Tasting Notes: KBS Espresso from Founders Brewing Co.

KBSEspressoPourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we push through the second half of the workweek thanks to a coffee-fueled boost supplied by KBS Espresso from Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Introduced in mid-November 2019 as the first-ever packaged variant of KBS (a.k.a. Kentucky Breakfast Stout), KBS Espresso (12% ABV) takes everything you love about Founders Brewing Co.’s iconic KBS – a Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate – and then ages it “on espresso beans after being removed from [Bourbon] barrels.” This added step results in “a fresh and snappy coffee twist on [a] classic barrel-aged beer.”

KBS Espresso is out now and will hang around through February 2020.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of Founders Brewing Co.’s nationwide distribution network.  **NOTE: KBS Espresso is not available on draft in Utah or in any format in Mississippi.**

Now that we have gotten all the background information on this exciting new variant out of the way, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see how much coffee goodness KBS can carry!

Tasting Notes for KBS Espresso from Founders Brewing Co.

Appearance:  KBS Espresso presents itself just as you would expect any beer bearing the KBS name.  It is inky black in color and capped with a solid finger of frothy, mocha-colored foam.  When held to direct light, the blackness holds and blocks any light from penetrating.  The beer is completely opaque and gives no indication as to what the carbonation level could be.  Head retention is good, slinking down slowly to a creamy ring that notches the glass with fine arcs of lace after each pull.

Aroma:  The aroma absolutely explodes with big notes of espresso.  We are talking heavy notes of intensely roasted coffee joined by complementary notes of deeply roasted grain, dark chocolate and dark fruit.  The presence of espresso and roast is so powerful that it actually drowns out the majority of the bourbon notes, only allowing a touch of vanilla to come through.  The profile closes with a gentle waft of rich, earthy tobacco.

Taste:   The espresso is quick to consume the palate with an abundance of dark roasted coffee at the start of each sip.  Dark, bittersweet chocolate then joins the mix to create a satisfying note similar to those addictive little chocolate-covered espresso beans.  The barrel eventually works its way in to supply a soft undercurrent of vanilla and oak, but the bourbon tones are definitely here to take a back seat to the coffee notes.  The experience is rounded off with a smooth layer of dark fruit, leather and tobacco.

Mouthfeel:  Full-bodied with a moderate carbonation level, this Imperial Stout is thick and creamy on the palate.  The heavily roasted coffee and notes of dark chocolate provide a bit of bitterness, but that is quickly tamed by the vanilla tones provided by the bourbon barrels.  Shockingly, the 12% ABV provides very little booziness and offers only a touch of warmth in the throat at times. The aftertaste leaves behind a light presence of tobacco and freshly roasted coffee.

Final Thoughts: With the release of KBS Espresso, Founders Brewing Co. set out to ramp up and highlight the overall coffee character that has always been a part of the incredibly balanced KBS experience.  Mission accomplished.  The label on this variant clearly displays “ESPRESSO” in all caps, and that espresso lives up to its bold, intense reputation from start to finish in this beer. The brewing team was not at all shy about letting the espresso dominate the aromatics and flavor profile.  The roast is intense and imparts a pleasant bitterness that works beautifully with the beer’s roasted malts and chocolate notes.  The barrel character does fall off a bit (only offering a bit of oak and vanilla at times), but that is to be expected when you add a powerful ingredient like espresso to the beer after barrel-aging.  With that said, the grace of barrel that is present is more than enough because the intense coffee notes carry this beer with ease and in a wonderfully delightful way.

If you have ever wished there was more coffee in your KBS or are just curious to experience a different take on this legendary brew, you need to keep KBS Espresso in mind the next time you hit up your favorite bottle shop.  Just make sure you get your hands on some before its availability comes to an end in late February. Prost!

