KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso
Founders Brewing Company

KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - EspressoKBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #105
Ranked #379
4.42 | pDev: 5.66%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - EspressoKBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - 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?
Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 618 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Devin2424 from Connecticut

4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass

Look- Black with a tan head

Smell- Coffee, bourbon, and a hint of vanilla

Taste- Coffee is the focal point. Bourbon, hints of vanilla, and chocolate

Feel- Medium bodied, slightly dry. Bitter aftertaste

Overall- Very good coffee stout I would drink again and again

Yesterday at 01:53 AM
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npolachek from New York

4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good Espresso flavored beer. End of day, its a bit too bitter for my own liking (almost like drinking an Espresso itself), but still a solid brew.

Thursday at 02:46 AM
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LeRose from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second KBS variant. Pours inky black with the requisite beige head, so its a looker.

The immediate smell is coffee and acrid dang near burnt coffee. Then some chocolate and not a whole lot else intensity wise. There us a bit if vanilla, a bit of oak, and a very weak hint of bourbon. Coffee dominates.

The taste more or less follows, but the traces emerge a bit more. Coffee still rules, but there is milk chocolate and a sweet vanilla taste that tries to balance out the intense, acrid coffee. The beer balances out more as it warms and as the taste buds adjust, but it never quite escapes the coffee sledge hammer and stays a bit unbalanced for me.

Medium bodied, a touch of chalkiness. Somewhat drying, and a coffee bitterness/char in the aftertaste.

I have had this one and the maple mac fudge variant and have to say I prefer the OG KBS and it isn't close. While I can't say that either variant are poorly made beers, my buds simply prefer the unflavored version.

Monday at 01:40 PM
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Pegasus from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance; All but utterly black in color, with a large, very finely-beaded and dense tan head, with excellent retention. A strong light reveals purplish-red highlights. The lacing leaves a thick and irregular ring about the glass wall.

Aroma: The most immediate impression that the aroma conveys is of espresso beans dipped in bitter chocolate, almost as if a cold espresso shot were before me, at this moment. I am unable to discern any note of alcohol, whatsoever, interesting, in light of the ABV of twelve percent.

Taste: The taste begins with espresso beans and bitter chocolate, and cold coffee. KBS Espresso really does recall sweetened cold espresso, with a flourish of vanilla. Along te way, there are notes of burnt caramel and dark molasses. Wood notes are slight. The high ABV of twelve percent is unnoted in the taste, but offers a gracious warmth. The finishes is dominated by espresso flavors, bitter chocolate and moderate wood, and some dryness.

Mouth feel: Full and rich, creamy, with a sensation of whole milk. There is just a bit of sharp carbonation for interest.

Drinkability/notes: An absolutely wonderful example and a stunning counterpoint to Founders KBS. Which is better? I cannot say, in truth. To be sure, either is superb, and worthy of accolades. And the KBS Maple Mackinac Fudge awaits. Perhaps a flight of all three is in order.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, bottled on 02/26/2018, served in an Ommegang chalice.

Jan 10, 2021
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blazerkor from Nevada

4.99/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It smells like rich coffee with only the slightest of sweet malts and liquor.

It has a strong coffee flavor that is right in your face. Then it mellows out a little and you can barely tell it's a beer. It's the most coffee forward beer I've had and has little to no alcoholic taste.

Like other Founders stouts it's not full bodied. It's medium bodied and really smooth with just a bit of carbonation. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste that is quickly gone.

Overall it's a masterpiece like other Founders stouts. It would be a perfect candidate for nitro.  I would give it a 5.8 out of 6.

Jan 08, 2021
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dsa7783 from New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Single, twelve ounce bottle copped from Bottle King in Livingston. Pours a thick, viscous, mud colored hue with a powerful aroma replete with hints of burnt coffee beans and Italian espresso. Slightly bitter finish reminiscent of dark Ghirardelli chocolate. Not bad.

Jan 04, 2021
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Gmann from New York

4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black as night color with a dense dark brown head that settled into a solid ring around the glass.

The aroma is quite sweet. Big bourbon and vanilla notes. Dark chocolate and prune. Hint of stale coffee.

