Well, my love hate relationship with Founders has reached a new level with 2017 KBS. As I patiently waited for the release in Southeastern Michigan, I was able to get a bottle to try from KBS week. If you remember last year, I was floored by how strong the coffee was in the 2016 version. In that post I mentioned that I would age some and try them at 6 months and 1 year. I am happy to report that some age on 2016 KBS made it taste incredible. The coffee faded and the bourbon stood up making it seem more like the KBS I covet. I am going to have to age 2017 too but not sure I will be as happy in 6 months.
Now where to start with 2017: I try to be reasonable. I try not to hype things up. However, I am really disappointed with this year’s KBS. When I am let down like this the first thing I do is look inward – are my expectations too high, have my taste buds changed, or am I just falling out of love with Founders (it is not you it is me, I love you I am just not IN LOVE with you)? I have not been knocked out by anything Founder’s has done since Project Pam, and the last few bourbon barrel aged beers have been way outside of my sweet spot, or better described as way too sweet for my spot. My first impression of KBS is that it is basic. Lots of vanilla on the front end this year. No booziness and none of the complexity that I am used to. It did not change that much as I let it warm up either. Overall just a big disappointment. I guess if I summed this up in one word it would be “thin”.
I know that if I keep this up I will be labeled a Founder’s hater. I am not a Founder’s hater. I love them and what they have done for craft. I know they want to experiment and I know that they are obsessed with fruit in beer right now (hopefully the fruit thing is a phase, like Picasso’s Blue Period – although he produced some great stuff during that time it was not for everyone). I like experimentation but I get concerned when the bedrock beers start to suffer. So far the “Barrel Aged Series” is 0-3 with me with the biggest blow being struck by an underwhelming KBS. Here is hoping the Doom is lights out.