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: 11,889
Photo of raszputini
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the big winner at ThirstyFest - a craft beer festiva sponsored by the Thirsty Monk. The keg didn't make it through the day. Nothing real unusual about it - its exactly what you would expect. A coffee-heavy Russian Imperial Stout with Bourbon barrel aging. There are no curve balls. What distinguishes it is that is such a fantastic example of this style. The bourbon flavor is definitely there, but not overwhelming. This is just a great beer. Drink one at any opportunity you get.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
2.78/5  rDev -39%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Hype beer. Avoid the strangling drama of this brew.

Had a vertical from fresh to 5 year aged. All were unimpressive and considerably overblown.

One positive note is that the ABV is in double digits, so you might forget the mediocrity after 2 or 3.

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

pours a midnight black brown with very little head. no light transmission.

smell is strong coffee molasses with maybe some fruit. lots of excellent smoke and toasted notes.

taste is flavor overload. awesome strong flavor. only a small sip and pow! sweet toasted coffee with a slight bitter finish chocolaty goodness.

mouth is thick with medium carbonation.

very very good. not as much bourbon as expected. very smooth with excellent flavor.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer with a very dark color that allows very little light to pass through it. A very chocolate colored head greets the drinker along with aromas of Hershey's chocolate and hints of bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is very thick but creamy. The taste is very chocolatey with a slight hint of vanilla and bourbon giving this beer a strong flavor that is enjoyable by itself or with BBQ. Had it at The Lark in East Northport, NY.

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Photo of frenchblood21
4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into KBS goblet. This is the 2014 edition of KBS. Date of review is 7/15/14.

Appearance- Black as night with a brown head that disappears almost instantly. Very little carbonation but the lacing looks great so far.

Smell- Roasted malt, coffee and chocolate in that order. Vanilla comes through at the end. There is a complete lack of bourbon, which is strange considering this beer spent over a year in bourbon barrels.

Taste- There's the bourbon! In order of dominance, I get bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and then finally, coffee. Flavors remind me of an Oreo dipped in coffee with cream and vanilla sugar. So awesome.

Mouthfeel- Super thick and creamy. Has the mouthfeel of a milk stout. You get all the flavors at once, and then somehow all by themselves.

Overall- Fantastic offering from the best brewery in Michigan. I went to Grand Rapids during KBS week to pick this baby up and I will be doing it again next year.

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

Can't add much that hasn't been said. 2014 vintage, perfectly black, bourbon and chocolate to the nose. Taste was fantastic, the bourbon had mellowed in the months since bottling letting the coffee and chocolate come through. Coats the mouth and tongue with silky goodness. Just fantastic - everything I was expecting!

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

Some people say this beer has gone downhill over the years. I couldn't disagree more. It just keeps getting better. Bourbon, Coffee, Oak, Vanilla...So good. By far one of the best BA Stouts around.

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Photo of JWD
4.16/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A- the appearance is great, Black motor oil with a small head, tan in color.

S- deep roasted coffee

T -More coffee with a very small hint of bourbon an vanilla, i expected more bourbon flavor.

m - not as thick as I expected but very drinkable

D - outstanding, I could drink a couple of these pretty easily.

I was disapoined as this beer is rated so highly and i find other of the same style to be much better.

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Photo of Monsone
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured dark black, thick and oily. Small tan head dissapates quickly.

S - Big aromas of coffee, dark malt, with notes of vanilla, oak and of course bourbon (not as strong as I expected)

T - Coffee flavors dominate up front. There is ample dark malts and dark choco flavors. Oaky bourbon with a vanilla component is in there too. Complex and deep.

M - Full bodied and thick.

D - Very drinkable for the style. Raritiy makes having this regularly difficult.

Absolutely amazing stout. This will have to be tried numerous times to fully appreciate it. I think I am up to the task.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Black with a nice brown head that vanishes and leaves no lacing
S: Bourbon, coffee, roasted malts, alcohol
T: Dark malt, bourbon barrel, coffee, and booze
F: smooth and hot
O: A treat to enjoy whenever you can get your hands on it. For 12 percent it is well made and has just the right balance of barrel and alcohol characteristics

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Photo of kfsv034
4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly

S - Vanilla, Coffee, maybe chocolate and a nice bourbon

T - Follows the noise pretty well, Vanilla and coffee and bourbon. Definitely taste the alcohol but in a good way

M - Medium to full bodied

D - after a few of this id be drunk.

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Photo of camp0474
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass

A: Pours pitch black and very thick. Dark tan creamy head. Good lacing.

S: Smells of toasted malt, coffee, and some notes of chocolate. On top of those a smell of bourbon, which adds a sweet vanilla bean smell, and smells a bit boozy.

