Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
3,056 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 3,056 | Ratings: 11,994
Photo of colefsuwr
3.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can only wish a beer with this much character was released earlier in the winter. This is such a great beer to buy as late in the year as you can and hang on to it until it gets cold. Such a wonderful aroma as you open the bottle. It is heavy, but a good heavy. Don't try to eat dinner with it, just sit by the fire or in your ice shanty and enjoy.

 350 characters

Photo of punkrkr27
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black, with very little tan head. Initial aroma is a hint of bourbon, but not much else. As it warms, the bourbon scent becomes very strong in addition to coffee and roasted malts. Mouth feel is very smooth with little carbonation. Flavor at cellar temperature was a nice subtle blend of vanilla, bourbon, roasted coffee beans, and a touch of hops. As it warmed the bourbon and vanilla flavors got to be very intense, probably too much. I had a tough time rating this one. At cellar temp, the beer was wonderfully balanced, but once it warmed, the bourbon barrell flavor just overpowered everything else. NOTE: Re rated 8/27/06. Tap. Bourbon flavor seems to have mellowed a lot since it was first bottled. Flavor is much more balanced and enjoyable now.

 759 characters

Photo of cvfish
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - This beer poured black as a struck match, no light shining through, that produced a small dark brown head that had little retention and left spotted laced along the side of the glass

S - The mix of aromas produced by this beer was incredible, scorched malts, bittersweet chocolate, ground coffee beans, vanilla, and whiskey

T - The taste of this beer had lots of things going on, scorched malts, bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate, a nice espresso, vanilla beans, whiskey, molasses, and brown sugar round out all the flavors found in this beer

M - The mouthfeel of this beer is probably the only negative thing I can pull about this beer, heavy body and a slight amount of carbonation, I only wish there was more bubbles in this brew

D - This beer is remarkable, hands down one of the best crafted beers I can think, while I can really drink a lot of this, this bad needs to be on everyone's want list

 915 characters

Photo of backfat
4.03/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my name is Dave and I am 24 years old. my beer drinking days began when i was in high school. my first beer was a warm Budweiser on a beach at the outer banks. i decided i hated beer. later that day we drank cold MGD's next to a fire and my opinion started to change. after choking down 4, i was lit.... and hooked i guess. i was a pretty typical drinker on a college budget so i drank my fair share of hamm's and PBR. i even got a keystone light tattoo when i turned 19 on a bet (no joke). i still think it's funny but probably won't a couple years down the road. about four years ago, i was at a local watering hole called chumley's. i was in an adventurous mood, so i decided to jump out of my safe beer bubble and try something called three Floyd's Robert the Bruce. it's a Scottish ale made right in the state i live in, Indiana. 'wow, this doesn't taste like beer' i thought, not realizing the numerous things wrong with that sentence. slowly i began to fall in love with the hop and everything that comes with it. Then it was ambers and browns. Then my obsession with IPA's and stouts and barley wines and then imperial stouts and IPA's. I've come a long way, and i'm sure my beer journey has just begun, but one thing is sure... i love beer, and THIS is the best one i have EVER had.

EDIT: I wrote this review over a year and 1/2 ago, and I would like to adjust it. The 2009-2010 KBS that I have tried were in all actuality, the best beers I have ever had. The way the vanilla and the oakiness of the bourbon barrel merged with the vanilla and almost malted milk ball like flavor was hard to top. Now that I have an opportunity to try the 2011, I must adjust my score. It seems to have a roasted coffee dominance that clashes with the high alcohol presence and over carbonation. Will adjust the score accordingly next year. Not horrible. Toffee just isn't my favorite flavor.

 1,891 characters

Photo of NCBeerFan
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this for the first time earlier this year and at the time thought it might've been the best beer I'd ever had. I've since had a few that have given it a run for it's money, but thanks to a few excellent trades, I've got my hands a few more bottles and have decided to see how it stands up now.

