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 | website

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: 3,042 | Ratings: 11,888
Photo of dahlen22
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark with a nice head if poured right.

Aroma: Mainly bourbon which is what you would expect.

Taste: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, cocoa.

Overall: This beer is super complex and tasty. Matches the hype. A sipper that gets better as it warms up. Outstanding. Only negative is it is extremely hard to get and most stores limit you to one or two twelve ounce bottles. Cheers!!

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I struggle to find the better beer. I can't decide as to which is my favorite stout. There are too many variables involved. This is what I have decided. I love this beer. Sometimes you have to put away the note pad and sit back, relax, and enjoy. This is one of those beers that will make you do that. I can't scribble enough on my pad to even remotely come close to doing this beer justice. Pours black chocolate with Bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol on the nose. 100% velvet with the bourbon coming through just enough and then slowly fades back into a bitter chocolate and soothed over with malt sweetness. I can't say enough and I do not have the skills to properly do this beer justice. This is an extremely complex beer. It is above me.

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Photo of hotpauko
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to have one and well worth the wait. Very nice strong coffee bourbon smell. A really smooth flavor and high ABV packed stout. The high ABV is present but nowhere near a presence you would expect of 11.2, just enough. The flavors other describe of coffee, chocolate and vanilla are superbly blended. The coffee flavor is most apparent, more of a smoky coffee flavor (note, I don't drink coffee) that hits the mouth in the front. Silky smooth mouthfeel, a tad heavy but not too much. Best I've had but looking forward to other future top tier coffee stouts for comparison.

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Photo of Abilow33
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very thick and dark. A thin dark brown head. I bought this beer while on vacation and saved it until I got home. This beer has a very rich taste. I taste chocolate and coffee right off the bat. The fact it is aged in an oak barrel and has a high alcohol content gives it that extra flavor you don't find in most stouts. I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of unclederby
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So i just paid $4.99 for this 12 oz. bottle. But hey, i priced it myself, and that's probably pretty cheap. Dissapointed by the regular B-fast Stout - i hope this is worth it...

Opaque ebony, this thing poured out with just a whisp of a tan head, and that didn't stay around long. Smells of chocolate, french roast, dark malts and bourbon... taste is the same, and pretty well balanced really: not too sweet and just a touch of bitterness. Alcohol is apparent but not harsh in the least. All of the ingredients are very well integrated and represented here, and this is a nice, rich stout that goes down smoothly.

Thick, creamy and resinous; the mouthfeel is superb.

I'm finding this highly drinkable, and only it's richness and pricetag would keep me from putting down more than two of these in a sitting.

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Photo of challenja
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served On Tap! at Big Hunt DC

A: Midnight strikes and plunges its dark stake into this Michigan brew witha light whisper of a mocha froth covering a dark vamperic heart.

S: Bourbon barrel cherries soaked in Vanilla oak, dark molasses malt brown maple syrup.

T: This is a bourbon monster! Definitely the biggest booze flavored Stout that I have had. It is thick and rich with cocoa malt nibs. Tons of black cherry. Loads of burnt barrel and sweet sappy sugary bourbon corn mash.

M: This is one full bodied super smooth bourbon stout. You can see where the hype and demand is for this beast. It's sweet luscious cream with a big time boozy black pepper back bite. This viscous nature of this brew must be applauded like a pricey chewy Bordeaux wine.

O: This is a damn outstanding beer that is deserving of the HYPE. My number one Bourbon stout by far. This is not for the regular beer Fan Boy.

(side note, drank this in a bottle the night before and I must say its more richer and thicker in bottle form!)

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

L -- Jet black with a nice mocha colored head, which was not very large as I didn't pour too aggressively.

S -- Bourbon hits quickly and hard, but quickly falls in line with chocolate, milk coffee, and other sweet roasted malts. Later on I get certain notes of plum, very very ripe plum, but only with my mouth open.

T -- Follows the smell very closely, with the addition of a strong bitter chocolate flavor. I think I started drinking a little early as I took it outside in the afternoon sun and as it warmed the bourbon become more pronounced, in a good way, as it slipped into the sweetness and the two created a very nice balance. There's a definite note of hop bitterness to account for all the malts, but they sit nicely in the flavor profile. The more and more I drank this, the higher I rated it -- the balance becomes more pronounced with time.

F -- Not the thickest beer ever, and I think I was expecting a bit more based on the pour, but very nicely viscous. Same as in the taste, warmth brought on a better experience as the beer got to that viscosity that I expected when watching it pour.

