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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

2,334 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,334
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.53%
Wants: 119
Gots: 510 | FT: 6
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,334 | Reviews: 565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcdsports
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of tracktheripper
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of RathanakBun
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This brew is a copper colored, mostly clear brew. The head is white, with some intricate lace. The smell is sweet, with a malt-forward and clean aroma. Some grain. The taste is sweet, and a really notable wood character comes out. Woody, some boozy components from the bourbon, and a bit of complexity. It has the impression of dryness from all of the wood notes. Medium-full and relatively smooth in body. A good brew.

Photo of TheDudeAbides14
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of Trevor030169
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of Dirtyhands
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of benloho
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of stonermouse
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Poured golden and crystal-clear. Fantastic, puffy head, which constantly regenerated. Great lacing as well.

Mild, oaky aroma. Very little bourbon in the smell, which was a bit disappointing. It's a little bready in the aroma as well, more like bread and butter. A touch of vanilla presents as well. Interesting at least.

The taste here is easily nailed down to any bourbon fan. If you've ever mixed your bourbon or Jack Daniels with a diet ginger ale, over-iced it, then gotten distracted and not had a chance to drink it until the ice melted, this is pretty much what we're dealing with here. The only difference is that oak from the aroma, which smooths out the flavor a bit. It's unique, but can be achieved much more successfully with a cheap whiskey and your ginger ale brand of choice.

As this warms, the carbonation dies back and a little more sweet vanilla flavor shows through. But cold, it's a dead ringer for Jack and ginger.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, actually. Not as sticky and sweet as I expected it to be, and the oak flavor makes it pretty smooth and rich. The pillowy head adds some depth as well.

Interesting brew. Neat flavors, but nothing is overly spectacular. Try it once, marvel at the watery bourbon and ginger ale similarity, and that'll do.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I could be way off on this, but it seemed to me like Kentucky Ale that had been barrel aged. It poured a golden colored body beneath a short head of creamy white foam. The nose was loaded with bourbon, but I didn't find it really intriguing. It had the sweetish, woody, alcoholic notes, but I'd imagine that you could pull that out of a barrel just by adding water. The flavor was better, and there's a bit of malt base to it (but again, it seemed simply like standard Kentucky Ale). It was well rounded with vanilla and wood though, and there wasn't too much alcohol (as can happen in some cases). Other than that there's not much I can say about this beer. It seems kind of light for a Bourbon barrel beer. I'd like to see more malt behind it, but it was enjoyable. Would I have two in a row? - Never! But it has its merits. I might like to enjoy one with a good book in front of the hearth, or perhaps with a meal that included caramelized onions and yams, or something like that. Or at a backyard barbeque in the summer with some tangy ribs! Worth trying... but not worth buying a six pack.

Photo of beveritt
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Received a 4 pack of this along with a logoed snifter from my sister for my birthday. Apparently my passions are well know, she always gets me something alcoholic or alcohol related. Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into small logoed snifter. Label is simple, the end of a barrel with a short description and the tag of "Official beer of the Alltech FEI." No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with some almost white foam, but no appreciable head. What does show up disappears quickly. The beer itself is perfectly clear and the color of burnished copper.

Smell: Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, and oak with undertones of slightly sweet caramel malt.

Taste: Once again, flavors of bourbon; cherries, oak, and a slightly sweet chocolate undertone. Subtle flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation level is average, maybe a tad low. Body is good.

Drinkability: I thought I might not like this one, probably the only bourbon barrel aged beer I can see through, and I am not a huge fan of boozy bourbon beers. However, they have done a nice job of capturing the flavor of bourbon without the bite.

Photo of jpalarchio
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the nose, I question if I just poured a beer or 12 ounces of bourbon. Definitely a strong bourbon smell. Color is just fairly light and transparent, not really what I think of from a strong ale.

Taste is not bad although the bourbon smell is somewhat overpowering; the alcohol is very evident.

