Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

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Reviews: 3,154 | Ratings: 12,348
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Poured a thick black colour with a small amount of bubbly espresso coloured head.

S - Dark chocolate and some coffee with sweet vanilla and bourbon notes. The bourbon is discernible but is not overwhelming in the nose.

T - The palate has more pronounced bourbon notes at first that become less evident as I drink the beer. Even initially the bourbon is not overwhelming but is definitely the most up front flavour. There is some sweetness here too that is derived from the vanilla flavour and provides a nice compliment to the bourbon. As the beer warmed up even more there were more pronounced coffee and chocoalte notes that were well balanced with the bourbon and vanilla. An outstanding beer.

M - Medium to thick body. Silky. lightly carbonated.

D - A truly amazing beer. Lived up to the hype.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a nice dark tan to brownish colored head. In the aroma, bourbon, oak, and just a hint of vanilla. In the taste, coffee, oak, and big alcohol presence of bourbon. A small alcohol bite and big bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, lingering bourbon flavored aftertaste. Quite a big beer, a good sipper, huge bourbon flavor, small hints of coffee and vanilla, but over taken by the bourbon.

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Photo of BobZ
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last night I poured 3 bottles of KBS. 2010, 2011, and 2012 releases. Split the bottles with a friend (as my wife is not a fan of either Bourbon or Stouts).

Minutia: 2012 into Duvel Tulips, 2011 into St. Bernardus chalices, and 2010 into Aventinus Eisbock glasses.

The differences were noticeable but not extreme:

The 2012 had the Chocolate, Coffee, and Bourbon, with a fair amount of Vanilla flavors. The bourbon caused the beer to finish a little on the "sharp" side but in all honesty if I wasn’t doing a side-by-side tasting I'm not sure it would have been that noticeable.

The 2011 had the same three components and contrary to what I expected, the coffee flavor hardly diminished (or fell-off) at all, the bourbon mellowed nicely and the beer finished incredibly smooth.

The 2010 did have a more noticeable drop in coffee but again not "extreme drop-off" by any means, the chocolate was more prevalent and the finish had a more noticeable warmth.

I'd have to say the 2011 was the most enjoyable for me, a shame there are only 2 bottles of that year left in the cellar but based on my experience I'll be drinking them sooner rather than later.

Still a great beer that deserves its rep. Never sticky or cloying as it warms (as this was my primary complaint with BCBS as it became like molasses as it warmed) just enjoyable start to finish. Again drinking all three years at the same time, going back and forth, was a great way to enjoy them.

12 oz. Bottle. Thanks to Billy at Muckey's for holding a couple of bottles for me.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black. Rich with a quickly dissipating dark tan head. Lacing is strong throughout the beer (start to finish).

Smell: Very good and complex, you get everything, coffee, bourbon/booze, and strong chocolate. A lot going on here and it all smells great.

Taste: Wow, all of the flavors in the scent come through in great balance, so clean, literally explodes off the palate, great flavor complexity with no after taste. Great beer!

Mouth feel: Smooth as can be for such a deep and complex beer.

Drinkability: Because it's so rich it's a one beer per session type of beer.

Really an incredible stout, deserves its reputation.

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Photo of joshstevens87
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-pour a solid black with a quarter inch of dirty tan head
S-sweet bourbon and huge notes of coffee with a little choclate and some vanilla and a little bit of alcohol burn
T-an amazingly complex tase with notes of coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate with a faint hint of aromatic hops this beer is superbly balanced and delicious and tastes no where no its 11%abv
M-this beer is remarkably smooth with a full body and little to no carbonation with only a bit of alcohol presence
D-amazing i cannot say enough good things about this beer it definately lives up to its hype

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Photo of rabsten
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

sharp edge creekhouse, pittsburgh, pa. Snifter. $10 for 10 oz. Worth every penny.

dark oil in the snifter, cocoa colored head, good lacing, slight red color when put up to light. Pretty.

big ol' hit of gin-u-ine Kintuckee bourbon right up front with lurking caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. Hint of the burbon's corn is the sole detractor.

smooth infusion of chocolate, oats, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, and whiskey. Only possible complaint is tha t the bourbon leads the party.

good but not great mouthfeel. Somewhat acrid at time, and soft at others. Inconsistent. Still, just fine.

more drinkable than an 11% ber should be.

modern masterpiece. Quintessential example of what American ingenuity can do vis-a-vis beer. Worth driving to other states to experience.

