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: 3,162 | Ratings: 12,370
Photo of beerguru15
4.53/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After hearing about this beer from this site and from friends and related sites I just had to try it.

When first pouring the beer I noticed that it was a Jet Black color with a Dark Tan head which depreciated quite quickly.

When smelling the KBS I noticed a strong coffee and chocolate smell

The taste was excellent! A combination of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and a "barrel" taste, which was a great combination.

the KBS had a strong but smooth mouthfeel and aftertaste

Overall I found this beer to be very drinkable and quite tastey. This beer can defiantely creep up on you and I look forward to purchasing this each year when it first comes out. Well worth the hype

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Photo of bobsy
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle tasted side by side with Founders Breakfast Stout.

Pours pitch black with a finger of khaki head that quickly drops to a wispy film, leaving only a few lone streaks of lace on the glass. The typical appearance you expect for a barrel-aged stout. Sweet bourbon aroma brings wood, brown sugar, vanilla and spice, while the base beer has some delightful dark chocolate and coffee notes. Its certainly the kind of beer that telegraphs its quality by its scent.

Sumptuous, rich and luxurious flavour elevates this into the top echelon of imperial stouts. The balance between the base beer and the barrel character is perfectly recognised, and a harmonious marriage is created. Sweet and smooth on the tongue, with great chocolate, vanilla, and brown sugar notes. Creamy coffee, irish cream, a touch of wood - its all there. Wonderfully integrated bourbon and a prime dessert beer. Full mouthfeel, with a smooth, slightly chewy viscousness, and a soft carbonation that works just perfectly. Slightly warming alcohol, but very well-hidden considering its weight. Certainly not noticeable enough to stop me drinking this in record time!

I really liked this, and think it may be one of the best examples of barrel-aging I've come across. The bourbon adds just the right notes to this beer, and transforms it into something sublime, and truly worthy of its accolades. Everything about it is rich and decadent, making this a luxury to drink.

Big thanks to Eric for the bottle!

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Photo of gnemesis
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Pours black like oil with a thin brown head. It smells of coffee, chocolate, slight toasted malt slight booze. The taste follows with vanilla and bourbon. So delish! Let this warm a bit. This ale is full bodied- almost syrupy but in a fantastic way. I would love to drink 4 of these but the ABVs remind me to consume slow. This will only get better with age. My second favorite beer of all time.

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Photo of Spica66
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage

Very boozy. Wonderful bourbon aroma. Black as night. Thin head. Not like Founders Breakfast Stout (one of my favorites). This is a Fabulous beer! Better than Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island. I am going to lay this one down in the cellar to see what it does...

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Photo of Kanebanger
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours coffee black with a thin tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass

S: Smells of toasted malt, coffee, and some notes of chocolate. On top of those a smell of bourbon and a hint of vanilla

T: Small bourbon bite leaves the mouth dry. Huge does of bitter chocolate followed by a marshmallow like sweetness with a touch of coffee and rich brown sugar

M:This went from creamy and sticky to dry and bitter. They both worked complimented each other nicely and kept anything from being too overwhelming

D: Very drinkable, very tasty. Comes pretty close to living up to the hype.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had an 2009 and 2010 side by side. both were incredibly good but in a very different way. the coffee had almost completely faded in the 2009 and the chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon mix were out of control good. the review is for the fresh bottle

a- thick pitch black liquid. cocoa brown head reduced to a thin film and collar. expected and appreciated for this big black abyss of a stout.

s- big coffee shines above a still fairly strong mix of chocolate and vanilla. the bourbon was surprisingly not that prevalent. it all seems like the textbook aromas for a BA stout, but simple done right is good

t- so, incredibly smooth for a BA stout. big coffee and chocolate fight for the top dog of the flavors. the mix into a blend of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. the mix of all those flavors is really sublime. the 70IBUs advertised on the label does a good job of keeping the sweet/bitter battle balanced and enjoyable.

M- thick, and very silky. doesn't overly coat your mouth and really has an exceptionally decadent mouthfeel. the feel is aided by a subtle carbonation level.

d- it's a very rich beer even for a RIS. rich and delicious though. I'd never let a drop be wasted. I'd drink it until I passed out and is well worth the $20/4pk

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Photo of Schmaltzy
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a taster while I was in line at the Veritas release.

A- Black with brown head nice lacing left around the edges.

S- Coffee, heavy milk chocolate, roasted malt, nice vanilla bourbon oak smell, just a nice bourbon smell not strong or overpowering.

