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

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

575 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 575
Hads: 2,623
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 761 | FT: 8
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:
Beer added by: SheepNutz on 07-13-2004

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.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 575 | Hads: 2,623
Photo of Brent
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Pazzo's in Lexington, served in a snifter embossed with the beer logo - these guys know their stuff. Gold infused with amber. Relatively low carbonation. I've had several bourbon barrel-aged stouts, but never an ale - an interesting concept. The Kentucky ale used as the base is a lightly flavored beer, so the bourbon had plenty of room to come through. Light bourbon flavor, mostly evident as oaky vanilla. The mouthfeel was a bit light, which did not seem to harmonize with the bourbon flavor, but maybe I'm just too acclimated to the bourbon in a heavy stout.

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Photo of brewtus
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12oz into a dogfish snifter. Pours light copper/ orange, small white head that doesn't stick around, no lacing as you drink. Smell is oak, vanilla, scotch ale-like malts, taste hits quickly with sweet vanilla, oaky bourbon, dark fruits. Not hoppy at all, not too malty either, I've never had the unbarrelled version, but I'd imagine its not too special. This is pretty one dimensional, you get the flavors you expect with no surprises. It's not bad but it's not great either.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle split 3 ways.

A- Pours a pale golden with very minimal head. Quite frankly, it looks like something from a BMC company.

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.

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Photo of rfbenavi80
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed with a friend.
Bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a deep golden color with 2 fingers of white creamy looking head that dissipates moderately slow, leaving virtually no lacing, but does create a ring around the edge.

S- Smells of sweet oak, mixed with vanilla and charcoal. Not as bourbon forward as I want it to be.

T- Definitely a unique tasting beer. Toasty vanilla bourbon flavors are there, however it tastes very young and unrefined.

M- Medium light body, with a light amount of carbonation.

O- Disappointed, because I've definitely had better barrel aged beers. The Kentucky name in leads me to believe the bourbon taste and aroma would be front and center, however its not.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Different packaging from the picture, but it must be the same beer.

Pours out a perfectly clear kind of copper color, with a very thin head that dissipated, leaving little bits of lacing as I drink it. The clarity is nice, but the head is disappointing. The smell is just straight bourbon with just a little bit of sweetness behind it. No not of beer, none at all, just some vanilla and wood and a bit of char. I kind of expected something different, but I don't see why I should have. The taste isn't as strong on the bourbon as I expected - really just the flavors without the burn, which I like. There's a bit of a pale ale/amber ale back, absolutely no hoppiness. Kind of light on the body, but a pretty good medium for the bourbon flavors. There's huge vanilla, with a nice woody, earthy feeling that doesn't exactly cling. This isn't really dry, but not sweet. The wood kind of fills up my stomach and warms me. Overall, this kind of feels like a more full bodied bourbon. I wonder what more and more age in the barrels would do to this (the website says it only spends 6 weeks in the barrels). This one is just clearly made for the barrel taste. The carbonation is a bit prickly at first but calms down quickly. I would expect more body from a bourbon barrel. Overall, I found this very pleasant and enjoyable. I could never drink more than one of these - actually, I doubt if I'll have another one, but it was pleasant, and kind of quick drinking, a very interesting canvas for the bourbon-barrel painting. I would recommend it if you're looking for something interesting.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to WesPatrick for sharing this at a tasting on 8/12.
Blue swingtop-- bottle number 203/500 from 2006. Reviewed from notes.

Cascades into the glass a burnt sienna, as it were, orange, though not so much of the tiger-paw type. A surprisingly ample head for the age, but it settles quickly and leaves but a few wisps behind.
Aroma is the best part, with notes of vanilla and bourbon, a bit of cardboard from the oxidization of age, though I do think that this beer is better now than it would have been fresh.
The flavour affords a bit of disappointment... mostly watered down bourbon with some malt syrup and woody notes, but very little complexity.
The carbonation level is a bit of a surprise for the age of the beer, especially from a swingtop. Huge carbonation with a cottony feel in the back of the throat, and a good bit of astringency and warming.

This is a decent beer by the pint, but it seems to me that the bourbon has simply overwhelmed the beerish characteristics as a result of the marginal body. I don't know that aging a 7% beer in bourbon barrels is a good idea, as 7% beers can hardly stand up to a bourbon flavour... rather than melding together flavours to form a great beer, it seems to simply polarize aspects of the beer so that the flavours you get are first bourbon, then malt, and that's it.

An interesting beer to try, to be sure. I certainly wouldn't drop the coin on it that Wes did, but I thank him for the opportunity.

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Photo of taigor
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter glass.

A - Poured clear amber color with medium head that quickly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Very strong scent of bourbon with slight scents of malts, vanilla and caramel.

T - Strong bourbon upfront followed by very sweet flavor of malts, honey with hints of vanilla and caramel.

M - Medium bodied with average carbonation.

O - Slightly below average for me. Presence of bourbon is just too overwhelming and it was way too sweet. I would not recommend it.

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Photo of waltonc
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BEERchitect for this extra.

