Craft Beer Review: KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) 2017

craft beer founders kbs kentucky breakfast stout

The stories are true.

If you’ve never tasted Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company but you’re familiar with the lore about the now iconic brew, and your drinking buddies who have had it are trying to convince you it lives up to the hype, believe them. This beer is the pinnacle of the barrel-aged American Imperial Stout.

A bourbon lover’s dream

Everything about KBS is truly great. It pours thick and syrupy yet is much lighter than one would expect without it being considered thin. Its deep, roasty and boozy profile is exactly what one wants from the style, but a subtle sweetness from chocolate with notes of vanilla round out the brew and save it from being too harsh.

What makes this beer even better is the spectacular bourbon infusion from the year spent sealed away in bourbon barrels — in a cave, according to the bottle.

For those who love bourbon as much as they love beer, this is the beer you want to get hold of. Unlike other super boozey offerings that have come out in the last few years, KBS holds true to its identity as a beer. Many people who try beers such as Samuel Adams’ Utopias or, from my personal experience, Dogfish Head’s Higher Math, the beers come across less as a beer and more as a spirit of its own kind.

KBS is clearly carbonated with well defined hop and malt characteristics. The beer has obvious connections to the more widely available Founders Breakfast Stout, and despite its boozy taste and high ABV, the beer is quite drinkable. Unlike, say, Higher Math, KBS is a beer you can drink a mouth-full of without the harsh burn or spirits sensation the Dogfish offering presents. This isn’t a bad characteristic for Higher Math, by any means, but it makes for a dramatically different drinking experience.

All in all: 10/5. Well worth the $23.99 plus tax and deposit for four.

Believe it or not

I’ve been on the hunt for KBS for three years. When I first got into craft beer, I was a broke college student, broadening my horizons one Wegman’s create-your-own six pack at a time. Although I went to school in Brockport, New York, a small town in the shadow of the craft beer epicenter known as Rochester, I rarely had extra money enough to make a trip into the city to wait in line for a four-pack priced at what I could feed myself for a day.

So, today, a working adult who conveniently lives down the street from a fantastic bottle shop here in Watertown, New York, I woke up early so I could make sure I was at the bottle shop in time to get my hands on at least a single bottle of KBS.

The store opened at 9 a.m. so I made it a point to arrive at 8:30. When I got there I was shocked to see not a single car in the parking lot. The shop had announced via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that they had a supply but when I walked in the door, I was able to get the second four-pack on the display. There was only one other person waiting at the door but they didn’t even bother with KBS.

Here’s to all my future pickups going as smoothly.

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Born and raised in Northern New York and schooled at the College at Brockport, SUNY. Journalist by trade, beer lover by ... well, life.

1 Comment

  1. Brett Swanstrom

    April 3, 2017 at 7:53 PM


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