KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
13,220 Ratings
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.30%

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

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13,220 |  Reviews: 3,355
Photo of MysterySwirl
2.65/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Opening a 2009 - this beer is opaque black with little head and a strong coffee flavor. Smells charred and bitter as if they burnt the coffee before putting it into the barrel.

This one tastes more chocolate-y and bourbon like. The vanilla notes are much more muted this year than the previous years and I honestly prefer the extra vanilla's presence. Not really complex flavor but decent mouthfeel. Honestly, I enjoyed the aroma more than the taste bc I could pick out the sweet/fruit notes better that way.

This beer isn't that complex. Maybe I've been spoiled - maybe it's not aging well with the bourbon notes mellowing and bringing out the coffee... I just know that it didn't live up to my expectations.

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Photo of semihobo
4.39/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one bottle of KBS in March for $6.49 (I believe this is currently a personal $ per oz record, unfortunately), drinking it now for no particular reason. 12 ozer in a chalice.

Very little head that quickly subsides to nothing. Black, black, black. No "ruby highlights" or anything, just black. Cool wild west medicine-style label design.

Smells of cocoa and cold-brewed coffee. Bourbon smell is subdued, beautifully smoky and peaty. No smell of alcohol.

Surprisingly smooth. Chocolate and coffee are understated, nothing too over the top or one-note. More like very strong coffee than the char you see in many imperial stouts. The bourbon emerges toward the finish and is gently smoky. Some vanilla phenols go well with cocoa. These have to be the least-noticed 70 IBUs ever. They provide some bittering but hardly play a dominant role. Alcohol is well-masked, although the fact that the beer has the bourbon flavor helps -- an alcohol burn would feel totally appropriate. Finish is nice and bitter, equal parts hops and coffee.

Very low carbonation, moderately heavy body, both appropriate to style. Slightly oily finish.

An excellent beer, both in general and within the style. Must acquire more...

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Photo of BTPete
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 "KBS" style 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pitch black engine oil. Seems thick on the pour. Thin brown head that leaves spotty lacing as it goes down.

S: Bourbon on the first smell. Roasty malts, chocolate and coffee when I go back in for more.

T: A little bourbon on the front end, then the chocolate and roasted malts come in. This one does end with a nice little burn to it. Not too much though. I found this to be pretty well balanced looking at the ABV coupled with the barrel aging.

M: Full bodied and low carb. Not surprising for style.

D: This one is a heavy hitter but surely enjoyable. Has mellowed a little since my last taste in March 2009. Very good I would say great stout overall. I think it is a great beer that I will look forward to reviewing against this coming years version.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to review this again after having it a few times. This was a 12 oz. bottle of the 2009 "KBS" variety poured into a chalice.

Thick, black, creamy, and opaque. In appearance, essentially everything you could expect from a stout.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup, coffee, and dark chocolate.. probably one of the best beer smells I've experienced.

The flavor is very sweet up front, again with that mix of vanilla, bourbon, and coffee. Alcohol makes its presence known, but for 11%+ this is drinkable as hell.

The first time I tried this I didn't quite buy into the hype, but now I am a believer. This is one of the best all-around beers I've tried.

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Photo of auroracrisis
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a couple of glasses of this last night at The Chase Tap Room in Lexington. It was great to finally see something this rare go on tap in this town and I am hoping it happens more often.

Pours a smooth, deep black with a one finger head that dissipates after the first sip into a small brown ring around the edges of the snifter.

The smell was absolutely intoxicating. Lots of bourbon and coffee notes blended together in perfect unison. The smell of this beer doesn't get any weaker as you drink either, it just keeps jumping out of the glass and up your nose as you drink down your glass.

The taste is smoothed out bourbon with lightly roasted coffee. There is great balance in the taste which could have been due to the age of the keg (being 8 or so months old) but I am pretty sure it's like this fresh as well (from what I can remember it being like out of the bottle months ago). Absolutely delicious and pretty much the definition of balance in a bourbon stout.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Smooth until the last drop with minimal carbonation which causes the beer to go down much faster than it should at such a high abv.

Drinkability is dangerously good. I had two glasses of it in about an hour and had to tell myself to slow down so I didn't get too intoxicated.

Overall, this is probably one of my favorite beers of all time and I am glad I finally had the chance to try this on tap and have a couple glasses as well. Well done, Founders!

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Photo of caskstrength
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 KBS bottle. And a few 2010s too.

Total blackness, just a trace of head. Worried already about carbonation. Newer bottles with more carbonation.

