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

411 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 411
Reviews: 322
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 14.47%
Wants: 25
Gots: 7 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 411 | Reviews: 322 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - this beer pours a dark a dark midnight black, and stays that way even when held to a light, it wells up a 2 finger thick dark tan/light brown cappuccino head

S - ahh, its been too long since my last double stout, i miss this dark creamy rich toffee aroma, this one has it, along with an sharp alcohol kick, and slight hints of vanilla

T - wow, this is really smooth for such a high ABV, smooth creamy vanilla/coffee/toffee flavors dance down my throat, what a blend, finishses with a bitter kick with an alvohol bite, a great stout

M&D - velvety smooth, so very good, a tongue coating sweet smoothness, the only drawback to the drinkability is the higish ABV

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2006 01:48:41 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of Lnedrive14


4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I went on to this site and read the reviews after having drank the beer, expecting everyone to comment on how overwhelming the bourbon essence was, but that seems to not be the case at all. maybe a difference between the keg and the bottle? i'm not sure.

all I can say from my experience with this beer is that you have to like bourbon to like this beer. it is one of the most potent barrel-aged beers (in terms of adopting the taste of the barrel it is aged in) that I have ever had. luckily, i love bourbon, so i found this to be a fantastic stout.

bours jet black with almost no head. knowing that it was 11%, i was a little bit worried with the appearance - i expected a syrupy alcohol bomb. boy was i wrong.

smell/taste are overwhelmed with bourbon. every part of this beer screams it. i absolutely loved the smokiness, that was quite well balanced with its frothiness and big malt presence. little bit of coffee and chocolate, but they are more aftertastes than anything else.

mouthfeel is very different from what i expected - not syrupy at all. thick, but in a low-density sort of way. very very nice. also was amazingly drinkable given the high alcohol content.

all in all, i loved it. gonna try to find a 6-pack to bring back. would love to see what it does after being aged for a while.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2006 22:28:51 | More by Lnedrive14
Photo of nickss


4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a milk chocolate-esque frothy head.

The aroma consists of chocolate overtones... certainly more chocolate than bourbon. In fact, the bourbon is barely perceptable. That being said, the deep rich chocolate smells delicious.

Fantastic.. big chocolate and malt notes with a tight hop bitterness. As the brew warms, a delicious bourbon essence begins to seep through.

Perfect consistency and thickness... I would like the carbonation levels to be a bit lower, but this is pretty damn nice.

Amazingly drinkable for a brew of this might... fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2006 00:29:52 | More by nickss
Photo of carln26


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark, light absorbing brown. It's topped by a decent sized tan colored head. The head seems a little fizzy, and did not show good retention. The nose shows light roasted malt, some vanilla, light cappuccino, and just a little bit of bourbon. Really well done aroma. The flavor is mild. Some bitter chocolate up front followed quickly by vanilla latte. The finish has just a hint of bitter cherry. This blends nicely for a chocolate covered cherry character. The mouth feel seems a bit thin, just a little watery. No alcohol residue. Actually, a pretty well done beer. Good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2006 21:43:34 | More by carln26
Photo of nriech


3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Color is dark, nearly opaque, but not quite. A one inch tan head slowly fades out. Scattered streaks & spots of lacing are left around the glass.

Aroma: Wisps of smoked peat, coffee and a touch of chocolate dominate. Oak notes and vanilla.

Taste: Flavor is surprizingly light and creamy. Tastes like big roasted malts and coffee beans, very few caramelly vanilla elements evening out that charred sharpness. Goes down very easy and finishes with a noticeable hint of sweet malt brandy-like booze.. hovers too lightly above the savory world of bourbony sippers.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Too light for the flavors that are peeking out. I would like this one to stick a little more. Seems to have been made to not offend but in the process has done more damage to those who might have actually bought more, I wont but wouldnt detract anyone from giving it at least a taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2006 13:21:20 | More by nriech
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a coal black color with a tan head that drops quickly to a ringlet and bubble islands

Smell: Coffee and bourbon-tinged oak

Taste: Starts with a bourbon chocolate flavor; after the swallow the bitter coffee elements kick in; the finish is slightly acidic

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin for the style; low carbonation and curiously little warming for 11%

Drinkability: Although the beer would benefit from a fuller mouthfeel (maybe add some oats to the grist), it is an intriguing and tasty brew

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2006 02:50:32 | More by brentk56
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - opaque black, large mocha head between one and two fingers. It melts down fast but maintains a thin cap. Plenty of lacy designs left on the glass.

Aroma - chocolate syrup with a smoky side of oak. Very fragrant. As the beer sets up, some coffee aromas peek out, creating a very nice blend.

