Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
3,049 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 3,049 | Ratings: 11,929
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.

 786 characters

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.

 258 characters

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.

 631 characters

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

 694 characters

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.

 1,036 characters

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

Reviewed from notes 1/11/2011

A: boozey, molasses syrup, mild vanilla

Ap: black with very minimal mocha colored head, minimal lacing

B/T: very mild carbonation, smooth

Af: sweet, but boozey, syrupy, vanilla

O: very smooth, much easier to drink than Sam Adams Utopias or Bourbon County


 306 characters

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

If you change your own oil and don't take the easy way out by going to Jiffylube or something, you'll recognize the pour as dirty motor oil. A nice brown head seals the deal sitting like a crown atop the head of a king. Body is completely black and if you were hoping to catch a glimpse of something from the other side of this opaque liquid you will surely be saddened.

Nose is like a baseball bat to the face of lovely vanilla and sharp alcohol. There's also some roasted coffee bean at the tail end. Very nice.

Taste is huge on the bourbon. Lots of vanilla, chocolate, espresso, roastiness and a dry finish. This is wonderful. A nice mix of the stout I want to taste and the bourbon that should accentuate it.

Mouth is slick and oily. Thick as if something was added to thicken it. It feels as if there are layers to it somehow.

I could see myself buying this again and again. This is a true gem.

 915 characters

Photo of IamwhatIdrink
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great stout, nice thick feel on the mouth, the coffee comes through beautifully and the bourbon is present throughout. The bourbon and the 11% ABV puts you in a great mood.

 172 characters

Photo of bennetj17
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick black pour, beautiful dark tan crust, with a fair lace. Intense aroma of fresh coffee grounds, much like the original, but with an added hint of the bourbon sweetness and light chocolate in the background. The alcohol is not very detectable. The taste is not as overpowering as I expected. Smokey coffee blended with bourbon ending with a moderate bitter finish. Alcohol appears more strongly now but doesn't detract. The mouthfeel is semi-thick, with nice subtle carbonation. There is an intense smoothness present likely due to the barrel aging. Drinkability is good. I would love to have access to this beer anytime, although I think one per sitting would be recommended.

 680 characters

Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Speedwayjim.

Appearance: Jet black with 1 finger of chocolate colored head, motor oil thick, the head dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: Roasted dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Opens with a rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Strong malt backbone as the two flavors revolve around as the bourbon shows it face at the finish with a breif hint of licorice and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium Bodied, medium carbonation and smooth throughout.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy the Breakfast stout but better, maltier and richer in flavor.

 627 characters

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

Bottle to a snifter, 2/2/14, review number 200!

Pours pitch black with a finger of brown foam that died down pretty quickly. Moderate carbonation coming up on the sides, good lacing

Smells of strong coffee, bourbon, cocoa nibs, oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel, and alcohol. Everything melds well, pretty complex

Taste follows the nose pretty well, strong roast coffee, dark fruits, chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. Like the nose it all comes together well

Feel is a warm, thick body. High bitterness, lots of booze. A sipper for sure

Overall a great beer, don't think it lives up to the hype though

 617 characters

Photo of Lnedrive14
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 4-pack back at Bauer in April. This is my second (6 months after the first - interesting changes).

Not an attractive beer from the pour. Little to no head that dissipates quickly. Jet back but not motor oilish. The blackness doesnt stick to the side of the glass like grease.

Smell is very powerful. Immediately overwhelms the room with a bourbon stench, with a little bit of coffee and cocoa.

Taste is not as strong in the bourbon as the smell would have hinted. Strong roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee hit up front, but there is the faintest bourbon sensation in the aftertaste. A very pleasant experience through each sip, and you can really appreciate it on a few different levels.

I didn't like the way it felt. Maybe too thick? I'm not really sure.

Highly drinkable for 10%. Almost no alcohol to overwhelm.

 839 characters

Photo of drone
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 variant, huge thanks to @fsckewe for providing me with a bottle. Gorgeous coffee and chocolate notes, no 11% notes anywhere to be found. Masterpiece.

 156 characters

Photo of minterro
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been holding off rating for a while to make this one #200!!!

Purchased from Spartan Spirits in East Lansing a weeks ago.

Poured into a wine glass (no snifter available)

A&S: Upfront (directly after uncapping) the smell was very pungent, lots of the classic imperial stout characteristics you would expect to find in a world class stout: bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, rich coffee, a tad bit smokey. After some consumption the smell faded greatly both in intensity but also in characteristics, I started to really only smell coffee and dark chocolate. The been has an very thick pour (very dense looking). Dark black colored beer that seem to have reflective qualities to it on the surface. Pretty much no head, when poured viciously there was about an inch of fizzy, tan head but it faded very quick.

