With the men’s NCAA Championship on the TV I figured it would be a perfect time to bring out a bottle that I’ve been sitting on a while. A beer that was brewed in Michigan that had the name Kentucky in the title felt very fitting for a night where the University of Michigan battled the University of Louisville. It also didn’t hurt that said beer was considered one of the best in the word.
What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.
The waiting has finally come to an end. The KBS bottle unleashed a deep brown liquid into my glass. No light penetration or carbonation could be seen within in the opaque brew. The head is no more than a wisp, but carbonation bubbles up in the middle like a tar pit, refreshing the head for several minutes. Lacing leaves slopping rings around the glass with each sip.
My first sniff and I was hooked. Bourbon, wood, and molasses were the first thoughts that popped into my nose/brain. Notes of dark chocolate and bacon add even more “breakfast” notes to the table. You’ll think you’re actually smelling breakfast (especially if you’re a degenerate that drinks bourbon for breakfast). As the beer warms I detected hints of black pepper and coffee.
Reserved is not a word I would have expected to use in regards to this beer, but it was one of the first thoughts I had. The nose was very boozy, but the bourbon was really only third tier in terms of flavor. It starts with cocoa and a touch of oak. Bourbon then comes in along with molasses and coffee (the coffee is much more pronounced in the taste than it was in the nose). It finishes with a chocolate milk flavor that smooths everything over and brings it all full circle. As it warms I picked up an interesting Almond Joy candy bar-like flavor.
Mouthfeel is creamy and medium-to-thick. It goes down easily, but the bourbon gives you a nice little burn to remember it by.
I’ve been hearing how good this beer was for a while now , but I was never back in the Midwest during its limited release schedule. Now that I have had the pleasure of trying it I am very glad that I did. Everything you want from an (American) Imperial Stout is present in this beer: chocolate, oak, bourbon, coffee, etc. etc. KBS is one of those great beers that lives up to both its name and its hype. This bottle had been aging for almost a year and I think this added more booziness, but I don’t think it detracted from the flavor or the drinking experience.
Overall: 9 out of 10
As an IMPERIAL STOUT: 9.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Three Floyds DARK LORD, Goose Island BOURBON COUNTY STOUT, Deschutes THE ABYSS,