KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
13,437 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: 13,437 |  Reviews: 3,398
Photo of beersabound
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in as a bonus beer in a trade w/ mcallister. And what a bonus it was. This was the best dessert I have had in months. It was like a whisky filled dark chocolate.

The beer was jet black with tiny bubbles that formed a beautiful, tight, dark brown head that fell in average time. This was suprising. I thought the head would hang out like a guinness. But no biggie. The aroma was prominently bourbon and coffee with some vanilla and chocolate. The mouthfeel was velvety, full and so nice I did not want to swallow for quite some time. The low CO2 level was very appropriate for this beer. The taste was very simlar to the aroma and is very flavorful with a long, pleasant aftertaste. I found it quite drinkable and a great dessert after some very spicy thai take out. Pairing this with most things would be futile but it would make vanilla ice cream much more interesting.

Nice work Founders. Keep it up.

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Photo of Cresant
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip glass. No date. The body was a viscous, used, black, motor oil (cliched but true). The tiny brown head faded quickly.

Smell was mild chocolate and woodiness. It reminds me of a fudgesicle --rich chocolate and a wooden stick. Cocoa powder-like. Understated bourbon.

Taste was bittersweet cocoa. Light hops. Drip coffee. Sweet without being cloying. Nice dark chocolate lingering bitter aftertaste. Very well concealed alcohol. All of the elements of this beer work wonderfully together, no one component overpowers the intermingling of the malts, hops, & bourbon. I believe that is one of the reasons this beer is so revered.

Mouthfeel was full with some hops zippiness. This was an easy drinking formidible stout.

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

Fresh ’07 bottle courtesy of hoppymeal - thanks Derek! Pours a deep, dark brown - almost black and a little oily. A light brown head foams up about a half-inch, but diminishes quickly. Some of it clings to the glass and provides a nice lacing effect, though - something I find in most Founder’s beers. Similar to the regular breakfast stout in aroma with big chocolate malts and dark roasted coffee at the forefront with a faint smokieness of wood and bourbon in the background. Huge coffee flavor still dominates, but is smoothed out and creamier with hints of vanilla. Extremely balanced, smooth and slightly chewy on the palate with just moderate amounts of carbonation. The bourbon really makes more of a presence as the beer warms, but it still maintains its incredible balance and smoothness. Very, very drinkable and some of the coffee bitterness has mellowed. I really like what the wood did for this one. Definitely a beer that lives up to its reputation. I’m glad I have more and some in the cellar from last year’s batch.

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

Purchased at Capone's in Norristown. Pours a deep black with a little foam. Huge smell of coffee and chocolate. Taste is amazing: chocolate and coffee dominate with a hint of the bourbon aging plus vanilla. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth. I can't taste the ABV of 10% at all. This is truly an exceptional beer. My first beer rated as "5's" across the board. I am glad that I have a few more sitting in the stash.


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Photo of Blakaeris
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a motor oil thickness. No head to speak of.

Aroma is smokey dark grain and generous coffee. Subdued bourbon notes.

Taste is hearty and complex. Strong espresso coffee flavoring up front with a nice touch of chocolate. Finish is dry and brings vanilla and bourbon with hints of dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Very smooth.

A very nice stout. I'm surprised at the smooth blending of flavor. Very tasty. Although there certainly is alcohol, it is well hidden for an enjoyable stout experience.

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


A: Into the oversized Riedel snifter it goes. Pours thick like motor oil, almost as black too. Not a lot of carbonation going on…a head conjured quickly but fell just as quick leaving a slick across the top remaining.

S: Fully roasted and choc full of nuts. Copius amounts of freshly ground espresso, bitter bakers chocolate and some oily licorice dominate the nose. In the highs the bourbon can be found, especially as it warms.

T: Begins with strong brewed coffee, totally charred. Chocolate mousse like flavors accompany the coffee and create a quite decadent moment. The more I drink it, the more pronounced and exhilarating the vanilla becomes. Totally creamy, shares a lot of traits with a chocolate milkshake thanks to abundant lactose. They don’t try to hide the alcohol here, its present and accounted for. Only faint bourbon tastes, picking up most of the vanilla and not a lot of the astringent off flavors bourbon barrels can give.

