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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Reviews: 3,161 | Ratings: 12,368
Photo of Goalcam
3.62/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Love stouts and had high expectations for this one. The smell of coffee is very overpowering on this one. For me this is a little too bitter and the taste tends to linger longer than I'd like. Also, seems like very little if carbonation if any. I hope the coffee stouts are just a trend, there seems to be too much focus on this niche.

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Photo of RappAttack
3.63/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: black like sucks in all light black with a thin brown head that fades quickly
S: in descending order: of bourbon, vanilla, alcohol, a small hint of chocolate
T: bourbon really comes through in the taste along with heavy vanilla some chocolate and coffee, a nice sweetness to it
M: full bodied, viscous,velvety carbonation
O: I have never been a huge fan of bourbon barrel stouts but this one is very drinkable. the flavor of the vanilla and chocolate really come out as it warms making me like it even more. the bourbon is still there but just adds to the warming.

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Photo of MaxxDaddy
3.63/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours stout black with a little tan head. Aroma is big on coffee and what smells a little bit like rye. Some bourbon traces in there as well. Taste brings much more strong coffee and roasted malts, with some vanilla interlaced. Decently thick on the palate with a bitter coffee finish. While I do enjoy this beer, I think the original Breakfast is better.

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Photo of phishdaly
3.65/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark chocolate brown with a faint tan head

S - chocolate syrup, sweet bourbon

T - dark chocolate, sweet bourbon, raisins. Immediately taste the chocolate notes, followed by a sweet bourbon, and a little overwhelming alcohol warmth. Not picking up any coffee.

M - full bodied. A little syrupy. Would prefer a little more carbonation.

Overall - I feel these big beers win ratings for alcohol content. The alcohol is a bit too much. Though it may mellow out with aging. I've been getting into single malts and small batch bourbons/whiskeys. Barrel aged beers tend to be too reminiscent of sweeter low quality whiskeys. I was attracted to this beer for the time and care listed in it's preparation. I would try it again, but am glad I only got a bottle for now at $6/bottle in NYC. Would like to age one and see how it matures.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.65/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Joe for splitting the bottle. 2009 edition. Pours into my tulip glass completely black with the slightest bit of red on the top edge. A nice dark brown head forms as mostly lace until a swirl livens it up.

The aroma is strong and boozy, with a slight alcoholic burn. Chocolate and vanilla comes through very clearly. A bit of cinnamon rounds out a boozy, dessert like nose. Bourbon is thankfully in the background.

KBS is very thick, so the first thing I thought of was chocolate syrup. Some burnt sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and ice cream round out a thick, boozy tasting beer. The carbonation is really low, accentuating the creamy mouthfeel of this huge beer. It's not something I would like to have very often, and a half bottle was more than enough. I remember having this fresh last year and was not impressed. This needs a year at least for my tastes, as I'm not a huge bourbon fan.

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Photo of Chris_Burton
3.67/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep black body and a large, fluffy, beige head from an aggressive pour, which soon died down. Unsurprisingly, the nose is dominated by bourbon. Lots of coffee and chocolate flavour as to be expected from the style, but with a boozy, bourbon finish. Mouthfeel is as smooth as silk.

KBS is a beer with a huge reputation, but I have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed with it. I've had many imperial stouts I'd rate higher than this. I guess I'm not a fan of the bourbon flavour (if I have a whisky, I'll make it a scotch). I'm grateful I got to try it, but unlike some other hard to find imperial stouts I've had the pleasure of trying, I won't be too sad if I never have another one.

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Photo of ThirstyHerf
3.68/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Blind BIF # 6
Once again, shared with Chaseabeer. Stubby, 12 oz bottle poured into 2 snifters. my initial thought is im about to review KBS due to the shape of the bottle and the beer i was instructed to drink before it.

A pitch black body, rich tannish / brown head with moderate dregs. great looking beer 4

S coffee, chocolate, vanilla, malt, mollases, black licorice 3.5

T I start off getting a lot coffee and hops, the chocolate and vanilla are very subtle in this beer, starting to taste a hint of the black licorice from the nose. Can definitely taste a hint of alcohol. 3.5 This has me questioning the KBS and now thinking maybe Founders imperial stout.

