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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 3,042 | Ratings: 11,889
Photo of tr4nc3d
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Wespatrick for sending this my way

12fl oz bottle poured into my snifter

This poured an opaque like color with no light being able to pass through this darkly stout. Pour produced a very little half inch mocha colored head with less than average retention. As it faded it left a mere ring on the outer edges of the beer. No lacing was left at all.

Aroma consisted of some bourbon which was not overpowering, some vanilla, chocolate, oak, oats, leather. Very good aroma coming from this beer.

Upfront slightly sweet chocolate taste is first noticed that lead into some vanilla flavor coming through. In between I get some oatmeal with some coffee and a slight bourbon undertone that is really not that noticeable. Overall very smooth throughout.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with average carbonation. Smooth taste all throughout.

My impression of this beer is that it is a very good stout and deserves the praise and hype it gets. The only thing I would have though was that it would have a more prominent bourbon flavor as others have mentioned.

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Photo of deaconsmith
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A.-in a thick glass mug it poured a rich creamy cocoa tinted head about a inch thick. very nice retention with great lacing. the beer itself was a pot black heavy viscosity with not much change in the light.

S.-awsome aroma, has a expresso/heavy malt chocolate with a oaky overtone.. and some wonderfull familliar smell i couldnt put my finger on yet..(drove me time lol).. very alive and complex smell..smelled like heaven=)

T.-like the smell the taste is very simular, rich chocolaty expresso/almost barley wineish oaky with a very strong (but not too strong) and well balanced hopy/Alcoholy after taste.

M.-@ 44* It has a very smooth, not alot of bubbles but very delightfull feel in the mouth. and it gose down so creamy and thick

D.- this one should be taken xtra slow if your not used to this type of beer..i personally can drink about 2 at one setting because it is really strong and almost whiskey like in a quiet way. but for this type stout it is very very drinkable

*definate signature taste. very well crafted brew..I personally love it. i would definatly recomend it.

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Photo of azorie
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a chalice. Pours very dark black and no head, but its was cold at 36F

S: I let it warm until 50f to review: Nice, very strong but smooth bourbon or Kentucky straight whiskey notes.with coffee and Vanilla notes. I also detect a bitter chocolate whiff.

T: its strange though your nose is telling you your drinking strong bourbon, your mouth is tasting, a stout with strong chocolate, vanilla, and oak, lots of caramel malt, no hops detected period. I don't taste any coffee, because the bourbon taste pretty much overloads everything at first.

M: Silky and heavy, very heavy in fact. Its a stout, a Imperial Stout at that, no mistaken that here.

D: Well since I only bought 2 I cannot really say, but I want another one, just not going to pay the mail order price, but these 2 were damn fine beers.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz snifter at Sunset Bar and Grill, this beer was dark as night with a small light brown head that sat atop. I should mention that the beer was served much colder than suggested and I drank slowly and warmed the beer with my hands.
Smells of Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and coffee.
A chocolate taste is first to come to prominence which then gives way to the bourbon, vanilla and coffee character. This beer finishes with a very pleasant maple syrup character.
Low carbonation which is expected with a slow sipper such as this. A rich creamy thick mouthfeel makes up the body of this beer.
A fantastic beer which I wish was easier to get a hold of. I will drink this at any opportunity in which it presents itself.

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Photo of Lucho
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sobeleg for the trade. Cheers

Appearance: pours a thick coffee black with a one finger head that dissipates to a light cream ring around the glass. There is only the slight transparency around the rim of the beer.

Smell: coffee and bourbon on the nose. there is some sweet vanilla.

Taste: WOW! subtle coffee right up front with sweet vanilla rounds off the palate. bourbon hits you with a nice touch but not overpowering considering it was in barrels for a year. There is a grass aftertaste that reminds me of being on a farm with horses all around. guess thats also why its KBS.

Mouthfeel: full and thick but not crazy. finishes nice and resinous on the tongue.

Overall: this is a very special brew that is perfect for the BA stout style. It really sets the bar with perfect balance of vanilla, coffee, and bourbon. Cheers!

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Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. 12-oz bottle to tulip. This is my second dance with this bad boy, the first being a few days after the brewery's release at the end of March. (Initial "had" rating was 4.25.) Consumed with a light dinner of grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, and salad on the 4th of July, over the course of an hour, to assess any development in the beer's aroma and taste. I did not sense much change throughout the session.

Initial, soft pour of a few ounces shows that this is a viscous, dark brown brew, with slow bubbling on a surface as quiet as a swamp. The full pour shows it is opaque black with 1-finger mocha brown head. The head dissipates to a lingering 1/2-finger size. The alcohol legs are decent, but this beer does not coat the glass for long.