Poured into a DFH snifter, opaque black with a very thin head which quickly dissipated into small brown bubbles. Smell is outstanding with salient aromas of bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Taste is well-balanced and follows the aroma closely, although the bourbon isn't quite as noticeable. Has a silky smooth mouthfeel, almost like liquid chocolate. Goes down very smooth, with a noticeable boozy, chocolaty presence, which lingers for awhile.

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite brews and I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival in a few months. Great job Founders!!

 880 characters

Photo of k3n
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage.

Thick, viscous black. A vigorous pour gives me an inch of dense head, which quickly retreats down to a thin sheet with patchy spots. Minimal lacing. No light intrudes the body, and the color stays evenly black all the way to the edges.

Nose is roasted coffee and booze. Bitter chocolate in the background.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. The flavors are intense but the feel of the beer is relatively light. Flavors follow the aromas, roasted coffee beans, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, and some alcohol heat. Finish is moderately long.

Halfway down the glass, I'm continuing to be impressed by the mouthfeel of this beer. There's a definite heft and creaminess to it, but it doesn't get over-bearing. Also, unlike other barrel-aged stouts I've had, the bourbon aspect is quite mellow, and doesn't crowd out the rest of the beer. A+ for drinkability.

 873 characters

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz.bottle to pint.

A: Pours molasses black with a big brown head with decent retention and some web-like lacing.

S: Smells of strong bourbon, alcohol, roasted malts and some coffee with a very melded chocolate and vanilla note. Smells amazing. What's interesting is that the smell is fairly mild, not in an non-complex way, just a can't smell from a foot away like some beers. Not a bad thing, just not a trait you often see...I mean smell.

T: Strong bourbon with chocolate notes. Coffee kicks in on the finish, however it's complimented by bitter oakiness. This is amazing. It's complex but not as "extreme" as GI GCS, which I like because that helps the drinkability factor.

M&D: Good carbonation and a heavy body are great, but what really impressed my is the mouth-drying bitter feeling you get. The mouthfeel blew me away, I've never had anything like it. It's pretty drinkable for the abv content and it's not too heavy. I could probably do a couple bottles.

 984 characters

Photo of boomer31
4.13/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got via trade back in the summer. The night before Christmas Eve thought I'd treat myself.

A-Black with a little little tan head that fades quickly but sticks to the glass

S-Coffee and a hint of bourbon

T-Coffee, lots of chocolate and some bourbon. Not nearly as much bourbon as expected but a very nice balance.

M-Smooth, nice low carbonation.

D-Way too drinkable! Not as much bouron as I was expecting. Could it have faded with the months in the cellar? Probably not.

A good beer and would like another, but probably won't seek it out via trades. The chocolate is very heavy but is balanced out nicely with the bourbon.

 628 characters

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

Another stout tasted over Thanksgiving '09.

From notes:

Darkest brown, thin head, little lacing.

Roasted coffee malts, negligible chocolate.

More coffee, hint of dark fruit (cherry), coffee finish

Soft, little carbonation at first, flattens fairly quickly.

Definitely want another, but have to drive to Thanksgiving dinner!

 380 characters

Photo of pwsoldier
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to koopa for hooking me up with this!

A - Pours blacker than black. A paper-thin layer of bubbles tops the beer, then dissipates into a thin ring of brown. Lacing is fairly light.

S - So much going on here! Notes of black coffee and dark chocolate jump out, accentuated by notes of bourbon and maybe a pinch of anise.

T - Smooth notes of vanilla and roasted malt sweetness quickly give way to sharp bitter notes of chocolate and coffee. Plenty of spicy bourbon notes in the finish. Some alcohol tries to poke through, but ultimately remains hidden for the most part. The bold bitter notes of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon linger on the palate.

M - Full-bodied and very rich. Carbonation is low, the better to bring out the bold flavors.

