My apologies for the late post on this. It's nearing Dark Lord Day and I'm just now posting about the Founders KBS, the beer I ventured to Founders for over four weeks ago, the day of its release. In my world, Dark Lord and KBS are forever linked. It was on Dark Lord Day 2009 that I first tried the KBS. Thanks to these beer fanatics who had a tent and let me sample KBS (thanks also for that tent and the kick ass brats). Once they figured out that I was insane about beer, they asked me if I had ever tried Founders. Embarrassingly, at that point, the answer was no. They shook their heads.
They informed me that I had to try to the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I was game. They poured me a sample. Fast forward to a year later. Founders is now one of my favorite breweries, and I just drove 360 miles round trip to get KBS.
The KBS has lost none of the mojo that makes it one of the most sought after and acclaimed beers in the country. I had it at the brewery in March upon its release, and had another glass tonight at the Twisted Spoke here in Chicago. KBS pours a substantial tan head. Unlike many bourbon barreled stouts, it's pretty concentrated. You can immediately smell the bourbon emerging from its coal black body. Coffee is discernible too. It hits your palate with a strong, rich deep bourbon flavor. KBS would not be as cherished as it is if that's all it offered. Subsequent sips smooth out the bourbon and reveal coffee and hops. This year's batch has a stronger undertow of these secondary flavors than in the past. Such flavors balance out the smokiness and sweetness of the bourbon and round this into a strong and challenging beer. Other flavors are apparent too, especially as it warms, including some bitter dark chocolate. This beer makes its presence felt and makes you think about its content, but is never out of balance and is brought together with a silky mouthfeel. Despite its 11% profile, KBS does not reveal any alcohol heat, and the alcohol is only implied by the bourbon odor and flavor. Founders does a great job at keeping this contained within its compendium of flavors.
PROS: Just a flat-out terrific brew. It's understandable why it's harder to get one of these than getting a Mickey Mantle rookie card.
CONS: You may find yourself waiting an hour at the brewery to get one of these only to end up 10th in line before they run out. Not that this is based on a personal experience. Not that I'm bitter.
VERDICT: One of the best beers out there!
* * * * * stars. Drink one and you'll know why.