1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,799 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,799
Reviews: 492
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 17.98%
Wants: 77
Gots: 202 | FT: 3
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)
View: Beers (16) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,799 | Reviews: 492 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave Guay for sharing. Pours a golden-copper hue with a crystal clarity and no head. Nose is fairly subdued - some bourbon notes as well as a trace of butter and burnt sugar. Flavors come off a bit watered down and the bourbon is a bit masked. There's also a slight graininess in the mix. It all comes off a bit light and not what I would consider within the American Strong Ale category. Mouthfeel is light in body with a smooth, even carbonation. Overall, I found this beer interesting, but somewhat lacking in a clear style or identity. Maybe a little more time in the bourbon barrels would impart more character.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2012 14:20:38 | More by Jwale73
Photo of perrymarcus
perrymarcus

Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pours a clear, medium-light amber tone while yielding a finger or so of short lived head. not much lacing to speak of.

nose is a bit more subdued than i was expecting with subtle notes of caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mild bourbon.

flavor mostly follows the aroma with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and some - though not a lot - bourbon. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, while it does have the uniqueness element going for it, in the final analysis it's an average beer; just doesn't work for me. that said, it's not terrible, just not something i would seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 21:35:09 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the B-Spot.

A pint glass arrives with a caramel colored liquid with small residual head.

Smells of bourbon, sweet caramel malt, mild hops, vanilla. Nice aroma from an unassuming beer.

Taste is bourbon, vanilla, coconut. Smooth but nothing is really jumping. This does NOT taste like a beer with a shot dumped into it, but it also doesn't show enough of the intricate flavors that bourbon barrel aging can impart IMO.

Mouthfeel is weak - undercarbed and watery.

Drinkability is better than average, although it is certainly not a multi-dimensional beer. One and done for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 16:27:23 | More by jampics2
Photo of projectflam86
projectflam86

Ohio

3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Light brown color with thin head that dissipates quickly leaving some mild lace.

S- Whoa! This smells like straight bourbon! A deeper sniff revealed some light vanilla and oak scents.

T- Tastes like bourbon with the slightest malt and vanilla sweetness. A bit hot from the alcohol but not much else really going on.

M- Smoother than I anticipated, but bitter ester alcohol in the finish.

D- Not a bad brew but the flavor profile was a bit one demensional.

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2009 21:09:50 | More by projectflam86
Photo of rjhaupt
rjhaupt

Tennessee

3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 21:39:36 | More by rjhaupt
Photo of cbl2
cbl2

New York

3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

8/23/2006 $12.00 4 pack purchased at Roof Brothers in Paducah KY. No best by date.

Appearance:

Pours a radiantly clear orange that is tinged with hints of peach topped by a quarter inch of white foam that rapidly settles.

Aroma:

They weren't joking when they said aged in bourbon barrels, as the bourbon shines through here along with notes of toffee, buttered popcorn and peat.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very odd diacetyl and fusel alcohol up front, with the long lingering presence of kettle corn in the background. Vanilla and oak are apparent throughout, imparted by the wood contact.

Bourbon has always been my father's drink, and I've never gotten a taste for it, but I figured while I was out visiting my grandmother in Kentucky, I'd try what the locals drink (though in beer form). It's interesting, but I still am not a bourbon fan, which is perhaps why I knocked a few points off the drinkability and taste.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 02:28:07 | More by cbl2
Photo of ShadesOfGray
ShadesOfGray

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Koningshoeven sniffer. Very light and clear in color. Little to no head.
Armoa is very mild. A pretty obvious bourbon scent along with oak.
Carbonation is high at first, taste is earthy, oaky, and slightly boozy. Not a bad beer, but overall pretty mild and average. It's not as intense of a bourbon flavor as I expected. The aftertaste has more bourbon flavor than the actual drinking of it.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 00:22:37 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of Gu3mom
Gu3mom

Georgia

3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

At our house, we use a 10-point scale. For this particular beer our ratings are as follows:

Her - 0 Too reminiscent of Cream Soda; not what's wanted in a beer.
Him - 7 A little sweet and rather flat.

An okay change of pace but couldn't/wouldn't make a steady diet of it. Cheers!