Taste - dark, heavily roasted malts to start, a little to the sweet side. Big oak flavors appearing mid-palate to swallow, adding the trendy bourbon element. Some light to moderate smokiness, along with bittersweet chocolate. A busy and enjoyable flavor profile with plenty to keep the tastebuds busy.

Mouthfeel - solid feeling as a stout should be. Carbonation is kept slightly below average, I like that.

Drinkability - usually the smokier or heavily-oaked stouts can wear my palate out. This one doesn't go overboard and the abv is quite reasonable.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2006 20:28:50 | More by brewdlyhooked13


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oil black body is thick and beautiful. It hosts a inch of milk chocolate colored head. Zesty bold smokey malt is invigorating to the nose. Hints of chocolate, bacon, and black licorice exist. Enters the mouth much more thin and lighter in body than expected. Nice even richness arives in the middle of the palate. Also evokes a slight, welecomed bitter twords the end. Develops better as it warms a bit. Nice thick mouthfeel includes a hint of yeasty sour hue. Very easy to drink for such a hugely dark brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2006 19:50:47 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark brown/black beer with mahogony highlights. Has a nice foamy light brown head. The aroma of bourbon jumps out of the glass into your nose before you can bring it up to your face. Bringing with ith lovely notes of oak and vanilla with it and a hint of licorice in the background. The flavors turn your mouth into a jungle gym. First sweet malt on the tip of your tongue then the vanilla and oak characters in the middle and then a deep roasted malt bitterness on the back of your tongue. Every mouthful creates this wild dance of flavors all over your mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2006 00:20:03 | More by ybnorml
Photo of ppoitras


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from oracle as part of NoBS BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a large glass chalice, formed a scant 1/8" tan head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head is quickly down to small-bubbled swirls, with minimal lacing. Aroma is creamy mocha, with tinges of alcohol. Taste is moderate chocolate and coffee upfront, a light fruitiness in the middle, and some warmth upon the swallow. Mouthfeel is thin, esp for the style, and drinkability is okay. Expected more, esp for an advertised 11%abv. Not really believing that one. A nice brew on it's merits, but not when you go in expecting gangbusters.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2006 01:00:12 | More by ppoitras
Photo of nlmartin


1.9/5  rDev -50%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I was at a beer tasting lately. One of the guys I was talking with talked up this beer. I remember not being particularly blown away with it. Many of the other guys there seemed shocked by this. I figured I would give this beer another try.

I served the beer in my pub glass. The beer was served cold and I let it warm to room temperature.

Appearance: The beer pours a ruby opaque black coloration. The head was a thin off white coloration. The head had no retention. For me the appearance was the high point of the beer.

Smell: To me the beer had a overwhelming boozey smell. This boozeyness was not of the pleasing bourbon variety. The beer smelled of cheap alcohol. The beer smelled a bit better at room temperature but still was dominated by cheap alcohol smell. The beer at room temperature had undertones of lightly roasted coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Frankly the smells are just far too dominated by alcohol .Some bourbon smell would have been nice. Hell some bolder smells would have been good also.

Taste: Generally I dont mind a boozey beer. I am a big man and boozey smells generally mean I will have a satisfying beer drink. This was not the case with this beer. The beers lead in flavor was alcohol and not of the bourbonesque sort. The beer has very muted lightly roasted coffee, chocolate and vanilla in the flavor. The flavors came out a bit more as the beer warmed up. Sadly, I never really experienced any boldness of flavor here.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer seemed thin to me. The beer was mildly carbonated. I am totally underwhelmed by this beer. The beer isnt particularly bourbon or stout like. I think BBC wanted to do a balls to the walls sort of beer and frankly failed. It was a chore to finish this beer. I have read some of the reviews of this beer and I can hardly believe we drank the same beer.

Note: I had a second bottle of this at room temperature and it didnt seem any better.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2006 10:54:26 | More by nlmartin
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. glass into a Thomas Hardy snifter, which I'm hoping serves this brew well.

Appearance: Black as expected, with no light getting through this sucker. A nice mocha-colored head dissipates fairly quickly but still lets some lines of lacing hang around.

Smell: A smooth and sweet toasted marshmallow, light but vanilla and oak-y bourbon, slight mocha and coffee, and berries,

Taste: Slightly, and somehow rich, burnt coffee, creamy mocha, chocolate powder, and toasted marshmallow, backed by some vanilla and bourbon flavors, oak and woodiness, and dark berries. Pretty wonderful stuff. Finishes slightly bittersweet with the coffee, marshmallow and bourbon dominating in such good ways.

Mouthfeel: How can this seem lighter-bodied for its seeming richness and alcohol? Well, it does unless I'm crazy. Rich enough but also light and extremely easy to drink--is it the bourbon doing this, making it lighter in the body? I can't really answer that.

