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.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,481 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,481
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 18.48%
Wants: 137
Gots: 645 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,481 | Reviews: 611
Photo of jdkitchi
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured an amber color with a good size head from a hard pour. The head disappeared fairly quickly and left little lacing. This looks like an amber ale.

I got a definite bourbon smell and amber ale smell.

The taste is of bourbon and alcohol on top of a typical amber ale and gets a little sweeter and more alcoholic as it warms. The mouth feel is light.

Overall this isn't a bad beer. This is a light style of beer with bourbon barrel aging. The barrel aging really is pronounced because of this and makes this a pretty enjoyable brew. The 8% ABV helps too.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, alcohol, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon barrel aging is quite evident as it is in the smell but it also brings medicine-like flavor. The malt character is on the thin side for this type of beer and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence. However, there isn’t as much balance as you get from most barrel-aged beers. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good variation of style, it’s not a bad beer but there are several other barrel-aged beers I would choose over this one.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear ruby color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into thin lacing. The aroma is of oak and bourbon, but not much else. It is a very pleasant aroma, but to lacking in any sort of malt or hops to make it interesting. The taste is still full of oak and bourbon, but there is some malt. It still isn't very interesting though. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is an alright beer, but rather boring. I could drink it again, but it won't be something I search out.

Photo of BlindPig
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Thin white head on a orange body with some copper hues.
S- Some sweet malts, light hops, a light bourbon aroma mixed in there as well, some ever so light wood also.
T-Its a light flavor and kind of hard to believe it is 7%. Some bourbon (really light!), hint of wood, kind of malty (the malt reminds me of something they would use in a nut brown but a lot lighter), hints of hops leaving a light to medium bitterness.
M-Medium body with low carbonation.
D- It is alright. I don't think it would be worth getting unless you live right by there and I might go in for a pint every once in awhile.

Photo of kwjd
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright orange colour with thin white head. Not too much lacing, head dissipates after a bit. Smells like bourbon, vanilla and some butter. A lot more bourbon in the smell than I expected, but I guess with a lighter beer than typical bourbon barrel aged ones it makes the bourbon stand out more. Flavour is fairly sweet, pretty one dimensionally bourbon. Smooth mouth feel.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. I added this beer to my Wants list a long time ago because the picture was off this rocking blue and white jug type thing. I guess they don't use that anymore? I have the bottle that is pictured now, which isn't a problem or anything. I just won't be keeping it.

The pour reminds me of cream soda. Similar color with about a finger of foam, most of which fizzes away quickly to leave behind a small thick cap. There's a decent sheet of lacing stuck to the middle of the glass.

To put it as simply as possible, this beer smells like barrel. It's like when you smell a barrel-aged beer and you notice all of the aromas of the base beer and then whatever elements the barrel aging imparts. Well, with this beer, I'm not really smelling anything I would attribute to a base beer. It's really just those barrel elements, like oak, vanilla, caramel, maybe just a little bit of bourbon.

The flavor pretty much follows that. The description says that this beer is a marriage of an Irish Red and English Pale aged in bourbon barrels. I suppose I'm getting more English Pale than Irish Red, but this really just tastes like a generic barrel-aged beer. Tastes like brown sugar, vanilla, some almost toasty oak...I'm not really noticing any bourbon. Perhaps subtlety is what they were shooting for.

The texture is definitely Irish Red/English Pale. Much lighter than I expected for a barrel aged strong ale, but then again, I suppose it's such a broad style that it could still be appropriate. I don't know. Carbonation does very little to this beer, as it just sort of lays flat on the tongue. It's not lively and bubbly, nor is is mouth-coating and sticky. On the bright side, it's a very easy drinker for being 8+%. I never taste even a hint of alcohol, and the aforementioned light body gives this beer the potential to be very dangerous. All in all, a pleasant drinking experience despite not being terribly exciting.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear amber with a creamy white head that hangs around awhile and leaves globs of sticky lacing.

