1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout - Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

Not Rated.
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutJefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

415 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 415
Reviews: 322
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 14.47%
Wants: 25
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 04-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 415 | Reviews: 322 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Riverwarrior


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

S = Cocoa and fairly strong bourbon notes.

T = Cocoa sweetness with a very subdued bourbon taste. Actually, the bourbon was much stronger in the aroma than the taste. I actually preferred the softer bourbon flavor. The alcohol was hidden well.

MF = Light body, low carbonation, and slightly watered down.

This was not a bad stout at all, but it was a little thin and watery. The strong point was the bourbon flavor not dominating the other flavors.

06-07-2008 18:46:04 | More by Riverwarrior
Photo of turbine2475


3.33/5  rDev -12.4%

Thanks go to Mhewes for the chance to try this beer:

A - Pours completely opaque black, with a large cream head that dissipated quickly to a light ring leaving a spotty lace.

S - Sweet bourbon, burnt wood, some hints of mocha, and dark fruits.

T - Watered down burnt coffee and a subdues bourbon taste that failed to match the nose. Some earthy grains and a touch of currants and vanilla.

M - Not as creamy as I thought it would be, but mildly chewy with a light coating that left a bourbon aftertaste. Low carbonation.

D - Glad I had a chance to try this beer. Not as big as I thought it was going to be, but at the same time the alcohol content is well hidden making this a beer that has the chance to sneak up on you.

06-04-2008 20:42:38 | More by turbine2475
Photo of Slatetank


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

I shared this one w/ evets at a community brew day he hosted recently.
Poured cold into a goblet from the 12oz brown bottle
A - A deep brown almost black in the light w/ an inch of cream colored cap w/ a very fine bead

S - The aroma is of cocoa w/ sweet cream and vanilla from the oaking as it warms

M - Sweet, moderate carbonation and slightly woody toasted w/ a pleasant semi-dry finish w/ oak bourbon aspects lingering on

T - This is a fine stout, however I felt the aroma was better than the taste. The flavors are well blended w/ plenty of toasted and chocolate malt upfront and a sweet bourbon like creaminess w/ vanilla and gentle booze tinges following. The subtlety of bourbon in this stout is its strong point, it really has the flavor of a lighter stout.

D - Very good drinkability for an 8.5% beer this is one you may want to sip since it is deceptive. It has many layers of flavor and I appreciated the chance to try the bottle as well as having this on tap, but prefer the draft version.

06-01-2008 16:19:26 | More by Slatetank
Photo of Traquairlover


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Deep mahogany, but poured a little thin, virtually no head, what did form was medium brown and dissipated almost immediately, no lacing and very little traces on surface.

S = Very strong oak notes, smelling smoked, almost like a smoked porter. Below that are deep bitter baker's chocolate, vanilla and not much else.

T = Smokey oak, great bourbon overtones, maduro cigar tobacco, fresh vanilla bean, very complex, great tastes.

M = Medium to medium-light bodied, only fair mouthcoating, much less than I would expect from a big beer like this.

D = This is an okay beer and I have put some down for cellaring. Will be happy to drink it again. However, the taste alone really carries it, since the body is WAY too light, the appearance is mundane and the smell is very simple compared to the taste.

I personally think this could be a great beer if they just increased the body some and made it such that it had a heavy body, then either go with a more robust carbonation and head or the opposite where it is not intended to have any and sets up like a more syrupy dessert drink.

05-31-2008 03:33:16 | More by Traquairlover
Photo of hustlesworth


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

A- totally inky black. i literally cannot get one shred of light to show through my duvel tulip. big puffy tan head becomes rocky and pitted as it settles, opening and closing organic looking orifices at a phenomenal rate, and leaving spots and stripes of patchy lace. finally ends up as a thick half moon dish sitting over this deep dark brew.

*note: as the beer diminishes into my belly, amber and crimson highs show themselves along the edges of glass.

