Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
Liked This Beer
4.61 w/ 12,682 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 12,682 |  Reviews: 3,242
Photo of SheepNutz
4.27/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a jet black color with virtually no head. There's no lacing as well. The actual beer really coats the glass though. The smell is full of roasted malt and coffee, that's it. Smells like a big ol' pot of joe, fresh roasted. Such a huge aroma! The taste is also full of coffee, actually almost tastes more like a spiked coffee than a beer. If it wasn't for the roasted malt present, I probably wouldn't know the difference. It's the best of both worlds. Tasty. The mouthfeel is super thick, and heavy on the tongue. The drinkability is great for a 10% brew. A big shout out to Kev for sharing this.

 640 characters

Photo of Prufrock
3.92/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

pitch black. an aggressive pour gets a little more than a quarter inch of brown head. head falls quickly and leaves thin rings of lace.

coffee beans dominate the aroma, with some sweet malty sugar behind it. just a hint of vanilla, alcohol, and a slight nuttiness as well.

light carbonation and a smooth, slick mouthfeel. sweetened, nutty coffee, bourbon , vanilla and alcohol in the flavor. finishes with a coffee (what else?) bitterness and some alcohol sweetness. a great beer but definitely one to be enjoyed in small doses.

 577 characters

Photo of oberon
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Man was I glad to get my hands on some of this,pours a opaque black with a quick to form mocha colored head that was gone quite fast,oh the aromas the bourban barrel shows thru with its oaky,vanilla tones that match perfectly with the highly roasted somewhat dry earthiness and bitter chocolate notes of the beer its a 5 no doubt.Flavors all come together in near perfection the oakiness is more subdued on the palate wich is nice I dont like overpowering wood flavors like some beers aged in wood have,anyways the complexities are immense vanilla,unsweetened chocolate ,roasty malt,earth,and even a light note of malted milk.What can I say its awesome Iam gonna savor the 8 I have for sure.

 691 characters

Photo of kdmorse
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured vigorously into a pint glass to leave 2 fingers of tan head. As head recedes, lacing clings longingly to the glass. Body is pitch black.

S: Smell is incredibly similar to its Michigan brother (Breakfast Stout) at first. Coffee! Some oatmeal and dark chocolate, but lots of coffee. As it warms slightly, bourbon sweetness takes over. Aging seems to mellow out the aromas.

T: Coffee flavor floods the tongue and is followed by a wave of dark chocolate and hints of bourbon and oak. Hops sneak around like a thief in the night to balance the beer. Coffee in the finish and aftertaste with sweet memories sticking around.

M: Creamy and thick mouthfeel.

D: Don’t taste the alcohol, but can feel it is there. Easy and fun to drink, but it is 10%.

Notes: After a side-by-side tasting, I prefer the regular BS. This is more subtle and smooth, but lacks the boldness of its un-aged version.

 907 characters

Photo of hero27
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours exceptionally dark with an unusually dark brown head. The aroma is out of this world..huge & complex.. thick coffee, vanilla, tree sap, and bourbon-soaked oak just eminate from the glass..
Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, and bourbon flavors slap you in the face on the first sip. I really love the bourbon character and the thick wood easily could come off as "overdone", but I think it comes together perfectly. Incredible coating mouthfeel. I actually enjoyed this more than the original Founders Breakfast Stout, if you can believe it. Certainly a must try.

 607 characters

Photo of mattcrill
3.81/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one.

Aroma: Straight up bourbon to start with. Not a good sign. Where is the stout? A touch of wet paper, alcohol, a bit of vanilla oak, and oh yeah...there it is...a touch of chocolate malt peeks through as this warms up. Still, the aroma is a bit intimidating.

Appearance: Dark black fading to chocolate edging. A tight tan cap with nice lacing. The head retention is very impressive.

Flavor: Thankfully, much better than the aroma. Strong on the bourbon but chocolate and roasted malts manage to give a good fight. Warming alcohol presence and a milk chocolate sweetness that gives way through the session.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and low carbonation. Coats the throat on the way down.

Overall impression: By far one of the best barrel-aged stouts out there. That being said, most of them stink. I can't imagine having more than one of these and thankfully, I split the 12oz. bottle. You should definitely give this a try as it's one of the better examples out there. Still, it would be nice to have one that's more balanced between the stout and the bourbon. If Founder's beers aged better, I would say stick this one away for a couple years. Glad I had the chance to try it.

 1,248 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I was initially offended that someone had dared to ruin Breakfast Stout by adding bourbon flavors. I am NOT a fan of this wretched trend to put every good beer into a Bourbon Barrel just to be big and bad ass.