Aroma is sweet caramel malt, earthy hazelnut, light fruit and slight alcohol warmth.

Taste is very earthy and nutty. Bready caramel malt. Woody oak, with a touch of vanilla as expected. Bourbon has a presence, but seems thin for my taste, and seems a bit watery. Hops bring and earthy bitterness to the finish.

Mouthfeel is light-medium in body. A fuller feel would go a long way for this one.

Overall a very mild bourbon barrel aged brew. I had expected a stronger bourbon presence. However, I did enjoy the malty earthy qualities of this beer.

Photo of Mikedive21
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Not a fan of bourbon ales. Good but I wont try again

Photo of simplejj81
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

I wish this would have been aged more than 6 weeks. Too sweet and not enough heat to meet my expectations for this beer. Its good, but I was hoping for more.

Photo of Brenden
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It comes off the tap a clear shining gold color. It sports a billowing head that foams up and drops down to a bit of a lighter whitish cap. With time, it recedes to the edges while leaving a wispy island. Some pretty good spotting with light legging does cling to the glass.
Wood is the inital note, not particularly dry, and something lighter that gives the imprssion of beech or balsam (but obviously isn't). Nice vanilla and toffee notes are present too. Oddly, I get something like plum, but a softer, pale flesh sort, and only a few flashes here and there. It's got a bit of booziness, but it's fairly tame.
A touch of the vanilla and toffee sweetness come out on the tongue with the wood up front, all under a note of grains that follows through to the end.
While smooth, it is a bit too lightly carbonated, and thins out slightly toward the end.

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice one and a half inch head and a nice amber color. No lacing on the glass. Has a sweet bourbon smell that reminds me of guess what bourbon. Initial sip is first bourbon and then you get the beer feel. Tastes like guess what bourbon. I ended up sipping this like a neat bourbon. That's how bourbon like this thing tastes. A little bit of carbonation. If you like bourbon you will like this beer. They seem to hit the bourbon flavor straight on. But as a beer there's not much IMO. Not a whole lot of flavor or heartiness.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WhyBeNormal for putting this box in N00b BIF Round 3. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a brew that is a moderate-brown color with a thin tan head that fades into a thin collar. The nose is dominated by bourbon. Strong bourbon notes pervade, and only increase in intensity as the beer warms. Nice and fairly mellow, but I'd like a bit more complexity here. The flavor is the same way, though there is a touch of caramel and brown sugar in the background. Medium body with lowish carbonation. A bit too hot in the finish. Not bad at all. I've got another that I'll need to cellar for a bit to see if it mellows out.

Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Low level head that leaves little lace. The color is a perfect neutral amber and is crystal clear.

More earthy than anything else. There's a bit of sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

This is a sweet ale. Again, molasses seems to be the strongest flavor. If there is bitterness, it is overwhelmed by the malt sugars. Not complex. Very rich body--low carbonation.

Photo of flagmantho
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium orange hue with the tiniest hint of haze and an extremely robust effervescence. Head is a thick finger of pillowy ivory foam with decent retention. I like it.

Smell: sweet malt with a buttery bourbon aroma right through it. Decent, if you like bourbon.

Taste: sweet malt with a definite buttery taste to it. Strong diacetyl from brewing, or an artifact from the barrel aging process? I can't say. Altogether this beer has a very butterscotch-like quality which I don't love, although it's not strong enough to turn me away completely.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a decent, if not completely mouth-filling, creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a sweet, not-too-bad strong ale; just a bit butterscotchy for me.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon drinkers ought to be happy with this. The overall drinking experience is easy and smooth. The Bourbon barrel flavor dominates everything. Think Bourbon, chilled, mixed with seltzer. You might get a very similar thing to what this beer is. Nothing else is particularly noteworthy about this brew. Lots of wood aged stuff on the market.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a 4 pack split with a friend from a store in Bowling Green, KY. Poured into a regular pint glass.