Serving type: growler

02-07-2013 19:23:54 | More by Gu3mom
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Auburn color pour, you get little glimmers of red, orange and light brown throughout it, small beiege head on the beer. Aroma, toffee, oak and bourbon, its a little strong.

On the palate, the alcohol heat isn't as strong, tastes nice, integrates well. It is very strong on the charred oak and bourbon mouthfeel, this isn't all that nuanced. Some dark cherry, vanilla, caramel, toffee and plum tinge to it, hard to discern through the massive amount of oak and bourbon. Nothing in terms of hops to pick up on. The most minimalistic bitterness, and even probably half of that in which I am picking up on, is probably just alcohol heat + carbonation confusing my tongue. If there was any aspect that could use significant improvement, its the mouthfeel, the beer just felt a little too watery or thin for all the flavor and heat to it. I think more two row would bulk this up to 9-10% but taste wise, it wouldn't feel like it.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2012 16:16:24 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear orange-gold with three fingers of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Caramel malts and vanilla on the nose along with some DMS, giving it a bit of a steamed veggie aroma. There are light oak notes under the vanilla.

T: Similar to the aroma, caramel malts and vanilla dominate the flavor profile. There are some slight oak and bourbon notes toward the finish, which is clean and slightly bready.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is pretty lively in the mouth, which along with the vanilla flavors is reminiscent of a cream soda.

O: An alright beer, overall. Nothing special, and the bourbon notes are nearly undetectable outside of a strong vanilla presence. Still, I've spent more money on worse barrel aged beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 20:16:38 | More by n2185
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on-tap @ Coles 735 MAIN in Lexington, KY for $6. Tapped from the Brown Wooden KBB Tap Handle w/ a Horse on the top into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Have enjoyed in bottle so wanted to give this version a try.

Differences:
Aroma- Tons of alcohol, bourbon, light single malt aromas. Very clean.

Appearance- Received with no head at all. Has a deep golden/light copper body with decent clarity. Leaves a few suds behind.

Flavor- Starts off very sweet and then winds down to all malt and light bourbon. Very light and almost no bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Smooth, but VERY watered down... Not sure if there was a keg issue or just the way they do it in keg but mouthfeel wasn't up to par.

Overall Impression- I HIGHLY recommend you enjoying this from a bottle. For some reason it was watered down on the mouthfeel which took away from this great brew. However, this was very nice in bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2012 13:41:33 | More by DCon
Photo of thisisbigrob
thisisbigrob

Kentucky

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Poured a very clear light amber color. I had to pour forcefully to get a small, fine white head that disappeared quickly leaving a small ring of foam around the glass.

S: Slightly sweet malt smell with a definite sour mash presence. No hop smell at all.

T: Sweet with a blast of bourbon. No hop flavor to be found.

M: Very smooth, almost feels like a lager. Would be great if it were a lager, but I prefer my ales to be a little meatier maltwise.

D: The lager qualities make it go down smooth, and I'm not noticing the alcohol content at all. But I'm quickly growing tired of the whiskey flavor and wouldn't drink two in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2007 01:39:27 | More by thisisbigrob
Photo of seanyfo
seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle brought back from Kentucky by my good mate Feech, September last year, cheers mate!

No BBE date!

A- Cloudy light amber body, creamy white 3 finger head with excellent retention and lacing.

S- Vanilla and toffee dominating, with an underlying whisky note, touch of banana perhaps with a little almond.

T- Caramel malt forward, with a tangy lemon like sour note which develops into the expected bourbon flavours. Finish is semi dry with a buttery note. Alcohol well hidden.

M- Medium carbonation, light body considering style.

D- Not what i was expecting. Looked good and nose was promising but let down in flavour profile and mouthfeel. Was expecting something much richer and fuller. Bourbon flavours were well presented in the aroma and flavour but this still missed for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 22:15:46 | More by seanyfo
Photo of theboozecruise
theboozecruise

Louisiana

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into an imperial pint.

This brew is a deep yellow color with a small white head.

The aroma is more line bourbon than beer to me. Strong alcohol notes with caramel and vanilla. There's a little bitter hop in there but not a crazy amount.

