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 merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

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.

merlin48, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of 513hooligan
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

i have had other bourbon beers and was quite let down. the bourbon was not so much the center of attention and that was a huge relief. i have to admit i was a little biased going into tasting but this really turned me around. the color was wicked dark. so much so it seemed to absorb all the light in the room. very thick head. lacing stuck around until the beer was gone. the body was a little lighter than i had expected. mouth feel was very enjoyable. hints of coffee, malt, and chocolate. this would be great as a beer used in a dessert or a bread.

513hooligan, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

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!

weeare138, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a nearly opaque black with a small coffee colored head that quickly recedes to nothing at all.

Smell is not bold in the least. Some chocolatey notes and sadly no bourbon.

Taste is just as bland. Not bad, but I got some weak bourbon and some malty chocolate with neither jumping out at me.

Mouthfeel is a bit too thin for my liking.

All that said, this is quite easy drinking. Thin for a stout and the abv is not noticable in the least. While I didn't love it, I did finish it much sooner than I thought I would.

bluegrassbrew, May 08, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

some foam was able to form with the pour but quickly retreated to a nice spotty coating and tight lacing. the blackness is totally opaque blackness, of course

well, smells like it came from a bourbon barrel. we really do have a fixation on this type of thing, don't we? i mean...i love the stuff, but how many of these existed five years ago? woody, vanilla-ey and woody again. to tell you the truth it smells a little wild. more truth is that i'm not sure there's a stout on the other end. some general roastiness, i'm sure

it tastes a bit more like a stout, though the bourbon character is hardly subtle (i love this style/trick/method/whatever but i can't wait for a beer with a nuanced whiskey/barrel flavor). roasty, but hardly robust. woody and a little wild. certainly plenty of barrel vanilla. despite the booze not hot in any way

bruachan, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of OnThenIn
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

Appearance: It pours a dark jet black with a half finger of brown head. The head doesn't last forever, but it does leave some nice lacing.

Smell: The beer has a bourbon aroma with notes of roasted malt and a certain sweetness that all comes together for a chocolate and coffee like smell.

Taste: The taste is really smooth to the point of almost tasting a little watered down, with nice roasted notes that are not followed by bitter roasted malt flavor. The beer finishes surprisingly clean and dry with just a hint of residual bitterness. The beer also has a definite bourbon flavor. Their is also a bit of vanilla and coffee.

Mouthfeel: The beer is a little more carbonated than I would expect, and the beer is full bodied, but not huge by any means.

Drinkability: The beer is surprisingly drinkable for a 8.5% bourbon barrel aged. For the pricing, especially considering that this was bourbon barrel aged, I would definitely pick it up again. This is actually my first bourbon barrel and I was hoping the bourbon wouldn't blow me away. In fact, it didn't and I am looking forward to the next bourbon barrel beer.

OnThenIn, May 18, 2010
Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

Thanks to BEERchitect who sent me a four-pack of these lovelies this week. I have the hankerin' for less than 22 oz. of wicked stuff before I have to hop an airplane tonight, & this one fits the bill nicely.

Poured in my 3-4 oz. Autumn Brew Review taste, just for the heck of it. Black with tiny, tiny amber highlights peeking around the edges. Vigorous little head that falls quickly. A warm glow of moonshine comes welling up once the temp begins to rise. Along with the sweet malts. Very nice.

Jefferson's Reserve tastes good, not great (thank goodness, since I didn't want to have to start a conveyor belt from Kentucky...). First impression, almost before the taste hits, is that this is thin for the style, along the lines of one of Tyranena's fine porters rather than a big, bruising stout. The bourbon comes along right after that & it's quieter, subtler, gentler bourbon that some of the bombs out there. Vanilla steps up, & there's a bitter, burnt edge in there too, mixed in with the background sweets of the malts. Easy to drink for a beer this big, but while I'm enjoying the acrid taste of burning toast right now, not sure I'd like it beer after beer.

This is a good brew for when wants a taste of bourbon without having one's palate blown to hell or being unable to operate bulldozer's after a single glass. Glad I have a few more!

maximum12, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of vtfan77
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

A- Very dark brown, stout-like... oh, I guess this is a stout, so that's appropriate. Not much in the way of head, with just a thin wisp of lace forming on the pour.

S- Like a caramel macchiato: coffee, butterscotch, vanilla, toffee, cocoa... lots going on here, and very pleasant. I only wish it were stronger.

T- Thin roasted malt with a little bit of bourbon coming through, but not much. There's a sour, lightly astringent flavor throughout that is not particularly pleasant. Not terrible, but it doesn't live up to the smell at all.

M- Fairly thick and very smooth, almost a little creamy. Could possibly be a bit fuller.

