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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

2,045 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,045
Reviews: 511
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.53%
Wants: 92
Gots: 315 | 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: 2,045 | Reviews: 511 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FosterJM
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1473rd Review on BA
Bottle to Great Lakes Snifter
12oz

2012 Vintage

Thanks to EgadBananas for the trade

App- Was really suprised at the coloring of this beer. Was more of a golden color and was expecting a deeper brown/crimson color. The head was a quick receding off white with maybe 2 dots of cling.

Smell- Incredible bourbon notes. Char, vanilla, oak and malts. The beer is as close to pure bourbon I have smelled on a -BA beer before. Floral and pleasant to say the least.

Taste- It's a very tasty beer. Lots going on but blended well. Malty and smooth with a rich vanilla flavor and a little bit of oak on the back end. Not overly boozy but you get a lot of the bourbon notes to it.

Mouth- A thinner medium body with a low/medium carbonation. Residual spicey boozey flavor with hints of vanilla.

Drink- A good beer. Very barrel and booze forward. I really enjoyed it. I bet this would be a good one for aging.

FosterJM, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of shippos
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

courtesy of clvand0

poured froma growler with a dense pure white head sitting on top of a clear brillant light amber body. soft vanillian notes mixed cream and whiskey but without the harsh hot alcohol. mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, as far as the base beer is concerned it's needs some more body. a bit of a subtile malt character. aging this in boubon barrels really brings out the flavors of the barrels without the base beer getting in the way. absolutly fantastic.

shippos, Jan 10, 2005
Photo of johnnycakes
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My wife picked me up a 4-pack of this from the local grocery. (I live in Louisville, KY and our grocery stores are good about stocking local brews.)

I was not expecting a much because I am not a fan of Kentucky Ale's standard ale. However I was pleasantly surprised.

It poured with nearly no head.
The color is a beautiful amber-golden.

I've been reading these reviews that say it tastes too much like bourbon and I'm very confused. I was actually shocked at how un-bourbon tasting this ale is. I've had Bluegrass Brewing Co and Browning's each make a bourbon barrel stout that are wonderful and have a distinct bourbon taste. This ale does not.

The bourbon barrel aging of this ale has surprisingly given it a banana/vanilla flavor. Upon my first sip, I immediately thought of banana nut bread.

Overall, I think this is a great ale to be paired with the right food.
(Not exactly sure what that food would be - just think this would be a good ale to accompany a meal rather than to drink on its own)

johnnycakes, May 27, 2007
Photo of innersanctum
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best bourbon aged beer that I've had thus far! Having started my journey with the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout this is a tall order. KBBA is an extremely drinkable and likeable ale.

The only element this brew lacked was its aroma, which took some time to open up and share some vanilla notes. The taste has a nice blend of oak and vanilla which is picked up nicely from the barrels. I could not discern the specific type of ale which this brewe is from but it does not have a hoppy presence. Its mouthfeel is smooth and consistent and about as heavy as Champagne while lacking the carbonation.

innersanctum, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%

Bourbon, light caramel and vanilla on the nose.
Pours brilliant orange amber with a thin rocky white foam cap. Light lace.
Starts with caramel malty sweetness followed by bourbon and vanilla and finished with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation, smooth.

pat61, Sep 13, 2014
Photo of julian89
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

4/27/2012
Got a growler of this from work at Hop City.
Poured from growler into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a half inch head no lacing, decent retention. Bubbling is seen through the glorious translucent amber.

Smell: Vanilla and coconut dominate. Bourbon smell of sweet butterscotch. Last I smell earthly notes of smoked oak.

Taste: The progression... smooth bourbon and malty taste, then I received a strong medium bodied vanilla and coconut taste, then the earthly feel on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A medium to soft bodied feel with watery flow. Decent carbonation from a growler.

Drinkability: Very good taste and smell. It is a very pretty beer. I will say it's downfall if mouthfeel and it could be a bit stronger due to it's ~8% ABV but alas. It still gets a fairly high rating from me.

julian89, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of drtth
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard Shaker-style glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark golden color with ½" white head that soon recedes to thin film and a small ring around the glass. Sipping leaves a light lacing but the lacing is mostly gone by about half way through the beer.

Smell: The aroma is soft and filled with the coconut, vanilla and oak of the bourbon cask with some hints of faint caramel from the malt. There is no sign of any hops here.

Taste: The flavor here is all about the bourbon barrel with active support from the malts in the ale. There is coconut and vanilla as expected from the aroma. This is layered over the sweet caramel malt that provides a nice backbone. The flavor is almost too sweet but somehow seems quite right and I suspect having the hops play a more active role would be a mistake.

Mouthfeel: The mounthfeel is medium bodied to light bodied, with moderate carbonation that becomes very faint and hard to detect well before the end of the beer. The finish is medium length and is soft and sweet with no hops detectable. (Seems to me that it is in the finish where a bit of dry bittering effect from the hops would be nice to prepare one for the next sip.)