As the Kentucky Breakfast warmed from cellar to room temp and as my taste buds adjusted, I stopped minding. I took about an hour and a half to drink my first bottle, which I feel was a wise call because the spectrum of flavors changed drastically over that time period. What was at first strong, harsh, and bourbony became smooth, creamy, and complex. Notes of oak and vanilla became more pronounced and wonderful flavors and aromas of chocolate and coffee appeared and then grew stronger. Finally a bit of chicory, coconut, and maybe sassafras (I don’t remember what sassafras tastes like but I feel like it’s in here) enter into the picture. The bourbon mellows drastically as KBS warms and loses its modest carbonation.

Mouthfeel, once warm, is a splendid rich, full bodied lusciousness. Finish is slightly bitter with a mild alcohol burn. Strength is very apparent. I’m buzzed after just one bottle.

I’m impressed. A case of this might turn me into a Bourbon Barrel convert. Drinkability isn’t all there but the appearance, which I have neglected to touch on is great. Pours like crude with minimal brown, splotchy lacing and cream trails. Well worth the price.

 1,389 characters

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

12 oz bottle pours a thick jet black with a small brown head that leaves some lacing in my glass. Strong bourbon aroma with chocolate and coffee. Coconut, cake, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon and coffee flavors. Full bodied with a oily thick mouthfeel, finishes sweet, very nice.

 276 characters

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of two bottles most generously received from cmaruschak recently.

Inky, opaque darkness. "Ewww...that looks like motor oil!" proclaims the wife. Dark tan head rises from nothing to a finger-thin level, then slowly fades. Some lacing of the glass with sticky globules.

Good golly does this smell wonderful! My nose was assualted by a myriad of aromas: freshly ground coffee beans, dark chocolate, initially subdued notes of bourbon and a toffee/char scent. As it warmed, the bourbony notes took center stage.

Up front, the flavors are dominated by a sweet choco-coffee combination. The bourbony notes flare up, especially as it warms, mixing with the chocolate. Near the end, some bitterness creeps in, along with some vanilla extract and a hint of ABV. I should note that I still am not a huge fan of bourbon-aged beers, but this was tame enough in the bourbon department to add a very flavorful and well-balanced component to an already fantastic beer.

Not a full-bodied or thick as the regular breakfast stout. Still, I had no problems finishing this one. A close 2nd behind the regular Breakfast Stout in my book.

 1,132 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
4.17/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Mad props to BA Sprinkle and his fine store for sharing some of the Kentucky lovin'. I think Indiana only got like 3 cases of this stuff, so I feel very priveleged to have acquired a 4-pack.

Fitting to form, this beer was consumed outside and before noon...

Oil black in color, KBS' brown-cowhide head slowly reverse cascades nearly as beautifully as the conventional Breakfast Stout.

Nose is full of cold-pressed coffee, traces of bourbon heat, and a gigantic roasted malt / hop interplay. You can smell this one from a yard or two away from the freshly-cracked bottle. Chocolate and vanilla swirl iced cream is also suggested.

Taste is wickedly complex...and odd. I've sampled a few bottles and I have to say that the bourbon-levels vary from bottle to bottle. Taste is initially akin to iced mocha leading towards a harrowing coffee/bourbon crescendo. Vanilla. Oak. Coffee ground flavor gets a little overwhelming at times.

Lingering on the tongue is an odd combination of coffee, bourbon, and creamy-roasted malts.

Comes on so smoothly you are want to forget how strong this is. Goes from nothing to super-intense in no time. I would have liked a few more RIS characteristics to sort of balance things out, but still...this is a one-of-a-kind beer that should be sampled to be believed. Amazing lingering oils stick with you hours after you've finished this beer (or gone back to sleep).

Founder's is one hell of a brewery.

 1,449 characters

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

I got this beer from MABZ as part of the 2006 Great Race BIF. I am sure it will be wonderful.

This beer pours jet black with no light making its way through. It has a very small brown head that fades very quick, leaving a surprizingly large amount of laces.

Wow. This beer smells woody. It has a smoky aroma. It also has a strong coffee aroma. I can setect a subtle chocolate scent also. I think I might be smelling an aroma almost like kaluah also.

This beer tastes strongly like coffee. It also has a slight smokey taste. Mild chocolate flavor is also present. As with the aroma, I taste a slight kaluah flavor to it. All I can say about the flavor is wow.

This beer is low in carbonation. It is quite smooth. I leaves a coffee aftertaste on the palate. It is very full bodied.

I think this beer would make an excelent session beer. The only problem is that it is a little high in alcohol. Beware when drinking, or else you might be in over your head.

I cant thank you enough MABZ for parting with such a great beer. I dont know if I would have been able to do the same.