M thick, creamy and silky smooth. Coats the mouth with very little, noticeable alcohol. 4

O- This beer is pretty darn good and i know ive had this before. Just trying to put a finger on which beer. I think it is Founders Imperial Stout, Chase thinks Breakfast. The flavors play nicely against each other and the smell really keeps bringing you back for another wiff. 4

Speaking of Whiffs! The reveal: KBS. Wow, did not pick up the barrel or bourbon at all. I have had this beer many times and have always enjoyed the boozy, bourboniness. Thanks again Alewatcher for another fantastic beer! This beer was either perceived completely different from any other time if had it or this was a batch I've not tasted.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.68/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

5 oz pour from tap into a pint glass.

Appearance: Your standard stout - very dark brown verging on black, with a khaki head with decent retention.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, and bourbon wafts out of the glass, with some vanilla that I primarily attribute to the bourbon.

Taste: Dark roasted malt meets some bitter chocolate and a heaping helping of coffee, much like a dark French roast. Beneath all of that, faintly, there were some vestiges of bourbon flavor - a shadow of vanilla, maybe a whisper of oak.

Mouthfeel: Full and rich, as one would want from a stout.

Overall: Had I heard no hype about this beer going in, I'd have thought it was a solid beer, and would have rated it slightly below an ordinary, unbarreled Breakfast Stout. However, given the hype this beer receives, I'm left with the question of why. It's solid, it's good, and it has been matched and surpassed by many other stouts out there. If you can get it without serious effort or resources, it's worth trying. It's assuredly not worth standing in line for.

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Photo of stwok21
3.69/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Drank 1/9/16
Bottle dated 3/4/15

Found a 4pack at a local store. Super stoked. Been wanting to try this for over 3 years.

Super thin mouth feel for one of the most highly acclaimed bba stouts. Reminded me of my disappointment with breakfast stout.

Flavors were bland, but the bourbon barrel sweetness and vanilla only really came through at the very end in the "afterflavor".

Disappointed. Decent for the price.
Got no coffee but I'm sure that had to do with the age of the bottle.

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Photo of clickpush
3.69/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one in a trade. Have to say that it didn't quite live up to the hype. Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass, the beer was thick and blacker than night, looking more like a reduction than a beer. A small mocha colored head appeared briefly and then faded to nothing. Not a good start. The nose was full of oak and bourbon notes, vanilla, fruit, nuts... but no roast malt. The flavor was similar to the aroma, all vanilla and whiskey, cloyingly sweet (caramel), very little roast malt character. I understand why people like this beer - it's extreme, over the top - but I want to taste the roasted malt, the coffee, the burnt toast. This one was too sweet for me to enjoy drinking, and the bourbon flavors dominated/overpowered the beer.

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Photo of cl3
3.69/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Seriously underwhelmed by this beer. I had high hopes after hearing people sing its praises for so long. Too hot and boozy. Some age might help, but this did not live up to the hype.

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Photo of gopens44
3.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Wine and Beer Westpark for $5.50 per 12 oz. bottle

A - Poured black into a snifter. Head was about 1/2" worth of brown fizzyness.

S - Thing only real stand out smell at first was that of whiskey. A few moments later I could start to smell the coffee come out pretty well.

T - When I used to work 3rd shift, I'd make myself a coffee with Jim Beam in it with just a little sugar before I went to bed. This tastes EXACTLY like that. Coffee with whiskey and a touch sweet. The only difference here was a slight hint of dark chocolate coming across after the palate adjusts to the whiskey.

M - Smooth and not as dry as I would have thought. Aftertaste of coffee lay on the tongue for a bit, forcing a serious water drinking frenzy.

O - I love the taste of whiskey, and had been let down by other beers touting "whiskey barrel" before, but this one delivers exactly what it was billed as. If I ever want a beer that has a heavy whiskey presence, I'll grab this one first (if I ever find it again). Otherwise, you really have to be in the mood for this sucker!