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Photo of Tripphop
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Robust, rich, and highly addictive.

Aromas of dark chocolate and bourbon, this drinks incredibly well. Great mouthfeel, smooth and creamy with a crisp bourbon undertone. Can't wait to revisit this one in the wintertime. A must try for stout lovers.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at a great local bar. Can't believe I finally get to have this gem on tap! Poured into a 10-12oz snifter...

A - Dark as night. A half a finger mocha brown/tan head forms just as it is presented to me.

S - Smells of vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, leather, tobacco, and some slight alcohol comes through. I must say that the bourbon aging does not overpower everything that is going on and seems to be slightly less present then when poured from the bottle.

T - A manly, manly beer. Thick, creamy, oat-y beer with solid roasted malt and chocolate flavors. The bourbon and vanilla sits nicely at the end of the taste bringing along with it some evidence of alcohol, but nothing too harsh by any means.

M - Creamy and velvety, much more so than the bottled version. I could swirl this in my mouth for days.

D - Although I rushed through this one, it was surprisingly easy to drink. The alcohol presence did not make an appearance and let me enjoy it much more than I thought I would be able to.

If you see this on draft, do not pass it up. It is certainly interesting to see the differences between the bottled version and the version on draft. Simply a phenomenal beer and still remains one of my favorite barrel aged beers.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Founder's "KBS" - On-tap

Appearance: The darkest of browns with a small light brown head that sticks around the edges. Little specks of lace resembling stars in a distant galaxy.

Smell: Wonderfully potent nose that boasts Vanilla, Chocolate, Charred malt and a hint of sweet sweet booze.

Taste: At first notes of chocolate, pine and coffee greet the palate. There is a nice dark chocolate flavor abundant in this beer. Some charred oak flavors couple with a bourbon like boozyness. As the drink warms, the alcohol becomes more noticable, but it does not overpower the chocolate, oak and vanilla. Complexities abound but the palate is never confused, in fact, it accepts all the flavors at once.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, good amount of carbonation. A bit oily and slick.

Drinkability: This sipper rarely comes around these parts on tap. A stronger version of the bottled counterpart, this beer is simply phenominal.

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Photo of DosBeerigos
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage

Well there is no real intro for this beer, it is what it is. It is KBS. Poured dark, and smelled lovely. The Beer attacked the palate like a planned out bank robbery, actually no more like the robbery from the Oceans movies. Matt Damon, I mean the Bourbon, was really well balanced in this, not over powering all the other players. There were hints of coffee that left a nice roasty quality, and then the vanilla. Most Bourbon Barrel Beers have an off flavor of vanilla, Founders was on point with the amount of vanilla in this beer. It was just enough to get you coming back for more. Great Beer!

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Photo of Stigs
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, served in a big DFH snifter

A - thin layer of dark khaki foam settles quickly to a thin film and few floating islands of bubbles. the beer pours pitch black and thick like oil. dark & ominous.

S - heavy on the bourbon, accented by fresh french roast coffee, oak, chocolate, vanilla beans, and warming alcohol.

T - starts off a bit sweet with some very dark over=ripened fruits before the bourbon really kicks in. joined by strong coffee (with an intense lingering bitterness that lasts and lasts), sweet oak and vanilla.

M - a little thinner I think than on tap, still quite syrupy but with strong biting carbonation. alcohol warms and opens up the drink near the end.

D - like it a bit more from the tap, but still one of the best beers out there. wonderfully robust and intense, yet complex. one of those beers that doesnt need a special occasion, as every time you have one is special enough.

