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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.40%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

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Reviews: 3,052 | Ratings: 11,943
Photo of jooler
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell is amazing. Initial sip is bursting with boozy bourbon goodness. This tastes very similar to BCBS. This is the March 2015 bottle. I didn't intend to age it, I just bought it like that. I wish I had a fresh one but I could say that this still tastes amazing. Not much coffee notes but I do taste figs.

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

2016 KBS, no age on it.

Before I begin my review, let me preface this by saying I have, as of now, found my favorite beer with KBS. This is the first time I've tried it and I was left in shock. It has everything I personally look for in a beer and it's beyond well balanced.

Look: Looks dark brown with a minimal head on the pour. Appeared to have a thicker viscosity on the pour.

Smell: It smells fantastic! Chocolate, coffee, sweet heavenly awesomeness. I would say if you've never had this, smell breakfast stout and add a hint of bourbon.

Taste: Perfect in every way! Subtle bourbon with coffee and chocolate, all working together to perfection. As it warmed up, it began to bring the bourbon hint a little more to the front, but nothing overpowering. I prefer my beverages cold, but with sipping drinks you can't help but let them climb to room temperature.

Feel: Full mouth feel, not too thick or thin (like water). I would say it's right where I needs to be.

Overall: I just found a place that had 4-packs for $12 a piece, needless to say I stocked up for the year. I've read it doesn't age too well so I recommend drinking it within the year. But I'm going to experiment now that I have that ability. As always, sip responsibly!

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Photo of mac31
4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon, rich chocolate, and graham cracker sweetness are what first strike my palate. Soft vanilla low lights are there, cropping up from time to time. Just as the sweetness is on it's descent, the bitterness from the hops kicks in. This is quite the hoppy ale, big clean bitterness. The hops are earthy, herbal, slightly floral with a touch of spiciness. The rich chocolate flavor advances to bittersweet chocolate and coffee in the finish. The bourbon present from start to finish, it lays low mid palate. The bourbon is a component of the beer, not the dominating flavor, which I really appreciate. Cereal grains linger on after the finish. The alcohol is well covered. Highly drinkable for a 12.4% beer. The body is slight for a stout. Nicely balanced. This is a flavor bomb, for sure. A great beer. For my palate, it's a little sweet at times. But that's a little nit picky.

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Photo of brewmeister1984
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not my preferred style but I enjoyed this one. Nice coffee and bourbon notes and was pretty smooth considering the ABV. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again though.

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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just a shade south of black. Small tan head. Nose is bourbon and sweet chocolate with hints of coffee. Smooth bourbon and dark chocolate flavor on a bed of coffee. Vanilla and oak shows up, as well. Mouthfeel is like an oily pillow - soft and slick. Flavors carry well from start to finish.

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Photo of klaughlin08
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First review here on BA.

Relatively new to the beer game, but this has been on the list as for a recommendation since I started enjoying beer. First beer I truly loved was regular Breakfast Stout, so had high expectations for this one...

...and it delivered!

Pitch black with beautiful tan head

Smell was at first a little underwhelming - only hints of the barrels and coffee. As others have mentioned, the smell was fairly muted - just smelled like a great stout.

Taste was where this beer took it away. Sweet, roast, nutty, caramel, bourbon... if I had to describe this beer in one word it would be "harmony". None of the tastes dominated any other, but rather they all played a part in the beauty of this beer.

Overall, I'd say this stacks up there with the top beers I've had of this style. Bravo.

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Photo of DoctorD
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured jet black with a 1/4" head and amazing lacing down the glass. Surprisingly, the bourbon smell was not as forward as I have noted in most other barrel aged beers. But the taste makes up for it - decadent chocolate and coffee give way to a bourbon bite, followed by a sweet coffee aftertaste. Really amazing how the flavors blend together. I fou nd it to be a bit thin and it didn't stick in my mouth as much as BCBS. Because of this, it desn't feel as luxurious or powerful as Bourbon County, but it was just as smooth and I believe had more adjunct flavor. I am surprised to say it lived up to the hype and I am glad to have tried it, although I still give the slight edge to Bourbon County due to mouthfeel.

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Photo of Urk1127
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My first barrel aged beer ever and now i see why its a big deal

Black, tan head. Little head but covers the entire top
Brown sugar, very sweet, chocolate, vanilla, alcohol
Hides the massive alcohol its not even there. Massive french vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar
Hidden alcohol but bourbon is there. Extremely smooth

This beer is so well made its insane. I love the vanilla that comes out. I dont get much coffee but thats ok. This is great.