Founders Brewing Co. Reveals 2020 Availability Calendar

4_giants_fpo_3-4_mockup-1024x1024Brewery release calendar season is back once again and we are kicking of this year’s round with a look at the 2020 Availability Calendar for Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

As is the norm around here when it comes to beer calendars, we have published Founders Brewing Co.’s 2020 Availability Calendar in its entirety below so that you can examine it at your own pace.  With that said, here are a few juicy tidbits that we would like to highlight before we turn you over to the calendar:

  • The Barrel-Aged Series kicks off with the 2019/2020 release of KBS Espresso – the first variant of KBS – which will have availability into February 2020.  The original KBS will return in February as a Year-Round release. Más Agave (May – July) and Underground Mountain Brown (September – October) are both scheduled to return in 2020. Founders plans to add two new yet-to-be-named offerings to the series during the year – one of which will be a Más Agave variant.
  • The brewery’s Year-Round lineup will see the addition of Unraveled IPA in February.  Unraveled IPA is an “incredibly flavorful and aromatic” Juicy India Pale Ale “dry hopped with traditional hop pellets along with lupulin powder, an innovative hop product that separates lupulin from the hop flower.”  ABV – 6.6%  IBUS – 50
  • Centennial IPA will get some new packaging options in 2020.  Look for this Year-Round to have availability in 19.2 oz. cans and 6-packs of 12 oz. cans beginning in February 2020.
  • 4 Giants IPA, “a mashup of [the brewery’s] four favorite imperial IPAs,” will be available April through June 2020 as a part of the Limited Series.
  • Speaking of the Limited Series, Frangelic Mountain Brown (January – March), Green Zebra (May – August), and Harvest Ale (October) are all scheduled to return.  Founders plans to also add two yet-to-be-named offerings to the series in 2020.
  • The Mothership Series, the brewery’s “ultra-limited, brew team favorite beers only found at [Founders] taproom locations,” will kick off with the return of Devil Dancer on January 22.  Founders plans to release five more Mothership Series offerings throughout the year.
  • The brewery will launch the MI-Exclusive Series in 2020 with the March release of Red’s Rye IPA in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans. As you may have already guessed, the MI-Exclusive Series will see exclusive distribution in Founders Brewing Co.’s home state of Michigan.

That should just about cover all the points we wanted to go over, but there is still a good amount of info left for you to discover on the calendar below. Give it a good look and start getting excited about all the tasty brews headed your way from Founders Brewing Co in 2020.  Prost!



Founders Brewing Co. Plans to go Year-Round with KBS & Launch KBS Espresso Variant

kbs_espresso_bottle_carrier_3-4Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan) took to their Cadre Newsletter this week to announce that KBS is scheduled to return as a Year-Round in February 2020 and will be accompanied by the Limited Release of KBS Espresso.

Widely respected and highly coveted by Stout drinkers everywhere, KBS (a.k.a. Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is an Imperial Stout “brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolate and then bourbon barrel-aged to perfection.” Coming in at around 12% ABV, KBS offers an “incredibly silky and full-bodied” experience filled with “notes of vanilla, cocoa, roasted coffee and charred oak.”

When it returns in February 2020, KBS will join Backwoods Bastard as the second Barrel-Aged Series offering to achieve Year-Round availability.  You can expect to find KBS available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at beer establishments located throughout Founders Brewing Co.’s distribution footprint.

Arriving as the first-ever packaged variant of KBS, KBS Espresso (12% ABV) takes everything you love about the original KBS and then ages it “on espresso beans after being removed from [Bourbon] barrels.” This added step results in “a fresh and snappy coffee twist on [a] classic barrel-aged beer.”

“We’ve had some fun aging KBS in different barrels like maple syrup, which worked out great, and hot sauce, which didn’t quite work out,” said Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki. “But, for our first ever “official” variant of KBS, we decided to amplify a flavor that’s already at the heart of this beer – coffee. And not just any coffee, it’s the dark, roasted goodness that can only come from espresso beans, roasted by our Grand Rapids neighbors, Ferris Coffee & Nut.”

**UPDATE 11.12.19** Founders Brewing Co. has issued an update to inform fans that KBS Espresso is now scheduled to release its Grand Rapids Taproom on November 15 and will enter distribution later that month.  You can expect to find this new Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of the brewery’s nationwide distribution area.  **NOTE: KBS Espresso will not be available on draft in Utah or in any format in Mississippi.**  The original KBS will begin its Year-Round availability in February 2020.  **UPDATE 11.12.19**  Prost!

Vital Information for KBS Espresso from Founders Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Barrel-Aged Series; mid-November 2019 – February 2020
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 12%
Treatment – Original KBS aged on espresso beans after being removed from Bourbon barrels
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer/