KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
13,326 Ratings
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13,326 |  Reviews: 3,374
Photo of Voonder
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black in colour with very thin coffe&cream colour head which dissapeared almost immediately. Smell - dark chocolate, coffee, alcohol. Taste. Well, this is the first American Imperial Stout I liked. In fact I loved it. Pretty similar to the aroma, alcohol is more hidden, coffee stands out even more, Very complex, smooth, rich, very well balanced. Drinkability is very good for the style. Great beer, thanks a lot to Viggo for this one!

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Photo of lynx1245
4.48/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to Nick of ThreeWiseMen for letting me try some of this! It was bueno!

Appearance: Such a daunting black color with a fairly brown head that sticks around for a while. This is definitely one of the darker beers I've seen.

Smell: Huge dark chocolate smell is what hits me first. Second thing I take out of it is some sort of scotch or whiskey smell. I like it!

Taste: Tastes pretty much exactly like it smells. It reminds me of those chocolate bottle candies that are filled with various spirits (well, the ones filled with scotch at least). I'm also getting a hint of dark fruits right near the end of the sip. Complex, rich, and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full creamy body with some nice light carbonation. I could actually hold this in my mouth for a while and the alcohol didn't burn very much at all.

Drinkability: The taste really improves as it warms, but I can see how this would really knock me on my ass if I drank too much. I don't see myself drinking more than 2 of these in a night for two reasons: 1.) I can't buy the stuff where I live and 2.) The taste is so rich that I don't think I could handle more than a few.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from session1979 - FUCKING AWESOME!

Appearance: Pours a pitch black motor oil with slow forming dark brown head. Thick and opaque. Head is tight and creamy, thoguh it doesn't last long. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Tons of bourbon. Also, vanilla extract, dark chocolate, oak, coffee, and maple syrup-doused pancakes. Each sniff is followed by a mild burn in the nostrils. I can't get enough of it. This smell kicks ass!

Taste: Bourbon and black pepper step out first. Butter toffee, distant currants, and sweet oak also join the mix. Overall a mild taste, which reminds me of FW12. More flavors arise as beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with a nice, warm 'pop' at the end. Perfect amount of mouth numbing and warmth.

Drinkability: Warming ABV takes you where you want to be. This is a fantastic sipper (but FW12 is better).

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

Wow. I love the complexity of FKBS.

A - Dark, coffee black appearance with little to no foam at all

S - Coffee, chocolate, and delicious bourbon

T - Intiail hit of coffee and vanilla, with a alcohol and a bit of chocolate aftertaste.

M - Little to no carbonation. Good body on it. Get a little bit of acidity on the initial sip

D - at 10%, definitely a once in awhile beer. The ABV actually feels higher than 10% though

There's some debate between this beer and the GI BCS, I think this one is the winner for me. Too bad I can't get this in California.

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

A - Poured a jet black color with a brown head that fades quickly

S - Is of roasted malt with lots of coffee I only get a little bit of chocolate and bourbon in the nose

T - Starts off with a lot of coffee then the bourbon comes out with a touch of warming alcohol

M - This beer has a full smooth body with light carbonation to it

D - This is a great beer but as far as drinkability I don't think I could really drink more than just one with out getting a good buzz but it does taste excellent and is worth hunting down to try

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Photo of rhinos00
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received this as a very generous extra from Brent (brentk56). Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- So dark that it almost looked like I was staring at the black hole. Very thin ring of tan head formed at the top of the glass and dissipated quickly.

S- Simply amazing. Had the strong roasted coffee presence, just like the Breakfast Stout, but was offset by a cornucopia of aromas. Among them was molasses, burned malts and a vanilla-like bourbon sweetness.

T- Exactly like the smell. Really enjoyed how the bourbon flavor was real subtle and had a sweet tinge that cut the harshness of the roasted coffee beans. Capped of by a nice bitterness.

M- Well carbonated, thick and viscous. Not much more to add, just perfect.

D- Extremely drinkable. The amazing taste and smell make this the thickness and high ABV just disappear into the background. Only reminder is the nice, slow burn in the chest.

Overall, this is one hell of a beer. It's right up there with some of the best I have had to date. Thanks again Brent! Highly recommended. Can't wait until March to pick up some four packs of this.

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Photo of corey0212
4.37/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the time I joined this site, this (along with Breakfast Stout) has been one of the beers I most wanted to try. I have mikesgroove to thank for this bottle!!

