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 | website

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: 3,042 | Ratings: 11,890
Photo of spoons
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Color is pitch black with a perfect coffee head that doesnt really stay around.

wow the smell is complex. Starts off with some vanilla and coffee notes. Lots of smokey oakiness in this beer. REminds me of Black Butte XXI. Some whisky and cognac smells. ohh and some more vanilla.

Tastes like a ton of smoke, like I am licking the inside of a fresh barrel. Bourbon is there too. Has a fresh oaky/coffee twang to it. Creamy mouthfeel, not super thick, just creamy. Some chocolate and reoasted malt flavors. This beer has a lot going on. To age or not to age that is the question. Good stuff, wish it were readily available.

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Photo of rjhaupt
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Practically black with a very light head, tiny carbonation bubbles fighting their way through thickness. An intimidating void.

S - Aroma hits you even as the glass sits on the table. Smells rich and sweet, like fresh-ground coffee and cocoa without the abject sweetness of a mocha. The notes of bourbon linger in the background.

T - The first note that hits is a surprising tartness, which is indicative of it's 70 IBU rating, but it is immediately followed by the sweetness you expect from this kind of beer. The coffee flavor brings up the rear and finishes very mildly leaving a pleasant carmel aftertaste. Gets a much stronger bourbon character once you let it warm up to room temp.

M - Perfect. It's velvet on the tongue. If it weren't for the taste you might not know it was there.

D - The only reason this rating is so low is because you have to drink it at breakfast. You just have to. Any other time of day and it wouldn't be a breakfast stout. However, the kind of mornings for which you need a breakfast stout are limited so the drinkability is necessarily a bit low. Definitely not gonna give you the same buzz as a cup of coffee.

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Photo of jbredbeard
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was expecting a little more coffee notes, however a very good stout. Nice, mild coffee aroma, mild coffee flavor ends with a sticky sweet malt bitterness that really finishes it off. Alcohol shows up towards the bottom of the glass, excellent!

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

On tap @ Toronado SD from notes

A: Completely black no head on the pour decent lacing left on the glass

S: Espresso, a little alcohol but smell probably the best coffee smell I have experienced in a beer some chocolate began to come through as it warmed.

T: Huge coffee taste upfront followed by a great sweet and bourbon taste on the back of the palate, as it warms the dark chocolate and vanilla begin to show more and the bourbon becomes more prevalent.

M: Full bodied nice and velvety, creamy and leaves a nice oily coating on the tongue.

O: I am really glad that I had a chance to try this one I've been wanting to try for a while. This is an amazing beer there aren't many other bal-aged stouts that rank higher than this.

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to prototypic for this, one hell of an "extra"

A- Viscous opaque black, thin wispy head went away as fast as it appeared.

S- Lots of chocolate and coffee aromas. Very powerful and assertive.

T- Alot of the harsh aromas in the nose mellow out in the taste. The chocolate and malt flavors are generaly dominate, but coffee is evident as well. The bourbon sneaks in the suprisingly light and smooth finish.

M- Wonderfully thick and viscous.

D- Disspite the strength this goes down without a fight.

A fantastic stout by any measure. It is even more enjoyable if you love coffee. Personally it falls a little short of the hype. Still worth doing what you can to get your hands on some.

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

A: Dark dark brown-black with a thin tan-brown head that doesn't last long... not much in the way of lacing

S: Rich roasted coffee, a blast of bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, caramel and general roasted malt scents.. very bold and complex

T: Sweet vanilla tip before the rich coffee taste dominates with its chocolate and caramel tones... bourbon finishes off the flavor profile... you know that characteristic oak-spice burn with jack? ... yeah this beer has a bit of that at the end and its lovely...

M: Smooth, full bodied, velvety, slight burn at the end

D: Delicious. The smoothness really helps this monster go down... the only thing holding this baby back is the flavor complexity... its got a tad too much going on to keep drinking many of these... but thats not a bad thing at all!