O -- A great bourbon barrel aged stout. It is one of the best I've had, ranking just a bit below CBS and BCBS, as it seems to be missing just that bit of thickness and, in my mind, a little sweetness to counter the bourbon bite and the bitterness of the hops. That's very nitpicky as it's a great beer and one I would never turn down if offered.

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Photo of dee4maine
4.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Founders can do no wrong ! What amazes me is the drinkability for something so strong of an ABV. great bourbon nose and flavor along with the intense coffee and layers of choclate.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with 1 finger mocha head that dissapeared quickly and lightly laced. Scent was rich chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and light bourbon. Scent was very strong right after pour, then faded quickly. Flavor was roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, burnt oak and bourbon. There is a definite, though satisfying, bourbon heat that lingers. Mouthfeel is moderate with lively carbonation. As the beer warms it seems to soften. The dark chocolate flavors blend to milk chocolate and I begin to taste light brown sugar.

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

Poured out an opaque black. Aromas of wood, bourbon, hint of milk chocolate, with smoke.

Flavors of dark chocolate, malt, wood, roast, some metallic.

Mouth feel is huge body, creamy, milkshake like. Carbonation is low, no lacing but has legs.

Overall this is a nice well balanced, flavorful beer. Awesome.

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

This amazing beer pours opaque brown into the awaiting pint glass. No light penetrates through the inky stout. The initial scent is coffee, no qualms about it. Following the dissolving coffee is an underlying cocoa aroma. The taste is so complex its almost perplexing. Again, coffee is in the forefront. Next, in come the chocolate. Its not hidden, its like a punch in the face, almost syrup-like. The alcohol is well hidden. Its only appearance is at the back of the tongue, just before swallowing. This beer cannot be a session beer by definition, unless your session is one or two drinks. I've been looking for Kentucky Breakfast Stout for quite a while. I am so happy to have found this. This is one of the most amazing beers I have ever tasted. Its so absolutely amazing, words can do it no justice.

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

I poured this Highly Acclaimed Founders KBS hard, and got an initial inch of dense tight bubble foam. Tan colored head with a liquid shade of dark black; opaque. Initial smell is fantastic. Dark roasted chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. The odor is incredibly rich and highly enjoyable. Large whafts are like breathing liquid chocolate. Taste is no let down from what my nose revealed. Liquid chocolate, bourbon silk. Slight sweetness that is the perfect complementary touch. Slight notes of smooth coffee and only a pleasnat lingering aftertaste. An eighty ounce glass would be just fine. This highly acclaimed beer booze is too good. An infinite supply of this brew would be great beer wish. Mouthfeel is a perfect medium dense, tight bubble, low to moderate carbonation. Sticky sweet residue lingers on the gums and only encourages further drinking.

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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 kevinv
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Received as an extra in a trade with D13Logan - thanks a lot!

Pretty much jet black, even when held up to a light. Little to no head with just a thin layer of foam on the top. Not much carbonation. A nice lacing is left on the glass as you drink it.

Strong bourbon and vanilla. Not much of a coffee smell, but it's there. Fairly strong alcohol presence.

Tastes like it smells, strong bourbon and vanilla. The coffee taste is much stronger than the smell and I'm also tasting chocolate. Good presence of alcohol that leaves a nice burn on your lips. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Great beer for the colder nights - it's definitely warming me up. The amount of bourbon taste in this beer is perfect, not too overpowering at all. Stronger presence of caramel as it warms.

Definitely a sipper at a little over 11% abv. The many flavors do a good job at masking the alcohol though. This beer is just so damn tasty it would be easy to drink a few.

Truly a standout. Not much else to say, but as it says on the bottle, this beer "is good for everything a stout ought to be good for."

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Photo of ramay86
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage, on tap:

This year's batch is back on the saddle. Dense chocolate and coffee plays well against the barrel. Excellent balance across the board. Not sticky, not too dry. Very pleased by the way they've turned this back around.

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Photo of 911CROFT
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage (11.2%) Aged for 1 year.
355ml bottle into an oversized tulip. Paid £7.35 for a single bottle.

Pours a completely opaque, pitch-black body that is unchanged when held to the light. A one-finger in height, dark tan coloured bubbly head fades quickly to a patchy film and collar, but leaves behind plenty of thin, soapy lace.