Oak and vanilla, giving way to rich dark chocolate syrup and molasses. The alcohol does not overpower. It is faint. Interestingly, I did not sense much coffee, either in the aroma or taste, throughout the session (though there is a roast bitterness taste as the glass warms).

Dark chocolate gives way quickly to bourbon at first, with molasses and prune developing later in the session. As with an actual piece of dark chocolate, the inherent bitterness overtakes the sweetness as the glass warms, but vanilla begins to show its head in the last few drops as well.

The mouthfeel is oily and thick, with little to no carbonation. The beer lingers in the back of the palate, but this is not a lipsmacker.

Overall, there are better-tasting bourbon-barrel-aged stouts out there, in particular the ridiculously smooth Black Note and Baudoinia.

The uptick in my score accounts for the phenomenal aroma.

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Photo of nickd717
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Arbitrator, labeled as KBS (I heard this is due to a similar legal problem that caused Kentucky Fried Chicken to be called KFC). If lawyers have their way, we'll be speaking in all acronyms before too long. Anyway, this beer owns something fierce, almost but not quite eqaul to the legendary Canadian Breakfast Stout.

A - Pours a viscous, oily jet black with a small, creamy tan head that leaves a ring around the glass. This has legs like a Swedish bikini model, i.e. they're very good.

S - Aroma is coffee, roast, chocolate, and high-quality Kentucky bourbon.

T - Coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt that adds a little sweetness, vanilla, oak, and of course loads of bourbon. Not too much though. Almost but not quite as good as Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. A little boozy, but certainly not unpleasantly so...or maybe I was just too drunk to notice (and you can't blame me since we had all three Breakfast Stout incarnations at this tasting + other awesome stuff).

M - Palate is smooth, creamy, and oily with low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth.

D - Pretty good for a bourbon barrel imperial stout.

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Photo of metter98
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured out of the bottle with little carbonation, almost resembling the viscosity of motor oil.
S: There's an intense aroma of bourbon intermixed with notes of coffee and vanilla.
T: Bourbon flavors really stand out in the initial taste, but they are nicely balanced with the hints of coffee and vanilla. The bourbon flavors are strong, but not overpowering. The taste and balance improves as it warms up and the coffee flavors begin to come through a little more.
M: It has a medium-bodied feel on the palate and the alcohol is very well hidden, but detectable in the finish with some warming sensations.
D: This is a beer to sip to appreciate all of the flavors come through as it warms up.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After getting shut out of 2012 KBS due to abysmal GA distribution and larger-than-ever demand, I'm consoling myself with a bottle from last year's harvest. Defeat never tasted so good...

12oz bottle. Bottled 2/25/11. Served in a snifter. 

Pours jet black with a quarter finger mocha head that dissappears quickly. Any lacing seems accidental. Looks good. 

Big smells of bourbon, wood and chocolate. Also coffee, vanilla, smoke and booze. Overall quite pleasant. 

Taste is very nice. That bourbon is still right up front but without the burn it had a year ago. Coffee and chocolate are also major players here. Oak, vanilla, brown sugar, booze, and some dark fruit. The flavors blend wonderfully with bourbon, chocolate and coffee consistently on top. Long dry finish. I can tell there is plenty of alcohol but it hides the 11% quite well. 

Thick creamy feel with very little carbonation. Good thick coating on the tongue. Very well done. 

A much better beer than it was 12, 9 & 6 months ago! I remember it as coming across too hot and hiding many of the flavors. But this really is an outstanding stout. If you see it on tap, drink it now. But if you have a bottle, age is what truly makes this shine. 

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Photo of blakelive784
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to maximum12!

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter. Bottled 2/8/10. Reviewed live:

A - Pours a thick, opaque, motor oil black color. I coaxed about two fingers of mocha colored head after an aggressive pour, but retention is terrible. Inviting to say the least, and I can smell it already...

S - A pungent bourbon front. Vanilla, oak, milk chocolates, and fresh roasted coffee. Pleasantly alcoholic. One of the best oak noses I've ever encountered. Roasted malt and caramel buried. Amazingly subtle and complex. Pungent. I can't wait to try it.

T - Creamy, luxurious chocolates and dark roasted coffee open. Awesome subtle bourbon. Well placed oak. Thick roasted malts and burnt caramel. Subtle vanilla throughout. Toffee and molasses come through. It warms in the stomach, but is far from boozy. In fact, I'd never guess the ABV is as high as it is. Savory and sweet. Incredibly complex. Decadent.

M - Thick and smooth. Creamy. Full bodied.

D - Hot damn this is good. I'll be comparing all others in the style to this one. One of the best stouts I've had.