D - Very easy to drink despite the high abv. This is an incredible stout, and I certainly wouldn't mind getting my hands on more of this stuff!

 899 characters

Photo of steve8robin
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from an awesome tip from Yamar18...

A: Perfectly pitch black. No head but little mocha colored bubble along the top of the brew.

S: Smells very well balanced. Coffee, oatmeal, and oak scents eminate from the glass. Smells delicious!

T: Awesome balance! Just like the smell, the coffee and oak flavors are balanced perfectly! Coffee hits you up from first and almost a caramel type flavor on the backend from the oak and bourbon. Is not one bit hard to drink and very complex flavors! Not many brewers get that right.

M: Fantastic cabonation

D: Despite the complexity of this brew, not one aspect is overpowering so it goes down surprisingly easy.

All in all, this brew is fantastic. I can't believe I took so long to try it. Definitely one of my faves! Founder's has a great thing going here. Recommended for craft beer-aholics and people looking to expand into craft brews alike.

 900 characters

Photo of MysterySwirl
2.65/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Opening a 2009 - this beer is opaque black with little head and a strong coffee flavor. Smells charred and bitter as if they burnt the coffee before putting it into the barrel.

This one tastes more chocolate-y and bourbon like. The vanilla notes are much more muted this year than the previous years and I honestly prefer the extra vanilla's presence. Not really complex flavor but decent mouthfeel. Honestly, I enjoyed the aroma more than the taste bc I could pick out the sweet/fruit notes better that way.

This beer isn't that complex. Maybe I've been spoiled - maybe it's not aging well with the bourbon notes mellowing and bringing out the coffee... I just know that it didn't live up to my expectations.

 712 characters

Photo of semihobo
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one bottle of KBS in March for $6.49 (I believe this is currently a personal $ per oz record, unfortunately), drinking it now for no particular reason. 12 ozer in a chalice.

Very little head that quickly subsides to nothing. Black, black, black. No "ruby highlights" or anything, just black. Cool wild west medicine-style label design.

Smells of cocoa and cold-brewed coffee. Bourbon smell is subdued, beautifully smoky and peaty. No smell of alcohol.

Surprisingly smooth. Chocolate and coffee are understated, nothing too over the top or one-note. More like very strong coffee than the char you see in many imperial stouts. The bourbon emerges toward the finish and is gently smoky. Some vanilla phenols go well with cocoa. These have to be the least-noticed 70 IBUs ever. They provide some bittering but hardly play a dominant role. Alcohol is well-masked, although the fact that the beer has the bourbon flavor helps -- an alcohol burn would feel totally appropriate. Finish is nice and bitter, equal parts hops and coffee.

Very low carbonation, moderately heavy body, both appropriate to style. Slightly oily finish.

An excellent beer, both in general and within the style. Must acquire more...

 1,213 characters

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

2009 "KBS" style 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pitch black engine oil. Seems thick on the pour. Thin brown head that leaves spotty lacing as it goes down.

S: Bourbon on the first smell. Roasty malts, chocolate and coffee when I go back in for more.

T: A little bourbon on the front end, then the chocolate and roasted malts come in. This one does end with a nice little burn to it. Not too much though. I found this to be pretty well balanced looking at the ABV coupled with the barrel aging.

M: Full bodied and low carb. Not surprising for style.

D: This one is a heavy hitter but surely enjoyable. Has mellowed a little since my last taste in March 2009. Very good I would say great stout overall. I think it is a great beer that I will look forward to reviewing against this coming years version.

 809 characters

Photo of webmanspidey
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to review this again after having it a few times. This was a 12 oz. bottle of the 2009 "KBS" variety poured into a chalice.

Thick, black, creamy, and opaque. In appearance, essentially everything you could expect from a stout.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup, coffee, and dark chocolate.. probably one of the best beer smells I've experienced.

The flavor is very sweet up front, again with that mix of vanilla, bourbon, and coffee. Alcohol makes its presence known, but for 11%+ this is drinkable as hell.

