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KBS and BCBS side by side

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MNAle, Apr 13, 2019 at 11:26 PM.

  1. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,398) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Since both of these once truck-chaser beers were more than plentiful this year, I thought it would be interesting (to me, at least... YMMV) to do a side by side tasting.

    First, here are my review notes for each beer by itself (done previously)

    BCBS (2018): "Aroma is whiskey with roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, dark fruits. Deep black with just a slight brown tinge around the edges with a back light. Short tan head dies quickly to a ring with an island in the middle. No lacing. Thick, chewy, substantial body initially on the tongue. Deep flavor of whiskey, roasty raisins, caramel, vanilla, and alcohol. Sweet and delicious. The finish is mild (low bitterness) with an alcohol burn. This stout is dangerously easy drinking and smooth."

    KBS (2019): "Tall tan head, thick and creamy from a fairly vigorous pour into a tulip. Opaque black color, even with a back-light. Head recedes moderately fast, leaving dense lacing. Somewhat thick creamy cap remains after a few minutes. A few minutes more results in a thin cap with creamy islands. Aroma is roasted coffee and chocolate, just barely picking up the bourbon aroma. Medium-thick feel, creamy. Taste is vanilla, chocolate, coffee, with bourbon just underneath, stronger bourbon in the taste than in the aroma. The barrel and whiskey is there, but definitely in a complimentary role. A subtle touch. An excellent intermix of flavors. Chocolate, no that's coffee, no that's vanilla, and then back to chocolate. Delicious. Nicely bitter finish."

    Side by side notes:

    Appearance: very similar, but KBS has a beautiful tan head, receding to a ring with islands. BCBS has virtually no head, just a thin cap that disappears quickly. Both from a vigorous pour into a tulip glass. KBS wins.

    Aroma: KBS has coffee and chocolate front and center, with bourbon well behind (but there). BCBS has strong bourbon and barrel front and center, with alcohol. Faint malt aromas. Winner: depends on what you prefer. I call it a tie.

    Feel: Both are moderately thick and chewy. Almost identical.

    Taste: KBS has a complex taste bringing out the chocolate, coffee, and vanilla intermixed and playing tag team with your tongue. The bourbon and barrel are more evident in the taste than the aroma, but not at the forefront. Alcohol is well hidden. BCBS is, as with the aroma, bourbon, barrel, and alcohol to the fore, but backed nicely with raisins, caramel, and vanilla. BCBS has a slightly sweet finish. KBS's finish is dry(er) and more bitter on the finish. Winner: hard to say. Personally, I prefer the balance KBS has struck, but, then, I tend to prefer a bit of bittering to balance the malts.

    Overall: Take your pick. Both are outstanding. For me, personally? A tie. I'll plan on buying several each year they are available in plentiful supply. (But, I don't chase, not even for these beers previously).
    #1 MNAle, Apr 13, 2019 at 11:26 PM
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019 at 11:34 PM
  2. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,318) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Seems anti-climatic to compare BCBS to a mere mortal beer, even KBS. I've never tried them side-by-side, though that could be interesting, and intoxicating. From memory, I'd pick BCBS but TBH part of that could be the hunt, the cult status, and the fancy-ass bottle. Neither requires much of a hunt anymore.

    I've done side-by-side comparisons of KBS 2018 vs. KBS 2019, and I picked 2019. I compared Central Waters BBA Scotch ale with Founders Backwoods Bastard, and it was pretty much a tie, though I tend to give the edge to the CW, partly because I'm from Wisconsin. Might have to try BCBS vs. KBS, but just for giggles, might do a three-way with Lucky Bucket Wicked Joe, which I feel can beat KBS. Oh hell, I'll throw CBS in too. I gonna' be hurtin'.
    dcotom likes this.
  3. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,398) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    You got that right (it took me 3-4 backspace/edits to post this!) :stuck_out_tongue: (we don't' have a drunk imogi, or however you spell it... )
  4. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (141) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I really like the idea of this review, even though I agree with @bbtkd, I feel like they’re two very different animals even though they’re in the same style. Nonetheless, still a fun and interesting review. Might have been more fun if it was blind! Maybe with a third wild card in the mix.
    Either way, it’s fun to read a thorough side by side!
    Junior, GOBLIN, MNAle and 1 other person like this.
  5. Tucquan

    Tucquan Poo-Bah (2,849) Oct 11, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Thanks. I really enjoyed the side-by-side.
    MNAle likes this.
  6. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,398) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I don't think I would have survived that!
    Junior, GOBLIN, mambossa and 2 others like this.
  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,778) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Anybody know if the difference in appearance and the head on the two beers may have originated from the higher ABV in BCBS?
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,778) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Nice! Thanks for taking one for the team....
  9. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (1,917) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    These two beers are probably my #1 and #2 favorite annual releases. Even though they are the same style they couldn't be further apart. Bourbon County is in a league of it's own. To me it is much more balanced and refined. KBS is a bit aggressive without letting it sit a bit. This year's KBS seemed particularly coffee dominate.
    Cheers, @MNAle, for putting these two giants head to head.
    mkh012, dcotom, Junior and 2 others like this.
  10. Roguer

    Roguer Site Editor (3,990) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    I don't quite think that's it, although it's tempting to chalk it up to that at first glance.