T- Similar to the smell, loads of milk chocolate and vanilla, roasted malt and coffee later with a nice vanilla bourbon oak finish. Smooth.

M- Full bodied Stout that is very creamy, almost chocolate milk creamy, with light carbonation and light bourbon notes that balance the beer nicely.

D- Easy drinking if you like chocolate milk, loads of flavors, creamy, smooth, dry finish. Never noticed 11.2% alcohol.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from an '09 vintage bottle into a NYC Craft Beer Week glass.

A: Dark as night, pours with little to no head. Has a sticky, syrupy aspect to it.

S: Authentic coffee and chocolate aromas. A rather spectacular nutty smell too. Some signs of oak, but no signs of bourbon. Note that as the beer warms up a lot more vanilla and toffee characters come through.

T: So rich and delectable. The most ideal, perfect, dessert beer. I mainly get that perfect mix of chocolate and coffee and a hint of the bourbon. Some oakiness follows. Not sweet or acrid, just right on point - this beer really opens up when it warms up.

M: The carbonation is surprisingly okay. Not chewy, not oily or slick, just right for the style and ABV.

D: All I can is, "Another one please?"

Overall, a decadent beer that is unmatched. Cheers Founders!

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Photo of emmasdad
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. Poured a deep, dark, opaque black, impervious to the light. A surprisingly decent amount of chocolately brown head formed initially, but receded to the edges fairly quickly. A big nose on this one, with loads of freshly brewed coffee, along with bourbon and dark chocolate. The bourbon presence is dominant on the palate as well, along with vanilla, oak, roasted malt and chocolate covered espresso beans. The alcohol is very well hidden in this one, making it dangerously drinkable. After being unimpressed with this one last year, I am extremely glad I got a couple more this year. A truly outstanding beer.

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Photo of honestdave
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 12oz. bottle 2010 version into a snifter.

A: Color is dark chocolate with slight creamy chocolate head. Recedes quickly but small creamy ring remains as I allow it to warm in the glass.

S: The smell is incredible! Chocolate, coffee, and bourbon come through big time. The aroma of this beer is at least half the enjoyment, maybe more. I swirl it in the snifter as it warms and enjoy the unbelievable aroma.

T: Intense dark chocolate along with the coffee and bourbon flavors give this beer a truly unique taste. You can tell the high alcohol is there; but does not take from the flavor of this sipper.

M: Thick mouth feel with slight carbonation. Alcohol is warming and wonderful.

D: This is an awesome stout and one that I will be able to enjoy again and again. I will age a few and will love to taste again after a year or so.

Summary: Founders does an awesome stout and the KBS is one that you have to try to believe!

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Photo of Kamahl75
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this at a local bar in a small bottle poured into a goblet in March 2010.

I did like this beer a lot. The smell was a signal of the taste with a strong coffee, vanilla, chocolate and sweetness like from molasses. Had not enjoyed a bourbon barrel breakfast stout before, became a fan. A little bit of alcohol in the mouth and not quite as smooth as the tap version of course. Overall a beer I would definitely drink again as an after dinner drink. Wish I could try it on nitro like some of the other posters.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 02/15/10.

(A)- Pours thick & as dark as the blackest night. Produced a frothy & large 3+ finger almost dark brown head with some good retention behind it. The head actually became a tan color as it finally settled to a light layer of froth on the surface. Left some legs of foam on the sides of the glass.

(S)- Dense aromas of coffee grounds, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, and light bits of wood. Rich & decadent. I could really smell this all day; a combination of all my most favorite smells rolled into one.

(T)- Exactly like the smell. Wonderful combo of coffee & chocolate with vanilla & brown sugar. Sweet, but not overly so. Finishes up dry & slightly bitter. Let this warm up to cellar temp.

(M)- Great carbonation level & balance. Sweet, yet dry & bitter to smooth it all out. Very impressed with how smooth this years is; great alcohol integration. There is a warmth to it going down, but in no way harsh or overpowering whatsoever. I am really surprised how smooth it is this fresh already!

(D)- Everytime I have had this beer, it continually surprises me and amazes me at the same time. An amazing example of the style that never disappoints. Founders just knows how to do their stouts; KBS/CBS/BS are overall just fantastic & perhaps my most favorite lineup of beers.
This years release will not disappoint if you havent had it yet & are wondering the quality of the batch. In fact, it may just be better than last years. Simply a delight to drink & enjoy, I didnt want it to end.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.27/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark dark black with a decent amount of caramal foam forming in the Duvel tulip glass. Smells of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. This taste follows suit with some bourbon and oak lingering in there too. Its very smooth overall and a very solid stout. Its easy to drink for the 11.2%, but it does catch up to you after a couple. Still prefer the Canadian Breakfast Stout over this, but its still pretty good.