T&M: Pretty intense but not blow you back in your seat intense, it has extremely good balance and is easy to especially for the style. The main flavors (pretty much the same as in the smell) I'm getting are more toward to back and instead of being mixed (like they are more towards the front) they kinda come at you in waves, its very interesting. Excellent bodied: creamy, thick, velvety (pretty much everything your looking for), pretty chewy. Carbonation very low.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer! Its pricey, I'll maybe buy a single or a 4-pack once a year, but your getting what you pay for. As I think many people feel, I would love to do a blind tasting of CBS vs KBS vs Breakfast Stout, side by side. Maybe sometime down the road. I feel as of now I liked CBS much better.

On a side note: I tried a aged 6 month aged version of KBS and it was definitely less bold and way more sweet then before. Lots more marshmallow tones way less bourbon.

1#: First tried a few weeks after the release

More of a chocolate, coffee, and vanilla bean taste compared to the bourbon I remember from last years batch. I can feel the alcohol earlier then I remember. Lots of dark chocolate in the nose.

 2,020 characters

Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Couldn't be blacker, looks lower in carbonation and has a very dark mocha head, again about as dark as I have seen. A heavy lacing covers the glass as it goes down.

S- Heavy on the bourbon, coffee comes in second. Chocolate and a very slight roastyness. Bourbon really takes over the nose.

T- The bourbon is very up front and makes it a little boozy. Roasted coffee malts and chocolate. All in all, its very balanced and delicious.

M- About as heavy of a stout I've had. Coats the throat. Carbonation is just right for a stout. Exceptional.

Overall, this beer is very well balanced it may be a little boozy for my taste but that is what your getting into with a bourbon aged stout. It's Founders Breakfast Stout with added complexity. Really Good!

 754 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours rich chocolate brown with light brown and persistent head. Smell is bourbon, caramel, slight coffee, and alcohol. Taste is similar: bourbon, oak, molasses fades to coffee on tail end with alcohol bite. This is a bit thin for its class but has a creamy and soft mouthfeel. Very enjoyable.

 293 characters

Photo of More_betterness
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku, thanks Jayhawkjuan!

A: Midnight black with a small dark tan head that recedes relatively quickly and leaves patchy lacing. Leaves some legs after a swirl around the glass. No light making it through this one.

S: Good Lord… Sweet fudge, earthy coffee, and dark chocolate covered cherries. Barrel notes take up the rear with oaky vanilla and boozy bourbon. Masterclass.

T: Sadly not quite as intense or rich as the nose, but still fantastic. Bitter chocolate, heavily roasted coffee, and tannic bourbon notes. Impressive not in its intensity, but in the cohesion of each of the flavors.

M: Thick and smooth bodied, minimal carbonation is perfect for the style. Mouth coating tannic finish and a bit of alcohol tingle.

O: Fantastic beer, but didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. The nose was epic but the taste fell a little short of what I expected. Despite my lofty expectations this was still a fantastic beer, with the balance of flavors making up for the lack of expected intensity. Glad to have tried this one.

 1,073 characters

Photo of OrangeMen
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage
~ 3 months since bottling date

Appearance- Pours a black color, opaque. Half finger thick, medium tan colored head, creamy and frothy. Lots of sticky alcohol legs and spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Roasty coffee, spicy espresso bean. Dry, astringent oak, leathery earthiness, bourbon undertones. Bittersweet dark chocolates with plenty of milk chocolates, caramel, and vanilla.

Taste- Rich and earthy coffee, spicy and green. Mocha sweetness, roasted malt, bittersweet dark chocolates. Lots of dry oak, sweet bourbon, sweet milk chocolates, vanilla, caramel, and toasty creamy coconut.

Feel- Medium to full feel, slightly less than full. Creamy and smooth. Lower carbonation.

Overall- All advertised flavors come through and come through well. Coffee is so rich and unfolds in complex layers. Barrel adds a great deal of oak and creamy vanilla. Chocolates give the beer a great dessert-like feel without getting too sweet. Wonderful beer.

 952 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a 16 oz snifter...

And in giving it a rather vigorous pour for the last 6 ozs or so, I manage to create a 2 finger head that settles to a murky and ominous cloud that hovers above a dark and stormy sea of Kentucky goodness.
This thing is dark. I mean- driving down a country road with no headlights in a rain storm dark. I'm holding this up to the brightest light in my house, and I'm unable to see through it even at the edges. Upon swirling though, you do notice a deep mahogany/amber color that glints and shimmers with flashes of stunning beauty. The head is a light caramel color and seemingly composed of very tight and fine little bubbles. The lacing is spotty, but it seems to be the norm for these big bourbon barrel stouts.

The smell is huge on chocolate and coffee, with notes of vanilla and oak. The bourbon is hiding amongst them, but isn't really jumping out at me. All of those smells translate to the tongue and create an intensely flavorful experience that isn't for the weak of heart. The bitter coffee and unsweetened cocoa notes hit first with an underlying sweetness that I can only attribute to the malts working together with the added vanilla. As this has warmed up, the bourbon has really moved into a much more noticeable position in terms of the smell and taste. It is much more pronounced, and quite delicious. The oaky vanilla notes have gained some ground too. Upon my first few sips with this, all I could think was how well balanced this was... How strong must the other flavors have been to hide the bourbon and boozy bite? Why can't I taste the slightest hint of alcohol yet?

