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: 2,519
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 139
Gots: 670 | 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: 2,519
Photo of Tonmeister
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into tulip shaped glass

Appearance: poured a thick off-white head, but it dissipated very quickly to the point that it has no head and no lacing. It's a light golden color.

Smell: I can smell the bourbon to the point that it almost burns my nostrils. It Smells like alcohol with a hint of caramel and vanilla notes.

Taste: It has a very strong alcohol flavor on the fore front. The bourbon cuts through, but then towards the middle its pretty sweet. The wood notes come out towards the end. It's a very sweet after taste. The vanilla, caramel and sweet malt really cuts through on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin with light carbonation

Overall: This is not my favorite Bourbon Barrel Beverage. Doom, by Founders is the best bourbon barrel I've ever had and this does not compare. This beer is not that balanced in my opinion, the booziness alcoholic flavors dominate on this. I am not a very big fan. I would not buy this again. I just wanted to try it, and now I regret buying it. I had to dump it in the sink. (1,029 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: [3.00] Beer is dark caramel color. Out of direct light it appears reddish. It has a scant 1/4 finger head that dissipates quickly leaving a thin white layer. The bottle gives no ABV and no date information. This was from a friend - so I have no idea on the age.

S: [3.25] I am getting some hints of Bourbon and maltiness.

T: [2.50] Mild (almost synthetic) Bourbon flavor. There is a slightly "off" alcohol flavor to the beer.

M: [2.75] No carbonation to speak of. The mouthfeel is a bit watery.

O: [2.50] I am not a huge fan of Bourbon Barrel beers. This is no exception. This one is not very well executed (or this is a bad bottle). It is one dimensional with a rubbing alcohol like bourbon taste. It is not a drain pour - but it is not a beer I would buy (or drink again). (790 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
2.77/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 12oz brown bottle - Pours a clear reddish/orange. No carbonation, very light lacing . Smells of strong bourbon. First sip tastes like a glass of scotch on ice that whose ice has completely melted leaving a watery flavor. Other than the bourbon there is not much going on. A big disappointment. (300 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Party Source. The beer is a clear amber-orange color with a medium off-white head that dissipates steadily. Thin ting of lacing with spots under it. The aroma is pretty much all bourbon, with maybe a hint of malt buried under it. Medium-bodied with a bourbon overkill character of which the smell warned. Touches of woody malt and hops but again the bourbon overwhelms. The finish is oak and bourbon with a lingering whiskey aftertaste. Not for me. (460 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours a mild amber color with a very slight amount of haze, slightly off white head fades quickly; very faint amounts of lacing are left along the walls of the glass. The aroma is big heavy bourbon - no faintness, no notes, hints, or nuances - straight up bourbon, through and through. Woody, oak aromas reside somewhat along the outer edges along with a touch of creamy and subtle vanilla. Much like the nose, the mouth senses heavy bourbon upon the first sip as well. If you were to tell me it was a malted-up ale and someone dropped in a shot of Evan Williams, I'd believe it. Very malt forward; lots of sweetness from the malt, toasted, slight caramel flavors, grainy. Hops aren't very noticeable, at least in flavor. A slight harsh, dry bitterness grabs the palate halfway through, but it's hard to detect any hop flavors at all. Slick body, thin, with adequate carbonation.

This is a bourbon beer, through and through. Literally tastes like someone dropped a shot of bourbon or whiskey into a malty ale. If bourbon is your thing, you'll love this. I guess it's okay if you're looking to drink bourbon. But if that's the case... just drink bourbon. (1,154 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This review is going to be brief, as there is very little I can add to the testament of BA 'radioscooter' in the review below this one. It does smell like a Budweiser with a half-drop of Bourbon in it, and it does taste like a Bud Light with a half-drop of Whiskey, to boot. It also looks fairly pedestrian, which is apt, I guess. Wimpy mouthfeel.

I differ from him in that, a) I had not had the beer at anytime prior, so, b) I did not have a fond recollection of it, and, c) I was more irked than BA 'radioscooter' over the absolute banality of the brew.

My bottle was uber-special too. It was 'Brewed Exclusively for the 2011 World Equestrian Games'.

To be honest, the label looked dangerously close to copyright infringement of 'Killian's Red'. Not that I give a damn about such things... (795 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours a clear, medium copper color with a thin white head. Interesting aroma of cherry, bourbon, vanilla, and oak. The aroma slightly reminds me of New Glarus Enigma just not as strong. Medium mouthfeel with carbonation. Banana is the first flavor that comes to mind in this one followed by some bourbon notes like a watered down whiskey and coke. Lingers with a slight sweet bitterness. Taken as is the beer isn’t terrible but I’m not sold on this being anything great either. On the plus side, I think the booze is fairly well hidden. Curious how long this spent in bourbon casks. Oaked Arrogant Bastard slays this beer hands down. (645 characters)

Photo of bashiba
2.81/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice clear amber color with long running carbonation and a thick and fluffy sticky white head.

