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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.

565 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 565
Hads: 2,575
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 39.67%
Wants: 145
Gots: 720 | FT: 9
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: 565 | Hads: 2,575
Photo of Caveworm
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass (no snifter in my glassware collection as of yet. newb move, yes I'm aware), this brew's got a two finger finely porous off-white head that dissipates rather promptly, not too much lacing, and a medium amber transparent body.

Smells like, you've taken the correct guess, bourbon. Albeit nowhere near as profound as the real deal, this has certainly got the redeeming qualities of a finely made, true Kentucky bourbon. Take it from a guy whose entire father's side is from the state!

The taste here is exactly the same as the aroma described above. Damn tasty, folks. It is very drinkable.

Mouthfeel is lively and crisp.

Overall, a 4.5 for Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. I will purchase this beer regularly

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Photo of Chris_Burton
2.39/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Amber to light brown body. I was very excited to try this but honestly I'm not impressed. Smell is pleasant with hints of whiskey and caramel. Taste is surprisingly bland; slight booziness with sweetness from the barrels but other than that, not a huge amount of flavour to speak of; largely malt forward with no hop flavour but there's really not much there from the malt either. A distinct lack of complexity one would hope from a beer like this. Maybe some vanilla, or am I trying to hard to find it? As a sidenote it calls itself barrel aged ale but neglects to mention what kind of ale it was before being aged.

Definitely not worth the price I paid. Did I get a bad bottle? Really not a great beer.

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Photo of kissmybunniebutt
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

This was a weird beer. It was creamy on the tongue and sweeter than I would have expected. I got little hints of bourbon at first sniff, but afterwards I really only got sweet. And random side note, It was also one of the most carbonated bottles of beer I've ever had. It REALLY wanted out of that bottle.

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Photo of JAFoley
3.09/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - crystal-clear pale amber body with bubbly white head.

S - smoky bourbon musty and sugary

T - subdued bourbon and spices amidst tangy fruits. Flavors are weak and drop off fast

M - medium/light body with moderate/light carbonation.

O - not a beer I'd drink again. Weak flavors and body, not a big fan.

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Photo of NickTinyRace
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mix of my two favorite things. Beer and bourbon. You can taste the the carmel flavor from the ole barrels and it has a wonderful smooth finish which was a pleasant surprise for a bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Branded pry-off pressure cap. Appealing label design. Brown glass. 12 fl oz.

Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged...ale? No specific style is identified on the label. 8.19% ABV. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in low altitude Austin, Texas. Expectations are above average given the brewery and the description/marketing - which makes it sound good.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Okay frothiness. It's not as creamy, full, or thick as it ought to be. Should look softer as well. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes. Leaves no lacing.

BODY: Clear translucent copper of average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Doesn't look unique or special, but it's generally appealing. Has no stand-out characteristics.

AROMA: Barrel sugars, vanilla, hints of white oak, lovely charred barrel characteristics, English malt character, and marshmallow. Bourbon? I guess...but I wouldn't notice it if I tried this blind. It's got those great vanilla notes, but it never really rings distinct as bourbon per se.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hops, or off-notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity is mild.

A pleasant, soft aroma. I'm interested in trying it, but I did hope for more of an overt bourbon character. The base seems underwhelming and unfocused. The oak could be more evocative.

TASTE: Marshmallow, vanilla, English malts, English mild characteristics (including the beginnings of a buttery note), caramel, barrel sugars, a fleeting wisp of white oak, hints of charred wood, some toastiness, and hints of some kind of unrefined sugar - but it isn't piloncillo, brown sugar, or treacle. What's strangely missing is bourbon; I mean it has the hints of oak and it has the vanilla, but it never touches on bourbon at all for me. I can't quite put my finger on why.

Balanced? Sort of. It has a loose cohesion at best, and there are no egregious clashes of flavour, but it's by no means a gestalt whole of a build. I'm not really even sure what style this falls in...it's not even a bourbon ale - as vaguely defined as I find that descriptor - because there's not really much of a bourbon character. It does feel English in character (likely from the yeast) but never commits to toffee or anything beyond the caramel.

Has no obvious hop profile. No yeast character or off-notes come through. It does have some light alcohol warmth.

