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.

565 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 565
Hads: 2,573
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 39.67%
Wants: 145
Gots: 718 | FT: 9
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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Reviews: 565 | Hads: 2,573
Photo of taigor
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
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 -6.1%
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 -6.1%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 -6.6%
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 -6.6%

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 -6.6%
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 cbl2
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
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 -7.2%
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 -7.2%
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 -7.2%
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 -7.2%
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 -7.2%
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 -7.2%
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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Photo of Auslander
3.36/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. It is the color of honey. Bone white head does not last long. Almost no lacing.

Smells of bourbon and muted vanilla.

Taste- Wow. Nice mixture of vanilla, honey, and mellow bourbon. I like this. It is a worthwhile beer.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Auburn color pour, you get little glimmers of red, orange and light brown throughout it, small beiege head on the beer. Aroma, toffee, oak and bourbon, its a little strong.

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 Ryan011235
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a 10oz snifter at The Pub Polaris on 11/11/10

Clear; hues of amber & brown. Not much foam, just a collar & some bubbles.

Smells mostly of grains & some caramel. Subtle earthy hops; slightly floral. Warmth brings out vanilla in the nose.

Actually tastes pretty balanced. Not too bitter but it has an ok kick. Between the bourbon & hops it's nippy enough. Caramel, hints of candied malt & vanilla. Notions of wood. Not very sweet - fine by me.

Medium body with average carbonation. Not particularly slick or hot. Kind of tingly on the finish. Bourbon, vanilla & oak linger.

This is nothing I would get excited over but it reasonably solid & an easy sipper.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Light brown color with thin head that dissipates quickly leaving some mild lace.

S- Whoa! This smells like straight bourbon! A deeper sniff revealed some light vanilla and oak scents.

T- Tastes like bourbon with the slightest malt and vanilla sweetness. A bit hot from the alcohol but not much else really going on.

M- Smoother than I anticipated, but bitter ester alcohol in the finish.

D- Not a bad brew but the flavor profile was a bit one demensional.

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Photo of thisisbigrob
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Poured a very clear light amber color. I had to pour forcefully to get a small, fine white head that disappeared quickly leaving a small ring of foam around the glass.

S: Slightly sweet malt smell with a definite sour mash presence. No hop smell at all.

T: Sweet with a blast of bourbon. No hop flavor to be found.

M: Very smooth, almost feels like a lager. Would be great if it were a lager, but I prefer my ales to be a little meatier maltwise.

D: The lager qualities make it go down smooth, and I'm not noticing the alcohol content at all. But I'm quickly growing tired of the whiskey flavor and wouldn't drink two in a sitting.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've never seen this before-so I decided to try it today on-tap at Vintage Wine and Estates.

A- Body is a nearly transparent dark copper hue that is served with the perfect 1/2 finger foamy white head. The head has perfect retention the whole way down the glass.

S- Nose is pretty much what you would expect. Full of whiskey, rye, and malted barley. A hint of bourbon sweetness comes through but nothing really fantastic.

T- Hot, fresh, bourbon everywhere. Not aged enough to have that note of sweetness. A hint of malted barley and maybe rye in the background. A hint of wet oak as well. Finish is moderately astrigent and leaves behind a decent size alcohol heat.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. More of a classic ale mouthfeel than a hot astrigent one.

D- This is a decent beer overall. It offers exactly what it advertises-bourbon flavor. Pretty one dimensional and not much else to it. Ironically-I've come across BBL "stouts" with an identical profile with the exception of the appearance.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Surprisingly clear orange brown body. Fine white head with low retention and ok lace.

S - Super sweet with brown sugar and yellow raisin, slightly boozy, lots of vanilla, touch of wet oak.

T - Vanilla ice cream, cream soda, and bourbon complete with vanilla and an edge of oak. Touch watery.

M - Light frame, especially for the style. Low on carbonation.

O - The sweetness is definitely off balance, but when you sit back and work through flavors it tastes like a bourbon ice cream float, and at face value that's a pretty tasty.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 565 ratings.