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: 3,086 | Ratings: 12,152
Photo of LADaveBN
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at City Tap Room in DC. Pours nearly pitch black. Nose is all coffee with subtle bourbon notes. Taste is similar. All rich coffee and cocoa with hints of bourbon. Feel isn't thick as I expected. A touch on the thin side. Overall, a very good coffee forward BBA stout. Wasn't blown away though. I wish the bourbon was more prominent. Perhaps previous years releases were better?

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Photo of heygeebee
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A Beast of a Beer
Is it the hit of vanilla / whisky on the nose?
Is it the massively complex palate with all sorts of competing yet complementary elements?
Or is it just Damn Good Beer?

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Photo of TheRossness
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite brews. KBS is almost always good. It pours a dark brown and reeks of coffee. It tastes like coffee with boozy undertones. The 2016 version seems to have less of a boozy taste than previous years. It also seems to be a little thinner boddied. I remember KBS being thick. When I've found it on tap, it drinks more like an imperial porter. Its one of the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts there is. compared to something like a Bourbon County, this absolutely kills it ever single time.

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Photo of frozyn
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L -- Jet black with a nice mocha colored head, which was not very large as I didn't pour too aggressively.

S -- Bourbon hits quickly and hard, but quickly falls in line with chocolate, milk coffee, and other sweet roasted malts. Later on I get certain notes of plum, very very ripe plum, but only with my mouth open.

T -- Follows the smell very closely, with the addition of a strong bitter chocolate flavor. I think I started drinking a little early as I took it outside in the afternoon sun and as it warmed the bourbon become more pronounced, in a good way, as it slipped into the sweetness and the two created a very nice balance. There's a definite note of hop bitterness to account for all the malts, but they sit nicely in the flavor profile. The more and more I drank this, the higher I rated it -- the balance becomes more pronounced with time.

F -- Not the thickest beer ever, and I think I was expecting a bit more based on the pour, but very nicely viscous. Same as in the taste, warmth brought on a better experience as the beer got to that viscosity that I expected when watching it pour.

O -- A great bourbon barrel aged stout. It is one of the best I've had, ranking just a bit below CBS and BCBS, as it seems to be missing just that bit of thickness and, in my mind, a little sweetness to counter the bourbon bite and the bitterness of the hops. That's very nitpicky as it's a great beer and one I would never turn down if offered.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours fairly thick, and pitch black. The head is thick, and frothy. It lasts. The nose is very pleasing. It's got coffee notes, and chocolate. The taste is amazing. It's rich with coffee flavor. It has some barrel flavor. It's smooth. Very delicious.

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Photo of Its_a_Daniel_Life
4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The reason I rated maybe lower then others is, I have had so many great Barreled Aged Stouts that just taste better. I have had a few each year and they do age very well. Looking forward to a 5 year vertical aging

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, 2013 version, 11.2% ABV, enjoyed 6/23/16. Pours jet black with a small sized dark khaki head. Smells of cocoa, bourbon, oak, roasted malt, and oxidization/sherry; good intensity. The taste follows exactly with cocoa, bourbon, oak, roasted malt, and oxidization; extremely smooth. Some moderate bitterness and light sweetness. Above average body and lower carbonation. Overall, the flavors have really mellowed out and lost all harshness. Seems to have held up alright with cellaring, but might be a little past it's prime.

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Photo of bryanfox
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is an magnificent experience. The dark, rich, thick appearance is unmistakable in your glass. The deep and bold flavors linger in your mouth. The perfect beer to sip on!

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Photo of MattyTibbs
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Dark, creamy pour into a pint glass (I like pint glasses)

S - Coffee & bourbon, couldn't wait to try

T - Again, coffee w/ chocolate & some nice booze!

F - Nice bite from the bourbon (could be under taste), but smooth in it's own way

O - Solid frickin' stout. Try it if you get your hands on it

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Photo of OKbrew89
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Update: Current rating is reflective of the 2016 KBS release on tap.
2015 bottle. Poured into a sniffer. Jet black color with a toffee colored fingernail head that doesn't leave lacing. The lack of head might have something to do with my pouring. Nose of bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malts. It's a nose with lots of fine details. Taste follows the nose with roasted malt, subdued coffee, sweetness from vanilla and chocolate, and oak. Full, creamy body and low carbonation with no alcohol sneaking through.
I broke this out to split with my dad for Father's Day and kinda wish I had the whole bottle to myself. It has a wonderfully complex nose and layered, balanced body that isn't too boozey, oakey, or sweet. This year lived up to the hype. It makes me look forward to the 2016 bottles.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Black with a nice brown head that vanishes and leaves no lacing
S: Bourbon, coffee, roasted malts, alcohol
T: Dark malt, bourbon barrel, coffee, and booze
F: smooth and hot
O: A treat to enjoy whenever you can get your hands on it. For 12 percent it is well made and has just the right balance of barrel and alcohol characteristics

