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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
100
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3,040 Reviews
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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,040
Ratings:
11,857
Avg:
4.56
pDev:
17.54%
 
 
Wants:
4,440
Gots:
6,133
For Trade:
502
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 3,040 | Ratings: 11,857
Photo of OrangeAmps
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In my limited beer drinking career, this is the "best" beer ive had so far. I jumped through hoops to get this beer, what with all the hype and one bottle limit per customer stuff that was prevalent in MA, but it was SO worth it. 2011 was a great year for KBS.

black with a tan one finger head, little to no carbonation

The smell was straight Bourbon. It smelled like i jammed a bottle of jack up my nose. Then, the stout smells started to trickle in. The smell is outrageously good.

Complex, and so incredible. The bourbon is so present, and almost too much, but JUST mellow enough for it to avoid being completely overbearing. The chocolate and coffee notes seep through. This is so well crafted. I feel lucky to be drinking this beer.

There is a big alcohol burn happening at the end. but at 11.2%, and filled with bourbon, you kinda see it coming. Definitely a beer where you can taste and feel its ABV.

very complex, and very special. it definitely lived up to the hype for me.

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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 phisigben
4.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

Look- Looks great, so thick light doesn't get through. There is about 1-1.5in of thick chocolate colored head that stays for a while.

Smell - Huge bourbon smell, a little coffee, very little chocolate and vanilla. When compared to other BA stouts this smells average/below average.

Taste- Compared to the smell the bourbon is subtler than the other flavors that come through. I get mostly coffee, then the bourbon, and again very little chocolate/vanilla. But the flavors are very well balanced so in the taste category I rate this a little higher when compared to other BA stouts.

Mouthfeel- Thick and viscous it coats the mouth well and the taste lingers on the palate.

Drinkability - I could drink more than one of these at a sitting but because of the availability I have to conserve my bottles. I only have 8 left for the next 4 months L

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Photo of pocwolf
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay tulip, fresh from the shipment line. 2011 release.

Appearance: Jet black with just a slight amount of head that diminished to a slight ring that lasted to the end.

Smell: Sweet and roasty followed by bourbon.

Taste: Coffee and bourbon were the first things I tasted with a slight alcohol burn in the back. The more I drank the more I started to get some dark chocolate and maybe some dark fruit. Very little to no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Seemed sort of thin to me, but I think I liked it that way.

Overall: Way to drinkable for a beer of this strength. This was my first tasting of KBS and I can say it was worth the hype. I am super excited to see how it changes in a year.

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Photo of AdamF625
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown to black with a thin brown head.

S- sweet bourbon with strong oak and roasted coffee.

T- strong bourbon flavor, booze, oak, some semi-sweet chocolate.

M- medium body stout, not as thick and syrupy as one would expect.

O- This one was as fresh as it gets so it was a bit boozy, but you can't go wrong here.

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

12 oz vintage 2013

A: As dark as night. Looks like a blackhole of deliciousness.

S: Bourbon, whiskey, chocolate, figs, coffee, alcohol. Strong aroma.

T: Wow. Huge flavor profile. Whiskey and bourbon dominate. Lots of chocolate, vanilla, fig, dark fruits follow. Once again, wow.

M: Heavy. Tons of carbonation, decent bitterness, tons of warm alcohol notes.

O: Definitely the best BA stout out there. I've had the pleasure of having these beer three times before: 2010 Nassau, NY beer fest, 2011 Nassau NY beer fest and 2012 in a bar in Rhode Island. Completely missed out last year; until now. On my yeary visit to my undergrad school in Wilmington, NC, I came across a few bottles of 2013 KBS at my old beer store, Lighthouse Beer and Wines (Wrightsville Beach, NC). I hadn't been there in over 3 years and all the staff remembered me, so they just happened t mention the hidden KBS behind the counter. I couldn't appreciate it more. Glad I have a few 4-pks of KBS lined up for this year. Founders does it right!

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

Every possible thing I want out of a beer is in this one. Every part of this was good even right down to the package. Its also just getting better with age. The pour looks great. Very dark black with that dark tan coffee head. The smell has breakfast all over it. Coffee and chocolate and sweet vanilla jump out. A lot of sweet bourbon notes up front and then finishes with a dry coffee taste that it leaves in your mouth. Alcohol was not very notable to me. This was my first 5 of 5 after 60 beers reviewed. A kick ass beer.

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

Got this one in as a bonus beer in a trade w/ mcallister. And what a bonus it was. This was the best dessert I have had in months. It was like a whisky filled dark chocolate.

