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: 12,550 |  Reviews: 3,205
Photo of iliketurtlesthx
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is based on the 2016 release, which I had on draft and bottled.

My first impression is that this tastes better than the 2015 release fresh out of the bottle. Tons of chocolate, a little bit of barrel, and love that bourbon heat. Coffee is there, but chocolate flavors seem to overpower it. The smell is delightful. Very nice and thick.

One of my favorite beers. It seems to be easier to find on draft. The bottle hunt this year was a war and I might settle for only draft moving forward.

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Photo of rx-beer
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a still black with a very thin ribbon of head that fades almost entirely. Very fine lacing.

S - Upfront and at lower temperatures there's a lot of coffee with some notes of bourbon. As the temperature rises, bourbon becomes more apparent and the coffee becomes much harder to detect.

T - Dark chocolate predominates initially, and then gives way to some espresso. Finally, the bourbon becomes more evident. Aftertaste has a balance between the bourbon and the coffee flavors. The warmer it gets, the more bourbon comes through.

M - Very full bodied, quite thick, and no carbonation.

O - This is a phenomenal beer. It blurs the lines between a fine beer and a fine liquor. Even though I think this is a great stout, it would not be my go-to stout. I would save this one for special occasions. I have to say, my favorite stout continues to be Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of boudeysbigbrew
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received 8 of these bad boys in a trade with user PeteGuento!

Appearance - Gentle pour with practically no head save for a tiny darkened brown circle. Lacing is minimal for the most part. Color is pure black with zero transparency.

Smell - In one word: delicious. Noticeably aged in bourbon barrels, with some sweetness clearly present. Smell of coffee beans comes through nicely.

Taste - Hints of vanilla I had not expected, which is something I've always loved in beer. Aftertaste is full of molasses and dark brown sugars. As it warms the bourbon's presence becomes noticeably more apparent.

Mouthfeel - great thickness with a bourbon aftertaste.

Overall - Though this is only my second KBS, it is certainly turning up to be my favorite RIS along with the Parabola. It completely lived up to the hype for me and cant wait to get to the remaining 6 I have left in my cellar!

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Photo of nater919
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ribby
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Paid $7 for a bottle at International Beverage in Cascade.

Appearance: I rated this a 5, but that is absurd, as this beer appeared completely black to me. Even the head was dark brown. This poured with a fingernail sized head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Charred malt and bourbon.

Taste: Malt, oak, and bourbon. There must be some hops in there, but its main effect is to balance the other ingredients.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of carbonation, a little bit of heat on the way down to let you know where it spent the last year.

Overall: I am partial to consistently excellent beers rather than one-off curiosities. This is a consistently excellent curiosity. If you are going to age something in bourbon barrels it had better be a blockbuster to start with. This works.

For comparison, I had saved a bottle of Backwoods Bastard. The BB is sweeter, lighter in color, and not as big. It really isn't fair to the BB to compare it to KBS, but if you want to know what KBS is about, there is no substitute.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris at Ebenezer's Pub for this one. Intensely black, with a small cocoa head. It had an aroma of coffee, molasses, and whiskey. The taste followed right along. Very strong coffee, like espresso, the molasses and whiskey more muted but still present. Fairly smooth in the mouth. This is a beer to sip and savor one at a time.

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Photo of bennyman12
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just finished a bottle of 2012, poured in a somewhat fluted glass, which may have minimized the aroma.

What's interesting about this beer is the way the bourbon and coffee play as the bass note. There's very little roast to balance the sweet dark caramel malts, but the bourbon and the coffee provide a strong enough foundation--without it being hot or astringent. There has to be some lactose in this, as the body is creamy, though by no means thick. 2012 still holding up well. I love this beer!

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Photo of unklemike
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice rounded bourbon taste through the mouth. Very apparent bourbon presents. Finished Carmely

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Photo of wedge
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 (I think...)

