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): 12.40%

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: 3,070 | Ratings: 12,093
Photo of Billolick
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, etched on the bottle, "Bottled 2/08/10" Pours black, plain and simple, the head is dark mocha, on the loose side, stays around for a good while, leaves scattered fine bits and some blobs of lace. Bold nose with waves of chocolate, dark coffee, vanilla, and some wood. Rich and thick, a double expresso, mocha, chocolate shake comes to mind....with 11% alcohol tossed in to boot! Simply yummy stuff...dark, flavorful, complex, smooth, cheewy, heady stuff. Hope I can get some more of this stuff soon...Stout lovers rejoice and go get some.

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Photo of Mdog
4.18/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, super thick, big brown head, nice lacing. Pretty stuff!

Smell: Kind of get a smoky smell before the bourbon kicks in with vanilla and oak. A hint of coffee.

Taste: Follows the smell, sans the smoke. Very bourbon-centric and boozy. The bourbon covers up most of the stout flavors, a little coffee comes through.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper/special occasion beer, pricy.

Finally got to try some KBS. I think I will like it more with a little age on it to take the edge off the boozy flavors. Maybe the underlying stout would make more of an appearance with some age. Quite tasty!

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Photo of MisterClean
3.87/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Abecall for sharing at his tasting.

A - Pours a dark brown with no head, may be slightly flat, even for style. Leaves no lacing.

S - Chocolate, roast toffee, and light bittering hops.

T - Chocolate, roast toffee, some dark roast coffee notes in there as well, some smoke and finishes with bittering hops.

M - Full-bodied, definitely malt dominated and finishes dry. Malts are not astringent.

D - Good overall. I was hoping for more malt complexity and aroma/flavor hops. Nice that there were no traces of alcohol.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed 03-28-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Black, no head retention but had reddish lacing

S - Bourbon, coffee, malts, warming feeling up through the nose, dark chocolate

T - Smooth, very smooth with sweetness but then masked by a bourbon bite at the end

M/D - Very tasty imperial stout, smooth tasting, very easy to have more than a couple but then I wouldn't remember much and have a massive hard alcohol hang over!! I did only have the one and have one more to try with some more time on it. A see why it came and went so fast, wished I would have gotten more of these!!

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

A - pours midnight black, no foam, little/no carbonation. very intriguing, you couldn't see a spotlight shined directly on this thing! I am ready to jump right in and taste the hype.

S - coffee, chocolate, expresso, caramel notes, reminds me of a starbucks double shot.

T - am I drinking a beer or a coffee? it's got a very nice stout taste, lots of coffee flavors, definitely taste some chocolate, and even seems a bit creamy, reminding me of an irish coffee. I also can taste the bourbon flavoring quite well.

M - not as thick as it looks, very smooth and no carbonation at all. the alcohol is there but do not feel any burn

D - 11.2% Holy Shit! I don't feel any burn at all. I might need to wake up to a KBS every morning to start my day off right! I would have again, wouldn't mind aging one of these beasts for a year or so and tasting again.

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

Pours a beautiful silky, dense, black that absorbs all light. A thick, creamy head forms. The nose is firmly chocolate, bourbon, smoke, layered with notes of vanilla and dried fruits. The palate is rich with a medium-full body, with intense lingering of bourbon, chocolate malt, smoke and vanilla. Attractive lacing. This stout makes me smile. Definitely moreish! Reverence and dedication to sensory exploration is a must. This is not a quaffing ale but a serious sipper for pondering and reflection. The alcohol is hidden behind the richness. With dessert or after dinner or whenever you have time to spare and enjoy.

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Photo of david18
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I hate to be so agreeable with everyone but this was a pretty amazing beer. I poured it from a bottle into a 20 oz snifter.

Color is very dark, darker than tenfidy. Aroma is amazing, i think the best part of this beer. Carbonation is great and the flavor is very good. Maybe slightly sweeter than I might like but not too hot and I could really taste the oak.

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Photo of mirish72
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally managed to snag two KBS four packs a few weeks ago after months of scheming. I was somewhat skeptical, simply because of the hype, but I was impressed.

