KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso
Founders Brewing Company

KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - EspressoKBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #113
Ranked #479
4.42 | pDev: 5.88%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - EspressoKBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso
Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 277 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of tobelerone
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a nice beer but it’s kbs, and you’ve probably had that a bit already. And then some coffee added. I don’t get a particularly strong or distinguished coffee flavor, it’s just an amped up and added note on top of your familiar kbs. Honestly I was looking for something more assertive and distinct, a less generic coffee vibe but ultimately didn’t find it all that different from base kbs. This is an enjoyable and fairly nimble barrel aged stout but I wouldn’t say it improves on the classic, and it’s a letdown for a coffee fanatic. Funny to think but in the current milieu this comes in as easy drinking and a bit light in body. I don’t need a massive underattenuated sugar bomb but this feels positively lightweight to me, a la Ronnie Coleman.

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Photo of Anders91
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: dark and syrupy. Nice brown head

Smell: coffee for days, booze and malt too

Taste: coffee front and back, booze and malt too. Really good, the coffee is very present but doesn’t take over

Feel: smooth and syrupy

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Photo of jws7968
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nice new offering from Founders. Big coffee aroma and taste. The chocolate is present but not overwhelming. It doesn't have the boozy taste of a 12% beer. Great job.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 11.13.19.
In a snifter the beer was black with a small tan head. There was a bit of lace.
Big-time coffee aroma, just a bit of chocolate.
Pronounced espresso taste, then some chocolate, and a bit of vanilla at the end.
Big-bodied, dry.

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Photo of BayAreaJoe
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Less barrel and a whole lot more chocolate than regular KBS. I also like the coffee flavor of this one more. Feel is about the same - med body with no booziness. Overall, I probably like it about as much as the original. Definitely a nice changeup though. Hope they make more variants.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle - 2020 release, dated 11.18.19 - poured into a classic tulip at cellar temp (55F).

Pours absolutely black as jet night, with nearly four fingers of light mocha head that builds up like a dusty cloud, and holds its place for ages before eventually settling down to a film with a massive collar and very tenacious lacing.

Nose: Two words: Coffee. Bomb. They took espresso, aged it in bourbon barrels, and then finished it on stout beer. That's what happened right? Deep, full, roasty coffee, with tons of nutty impressions. Praline pecan, hazelnut, chocolate syrup, wet bourbon barrel, booze, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, molasses, and tons of fresh ground coffee. I'm not a coffee beer fan, but wow is this something.

Palate: This roasty behemoth greets the palate with a surprisingly restrained sweetness. It's certainly sweet and malty, but it's a mere sliver of the sweetness that CBS has, and from my memory, regular KBS was also a bit sweeter. Big dark malt sets the foundation immediately with some blackened roast quality. Coffee roast, bakers chocolate, and barrel char play supporting roles as well, setting the overall tone of the beer. Past the whole bombardment of all things dark, there are lighter notes of molasses, burned toffee, brown sugar, sweetened dark chocolate, and vanilla serve to add nuance and gradient layers. After this, we swallow, and the first thing to surface is a beautiful sweet, oaky bourbon presence. At this point, we're essentially into the finish, where a bunch of vanilla shows up, as well as toasted oak and caramel, before things take a turn back in the direction of roasty. Bitter cacao, fresh dark/espresso roast coffee grounds, black charred malt, and barrel char all serve to establish a big, bold, roasty, charry, dark finish with multiple sources of bitterness. Coffee and blackened malt lingers on and on.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is certainly full-bodied and rich, with a typical barrel-aged stout slickness to it, but it's far from fudgy or viscous. It doesn't put up a fight like most high ABV barrel-aged dark beers. If you chew it a bit, it does get slightly thick, but that's mostly due to the fine effervescence, which is low, naturally, but somewhat lively for the style. Wet up front, wet in the middle, and semi-dry in the finish, with drying roast qualities. Some ABV heat in the swallow, and throughout the palate.

Overall: KBS Espresso is everything you'd expect it to be. It very much mirrors its namesake base beer, but is just stuffed to the brim with fresh, roasty coffee. I normally (personally) prefer sweeter, thicker, fudgy barrel-aged ales, but I find the coffee actually increases the overall drinkabikity of this one, and in this particular case, I actually think that increased drinkabikity works in its favour. It's still one to sit down with, but the fact that it doesn't fight back in any way makes the whole sipping experience that much more enjoyable.

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Photo of Msp004
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black pour with nice 4 finger brown head which is gone rather quickly.

Nose is incredibly fresh expresso beans, incredibly fresh expresso beans and incredibly fresh expresso beans.

Mouth is expresso roast coffee, expresso roast coffee and expresso roast coffee. And I'm sticking to my story!!

Low carbonation and a fairly thin mouth feel. 12%? Where?

Expresso lovers brew for sure.
Forget Starbucks and grab a KBS.

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Photo of entheos
3.49/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I must not be a coffee drinker, because this was a disappointment. It’s rough to drink and tastes more like oak than coffee. Still, it is crafted with an artisan flair, but just not my cup of “coffee”.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful beer that is purely black with a dense tan head. The nose is dominated at an elemental level by the espresso beans - I get a little booze from the barrel, no chocolate, and then some more coffee.

