KBS - Espresso
Founders Brewing Company

KBS - EspressoKBS - Espresso
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Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #165
Ranked #425
4.42 | pDev: 5.88%
Jan 11, 2022
Jul 15, 2019
KBS - EspressoKBS - Espresso
Notes: KBS gets its coffee fix in the very first variant to come from our beloved bourbon barrel-aged stout. Yes, KBS may already be brewed with coffee, but it gets some extra oomph when it’s aged on espresso beans after being removed from barrels. The result is a fresh and snappy coffee twist on our classic barrel-aged beer. Who says you can’t start your day with a barrel-aged stout?

KBS stands for "Kentucky Breakfast Stout"

ABV varies by batch.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by mnredsoxfan69 from Minnesota

12 oz. Bottle, hard pour into a 16 oz glass.

L: Opaque, dark brown with 3 fingers of smooth, tan, quickly dissolving head to a thin ring. Significant lacing on the sides.

S: Warm coffee aroma.

T: Follows the nose. Thick coffee flavor with light cocoa and vanilla, and bitter hops flavor. No alcohol burn.

F: Viscous and silky, light bubbling on the tongue. Excellent smooth mouth mouth feel.

O: I'm glad I bought a four pack. I'm going to enjoy the other three bottles. Worth the price. I enjoy coffee flavored brews and this is a good one.

Jan 11, 2022
4.49 by bismarksays from Iowa on Jan 10, 2022
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by ZenAgnostic from Texas

12oz bottle poured into teku glass. Picked up from the wine shop for the going rate. Bottled On: 09.09.21 printed in black box in the middle of back label. So this is only 4 months old.

Appearance - Same as the other KBS varieties. Opaque black body where not a single photon shines through even when backlit. Very small brown head with great retention. 5

Smell - Roasted coffee and a hint of chocolate. More rounded and pleasant than the vanilla and cinnamon variety. 4.5

Taste - Has that coffee buzz. Very bold, but nothing feels too strong or out of place on the whole. 4.5

Mouthfeel - Iced espresso I guess. Full bodied. 4.75

Overall - No off notes. Pretty enjoyable. For health reasons I don't drink caffeine. But this is a legit sipping beer regardless. 4.5

Jan 10, 2022
5 by KrissyKat6 from New York on Jan 09, 2022
4.51 by Agriverbear from Texas on Jan 08, 2022
4.65 by seangibbs60 from Minnesota on Jan 06, 2022
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

Bottled on 9/9/21 and served into a large snifter.

Pours a beautiful opaque black with a magnificent cocoa head very similar to that found on an espresso. Plenty of lacing and head retention is lovely.

Aroma is pure, unadulterated coffee here. If the name contains the word espresso, I expect coffee, and this one has it. Perfect amount of coffee aromas mixed with the underlying stout. Tiny hints of bourbon and strong tea and tobacco.

Solid flavor here. For some reason, it seems slightly sweet, which I don't particularly care for. It isn't cloying but not what I desire. Goof flavor though. More of that strong coffee, bourbon, dark plums, raisins.

I can feel the alcohol heat which is fine on this cold winter night. Thick on the tongue and very drinkable. A good rendition of KBS!

Jan 06, 2022
Photo of mvanaskie13
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

Poured into a chalice: color is very dark brown/black, head is tan with fine bubbles, head presents 1 finger thick, then quickly dissipates to thin top with thicker ring along the glass sides, spotty lacing as well.

Smell is big chocolate, more than expected, then espresso/coffee beans, roasted malt, chocolate malt, and lighter bourbon, limited oak.

Taste is quite similar - more chocolate, more coffee and less bourbon than expected: initial taste is chocolate, then espresso and medium roast coffee, roasted malt, chocolate malt, bourbon is light but there and then very light oakiness. The abv is really hidden by the sweet/bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel is low/moderate carbonation, moderate/stronger sweetness, moderate bitter character from the chocolate/coffee/barrel and base beer hopping.

Overall a much more sweet/chocolatey beer than expected - coffee/espresso seems secondary, bourbon is nearly non-existent.

Jan 03, 2022
Photo of sethmeister
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by sethmeister from New Hampshire

Pours into my tulip glass an oilu fully opaque near-black with a thick frothy light brown head. Head drops to a skim presently leaving some bubbly lace.

Scent is bourbon, vanilla, and cold espresso. Cherries. Oak.

Taste is an initial rush of bitter espresso with waves of chocolate, vanilla, cherries and dark fruit following. Bourbon notes. More chocolate. More coffee.

Mouth is voluptuous and creamy.

Way too easy drinking for a 12%ABV RIS. Wow. The rating is deserved.

Dec 30, 2021
Photo of Andrew_NYC
4.89/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by Andrew_NYC from New York

Dark, opaque black pour with a dark tan head. Big and fluffy.

On the nose this smells pretty much exactly like original KBS, but maybe a little stronger smelling.

Taste is noticeably different from original KBS. A stronger bitterness up front but then richer, chocolatier flavors in the middle. Rich dark chocolate fudge with roasted malt. I wouldn't say the coffee flavors are especially strong. You can tell it's high in alcohol, but I think the finish is smoother and less spicy than a lot of barrel aged beers.