M: Full body, creamy and rich. Perfect.

D: First sip I wasn’t impressed at all. This is one of those beers that definitely grows on you. In all honesty, I could certainly use some more bourbon character…I think it would have balanced well with the rest of the flavors. It’s a great stout but I don’t think it’s the best.

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Photo of hammer09
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a very difficult beer to find in Chicago. Many thanks to a buddy of mine for his generosity in providing a bottle of this most excellent brew.

Poured a thick, blackish-brown, but appeared on the syrupy side. Head development was fairly minimal, maybe 1/8 of an inch, but this exhibited a very nice, deep brown color. Smell is malty with a good presence of roasted malt and coffee aromas. Definitely some volatile characteristics owing to the bourbon aging and high abv. Taste is simply exceptional yet complex. Bitter, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee flavors. Hint of vanilla and alcohol. Very good and nicely balanced. While very thick and syrupy, this beer goes down quite smooth. I had to pace myself so that I could savor it fully. Overall, one of the best stouts that I've ever tried and highly recommended.

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

Perfect pour. Deep, dark souless blackness with no hint of ruby and gigantic brown head.

Its chocolately nodes can be smelled feet away, but the coffee and bourbon don't hit you until you hold the glass up to your nose. All I can say is that it's smooth as candy. Where BCS burns like the sun, KBS lets the chocolate and whiskey odors dance gently around one another.

Tastes great. Nearly overpowering--stronger even than Bourbon County. Sweet, milky coffee starts things off along with a distinct alcohol burn, like breathing in light, pleasant gas fumes on a nice summer day. This moves into a roasted grain and whiskey middle with the strong overtones of rich milk chocolate staying throughout. The whiskey dies as the chocolate grows stronger, leaving a light, sour grain taste in its wake.

This is a world class beer. Not quite the bittersweet candydance of the regular Breakfast stout (and therefore less suited to a morning meal), but still immensely powerful, complex, smooth, and drinkable.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk chalice.

A: Pitch black with a small (~1/4 in.) dark brown head, which dissipates quickly with minimal lacing.

S: Huge burst of almost burnt coffee, like a fresh ristretto espresson shot, slightly smoky, hints of vanilla and cocoa.

T: Surprisingly little coffee up front, more molasses, chocolate, and vanilla/oak/bourbon, with the coffee and vanilla becoming more prominent as it traverses the palate. An intriguing little dash of hop bitterness hits the tip of my tongue just as I swallow and fades instantly, leaving the coffee, vanilla, and cocoa to duke it out for dominance on the finish.

M: Heavy, viscous, nearly oily, coats the mouth and lingers.

D: Virtually zero alcohol heat despite it's abv, but perhaps just a tad too much coffee - I could easily have too many of these without realizing it if I didn't know better.

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

Poured from a 12oz glasss into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pours with the viscosity of old nasty motor oil. Pitch black. A vigorous pour reveals a bubbly and creamy, dark mocha colored, two finger head.

S: Incredible aromas of coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate.

T: See everything above and add to that molassas, cherry, oak, brown sugar, and hops. The finish is an an exercise in flavor balance. One second it's all coffee, then it's all bourbon, then it's bitter dark chocolate, then it's tart cherries, then...

M: Silky smooth and completely satisfying! Creamy and full and thick and rich. Amazing.

D: Drinkability if off the charts. Sure it's packing 10% but with the myriad of things going on in this beer, you soon forget all about the abv and just sip and savor this unbelievable treat. Imagine taking everything that's noteworthy about Breakfast Stout and Founders Imperial Stout, tweak the recipe slightly, and adding the extreme goodness of bourbon barrel ageing. This is what you end up with...perfection!