Drinkability: Devastatingly delicious stuff, which I've consumed way too fast. Expensive as hell in bottles (around $4 for each), but I wouldn't mind buying a 4-pack for a treat every now and then, especially since winter's coming. I love barrel aging and have been a fan of the experiment for a while now, and this one certainly doesn't disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2006 01:36:54 | More by asabreed
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a growler from Party Town in Florence, KY. Drank from my Delirium Tremens tulip.
Poored a dark brown, almost black, with a good head that receded to leave a "mocha like" ring in the top center of the glass.
Smells of bourbon and burnt coffee. Taste is not too much different. The bourbon is apparent, but I was getting a real strong burnt coffee taste out of this one. I've had a couple of pints of this on draft before and there was a much stronger bourbon flavor and less burnt coffee. That was much more to my liking. There's no way that this beer is 11%. I'm going to do my research to confirm.
All in all, a style of beer that I love, but this is pricey in bottles, and there are better options available.

Serving type: growler

10-08-2006 13:10:56 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of jaxon53


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served slightly chilled, in a pint glass. Poured a deep whiskey brown, almost black, with about one finger of tan bubbly head. Dissapeared quickly into a ring around the glass. Very little lacing. Somewhat of a strong smell of Bourbon (of course), wood, and maybe a touch of chocolate. Tasted again, of Bourbon, wood with a sweet start and alcohol finish with little carbonation. Was a nice balanced, full bodied complex brew. Comparable to an Oaked Yeti. This ones a sipper for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2006 01:08:18 | More by jaxon53
Photo of UnionMade


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown, very black when the glass is filled. Diminishing tan head. Big creamy, coffee-ish aroma. Kinda like one of those flavored french vanilla coffees. Vanilla bourbon notes, with prune fruitiness lurking in the background. This is 11%? Where's the booze? The flavor opens with moderate roastiness, more coffee than charry, with vanilla whiskey tones showing up immediately. Nice and creamy, soft and smooth. Lighter body than I'd expect. Dark, fruity notes, some nuttiness as well. Cashew and pecan. Mellow hopping in the finish, easily overtaken by bittersweet roastiness and smooth oak barrel. Not a trace of alcohol. You sure this is 11%? Real mellow, even if this were english styled. I could buy 6-8%, but not 11. I'm not even getting the familiar "big beer buzz", the one where I'm not really near any form of drunkeness, but I want a cigarette every five minutes. I could go with a nice cigar with this, maybe a Cohiba.
I'd guess this was of a much lower ABV. The flavor doesn't blast your tastebuds with the kind of oomph I've come to expect of an imperial, double, whatever you want to call a big-ass stout. Maybe an export style, somewhat above average strength, but certainly not 11%. For that kind of punch, I would have expected more all around.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2006 10:19:17 | More by UnionMade
Photo of TrickKnee


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very interesting beer to say the least with many different flavors that come out of it. Sweetness from the bourbon, but then some bitterness from the coffee malt. At 11% the abv is definetly hidden quite well, didnt even taste it at all. The only slight problem would be the price, somewhere around 12-13 dollars for a 4 pack would keep me to buying it only on occassion.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2006 01:51:59 | More by TrickKnee
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JeffKrenner for another beer on my wants list!

A: Pours like cola. Extremely dark brown but not necessarily black. Head frothed for a moment then settled down to a faint rim and complacent islands of foam.

S: Huge bourbon nose but more base than acidic. Vanilla, butterscotch and carrot of all things make this very round and sort of vegetable like.

T: Probably one of the strongest bourbon tasting beers I've had. Bourbon up front and pungent with some mineraly aspects to the accompanying flavors. Some white grape juice, blueberry bagel and a lingering oatmeal taste. Vanilla finishes it all up but not overly refined.

M: Medium body but a bit fuzzy.

D: Good beer but not nearly as good as other bourbon barrel options out there. Without the bourbon barrel aging, I really don't think this beer would be very good. Alcohol is well hidden for the size though.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2006 04:36:07 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of weeare138


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dickinsonbeer for opening this(I also received one in a trade from kmpitz2)...
Appears a black color with dark brown edges when held to the light. A one inch tan head slowly fades out. Scattered streaks & spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted malt, cream, light oak...where's the bourbon? If it's there, I'm struggling to get any. If you blink, you'll miss it.
Taste is of American oak, watered down molasses, cream, cocoa, roasted malt...major dissapointment, as I've been craving bourbon aged brews lately. I would've thought that our friends in Louisville, KY would've gotten this right with the abundance of bourbon aged oak barrels in the area.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with roastiness that clings and a tiny amount of oak tannins in the brew.
Give it another try, boys. I know Kentucky can do this!

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2006 20:52:38 | More by weeare138
Photo of cbl2

New York

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/25/2006 $4.00 12 oz. 11.00% Bottled April 2006.