It seems that as the beer warms, the coffee and chocolate notes fade and the barrel aging kicks it into high gear. Wow. There's a nice alcohol bite hitting me now that is smooth and warming. I say this completely secure in my status as a heterosexual male that is nearing 30 years old-- This beer is utterly fabulous.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. The body isn't nearly as thick or full as you'd expect. It is actually light and creamy smooth. The carbonation level is about perfect for being a barrel aged brew. Certainly no complaints here. The beer does clock in at over 11%, so one of these is plenty. As a matter of fact, it has taken me 31 minutes to... (last sip)... finish this beer. Fantastic.

What an enjoyable half hour.

 2,364 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Opaque mahogany color with a thin tan head despite a vigorous pour. Big aromas of oak, whiskey, cocoa, and oats. Taste followed, with an initial bourbon/vanilla flavor, followed by the malt and then the cocoa. Full-bodied but not cloying. Gentle warming on the finish.

 291 characters

Photo of matt_duthie
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle; Will follow up on the last of four from this year when I get to it...but I like this one better.
A: A properly black beer with nice brown cap on the pour, minimal lacing, head all but disappeared quickly. Still nice at 11+%
S: Bourbon, dark chocolate, boozy heat, hint of vanilla, touch of coffee.
T: The chocolate and vanilla shine here, smooth but mellow bourbon especially through the finish, oatmeal, some dark fruits hiding in there somewhere. What's left of the coffee just contributes to the roasty malt and intense chocolate flavor, it's definitely still tasty. Mighty tasty.
F: Smooth, a touch slick, just a bit thin, but enjoyably creamy and solidly medium+ body. Little carbonation, but plenty enough to be enjoyable to sip on til it's gone.
O: Preferred to 2016 even if the coffee's faded. Very very good.

 837 characters

Photo of GameFreac
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage on tap at the Brick Store Pub for the Breakfast Yard Sale - May 19, 2012. 8 oz pour.

Appearance: Pours a midnight black with a brownish small khaki head.

Smell: Smells of chocolate, bourbon, and slight alcohol.

Taste - Taste is chocolate, roasted malts, and bourbon. Gets better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Thick and perfect for this beer.

Overall: I prefer CBS and FBS over KBS and I wasn't as blown away as I thought I would be but this is still a world class beer and one of my favorites ever.

 515 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Viscous jet black that's opaque even with a light behind it and a pocked finger of sepia foam that puts up a good fight but fades under the heavy ABV. 4.25
Fig, leather, cold coffee, oak chips, black shoe polish, blackberry skins, then baker's chocolate, booze, and caramelized sugar - evolves as it opens. 4.5
Ganache, with beef jerky, candied black cherries, dates, coffee candy, creme brulee, and a woody-honeyed bite with a touch of grass. 4.5
Caramel-coated hazelnut finish and spicy drying linger.
Heavy, oily, chewy, hot, smooth, 4.25

The best meals are not just packed full of flavor, but different flavors with each bite. This does that: whiskey in coffee one sip, chocolate plum bonbons the next. Chocolate is big, dark, and right upfront; coffee, less so. Dark fruit all hit on the sweet side, though there's the occasional astringent fig note or hit of dark malt acidity. A massive stout, all right, but incredibly drinkable - one sip follows the next and it's tough to slow down. I’d like to knock off a couple of the boozy notes from the bourbon and see what happens after 6 months.

Another beer that I was prepared to slam but actually lives up to the hype.
“Never has twelve ounces seemed so much like six.” - BuckeyeNation

The right beer to mark moving house.

 1,289 characters

Photo of DrewOSU
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on nitro tap at Founders brew pub on KBS day.

A: Pours dark brown to black with a ½ inch super creamy frothy gray head. Looks exactly like Guinness in this form. Huge foamy lacing, draping across the glass.

S: The nitro dulls the smell a little. The smell now is now reminiscent of a chocolate stout, instead of a huge bourbon barrel monster. Dull chocolate, coffee, no noticeable alcohol or hop presence.

M/T: Much lighter then regular KBS, making it a super creamy, medium body. The carbonation much more present then KBS in the bottle or on tap. Second wave is all alcohol, this is a pretty hot beer, followed by roasted malts.

D: With a high APV, couldn't session this one, but the nitro makes it feels much lighter and more manageable then the KBS out of the bottle. I like this version of KBS. A nice twist that might be better than the original? This version does make it more drinkable. KBS is such a huge beer that even though it lost a little with the nitro frothiness, it still is a monster.

 1,017 characters

Photo of nickapalooza86
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 2012 vintage into a snifter. Pours a jet black. Basically like motor oil. 1 finger deep tan head that goes quickly.

The smell is vanilla, oak, bourbon and a bit of coffee.

Taste is nice, coffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon an a good drying bite at the end.

Mouthfeel is so silky smooth and amazing.

Well I was really excited to get my hands on a 4 pack. That being said I am not as impressed as I thought I would be. I have had better beers and I have had worse.

That being said I will still seek it out every year. Next year I just wont try as hard.

 558 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,929 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!