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Photo of scott
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was one of the first to taste when it initially arrived in Cleveland, and wasn't impressed with this years batch to buy more than one bottle, which is now the one I'm reviewing. Now, I'm wishing I purchased a couple more when I had the chance.
But, not that I believe that this years model is stellar stuff. More for the cellaring aspect. I have a 2006 that I would like to vertical.
Dark pour, with thin rimmed head.
Pleasant coffee aroma, rich and complex in the nose. You will want to taste it.
Taste is an indulgence of more rich coffee & dark chocolate.
Clean, creamy, and well balanced. No harsh bourbon/alcohol characteristics to speak of.
Now, I must confess, this is a very good beer. Highly anticipated. A very well crated beer. Yet, the $20/4 isn't justified, in my opinion.
I have found solice in say, Bell's Expedition or Brooklyn BCS (the latter being highly reasonable and just as satisfying in complexity) so go out and judge for yourself.

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Photo of westweasel
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into one of the new Sam Adams "Super Glasses".
The look is of the deepest darkest brown mysterious liquid you can imagine with about a 1/32 inch tan head. Belgian lace was left all around the glass.

The smell was wow! Deep, strong coffee aroma with a ton of roastiness.
The taste was amazing too - full of flavor. Coffee and roasted grain. The alcohol is masked by all the other flavors. It's hard to tell that this is a 10% beer.

The mouthfeel is very full and thick with a smooth finish.

This beer is amazingly easy to drink. An exceptional beer!

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

Let me start off by saying, "Holy Hell" this is one amazing beer! Pours a dark, viscous, dark brown color with minimal head. Smell is of roasted stout with the perfect amount of bourbon aging. I’ve had a lot of bourbon aged beers and this is the only one that has hit the blend perfectly. Taste is incredible. A very good underlying stout that features very good coffee/cocoa flavoring, again with the perfect blend of bourbon aging. It’s nice to finally experience a beer that is more than worthy of the hype.

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

I'm not much for milestones per se, but I have to mention that this coveted brew is my 900th beer review on this site and its my celebratory pick to drink during the opening day game for the Minnesota Twins. Go Twinkies! Well, right now the Twins are up 2-0 over Baltimore thanks to back to back homers from MVP Morneau and Gold glover Torii Hunter.

As for the beer... Bottled in 2007 and served at just a hair below cellar temp.

Dark, tarry black body with a solid finger of dusky cocoa brown head. Nice lacing. Nose features a healthy dose of dark coffee, accented by vanilla, bourbon, caramel, creme brulee, roasted malts, and campfire. Wow. The complexity coupled with the perfect balance of components is amazing.

Roasted malt bitterness greets the tongue, followed by dark chocolate, and sharp espresso. Bourbon flavors sneak in, along with oaky notes, vanilla, caramel, and dark fruits. Lots to process here. Bourbon notes increase toward the finish. Warming and rich. Full-bodied with a tickly, yet creamy thick feel.

Very well done and fails to disappoint this stout lover! Believe the hype.

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Photo of zdk9
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Quite an incredible beer, as expected.

A- Pours out syrupy and black as night. Almost no head or lacing though, which lost some points in my book, despite the beautiful color.

S- Probably the best nose of a beer I've tasted. It's so complex and pungent that I wouldn't mind just smelling the beer without a taste. It contains all the notes of the taste which I rarely observe. Dark chocolate, fresh roasted coffee beans, oak, bourbon, cream.

T- Taste is just the same. Strong dark chocolate and coffee bean surrounded with a halo of bourbon notes to add complexity and balance. There is the slightest hint of blueberries and currants. Pretty bitter, which I think might even be a good thing in this case, as it's easy to get overly sweet with an oaked beer.

M- Could be a little creamier, but besides that no complants here. The beer does a good job of coaxing your mouth into wanting more, without being too assertive with the bitterness.

D- Absolutly delicious to smell and taste. The bourbon aspects do bring out the alcohol instead of masking it, but I wish I had more than one bottle to savor.

