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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): 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: 3,052 | Ratings: 11,944
Photo of BradenMK
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(In the interest of full-disclosure, this IS my first KBS tasting)

APPEARANCE (4) - Poured pitch black and let not a ray of light escape its grasp, as any self-respecting imperial stout should, unfortunately, had only a fleeting, fizzy head, and left no lacing. It was certainly above-average looking, but definitely not amazing in appearance. But hey, looks can be deceiving.

SMELL (4.75) - Vanilla. Bourbon. Maple Syrup. Dark Chocolate. Holy shit. Surprisingly, I don't pick up the coffee on the nose. I'd be interested to know at least a cursory summation of the recipe for this beer. Even though I don't care as much for bourbon barrel stouts, this smells almost perfect.

TASTE (5) - It's outstanding. I don't understand all the hate over this beer. Such a great depth of flavor with a balanced nuance of malt sweetness, upfront bourbon, followed by black coffee, and finally a lasting cocoa note that lingers as the heat from the alcohol warms all the way down. And yet, with all that alcohol, I wasn't hit by a harsh heat on the tongue, and the flavor wasn't influenced by alcohol burn at all. That's a good stout. The barrel-character itself may be a little drowned out by the coffee and bourbon (and any actual chocolate if there is some in the recipe), but it's perceptible in the after-taste. Oh, man, the coffee here is so much better integrated than it is in FBS, and it melds with the bourbon notes into a wholly different beast. Now I've gotta see how this compares with something like Toppling Goliath's Mornin' Delight. The chocolate definitely does come forward a bit more as the beer warms.

I've gotta say, with this beer jumping to 5th overall on the top 250 list this year, I was very skeptical that it would actually stand up to the hype. I am very much glad that it did. Maybe I've got blinders on because I'm just tasting it this year. Maybe it was better in years' past like so many people say it was. But that just goes to show how great a beer it still is.

Ha! I even got a slight cherry note on my last sip. What a nice little send-off to an already amazing beer.

MOUTHFEEL (4) - A little thin, which isn't truthfully unexpected from a beer with so many alterations and additions. Coffee + bourbon + lots of alcohol - it can unbalance the base recipe a little and break up some of those proteins. Not watery by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of thickness, this guy doesn't measure up to beasts like Founders Imperial Stout or Yeti.

OVERALL (5) - Will I say I like this better than the more readily available Imperial Stout? That's hard to say, but after a few moments deliberation, I don't think so. But am I going to bash it for being so hard to get my hands on? Absolutely not. It is clearly a beer that is more difficult to make and more difficult to balance. If I liked bourbon in my stouts more, then this would absolutely be MUCH better than FIS. There is a LOT going on here, and I'm glad I got to try it. Am I going to go out seeking it every year from now on? Well... yeah, a little bit. It's not overpriced at all, so if I find it, and I will look for it, even if only a little, I am definitely going to buy some. Great, great beer. Founders nails it again.

Thanks again, Core42, you are a true Beer Advocate, my friend!

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Photo of eyncognito
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A strong pour produces a 1-finger head the color of chocolate milk. The beer is dark black with slight tints of brown. The aroma is awesome-it smacks you in the face with coffee, big bold and roasty, followed by bitter chocolate, hints of vanilla before the bourbon comes in-slightly boozy.

Taste isn't surprising, huge notes of coffee and chocolate mingle perfectly with the vanilla coming in along with bourbon, big bold brassy bourbon, just the slightest taste of alcohol and a slightly dry finish for such a sweet beer. Mouthfeel is thick, chewey-viscous with lively carbonation. A pleasure.

This is a one and done beer for me. Whereas with FBS I can knock back two or three in a sitting, this beer is a doozy with such boozy goodness. Highly recommended, unless you don't like bourbon or coffee-then stay away from this beer and perhaps you should consider how it is you live.

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Photo of MichaelCoyne
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

No where near CBS, but still phenomenal. Worth the hype. 2015 KBS was one of the best beers I've had. Great chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and bourbon barrel taste.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours an intense jet black. Opaque in appearance with dark tan-colored head that is fluffy. Great sustain leaving trails of sticky lace all over the glassware. A serious looking beer.

The nose is ripe with whiffs of chocolate, roasted coffee and that unique bourbon kick. This brew also smells sugary like a pastry or a piece of cake.

Whoa...this one is intense beer from start to finish.

Strong flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla beans, espresso & burnt brown sugar. Very flavorful with amazing depth and complexity. This stout is extremely rich in flavor and mighty enjoyable.

Without doubt, one of the best beers I've had in a long, long time. I've been looking forward to checking this beer out for a while now and it surpassed my expectations. Highly recommended.

