Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout Plus Bonus Rare Beer Rant

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Tonight I’m reviewing Founders Kentucky Breakfast stout. In doing so, I cross another item off of my “New Beers Resolutions“.

But before I get to the review, I have a bone to pick. Rare beers. They suck. Why? Because they are rare. Now before you get all worked-up, let me explain. I understand why breweries make limited releases. I contend that the biggest reason is to generate hype, which from the business perspective is good marketing. From a beer-drinkers perspective, it’s obnoxious.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

We are in the season of rare beers, be it Kate the Great, Dark Lord, or this KBS I have in my hand. I previously have had zero interest in any of these beers. I don’t support the over-hyping of ANY beer. I fell in love with bourbon barrel aged stouts this winter, so I gave in and got some KBS.

To get my KBS, I had to special-order the beer through my liquor store. None of the KBS ever made it to my liquor store’s shelves, as their entire allotment went to people who pre-ordered. Yup…only the beer geeks got it. Frankly, that makes me feel douchy…and please don’t argue the douche factor…I said I feel like a douche, not that it was generally douchy.

Please, at least send along enough beer so that a few cases land on store shelves. It’s the least these breweries can do. Why bother distribute if the greater public doesn’t even have a shot?

Anyhow, that’s the end of my rant. I’m sure I’ll draw some heat for airing my thoughts, but Lord knows that has never stopped me before. On to the beer!!!

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

The KBS smells exactly as I would expect – sweet and oaky. It’s got a perfect head that pours heavy and slowly fizzles to a light layer covering the beer.

Lots of bourbon flavors come through in the taste. Since recently getting into whiskey, I can appreciate these flavors much more. The beer is quite sweet. I let it warm up for 20 minutes before drinking and I fully expect this contributed to the sweetness.

The 11.2% ABV is not completely hidden and I’m getting a boozy warmth.

Founder’s Breakfast Stout is still a top-10 beer for me. KBS doesn’t match up in my mind. The bourbon sweetness is far too overpowering and you lose a lot of what the stout brings to the table (e.g. there should be chocolate flavors in there, but I’m having trouble picking them out).

Is it a good beer? Yes.
Is it a great beer? Many people think so.
Is it a unique beer? Absolutely.
Will I buy it again? Nope!

Another downside to uber-hyped beers – they rarely meet my expectations.


Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Author: Joshua Dion

I write about beer in an un-intimidating way, welcoming beer lovers of all experience levels.

7 thoughts on “Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout Plus Bonus Rare Beer Rant”

  1. Wow, that is a great rant (and perspective). I wish I knew about the pre-order, but I guess it really doesn’t matter. After reading your thoughts on expectations, I am beginning to rethink my bottle of Imperial Stout Trooper. I’ve been saving it, but I wonder if it will be worth it?

    1. Kristin:

      Lots of people love the Trooper. I wouldn’t mind trying it myself. I wouldn’t go looking for it though…I think fate would have to drop it into my lap. :)

      At the end of the day, it’s all a mindset. If you’re expecting a super-awesome beer and it doesn’t jive with you for whatever reason (it could be as simple as what you had for dinner, the weather, or your mood), you’re going to be let down.

      I would prefer to have every beer distributed widely – let me decide which ones deserve the hype!


  2. Pingback: World Beers Review » Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout Plus Bonus Rare Beer Rant | Lost …
  3. Love the rant, and I agree. I have my local store hold bottles for me as well, probably more regularly than you, but in RI, we get far fewer cases of the rare stuff than MA (we also don’t get Founders). While I have a bunch of rare beers (2 years of Kate the Great, didn’t go this year, and the last 2 years of Stout Trooper, forgot about it this year), I do not seek them out. Generally, the guy that owns the liquor store asks me if I want him to hold a bottle for me. So I get stuff like Ithaca Brute, Brooklyn Black Ops, Stout Trooper, but not some of the super rare stuff, like KBS. I actually opted out of the Black Ops this year. I have 2 years of it in my cellar. I’m not a big enough fan of bourbon barrel beers to pay $25 for a bottle. I’m also lucky enough to have friends in the industry who get some rare stuff and some who go crazy and buy them on eBay or go to the release day.

    Anyway… rare beers can be fun, but the uber-geeks make them annoying. What I like about beers like KBS and Stout Trooper is the breweries make enough of it to send to their regular distribution. You can find them in stores, especially if you know where to look. There’s a store in RI where you can find all sorts of rare beers right on the shelf because their regular customers aren’t interested in craft beer (for the sake of allowing me and my friends to buy the beer, I will not name the store in public, perhaps a douchy move, but a necessary one). It’s the really rare beers, the ones that warrant a special release day and all sorts of planning around it to get yourself a bottle, that annoy me more.

    But really… rare beers, so long as they live up to the hype, are good for craft beer to an extent. Some examples… Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s Finest in VT. They’re both tiny breweries (the popular term is nanobrewery). They don’t have a big distribution (Hill Farmstead is newer and bigger and distributes draft only to NYC and Philly besides all of VT (bottles only at the brewery), Lawson’s only has his stuff on tap locally and in bottles at the Warren Store only). Their beer is rare and incredible. Experimenting is good, but don’t hype it up when the experiment fails. Heck, you may not even want to sell it. But it’s still rare, and these rare beers get people excited about craft beer. That said, it’s a double-edged sword. You gotta get people wanting to seek out more craft beer, but the mainstream craft beers… the Dogfish Head, the Saranac, the Brooklyn, the Smuttynose, the Long Trail. If the mainstream craft beers fail, then we have failed the whole craft beer movement. This is why I’m personally a big fan of more traditional styles lately. I love me a good kolsch or altbier or pilsner. Those are the beers I’ve been seeking out lately.

    I’ll end my rant. I should probably blog about that at some point. Perhaps it can be this week’s post on my blog. :)

  4. I’m iffy about the whole hyped beer scene – I always think it may be too much, and then I go to Kate the Great Day and have a great time. I personally don’t feel KBS falls into quite the same type of hype range, since it’s a bottled beer, released throughout the distribution area. The problem is the distribution area is larger than their ability to produce a lot of the beer.

    As for KBS itself, I love it. Did a blind tasting of 10 imperial stouts a couple of years back, and KBS came out on top over such beers as Dark Lord, Victory Storm King, Stone IRS and North Coast’s Old Rasputin.

  5. I agree with you that KBS is overhyped. It is good, but I can get better…easily. Jim and I went to the Pints for prostates rare beer tasting last year in Denver for GABF. That was an awesome time, with some awesome brews. I’m a little mixed on the whole rare thing being a bad thing. If you look at any spirit, they all have rare releases. Whether it is whiskey, wine, or whatever. So it is only natural that this would be the case with beer too. Also, it is completely up to the store you bought from whether any or all of it hits the shelves. They don’t have to allow pre orders, or they can cut it off so they still have some to put on the shelves. I know my local shop does that, a certain amount will be set aside for pre-ordering, but if you don’t get it through pre-order, you will have to take your chances on the shelf.

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