Poured into s snifter and it pours incredibly black with a small chocolatey brown head that doesn't stick around too long. The beer has an aroma of sweet, malty bourbon with hints of vanilla.

The beer tastes thick and is very complex, changing with almost every sip. It also hides the booze well, especially as compared to other bourbon stouts. This beer got better with every sip and it takes a lot too keep it to one beer a sitting, trying to make the supply last.

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Photo of morimech
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours black and viscous. A small head forms and quickly settles to a thin film. A light smattery of spotty lacing. Not too surprised by the lack of visual appeal considery the high ABV.

Smell- A lot of vanilla and bourbon scents. There might be some coffee aroma in there someplace but I could not pick it out. Alcohol stands out as well.

Taste- Vanilla! This is the flavor that dominates throughout the flavor. As I worked my way through the 12 oz., the taste score continued to drop as I grew tired of the vanilla flavor. The bourbon adds some flavor dynamic before the alcohol dominates in the finish. Thankfully the brewer hopped the hell out of this beer to cut down on the sweetness. I was waffelling between average and good and went with the higher score as I did enjoy this more than the FBS.

Mouthfeel- Thick and rich like a good Imperial Stout should be. Great carbonation and texture. I do not know how this could be surpassed.

Drinkability- Not that drinkable. The flavors did not drop me to my knees in appreciation and the high ABV, combine to lower drinkability. This beer did not live up to the hype for me, but I can understand how others would thouroughly enjoy KBS.

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Photo of hawks10
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap tonight at Brixie's in Brookfield...KBS release night, Stone tappings, Tool cover band, great night!!

10oz. pour into a snifter...

Pours black and thick as expected, a slow rising one finger of light brown head emerges and leaves just as fast...a tiny bit of lacing is left behind...

Very nice complex aromas...initially strongly smelling of coffee and some burnt grains, a slowly emerging presence of bourbon and vanilla pops out to sweeten the nose and hint towards a fantastic brew...

Coffee and some dark chocolate up front make for a somewhat bitter start to this drink...sipping on this longer and letting it warm a bit really reveals a sweet side of this beer. Some vanilla pokes out and a modest bourbon flavor add delicious complexity and a nice bit of sweetness to balance out the beer...

This one drinks as it looks, thick, creamy and smooth, very coating on the palette. Light carbonation adds to the slickness of this beer. Slightly boozy after a few sips, overall, just tremendous...

Definitely one of those beers that lives up to the hype and high regard, if not surpassing it. Tremendously smooth and easy drinking for an 11% beer, such great flavor and complexity. This was the 2010 version on tap, I enjoyed it much more than the 2009 version both bottled and draft...but I'll probably say the same thing next year about the 2011...

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Photo of theirishdago
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

At first glance this stuff is like motor oil, black and viscous. The head is nice and thick and creamy with a dark tan color to it. My first aroma I got was the bourbon, then dark chocolate and a fresh cappucino smell. The taste of this stuff is just amazing. I almost feel guilty drinking it, it's so decadent. Huge cocoa up front with a nice bourbon finish. The bourbon flavor is well balanced with the coffee, just enough to let you know it's there. This stuff is potent, although the alcohol is well hidden. I gave it a lower score in drinkability only because I had trouble finishing my second pint. I guess if I were a bigger man, it would have been easier.

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Photo of Andreji
4.24/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. so the famous KBS was my second-to-last beer tasted while here in the US this season.

Odd enough, my bottle merely says "KBS", but was pulled off some hidden rack by a nice clerk at the Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA that said "if you like that you should try the KBS we have some out back" in reference to something else i won't mention. And then at the register the cashier said "oh i've tried this and this and this from founder's but never the KBS, it's supposed to be brilliant!". so it's seemingly highly recommended and admired.

Pour is, well, mystical perhaps but a bit flat. no carbonation or near to zero. perhaps a zero-carbon beer? ecologic? dunno. cloudy indeed. nice aspect.

