Beer of the Week: Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Beer of the Week - KBS - In Glass

Pour of KBS at Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest Party

Every year the annual release of Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is highly anticipated by craft beer lovers everywhere. KBS is a limited release, generally appearing in spring (this year at the beginning of April) and often sells out within minutes at the selected retailers that receive distribution. This year KBS shipped to 23 states, and because of the limited quantities (some stores only receive one case) customers are often limited to a single bottle, so you can imagine the race that ensues to acquire this coveted beer.

In 2012, Founders underestimated the demand for KBS and released a very limited amount, which definitely didn’t sit well with loyal fans. And while they never disclose how many barrels of KBS are produced, Founders did admit that for this year’s release they brewed “significantly more” KBS than they did last year

KBS – What’s the Big Deal?

Any limited-release or hard-to-acquire brew is often in high demand by craft beer fans, especially if it follows through on taste factor. Sometimes a brew is limited due to the amount of time or method involved in aging, ingredients, location, or other factors. I’ve personally had several of the more highly-esteemed beers in the craft beer community, and I do admit that KBS ranks up there in the top 10 for me.

Beer of the Week - KBS - brewtus614

Artfully arranged KBS bottles – compliments of Instagram friend @brewtus614

More About This Popular Brew

KBS “makes your taste buds squeal with delight” according to the Founders website, and I can vouch for this – it’s true. It is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate before being cave-aged for a full year in oak bourbon barrels under the city.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a thick black, with a minimal dark-tan head with some retention around the edge of the glass; lots of lacing as you drink.
Smell: Nose is sweet and roasted with coffee, chocolate and a hint of vanilla and oak.
Taste: Lives up to the hype; roasted, chocolate, vanilla (which typically comes from being aged in bourbon barrels) with a little hint of sweet bitterness; can also pick up on the oak and bourbon.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a real creamy smoothness; coats the tongue and lingers.  
This was my first encounter with the esteemed KBS, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. I was drinking several very good beers in a flight while waiting for KBS to be poured at a local establishment’s Beer-Fest KBS party, and when compared side-by-side to KBS, the other beers definitely fell a bit into its shadow. In a special class, KBS is well worth the effort of hunting it down. I’m sure I’ll be doing the same when it releases again next year!

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.76 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2
IBUs: 70
Original Gravity: Unknown
Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released in April in 2013)
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti); Chocolate; Smoked or grilled meat
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it?
If you haven’t acquired a bottle or happened upon one of the select bars that had it on draft (for probably less than a day), then you’re probably out of luck until next year. Serious craft beer enthusiasts often hunt for the beer on the exact release date, or have connections within the community in order to acquire a bottle or two.


KBS Party at Old Bag of Nails

Old Bag of Nails - KBS SignAs many of you may know, Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) recently hit the shelves across the United States. If you haven’t acquired any by now, it may be too late – at least until next year! I personally had the good fortune to discover that Old Bag of Nails in Upper Arlington, Ohio was hosting a Beer-Fest, or in other words, a KBS pouring party, because they acquired a keg. This was great news to hear as a KBS newbie since I wasn’t able to find any bottles of KBS myself.

I arrived with two friends on a rather chilly Saturday morning to wait outside of the restaurant until they opened at 11am. As this was my first “limited release” beer event, my veteran beer-drinking companion suggested we arrive early and wait so we could snag bar seats and experience the party first-hand, so we joined a small group that was already waiting outside.

Places - Old Bag of Nails - KBS MenuOnce the doors opened and we were settled on our stools, we were presented with a menu listing an awesome selection of beers, most of them high quality brews I hadn’t yet sampled. The star on the menu, of course, was Founders KBS. Each person that paid the price got a token to reserve their pour of KBS once the keg was tapped at noon. In the meantime, we had a plethora of tasty choices to sample while waiting. I’ve listed some of the more notable ones below with the descriptions provided on the menu. If you don’t have a Beer Bucket List, or a list of all the beers you should try before the zombie apocalypse wipes out mankind, then all the beers below should be considered as contenders for your list.


The selections included:

  • Founders KBS (11.2% ABV and obviously the guest of honor)
    A hint of coffee, a hint of vanilla aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.
    Read my full review of KBS
  • Bell’s Hopslam (10% ABV)
    Brewed with honey; hoppy as hell
  • CBS Bodhi (8% ABV)
    Tons of citrus hops and good floral notes
  • Great Lake’s Alchemy Hour Double IPA (9.4% ABV)
    Hop-forward with balanced blends of mosaic and nugget hops
  • Troegs Nugget Nectar Ale (7.5% ABV)
    Intensified malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience
  • Founders All Day IPA (4.7% ABV)
    A complex array of malts, grains and hops balanced for optimal aromas and a clean finish
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA (12% ABV)
    Big hops balanced with tons of malts; double all the ingredients of the original Crooked Tree IPA (except the water)
  • Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout (11% ABV)
    Roasted malts and balanced with heavy hops
  • Great Lakes Christmas Ale (7.5% ABV)
    Brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon
  • Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale (7.7% ABV)
    Roasted notes of coffee and dark chocolate together with the fruity and clove-like aroma (Belgian abbey-style yeasts in a recipe of roasty stout)
  • Weyerbacher Insanity Ale(11.10% ABV)
    A bourbon barrel-aged English style barley wine


Old Bag of Nails - Flight 1As you can probably guess by the alcohol content of most of these beers, the combination handed out quite the alcoholic wallop! But in my opinion, there’s no better way to experience day-drinking on a weekend.

I started out with a 4-beer flight of: Bell’s Hopslam, Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout, Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale, and Troegs Nugget Nectar.

It was all delicious, and my favorite of the four was the Plead the 5th, with a full-bodied rich and roasted malty taste. Interestingly enough, when comparing Plead the 5th to KBS a little while later, it really changed the taste profile when trying them side-by-side. Basically, while Plead the 5th is excellent, KBS is just a bit more excellent.

KBS Pour


By the time my first flight was finished, it was time for the pours of KBS. All the lucky ones around the bar cashed in their tokens for their share. As I’d been eagerly anticipating this moment, it was very exciting when the KBS really did live up to all the hype. It was full of boozy, vanilla, oaky, and chocolatey goodness. Read my full review of KBS.

Places - Old Bag of Nails - Flight 2We were in luck that day, as there was enough KBS to go around for a second round and I didn’t hesitate to partake. Then, as my final course, I had one more 4-beer flight (there were just too many good beers to try) which consisted of: Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA, Columbus Brewing Company Bodhi (one of my favorite locally-brewed IPAs), Weyerbacher Insanity, and Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA.

How would I sum up my experience at the second annual Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest? Well, the bartenders were great hosts, we were supplied with complimentary buffet filled with pulled pork and other goodies, the beer was poured plentifully and we met several new friends. So overall I would definitely declare the Old Bag of Nails 2013 Beer-Fest a great success!


Old Bag of Nails - Enjoying Some Beers

Enjoying our beers at Old Bag of Nails