There are quite a few beers and whiskeys out there that don’t live up to the hype around them. Founders KBS is not one of those beers. Provided you like stouts, I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re a bourbon drinker who also likes stouts, then KBS is really a dream come true. If you’re reading this, you likely already know what this Kentucky Breakfast Stout is all about but if not, the Founders description will tell you all you need to know:
“What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.”
If you want to know what taste buds squealing sounds like, you’ll have to ask me again after another bottle or two…or better yet, pick up a bottle and see for yourself.
Founders Barrel Aged Series consists of 6 limited releases throughout the year with a pretty wide variety of styles and flavor profiles. The portfolio changes each year, and every bottle is typically announced only a month or so before its release. The 2017 series included Frootwood, KBS, Doom, DKML, Backwoods Bastard, and the highly anticipated CBS. KBS is the first release of the Founders 2018 Barrel Aged Series. So far, we know that KBS will be followed by Backwoods Bastard in April, which will then become a year-round beer going forward, and Dankwood in May. The second half of the 2018 series has yet to be announced but I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.
KBS is definitely a beer that I’d recommend sipping a little warmer than normal. For my tasting notes below, I opened a bottle straight out of the fridge and enjoyed it over a couple of hours taking note of how the flavor profile evolved as the temperature rose. The sweet spot for me was around 50-55° F.
- ABV: 12.3%
- Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
- Availability: March-April 2018
- Price: $22 / bomber, $25 / 4 pack bottles
Appearance: Pours a very dark, black coffee brown with a one-inch head that is fairly dark tan in color. Head dissipates rather quickly leaving a just barely noticeable ring around the edge.
Nose: Lot’s of dark chocolate, cacao, dark fruit, and dark roast coffee
Taste: Fairly high carbonation with a full-bodied, not quite syrupy mouthfeel. Straight out of the fridge, I get a lot of dark fruit…mostly raisin and dark cherry. Also a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. As it warms up, the dark fruit fades away and it starts to become very chocolatey, with a surprising amount of milk chocolate flavor. Lots of molasses and vanilla. Coffee starts to shine through more as the temperature rises as well.
Finish: Fairly long. Lots of chocolate with a bit of vanilla sweetness. The bourbon notes really come through here with some caramel and brown sugar sweetness lingering along with a touch of oak.
Overall: Unsurprisingly, Founders knocked it out of the park again with the 2018 KBS release. There’s a reason it sells out in most markets within a few days. I definitely regret not saving a bottle or two from 2017 to do a vertical tasting, but from what I remember (and judging from my 2017 tasting notes) it’s a very similar profile. 2017 KBS was bottled at a just slightly lower 11.8%, so not much of a difference there. I want to say I’m getting a little more milk chocolate and milder dark chocolate (Think Hershey’s Special Dark). Regardless, it’s just as good as ever. I was able to grab a few extra bottles to save, I’ll be looking forward to doing a side-by-side next year…if I can resist the urge to break into the stash that is.
If you haven’t yet, get out there and grab a bottle or two quick because it won’t be around long. And if you happen to strike out, don’t worry….2018 Backwoods Bastard is right around the corner!