The flavor is more of the same, strong bourbon flavors and not a lot of beer. It's obviously a beer because it's just not burning down the throat but it's hard to pick up specific beer characteristics.

It's a good beer if you like bourbon, which I do. Just be warned that the bourbon dominates, not compliments.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 02:34:04 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Surprisingly clear orange brown body. Fine white head with low retention and ok lace.

S - Super sweet with brown sugar and yellow raisin, slightly boozy, lots of vanilla, touch of wet oak.

T - Vanilla ice cream, cream soda, and bourbon complete with vanilla and an edge of oak. Touch watery.

M - Light frame, especially for the style. Low on carbonation.

O - The sweetness is definitely off balance, but when you sit back and work through flavors it tastes like a bourbon ice cream float, and at face value that's a pretty tasty.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 23:09:00 | More by vfgccp
Photo of jkrich
jkrich

Indiana

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. This one poured a deep, clear gold to copper - much like a new penny. There was no freshness date.

The odor was strongly sweet and alcoholic. Yes, it does smell like a sweet Kentucky bourbon.

The flavor is thickly sweet with vanilla highlights and butterscotch. There are also hints of coconut. Despite this seemingly cloying melange, the aftertaste is rather refreshing.

There is that thick, sweet mouthfeel that encourages slow sips. The carbonation is moderate.

If you enjoy bourbon as much as you do beer, this one is for you. This is a unique offering, though not one I would seek out. I will slowly sip this glass and call it a night.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2010 00:52:21 | More by jkrich
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've never seen this before-so I decided to try it today on-tap at Vintage Wine and Estates.

A- Body is a nearly transparent dark copper hue that is served with the perfect 1/2 finger foamy white head. The head has perfect retention the whole way down the glass.

S- Nose is pretty much what you would expect. Full of whiskey, rye, and malted barley. A hint of bourbon sweetness comes through but nothing really fantastic.

T- Hot, fresh, bourbon everywhere. Not aged enough to have that note of sweetness. A hint of malted barley and maybe rye in the background. A hint of wet oak as well. Finish is moderately astrigent and leaves behind a decent size alcohol heat.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. More of a classic ale mouthfeel than a hot astrigent one.

D- This is a decent beer overall. It offers exactly what it advertises-bourbon flavor. Pretty one dimensional and not much else to it. Ironically-I've come across BBL "stouts" with an identical profile with the exception of the appearance.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2010 00:44:05 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of taigor
taigor

New York

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter glass.

A - Poured clear amber color with medium head that quickly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Very strong scent of bourbon with slight scents of malts, vanilla and caramel.

T - Strong bourbon upfront followed by very sweet flavor of malts, honey with hints of vanilla and caramel.

M - Medium bodied with average carbonation.

O - Slightly below average for me. Presence of bourbon is just too overwhelming and it was way too sweet. I would not recommend it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2011 19:17:08 | More by taigor
Photo of Brianedonovan
Brianedonovan

Massachusetts

3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have tried this beer on 3 different occasions.
I am not a bourbon drinker, but I can tell the difference between bourbons.
(bartender)
Each time was different. I asked the bartender what he thought of the beer ( he knows his stuff) and he told me that this "batch" tasted like it was a makers mark barrel...I then tasted makers mark.
He continued to tell me they use different bourbon brand barrels for it and you can discern the difference in bourbons.
I liked the previous ones better (no idea what brand barrel they used....or if that is even true)

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2013 04:55:44 | More by Brianedonovan
Photo of mondegreen
mondegreen

Georgia

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a stemmed Cantillon glass.

A: Clear golden color with a moderate head. Fades quickly to a ring on the outside of the glass.

S: Bourbon supported by sweet malts. Honey and dark sugar linger in the background. In all, an interesting mish-mash, but pretty tame.

T: Leaves me wanting. The bourbon is pretty faint and the malts
leave a sweet residue on the palate. Nothing more to report. I was really hoping for huge bourbon notes from this one.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Just about average.

D: Probably a little more drinkable than I'd like. I want my bourbon ales be challenging sippers. It may sound harsh, but this tastes like the lawnmower beer of strong ales.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2010 01:47:44 | More by mondegreen
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a 10oz snifter at The Pub Polaris on 11/11/10

Clear; hues of amber & brown. Not much foam, just a collar & some bubbles.

