KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is an American Imperial Stout by Founders Brewing Co. whose barrel-aged palate features coffee, oak, chocolate, and bourbon.

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KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is an American Imperial Stout brewed by Founders Brewing Co. For the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) by Founders Brewing Co.

Packaging art for the KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) by Founders Brewing Co.

What You Need to Know

The KBS is the most popular and sought after beer that Founders produces. Why? Well, for one, scarcity. It’s only made available for a couple of months each Spring. But mostly, it’s because of its renowned flavor. To begin, their classic Breakfast Stout has been brewed with large amounts of coffee and chocolate. The beer is then aged for an entire year in bourbon barrels beneath the city in old gypsum mines. The result is a brew whose layered and complex palate continues to delight craft beer loves across the country. As Jeremy Kosmicki, Founders Brewmaster put it: “You put the right beer in the right barrel and you’re going to create some pretty interesting flavors…”

And indeed they did. So how was the KBS? Let’s get to the review.

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Appearance

The Stout pours an opaque black and is topped by nearly an inch-thick cap of loose, mocha-brown-colored froth that shows fair retention. The reduction leaves behind a bubbly ring around the collar of the glass.

Aroma

The aroma is initially quite sweet with a scent of dark chocolate and brown sugar. As the beer begins to lose its chill, the aromatics offer coffee, oak, and some boozy bourbon.

Label art for the KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) by Founders Brewing Co.

Label art for the KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) by Founders Brewing Co.

Flavor

The tasting begins with bready malt mixed with cocoa. A bite of coffee roast and earthy woods follow. Bourbon then smacks the palate with its booziness. The heat lingers through the finish and a sweet taste of vanilla is picked up on the swallow.

Mouthfeel

Its feel is smooth and creamy with a modest chew. Medium-full body with medium-light carbonation. Finishes dryly with a shade over moderate warming sensation.

Overall

Its appearance is fine but better head retention would be preferred. Of course that’s nitpicking. Otherwise, the KBS smells wonderful and its palate is oh so flavorful. At first its booziness runs a little hot and overwhelms the rest of the palate. But as the beer warms, the other flavors really begin to shine. Of course, depending upon your perspective, that blast of booze could be a good thing. Regardless, just prepare yourself.

How the KBS Came to Be

Back in 2002, Founders’ co-founders Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens had this crazy idea of aging their popular Breakfast Stout in bourbon barrels. They literally went through the white pages of a phone book and pulled up the number for the Jack Daniel’s general store. Mike shared their idea and was told they were welcome to use their barrels just so long as they picked them up. A year later they discovered they were really on to something. Today, the KBS is one of Founders’ most popular styles and each year the brewery celebrates its release during what has become known as KBS Week.

When a beer is as hyped as this one, it’s not easy to live up to those expectations. But the KBS pulls it off. All things being equal, the KBS is an absolutely delicious and complex boozy treat. When you taste it, you’ll understand why there are so many raves, and maybe, even its lofty price tag.

Watch the Video

Check out the video below from Founders as the brewers talk about the KBS American Imperial Stout.

Have You Tried the KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)?

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