Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

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Ratings: 12,600 |  Reviews: 3,220
Photo of Beric
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pour looked thick, almost like oil coming from the bottle. A very vigorous pour yielded a finger of thick tan head that turned into a ring fairly quickly.
Nose for me was predominantly a dark chocolate, not much of the bourbon barrel I was hoping for from a highly acclaimed brew.
Taste followed, lots of dark chocolate. I drank this one slowly, let it warm but never really got the barrel presence I was hoping for. Maybe a little hint of coffee.
Mouthfeel was nice, thick and almost oily. That chocolaty flavor lingered.
Overall a tasty brew but not quite living up to the hype to me, maybe I expected more going into it than I should have but I have a few bottles sitting to try again another day.

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Photo of shauun176
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kayn169
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip
Vintage: 2011

A- Pure black, no light coming through at all. Very nice carbonation for a stout. Tops off with just over a finger of mocha colored head. Head is a medium density, that sticks around for quite a long time. Although after about 15 min the carbonation subsides substantially.

S- Upfront there's bourbon, old coffee grounds, and a good dose of oak that seems to weave through the other aromas. Behind this there is an undertone of very bitter chocolate, something almost metallic, and a slight alcohol burn

T- Just like the nose, taste is full of coffee grounds, bourbon, that seems to increase was it warms, oak, and a vanilla that I didnt get in the nose. Although I may have misidentified the odd slightly metallic smell, and could have been the vanilla, mixing with the bourbon. Bitter chocolate finishes as it passes the back of the tongue.

M- Suprisinly light and well carbonated for such a big stout. This cuts the thickness and stickiness of the sugars, from clinging on the tongue. Very nice

O- Very good, glad the bourbon is an accent to the beer versus a completely dominating attribute. Also glad for just a hint of vanilla, I'm always scared when vanilla is used as a descriptive flavoring, as it is usually used in excess. Over all a solid A

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Brian44556 for this on a trade...Super-excited to try this one, as even the label proclaims this as "highly acclaimed"...Pours an inky, dense black. No real head formed, which is surprising. Maybe the long trip via UPS or the temp I poured it at (a little cold) any event, I expected more from the pour. Impossible to tell how much carbonation just by looking. It looked oily and thick when it poured, so I'm a gonna guess sweeter than the avaerage stout. 11.2% ABV seems to hint at this also. Huge, delicious aromas. Almost unbelievable, really. Smells like a triple chocolate cake that has been plated on a small plate that has a tiny bit of Bourbon whiskey on it that soaked into the cake. It's luscious, and you can smell it across the room. Might be the best-smelling ale I've ever had. Maybe a hint of hot chocolate (i.e. some vanilla and cinnamon hints)...It's just so much like a chocolate dessert it's uncanny. Flavor is enormous and robust. The alcohol is evident and hot in the middle, warming on the finish. Loaded with heavily roasted chocolate malt, lots of espresso and dark chocolate bar notes also, right upfront. These morph into a more whiskey-cask middle, you can almost taste the barrell...I'm willing to bet this is elite on tap. From the bottle, it's harsher than one might expect from the nose. Complexities in the flavor profile are lost if served too cold, so let it warm up to cellar temp before pouring. Some other items roll out of the beer as it warms. Super complex and really delicious. The finish is long and has a nice, sharp bitterness that is one part roasty malt and the other hoppy goodness. This is probably expensive as hell, and this is not really sessionable beer. Absolutely worth tracking down.

What I like most: The amazing, chocolatey aroma profile.

What I like least: The lack of a good head.

Verdict: Really in a class of its own, this is unique, robust and a must try.

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

L - pours dark, but some light getting through Jet black in the glass with no head, just a thin ring of mocha lacing
S - Less coffee than I was expecting, but this is a 4 month old bottle. Still, quite faded and softened. Chocolate and booze shine through
T - Hot with booze, coffee and chocolate in the background with a bit too much bitterness on the finish
F - Smooth, but a touch lighter than expecting. A bit of prickle from excess carb that settled down after a hard swirl for a minute in the glass.

Overall an extremely good beer, just not sure it is a great one. I will never turn down a glass, but not sure it is quite worth the effort to find it.

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Photo of ChrisTota
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Rbald42
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours nice,creamy, and thick. First inspection is zero light passing through this dark one. However I do notice it's actually a very dark brown with some light penetrating the top. Leaves a tan thin head.

S- Is roasted chocolate, dark malts, and faint bourbon and oak. The bourbon comes out more as it warms.I notice toffee, and the alcohol certainly comes out as it warms.

