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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): 12.40%

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: 3,056 | Ratings: 11,993
Photo of Destral
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This a very dark and thick beer. Pour produced a very thin, tan head. I expected a bit more, but it did leave some pretty decent lacing oddly enough.

I love the bourbon and alcohol smell on this. Bits of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee round out a wonderful smell.

Very, very rich. Smooth bourbon and chocolate sweetness hits up front. Getting some caramel maybe, more of the vanilla showing up next. Finishes with just the right amount of roasted malt and coffee bitterness. Quite tasty.

This is a really full bodied, thick beer, but incredibly smooth even while pretty fresh. I wish I had more of this to age. One minor drawback is this one really left my mouth dry/thirsty.

With the high abv and full body, you'd think this would be a sipper...but this beer went much to quickly for me. Overall the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Lots of complex flavors are really well balanced. This is a real winner.

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Photo of Rbald42
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours nice,creamy, and thick. First inspection is zero light passing through this dark one. However I do notice it's actually a very dark brown with some light penetrating the top. Leaves a tan thin head.

S- Is roasted chocolate, dark malts, and faint bourbon and oak. The bourbon comes out more as it warms.I notice toffee, and the alcohol certainly comes out as it warms.

T- Taste is definitely an enjoyable ride with flavors playing off one another. Thick toffee sweetness followed by bitter hops and bitter chocolate. The bourbon presence follows with a somewhat chalky aftertaste that is different but not a negative.

M- Mouthfeel is warm, creamy and superb. It's a powerful brew but still drinkable.

D-Overall this is a world class stout. It's definitely deservng of its accolades and it's complex and enjoyable.

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Photo of zoolzoo
4.02/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Bottle

Fresh KBS smells like a bourbon barrel filled with fresh coffee, and it tastes kind of Similiar. The taste smacks you with bourbon but melds into sugary chocolate, oak, vanilla, and notably bitter CHARRED COFFEE. The bitterness was slightly off putting. Complex, but rough around the edges. A little hot, but not as abrasive as some barrel aged brews.

Its tough to rate drinkability for KBS. If I were to score it for "what it is", it would be high. Otherwise, its slightly below average.

Ive never had anything but fresh KBS. Each time I have this I wonder how older vintages are drinking - probably alot smoother. I have 3 bottles left... and I only have to wait a couple years.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into 21A snifter.

Appearance: Poured like a viscous, used 30 weight motor oil. Jet black with no transloucency. One finger dark tan head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smell: Huge coffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toasted brown sugar make up this amazingly smelling stout. Very smooth and well rounded smelling.

Taste: This is a 2010 release. The oaky bourbony taste leave the mouth a bit dry, but the taste that lingers on the tongue is great. Generous amounts of bittersweet chocolate, malt and brown sugar make up the majority of what I'm tasting.

Mouthfeel: Slightly bitter with a nice soft carbonation. I suspect it will be extremely smooth in a year. I plan on reviewing it again to see if things have developed any further.

Drinkability: Its a sipper for sure, but is surprisingly drinkable given the high ABV. The alcohol is well disguised in my opinion and isn't super boozy like the Goose Island BCS. I like this beer more than the BCS. I will age a few bottles and see how they taste later.

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

2009 vintage
A - This beer has an awesome dark brown, espresso-like head, and the beer itself is even darker than espresso.

S - Ohh, the aroma is simply amazing! Everything you would want in an aged imperial stout. Dark melted chocolate, roasted qualities, black coffee and a big influence from the barrel. Perfect amount of bourbon character as well as it's not overwhelming at all. Time for a taste!

T - Burnt coffee flavors prevail, but the bourbon is undoubtedly there. The warmness of KBS as you swallow is a reminder of the bourbon barrel. Really a great beer!

M/D - Very balanced in terms of mouthfeel. It doesn't leave the mouth overly dry and doesn't linger as long as other beers of the same style. I wish I had a few more to cellar as I'm sure this would age nicely

2010 vintage
A - Creamy tan head that sticks in small clumps to the side of my glass. No light escapes this dark beer, even when held up to light.

S - Has all of the smooth, rounded, complex aroma of bourbon without the harsh alcoholic aroma. Very dark chocolate notes. A bit of vanilla and perhaps a slight burnt grain aroma.

T - The very rich, dark chocolate flavor melds well with the sweet bourbon. Actually noticeably bitter. Ends nicely as the flavors last for awhile, giving you time to think between sips.

M/D - Slick, oily mouthfeel that covers the entire mouth and never fully washes away. I love Breakfast Stout, but KBS takes it to another level!