S- bittersweet chocolate and roasty toasty malt. a toffee/caramel sugary sweetness presides more so than bourbon sweetness however alcohol esters were fuming around the room as soon as i began to pour. what i get from the barrels is a nice earthy charred wood that warms the nose, blending nicely with the cocoa/coffee aromas. pipe tobacco, old dry leather, and grape tannins mingle around and i think this will be a great breakfast.

T- this is a great stout BUT... i'm not really getting any bourbon taste or smell. charred oak is evident, but that could also simply be their melange of different roasted malts. mild flavored until the swallow, quality mineral water and soft marshmallow (i'm noticing a marshmallow trend with BBC brews, i trait that i only really adore in APAs and IPAs) and tart dark dried fruit (raisin, cranberry, prune). after the swallow, flavor surges through with the usual combo of dark cocoa, coffee, and burnt wood. maple syrup sweetness pushes through before the decent earthy english hop bitterness merges with the bitterness from the roasted barley making for a mild well balanced finish. i suppose (in all my optimism) that after i take a big gulp and exhale through my big nose i can detect a somewhat bourbon-esque stimulus, but if i didn't already know, i would have never guessed this was a bourbon barrel stout, just a pretty good imperial. +/-

MF- hearty and rich...for a lighter beer. not the deep robust belly filling imperial stout that i've come to love, but more of a light porter. its super blackness led me to believe this one would be like drinking melted ice cream but comes up short instead. some residual graininess sticks behind, and with small tight carbonation, this has almost all factors, just lacking that meal-in-a-bottle character that i depend on from an imperial stout.

D- high points and low points, but oddly enough what it lacks in taste and body happen to up its drinkability. much easier to slam these babies when each one doesn't equal 1/2 loaf of bread.

05-21-2008 17:31:26 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of mhewes


3.8/5  rDev 0%

A : Pours a nice dark brown with a good tan head. Good head retention and lacing

S : Coffee, oak, hints of vanilla

T : Smokey malt, coffee flavors dominate. Hints of bourbon shine through but not as much as I was expecting.

M : Creamy with good carbonation

D : Pretty good but I just expected a little bit more from the beer.

05-21-2008 14:14:49 | More by mhewes
Photo of rborthwick


4.72/5  rDev +24.2%

It pours an opaque black with a tan head that fades fairly quickly. Little lacing is evident. This beer is extremely smooth with a creamy mouthfeel. It smells of sweet malt, chocolate and bourbon. Taste includes chocolate, oak, black licorice and bourbon. The finish is of burnt malt and molasses and is rather tight and abrubt for such a flavorfull beer. This beer is one of my favorites. I am not a big bourbon fan, but this beer is wonderful. It pairs fabulously with a good cigar.

05-18-2008 01:26:23 | More by rborthwick
Photo of russpowell


4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Got this a bonus beer from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

Pours an ebony tinged chestnut with 3 fingers of mocha head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla & oak smells, plus chocolate

T: Bourbon notes, some chocolate & mocha up front. A bit of caramel, some smokey notes, more vanilla & oakyness as this warms. Finishes dry, with nice cocoa notes & vanilla, tasty

MF: Medium bodied with some oilyness, fairly vigirous carbonation.

Drinks great for the abv and style. A very respectable Imp Stout

05-16-2008 03:45:27 | More by russpowell
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

I go this in a trade, but for the life of me I can't figure out who sent it to me! So, apologies are due to the kind trader who included this brew. Pours black and slightly viscous with a decent head that fades to a ring. Nicely balanced bourbon, toasted grains, and sweet malt with a good deal of creaminess. The bourbon is on the mellow side, but nicely nuanced with caramel, oak, vanilla, and cream. Unfortunately the bourbon is a good deal too subtle for my taste in the flavor and the malt profile doesn't have enough oomph either. Still, its pleasant enough if kinda light. Smooth and somewhat creamy in the mouth, this is easy to drink- maybe a little too easy for the style.

04-24-2008 01:20:20 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of hrking


4.58/5  rDev +20.5%

This is a great brew to have on draft..If you get the chance that is the best way to have this beer..I've got a 1/6 keg in my fridge! This is hands down my favorite draft beer. I've had this in a bottle and it doesn't even come close to the great smoothness and blend of bourbon but not overpowering in the finish..Just enough bourbon to tease the flavor over your palette! This is a great beer indeed highly recommend if you are a fan of this style like I am!