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3.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a bottle of 2013 KBS. It went down to Florida with me and was tasted by 5 of us. I've had FBS, but never KBS. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I really expected something great. It just seemed like a stronger FBS. I really didn't get any of the bourbon in it. I will get a bottle or two of 2014 and probably drink one fresh and age one. However, this did not live up to the hype for me.

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Photo of blbarnett3
3.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown color, mocha head with decent retention. Aroma is wonderful, mostly coffee. I found the flavor a bit disappointing - the bourbon was just too prominent and overpowered everything else.

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Photo of ZAP
3.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off..big thanks to Big Hugey for hooking me up with this...

A-Looks the part....pours like motor with ruby notes...

S-i get a lot of java....bourbon is there too but in more of a boozy way...not noticing the notes I really enjoy which are oak and vanilla...decent enough aroma but doesn't blow me away..

T-Again a big doze of java and coffee beans...that is the dominant flavor...has almost a coffee liquor taste...the bourbon notes are harder to come by on the taste....definitely boozy...

M-Rich and creamy texture....big body....this is a big hitter and it is definitely NOT light in the shorts...

D-It's always tough reviewing these beers that are so highly rated as you can come into it expecting too much....I don't think that is the case here....I think this is a nice tasting imperial coffee stout with very subtle bourbon barrel aged qualities....very subtle...i wish they were more pronounced but there is no question this is a quality brew...I won't seek it out again though and overall this is overrated in my opinion (but not bad)..

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Photo of emptyglassagain
3.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Ok but not great. I believe there are more enjoyable versions of the style out there. The flavor is there (yet both the coffee and chocolate/roastiness). The overall feel is fairly good too if not above for the style. However the overall hotness/booziness of the beer takes too much away from the good stuff for me. I get why others enjoy it and I usually like founders beers but think this one is overhyped imo. I wanted to like it but the alcohol warmth has been high in different versions I've had. It tastes like it lived in the barrel for a bit too long. Perhaps I should have let it sit in the bottle for a bit longer?

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Photo of kjyost
3.71/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received via TheSevenDuffs, thanks so very much! 2011 bottling, poured ~6C into a Duvel snifter and warmed significantly over the hour+ it was drank.

A: Jet black and even with a hard pour the thinnest of tan heads appears and then disappears. Eventually a small bubble of foam appears in the middle due to the last etched bottom.
S: Very nice. Bourbon, booze, liquorice, vanilla, oak, chocolate syrup (like Quik), light roasted notes and maybe some coffee, although that may have been the roasted malts...
T: I know this is supposedly a world class beer. It is a nice beer, but man this beer is a pain in the mouth. Very hot, with lots of booze playing through. Not sure if this is the bourbon barrels or the base beer, but it is overall distracting and off putting. Otherwise the beer is fine. Notes of vanilla are most prevalent. Hints of molasses, mild coffee notes along with hot chocolate play through. Overall though there is one thing only that is beating down everything else: Hot, Boozy & Bourbon...
M: Hot. Not sweet at all, well balanced with the bitterness.
O: Incredible disappointment here... Not to say it was bad, but I was led to believe this was something mind blowing, rather it is a pedestrian BA beer, which sadly let the bourbon take over (maybe it was just this year's blend, who knows... BCBS is definitely better than this and I enjoyed Boulevard's RIS more too...

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Photo of Joe_Palooka
3.72/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Okay, KBS shows up in Northern Illinois and most places that sell it get about 12 to 24 to distribute among their customers. Some sell it at suggested retail while some double the price and also make you purchase some additional Founders products. After scurrying about I was able to purchase about 6 bottles and I want to tell you I am not sure it was worth the effort. It was not as good as Avery's Barrel aged products. Last years KBS was fabulous but this years seemed a bit thin to me with a very faint Bourbon flavor. I am going to try several more as well as age a few so I will re-rate this beer again in the future. This beer kind of reminded me of a cross between Founder Imperial Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout with a slight Bourbon Flavor. It may be unfair to expect it to be of the same quality of Avery's Uncle Jacobs or Mephistopheles Stout. Again, I will re-rate and hopefully I just was not in the right frame of mind to sample this beer this time.

