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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

1,963 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,963
Reviews: 507
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.26%
Wants: 88
Gots: 278 | FT: 4
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,963 | Reviews: 507 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mavbrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter that came with the beer.

A: Pours a transparent amber color with an off-white head that dissipates into a thin lace.

S: Smells like I am drinking a Manhattan. Some serious bourbon scent with a bit of a woodiness and a hint of vanilla.

T: The taste is just as it smells. A quick explosion of bourbon upfront which is immediately followed by a vanilla burst that carries into the finish and well after.

M: Thin/medium bodied with average carbonation.

D: The name on the label fits this beer perfectly. You get the bourbon flavor in the smell and right upfront, but then the vanilla flavor comes in and takes over. It seems that this is exactly what they were going for and it works nicely.

mavbrew, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of Crundy
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear dark amber, bourbon color, white foamy head and thin lacing

S: the bourbon smell hits you up front, next comes a pleasant sweetness that reminds me of banana bread and vanilla and some clove

T: Again the bourbon is prominent, the oakiness comes out more as well, some vanilla and a hint of hop bitterness and minimal malt presence.

M: very mellow and smooth but slightly dry on the finish, it has a subtle sweet aftertaste and it light bodied

O: very good beer, though a bit too sweet for me but not overly so. Very drinkable and very pleasant oaky bourbon flavors. If you don't like the strength and bite of bourbon but still like the associated flavors, this is a good beer for you.

Crundy, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Mistofminn
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to auroracrisis for sending me some bottles of this! Wanted to try this for a long time, so thanks Ben for the chance.

I needed a boubron beer fix (see my review for BBC Reserve Boubron Barrel Stout to see why) so I grabbed one of these next.

My bottle didn't look like the sweet one in the picture above, it was simply a brown 12 oz bottle.

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color into a pint glass. Off white head is produced on the pour, and shrinks to a small pillow and ring around the outside edge of the glass. Doesn't leave a ton of lacing. I love the color though.

The nose is...fantastic! This has to be my first bourbon barrel beer that isn't a stout, porter, barleywine or brown ale so this is very good news for the rest of bourbon barrel beers in my eyes. I get bourbon soaked fruits...incredibly fruity. A nice woody character in the background and a nice warming bourbon smell, which is mostly soaked into the fruit aromas.

The taste is similar to the nose, very fruity with a bourbon soaked fruit/wood character. This is tasty stuff, but it's just not as tasty as the nose advertises unfortunately. Still, very tasty. Totally not expecting it to be so fruity. It's like it's an average beer with bourbon (and good bourbon mind you) soaked fruit dropped in. Great stuff.

The mouthfeel is light, and slightly overcarbonated. I'm not feeling this section of the beer, but I'm definitely into the taste and smell.

Drinkability is great. If the ABV were slightly lower this would be an awesome session beer. I really like the aroma and flavor of this, and I could have a few without getting knocked on my ass. What more could you ask?

If I lived in an area where this was readily available, I would buy this all the time. At $12 a four pack, how could you go wrong?

Mistofminn, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is basically regular Kentucky Ale that has been aged in bourbon barrels. It's only available at a few places in Lexington, so get it while you can bourbon lovers!

On tap poured into a snifter glass. It pours a medium amber color with two fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing. The smell is malty with lots of sweet cherry and oak. A nice aroma. The taste starts fairly malty with charred oak under brown sugar sweetness. The bourbon REALLY comes out after it warms up some. The finish has a nice little dose of citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is very very good. This is a big improvement to regular Kentucky Ale. They need to bottle this stuff. It would really put them on the map.

SheepNutz, Jul 13, 2004
Photo of scotorum
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute

a: A gorgeous crystal clear amber with a finger thick white head which receded quickly to thin surface foam, some stringy lacing eventually appears. Not much carbonation evident.

s: Bourbon!

t: Bourbon! Dayum! Dry boozy finish.

m: Light to moderate. Lighter than the bourbon flavor wants you to believe. Much more carbonation evident on drinking than is visually evident.

o: Good for what it is. Think I still prefer beer that tastes more like beer, but it is a unique experience to have a beer that tastes like weak bourbon. Maybe this will grow on me though, I loved Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Aged beer from the gitgo and still enjoy it now and then. But unlike Innis & Gunn, I get the impression there is not much substance here beyond the bourbon flavor and aroma. Still, that flavor is seductive, so I'll probably buy more of this.

scotorum, Sep 25, 2013
Photo of Mario61Aler
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice suprise from the 335 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass. It poured a nice golden color, with a white head that disapated quickly. Hardly any lacing at all. Aroma was of carmel and a just hint of the bourbon. Taste was of Malts and a hint of alcohol, bourbon and then a sweetness comes into play, like a dried cherry. Was slightly creamy with a medium body that makes this a very drinkable Ale. I will revisit this one.

Mario61Aler, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of Gear54
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: minimal amount of foam that faded quickly. It had a dark copper color and slight lacing.

