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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.

565 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 565 | Hads: 2,573
Photo of joberlander
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice bourbon in the aroma but the mouth feel and taste is so thin. I get hints of the bourbon but its almost a watered down taste and don't really get other flavors from the beer. Hides the alcohol well but when I drink a bourbon barrel beer I like it to be a bit thicker. Overall, its great if you want a little bourbon flavor in a beer you can have a few of, but I wish they aged it a bit longer in the barrels.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Pours a very clear light copper/golden color. Thin white foamy head disappears very quickly. Big oak, bourbon and vanilla aroma in the nose. This is far different from other bourbon barrel beers I have had. The flavor of the base beer is very light. Not much malt or hop flavor comes through. What is left seems to be a bit of watery bourbon. Some oaky flavor as well, but this seems really light. Light body, low carbonation. A little warming and boozy. I am not sure if I liked this or not, the nose really had me sold, but I don't know if the base beer worked for me. I like the spirit of trying to barrel age a different style rather than imperial stout, etc. Probably worth a shot.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into an imperial pint.

This brew is a deep yellow color with a small white head.

The aroma is more line bourbon than beer to me. Strong alcohol notes with caramel and vanilla. There's a little bitter hop in there but not a crazy amount.

The flavor is more of the same, strong bourbon flavors and not a lot of beer. It's obviously a beer because it's just not burning down the throat but it's hard to pick up specific beer characteristics.

It's a good beer if you like bourbon, which I do. Just be warned that the bourbon dominates, not compliments.

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Photo of jampics2
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the B-Spot.

A pint glass arrives with a caramel colored liquid with small residual head.

Smells of bourbon, sweet caramel malt, mild hops, vanilla. Nice aroma from an unassuming beer.

Taste is bourbon, vanilla, coconut. Smooth but nothing is really jumping. This does NOT taste like a beer with a shot dumped into it, but it also doesn't show enough of the intricate flavors that bourbon barrel aging can impart IMO.

Mouthfeel is weak - undercarbed and watery.

Drinkability is better than average, although it is certainly not a multi-dimensional beer. One and done for me.

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Photo of n2185
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear orange-gold with three fingers of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Caramel malts and vanilla on the nose along with some DMS, giving it a bit of a steamed veggie aroma. There are light oak notes under the vanilla.

T: Similar to the aroma, caramel malts and vanilla dominate the flavor profile. There are some slight oak and bourbon notes toward the finish, which is clean and slightly bready.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is pretty lively in the mouth, which along with the vanilla flavors is reminiscent of a cream soda.

O: An alright beer, overall. Nothing special, and the bourbon notes are nearly undetectable outside of a strong vanilla presence. Still, I've spent more money on worse barrel aged beers.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Picked this up a few weeks back in Totowa, having never had anything from Alltech's before. I like this style of beer but as so many others alluded to on here, this was weak in the mouthfeel and fell way short of its potential. Even the alcohol was too weak, leading me to believe that this could have been a Brown Ale instead of an English Strong Ale. It went down well but on a cool night like this, I was hoping for a bit more warmth and body.

The pour to this was decent, with a clear appearance, bright copper hue, and sizable head. There was enough lacing to be seen as well and nice amount of carbonation from the get-go. Not a strong aroma as there was some bourbon, oak, and molasses in the nose and faint amounts of those in the taste as well. Was this too malty? Sure. Was this too weak? Unfortunately. Was this like an after-dinner cordial and not a beer that I would expect from the Bluegrass State? Absolutely. Almost reminded me of Frangelico or 43 as there was some walnut or hazelnut that came out of nowhere and went away just as fast. Not a lot of warmth of stickiness like I had hoped.

