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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

431 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 431
Reviews: 325
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 28
Gots: 10 | 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
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Ratings: 431 | Reviews: 325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (Mustard Seed Market in Fairlawn had this in singles). The beer poured a black color with a thick tan foam. The aroma was about right, bourbon and roasted malts, rich and sweet. The taste was decent, lots of bournon highlights but the malts came through kind of diminished. It was really a pretty good flavor but not as rich as the smell. The mouthfeel is easy to rate low, this was just way thinner than you'd expect for the style. I was under the impression that thick beers are generally barrel aged, maybe I'm wrong but this seems true in general based on my experience, The thinness does keep the drinkability up, but still I'd prefer a fuller body.

TurdFurgison, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of alexgash
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle.

Dark, dense, root beer brown. Finger of creamy, tight, dirty sand brown head. Nose is sufficiently roasty, with notes of dark chocolate, licorice, bourbon, coffee, and vanilla. Singed barley and lightly roasted malt up front along with generic coffee bitterness. Bourbon and milk chocolate settle down comfortably mid-palate. Lingering astringency slowly fades as the bourbon turns to dark chocolate and toffee. Hints of vanilla and oak. Not bad, but all of the flavors seem a little muted. Medium-bodied with a slightly overcarbonated feel.

alexgash, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of Durge
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much opaue black in appearance with a meager ring of light tan head with some strips of lacing in its wake. The aroma is light coffee chocolate with very whispy touches of rye and malt. The flavor brings very bitter charcoal, almost ash tray (but not quite) and lemon. I get some butterscotch licorice, but not so much the bourbon. It's mid-bodied to thinnish in feel, fair carbonation and drinkable enough. Generally on the mild side for the style, not bad but not particularly memorable.

Durge, May 30, 2009
Photo of gopens44
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers of cream colored head resting atop an opaque dark brown beverage.

S - Malty with hints of coffee and not much else

T - Again, malty, coffee. There were some nice vanilla notes with a muted bourbon backing note as well. Not overly boozy, and as a matter of fact, not too boozy at all. I likely could have had a few of these without realizing any meaningful alcohol presence.

M - Creamy with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste.

D - Well, the reason I wouldn't have had a few of these was due to the fact that there are so many more tasty choices where I had this. I'm glad a had this, but it's not one of my top choices when it comes to an IRS.

gopens44, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of pablot71
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer pours from 12 oz. bottle, had very little head. Swirling the glass gave oily, coffee colored lace appearance on sides of glass.

Tantalizing smell is reminiscent of oak barrels, sweet bourbon, and burnt barley.

Hints of coffee and chocolate can be tasted during drinking, with a sweet, roasted, malty finish. No obvious bitterness detected.

Mouthfeel is average. Slightly thin feel, could definitely have thicker, creamier feel. Carbonation is high and takes away from the flavor and feel of the brew.

Drinkability is average. Would improve with better mouthfeel. Overall, not too shabby of a brew. Good for fall and winter evenings under a clear, cool sky and in front of a cracking fire.

pablot71, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of notchucknorris
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Jet black with a thin mocha colored head.

S: A lot of bourbon and a bit of molasses and vanilla.

T: Mouthfeel seems a bit too thin for this style to me. Some good flavors of bourbon, coffee, vanilla and a little oak. It feels like it could be better with some aging.

notchucknorris, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of oelergud
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Standard 12oz brown glass bottle with a pry-off black cap.
The label is a brown wooden backdrop with a circular wood stopper.
The body with an opaque black. Very little head and lace.
Creamy mild chocolate scent.
The flavor is likewise mild with a note of milk chocolate. The aftertaste is a
gentle hoppy flow of sweet malt amid all the mild bitterness.
Medium body with a little coating and some residual sugars.
Good drinkability and an overall good beer.


oelergud, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

JDV, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of gford217
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of BeerTruth and SixPackSunday poured into a snifter.

