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: 11,888
Photo of Jmamay22
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Glad to finally get ahold of a bottle. Looking forward to trying it and found a nice cool evening even in June to enjoy.

The beer pours a very dark and truly opaque black. Not even the slightest hint of ruby or brown along the edges of the glass to let in the light. The mocha colored head briefly fights to maintain its height, but eventually falls to a foamy collar.

The scent is wonderful and complex. Slight char from the oak barrels and a nice roasted scent without being overwhelming. Nice hints of vanilla and maybe even a touch of allspice. A bit of dark sugar and treacle to round things out.

The flavor is not an overpowering onslaught I had anticipated. No doubt it's a big beer, but it's a nice complexity rather than a strong punch of flavor. The vanilla comes through nicely giving a sweet impression. This fades to the dark sugar and roasted flavors. The oak and bourbon inter plays nicely rather than feeling layered on as can sometimes be the case. Finishes with a slightly bitter roasted bight, but still comes off as silky smooth. No astringency. Mouthfeel is thick and heavy.

Overall a fantastic brew. Wish it was more readily available, but the long aging time must make it difficult to distribute to a wide audience. Glad I had the chance to enjoy it and will keep an eye out each year.

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Photo of BigFrank71
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very very black color. Had a wonderful charred bourbon aftertaste that i really liked after the third sip. Once again like the darklord I taste a very dark chocolate like a 72% or higher of coco. I did prefer this beer over the Darklord.
This is also another beer that i think only one bottle would be my fill since it is so heavy, but i savored it and drank it slow. I wonder what bourbon barrel it was in to get that taste. Maybe a makers mark or a pappy van winkel if we are lucky.

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Photo of Berrymon
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It was great - a phenomenal beer. I had the 2015 version. Recently had 2013 & 2014 BCBS which I thought were both superior to this though. My take was that KBS '15 should age a bit. There was a sharpness to it that made me think the edge could be smoothed out with a little more time. I have one more that I'll wait on. It was still an incredibly delicious beer.

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Photo of Myotus
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 03Mar15) into a Spiegelau stout glass.
LOOK: Pours with a half finger's worth of khaki foam that halves itself after 50 seconds. Black in color with orange tint. Rising bubbles are very small in size and moderate in quantity. Lacing is thick and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of molasses, figs, and plums, entangle with mild aromas of vanilla, sweet chocolate, sweet coffee, and subtle aromas of oak, bourbon, and bitter roasted malts.
TASTE: Initial taste is of strong molasses, fig, and plum flavors. Mild sweet chocolate, vanilla, and sweet coffee flavors enter right after. Next, enters mild flavors of oak along with subtle flavors of bourbon and bitter roasted malts as all flavors persist, except for vanilla and coffee, which grow stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied with hints of carbonation. Goes down smoother than a Keystone and creamier than cream itself. Finishes with a moderate dryness.
NOTE: An amazing imperial stout, however, I feel this is strongly hyped. I have definitely had better.
2016 Release
Poured at 48°F from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 12Feb16) into a Spiegelau Stout glass. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before reviewing. Consumed on 11May16.
LOOK: A fingers worth of dense, cinnamon colored foam is formed after the initial pour. Well after 3 minutes, the foam head hasn't receded, but has only become slightly less dense and has changed color to khaki. Black in color with an orange luster. A plethora of small, rising bubbles explains the head's refusal to die. Lacing is high in quantity and both thick and very thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of coconut, sweet chocolate, and sweet coffee entangle with mild bourbon and oak aromas. Subtle aromas of vanilla and molasses further contribute to the complexity of the sweetness while hints of bitter roasted malts join the bourbon aromas in bringing balance to the brew.
TASTE: A wondrous sweetness takes hold of the palate as strong sweet chocolate, sweet coffee, and coconut flavors enter. Mild bourbon flavors grab onto the palate right after and ensure that no cloying takes place. Sweet coffee flavors fade to mild as mild molasses along with subtle vanilla and oak flavors make their debut. Hints of bitter roasted malts trail lastly as chocolate, coffee, and coconut flavors maintain, but bourbon, molasses, vanilla, and oak flavors all grow slightly stronger.
FEEL: The thickness of the beer lies somewhere between medium-bodied and full-bodied. Given that this is an Imperial Stout, that is quite disappointing. Carbonation levels are subtle. The beer goes down smooth and creamy. Due to the large alcoholic presence, this finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.