 1,091 characters

Photo of cameraman
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours really thick into a pint glass. The color is black, almost totally black with hints of light appearing on the edges. A small tan head forms that slowly laces down. The aroma is in a word, WOW! Coffee and chocolate blended with scents of bourbon, lets just say I like it alot. The taste is just as impressive, the coffee and chocolate malt hit the palate, then the boubon comes in with caramel and vanilla flavors. In the mouth it is thick and syrupy, coating the palate, the leaving that warm feeling of in the back of the throat that bourbon has. This is a very impressive beer, drink slowly, these flavors are meant to be enjoyed gradually. It is nice to see a beer getting intense flavor from something other than hops, not that there is anything wrong with that.

 772 characters

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

Poured very aggressively into a snifter, leaving a thick, one finger dark creamy head. Dispated within a couple of minutes leaving a light creamy foam. It was so dark as to be nearly jet black but just a touch of light shows through the outside edges.

Smell is that of cocoa, coffee, caramel and marshmallow. Taste is sweet but not too sweet. Coffee pokes through in a big way but the finish is lightly alcoholic. Surprisingly light considering the ABV. Mouthfeel is thick and coating and again, it seems VERY creamy. Other than the coffee taste, this has many similarities to cream soda...sweet, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is VERY good. Very well rounded. I'm happy I splurged for a four pack but I'm afraid I can't afford to drink it as much as I might like to, based on the price of $17.99 a four pack.

 816 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up one of the last singles at Riley's here in Madison. Glad I decided to stop in.

Pour is absolutely black-hole, petroleum, midnight black with a finger and a half of dark cappuccino, rocky head and thick lacing all the way down. Nose is an aromatic explosion of oak, vanilla, bourbon, caramel and coffee. Taste lives up to the smell with a hearty Kentucky-style bourbon kick flanked by hearty notes of oaky vanilla, rich caramel, and a few shots of espresso. Mouthfeel is gooey, chewy and somehow still smooth and creamy. Breakfast Stout's bigger, badder, unbridled brother from down South. Hell of a beer, wish it wasn't so rare/expensive, but a delicious treat nonetheless.

 686 characters

Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found my note from teh Extreme Beer Fest. This brew is exceptional..and a bargain! only one ticket!!! Pours black and extremely inviting. Taste is oak, wine-like, but smoooth. For a 10 abv, this is unbelievable. The mouthfeel is rounded, smooth and extremely nice. Drinks like a much lower abv. A must try.

 314 characters

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

How I wish that I could keep track of my trades 'cos I can't remember who sent this little beauty.

Pours from the clever labeled bottle with an India ink, jet black thick midnight hue topped with a dense yet thin dark brown head cap. There is zero light escaping fom this shadow in a bottle.

Scents were reaching me before I even tried to get a wiff of this. Deep espresso and black coffee bean. Roasted malts and some charcoal burnt wood aroma. Intense scents of carmel and even a touch of liquorice.

First swigs: Drippy chocolate and coffee ice cream. Some bourbon barrel warmth fronts in the flavor, but was not as vivid in the nose. Complex flavors that really awoke the beer and coffee drinker in me. The coffee and bean aspects are so fully pronounced that it is impressive. Full on flavor of baker's chocolate, dryness is only equal to the bitterness!

This isn't just thick. This is sooo thick (how thick is it?) that is slides into the glass. Feel is a tongue massacre coating with nary a prayer for your palate to recover. If 120 is Yin, this is the Yang.

Last swigs: Yeah...It's good. Remeniscent of Peche Mortel. I wish that I had a fridge full of these!

Beer is good. Happy coffee beer for breakfast beering.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a medium brown head that disappears steadily. Thin spotty lacing. Aroma of espresso, caramel and bourbon. Thick and oily with a strong coffee character, as well as roasted malt, oak and dark chocolate flavors. Bourbon/whiskey is there throughout and adds a nice dimension rather than being a distraction as seems to happen sometimes. The finish is bitter with coffee and a light alcohol burn. Enjoyable for sure, although a bit on the pricey side.

 469 characters

Photo of ngandhi
3.73/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This would go good with wet scrambled eggs, if it were solid.

The Chernobyl of beers, KBS' burnt toast and burnt marshmallow flavors are almost too difficult to digest. While I've heard some go so far as to pour this over ice cream, I would only do that if I hated ice cream--and myself.

The bitterness of its chocolate and espresso-like foundation is perhaps the most intense darkness I've yet experienced with beer. There is nothing to mitigate it. No surprise sweetness, no sticky molasses, no fruit, no bright hops. It is darkness. It tastes like the color black would taste if black hated itself.

