Today friends, I review a beer that needs no introduction. I knew that cracking open my sole bottle of KBS was drawing near immediately after I was unable to procure tickets to this year’s KBS Release Party due to some errors on the part of some 3rd party ticket brokers. I, like many people, had a ticket in my cart, but to no avail. But I’m not worried! The past has passed! I will not be broken-hearted or bitter over things I cannot change nor correct. All I can do is enjoy the current bottle I possess, given to me by my good friend Matt D. The last time I was fortunate enough to get a pour of KBS was at 2011′s Screw City Beer Festival in Rockford, IL. It looked a little something like this.
Aroma 12/12 This is like dark, melted chocolate made violent love to black, gourmet coffee after a bourbon-soaked evening. The coffee is bitter and strong, burnt, dark roasted malt is abundant, and dark chocolate’s sweetness rounds things out nicely. Warmth is more present than the actual aroma of bourbon at this point, but it is not overpowering and you’d never guess this was an 11.2% ABV beer. I want to wear this as cologne.
Appearance 3/3 I hate to make the generic simile that this beer pours like motor oil, but… it’s more like filthy motor oil. It’s a host of cola and coffee browns with a yellowish tinge around the edges. The head was barely present, but was a shockingly dark shade of brown. This beer had legs like road tar. It stubbornly hung on the sides of the glass and refused to be moved.
Flavor 19/20 I don’t believe that there is one milliliter of this beer that is not dedicated to being saturated with flavor. It’s not the most intense thing I’ve ever tasted, but nothing is wasted to deliver all the intended flavors to your waiting taste buds. It begins with a oatmeal-y, sweet creaminess, which blossoms beautifully into the sweeter aspects of the rich, rich chocolate. Then the bourbon rolls in and things get rowdy. This goes from being a luscious, savory, delectable slice of German double molten chocolate cake with a side of coffee, to a beer that tastes like every bite of cake is first dipped lightly in bourbon. The chocolate and bourbon are definitely the stars here and the coffee takes a supporting role. When held in the mouth, however, the coffee is the most persistent of the flavors and makes itself known once the others have faded. Be patient though because, sweet Holy delicious chocolate booze cake, are those flavors strong and it’s going to take a while. The finish is mocha coffee sweetness plus the tingling heat from the bourbon while the aftertaste is pretty much the same aftertaste if you combined how your mouth feels fifteen minutes after drinking coffee and two minutes after sipping bourbon.
Mouthfeel 4.5/5 Wait, can I even give half points? To that I say in my best Eric Cartman voice, “It’s my blog, I do what I WANT!” I’ve never done it before, but I’ve never felt compelled to do it before. I basically want to say that the mouthfeel of this beer is remarkable, but I cannot say that it is perfect. The bourbon is simply too strong and covers some of the other flavors that I know are in there. To add to that, this beer is from 2012! It has aged for almost an entire year! I can’t imagine how aggressive this beer would be were it fresh. It is just shy of being full-bodied and while the carbonation is wonderfully subtle, the alcohol warmth adds enough tingle to be as interruptive as a higher level of bubbles.
Overall Impression 9.5/10 Well, if I’m gonna start issuing half-points I might as well use two so that the final score is a whole number, right? This is a supremely tasty beer and for a guy that hasn’t eaten dinner yet, its 11.2% ABV is definitely a force to be reckoned with. This coffee-licious, chocolate oozing, bourbon monster simply must be tried. It tries extremely hard to live up to its gargantuan reputation and does an admirable job, even if it doesn’t taste like God himself lactated it into each and every bottle. This is a chocolately delight that I will be aging even more next time to mute the bourbon into submission.
Total 48/50 I know, I know… It doesn’t take a whole lot of fortitude nor prowess to drink a great beer and give it a high score. Big surprise, right? However, I was expecting to give this beer a perfect score and perhaps that expectation worked against it. It is a towering giant of chocolate and bourbon warmth with coffee riding its coattails the whole time. The warmth is not insane, but it is enough where I do feel that it overpowers some of the other flavors that should definitely be making a contribution, namely the coffee. If you’re fortunate enough to see some after the April 1, 2013 distribution date, buy it. Even if it doesn’t live up to its ludicrously lofty expectations (and what could), you won’t be disappointed.
Joel R. Kolander is the Cheif Blogger for Sud Savant, a beer-savoring blog for the rest of us. We’re not here to get plowed. We’re not here because we are world-famous beer critics. We’re here because we enjoy savoring a great beer with even better friends. Sharing great beer is just as amazing as finding it in the first place. Lets share!