T: Barrel aged bourbon hits the tongue heavy. The strong whiskey flavor rides on top of the malt and coffee flavors. The alcohol flavor lingers for a bit, but still allows the others flavors to come through. The bourbon flavor adds woody, smokey, and fresh vanilla notes. Surprisingly a lot going on here other than straight bourbon.

M/D: Thick and chewy with lower carbonation. The finish is a bit dry due to the high ABV. More of a special occasion beer and a definite sipper. But wanted to keep going back for more.

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Photo of Donco
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Edit to review (3/18/16):
Just tried a bottle of 2016 KBS and it's the best fresh version I've had since I began drinking beer in 2013.

2015 from a bottle.
Although I had rated this beer highly back in 2013, I had not reviewed it. So now (March 2015) I am adding comments on this beer fresh.
Look is reminiscent of Founders Imperial Stout. Jet black with a bit of head when poured into my Founders tulip glass.
Smell: Wonderful bourbon/coffee as it warms.
Taste: Better than last year's version when fresh. Let this warm from fridge for at least 25 minutes. Then beautiful coffee/bourbon/chocolate comes out with a significant hit of bitterness on the end (again, like Founders IS).
To me, this year's version is better than 2014 and well worth the crazy search. Even better with about 6 month aging.

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

Looks great, tastes great, is impossibly smooth for the ABV. That said, the flavors are all very prominent and separate. I prefer beers where the flavors blend together which lends more complexity IMO. Still a great beer, but not the best.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.07/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged 1 year

A: Black as it gets. Very little head. perhaps lost a little carbonation over the year.

S: Black coffee, bourbon, hints of bitter chocolate.

T: The coffee notes are strong, hints of chocolate and some bourbon notes as well.

M: Pretty thick, even for a stout, and quite filling. Actually more carbonation in the mouthfeel than indicated by the appearance.

D: This one's a slow sipper.

This beer is interesting becuase it tastes kinda like coffee gone cold, which I hate. But add alcohol and bourbon flavor with hints of chocolate and vianilla and its GOLD, Jerry, GOLD!

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter

A- Pours dark raisiny brown with a light golden hue. Thin layer of head dissipates and forms large bubbles on the sides of the glass. Nice lacing of small mocha colored bubbles.

S- Smells of sweet bourbon and coffee beans. Roasted chocolate hints with a distinct oak finish.

T- Wow....this is perfect in every way. Sweet bourbon up front followed by coffee notes. Tastes just like it smells and that is delicious. One of the most well-balanced beers I've ever had or will ever have.

M- Thick with little carbonation. Slightly bitter oak finish which lingers beautifully on the palate.

D- Amazing for a barrel-aged beer. So smooth and delicious. This one is right at the top of the list

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Photo of MBrausen
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2009 vintage poured from a bottle into a CBS snifter.

A. Pours a deep dark black, minimal to no head, and rests at a glassy black finish.

S. Smells of coca, very mild whiskey and LOTS of tobacco

T. Tastes of coca, dark chocolate, mild toffee and tons of tobacco again!

M. This beer was very thick and chewy, heavy body with a very dry finish.

O. A good beer, but I liked the '10 a lot more. The evening I had this, we did a full flight of KBS from '09-'11 and I feel like the more you age this beer, the more the tobacco comes out. Fresh it is a little hot, but I believe the '10 is still my overall favorite of the most well balanced beer. A good beer and always worth a try whenever you can get it.

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

First off, spectacular beer. Cannot wait until next year when the production is higher and the beer should be more available. I live here in GR and it sells out in the market usually before 2PM on the release day and the taproom has it for roughly a week.

I've had fresh and aged at 6 and 12 months. Definitely ages extremely well and it's an almost have to leave it in the cellar for a few months beer.

A: Similar to Breakfast Stout, the head dissipates quickly and leaves a little ring around the edge that produces nice lacing as the beer is consumed.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, cocoa/coffee, and barley.

M: Heavy, thick, and a stomach full. The beer will leave you filled up for sure. Only complaint is how difficult it feels to drink two of these. IMO, should only be enjoyed one at a time or with a break/cleansing of the pallet in between. Heavy beer and completely capable of paralyzing your tastebuds.

T: Where can I start. Fresh, it's got a huge bourbon blast at the start. If you like the bourbon portion of BA beers, then enjoy this fresh. Bourbon is complimented nice with the traditional cocoa and coffee flavors so familiar in traditional Breakfast Stout. Aging it will produce probably the best flavor I've experienced in a beer. There are so many things to compare it to. At six months, I've used the words milkshake, chocolate milk, Jamocha Shake from Arby's, etc. It's such a wonderfully balanced ale at that point even though the bourbon has dissipated slightly and still packs the whopping ABV punch.