The taste is of dark chocolate, caramel and toasted pumpernickel. Nice dark roasted coffee flavor. Unfortunately might be a bit faded as this is not a fresh sample. The espresso probably does give it some staying power though. The bourbon and vanilla are still quite present and balances well with the rest of the beer.

The feel is so smooth. Good balance between the sweet, the roasted barley and coffee. ABV nowhere to be found. A bit sticky in the finish.

Wish I had a fresh sample to get the full espresso intent however I feel like I am drinking a fresh KBS though. These are just fantastic beers.

Jan 03, 2021
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GMoneyMagic from Michigan

4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Listen up!
This is one of my Top 10 beers!
I am a self admitted noob, when it comes to bourbon barrels, but I know beer (man do I know beer) , and this is a amazing!
Dark, dark dark.
Coffee and bourbon, just like it should.
Good, smooth bourbon, Not that 5 o'clock stuff, I'm talking good bourbon you would actually drink! Really good espresso too.
The feel of this is an alcoholly (different than alcoholically) silk. It may be the most amazing aspect of this amazing brew.
Comes in a four pack! I drankem all watching mindhunter!

Dec 30, 2020
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Bluerabbitbell from Pennsylvania

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

Christmas 4 pack present from the DW! This is our second bottle for the review. Reviewing without any food to get just the beer

Smell: deep molasses, espresso and chocolate.

Heavy on alcohol burn deep in the belly!

Definitely get the espresso kick on the test. Sweet bourbon flavor is there for sure!

Splitting a bottle between the two of us is just right!

Dec 28, 2020
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aBosslyElephant from Florida

4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L- Rich and dark. Pitch black to the color of a deeply brewed coffee with a roasted head.
S- Smells of coffee left in a bourbon barrel. Heavy on the bourbon aged barrel.
T- Incredible. Rich dark chocolate and sweet coffee. A smooth bourbon taste. Masterclass
M- Smooth and dense with a thicc body.
O- Masterclass brew. KBS and KBS Espresso are equally as amazing with slight differences making them both well worth your money

Dec 28, 2020
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JohnG190 from New York

5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a thick tawny head that dissipates rather quickly. On the nose, coffee! The dark roasted espresso kind of coffee. On the palate, great mix of dark chocolate, espresso, with bourbon coming through on the finish with a slight alcohol burn. Medium bodied with slight carbonation. Overall, as an espresso lover, this is my kind of stout! Founders does it again!!!

Dec 28, 2020
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mgrady3 from Missouri

4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass for a Christmas night cap.

Color was a dark brown/mahogany, lighter than expected, not pitch black like oil as some imperial stouts can be.

Maybe I didn't let it warm up enough but i was a tad underwhelemed with the aroma, there was definitely a coffee smell but I thought it was a bit lacking.

There was a strong head on mine, maybe 3 fingers or so, so much that the full pint was full when the head was at peak even though it was 12oz bottle. The head dissipated fairly quickly.

The taste is where this one shines. The balance is pretty fantastic. Its a perfect mix of dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, and bourbon. The latter comes through strongly on the exhale but does not overpower the taste up front. You could almost fool me into thinking this was a mocha that someone poured a bit of bourbon into. Its smooth as can be with not overpowering booze except at the very back end.

I would absolutely buy this one again, especially to share with others.

Dec 26, 2020
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beerookie from Ohio

4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Exceptional coffee stout!

This is possibly the best beer Founders has released in a long time! it has an exceptional combination of barrel aging while keeping a burst of espresso alive and kicking!

Dec 22, 2020
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Peach63 from New York

4.54/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep mahogany with a 1 1/2 inch beautiful, thick, foamy tan head, which lasts. Heavy lacing to the end.

Strong aroma of coffee, chocolate, roast malts.

Taste is bitter coffee, cocoa, bourbon, oak.

Full bodied, thick and oily. Light carbonation. Dry, astringent finish.

One of the best coffee flavored stouts out there.

Dec 15, 2020
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Herbabee from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A heavy, creamy, opaque and bold affair. Truly designed for a one-and-done nightcap sipper. I get hit with a big black cherry presence - amid the roasted malts, coffee/chicory and barrel infusion. A later revisit revealed a quite pronounced woody nose, almost like a charred coconut, acting in tandem with the other scents vying for the top. You can pick up the hootch too, but this one's a real ensemble cast of characters. Really am appreciating the nose in itself. Might like to vert this alongside reg'lar KBS to compare characteristics.