Overall, I just find it unrefined. It's fairly shallow in terms of depth of flavour. Duration and intensity of flavour are average. Adequately complex and subtle, but it's not world-class in either respect. I do like it in a general sense, but it needs honing. And it has touches of artificial flavoring throughout which bother me.

TEXTURE: Full-bodied, moderately thick, moderately weighty, smooth, wet, and unrefreshing. Slight overcarbonation.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough or scratchy.

Overall, this texture suits the taste decently, but fails to elevate the beer or to accentuate the flavour profile's constituent notes.

OVERALL: It's a drinkable brew, but never touches on the bourbon character it promises...in fact, the marketing and description are so hubristic about Kentucky and bourbon that it makes bourbon's absence more conspicuous. It's frankly rather embarrassing. I'm enjoying it for what it is, but at this price point I couldn't justify a second purchase. Seems like a cash-grab for the bourbon barrel aged niche. I like some of the English leanings, but this just never feels like a focused or deliberate brew to me, and the balance needs dialing in. Moreover, if you want to run with the big dogs in the bourbon barrel aged category (regardless of style), you've got to bring more to the table in terms of intricacy and subtlety of flavour. This is largely a let-down, and needs work. I can't see this ever becoming a world-class brew no matter how much fine-tuning they do; it'd need a whole new recipe. I guess I'm glad I tried it once, but it's not the best beer I've had from this brewery, and I wouldn't recommend it to friends or trade partners.

The barrel char is the stand-out note.

Apparently, this is aged for "up to" 6 weeks in bourbon barrels...um, for starters 6 weeks just ain't enough. But "up to" suggests some batches (if not most) are aged in bourbon barrels for less than 6 weeks. That's a nice way to increase profits and bolster marketing potential, but it doesn't strike me as honest - or maybe honest isn't the word, because they are disclosing this info (just not on the bottles themselves). I guess the word I'm looking for is "cheap" or perhaps more appropriately "pathetic." Why not just throw it in bourbon barrels for one day? Hell, technically it'd still be "aged." I'd like to see the brewers behind this grab their balls, gain some fucking integrity, and start genuinely committing to their craft; there's clearly potential here.


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Photo of tkdchampxi
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look is kinda unappealing, like what I imagine bourbon tinted Budweiser would look like

Smell is pleasant: hints of Apple juice, honey, club soda, and whiskey. It doesn't smell like beer at all though...

Taste is pleasant, but lacks the malt depth of a great beer. Tastes like medium grade scotch or whiskey mixed with light beer. Good but not great.

Mouthfeel is overall pleasant. No complaints.

Overall pretty mediocre, but surprisingly good considering the price. I was expecting much worse considering the rating for this beer

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Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt amber look with light carbonated head.

Strong bourbon smell to this one. Very light vanilla smell.

Mostly bourbon flavor, but it's not too strong, with a light smokey vanilla finish that is very pleasant.

Not too light and not to heavy, this is a good moderate beer that seams to get all over you mouth and has a good finish.

I may get another one of these and age it for some time. It seams like one of those beers that will get much better with a little aging. Will update if I do.

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Photo of ZBrewz
4.16/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

So, I've tried this beer twice now. Once before, and
once after reading through the "Beer Rating 101"
articles on Beer advocate. And I got to say, drinking
the beer right makes a difference.

I decided to listen to beer advocate's advice and drink
my beer warmer than I normally would (especially since
this beer in particular has a higher alcohol content.) I
noticed that though the sharp alcohol taste was still
there, it seemed to lessen as it became warmer and the
undertones of the grains used in the beer came through
resulting in an enhanced experience of the flavors of
the ale.

Look: 4.0 It wasn't "crystal clear". It did have some
yeast/sediment floating around in it, but nothing to
really be concerned about. I felt it gave it authenticity. The color ranged from an amber color outside of direct light (dark, but not very), to a more golden amber when
held closer to a light. I poured it kind of hard so it was a
little extra foamy than it should've been, but the head retention seemed
great. It didn't go flat and I drank it slower than I
normally would.

Smell: 3.5 Really strong Bourbon smell, with a hint of
some malts.