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Photo of jhoban19
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: KBS pours black as night with a finger's worth of rich brown foam. The head settles quickly into a thick ring around the outside of the glass. Random spots of lacing move around with each sip and follow the beer down the glass.

S: Immediately out of the fridge initial aromas of coffee grounds, dark roasted malt and milk chocolate. I'm not getting any bourbon just yet, but we'll see what happens as this baby warms and opens up. Could be that this bottle has been aging in my cellar for close to a year and has mellowed. Now that I've let it warm, some bourbon does come through, but never too much, and certainly not as much as I was expecting.

T: the flavor of KBS follows the aromas lock, stock and barrel- dark roast coffee and milk chocolate. I have to be careful because I could put down the entire glass- I'd like to let it warm a little to see how it transforms. As it warms hints of bourbon start to appear and become more prevalent the closer it gets to room temperature. That said, it never overpowers.

M: Thick, rich, smooth and creamy. While still fridge temp, KBS reminds me of a glass of good chocolate milk made with more chocolate than milk. As it warms, like the flavors, the warming feel of bourbon presents a nice balance to the creamy smoothness.

D: Kentucky Breakfast Stout is way to drinkable for an 11.2% brew. Dangerous as it may be, it's well worth the risk. I prefer the Canadian Breakfast Stout over KBS, but not by much. This is an excellent brew from start to finish.

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Photo of tegelaar
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black with no head. Nice lacing with cocoa colored rings forming as you drink. Smell is very sweet with strong coffee and chocalate smells. This thing tastes insane! Totally blows you away with intense chocolate and to a lesser extent coffee. The Bourbon adds the perfect burn and sweetness to this beer. It's so smooth and effortless to drink. This is a top rated beer for a damn good reason! What an experience.

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Photo of Banger530
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was good to have this again. I used to live within walking distance of Founders before moving to Phoenix, and I miss it.

2010 Bottle

Poured a deep, dark, black with about a finger mahogany head.

Smelled of bourbon, roasted coffee, and chocolate. Very nice. I could have just smelled and been happy.

Taste like burnt coffee, chocolate, and of course bourbon. Well balanced throughout and left a boozy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full. Full-bodied beer. Lightly carbonated, enough to compliment the taste.

Very drinkable. One of my favorites.

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Photo of Destral
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This a very dark and thick beer. Pour produced a very thin, tan head. I expected a bit more, but it did leave some pretty decent lacing oddly enough.

I love the bourbon and alcohol smell on this. Bits of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee round out a wonderful smell.

Very, very rich. Smooth bourbon and chocolate sweetness hits up front. Getting some caramel maybe, more of the vanilla showing up next. Finishes with just the right amount of roasted malt and coffee bitterness. Quite tasty.

This is a really full bodied, thick beer, but incredibly smooth even while pretty fresh. I wish I had more of this to age. One minor drawback is this one really left my mouth dry/thirsty.

With the high abv and full body, you'd think this would be a sipper...but this beer went much to quickly for me. Overall the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Lots of complex flavors are really well balanced. This is a real winner.

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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.

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Photo of zoolzoo
4.02/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Bottle

Fresh KBS smells like a bourbon barrel filled with fresh coffee, and it tastes kind of Similiar. The taste smacks you with bourbon but melds into sugary chocolate, oak, vanilla, and notably bitter CHARRED COFFEE. The bitterness was slightly off putting. Complex, but rough around the edges. A little hot, but not as abrasive as some barrel aged brews.

Its tough to rate drinkability for KBS. If I were to score it for "what it is", it would be high. Otherwise, its slightly below average.

Ive never had anything but fresh KBS. Each time I have this I wonder how older vintages are drinking - probably alot smoother. I have 3 bottles left... and I only have to wait a couple years.

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Photo of dubinsky
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into 21A snifter.

Appearance: Poured like a viscous, used 30 weight motor oil. Jet black with no transloucency. One finger dark tan head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smell: Huge coffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toasted brown sugar make up this amazingly smelling stout. Very smooth and well rounded smelling.

Taste: This is a 2010 release. The oaky bourbony taste leave the mouth a bit dry, but the taste that lingers on the tongue is great. Generous amounts of bittersweet chocolate, malt and brown sugar make up the majority of what I'm tasting.

Mouthfeel: Slightly bitter with a nice soft carbonation. I suspect it will be extremely smooth in a year. I plan on reviewing it again to see if things have developed any further.