These new variations - Espresso as well as the Maple Mackinac - i find to be a worthy building addition to be permitted upon the KBS foundation and reputation.

Dec 15, 2020
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JohnFred4 from New York

4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Loook: brien and black

Smell: roasty coffee, fruit

Taste: I usually don’t even think that coffee beers taste like coffee because I’m very fancy about my beers. Coffee. Marshmallow. Bourbon.

Feel: syrupy yet light?

Overall: founders hits each mark that they aim to surprisingly well. I usually don’t thing that coffee stouts taste like coffee, but with this next to CBS and KBS Fudge, they nail the expression

Dec 07, 2020
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent ebony with 2 fingers of fluffy mocha colored head. Below average head retention & lacing

S: Plenty of coffee, vanilla

T: Follows the nose, a little dark chocolate lurks in the background along with dryness up front. Much dryness, from the barrel, along with a little booze bite, plus plenty of coffee, a little vanilla & chocolate & a little caramel. Finishes pretty dry with some raw barrel & a little booze, coffee still hanging there with a kiss of vanilla

MF: Medium body, fairly firm carbonation

ABV is well hidden on this, flavor is there wanted more complexity & depth of flavor . Was looking for a little more thickness on the body. I have found the last few batches of regular KBS too coffee forward, this seems only little more in this court, but I expect it here

Dec 05, 2020
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Vixie from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a pure black beer, with a larger that expected light brown head that lingers a bit longer than I thought.

Smell is mostly coffee and chocolate, and just a hint of smoke.

Starts out tasting strongly of coffee, but is quickly joined by sweet chocolate. There are notes of bourbon and smoke, and leaves a coffee like bitterness at the finish.

This is a very thick beer, and goes down a little hot.

I was a bit worried if I would like this one, as I am not a fan of espresso. From the first sip, I knew I had nothing to worry about, this is a really good beer. The coffee and chocolate are perfectly balanced, and there are other subtle flavors thta add to the experience. One of the better barrel aged stouts I have had.

Dec 02, 2020
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Greywulfken from New York

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this for the first time back on 12/19/19 - could've sworn I'd reviewed it... Quite simply an excellent coffee stout - KBS is a solid base, but the extra espresso coffee takes this up a notch - assuming you like coffee stouts that is - packed with bittersweet chocolate, rich coffee, and a little bit of bourbon and wood to lighten it out a bit - highly recommended...

Nov 30, 2020
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BucBasil from Rwanda

4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a pure opaque black color with no light coming in at the edges. Tan was one finger thick, a thick foam that stuck around for a long time.

S: Chocolate, whiskey, wood notes and smoke throughout, roasted malt and of course coffee. Irish coffee is the dominant smell overall.

T: Dark chocolate within, whiskey, Irish cream, of course coffee, but really like a double shot of espresso. Finishes with more roasted character, a slightly boozy burn, and coffee beans.

Overall, this was a stellar imperial stout. If I didn't know this was a variant of KBS, then I would think this was one of the best I've had. But somehow knowing that it is a version of KBS makes it less than what it is, if just slightly. The flavor and aroma is outstanding. But the price point is high. Worth it in many ways, but doesn't motivate me to pick up this particular one again. What it does it really makes me want to just try other KBS variants!

Nov 29, 2020
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

KBS Expresso from Founders. Purchased 11/17/20 for $28 (Including tax) for four-pack of 12 oz bottle ($ 0.583/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. Reviewed 11/28/20.
Rear label marked “Bottled on 10.16.20”. On room temperature shelf at store and stored at home at 42 degrees. Served at 57.3 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. Final temperature 62.4 degrees.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Amber brown (SRM 18), hazy.
Body – Black (SRM 40), opaque. When held to direct light, an intense ruby at only the thinnest edge.
Head – Large (Maximum 4.5 cm, aggressive center pour), fawn, high density, and initially slightly fizzy, average retention, diminishing to a four mm crown fed in several places by effervescence and having a thin smooth cap. Second pour produces no head.
Lacing – Very good. Wide irregular band tiny bubbles.
Aroma –4.25 – Heavy coffee, no hops, no yeast. Weakens but lasts the entire glass.
Flavor – 4 – Coffee (not as strong as the expresso I had driving the length of Italy on the Autostrade), no hops, no malt, no yeast. Barely noticeable bitterness but NO BOURBON. Absolutely no alcohol (12 % ABV, as marked on container) taste or aroma, although a slight gastric warming does occur. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl. Ends slightly sweet.
Palate – 4 – Medium, a bit watery, soft but lively carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4 Well. Certainly not what I was expecting, i.e. KBS with more coffee. What I got was a good coffee Impy stout with no hints of KBS – NO BOURBON, no chocolate, no vanilla, no oakiness, no alcohol. Still a good coffee Impy stout however, just little to none KBS-attached flavors.