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Photo of kevobutler
3.72/5  rDev -18.4%

acquired this bottle in a trade in order to see what it is all about. Loved Founders original breakfast stout, so I looked forward to trying this one as well. Pours and looks like every other imperial stout out there. smells very strongly of bourbon, oak, faintly of chocolate. tastes like a booze bomb...almost like they just added straight bourbon to it at bottling time, I don't get much chocolate or coffee flavor from it at all... overwhelmed by the bourbon and oak. The mouthfeel is a bit thin compared to many other examples, alcohol burn, carbonation is at an acceptable level.

My overall impression is that this is a good imperial stout, but lacks balance. I found it to be over the top as far as bourbon character is concerned and there is a very noticeable alcohol burn.

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Photo of Mcj6986
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A good BA stout... But, I still don't get the hype. Compared to the class of it's genre: BCBS, Parabola, even something like Big Bad Baptist (much easier to get)... This just doesn't make the cut. Flavors are all there ok... It's FBS with a faint oaky bourbon on the finish. The mouthfeel is what really hurts this beer. It's very thin... I love the thick oily mouthfeel of some of the great BA Stouts out there. A good BA stout overall. One I would go pick up and drink from time to time. But, not worth 24+ a 4 pack and not worth standing in line for.

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Photo of crazycatcouple
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2014 version, liked it better fresh (15). Personally i don't see what the hype is all about, plently of beers in the same style for less money and readily available that taste better in my opinion. Seek this out if you truly enjoy coffee in your beer.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This would go good with wet scrambled eggs, if it were solid.

The Chernobyl of beers, KBS' burnt toast and burnt marshmallow flavors are almost too difficult to digest. While I've heard some go so far as to pour this over ice cream, I would only do that if I hated ice cream--and myself.

The bitterness of its chocolate and espresso-like foundation is perhaps the most intense darkness I've yet experienced with beer. There is nothing to mitigate it. No surprise sweetness, no sticky molasses, no fruit, no bright hops. It is darkness. It tastes like the color black would taste if black hated itself.

I'm remiss that Founders--perhaps the most consistently impressive brewery I've had a chance to try--covered up so much of its brewing efforts with the most charred oak on the planet, but I don't blame them for taking this chance. It is likely a beer I will appreciate more in the Midwestern fall, especially after its flavors have mellowed and some more of its cocoa richness comes out. It is dense, challenging, and provocative.

...maybe if we put the ice cream over pancakes, next to some link pork sausage, and Irish soda bread...

Relax, relax.

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Photo of cooch69
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Breakfast Stout is very very brown almost black, with a very thin light brown film on top that lasts all the way. It smells of VANILLA , alcohol and espresso, With an emphasis on the vanilla. The aromatics are pretty powerful, so I was wondering if it was going to be over the top. But the body was really good. It was mellower than the nose would have suggested. KBS is very creamy and smooth going down. Definately a sipper, but one that can be enjoyed in the finest of moments. Every founders beer I tried so far was really good, but for some reason I prefer the original Breakfast Stout. That's not to say that I wont be trying this again in the future.

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Photo of youradhere
3.73/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours oily black, no head but a dark tan lacing exists from which I can infer what a head would look like on this. Smell is complex; tootsie roll chocolate, coffee, green pepper like vegitation, vanilla. Taste is complex as well; chocolate, slight coffee, greenbeans, just the right amount of a hint of bourbon (not overwhelming like Backwoods Bastard), vanilla, roasted malt. Mouthfeel is a tad thin, just chewy enough without going overboard, not so thin as to allow the bourbon and alcohol flavors to be too brash; drinkability is good, I can already feel the latent alcohol burn and I'm a quarter way through the glass. Definitely a decent stout but not really worth the hype.

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Photo of DaltonCastle
3.74/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First time trying this legend of a beer-

Looks- Poured a typical imperial stout jet black color.

Smell- Dark chocolate and coffee not picking much of a bourbon barrel quality

Taste- again Dark chocolate and coffee again not much of a barrel presence.

Feel- A lot thinner than I anticipated plus has a boozy burn to it.

Overall- Not worth the hype nor the cost in my opinion.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,368 ratings.
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