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Photo of jimbus
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle and boy did the aromas explode without hesitation as I filled my glass. Dark as night with a one finger head which slowly dissipated. Nice deep cream color to the head and a bit of lacing left with every sip. Smells of rich espresso, dark chocolate, hints of bourbon, and other complexities. Tastes like it smells, only better. Lots of chocolates, coffee, and just enough bourbon to complement and hide the ABV yet it does not overpower, which I liked. A tinge of alcohol taste as it finishes but the 11.2% ABV is definitely masked well. Full mouthfeel and super rich. One or two of these on special occasions every once in a while sounds just about right. It lives up to the hype!

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Photo of argock
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. Bottled on 02/08/10 on bottle neck under neck label. Purchased as 4-pack at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $20.99.

A: Jet black with short-lived French vanilla 1-finger head which leaves wisps of lace around the glass.

S: Bourbon aroma grabs first followed by dark coffee, dark chocolate, licorice, and roasted malts. Hops are hard to appreciate with everything else going on, but there is definitely some earthy, tobacco notes as it warms.

T: Bursting with dark roasted flavors such as coffee, roasted malts, and barely bitter dark chocolate. The bourbon barrel aging produces a lot of whiskey flavor but it acts as an accompaniment rather than the lead act here and enhances the coffee and dark chocolate flavors while masking the ABV effectively. The tobacco notes of the hops are prominent as it warms. A really nice bourbon-tinged, coffee stout, but I still think I like Espresso Oak Aged Yeti fresh for the price as a coffee-infused imperial stout.

M: Wonderful balance of creamy carbonation and silky big-bodied brew that layers the tongue. Aftertaste lasts for many minutes with coffee, dark chocolate, and bourbon.

D: A great American stout with huge, varied aroma and flavor profiles and superb mouthfeel and drinkability. Deserves its high regard.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours almost pure black, thin layer of brown head. No lacing, but coats the glass well.

Smell -- Bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, and some charcoal.

Taste -- The bourbon is very pronounced. Strong oakiness, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, some charcoal. Finish is chocolate, char, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel -- Velvety, full-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Sharp alcohol bite in the finish.

Drinkability -- The bourbon character is very sharp, so much that it burnt my sinuses. Mind you, I enjoy barrel-aged stouts, and Founders Breakfast Stout - what is essentially the base beer - is a favorite of mine. However, I just couldn't fall in love with this one like everyone else. A noble brew to be certain, but I may stick to my tried and trues in the future.

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Photo of jonvan04
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After keeping an eye out for many months, I was finally able to land a bottle while eating dinner at Hawthornes in Philadelphia. It didn't feel right drinking this straight out of the bottle, so I ended up pouring it into the jar that was supposed to be my water glass. It was jet black without very much head. The aroma is a very nice blend of coffee, roasted malts, and a little hint of the oak. The taste was an intense blend of the coffee and roasted malts. The mouthfeel was rather light considering how heavy of a beer this is, which would made it very easy to drink a few of these. Anyone who likes coffee flavor in their beer would absolutely love this.

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Photo of chalsk
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very delicious imperial stout. Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of bourbon with hints of coffee, vanilla, and malt. The alcohol comes through on the smell and taste. This stout has it all sweet and malty on the front, bitter and biting alcohol on the back. Thin mouthfeel. Notes of vanilla and coffee which linger on the tongue through the finish. This is most definitely a snifter worthy stout.

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Photo of liquidcraft
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours up nice; rich black with a short, enticing mocha head. I've drank my share of these but never with the attentiveness of a review. The smell is heavy with bourbon, but chocolate and coffee are there in full support. I like that the flavors are present above the roasted scents that often accompany stouts.

Taste is just straight up comforting. I'm all about whiskeys and the bourbon variety is no exception. Chocolate and coffee come up first with some of the classic oak-imparted flavor. Bourbon comes heavy in the finish providing a sweet and boozy sensation. There is no mistaking the alcohol in this one but it works for the benefit of this beer, I think the warmth adds to the experience of this. Its carbonated nicely, it wouldn't hurt to be thicker but I dig the balance of KBS. Founders rarely misses the mark with their beers.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The legendary founders KBS. Never did I think I would find a bottle without trading. Picked it up at my local mix and six for 6.50 a bottle

A - Fuel black with no head to speak of. Thought it was kind of odd but because of the ABV it seemed right. No bottle date on label or bottle.