The chocolate is present on the taste, though, which is awesome, because it cuts the espresso flavor some, and so does the booze from the barrel.

The biggest surprise to me with this beer, though, is the mouthfeel - it’s a smidge thin for me, which I didn’t expect.

This is still an excellent beer, IMHO, but I prefer KBS and CBS. Take that FWIW.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle
2020 Release
Bottled On: 11.18.19

Poured into a chalice a pretty nice dark brown/black color, with some pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy/fizzy one-finger tan head, which also leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some really nice chocolate/toffee, pretty nice coffee note, with a nice touch of vanilla, licorice, bourbon, nice oakyness. The taste is very nice, malty, hoppy, with some really nice chocolate/toffee notes, lot's of coffee, pretty nice vanilla sweetness, licorice, with a really nice bourbon/oak note. Full Body, ABV is hidden very nicely, a pretty complex brew, with a nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, a very nice brew! Glad to see it around here.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Look - fantastic super dark brown with a great tan head
Smell - chocolate caramel and coffee
Taste - really toasty coffee with a sweet caramel slight dark chocolate
Feel - fell body light carb, warming booze
Overall - great tasty beer!

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Photo of mushroomcloud
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled 11-15-19. Opened 1-12-20.
2 1/2 finger tan head with very good retention. Black Imperial Stout, all black. Fresh, sticky lace abounds. Looks great.
Bold coffee nose, rich and powerful - initially it is dominant over any other aroma. The barrel becomes known soon after with a hint of boozy wood. Charred, roasted malt. Some smoke.
Smooth but bold coffee flavor - rich malts, just hints of oak barrel and booze. Subtle almost to perfection.
Full body, rich mouthfeel. Smooth. Low to medium carbonation. Balanced to perfection - all parts play the right role. No warming or boozy heat even at 12%. Lingering coffee and bitter malt in a mostly dry finish.

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Photo of woodchipper
3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz refrigerated bottle tempered to 55 deg F, dated 11.15.19 to a diagonally cut tumbler. Black as can be, even the pour stream was darkest brown. Brown, medium head, medium lacing , despite hand washed/dried glass.
I do not get the coffee hit on the nose that other reviewers did. Mostly Bourbon, some earthy smells, this coffee lover is having a hard time sensing the coffee.
Unfortunately the taste follows the nose for me. I only get coffee been in the dry finish. I do sense oak and a hint of char.
Okay.... time out...... I feel like I'm the little kid pointing out the naked emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes. Maybe its my sample, but at $24 a 4-pack I'm leery of trying another.
Mouthfeel is satisfying, but lighter than expected.
I bumped up my overall because the finish was nice and dry (as I like it) and the look was great.

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Photo of emyers
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Near black with a thick mocha brown head, great head retention and lacing.

Nose: About as coffee-forward as you can get. There is a touch of bourbon underneath rounding it out but this is much more about the coffee than the barrel. Almost reminds me of an amplified FBS more so than KBS.

Taste: Follows the nose - huge coffee presence throughout. Bourbon barrel is there but definitely a secondary player. No alcohol heat, fairly dry finish with coffee and dark chocolate.

Feel: Medium body, dry, very drinkable.

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Photo of dpao
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful bourbon aroma with a bit of mocha. Strong espresso flavors, chocolate is very present, and the bourbon is not forgotten especially on the way down. Not quite as thick as I expected but pleasant texture and mild foam. Arguably it’s identity as a stout is somewhat lost and I’d be remiss to call it “well rounded.” This beer is great with a poppyseed bagel; it certainly delivers on its promise. I drink a plain espresso every day so I knew I would like this, but definitely a new standard for flavored stouts for me. Drank at 60F. I generally prefer colder drinks--highly suggest you drink this warmer than you would other stouts

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Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/14/2019. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense and rocky tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a small cap that lasts. Thick foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, raisin, date, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oaky earthiness. Minimal booze in the aromas as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/black/roast/bready malts, chocolate, espresso, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, raisin, date, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oaky earthiness. Light pine, herbal, woody, grassy, peppery, roast, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, dark bread/crust, licorice, molasses, raisin, date, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, chocolate, espresso, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with an amazing hop/char bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is fantastic. Mild increasing warmth of 12%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged imperial coffee stout. All around amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, chocolate, espresso, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV with the mellowly bitter/charred/tannic/drying finish; amazingly soft/silky feel. Amazing balance of super rich malts, fruity/nutty coffee, chocolate, and bourbon barrel presence/integration; with solid earthy hops and restrained fruity yeast. Light residual sweetness with lingering hop/char/tannin dryness. A highly amazing offering, and top tier style example as expected. Just as impressive as regular KBS, but a but more roasty/charred from the darker coffee roast.