Thick and rich feel. Just a little bit sticky so it coats the mouth just right so you get all those lovely fudgy flavors.

I think I like this even more than the original KBS. It'd be interesting to taste them next to each other. But this is just what you want a big, barrel aged stout to be. Great balance of bitter and sweet and rich.

Dec 27, 2021
Photo of CaptainHate
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by CaptainHate from Ohio

12 ounce bottle dated 9/9/2021. Poured into a DFH tulip yields a dark brown body topped by a large creamy head which leaves abundant lacing. Smell is of strong coffee and char. Taste follows the nose but with a rich creaminess. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is thick and very rich. As it warms a chocolate presence asserts itself but the coffee remains predominant.

Dec 26, 2021
Photo of dcotom
4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by dcotom from Iowa

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a petite snifter and allowed to warm. An aggressive pour yielded a finger of dark tan head stop an almost opaque motor oil colored body. Good head retention, with a bit of pretty lacing. Aromas and flavors are dominated by bitter dark-roast coffee, and that is a marvelous thing: up front, in the middle, and lingering on the finish. Tons of char, with notes of molasses and licorice. Silky mouthfeel, not sweet at all, with a dry finish and lots of alcohol warmth. The high ratings on this one are no surprise at all. This is another home run from the folks at Founders.

Dec 22, 2021
4.5 by BeerMeCJS from California on Dec 11, 2021
4.22 by Korbynlehr from Kentucky on Dec 05, 2021
4.28 by steve8robin from Massachusetts on Dec 05, 2021
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.69/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by 4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

Great looking pour of beer. Big full creamy head.

Smell is that of chocolate and coffee; very mocha like. No barrel notes in the aroma. Smell is wonderful probably the strongest attribute of this stout.

Taste is dominated by very dry bakers cocoa and just a little coffee. No barrel notes either. There is a definite taste & smell mismatch here.

Nice medium body stout. Low carbonation level. Creamy textured body. Not boozy.

Overall this beer just underwhelmed me. Not a coffee bomb. The chocolate was too much & very dry. The nose and flavor mismatch promised more than the stout could deliver. And where the heck is the bourbon barrel? Meh... Glad I grabbed a single & didn't commit to the 4pk.

Dec 03, 2021
5 by Dalkri from Massachusetts on Nov 29, 2021
4.25 by SadMachine from New Jersey on Nov 28, 2021
Photo of BCole281
4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by BCole281 from Texas

12oz bottle, poured into a Bell's tulip glass.

L - Pours a very dark brown with thick tan head that fades to a ring.

S - Coffee dominates the nose along with notes of cocoa and bourbon.

T - Black coffee, dark chocolate, stone fruit. Slight boozy heat from the 12% ABV.

F - Full-bodied, smooth mouthfeel. A very easy sipper.

O - Excellent. Well worth trying.

Nov 26, 2021
Photo of dkoehler42
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by dkoehler42 from New York

Founders KBS espresso is a flavored stout advertising as an ale brewed with chocolate and coffee in oak Bourbon barrels. It pours and impossible to see through dark brown with a rich brown head, and a boozy coffee nose. The coffee is up front and dominates until a chocolate undertone starts to play. Shortly thereafter, the palate mostly clears except for a slight residual bitterness. This is an excellent cold season beer to be enjoyed responsibly at 12%.

Nov 23, 2021
4.35 by Bogdawg from Massachusetts on Nov 21, 2021
4.5 by Corburk from Pennsylvania on Nov 20, 2021
4.4 by NickMunford from Wyoming on Nov 16, 2021
4.25 by yuno from New York on Nov 14, 2021
4.43 by LXIXME from New Mexico on Nov 14, 2021
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

Tasted in a 5 oz snifter from draught at Firkin on November 8, 2021.

Nov 12, 2021
4.4 by fountainofyouth from District of Columbia on Nov 12, 2021
4.6 by SpdKilz from Illinois on Nov 11, 2021
Photo of jjamadorphd
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by jjamadorphd from Florida

I can sum this up by writing: Cuban Espresso with a healthy shot of bourbon...

...Damn, is it good. Now, if you're not a fan of that dark, rich, strong coffee flavor, well then, this is not for you. Otherwise, this is a must find and drink.

Nov 07, 2021
Photo of mkh012
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by mkh012 from Colorado

Bottled 2 months ago (Sept. 2021).

Pours near-black with a persistent tan head.

The nose is huge coffee with hints of chocolate and booze.

The taste is coffee, chocolate, and low to medium booze and bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium for the style. Somewhat lacking.

Overall, good. Not my favorite KBS variant but worthwhile.

Nov 06, 2021
Photo of Troy-Hawaii
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

Bought a single 12oz bottle $6.99 Village Bottle Shop
56 days old
Smell of fudge, then coffee, then bourbon
Dark black color
Heavy-medium mouthfeel
Low carbonation
Taste of dark chocolate, coffee bitterness, light bourbon, slight alcohol aftertaste but hides it well for the high ABV
Overall a great beer. I do prefer the original KBS, which also happens to be cheaper and would choose it over this at the same price.