The first time I tried this I didn't quite buy into the hype, but now I am a believer. This is one of the best all-around beers I've tried.

 665 characters

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

Had a couple of glasses of this last night at The Chase Tap Room in Lexington. It was great to finally see something this rare go on tap in this town and I am hoping it happens more often.

Pours a smooth, deep black with a one finger head that dissipates after the first sip into a small brown ring around the edges of the snifter.

The smell was absolutely intoxicating. Lots of bourbon and coffee notes blended together in perfect unison. The smell of this beer doesn't get any weaker as you drink either, it just keeps jumping out of the glass and up your nose as you drink down your glass.

The taste is smoothed out bourbon with lightly roasted coffee. There is great balance in the taste which could have been due to the age of the keg (being 8 or so months old) but I am pretty sure it's like this fresh as well (from what I can remember it being like out of the bottle months ago). Absolutely delicious and pretty much the definition of balance in a bourbon stout.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Smooth until the last drop with minimal carbonation which causes the beer to go down much faster than it should at such a high abv.

Drinkability is dangerously good. I had two glasses of it in about an hour and had to tell myself to slow down so I didn't get too intoxicated.

Overall, this is probably one of my favorite beers of all time and I am glad I finally had the chance to try this on tap and have a couple glasses as well. Well done, Founders!

 1,455 characters

Photo of caskstrength
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 KBS bottle. And a few 2010s too.

Total blackness, just a trace of head. Worried already about carbonation. Newer bottles with more carbonation.

Smell is exactly what I was expecting. Coffee richness with some boozy bourbon.

Taste is as the smell predicts. Thicker, boozier version of breakfast stout with heaps of bourbon mixed in. But not much else. I was hoping for some unexpected complexity, but it didn't really show up. But who cares. This beer is not about unexpected complexity. This beer is about coffee/alcohol/bourbon, and it's about coffee/alcohol/bourbon done right.

Mouthfeel is thick and appopriate enough for the flavors and style and abv.

Met expectations, which were pretty high. Deserves it's ranking. A beer I would always like to have around. If you like the whiskey barrel, and you like coffee stouts...pull up a chair.

 857 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.34/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer is very black with hardly any brown in the light. The head is very disappointing as there is none and after finally pouring a medium tan head fizzles for seconds and is gone. There is no lacing.

The aroma is very strong but dominated by mostly roasted coffee. There is not much complexity as you get a little alcohol but that's it.

The taste is like the aroma but stronger. Its all coffee but bad stale and bitter coffee. Its simple without any complex flavors. At the end there is a little bourbon and charred wood.

The feel is ok but the drinkability is really down.

I was very excited to finally get my hands on this, but after I did I came away very disappointed. Its not drinkably, not complex, and just not a great RIS.

 798 characters

Photo of Anthony1
4.02/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smell is Bourbon and sharp strong coffee. The overall aroma is sharp like fresh strong lightly roasted coffee. Every sniff brings more of that wonderful coffee and bourbon aroma with all the subtle scents you would associate with those smells. Bitter chicory, vanilla, caramel, wine, nuts, oak, and slight amount of black pepper are all in there. I could smell this 24/7 and never get tired of it; they should make a cologne that smells like this.

Taste is slightly sweet and full of smooth coffee and bourbon flavor. Quite strong and tasty vanilla flavor with a tasty chocolate and bourbon aftertaste. Smooth and never bitter

 627 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick as oil...and dark as too. Little to no head present. A thin ring apears...dark brown. Aroma is very strong, like coffee, chocolate, and slightly bitter. I pick up a little burbon, boozy scent too.
Heavy vanilla, coffee, choclate, raison taste. Not as sweet as a Dark Lord(Three Floyds), but similar in the raison/coffee taste. Very heavy, almost like watered down syrup in consistency. Even more flavors as beer warms up. Very solid Imperial Stout!