The beer was jet black with tiny bubbles that formed a beautiful, tight, dark brown head that fell in average time. This was suprising. I thought the head would hang out like a guinness. But no biggie. The aroma was prominently bourbon and coffee with some vanilla and chocolate. The mouthfeel was velvety, full and so nice I did not want to swallow for quite some time. The low CO2 level was very appropriate for this beer. The taste was very simlar to the aroma and is very flavorful with a long, pleasant aftertaste. I found it quite drinkable and a great dessert after some very spicy thai take out. Pairing this with most things would be futile but it would make vanilla ice cream much more interesting.

Nice work Founders. Keep it up.

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

Pours black as night and very thick coming from the bottle. Not much head of the brown head here.

Smell is very strong roasted coffee. Some creamy mocha in there too.

Taste is a creamy, oaky, roasty, coffee, dark chocolate colaboration. Very well crafted, as the ABV is not noticable. Mouthfeel is very thick and smooth. Drinkable as hell.

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Photo of jgap
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

09 bottle:
Hours black into a tulip pint glass with a slightly thin, brown head. Great retention that fades to a patchy lace once halfway through. Smell is strong oak, vanilla, and slightly bitter dark chocolate (this was a surprise to me). Taste it extremely complex particularly for a stout. It begins with a slight hoppyness that is joined quickly by the bourbon. This lingers until the sweet vanilla shows up and a surprise appearance of chocolate. This all fades to a very nice coffee flavor that almost completely hides the alcohol. What is amazing to me (even more so than the complexity) is the crisp, clean after taste. I feel like most stouts that end on a coffee note have a lingering aftertaste. Not KBS- it's very clean and that makes it waaaay too drinkable! Lastly, the 'thicker side of medium' mouthfeel and carbonation level are matched perfectly to the taste. I love thick brews but the rich, creamy texture is what makes this brew exceptional to me- I love it!

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Photo of bennyman12
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just finished a bottle of 2012, poured in a somewhat fluted glass, which may have minimized the aroma.

What's interesting about this beer is the way the bourbon and coffee play as the bass note. There's very little roast to balance the sweet dark caramel malts, but the bourbon and the coffee provide a strong enough foundation--without it being hot or astringent. There has to be some lactose in this, as the body is creamy, though by no means thick. 2012 still holding up well. I love this beer!

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Photo of caresville
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

w-o-w. pours midnight black with an almost nothing beige head. aroma is deeep, dark chocolate, black coffee, kentucky bourbon, and maybe some more black coffee. taste is very strong of coffee, with some chocolate and an alcohol finish. very thick, roasty and full of coffee and chocolatey goodness. one of the best beers i have ever had in general, hands down.

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Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (2013)

Appearance: Truly a beer that needs no introduction, KBS pours like a typical imperial stout: massive, viscous, syrupy, black as night (but with a surprising bit of deep ruby around the edges not unlike Coke), and with a small and evanescent, deep caramel head. A bit more head would have been nice, but it is seldom found in imperial stouts. There is some lacing, but much of that is destroyed in the flood of alcohol legs that adorn this beer. At 11.2% ABV this should come as no surprise. This is done perfectly to style, which is exactly what drinkers have come to expect from Founders.

Aroma: There is almost too much to describe here. Chocolate, coffee, and tasty roasted malts are the first to hit, but they are simultaneously supported and usurped by the oak and bourbon characters from the barrel aging. Beneath those first levels of aroma hides vanilla character (again from the barrel) and a pleasing cherry/dark fruit aroma. There is sweetness, bitterness, alcohol, and simply everything one can ask for from a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, let alone a beer in general.

Taste: Espresso and dark chocolates lead the charge, as in the nose, but, again, the barrel character is only a step behind, and it hits hard, though not in a bad, “hot” way, but rather in a more supportive role than in the nose. The vanilla from the barrels kind of steals the show, but the chocolate roastiness never fully fades away. Caramel, cola, cherries, and dark fruits also come through more as the beer warms, but they are never on the frontlines with the coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The balance here is truly incredible, and it makes for a ludicrously drinkable beer at this ABV.

Mouthfeel: Again, the drinkability of the beer is what stands out. There is no mistaking this beer for a summer day quaffer, but it is also not a heavy, sludgy stout bomb either. The carbonation is surprisingly strong for the style, which contributes to the silky smooth way the liquid goes down. The mouthfeel itself is at the low end of thick, and is honestly perfect. The drinkability of this beer sets it in a bit of a different playing field than other stouts, not necessarily better, just different.

Overall: Easily (and unsurprisingly) worth the hype. KBS is everything you might have heard it is. It is worth the day off work that people take to hunt it; it is worth $20 per four-pack; it is worth the race to the liquor stores in a fifty-mile radius around you. Nearly everything about this beer is perfect. This is the first bottle I have ever had of it, and it was absolutely worth the wait. It is worth trading for if you missed it this year. Bottom line, as mentioned way too much in this summary: KBS is worth it, whatever “it” may be to you.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am excited to finally try this beer, cheers Mark for the 4pack!