Not a bad beer although I can't see having more than one in a sitting.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 8/22/13

Appearance: Pours unexpectedly crystal clear, bright orange with some honey and copper - small, white head, fades to few small wisps of a cap, leaves a few spots and streaks of lacing

Smell: Caramel malts, vanilla, and bourbon - lightly toasted caramel malts, and crystal malts - some caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with some vanilla - some wood - definitely some bourbon aromas, and they are weird (not in a bad way) - very mild and gentle bourbon

Taste: Caramel malts with an undercurrent of mild, remarkably mellow bourbon - pale and caramel malts - lightly bready, with some interesting buttery esters (English yeast?) - basically, toasted bread with butter, caramel, and vanilla (part of your complete breakfast) - oak and very smooth, very mild bourbon - more like bourbon flavor than straight-up bourbon, I'm guessing this was not aged very long

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, nicely carbonated, nice finish

Overall: "I know what I hate... and I don't hate this"

I am pleasantly surprised that is isn't a hot mess. I've been more or less disenchanted with bourbon-barrel aged beers over the last year, and I really just bought this out of mild curiosity. The base beer is pretty mild, but so is the barrel aging. This is far from a big, burly barrel-aged stout, and I'm sure that's why some would scorn at this. But I think it's worth a try.

Photo of hathaway78
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard brew to rate.... As a point of reference, imagine leaving a jim beam and coke out all night fulll of ice.... Now this beer is not quite the same, but that's a good starting point. An ice melted bourbon and coke.

Aside from the reference this is a creatively interesting beer. The roasted amber nut taste is definitely present, along with a swift kick of vanilla bean and roasting malt.

The flavors in this beer surround the palate, but personally I cannot get past the melted bourbon and coke reference....

Good beer to try for the extreme novelty, but not a prize winner by any standard....

Photo of ndekke39
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle with no date on it. A definitely brown bourbon color. Clear, with a very small head. No lacing. Smells of... uh, bourbon. Strong nutty notes, too. Definitely an overall sweet character. Tastes again of... uh, bourbon (not that that's a bad thing!). Again the nutty character. Elements of wood, light buttery finish. Mouthfeel is a tad watery. Overall, the bourbon dominates as expected with this style, but it gives the beer a nice character. Perfect for sipping cold on a summer evening.

Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep honey, thin white head, very clear brew.

S - WOOD! Wood, bourbon. Well there was wood and bourbon too.

T - Taste follows smell. Some malt but not much. Like a carbonated light whiskey.

M - Good carb, balance is a joke.

D - One is enough per session.

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into my....Wait for it....Wait for it...Founders Brewing snifter. Gave my trustee Darkness snifter the day off.

Berr pours a light to medium caramel color with a good finger of off white head. Scant lacing remains around my glass. Bourbon on the nose. Oak and caramel round it out. Bourbon isn't as pungent as a lot of beers.The more I let it warm and decant the better it smells. It's a rather thin beer on my tongue.Bourbon and caramel malt dance on my tongue. I get some slight roasted coconut in there too. I would never guess an abv over 8%. Pretty easy to drink. The aftertaste to me is even better than the sip. It just keeps lingering.

Not an all star here. A nice after dinner brew. I'll bet this would be a solid choice with a cigar. Certainly glad I tried this.

Photo of jaasen64
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Way Downtown in Provincetown during my Cape weekend trip. Served in the snifter (11oz) made for this beer.

A- Appears a translucent golden slightly brown color with a pretty much nonexistent head. Minimal carbonation, definitely below average. Not too much in terms of lacing.

S- Very strong sweet bourbon smell. Very aromatic, but definitely smells like a sugar bomb (almost as if it was a bourbon flavored soda). A little oak/vanilla smell mixed in the sweetness. Pleasant smelling, but the heavy/sweet bourbon smell almost gives you the notion that it might be a booze bomb covered up with gross amounts of sugar. However at 8.19% you know that this is not the case.

T- Not as strong or as heavy of a bourbon-presence as I was expecting from the smell. Still fairly sweet though with a definite bourbon presence. A little bit of underlying oak + vanilla, however not as much as some bourbon BA beers but not bad considering the 6-week aging time period.

M- Low carbonation, smooth, easy to drink, slightly syrupy but not overly so.