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

First off, not a fan of the double imperial stouts so don't listen to me, but the hype surrounding this opened my eyes. On that note, putting this in perspective with it's peers, this is pretty solid. Big dark pour, bourbon smell carries throughout, finish was big booze, with booze on top. I liked this, not so much drinkable, but one of the best imperial stouts i've ever had, complex and huge in every sip.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

8 oz tap pour into an American tumbler pint and shared with Sweemzander at Founder's Black Party 2010.

A - Totally black, no light gets through this one, with a cascading dollop of tan, dense whipped-cream-like head. Fantastic retention to the small pile and dense lace left on the glass.

S - The typical huge bourbon nose of KBS is smoothed out a lot from the nitro. A big backing of large black roasted malts with a vanilla flavor and light roasted coffee. So smooth in the nose!

T - The majorly bourbon barrel flavor hasn't really changed or smoothed from the nitro like the aroma did. The flavor is almost identical to the bottled version of KBS. Vanilla, coffee, molasses notes, and lots and lots of bourbon.

M - Smooth as silk with a soft texture and milky finish but the bourbon alcohol booziness sensation in the stomach remains the same. Roasted bitterness to the finish and fuuull bodied.

D - Like a normal KBS the bourbon is rather large but still fairly drinkable due to the nitro introduction. I'm really happy that I'm sharing this one. 6 oz poured into a snifter would plenty to nurse though a cool evening.

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

About 50°F, served in a tulip glass.

Appearance - A very dark, opaque brownish-black. Coffee colored head about a quarter inch high. Leaves some light lace behind.

Smell - Strong aroma of roasted malt and coffee right away. A definite tang of bourbon. Something of brown sugar and/or molasses. Quite intense.

Taste - Coffee and malt, but with much more complexity than the smell might indicate. The malt has a nice roasted quality to it, and the coffee is powerful but not overpowering. Brown sugar in the taste, and a hint of vanilla. It is likely that some of the smells are occluded by the coffee smell, but the composition really comes out in the taste. As the beer opens up, the bourbon becomes more noticeable. The way in which it blends with the dominant flavors of coffee and roatsted malt is exceptional. The high ABV is not very noticeable at all, and the brew does not burn going down. Rather extended (but pleasant) aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - A body somewhere between medium and full, it is a lightly creamy offerring that is handsomely carbonated for the Breakfast Stout style.

Drinkability - An excellent brew, and quite drinkable considering the 11.2% hidden within. That being said, one is probably sufficient.

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Photo of 1fastz28
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A buddy of mine picked this up for me, I've never ben able to find it. Pours like 10w40, it is just BLACK, smell is alcohol at first, it's overpowering almost, it smells like whiskey hence the aging. Taste is very whiskey heavy, it doesn't really taste like a normal stout, but that is what makes it so special. Mouthfeel is very thick, one of the thickest beers I've ever had.

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

09 (08?, the one that was released in Spring 09) vintage at Stoutfest. Same basic review as my bottle on with some improvements. The aggression is gone. Pitch black with dark tan head and cloud. Good lacing for aged beer. Taste and smell of cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, roast malts, big coffee, alcohol. Balance is amazing with an extra year of age. Smell is of great strength. Cocoa, coffee and barrel whiskey rules in balance. No more overaggressive alcohol, oak and bourbon. This beer needs age! MF is thick, warm, and low carbonation, very good. Drinkable besides the price, so amazing with age.

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Photo of AMo
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I poured this Highly Acclaimed Founders KBS hard, and got an initial inch of dense tight bubble foam. Tan colored head with a liquid shade of dark black; opaque. Initial smell is fantastic. Dark roasted chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. The odor is incredibly rich and highly enjoyable. Large whafts are like breathing liquid chocolate. Taste is no let down from what my nose revealed. Liquid chocolate, bourbon silk. Slight sweetness that is the perfect complementary touch. Slight notes of smooth coffee and only a pleasnat lingering aftertaste. An eighty ounce glass would be just fine. This highly acclaimed beer booze is too good. An infinite supply of this brew would be great beer wish. Mouthfeel is a perfect medium dense, tight bubble, low to moderate carbonation. Sticky sweet residue lingers on the gums and only encourages further drinking.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into ommegang tulip.

A - Poured an oil black with a shiny silky tint and a thin light brown head. Very attractive. Kind of glistens a bit in the glass.

S - Vanilla and caramel lead the nose. Roasted malts and a touch of bourbon compliments the smell. The ABV is also a bit present in the nose.

T - Vanilla and caramel dominate the flavor as well. The chocolate and coffee are also pretty present. Really tasty...kind of frapacino like.

M - Really smooth and silky...a bit filling.