Smell is the best of it- a hefty black coffee feel just the way my 5.30am breakfast smells like before leaving for the hospital. not necessarily the fondest of moments but still it's an admirable replica for a beer and it feels like my well beloved coffee all over.

Taste is nice, although generally overwhelming. strong sweetness from right off, obviously based on the alcohol content with a roasty malt background. too strong still, and the hops serve nearly nothing at all when rounding it up. but maybe a breakfast donut feel? plus the body's fluffly and full so to go along with this.

Still- and much like breakfast- this is, by all means, and at the most, a one-a-day sort of thing.

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a like a very dark brown (basically black) motor oil. A brown head forms to 1/4 inch and reduces to a partly cloudy lacing over the top.

The aroma is great with a nice up front punch of roasted coffee and dark chocolate followed by a smoother bourbon.

The taste is phenomenal. Great mixture of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel sweetness with an added boost of oaky vanilla and bourbon, which combine amazingly well in this beer.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with a solid level of carbonation that minimally balances with the flavor. It has a pleasant texture and leaves a great coffee/dark chocolate bitterness and dryness at the finish.

This is a fantastic beer. I rated the original very high and have refined my palate. This is right there with some of the best. The only reasons I don't rate drinkability higher is because of the high ABV and strength of taste that does a number on your palate and cognition. Yum!

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

Pour a slick black color, brown around the edges, with a tight any creamy brown head that left some sticky lacing. The aroma is that of Kaluha, nice chocolate scent with hints of coffee and booze. I would swear that this was Kaluha if blind folded. Not much bourbon pick up. The taste is of Kaluha with more of a coffee bite and vanilla presence. The bourbon is subtle but noticable and goes extremly well with the chocolatey flavors. Some light fruit tartness in the back end as well as another blast of roasted coffee. Full bodied and slick but does have active carbonation that breaks up the heavy flavors. Some stickiness in the end. Very smooth and the ABV is nowhere to be found. This is a crazy drinkable beer, great flavors but none in excess all working well together. Glad I bought an extra 4 pack.

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Photo of Soneast
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2010. Served at cellar temp ~55°. Poured into a plain snifter. Color is pitch black....maybe some hints of brown in the right light. With a fairly vigorous pour, KBS only develops about a 1/4", brown colored head, that receded pretty rapidly to a sudsy ring, leaving a modest amount of lace on the glass.

The aroma starts out with some pretty nice coffee and dark chocolate aromas, giving in quickly to a well-balanced bourbon character. Roasty and burnt caramels, with some sweet molasses notes.

The flavor follows suit. The coffee/dark chocolate characters take front seat, followed up quite nicely by a sweet booziness from the bourbon as well as a nice woody/oak character that I don't necessarily pick up in the aroma. The finish is well balanced, starting out with a sweet cream/marshmallow flavor, but falls short of becoming cloying, leaving just a mildly bitter, roast coffee flavor on the palate.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky-icky. As I swirl it in my snifter, it coats the surface of the glass with an oil-like slick. Carbonation is very mild, just enough to tickle the tongue, but doesn't distract from the creamy mouthfeel of the beer. Compared to some of Founder's other bourbon barreled aged beers, I found this one to be the most balanced with the bourbon flavors. The bourbon is there but it melds perfectly with the characteristics of an amazingly well-crafted coffee stout. KBS is full of complex flavors yet remains well balanced. While I wouldn't recommend drinking more than one or two, all I know is I can't wait to crack my next KBS in a few months!

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Photo of Mora2000
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this beer. This has been on my to-try list for years and it didn't disappoint.

The beer pours a thick black with a brown head. The aroma is bitter coffee with some chocolate as well. The flavor is very complex with bourbon, oak, chocolate and coffee. The aftertaste is heavy on the chocolate with a strong warming from the alcohol. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. An outstanding beer overall.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no distinguishing marks of vintage or bottle number. 2010 batch.