    Far too many high ABV stouts produce a better head than recent batches of BCBS - and far too many similar BBA stouts in KBS' range produce little or even no head (the last couple of years of SMS, for example).

    Higher ABV is certainly a factor when it comes to head production (and retention), I just think there's more to it than that. Perhaps the barrel selection, treatment, care, cleanliness, temperature while aging .... I think there's something about the aging process that is a more dominant factor than the ABV alone, although I don't claim to know what, precisely.
    drtth likes this.
  11. Roguer

    Roguer Site Editor (3,990) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    Nice side-by-side - I'm a sucker for those.

    Some would naturally suggest BCBCS vs. KBS is a better comparison, but I'm fine with BCBS vs. KBS. Naturally one understands the coffee and chocolate added to KBS makes a difference, but going into it with that understanding, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to compare the two - both in terms of quality, and in terms of personal preference.

    I haven't done a true side-by-side between these two, but I will say, after several bottles/draughts of each lately, that the last batch of BCBS really seemed dialed in, whereas KBS 2019 left me feeling a little off. I'll grab some bottles at some point and let a little age set in; KBS always seems a touch harsh to me fresh, but really mellows out nicely out to about a year.
  12. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,344) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I think certain malts have the capability to produce a better head than others, but I'm not knowlegeable enough to know which ones. Oats may be one but I don't know if oats are used in either of these beers.

    Edit: Nice side-by-side, OP. Thanks.
    Roguer likes this.
  13. Roguer

    Roguer Site Editor (3,990) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    I am nearly certain that oats are used in KBS. FBS was used as the prototype for KBS, and while they quickly became their own beers, I would be surprised if they dropped the use of oats entirely.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  14. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,379) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I haven't done a side by side, but I used to prefer KBS over BCBS years ago, but last 2-3 years, BCBS I prefer over KBS. As mentioned KBS has a little more bitter and bite to it where BCBS is a little sweeter and smoother IMO.
    Bitterbill, Phoodcritic and mkh012 like this.
  15. Junior

    Junior Zealot (544) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Not picking here...our tastes couldn’t have greater contrast. I was going to post the opposite. For me KBS is perfectly balanced, especially fresh. The bourbon character of BCBS is too pronounced for me, especially fresh.
    PatrickCT and bound4er like this.
  16. AMessenger

    AMessenger Initiate (29) Mar 17, 2018 Pennsylvania

    The link between BCBS and KBS seems to have more to do with similar levels of hype than flavor profile. The coffee is such a strong flavor component in KBS and the bourbon barrel so strong in BCBS that it would be difficult for me to really compare the two beers.

    I like coffee and I like coffee stout but I guess I’m just a simple man in thinking that a quality bourbon barrel stout is diminished by the addition of coffee rather than enhanced by it. Give me plain BCBS over the coffee variant every day of the week. I’ll take KBS over BCBCS if I want a coffee stout.
  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,735) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Nice review, I’ve never done them together as well. Off the top I’d say I much prefer the coffee notes in KBS to regular BCBS. It been a few years since I’ve had BC Coffee,but I’d say if given a choice this one would be at the top of my list.
  18. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,318) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I prefer coffee beers where they don't turn it into a bitter-bomb, covering other flavors. KBS does that to some extent, but BCBS doesn't since coffee is a secondary flavor. Lucky Bucket Wicked Joe BBA coffee stout has strong coffee flavor without all the bitterness, and I prefer that over both KBS and regular BCBS.
  19. mkh012

    mkh012 Zealot (596) May 7, 2015 New Jersey

    I haven't had 2019 KBS, but comparing 2018, I definitely prefer BCBS. Imo KBS is a very good imperial stout, while BCBS is an incredible one. I don't get the same fudgey caramel depth from KBS that I love in BCBS. BCBS is definitely thicker and more luxurious, but also more alcohol.
    Phoodcritic likes this.
  20. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Defender (694) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    I think Founders made a Brewery only version of their FIS that was barrel aged, a side by side of that with BCBS would be nice, oh heck, I'd even to Brickstones Dark Secret into the mix. IMHO it beats any BA stout I've had this year.
  21. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,318) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Yup, would like to try it; https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1199/49237/