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

2011 Vintage enjoyed on 3/18/11

A: Pour is completely black. Not much of a mocha head appearing, even with a rough pour. 4

S: The Bourbon isn't dominating in the smell, which is very balanced. Lots of coffee, toasty malts, chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon mingling amongst some alcohol. 4.5

T: The taste is phenomenally interesting. Not quite what I was expecting. The coffee is truly the dominating factor. Chocolatey bourbon leads the taste off, but it recedes to a big coffee taste. A slight booziness sits throughout. 4.5

MF: A little on the lighter side, as far as imperial stouts go. It has a creaminess to it, however. Alcohol is noted, but not overpowering. Aftertaste is dry. 4.5

O: Very drinkable for 11%, but not the end all be all of bourbon aged beers. 4.5

2012 Vintage enjoyed side by side with a 2011 Vintage on 5/6/12 (2011 review / 2012 review)

A: Surprisingly the 2011 has a better head. Both come out of their respective bottles deep black with a nice brown head. 2012 has a thin head, but 2011 has a finger or two. The retention on both is pretty average, but the 2011 seems to lace better. (4.5 / 4)

S: Both vintages have a big chocolate character that provides the base for the rest of the beer. Not surprisingly, 2012 has a much more robust coffee aroma, but it is not lost on the 2011. I'm getting some roasted malts on the 2011, whereas all of the roast in the 2012 comes from coffee. The bourbon notes are pretty similar, and secondary to the aforementioned aromas. Neither are boozy, but the 2011 is a tad more thin than 2012. (4 / 4.5)

T: The tastes really differ, which surprises me based on how similar the other characteristics are. I'll start with 2011, which obviously has mellowed out a little bit. Smooth, sweet chocolate blends with some light bourbon, vanilla, and slight hints of coffee at the very end. Some roasted malts tickle in as well. The taste is sweet and decadent, but without a ton of bourbon. I don't hate that it's not there, but I do wish it had more. The 2012 has some booze noted. The chocolate is not as pervasive as it is for the older vintage. There's a dry coffee aftertaste, but the coffee isn't huge. The bourbon and vanilla starts to be noted somewhere in the middle of the taste, and lasts through the finish. Again, I wish it had more bourbon in it, but the taste isn't unbalanced. The 2011 is better in my opinion. Glad I still have a few left to see what another year will do to it! (4.5 / 4)

MF: I think I like the mellowed 2011 better than the more in your face mouthfeel of the 2012. Both are thick and go down really smooth, but the booze has been curbed by the year in the cellar on the 2011 and I think it has improved the mouthfeel. Both are crazy drinkable for an 11% ABV beer, however. (4.5 / 4.5)

O: These are both phenomenal beers, but I liked the aged version better in almost every aspect. I do think the coffee was too understated in the 2012 batch, and that the bourbon should be more prominent in every batch of KBS, but overall it's a wonderfully thought out beer. I hope the increase in batch size next year doesn't hurt the quality because I hope to enjoy these for many years to come. (5 / 4.5)

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After coming up empty handed in my search for this brew, I was delighted that Greg at the Trion had secured a few for his frequent customers to try. Poured an intimidating dark red, almost black with a milky chocolate head that retained forever. Aroma was bourbon, coffee, chocolate and roast malts and it was good. Same with the taste, this is a monster of a beer. Dense and chewy, with all those stout flavors amped up to an incredible level. As it warmed the tastes continued to change with coffee, bourbon, and the malts being front and center at different times during the experience. It was a little sweet and I can't imagine having more then one of these. Honestly, to me, I like the Founders Breakfast Stout a little better, just because I find it more drinkable. If I had to have just one more sip of a Founders Stout, this would be the one, but if I was to have one to go back to over and over again, the breakfast stout would take the day.

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

Founders KBS is completely impenetrable by light, even when held directly up to the source. The body is midnight black. Unlike the regular Breakfast Stout, which has a clear brown hue on its edges, this has a distinct maroon tinge. No head and only a slim lining along its outer rim.

The aroma is no one thing; elements of bourbon, chocolate, oak, and coffee are all seamlessly blended together. It smells like charred/roasted wood with accompanying hints of dark chocolate truffles, bitter cocoa, and freshly crushed coffee beans.

The oak is ever present in the mouthfeel - incredibly so - evoking a true sensation of wood on palate. You not only taste, but even more so feel, as much (if not more) oak as you do bourbon. It is quite drying on the palate.

Not to say the bourbon isn't present - oh, it is - and you are reminded with each sip, and also for a long, soothing period after each sip. The bourbon might seem initially faint in taste, but compounds, by the second, until eventually it is resounding through the mouth and crawling through every part of the palate.

With it, of course, comes the taste of bourbon, which lends just a pinch of vanilla to compete alongside flavours of heavily roasted malts, burnt caramel, bitter coffee beans, and dark, dark, (really, really dark) chocolate.

The alcohol in this one is sneaky - you know it's there somewhere but it never lets itself be known. Make no mistake - the drink is strong. But while at times I felt it raising my eyebrows, or opening my nostrils, and certainly, by the end, slowing my blood rate and lightening my head, I never could catch it in the act.

