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: 3,158 | Ratings: 12,357
Photo of mrmaps
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Waited until a little warmer than room temperature before opening
L: Pours dark chocolate brown with a fine foam lacing. The lacing residual lasts a reasonable amount of time. Legs don't appear thick as the beer is swirled around.
T: At this temperature the bourbon hits a bit first with its astringency. This is well balanced by the sugars present and the vanilla that comes from the aging. There is wood in this beer too. This beer is just really well crafted and all the flavors are well integrated. It is not an overwhelming push of bourbon.
S: Light bourbon smell -- not over powering and nearly perfectly balanced with chocolate vanilla and oak. The smell sets the table for expectation of a well balanced beer w/o over powering bourbon flavor. Slightly sweet smell with the residual sugar.
F: Smooth without bite. Well balanced between thick and thin. Not cloying. Pretty fricking amazing. Is that a rating?
O: A huge fan of Founders and a lover of stouts overall so this review is probably doubly biased. Despite the more recent push against barrel aging, it does offer an extra depth and done well it is worth the extra coin. (Done poorly and it is a mess) An amazing beer at a reasonable price point. It gets the I love it rating.

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Photo of Beersnake1
3.89/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had very high expectations for this beer. Poured from fridge temp to a snifter. Color is jet black - looks beautiful. Smell is, to me, like a typical imperial stout. I was expecting some bourbon, but it wasn't there. Taste followed the nose. Not much barrel at all, which was a huge disappointment. I just can't give it a good rating for taste since it just doesn't follow expectations. There are so many BA stouts above this one. Mouthfeel was good, but not thick and creamy. Overall, it's a fine beer, but not what you might expect.

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Photo of IKR
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black with a fairly generous-sized dark beige head that gradually faded. A good looking Imperial Stout

Smell: Coffee, Bourbon, mild oak, and mild brown sugar.

Taste: The taste profile features equal measure coffee, Bourbon notes, mild tannic oak notes, and mild brown sugar. The taste profile is balanced with the bal-aging notes notes well represented. Very restrained alcohol presence.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The body is spot on where it needs to be.

Overall: A very good coffee-infused Imperial Stout.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip

L: Inky black pour... 1.5 fingers of brown head. Modest lacing.

S: Rich roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, and lots of barrel char/bourbon.

T/F: Very similar to the nose... lots of barrel character. Boozy and warming. Good roast/char and espresso. A bit sticky on the mouthfeel. Finish is slightly bitter.

O: A beer that lives up to its reputation. All around fantastic, and one of the standard bearers for barrel aged Imperial Stouts. Something to keep you warm on a chill night. Sip and enjoy.

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Photo of RedNeckBeerDude
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Don't understand the hype behind this beer. Yes it is a great barrel aged coffee stout but is it really worth the trouble to chase trucks to get? No. Give me a New Holland Dragon's Milk and I would be satisfied. I think all but one year I have had this and it has been super thin for an imperial stout.
Look - pours black as night with a foam head that dissipates quickly
Smell - bourbon, coffee, sweet malt
Taste - bourbon, coffee, malt, slight fig, slight tobacco
Feel - Thin
Overall - A good beer but like I said before, leaves me wanting more for an imperial stout

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

Have these frequently and use them for trade balancing.

Look is dark, very little light gets through. What does is dark brown, very little red.
Smell is amazing coffee, bourbon, chocolate.
Taste is a little boozier than some other similar BBA stouts, not that that's a bad thing.
Mouthfeel is smooth, full, and complex. Sippable, not for crushing.

One of my favorite beers of all time, definitely world class... only reason for 4.75 is to leave room for something new to amaze me!

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Photo of stevoj
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle thanks to Rene. Pours out black and oily, small tan head. Big, bold aroma of coffee and chocolate. Sweet chocolate bar, more coffee, roast grains, bourbon notes and vanilla. This one stands up to its reputation.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks @newbeeraday for this elusive beer.

Inky black pour, quite the same as their Imperial Double Stout around Christmas time. The head is minimal, to be expected for a 12% beer. A beige ring manages to form, and of course the body is just a blackout.