Has a light sweet caramel smell along with some mild bourbon vanilla and alcohol notes.

The flavor is very mild with a light toasted grain body and a touch of bourbon notes. Slightly sweet and very low on hops.

The mouthfeel is light, surprisingly thin, and full of carbonation.

Pretty average, not much going on other than mild bourbon aging qualities almost like drinking and extremely watered down glass of whiskey. Barely any beer flavor to speak of. (562 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
2.81/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Yeah... I thought this was going to be better. No head on this one, hazy copper body. Nose is of bourbon and rotten funk, with some vanilla. Taste is malty, not very hoppy, bourbon and metallic. I'm just not feeling this one. Mouthfeel is ok, large carbonation. Overall, this was not decent enough to buy enough, but I'd drink it again if someone handed it to me... (365 characters)

Photo of Keginator70
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

For the record this is the first time I've ever given a negative review. If I hadn't paid $12.99 for a four pack I would have let it go but there are too many great and very good beers waiting to be had that get less hype.

No head or aroma to speak of. In a nutshell I just had a 12 oz boilermaker watered down with vanilla extract. I needed salted pistachios to eliminate the strange aftertaste at sip number three.

If I'm drinking whiskey and want a beer chaser this might be more appealing.

I'm going to try it in a chile or a lamb and lentil soup recipe.

As a stand alone quaff definitely not recommended. Won't try it again. (634 characters)

Photo of TheBierBand
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

OK.... so The Bier Band was performing at the Mainstrasse Village Oktoberfest in Covington, KY. We NORMALLY get FREE BIER when we perform.... but not here. Oh Well! So, I figured that I would try this KY Bourbon Barrel Ale (I'd had the KY Ale from them in a bottle and it was pretty good).

It was served in a plastic cup (and a pretty small one at that)... not as big as the cups they served the KY Ale in. It formed about a 1?2" creamy head but it didn't stick around very long. The color of the bier was quite dark... kind of a dark caramel color.

SMELL: Woah!.... right away... a sweet whif of bourbon... then a caramel malt.

TASTE: WOAH!.... this didn't taste bourbon barrel aged.... it tasted as though they took a 12 oz beer and added a shot of bourbon to it! VERY pronounced bourbon flavor... WAY too much... I'm more into subtilty. I was just overwhelmed by the bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Flat.... but creamy

Drinkability: Well, in retrospect, I'm glad I only got a 12 oz cup.... I had trouble finishing it. Don't get me wrong.... I normally like a nice robust STRONG ALE... Arrogant Bastard Ale is one of my favorites of all time.... but this just clubbed you over the head with bourbon! (1,201 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
2.87/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange copper with a 1 finger head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, fruity

taste: sour fruit, something went wrong in this bottle

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: I think I'm going to need to try it again. But sincne I haven't reviewed anything from this company I had to add my review.

Cheers,l
The CPJ (352 characters)

Photo of mklinger
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 12 oz snifter. Deep golden color. Thin white head, but lots of carbonation. Fine looking beer.

Aroma is all bourbon. Smells exactly like a bourbon with ice & water. I don't get much else that I would characterize as beer-like.

Flavor is interesting, not what I was expecting. There's beer character in there, some light malt character & a bit of hops, but it is a very light in character beer to be paired with such a strong bourbon flavor. I've had Lexington's Kentucky Ale & it's still one of my lower rated beers. This tastes like it's probably not much of a different beer than that but with some barrel aging with a lot of bourbon still in the barrel.

Mouthfeel is remarkably thin for some big beer with the barrel flavor. This really is one of the odder barrel aged beers I've had. The base beer is pretty unremarkable I think, bringing the focus all on the bourbon barrel. This makes the base beer better & improved, but still not great. (962 characters)

Photo of jps0869
2.89/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's more of a whiskey-chaser than a complete beer. The barrel aging adds the expected notes of vanilla, brown sugar, spice, and everything nice, but the beer itself, despite a purported 8.2% ABV, lacks any kind of reward for sustained engagement. The mouthfeel is smooth and it'll get you drunk, but it's hardly got enough depth to justify $12for a four-pack. Not bad, not great, bit more than little disappointing. (417 characters)