04-23-2008 03:26:07 | More by hrking
Photo of joe1510


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

12oz Bottle
Big Red Bloomington

Bottled 11/07

Jefferson's Reserve exited the bottle with the appearance of coffee but as it slowly filled the glass become midnight black. It took an aggressive pour with the gurgling liquid to conjure up a half finger surprisingly light beige head. The head fell rather quickly to a swirling and respectable ring. Each drink leaves patchy lacing along the glass.
Big aromas of fresh ground coffee right off the bat. I'm surprised by the huge amount of coffee in here! Baker's chocolate and hazelnut play second fiddle to the coffee but compliment nicely. Now behind all that comes the barrel aging, vanilla, light woodiness and even lighter boozy bourbon bring up the rear. I was conflicted on whether this deserves a 4.5 or 5 then I realized if I have to ask myself it's not a 5.

The flavor comes across just as the aroma suggested although a bit more subdued. Everything really does mesh well together and the subtleties are still there but I'd enjoy a little more robustness. That being said the flavor is still very good.

The mouthfeel is where we hit a snag. The body is too thin for such a beer. I'd say it's around medium density but it just seems to move too quickly and feels too thin. Actually as it nears room temperature there's a bit of creaminess on the back of the tongue but still too thin.

It is a pretty easy drinker for the style. Goes down easy and tastes good which will keep any beer flowing. One is enough for me in a sitting though.

My first sampling from Bluegrass and it's a good offering. From the smell I thought this was going to be a great beer, it went downhill from there but not drastically enough for me to call this anything but good.

04-12-2008 01:01:03 | More by joe1510
Photo of danielocean03


2.63/5  rDev -30.8%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Notched label indicates bottled on date of Decemeber 2007. Appearance is opaque dark reddish brown, fizzy thin finger of light brown head dissipated quickly into a light sticky ring of lacing. Very active carbonation, appearance is not unlike a Pepsi or Coca-cola. Aroma is light, sweet and malty with hints of vanilla and undertones of chocolate, light alcohol scent. Taste is also light, malty with the slightest hint of a bourbon flavor, smoky earthen-grain undertones. Finish is slightly dry with a hint of alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is watery-thin consistency with the highest levels of carbonation of any brew I've ever drank. Roughs up the palate to the point of practically ruining this beer for me, it washes off the tongue so quickly there is hardly any complexity to the flavor. The scent is also weak and it leaves something to be desired. Drinkability suffers for the latter, makes one want to move on to something else. Maybe this one needs to sit for a year or so to calm down and fall into its own, but as a fresh(er) stout, I expected better. Would not seek out again.

04-11-2008 23:20:37 | More by danielocean03
Photo of DIM


2.93/5  rDev -22.9%

a: This was a deep ruby red color, not quite black. It poured with a smallish tan head that faded quickly.

s: Muted aromas of malts, oak, bourbon, and very faintly, vanilla. The wood aromas take center stage, unfortunately.

t: This isn't bad at all, just kind of bland. Smokey malt and wood flavors dominate. There is little if any bourbon flavor to be found.

m: This was under carbonated, but viscous enough.

d: This was okay, but once was enough for me. My buddy and I compared this blind with barlewinebrewer's bourbon infused Russian Imperial Stout. It wasn't even close, the homebrew won easily.

04-09-2008 10:45:51 | More by DIM
Photo of iuhophead87


4.7/5  rDev +23.7%

I thought this was going to be one of your average bourbon stouts and opened it after a long day of work. It turned out to be one of the best bourbon stouts I have ever had.

A- Pours very dark black with a nice tan head. If you hold it up to the light you are unable to see though it. However, it does look more of an amberish/brown when not much left in the glass.

S- you can definitely smell the malt and bourbon in this one. There were also slight hints of coffee and vanilla that were almost overpowered by the malts.