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Photo of Eli2814
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to get a growler of the stuff ^__^
Too dark to see through (no matter how hard you try). Thin, dark brown head, quite the looker.
Smells of sweet soy sauce and coffee, no booze detected.
Similar to the taste, but with less coffee. More roasted malt, with the sweetness of bourbon to take the bitter edge out. SO we'll balanced! Not the slightest hint of alcohol (until it hits you that is).
Smooth mouthfeel, high abv calls for pretty low carbonation. Im probably taking more sips per minute than I should be, but that only proves how exceptionally easy it is to drink such a big beer.
Overall, it excels the hype placed upon it. Founders really hit it on the nose with this one, not surprised it's one of their flagship beers.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage served cold in a snifter

Appearance: midnight black with a massive coffee colored head of creamy foam. Slick and oily top with tons of alcohol legs and a bit of lacing

Nose: chocolate, coffee, roasted coffee beans, dark fruits, some alcohol notes, bourbon, oaky, toasted marshmallow, coconut, vanilla, very rich and sweet.

Taste: follows the nose perfectly. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted coffee beans, raisins, prunes and figs, a bit boozy, bourbon, oaky, toasted marshmallow, coconut, vanilla, very rich and sweet with a slight acrid finish. The mouthfeel is very rich but quite smooth and creamy with a medium to heavy body.

I've hears quite a bit about this beer being overrated but I have to disagree. It is exactly as advertised: an Imperial Russian Stout with chocolate and coffee aged in bourbon barrels. I really love this beer and think it lives up to the hype. Thanks Jim for hooking me up with the bottles!

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Photo of JamFuel
4.14/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a low, chocolate brown head that disappears quite quickly.

Big smell, with a healthy dollop of dark chocolate, some roasted coffee and a bit of fudge.

The taste has more coffee than chocolate, and I also get some coconut and salty licorice. Quite a bit of booze, before the slightly salty finish comes in.

The liquid is thick, but not quite as thick as I would have liked. Carbonation is good and proper.

KBS is one of the most hyped beers around, and after having a couple of them, I'm not all that enthralled by it. It's a very good stout, but it's just a bit too boozy and a little bit too thin for my taste.

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Photo of nerdboy19
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

KBS 2016 thanks to Ted & Jeff

Appear : redish black - 4/5
Aroma : milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, little bit of oak, roasted, coffee, alcohol - 8/10
Mouthfeel : very silky smooth, medium-full body, low carbonation - 4.5/5
Flavor : big dessert bomb. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, little bit of roasted, oak, sweet and balanced bitterness. - 9/10
Overall : amazing ba stout. Very smooth, drinkable, and dessert-like. Just my style, love it.

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Photo of Rudydsp
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Batch 2016..12.4%...Bottled 3/2/16. Pitch black with a finger thick mocha head. Lacing began after the first sip. Coffee prominent upfront then fades to a sweet chocolate taste. Bourbon and oak notes appear as the beer warms up. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of Jaypeajus
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The BA website just crashed but this beer can't wait for me any longer. Spoils of a trade. 2016 Into med snifter. 50 degrees. Black as all get out with a smooth khaki head that thinned pretty quick as expected. Oddly enough, this JUST smells like a normal stout. Not getting much bourbon smell. Sweet decadent oats and rich creamy chocolate. A bit of licorice. Taste is per the smell but, there the bourbon hides. It's like it was in the barrel, soaked in the grains of wood waiting to be released. Not much coffee in the taste, or if it is there it's just the best dang smooth coffee I've ever had. Man this is good! Really regretting passing on the chance to buy a 14,16 to try as a vertical a week ago! DOH! Mouthfeel is silky smooth like doing a good bourbon shot and chasing it with worlds best chocolate. Seriously good. Overall, it's meh.

Just kidding. Actually, my first thoughts overall were 'holy crapdabble'. Thanks noyoudidnt!

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Real Ale in Twickenham. 2016 batch. Smells great, like a fresh cup of coffee just when you need it most. The taste is a good blend of bitter coffee and chocolate, with tangy, boozy bourbon spice and oakey vanilla to balance it out, together with carbonation perfectly aligned between fizzy and creamy, it's thick yet not cloying. Unbelievable Jeff.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Last time I had one of these was on Derby Day. The convenient 12oz bottle makes it available to break out at a variety of settings. You don't need help. Pours thick and black. Hits the tan head, even amasses a 1/2" break point. Retention isn't all that high, there's a lot of booze slickness. Aroma is bunches and bunches of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon.

Chocolate really pushes itself in this one, especially with time on it. Isn't boozy, is enjoyable. Pro tip: Save a few ounces at the bottom of the bottle and put it in your morning coffee. Start the day a fun way. Its not all chocolate, bourbon and vanilla though. There is a mild oak contribution.

She's a keeper and elite tier barrel aged stout. No infection issues ever that I recall.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smell is just WOW - marshmallows, licorice, rich chocolate, big coconut, a little smoke... Some espresso bringing up the rear. Not a huge aroma, but certainly a rich, enticing one.