Photo of Ego
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

don't even recall where I picked this thing up, been sitting in the old cellar for some years

eyes...
sizzling white head which settles quickly but does not disappear completely, ample carbonation populating this orange hued brew, lacing is decent, not a bad looking brew but not winning any beauty contests either (hey, but we have to get to the talent portion of the competition)

nose...
spicy apples ? some booze, slightly skunky, some wet wood/oak, some sweetness lingering in the back... not sure what I think of this one, it is OK I suppose

taste etc...
nice bright biting carbonation, the flavor is of weak whiskey and almost fruity, the booze does do a little kickaroo to the stomach, I think the aging has really filed the teeth down on this one, the whiskey note is fast and not so furious, so before you can say boo your mouth is awash in mediocrity, after a while you get a slight residue of wood in the aftertaste, body wise this is spot on and is probably this beer's best feature

verdict?
eh. not so great, not terrible (1,038 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I'd previously had the Kentucky Ale, but when I ordered this at the Brews Cafe in Granville, I was expecting something dark....usually bourbon-barrel aging usually equals RIS, not an amber ale! Surprising, and different, but not the greatest outcome. THis beer had a ton of bourbon character without a ton of booziness, which is admirable, but somehow it seemed overly sweet to me and not all that drinkable.

Color is a clear and (for a barrel aged beer) surprisingly brilliant amber color with a fine head coating. Aroma is fruity, a touch boozy and very bourbon-y. Flavor was (thankfully) less boozy, but very bourbon-y and also quite sweet, perhaps too much so. A bit too sweet for my tastes, pretty astringent, and not much else to appeal to me besides some bourbon character. Just OK. Mouthfeel is dry and warming.

This beer was just sort of OK...not terrific. I had this on-tap at the Brews Cafe in Granville. (918 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonick pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Bright amber in color. It's shiny... There was basically no head. Might as well been a glass of juice.

S) An aroma of sweet malt, vanilla, and bourbon. The aroma was not a complete turn off, but something about it came across as a bit artificial. I guess I could have let it warm up a little.

T) I taste the bourbon, and it's not to harsh or hot, but it sure wasn't enjoyable either. There's some sweetness to this too. Aftertaste was okay. I got the feeling that letting this warm up would not improve the situation.

M) The mouthfeel is thin and sad.

O) I can appreciate the attempt with this ale, and I can understand how others may enjoy it. But.... This was not for me. I could have likely found the same amount of pleasure in cracking open a macro and giving it a splash of my old man's Jameson. (957 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color. The head is around a finger high, and white in shade. It doesn't have a particularly soft-looking texture or great retention by any means. No lacing, either. Generally, though, it looks pretty good. (3.5)

Smell: Well, it does bring a bourbon character, that's for sure. However, it's closer to actual bourbon than bourbon barrel (there's a minimal oak note, at best). It also brings butterscotch. A LOT of butterscotch. While the diacetyl and caramel characters blend very well to create such a quality, it also seems overly sweet and sugary. Not bad, but I don't think it will entirely be to my taste, either. (3)

Taste: Actually, it's far more oak laden than I anticipated. Bourbon attacks the palate immediately, though obviously it doesn't have the nuance of a BCBS. The midtaste brings the butterscotch I picked up in the nose, along with some vanilla and banana. Finally, the finish is somewhat prickly and hot for 8.2%. I'll forgive the latter since it's designed to showcase bourbon flavor rather than be a melange of various flavors. Even with all the diacetyl, this really isn't an awful beer once you realign your expectations - though it does seem to become rather metallic after warming up significantly (drink it cooler!) (2.75)

Mouthfeel: The feel is rather sharp, initially. After around half the bottle, though, it transforms from a slightly biting feel to a sweet, buttery one. It seems to feature decent carbonation, but it's a bit hard to discern the fizz from the tannin bite. (3)

Overall: I totally get the appeal of this - think of it as a beginner's bourbon barrel-aged beer. It's 'basicness' is both its greatest plus and its biggest flaw, though. I don't see much reason to revisit this personally. (3)

2.91/5: It has understandable appeal, it's just not my bag, baby (1,873 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear golden color, nothing real special going on here, small white head that dissipated rather quickly leaving no lacing.

S - Well, definately can smell the bourbon. Strong bourbon kick wrapped around carmel malts.

T - Not my think, the bourbon is very strong, but doesn't meld with the rest of the beer at all. Tastes like I'm drinking whisky and water, albeit not quite to that extent. No complexity to speak of, really lose the beer taste here. Sweet brown sugary taste, but outside of the bourbon, that's really about it.

M - The strength of the bourbon makes this beer seem a lot more watery than it really is, but don't really care much for the feel of this, I keep checking expecting to see ice in here.