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Photo of JWH90
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 release in 12oz bottle. Opened on 4/18/16. Look was that of motor oil with a tan head about half an inch thick. Smell was simply amazing. I could really sense the coffee and chocolates when taking in a big whiff. Taste, ah the taste of KBS, was outstanding. I could really taste the bourbon and coffee undertones in this one when fresh from my beer fridge; however, the chocolate presented itself with more character as it warmed in my glass. Feel is exactly what you want in a BA stout of this caliber. Not thin but also not insanely thick. Just perfect. Overall, this is one of the best beers I have ever had. I completely understand why there is so much hype surrounding this beer. I have only a few bottles left from this years release. I might have to break into the ol' cellar and do some trading to get my hands on more. Cheers!

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Photo of EMH73
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap. Pours black with a quarter inch caramel head that left almost no lacing. Smell was coffee, chocolate and just a hint of vanilla. Taste was dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, vanilla and a hint of oak. The ABV was noticeable (in a good way), but I did not get any bourbon flavor. Creamy and smooth mouthfeel. An exquisite beer.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this years ago but it was almost a year old at that point.

This is the 2016 batch.

Smells like dark chocolate and coffee. It is a little mild and one noted/ familiar. But it smells really nice. NO bourbon to speak of, however.

Tastes great. Great mix of coffee, dark chocolate, and some heat from the barrel. It does come off as a little hot to me. But a real nice amount of bitter, dark chocolate.

The biggest difference for KBS this year is the mouth feel. It's still not great, but it is better than it was. Medium plus body.

Overall, very enjoyable, but a little harsh. Before it was a little thin and predictable. But this batch seems a touch too harsh. Still great though, just not world class.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Blind tasting of a 2016 bottle side by side with three very notable peers. Obvious standout in both aroma, taste and mouthfeel. We were hoping that wouldn't be the case since this is such a pain in the ass to get, but alas - it's worth the effort. Chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, vanilla, coffee and some solid heat on the backend. The heat subsided noticeably and gave way to the incredible flavors of chocolate and coffee as it neared room temp. Silky mouthfeel with a pleasant sweetness that mingles incredibly well with the base bitterness. Bourbon takes the Oscar for supporting role by providing warmth, vanilla and oaken complexity. World class.

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Photo of Arkrebel
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - what you would expect from a stout. Dark black color with a dense carmel colored head.

Aroma - strong coffee notes with chocolate mixed in. Faint bourbon and vanilla aromas underneath.

Flavor - first is the coffee and chocolate as you'd expect from the aroma. Following that is a vanilla hint with a bourbon finish.

I will admit that stouts are not my go to style. But there have been some that have impressed me. This would be high on that list. The posts here vary on this one from adoration to those that think it's overrated. Any beer that carries as much hype as this release will have fans and haters. For me it was a very good example of what it represents itself to be. If you like stouts at all and or are a fan of barrel aged beers this should be on your short list.

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Photo of scottsoileau
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to update my review. First review was on tap and while it was really good, I have to say I was disappointed. Tried today from the bottle and enjoyed much more. Aroma of barrel, coffer and chocolate were MUCH more pronounced. Flavor was "hotter" which I enjoy. All in all a less drinkable but more enjoyable experience. Plus I was able to score 2 more bottles

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Photo of craftaholic_227
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L- Very little head, little to no lace
S- Has a strong coffee and oatmeal smell
T- very strong coffee flavor with a hint of chocolate but you can taste the heaviness because of how much alcohol is in it. The batch I had was 12.4%
F- not as thick as i would expect it to be. It is watery.

Overall it was a great aged stout!

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Photo of Maestro0708
4.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours black with dark head.
Smell: Coffee and chocolate with bourbon.
Taste: Again, coffee and chocolate notes. Subtle taste of bourbon. 12.4 ABV but doesn't taste it.

Overall: This is a world class stout. I was thrilled to find this one and I'm so glad I got to try it.

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

Notes from a 2014/2015/2016 vertical completed on 4/13/16:

2014 - bottled 3/23/2014 - aging mellowed this out. The 11.2% takes the stage, pours black with limited head, and great coating in the mouth. The oak is very subtle, as is the coffee. Chocolate sweetness is very present throughout sip to swallow.

2015 - bottled 2/12/2015 - CHOCOLATE IN MY FACE! So much more oak -- the vanilla is markedly present on the finish. Same black pour with just a tad more head than the 2014. The coffee is more present on the finish. The alcohol is harder to find in this one... but it's there.

2016 - bottled 2/11/2016 - Barrel on the nose, smooth barrel and coffee on the lips. Finishes chocolate. Burns in the back of the mouth... and that caused me to check the label... 12.4%. Yep. Pours thick with a bit more head than 2015. Less chocolate with this one, as the taste is predominantly barrel and alcohol.