Pours nearly black, with some dark brown highlights around the edges, tiny mocha-colored head rises slowly and fades into a thin collar around the beer. Lots of dark chocolate in the nose, spicy bourbon, some black coffee laced with vanilla. Taste follows the nose, some espresso/burnt coffee, some alcohol heat. Really creamy mouthfeel, some belly-warming alcohol, lots of long-lasting coffee/espresso aftertaste. It's delicious, and I need more.

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

Poured from a bottle into my sifter....
A: Pours midnight black, a dense chocolate head erupts, and after settling, becomes even darker.
S: Deep, dark chocolate, and rich coffee. I could smell this beer for ages.
T: Huge dark chocolate and coffe up front, subtle vanilla melts over the palate and is complemented by faint sweet bourbon and oak flavors, finishes with more coffee and chocolate.
M: Thick and syrupy, oh so good.
D: I could drink this stuff all night, and thats pretty impressive for a 10% stout. Nothing else even comes close.

This beer absolutely floored me, it lives up to the hype. An outstanding beer with all my favorite flavors. Do not pass up a chance to try this treat.

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Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle at the South Philadelphia Taproom, Founders Event, Philly Beer Week 2007.

Bottle brought out as a surprise during Founders event at South Philadelphia Taproom. And what a surprise it was! Pours pitch black with thin coffee colored head. Excellent aroma which is dominated by bourbon and oak but not too much so that you cant't detect the chocolate and roasted coffee. I smelled this beer for several minutes before sampling it. This beer is very smooth considering it's complexity and ABV. Lots of bourbon and oak flavor, roasted coffee maltiness, vanilla, chocolate candi sugar and caramel. Excellent!

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Photo of Foxman
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours a perfectly obsidian black. In fact, coming out of the tap, it looks like what pours forth after I open the drain plug when I change my oil. The head is thick and milk chocolate brown, and fluffy like mousse. Lacing is thin and ribbed, ringing concentrically down the inside of the glass.

The aroma is a dense melange of black roasted espresso, dark roasted grain, and a woody drizzle of earthy bourbon. Twinges of chocolate and vanilla back up a warm and overt halo of alcohol.

Upon sipping, and admittedly with great anticipation, the flavor verily explodes with a series of elements, including blackened grain with burnt sugar and molasses, dark caramel, deep espresso, charred oak, down-home bourbon, and licorice. As the alcohol heats up, bitter chocolate and vanilla become lightly apparent, and burnt biscuit joins resurgent coffee and grain sweetness. The bitterness builds toward the close, as the finish crisps up but never totally overwhelms the lingering malty sweetness. The seamless complexity of this beer delivers a flavor to be remembered.

Full bodied, it pours like gear oil, then goes all creamy and soft, coating and caressing as it lulls the palate into a happy enchantment.

Simply put, this is one seriously dangerous beer. It is as earthy as can be, it's a coffee addicts alcoholic dream, and the bourbon and oak component gives it a unique and home style feel. The crafting that goes into this brew is apparent every step of the way. While the ABV is very big and bold, the parts come together to lend an eminent drinkability, and therein lies the danger to the unwary. And I dare anyone who loves this style to have just one. I tried, and failed with a huge smile on my face. I made a beeline to be able to try it the first time. Now I'll make a beeline to get it any time I can in the future.

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Photo of bonkers
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at High Street Grill. The beer was served in a large wine glass, pithc black in appearance with a larger than expected tan head. The beer left wondeful layers of lacing. This is best smelling beer I had ever had. Mild coffee flavorings are the predominat smell. There is also mild undertone of Knob Creek, the combination is like a shot in your morning coffee. The taste is more complex and subtle than the smell. There is coffee, bourbon, chocolate all in perfect balance. The finish is crisp with a wonderfull aftertaste. A full bodied beer that hides its 10% ABV well, making it easy to drink. I will seek this one out again.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally received this bottle in a trade with nflmvp in the summer of '07.

A- black with a cocoa colored thin head. I poured this into my spaten optimator dimpled mug which is pretty wide so that might have caused the head to be hard to build up. Looks syrupy.

S- Coffee comes out pretty dominant in combination with dark bittersweet chocolate. The smell is obviously boozy, the bourbon is unmistakeable.

T- the taste somewhat mirrors the smell. The first thing that hits is a roastiness, then the dark bittersweet chocolate finishing with that coffee bitterness. The aftertaste is mildy woody and slightly tart.

M- quite slick. Not Dark Lord slick, but it's still quite viscous.

Overall: There are so many big stouts that just taste awful to me. Often they have a soy flavor or way too much licorice or anise, but Founders has found such a great flavor combination in both this beer and their regular breakfast stout. This is one of few big stouts that I can enjoy. It's good all around. It doesn't make me want to a run out and get as much as I can but a real stout lover might really find this a 4.5+.

