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

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

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BA SCORE
83
good

2,481 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,481
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 18.48%
Wants: 138
Gots: 645 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,481 | Reviews: 611
Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

golden brown. crystal clear. poor head retention, and poor lacing.

toffee, caramel, malty, sweet, alcohol smells. there is some bourbon aroma there too but not as much as the name would suggest. i think the bourbon notes are coming off as caramel and toffee. dont taste oak, just toffee and caramel. some of the vanilla from the bourbon come through as well.

immediately huge caramel an toffee flavor. like biting into a skor bar. sweet and crisp, very malty flavor. again it doesnt taste immediately taste like whiskey, but the flavor of whiskey is what lingers after the finish.

medium body. crisp finish.

this is definitely an interesting beer. this beer has benefitted from being bourbon barrel aged, i have tried the original. a beer with decent complexity. i would like to serve this to a friend who drinks nothing but cheap whiskey and cheap domestic lager and see if he digs it.

Photo of Tone
2.7/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark gold color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of strong bourbon and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong bourbon, slight sweet malt, and slight grain. Overall, the bourbon was over-powering. Not well blended in either aroma or body.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium orange with a slight off-white head. No lace. Good clarity, some bubbles.

Good cherry-wood and whiskey aroma mingling with toasted malt. Some wood and sweet vanilla notes. Nice balanced nose.

Some wood, some harsh bitterness and bitter(ed) malt, but some nice vanilla, a touch of caramel, and then it dries out a bit. Nice complexities. Fruit is hard to find, but the woody edge, a little alcohol, and malt all work well.

Medium bodied. Surprised this didn't have much more in this area, but it really helps with the drinkability. I liked this one. A little different for the style, but enjoyable.

Photo of kwjd
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright orange colour with thin white head. Not too much lacing, head dissipates after a bit. Smells like bourbon, vanilla and some butter. A lot more bourbon in the smell than I expected, but I guess with a lighter beer than typical bourbon barrel aged ones it makes the bourbon stand out more. Flavour is fairly sweet, pretty one dimensionally bourbon. Smooth mouth feel.

Photo of AleWatcher
1.6/5  rDev -56.5%
look: 1 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Grabbed a 4 pack on a recent excursion to the Hoosier state... I planned on drinking one and tossing the others in as extras-- and now that I've opened this, I'm even more certain that will be my action with the other 3!

Served in my Portsmouth tulip.

The one finger... Er... Half finger... Ummm... The thin ring of antique-whitish bubbles form a collar around the inside of the glass. Oh wait, they're gone now. This looks like it was apricot juice, if such a thing existed. No lacing. No signs of carbonation.

The nose and flavor are pure cheap boozey bourbon and artificial vanilla. I don't get anything from a base beer here.
This is boozy and harsh. Unbalanced and unenjoyable as a sipper. As this warms, I'm reminded of honey flavored cough drops.
The body is very thin and holds limited carbonation.

Overall, there are so many bourbon barrel-aged beers out there, I would be fine to never drink this again. The beer isn't my cup of tea-- but that doesn't mean I cannot imagine some one else enjoying it.

Photo of megahurts4
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Appearance: amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: bourbon sweetness and a malty grain.

Taste: bourbon, oak, and a malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium and sweet.

Overall:
This has a nice bourbon flavor, but I think it may be a tad too sweet.

Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.

Photo of jwinship83
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

64oz growler filled at the liquor barn in lexington. this has sat in my fridge for close to 2 weeks. drank from my big eddy snifter.

A- the pour is an amazingly translucent very light copper colored body with a finger of bright white head on top. the head is quick to fizzle away, and leaves behind little as far as lacing goes.

S- bourbon is the first thing that comes to mind. some bready malts mixed with some spiciness brings out a sugar cookie-like scent. bourbon and a touch of vanilla finish this off.