Taste: 4.3 As I said, the taste evolves as it warms up.
The colder it is the more the bourbon-like alcohol
taste comes out, but as it warms up a creamy smooth
wheat-like taste starts to envelope if you let it sit
on your palate. (I'm not saying the bourbon taste isn't
still there, it's just less defined when the other flavors of
the beer come out.) Definitely a must try if can handle
higher ABV beers.

feel: 4.6 A little unpleasant if it's too cold, but
gets to be a smooth, creamy-like, bubble feel once it
warms up. It really complements the taste and leaves a
nice feeling on your taste buds.... Delicious.

overall = 4.51 If you can't handle a strong beer (or
don't like the taste of bourbon) than this might not be
for you. But, if you don't fall under either of those
categories and are up to try something new, then this
is a pretty good beer to try. (Just don't drink all
four at once. ;-) haha)

P.S. Drink it warmer and slower than you normally would.

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Photo of jdshep
2.36/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

full review: wp.me/p5urG4-ga
The appearance of the beer was great, the carbonation bubbles that constantly flowed upward in the orange/amber hue was a delight. The head was a good thick white head with some good lacing. Unfortunately that is where the excitement for me stopped.
I didn’t even finish the beer. I barely got the bourbon aroma out of it. I couldn’t identify the initial taste, but the finish was acidic to me. The palate was watery.

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Photo of obywan59
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On a visit to my brothers in August, I purchased this at a Vine Grove KY convenience store (near Elizabethown). I drank half of the 4 pack at the time, and forgot to grab the other 2 when I left for the 8 hour drive home to VA. The 2 beers were still in the fridge when I returned for Christmas, and this time, made it safely home with me.

Crystal clear with a 2 finger white head from a hard pour. Bubbles of carbonation coat the inside of the glass and rise up from the base, diminishing in synchrony with the quickly shrinking head. A bright orange/copper in color. Minimal lace. Looks a bit thin to the eye.

Bourbon, vanilla and oak on the nose, combining to give the impression of dark fruits in syrup, even bananalike at times, with a bit of char. On the second glass, the vanilla/bourbon combo gave me cherry instead of banana.

Lightly sweet bourbon, vanilla and oak are even more dominant in the taste. Bitter char overcomes them all in the middle before everything mellows out in the end. Light alcohol throughout.

Moderate in body with pepper and a bit of fire yet, even after 4 1/2 months. Slightly numbing on the tongue. Nice warmth, as the fire would imply.

This beer is better for the age in my opinion. My brother described his single swallow as "stiff, but good" (he prefers Coors Light), but I agree, it seemed more harsh back in August. It's definitely more mellow now. A bit less char, and I'd have given it even higher marks.

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Photo of taters21
4.46/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional ale with a considerable oakiness and subdued vanilla note from the bourbon barrel aging but not overpowered and has a nice smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.74/5  rDev -24.5%
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).

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Photo of chezztone
2.08/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Awful. A weak-flavored (although high-alcohol) light beer with strong bourbon overtones -- maybe they just made a light beer and then poured in the bourbon?

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Photo of Bunman3
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Could be the best beer deal ever - I picked up a growler of this for $4.99 at Wine and Beyond in Sherwood Park. This ale poured nicely with a reasonable amount of head that disappeared fairly quickly (not surprising for a draft growler that has been sitting for a couple of days.) The bourbon flavour is just enough to give this ale a very unique and pleasant taste. It has a decent amount of kick and goes down very nicely. The combination of great taste and killer deal make this a highlight reel brew.

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Photo of gopens44
2.33/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Golden with a fairly decent head but virtually no lacing from the mostly white foam. Nose was mostly bourbon, not much else peeking through. Tasted pretty nice for a short moment as the hints of vanilla, oak and caramel came across for just the tiniest instant before they dropped out, leaving only a thin remnant of tannins.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a snifter

Clear copper color with steady stream of bubbles. White one finger foam settles to flotsam and jetsam rafts of bubbles. Some lacings

Faint bourbon aroma

Faint bourbon taste , oak and vanilla

Had this on draft at a restaurant. It was excellent. Ordered a second glass. Still excellent. Saw it on the shelf of the local packie and had to try it. Wow! What a 180 . Nowhere near as enjoyable in the bottle as it was on draft. I will not buy this in bottles again, only draft. Never had such a drastic disparity in taste between bottle and draft.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

A thick off-white head is the first thing you see as your pour, its foamy and extremely thick, which allows it to form a nice thick lacing around the glass. This is a ice medium amber colored ale with some good carbonation as you pour. The carbonation slowly dies down and so does the head, eventually forming a nice thin layer of bubbles completely covering the top of the ale.