 460 characters

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

Had a drink of this beer for the first time at Dark Lord Day a couple of years ago, and remember being a little underwhelmed. However, it was early afternoon by that point...

Received this one in a trade with brewCzar - thanks for the hook-up!

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Very little head with just a hoola-hoop of tan foam. Very dark and viscous with a small amount of nice lace.

The smell of this thing almost knocked me over at first. It took me quite a while to place the specific coffee smell in there but I finally got it. When you've left your pot of coffee on the fire in hunting camp all day, all of the water has evaporated, you just have that "sludge" at the bottom...if you've ever stuck your nose in there, then you know what I'm talking about. That deep, strong, coffee sludge smell. There's also a bit of vanilla and some dark cherries in there as well, but the hunting camp sludge is out in front - and it is wonderful!

So much more impressed with the taste of this than I remember! As anticipated, I got smacked with a lot of coffee on the front, but this beer is much more complex than that. The chocolate in the middle was very pronounced as well...almost a milk chocolate as opposed to dark. By the third drink, I was stuck on the bourbon taste - right there on the back of the tongue. This was probably the most impressive part of the beer. The bourbon was very strong, but in a very positive way - it really stuck with me long after I'd finished the drink. If you like bourbon, I have full confidence that you will be impressed with the way it is incorporated in this brew! The beer was not alcoholic either - impressively smooth.

This beer is nearly as thick as it looks. It coats the mouth and lingers around long after the beer is gone. Outstanding.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the KBS. I have six more sitting in my basement and look forward to keeping those around for a few years. Definitely a beer that I'll always have on hand!

Consumed - 11/24/2009

 2,006 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #200 comes courtesy of imperialking. Jeff was kind enough to hook it up with two bottles of KBS...as extras!

A: KBS has that wonderful motor oil like pour with a thin layer of mocha colored foam.

S: While I'm not much of a coffee fan, the coffee aroma in this beer is amazing. There are also great chocolate, roasted malt, and ever so slight bourbon scents.

T: Talk about flavor! There are huge coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and bourbon flavors in this. The alcohol is definitely there, but it's not quite as boozy as I was preparing for.

M: This is a great thick, chewy, creamy beer.

D: The drinkability is surprisingly good for such a strong beer. The beer is not "hot", and the flavors are absolutely sensational. I'm glad that I have another one of these to enjoy.

 783 characters

Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Speedwayjim.

Appearance: Jet black with 1 finger of chocolate colored head, motor oil thick, the head dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: Roasted dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Opens with a rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Strong malt backbone as the two flavors revolve around as the bourbon shows it face at the finish with a breif hint of licorice and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium Bodied, medium carbonation and smooth throughout.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy the Breakfast stout but better, maltier and richer in flavor.

 627 characters

Photo of Donerik
3.43/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I liked this the least of the three breakfast stouts, I found the tastes mudded.

A - Black, brown head, low retention, as expected, beautiful

S - Smells good, coffee, bourbon, unmistakable aromas of both combine with roasted malt.

T - a bit of a let down here, the three tastes from the aroma just kind of mudd up, the coffee was a bit too overpowering and the bourbon flavor doesn't come all the way through, just as an alcohol.

M - didn't finish as well as the rest of the family, a bit more burning

D - 1 was my limit on this, I've had more than one of both of the others, I didn't enjoy this beer the same way as the others, it was in the finish.

 655 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Motor oil black, almost no head, very thin tan coating disappears leaving almost no ring. Perfectly opaque. Full nose with rich smell of roast coffee, espresso, burnt toast and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with substantial body. Bitter taste with astringent bourbon impressions very pronounced, bakers chocolate and burnt coffee, chocolate almond biscotti, some nuttiness. Very complex stout with a huge taste, velvet feel although just a touch too astringent... I could live with a steady supply of these!

 514 characters

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,994 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!