T-Wow was this a great beer. The bourbon flavor was great and mixed well with the vanilla, and coffee flavors. The after taste was almost chocolaty which was a bit surprising. A sweet taste was left in your mouth making you want more of this thick, but very drinkable beer.

M- Very creamy with just the right amount of carbonation

D- Very drinkable! Not a typical bourbon beer. The alcohol flavor is almost nonexistent making this beer great for having more than one!

04-08-2008 21:56:09 | More by iuhophead87
Photo of gkatsoris

3.28/5  rDev -13.7%

A: Black. Nice big tan head w/ teeny teeny bubbles that settle in less than 2 minutes.

S: Deep woody smell. Good aroma of the bourbon. Slight scent of alcohol. Also some vanilla. Pretty complex.

T: Bland at first. Where is the bourbon???? ABSOLUTELY NEEDS to sit for a bit before drinking. Lots of wood. The aftertaste is where most of the flavors are: Coco, vanilla, wood, honey, roasted malts and roasted nuts.

M: Flat and thin. Pretty creamy, but also crisp.

D: Wouldn't be something I'd go out of my way for, but wouldn't refuse either.

04-07-2008 00:31:00 | More by gkatsoris
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Appearance: Pours a deep black body with a full, frothy, tan head.

Smell: Aroma of dark malts, baker's chocolate, and an opened can of condensed milk. Mild bourbon character.

Taste: Chocolatey dark maltiness with a splash of coffee. Overall, a restrained level of sweetness. Hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and wood, but you gotta look past those full malts to see'm. Chocolate syrup finish with a sprinkling of sugar.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good! A nice beer for a nice Saturday afternoon.

04-06-2008 04:17:49 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of SkinnyElvis


4/5  rDev +5.3%

Thanks to Tiley4 for this brew in a trade. Cheers. Thin head. Black as my heart. Big smell of vanilla. Taste is mostly of malt and the rich vanilla with the sweetness of the bourbon. Mouthfeel is smooth & this is as drinkable as anything aged in bourbon. Not as thick as most beers of this style. A nice beer & my first from this brewery.


04-06-2008 01:10:31 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of danielharper


3.15/5  rDev -17.1%

I bought four of these a while back and never bothered to review one. I believe I picked them up from Strong Bros. in Fayetteville, but I may be mistaken. Anyway:

Appearance: Pure black body, completely nonexistent head. This beer is so dark it's completely opaque, even when held up to a strong light source.

Smell: Strong notes of coffee and chocolate. Slight astringency in the aroma, notes of hops and malt far underneath. I let this warm for a bit before tasting -- in the aroma it reminds me a bit of Rogue Shakespeare.

Taste: Nutty, malty, hints of that wooden barrel way down deep. Slightly sweet, very dry, but finishes smooth. It may just be the wood, but it reminds me more of a brown ale than a stout.

Mouthfeel: Thin, watery. Not nearly as high-quality as I'd expect from such a high-alcohol (and high-priced!) beer. Carbonation minimal, slight notes of hops on tongue. Foams a bit upon swishing over the palate.

Drinkability: Goes down clean, and the alcohol is mostly masked by the flavors in the beer. Deceptively easy to drink, overall a decent swiller but nothing worth going out of your way for.

04-04-2008 04:25:18 | More by danielharper
Photo of ckeegan04


4/5  rDev +5.3%

On tap at Rosarios in Nashville.

A - Deep dark brown color with thick lumpy three finger head. Nice brown color to the head. Excellent retention and solid lacing all the way down. This beer just looked damn good.

S - Strong aroma of toasted malts, chocolate, and bourbon. Very interesting combo of smells.

T - Roasted malt coffee flavor. The bourbon was not as storng in the taste as I was expecting. The bourbon does a nice job of offsetting the sweetness.

M/D - Not as thick as many stouts bit still had excellent carbonation and a nice smooth feeling.

03-29-2008 17:42:58 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of IBUnit63


4.15/5  rDev +9.2%

On tap at Commercial Tap House in Richmond, VA...

Deep, dark body paired with very bready-looking head.