Flavor is a bit more conventional for BBA stout. Light chocolate, cherry and oak. Certainly a nice cloak of bourbon, although not overpowering. Everything melds well, but feels a little thin. Doesn't drink like a 12% beer, for better or for worse.

Chocolate flavor gets a bit richer and "gooier" as the beer warms. Some apple spice also emerges. Solid, solid flavor profile. There's a level of balance and nuance that is more in line with an abbey quad, rather than the in-your-face character of barrel aged stouts that we've recently grown accustomed to.

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Photo of Mikeybricks
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Picked up 2016 KBS 3-13-16, and its been sitting in my 45F fridge till now. Drinking it out of a tulip Snifter glass. Liquid thermometer reads 57F, for those who want specifics. This is my first year sampling KBS and I have had it 3 or 4 other times before this review when it was fresher, but wasn't sitting down where I could give a review, so it is possible my overall opinion could have changed from when I tried it fresh, but this is currently its profile to me.

Look- Looks is what I would expect and like in a stout, although I would like a little more head retention, could be my glass though or the couple months its had in the fridge. Dark black though almost like dark chocolate or black coffee color. When swirled around glass, leaves fine head around glass and dissipates after a few seconds leaving alcohol fingers. Head also lingers for several seconds.

Smell- Smell is pretty faint of coffee and bourbon, no oak which I found predominant in the Project Pam and from my memory of my first try of KBS this year. After a swirl or two aroma of coffee and bourbon pick up but fade quickly. At this point in the review beer is at around 61F. No real pick up in aroma with temperature change either. I like and prefer aromatic stouts that smell of fresh coffee and barrel aging, and again this could be the couple months in the fridge.

Taste- The taste is still impeccable from what I remember from memory of my first go around. Upfront in you face coffee flavor. Not really noticing much of the chocolate that I did when it was fresh. Although there was not much oak aroma, I definitely pick it up on the back end of the beer. For me the "Boozy" quality is not present, both at the lower starting temperature and 61F temperature. There is an small alcohol taste but that is quickly overtaken by the coffee bitterness and oak flavor. I love the way the flavor of this stout came out. In my opinion only thing that would make it over the top taste would be the presence of vanilla bean or maple syrup as with CBS (one I have not tried yet.)

Feel- Mouth feel is what I seek in a stout, almost porter-ish kinda feel. Slick mouth feel that starts with a very fine bubble carbonation feel that coats the mouth. Does not leave a dry feeling, I believe this is because of the chocolate. However, you are left with a slight warming feeling from the alcohol content of this beer that coats your mouth and throat down to your stomach, a pretty neat experience if you know what im talking about.

Overall- Overall I love this Beer! Not because of the hype, but because of my actual opinion of it. Im not sure if this style of stout would go over well with a hardcore stout lover, depends on there pallet, lots of flavor and complexity. I think even for a hesitant stout goer that has tried a few and has some likes and not likes this might be a go to. For me, I wish KBS was available all year round, it would easily be my go to stout. If it was the hype that brought this beer to light then im glade it got me around to trying it. Even with a couple months I still dig this beer.

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Photo of Diglitt
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I like kbs. I used to not, but I think I may have had a bad batch. I don't go nuts over it like the majority, but if I see it I'll grab it. The bourbon is strong in it, but I like that it doesn't completely overpower the rest of the adjuncts. Founders usually does pretty well with their stouts and this is no exception.

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Photo of Beric
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving: From the bottle into a snifter
Served: 17 May 2016

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish black color with a very minimal tan head. Looks like your average imperial stout.

Smell: Definitely picking up a lot of the vanilla bourbon influence in the nose. Quite boozy, which was unwelcome.

Taste: Surprisingly well done given the super boozy nose- it still finishes a bit hot, but I found the boozy notes to be toned down appropriately on the palate. This beer has your standard stout notes--chocolate, coffee, and espresso--but also a distinctive burnt note which I really enjoyed. Vanilla sweetness from the barrel aging, though one that complemented the overall flavor profile, especially that subtle smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Big body with medium-low carbonation. Finishes off-dry.

Overall: This is a good beer, but one that I firmly believe is hyped up *way* too much. I like this much better than BCBS as far as a straight barrel-aged stout goes, but I believe that there are much better imperial stouts out there than this. Maybe I'm just not gaga for barrel aged stuff. Nonetheless, this remains a great beer, but I can't see myself drinking more than one of these a year.

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Photo of Mrdiesel
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout. If you get the chance to buy it, please do so. It is better balanced than goose island Bourbon county brand stout, especially lately, which is saying a lot. I've had both iterations for a few years and founders KBS is far superior in every aspect and I absolutely love goose island beers.

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Photo of Drudy8
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This was a wonderful sip. Full of flavor coffee notes to begin with a backhand of bourbon, all calmed down with a slight and tinder chocolate notes. Over all this is an amazing beer. It is exceptionally difficult to find and even more difficult to get more than one four pack this it is a beer you should horde only for those true beer searchers looking for a stout not for those looking to just explore stouts and see what it is they like.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,152 ratings.
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