people ask me my all-time favorite beer I usually say Founders KBS and
for good reason – it’s pretty much a perfect beer. It’s big and robust,
complex, delicious, great-smelling and a pleasure to drink. That’s what
makes for a World Class beer in my book.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 2/17/15 and cost $5.99 ($0.50 per ounce).
Appearance: Inky black in color but faint brown highlights. Pours to a
two-finger, tan, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.
Smell: Huge coffee and bourbon notes. Sweet but not sugary.
Taste: I’ve had this beer every year since 2011 and it does have minor
variations from year to year. The 2015 edition seems to be the most
overtly balanced of all the brews I can remember. Up front there’s a
strong sweet sensation of vanilla and chocolate with sweet dark
maltiness. On the second half the coffee emerges with an intensity
that’s pretty amazing; akin to gourmet French Roast black coffee rather
than sugary iced coffee. Right as it finishes the bourbon and the
natural alcohol completely dominate. It’s not quite as intense as taking
a shot of bourbon straight up, but it’s awfully close. These flavor
patterns repeat and grow a little more nuanced each sip. I don’t detect
much in the way of specific hops or malts, though I will say it’s
amazing how well-balanced the palette is since there’s plenty of
bitterness and at no point does it taste like a malt bomb. Another
outstanding brew from an outstanding brewery.
Drinkability: At 11.2% ABV and 70 IBUs, Founders KBS is a big beer to
say the least. But it’s not a behemoth by any means; in fact, this is
one of the softest, smoothest beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of
drinking. The moment it hit my palate the first thing I noticed was the
soft, smooth texture – almost like melted marshmallow. And yet, for such
a flavorful brew, it’s surprisingly not cloying or sticky at all. It
finishes rather dry, but it’s easily tolerable. The first few swigs have
significant alcohol warmth, but I grew accustomed to them quickly. This
is a liquid dessert in and of itself – do not pair it with anything and
enjoy it on its own.