T- the taste starts out with more of the bready malts that mix with some spiciness in my mouth creating the sugar cookie thing that i could smell. interesting. after that i get some sweetness from the bourbon as well as a mild shot of vanilla form the barrel. a mild bourbon aftertaste as well.

M- the body is on the thin side of medium. the carbonation is nice and subdued. little burn from the alcohol, but my mouth is left tasting like bourbon.

O- i liked the bottle version much more than the growler. this seems like a pretty generic beer with some bourbon poured in.

Photo of burnheartsMKE
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I must admit this was the first time I had ever enjoyed a lighter-bodied ale that had spent any amount of time inside the guts of a bourbon barrel. I had unceremoniously consumed Lexington’s daily ale a few days earlier and I could only imagine, while drinking this bourbon ale, that the weaker beer was used as it’s base (I believe I am wrong). Thankfully, that bubbly malt beverage had no real inspiration therefore letting those beautiful barrels do the real man’s job.

In my mouth this bourbon ale sang with an almost artificial bourbon essence like a vocoder covering up the very real mistakes. High notes of cherry, coconuts and vanilla extract made this taste almost like bourbon & cream-soda cocktail.

Strange though, through all my negativities, I actually enjoyed it and could see it’s rightful place in a styrofoam cooler on some double-wide’s cement slab, The Derby blaring on a tiny old tube TV. Just me & a couple good old boys lazing on a sun-bleached couch.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.57/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance-Light copper with a 1/2 finger off white head that immediate dissapears.

Smell-Definitely get Bourbon..lots of booze, sweet malts, vanilla. Kind of what I was expecting.

Taste-First taste wasn't so bad, Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Then it kind of just went downhill. Just tastes watery, almost like a Bourbon and Coke thats been sitting out for a while and all the ice has melted. Not very good.

Mouthfeel-Boozy. Very light in the body and a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall-I like Bourbon, but I don't really get this beer. The aroma was nice, but it was just watered down whiskey with carbonation. I'm going to give my other bottle to someone else, I just can't appreciate this beer.

Photo of homebrew311
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a shifter at sugar
Maple.

A: deep clear red, short white head, decent lacing, no retention

S: nose is all vanilla with a candy like sweetness, notes of icing, bourbon is vanilla with no oak, pretty mild on the nose

T: starts off with mild malts, turns into sweet vanilla, no backbone to this brew. The bourbon character is shallow and lacks any oak character. The abv is not detectable.

Mf: high carbonation, light body

O: this beer has an unpleasant candy character. The base beer does not stand up to the bourbon aging

Photo of theboozecruise
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Photo of 1Adam12
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought this today. The first day it's been available in bottles in Indiana. Carmel colored poured from the bottle to my snifter. Smells of very light bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and malt. Very nice taste. I catch alot of vanilla and caramel, with very mild bourbon. I'd have liked more bourbon, but seems about right for the short amount of aging time. Alcohol really isn't present. Very light, low carbonated mouthfeel. I really did like this beer, however, with the 15 dollar a 4 pack price on it, it's just not even close to worth the price.

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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 mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours a light orange/copper color with small white bubbles that made up a smallish head, moderate lacing. Lots of small carbonation bubbles released from the bottom.

S: A little bit of caramel and vanilla, light bourbon aromas, some darker fruit, and a little bit of molasses and brown sugar.

T: It tasted very similar to apple juice, with a slightly sour flavor to it, almost vinegary. Not sure whats going on as the flavor profile is extremely different than the aroma.

M: Medium bodied, but seemed a little thin, with moderate carbonation.

O: A puzzling beer, not really sure what happened, or why the beer tasted as it did. Can only hope to try it again in the future.

Photo of robwestcott
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured cold from the tap at yogis a translucent copper to a 12pz kentucky bourbon ale snifter with a full finger off white head with nice retention and lace to the rim.

big aroma of kentucky bourbon and if there's anything else in the nose, it's so far in the wayback that it's not detectable.

bourbon. hints of an amber ale, but really, it's as advertised - bourbon ale.

light bodied, medium carbonation, subtle hot.

drinkable - one or two perhaps.

overall - you like bourbon ? then thumbs up. but otherwise...