S - Right up from the bottle I got oak and coffee but in my tulip glass I can smell coffee and bourbon with more oak. Slight burnt sugars also.

T - Warming bourbon followed by vanilla, oak, then bitter coffee and chocolate finish.

M - Wow the bourbon packs a less than mild punch than expected! Still very noticeable yet the bitterness of the chocolate and coffee malt take some of the heat off.

D - What to think... Really an amazing brew that I guarantee at least an A in this reviewers opinion. Strong flavor and high ABV with expected high price tag. May have it again if I hit up the brewery.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This, my first KBS, is being consumed on Sunday 13 June 2010 to celebrate the last night of studying for the hardest exam I will ever take (Step 1 of the USMLE - United States Medical Licensing Exam).

Served at 53 degrees in a 12 oz. whiskey snifter.

A. Brisk pour brings up a pinky-finger-thick dark coffee colored head on top of an impenetrably dark black abyss. The head dissipates quickly to a thin ring of coffee around the perimeter of the brew.

S. Super coffee in the nose with a touch of dark chocolate. Some bourbon vanilla notes can be noted as the beer warms.

T. Bourbon barrel up front in the taste quickly followed by espresso, oak, and fine dark chocolate with a finish of bitter coffee and wood with a bit of fresh herb/leafy taste as well. The bourbon in the tail end really comes through; fine sippin' beer here (of course I prefer my barrel strength bourbon neat, too).

M. Medium-thick body with a good level of small bubble smooth carbonation. I'm on the edge with this. If I'd change anything, I'd like this to be thicker and possibly less carbonation. I like to really chew on my alcohol.

D. Excellent. I might have to pop another one of these when my bourbon drinking buddy gets back to town after my exam. That said, I might have to drop $25 on another 4 pack of these at my local beer store in celebration.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally able to pick some up this year! Poured into a Chimay goblet at 50 degrees.

Pours with a respectable 1F of brown head, fading to film & ring over top of a jet black body. Little bit of lacing as it goes down.

Aromas launch right into roasted espresso bean, vanilla bean, and tobacco leaves. All bitterness.

Really creamy smooth on the mouthfeel, with an explosion of bitter Sumatra coffee grinds, and balanced with dark chocolate sweetness. The bourbon barrel and alcohol qualities sit WAY in the back, much more so than Founders Nemesis which has it punching you in the face.

Hardly a chugger, although the smooth body and delicious flavors are constantly pulling you back for more.

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Photo of ebby82
3.92/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The initial smell was a delicious blend of coffee, chocolate malt, and bourbon. I also really enjoyed the first taste. But overall, I'm not a big fan of this beer due to its overwhelming Bourbon flavor. I'm sure it's great if you like bourbon, but I really don't. It's a well made beer, but the bourbon flavor is too much for me. The appearance was a beautiful deep tarnished black, however. The mouthfeel was intensely thick. I could never drink more than one of these, and at the price, I probably won't be drinking it again.

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Photo of adkirkish
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Toasted / Roasted malts are dominant, No hop aromas, no esthers. Bourbon is especially present which combines with coffee and slight chocolate aromatics.

A: Pours black and couldn't see through even when held to light. (Maybe I need a beer flashlight?) The head was thin and off-white and quickly dissipated.

F: As in the aroma, toasted and roasted malts are present, but the balance of this beer leans toward the coffee and bourbon. The only hops that I could possibly perceive would be in the finish which are coupled with an oak bitterness/tang.

M: To me this beer was surprisingly light in body, and I was expecting more chew. There is a slight warmth from the bourbon but not overpowering. I couldn't perceive any creamy feeling. There was a slight astringency from the oak/bourbon/hops in the finish but is appropriate to style.

