Next up, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout:
This elusive beer is named for the Jungian shadow of the Ohio River Valley: Kentucky. No, not because it has meth in it. It has something sublimely beautiful that the finger-pointing projectors from immediately north of the Ohio River don’t have: Bourbon.
KBS, as the kids call it, is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. And there aren’t many beers with more hype and that are harder to find…strike that…There aren’t many non-Founders beers with more hype and that are harder to find than KBS. But is it worth the hype and effort? After failing to get it at a local beer store (it sold out over the phone in about 6 minutes), we got it on draft at Rustico’s Hump Day Hat Trick (3 new highfalutin’ beers tapped every Wednesday at 6pm).
It is the darkest brown you can conceive, nearly impenetrable, thick, and oily like puberty in the jungle. My first smell is chocolatey chocolate. After I pick myself back up off the floor, my second whiff brings some supporting coffee, not-at-all-overpowering bourbon, and a hint of oak. My first sip, I am struck how harmoniously smooth it is. Everything from the smell is there. And even though the bourbon, vanilla, and oak come out to play a little more rambunctiously in the taste, they never get so rowdy so as to upset the unflappably smooth chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is big and divine.
At 11.2 percent ABV, this thing should be hotter than a four-balled tomcat, but the bourbon never overwhelmed. The only thing that might make Bell’s Black Note Stout a hair better is that Black Note’s slight, flirty hop character added a layer of complexity…but even that is a trivial nit. So, was it worth the hype and effort? Yes. I would say if you ever have an opportunity to get it, do so.
The Haybag: I concede that this beer is excellent. It does not, however, change my general opposition to the miscegenation of bourbon and beer.