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Photo of weeare138
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed with grassrootsVT at 4 am after he helped me fix my toilet with a knife, a nail, and some silicon...
Appears a pitch black with a 2 finger high, tan head. Tons of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of coffee grounds, cocoa, fresh espresso beans, roasted nuts, creamy vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a huge nod to ground coffee and not enough of the oak, or bourbon going on as anticipated.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, rich, huge coffee, sweet, creamy, with a grainy, biscuity feel in the swallow.
Personally, I enjoyed the regular Breakfast Stout more. Maybe it was the bottle? I've heard these have differed.
Edit - 5/4/09
I finally got this on tap at Capone's. Man, this was much better than what I remember it being in the bottle. Plenty of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and cocoa adding to the mocha. The draft version was top notch.
Bottle notes...
A - 4.5
S - 4.5
T - 4
M - 4
D - 4

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Photo of BogBoyJD
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%

2014 Vintage bottle into snifter.

Been waiting for this one chasing it for a while. Looks great. Mocha head, quickly fades into tan ring. Smells like chocolate bourbon. Tastes like it smells, so smooth slight vanilla, but o' coffee as well. As good as BCBS???? I don't know
Worth the wait. Glad I've got a couple more bottles.

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Photo of SiepJones
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Pours a pitch black with a dark brown lace ring of head around the surface of the beer. This beer looks like engine oil.
S: Smells of bourbon, roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate
T: Bourbon flavor up front, which turns into roasted malt then dark chocolate with a hint of dark fruit and then finishes with an oaky flavor. Amazingly this flavor is balanced enough that there isn't a lot of "heat" to the flavor and all the different flavors seem to compliment each other.
M: Very thick and chewy mouthfeel, slight carbonation.
D: This is a fine sipping brew with a complex flavor and a high ABV. Sit back and enjoy.

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Photo of ragwing82
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As good as advertised, a stout one must try at some point. Tried at Savor a few years back. Only knock is use of chocolate in the brew; it's just not my thing.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ralflord for the trade!

Poured from one of the "old" bottles, with the name all spelled out, into a standard pint glass. Nice thick black presentation with a very thin head of cocoa brown. No highlights except for around the rim.

Smell is goood! The bourbon is up front, but not overpowering. One of the subtler bourbon scents I've had in a bourbon-barrel stout. Maple syrup, coffee, chocolate & vanilla -- it's all in there.

The taste is right in hand with the aroma, though I'd say the bourbon is even a little more "subdued" (speaking relatively here, folks). The coffee flavors are more prominent, roasty & dark, with an increasing alcohol presence. Lately I'm starting to notice a "crayon" taste in coffee stouts, which is definitely showing up here.

Mouthfeel is thick & satisfying, like a drink of boozy brownie. As strong as this is, it's relatively low ABV for a bourbon-barrel stout, & I think I could down two of these in a relaxed, stretched out evening. Dunno if it's the novelty of the style, but I love me some bourbon-barrel stouts! I would put this just behind GIBCS, & this one leads in drinkability.

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Photo of IPA1978
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stout looks amazing, pitch black, tiny tan bubbles sparkle as they lace down the glass. Smells of chocolate, coffee and a bit woody. Taste is big dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, toffee and a hint of bourbon barrel. No burnt overwhelming flavors, or cloying sweetnes at this abv, well balanced. My experience with big imperial stouts is that one particular flavor typicaly overwhelms other subtle flavors, not the case here. Mouthfeel is full boddied with flavors that linger and drying tannic qualities. Incredible BB aged stout, a must try.

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Photo of brewaddict
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle opened on 2/6/16
L - This pours dark dark brown with a creamy mocha head and lots of lace.
S - I get lots of mocha and chocolate like breakfast stout with the addition of vanilla and cream and some coconut.
T - The flavors are coffee, chocolate, vanilla and subtle bourbon. The finish is a little bitter.
F - The texture is nice and creamy. Not overly carbonated.
O - excellent and well balanced.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 3.30.11

Bottled on 2.25.11

A- Pours a black-brown with almost no head. What head is there is a dark brown.

S- Smells like old, leftover coffee.

T- Tasts like coffee with a bourbon bomb in it.

D- No carbonation and flat, oily in the mouth.

O- Good, but not my favorite Stout.

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Photo of pmoney
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage reviewed on 4/21/13.

Appearance: It pours a thick inky black color. After a vigorous pour, a half-inch head forms and then dissipates within the first minute leaving behind a cream-colored rim. The head-retention is a bit underwhelming, but that is typical of high ABV beers. This year's KBS comes in at 11.2%. I intentionally let the beer sit and warm up to about 50 degrees before enjoying it.

Aroma: Faint aromas of bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and oak. The aroma has improved as it has warmed, but it is still less than I would have expected. Bourbon and chocolate are the more prevalent smells.

Taste: Huge flavors of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, roasted grains, and a little coffee. There is an excellent balance of all of these components! Bourbon is in the forefront, but definitely isn't overpowering. The coffee kicks in a little more in the back end.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, chewy, and silky-smooth. Everything a barrel-aged imperial stout should be! The carbonation is a little less than average, which is perfect for this beer.

