Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 16.36%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 325 | Hads: 437
Photo of gford217
3.6/5  rDev -5%
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.

 567 characters

Photo of gtermi
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2006

A: This beer pours a very dark black body with a thin tan head that quickly fades to nothing.

S: There really isnt any bourbon at all and that really disappoints me. All I really get is strong sweet dark malt.

T: The bourbon really faded out of this beer and it has really turned into just a basic tasting stout. The beer really only has a strong chocolate flavor and a tiny bit of bitterness that doesnt last long.

M: The beer is really easy to drink and has a tiny bit of crispness on the back on the throat.

O: This beer didnt age too great and I would love to do a side by side with a new bottle just to see the difference.

 645 characters

Photo of jaxon53
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 482 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from October 2009, poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to Lazerlobe for sending this as an extra back in the day.

A: The crown loosens with a tremendous hiss, and the first splash of beer in the tulip explodes to fill it halfway with dense, almost gel-like froth. The oversized glass fills up with about an inch of beer and five inches of head. An attempt to top it up several minutes later still doesn't manage to empty the bottle, and even a third try after that comes up short. Wildly overcarbonated. Infected? I'll give it a point above the minimum here just because the head is so insanely creamy - it looks more like a root beer float than a beer.

S: Whiskey dominates, with equal parts heat and oak. Some chocolate and caramel in the background. The oak notes carry quite a bit of char. Not bad at all.

T: Sweet vanilla, cola, and bourbon up front, with sweeter caramel and chocolate filling in behind. The finish is distantly oaky and, again, sweet. The aftertaste has a bit of a subdued bourbon burn, along with a touch of char. Not bad, but rather boring for the style.

M: The extreme overcarbonation has thinned it out quite a bit, and yet it's still rather fizzy even after repeated swirls and swishes. Not good.

O: My expectations were rather low for this one, and in many ways it exceeded them. If it weren't for the carbonation issues it would have been thoroughly enjoyable; as is, average is about the best I can say for it.


 1,465 characters

Photo of cokes
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark tar brown body with the faintest wisp of a lighter brown head.
The nose is fairly closed, with cocoa, roasted grains, caramel, and a fleeting glimpse of Bourbon, which only really appears as it warms to room temperature.
It follows suit, tastewise. A very templatic big stout, with mild roasted coffee, cocoa, and toffee notes. Some traces of buttery vanilla from the oak, but very small amounts of actual Bourbon footprints.
Lowly carbonated, and somewhat flaccid in body. It drinks smaller than it is, because of it's overall lack of oomph.
When the boast is made of the top-shelf Bourbon barrels that the stout is aged in, I expect some of those traits to be manifest, if not pronounced. The underlying stout is not interesting enough in its absence.

 761 characters

Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Decent mocha head recedes to an average, well-retained layer and ring. The beer is a very dark mahogany brown in color.

s: Aromatic roasted malts, notes of dry chocolates, and a great bourbon-soaked oak presence that really sets it off. Enough base malt and perhaps some lightly fruity amber malt keep things away from the thick/sweet side. Doesn't blow your face off with complexity, but it's an excellent aroma for its subtlety and restraint.

m: medium carbonation, delicate and smooth with a full body

t: Smooth, chocolate-roast stout flavors blend extremely well with the woody bourbon barrel presence over a lighter base of caramel/amber/whatever malts. Not sweet, not totally dry. Hop flavors are light, with a moderate bitterness. Various roasts linger. A straightforward but very well brewed session stout that benefits from a tasteful example of barrel aging.

d: One of the more drinkable of the sub-style I've found...very enjoyable and underappreciated in my opinion. Maybe disappointing if you go into it wanting something thick and complex, but that's not what this beer is about.

4-pack from Rick's in Alexandria...bottled January 2008, and probably not a great candidate for cellaring

 1,209 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.42/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Pitch black color. One and a half fingers of creamy head that doesn't retain too well and doesn't leave much lacing either.

4.0 S: Pleasant fruitiness with black currants. Next, is oak and vanilla. Bourbon is more subdued than I'd like, but still adds to the depth. Hints of roastiness as well.

2.0 T: Comes through a lot drier than I had hoped. Way too dry. There's a touch of bourbon, but not much. Not much malt character except for hints of roasted barley.

1.5 M: Light body, super light for the ABV and style. A bit undercarbonated, but pretty smooth.

1.5 D: Not impressed with this one.

 628 characters

Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Nice dark black pour. The head is creamy and quickly builds before dying to a collar. Spotty lace is noted.

S: Tons of roasted malt, notes of dark bitter coffee, with hints of chocolate infused.

T: Bold coffee flavors up front with bitter chocolate pushing through. Hints of roasted malt, darkened brown sugar and light oak.

M: Medium in body, smooth.

D: Damn drinkable.

 410 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice bourbon aged stout, in particular with a memorable final rounded sense.

Presentation: 16 oz draft offering. Menu notes style, general characteristics, and 8.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Black pour with deep brown edges, short creamy head with moderate retention, fair surface memory and nice touches of lacing.

S -Malty vanilla and bourbon nose, with a nice sense of chocolate, a tad generic but rather pleasing.

T - Nice malty range with good notes of chocolate, touch of coffee, and a nice bourbon vanilla range.

M - Medium-full body with moderate carbonation, and a nice creamy flow. A bit thin for the imperial edge of the style but while a bit short for the standard it does not hinder the enjoyment.

O - Very nice flow, rich and long with a good threshold.

Notes: Happy to revisit this one. It might feel a tad generic at first, but it hits a nice upper bracket for a nice barrel aged stout, with a solid bourbon touch, and a rich range. On tap this is almost a go-to kind of thing… In particular with this price-quality ratio for this area.