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer and it is easy to let one sip follow another, but it is also a one per evening type beer because of the sweetness of the malt and bourbon character of the beer. As an example of bourbon barrel aging this is a very nice beer that illustrates well that such aging need not be restricted to Stouts and Barleywines. The bourbon barrel comes through clearly and adds a nice aroma, flavor and character to the ale.

drtth, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of Greggy
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a large snifter leaving a quick 1 finger head that recedes quickly into a thin cap with decent lacing. No sediment present in the golden amber body.

S- Big waft of bourbon as well as what i perceive to be scotch. There is a definite caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and light baking chocolate that is reminiscent of scotch ale. Digging deeper I catch some darker fruits like figs and even a touch plum.

T- starts off with a nice light bourbon taste that is a little oaky and dry on the finish which is nice. I get notes of light butteriness (oak), a touch of vanilla, and just a hint of butterscotch.

M- Just a hint of light carbonation which is nice for an oak aged beer. The mouthfeel is quite dry and oaky which is nice.

D- This beer hides its 7% with ease; however, I think this beer got most of its character form the barrel. I would have liked to see a bit more complexity of bourbon and maybe a little more smokiness. If you can get it, definitely try it. It's not the greatest oak aged beer, but I will definitely enjoy the rest of mine.

Greggy, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of GossageBrewery
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this English Strong Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This ale poured a amber color. Produces a very small white head, poor retention and it leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma of this ale consists of bourbon whisky, vanilla and oak. Full bodied, this ale has a foundation of malted grain, features the flavor of bourbon ale throughout. There are also hints of vanilla, and oak. High ABV- Dry finish, this one is a sipping beer,- Overall impression is that this is very unique- It easy to forger your drinking a beer and not a mixed drink. Extremely unique- its a must try!

GossageBrewery, Oct 02, 2012
Photo of alkemy
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear light amber with only about a finger of head and minimal lacing. The aroma is strong with bourbon. That may be a bad choice of words. By strong, I mean it's the dominant scent. Overall the aroma is not terribly strong. I'm a fan of this because I really don't want to be overpowered with bourbon. There's also wood and vanilla. The taste begins with a bourbon and vanilla note. There's some caramel malts, but the bourbon and vanilla reappear and linger after each drink. It's in this malty middle that an actual "beer" taste is most present. This is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Alcohol is completely muted. I was shocked that 8.19% was listed on the bottle. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it works well for this style. I'd gladly have this one again.

alkemy, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of jwhancher
4.14/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dad gave me a 4-pack after his b-day. Freshness day reads 10/15/14. Poured into a snifter for review.

Pours a clear copper with head that fades rather quickly to nothing. Some lazy carbonation persists. Smells of sweet bourbon with strong punch of vanilla and some light oak char. Some caramel malts, and and almost honely like quality, blend beautifully with the bourbon oak character.

Tastes bourbon-like upfront and throughout. Not over the top or too subtle. Just the right balance. Sweetness of malts again blend perfectly with the vanilla, oak, and light char. A little burn in the back of the throat, but alcohol is well in check at just over 8% ABV. No real hop character, but bitterness balances well and comes in at the end.

A well done beer. Drink this fresh for a nice bourbon beer experience.

jwhancher, Jul 31, 2013
Photo of EagleTalon
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a nice off white head and low lace. Amber color. Clear. Aroma is oak and bourbon dominant with vanilla. Flavor is much like a barleywine with a shot of the finest aged bourbon in it. Really. Mf is light and slight EtOH nip. Overall THE ultimate bourbon drinker's brew.

EagleTalon, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of Treyliff
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew on tap at the fish market in Newport Kentucky.

A- pours a clear dark copper in appearance with a sticky white lacing that sticks to the side.

S- subtle scent of bourbon and oak with a touch of sweet malt, barely a trace of spicy hops. Was looking for a bit more oaky bourbon smell.

T- sweet vanilla and oak presence up front, followed with a splash of bourbon. Finishes slightly sweet and malty with light oak lingering on the palate. Great balance and the linger on the palate is very refreshing.

M- medium carbonation, light and refreshing

O- this ale does a great job of showcasing the oak and bourbon flavors while still staying light enough for an ale. The linger on the palate was most impressive, almost similar to the linger of a good cabernet, but with a touch of bourbon. This complemented rare yellowfin tuna quite well and even saved some for a dessert afterward.

Treyliff, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After tackling a growler solo in my past review, it's time to slow things down a bit and consume 12oz. at a time, and appreciate.

Bottle pours a high clarity orange tone, with a small cap of white foam. Spotty bits of lace ring the tulip glass.

Oak, vanilla, sweet corn mash, and brown sugar in the nose. Becomes slightly funky as it warms.

A light bourbon taste, yet it touches on all my favorite aspects of this Kentucky-bred specialty. Woody oak, caramel sauce, buttery theater popcorn, a hint of coconut, with creamy vanilla bean in the long finish.