Nov 28, 2020
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AmeriCanadian from Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My affection for KBS has decreased over time because it is a little too coffee-heavy, bitter, and sharp for my palate, is thinner than I think it should be, and has very little in the way of barrel characteristics (which is kind of the point of a barrel-aged beer). But I was excited to try the new variants, as I like what Founders does in general and I have enjoyed some of their more experimental brews.

This version carries the same attractive look, pitch black and silky in appearance, with a finger of mocha head that fizzles quickly and provides trace lacing. As a lover of chocolate and a touch of sweetness in big stouts, I expected to like the Mackinac Fudge variant much more than the Espresso version. The former went (in my opinion) too far in the chocolate direction, but since I find KBS to be overly coffee-forward to begin with, I was pretty wary going into this one tihnking it might be a double-down in a direction I didn't like to begin with. To my delight, the espresso is used masterfully on the nose, adding complexity to the coffee and roasted char notes of the base beer and creating an incredibly attractive and nuanced aroma profile. There still aren't a lot of complimentary things going on, but from the nose alone, this is my favorite of the bunch. Taste follows, but isn't quite as complex or unique, and the lack of barrel notes is a disappointment (and remains my primary complaint about KBS in general). It basically turns into an extremely delicious iced coffee -- incredibly drinkable, but it could be much more. The feel also remains a touch thin, which is unfortunate from a sensory perspective.

I'm really interested in try this one a few more times. Definitely my favorite across original KBS and the Mackinac Fudge variant.

Nov 28, 2020
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taste: dry roasted blackest coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, smokey, bourbon boozy warming finish. Bold aroma of deep toasty espresso coffee bean nose. Black, opaque, with dark tan head with some lace. Full body. Flavors with get better with age in a year or two. 70 IBUs

Nov 26, 2020
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StJamesGate from New York

4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Viscous jet with leggy beige cream head; Italian espresso nose with hints of brown sugar, wood, tobacco, + raisin toast; dark chocolate, licorice root, blackstrap molasses, kola nut, deep coffee notes, just a hint of barrel + maybe pine resin (if I try to find it); smooth, chewy, no heat.

4 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.25

Luscious nose, like a good cologne, but more significantly, promises a quality coffee.
Taste follows through - the coffee is not acidic, ashy, or any of the usual pitfalls of added coffee in beer. And when it threatens to go camp coffee, the chocolate drops back in.
If there’s any flaw, it’s that the battle between those two loses the barrel somehow - one of the least bourbon tasting BA’d stouts I’ve had. How problematic that might be is a matter of perspective.
It does rely ever so slightly too much on the coffee, rather than roast or hops, to tame the sweetness.
But don’t let that obscure how integrated, mellow, rounded, deep and satisfying this is.

Not just KBS with more coffee, but a gem nonetheless.

Nov 26, 2020
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mntlover from Tennessee

4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours motor oil black small coco colored head only spotty lace.

Aroma is big on coffee imagine that for a beer that's already big on coffee and they add more. But to be honest its the beer we all love with just more coffee. Still have the huge roasted notes, coco nibs, vanilla, charred oak and bourbon notes actually the extra espresso beans may make the charred notes a touch better.

Taste follows the nose and the variants of the nose no real need to go into detail. KBS we know and love with more coffee and a touch more charred notes.

Mouthfeel is nice and big also fairly smooth.

Overall I like it just like I though I would, KBS with a side of espresso beans.

Nov 17, 2020
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - Espresso from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 618 ratings