There was alcohol here but not in the taste and only when I polished this off could I fell it subtly kick in. While not a complete letdown, this beer had so much potential to it but proverbially fell flat. Not as complex as a true Bourbon Barrel Beer, this is what I'd give someone who never had anything of this sort before. Too light for a style that can get as heavy as can be - worth a go once for for those who can't get a hold of anything from Innis and Gunn.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave Guay for sharing. Pours a golden-copper hue with a crystal clarity and no head. Nose is fairly subdued - some bourbon notes as well as a trace of butter and burnt sugar. Flavors come off a bit watered down and the bourbon is a bit masked. There's also a slight graininess in the mix. It all comes off a bit light and not what I would consider within the American Strong Ale category. Mouthfeel is light in body with a smooth, even carbonation. Overall, I found this beer interesting, but somewhat lacking in a clear style or identity. Maybe a little more time in the bourbon barrels would impart more character.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Koningshoeven sniffer. Very light and clear in color. Little to no head.
Armoa is very mild. A pretty obvious bourbon scent along with oak.
Carbonation is high at first, taste is earthy, oaky, and slightly boozy. Not a bad beer, but overall pretty mild and average. It's not as intense of a bourbon flavor as I expected. The aftertaste has more bourbon flavor than the actual drinking of it.

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Photo of Gu3mom
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

At our house, we use a 10-point scale. For this particular beer our ratings are as follows:

Her - 0 Too reminiscent of Cream Soda; not what's wanted in a beer.
Him - 7 A little sweet and rather flat.

An okay change of pace but couldn't/wouldn't make a steady diet of it. Cheers!

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Photo of Duff27
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Little white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Cool alcohol legs at the swirl of the tulip. Clear dark amber color.

Smells like apple juice!

Tastes a little like apple juice as well. Slight bourbon feel. Not much hop prescence.

Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Worth a try if you need a Kentucky tick but otherwise you may want to pass....especially in the age of widely available, better tasting barrel agead beers.

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Photo of fmccormi
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my Double Bastard tumbler glass. Seemed appropriate for the beer, and I think it works! Bottling date might be printed on the underside of the bottle, but it’s hard to tell. If I’m reading it right, this was bottled on August 19, 2011 (“1231 73E0831”).

Appearance (4.0): One and a half fingers of off-white head (pretty tight foam) fades relatively quickly to a haze on the top and a sudsy ring all around the glass as it dissipates. Body is a just-barely-hazy, rich golden color. Kind of looks like apple juice. Even so, it’s actually a pretty good-looking beer!

Smell (3.0): Mainly bourbon. Not an overpowering, nostril-searing, boozy kind of scent, but the mix of smooth vanilla and buttery oak that comes with bourbon. There’s a bit of booze, too, but not a ton. Nice bourbon scent, but not a lot else going on here.

Taste (3.0): Again, bourbon. But once again, not the harsh booze of bourbon, so much as the vanilla and buttery oak character. Finishes with an almost tart fruitiness, like green apples. There’s booze on the palate, but it’s not from the 8.19% ABV—it’s from the bourbon barrel. Again, not particularly strong or harsh, but it doesn’t feel like it’s “naturally” part of the beer, so to speak. I’m not complaining. This is decent, for sure. To be honest, it tastes like a light ale brewed with only plain-Jane, biscuity pilsner malt, and not a ton of it at that. Hops, I have no idea where they are—a faint grassiness in the finish maybe, but that’s it. Tastes like a very simple, golden ale aged in bourbon barrels.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Pretty nice mouthfeel, actually. Tingles all over the tongue and foams nicely going down. On the light side of medium, and easy-drinking. Pretty dry finish.

Overall (3.5): This is an interesting beer. It looks like apple juice and even tastes kind of like apple juice (but not as sweet, and aged in bourbon barrels). So, unsweetened, bourbon barrel-aged apple juice. It’s an alright beer. Think of it as a simple golden ale destined to carry the bourbon character in a clear and straightforward manner. Definitely drink it on the warmer side, drinking it cold does it no favors.

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Photo of Zach136
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear sweet tea body with off white head. OK lacing.

Aroma: Straight butterscotch dum dum lollipop. There could be a hint of oak in there, but the diacetyl is overpowering.

Flavor: The buttery off flavor is covered a bit more on the palate with flavors of oak, vanilla and a hint of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium light bodied, slick.

Overall: A painfully flawed beer, no doubt from short cuts in the brewing process.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.19% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Wisconsinality for breaking this out for his Kentucky tasting!