A: Pours a light brown with not much of a head at all. The little bit of head that is there doesn't leave any lace at all.

S: Bourbon really dominates the nose which I would normally love. However, this is a one trick pony so I am only giving it slightly better than average.

T: A hint of malt sweetness mixed with some vanilla and oak flavors. I am not really getting the bourbon taste which is surprising based on the aroma.

M: It feels extremely thin almost watery. Not really a lot of other character either.

D: Since it is listed as a strong ale, it is pretty drinkable for that style.

Photo of ddahlen
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at De'shea's in the Lexington, Kentucky airport. Poured out a nice golden hue with a 1 inch head.
The nose has a great woody, caramel, bourbon aroma as you'd expect. Comparing this to their base beer, Kentucky Ale, you can tell the aromatics come 90% from the bourbon.
The taste has quite a bit of caramel from the malt, but is really predominated with the bourbon. It retains quite a bit of sweetness on the backend.
The mouthfeel is crisp and fairly light for the abv.
Overall, if bourbon beers are your thing, this is definitely for you. All in all, the beer component of this one doesn't bring all that much to the table, it's a basic, but good, bourbon ale.

Photo of founddrama
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

That caramelly, almost burnt sweet flavor of the bourbon. That's the strong flavor here. Quite a boozy tasting beer.

Photo of NiceTaps
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in a snifter.

Copper-orange color, "aged in oak" look. 1F white head, quick fade to film. Slightly cloudy with active bubbles. No lacing at all.

Smells of sweet alcohol. Woody. Thick malts and whiskey.

I taste the vanilla, oak, caramel, and lots of whisky alcohol. Sweet bourbon.

The full malt body is beat up by the sugary alcohol.

It's a sipper. The malts make it a "beer", I guess. I'd prefer less booze, more beer character.

Photo of Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up while at Ft Knox at the Px, just getting around to reviewing it.

Poured cold into a session ale glass

A - An ale the shade of bourbon w/ a bone white 2 1/2 finger fluffy head. The lace clings moderately well

S - The scent of bourbon is strong in the nose w/ a subtle ale fruitiness and boozy woody notes that accent the aroma

M - Very mild sweetness w/ a mild carbonation and gently chalky feel w/ nutty vanilla oaky wood textures and smooth finish that practically falls flat

T - The bourbon smell carries over into the taste w/ a mostly light ale flavor and subtle fruity tinges w/ a vanilla bourbon oak taste w/ a beer flavor that really has a meek demeanor in relation to the Bourbon oakiness that accents it almost dominates it. There is a slight hop/vegetal note and possible adjunct type sweetness in the flavor, an overall light ale taste that seems out of porportion in relationship to the sweetness in the bourbon.

D - I enjoyed the bourbon flavor in this , but one or two seems like more than enough. This ale just falls short of great and allows the bourbon aging to manhandle the flavor while making the beer seem light. It isn't the best wood aged beer, but it is worth a try

Photo of orcasteve
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a clear orange color, the sent is oak and sour mash, the flavor is, sour at first sip with hints of corn mash, the second wave is a gental oak flavor and sweet alchoal that warms the belly. at the end i am left with a combo of sour, oak and clean krisp bitter hops. this isnt what i would call a great beer but just avrage, this is a beer that i would drink if offered but wont go out of my way to get more

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brightest topaz topped with nearly two fingers of eggshell colored foam that is slightly crackly and does no better than a passable job with respect to glass decoration. High-ABV, barrel-aged beer often struggles in the head and lace departments.

After having been aged for 6 weeks in *recently decanted* bourbon barrels, one would think the nose would be more whiskey-like. This is a somewhat pleasant sniffer if you like that spirit, but it's too mild. The base beer doesn't contribute much either.

Kentucky Ale is average beer. Its metamorphosis into Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a definite move to higher ground. It isn't amazing beer by any means, but the bourbon character finds that middle ground between 'too much' and 'not enough' (closer to the latter).

