As promised, this is a review of a beer that is definitely not an IPA. Founders Brewing Company’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) is a massive imperial stout that combines big coffee and chocolate flavors with a roasted malt backbone which will leave you wanting more. Just be careful about how much more you allow yourself, because at 11.2%, this beer packs a punch.
The beer pours a midnight-black with just a hint of ruby shimmer in the light. The tan head, when poured from the growler, is shallow but lingering. The nose immediately picks up on coffee and bitter dark chocolate. There is also a sweet note with aromas of caramel and molasses and dark fruit. All of these combine in a fragrance reminiscent of cordial cherries.
KBS is quite thick, creamy, and viscous with a consistency more like melted ice cream. The lack of a thick head mentioned earlier would make one assume that there is low carbonation, but the carbonation level still produces a nice burn on the front of the tongue. The dark-roast coffee flavors go solo on the middle of the tongue before joining with those of bittersweet chocolate towards the back. The marriage reminds me of the dark chocolate covered espresso beans that helped keep my eyes open during Trans Iowa. The bourbon flavors from the year-long oak barrel aging begin to be detected here as well. The aftertaste is a battleground which has the coffee bitterness and roasted malt fighting for dominance. However, it is the alcohol burn and bourbon flavors that subtly sneak in and then outlast the others. The alcohol burn in a beer such as this compliments rather than detracts.
This beer has it all; rich, creamy, sweet, bitter, and boozy. Huge flavors and big ABV. This beer is perfectly fine standing alone, but its complexity also means it can pair with a variety of foods such as chocolate desserts, tiramisu, and smoked meats.
The bad news is the rarity of this beer. It is usually an April release that goes in a hurry. When I saw this as part of a Founders tap takeover at a local store’s growler station last weekend, I couldn’t pass it up, even at 25 bucks. The fact that kegs of this beer are still around right now might mean you can find it on draft too. I hope you can, because this is the perfect time of year for this beast. Happy hunting.
Bikepacker Friendliness (sip this bad boy in a glass at home): Not Rated
Aroma (strong coffee and chocolate with bourbon undertones): 9/10
Flavor (complex and delicious): 10/10
Style-Appropriateness (Imperial stout with a bourbon bonus): 9/10