A - Pours out a clear golden light bronze color with a thin ring of bone foam. The color is great but the lack of any head is disappointing.

S - Pure oak bourbon aroma. Nothing else is really going on. The malts and hops are absent in aroma. A bit of cold refrigerator that's reminiscent of Sam's Club (no kidding) appears on the back end. Good oak and bourbon that's not too boozy/alcohol rich in aroma but definitely needs more malts in the back.

T - Oaky wood and straight bourbon flavor. No malts, no hops, just straight bourbon flavor. Interesting thing is it's not boozy alcohol at all. The bourbon barrel level is great...if there would be more complimentary flavors going on.

M - Thin and light-medium-bodied with a smooth and fairly crisp texture. Decent finish on it with out any hot alcohol.

D - The thin feeling texture and flavor give it easy drinkability but the bourbon becomes a little much towards the end with out any malts. Serious work is needed on this one.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pours a clear, medium-light amber tone while yielding a finger or so of short lived head. not much lacing to speak of. nose is a bit more subdued than i was anticipating with subtle notes of caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mild bourbon.

flavor mostly follows the aroma with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and some - though not a lot of - bourbon. unique flavor profile, not what i expected. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, while it does have the uniqueness element going for it, in the final analysis it's an average beer - doesn't really work for me. it's not terrible, just not something i would seek out again. worth a try though.

(originally reviewed: 02-08-2012)

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Photo of Schmuckles
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Has nice color and decent aroma. Sweet with lots of bourbon flavor. I didn't like at first but got better with cheese curls which blended nicely with the flavor or at least muted what i didn't like. Bourbon flavor to strong for me as well as a bit to sweet.

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Photo of cooncat
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Save-On in Mentor as a single for $3.00 for a 12 oz. bottle.

Poured at fridge temps into my S.A. glass, the beer is a bit darker than your standard BMC lager in color, with a 1 fingered ecru head which diminishes quickly. A bit of lacing on a swirl of the glass, but no stickage (or very little).

The nose has bourbon in it, which, given the name, is not a surprise. Its not overwhelming, but more of a hint of bourbon. Behind that is a light malty sweetness. Overall, nothing exciting going on in the nose.

The taste is pretty similar to the nose. To be honest, it tastes pretty much like someone added a dash of bourbon to a glass of BMC type lager. I'm stretching my taste buds to try to pick up some of the other flavors I've read other reviewers mention, and I'm not coming up with much. There is a bit of caramel malt behind the bourbon; no noticeable hop presence. Carbonation level is on the high side .. not enough to make it "bitey", but enough to thin the mouthfeel to med-light. As for drinkability, I'd have to say that I'd reach for one of my homebrews before I reached for another one of these.

This is my first beer from a Kentucky brewer, and this particular brewer (Lexington Brewing Co.). Hope that my next beer from this region offers a bit more. Would I recommend it? Well, if you can get yourself a single, and you enjoy the flavor of a "shot and a beer", you'll probably be a candidate for giving this one a try. Otherwise, I can't recommend it .. especially at $3 for a single.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pours a clear, medium-light amber tone while yielding a finger or so of short lived head. not much lacing to speak of.

nose is a bit more subdued than i was expecting with subtle notes of caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mild bourbon.

flavor mostly follows the aroma with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and some - though not a lot - bourbon. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, while it does have the uniqueness element going for it, in the final analysis it's an average beer; just doesn't work for me. that said, it's not terrible, just not something i would seek out again.

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Photo of busterwhite
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with a one finger head. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Nose is straight vanilla.

Tastes is sweet, sweet vanilla and bourbon. No real hop flavor.

Light on carbonation but nice and creamy.

Overall its a little sweet for me. A definite sipper full of vanilla and bourbon.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.24/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a snifter for the Winking Lizard's Glass of the Month

A- Poured a clear light amber color with very creamy head that left tons of chunky lace

S- Smells like bourbon and booze. Pretty powerful aroma

T- This tastes like drinking bourbon. Not picking up on much else, light vanilla notes. Strong alcohol presence.

