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

432 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 432
Reviews: 326
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 28
Gots: 11 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 432 | Reviews: 326 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Had on 3/12/10 at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, VA.

a - Pours black with little carbonation and absolutely no head at all.

s - Smells of coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little bourbon.

t - Taste follows the nose. Vanilla dominates the taste, and only a hint of bourbon.

m - Smooth and creamy. Little carbonation and medium body. Great feel to it and pretty easy to drink.

d - Overall this was a pretty good stout. I thought the vanilla dominated the taste and would have liked to taste a little more bourbon, but it was still enjoyable and very easy to drink. Would definitely try it again.

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

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan/brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich black malt scent along with a mild bourban whisky aroma. The taste is good. It has a very smooth, roasted taste with a bit of black malt and bourban flavor in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good drinking stout. It's rich and flavorful with a nice, mild bourban touch.

Photo of Mora2000
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

This is my first rate from the great state of Kentucky.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with a gigantic tan head. It is the kind of head you get from an infected beer, but there are no other signs of infection present.

The aroma is bourbon, oak, chocolate, vanilla and maple. All of the things you expect to smell in a bourbon-barrel aged beer are present.

The flavor is heavy on the bourbon and chocolate with some roasted malt mixed in.

The only complaint that I have is that the mouthfeel is a little too thin for my tastes and the carbonation is a little too high.

Photo of smcolw
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good blanket lace from a relatively modest head. Near black color but sunlight does shine through the center of the glass.

Mild, but stout-like smell of burnt does come through.

More chocolate than black patent malt. Blindfolded, I would say this is a porter--a well-made porter, mind you. But it does miss the mark for a true stout. There is some sweetness that will contrast the dry, dark chocolate.

Photo of wrightst
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of Gavage
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours black in color with a 2" head. Nice lacing developed on the glass.

Smell: roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, and hints of alcohol are most notable flavors detectable by the nose.

Taste: strong roasted malts, vanilla and bourbon tones, prunes, and decent bitterness. A bit of cocoa tones are lurking in the background. Some alcohol warming hits later as the glass empties.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Medium-heavy in body. Long aftertaste as the flavor seem to stick to your tongue.

Drinkability: pleasant for a glass or two, but no more than that. Definitely worth giving this on a shot.

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +5%

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!

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.78/5  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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Rustico in Alexandria, VA.

Served in a snifter. The beer is nearly black with a thin, beige head that leaves ample lacing on the glass. The aroma is of licorice, roast, alcohol. The flavor is quite sweet, a bit overly so in my opinion, with bourbon and oak notes coming through clearly. The body is too thin for the style, and can't support the myriad of flavors that a bourbon barrel imperial stout offers. Overall, a middle of the road representation of the style.

Photo of akorsak
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +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.

Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of ppoitras
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%
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!


Photo of johnnnniee
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of Derek
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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.

Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
86 out of 100 based on 432 ratings.