Totally black under a thin, bubbly brown head. Rich dark chocolate and sweetened, oily coffee bean aromas. Light char, a smooth oaky vanilla note, and a whiff of bourbon. Heavy sweet cocoa flavor. Fudgy coffee and bourbon, vanilla bean, sugary espresso. Heavy and silky smooth. Very rich, but damn tasty.

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Photo of Blanco
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a 25 oz snifter. typical black with chocolate milk colored head disappears rather quickly. smells like cocoa and booze. seems like the alcohol is present right from the getgo. It's pleasant, but I didn't expect my nostrils to flare like that. the taste is a lot smoother than I expected from the smell very tasty. less coffee than a FBS, this one has more of a chocolate taste to it. Hints of vanilla start to show as I get toward the end of the glass, along with the bourbon I felt was missing in my first few sips. It's understood that FBS is not the base beer, but want to note it tastes more like a barrel-aged FIS. Definitely weaker on the bourbon, which some may think is lacking, but for me this is better. Mouthfeel is chewy and thick. very nice, and slightly creamy. Drinkability is incredible given the ABV, it's very nice and smooth and just an awesome drink. I had previously reviewed this one with about 9 months on it, but after having it a few more times and finally getting it fresh, I'm letting this review stand as this is what it should probably taste like.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer dozens of times, but this is my first review. 2010 Vintage, served in my Long Trail Brewmaster Series glass.

A- Pretty much pure black, has a coffee colored head. The head is pretty decent for the style, but fades very quickly.

S- Smells intense. Bourbon mostly, with hints of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and maltiness. There is a sweet and caramelly smell that comes through as well.

T- The heat from the bourbon hits first, but fades to notes of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Aftertaste is chocolate and bourbon. A very nice combination of flavors that keeps me coming back for more.

M- The beer is very well balanced. It has a pronounced bourbon flavor, with out being too overboard. It could use a little more time to mellow out, as the 07/08 KBS I've had are much smoother.

D- This is probably one of my favorite styles of beer, so I always want more KBS. The beer is very drinkable, and is less viscous that some similar beers. If it wasn't so strong, I could easily drink a couple bottles.

Definetely a classic, and always a welcome bottle in my cellar. I will update this review with the review of an 08 and 09 soon.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and thick with a puffy tan head. Enjoyed while watching the sun set on a chilly Saturday night. Big coffee aromas.

You get a full dose of coffee/espresso and burnt malt flavor you're craving. Full bodied and thick, goes down smooth, easy, and complex.

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Photo of ludachris
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

It pours cola brown out of the bottle but is black in the glass. A frothy coffee brown head quickly moves to the edges. Sheets of alcohol coat the sides of the glass after a few swirls.

Deeply rich and roasted coffee grinds and loafy dark, spicy bread start things off in a big way. Sweet booze and dark chocolate combine to give off a soft impression of cake icing. This gradually unravels as it warms. Sticky raisins and dates are close to its core. A bit of vanilla and oak are underneath. The bourbon comes through very slowly and melds into the rest of the flavors as opposed to standing out on its own.

Softy and chewy oak and vanilla coat the palate. From there, everything happens. Rich and rounded coffee grinds and dark chocolate are dominant. Raisins and dates continue its sweetness into the finish which closes a bit dry, roasty and with a boozy bourbon note. Vanilla beans and fluffy oak have the last word.

The combination of wheat, oats, and an extensive aging process in bourbon barrels gives off a remarkably velvety, silky, chewy texture. It's full, satisfying, and decadent.

This is a wonderfully balanced and rounded RIS. Its high ABV is hidden behind its silky, fluffy decadence and feel. The barrel aging comes through in its texture and its balance more so than in its aroma and flavor. I really was expecting more bourbon character but I'm more than happy with what I've got in front of me.

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Photo of MPLS
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After reading the somewhat amusing label (at least they tried) I gave this guy a slow pour.

A: Dark swampy brown black, with a thin veil of moss brown goodness. Lacing was nominal, but still somewhat evident. Low carbonation.

S: Big chocolate notes, bourbon, coffee bitterness, nose hair twitching alcohol.

