One sip of KBS and you know you’ve run into something special.
The March 10 taproom release was so popular Founders had to scale back on the beer limit for each person waiting in line. Founders has already promised things will change for 2013, with plans to implement a lottery system and increasing volume.
“It would be misleading to say that everyone will get an allocation of KBS next year,” a statement on the company’s website said. “But we can assure you that we are producing approximately three times the volume for the 2013 release.”
With the retail release taking place five days later, I was able to pick up a few bottles to try.
Pouring a deep espresso brown with essentially no head, my nose was caught off guard by the dominance of bourbon scent. While there were definitely some smells of chocolate and coffee, this brew doesn’t mess around (especially at 11.2% ABV).
Based on its smell, I expected an overwhelming bourbon flavor. But I was pleasantly surprised — while the bourbon is certainly present, it doesn’t dominate the palate. Instead, I found rich flavors of sweet vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Those three flavors were well-balanced and capped by some oakiness.
KBS provides very little in terms of carbonation, which should be expected with a brew aged for a year. Instead, this easy-drinking brew has a smooth — almost syrupy — finish, with just some minor bitterness at the end (it wouldn’t be a Founders beer without it).
Previously known as Kentucky Breakfast Stout, KBS follows the special releases of 2011’s CBS and this February’s Curmudgeon’s Better Half — both part of Founders’ Backstage Series. But this annual special release tops both — the perfect balance of flavors, mixed with that bourbon flavor, makes for a great after-dinner sipping drink.