Nov 05, 2021
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

KBS Espresso has a thick, beige head, with a black appearance and minimal lacing. The aroma is of dark bread crust, coffee, cocoa, and a touch of bourbon. There is a similar flavor, with acrid bitterness and sweetness. KBS Espresso has a heavy body, a velvety mouthfeel, and a mostly-dry finish.


Oct 31, 2021
4.12 by KT3418 from Colorado on Oct 30, 2021
Photo of beerthulhu
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by beerthulhu from New Jersey

Bot: 10.16.20 Consumed 08.06.21.

A: Spongey textured head has as dark hazelnut coloring is one inch high, very secure and holding considering the beers high abv value. The pour was oily black, espresso darkness, with a faint carbonation sense. Dark and menacing in the vessel just as I like it. Weak whispy lacings.

S: Dark molasses and deep rich chocolate, brownies straight from the oven, along with some sweet caramel-rum notes. Touch of smoky charred barrel and burnt caramel and coffee roast. Hints of sweet figs, maple syrup with a very good strength. Vanilla sweetness and sweet dark fruit of plums round out.

T: Charred wood and smoky welcome. Flavor was roasted espresso, dark plums and burnt charred barrel wood. A light smoky aspect about, with spicy dark fruit, chocolate, rye and bourbon oak wood chips. Some spicy anise adds bitterness and an earthy spicing along with roasted barley, charcoal and some damp campfire soot.

M: Creamy rich mouthful is full bodied and smooth off the tongue with a light carbonation and an earthy and bitter warming. Charred barrel wood remains behind.

O: Founders is well known for their KBS varieties and for good reason. A dark and enriching experience of espresso, chocolate and charred barrel goodness is hard to argue with. Silty damp campfire soot and ash, earthy bitterness, coffee roast and sweet chocolate accents all combine for a next level beer.

Oct 18, 2021
Photo of Patrick2012
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Patrick2012 from California

Definitely a great rendition of the original. Not quite the same beast but very enjoyable nonetheless. Super smooth when it comes to room temp. Plenty of espresso and bourbon. You get a roasty, woody feel on the aftertaste.

Oct 18, 2021
4.31 by dt_gbpackersfan from Missouri on Oct 16, 2021
Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by JJKBeerLvr from Pennsylvania

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in October 2021. There was a bottled on date of 08/19/21 @ 07:16, so the beer was about 2 months old. I drank this about 1 week after purchasing the 4-pack.

Appearance: Very dark black with a thin dark brown head. Head was about 1 finger high, and lasted a minute. It leaves only a little lacing on the glass, and ended with a thin tan head still on the beer.

Smell: Strong aroma of coffee, with some chocolate and bourbon as well. There is also some vanilla, caramel, and some other sweet aroma like black licorice, but overall the coffee dominate the others. It is a very nice balance of aromas, and I expected the bourbon to dominate which is did not.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the coffee, bourbon, and sweetness like chocolate and licorice flavors. There is some smokie roasted flavors, some caramel and vanilla flavors, and a little amount of bitter hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence, which matches the 12% on the label, but it is balanced nicely by the sweetness. The taste is an excellent mix.

Mouth-feel: Thick like liquid licorice, but with a smooth body. Not overly smooth like a Milk Stout.

This is an excellent, complex Stout, and it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is very smooth and enjoyable to drink. This chocolate sweetness nicely contrasts the bourbon flavor, and is a nice balance to the high alcohol content. I do prefer Founder's CBS and KBS stouts to this from their barrel stout series. Also, I prefer their Oatmeal Breakfast Stout to this for its overall drinkability. This is one of my favorite stouts overall. I just wish it was not so expensive.

My current favorite stouts in order are:
Founder's CBS
Founder's KBS
Goose Island Beer's Bourbon County Brand Stout
Weyerbacher's Sunday Morning Stout
Fegley's Bourbon Barrel Aged Insidious
Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Narwhal
Avery Bourbon Barrel-Aged Czar Imperial Stout
Weyerbacher's Chocolate Pretzel Sunday Morning Stout
Hoppin' Frog's BORIS Oatmeal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged
Founders Breakfast Stout
Funk Brewery Shot In The Dark
Founders KBS Expresso

Oct 09, 2021
4.25 by Samnem from Georgia on Oct 09, 2021
Photo of morimech
3.46/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5
by morimech from Minnesota

I get a lot of chocolate that unfortunately suppresses the espresso. Disappointing to say the least. Seems sweeter than regular KBS as well but it has been years since I have had that beer. Glad I got a single and didn't shell out for a 4-pack.

Oct 09, 2021
Photo of brureview
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by brureview from Massachusetts

Dark chocolate color with a 1F head in a Stone RIS snifter.
Strong espresso aroma.
Thin MF, not smooth or rich.
Very strong espresso taste.
I prefer the regular KBS stout
Not a standout ,but enjoyable to drink.

Oct 06, 2021
KBS - Espresso from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 712 ratings