Aromas are hot, sticky, and mouth-watering. Lots of boozy bourbon, some milk chocolate, Hershey's syrup, torched/fried bananas, and sweet molasses.

The flavors just soak into the palate as you let it rest there. Chocolate, chocolate syrup, oatmeal, top-shelf bourbon, honey, sticky figs, and honey. The tip of the tongue samples coffee, but washing it to the back mutes that and reveals all of the above. The hotness of the bourbon wraps over the profile and gets stronger as the beer warms.

The feel is total exhuberance. Just thick. Viscous. Not palate-wrecking, not like the Speedway Stout; but rather it coats the palate completely and soaks in like a fine red wine.

Overall, world-class is right. This beer is absolutely fantastic. I'm a frugal guy, but $22 for a 4 pack is an outright steal for this kind of beer. I'll stand in line next year to buy my limit. Absolutely mind blown.

Further analysis : Compared to a standard FBS, aged at 1 year (which in my opinion is optimal as the coffee fades and the chocolate and oats pop up), the FBS drinks more like a porter and is prominently coffee forward, with little dashes of oats here and there. The KBS destroys it. Both good beers, but KBS is an obvious notch or three above.

* Note : This was reviewed as a 2015 aged 2 years. I had the 2017 version pretty fresh and it's very booze forward. Still delicious, but not nearly as good as it is aged.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Service: Bottle
Bottled: 2015

Thick opaque black with tight finger of brown velvet-bubbled head, settles to a film; some speckled lacing. (4)

A rich melange of sweet roast flavors and bourbon. Chocolate, leather, vanilla, bourbon, old wood, smoke. (4.5)

Smooth rich chocolaty roast flavors, coffee, nuts, oak with a splash of bourbon character and warmth with a soft vanilla/cocoa flavor at the end. (4.5)

Smooth and creamy, full bodied, low carbonation, alcohol warmth in the finish. (4.25)

Really nice BA Stout.
This one is a tasty, boozy beer that is very smooth and strikes a good balance between all the characteristics at work. The aromas are a smooth stream of chocolatey tones with a roasty, oily coffee backbone and some sweet roast notes. The flavor follows suit. The bourbon is at a nice level for my tastes. It is definitely there and can even be felt going down, but I don't feel like I am drinking whiskey like I do with some BA stouts. Based on it's heat, maybe this is cause the base beer is so crammed full of flavor that it overpowers the sharpness or maybe it's cause it's a year old? Either way, it is a smooth velvety beer, that is way too drinkable and manages to be straightforward and complex at once. Really nice. Hopefully I get to try it again at some point. (4.5)

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Photo of PescadoBlanco
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the most unbelievable things to cross my lips. Pours really dark, lots of pungent bourbon in the nose. Honestly, I love this stuff. A great beer for aging if that's what you're into. If you get a chance to try it, try it.

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Photo of Vader444
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle pour into tulip. 2016 bottling.

Man, this is so close to perfect!! Obviously had high expectations for this one given the esteem in which it is held. I admit I was a little boozy before I cracked this as I was saving it for the end of a Saturday night tasting session. Must try again with a clear head. The first smell and sip were mind blowing but I struggled a little with the alcohol burn as I kept drinking. Will cellar a few of these and retry. Overall, I think I prefer the Founders Imperial Stout? A head to head definitely on the cards! Cheers!!

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

Super delicious Breakfast Stout with a big presence of the bourbon barrel and coffee. Founders did very well with this beer. Definitely one you want to try!

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

From a bottle dated 02/16/16. Pours jet black, with a brown head that dissipates, leaving some lacing. Smell is of bourbon, roasted coffee - don't smell much chocolate. Taste is bourbony at first, complemented by the coffee and chocolate (which I can taste more than smell). Very smooth for a 12% abv. As it warms, a little bit more alcohol heat on the tongue but not in a bad way.
A great BA stout.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black as night with no light penetration. There's a fingernail of beige on top. I smell chocolate, coffee, and dark roasted barley. I taste dark chocolate,coffee, and sweet bourbon in a beautiful melody. The mouth is silky and creamy smooth.

