Editor’s note: This little mini-tasting event that we had actually took place a while back. Somebody just didn’t get around to typing it up until now. Why run it? Because it’s Friday, and sometimes we just like sharing how much goofy stuff we get to do. Haven’t you always wondered what sort of rambling discussions we have about beer? Well, here you go. — Stoutmeister
We in the Crew recently had the opportunity to sample and review the ’17 version of the much-beloved-among-us KBS from Founders. What follows is our rather fun adventure into the darkest of stout depths in which we did a mini vertical tasting of the ’15, ’16, and ’17 iterations of KBS.
We began as you might, talking up the finer points of the new offerings from Isotopes Park, including a helmet filled with three full, glorious pounds of nachos and Philly cheesesteaks, courtesy of Filling Phillys, which I heartily recommend.
Solo: Alright, you do want three pounds of nachos and Philly cheese?
Brandon: I do want three pounds of nachos and Philly cheese!
Solo: And we’re back. 2017 KBS first impressions are coffee!
The chorus of our host Brandon and Stoutmeister agreed with this sentiment.
Solo: Huge coffee and then whiskey as f*ck.
Stoutmeister: Honestly, it’s gotta be a cold brew, it’s so intense.
Brandon: It’s a really concentrated and the coffee is intense and focused. Definitely roasty. The bitterness of the coffee almost makes the chocolate kind of just blend in, sort of a dark chocolate kind of a way.
Solo: Yeah, it’s kind of a mocha.
Stoutmeister: It’s a little drier. It’s not like some of those barrel-aged stouts that pick up so much of that vanilla character from the barrels and it becomes so sweet.
Solo: This is just straight, burly, coffee chocolate barrel.
Brandon: You get a little heat in the back from the whiskey there.
Stoutmeister: I will say that the coffee sticks around the longest. Even though you get that rush of the whiskey, it does smoothly fade out, but the coffee just remains. All of your coffees belong to us.
Solo: And, damn good coffee at that, nice earthy tones, none of the acidic nature of coffee, really.
Brandon: Not astringent.
Solo: Nope, clearly strong, but that’s a good, uh, whatever blend they used.
Stoutmeister: Give it a swish and smell the aroma.
Swishes commence all round.
Stoutmeister: That’s just lovely.
Solo: And, it just burns with a tad bit of whiskey at the end.
Brandon: I think more so than the last year’s that I’ve had this one’s a little more bourbon-barrel forward initially. I’d be curious to see what this tastes like aged, just because I think that would mellow out a little bit.
Stoutmeister: Yeah, it’s definitely going to be an interesting aged beer, need to procure more and find someplace to put it, outta room!
Solo: Well, actually, now that I’ve drank one of them, I might have room for one more! Although, I still have a large quantity of the last one, and then there’s my home-brew ESB and the Mead …
Brandon: Front is a little chocolate, and then there are slight, roasty notes in there with a little bit of toasted caramel in there, with dark roasted malts and a little bit of molasses in there at the front, but then it just gives way to all the coffee.
Solo: It’s not overly, but a slight bit of raisin or black currant near the back.
Stoutmeister: Yeah, it’s definitely more black currant.
Brandon: And, the coffee is just all over in there and matches with that oakiness.
Solo: Bathe me in dark oakiness.
Stoutmeister: We need to name a new beer that.
Solo and Brandon agree. Various nom nom nom noises ensue.
Solo: A little bit of caramel, toffee aroma notes come forward as it warms, just a hair, coming through the coffee.
Brandon: To quote Jason Mewes in the (movie) Zach and Miri Make a Porno, “That’s some damn fine coffee!”
Solo: The stout’s starting to come through just a little bit.
Brandon: Even for imperial standards I think this is one that works better a little warmer than average, maybe because it’s definitely more complex as it is warming here, and a small pour definitely helps.
Solo: For malts nothing in particular stands out. It’s a melange, but I’d expect no less from a well-crafted and blended coffee barrel-aged chocolate monstrosity. It really sticks to the tongue; sticky black bourbon of death.
Brandon: I think you could drink a four-pack of this.
Stoutmeister: I totally think you could, although the next day I’d be like (unintelligible wailing).
Brandon: It would be like that one day I decided to drink a KBS and then I had two Uncle Jacobs. (One of the very best from Avery Brewing for those uninitiated.)
Solo: The other night I had two Pivos, and then I had Frootwood, and then I had one of those Olde School barleywines from Dogfish Head, that was, I was coherent, I just had a mild headache but …
Stoutmeister: Back to KBS.
Brandon: Yeah, this is freaking amazing as it warms, now I want some french toast. Every time I have KBS, I just want french toast.
Solo: Bring us chicken and waffles!
Rambling on the topic of Nexus Brewing and our obsession with their amazing chicken and waffles commenced, followed by us returning to the topic of the new food offerings at Isotopes Park, including the wondrous Orbit Dog in all of its artery-clogging glory, and then the baseball helmet filled with three pounds of nachos returned, and finally we were back on topic.
Solo: Now, oddly enough, even though this is not CBS, it does have somewhat of that maple quality to it.
Brandon: I think what we are getting there is a lot of different composition that is creating like a more almost maple flavor. It’s not just a strictly maple flavor.
Solo: Nah, like a maple toffee coffee something.
Brandon: So, overall impressions of it?
Stoutmeister: Rather amazing, to be this good this fresh, that’s a rare thing these days where there are so many barrel-aged beers these days that really are made to be aged an extra year in the bottle.
Solo: And this was aged, perfectly.
Brandon: I’m picking up actually a little more chocolate as it goes on. Overall, I think it’s a little more coffee forward definitely than the past years, which is fine by me.
Solo: Not going to complain one iota.
Brandon: Oh no, twist my arm, it’s wonderful. The coffee just doesn’t completely overwhelm, but it kind of supports those other flavors, possibly even supporting the whole beer, but as it does warm you get more of the stout base which comes through, too.
Solo: I’ll go on a limb and agree with the brewer that brewed this beer who said well, you can age these things but this one’s meant to drink fresh, we’ve already aged it and it’s right where we want it to be. I will still age some but yeah I’ll drink this fresh any day of the week.
* * * * *
We then proceeded to break out bottles of the ’16 and ’15 KBS offerings, and our consensus was that the ’17 was more coffee forward, the ’16 was more chocolate forward, and the ’15 was very much barrel forward. We could all understand why people like one year better than another, owing to the prominence of one’s favorite aspect of the delightful amalgam of flavors which is KBS.
We of the Dark Side Brew Crew, being the coffee- and stout-fueled demons that we are, thoroughly enjoyed this year’s variation and are certainly pleased with how it turned out. It will be of some interest to see what next year’s batch has as far as prominence, and we await the offering with the hope that our supply from this and last year will last us long enough!
All hail KBS, mighty breakfast beer deserving of a full spread of candied bacon, fried chicken of the best quality, and some damn fine waffles. There is still an ample supply of both bombers and four packs here in the Duke City (well, we hope so) so grab em before we in the Crew consume them all. Thanks again to Founders for sending us a couple of these delights to sample and review, we heartily enjoyed every last drop and completely enjoyed this delicious review.
Until next time,
— Franz Solo