Apr 3, 2017

Founders 2017 Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Brewing annual release of their legendary Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) is upon us. For many craft beer enthusiasts, that means making our way to a favorite local shop with the prospect of buying a limited amount — often a single bottle — of the imperial stout. I haven’t been privy to every run of the big beer over the fifteen plus years the company has been producing it, but the beer is a fan favorite in the Barley Blog HQ.

Much like every barrel-aged beer that has been unleashed to the drinking public year-after-year, KBS has fluctuated in flavor, but never quality. For 2017, the imperial stout — 11.8% ABV and 70 IBU — is as good as it has ever been, maybe better. Packed with roasty espresso flavors, chocolate, old wood, vanilla and an incredibly smooth bourbon influence, the beer delivers the goods with ease. A moderate hop bite helps keep a malt sweetness and almost-decadent character all in check as everything washes smoothly over the tongue. The full bodied and slightly viscous beer pulls its flavors to a long lasting, lightly drying and chest-warming finish.

While the beer has always been released in 12oz bottles, some of you may be lucky enough to find it in larger format 750ml bottles. Those big bottles may be a bit too much for a single drinker, but are ideal for sharing with friends or hiding it away in the cellar for a year or two. This year’s batch is so good, however, that I’m not so sure you want to forget about that bottle in the back of your basement. It’s going to be a struggle for me not to plow through the second sample I received, as well as my own purchase, before any amount of aging has had a measurable effect on the bottles.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout is high on many beer/stout drinkers’ favorites list. The 2017 batch and its smooth flavors should move it up a notch or two on those catalogs perhaps even taking over first place for a few of you.

This is a review of a promotional sample.