T- Taste is definitely an enjoyable ride with flavors playing off one another. Thick toffee sweetness followed by bitter hops and bitter chocolate. The bourbon presence follows with a somewhat chalky aftertaste that is different but not a negative.

M- Mouthfeel is warm, creamy and superb. It's a powerful brew but still drinkable.

D-Overall this is a world class stout. It's definitely deservng of its accolades and it's complex and enjoyable.

 825 characters

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

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

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 355ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2016. 2015 vintage; bottled Feb 2015 with an ABV of 11.2%. I've been sitting on this bottle for a while - I hope it has aged well. I haven't seen this beer in the UK before or since, so I feel fortunate to be able to try it.

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. Pours a very dark brown hue that appears pitch black in the glass. Yields a small head of frothy mocha-coloured foam that swiftly subsides to a patchy surface layer.

S: Aroma of rich dark malt with notes of roasted grain, subtle coffee, brown sugar/molasses, earthy yeast, mild bourbon, faint chocolate, a twinge of vanilla and a warming whiff of booze. Fantastic.

T: Tastes of intense roasted malt with substantial bourbon undertones. Notes of roasted grain, dark malt, bourbon, wood, molasses, mild coffee, earthy yeast, a hint of vanilla, faint chocolate and an alcoholic twang on the finish. A substantial malt-driven bitterness upon swallowing. The flavours are not as well meshed as the aroma, though impressively complex nonetheless.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation. Decent body but not as thick as might be expected. The alcohol dries the palate somewhat. Aftertaste of roasted malt, bourbon, yeast and bitter coffee.

O: A top-notch brew that deserves the recognition it receives. Looks the part, while the aroma and flavour are a heady mix of dark malt, bourbon, coffee and yeast. Body is OK but could be thicker and creamier for the style. Perhaps not the best bourbon barrel-aged stout I've tried - I feel the bourbon is a tad too dominant to the detriment of balance. However, a great beer and worthy of sampling if you have the chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update with 2017 vintage:
Rich, robust and smooth. A little boozier than I remember, but it does not detract. Creamy coffee flavors and mellow, quality bourbon. Like a boozy coffee brownie. Herbal, peppery finish.

I prefer the sexy, subtle sophistication of 2016.

 1,004 characters

Photo of troupos40
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is definitely best fresh, I never age these anymore, seems to fall off after 6-9 months

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

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

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

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. I was gifted this bottle on my retirement, and I'm very excited to try this legendary stout. Pours pitch black, with the consistancy of 30 weight, with a thin, light brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt with a hint of char, drip coffee, hints of vanilla and nuts; no noteable bourbon. Flavor of toasted, charred malt, boiled down coffee, vanilla, bitter chocolate, hints of bourbon and oak. Malty to start, with coffee flavors developing to finish with the more light acidic flavor of coffee and oak. Nice medium to heavy bodied with light creaminess. A well made coffee stout with a good balance between the coffee and malt, with perhaps a bit more coffee than expected, but the fresh coffee flavors have faded in the barrel, which left surprisingly light bourbon flavors. ABV well covered. Glad I got the chance to try this classic.

 904 characters

Photo of HopsAholic79
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of Krot1974
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of padan7
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an update to my 09 review a 5.
Not the same beer from 09. The taste is unbalanced and not what it once was. So sad this is not as much of a disapointment as Hopslam( a complete letdown the last three years)
Enjoy perfection when you notice.

Big thanks to Howard (wearing the green kilt) for being a beer angel and directly us to where we could buy KBS. Brewery ran out of 150 cases in less than 2 hours.

OK...I am fortunate to have had the 09 KBS on Nitro-tap & on tap at the brewery. Have not cracked the 09 bottles yet.

This review is for the nitro. $6 for 8 ounces. Not a cheap date.

Great looking, black & mysterious, but there are alot of hotties in the craft world these days.

Wonderful aroma and fun to go sniffing for vanilla & bourbon.

Taste of the nitro is relaxed. It goes down so easy it is truly dangerous. Flavors dance. Bourbon flavor seemed somewhat subdued compared to the draft & the 08 bottle.

Mouthfeel is pure velvet with less slick.

Drinkability- I could drink 4 of these easy. Not a cheap date. Would definetly need a taxi or a sleepover.

If you are within a days drive....hope to see you and Howard there in 2010.

 1,158 characters

Photo of Viperman1316
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,600 ratings.
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