Can smell copious amounts of fresh bread and cinnamon on this one.

Taste is strong, powerful combination of fresh grain/malt and burnt sugar.

Velvety and smooth mouthfeel with deep, strong finish

This drinks a lot easier than expected; could be dangerous. Good stuff.

03-26-2008 12:35:07 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of JDV


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle from Littlebreeze, I believe...

Pours dark black with almost no head. Smell is almost all bourbon with a touch of roast malt peeking from behind. Taste is big on bourbon with some roastiness again in the flavor, but definitely in the back. Slightly thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Pretty good overall, actually, but could do with a bit less bourbon influence, I think.

03-20-2008 03:16:10 | More by JDV
Photo of blackie


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%

a: Decent mocha head recedes to an average, well-retained layer and ring. The beer is a very dark mahogany brown in color.

s: Aromatic roasted malts, notes of dry chocolates, and a great bourbon-soaked oak presence that really sets it off. Enough base malt and perhaps some lightly fruity amber malt keep things away from the thick/sweet side. Doesn't blow your face off with complexity, but it's an excellent aroma for its subtlety and restraint.

m: medium carbonation, delicate and smooth with a full body

t: Smooth, chocolate-roast stout flavors blend extremely well with the woody bourbon barrel presence over a lighter base of caramel/amber/whatever malts. Not sweet, not totally dry. Hop flavors are light, with a moderate bitterness. Various roasts linger. A straightforward but very well brewed session stout that benefits from a tasteful example of barrel aging.

d: One of the more drinkable of the sub-style I've found...very enjoyable and underappreciated in my opinion. Maybe disappointing if you go into it wanting something thick and complex, but that's not what this beer is about.

4-pack from Rick's in Alexandria...bottled January 2008, and probably not a great candidate for cellaring

03-16-2008 04:53:48 | More by blackie
Photo of stouthead


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%

Bought this beer at a local cafe-paid $7.00/12 oz bottle

Nice malty/bourbon/chocolate aroma

Poured a dark mahog. brown with thin creamy head which quickly disappeared

great well balanced flavor but overall tasted somewhat weak for a stout

mouthfeel also slightly thin

nicely drinkable for several bottles-but a bit expensive for the above average quality

03-15-2008 17:53:02 | More by stouthead
Photo of IPAcraig


4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured into a Duvel tulip from a 120z bottle.

Pours black with a light minuscule bubbly head. No lacing.

Smells of roasted bourbon. Period.

This has great flavor, the bourbon really shines through and really pairs well with the typical roasted flavor of stouts. Though this is pretty light for such a big stout. Despite that I still love the whiskey flavor

Thin, thin, thin. Despite the low carbonation, this beer is severely lacking in body.

I love bourbon and stouts. There is room for improvement in this beer, but it is very drinkable and has great flavor.

03-15-2008 04:39:13 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of dnichols


4.3/5  rDev +13.2%

I poured a capped 12 ounce (335 ml) bottle into a tulip.

A: It poured a deep, dark black that let no light through when back lit. It was topped by a one and one half inch milk chocolate colored head composed of small and medium bubbles. The head receded to an even cover over the liquid and supported a modestly dense sticky lacing.

S: It emitted aromas of chocolate, coffee and hints of vanilla, smoked almonds/oak, and sweet bourbon. Much of the aroma was balanced and subtle making it a nice aspect of the experience rather than the smell overwhelming the experience.

T: It began with a nice creamy and sweet darkly roasted malts followed by a distinct and biting espresso coffee profile. There were whips of smoky flavors, as well as sweet vanilla. The bourbon was subdued and complemented the sweet malt flavors rather than dominating. The alcohol was well hidden.

M: It was smooth, creamy, and full bodied. It began sweet, became bitter, and ended warm and clean with only a hint of bitter and sweet aftertaste.

D: It's full body and richness keep this from being a long session brew. However, it's moderate ABV and well balanced flavors make it a pleasure to drink. It belongs in a stash ready for deployment when the mood is right.

03-12-2008 02:29:33 | More by dnichols
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
86 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.