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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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,045 | Reviews: 511 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TVolt1
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Golden, clear appearancewith small amount of white head.

S: bland smell with a hint of vanilla/creme.

T: i am not a fan. It tastes like a bland beer with a small amount of vanilla extract and bourbon.

M: Okay mouthfeel. Not very carbonated and a small to moderate thickness.

O: Overall, it's an alright beer. Not my fav and there isn't anything great about it.

TVolt1, May 25, 2012
Photo of jwinship83
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

64oz growler filled at the liquor barn in lexington. this has sat in my fridge for close to 2 weeks. drank from my big eddy snifter.

A- the pour is an amazingly translucent very light copper colored body with a finger of bright white head on top. the head is quick to fizzle away, and leaves behind little as far as lacing goes.

S- bourbon is the first thing that comes to mind. some bready malts mixed with some spiciness brings out a sugar cookie-like scent. bourbon and a touch of vanilla finish this off.

T- the taste starts out with more of the bready malts that mix with some spiciness in my mouth creating the sugar cookie thing that i could smell. interesting. after that i get some sweetness from the bourbon as well as a mild shot of vanilla form the barrel. a mild bourbon aftertaste as well.

M- the body is on the thin side of medium. the carbonation is nice and subdued. little burn from the alcohol, but my mouth is left tasting like bourbon.

O- i liked the bottle version much more than the growler. this seems like a pretty generic beer with some bourbon poured in.

jwinship83, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pour is clear orange with reddish hues and a creamy bubbly off white head. Nose is interesting, heavy bourbon with strong vanilla notes and wood undertones. Off chocolate malt notes and some charred barrel in back. Taste is heavy wooded bourbon and chocolate malt. Fair amount of vanilla behind the flavors but finish is a bit empty. Thinned out body in back with strong carbonation making an odd combo. Fair amount of running alcohol in the finish but somehow not hot. Very different beer.

cpetrone84, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of jsh420
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

best by march 08 2012

pours clear gold with a 1 finger white head that faded fast and left some spotted lacing

smell - the first thing i thought of was a candy my friend makes called tutti fruiti - sweet candy malt vanilla some oak

taste is nice - a little sweet and cloying - no real bourbon flavor - all malt vanilla and oak

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation - a bit sticky

overall - for the price this beer is a fail and for being aged in bourbon barrels this beer not only falls short but lost yards - however the flavor was pleasant - i will enjoy the rest of the 4 pack but would never buy this again

jsh420, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color with no head forming on the pour. Smell is sweet and alcoholic. Not necessarily a bourbon smell, but a sweet alcohol. Taste is overly carbonated and cheap bourbon. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. I was hoping more from a brewery that is located in the backyard of bourbon. The Jefferson's Reserve Stout is lightyears better.
A disclaimer is that I've heard this beer is an entirely different animal on draft compared to bottle. I'll seek it out on draft and update my rating accordingly.

FtownThrowDown, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of raleigh_blue
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle with no date. Picked up a few months ago in NOLA.

A: Aggressive pour into Iron Abbey snifter leaves a thin head with no lacing. Clear golden amber.

S: Hints of caramel and malts. Not much here. No Bourbon whatsoever.

T: Somewhat pleasing vanilla caramel and malt. Again, like the nose, zero bourbon. Is very hot - does not disguise the abv whatsoever.

M: A little thin but with good carbination .

O: A poor mans BBA ASA. I would not buy it again but its not awful.

raleigh_blue, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one at his UCLA vs. USC viewing party.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, bourbon, wood, and a distinct funky aroma. Taste is much the same but no funk comes through in the flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that is a pretty poor example of a barrel aged beer.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 18, 2012
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad, but a bit too oaky and sweet. Pours amber with very little head, Smells sweet and oaky with a bourbon nose of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak. Simple, and a bit sweet, but not bad. Similar taste, with the same notes in the nose, but it feels a bit more washed out and fades toward the end. Right at the finish, there is a fairly bit hit of vanilla. Overall, although there are indeed Bourbon flavors here, it's not any Bourbon I'd ever drink- far too one dimensional and lacks subtlety, yet at the same time is a bit washed out and lacks punch, substituting oaky sweetness instead. Just okay.