M- Fuller bodied but not syrupy. Pretty high carbonation for what I was expecting. Strong alcohol presence and warming.

O- The bourbon flavors overwhelm this beer. A strong base beer would have helped balance out the bourbon, bourbon aged stouts seem to fare better than this bourbon aged pale ale/irish red. Not bad, but tastes just like bourbon. If you really like bourbon flavors this might be an easier drinking alternative to drinking it straight.

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Photo of rjhaupt
3.24/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Much lighter than expected from a bourbon aged beer but since it only says it's an "ale" and nothing more specific perhaps my expectations were unfounded. Pours with a nice head that retains well but not great but that's somewhat normal for aged beer. Same story for the carbonation which isn't absent but needs to be looked for to be found at all.

S - Almost no smell at all, which is better than a bad smell but surprising from a beer with an 8.19% ABV, but still doesn't help preview what you're about to taste as much as one might like.

T - Very sweet, like maple syrup or caramel. Mild overall, no hop character whatsoever. Pungent aftertaste, like roasted pecans.

M - Smooth, creamy, and entirely what was expected from everything written above.

D - The highest rated category simply because this style of beer tends to be a one serving and you're done sort of beer but the mild nature of this ale actually makes it more likely that I would have another one later on.

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Photo of PretzelCity
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Grafter for this one. Poured into my pint glass a nice golden color with a solid two inch head that slowly dissipated. The smell was a little weak with the bourbon overpowering the ale despite the bourbon not being that intense. The taste was more of the same. The bourbon had a bigger presence than the ale itself. It tasted to me like the bourbon used was better than the beer they aged. Overall not a great beer but I'd try it again down the road.

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Photo of dnoahg
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I find this brew to be exceedingly average. It is not much different than a lot of the sweet beers I've tried, but with only the hint of the Bourbon to differentiate it. There was no sparkle from the carbonation, or noticeable bitterness.

First, it pours a nice amber color, with a small head that rapidly disappeared (used a 16 oz. tulip glass). There was little to no lacing. You could detect the Bourbon smell, but it wasn't overpowering, and after a while it was barely noticeable.

The taste was sweet....something. I don't know what exactly. I didn't taste vanilla, maybe it was caramel, but it didn't strike me that way. It was drinkable. Not cloying, but not very exciting.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aroma - Vanilla, wood, and a hint of sweet fruit

Appearance - Poured a big light tan head that dissipated to just a thin film and collar. The beer was a very light golden yellow.

Taste - Almost the same as the nose. Slightly buttery flavor surrounded by sweetness with a hop bite at the end.

Notes - This seems to pale in comparison to the draft versions I've had before. The draft versions I remember are full of buttery smooth flavors while this seems a watery dull version of that. I hope this was just a bad bottle or batch.

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Photo of cvm4
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear amber in color with a thin, one finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - Predominantly bourbon with sweet vanilla malts backing it up.

T - Sweet oak and vanilla. I hate to say it, but cheap or watered down bourbon is pretty much how I see it.

M - Thin, but then again it is an ale. Low carbonation as well.

O - It was nice to try. I won't buy again simply because it blurs the lines, if I wanted watered down bourbon then I'd reach for something on the low shelf, not high shelf.

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Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I favor my memories of bourbon - hey, even the lost ones! I am favoring this new craft of using old bourbon casks/barrels to enhance beers. Usually this crafty enhancement is pronounced on the sturdy styles of beers: stouts and porters. This particular one is applied on a what could be categorized as a Brown or Belgian Ale style. The amber color predicts nothing of it's flavor. Someone mentioned vanilla - oh yeah - like a VANILLA WOMP. It is predicted in the aroma BUT it kicks you with a BIG Li'l Abner vanilla boot. The flavor is WAY TOO unusualy present in the beer to be ignored as a character when it is too busy banging you over the head with a mallet. It is like when you have a restaurant chain franchise meal and notice a preservative flavor that reminds you it isn't real food. The vanilla masks any memory of bourbon. IF YOU LIKE vanilla Coke - THIS is the beer for you. The beer is just TOO vanilla for me.

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