Poured into a chalice/snifter a thick and opaque black reminding me of the mirror like qualities of a crystal ball... only jet black like the darkest of nights. Carbonation was fantastic and bubbled upwards to create a finger width head filled with colors of cappuccino and creamed coffee with just a touch of red. Head quickly fades to just a skimming but with great lacing that seems to haunt the side of my glass in large menacing rings and drips.

A heavy of bouquet of espresso beans, rich coffee and chocolate is quickly complemented by oak and vanilla. The vanilla lingers onward with hints of alcohol sharpness and bourbon richness.

Heavily alcoholic, the brew hits like the first sip of whiskey but then comes the chocolate... An interesting mixing of dark chocolate, black coffee, light oak, light molasses and espresso beans confuse my palette. Definitely enjoyable but very different. The more I sip, the more I feel as if I am drinking a cup of really great coffee as the aftertaste is only of coffee, cream and light vanilla.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy and a bit syrupy at times. For a stout, it drinks nicely and as I would expect.

Drinkability? I've downed half a chalice at this point and, at 330 pounds, feel warm and fuzzy... Don't even try to make this a session beer unless, perhaps, you're used to drinking moonshine. The beer is smooth enough, however, and the alcohol becomes dangerously more hidden over time. Careful drinking if you're having more than one.

All in all, this is a great beer with, perhaps, a little too much hype surrounding it at times. I would still recommend any BA to try one or two of these but don't go trading one-for-one for a Westy or vintage DL or anything. This is a grade "A" beer but it shouldn't be a white whale. This is another great offering from an already solid brewery that finds it's beers as regulars in my cellar.

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Photo of iuhophead87
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that I found hidden behind a row of breakfast stout at the local 21st amendment. I know very lucky! To make it even better, I found two of them.

A- Very thick and black. IF I didn't pour it from the bottle, I would think it was motor oil. Of course the nice tan head would give it away. Very sticky looking with the way it clings to the side of the glass.
S- Coffee, check! Bourbon, check! KBS smells just as it advertises plus a little vanilla and roasty malts. I can't wait to try this year's version.
T- As I begin to taste the coffee flavor is over powering. After a few sips, I taste the bourbon, but a stronger vanilla flavor comes through. The finish is very sweet almost like a chocolate malt. Although I taste all of these flavors, KBS becomes more balanced as it warms and as I drink more. There is no alcohol flavor at all. I can't believe I am drinking an 11%ABV beer.
MF- KBS is very creamy in the mouth. It is not as thick as it looks!
D-This beer is awesome. I could drink this beer again and again and again and again and again and again. O.K. You get my point. Despite the ABV, I will drink this beer anytime I have the chance. I do have 5 more chances because I own that many more. I will have to limit my intake if I do not find anymore. Please let more of this perfect beer fall my way!!!!

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

A- Pours a beautiful, thick, opaque black with a one finger mocha-colored head. Fair head retention.

S- Sweet,slightly boozy, some caramel, woody, rich coffee and a bit of dark chocolate.

T- Coffee and chocolate up front, accompanied by a nice vanilla that comes out more as the beer warms. Very rich, although I could do with a bit more bourbon flavor. A bit of woodyness littered throughout the beer as well.

M- Not the heaviest of hitters, but plenty thick and viscous. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Very very drinkable and it only gets better as you go. The alcohol is deceptively hidden, but you'll know it's there by the time the beer's gone.

I've drank two bottles of this years KBS purchased from two different locations, and they proved to be a bit different, so I scored them based on the better of the two. The difference seemed to be in the mouthfeel and the alcohol presence, with one being thinner and boozier that the other that was thick and has less bourbon presence. I'm curious to see how time will treat these...

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Photo of tr4nc3d
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Wespatrick for sending this my way

12fl oz bottle poured into my snifter

This poured an opaque like color with no light being able to pass through this darkly stout. Pour produced a very little half inch mocha colored head with less than average retention. As it faded it left a mere ring on the outer edges of the beer. No lacing was left at all.

Aroma consisted of some bourbon which was not overpowering, some vanilla, chocolate, oak, oats, leather. Very good aroma coming from this beer.

