Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

574 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 574
Hads: 2,621
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 757 | 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.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 574 | Hads: 2,621
Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for this one!

Pours bright, clear copper with a thin head that becomes a thin cover. Some lacing follows down the glass.

The smell is of bourbon whiskey. Vanilla and oak really stand out. Caramel/toffee backs it up.

The taste is of bourbon. The vanilla and oak are quite strong. Caramel shows a firm maltiness. A light touch of earthy bitterness balances some of the sweetness. Whiskey hangs on well into the aftertaste.

It's on the full side of medium with medium carbonation.

Alcohol is reasonably well-covered, but this is still a sipping, one at a sitting brew for me. Nice bourbon character. Barrel aging well-done.

 649 characters

Photo of MDekker
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straight from my brother in Lexington, KY! Pours out light brown, clearly filtered, with a disappointingly small head. It smells sweet, like alcohol, bourbon, and orange. Naturally, there's bourbon in the flavor, which makes it quite unique. The hops at the end are just enough to balance the sweetness, but don't do any more than that. Overall, it's different, but good. In the mouth it's actually quite smooth, and has a slight and satisfying aftertaste. Went down easy, althogh the slightly higher alcohol was noticable.

 523 characters

Photo of HardTarget
4.02/5  rDev +11%
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!

 1,051 characters

Photo of secondtooth
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber, with a solid head of fine, off-white foam. No lace to speak of.

Aroma is distinctly bourbon...I get oak wood and vanilla. Oh, the vanilla.

Taste is pretty strong, sweet but with an unmistakable bourbon feel. Actually, this is the most "bourbon-like" of any barrel-aged brew I've ever had.

Alcohol is strong here, and this is an ideal middle-ground in-between beer and whiskey. Not for the faint of heart, but unique and innovative all the same.

 460 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer at the midwest brew fest. The beer poured a copperish color with a minimial head. Smells like whiskey rather than beer. Taste like a combination of bourbon and beer which I find unique. Went down smooth as beer and with a hint of whiskey. Overall a good beer for those who like bourbon.

 302 characters

Photo of bheilman
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden color with a decent head with a medium to high amount of carbonation. The smell is fantastic. Somewhat sweet smell with a delicious slightly bourbon accented aroma. The taste is solid but not mind blowing. About what you would expect although a lot lighter than any other beer I've had that was aged in bourbon barrels. Leaves a decent aftertaste, but the lightness allows the taste to fade quickly. Fairly drinkable for a stronger beer although I would want to switch up after about three or four of these because it has more sweetness than a typical beer. Overall I was pleasantly surprised and although it isn't the most tasty bourbon barrel beer I've had it is still a special beer.

 698 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a friend in Cincinnati. Enjoyed with some Skyline Chili. Tasty combination!

A: Clear dark golden color with barely any head. Light pale tan foam lingers for a bit.

S: A nice blast of bourbon on the nose. Some nice vanilla and hints of brandy soaked apricot and oak.

T: The base beer does just enough here to not take away from all the great bourbon flavor but to also not let this beer become a bourbon bomb. Some lightly bready malts peek from behind the bourbon and go well with the subtle vanilla and charred oak bourbon flavor. Very drinkable for all the bourbon present.

 600 characters

Photo of beeragent
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
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!!

 634 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Urbancaver for sending this my way.

a - opened the bottle and filled my founders sniftery tulip. The stream from the bottle was a pretty soft yellow, but it settled as much more orange in the glass. Very lively visible carbonation...head was thin and didn't hang long, but could be rebuilt on command, but would leave quickly. Lacing is pretty sparse.

s - Yum. A nice sweet woody bourbon smell. A tangy vanilla...like vanilla extract is also present, but sweet oaky bourbon tells the story. Quite nice if you like that (which I do). Toffee as well.

t - WOW...that was a surprise. This beer is dominated by a toffee like caramel or even butterscotch. The heavy bourbon on the nose is much tamer on the flavor. This is a great tasting beer, but it is a bit muted and watered down in the flavor.

m - surprisingly watery and thin. leaves a sweet aftertaste, not as much tingle as I would've expected...not as bourbony as I expected.

o - overall after a sniff, I was ready for a new favorite, but then was surprised when the beer hit my lips. Don't get me wrong, this is a solid beer, and VERY unique (the butterscotch toffee thing is pretty crazy), but the flavor is a bit watered down. If I could turn up the flavor intensity a few notches, this would be an A+ beer. That being said, I'd love to have another and another since it is such an easy drinker.

 1,370 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light gold with a thin, creamy white mousse that dissipates quickly.

S: This ale really captures the essence of bourbon. Strong scents of vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, woody spices, toasted coconut, and honeysuckle are framed against a backdrop of grassy, earthy hops and biscuits.

T: Extremely robust notes of charred oak, woody spices, toasted coconut, heavy cream, vanilla bean, biscuits, grassy hops, minerals, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and honeysuckle wash across the palate. The finish is rich and smooth with notes of vanilla, grassy hops, spice, caramel, butterscotch, and toasted coconut underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and very dry. Alcohol presence is understated. Carbonation is very active. Very heavy in the mouth. Definitely a sipper.

O: This is a very enjoyable strong ale. I particularly like the fact that it actually smells and tastes like bourbon-something most barrel aged ales fail at by the way. I can see this becoming a go-to evening sipper.

 1,001 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

 382 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

 694 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

 420 characters

Photo of cbutova
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

 1,187 characters

Photo of moistnugget
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

 1,201 characters

Photo of Gear54
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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!

 546 characters

Photo of schwansmantr
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale with a ABV of 8.2 I think one might want to take it easy on this beer. When you pop the top you get a very nice smoke with a slight hint of Jack Daniels followed by a malty burnt bread crust smell and then I slight fruity punch, very complex. It poured a slight head and seams to have a decent amount of carbonation. The dark caramel stained glass looks very inviting as I peer into the climbing bubbles. The taste is that of smoothness that's light on the tongue then bam comes the bourbon fallowed by an oh so slight fruitiness to only give you a climax of hops. This is a hard one indeed, very hard. I feel like I'm jipping the beer by not writing more. There is a lot going on with this Ale and most of it is good. If you are whiskey lover you will adore this beer if your not it could be tough for some girly men/women to drink. Sip,sip,sip. Wow is this a tough one. I do know there's a reason it comes in a four pack it's got some jolt to it.

 976 characters

Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle with no freshness date into a pint glass. Only mildly suds for a head. The smell was amazing to me. I was letting this brew sit and breathe. I could smell the sweetness from the malts almost as a candied fruits would smell. I could also smell a titch of the original bourbon. Certainly malts are tasted but the overwhelming flavor for me is the bourbon and woody nature. No real hop flavor. Booze present and not hidden well. Its a sipper for me.

 465 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

 581 characters

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
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!

 904 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

 312 characters

Photo of Pauly2X
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

 662 characters

Photo of beefnbarley
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

 313 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

 896 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

 1,147 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.