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: 3,162 | Ratings: 12,371
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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Photo of mfunk9786
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another beer masterpiece courtesy of Founders, purchased at Capone's in Norristown, who had more KBS than I've ever seen in one place on hand. I'm reviewing the bottled version (I was able to score a four-pack for a whopping $30) but it was wonderful on tap, too (obviously).

A: Pours thick, thick, thick. It'd be a waste of quality beer to try this, but I'm pretty sure if you rubbed it in some old hinges, they'd stop squeaking. Pours with little to no head (though I have no complaints about that in this case, because the milk chocolate-colored lacing is beautiful and never ever goes away).

S: From the moment the cap is pried off the bottle, the smell of this beer fills the room. Upon further sniffing around my Unibroue tulip, I can quickly pick up bourbon, oak, and vanilla; with chocolate and coffee not far behind. The wonderful thing about the bourbon aroma is that it's buttery and sweet, and is lacking in any of the more aggressive characteristics of bourbon (there's no aggressive boozy smell to this beer).

T: Perfection. A smoky vanilla and oak flavor (with a ton of sweet sweet bourbon notes), followed by bittersweet chocolate, and finishing with bitter, ultra-high quality black coffee. Takes your tongue on an incredible ride from the beginning of a sip to the end.

M: Chewy. Feels thick in the mouth, but once swallowed, there's a nice carbonation tingling and oh-so-slight alcohol burn that reminds you that you can't just keep drinking this all night long. The fact that it's impossible to find this beer is also a good reminder of that in and of itself, though.

D: Even if you want to guzzle it down, this is a beer that you should cherish and savor over the course of an hour or two. I'm the kind of guy who buys an iced coffee and never takes his mouth off the straw until he's left with a stomachache and an empty cup three minutes later. So it's difficult not to just attack this beer, because it's just SO DAMN DELICIOUS. But resist. You'll be rewarded with every prolonged sip.

One of the best beers ever. I've been on a roll lately when it comes to stouts, and I don't want it to end. Along with Dieu du Ciel, Founders is making the absolute best stouts [and beers, period] in the world.

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Photo of thequeen711
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

KBS 2010!!!! is finally in PA!!!
Nose of blended chocolates and bourbon, Pour is rich chocolate black, barely lacing at the top. The aging in the oak bourbon barrels just makes this specialty brew more flavourful. Medium-heavy mouthfeel, just slides down the back of my throat and warms my belly! This is in my top 3 Favourite beers, and I will faithfully seek this out whenever the opportunity arises!
Thanks to Mike Bell and the guys at Founders for creating such pleasure.

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Photo of biglite351
3.36/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - super dark with just a hint of brown around the edges.

S - not nearly as good as I was expecting. Mild bourbon with malts and caramel.

T - sweet with mild coffee and chocolate. Obvious bourbon but not overpowering.

M - decent coating with tingles moving around entire mouth and throat.

D - it is a bit too strong for more than one, but you do want that one...

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Erik for sending this as an EXTRA!!! I've been waiting to try this for quite some time.

A-pours a jet black viscous liquid with a thin bubbly dark mocha colored head.

S-the nose is big and delicious. roasted coffee, slightly burnt, dark chocolate and vanilla behind. notes of oak and bourbon towards the back and just a hint of meat.

T-great flavors! burnt coffee, notes of vanilla, decadent rich dark chocolate, very light notes of bourbon, more chocolate richness, finishes with just a touch of smoked meat but very light.

M-extremely smooth on the palate, creamy and rich. the body is quite full and the carbonation is good, the back falls off just a little.

D-this is extremely tasty! great flavors and fantastic job on the barrel aging. top notch beer!

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Photo of sugarman71
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I stumbled on this by losing a bet...and now I cannot get enough of this. I don't know what it is ... the bourbon taste? the smoothness of the entire pour? It is something spacial! Definitely one of my favorites and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a different tasting stout.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to Beerwolf77 for this extra

Part of an epic tasting, along with Sculpin, BCS, BCBCS, and more.

A: Pours a syrupy, viscous-looking, black oil color with a small brown (almost purple) head. Truly a thing of beauty.

S:, oak barrels are apparent in the nose giving a woody note, bourbon (but MUCH more balanced and manageable than BCS)- and not very hot at all, only a little chest warming. Vanilla, a hint of dark berries, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, lactose, oats, chocolate, maple syrup, and a roasted/slightly burnt malt character.

T: See above; nearly identical. The maple syrup is a little less pronounced in the flavor, but you can still get a slight whiff. Bourbon is essentially blended flawlessly into the rest of the profile. Lactose is present and gives a good cream flavor that really goes well with the chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla.

MF/D: Super (I emphasize super) viscous body- one of the biggest I've tasted. Alcohol is very well hidden, and the bourbon is not boozy at all, rather complementary. Low carbonation. This is the closest-to-a-5 beer I've reviewed.

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Photo of ejimhof
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- very black, maybe the darkest beer I've seen.

S- Huge coffee grounds and high alcohol smell.

T- coffee, chocolate, and whiskey barrel.

M- very smooth for an imperial beer could easily have more than one.

D- very enjoyable beer even though I don't drink coffee.

My label is different than the one pictured and says KBS instead of Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,371 ratings.
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