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

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Opaque black in color. Soft brown head with a touch of cranberry color pours one finger thick and quickly dissolves into a micro bubble blanket that covers the top of the sample. Thin and spotty lacing.

S: Burnt coffee bean. Dark chocolate. Vanilla. Dark fruit. Oak aged bourbon.

T: Deep roasted day old java is goggled up by a rich and sweet dark chocolate swirl. Some earthy hop presence. Burnt malts add a touch of bitterness that is followed by the sweetness of dark fruits. A soft taste of vanilla is taken over by oak and the subtle warming sensation of the bourbon.

M: Creamy and thick. Minimal carbonation. Warm and drying.

D: A well crafted stout. Creamy and rich with a nice complexity that makes this brew interesting. I am glad I got to try this hard to find beer.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The Liquid is dark brown almost black, Ok carbonation. The head is a solid fat thumb, Way Nice chocolate brown and just a bit of lace. About as good as a BA stout can get.

The smell is great, I just love this Style. Great Imp stout Coffee all washed in Bourbon. Ooo, That is nice.

The taste follows with just a slight drop. Not sure if it is a bad coffee Bourbon mix or what but even though this is a wonderful brew and I really love it, It is not my top favorite BA stout. Real close however. I really like the coffee in this brew and the bourbon and oak is one of the best I have had. Chocolate notes come in to play as well. As this brew warms it really comes to a masterful complexity.

Mouthfeel is great, A real dream to sip. Room temp is perfection.

This is the kind of beer you can drink forever sip all night it can sit for quite long time and not loose a thing. What a nice treat.
Many many thanks to NFLMVP for providing me with this very fine brew.
Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

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

A friend traveling to Michigan picked me up several 4 packs and boy what a treat. Poured motor oil black with a frothy toasty brown head that left great retention. The aroma of bourbon was up front with hints of vanilla, dark prune and dates somewhere lost in the middle and a heavy scent of burnt coffee towards the end. What I smell is what I taste. The body was full almost thick, syrupy and softly carbonated with one hell of a bourbon alcohol feel on my palate. Careful, at 10% ABV this brew will creep up on you as it did to me after my third one of the night. Overall, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is among one of the best brews I've had. Thanks and Enjoy.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage

a - pour deep black, thick as motor oil, smallish khaki head with retention around the edges, good amount of lacing, especially for the modest head

s - big coffee aroma, nice uncurrents of vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark chocolate, and burnt malt, alcohol is evident, great smelling stout

t - sweet bourbon flavor up front, body is of dark roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, burnt malt, finish has a nice coffee bitterness along with pronounced notes of oak and vanilla that evolve into subtle sweetness, just enough alcohol hints to know it's there, brilliantly complex!

m - full-bodied, very creamy, coats mouth well, mild carbonation, finish is somewhat dry, but there's enough sweetness as well to keep palate in good shape, very nice warming effect

d - for a really big stout, extremely drinkable, if I wouldn't end up on the ground, I could drink this all night, doesn't wear out the palate too much, but at the same time the taste is extremely complex and aggressive

Wow, this beer lived up to all the hype for me. Luckily, I have a case, so I'll be able to see how it develops with some age. It'll be hard to improve on this though. I don't think there's any doubt the Founders is the king of stouts.

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Photo of cueball52
4.36/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep chocolate brown with virtually no head. It looks like motor oil but the smell tells you it isn't.
The aroma is dark chocolate and coffee followed by a faint wet cardboard smell, but it isn't unpleasant. There is also a hint of bourbon. The combination makes for a very good overall aroma with the dark chocolate taking center stage.
The taste is of dark, very bitter chocolate and dark roasted coffee followed with a slight bourbon bite and a warm alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is oily with almost no detectable carbination.
As I get to the bottom of the glass the dark roasted coffee aroma has taken over.
This is a very good complex stout. A couple cups of this in the morning might make for an interesting day!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.29/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

03/27/07- Received via trade with Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a notch system of freshness. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Black colored pour with a dirty brown head, approx 1/2 inch. Settles at a very light rim. Lacing is spotty and streaky.