In all honesty, I found this a little raw and certainly a little stiff, but I won't argue about it - this beer is certainly one for the senses! As any caricatured French chef would smack their lips, extend their fingers and proudly proclaim: magnifique! ..

I owe a big thanks to a great pal, SkinnyElvis, for this taste of Blue Grass Breakfast!

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

12 oz. bottle, shared at an impromptu throwdown at CCB today. poured into a snifter.

A: Almost opaque, dark brown color. The pour produces a finger of sand color head the retained nicely and left nice spotty lace.

A: I get the coffee at first, almost like used coffee grounds. Then hints of vanilla and chocolate. The burbon is not in your face, but present.

T: There's the burbon. Subtle but very nice. Again, I get the coffee, vanilla, and chocolate, and a very nice earthiness. Finishes dry and burbony, with just a hint of alcohol.

M: Silky smooth from the barrel aging. The carbonation delivers the flavors nicely.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is great! I am a coffee and burbon fan, so this one is just about perfect. This is a must have, and worthy of its place among the best beers in the world. Skal.

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Photo of cetherid
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


pours pretty much black. a little head that dissipates very quickly. a very nice looking beer.


amazing smell. bourbon, oaky, bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Subtle notes of vanilla as well.


awesome. perfect amount of bourbon taste. then you get the standard breakfast stout flavors in there. the coffee and chocolate notes. A little sweet tasting as well.


medium to heavy bodied. smooth and a little creamy. Not too carbonated. just perfect.


Ii'll definitely be on the lookout for this. But it's a little difficult to find and the alcohol content is kinda high. Would be hard to have often. I will definitely go outta my way to get this however.

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

oil black/molasses. no head was formed when poured into the tulip, but when swirled a tan layer if formed on top that dissipates quickly.

i found the aroma to be a bit leathery, coffee and chocolate dominated with some bourbon mixed in.

upfront i got very dark chocolate that faded into a roasted coffee and a bit nutty with a little of the bourbon heat at the end.

light to medium bodied, smooth and creamy.

overall i really liked how the flavors really faded from one to another and played off each other

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

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 release (bottled 2/25).

pours a velvety jet black with a thin, mocha-colored head that quickly dissipates (unsurprising on that count given the strength); a bit of patchy lacing evident. good presentation, though nothing i haven't seen in a dozen or so other imperial stouts.

nose is bold and complex, offering strong notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt and vanilla... in the background i get a booze, oak, and the bourbon. it's not a BCBS or older viscosity-like bourbon bomb; more subdued.

flavor follows the aroma very closely - chocolate, coffee, vanilla, roastiness, bourbon, and a bit of oak: it's all there. delicious. borderline world-class. maybe world class. a slight touch of hops as well as alcohol in the finish. i think the booziness is going to keep it from a perfect five, but with a bit of age...

velvety, smooth, medium-full mouthfeel with average carbonation.

in the final analysis this is a truly great beer, the hype and rarity factor notwithstanding. sure does make me appreciate the accessibility of bourbon county stout.

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

An absolutely pure black colored body. Very minimal tan colored head faded to nothing quickly. Too dark to not any carbonation. Spotty lacing.

An incredibly intense bourbon aroma blends with a strong scent of both coffee and vanilla. Good backing of malty sweetness. A moderate amount of alcohol can be detected.

Initial taste on the tongue was a nice roasted coffee flavor. Bourbon quickly becomes apparent as well. A very minor vanilla blends with a nice malt back to show through at end of mouthful. Very tasty balance.

Nice and thick without being to much. A very light carbonation tingles as tastes clings.

An excellent beer. This one is good by itself after a nice meal. Truly deserving of the high marks it earns. A must try for any fan of stout.

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

Poured into a 5.5 taster glass from a Founders tasting @ Tavern on Liberty in Allentown.

A: Pours a jet black with no head, not unlike the CBS.
S: Big bourbon notes followed by coffee and light chocolate.
T: Great balance between the bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and again some very faint chocolate.
M: A little bit less thick than the CBS, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a smooth finish with little to no alcohol burn as it warmed.
O: I'd have to say that the CBS was better once it warmed up, but the KBS was solid through and through. Perhaps I should have realized that the CBS needed some warming up to do, but this beer was reminiscent of the bottle version, only with a smoother finish and less of an alcohol bite, but not as good on the smell due to the serving vessel.

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

Thanks to Augustiner719 and enelson for this one.