T: Much like the smell, biggest element is authoritarian chocolate. The coffee and bourbon are noticable, the coffee more subdued than the bourbon. They mix well to create a very tasty beer. 11% alcohol is hidden well. I must say that maybe if I would have tried this before other bourbon barreled beers I'd like it more.

M: Quite full bodied, coats the tongue quite well.

D: Enjoyable. A real treat to drink. High ABVs would keep my lightweight ass away from downing more than 3 in a sitting, but a very good sipping brew. I guess I am still blown away by Goose Islands BCS.

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Photo of JamesMN
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage. Having this one for the first time. Pulled out of the fridge and let warm for 30 minutes.

Appearance: Pitch black with visible streams of effervescence along the edges of the tulip glass. Modest half finger cap of dark brown foam. Got some good lacing as well.

Aroma: Lots of chocolate notes, both sweet and semi-sweet. Just a hint of vanilla and a touch of alcohol giving a nice bourbon aroma. Really not much in the nose but what's there is enjoyable.

Taste: A lot to digest here with a complexity that keeps shifting long after each sip. Starts with a lot of milk chocolate and a good charred malt backbone to keep it from getting too sweet. About halfway through you get a bit of a hop bitterness that sort of masks itself in the mocha liqueur-like flavor that the alcohol brings out. At 11.2% ABV it is possible to hide that flavor but it really works wonders in adding to the experience of this beer. The flavor and complexity hits a high note during and right after the finish. The palate is drowned in charred malt, hints of coffee, vanilla, and alcohol. This combination brings the bourbon to mind without it being forthright. The aftertaste lingers for a seemingly endless amount of time with black coffee bitterness, burnt chocolate, and a nice heat in the back of the throat. The oak-aging of this beer doesn't add very much oak flavor but it is probably the reason that all the flavors have matured and blended so well. One of those great beers where every sip is better than the last.

Mouthfeel: Just under full in body. Not really thin for what it is just not as thick as expected. Average carbonation for a BA beer but a vigorous pour is probably a good idea. A nice ease of drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I was very lucky to snag a bottle of this year's release and thoroughly enjoyed KBS. Founder's proves time and again that their seasonals are some of the best beers available. While KBS probably won't break my top 10, it is still a phenomenal beer that every beer geek should get the opportunity to try. Would I drink it again? Yes.

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Photo of vkv822
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.
big thanks to Stigs for sending this great extra!

Pours black with a chocolate head that dissipates quickly.

The bourbon and coffee are definitely the first thing I notice. In a pleasant surprise, this is not a total bourbon bomb as I expected. The coffee as well as some very earthy notes are quite present as well. It really reminds me of a chocolate covered espresso bean.There are also some faint oak notes.

The taste is a wonderful blend of bourbon, coffee and chocolate malts. The coffee is again of more earthy notes. And I am still pleasantly surprised with the upfront yet unobtrusive bourbon notes.

It has a bit of a thin body. It has just the right amount of carbonation. It is subtle yet not so light that it is flat.

Well I am very thankful that I now understand the love that this beer receives, though now I only want more! This was incredibly well balanced, and hid the 11% ABV extremely well.

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Photo of pocwolf
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay tulip, fresh from the shipment line. 2011 release.

Appearance: Jet black with just a slight amount of head that diminished to a slight ring that lasted to the end.

Smell: Sweet and roasty followed by bourbon.

Taste: Coffee and bourbon were the first things I tasted with a slight alcohol burn in the back. The more I drank the more I started to get some dark chocolate and maybe some dark fruit. Very little to no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Seemed sort of thin to me, but I think I liked it that way.

Overall: Way to drinkable for a beer of this strength. This was my first tasting of KBS and I can say it was worth the hype. I am super excited to see how it changes in a year.

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Photo of waltonc
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

M: Extremely thick. This was the first time I have had a stout this thick, so initially took some getting used to. But now I love it. Thank God Founders is smart enough to sell this in 12 oz bottles. Unless you have friends to share with, I don't know why anyone would want more than 12 ounces of this at once. That said, the mouthfeel is great in small doses.

