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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

325 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 325
Hads: 437
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 33
Gots: 15 | 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:
Beer added by: mcallister on 04-07-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 325 | Hads: 437
Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle received in trade, but I don't know who from. I've been trading too much and I forgot who sent this. But thank you for the opportunity!

Pours a dark brown/black. Lets a little light through when held up to it. Meager tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is some chocolate, some bourbon, some oak, and I pick up a bit of vanilla, faint but its there. Taste is roasty, oakey, sweet and chocolaty. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would expect for a stout. Tasty mix of flavors, but should be a bit thicker. Drinking this feels more like drinking a porter or even a strong brown ale. Tasty, but labeled incorrectly.

Big thanks to DavoleBomb for sending me this in the Secret Santa Bif and allowing me to try this again.
I might have been a bit harsh in my review of this the first time around, I was young forgive me. The nose on this one is great Oak, bourbon, and vanilla without being overpowering on top of chocolate, dark fruits and licorice. I could smell this all day. Taste follows the smell. I was right the first time that the body is quite thin. I adjusted my score up based on this tasting.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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!

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Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to khiasmus.

An opaque, charred chestnut coloured body. A thin cloud of brown overcast the center, while a thick rim barriers the perimeter.

I was hoping the aroma would be as much (or more bourbon) than stout, but it's disappointingly just stout. Standard notes of strong cocoa, weak coffee, and hazelnut simply don't seem as enticing with the absence of the expected oak and bourbon, which only started to show, maybe. very faintly, with much warming.

Any bitterness quickly falls under the sweetness of cocoa. Fortunately, the bourbon comes through wonderfully in the taste. The actual flavour of the bourbon is foremost, along with accompanying vanilla and oak, as well as more subtle tastes of chocolate, cocoa beans, hazelnut, and cappuccino.

What this does have: a delicious flavour profile that combines chocolate malt and bittersweet cocoa with the vanilla and oak. A good dessert beer; something that can be savoured as well as devoured.

What this does not have: the texture of stout, the warmth/complexity of bourbon. It lacks the big, dense, roasty body of the stout. It's more of a porter. There's no alcohol - there's no body. Equally, it's missing the contemplative complexities of bourbon. There's no heat, no stifling character. There's none in the aroma or mouthfeel.

It's only adequate bourbon and fairly adequate stout. These two things just so happen to pair so well that this beer turned out far more than adequate. Jefferson's Reserve has captured their flavours - and they are delicious - but it hasn't captured their essence.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thin and light colored black with a small tan head. Nose is light bourbon, roasted malts. Taste was dry and bitter, lacking much complexity. Not as much bourbon as expected and not as much cocoa and full bodiness. Not that great but good, worth a shot.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Faro for this brew.

Pours a deep/clean black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy/fizzy tan head, no lacing at all though. The nose is slightly sweet, roasty malts, vanilla, toffee, coffee, and caramel. The taste is very nice, sweet, roasted malts, slight vanilla, toffee, nice touch of coffee and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty ADS, definitely could drink a few of these, highly recommended.

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Photo of akorsak
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with czoch75.

A: The stout is a deep black-brown color with muddy milk chocolate brown at the edges. The head comes close to 1 finger on pour but quickly dissapates to a small band.

S: The aroma coming from the stout is a grainy fruitiness, full of depth, but without the the buttery sweet aroma of bourbon.

T: The flavor is a deep, concentrated graininess, as noted in the nose. The graininess has a roasted element but is thin. The flavor does not last long, nor does it provide the kick that I expected from a double stout. To top it all of, there is no hint of bourbon to be found.

M: The mouthfeel is thin and leaves only the faintest roasted aftertaste.

D: The ale is drinkable but falls disappointingly short on most fronts. The lack of a strong roasted malt character and some bourbon sweetness detracts from the overall enjoyment.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz received in a nice surprise box from Freethyhops... Thanks Riley... poured into my Delirium goblet.

Huge carbonation... 3 finger brown head seems to stick around forever.. good lacing..

Nose begins with tons of dark fruits (too much) and lesser dark malts that seem a bit aggressive.. verging a tad on the acrid side.. no real barrel elements in the aroma.

