BEER: Founder’s KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

I don’t intend to use this blog to talk about beer all that often, but sometimes you’ve got to speak up and say, “My god, this stuff is amazing!”

And yes indeed, the beer at the focus of this post, Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, aka KBS, is amazing. Hard to find because the once-a-year brew sells out so fast, but well worth the trouble of tracking it down.

Photo found on Flickr

Photo found on Flickr

There is a reason why Ratebeer rates it a world class beer and ranks it as one of the top 10 beers in the world based on thousands of reviews. It’s quite simply one of the most complex, rich, and flavorful beers you’ll ever have. Folks who have only experienced the usual Bud-Miller-Coors style beers are probably unaware that beer can be like this.

I was lucky to even get it. I had been bugging the guys at my local liquor store two months ahead of time. “Do you think you’ll be able to get the KBS? Please set a few bottles aside for me!” Turns out my entire state only got 120 cases. Otherwise good liquor stores were #25 or #30 on their distributor’s list to get a case … and those distributors had maybe four cases to dish out. Yikes.

But my shop did get it, and they set aside two bottles for me. (Few shops sold this in the four-packs it comes in. Instead, most imposed one- or two-bottle limits on customers.) I’m glad they did. This stuff was a treat.

This is an imperial stout brewed with huge amounts of coffee and chocolate, both of which are very much a part of this heady, chewy brew’s taste and aroma. It’s rich and dark and very full-bodied. Founders sends the taste into the stratosphere, though, when they cave age it for a year inside oak bourbon barrels. The result is a beer loaded with flavors that all compete for center stage without crowding one another out.

KBS has atrong, up-front bourbon taste with hints of vanilla in the aroma. Give it a whiff and you’d almost think you’re smelling a dense liquor. It’s a beer through and through, though. After the initial burst of bourbon at the start of your sip, coffee and chocolate rise up in the middle, with hints of vanilla working to counter the mocha taste. The balance is perfect. As you finish your sip you’re left with a lingering, oaky bourbon finish.

All in all, it wasn’t just a beer, it was an experience. If by some amazing chance you see some, grab it. Otherwise, be ready to act fast when next year’s batch is released. It’s already in barrels.