Smell- Kind of a cross between some burnt wet cardboard and wet cigarette ashes. Some chocolate and deep malt is also found underneath.

Taste- Taste is spot on. The first sip is very much reminescent of the scent. A swig of cigarette ashes that only lasts for a split second. Then you get a wonderful thick coating of deep dark chocolate in your mouth. Very mild hops are present. Mostly deep chocolaty goodness with a hint of bourbon.

Mouthfeel- Pretty creamy and very coating. Carbonation level is a bit higher than I would like for a stout.

Drinkability- Had hopes this would be my first "5" beer, but the scent totally turned me off. But then the taste turned me on again. A very solid brew worth drinking many a time and not smelling.

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

I had this recently on tap at Founders Brewery, so I picked up a bottle to bring home and rate. Beer pours almost like motor oil, black as night and viscous. There is also a one finger, brown-tan head. Smell is a mix of coffee, bourbon, and chocolate. The coffee is most prominent. The same is true of the taste, coffee is the most obvious flavor, but chocolate and bourbon are also present. The alcohol is well hidden in the complex taste. The mouthfeel is full-bodied with almost no carbonation. This is as drinkable as beers this intense get. "Kentucky Breakfast Stout" is quite the appropriate name for this beer. If I was a big fan of coffee and drinking in the morning, this would be my breakfast for sure.

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Photo of klewis
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Markgugs for this one.

A: Pours thick and solid black withvery little head or foam. Little lacing.

S: Deep smell of burnt coffee, charred wood, and alcohol.

T: Like the smell, earthy with burnt flavors. Prominent flavors of coffee and anise with noticable alcohol. Quite full-flavored and complex. Unforunately, I find the taste to be quite similar to Founders' other stouts.

M: Thinner in body than expected, although still a bit hefty. Moderate carbonation with a creamy texture.

D: Quite good, but not worth the hype in my opinion. The taste is good, but nothing special, and the alcohol is a bit hot.

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

Wow...I was pretty excited to review this beer so here it goes...Poured into a 16oz pint glass, the appearence was thick and opaque black. A somewhat thin head, though it is very dark. There is also slight lacing apparent.

This beer smells phenomenal, nothing quite like it...Smells like an Irish coffee...with espresso, bourbon and vanilla, also a slight sugary sweetness.

Tastes just like it smells! It's really apparent why they call it Kentucky breakfast...It would definitely feel natural to drink this beer with some eggs and bacon first thing in the morning...There is a sharp bitterness towards the finish but only for a second, and I think it's necessary to balance out the smooth coffee flavors. The 10% abv is also masked quite well, with just the slightest hint of alcohol in in the finish. It leaves you feeling like you have coffee breath :)

Mouthfeel is thick, complex, and long lasting

This is one helluva beer...all I can say is coffee coffee coffee...I have one more bottle and you can bet I will be saving it for a special morning.

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Photo of beerphan
4.15/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> nonic
following Founders notching system bottled in Feb.
Year: 2007

Pours an oily impenatrable black with a small brownish tan head that recedes quickly to dishwater suds. Some pangean clumps of lace.

Nose: Upon popping the cap, my first whiff was unmistakeably BOURBON. After the pour, bourbon, smokey wood, licorice, burnt coffee grinds,

Smooth flavor, bourbon takes a step back and is only a lingering tickle on the back of the tongue, very pleasing and well done while not over doing it. (whew, because i am not a fan of extreme bourbon flavor in a beer). Begins with some dark chocolate and coffee grinds. An ever so slight bit of bittering on the finish, with a lingering smokey coffee grind bourbon flavor. Alcohol warms the body, but doesn't overwhelm the flavor.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel.

Definately meant to be a sipper, though my impatience makes me intuitively reach for the glass hoping to discover another complexity in this immense brew. Drinkability suffers dues to high price, availabilty and heavy coffee grind flavors. Glad to have had the opportunity!

earned my Mug with this review!

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 13,437 ratings