Flavor seems a bit lacking in the traditional Big Stout department.. not really enough of any of the dark malts.. there is again a bunch of dark fruits that seem too much.. the astringency of the dark malts that are present combine with the dark fruits and lend toward a sorta sour element that is out of place... some woody notes are there.. but get lost until the very end of the swallow... a bit of real "bourbon" shows as it hits room temperature and somehow it helps tie things together, but.. it still is quite a mess.. vanilla is there, but is overpowered by the weird fruitiness.

There is a bunch of stuff going on with this one, but it seems to be all over the map and definitely never comes together .. the mouthfeel is waaaay too carbonated.. lighter than expected body..

I think this could be a good big stout if dialed in .. most of the elements are there... but fruity/sourness needs to be roped in.. a bit bigger body would help.. more dark malts and seriously.. less carbonation will help a bunch.

Thanks Riley!! Let me know if you ever need anything from the great PNW!


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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a viscous, chocolaty black with a very light dark khaki head that dissipates very quickly. It smells very sweet and reminds me a lot of syrup and molasses. It is also moderately heavy on the bourbon and smells well roasted, in a sugary fashion. The taste is very good. It has a good, roasted malty sweetness to it. The bourbon really isn't apparent at all, or the alcohol. It drinks very, very smoothly and is a little thicker in body. It's very drinkable considering it's bourbon barrel aged and 8.5%. I don't normally like BBC but this one was pretty good.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.92/5  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.

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Photo of Derek
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled October '09.

A: This must have picked up some bugs in the barrel, it's a gusher & took some time to get into the glass. Tons of bubbly head.

S: Oaky, boozy aroma, some dry roasted grain (roasted nut, coffee), brown sugar, sweet caramel, with hints of leather. I like it!

T: It picked up some bourbon and vanilla from the oak, as well as some Brett. It probably would have been better younger, as the Brett has really come forward, a bit like a Belgian stout. Dark caramel, roasted nut, molasses, coffee, hints of licorice, vanilla, sweet bourbon and oak. Balanced bitterness. Good stuff.

M: VERY dry & over-carbonated... not that I really care.

D: It's different, but I'm diggin' it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours from 12oz bottle(bottled 10 07) a very dark brown with a 1 finger head of tannish foam that quickly leaves the scene leaving just a ring around the glass and there's almost no lacing.

The smell is delicate to me. I can just detect some faint notes of wood and maybe some vanilla?

The taste has a nice bourbon flavour up front with some vanilla backing it up. After a few more sips, I can taste some dark fruit and toffee. The mouthfeel is fairly light as is the carbonation and it finishes with a bitterish hot cocoa flavour. Hmm...I don't notice the abv at all but I'm sure *that* will catch up to me later. ;^)

Btw, the more I sip, the more I notice a somewhat watery finish..I mean, it really loses a lot of its character there and it wasn't exactly power packed with flavour in the first place.