Upfront slightly sweet chocolate taste is first noticed that lead into some vanilla flavor coming through. In between I get some oatmeal with some coffee and a slight bourbon undertone that is really not that noticeable. Overall very smooth throughout.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with average carbonation. Smooth taste all throughout.

My impression of this beer is that it is a very good stout and deserves the praise and hype it gets. The only thing I would have though was that it would have a more prominent bourbon flavor as others have mentioned.

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

Maybe the best beer I have ever had. Only beer at the LI festival I went back to for seconds. The pour was inky black with a bit of a tan head. You could smell rich chocolate and coffee. You could definitely taste elements of the bourbon oak barrels. In addition to the chocolate and coffee you could taste some vanilla. None of the flavors were overpowering and you could taste the different layers of flavor in each sip.

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Photo of drinkathon
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I have been on BA for a while and have been a BA for much longer. I have finaly desided to make my first reviue.
A- This beer is a beauty, very dark very thick and from my pour the dark tan head will reapear with a swirll of the glass every time.
S- I am drinking this from a Chimey chalis and to get good draw I have to cup the top of the glass. It is a very sweet and moacha chino with a touch of whiskey.
T-It is soooo gooood. To me the the un sung hero that I have not seen in any other reviues is the Chocolate and vanilla. Coffee and the whiskey heat in the finish, so balanced between all the flavors the 70ibu. is not even noticable.
M- The mouth feel is so velvety it is like melted chocolate I dont get oily or viscos at all
gd this beer is good.

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Photo of Aenema
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a short-lived brown head. The beer itself leaves no lacing behind. Faint mahogany fringes.
Smell - Intense roasted coffee, smoke.
Taste - Roasted coffee, smoke, slight cocoa note, enjoyable bourbon presence adds to the harmony of flavors rather than dominating. Delicious finish of vanilla and oak.
Mouthfeel - Very smooth with a luscious thickness. Well carbonated.
Drinkability - Very slow sipper, very filling and rich, but I would be happy to nurse this all night.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmu500 for this one.

Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pitch black dark with the darkest head I've ever seen. Pores fairly thick . No light gets through this one. The head is on par with the color of chocolate milk and coats the sides of the glass with nice lacing.

S: Wonderful strong smell here. Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, cream, and a touch of oatmeal all blend together for a stinging complex nose.

T: Coffee, roasted malts, and a nice layer of bourbon and vanilla all fill the tastebuds. My first bourbon aged stout, but this sets an enormous bar for the rest to come.

M: Rich with moderate to low carbonation. Would think this beer would be more creamy being a stout. A little thin, but surprisingly the bourbon kind of flows with this feel in my opinion.

D: From what I've read this one goes down very smooth. For me, the bourbon takes a little out of the drinkability. Warms up the stomach and nose during consumption.

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

I finally got my hands on a four-pack of this from my local eclectic beers shop, Lighthouse Beer and Wine. Love that place, and they definitely know their stuff. I walked in, asked if they had KBS, and the guy there nodded slowly, almost as if he didn't want me to buy it and was hoarding it for himself. Finally he said, "Fucking...Awesome." Of course I knew this. Scooped it on the spot.

Pours dark, dark, dark as the darkest evening you can imagine. Absolutely zero light filtration. I poured the damn thing nearly straight down, trying to get a semblance of a head on it, but no dice. This thing is HEAVY.

Wow, the, chocolate, so much malt, oatmeal, perhaps traces of fruitiness that reminds me of chocolate-covered cherries or something along those lines.

The taste was like no beer I have ever consumed, and I doubt I'll encounter an equal any time in the future. So much going on. Sweet, yet...not. The first taste is almost milk-chocolatey, and there's a lot of sweetness. But it finishes with a slight bitterness, much like a cup of good coffee. Your tastebuds yearn for more right after you swallow.

Not much carbonation, but there's so much going on that it would be hard to ask for more bubbles. It's very smooth, and it goes down quite easily. Perhaps a little aftertaste of bourbon as the beer begins to warm, which only makes it better.

Worth the hype.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,093 ratings.
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