T: The viscosity complements the super strong chocolate, coffee, molasses, and bourbon flavors. Somewhat sweet. Compared to a Goose Island BCS, the bourbon in KBS is relatively restrained.

A: Black with tan head.

Smell: Coffee, bourbon, and chocolate.

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Photo of PhxHorn
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark brown with moderate tan head. Smells strongly of tobacco, bourbon, coffee, chocolate. Tastes as it smells--hard to describe what tobacco tastes like, but mix that with some bourbon, coffee, chocolate, molasses, malt, and I don't know what else, and you've got this beer. Not one you'd drink a lot of, this is more of a sipping beer, but it's a truly great one.

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Photo of goryshkewych
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque with light tan thin head. Lots of coffee on the nose, with vanilla notes. A little caramel too. Viscous mouthfeel with a burnt (not unpleasant) coffee finish. Alcohol not evident. Great beer, but I don't think I'd want to drink more than one.

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Photo of flexabull
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of nlmartin. Thanks again!

Pours a flat black color, with a small tan head.

Aromas are nice, bourbon, oak, and coffee notes. It's quite a pungent beer, I noticed the aroma right when I opened the bottle.

Flavors are dominated by bourbon. Very boozy and alcohol flavored. There are subtle hints of coffee, cocoa, and oak. Beer is big flavored, but still quite smooth. Very interesting flavors here.

Mouthfeel seems to lack a bit on this one. It is supple and smooth, but also feels a bit lean for such a big flavored stout.

Drinkability is quite good, this is very easy to sip. A very interesting and excellent beer.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Saucya for this extra!! Poured into a goblet. Pours a deep black with small tan head. Oily pour. Good aromas of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and slight bourbon. i was expecting more bourbon or oak. Tastes like it smells. Great finish on this beer. Makes you want to keep sipping. Great full and creamy mouthfeel. Like smooth silk. Extremely drinkable. I would have to give the edge to BCS, though on overall flavor.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received bottles from grub and Unclejedi...drank one of them, saving the other.
This has a tremendous reputation, so I'll try to remain calm.
Pours black, silky, some dark burgundy/ruby hints. Head comes to about a 1/2 finger. Medium brown. I think I served it a bit cold, we'll see how it holds up.
Wow, the smell is rich coffee grounds, roasted coffee beans, some prune and anise. Chocolate seems to linger, but not a lot. Alcohol? I don't detect it. Man, this coffee is strong.
Taste is fantastic. Starts as expected with the coffee. A slight intensity is followed by a move toward more caramel and whisky, hint of alcohol. Then it moves to a slight bite of anise and hops, earth tones. Then it moves on to the chocolate. A rich dark chocolate aftertaste, clean and silky. Which leads me to the feel. Silk, not really heavy, not velvet. A smoothness to it. Real nice. Drinks very well for the style, abv, and for me.
What a brew!

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Photo of bbb099
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to scottfrie for this amazing beer! Shared with mjyoung.

A - Mocha colored head that dissipated almost instantly, leaving a thin ring of head around the glass. Color of the beer itself is pretty much jet black.

S - Incredibly strong aroma of coffee, bourbon and licorice with quite a bit of alcohol scent to it.

T - Complex mix of chocolate, coffee, and spicy bourbon tastes. Has an alcohol bite to it and it goes down warm.

M - Minimal carbonation, a little flat. Body is a little light, but still good.

O - One of the better imperial stouts out there, could maybe use a little aging.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jtrockchalk for this one.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. This baby pours a jet black with a slight dark tan head that left lacing down the glass. The aroma is huge on Bourbon with mild hints of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate but dominated by bourbon. The taste is right up the same alley. The Bourbon really comes through even giving me a little of Whiskey shudders. Coffee is the next big flavor with it really coming out in the finish and coating your mouth with an espresso flavor. The mouthfeel is full and creamy leaving an oily coating the holds the flavors in your mouth. This is a really good stout, but the Bourbon is a bit overwhelming for me. I wonder with age if it mellows a bit or if the bottle I received was mellow and its always that hot.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,550 ratings.
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