All in all, I'd say it 's a good tasting brew of the style but, I don't know, it's missing that certain oomph to make it special. At least, to my tastebuds. I'm glad I got to try it but it's turning out to be something that I wouldn't try hard to seek out again. YMMV.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep murky black with a thick brown highlight at the top of my snifter. You can see some of the bubbles befrore they reach the surface. The aromas is a bland hint of woody malts with some roast. Not bad, but not very complex. Also smell some veggies of some sort. The taste doesn't really give any hint of a Bourbon barrel aged stout. Rather light, overtly roasty or smokey. Not a lot of coffee or craem in this beer. Makes me think more of Guiness. Lighter than something with 8.5% abv in it.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, bottled in October 2007. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head. The head goes away quickly, and the lacing is OK. It smells like bourbon, coffee, chocolate, wood and vanilla. The aroma is nice, but not strong at all however it does improve as it warms up some. It tastes like wood, smoke, coffee and a little bit of bourbon and vanilla. There's also a lingering bitter coffee and wood aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, it's a bit thinner than I like my stouts to be. However, it is very smooth and silky. Because it is a bit lighter, the drinkability is very good. This is really easy to drink and the alcohol isn't noticable at all. It's not a great beer, but it's still a good one. I'd drink this again, it's a decent choice and it's sessionable enough for an 8.5% ABV beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two-finger head on top of a dark brown body with minor head and lacing. A fairly roasted and woody smell (natch) with hints of toasted, even burnt malts but not much else. Very smooth and creamy, almost porter-like, with sweet malts like chocolate and vanilla (sparse hint of cinnamon) coming thorugh along with roasted and toasted malts for a balanced beer (although the sweetness is a little more noticable) and a dry finish (I guess the bourbon peaks on the backbitem, although it is not an alkie burn so the ABV is well-hidden). An easy going beer that I could session w/ or w/o dinner.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the bottle a deep, opaque coffee sable with an average tan head. Rich, smoky, chocolaty, coffee-ish aroma has just a touch of sweetness and is very appetizing. Rich flavor is rather sweet and slightly bitter, and has woody, fruity and coffee components with a hint of unsweetened chocolate. Texture is fairly smooth and nicely fizzy with a firm but not fierce bourbon bite.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my DT tulip. Bottled on July 2006 notched on the label. Poured two shades shy of black with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head that quickly dissipated and coalesced into a froth around the edges. A few strands and spots of lacing revealed during the tasting. Great nose on this one - bourbon vanilla, malt and maybe a hint of toffee. Taste pales in comparison to the nose. Similar qualities, but very much watered down. Some roasty/char qualities, but flavors are so muted. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a mild, tingly background effervescence and a little acidity that comes out around the salivary glands. This is a pretty weak example of the style, and definitely not worth the four dollar price tag; however, alcohol is pretty well-hidden.

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Photo of Durge
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a nearly opaque black color that lets a little red hue through on the edges, the head is pretty tight and fizzy lingering for a little, khaki colored, with a nice lace left on the side of the glass.

S-the nose has lots of rich dark chocolate, very decadent, a nice oak presence with a faint touch of bourbon from the barrel. Roasted malts and a touch of nuttiness to it in the back.

T-roasted maltiness with a lot of rich dark chocolate, very creamy and decadent chocolate. a solid oak presence and a hint more bourbon than the nose but still light enough to not detract from the flavor. The back has a touch of nuttiness and a faint note of some slightly burnt coffee.

M-this is a little thin, medium bodied and very smooth and creamy on the palate. well carbonated to give it a good crisp finish. its just too thin.

D-very tasty brew and quite subtle showing no signs of the larger abv. the body really detracts from the quality but the flavors are pretty tasty, a little one dimensional, all roasted maltiness but the rich chocolate actually gives it notes of sweetness.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark as night with a nice tan head. Minimal lacing, but I don't usually expect tons of that here.

S - Bourbon is hot. Get some roasted malts and a little bit of coffee, but the bourbon dominates.

T - Tastes pretty good, chocolaty with a nice roasted malt backbone. Little coffee, and hot bourbon. The bourbon is good, but doesn't meld in enough with the rest of the tastes to make this exceptional.

M - Full bodied, slight carbonation.

D - Hot bourbon and high abv knock this one down, it tastes good but the bourbon gets too overpowering at times. Would drink it again, but guessing this one will cool down and get better with time.

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Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, 1/4 inch head

Smell:burnt malt, oak, caramel, and bourbon

Taste: oak, whiskey, burnt malt, chocolate, and caramel

Mouthfeel: nice bitter and sweet combo--in a malty sense, medium heavy body, creamy

Drinkability: I like this and the sweet aftertaste that lingers is amazing. I noticed the alcohol, but the taste was pleasant and not overpowering. I would have several if not for the high abv. I really like this brew

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Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

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Photo of Pencible
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with almost no head. It smelled like oak and molasses and soy and bourbon, with some roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. It tasted like lots of old oak, with bourbon and (day old) coffee and bitter chocolate. It was watery with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was tolerable, but really not great. The flavor elements were technically correct, but poor quality so they weren't tasty at all, and lacked any complexity. It had weak body too, although the alcohol was well hidden so it was easy enough to drink. One of the worst bourbon barrel stouts I've had.

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Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
85 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.