D - It's not hard to drink, other than it tastes bad, so that one made me end this relatively quickly. Would not drink again. (846 characters)

Photo of manfromanotherplace
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

seems like anyone can drop beer in bourbon barrels and try to sell it as top market stuff.pretty mediocre to be fair.not much barrel presence at all in this beer. (162 characters)

Photo of divineaudio
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

tulip glass

a - pours a transparent golden color with a few streams of carbonation rising up. forms a finger's worth of sudsy, white head that dissipates quick. some leggy lacing.

s - maple syrup, vanilla, slight booziness.

t - starts off a little toasty with faint vanilla notes and moves quickly into bourbon flavor. very faint hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. really tastes like a watered down bourbon, or as if someone poured a shot of bourbon into a bottle of light lager. seems almost cloyingly sweet without much else to back it up.

m - lighter side of medium with a little too much carbonation. has a pretty significant alcohol warming going on.

o - not a bad beer, but not great either. proof positive that barrel aging doesn't make everything better. worth a try i guess, but i'd never buy it again. (824 characters)

Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had to at least try this one since it's been all the rage in Indianapolis for the past couple months. It pours a crystal clear dark gold in color with a one finger off white head that dissipates into a white lacing around the glass. It smells of syrupy artificial bourbon, honey, and vanilla with a touch of alcohol. It's odd and where's the bourbon? This smells fake. It tastes of essentially watered down bourbon with honey and a touch of vanilla. The flavors are too mellow and blase overall. Why are people going crazy about this? The bourbon is so subtle and is really only present in the aftertaste. You would think a bourbon barrel aged ale would be able to give off more bourbon aromas and stronger flavor. Overall this beer is just average all around. It drinks light and is easy to drink but I don't think it's what they were going for and just didn't live up to the abv or attention that this has gotten in the midwest. That said, it does "taste good", being a honey ale in my opinion and is easy to drink. This beer just doesn't rate very well in my opinion. (1,072 characters)

Photo of JLSIV
2.95/5  rDev -19%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass, Bright clear copper color with a thin one finger head that dissipated very quickly, some lacing.

Aroma of oak and bourbon was extremely pleasant

Taste was bourbon up front, with an aggressive alcohol flavor for an 8.5 ABV brew. I have had trippels and quads that were more subtle. If you are looking for an old-fashioned boiler maker flavor, then this is for you.

Mouthfeel is thin and a little watered down.

Overall, I think this is a gimmicky attempt to attract the crossover high end spirit crowd. I am glad that I purchased this as a single, it just isn't my thing I guess. Again, some of the positives are the aroma and appearance…it is definitely an eye grabber for the initial aroma and color, I think there are better English Strong Ales out there. I gave it the mark I did based largely on appearance, aroma, and effort. Probably won't be trying again. (921 characters)

Photo of kevanb
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured on tap at Lockdown Bar and Grill in Chicago, served in an 8oz snifter

Pours a nice amber color, hues of brown, ruby, honey and copper when struck by the light, opaque, no head, no lacing. The aroma is of cheap bourbon, some oak, mild vanilla, rich malt. The bourbon is really prominent in the nose, which is both impressive, as it really highlights the bourbon, but unfortunately, it's clearly a cheaper or lower shelf bourbon and isn't the most inviting. The flavors are sub par, predominately watered down bourbon, and again, not a great bourbon either, mild vanilla and nougat are also detectable, but this beer really just drinks like an oddly thick watered down bourbon, not pleasant. The body is okay, carbonation is good but not great, could have had a bit more, almost a bit syrupy, the beer is a bit thinner than I'd like, perhaps that enhances the watery aspect, it is rather smooth at the finish, however it's just not remarkable.

Verdict: It's an ambitious beer, that's for sure, it does a great job of highlighting the bourbon character, however, it must be highlighting a really awful bourbon. This is a beer with a lot of potential, but at present, it's average at the best, happy to have tried it, but in a vast spectrum of barrel aged beers, this one is pretty close to the bottom of the barrel. (1,321 characters)

Photo of ElGeordie
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On a recent visit to Lexington I tried a pint of this at the hotel bar. Visually it was a lot lighter than I expected: light abmber with a half inch of dense white head. The noese was quite fruity too.
I wasn't sure what to expect on the first sip, and after a pint of kKntucky ale the first taste was a shock to the system. The bourbon flavour was overpowering, the hops were nowhere to be found -the sweetness of the bourbon just eliminated any bitterness that the hops may have imparted, almost like drinking a boilermaker. I'm pretty sure I pulled a face ! I did persevere with it and after a few more sips my palatte adjusted to the bourbon sledgehammer and I began to discern some familiar beer flavours. I'm glad I tried it but it wasn't one of my favourites. (766 characters)

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