Smell is exactly what I was expecting. Coffee richness with some boozy bourbon.

Taste is as the smell predicts. Thicker, boozier version of breakfast stout with heaps of bourbon mixed in. But not much else. I was hoping for some unexpected complexity, but it didn't really show up. But who cares. This beer is not about unexpected complexity. This beer is about coffee/alcohol/bourbon, and it's about coffee/alcohol/bourbon done right.

Mouthfeel is thick and appopriate enough for the flavors and style and abv.

Met expectations, which were pretty high. Deserves it's ranking. A beer I would always like to have around. If you like the whiskey barrel, and you like coffee stouts...pull up a chair.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.34/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer is very black with hardly any brown in the light. The head is very disappointing as there is none and after finally pouring a medium tan head fizzles for seconds and is gone. There is no lacing.

The aroma is very strong but dominated by mostly roasted coffee. There is not much complexity as you get a little alcohol but that's it.

The taste is like the aroma but stronger. Its all coffee but bad stale and bitter coffee. Its simple without any complex flavors. At the end there is a little bourbon and charred wood.

The feel is ok but the drinkability is really down.

I was very excited to finally get my hands on this, but after I did I came away very disappointed. Its not drinkably, not complex, and just not a great RIS.

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Photo of Anthony1
4.02/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smell is Bourbon and sharp strong coffee. The overall aroma is sharp like fresh strong lightly roasted coffee. Every sniff brings more of that wonderful coffee and bourbon aroma with all the subtle scents you would associate with those smells. Bitter chicory, vanilla, caramel, wine, nuts, oak, and slight amount of black pepper are all in there. I could smell this 24/7 and never get tired of it; they should make a cologne that smells like this.

Taste is slightly sweet and full of smooth coffee and bourbon flavor. Quite strong and tasty vanilla flavor with a tasty chocolate and bourbon aftertaste. Smooth and never bitter

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick as oil...and dark as too. Little to no head present. A thin ring apears...dark brown. Aroma is very strong, like coffee, chocolate, and slightly bitter. I pick up a little burbon, boozy scent too.
Heavy vanilla, coffee, choclate, raison taste. Not as sweet as a Dark Lord(Three Floyds), but similar in the raison/coffee taste. Very heavy, almost like watered down syrup in consistency. Even more flavors as beer warms up. Very solid Imperial Stout!

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Photo of hayesez
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a drink of this beer for the first time at Dark Lord Day a couple of years ago, and remember being a little underwhelmed. However, it was early afternoon by that point...

Received this one in a trade with brewCzar - thanks for the hook-up!

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Very little head with just a hoola-hoop of tan foam. Very dark and viscous with a small amount of nice lace.

The smell of this thing almost knocked me over at first. It took me quite a while to place the specific coffee smell in there but I finally got it. When you've left your pot of coffee on the fire in hunting camp all day, all of the water has evaporated, you just have that "sludge" at the bottom...if you've ever stuck your nose in there, then you know what I'm talking about. That deep, strong, coffee sludge smell. There's also a bit of vanilla and some dark cherries in there as well, but the hunting camp sludge is out in front - and it is wonderful!

So much more impressed with the taste of this than I remember! As anticipated, I got smacked with a lot of coffee on the front, but this beer is much more complex than that. The chocolate in the middle was very pronounced as well...almost a milk chocolate as opposed to dark. By the third drink, I was stuck on the bourbon taste - right there on the back of the tongue. This was probably the most impressive part of the beer. The bourbon was very strong, but in a very positive way - it really stuck with me long after I'd finished the drink. If you like bourbon, I have full confidence that you will be impressed with the way it is incorporated in this brew! The beer was not alcoholic either - impressively smooth.

This beer is nearly as thick as it looks. It coats the mouth and lingers around long after the beer is gone. Outstanding.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the KBS. I have six more sitting in my basement and look forward to keeping those around for a few years. Definitely a beer that I'll always have on hand!

Consumed - 11/24/2009

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Photo of womencantsail
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #200 comes courtesy of imperialking. Jeff was kind enough to hook it up with two bottles of KBS...as extras!

A: KBS has that wonderful motor oil like pour with a thin layer of mocha colored foam.

S: While I'm not much of a coffee fan, the coffee aroma in this beer is amazing. There are also great chocolate, roasted malt, and ever so slight bourbon scents.

T: Talk about flavor! There are huge coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and bourbon flavors in this. The alcohol is definitely there, but it's not quite as boozy as I was preparing for.

M: This is a great thick, chewy, creamy beer.