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Photo of Agold
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What an exceptional beer. This has been on the list of beers I've been wanting to try since the second I heard about it. Founders has continued to not disappoint with their offerings.

It pours beautifully with a short dense light brown head. It holds onto a nice little film of foam which leaves lacing down the side of the glass. Really exceptional aroma. Huge coffee notes, with mild mocha chocolate and light bourbon in the background. The taste is the same, with a mild pleasant alcohol burn. It is chocolate, coffee, creamy, and a very small dash of bourbon to add character. As a matter of fact, I was expecting a bit more of the bourbon -bal or oak in here, as i thought a touch more vanilla would be really nice with the other flavors. As such, it is extraordinarily balanced. The mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied. Really happy with founders on this beer. Delicious beer.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This rated #1 in our top 10 stout sampling and I am reviewing from the notes I took that night.

A- Pours a pitch black with just slight crimson when the glass is tilted.

S- Sweet malts and coffee dominate. There is some fruity sweetness and a slight chocolate note too.

T- Cherries, coffee and bitter chocolate. Huge taste with no holes at all. Nice hop balance. On my scale this one tied Speedway and lost by .5 to Dark Lord. I love the huge coffee presence.

M- Creamy and thick with a very mild carbonation.

D- This tastes so damn good which makes it very, very drinkable. Try it if you can find it.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


A: Into the oversized Riedel snifter it goes. Pours thick like motor oil, almost as black too. Not a lot of carbonation going on…a head conjured quickly but fell just as quick leaving a slick across the top remaining.

S: Fully roasted and choc full of nuts. Copius amounts of freshly ground espresso, bitter bakers chocolate and some oily licorice dominate the nose. In the highs the bourbon can be found, especially as it warms.

T: Begins with strong brewed coffee, totally charred. Chocolate mousse like flavors accompany the coffee and create a quite decadent moment. The more I drink it, the more pronounced and exhilarating the vanilla becomes. Totally creamy, shares a lot of traits with a chocolate milkshake thanks to abundant lactose. They don’t try to hide the alcohol here, its present and accounted for. Only faint bourbon tastes, picking up most of the vanilla and not a lot of the astringent off flavors bourbon barrels can give.

M: Full body, creamy and rich. Perfect.

D: First sip I wasn’t impressed at all. This is one of those beers that definitely grows on you. In all honesty, I could certainly use some more bourbon character…I think it would have balanced well with the rest of the flavors. It’s a great stout but I don’t think it’s the best.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dear God,
Please send more KBS down to Earth.

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is more bourbon barrel aged beers. Maybe a redux of the Wood Aged Weekend? I will settle simply for a 6er of KBS, though. All I really need is that coffee and bourbon, The Big wood and vanilla, angry notes of black magic. Those things that make my gums tingle and my heart sing. Bittersweet. Perhaps some notes of chocolate and astringent wood and coffee.
I have been (mostly) good this year. I should not have set off bottle rockets inside of the indian casino, but other than that, I think I've been the model of "what is good." Thanks for listening,

PS: The most recent bottle I had was way better than the watered down version that was my first experience of KBS. That first one alone is what keeps this from more 5s.

Dammit, KBS. I'm going to have to make a shift in the ratings here on account of 2 of the 3 bottles now that I've had not being at all up to the amazing record. Only the middle bottle has been outstanding. The first was crazy over the top coffee, this one currently is bourboncentric. Those two were from the same trade. Zany, yes.