Bourbon undoubtedly leads the aroma, but its presence isn't so powerful as to dominate. Underneath, a complex bitter-sweet mixture of dark chocolate, ripe stone fruit, wood smoke, charred malts and heavily roasted barley comprise the remainder of the nose, whilst subtle roast espresso profiles become noticeable towards the finish. Taste follows suit. Soft, warming notes of bourbon and vanilla slowly transition to a rich and heavily roasted malt profile. Dark, bitter-sweet chocolate and the slightest hint of ripe black cherry join charred, faintly smoky, robust dark malts to form the perfectly balanced mid-palate. Medium to full-bodied with a low amount of carbonation, the mouth-feel starts rich, slick and smooth, despite being just a tad thinner than expected. Towards the end, moderately bitter, dark roasted espresso, cocoa, dark chocolate and woody impressions of the oak barrelling linger on the palate for an age, finishing dry with only a trace of alcohol warmth.

Overall this is an incredible beer. The bourbon barrelling is unquestionably a prominent feature, but it is so superbly well integrated with the base beer that it never becomes too much. The exceptionally well-balanced dark roasted malt profile masks its 70 IBU’s with ease, keeping bitterness in check throughout, and at 11.2% ABV, alcohol is almost undetectable. Undoubtedly this is a treat to be sipped and savoured, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another bottle should I be lucky enough to come across one in the UK. Recommended.

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Photo of grandq
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this one side by side with Founders Breakfast Stout (i know, different beers, etc). A lot of similarities but this one goes the extra mile. Pours pretty much pitch black, getting almost zero head in spite of my best efforts. What's there is a very dark tan. Smells of bourbon (duh), molasses, pear, coffee grounds, maple, and some raisins/dark fruit. A bit more "twang" than the FBS, likely the sweet bourbon soaked fruit and slightly more evident alcohol. Taste shows much of the same but in heavier doses: deeper raisin and prune to the profile here, more pronounced hop bite in tandem with peppery alcohol esters, a lot of oak with a kiss of vanilla. Coffee takes more of a background to the oak here and is balanced out by the bourbon sweetness. Overall, in spite of being heavier in the abv department, this seems to address any imbalance issues that show up in FBS. The mouthfeel is thick and coating as one expects from the style, and its overall a really tasty, nicely layered stout - though I'd say there are more complex out there, particularly Abyss. I'd raid the local if this were available here - top notch. Big cheers to autumnaldave for the bottle.

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Photo of Roeters
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black with a dark brown inch+ of head

S: deep, full coffee aroma

T: Complex mix of the full-bodied coffee and the bourbon oak mix. It is such a change from Breakfast Stout.

M: smooth mix of complex flavors

D: The smooth flavor make me want to drink this beer all day long, other then the 10% APV.

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Photo of beer4colin
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh My!!!

I have enjoyed KBS from bottles but today I had the extreme pleasure of having KBS on tap at UBH!,, Tommy! thank you!,

I am not getting into it (a full formal review) except to say this was the most incredible, dare I say orgasmic, tasting that I have ever had?!?

Chocolate, vanilla, coffee..everything is there. A beauty that needs no further description.

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Photo of Kbogac
4.26/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of bottles of this at a local micro-brew pub. I'd had it once before but never a full serving just a taste.

Poured into a snifter. Dark and heavy with minimal foam. The initial smell was not very exciting. Dry earthy coffee smell with some malt that improved as it warmed. The taste also improved as it warmed up. The first taste was upfront coffee and roasted grains with a alcohol finish. As the beer warmed up the alcohol disappeared and was replaced with a nice coffee molasses finish. Not as sweet as I expected but overall excellent. Deep dark burbon and coffee. As good as it gets.

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Photo of AnPiobaire
4.32/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I opened this 2011 KBS only beause I have 2 more aging in the basement for future tasting. I poured the KBS into a snifter at about 56 degrees.

The initial pour was inky black and viscous with a slight thin reddish brown head. I also noticed a nice syrupy cling along the side of the glass.

The nose is heay coffee with notes of vanilla coming through.

The taste is malt and coffee followed by a pleasant vanilla and mildly bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, exactly what I like in a stout.

Overall this is one fine example of a breakfast stout and I look forward to seeing how this fine stout ages in the upcoming year or two. Enjoy!!!

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Photo of BradenMK
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(In the interest of full-disclosure, this IS my first KBS tasting)

APPEARANCE (4) - Poured pitch black and let not a ray of light escape its grasp, as any self-respecting imperial stout should, unfortunately, had only a fleeting, fizzy head, and left no lacing. It was certainly above-average looking, but definitely not amazing in appearance. But hey, looks can be deceiving.

SMELL (4.75) - Vanilla. Bourbon. Maple Syrup. Dark Chocolate. Holy shit. Surprisingly, I don't pick up the coffee on the nose. I'd be interested to know at least a cursory summation of the recipe for this beer. Even though I don't care as much for bourbon barrel stouts, this smells almost perfect.