D- Nice mouthfeel and the alcohol is nearly undetectable; I would have pegged the ABV at under 6%. However, the taste wears thin after a little while. I definitely wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, and it's definitely a slow sipper at that.

A little disappointing for a bourbon barrel-aged stout. I was definitely expecting more in the way of flavor. That said, it certainly wasn't bad and I'd possibly drink it again, but I don't really think it's worth the price.

vtfan77, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of Hugh37
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Hugh37, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of haddon
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- pours almost black in the glass with a nice two finger mocha head

S- love the smells! sweet chocolate with nuts & coffee undertones. the roasted malt smell is there from the beginning

T- the most dominant flavor has to be the roasted malts with a mocha cofffee taste. also, a toffee note mixed in as well

M- real smooth flowing over the tongue. the carbonation is a little lighter than expected but it was a good balance. little thin and light

D- the 8.5% abv is well hidden. not much of a sipper. enjoyed trying it but probably won't earn a spot in my cellar.

haddon, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of nebula1999
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

nebula1999, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of notafood
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Picked up a growler at the Main and Clay taproom ($5 Tuesdays!).
Poured into a tulip, very dark (black) with a thin, quickly dissolved tan head.

Ahhh, bourbon, chocolate and malt. A touch of coffee and maybe a hint of oatmeal. I know it's just me, but it has a smell I associate with the taproom. Nostalgia.

A mediocre imperial stout. Well-balanced, but just not enough diversity, it tastes like coffee and chocolate. None of that namesake bourbon barrel seems to show up in the flavor profile. Very pedestrian.

Surprisingly thin for and Imperial Stout. Coats the mouth nicely without being sticky. Good, bitter finish.

Like most breweries in Louisville, this is nothing to really write home about. It makes a great session beer (Browning's ESB, Cumberland Brews' Red) but the 8.5% ABV kind of puts the brakes on drinking too much. Goes down good and smooth, perfectly acceptable (and affordable) alternative to your Stone's, Founder's, and Rogue's.

notafood, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

what an odd and interesting beer.
A - dark brown / black in color, steady small tan head through the full glass.
S - coffee, roasted grains, hint of bourbon.
T - light roasted grain / coffee, hints of bourbon and oak with a bit of a bite.
M - light to medium bodied, smooth, mellow
D - this was a tale of two halves of the glass. initial half was confusing as the flavors tried to find their message, the second half melded better with a nice end note of bourbon and vanilla.

The odd thing of this beer is it felt more like a porter to me than a stout. I think it drank well but it's an adventure.

barleywinebrewer, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of NormLobstah
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

NormLobstah, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

ygtbsm94, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of Mattyb79
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Mattyb79, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Unfortunately this bottle feel out of my fridge while rearranging my beer. Since the cap popped open a bit I needed to drink it. That said the head was massive, which might be a result of being shaken right before being served.

A. Huge tan creamy head on top of a super black viscous liquid.

S. Lots of roasted malt - coffee, chocolate, some caramel. Some bourbon and oak in the back of my nose.

T. Wow! Tons of bourbon up front with coffee bitterness on swallow - the bourbon completely overwhelmed any more subtle flavors on the first sip. As you adjust to the bourbon, the roasted malt flavors make an appearance, but make no mistake this is a bourbon beer. The alcohol manages to hide fairly well, though.

M. Thin with a fairly high level of carbonation - probably my least favorite part of the beer. With an imperial stout I expect to be chewing on the beer.

D. I must say that it's not supremely drinkable at 3 o'clock on a Thursday, but most people probably won't be drinking it at this time. That said, as a bourbon lover I appreciate the bourbon character, but I also wish that it blended in with the other flavors a bit more.

BeerAndBourbon, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of jlindsey
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

jlindsey, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

spycow, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of NCSUdo
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

12 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep black under an inch worth of brown head. No lace and no retention.

S: Fairly sweet with dark fruits up front. Chocolate and roasted malt follow. The fruit really stands out here. Slight hint of wood and bourbon.

T: Sweet and fruity again. Mild bitterness with chocolate and roasted malt. A hint of bourbon and a little bit of boozy heat. Slight nutty flavor as well.

M/D: On the light side of a full body, slightly prickly carbonation, a little slick as well. Decent drinkability. Overall, a little bit better than average, but not great. Could use some bolstering in areas, but not bad.

NCSUdo, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of nriech
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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.

nriech, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

BillRoth, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of blbarnett3
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

blbarnett3, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of stoutlover1978
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

stoutlover1978, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of tcfishler
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Dark chocolate brown with a modest but nicely finely textured head.

Dryish aromas of charred oak staves and unaggressive cocoa.

Surprisingly light bodied for the ABV with a faint juiciness. Both these qualities make for a remarkably drinkable big beer, which is otherwise not too well distinguished.

tcfishler, Jul 24, 2010
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
86 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.