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Photo of BWED
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Vintage 2013

A- Pitch black body, with a thick, creamy, dark brown, one finger head. Retains nicely and a lot of speckles lace the glass.

S- Mocha liqueur, heavy on cocoa and booze.

T- Dark malts mixed in with booze, which is not overwhelming, a little cocoa and very subtle dark fruit notes.

M- Thick, creamy and rich. The perfect feel for this beer. Carbonation is there, but doesn't interfere with the creamy smooth nature of this brew. A meal in a bottle.

O- An unbelievable balance of lots of booze, flavor, and smooth drinking. This beer is outrageous! I'll begin my vertical cellaring with the rest.

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Photo of dheacck11
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pour is chocolaty black with mahogany head that leaves a lovely smattering of lace. Sticks to the glass after each sip with a little residue.

Nose is nice but not as powerful as I would expect. Hints of bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla seem to be most prominent.

Taste is almost mind blowingly complex with each sip. Initially with rich vanilla, coffee, and malty scotch flavors. Then seems to morph into a rich, thick, creamy chocolate on the finish, which lingers in your mouth. Just a slight hint of burn from the booziness.

Feel is lusciously thick and full, but not overwhelmingly. Really quite perfect.

Really happy I got to pick up some of this. Absolutely a must try if you like stouts at all. The complexity is incredible.

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Photo of silentjay
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'09 vintage on tap at Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA

pours pitch black with a sizable and everlasting dark mocha head that leaves tons of nice sticky lacing.

roasty and bourbony with some cocoa and mocha latte coffee, and a bit of smoked wood bbq.

As an '09 vintage, the booziness is toned down and the cocoa flavors are more pronounced and intermingle nicely with the bourbon and roast.

velvety smooth with ample carbonation on a full-bodied brew with some lingering sweetness and slight alcohol warmth.

Fresh (which I have had on tap and not reviewed) would score high, but not quite as high. This is tremendous with a couple years age on it, really brings out some complexities and tones back the booziness a bit to bring more flavor to the forefront. Beautiful.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped this for my 100th review. 2009 vintage

A- Pours an oily black with a short lived burnt brown head.

S- Heavy bourbon barrel, rich dark chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, a bit of smoke in there, gourmet coffee. Truely wonderful, I could sniff this for days (that's what she said).

T- Similar to the nose. The smoke, coffee, cocoa, and bourbon flavors integrate nicely. 11.2% hidden fairly well.

M- Light carbonation and slight viscosity, subtle silky tannins smooth it out nicely but not as full as I expected.

D- Powerful beer, but tastes great enough to drink a few glasses. As great as this is, I may have liked the Canadian Breakfast just a little more. Just a hair.

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Photo of NWer
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 02/25/11 stamped on the neck.
Semi-aggressive pour into my Hair of the Dog Tulip.
One finger head. Tight brown foam dissipates fairly quickly. Nice lace surrounds inside of glass.
Aroma fills glass - coffee, chocolate.
Where do I begin? For a great beer, I look for the "wow factor". I want to be blown away.
This was Wow Factor times two.
Multiple flavors - coffee, chocolate, bourbon blend like I've never experienced before. Nothing harsh about it. Not even in the sting of the alcohol.
Aftertaste is so pleasant. A small sip can be savored for several minutes before repeating the process.
What is there not to like about this beer?
Nectar of the Gods.

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Photo of PatrickSullivan
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Bottle

A: Pitch black with a minimal tan head. Fair amount of lacing left behind.

S: Bourbon right from the start. Followed by coffee and some dark chocolate. Also notice some alcohol and a bit of roastiness.

T: One complex beast but still balanced. A great blend of coffee, dark chocolate and bourbon, with the appearance of some vanilla, a hint of oak and some alcohol burn. Amazing flavor.

M: Low in carbonation but thick with a smooth, creamy body.

O: An amazing beer. Ages very well. I look forward to it's release each year.

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Photo of beerfan99
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

May 2011 Vintage
12oz bottle consumed on 8/28/2011

A: Dark and thick. Pours like molasses out of the bottle. Well maybe that's an exaggerating a little, but you get the idea. Carbonation creates a dark brown head that quickly fades.

S: Very strong coffee aroma. Bourbon smell is definitely present, but the coffee smell remains much stronger.

T: Awesome. No surprises here. Coffee and bourbon flavors are well balanced, alcohol is masked well. My eyes tell me 11.2 %, but I cannot taste it.

M: Very thick and strong residual feel. Even with several minutes between tastes, my mouth still has the coffee flavor.

O: Excellent double imperial stout. I'm very impressed with this beer and extremely happy that I tracked down a case of it earlier this year.