D - Dangerously easy drinker but a bit too filling for me.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pricey, but considering it's currently #9, I feel compelled to give it a go. Poured into a Same Adams glass.
Doesn't pour too thickly, but it is black as a cloudy night. Takes a moment for head to appear, but it's ultimately quite small and thing, thickest on edges, and still leaves some dark lacing.
Really coffee and roast in aroma. Much more than I anticipated and minimal bourbon (just hints actually). Actually heavier than regular FBS, surprisingly. Has a fresh and alive quality about it.
Initially, the roast and coffee flavor reign, but as the beer breaths the bourbon begins to appear, first quite subtly, but then in an ever growing pattern, unfortunately it eventually gets to dominate, which ruins it for me. When the bourbon becomes too strong the beer loses the wonderful coffee roast very extended aftertaste that made the opening drinks so pleasurable. Now they are only a memory<sigh>. Alcohol is hidden quite well. Minimal burning or heat.
Moderately high body and carbonated nicely for style. Smooth.
Drinks dangerously easily. However, going through more than one would take me some work.
This is better than FBS, if the bourbon wasn't so loud. I wish there was a way to make bourbon barrel flavors complement better rather than dominate.

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Photo of japetus
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I reviewed this beer in 2008. I gave it a 5 across the board and thought it was one of the best I had ever tried.

I can't say the same anymore. On tap and in bottle, the mouthfeel seems to have thinned. The aroma is still great, but not as powerful as before and the taste just doesn't seem to be there. Overall, it seems like a much less hearty beer than before. With all of that aside this is still a great beer but I cannot judge it as a A+ (world class) beer anymore. I now would rate it a B+.

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of gratefulbeerhead. Thank you sir!

2010 Vintage

A: Pours coffee black with a thin tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Great nose on this one. Notes of sweet chocolate and buttery bourbon really shine in this one. Coffee, vanilla, and just a little oak also come through. An amazing blend of aromas leads to great complexity on the nose.

T: Dark roast coffee and dark chocolate come through at the onset of each sip. This transitions to a strong vanilla and bourbon finish, sitting atop distinct hints of earthy oak. The strong bourbon and alcohol in the finish is just a touch overwhelming, but overall the flavor has really nice balance and complexity. A flavor of dark coffee lingers for a long time after each sip.

M: Very full bodied, thick and chewy. The strong sting of alcohol in the finish brings this score down a bit.

D: A beautiful beer by any measure. It's a little hot right now, but still very good. It can only get better with age. Cheers to Founders for a great BA Stout.

I enjoyed this more than the KBS I had on tap at EBF 2010. I'm not really sure what the difference was, but this one had much more bourbon character and heat than the several draft tastings I had at EBF.

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Photo of chaz01
3.83/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle served in a Founder's snifter/tulip type glass.

A: Jet black, with a 1 inch dark brown head that recedes quickly leaving just a little lacing on the glass.

S: Coffee and chocolate flavors dominate any other aroma, especially the coffee.

T: Vanilla, coffee, bourbon, rum, and lots of grains and maltiness.

M: Thick, rich and full bodied. Lots of boozy alcohol finish to it.

D: I seek this beer out every year when it comes out, mainly based on it's reputation and scarcity in the market. It's very different and very good, but also very pricey, and I think just a bit overrated -- the bourbon and coffee flavors mixed together just don't do it for me -- I'd much prefer a Goose Island Bourbon stout. I'm not saying it's a bad beer, or I don't like it, just that when I rate it objectively it's not on on my list of top 10 beers in the world.

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Photo of Florida9
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque black in color. Pours with a small, creamy, dark tan head that has very little retention, reducing quite quickly to nothingness. Little to no lacing.

S: Dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar. Sweet malt and a little coffee. Lighter notes notes of oak and vanilla. Bourbon begins to show as it warms. The nose on this is quite impressive.

T: Sweet, dark malts with oak and vanilla. Very mild bourbon booziness that fades quickly. Pleasant roasted malt finish.

M: Thick and chewy with a low carbonation.

D: A very good beer. A sipper for sure, but also a pleasure to drink.

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

Pours a very dark brown...lets just call it black. Above it sits a finger of rich, dark tan head. There's a nuttiness to the smell along with vanilla, bourbon, and coffee. The taste is quite good, as expected. You certainly are aware of the alcohol, but it is very smooth. There's vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. I also got a maple syrup note. Creamy, sticky feel was a plus. I really like high viscosity beers. I found this quite drinkable, yet my wallet says otherwise.

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Photo of greenlab
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of expectation from this beer, with all of it met.

Poured dark and very thick, creamy look.

Smells of caramel, coffee,

Smooth, rich flavors of chocolate, caramel, and most important balance. The ABV is hidden well.

Overall very drinkable, really is one of the best beers I've had so far.

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Photo of pwoody11
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BEERchitect for this one.

Poured a pitch black with a brown head.

