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It’s beginning to get chilly out (in some components of the nation, not less than), so which means the barrel-aged beer releases will quickly begin flowing. Founders is getting forward of the flood this season with two new choices underneath their KBS line, KBS Espresso and KBS Cinnamon Vanilla Cocoa. Espresso isn’t technically new, because it was first launched in 2019, however as this one seems to be a periodic classic launch, we’re having a look on the 2021 providing to see if it’s nonetheless as much as par. Cinnamon Vanilla Cocoa is the most recent addition to the KBS line, and whereas the title doesn’t precisely roll off the tongue, it not less than lets a beer drinker know what to anticipate, which is getting more durable and more durable with the proliferation of craft brews on the cabinets lately. Anyway, let’s dive in and see what’s what with these.
KBS Bourbon Barrel Aged Espresso Stout (2021) – This beer pours black like a cup of espresso and thick with a darkish brown, sizzling cocoa head. The aroma is simply as chock filled with well-roasted espresso and wealthy baking chocolate notes as I loved within the 2019 launch. It’s maybe a contact sweeter, extra chocolate lined espresso bean rising out of the glass. That chocolate comes by way of in spades on the palate, simply as creamy however surprisingly much less candy than earlier than with a little bit of chicory and a few darkish licorice making a bitterness that arrives virtually immediately and lingers into the end. As issues heat up within the glass, candy cream, vanilla bean, and darkish chocolate notes emerge to melt a few of these biting edges. The most recent launch exhibits extra espresso affect than its debut, however I’m left wanting just a bit extra sugar on this cup of Joe. 12% abv. B+ / $22 per four-pack
KBS Bourbon Barrel Aged Cinnamon Vanilla Cocoa – The beer pours simply as pitch black with the identical sizzling chocolate-tinged head. The aroma is, as marketed, filled with vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa. The cinnamon, freshly floor, dominates the expertise, however not far behind is a wealthy confectionary cocoa powder ingredient that introduces some darkish chocolate into the combination. The vanilla ingredient is essentially the most delicate, a little bit of ice cream beneath all of it. It’s candy, however there’s a recent baking spice high quality to the highest notes that retains issues from coming throughout cloying or syrupy. That very same restraint carries by way of to the palate which is considerably lighter than anticipated for a barrel-aged beer. The flavors are extra built-in right here with the cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla coming collectively as one thing extra like a boozy sizzling chocolate, however chilled in fact. Once more, the sweetness is restrained, balanced with a delicate, gingery bitterness. That, together with a crisp, clear end makes this a wintry, barrel-aged beer that’s virtually sessionable, even at a wholesome 12% abv. A- / $24 per four-pack