The thin, clean mouthfeel and refreshing nature of this ale deceptively mask it's alcohol content. Lacks body and complexity, but the bourbon flavor is good. Respect this beer, and it won't mess you up. Drinking a growler of this stuff made me feel like I had put down a pint of bourbon...

emerge077, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a deep golden color. A finger of feathery white foam hangs around for a minute but is losing the battle quickly.

Aroma - a vapor of bourbonesque aroma starts out of the glass on the pour. Upon settling, much of that fades and while there is still some oaky smell remaining, it is mixed with a mild diacetyl, vanilla, and coconut as it warms.

Taste - a brief underpinning of grain, quickly met by the sweet, mashy flavor of bourbon. The wood, vanilla, whiskey, it's all there. The balance is uncanny for a barrel beer. Solid flavors but they don't overrun their boundaries. A mild alcohol warmth but not hot at all. A great way to experience the barrel without doing a number on the palate. Not much beer flavor to this but I'm just so very impressed with the balanced flavor of oak and bourbon. Being somewhat diluted to 7% allows the nuances of the flavors to emerge and stand or fall on their own merits. This beer stands.

Mouthfeel - medium to slightly light, crisply carbonated. Feels like a 5% session beer. I wish it were bigger.

Drinkability - the most sessionable bourbon beer so far. A great intro to the style too.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of bnes09
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caramel color and semi-transparent. White head forms then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the glass and minimal lacing.

Rich aroma of oak, caramel, toffee and nuts. Complex, intricate and inspires curiosity.

Similar flavors in beginning and middle. Definitely a sweet tone with caramel and brown sugar. Some vanilla and mild bourbon notes. Fruity with cherries and apples adding to the sweetness. Finishes fairly clean with lingering bready malt flavor.

Surprising light feel, just barely medium bodied. Crisp, even carbonation. Exceptionally smooth texture.

I really like this. Highly complex and well balanced.

bnes09, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of vette2006c5r
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours a dark golden color, with very little head. There is a nice oaky aroma, with hints of scotch. The taste had a strong oak like barrel flavor, with strong hints of scotch like flavors. Very easy to drink, and good full flavor. Overall a found this a very enjoyable beer.

vette2006c5r, May 19, 2013
Photo of nathangaddis
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%

nathangaddis, Saturday at 09:28 PM
Photo of matt789er
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%

matt789er, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of lochef81
4.11/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bba ale pours a handsome deep copper color with very little head but decent film and legs. The aroma is a rich blend of vanilla, oak, leather, and nice warm booze. The flavor is just as rich and delicious. There is alot of bourbon here and alcohol heat. Its actually surprisingly hot given the abv. Mouthfeel is thick n sticky, in the best way. I love this, but I also love bourbon. If you don't then you're gonna hate this. If you do, do yourself a favor and drink this at room temperature.

lochef81, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of Suppa07
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

Suppa07, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a small snifter. Off-white head, moderate retention on a light amber body. Aroma is mainly caramel malt and whisky. Taste is sweet with malts with a slight vanilla flavor, very faint bitterness. I actually expected a let down after seeing the beer but is actually pretty excellent the way the whisky has rounded out this beer and made it way too easy to drink considering the abv.

KickbacksSteve, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of cbutova
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems like the beers with lighter Bourbon barrel influence get less love on this website, from the first few sips I think this is a good use of barrels.

A- Golden-orange ale into my DFH snifter. A small white head forms and dies out quickly leaving a small cloud on the beer and a ring around the edges. Some legs but no lace.

S- I mostly get fruit and a moderate amount of Bourbon influence in the aroma. The fruit is dark like cherries and raisins. Also some oak and vanilla.

T- Very interesting. Diluted Bourbon works out well, giving off some great flavors (oak, whiskey, vanilla, toast) without totally dominating the base beer. It seems like the base beer contains some yeast spice, bread, caramel, toasted nuts, citrus and floral hops, raisin and general fruit.

MF- Highly carbonated, lighter-end body (for barrel aged) with a somewhat creamy and silky feel. Ends with a bit of warmth on the back of the palate and throat.

I think this deserves more than a B. The wood and whiskey flavors come through nicely and do not take over the whole flavor, a nice base still remains after aging. Interesting and a beer that I had a lot to write about, which is always a nice thing.

cbutova, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Pours a clear bright copper in color, small ring of head forms and recedes away. Aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, butterscotch, and alcohol fumes. The taste follows suit, but does so nicely. There is a sweetness from the oaky tannins of the bourbon barrels, vanilla like. Bourbon flavor makes itself known, with a vaguely smokey sweet alcohol grain flavour. The english pale/irish red base beer lends itself perfectly in its lightness to pick up all the flavors from the barrel. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall, this beer really highlights what fresh bourbon barrels can do to a simple base ale. Quite nice.

Stinkypuss, Aug 10, 2011
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
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,045 ratings.