Aroma is of espresso, vanilla, whiskey and chocolate.

Taste was amazing. Dark roasted malts, brown sugar, and a sweet bourbon edge.

Great beer. I can't wait to visit it again sometime.

Big thanks to BEERchitect for hooking up such a generous trade.

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Photo of camp0474
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass

A: Pours pitch black and very thick. Dark tan creamy head. Good lacing.

S: Smells of toasted malt, coffee, and some notes of chocolate. On top of those a smell of bourbon, which adds a sweet vanilla bean smell, and smells a bit boozy.

T: Barrel aged bourbon hits the tongue heavy. The strong whiskey flavor rides on top of the malt and coffee flavors. The alcohol flavor lingers for a bit, but still allows the others flavors to come through. The bourbon flavor adds woody, smokey, and fresh vanilla notes. Surprisingly a lot going on here other than straight bourbon.

M/D: Thick and chewy with lower carbonation. The finish is a bit dry due to the high ABV. More of a special occasion beer and a definite sipper. But wanted to keep going back for more.

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Photo of sitarist
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep next to black color, opaque. Half an inch of a caramel colored head falls to a ring with some lacing.

Smells like bourbon and cola. There are some hints of chocolate, caramel, toasted marshmallows, and vanilla, but the bourbon is the main think I pick up.

The first thing I taste is a pleasant, mellow bourbon flavor. Oak, smoke, vanilla, leather. This would be excellent with a cigar.

Medium body, full flavor, light carbonation, not too dry, warming. Very pleasant bourbon aftertaste.

Highly sip-able. Very smooth and pleasant. Everything works well together.

I love bourbon and I love beer, this is Heaven!

Edit: 12.23.10...This beer was better fresh; it does not age well...IMO

Edit: 3.16.11...This beer is definitely better fresh. I just did a vertical with this years, and last years. The fresh KBS is much smoother, and has better balance than the year old bottle.

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Photo of mmva321
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

With stouts anymore, I'm not really looking for innovation as much as I just want the beer to have the best quality of the traditional ingredients. This beer does that better than any other. It trumps Founder's Breakfast Stout by making a traditional stout with the best tasting flavors.

A: Pours an extremely dark brown. Opaque body that has just the slightest red tint. About a finger of dark tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves remnants at the top.

S: Very well balanced. Roasted coffee and nuts mix well with the smoother vanilla and chocolate smells. I wish they had leaned a bit closer to the roasted side of things, as the emphasis on the vanilla makes the smell a little faint.

T: This is perhaps the first beer I've had where I actually enjoyed the presence of a strong alcohol taste (or this and BBQ). It has a strong alcohol flavor, but it mixes perfectly with the hearty roasted flavors of coffee. It's complimented well by the added vanilla which smooths it all out. The oak barrell adds character to the alcohol flavor and gives this beer a real burbon flavor.

M: A good thick body with just a little bit of carbonation. It's very substantial, but it doesn't get in the way.

D: Highly drinkable just because it tastes so damn good and is so enjoyable. I used to dream that the best tasting stout would be like sweet liquid chocolate, but I was wrong. Founders upped the alcohol taste, but instead of masking it, they used it to their advantage and balanced it perfectly with the best ingredients.

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter at a local tapping in Dayton. Drank over an extended period of time.

A- Opaque black with a small dark brown head that disappears rather quickly. Nice amount of sticking to the glass.

S- The wood and vanilla hit the nostrils first followed quickly by the roasted malts and dark chocolate that one finds in the regular breakfast stout. Finishes with a slight amount of alcohol and bourbon.

T- Large drags of dark bitter chocolate along with high ends of coffee. Throughout the entire drink, the chocolate and coffee is laced with tastes of wood and vanilla that complement the roasted malts. Finishes with a lingering bourbon taste with a medium alcohol presence that really allows you to walk away with a refreshed palate.

M- Chewy and full, thick presence in the mouth is wonderful for a cool day.

D- Hardest part is letting this one sit around and warm up to develop its full character.

Notes- Must allow this beer to warm up if you want to get the full taste of the beer. This is a waste if you try to drink it quickly or too cold.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 KBS on draft in a snifter from the source @ Founder's in GR.

A: Not a ton of head, which seems to be typical of the draft version of this. Little globs of lacing. A nice swirl livens up the caramel colored foam. Pitch black in the glass otherwise.

S: Roasted oak notes mingle with dark chocolate and coffee undertones. Slight bourbon as well.

T: The bourbon definitely shines through...oaky, roasted malts, mocha, and then some more whiskey on the back end.

M: So smooth, a touch of a bit, but so smooth for this style. Round warming mouthfeel.

D: A true score. Any time you can find it...buy it.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,993 ratings.
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