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

Served off keg way too cold. Let it sit for a few minutes, but probably needed a bit more time than that.

Look: dark brown aged look
Smell: slight sweetness with oak and bourbon
Taste: it's strong and definitely bourbony with slight vanilla flavor
Feel: very warming, not too thick. Not as smooth as I had hoped, but I blame the temp
Overall: it's probably what BA stout should taste like. Great mouth feel and warming. Not as sweet as I prefer but really really good. Drink before going to bed because it will make you feel goooood :-)

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - It's black, but hued brown. No head really, and a razors edge of lace.

S - A wonderful smell of coffee and chocolate with just a touch of the bourbon. Sweet and slightly roasty, a sweeter than sometimes normal stout.

T - Opposite of smell, roasty with a small bit of chocolate. I've kept hearing that the bourbon flavor adds to and doesn't dominate, and I do agree. It nestles and back and complements it with the alcohol warming nicely.

M - Again, the nice alcohol warm with the added bourbon. Not too thick at all, in fact, one of the thinner stouts you'll have, especially being a double.

D - Fairly good, but leaves an odd taste in the mouth, a little from the alcohol and a little from the roast. At 10% it isn't a total killer either.

Not a bad beer at all, still not sure if I like this or the original more however.

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Photo of tprokop7
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Myself and a friend opened up a KBS and a standard Breakfast Stout last night to compare... Half a bottle, poured into a 12 oz snifter.

A - Thick and black, almost looks syrupy when poured. No head.

S - Rich and sweet, with definite notes of Bourbon that almost cover up more subtle smells, like molasses, coffee and chocolate.

T - Bourbon is a little more mellow in the flavor than in the aroma, and it balances nicely. Complexity is added by the smokiness from the oak, and the chocolate and coffee come through at the end.

M - Without carbonation and smooth, the sweetness of the beer makes it feel just a little syrupy in your mouth, which is the only unpleasantness of the mouthfeel.

D - I wished I'd had more at the end of the glass, so I can't complain about the drinkability.

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

Thanks to PHawk for this trade.

A: one of the blackest pours I've ever seen, no head or lacing, whoa

S: bourbon, coffee grounds, vanilla with slight caramel, hops in the very back

T: smoked bourbon flavor, a little hickory bacon, some coffee in the middle with a little hop bitterness, chocolately maltiness in the very end that gets stronger in the aftertaste

M: thick and viscous, coats all over the mouth, very subtle carbonation

D: wonderful, a sipper for sure, bourbon taste was a little much at first but I quickly got used to it, alcohol is hidden very well, could drink a couple of these easily, still, I might have to say I like the regular Breakfast Stout better

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Photo of Dubber55
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

Pours jet black with 1/2 finger mocha/tan/light brown head. Quickly dissipates and leaves a thin collar around. Leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Aroma consists mostly of freshly ground coffee. Upon further inspection, I get some bourbon, vanilla, oak, mocha, and fusel alcohol. Possibly some soy sauce as well

The initial flavor that hits my palate is fresh ground coffee. In the midpalate, I get some roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon. The finish is dry: chocolate, coffee, and some bourbon heat with a big roasted/char flavor. One of the things I like about this beer is that the bourbon barrel is kept in check. The bourbon definitely lets you know that it is there but, its not overpowering. The coffee is nicely integrated in this beer as well. I dont get that acrid aftertaste that many other coffee stouts have.

This is a chewy, viscous liquid. Its basically a meal in a glass. Low carbonation but entirely appropriate for a bourbon barrel stout.

Really drinkable stuff. All of the flavors are nicely integrated which makes for an enjoyable drinking experience. I could drink a couple of these in a night. Rightly deserving of its spot.

2011 vintage

Lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, graham cracker, and chocolate with a little coffee. Really, a dessert in a glass. Very tasty

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Photo of Tomdee74
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer!!

S- amazing
T-insanely good
O-could drink everyday!!

This is one of my very favorites! Crazy my wife doesn't like any beer but loves this and is just as crazy about it as me. When I first drank it years ago I didn't like it, but now it's one of my favorites definitely in the top 5.

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Photo of prtwin2a
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark, espresso brown
S: Espresso, dark chocolate
T: It's hard to overcome the carbonated taste, but after a few minutes, you get to experience the marriage of bourbon and espresso very nicely.
M: Tons of carbonation, feels like a Dr. Pepper
D: Sharp in the beginning, but mellows out in the finish.

Overall: B+

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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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