Pours a pitch black that lets absolutely no light through. Topped by a quarter or so inch of dark tan that settles rapidly. No legs to speak of, but since this isn't an RIS, that's ok.


Wisps of smoked peat, coffee and a touch of chocolate dominate. I can't detect the notes of vanilla and oak one would expect from something aged in bourbon barrels.


Excellent smooth mouthfeel, consistent with a milk stout. Nice notes of roasted coffee complete with cream. A touch of smoke in the finish along with mild hop bitterness. Some alcohol is barely detectable in the finish, perhaps imparted by the bourbon barrels? Otherwise I get no impression of bourbon out of this one, which is fine by me, since I don't really care for bourbon.

While this was enjoyable, and quite tasty, I can't get past the price. I paid $4.00 for a single, while the 4 pack was discounted to $15.00. Not worth the price IMHO.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2006 02:04:38 | More by cbl2
Photo of geexploitation


4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, dark black beer with mahogany highlights. Thin head of taupe that dissipates easily. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, lots of vanilla, treacle -- very sweet, and exactly what you'd expect from a bourbon barrel. Thick on the tongue, initially a bit sour. That quickly turns into vanilla and coffee sweetness. The finish is a bit metallic, especially at warmer temperatures. Throughout, this is downright viscous on the tongue, albeit with medium carbonation for the style. Overall, a very good stout and an especially good bourbon barrel-aged stout; many of this type of beer are way to sickly sweet to drink a lot of. This one has enough bourbon edges to give the beer character, while not sacrificing drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 03:31:18 | More by geexploitation
Photo of merlin48


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark and inky, but not thick or syrupy. Two finger cocoa shaded head has modest retention and leaves some sheets and spotty patches of lace.

Aroma is very subdued, especially before it warms to room temperature. Oak notes dominate, with hints of chocolate and charcoal.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a bit chalky from the oak barrel, with a strong moderate carbonation.

Taste has some mild roasty notes with a burnt charcoal influence. Maybe a hint of bourbon, but the bourbon is largely missing in action here. No hint of the big alcohol. Becomes thinner as it warms, becoming more like a brown ale than a stout. Some earthy hops here and there.

This one doesn't come across as an imperial or double stout. Barely stoutlike at all. Decent enough, but very understated.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 00:12:31 | More by merlin48
Photo of peabody


4.68/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer makes me think of a good morning breakfast with eggs bacon and hot coffee.
Pours out with a quarter inch of brownish foam. They dissapate quickly leaving little to no lacing.
Color is superb, very dark and clean looking.
I smell burnt coffee and fruits. No alcohol is present to the nose.
The first taste says Coffee and caramel. Slight hops are present but the sweetness of the burnt aftertaste subdues any bitter flavors present.
I really like this beer and could drink a few at one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2006 03:00:51 | More by peabody
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a muddy pitch-dark brown with a small tan head that doesn't last very long.

Huge dusty cocoa smell permeates the aroma, with just a hint of boozy bourbon-ness. Oak woodiness comes out further upon warming. If there are hops here, you wouldn't know it from the smell.

Taste: Now the hops come through, rather strongly, but balanced with a mild whisky essence, a pinch of anise, overripe dark fruit, woody earthiness and plenty of roasted coffee. Quite delicious...been a while since I had a stout, and this was a fine one to return to.

The mouthfeel is as it should be, thick and creamy but not overly so, and not sticky either.

A good sippin' stout. Superbly well-hidden alcohol. Everything in its right place, also exhibiting small bits of its own unique character. Just such a high ABV that you might want to watch yo'self.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2006 21:06:15 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Daalamar: Poured a deep black color stout with a small off-white foamy head with average retention. Aroma of coffee and chocolate with some roasted malt is pretty inviting. Taste is a nice mix between roasted malt that provide some bitterness with some nice coffee and chocolate touch. Bourbon is present though I find it quite subtle. Body is definitely too thin though for the style and the beer would have gained from a bigger and fuller body.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2006 19:07:25 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of phisig137


3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep black that lets no light through, with very little head. Only a ring around the glass forms, and leaves behind no lacing. Looks like a stout to me....

Aroma is dominated by wood. Huge notes of vanilla, wood, and a bit of sweetness. No alcohol aroma here.

Flavor is surprizingly light. Thin body, that is dominated again by the wood. I get very little roasted grain on the finish, and no hoppiness. I taste the bourbon barrel, but not the stout. Mouthfeel is light, but creamy and smooth. Drinkability is dangerously high for an 11% beer. This hides it's alcohol extremely well.

A decent beer all around, but I've had better stouts, and better oak aged beers. This could be a good "beginner" beer for those just getting into things that are aged in barrels.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2006 01:02:22 | More by phisig137
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
86 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.