TASTE (5) - It's outstanding. I don't understand all the hate over this beer. Such a great depth of flavor with a balanced nuance of malt sweetness, upfront bourbon, followed by black coffee, and finally a lasting cocoa note that lingers as the heat from the alcohol warms all the way down. And yet, with all that alcohol, I wasn't hit by a harsh heat on the tongue, and the flavor wasn't influenced by alcohol burn at all. That's a good stout. The barrel-character itself may be a little drowned out by the coffee and bourbon (and any actual chocolate if there is some in the recipe), but it's perceptible in the after-taste. Oh, man, the coffee here is so much better integrated than it is in FBS, and it melds with the bourbon notes into a wholly different beast. Now I've gotta see how this compares with something like Toppling Goliath's Mornin' Delight. The chocolate definitely does come forward a bit more as the beer warms.

I've gotta say, with this beer jumping to 5th overall on the top 250 list this year, I was very skeptical that it would actually stand up to the hype. I am very much glad that it did. Maybe I've got blinders on because I'm just tasting it this year. Maybe it was better in years' past like so many people say it was. But that just goes to show how great a beer it still is.

Ha! I even got a slight cherry note on my last sip. What a nice little send-off to an already amazing beer.

MOUTHFEEL (4) - A little thin, which isn't truthfully unexpected from a beer with so many alterations and additions. Coffee + bourbon + lots of alcohol - it can unbalance the base recipe a little and break up some of those proteins. Not watery by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of thickness, this guy doesn't measure up to beasts like Founders Imperial Stout or Yeti.

OVERALL (5) - Will I say I like this better than the more readily available Imperial Stout? That's hard to say, but after a few moments deliberation, I don't think so. But am I going to bash it for being so hard to get my hands on? Absolutely not. It is clearly a beer that is more difficult to make and more difficult to balance. If I liked bourbon in my stouts more, then this would absolutely be MUCH better than FIS. There is a LOT going on here, and I'm glad I got to try it. Am I going to go out seeking it every year from now on? Well... yeah, a little bit. It's not overpriced at all, so if I find it, and I will look for it, even if only a little, I am definitely going to buy some. Great, great beer. Founders nails it again.

Thanks again, Core42, you are a true Beer Advocate, my friend!

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Photo of darthvohn
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Glass Used: Teku

Appearance: The stout poured a raven black with some brown highlights. You see a root beer color around the edges when held against a light. A thin chocolate milk foamy cap rests on the surface. When the head begins receding, some lacing is left behind.

Smell: Wow...big bourbon and oak fill the nose followed by dark bittersweet chocolate, and espresso notes. Also get the booze.

Taste: Big bourbon, coffee, chocolate, heavy roasted malts, booze are present. When you take a sip and savor, it tastes like a rich chocolate cake made with espresso and soaked in bourbon. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth and cooling alcohol vapor. While the 11% is felt, it's not un-welcomed or overpowering.

Overall: Amazing. This was my first KBS and I do understand the hype. It's an amazing and fantastic stout. Period.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Real fresh from 4/1 beer hunt. Poured deep black with nice thick head. Smell is strong bourbon, coffee and chocolate. First taste hits hard with the bourbon, but from then on it is smooth with the coffee and chocolate coming through very nicely. The feel of this was medium - not as full as some others. Overall, this is as great a beer as everyone had told me, and I loved the aroma and taste.

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Photo of gregy55902
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really loved Founders CBS, and I'm hoping this is on par. Founders is, by a decent margin, my favorite Michigan brewery (love Dark Horse and Bell's as well). Obtained one 12oz bottle from Andy's in Rochester, MN.

A - Pours a nearly opaque motor-oil black color into my XL snifter. Not entirely gentle on the pour - an aggressive 1-finger head forms and dissipates within a minute or two leaving beautiful bubbles and lacing.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, toffee, maple, roasted malt, anise, and various dark fruits.

T - Very complex taste. Vanilla, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, roasted malt. It really tastes incredible and gets better the more you drink it. The flavors linger forever, with chocolate and coffee being very prominent.

M - Very smooth for what it is. I usually have a hard time drinking 'bourbon beers' and this one is definitely a sipper, but it has a rich taste that is meant to be enjoyed slowly. Founders BB-aged it for a long time (1+ year), and it shows - it is 11.2% but there is minimal bite (on par with DH Plead the 5th).

O - This is a monster of a good beer and is right up there with the CBS. It may be hard to appreciate if you don't love a good imperial stout, but if you do then it is entirely worth seeking out. Another extremely well-crafted brew from Founders.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,042 ratings.
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