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Photo of jojox
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a - The blackest black. Thin, holding head.

s - espresso with 3 drops of burbon: Wow. Friggin' awesome. Like chocolate cake or something. Desert-ish, but not sweet.

t - Beautiful expresso/burbon combo. Not as much stout-iness, it's hidden. But its back there. Not much bitterness (thank you!). Lots of vanilla. F-ing A that's awesome.

m - smooth, some roughness and rocky in the mouth.


No reason to hold. Very very small hints of oxidation already.

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Photo of thryn
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a big red wine goblet.

Goths like their blacks nice and dark black. This is that dark, only it's still perceptibly brown. Barely. A little bit of tan foam. no head.

Nose: Coffee like whoa! A hint, my large, beer-accentuated ass. Coffee is something journalists and goths like, so go figure, I'm excited. Slightest hint of vanilla.

Taste: Vanilla is more prominent. Coffee bitterness. A bit of wood. Sweet in the aftertaste, then the alcohol burn. I feel I let this get a bit too cold, alas. Now I just have to exercise patience (which I lack) and let it warm ...

In the meantime, mouthfeel is not quite as thick as I'd expected, but still very sturdy. A little more carbonation than expected.

... ok. It's warmed a bit. The vanilla comes out more, lingering in the aftertaste. The coffee is very present at the front. A bit of astringent wood in the middle.

Why, oh why, do I not live somewhere where I can purchase this? I could drink it all winter.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to OlieIPA for hooking me up with this.

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass, this beer pours motor oil-black. An aggressive pour yields about one-finger of head that's solid brown in color as it settles to a patchy layer, leaving behind lots of spotty lacing on the glass.

S- A sharp smell of bitter coffee and roasted, chocolatey malts with some rough edges of charred oak barrel. A trace of bourbon lingers in the background, but you really have to dig for it.

T- Lots of coffee and roasted malts up front, but these flavors gradually subside to a slightly bitter finish that's accompanied by a mildly boozy taste of bourbon. I would have liked the bourbon character to be more prominent in the taste of this beer, but I do appreciate how well-integrated it is. Very drinkable and coffee-like.

M- The mouthfeel is full-bodied and slightly syrupy with gentle carbonation. Maybe just a little on the thin side though.

D- The 10% ABV is very well-hidden, and this beer is pretty light on the stomach for a barrel-aged stout. I felt like I could easily have two of these in a sitting.

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

Big thanks to both sirhc and Mudpuppet for bottles of this.

Poured in a big wine glass at 55 F/ 13 C.

Black, tinged red at the edges, with a bubbly tan head, and fine rings and speckles of lace.

Smells rich and sweet, with plenty of roast coffee, bourbon, and charred oak, with vanilla, liquorice, and light cookie spices. The bourbon barrel really comes through, and works great. There's also somehow a strong suggestion of Irish cream liqueur. Cohesive and great.

Tastes like sweet smooth dark coffee and whiskey, then after several seconds it gets woodsier, and the wood and building roastiness combine to dry out the sweetness considerably. Next comes a wave of creamy vanilla, and a long long finish of toasty oak and creamy whiskey liqueur.

Rich smooth texture, and highly drinkable, the alcohol isn't a problem at all.

Exceptional stuff.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- black body with a thick looking coffee colored head. small head on a decently hard pour. very even and complete lacing left on the sides of my glass.

S- chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, wood, and some coffee. theres alot going on with this one.

T- slight astringency. some vanilla and oaky flavors. lots of bourbon chocolate and coffee

M- perfect. thick, creamy, and rich. warming of alcohol as it goes down

D- this one has earned the hype. id love to be able to have several of these in a sitting. i should consider myself lucky to have picked this one off the shelf today! check this one out if you get the chance.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Oil black, opaque even in a thin glass. Thin dark tan collar lasts and leaves tidemarks. An impressive sight.

S) Sniffing a bourbon barrel, strong wood, almost tannin notes. There is a chalk dust edge to this as well. Deep in there are a few hints of west coast, citric hops.

T) Coffee, dark and manly coffee. Molasses sweetness, bourbon, all intense tastes that cover hops and even malt. So much going on, and all of it set at "11".

M) Slick, heavy, low carbonation, bits of chew.

O) Wow. Bourbon is a bit heavy handed, but a truck full of flavors that ends up being fairly smooth and drinkable. The alcohol started slowing me down as I reached the end.
Great beer, but not an everyday event.