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Photo of Truh
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spun a few yarns with some good ole boys with this one on 5/27/2007. 12-oz. bottle poured in a shaker glass.

Very thin camisol of threaded beading hides the core of the pour with a truly nice red-brown hue to the striations. Plentiful, spiderpig webbing of lace throughout. On the nose, mahogany, linseed oil, coca cola, French roast coffee, and chocolate caramel all mix together for a powerful karate chop to the olfactory senses. Enormous coffee jackhammer on the tongue, with a cherry infused chocolate trifle boring like sugary good acid through the tonsils, a smoky applewood trickling down the throat, suffusing every part above the neck in a sea of sublime super stout. Medium-heavy body, very silky.

Wish I had a few more of these; truly excellent.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black, good opaque depth in it, and decent sized head of brown bubbles. Nice lace. Nose was my favorite quality of the beer with some very seductive bourbon dark-chocolatey notes, and roasty aromas. Big body on the palate, heavy dark chocolate, and plenty of bourbon booziness. Perhaps too boozy.

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Photo of Wolberjs
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2014 into a Stone IRS glass.

A - Pitch black with some head and a little foam and lacing. I honestly have no clue how to judge the appearance of a good RIS. They're black, they all have a little bit of foam. I'll give it the obligatory and completely arbitrary 4.5.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and a little vanilla. Don't get the barrel's bourbon in the nose.

T - Taste follows the nose with a little oak and woodiness from the barrel. This tastes really good, but it has Kentucky in the name and I'm not getting any bourbon taste or alcohol.

M - Terrific silky smooth feel on the tongue with a super pleasant chocolate milk finish. No thin or tingly alcohol here.

O - This is a great beer, but I think a little bourbon flavor would make it even better. I remember more bourbon from the times I've had it before, but who knows if my beer memory is reliable. Honestly if "kentucky" wasn't in the name I'd probably be blown away by how good of a coffee stout this is, but since "kentucky" is in the name I think it's missing a little something.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Well, I must say that I got sticker shock when I picked up the 4 pack of this stuff today. Party Source in Bellview, KY: 4 pack of 12 oz bottles: $23.95! OUCH! But, you only go around once in this life so....

I poured the contents into my trusty pint glass. I noticed right away that it would take a rough pour to produce any head.... so I raised the bottle up and was gratified with a healthy inch of tight tan foam. The beer was as black as the night and you couldn't even see through it when held to a bright light source. The head slowly dwindled down to a thick cap over time, but left healthy stickage down the side of the glass as I drank.

The smell was very apparent and nice! Lot's of coffee, bourbon, chocolate all swirling around.... very nice!

The taste: Very surprising.... I could definately pick up on the bourbon barrel aging.... big bourbon taste right up front. But, the taste was quickly tempered by some nice rich coffee and sweet roasted malty taste.

Mouthfeel: Here is where this beer excels. This is a thick, chewey beer.... just like I like it. Gotta give it a "5".

Drinkability: This is definately a sipper.... but ya gotta try this stuff.... just bite the bullet and go for it. (Was I ripped off at 6 bucks a bottle?). I at least had to do it once. I probably won't beat a path to the beer store to pay $6 a bottle again.... but I HAD TO TRY IT. I was glad I did.

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Photo of blackenmn
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a small glass:

A:Poured a nice heavy black with brown showing through on the edges when light shines through. Very much like thick coffee in appearance. An aggressive pour left a small creamy brown head which faded pretty quick.

S:Smelled of chocolate, plenty of coffee and roast on the nose. Along with a bit of bourbon which went along nicely with the slight oak/wood smell. This lets it origins be known.

T:There were some slight similarities to FBS. This had plenty of heavy hitting characteristics going on at once. Sweet chocolate, delicious coffee, vanilla and molasses like sweetness, and definite straight oak flavor on the tail end. Not alot if any hop pressence

M:This went from creamy and sticky to dry and bitter. They both worked complimented eachother nicely and kept anything from being too overwhelming.