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

It pours perfectly opaque black, with a creamy, frothy 2 finger that settles quickly. Good carbonation, nice creamy swirls and lacing.

I usually don't get much from smell, but man this smells awesome! Coffey, chocolate, some tobacco, vanilla and a spiciness that could be hops. Very deep and complex on the olfactory system.e

This beer is just phenomenal from the first taste. I get coffee chocolate and oatmeal with vanilla, some smokiness, marshmallow tastes, bourbon (slightly, very well balanced), more coffee, mocha, caramel, espresso, and some alcohol. Has a nice warming alcohol bitterness, some hops. Alcohol is masked well.

I get a fully chewy mouthfeel, and pure creaminess and smoothness. Very very delicious. Nice carbonation, did I mention very smooth?

This beer is just fantastic, I love regular breakfast stout, but this tops something that I didn't think could be topped, I literally could drink this for breakfast in Kentucky, or anywhere!!!!

Cheers!

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

12oz bottle poured black as a steer’s tuchus on a moonless night. The smell of bourbon and coffee permeated the old nostrils. When first sipped the bourbon dominated the show, but as she warmed up a bit the coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate slowly oozed into the fracas. Personally I find KBS and Nemesis a little too heavy on the bourbon. Perhaps a coon skin cap and a musket would improve my demeanor...

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

Appearance is opaque black with a nice lacing of tan head. Aroma is immediately bourbon followed by vanilla and caramel. Taste is of caramel, bourbon and mocha. Mouthfeel is thick, resinous and viscous. Overall a great bourbon barrel stout that i wish i could try on tap.

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Photo of gunpwdr
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nose: Chocolate rum cake, vanilla, coffee. Sweet, dense, and very dessert-like. Palate: Vanilla, rum, and melted chocolate on the attack. Impressions of syrup and liqueur immediately come to mind. Raisins with more rum and chocolate on the mid-palate. Chocolate and rum linger on the finish.

I love bourbon. I love stouts. I love barrel aged alcoholic beverages... which includes bourbon, scotch, wine, and so many other drinks. I love this KBS. But I struggle to reconcile this drinking experience with anything I've had before... which is probably besides the point. This is a very enjoyable beverage. It comes off as heavy and cloying at times, but it is a brew for a specific time and place and although this is my first time drinking this, I am a fan. Big, not terribly elegant, but delicious.

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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.

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

A - Completely black with absolutely no translucency. Only a little khaki-tinted head with bits of refined lacing on the Stella glass. Moderate retention, but pretty good considering how little it started with.

S - Amazing...milk chocolate and bourbon mixed together perfectly. I'm not a big bourbon fan, but it's so well balanced in aroma that it is good whether or not you like bourbon. Slight bitterness as well.

T - Slight hop bitterness up front with a nice bourbon bite that is balanced out with a viscous milk chocolate taste that coats the tongue. The alcohol is slightly noticeable, but it is hard to decipher due to the bourbon flavor that pretty much masks it.

M - This is one of the best features of this brew. Typically in a bourbon barrel aged beer, the bourbon lingers forever due to its strong and ever-present tones. In this beer, however, the bourbon lingers, but at the perfect magnitude creating a warming sensation that makes you eager to keep coming back. The sweet milk chocolate is also a very desirable quality that isn't overdone in this beer. The bitterness of the hops (70 IBUs) is perfect for this style and does not kill the palate, allowing you to enjoy this brew for quite some time!...until you're dominated by the 11.2% abv...

O - Overall this beer is one of the best I've ever had and it is certainly the best I've had of this style. I thought all the hype might raise my expectations too high, but this beer really came through...well worth the effort and I am ecstatic that I was able to obtain a 4-pk. !!!

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

Poured from a 2011 12oz bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip.

Pours pitch black with one finger of dark mocha head.

Smells of chocolate/vanilla, coffee, oak and bourbon.

Taste is very sweet chocolate, vanilla, and coffee followed by bourbon, lots of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is smooth and thick with little carbonation.

Drinkability is excellent. The bourbon makes this a little boozy but it really enhances the flavor and the nose. Wish this wasn't so limited and expensive.

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

Poured into DFH Signature glass.

A: This is what a stout should look like, nice dark black with a full mocha cap.

S: Lots here, I'll try to do it in order. Coffee and chocolate, vanillan, toffee, chocolate again, and lastly bourbon followed by roasted malts.

T: This comes in waves as well, and its everything you smell, only opposite. First hit is the bourbon presence moving on all the way to the coffee finish.

