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: 3,091 | Ratings: 12,166
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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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours fairly thick, and pitch black. The head is thick, and frothy. It lasts. The nose is very pleasing. It's got coffee notes, and chocolate. The taste is amazing. It's rich with coffee flavor. It has some barrel flavor. It's smooth. Very delicious.

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Photo of Its_a_Daniel_Life
4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The reason I rated maybe lower then others is, I have had so many great Barreled Aged Stouts that just taste better. I have had a few each year and they do age very well. Looking forward to a 5 year vertical aging

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, 2013 version, 11.2% ABV, enjoyed 6/23/16. Pours jet black with a small sized dark khaki head. Smells of cocoa, bourbon, oak, roasted malt, and oxidization/sherry; good intensity. The taste follows exactly with cocoa, bourbon, oak, roasted malt, and oxidization; extremely smooth. Some moderate bitterness and light sweetness. Above average body and lower carbonation. Overall, the flavors have really mellowed out and lost all harshness. Seems to have held up alright with cellaring, but might be a little past it's prime.

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Photo of bryanfox
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is an magnificent experience. The dark, rich, thick appearance is unmistakable in your glass. The deep and bold flavors linger in your mouth. The perfect beer to sip on!

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

L - Dark, creamy pour into a pint glass (I like pint glasses)

S - Coffee & bourbon, couldn't wait to try

T - Again, coffee w/ chocolate & some nice booze!

F - Nice bite from the bourbon (could be under taste), but smooth in it's own way

O - Solid frickin' stout. Try it if you get your hands on it

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Photo of OKbrew89
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Update: Current rating is reflective of the 2016 KBS release on tap.
2015 bottle. Poured into a sniffer. Jet black color with a toffee colored fingernail head that doesn't leave lacing. The lack of head might have something to do with my pouring. Nose of bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malts. It's a nose with lots of fine details. Taste follows the nose with roasted malt, subdued coffee, sweetness from vanilla and chocolate, and oak. Full, creamy body and low carbonation with no alcohol sneaking through.
I broke this out to split with my dad for Father's Day and kinda wish I had the whole bottle to myself. It has a wonderfully complex nose and layered, balanced body that isn't too boozey, oakey, or sweet. This year lived up to the hype. It makes me look forward to the 2016 bottles.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Black with a nice brown head that vanishes and leaves no lacing
S: Bourbon, coffee, roasted malts, alcohol
T: Dark malt, bourbon barrel, coffee, and booze
F: smooth and hot
O: A treat to enjoy whenever you can get your hands on it. For 12 percent it is well made and has just the right balance of barrel and alcohol characteristics

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Photo of Eli2814
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to get a growler of the stuff ^__^
Too dark to see through (no matter how hard you try). Thin, dark brown head, quite the looker.
Smells of sweet soy sauce and coffee, no booze detected.
Similar to the taste, but with less coffee. More roasted malt, with the sweetness of bourbon to take the bitter edge out. SO we'll balanced! Not the slightest hint of alcohol (until it hits you that is).
Smooth mouthfeel, high abv calls for pretty low carbonation. Im probably taking more sips per minute than I should be, but that only proves how exceptionally easy it is to drink such a big beer.
Overall, it excels the hype placed upon it. Founders really hit it on the nose with this one, not surprised it's one of their flagship beers.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage served cold in a snifter

Appearance: midnight black with a massive coffee colored head of creamy foam. Slick and oily top with tons of alcohol legs and a bit of lacing

Nose: chocolate, coffee, roasted coffee beans, dark fruits, some alcohol notes, bourbon, oaky, toasted marshmallow, coconut, vanilla, very rich and sweet.

Taste: follows the nose perfectly. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted coffee beans, raisins, prunes and figs, a bit boozy, bourbon, oaky, toasted marshmallow, coconut, vanilla, very rich and sweet with a slight acrid finish. The mouthfeel is very rich but quite smooth and creamy with a medium to heavy body.

I've hears quite a bit about this beer being overrated but I have to disagree. It is exactly as advertised: an Imperial Russian Stout with chocolate and coffee aged in bourbon barrels. I really love this beer and think it lives up to the hype. Thanks Jim for hooking me up with the bottles!