D:This was a very drinkable, enjoyable brew. A great unique treat. Nothing is needed to accompany this due to the various heavy flavor and feel throughout. It finished a bit dry while it was extremly fresh but that was about the only thing close to a complaint I could come up with for this thing.

I've been wanting to try this one for a while. Pleased as punch it made it to MN.

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Photo of peensteen
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to TheSevenDuffs for this bottle! 2011.

Jet black colour, one finger of dark tan head, some lace around the top of the glass. Smell is of roasted malt and coffee, bourbon, vanilla and oak, chocolate both milk and dark, fudge with some nice bittersweet notes. Taste has a big roasted malt flavour, bourbon follows close, oak, vanilla and chocolate, roasted coffee beans, nice build up of flavour here, chocolate and vanilla aftertaste. Lush mouthfeel, light carbonation, full body and quite silky. This was simply outstanding stuff, incredibly complex but nice balance of flavours, this is with out a doubt one of the best imperial stouts I have ever had.

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Photo of jkinzey
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 3/4/15. Poured into snifter. Look is very dark with little head. Smells of bourbon, chocolate, roasted coffee but not overpowering. Taste is very nice, not too hot. It is a little thin with no lacing left on the glass. A good beer, but not worthy of its ranking or its demand IMO.

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Photo of scarnold8
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to hayesez for this one. He is very generous and an awesome dude.

A - Pours thick and black with thin tan/brown head.
S - I get a ton of bourbon. Hint of the alcohol and not really much else.
T - I love it. There is a lot of bourbon and roasted malt. For the amount of alcohol and bourbon taste it is very smooth and goes down well.
M - Somewhat thick, although not as much as expected for the style.
D - Surprising high. I could easily have several of these, though I probably shouldn't.

Very impressed with this beer. I am a big fan of stouts and especially bourbon barrel aged stouts. This did not disappoint.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

a - poured a one finger thick creamy coffee-colored head into a snifter that settled into a thin ring. the body was black as you might imagine.
s - big chocolate aromas with a hint of oak and bourbon.
t - chocolate, bourbon, raisins with a touch of heat. i'm also getting some smoke.
m - medium thickness, very creamy. would have liked a little more robust mouthfeel.
o - great beer that does live up to the hype. even after sitting on this one for 2 years it was more boozy than i thought. i think 5 years of age would be about perfect for this beer. i like goose island's bourbon county stout (since those 2 are compared so much) just a little bit better.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deepest ebon hue, an impentrable blackness, above which nestles a modest ring of earthy brown, espresso tinges.

Aroma is chocolate first, followed by coffee, then molasses, brown sugar, and licorice.

Taste: Full and thick as it boards the mouth, slipping rich, deliciousness everywhere...this is stoutness of the highest order. Bourbon flavor is here, but feels less sweet than the same stuff straight from the bottle, an impressive blend of flavors. Further in, I can taste the charcoal, even.

So huge, and rich, and very rewarding. Each sip has enough flavor to taste a good 20 minutes, if you're not too thirsty...definitely a sippin' stout! If you don't take your time, you're spoiling a wonderful experience.

I must say, this is a hyperbolic label, but it's all truth in advertising. Gotta wonder how they slip it past the beurocracy, with it's jesting claims of giving relief from all manner of ailments. It is most assuredly "good for everything a stout ought to be good for."

Very nice bedtime brew. Wish I had a case or three to last me a spell.
Way to go, Founders, another impressive ale!
(and thanks to AKSP!)

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Photo of RJay
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Black with no light able to penetrate through. There was a small amount of tan head that settled down to just surrounding the edge of the glass within a minute.

Aroma - Initially I was hit with coffee and then sweet bourbon, chocolate, and some vanilla notes. In away it kind of reminds me of an Irish cream.

Taste - Well balanced, sweet and bitter with the taste of bourbon, warm alcohol, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee are also present here.