The 2015 aged very well... I enjoyed it more than the 2014. The 2016 seems to be an entirely different beer. It's fantastic and with another year on it, will likely be much better than the 2015. Buy all the 2016s.

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Photo of jradar
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 edition

Bourbon dominates the nose, hints of chocolate, coffee sneak through but it's subtle.

Aforementioned bourbon hits first on the swallow. Warm whiskey burn while the characteristic oak and wood elements are upfront.

Chocolate and finally a bitter coffee flavor sit on the back end.

No need to harp about this beer or the hype that surrounds it. Ignore the jaded BA vets and try it for yourself because, despite the price, it's worth it.

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Photo of stannard2
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Once again founders proves why they are the industry leader of making the best beers in the craft beer market. The Kbs stout is an awesome beer with a smooth taste. You can smell the coffee and the bourbon and it's blended perfectly. I wanted to say that I tried it but for $19.99 for a 4 pack this poor ole boy won't be getting any more for quite some time.

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Photo of Zac88
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful black with a nice light brown head that you can smell from a foot away. Smells of rich bitter coffee, some strong dark chocolate, caramelized molasses and a little boozy. You can tell from the first sip this is going to be a special beer. I waited a minute or two before taking my second sip just to let it sit and let the flavors develop. This is the first beer I've ever had that taste almost exactly as it smells. Starts almost the opposite of drinking coffee. Usually you get the smooth coffee taste then you get the bitter coffee after bite. This beer starts bitter goes smooth in the middle and finishes with a sweet then bitter dark chocolate after taste. This beers so complexed and has so many different flavor profiles it's hard not to love it. Once again Founders proves they're one of the best dark beer makers.

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Photo of aval89
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: dark as night. Nice creamy , khaki head. Tight bubbles.

S: fresh espresso beans. Dark chocolate with caramel. Very roasty with hints of molasses/oatmeal. Minimal booze on nose.

T: right up front you get with a semi sweet/bitter dark chocolate. Then you get hit with espresso/coffee notes. Finishes sweet with some of that caramel you get in the nose. After taste is a bit charry with some oatmeal like flavors. The alcohol warms you on the finish as well. Definitely get the bourbon notes.

MF: thick, creamy, boozy at times. Exactly what you'd expect.

O: very nice, very robust, a lot going on!

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Photo of BierRunner
4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely dark color with coffee and chocolate on the nose. To quote a friend, it tastes like chocolate cake dunked in coffee. What makes it outstanding is its balance when dealing with such big flavors. No one thing overly dominates and a long pleasant finish lingers after the sip. Mouth feel is viscous, like motor oil (if motor oil could taste amazing).

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Photo of thatche2
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz into a tulip glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with little but creamy tan head with good retention. Good lacing around the glass.

Smell is a lot of chocolate with some vanilla and roasted malt flavor (not much coffee). There is also a delicate bourbon flavor without too much heat.

Taste follows the nose but some vanilla and cold brew coffee flavors balance out the chocolate and roasted malt. The bourbon flavors are beautifully intertwined with a little heat on the back-end. As it warms, some bitter coffee starts to come out. There is some good sweetness up front and on the mid palate with a fairly dry finish (bitterness is fairly low).

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium to full in body with nice effervescence. This beer is slightly more watery than some of its peers but it works well overall.

Overall this is an outstanding coffee/chocolate stout. It is relatively easy to drink considering the bourbon and array of chocolate/vanilla flavors. The bourbon profile may be more delicate and well balanced than any beer I have had. Excellent.

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

Drinking side by side with Avery Brewing's Tweak.
A: Pours with a 1/4 head which dissipates quickly leaving a light brown lacing. Body is a nice dark brown, almost black.
S: Faint coffee aroma followed by alcohol, not unpleasant, but not as bold as I would have liked.
T: Right off I'm hit with a strong coffee flavor with a hint of chocolate. As it warms the flavors shift and I find the chocolate coming through more.
F: Very slight carbonation. Thinner than I prefer for a stout, but still has some body to it.
O: I've found some brewers have a tendency to make their coffee stouts overwhelmingly coffee-centric. While coffee is still the star here, it doesn't come across as a cold coffee with alcohol, rather it presents as a fully integrated drink with multiple elements presenting themselves. There is a sweet spot temperature-wise when drinking this. As it warmed, it started becoming more intricate and flavorful, but towards the end of the glass the alcohol was becoming more present in both the nose and flavor. Overall, this is definitely one of the best I've had in it's class and definitely the best bang for your buck.

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Photo of Jeffwise
4.98/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pure greatness. Way too smooth for everything going into this beer and the abv. I'm not much on hype but this definetely lives up to its hype. Extremely bummed I have to drive 30 minutes home because I could sip on a few of these and love each sip more and more

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 11,943 ratings.
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