D: The drinkability is surprisingly good for such a strong beer. The beer is not "hot", and the flavors are absolutely sensational. I'm glad that I have another one of these to enjoy.

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Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Speedwayjim.

Appearance: Jet black with 1 finger of chocolate colored head, motor oil thick, the head dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: Roasted dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Opens with a rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Strong malt backbone as the two flavors revolve around as the bourbon shows it face at the finish with a breif hint of licorice and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium Bodied, medium carbonation and smooth throughout.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy the Breakfast stout but better, maltier and richer in flavor.

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Photo of Donerik
3.43/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I liked this the least of the three breakfast stouts, I found the tastes mudded.

A - Black, brown head, low retention, as expected, beautiful

S - Smells good, coffee, bourbon, unmistakable aromas of both combine with roasted malt.

T - a bit of a let down here, the three tastes from the aroma just kind of mudd up, the coffee was a bit too overpowering and the bourbon flavor doesn't come all the way through, just as an alcohol.

M - didn't finish as well as the rest of the family, a bit more burning

D - 1 was my limit on this, I've had more than one of both of the others, I didn't enjoy this beer the same way as the others, it was in the finish.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Motor oil black, almost no head, very thin tan coating disappears leaving almost no ring. Perfectly opaque. Full nose with rich smell of roast coffee, espresso, burnt toast and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with substantial body. Bitter taste with astringent bourbon impressions very pronounced, bakers chocolate and burnt coffee, chocolate almond biscotti, some nuttiness. Very complex stout with a huge taste, velvet feel although just a touch too astringent... I could live with a steady supply of these!

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Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick deep brown/black with a hint of brown foam. Leaves traces of lacing.

Lots of deep roasted malt, bourbon scent, moderate coffee and a hint of vanilla.

Lots of chocolate with notes of coffee, vanilla and bourbon. Perfection! So perfectly blended and outstanding tasting.

Rich and creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied, but not syrupy and sticky. Smooth and dry finishing.

Should be a sipper of a beer, but it makes you want to sip frequently. Outstanding beer, give me more.

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Photo of dasfunker
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It's my birthday and I did nothing but work for 12 hours. I came home and fell asleep for two hours, so technically, it's no longer my birthday. Be that as it may, I got up and decided to hit the beers. I'm getting a kegerator next week and my refrigerator is currently loaded with 200+ beers. Luckily I'm a chef and can bring food home, because I sure as hell have no where to store it. Irrelavent. Drank many other beers. Decided to have a special beer for the occasion. Good God this is good. I'm not a scientific rater. I'm not going to break this down to categories. What I will say is that I hate coffee. I also hate bourbon. And if I could, this beer would flow from every tap in my home. I went through hell to procure just one 2007 bottle of this Felix Felicitas, and my advice to everyone is: If you find it, buy it. All of it. Elbow people in the face if they get too close before you get it home. You will not regret it. Cheers!

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.29/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oil can black color with a thin tan head. High ABV keeps the head down and there is no lace. Smell of bourbon with some coffee and burnt malt in the background. Taste hits you up front with the bourbon and then the coffee and burnt malts slip in. Some dark fruits and raisin flavors slip in there too. Very full mouth with very litle carbonation. Some major burn in the finish. Overall this one is exactly what you would expect. Big, in your face, full of alcohol. Well done Founders.

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Photo of PALMEJ1
4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

received from mikesgroove as part of "review this" BIF. bottled 2/17/09 poured into dfh snifter

a-pours so thick. even with a 10-12" pour the beer does not splash, it barely moves. little one finger head settles quick. foam ring around the glass is almost a pinkish brown.
s-you can smell this one from 3 feet away. chocolate and espresso comes first. little wood and some alcohol but its smooth and it blends together nicely.
t-big flavors right from the start. chocolate, alcohol, woody notes, mild liquorish. there's a clear taste of molasses, more than most stouts Ive had. the wood/bourbon flavor contributes a big smokiness along with the roasted malt. big time heat you can feel in your gut. I only got mild coffee in the taste. Big but good.
m-thick! the thick mouth does work excellent with the big flavors to make a memorable experience.
d-the heat did distract me. not the mildest 11% I've had, however I did not have a problem finishing the bottle.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped this for my 100th review. 2009 vintage

A- Pours an oily black with a short lived burnt brown head.

S- Heavy bourbon barrel, rich dark chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, a bit of smoke in there, gourmet coffee. Truely wonderful, I could sniff this for days (that's what she said).

T- Similar to the nose. The smoke, coffee, cocoa, and bourbon flavors integrate nicely. 11.2% hidden fairly well.