Overall: The best aspects of this beer are the perfect mouthfeel and the wonderful balance of all the flavors. The only things lacking are the coffee flavor and the overall aroma. This year's KBS is a lot more chocolate-forward than years past, and definitely less boozy (especially considering it was bottled only a few weeks ago). It is typical for people to age barrel-aged imperial stouts, but this one is drinking great right out of the gate! I would recommend drinking it at cellar temperature (around 50-55 degrees), and consider pairing it with a piece of plain cheesecake. Overall this was a great beer!

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out an opaque black. Aromas of wood, bourbon, hint of milk chocolate, with smoke.

Flavors of dark chocolate, malt, wood, roast, some metallic.

Mouth feel is huge body, creamy, milkshake like. Carbonation is low, no lacing but has legs.

Overall this is a nice well balanced, flavorful beer. Awesome.

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Photo of WJVII
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a small sampling glass this brew is thick like chocolate milk with a dark chocolate color and a nice firm tan head settling into a solid cap. This brew has strong hints of chocolate, burnt caramel, and light vanilla. The taste is thick and oily with nice burnt malts and a slight chocolate finish. The taste lasts long after the last drop and ends dry. This gets more complex as it warms and was delicious. Must have on a Saturday for breakfast when not working.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Black-opaque with fine bubbles. Mocha head forms and fades quickly. Scattered lacing.

S: Vanilla and hints of coffee. Just want I wanted. However, I also detect something astringent...I wonder if it's soap residue or strong alcohol.

T/M: Bourbon and vanilla nibs. Harsh but strong. Silky smooth mouthfeel just glides down the throat. Not obviously excellent, but actually quite well-balanced. Loads of chocolate malts and a touch of bitterness from both hops and coffee beans.

O: A pretty great beer. I would definitely have some more if I could ever find any. Incredibly drinkable for the ABV and the epitome of a bourbon-barrel aged beer. They don't get better than this.

IBU: 70
ABV: 11.2%

17 January 2015 EDIT:

HUGE coffee in the nose. Licorice and anise. Less bourbon-y, much more bitter and less soft-sweet.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter
Thanks to orbitalr0x for the trade

A - Pours a piercing black that spills out the bottle mouth like oil. Head is small but a very nice latte color. A sheet of lacing slowly falls when tipped, leaving spots of lace on the glass. Incredibly dark and opaque.

S - Scent of crisp toasted/burnt malt and alcohol with a strong vanilla flavor. A touch of coffee that grows more prominent as it warms. Alcohol has a strong oak context that is earthy and interesting.

T - Starts with a mild sweetness and then a quick wallop of strong oak flavor. Vanilla comes on strong, with a hint of coffee bitterness. Roasted and nearly burnt malt. Aftertaste is sharp with alcohol and maybe some drying hop bitterness, as well as some residual sweetness on the tongue.

M - Moderate carbonation with a full and very oily mouthfeel. Very interesting mouthfeel on the tongue, as midsip its many flavors seem to dance on the palate with a tingle. I've never had that sensation in a beer before.

D - Alcohol plays a strong role in this beer, both in flavor and effect. Very different from any other strong stout I've had, although I don't think any of those have been aged in oak barrels for a full year. Lives up to the hype, but not a beer I'd want to have everyday with its very oaky flavor. This is definitely a sipper.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap @ Founders.
8oz pour into snifter.

A - A silky black with a fluffy head with a tight tan color. Super sticky, lots of lacing along the edge of the snifter. The head does not disipitate at all, it just hangs around.

S - Chocolate covered coffee beans, bourbon, caramel.

T - Milk chocolate, bourbon, slight bitterness, coffee beans. I would smack my lips together over and over after every taste, so good!

M - Smooth, creamy, soft, medium-full bodied but not overly so, just right. Very little fizzy carbonation, perfect.

D - So easy, so scary!

I didn't think KBS could get better but out of the nitro-tap, it is!

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Thanks to a generous BA for throwing in a 4 pack of this in our trade!

Deep, viscous black liquid fills my tulip, topped with a long lasting light tan head. No lacing, but I can almost see legs on the side of the glass. Rich vanilla and oak wafts through the air, maybe a touch less intense than expected. The chocolate and roasted barley is somewhat muted but there is definitely some coffee and cream. Flavor is bursting!! Very nicely done. Initial sweetness of toffee, caramel, and vanilla is followed quickly with a hint of burnt toast and leather, then bourbon rounds out the end adorned with a nice dose of freshly ground coffee. Wow. Exceptional smoothness and perfectly carbonated. I am truly impressed. Alcohol sneaks up on you... afterward haha. Please sir, can I have some more?

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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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