1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale 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.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,382 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,382
Reviews: 581
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 18.48%
Wants: 126
Gots: 549 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,382 | Reviews: 581
Photo of IcarusComplex
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
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!

Photo of Ragingbull
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

Photo of Budinetz
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of bpkrippner
3.2/5  rDev -13%

Photo of maximthegreat
3.2/5  rDev -13%
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.

Photo of Lech222
3.2/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Antc2382
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of cvm4
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of PretzelCity
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of dnoahg
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of Duff_Man
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.24/5  rDev -12%
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.

Photo of rjhaupt
3.24/5  rDev -12%
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.

Photo of Norseman
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of MikeC144
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of csmartin6
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of LiquorsInc
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of bexley10
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of Pinioned
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of jdkoch
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of falconxman
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of bwood06
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of ejohnson78
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,382 ratings.