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 hopsonhopsonhops
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I thought the beer was great (2017) but i had extremely high hopes and found it to be a tad overhyped. even with that said, its a great beer and i would gladly drink it anytime.

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Photo of MFMB
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 and a 2017 side by side. The review is for the 2017 version but a few observations from the side by side first. The 2017 is a little thinner and a lot more coffee. Could be that the 2016 has mellowed out a bit in that regard. You get the barrel and a bit of bourbon on both 16' and 17' equally.

2017 Kbs, pours a deep jet black with minimal head. The nose is coffee forward with a little caramel and bourbon mixed in. Taste of coffee and then a bit more coffee! Under the coffee is a nice roasted malt, caramel and vanilla flavor. You get the bourbon and a bit of wood on the backend. Mouthfeel is a little thin on the 17 version so it's missing a bit of the creaminess that the 16 had but there is still enough there that I didn't dock the score too much. Medium to light body with a smooth mellow bourbon like finish.

Very nice beer.

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Photo of bmrattay
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. I revisit it every year and am constantly impressed with the quality and consistency.
Dark dark dark look, sticks to the glass. Tan lacing.

This beer is all coffee and bourbon on the nose and in the mouth. Some chocolate as well which works well with the oak.

Mouthfeel is full and sticky.

Overall just a great beer but there are other imperial stouts I prefer.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into snifter. Not much head, but its a lovely light brown. Opaque black.

Nose is bourbon sweetness, roast, and some coffee. A little boozy in the nostrils.

Taste: dark chocolate, barrel sweet, dark roasted coffee, all coming in to play with equal range.

Full bodied, like drinking silk. A little warm, but not too much.

Claimed by some as the codifier (if not the originator) of the barrel aged stout craze, and a fine example at that. All the ingredient balance well in the taste, making this a real breakfast of champions.

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

On tap at the Nashua NH Whole Foods. 8oz pour into a snifter. Lots of caramel and vanilla and a huge boozy punch. Alcohol overwhelms the nose, it's black as midnight and has a heavy Stout mouthfeel with vanilla notes that linger up to a minute after each sip. It's an experience, very glad I found it on tap.

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Photo of rifleman_zach
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2017 release poured into a chilled tulip. Bottled 02.02.2017.

The smell isn't really anything out of the norm of a great stout. Nots of chocolate and bourbon. Not much of a coffee scent I felt.

This release is my favorite by far!!! The coffee is prominent, I love it. There is a light and sweet bourbon flavored finish. The flavors of this release are layered so well, the chocolate flavor really smooths everything out. Tye carbonation seems a little more than the prior year but that could be due to the aging of the 2016 release. Poursed nicely with a thick caramel colored head.

Over all an amazing release of my favorite Founders stout. Cant wait to pop open the '17 bomber that is currently aging in the back of my fridge. Great release, wll be buying more to drink fresh.

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Photo of B0shes
4.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2017 Release poured into a snifter. Looks are anything interesting. Very little head or lacing.

Like any good stout, smells of burnt chocolate... but so much better than any other good stout. Best description is that the chocolate note is thicker and more natural, not a single artificial smell.

Taste is perfect. Not bitter, slightly sweet, slightly creamy/dairy tasting. Again, natural chocolate. No flavor tastes like it is added; they all blend together as if they were just naturally part of the beer. There is a subtle sweet bourbon aftertaste. I don't like bourbon, but I like the taste of it in this beer. Not easy to explain, but it adds a wonderful complexity to the beer.

The beer is much more sharply carbonated than I expected, but it works well. Beer is a little sticky, but not cloying or negative at all.

Overall, a damn perfect beer. So many beers try to be something and have overwhelming flavor notes that are far too obvious to enjoy. A chocolate coffee stout should be a chocolate coffee stout, not a stout that tastes like chocolate and coffee. This beer doesn't try to be anything, it just is. Many thanks and beer karma to amicuscervesa who gave me a bottle to try.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep dark mahogany bordering black with a slight coffee colored head.

Smells of bourbon, caramel,chocolate, coffee, whole grain toasted bread.

Taste is bourbon and coffee followed by bitter chocolate and sweet caramel. It has some plumb, fig, and roasted nuts. This is a complex delicious beer.

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