 1,084 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

 557 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with OhioDad (thanks!). Bottle notched bottled on A(pril) 06.

Poured a dark black color with a large sized brown head. Aromas of roast, wood, chocolate, vanilla and very light bourbon. When I first poured it, roast was the main aroma that faded into the others. Tastes of roast, bitter chocoalte, coffee, wood, and very light bourbon. The bourbon wasn't overpowering. Alcohol content hidden.

Notes from 12/6/06

 443 characters

Photo of argock
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a 12oz clear short pilsner glass

A: Dark mahogany with thin tan head capping the brew with threads of lace

S: Toasted malt, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate, sweetish bourbon, charcoal dominate the nose

T: Very sippable stout with a lot of sweetness for an Imperial stout. Toasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with a sweet edge are joined by alcoholic vanilla flavors coated with a huge amount of roasted dark and caramel malts. The bourbon accent is there but not overwhelming.

M: Alcohol is detectable but not unpleasant. Easy to drink but a tad thin.

D: An enjoyable bourbon-tinged stout with a lot of sweetness balanced with solid roasted malt.

 667 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.6/5  rDev -5%
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.

 271 characters

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Most Bourbon barrel aged stouts deliver a pretty distinctive Bourbon flavor component, and I was surprised that this beer really didn't seem to have much of a Bourbon presence. I'm not a fan of Bourbon alone (heresy from a native Kentuckian), so the absence of the big Bourbon punch was not a problem for me, but might be for others with that expectation. The beer was rather sweet, but not so much as to classify as a sweet stout. Hershey cocoa powder with intermingled vanilla (which may be the Bourbon influence). Rather creamy mouthfeel - struck me as an after-dinner beer. Not all that big, but, overall, quite enjoyable.

11% abv? Wow, never would have guessed.

 669 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

 785 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer sent courtesy of naproxen in the Naked Beer Geek BIF - thanks again!

Pours a nice deep mahogany, almost black, into the Corsendonk tulip. Small tan head pops up but dies quidkly.

Small wimpy aroma of malt and bourbon - com'on bring the goods! Sweet bourbon taste with a hint of cherry mash Jim Beam. This part is darn tasty, but again, a bit on the weak side. Any booze is well hidden.

Glad to have tried this, and have another 12oz bottle to sample this nice fall day. A nice sipping brew.

 498 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

 867 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown to black, off white head to ring. Not much residual lace.

S - Boozy, woody, malt.

T - Taste matches smell except surprisingly more watery than I would have originally thought.

M - Good on carb, fair on coating, balance ok.

D - One is fun.

 262 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This poured thick, black and opaque but had tons of carbonation that bubbled along the edges for the entire duration.

The scent is of coffee, dry smoky bean coffee, with hints of malt. There's a bit of dark chocolate with some graham cracker crust aroma.

The taste has chocolate and coconut with a watery maltiness. That's good and bad, the chocolate was nice, the coconut sweet and the maltiness watery. Enjoyable but a lot of room for improvement I will drink it again.

 473 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into a pint glass to a skim of tan head. This beer is very dark brown in color. It smells quite nice, bourbon and vanilla. It tastes better than I would have guessed. I can tell it is barrel aged, very smooth tasting. I get vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and maybe a hint of bourbon. It would be a great beer if it were thicker. As is, it is pretty good. I could see myself drinking this again.


 409 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

 616 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am sampling this brew at room temp in a snifter. The beer pours a deep dark chocolate brown with no light passing through. A soft fluffy tan head of 2 cm foams up easily. Very tight lattice work shows as the head recedes slowly, leavinga sturdy edge layer
Aroma is rich and roasty, I get some hints of bourbon and vanilla as well. Very malty and fairly sweet.
First sip reveals a silky smooth texture and very fine carbonation that is slightly fizzy. The brew has an average body and rolls nicely across my palate.
Flavor is rich and malty, with chocolate and roasted malt some sweet bourbon and vanilla notes as well. Overall generally sweet. The alcohol is hidden very well and I dont really get any hop profile. The beer is very drinkable and I enjoy it. Will keep my eyes peeled for another.

 800 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

 843 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap over at Rustico in Alexandria, VA:

A: Served in a pint glass? Wow.... I can't see jack through this thing! Pitch black with a slightly foamy head. I'm sure it's there, but I would need night vision to detect any carbonation.

S: The bourbon is very faint, however, the richness of chocolate roastiness is definitely detectable.

T: While this is way too thin to be a "reserve" beer, I really dig the way the bourbon tastes in this setting. It's almost as if there is some sort of mildly sweet dark fruit that was allow to steep in the bourbon barrel. Nice upfront taste, but very dry, and almost charcoal-like or chalky on the finish.

D: The ABV is slightly detectable, but not too bad. Nice creamy texture that doesn't coat.

NOTE: The fact that a place like Rustico, known for it's selection and knowledge of craft beer, chose to serve this barrel-aged, reserve beer in a pint glass speaks volumes as to the brew's perceived imperial-ness. I think the Bluegrass Brewing Co. should tweak the recipe: lower the ABV about a point or two and market the beer as "Bourbon Stout." After all....the brew was made in Kentucky! It could be perhaps a be a seasonal (Dec.-Feb)?

 1,187 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received a couple bottles of this one, in a couple different trades. Pours from the bottle a dark brown/black color, with a nice cap of medium brown foam. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla and dark chocolate. A little thin on the palate, with more bourbon, oak and vanilla, along with a bit of medium bodied coffee and roasted malt. Apparently an afforable bourbon beer, and a pretty decent one.

 393 characters

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