This offering tastes like an amber ale to which a very small splash of bourbon was added. Caramelized sugar and vanilla notes are subtle, and there wasn't enough time for much woodiness to have made it into the final product. Hard to believe the ABV went from 5.34% to 8.19% after 6 weeks contact with whiskey-soaked wood.

The mouthfeel didn't change... and wasn't expected to. It's still waaay too light, doesn't bulk up with warming, and the bubbles don't do a great job either. It's barely acceptable for a sipper, just don't expect much in the way of mouth pampering.

My advice to Kentucky Brewing Company is to use a different (better) beer as the base for this beer. Something with more malty guts would be a great place to start. Too bad this is the 12 ounce bottle rather than the cool looking cobalt vessel shown above.

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thin red with little head and lacing, and without the thick syrupy look that usually goes with bourbon barrel aged and high ABV beers in general. Lots of bourbon in the nose, some malts. Big bourbon taste, but leaves you a little disappointed in the malts department, too light and undemanding for the bourbon flavor. The low carbonation isnt balanced by a full mouthfeel, seems almost flat. Easily the most drinkable bourbon barrel aged, but is that really a good thing?

An interesting experiment, basically this is your session bourbon barrel aged ale. Overall for me the base beer, sort of a malty amber, is too weak and really takes a beating from the bourbon, leaving you with a watered down glass of bourbon.

Photo of Spider889
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this at Winking Lizard last month as part of a tasting of this, the parent Kentucky Ale, and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon. I will be adding my notes of the bourbon itself to this review as I think they are pertinent.

Served with an excellent presentation - a place mat has descriptors of each beer and the bourbon, pictures of each, and a place to put each glass (which included a snifter and tasting glass I got to keep). Very nice presentation.

This is a darker version of the regular Kentucky Ale. As expected there was little head. A ring of soapy bubbles sat atop the beer. I got minimal spotty legs of lace on the snifter. Still crystal clear, they clearly are filtering this beer, it is a nice warm hue of garnet.

The aroma begins with subtle hints of honey. The bourbon is very inviting but strong as hell. Vanilla abounds and makes the aroma very sweet. Some wet oak shows up as the beer warms, along with some light char.

The flavor wasn't bad at all, though the thin, inferior beer that went into the barrels meant that no amount of barrel aging could make this beer world class. I really wanted heavier malt and a stronger oak presence. If I had to guess, this beer is aged in fresh barrels, but for a very limited amount of time.

Overall it was not a bad brew. The alcohol isn't very well hidden, and is warming all the way down. But the beer itself was creamy and smooth. I still wouldn't buy this again, but it's worth a try if you must - just promise me not to pay for the non barreled version.

My notes on the bourbon:
Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Lots of vanilla. Very smooth on the palate, but strong as hell going down. A healthy burn stings the throat. The nose is biting with alcohol on a deep inhale, but in doing so I could detect a nice honey component, and deep grainy oak.

I'm not a bourbon drinker normally, but I actually kind of liked this. It's sad to say, but the straight bourbon was the best part of the tasting I did at Winking Lizard!

Photo of breakingbland
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A beautiful clear golden. The head had dissipated by the time the glass reached the table.

Aroma:Hoppy with some malt. Not a strong aroma.

Taste: Considerable malty sweetness. The maltiness has an odd tasting component -- maybe bubblegum (still not too good at discerning & describing the various taste components; see "Re-review" below). A medium hops presence.

Mouthfeel: A very fine carbonation. It has a fairly full body.

Overall: The malt/hops balance is nice and appropriate for this style. I'll have this beer again, but overall it's not too exciting (still bothered by the odd sweetness).

Re-review: After drinking a few more of these, it occurred to me that the odd sweetness is likely due to the oak/bourbon aging. (duh on my part!) It still tastes a bit odd to me, though.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,481 ratings.