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Photo of StonedtotheBone
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Black as night with no moonlight; creates a virtual black mirror for peering into ones soul.

S- Roasted Barley and coffee malts followed by bourbon nose bending

T- very smooth, strong bourbon backing with ample chocolate and coffee accents

M- heavy but with little viscosity

O- Very good stout but not worth the price tag. Great buzz after one beer, it will make you take back things you never stole

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Photo of dirtylou
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, Riley's, $4.99

This one obviously comes with a tremendous amount of hype and once again Riley's comes through

appearance: generic bourbon bottle label, pours thick and syrupy into a snifter, has that motor oil characteristic to it...rich and dark chocolately brown, bordering on night black. only a small chocolate head that dissipates rather quickly

smell: rich and bold, dark roast comes out in a powerful way! huge roasted malt, charred wood, rich dark chocolate, delicate bourbon aromas, earthy hop presence...pretty damn solid all around

taste: jesus, what a stout! It's thick, it's rich, it's explosive, it's bourbon aged. This is a full flavour stout, no doubt about it. Heavy roastiness felt immediately, rich dark roast beans, defined woodyness definitely felt...bourbon flavours are delicate (not overpowering like some) and very complimentary to the other flavours. the end result is a sweet, alcohol infused kick. sweet and smooth dark chocolate...delicious!

mouthfeel: thick, syrupy, full bodied, smooth, roasted, abv well hidden, bourbon touch on the tongue, slight bitterness

drinkability: so good, so easy

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured side by side with a Breakfast Stout

Appearance: Pours black as night and thick as molasses. Almost no head, and what tiny amount there is, is much darker than the breakfast stout.

Smell: Heavenly, much more complex than the BS, there is the overwhelming coffee/espresso but now there is a smokey, earthy and plenty of bourbony smell, and maybe a bit of hops as well.

Taste: Okay wasn't expecting this at all, the vanilla and smoke hits hard up front. Slightly after is the espresso/chocolate pounding, and finally a blast of straight bourbon. This may just be as complex a brew as Ive ever had. Also as somewhat assumed, this brew is way sweeter than it's not kentucky friend, but bourbon has a knack for doing that.

Mouthfeel: Thick/jetfuel etc.

Drinkability: That flavor is so huge and complex I almost need to drink two to wrap my head around it. But it is just like drinking a mornings breakfast in a glass.

Notes: And I thought the BS was amazing, I had no idea a concoction like this existed. Do yourself a favor....Get yourself some KBS!!!

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Photo of JayS2629
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely amazing. I traded some Mad Elf for this and it was well worth it. Best stout I've had to date. Complex and very well balanced.

The pour produced a solid thick motor oil black that had a creamy tan head with moderate retention and sea foam lace. The smell was intoxicating with oak, smoke, and bourbon blending into roasted malts, chocolate, and robust coffee. The taste was a robust coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate with a perfectly blended woody, oak and bourbon. The sweet bourbon flavor blended into tones of rich caramel sweetness and balanced with robust coffee with hints of vanilla.

The most impressive thing about this beer was how the complex flavors blended and complimented each other. The deep robust coffee lended a bitterness against a sweet caramel and bourbon smoothness. Nothing overpowered or dominated. Great chocolate undertones and smokey, woody notes finished it into a superb and mellow drink. It was creamy and full bodied. This is a beer to be sipped and savored. The bourbon flavor lends a sweetness and the booze burn was subtle and blended. Awesome beer!

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Photo of Brondeau
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Incredibly complex. Some sweetness of chocolate masks the alcohol. Tasted to me like a liquid Tootsie Roll. Sourced from a nice employee at Ancona's in Wilton, from the back room.

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Photo of SebD
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer review # 300!

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a thin mocha head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of chocolate, coffee, caramel, bourbon, vanilla and molasses.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice bourbon character with some chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, molasses, oak and a nice roastiness. Such a great taste.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of dpuia
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle poured into a Chimay snifter. Pours rich dark color with no head. The smell is full of fresh ground coffee, nice and aromatic. The taste is like no other, best way I can describe it is take a mild IPA, and mix it with an iced coffee, with a smoked wood overtone. This beer is so thick you can nearly chew it. Drinkability is not exceptional for one reason, high ABV and smooth taste, can be a dangerous combination.

