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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,217 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,217
Reviews: 526
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 106
Gots: 399 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.19% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Award winning Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a unique sipping beer with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted bourbon. Our Kentucky Ale is aged for up to 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrels. Pleasantly smooth and robust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale may also be served as an aperitif or after dinner drink.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 07-13-2004)
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,217 | Reviews: 526 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by zeledonia:
Photo of zeledonia
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this in a BIF, along with a matching snifter. My only glass specific to a single beer, so I've gotta use it. Tasted 2 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a very clear, pale golden-orange. Half-finger of whitish head, not much lacing. OK.

Smells like whiskey. Really, that's all I get from it. But that's what it's supposed to smell like, so I'm fairly impressed. Not much beer character at all.

Tastes like watered-down whiskey. I get some grainy flavors up-front, but it's a whole lot like a shot of whiskey with water. Interesting. There's no sharpness at all, no alcohol bite, no burn. It's like they pulled just the flavor out, and somehow made the beer taste like that.

Mouthfeel is fine. Watery, with medium-low carbonation.

The thing that amazes me about this beer is how they seem to have pulled all the flavor, the essence, or bourbon out, without the alcohol or the sharp edges. Probably the mellowest bourbon-forward beer I've ever had. Unusual, and quite tasty.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams.

Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak and coconut; just a hint of bourbon

Taste: Starts out with a buttered brown bread and bourbon-influenced caramel flavor; lots of vanilla and coconut arrive by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a brief flourish of very smooth bourbon and oak that lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really nice Bourbon treatment here instead of the typical barrel-aging of a big stout; the beer has some nice subtleties

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe the first Kentucky beer I have had,I poured into an oversized wine glass to get the full aroma aspects of this beer,it poured clear deep golden with a very thin head,good clarity just not much head to it.Man that stuff smells like Wild Turkey,full oak and vanilla/caramel notes with a bit of biscuit malt,no hop presence that I could find.Light mouthfeel but not sharp,just a little thinner than expected I guess.Flavors are oaky and vanilla tinged with that caramel and and biscuit showing through as well,again no hop presence noticrable in my mind.Something a little different,it tastes just as much as a bourbon as a strong ale,but I liked it for a change of pace.

Photo of byaeger
4.78/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Though I have had this on tap at the brewery's "bier stube," I'm rating this on the bottles I've had. This is a remarkable beer. I know barrel-aging is getting big including aging this or that in bourbon barrels, but for a golden ale from Lexington, this one makes the most sense since the barrels emanate from down the road.

I credit this beer with turning me into a bigger bourbon fan. Rich, vanilla-oak flavors dominate, but you can sip it like a rich beer. The scent hits you first and though it's not very carbonated, it fills the mouth with equal parts beer and bourbon in a symbiotic fashion.

Though you can only drink one of these in a sitting--or at least should--the one bottle will leave you feeling GOOOOD. When the angel's share of the 90 proof bourbon marries out with the 5ish percent ale, what's left is a strong 9 percent beer that is liquid gold and warmth.

Biggest downside: Only available in Kentucky, and when the hell are you gonna be in Kentucky?

Photo of tectactoe
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours a mild amber color with a very slight amount of haze, slightly off white head fades quickly; very faint amounts of lacing are left along the walls of the glass. The aroma is big heavy bourbon - no faintness, no notes, hints, or nuances - straight up bourbon, through and through. Woody, oak aromas reside somewhat along the outer edges along with a touch of creamy and subtle vanilla. Much like the nose, the mouth senses heavy bourbon upon the first sip as well. If you were to tell me it was a malted-up ale and someone dropped in a shot of Evan Williams, I'd believe it. Very malt forward; lots of sweetness from the malt, toasted, slight caramel flavors, grainy. Hops aren't very noticeable, at least in flavor. A slight harsh, dry bitterness grabs the palate halfway through, but it's hard to detect any hop flavors at all. Slick body, thin, with adequate carbonation.

This is a bourbon beer, through and through. Literally tastes like someone dropped a shot of bourbon or whiskey into a malty ale. If bourbon is your thing, you'll love this. I guess it's okay if you're looking to drink bourbon. But if that's the case... just drink bourbon.

Photo of Allenicomp
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

Photo of ExtraStout
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap at The BBC in Norwood.

A- Pours a caramel color with minimal head. Quite frankly, it looks like fizzy bourbon.

S- Bourbon just dominates the nose. A little bit of wood in there and some pungent alcohol. Some caramel and molasses lie deep with there.

T- The bourbon is pretty well integrated with the smooth oak. Almost has a caramel/ buttery after taste. The alcohol is fairly hidden.

M- Lighter bodied but very smooth. No real feel of carbonation and not even any burn from the alcohol.

D- This one goes down smoothly but if you aren't a fan of bourbon, you will not enjoy this. I would call this a cheap bourbon alternative.

Photo of OhioBobcat
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of SkiBum22
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.

Photo of MikeC144
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the growler a clear golden amber, vibrant with a bubbly head that fades rather quickly to a ring around the glass. Aromas begin with beautiful bourbon, vanilla, sweet caramel, woody tones and light fruit notes. Very nice, enchanting aroma here.

First sip brings a sweet fruity caramel maltiness. Luscious bourbon flavors dance on the palate. A hefty helping of vanilla and woody tannins show up mid palate. Finishes smooth and slightly sweet. Very well balanced overall, the lingering bourbon barrel notes are great here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Mellow carbonation works really nice in the overall brew. I could drink a lot of this with no problem. Wonderfully melded flavors and quite refreshing. Goes to show how great barrel aging can be. Many thanks to clvand0 for the opportunity. Word is that this beer is aged in Woodford Reserve barrels as well.

Photo of Lutie-David
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of csmartin6
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of nstroup
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of TimoP
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of iemailjack
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of JakerLou
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of lionnusmb
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of megamass
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to clvand0 for the sample ...

A- Mild haze off of a deep golden hue, thin lacing from a light carbonation.

S- WOW!! Big hit of bourbon in the aroma, sweet vanilla, alcoholic and woody.

T- Upfront malt sweetness melds perfectly with the thick layer of bourbon flavor, mild hopping shows a modest but balancing bitterness. Both vanilla and wood are all over the palate with a warming alcohol from the 7.0% abv.

M- A tad too under-carbonated for my liking but it does not really take away from the beer that much. Nice and creamy though.

D- Sipping and sipping only ... I could only see having one glass in a sitting.

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the bottled version. Pours a clear light amber body that seems a shade lighter than the draft version. Head is small and shortlived and leaves some wispy spots of lace on the snifter. Aroma is bourbon, and lots of it. Vanilla and oak notes are also prominent. Body is light to light medium, almost watery. Low carbonation. Taste has plenty of bourbon, joined by flaked coconut and vanilla. Slight caramel notes are also present and the wood tones are prevalent. Hops aren't noticed but there is a pleasant bourbon bitterness all the way through. A good sipper, but I still prefer this on draft.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,217 ratings.