Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From the Cellar: Founder's KBS

Starting with this post, I'm going to periodically pull something from my beer cellar and report how it has aged. (Yes, you can age beer; check this post for more details.) Sometimes I'll touch on beers that have been aged for several years or more, other times the beers will be as little as a year old. Whenever possible I'll touch on something I've reviewed before as a Quick Sip so as to compare where a beer started and where it ended up.

We begin with a very special beer indeed. Founder's KBS (which stands for Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is a highly sought-after, hugely tasty imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Read my initial impressions in this post from last year. This bottle comes from that same batch and was purchased at the same time. It has been stored since purchase, boxed in the back of a dark closet, and kept between 65 and 70 degrees during that time.

So how did it hold up?

Fresh from the fridge, the beers pours with only a faint sliver of head, no more than a thin layer of chocolate tan foam. The beer itself is as black as used motor oil. You might find dinosaur bones preserved in this thick black liquid. The aroma has hints of bourbon, but it falls well short of the overpowering bourbon nose of this beer when it's fresh.

The taste of bourbon hasn't faded, at least. This is still one potent brew, with the beer immediately hitting your mouth with powerful bourbon, then shifting to a complex mix of rich, roasty malts, and finally finishing on yet more bourbon with hints of vanilla from the oak aging thrown in for good measure. The oak comes on stronger than I recall first time around, especially in the finish. Despite a year to mellow out, the robust 11.1% ABV is still clearly noticeable; this brew is warming, but not "hot." As the temperature begins to rise -- and that will happen, since this is a beer you'll sip for an hour -- the booze becomes even more apparent both in the taste and the aroma.

After a year, Founder's legendary KBS remains a delicious, supremely satisfying beer. However, in my view the fresh bottle was the better bottle.

BEER: Founder's KBS
TIME AGED: One year

VERDICT: It's okay to cellar this, it will hold up well, but don't wait too long before you drink it. It's better fresh, and after a year no new complexities are revealed in this beer.

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