Smells mostly of grains & some caramel. Subtle earthy hops; slightly floral. Warmth brings out vanilla in the nose.

Actually tastes pretty balanced. Not too bitter but it has an ok kick. Between the bourbon & hops it's nippy enough. Caramel, hints of candied malt & vanilla. Notions of wood. Not very sweet - fine by me.

Medium body with average carbonation. Not particularly slick or hot. Kind of tingly on the finish. Bourbon, vanilla & oak linger.

This is nothing I would get excited over but it reasonably solid & an easy sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2010 21:59:59 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of aggiearcher13
aggiearcher13

Texas

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice golden color, thin, about a 1/2" of head, nothing really stands out to me.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon.

T: BOURBON, vanilla and cinnamon. Tastes a little bit like Maker's Mark, if it were a beer. Sweet, smoky bourbon flavors really overwhelm the malt.

M: Kind of creamy, much to my surprise. Smooth.

D: I like bourbon a lot, but I couldn't finish this one, it was a little sweeter than what I was in the mood for.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 07:05:30 | More by aggiearcher13
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nothing special about the looks of this beer. A simple orangish, copper with a small white head and some erratic lacing.

Nose is nice. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, some nuttiness and other woodsy notes. Hints of flowery hop and sweet malts.

Not a bad beer but not one I would drink more than one of. Again dominated by coconut and vanilla, with a bourbon finish. A bit creamy in the mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Overall a beer worth trying once.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 23:39:30 | More by mcallister
Photo of radioscooter
radioscooter

Pennsylvania

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Vintage Estate some months back and liked it enough to remember to pick up a bottle this last trip (yesterday)

Bottled version does not do my memory of it justice.

Appearance is just like someone splashed a few drops of Bourbon into a Bud. Sadly, the taste is pretty much like someone splashed a few drops of bourbon into a Bud light - or to be more accurate, probably it's the Lexington pale ale.

There's a vanilla, caramel, maltiness there, which I should like, given my proclivities. But, this is really not up to par with some of the heavier stuff. I guess it's a bit like the beers that put the fake lime or chili or whatever in it. Maybe this is a ballpark version of the Bourbon aged stuff that is out there. Though to be fair, there is a nice syrup quality to the mouthfeel and it's not a full-on fake flavor deal. Plus the high ABV is well-disguised, though also well-telegraphed by the bourbon taste. The aftertaste/finish is pleasing. Not as boozy a feel as you'd expect. Mellow.

Honestly the idea that someone just poured a light beer into a glass that still had some Kentucky bourbon in it is hard to shake or get past.

Not one I'd get again. But not offensive in any way. The mellowness and lack of any real problems is what made me give it a b-. If you're working your way through the bourbon-modified beers, this should go on your list.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 17:59:49 | More by radioscooter
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to WesPatrick for sharing this at a tasting on 8/12.
Blue swingtop-- bottle number 203/500 from 2006. Reviewed from notes.

Cascades into the glass a burnt sienna, as it were, orange, though not so much of the tiger-paw type. A surprisingly ample head for the age, but it settles quickly and leaves but a few wisps behind.
Aroma is the best part, with notes of vanilla and bourbon, a bit of cardboard from the oxidization of age, though I do think that this beer is better now than it would have been fresh.
The flavour affords a bit of disappointment... mostly watered down bourbon with some malt syrup and woody notes, but very little complexity.
The carbonation level is a bit of a surprise for the age of the beer, especially from a swingtop. Huge carbonation with a cottony feel in the back of the throat, and a good bit of astringency and warming.

This is a decent beer by the pint, but it seems to me that the bourbon has simply overwhelmed the beerish characteristics as a result of the marginal body. I don't know that aging a 7% beer in bourbon barrels is a good idea, as 7% beers can hardly stand up to a bourbon flavour... rather than melding together flavours to form a great beer, it seems to simply polarize aspects of the beer so that the flavours you get are first bourbon, then malt, and that's it.

An interesting beer to try, to be sure. I certainly wouldn't drop the coin on it that Wes did, but I thank him for the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2009 14:06:35 | More by khiasmus
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,799 ratings.