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Photo of HopHead1982
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I will start by putting this review in context. I have found that I am not that big a fan of beers aged in liquor barrels. To overpowering for me. However:

A - was exceptionally dark. as dark as you will find.

s - you can already smell the bourbon. Great if you like it. Not for me though.

T - same as smell. Truly fantastic with or without the bourbon aging. However, i feel the beer is overpowered by the "aging".

M - As good as it gets!

D - If I appreciated the bourbon aging, I could have several. However, I don't enjoy the "liquor" taste, and therefore wouldn't be able to handle more than one of these.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic beer. As I said previously, I don't enjoy the bourbon flavor, but aside from that, this deserves its place among the elite on BA.


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Photo of hopdog
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade with goldtwins (thanks!).

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized brown head. Aromas of wood, vanilla, smoke, roast, espresso coffee, and some chocolate. Very nice aroma. Tastes of wood, vanilla (strong but not as strong as in the aroma), roast, coffee, chocolate, and a very light bourbon finish.

The barrel aging was done very nicely as it wasn't overpowering. Light lacing left on the glass. Alcohol content well hidden. This one was very easy to drink.

Notes from and tasted on 8/2/06.

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Photo of imperialbigswig
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

World class indeed!!!
A- heavy and thick, viscous!
S- holy $%#^!!!! coffe, chocolate, oats, bitter and dry!!
T-hevy on the coffee side with some balance from the oat flavor, not as much chocolate as in the smell
M-rich and thick, heavy
D- 1-2 bottles, drinking more than that at once would be a waste
This beer is to bee saved, savored, rationed and enjoyed at special times with people who will appreciate this beer as much as you do.
If and when you see buy as much as you can, but be nice about letting your friends in on this beautiful gem of a stout!!!

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Photo of bainard
4.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black-brown with a sepia meniscus. Sand-colored head.

Aromas abound of bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate, wood. If I had synaesthesia, this would smell dark brown, all the aromas point to this color.

A much woodier-tasting beer than I remember in the past, the bourbon isn't quite is prevalent in this one as other bourbon-aged beers I've had (Bourbon County and Backwoods Bastard come to mind), but the coffee is extremely strong in this. A bit of bitter chocolate, lots of roastiness.

Definitely thick, with a bit of carbonation, but nothing that coats the mouth too much, nor dances over the tongue.

It's a 10% beer, and you certainly feel and taste that in the beer. But then again, it's friggin' Kentucky Breakfast, you're not looking for something that you're going to down a 6 of before hitting the sports bar.

Overall, this is a tremendously wonderful beer, but I wouldn't put it in my all-time favorites.

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Photo of beereality
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very hard pour, dropped into my 22 oz. tulip. Black creamy pour, that produced a huge reverse cascading head. Nice mocha colored head, that leaves great lacing. I can smell the alcohol in the barrel. I get big vanilla with bourbon in the nose. This beer is complex, nice blend of wood, bourbon, chocolate/vanilla and coffee as it warms. Much better as it warms. I can't belive this is 10 ABV. I love this beer. Thank you Bernie.

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

07 bottle

A - it pours with a dark black color hard to give a top but leaves some tan bubbles instead. these bubbles leave some nice lacing.

S - It has a strong coffee and bourbon smell that is topped with creme vanilla.

T - It give a really smooth flavor which is a surprise after the strong smell. The start is almost like a creamy coffee and finishes with the bourbon.

M - It gives good carbonation and a nice mouthfeel unlike I expected with the bourbon smell

D - This is a very drinkable beer and an excellent beer to drink with some eggs and steak

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Photo of champ103
3.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A big thanks to Deuane for the extra.

A: Pours a jet black color. A small tan head forms, but recedes fast. Standard for the style. Some patchy lace.
S: Awesome. At first, lots of vanilla comes billowing out. Bourbon and oak aromas. A hint of chocolate. Wonderful.
T: Follows the nose, vanilla, bourbon, and oak flavors. Nice roasted malt flavors. Much more chocolate. Actually fairly bitter and sweet chocolate. Alcohol.
M/D: A full body that is rich and creamy. Kind of chalky. A very easy beer to sip on. The high alcohol shows with some warming bourbon. Again, a great beer to sip on, but not as easy to drink as the Breakfast Stout IMO.

Founders defiantly makes two would class stouts, and I am glad I got a chance to try them. I need more.

EDIT on March 28 2011---

I do still enjoy this. Though I think there is a lot more bitter, and almost acrid coffee grounds in the nose that detracts for me. Much more bitter coffee flavor as well. All things that were absent from a couple of years ago. Still very good, and worth seeking out if you have the means. Though it has changed a little in the years that I first had it.

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 13,326 ratings