of alcohol, a first for me while enjoying KBS. One of the best smelling beers I have ever had the pleasure to sniff.

T: This batch is a little hot. I have had this aged a year, which was incredibly smooth with diminished coffee, but this has some pungent alcohol. But overall, very enjoyable. The taste follows the nose very well. Creamy, smooth, coffee, vanilla, bourbon. But not overly done with the bourbon. Compliments the base beer very well. Some mild earthiness is still hanging around as well as mild residual chocolate from the original breakfast stout.

M: Very creamy with little carbonation as one might expect from a beer of this sort that has already been aged for some time.

D: As I said earlier, this batch is a little hot (maybe a funny bottle, I had it around Easter and remember it being pretty well balanced as always). But overall pretty mellow for a beer at 11%. If this was more accessible and readily available throughout the year, I would drink it all the time. Have no problem consuming a whole bottle. One of Founder's best and always worth seeking out.

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Photo of SiepJones
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter

A: Pours a pitch black with a dark brown lace ring of head around the surface of the beer. This beer looks like engine oil.
S: Smells of bourbon, roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate
T: Bourbon flavor up front, which turns into roasted malt then dark chocolate with a hint of dark fruit and then finishes with an oaky flavor. Amazingly this flavor is balanced enough that there isn't a lot of "heat" to the flavor and all the different flavors seem to compliment each other.
M: Very thick and chewy mouthfeel, slight carbonation.
D: This is a fine sipping brew with a complex flavor and a high ABV. Sit back and enjoy.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,161 ratings.
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