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Photo of JamFuel
4.14/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a low, chocolate brown head that disappears quite quickly.

Big smell, with a healthy dollop of dark chocolate, some roasted coffee and a bit of fudge.

The taste has more coffee than chocolate, and I also get some coconut and salty licorice. Quite a bit of booze, before the slightly salty finish comes in.

The liquid is thick, but not quite as thick as I would have liked. Carbonation is good and proper.

KBS is one of the most hyped beers around, and after having a couple of them, I'm not all that enthralled by it. It's a very good stout, but it's just a bit too boozy and a little bit too thin for my taste.

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Photo of nerdboy19
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

KBS 2016 thanks to Ted & Jeff

Appear : redish black - 4/5
Aroma : milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, little bit of oak, roasted, coffee, alcohol - 8/10
Mouthfeel : very silky smooth, medium-full body, low carbonation - 4.5/5
Flavor : big dessert bomb. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, little bit of roasted, oak, sweet and balanced bitterness. - 9/10
Overall : amazing ba stout. Very smooth, drinkable, and dessert-like. Just my style, love it.

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Photo of Rudydsp
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Batch 2016..12.4%...Bottled 3/2/16. Pitch black with a finger thick mocha head. Lacing began after the first sip. Coffee prominent upfront then fades to a sweet chocolate taste. Bourbon and oak notes appear as the beer warms up. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of Jaypeajus
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The BA website just crashed but this beer can't wait for me any longer. Spoils of a trade. 2016 Into med snifter. 50 degrees. Black as all get out with a smooth khaki head that thinned pretty quick as expected. Oddly enough, this JUST smells like a normal stout. Not getting much bourbon smell. Sweet decadent oats and rich creamy chocolate. A bit of licorice. Taste is per the smell but, there the bourbon hides. It's like it was in the barrel, soaked in the grains of wood waiting to be released. Not much coffee in the taste, or if it is there it's just the best dang smooth coffee I've ever had. Man this is good! Really regretting passing on the chance to buy a 14,16 to try as a vertical a week ago! DOH! Mouthfeel is silky smooth like doing a good bourbon shot and chasing it with worlds best chocolate. Seriously good. Overall, it's meh.

Just kidding. Actually, my first thoughts overall were 'holy crapdabble'. Thanks noyoudidnt!

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Real Ale in Twickenham. 2016 batch. Smells great, like a fresh cup of coffee just when you need it most. The taste is a good blend of bitter coffee and chocolate, with tangy, boozy bourbon spice and oakey vanilla to balance it out, together with carbonation perfectly aligned between fizzy and creamy, it's thick yet not cloying. Unbelievable Jeff.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Last time I had one of these was on Derby Day. The convenient 12oz bottle makes it available to break out at a variety of settings. You don't need help. Pours thick and black. Hits the tan head, even amasses a 1/2" break point. Retention isn't all that high, there's a lot of booze slickness. Aroma is bunches and bunches of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon.

Chocolate really pushes itself in this one, especially with time on it. Isn't boozy, is enjoyable. Pro tip: Save a few ounces at the bottom of the bottle and put it in your morning coffee. Start the day a fun way. Its not all chocolate, bourbon and vanilla though. There is a mild oak contribution.

She's a keeper and elite tier barrel aged stout. No infection issues ever that I recall.

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

Smell is just WOW - marshmallows, licorice, rich chocolate, big coconut, a little smoke... Some espresso bringing up the rear. Not a huge aroma, but certainly a rich, enticing one.

Flavor is a bit more conventional for BBA stout. Light chocolate, cherry and oak. Certainly a nice cloak of bourbon, although not overpowering. Everything melds well, but feels a little thin. Doesn't drink like a 12% beer, for better or for worse.

Chocolate flavor gets a bit richer and "gooier" as the beer warms. Some apple spice also emerges. Solid, solid flavor profile. There's a level of balance and nuance that is more in line with an abbey quad, rather than the in-your-face character of barrel aged stouts that we've recently grown accustomed to.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,166 ratings.
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