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Photo of GeeL
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours like oil, little not no head, and the smell wafts from the glass to your nose. Coffee, chocolate, roastiness, it's all there. Then it tastes like it smells. It's thick, some background bitterness, but it's smooth at the same time. This one can't be served too cold or it tastes "closed up". Pour it in the glass, wait until your gut says to drink it, then wait 5-10 more minutes.

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Photo of jprince103
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps it was the let down from the hype or the fact it isn't as good as other BA stouts, I'm not sure. However, it was a good beer, just didn't knock my socks off as being leaps and bound better then most other BA Stouts.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.02/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"What we've got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged on oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertone come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight." Brewed in.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy foam head of a pale tan complexion over a near black body. Retention is good and lacing is light and spotty. 4

(Smell) Moderate roasted grains, bitter cocoa nibs, moderate roasted coffee bean character, vanilla and bourbon notes. 3.75

(Taste) Subdued chocolate and coffee notes with a moderate earthy bitterness, finishes with a pinch of bourbon alcohol. 4

(Mouthfeel) Smooth, silky, lightly chewy, finishes mildly dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a moderate and a moderately crisp finish. Body is moderate for the style, short of heavy overall. Balance is evenly sweet to bitter to boozy. Alcohol presence is mild for the style, mild overall. 4.25

(Overall) Fairly lighter bodied than expected, but very well balanced with loads of flavor in the coffee, chocolate and bourbon character environments. Highly recommended. 4.25

Founders Brewing Company's
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Vertical Notes:

2015 (1 Year, 4 months Aged): Pour is identical to the fresh vintage, wispy tan head, identical hued body. More revealed bourbon nose, less chocolate and coffee. A little more grainy, exposed booziness, still very solid.

2014 (2 Years, 4 months Aged): Oxidation creeping in, entirely faded coffee and chocolate flavors, trace graininess. Little chocolate, no coffee, dark fruit esters gaining. Less enjoyable at this stage.

2013 (3 Years, 4 months Aged): Really incredibly boozy up front, slightly more coffee and chocolate preserved, inky, rich and viscous. Still nicely balanced, a bit richer with a lot of preserved syrupy chocolate and roasted barley flavors, with a rich bourbon bite on the back end. Very enjoyable.

2011 (5 Years, 4 months Aged): Pours very silky smooth, jet black appearance. Not as much bourbon aroma, roasted character, chocolate, very pale aroma overall, some slight oxidation and fruit characters incoming. Flavorwise, there is a remaining trace of dark chocolate, some viscosity, dark fruit and oxidation. A bit down from 2013, but still decent.

2010 (6 Years, 4 months Aged): Earthy roast characteristics, dark chocolate aromas, dark fruit notes, light graininess. Rich earthiness and chocolate notes, faded coffee and balanced bourbon. Probably my second favorite vintage (after '13)

2008 (8 Years aged): Super earthy, rich and roasty. Flavor is roasty, softly grainy, chocolatey. Very enjoyable overall, quite incredible. One of the best vintages.

Overall impressions: I found that although aging these beers resulted in varying degrees of enjoyment, I found the older vintages to be overall excellent, very well primed for aging and held up outstandingly well. I can only ponder if Founders changed the recipe in the past few years, as the 2015 and 2014 were not enjoyable overall.

Recommended Vintage: Drink 3 bottles, leave one bottle. It was a neat vertical and I think more people should try it.

Note: This was my 1,000th review! Thanks to my support for cheering me on through this process, and I'll try to get to 2,000 much quicker!

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

5 oz. pour at the brewery (and that was plenty for me!) Pitch black with a beautiful tan head. Aroma of coffee and bourbon, little else. My server said I was lucky to have caught this on at this time of year (July 2). As I drank/sipped it I couldn't help thinking "they couldn't have put a shot of whiskey in a Breakfast Stout, could they?". Just seems like way to much bourbon flavor to have come from barrel aging...unless someone didn't empty some barrels very well. I would bet my life that this has bourbon added to the beer. Very strong alcohol flavor but delicious. It took me a while to finish it but it was a definite experience for a Texas boy who was wondering if I would ever get the chance! BTW, I had probably the worst food pairing possible because I was sharing a pizza with my wife.