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Photo of Niko_G
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drank side by side with 2015 KBS. 2016 had a slightly darker head. Decent amount of chocolate and coffee on the nose. Mouthfeel was spot on -- slightly more viscous than the 2015 version. Taste was better than I remember -- better than the 2015, and definitely better than 2014 (if my memory serves me right!). This beer grows more complex as it warms, with the chocolate becoming more pronounced. Overall, a great example of a BA'ed stout.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Upon first cracking the bottle, I am greeted with a decadent aroma of dark roasted mocha coffee, nutty sweetness, and just enough hint of bourbon to make you almost drool.
Kentucky Breakfast glugs into my glass an utmost dark brown color, topped with a thick dark chocolate colored head, which quickly fades into a dirty mahogany rim and lacing. I can already tell this beer doesn’t make any pretenses.

The Kentucky Breakfast definitely takes the game to another level, with an extremely well rounded full body, and almost unbeatable smoothness for a big bad stout like this one. Tasting envelops you in a malty morass of dark roastiness, fine cocoa, rich coffee, and oaty goodness, with a subtle undercurrent of bourbon lingering here and there. Mouthfeel is just tremendous, this really is almost a meal, and oh so drinkable. Alcohol is nigh undetectable and the finish is pleasantly sweet, with bourbon and vanilla lingering. Wow, this beer is really something, thanks much to CRJMellor for this one!

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Photo of Smittysguinness
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I just left the Michigant Winter Beer Festival...5 straight hours of consumption...hammered...

Anyway, this beer is incredible. My wife and I showed up about 12:30...a half hour after it started. Poured deep black with a dark brown head. Lacing was light, bu t stuck around.

Smelled of rich dark chocolate with malty sweetness. My wife even commented that that the malt sweetness was all she smelled.

Tastes of massive burbon...vanilla and oaky sweetness mixed with a normal Founders-style stout, replete with vanilla and harsh dark chocolate. The malt sweetness and hop bitterness is expertly mellowed by the year-long burbon aging. This is a beer for the ages.

Thanks again to the MI Brewers Guild for the massive beer offering. Only in MI will you drink beer with a thousand other people at below-freezing and love it. It snowed, it hailed, it blew cold wind, and we drank on.

I love this beer. They said they'd brew another batch starting now, and it'll be ready this time next year. Get this when you can!

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Photo of brewdan
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin tan head.

Smells like awesome dark roast coffee and chocolate with a hint of vanilla.

Tastes like it smells; rich roasted dark coffee with a splash of bitter dark chocolate and a hint of bourbon and vanilla. Amazing.

Mouhfeel is creamy and smooth.

Dangerously drinkable although more than one or two would be a problem due to ABV.

I think the thing that sets KBS apart is that the bourbon and barrel aging don't overwhelm the beer. There are plenty of dark roast coffee and bitter dark chocolate notes to go along with the bourbon and vanilla from the barrels.

Exceptional brew that makes me glad that I live in MI.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This highly acclaimed stout pours a smooth, pitch black color with very little head. The aroma is rich with chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. The taste is explosive and delicious. Deep robust flavors erupt on your taste buds as the alcohol warms your stomach. It finishes with a oak, bourbon flavor. This is smooth, delicious, and just as good as expected.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75


Pours pitch black, with a dark tan head that is little more than a lacing to begin with and dissipates down to about nothing.

Smells of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate.

Tastes mildly smokey, a bit chocolaty and a little bacony. Has a good bourbony taste as it warms up.

Feels full with little carbonation.

The best imperial stout I've ever had. Too strong to drink a lot, but I would do it anyway.

Edit: After a recent tasting, I feel the need to dial this back a tad. It's still superb and a beer everyone should try, but it's not quite as good as it was when I first tried it. My notes above still perfectly reflect my feelings, but score-wise, I've downgraded this beer slightly.

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Photo of JWU
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle dated 2/17/2012 poured into a snifter. I let it warm for about 45 mins before pouring.

A- Black. Half finger of mocha colored head that dissipates quickly, but leaves just a bit around the edges for some lacing. Major alcohol legs here.

S- Really complex. Dark chocolate, vanilla/heavy oak notes, molasses, a light coffee note, and some booziness.

T- Heavy handed on the oak and bourbon notes up front, and a smoky wood note that dissipates quickly. Chocolate and some light sweetness associated with the Breakfast Stout portion come to balance. There's a little booze, but it's really quite well hidden. Dark chocolate and coffee bitterness hits later on as well. I get a slight coconut note as well (I get this on a lot of bourbon barrel aged beers). A lot going on here, and you can sit and pick out different flavors the more you sip on it.

M- Thick, syrupy. Carbonation is pretty agressive on the tongue, but not overdone. Drier on the finish than I would expect, and I appreciate that because otherwise I think I would fatigue on this beer quicker than I actually do.

O- I can't say it failed my expectations. Pretty much what I expected after having Backwoods Bastard a few times, and being a BIG fan of regular Bfast Stout. An excellent beer in every sense.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,944 ratings.
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