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Founders | Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Everything good comes in a barrel.

I haven’t had this beer before.

I figured I would try Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout eventually, but I didn’t know when. I’ve heard stories of lines, of drives, of cases purloined from delivery vehicles. No beer should have a story this big. It’s almost unfair for a product’s reputation to balloon like the KBS brand has. Wouldn’t it be too much, almost inherently?

On April 1st, my home-brewing friend sent me a text: “You may want to swing by Liquor Barn on lunch. It’s Founders KBS day.” I looked at my phone, and I dismissed the idea out of hand.

But then I looked again.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout pours a deep motor-oil black. The carbonation is low. The head is practically non-existent, in favor of caramel lacing.

The aroma is sweet bourbon coffee. The smells commingle with the roasty, matured character to vaguely suggest raked leaves. It is wholly inviting. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy, and surprisingly smooth. The barrel aging seems to have mellowed the overall ‘weight’ of the brew. I notice the bourbon on my first sip, but I wouldn’t say that bourbon is the primary flavor: those textures fold into the velvety chocolate vibe. Chiefly, I taste semi-sweet chocolate and coffee flavors. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is rich. The finish is strong coffee – a touch astringent. The beer is warmly alcoholic, but not hot.

Nothing about Kentucky Breakfast Stout is appropriate for April, by the way. It tasted big and straightforward. I immediately wanted to don a scarf and listen to Big Star. It doesn’t have the same syrupy malt qualities of a brew like Bourbon County, but I like that. This beer has mellowed with age.

It’s interesting how you perceive a beer relative to its reputation. From what I’ve read and heard, it seems that 2014 was not KBS’s best year. But then, there is a balance of proponents who proclaim that every sip deserves the hype. Personally, I only know how my first bottle fared. And it was pretty tasty.

Back on April 1, my first thought had been that some untold line of customers had already divvied every available KBS bottle. But I scheduled a late lunch anyway. At 2:30pm, I walked into my nearby Liquor Barn and I found an employee.

“Yeah, we got it,” the guy said. “It’s a two bottle limit, though.”

Two bottle limit! I wondered if I was really going to be this kind of beer drinker. The employee had offered me their last sixer of Gumballhead, but I declined.

Two weeks later, I drove to a local shop to buy a 12oz. bottle of a beer that they didn’t even display on shelves; the buy limit was ‘one.’

The slope is slippery.

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