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
82
good

557 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

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Reviews: 557
Hads: 2,521
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.21%
Wants: 139
Gots: 671 | 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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Reviews: 557 | Hads: 2,521
Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (626 characters)

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (426 characters)

Photo of Gu3mom
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
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! (280 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.29/5  rDev -9.6%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
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. (2,218 characters)

Photo of Zach136
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
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. (433 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (1,127 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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) (733 characters)

Photo of Schmuckles
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (257 characters)

Photo of cooncat
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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! (1,532 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (637 characters)

Photo of busterwhite
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (300 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.24/5  rDev -11%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of rjhaupt
3.24/5  rDev -11%
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. (981 characters)

Photo of PretzelCity
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (460 characters)

Photo of dnoahg
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (682 characters)

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.22/5  rDev -11.5%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.22/5  rDev -11.5%
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. (504 characters)

Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (922 characters)

Photo of maximthegreat
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Poured a light golden color. A little head.

Smells are mostly bourbon. Slight caramel coming through on the nose also.

Lots of heat from the bourbon and not much else honestly. There is a slight sweetness, but not enough to balance the bourbon.

Good carbonation, but felt a little watery and thin.

Overall, not a beer I would buy again. Nothing offensive, but nothing that makes it interesting either. Plenty of better beers on the shelves. (481 characters)

Photo of Ragingbull
3.19/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with no head and moderate prickle. Heavy bourbon nose. The attack is pretty smooth. The bourbon presents itself about halfway through the sip/flavor. Once the bourbon strikes it really dominates the flavor. That being said, the beer finishes surprisingly clean. The mouthfeel is heavy and malty. This is much better than other liquour infused/liquour styled beers that I have had, but it isn't stellar. I love bourbon and I love beer, but mixing the two together I am thinking might not be my style. I might be to much of a traditionalist. I am glad to have tried it however. (588 characters)

Photo of icefisherman
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

well thanks go out ot greggy for this one it looks like beer great beer smells to me like a cheap chardony wine yuk! but taste like some one poored in a half shot of jim beam with like some medioker mild/amber but all in all not the worst i have had but kinda un impressive (273 characters)

Photo of ABOWMan
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

The ale poured a rich golden color with perfect clarity. With some effort, I was able to obtain a creamy off white head of relatively course bubbles which dissipated rapidly. No lacing was evident as I drank this aromatic ale.

Speaking of aroma, this ale wreaks of bourbon and vanilla with some burnt wood smokey notes to finish. What's lacking is any faint aroma of anything beer, like malt for instance. Close your eyes, or keep them open, and waft a smell and you'd think you were sniffing a high ball.

The flavor is bourbon upfront, charred wood, vanilla and brown sugar. The lack of any beer flavor ruins what would could have been, a decent brew.

The mouthfeel is thin and watery. It seems almost impossible to be so thin given the ABV and intensity of bourbon flavor. As a result, drinkability is average, but why bother given the price for a four pack. There are plenty of good bourbon barrel ales out there. Don't waste your money on this one. (956 characters)

Photo of Lothore
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a golden color with creamy, off white head.

S- The nose has lots of bourbon and wispy bready notes but seems thin and one dimensional.

T- Light bread, vanilla, some bourbon but it's all pretty faint.

M- Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

D- This brew wasn't extremely interesting to me and seemed like one that didn't benefit too much from barrel aging. (369 characters)

Photo of IcarusComplex
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Alright, I need to get back to reviewing before I start to lose the vocabulary for it...I haven't posted my 300+ beer journal notes to the site yet(which I stopped taking, being well past 800 tastings now), and I've never had a laptop on hand at the exact moment I'm tasting a brew. First time for everything right? So here we go: Tasted at Riverside Market Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From bottle to Guinness-style pint glass.

Appearance: Even an aggressive pour fails to produce any head, just spatterings of fine white mist, with a constant outer ring that displays subdued, champagne-like activity. Visible carbonation remains steady and slow along glass's edges, none at the center of the brew. Absolutely no lacing, but almost displays legs if stirred, though it lacks the colour to make it prominent. The colour is actually quite nice, a highly refined clarity with a brilliant gold as its base that picks up lively orange and deeper, woodier amber shades in varying light.

Scent: A bit lacking, for what was expected. Grows with warming, but not significantly enough; it makes you hunt hard for every note. White bread and caramel malts, alcohol, sweet cream corn, oaky vanilla notes, fizzy watery lager scent is too prominent, and there is a long last bit of boozy esters, almost more brandy-like than bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Pretty decent. Light to-medium, perhaps leaning more into medium with warming. Some slight viscosity, just enough to coat the tongue, and a small amount of creaminess along the tongue's edges and mouth's roof. Carbonation feels lazy and lifeless, however. Has the rare character of actually dimishing in mouthfeel as it warms, rather than gaining richness. Very strange.

Flavour: Okay, this department is a bit of a mess, but a mess with major potential. Unfortunately, as of current this beer is wholly dominated by a decadent and entirely unrepeatable buttercream taste. Buttercream and sweet cream of corn, and artificial tasting, Mexican-brand vanilla extract, a high fructose corn syrup backing, mountain-region American lager taste, mediocre amber ale notes....really, corn and sugars are all over the place. I would guess this beer contains a significant amount of corn grit in the mash, alongside being aged in bourbon barrels that previously contained a tipple that was highly corn-heavy. Also, not sure what kind of char those barrels boasted, but I'm guessing it wasn't too dark, because this has none of the desired, earthy wood edge to its taste that you would look for in bourbons of bold character. Just this light-toasted vanilla aspect that feels forcibly inserted. Almost no boozy bite though. The diacetyl-like, heavy butter essence ensures that, but in the most vulgar of ways. It's a shame, too, because in controlled amounts all of these flavour elements could be highly desireable. The finish is longer than you'd like it to be, and continues on a cream and sugar note rather than anything involving hops, dryness or booze.

Overall: This is an okay beer to give a spin if you're a bourbon nut or an oak-aging nut, BUT with a caveat: try it knowing it is an extreme example of results of the style, and expect that you may not enjoy it enough to finish it. If you go in with that expectation, and find it at a fair price, you can forgive yourself for the possible drainpour and still feel like you overall benefited from the experience. It has certainly expanded my understanding of what bourbon aging can do to a beer. I just won't likely be having it again, unless it's with rosemary rotisserie chicken and mash. With the right food this could actually complement quite well. Hell, this may even be a fun craft brew to go full-taboo with and drop a shot of woody, smoky, harsh bourbon in to balance the flavour and imbalance your sobriety. However you try it, do it responsibly! Cheers! (3,856 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.