Fruits and malts hit your nose first, mild citrus fruits, apples, mild esters all mixed in with grassy and floral note come together to make a nice aroma for this beer.

The malts and citrus fruit zest are the first flavors you taste, followed by a medium alcohol taste. As it warms up, caramel, butter and a bready flavor come through. It really warms up your mouth.

This is a medium to full bodied ale with plenty of carbonation as you drink it. It really coats you mouth well and leaves that nice warming effect as you breath in.

This is quick a nice find and a really great tasting ale, The aromas and flavors really do this beer justice, don't pass it up.

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Photo of simplejj81
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

I wish this would have been aged more than 6 weeks. Too sweet and not enough heat to meet my expectations for this beer. Its good, but I was hoping for more.

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Photo of orangemoustache
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours an even transparent amber. A soft slightly off-white cap lingers for a few moments before retreating to a thin cover that remains. Sloppy patches of lacing cling to the sides of the mug. Big smells from the oak barrel, slightly floral with lots of vanilla coming through. This is gentle on the tongue with a light creamy touch when swished around. The alcohol is masked well, but shows on the finish. Vanilla and bread crust malts up front. Bourbon is slightly muted by a lightly bitter hop presence. Again sweet notes of alcohol and oak hang on the pallet until the next sip. This seems to be very drinkable at first. The ABV seems to be the only hindrance as the flavors are never overwhelming or unappreciated. Solid Bourbon Ale.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.39/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a medium brown with an off white head. The smell is very heavy on both wood and bourbon to the point where I can't smell anything else. The taste is similar with a little bit of malt coming in the beginning and being taken over by the bourbon flavors. It was very tasty, although one-dimensional.

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Photo of Avool1960
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I had recently discovered bourbon barrel aged brews at the Yards brewery in Philadelphia Pa. Seems to be made just for me. This Kentucky brew is a wonderful tasting beer. The ale is light and flavorful with the the bourbon and oak flavors coming thru to please. It is smooth, and has no bad after taste. It's like a cocktail for real men! Try it.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Picked this up a few weeks back in Totowa, having never had anything from Alltech's before. I like this style of beer but as so many others alluded to on here, this was weak in the mouthfeel and fell way short of its potential. Even the alcohol was too weak, leading me to believe that this could have been a Brown Ale instead of an English Strong Ale. It went down well but on a cool night like this, I was hoping for a bit more warmth and body.

The pour to this was decent, with a clear appearance, bright copper hue, and sizable head. There was enough lacing to be seen as well and nice amount of carbonation from the get-go. Not a strong aroma as there was some bourbon, oak, and molasses in the nose and faint amounts of those in the taste as well. Was this too malty? Sure. Was this too weak? Unfortunately. Was this like an after-dinner cordial and not a beer that I would expect from the Bluegrass State? Absolutely. Almost reminded me of Frangelico or 43 as there was some walnut or hazelnut that came out of nowhere and went away just as fast. Not a lot of warmth of stickiness like I had hoped.

There was alcohol here but not in the taste and only when I polished this off could I fell it subtly kick in. While not a complete letdown, this beer had so much potential to it but proverbially fell flat. Not as complex as a true Bourbon Barrel Beer, this is what I'd give someone who never had anything of this sort before. Too light for a style that can get as heavy as can be - worth a go once for for those who can't get a hold of anything from Innis and Gunn.

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Photo of jeranbrews
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%

A - pretty amber fine bead cloud white head 3.5

S - bourbon! Sweet and tons of bourbon 3

T - whiskey and a tiny bit of beer. Whiskey flavor overpowers beer completely - 2

M - sharp bourbon sting, with the creamy beer mouthfeel. Confusing. 3

O - interesting but more like a beer cocktail than a beer - 3

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%

Bourbon, light caramel and vanilla on the nose.
Pours brilliant orange amber with a thin rocky white foam cap. Light lace.
Starts with caramel malty sweetness followed by bourbon and vanilla and finished with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation, smooth.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 565 ratings.