I'm remiss that Founders--perhaps the most consistently impressive brewery I've had a chance to try--covered up so much of its brewing efforts with the most charred oak on the planet, but I don't blame them for taking this chance. It is likely a beer I will appreciate more in the Midwestern fall, especially after its flavors have mellowed and some more of its cocoa richness comes out. It is dense, challenging, and provocative.

...maybe if we put the ice cream over pancakes, next to some link pork sausage, and Irish soda bread...

Relax, relax.

 1,173 characters

Photo of SamAdams
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I took a trip to Founders and picked up two 4 packs, quite suprised at the $18 for a 4 pack. I got it home and poured a glass and thought ... man, I wished I bought a case of this stuff. One of the best beers I will every have.
A very dark beer with a tan head that doesn't stick around. Wonderful smell and taste. It comes at you in layers of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, a little oak and a little vanilla. Nothing overpowers anything. A very well made beer, and at 10%, an easy one to drink.
If you can get your hands on this beer buy as much as you can. If you don't like it... I'll take it off your hands.

 610 characters

Photo of Raymond69
4.67/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz served slightly warm (60F)
Small head dissipates quickly leaving no lace. Almost no light escapes.

Smell. Coffee , some bourbon notes coming through.

Taste. At first it comes off like a cold espresso , bitter dark chocolate. The hops linger , giving the bourbon/malty essence some balance. WOW! This might be my first 5 , but it deserves it.

Moutfeel is thick , carbonation is low. This beers flavor sticks around for awhile.

Drinkability is high , I'm considering one for breakfast.

Overall this is a beer I'll cherish , drinking them one by one every six months from the cellar.

 602 characters

Photo of Brian700
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black with a dark brown head that settles down to a nice ring around my glass.

The smell is of coffee, bourban, chocolate, burnt malt. Unbelievable aroma.

The flavor is very complex. First you get a bit of coffee presence in the front but it is fought off with the bourban nose. The middle is a lot of chocolate and roasted malt. The finish is a mixture of Bourban, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and then there is some caramel. All of these flavor mingle so perfectly it's insane. The Breakfast Stout being a great beer has been significantly improved. This is one of the best beers I've tasted in a while.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation. Very creamy with fine carbonation bubbles. You might catch yourself trying to chew this beer with all of the flavor going on.

You might not think of this style beer one that is easy to stomach but it is so well balanced and smooth that it goes down nice and easy.

 962 characters

Photo of carln26
4.62/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep black color topped by a thin tan head. The head was deep for a tan, and had what seemed to be wine colored highlights. I recently tried the standard breakfast stout, and was surprised when this beer displayed even more coffee aroma. Lots of coffee, a little bitter chocolate, and a touch of vanilla. The flavor has lots of dark roast coffee, vanilla, a little sherry, light milk chocolate. Very delicious. Smooth, rich mouth feel, no alcohol heat. This is scary drinkable. Awesome beer.

 491 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours jet black with a reddish brown head that quickly dissipates. Strong roasted malt scents mix with a sweet chocolatey aroma. The first taste brings vanilla followed by roasted coffee beans. The beer is not as thick as one might expect from the flavor and aroma. As the beer warms the vanilla aroma is more evident. This beer has a little more sweet flavor to it than their regular breakfast stout which helps to round out the roasted flavors and also helps to accentuate the vanilla flavor. Very well balanced and highly drinkable.

 540 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.54/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black body with a small bubbly brown head. Speckles and strings of lace were left stuck to the glass. Big roasted malt notes with a mix of bourbon boozy notes and some dark chocolate come on strong. Taste start off with some sweet chocolate before the big roasty notes kick in. Bourbon and light woody notes blend in well and don’t detract from this as in other bourbon barrel aged stouts I have tried. The finishes is quite warming with some booze and big roasty flavors. Slick on the palette and fairly thick but nothing amazing as it could use a bit more body. Good drinkability as well for such a strong brew. An interesting twist on the Breakfast Stout, I am not sure which one I like more. Both are great.

 718 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 Oz Bottle sampled through the efforts of justcas and BIF across America.

This is a beer that I was curious about but didn't really try to get because it was in such a limited supply, maybe I should try to get a few other beers like that.

Thick syrupy pour reveals a jet-black beer with a shot lasting brown head.

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, this is quite close to sex in a bottle.

Mouthfeel is good but not great.

There are few beers I would drive 500 miles to get and this one of them! Along with Three Floyds Dreadnaught and Pliny the Elder this is a beer that is worth going to extreme measures to get. When I think of Kentucky I think of Bourbon. When I think of Kentucky and breakfast I think of red-eye gravy. This beer does not disappoint on either count.

One of the top 10 beers on the planet, even better than Stone RIS.

 1,453 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97.7% out of 100 with 12,682 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.