S: vanilla and oak mostly with a slight alcohol note underneath

T: to me this beer lived up to its potential. It was slightly sweet with vanilla and oak flavored. There was little doubt about the bourbon barrel's impact on this brew. Hardly any bitterness

M: light with a lasting bourbon finish

O: This wasn't the beer I was planning on having at the pub but I'm glad it's the one that landed on my coaster! I'll be grabbing some for the beer fridge!

Gear54, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a KY Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter obtained at a Pazzo's Pint Night years ago... I remember not liking this beer the first time I had it, but oh how my tastes have changed! This is now one of my favorite go-to locals...

A- 4 Pours an attractive, clear burnt orange / amber color with a one finger fluffy white head. The head lacks retention as it dies down quickly but there's a nice ring left around the edges and the tiniest of bubbles lace the glass smoothly.

S- 4.5 Caramel, malt, bourbon and wood... In no particular order. Just balanced and pure. The oak makes its presence felt as much as anything, and the rest composes a nice sweetness that has me itching to raise the glass... The snifter is worthwhile here because there really is some good stuff going on.

T- 4 Though I generally detect the same elements in its taste as I did from the aroma, the taste is notably sweeter and not quite as balanced. That said, it is quite good. I get a bit more caramel and bourbon here, with just a touch of oak on the finish. Though it has a respectable ABV, it is just barely detectable at the end of the drink.

M- 4 KBBA is medium in body with a smooth creaminess that is quite manageable. It is heavier on the palate than I expected from its appearance. It has a good level of carbonation. It is a little syrupy on the finish, with the slightest bit of heat from the alcohol.

D- 4 I really enjoy this beer and could put down a few of them. I don't think I could do it all night because it is a little sweeter than I prefer ideally. Regardless, this is an enjoyable ale with a bourbon presence that fits in nicely. I'd definitely recommend trying this if you enjoy bourbon brews or are visiting KY where you can easily find it in bottles or draft. It also blends well with Guinness, ala a 'black and tan,' and is known as a 'black barrel.' It is a succulent combination... Cheers to Lex-Vegas and the growing popularity of KBBA!

KYBrewgrass, Apr 29, 2011
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

brentk56, Aug 22, 2007
Photo of beefnbarley
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh, poured a light amber color. Had a light colored head that quickly fell. Great aroma of reminent bourbon from barrel. Vanilla notes from the barrel. Slight alcohol in the nose as well, but not fusel. Easy drinking, pleasant beer. Medium-light body and well balanced. Finishes slightly sweet. Very drinkable.

beefnbarley, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of bluejacket74
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Kentucky Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with no head at all. Not much lacing either. It smells like oak, bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some toasted/smoked malt and even a bit of coconut in there too. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, with average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. Alcohol surprisingly isn't very noticable at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, I liked it a lot. A pretty decent choice, I think.

bluejacket74, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of shand
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've got to say, I was excited to see this one come to Florida. I've heard about it being an unbalanced bourbon bomb, but I've enjoyed other beers of a similar nature like Twisted Pine's Reilly's Oak Whiskey Red, so I'm hoping this one will be to my liking as well. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours much lighter than I expected, a pretty clear orange color with a small head. The aroma hits right away with vanilla and oak, with sweet malts, grains, and a distinct boozy note. The taste is rather remarkable in that it really tastes quite like a bourbon without the burn. Not a great bourbon, but a surely passable one. Kinda like an Evan Williams kind of thing going on, if you dig. It's got vanilla and oak from the barrel as well. Very unique in the sheer force of flavor going on - there's absolutely nothing here but bourbon and barrel. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, lightly carbonated, and slick. Works well with the bourbon feel. The drinkability is pretty solid. Overall, I like this beer. It works as almost a "session bourbon", if you will.

shand, Nov 18, 2012
Photo of slipperysoup
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%

slipperysoup, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

golden brown. crystal clear. poor head retention, and poor lacing.

toffee, caramel, malty, sweet, alcohol smells. there is some bourbon aroma there too but not as much as the name would suggest. i think the bourbon notes are coming off as caramel and toffee. dont taste oak, just toffee and caramel. some of the vanilla from the bourbon come through as well.

immediately huge caramel an toffee flavor. like biting into a skor bar. sweet and crisp, very malty flavor. again it doesnt taste immediately taste like whiskey, but the flavor of whiskey is what lingers after the finish.

medium body. crisp finish.

this is definitely an interesting beer. this beer has benefitted from being bourbon barrel aged, i have tried the original. a beer with decent complexity. i would like to serve this to a friend who drinks nothing but cheap whiskey and cheap domestic lager and see if he digs it.

spitInTheOcean, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of HardTarget
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Surprisingly light color, clear amber blonde, almost orange tint. Looks a bit like Bourbon, save the thin but full cover of white head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Boozy, with a worty sweetness.

Taste: Unsurprisingly, a bit of bourbon with my beer. It's not unpleasant, which is to say I don't care for bourbon generally, but occasionally will have one. The bourbon is a firm part of the flavor but melds with the English Strong base and fits rather well. A light smoky aspect but no real strong wood flavors, which is a nice departure from most attempts in barrel aged beers.