M- Light carbonation and slight viscosity, subtle silky tannins smooth it out nicely but not as full as I expected.

D- Powerful beer, but tastes great enough to drink a few glasses. As great as this is, I may have liked the Canadian Breakfast just a little more. Just a hair.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared this one with capra12. Served from a 12oz. bottle poured into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Poured a vigorous 1 finger dark chocolate fine head with ok retention. Brew itself was black and opaque like motor oil with near no carbonation. Lacing was spotty but ample.

S: Overwhelming coffee nose with characters of dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Wow. So damn deep and complex. Starts off with milk and dark chocolate. A strong bourbon character develops along with a nice roasted coffee palate. Finishes with re-emerging dark and milk chocolate and a slightly alcoholic aftertaste.

M: Oily and flat, this one coats the mouth nicely. Deep bodied and viscous and ends dry and clean.

D: This is Founders Breakfast Stout but just better in every way that it could be better. More chocolate, deeper coffee, and overall more complexity and character. An amazing experience that I can't wait to have again.

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Photo of caresville
4.54/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

w-o-w. pours midnight black with an almost nothing beige head. aroma is deeep, dark chocolate, black coffee, kentucky bourbon, and maybe some more black coffee. taste is very strong of coffee, with some chocolate and an alcohol finish. very thick, roasty and full of coffee and chocolatey goodness. one of the best beers i have ever had in general, hands down.

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Photo of aaronh
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is almost indescribable. Jet black body. Aroma of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, bourbon. Flavor - more of the same. Unbelievably complex but no odd flavors. Mouthfeel - extremely rich. Drinkability - even at 11% ABV I want to drink this all the time. Next year I need 2 cases.

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Photo of McDiddyPop
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of Kryptic. Bottled 2/16/09. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

KBS pours pitch black. Not a bit of light shines through this one- and I was really looking for it, too. A small dark brown head doesn't stick around long, leaving spotty lacing. As I swirl it in the glass I can see brown, boozy legs slowly sliding down the sides.

Smell is all bourbon and vanilla up front. As it warms I get lots of caramel and chocolate, and finally after searching long and hard I finally picked out a bit of the coffee. I now understand that this isnt FBS from a bourbon barrel- I am dealing with a completely different animal.

Taste starts off tremendously sweet with chocolate and vanilla, finished off with a slight bitter roasted flavor from the coffee. The coffee really helps to balance this one out, but it is certainly not at the forefront. The bourbon heat gives it a nice kick on the finish. I dig this one a lot.

Nice smooth mouthfeel. Minimal carbonation makes this one slick and oily, and the bourbon warmth coats my palate with each sip. It could use a bit more carbonation, but nonetheless it was still a joy to sip on for an hour or so. The drinkability is out of this world for the ABV, but with another year on it I think the bourbon heat will have mellowed out and this one would be just about pitch perfect.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Feb-16-09

The appearance is dark dark dark black. Even the edges of this are black. Comes with a small mocha head that leaves fast. It does cover the sides of the glass with a thick alcoholic residue.

The smell is a mixture of the tastes. Bourbon and alcohol are overwhelming smells. Chocolate and coffee and small hints of vanilla. Dark fruits, sweet plumbs mostly. Bourbon overtakes everything.

The taste is fairly hot. Bourbon just takes the stage and steals the show. Coffee flavors are not as present as I wanted them to, chocolate is also a very large character. The chocolate in this is more sweet bakers chocolate rather than earthy chocolate malt flavor. The bourbon is not smooth like Bourbon County, it is a bit more rough on the palate and interferes with some of the other flavors. When it warms up to room temperature the vanilla character comes out.

The mouthfeel is great because I personally love a bourbon mouthfeel, hot and intense. The drinkability is good, but the ABV can be tasted. I would easily drink 4 of these in a sitting and love it. A great Winter brew.
I have read other reviews and maybe mine is either not old enough or too old? I don't know but this is one good beer that I wish I could buy all the time.
Not better than FBS.


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Photo of beer1018
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Birthday present to myself 10102009

Poured into a snifter with a very little carmel colored head. Appears pitch black, this beast is thick. Smells of dark chocolate and coffee, i am not really smelling any of the bourbon. Taste is like a dark chocolate truffle, wow this is tasty and the alchol burn is very mild as well which is nice. Mouthfeel is creamy with bubbles from the slight amount of carbonation. If i was able to drink more then two i would. Best stout i have had so far with blackout stout being a close second. Recomended

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 13,220 ratings