Drinkability: Its a sipper for sure, but is surprisingly drinkable given the high ABV. The alcohol is well disguised in my opinion and isn't super boozy like the Goose Island BCS. I like this beer more than the BCS. I will age a few bottles and see how they taste later.

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Photo of SirSketch
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 vintage
A - This beer has an awesome dark brown, espresso-like head, and the beer itself is even darker than espresso.

S - Ohh, the aroma is simply amazing! Everything you would want in an aged imperial stout. Dark melted chocolate, roasted qualities, black coffee and a big influence from the barrel. Perfect amount of bourbon character as well as it's not overwhelming at all. Time for a taste!

T - Burnt coffee flavors prevail, but the bourbon is undoubtedly there. The warmness of KBS as you swallow is a reminder of the bourbon barrel. Really a great beer!

M/D - Very balanced in terms of mouthfeel. It doesn't leave the mouth overly dry and doesn't linger as long as other beers of the same style. I wish I had a few more to cellar as I'm sure this would age nicely

2010 vintage
A - Creamy tan head that sticks in small clumps to the side of my glass. No light escapes this dark beer, even when held up to light.

S - Has all of the smooth, rounded, complex aroma of bourbon without the harsh alcoholic aroma. Very dark chocolate notes. A bit of vanilla and perhaps a slight burnt grain aroma.

T - The very rich, dark chocolate flavor melds well with the sweet bourbon. Actually noticeably bitter. Ends nicely as the flavors last for awhile, giving you time to think between sips.

M/D - Slick, oily mouthfeel that covers the entire mouth and never fully washes away. I love Breakfast Stout, but KBS takes it to another level!

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

First off, not a fan of the double imperial stouts so don't listen to me, but the hype surrounding this opened my eyes. On that note, putting this in perspective with it's peers, this is pretty solid. Big dark pour, bourbon smell carries throughout, finish was big booze, with booze on top. I liked this, not so much drinkable, but one of the best imperial stouts i've ever had, complex and huge in every sip.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

8 oz tap pour into an American tumbler pint and shared with Sweemzander at Founder's Black Party 2010.

A - Totally black, no light gets through this one, with a cascading dollop of tan, dense whipped-cream-like head. Fantastic retention to the small pile and dense lace left on the glass.

S - The typical huge bourbon nose of KBS is smoothed out a lot from the nitro. A big backing of large black roasted malts with a vanilla flavor and light roasted coffee. So smooth in the nose!

T - The majorly bourbon barrel flavor hasn't really changed or smoothed from the nitro like the aroma did. The flavor is almost identical to the bottled version of KBS. Vanilla, coffee, molasses notes, and lots and lots of bourbon.

M - Smooth as silk with a soft texture and milky finish but the bourbon alcohol booziness sensation in the stomach remains the same. Roasted bitterness to the finish and fuuull bodied.

D - Like a normal KBS the bourbon is rather large but still fairly drinkable due to the nitro introduction. I'm really happy that I'm sharing this one. 6 oz poured into a snifter would plenty to nurse though a cool evening.

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Photo of Chronofied
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

About 50°F, served in a tulip glass.

Appearance - A very dark, opaque brownish-black. Coffee colored head about a quarter inch high. Leaves some light lace behind.

Smell - Strong aroma of roasted malt and coffee right away. A definite tang of bourbon. Something of brown sugar and/or molasses. Quite intense.

Taste - Coffee and malt, but with much more complexity than the smell might indicate. The malt has a nice roasted quality to it, and the coffee is powerful but not overpowering. Brown sugar in the taste, and a hint of vanilla. It is likely that some of the smells are occluded by the coffee smell, but the composition really comes out in the taste. As the beer opens up, the bourbon becomes more noticeable. The way in which it blends with the dominant flavors of coffee and roatsted malt is exceptional. The high ABV is not very noticeable at all, and the brew does not burn going down. Rather extended (but pleasant) aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - A body somewhere between medium and full, it is a lightly creamy offerring that is handsomely carbonated for the Breakfast Stout style.

Drinkability - An excellent brew, and quite drinkable considering the 11.2% hidden within. That being said, one is probably sufficient.

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Photo of 1fastz28
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A buddy of mine picked this up for me, I've never ben able to find it. Pours like 10w40, it is just BLACK, smell is alcohol at first, it's overpowering almost, it smells like whiskey hence the aging. Taste is very whiskey heavy, it doesn't really taste like a normal stout, but that is what makes it so special. Mouthfeel is very thick, one of the thickest beers I've ever had.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,370 ratings.
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