Mouthfeel: A bit prickly, seems a touch over carbonated but lots of body keeps it far from fizzy. Lightly slick texture and a slow drying clean finish.

Overall: I didn't expect to like this beer much, and am pleasantly impressed to be very wrong. Rich complementing flavors, heavy body pushing me around at over 8% abv.
I feels sophisticated sipping on this one. Quite refined and enjoyable.
Solid brew!

Thanks to Illudium for the sample!

HardTarget, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on draft on the recommendation of Brian Yaeger, author of "Red, White, and Brew." Brian was nice enough to give me another 12oz bottle of this that I brought to a tasting to share.

A - This beer is a nice clear amber color with a small off-white head and nice lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and oak. Smells very nice.

T - Slightly sweet caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla, oak, buttery notes, and a little alcohol. Very well balanced. It's nice to see a bourbon barrel aged beer done well other than the massive imperial stouts and such.

M - Body is medium and palate is smooth with medium-low carbonation.

D - This is an underrated beer, and drinkable for the ABV.

nickd717, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: golden amber in color, poured into a flute with a very minimal pure white head. little to no lacing to speak of.
S: holy sweet bourbon. the smell is so intense, and i love it. vanilla and toffee notes mingle, but its really just huge SWEET bourbon. i cant emphasize enough how strong it is. the toffee thats mixed in makes an excellent second fiddle, but i could see how some may see it as too much.
T: pretty pleased with the full flavor. sugary bourbon, toffee, cloves, delicious. vanilla bean.
M: its lighter than i initially thought it would be. it comes across almost a little watery, as much as i hate to say it. not up front, but in the backend it lets up just a little bit. flavor is still there, maybe a
little more carbonation would buff it up a little bit.
D: its delicious, and i love this take on a bourbon barrel beer, so id drink them till they were gone. unfortinately i only have one!

Kkottonmouthkngz, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of beeragent
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass from a 12oz. bottle. The beer poured a clear medium amber, forming a thin white head which quickly faded. The aroma is strong bourbon along with a hint of malt. The taste is a smooth combination of bourbon, malt, caramel, and a hint of vanilla. Not very complex, but the simplicity works for this brew. Clean smooth mouthfeel. Aside from the slightly higher abv., this is definitely a beer I wouldnt mind having a few of. Overall, I was expecting a bad tasting beer after hearing reviews about it, but I was suprised to find that the beer actually had a good flavor. I will definitely buy this again. Recommended!!

beeragent, Nov 06, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the tap into a tulip.

Aroma is Heavy butterscotch malt with caramel and toast.

Tastes very smooth with lots of malt. Buttery and toasty. A bit of scotch comes through as if I diluted a single malt with lots of water. Interesting!

Overall an ok beer. Very satisfying in the middle of the mountains.

BucBasil, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of Pauly2X
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear deep gold/light amber, with a half finger head.

S- Sweet caramel malts with strong vanilla notes with hints of oak in the background.

T- Sweet, sweet caramel malts infused with vanilla and warm, soft oak. The sweetness could easily be described as cloying by some, but I enjoy it. While being sweet it does present an elegantly complex flavor.

M- Full bodied very smooth. Carbonation may seem a tad high however it does serve to break up the sryupy nature of the beer.

O- If you're a hophead who detests malt bomb then go ahead and obtain a restraining order on this beer. However if you crave that chewy pint of malty goodness than look no further.

Pauly2X, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of kirok1999
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light gold with a small white head that leaves just a little lacing.
Smells sweet, vanilla and slight bourbon.
Tastes wonderful with mild carbonation. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, honey meld together really well. Not exactly what I expected and I'm glad as this is a great brew. I'm glad to see it's 7% as I plan to drink a few more.
Get some, you won't be disappointed.

kirok1999, May 02, 2007
Photo of nsiergiej
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%

nsiergiej, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of moistnugget
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at my favorite joint in Orlando, OBLIVION. Great place! Poured this myself into a tall and pretty ale glass. Bless them for knowing what glass I like! +0.25 for being in an ale glass for appearance. Clear, amber, and threatening, with a little white head. Almost looks like...bourbon! Who knew? Smells great, sweet, boozy, and again, kinda like bourbon. Let's taste.

Sip.. annnnd... Alright, you'll never guess what it tastes like! Bourbon! Mingled in there is a buttery diacetyl, a little smokiness and woodiness, and the finish is soft and sweet like a funnel cake, which has also been dunked in Wild Turkey 101. Mouthfeel is similarly buttery and creamy. Carbonation is right. If this were to venture any further I would dare say it would be awful and soda-poppy, but I believe Lexington's gotten it just right.

Still reading? Yes? Thanks! And please also understand that I quite like bourbon, thus I would recommend if you don't, then I would stay away. Otherwise, it's good stuff, overall. Certainly a must try! Daily drinker? No way, I could never see that happening. Great stuff to keep on hand when you feel like it, and possibly would like to share something a little different.

moistnugget, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of Tcuphil
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%

Tcuphil, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of LuckyLemans
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%

LuckyLemans, Aug 22, 2014
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,963 ratings.