O- This was an interesting beer. I've never smelled a beer quite like this one. Definitely very sweet and a distinct bourbon smell. Nicely balanced bourbon, with slight vanilla and oak presence, with not too much of an overpowering syrupy feel. The faults on this was that it was a little bit too soda-like for a beer. If you are a bourbon fan I would recommend giving this a try.

Photo of bobbyc881
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Friend of mine brought down a 4-pack of this as a wedding gift to me.

Pours out very clear-- copper in color. Nearly non-existent head. Smells slightly sweet and woody. Slight bourbon notes as well.

Taste is quite bourbon flavored. Sweet start, bourbon down the middle, and a bit alcoholy at the end. Definitely picking up some woody flavors as well. Seems more of a beer delivering a bourbon taste than a beer with bourbon nuances. Perhaps this might benefit from some aging?

Prickly carbonation, and rather thin mouthfeel versus my expectations. Quite smooth, though. I think a more full-bodied beer would carry that bourbon flavor better. Not sure I would drink more than 1 of these at a time -- mostly due to the rather strong bourbon taste, not so much the strength.

Photo of Lutie-David
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of mikey711
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade with BEERchitect

Orange in color with some good lacing. It's transparent and with a good level of carbonation. I was surpirsed how light this beer was in color. Vanilla is the dominating smell, not as much bourbon spiciness as I had hoped, alot of caramel. There is minimal hoppiness, but the bourbon does come through a bit more in the taste. The vanilla again dominates followed by the caramel sweetness. Once it warms up a bit more though more of the bourbon comes through. The mouthfeel is light yet creamy. The drinkability is fairly high, but the sweetness is a little troubling. This is definitely one of those beers that only gets better as it gets warmer, because the flavor balance out more.

I am very happy to have tried this beer and much thanks to a great trader.

Photo of MistahBeah
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear honey. Little carbonation. Small head. No lace. Not much else to speak of

Smell: Sweet bourbon. Some oaky vanilla. Molasses as it gets a bit warmer

Taste: Definitely bourbon. Tastes similar to an innis & gunn. Some oak. None of the sweeter aromas come out in flavor other than the bourbon but its nice

Mouthfeel: Very light. A little crisp but smooth. A little boozy sting as it warms but its still pretty well hidden. Not bad

Overall: A nice package overall. Really nice flavor but not terribly complex - not that it claims or needs to be. I would get it again

Photo of Vogie
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It has potential. Nice bourbon notes but thin in mouthfeel and flavor.

Photo of DocJitsu
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Grey Goose in Lexington, Ky. Poured into a snifter. Very attractive clear bourbon color. No head at all, but that's likely due to the care the bartender took in pouring the beer. Some oaky vanilla on the nose, but it's so very delicate. Not much else going on in the aroma. Mouthfeel is slick, wet, and a little oily. The flavor consists of mild oak, vanilla, and bourbon. It falls a little flat. But, otherwise a decent beer.

Photo of bad72amx
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the most inconsistent beer I have ever tried. I have had it tapped numerous times, often in the same BW3 in Louisville. Sometimes, it is thick, rich, and Oakes with nice complex flavors of malt, candied sugar, very mild hops and some minor bourbony afterburn. If it were always like this, it would be a solid 4.5 overall. When it's like this, with a nearly syrupy mouthfeel, it is a personal favorite. It doesn't sound like it, but the mouthfeel and creamy head make it work.

Here comes the downside, and I have noticed this at different bars that have sometimes poured an excellent brew. Sometimes, it's just okay. Malty and sugary, with almost artificial bourbon aftertaste. No rich oak notes, no caramally candied sugars, just sweet malt. Like raw canned brewing malt was watered down. When it's like this it's almost fizzy, yet it builds and retains almost no head. Also, when it's like this it is more of a muddled dark straw color, instead of the deep golden brown it should be. It's almost like a lager with a dash of grenadine added without stirring. It's pretty, but when I see that I know I'm getting a mediocre beer.

Altech, please read this and revisit your Lexington brewery. It seems to me your quality control is very lacking, and lately I get more bad batches than excellent batches. I understand the need to meet demand, but if it makes a stellar beer okay, you are not doing anyone any favors.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,334 ratings.