M: Just where I'd want a barrel aged stout, full and creamy without being too oily. Bourbon bite lends its warmth throughout the entire palette.

D: This is a great sipper for a snowed in day, should be the sign of a good night to follow. This is one that is better as it warms slightly, but I find if you wait to long it ends up a little thin and disappointing. Its no real worry though, these go down fairly quickly even sipping.

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

I finally got my hands on a four-pack of this from my local eclectic beers shop, Lighthouse Beer and Wine. Love that place, and they definitely know their stuff. I walked in, asked if they had KBS, and the guy there nodded slowly, almost as if he didn't want me to buy it and was hoarding it for himself. Finally he said, "Fucking...Awesome." Of course I knew this. Scooped it on the spot.

Pours dark, dark, dark as the darkest evening you can imagine. Absolutely zero light filtration. I poured the damn thing nearly straight down, trying to get a semblance of a head on it, but no dice. This thing is HEAVY.

Wow, the smell...coffee, chocolate, so much malt, oatmeal, perhaps traces of fruitiness that reminds me of chocolate-covered cherries or something along those lines.

The taste was like no beer I have ever consumed, and I doubt I'll encounter an equal any time in the future. So much going on. Sweet, yet...not. The first taste is almost milk-chocolatey, and there's a lot of sweetness. But it finishes with a slight bitterness, much like a cup of good coffee. Your tastebuds yearn for more right after you swallow.

Not much carbonation, but there's so much going on that it would be hard to ask for more bubbles. It's very smooth, and it goes down quite easily. Perhaps a little aftertaste of bourbon as the beer begins to warm, which only makes it better.

Worth the hype.

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

Bottle from 2010 (thanks adrock7309 for the trade), drunken January 2013. Served from bottle at room temperature into a snifter.

A: Black as a cloudy Kentucky summer night. The thin head is brown mocha coloured. No fizz apparent. It leaves some lacing and sugar residue on the sides of the glass but not as clearly as you would see in lots of similar brews. The head resides quickly and leaves only a thin ring of brown foam around the deeply black liquid.

S: The big ones are coffee, chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. The coffee and the bourbon sticks out. There's also a tart fruityness that is best described as remeniscent of blackcurrants. I can defenitely sense som ethanol there aswell. Hop character is not apparent, neither are any other fruity esters than the blackcurrant.

T: This is multi faceted with an interesting transformation as it travels over and gently caresses the taste buds. On the tip of the tounge I get a sweet yet sour taste which I perceive as spot on blackcurrants. On the mid-part of the tounge, to be specific on the sides of it, I get sweetness and chocolate. After this taste I get bourbon with a distinct vanilla character to it. It all finishes at the root of the tounge with an overpowering coffee taste that ends with a bitter sensation with tastes of dark roasted malts and after that distinct alcohol. The aftertaste is coffee and chocolates with a hint of bourbon and it stays with me a long time afterwards, getting sweeter after a while.

M: Creamy and oily yet not overly thick. Very little carbonation but I would say the body is on the lighter side of full.
Has a warming of alcohol and bitter dryness as the last impression.

O: This is a beer that has loads of character and depth. There's some really huge chracteristic tastes battling for recognition and I'm a bit impressed that they pull it off as well as they do. But I would say the coffee tends to dominate a little too much and alongside with the alcohol being able to see it's way through this maze of tastes and smells I would not rate this a fiver. I would appreciete a tad more subtle chracters for it to blow my mind completely. Still a world-class beer that's very memorable.

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Photo of NefariousR
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. glass bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. The head is thin, but creamy and mocha-colored.

S - Incredibly pungent with roasted barley, strong bourbon hints, and chocolate. A slight punch from the hops is evident as well.

T - Heavenly. Thick chocolatey taste combined with roasted coffee flavors. The bourbon influence acts as a sort of glue, not asserting itself too strongly as a flavor but serving as a backbone for the other flavors.

M - Full-bodied and sticky, about average for the style. Surprisingly little warmth considering the ABV. Sits nicely in the stomach.

D - This is one hardy beer, definitely not a sessioner, though a big RIS fan could certainly kill a few of these based on the high quality. One of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of timfc
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a really amazing beer. It has almost everything I look for in a RIS, the one critique that I'd offer; the bourbon is just a bit too hot when the beer is cold. I love the vanilla and tannins that come through, and, as it comes up to temp (or, as I've had half a glass, hm, maybe both?), I can get more of the malt and sweetness as well as more hop-bitterness to balance it out.

I'd call 55 the perfect temp for this beer, and, should I find a place pouring at 55... I'll be happy to sit drink until they cut me off.

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,040 ratings.
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