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Photo of daudelin2000
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It's always fun to review beers with so much hype. Founders KBS has been on my list for a while. Finally got my hands on some. Pours very dark brown, almost black, with a tan head and little carbonation. Aroma is coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. A slight bit of vanilla if you work hard for it. Taste is more coffee and bourbon with less chocolate. Alcohol is definitely present which isn't surprising for 12.4% ABV. Mouthfeel isn't as creamy as I would have liked for a big stout like this.

Overall, I really like this beer, but I wanted to really love this beer. I think I would've preferred a little less bourbon flavor as I think it overpowers the chocolate and vanilla. Would also have preferred a more creamy mouthfeel with less alcohol burn. I'm glad I finally got to try it, but I'm not sure I'll go through the pain of seeking it out next year.

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

Poured from bottle to a chilled glass. Paired with a ribeye topped with blue cheese. Pours pitch black, with little head and carbonation. Smells of whiskey and oak. Tastes of whiskey followed by chocolate with spices and wood on the tail end. You definitely taste the alcohol, but is very smooth a refined like a fine Bourbon. The mouth feel is thick and rich, with an almost syrup like texture that is very pleaseant. Overall a phenomenal beer that is not for the faint of heart. IPA lovers beware, this about as unhoppy as you can get.

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Photo of BeerStud187
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really good. It's mostly what you expect from the other reviews, but you do taste the alcohol. Look, this is a really powerful beer, not a milkshake or a cafe latte. The first time I had it I either hadn't had the right beers or food before it and found it harsh and disappointing. Then I tried it again and it was really good and blew away some other stouts I was tasting next to it. It does have all the chocolate, coffee, barrel, stout flavor that you'd expect from the other reviews and is delicious, but it doesn't go down easy. It's a complex sipper that you know you're drinking. Will grow on you and become better and better.

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Photo of LADaveBN
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at City Tap Room in DC. Pours nearly pitch black. Nose is all coffee with subtle bourbon notes. Taste is similar. All rich coffee and cocoa with hints of bourbon. Feel isn't thick as I expected. A touch on the thin side. Overall, a very good coffee forward BBA stout. Wasn't blown away though. I wish the bourbon was more prominent. Perhaps previous years releases were better?

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Photo of heygeebee
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A Beast of a Beer
Is it the hit of vanilla / whisky on the nose?
Is it the massively complex palate with all sorts of competing yet complementary elements?
Or is it just Damn Good Beer?

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Photo of TheRossness
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite brews. KBS is almost always good. It pours a dark brown and reeks of coffee. It tastes like coffee with boozy undertones. The 2016 version seems to have less of a boozy taste than previous years. It also seems to be a little thinner boddied. I remember KBS being thick. When I've found it on tap, it drinks more like an imperial porter. Its one of the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts there is. compared to something like a Bourbon County, this absolutely kills it ever single time.

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Photo of frozyn
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L -- Jet black with a nice mocha colored head, which was not very large as I didn't pour too aggressively.

S -- Bourbon hits quickly and hard, but quickly falls in line with chocolate, milk coffee, and other sweet roasted malts. Later on I get certain notes of plum, very very ripe plum, but only with my mouth open.

T -- Follows the smell very closely, with the addition of a strong bitter chocolate flavor. I think I started drinking a little early as I took it outside in the afternoon sun and as it warmed the bourbon become more pronounced, in a good way, as it slipped into the sweetness and the two created a very nice balance. There's a definite note of hop bitterness to account for all the malts, but they sit nicely in the flavor profile. The more and more I drank this, the higher I rated it -- the balance becomes more pronounced with time.

F -- Not the thickest beer ever, and I think I was expecting a bit more based on the pour, but very nicely viscous. Same as in the taste, warmth brought on a better experience as the beer got to that viscosity that I expected when watching it pour.

O -- A great bourbon barrel aged stout. It is one of the best I've had, ranking just a bit below CBS and BCBS, as it seems to be missing just that bit of thickness and, in my mind, a little sweetness to counter the bourbon bite and the bitterness of the hops. That's very nitpicky as it's a great beer and one I would never turn down if offered.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,357 ratings.
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