Poured into a delirium noel snifter from a 12oz bottle. Color is jet black with an initial one finger light brown sugar colored head whose consistency reminds me of the foam present on hot cocoa. Smell is bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and malted milkshake upfront with undertones of coffee. Taste has coffee burnt sugar and unsweetened chocolate present with toasty malt in the background and the finish is a bit too bitter for me for a stout like this. Mouthfeel is pretty light for a beer that markets itself as this big, although drinkability does take a hit due do the bitterness and the alcohol presence.

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

Bottled 2012

A: Pours black. Has a thin tan head that quickly goes away.

S: Lots going on. Initially there is a lot of coffee and chocolate with hints of bourbon, toffee, caramel, and vanilla.

T: The first flavors are coffee, bourbon and dark chocolate. The bourbon sticks around and is joined by vanilla, caramel and toffee. The finish has some coffee bitterness and alcohol warming.

M: Creamy and thick with low-medium carbonation.

O: Very good. I wish this one was more easily available.
Very balanced. Not one flavor dominates it but everything from coffee to cherry to oak can be found.
Great sipper.

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

A- Jet black with a light brown lacing and minimal head.

S- Smells a lot of coffee and chocolate with vanilla in the background. Love the way all the different aromas come together on this beer.

T-Awesome Coffee and chocolate flavors with the vanilla and a little oak backing everything up at the end. Amazing beer.

M- Surprisingly soft and easy on the palate. For such a big bold beer its nice a fluffy on the palate.

O- One of the best for a reason

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

Poured into a 22 oz wine glass
55 degrees

Appearance: Black coffee in color, almost viscous looking. A slight tawny head that dissipates quickly in keeping with the high alcohol content

Smell: The aroma is incredible. The deep wonderful aroma of creamy chocolate with the undertones of alcohol and coffee. The smell only intensifies as the stout warms. Every time I put it to my nose I found myself saying, "Wow!" I just love the bouquet of this beer.

Taste: Warm, warm chocolate, like a spiked hot cocoa, yet not sweet. Like a 70% Lindt chocolate cordial. It warms all the way down and should definitely be drunk slowly and deliberately. The aftertaste is where you get the coffee, like the best arabica coffee beans.

Mouthfeel: Warm, tingling, yet creamy. You want to enjoy this beer in your mouth before swallowing.

Drinkability: Wow. Are you kidding? This is one awesome beer. Of course, with it's high abv one is the limit. Besides, you want to stretch out this four pack as looong as possible.

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Photo of chase2634
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark black with a dark brown head that settles down to a nice ring around my glass.

The smell is of coffee, bourban, chocolate, burnt malt. Excellent aroma.

The flavor is very complex. First you get a bit of coffee presence in the front but it is fought off with the bourban nose. The middle is a lot of chocolate and roasted malt. The finish is a mixture of bourbon, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and i think even a hint of caramel. All of these flavors just blend together perfectly.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation. Very creamy with fine carbonation. Seems to get creamier as it warms up. I caught myself almost trying to chew this beer at times. So much flavor!

Well balanced and smooth. Goes down pretty darn easy to say the least.

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

Poured a deep, deep brown with a small tannish head. Nose is coffee, cocoa, light hints of bourbon, vanilla, oak and oats. taste is heavy oats, coffee but light on cocoa and bourbon. Very tasty and very, very drinkable. Outstanding beer and well worth a try.

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

The appearance is very dark with a short, dark chocolate head that falls away quickly leaving just a bit of lacing. Probably the darkest head I've seen on a beer.
The smell is of dark chocolate (the cocoa is pretty powerful here), coffee and some bourbon.
The taste is much the same but with a lot more of the bourbon and alcohol.
Mouthfeel is thick yet smooth.
Drinkability is good, While the alcohol is there and noticeable it doesn't get in the way, that is unless you were to drink a few.

I'm going to try and pick up a couple more if I can find them so I can age them to see how it goes. I can't imagine it not being better.

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

Pours an opaque color thought to be brown by the looks of the thin head. There is more lacing going on as it warms up even more.

Up close you can smell the oak treatment and intense expresso character.

The mouth feel is thick without being sticky syrupy, creamy and smooth with a sharp tingle of complexity in the front of the tongue and roof of the mouth and it has another distinct layer of complexity from the Kentucky bourbon as it finishes.

It has a creamy smooth coffee flavor that lingers somewhat. Hints of chocolate and bourbon.

Drinkability - A real sipper. The alcohol is definitely there, but it's not distracting. Now there's something that would be nice to have around

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

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

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,042 ratings.
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