Pours a clear, light copper with lots of white head. First bourbon barrel aged beer I've had that's this light in appearance and body. Smells like...bourbon and malt. Tastes like...bourbon. Very pronounced bourbon. Not hot, and not excessive bourbon, but this almost tastes like bourbon mixed with water. Tasty though. Takes some getting used to for me because I'm used to my bourbon barrel aged beers being higher ABV, thicker, etc. This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with a lot of carbonation.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have tried this beer on 3 different occasions.
I am not a bourbon drinker, but I can tell the difference between bourbons.
Each time was different. I asked the bartender what he thought of the beer ( he knows his stuff) and he told me that this "batch" tasted like it was a makers mark barrel...I then tasted makers mark.
He continued to tell me they use different bourbon brand barrels for it and you can discern the difference in bourbons.
I liked the previous ones better (no idea what brand barrel they used....or if that is even true)

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Photo of mondegreen
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a stemmed Cantillon glass.

A: Clear golden color with a moderate head. Fades quickly to a ring on the outside of the glass.

S: Bourbon supported by sweet malts. Honey and dark sugar linger in the background. In all, an interesting mish-mash, but pretty tame.

T: Leaves me wanting. The bourbon is pretty faint and the malts
leave a sweet residue on the palate. Nothing more to report. I was really hoping for huge bourbon notes from this one.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Just about average.

D: Probably a little more drinkable than I'd like. I want my bourbon ales be challenging sippers. It may sound harsh, but this tastes like the lawnmower beer of strong ales.

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Photo of oline73
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm going to try to do better at guessing what I'm drinking than I did with the first bottle. Beer#2. A blinded 12oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy reddish amber with a small layer of off white head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and doesn't leave much lacing. 3

Smell: This is getting interesting. I'm hit with a slightly fruity sourness right away. There is some sweet malt as well. I feel like I'm picking up some pineapple and maybe some red wine. 3

Taste: The sourness from the smell definitely shows up here as well. I'm picking up some red wine notes here too. The flavor is slightly buttery with some butterscotch in the finish. Along with the sourness, there is a slight bitterness that magnifies the wine like flavor in the finish. 3.5

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with smooth and tingly carbonation. The finish is quite dry. 4

Overall: This was an interesting beer. I would guess that it was wine barrel aged. Not real sure on the style, something with some wild yeast? 3.5

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Photo of seanyfo
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle brought back from Kentucky by my good mate Feech, September last year, cheers mate!

No BBE date!

A- Cloudy light amber body, creamy white 3 finger head with excellent retention and lacing.

S- Vanilla and toffee dominating, with an underlying whisky note, touch of banana perhaps with a little almond.

T- Caramel malt forward, with a tangy lemon like sour note which develops into the expected bourbon flavours. Finish is semi dry with a buttery note. Alcohol well hidden.

M- Medium carbonation, light body considering style.

D- Not what i was expecting. Looked good and nose was promising but let down in flavour profile and mouthfeel. Was expecting something much richer and fuller. Bourbon flavours were well presented in the aroma and flavour but this still missed for me.

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Photo of jkrich
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. This one poured a deep, clear gold to copper - much like a new penny. There was no freshness date.

The odor was strongly sweet and alcoholic. Yes, it does smell like a sweet Kentucky bourbon.

The flavor is thickly sweet with vanilla highlights and butterscotch. There are also hints of coconut. Despite this seemingly cloying melange, the aftertaste is rather refreshing.

There is that thick, sweet mouthfeel that encourages slow sips. The carbonation is moderate.

If you enjoy bourbon as much as you do beer, this one is for you. This is a unique offering, though not one I would seek out. I will slowly sip this glass and call it a night.

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Photo of HarryPlopper
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is clearly a novelty beer. The whiskey taste definitely jumps out at you and is not subtle. It's more whiskey than beer. This is a decent beer for sipping, but I would never drink more than one at a time. I should note that I am not a huge fan of whiskey.

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Photo of mcallister
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nothing special about the looks of this beer. A simple orangish, copper with a small white head and some erratic lacing.

Nose is nice. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, some nuttiness and other woodsy notes. Hints of flowery hop and sweet malts.

Not a bad beer but not one I would drink more than one of. Again dominated by coconut and vanilla, with a bourbon finish. A bit creamy in the mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Overall a beer worth trying once.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%

Pours a medium brown with an off white head. The smell is very heavy on both wood and bourbon to the point where I can't smell anything else. The taste is similar with a little bit of malt coming in the beginning and being taken over by the bourbon flavors. It was very tasty, although one-dimensional.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Horny Goat pint glass.

Appearance- A yellow orange and red tint to the beer with a very small amount of white head that fully dissipates. Lots of carbonation bubbles.

Smell- Burbon and lots of sweet and sour fruits. Some sweet carmel malt notes too.

Taste- Bourbon begining with a sour hop middle and the big bourbon comes back for the finish. Honestly I am a Jameson on the rocks drinker and this tastes a lot like that. A watered down whiskey.

Mouthfeel- Very watery

Overall- Basically if you are a whiskey fan you will probably enjoy this since it tastes like whiskey on the rocks. For what it is, it misses the mark. Do I enjoy it? Yes!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Rich auburn pour, little glimmers of red, orange and light brown throughout it, a fall cornacopia if you will fitting of some autumn wreath on your door and shit. Small beige head on the beer. Aroma, toffee, oak and bourbon, its a little strong and not well integrated when a heatwave hits your nose.