Pours deep black with a thin short-lived tan head that dissipated quickly leaving a hint of lacing. Aroma is dominated by roasted malts and baker's chocolate with more than a hint of bourbon in the background. Taste had roasted malts and coffee and was slightly bitter before giving way to the chocolate and finishing with the burn of the bourbon in the finish. The mouthfeel was very thin with a little carbonation and good bit of bourbon. This is a decent stout but a little thin for my liking.

gford217, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of Dogbrick
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sample at the Most Honorable SuperHappyFun Stout Tasting. Bottle from Ashland Beverage Center in Ashland, KY. This beer pours a deep murkly brownish-black color with a medium light beige head that diminishes steadily. Patches of lacing on the glass. Aroma of chocolate malt, soft bourbon and coffee. Medium-bodied with roasted malt and coffee flavors and a bourbon/oak undertone. Touches of tobacco and hops as well. The finish is roasty with a hops and coffee aftertaste. Decent all around.

Dogbrick, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of LittleBreeze
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer Thirty Tasting

Bourbon, oak, brown sugar and vanilla were the strongest smells for me.

As it warms the flavors come together. It seems unbalanced...maybe a little heavy on wood or smoke in contrast to the other flavors. I'd be interested to know which barrels were used.

Drinkable. It is a little thin. But overall not bad.

LittleBreeze, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of flexabull
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer from Kentucky! Right on!

Pours a brown / black color with a small tan head.

Aromas are heavy on the malts, with roasted chocolate notes.

Upon first sip this beer seems thin, but then a sweet creamy chocolate flavor kicks in. There is also a faint coffee like quality in there as well. Finish is a bit dry, and also kind of flat.

Mouthfeel is ok, but it is lacking on the front and on the finish. Just feels too thin for a double stout.

Not a bad beer, but certainly not a great beer either. It's pleasant though, and easy to drink.

I believe this came to me courtesy of cresant. Thanks again!

flexabull, May 12, 2007
Photo of nanertak
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into pint glass. Bottle had traveled a lot, but beer seemed undamaged.

Appearance: Poured thick black, 1.5 finger head which quickly faded. Not a lot of carbonation.

Nose: Coffee, vanilla, cocoa, hint of hazelnut. Can smell a bit of oak char.

Taste: Malty. Dark toasted malts, vanilla, fading into a toasted nuttyness, then a coffee and cocoa finish with a lingering but mild smoke aftertaste. Muted sweetness throughout.

Mouthfeel: A little thin in my opinion. Wish it had some more heft to it. A bit watery.

Drinkability: It has a lot of flavor. Very slow sipper, probably not drinking it too often.

Overall: Good beer, not great. A little heavy on the char and deep malts.

nanertak, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of numinorian
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A Inky brown, and almost opaque. Dark tan head, good and thick. The lace sticks well with good little bubbles

S strong bourbon hitts first, with nutty charactaristics and less of a coco than I expected.

T A bit more of that coco I was looking for, but the bourbon is still a bit overpowering. Good and smokey with a bit of a sting of hopps.

MF Thinner than I hopped, but strong and bitter.

Drinkability is fairly low as you'd expect with a bourbon stout.

Overall a good representation of the style, but not quite a home run. I enjoyed drinking it but there too many great beers to go back to this one soon.

numinorian, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of bluesoul
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Give this thing plenty of warming time or you're missing out.

A - Poured into pint glass. Pours pitch black with a two-finger tan head that's slow to fade. Of concern is there's a TON of sediment in the beer, very slow to settle. Here's hoping it won't kill ya.

S - Boozy accord, a very good whiskey note alongside some hoppy bitterness that comes to the forefront when swirled. Coffee notes are present, overall the smell is quite creamy. Very strong aroma honestly.

T - Tastes like...well, tastes like a stout. Has a woody taste presumably imparted by the barrel-aging. Quite a bit of complexity to the brew thanks to the bourbon flavor. Not something I'm going to reach for very often but I do respect it for what it is.

M - Lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Has a burn in the back of the mouth that could be the bourbon aging or could just be the high ABV. Carbonation is a bit high. Body is a bit weak for a stout.

D/O - Goes down smooth and the bourbon is a nice touch. I'm finding that I'm a bit on the outs with stouts so I'm trying to be objective here. Given the high ABV a session of these would likely take you out of commission for a while.

bluesoul, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

merlin48, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of 513hooligan
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 -7.3%
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!

weeare138, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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 -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

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 -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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 -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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 -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 -8.1%

Hugh37, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of haddon
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
86 out of 100 based on 431 ratings.