Mouth Feel - Smooth and creamy! Coats the mouth nicely and has the perfect amount of carbonization.

Drinkability - I would love to session this stuff but it is a tad expensive (but worth it) and it may be hard to walk after a few. This is something to save for special occasions, excellent beer!

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Photo of Beejay
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark and thick like coffee, a small amount of dark brown head..

S: WOW!! Huge amount of coffee, and chocolate.. sweet, sugary and something else in there.. I could smell this all day.. hmmm KBS scented candles?

T: Tart at first.. Lots of coffee flavor, gets a bit bitter at the end.. This is one big beer. very strong coffee.. Not a lot of bourbon flavor in there... :( Still very good.

M: Textbook definition of: Chewy. Thick and sludgy.. damn that's good drinking.

D: Definitely a good beer. Worth all the hype.. probably not, but it is good. I am going to do a side by side with GI BCS in a minute, and we'll see which I prefer.

Notes from a 2010 bottle: A bit more oak and bourbon in the flavor, and it seems a bit more mellow. Nice nice. I don't think this years is as thick, no need to change it's scores, but very nice overall. Glad I picked up this years model. 4-7-2010

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Photo of BierRunner
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely dark color with coffee and chocolate on the nose. To quote a friend, it tastes like chocolate cake dunked in coffee. What makes it outstanding is its balance when dealing with such big flavors. No one thing overly dominates and a long pleasant finish lingers after the sip. Mouth feel is viscous, like motor oil (if motor oil could taste amazing).

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a deep oily black with virtually no head. The aroma was simply robust coffee (well there might be a hint of roasted malt and slight fruit). The taste is strong of coffee with some possible raisin flavors. The mouthfeel if full and the finish is slightly oily - a bit of an alcohol burn is noticed at the end. This is an easy to drink beer. It is almost like an alcoholic coffee, but it goes down smooth.

Edit: I drank another bottle that I had gotten at the same time about a week later. The second bottle was more complex and interesting. The aroma had more of a bourbon note to it - I'm raising the score by 0.5 simply for the smell.

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Photo of BB1313
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a vicious black, no light getting though this one. Very thin mocha head and little lacing. This stuff is like motor-oil, no joke. Definitely one of the thickest beer I've come across. The aromas are heavy on the bourbon.. but then the strong milk chocolate will hit you w/ some vanilla. The bourbon is heavy in the flavor as well, almost diminishing all of the other flavors going on. This is a pretty complex brew. There's also nice oak/woodiness to this one, which is very noticeable in every sip. The coffee and tobacco is definitely present as well. Extremely boozy, almost too boozy, not letting the other flavors shine or develop. I can argue the flavors are unbalanced, but they work in the end. The mouthfeel is phenomenal, extremely thick and chewy. Practically no carbonation. Finishes warm, actually hot. Drinkability is okay.. this is a quintessential sipper, one's enough to please. KBS loses points from me for lacking balance in the flavor department.

KBS is a great beer. I'm not going to say it's over-hyped because it's an excellent beer. There's no denying its' complexity. It's definitely a treat.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle a deep dark purplish-black color with just a whisper of coffee-colored head.

Big sharp aroma of bourbon, oak, vanilla, tobacco, and black coffee. The force, I mean the booze, is strong in this one.

Multi-layered taste of bourbon, coffee, oak, vanilla, soap, dark ripe fruits, and dark chocolate.

Full-bodied, rich and smooth, with little carbonation.

Sit back and enjoy everything that winter can throw at you with this beer. Mmm...nice.

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Photo of KMachHops
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. Nice to see in California for the first time.
Look: Very nice frothy head that dissipates slowly. Color is like motor oil.
Smell: Mostly coffee and chocolate.
Taste: Same as the nose but with vanilla coming through.
Feel: Just the right amount of carbonation, smooth, velvety, and booze at the end that is over the top.
Overall: A very well made BA stout. For being around over a decade, this not only classic but hard to beat overall. This is the standard of BA stouts.

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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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