I understand Grand Cru Beers pulled off a bit of a coup, acquiring quite a lot of Founders's annual release of KBS ("Kentucky Breakfast Stout", though it doesn't say that on the label)for Ireland. At €8 for a little bottle I wasn't in much of a hurry to try it, but it was getting lots of good feedback and, since there didn't seem to be any shortage, I eventually succumbed.
It's 11.2% ABV and every bit as dense as that strength implies, pouring out black and silky, in no rush to form a head, though it eventually does. "Chocolate and coffee, aged in oak bourbon barrels" says the label, and the aroma repeats this verbatim: there's the oily and earthy roasted coffee bean; there's the chocolate bar with a large percentage number on the packaging; and there's the boozy vanilla wood of the whisky. No surprises here.
And it's the bourbon in the driving seat on tasting: there's lots of that signature sour-mash lime flavour and a kind of hazel nuttiness from the oak. The coffee is present but muted and the chocolate is all but gone. Disappointingly, it doesn't really taste of anything else. The mouthfeel is rather thin and the finish is short. I expected much more complexity, and some decent hop character (it's 70 IBUs!), but it all seems to have been drowned by the added goop.
Far be it from me to try and stifle anyone's creativity, but maybe less is more when it comes to double-digit ABV imperial stouts.