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Photo of CHickman
4.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11.14.2019, it pours pitch black color with a creamy 1-2 finger thick brown head that faded slowly and left very nice spotty lacing. The nose was really nice but a little more muted than expected as the coffee and espresso didn’t pop or jump out of the snifter. Lots of roasted malts and dark chocolate, but the bourbon, char and vanilla were mild in the aroma.

Taste is where this one really impressed me as there are more coffee, coffee bean and roasty flavors from the espresso beans, and while it has less bourbon and vanilla aspects those shortcomings are made up for by extra chocolate, dark candy like Whoppers, char, smoked malts, rye, toasted coconut, faint dark fruit and a smoky bitterness. Some piney notes pop up before this slides down on the dry side, leaving what feels like cocoa powder residue across my tongue. A lot smoother than expected, this is a coffee lovers dream come true, this is a great KBS variant.

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Photo of Saylor
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

NOTE: not a coffee drinker but love the smells and occasional cream and sugar coffee-ish beverage

Delicious as expected from Founders/KBS. Thick pour, very straight up black coffee that i felt took away from the chocolate and bourbon flavors of the original

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a one finger creamy tan head. Good amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is espresso, dark chocolate, oak and bourbon.

T - The taste is big espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - Big bold espresso all over the flavor. Not as good as the original, but a tremendous beer nonetheless.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Another winner from Founders. Tons of expresso in this. So much so that it tends to cover the bourbon flavor. More like a really intense, lush coffee stout than a BBA stout. The mouthfeel is amazing. Breakfast stout on steroids sums it up. Not as good as the original but still impressive.

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Photo of KRug
4.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11/18/19

Woohoo trending beer look at me I'm trendy!! All kidding aside, I'm very excited for this one. OG KBS is not my favorite BA stout, but I still respect it for what it is. This pours pretty similar (don't they all?) with a near pitch black body and a dense, thick mocha head of about finger and a half, lacing all the way down the glass

Ok damn, the aroma is completely coffee up front, kinda like those chocolate covered espresso beans. The roast comes through as well, some vanilla like sweetness from the barrel. I've never felt more welcome to try a beer based solely off the aroma, just perfect

The taste, as you guessed it, is heavy on the coffee, backed with a rich chocolate malt characteristic that both makes the coffee pop, yet balances it. I can definitely pick up on a dark fruit note, maybe plum or grape, but it's pretty subtle. For as great as it tastes, I don't pick up too much on the barrel character taste wise. Maybe some more time in the barrels or different barrels would've brought that out a bit more

For 12%, this has a fairly light feel. Medium bodied at best, and not much carbonation unless held in the mouth. Very creamy and decadent

Overall I see this as an incredible improvement upon standard KBS despite my expectations, though I'm not sure why I had any doubts about a Founders beer! Absolutely worth a try for coffee lovers, and I will absolutely get more of this to enjoy and age, I hope they add this to the yearly lineup

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Photo of Roguer
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Impressive head production, with equally impressive retention and lacing. Big, flat fields of dark tan foam cling to the glass as the head slowly recedes, itself covering a wonderfully dark body.

Big tones of espresso meld with dark fruit and berries, brown sugar, molasses, oak, and bourbon mash. Rich and remarkable, but not as complex and deep as other beers, with the espresso dominating.

Flavor follows. While there's plenty of oak and bourbon, contributing to a slightly harsh booziness similar to the original KBS, there's simply a never-ending flood of espresso. Dark fruit, toast, tons of oak, molasses, brown sugar, red grapes. Only semi-sweet, with a nice cocoa base. Despite the dominance of the espresso, in particular on the finish, there is rich depth on the palate.

Hot and boozy, aggressive and assertive, but not at all unpleasant. Despite a boozy effervescence, plenty of flavor lingers on the finish, primarily oak and coffee, but also including touches of berry, caramel, and brown sugar.

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Photo of bsp77
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really cool variant that nonetheless does not match the original. The strong espresso flavor, while delicious, does overpower the cocoa and bourbon flavors of the original. Somewhat one note, but still highly recommended for coffee lovers.

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Photo of Riff
3.89/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head that fades to some lacing upon the top. Smell is coffee, hint of chocolate. Taste is coffee, roasted malts, bourbon, vanilla, hint of oak, cola. Surprising amount of carbonation, medium body. There is a lot going on and this serves better as a sipper to hold onto for a while and let all of the palette touch it. That said, it's fairly pricey for what it is. Tasty, enjoying it, don't think I'd buy at this price point again.

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Photo of NCSapiens
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I’m reminded of the Friend’s episode where Joey is enjoying food combinations that don’t go together: PB&J—good; pickles—good; PB&J AND pickles...gooood! Here we have a combination of ingredients that don’t really go together. I love coffee stouts. I love bourbon stouts (like KBS). But here we took KBS and added ingredients to create a sum that is less than the whole of the parts. At twice the expense we have a finished product half as good. Then again, assuming peak inebriation and lowbrow hedonism (like Joey’s): KBS—good; espresso—good; KBS AND espresso—gooood! I’ll confess being four beers into the night and loving this crazy concoction. And if you’re drunk enough you will too.

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 277 ratings