On the palate, the alcohol heat isn't as strong, tastes nice, integrates well. It is very strong on the charred oak and bourbon mouthfeel, this isn't all that nuanced. Some dark cherry, vanilla, caramel, toffee and plum tinge to it, hard to discern through the massive amount of oak and bourbon. Nothing in terms of hops to pick up on. The most minimalistic bitterness, and even probably half of that in which I am picking up on, is probably just alcohol heat + carbonation confusing my tongue. If there was any aspect that could use significant improvement, its the mouthfeel, the beer just felt a little too watery or thin for all the flavor and heat to it. I think more two row would bulk this up to 9-10% but taste wise, it wouldn't feel like it.

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Photo of cbl2
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

8/23/2006 $12.00 4 pack purchased at Roof Brothers in Paducah KY. No best by date.


Pours a radiantly clear orange that is tinged with hints of peach topped by a quarter inch of white foam that rapidly settles.


They weren't joking when they said aged in bourbon barrels, as the bourbon shines through here along with notes of toffee, buttered popcorn and peat.


Very odd diacetyl and fusel alcohol up front, with the long lingering presence of kettle corn in the background. Vanilla and oak are apparent throughout, imparted by the wood contact.

Bourbon has always been my father's drink, and I've never gotten a taste for it, but I figured while I was out visiting my grandmother in Kentucky, I'd try what the locals drink (though in beer form). It's interesting, but I still am not a bourbon fan, which is perhaps why I knocked a few points off the drinkability and taste.

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Photo of Walligator
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

New at the craft beer LIFE. I enjoy most of the bourbon barrel stouts I've tried. Was at Binny's talking to a sales person about KBBA . She said she didn't realy know much about it, hadn't tried it. I like stouts and ales so I thought that this combo might be good. Wrong! I'm not going to try to describe the smells, tastes, etc. I'll say this, though. It smelled like a bourbon barrel stout and tasted like a sour ale. Very dissapointing.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice golden color, thin, about a 1/2" of head, nothing really stands out to me.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon.

T: BOURBON, vanilla and cinnamon. Tastes a little bit like Maker's Mark, if it were a beer. Sweet, smoky bourbon flavors really overwhelm the malt.

M: Kind of creamy, much to my surprise. Smooth.

D: I like bourbon a lot, but I couldn't finish this one, it was a little sweeter than what I was in the mood for.

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Photo of DCon
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on-tap @ Coles 735 MAIN in Lexington, KY for $6. Tapped from the Brown Wooden KBB Tap Handle w/ a Horse on the top into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Have enjoyed in bottle so wanted to give this version a try.

Aroma- Tons of alcohol, bourbon, light single malt aromas. Very clean.

Appearance- Received with no head at all. Has a deep golden/light copper body with decent clarity. Leaves a few suds behind.

Flavor- Starts off very sweet and then winds down to all malt and light bourbon. Very light and almost no bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Smooth, but VERY watered down... Not sure if there was a keg issue or just the way they do it in keg but mouthfeel wasn't up to par.

Overall Impression- I HIGHLY recommend you enjoying this from a bottle. For some reason it was watered down on the mouthfeel which took away from this great brew. However, this was very nice in bottle.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Vintage Estate some months back and liked it enough to remember to pick up a bottle this last trip (yesterday)

Bottled version does not do my memory of it justice.

Appearance is just like someone splashed a few drops of Bourbon into a Bud. Sadly, the taste is pretty much like someone splashed a few drops of bourbon into a Bud light - or to be more accurate, probably it's the Lexington pale ale.

There's a vanilla, caramel, maltiness there, which I should like, given my proclivities. But, this is really not up to par with some of the heavier stuff. I guess it's a bit like the beers that put the fake lime or chili or whatever in it. Maybe this is a ballpark version of the Bourbon aged stuff that is out there. Though to be fair, there is a nice syrup quality to the mouthfeel and it's not a full-on fake flavor deal. Plus the high ABV is well-disguised, though also well-telegraphed by the bourbon taste. The aftertaste/finish is pleasing. Not as boozy a feel as you'd expect. Mellow.

Honestly the idea that someone just poured a light beer into a glass that still had some Kentucky bourbon in it is hard to shake or get past.

Not one I'd get again. But not offensive in any way. The mellowness and lack of any real problems is what made me give it a b-. If you're working your way through the bourbon-modified beers, this should go on your list.

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Photo of Jmalpha1
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Looked great in a glass. Wasn't very impressive but it was kinda neat and unique.I don't think I would get it on my own but I wouldn't think twice at a bar. Solid beer for sipping.

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Photo of stbfan
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours gold/transparent. very thin, quickly dissapating white head.

smells like BOURBON, faint vanilla, light hops.really smells like bourbon.

tastes of bourbon, vanilla. dry, light alcohol finish.

not a bad brew. bourbon really gives it a unique mouthfeel.

pretty good drinkability.not bad. not real good. in between.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 575 ratings.