Georgiabeer, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of eclipse54
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Casanova on my New Glarus run. Saw it sitting there and figured I'd give it a shot. Poured into a DFH signature glass.

The body is much lighter than expected, being more of a golden wheat color with some reddish, copper hues. It's very transluscent and only develops a thin, quarter-inch layer of eggshell white head. Minimal retention and lacing, but there is an ever present pillow of bubbles streaming up the center of the glass and billowing out on the surface. Still, I would not have guessed this was a barrel aged strong ale by looking at it (maybe an IPA?).

Aroma is of bourbon and not much else. Maybe some brown sugar or caramel, maybe. A bit offputting, and here's to hoping that it tastes better than it smells.

And it does, tasting of bourbon, some vanilla and toffee, a bit of oak and caramel, some brown sugar, and a hefty dose of ethanol. Surprisingly, it's not too bad once you get past the dominating bourbon.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and resinous, and it finishes pretty dry. Prominent alcohol burn on the finish.

Overall, this isn't one I'll be revisiting anytime soon. The bourbon is just way too pronounced for me. It really seems like you could have recreated this by just adding bourbon as opposed to barrel aging. Perhaps it will mellow out a bit with some time, but I'm not going to be the one to find out.

eclipse54, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of SSwarts
3.12/5  rDev -15%

SSwarts, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of ABOWMan
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

ABOWMan, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of azdback
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to BgThang for this extra! Poured into a pilsner glass. Bright, clear orange color. A lot of carbonation bubbles. Head is almost a bright white and quite frothy. The lace is sticky and stays the night with us.

Smell is almost all bourbon. There are some sweet malts that poke their heads up. I do also get a hint of booze.

The taste is all bourbon. It almost tastes like a bourbon flavored Sasparilla. Very sweet and hollow.

The mouth is as I have already explained. Very watery. Carbonation falls off quite a bit.

Once again I want to thank BgThang for this. I wasn't overly swayed to the good or the bad on this one. I did like the bourbon flavors, but they almost tasted like they were artificial.

azdback, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of maximthegreat
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

maximthegreat, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer has all of the typical characteristics of an English Strong Ale without any depth at all. It's fairly true to the style with a strong malty backbone,booziness, and light English hops. It fails to deliver any depth and and is fairly one note especially for a beer aged in bourbon barrels.

TheBullsHorn, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of Ragingbull
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Ragingbull, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of JunkYardJake
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into tulip.
Pours amber in color with a small head. Smells very much of bourbon as the barrel aging really took to the brew. A little vanilla in the nose as well. Taste follows the nose with the vanilla coming out a little more but still very much a hot bourbon palate. The bourbon imparts a raw licorice and raisin taste. Mouthfeel is creamy and coats the mouth and throat. Not my favorite but I'm glad I had a chance to try it..

JunkYardJake, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of memphischas
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%

memphischas, Oct 01, 2014
Photo of icefisherman
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
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

icefisherman, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of Lothore
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Lothore, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of GoldHorde
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

GoldHorde, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of RhinoBrew
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%

RhinoBrew, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

jwhawkins81, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of cvm4
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

cvm4, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of litheum94
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. August 18, 2011 stamped on the bottle. I can only assume this is a best by date, which seems a little odd for a barrel aged beer.

P: Clear amber body. Dirty white head, one finger thick. Settles down to a patchy cover with large bubbles.

A: Jack Daniel's whiskey aromas. Toffee and sweet taffy. Burnt caramel. Oak. Spicy hops. There's an almost artificial aroma. Buttered popcorn?

T: Vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors. The bourbon is a little hot, giving the impression that the barrels weren't of the highest quality. Some buttery malts. Cola flavors on the finish. No hop profile.

I vacillated between liking this beer and loathing it. It has some nice flavors, but the bourbon portion of it just tasted artificial and cheap. It was an interesting style to barrel age, and I have one more bottle, so my opinion may change. But at this point, I'm not overly impressed.

litheum94, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of IcarusComplex
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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!

IcarusComplex, Nov 15, 2012
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,045 ratings.