O: I really enjoyed this beer. The coffee and bourbon play really well together. The only suggestions for improvement I could give are in the way of mouthfeel. This beer was lacking in body to me, but the aromatics and taste more than make up for the slight shortfall. This beer will definitely hold up to age. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at Capone's during the Philly Beer Week promotion.
Served chilled in 5.5oz snifters - I had 3.

A - An onyx shade with a thin cap of medium brown like crema on espresso. The clarity is opaque and the head retention is decent w/ spattering of lace taking hold to the small snifter.

S - At once the full nose has fruity deep plum and aromas of bourbon with vanilla and cocoa odors following closely . the notes of wood follow the dark malt, but no strong roasted aroma, simply a coffee, vanilla, bourbon and chocolate blend that smells slightly of alcohol

M - The feel has the oaky tannin of a bourbon barrel yet smooth coffee oil and cocoa astringency are all downplayed by the full foundation of sturdy stout. The chewiness is moderate as is the carbonation and the dry finish still carries a slight note of alcohol from the bourbon barrel with some hops and spiced notes of cocoa, coffee and vanilla

T - The taste....whoah, the taste! That took me back for a second to fresh KBS I tried after Dark Lord day 2 years ago - a full on chewy chocolate malt and vanilla flavor which submits gradually to a hop like pine spice and coffee note which leads to the element that gives the beer its name -bourbon and oak. The mild yet sweet bourbon is drenched in vanilla creaminess and cocoa flavors which have sweet and roasted edges and tinges of nuttiness from the wood complete the flavor. Like a fudge truffle with its rich full cocoa notes and the bourbon taste is the icing on the proverbial cake with intense pine hoppiness creating a contrast that makes fresh KBS the best stout I have had probably with exception of Canadian breakfast stout. The hop finish is delicious and provides a mild bitter dry finish

D - I consider the KBS experience the top of the pack, the pinnacle if you will, I had three of these and as strong as it is it still seems balanced and not at all like an 11% stout. The barrel is used deftly as an ingredient and adds to the delicious tastes of the stout, coffee and vanilla without intrusion, the flavors are all melded together expertly and I think the draft is ever so slightly more drinkable than the bottle.

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Photo of rootbeerman
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first time tasting this.

A: pours deep black that is brown around the edges when held to the light. very thin dark brown head
S: coffee, chocolate and light vanilla, a bit of alcohol along with a little nutty aroma.
T: first off my mouth waters betweens sips. coffee, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, sweet dark roasted malt whats not to love. there also is a nutty cookie like flavor. could say this is a liquid cookie. alcohol is noticeable in the throat as it warms up.
M: smooth very coating, low carbonation. overall stays and lingers in mouth for a long long time.
D: very glad i went to find another 4-pack, very drinkable.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into dfh chalice. pretty much a black void with a dark tan head.

nose is dominated by coffee and dark chocolate, hint of vanilla.

taste has alot going on. boozey, dark chocolate, vanilla, coconut, roasted barley,slightly nutty, coffee. the coffee flavor is really intense and lingers.

mouthfeel is very viscous. the carbonation is low.

overall i'd expect a richer bourbon flavor. in comparison to BCS it has less bourbon hotness, more coffee. shoulda picked up some BC coffee stout when i was in chicago./

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders KBS is delicious, completely natural-tasting, and a remarkable experience.

KBS poured black with a short milk chocolate-colored head. It left moderate amounts of lace on the glass. The flavor was remarkable. It was dominated by high-quality dark chocolate, followed by hints of coffee, bourbon, and the slightest hint of vanilla. The flavors were authentic and natural, with none of the artificial nature that many chocolate stouts have. The feel was smooth with a bitter finish. KBS enlivened the mouth. This is a remarkable slow sipping good-to-be-alive experience. It was thrilling to find it.

KBS is a sure-fire top ten beer with a ton of complex nature flavor and a great mouthfeel. It serves perfectly as a dessert, a meal, or a late save-the-day experience. Have I mentioned it's remarkable?

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,348 ratings.
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