Photo of JamnesCameron
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Pours a clear amber hue with a two fingered white head that drops rather quickly. Some light lacing evident.

Aromas of oak, light vanillla, malt. No hop aroma.

Flavors of diluted vanilla, oak, malt, no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is relatively thin, decent level of carbonation.

Overall, nothing special here. Rather subdued in all its character.

Photo of mcguirmn
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Appearance: pours an orange-amber color. Minimal carbonation.

Smell: obvious Bourbon presence. Other than that, not much there smell-wise. I gave it a 4.5 because I really like Bourbon.

Taste: I scored the taste a little lower because, as other reviewers noted, besides the Bourbon, there isn't much else there taste-wise.

Carbonation: thin. Low carbonation.

Overall: I might be a little biased, given my love of whiskey and bourbon, but I really liked this beer. I first tried it by drinking it straight out of the bottle, and it tasted a bit harsh. But when I tried it out of the kentucky bourbon barrel ale snifter, it was much more enjoyable. This beer has all the taste of bourbon without any of the harshness.

Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: medium carbonation, minimal head, orange-brown in color, hazy

Smell: toasted malt and light oak

Taste: big time oak and bourbon, a pleasant taste of vanilla, meadow, and sweet toasted malt

Mouthfeel: sweet with big time oaking, moderate carbonation and medium-light body

Overall: I really like this. The problem I have with a lot of oak beers is that they are one dimensional oak and/or alcohol bombs. While this one has both, there is a sweetness and complexity that I do not often find with the style. The oak, vanilla, and bourbon all get a chance to shine and blend wonderfully. I wish I picked up a six of this. Really great beer.

Photo of haddon
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on cask at The Pub in Lexington, KY.

Pours a cola color that is a little lighter than expected for a casked bourbon barrel ale. not much head but there probably shouldn't be from the cask.

Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of malts. weak on the nose all-around.

malts and caramel that give way to vanilla, oak, brown sugar. All around sweet taste without much complexity. not much by way of hops or bitterness.

Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

you know, being a KY boy, I really wanted to like this but there just isn't much there. it seems that Lex Brew Co. has taken a ho-hum beer and tried to do something with it by throwing it in the bourbon barrels. Guys, make our bourbon heritage proud by coming up with something better there on the bourbon trail.

Photo of THECPJ
2.87/5  rDev -22%
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

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange. One inch tan head fades quickly.

S: Strong smells of bourbon and wood jump out immediately. Low herbal hop bitterness. Underlying notes of warm vanilla and caramel sweetness.

T: Very sweet up front with tastes of caramel and bourbon mingling nicely. Some grainy malt tastes come out mid-palate. Bourbon presence remains strong throughout, but stays warm and cozy and never gets too hot. Very woody throughout too. Some faint floral/herbal hops, but bitterness mainly balances here and doesn't overachieve. Warm vanilla is slightly subdued, but still there. Finishes sweet with tastes of caramel, bourbon, and wood.

M: Medium bodied, very full, creamy, and smooth. Low carbonation. Warming alcohol is slight, and soothes rather than burns.

O: This is a hard beer for me to grade. I really liked it. It's a fine beer to sip, and fairly easy to drink. However, underneath the bourbon flavors, all you have is a very simple, bland beer. The whole beer seems to have been designed only to showcase the bourbon, making it a bit of a one-trick pony. It does a great job of it though, and if you're into bourbon and barrel flavors (as I am), then this is one you will absolutely want to seek out. I ended up grading it a 'B,' but it's probably the highest 'B' I've ever given.

Photo of Hojaminbag
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

After a huge hiss, this one proved to be a gusher. The head is massive and fizzy looking, quickly filling my glass with a huge tower that quickly dissipates. Besides the fact that there's decent lacing it looks a lot like soda.

It doesn't smell good. It seems a bit sour, with a touch of bourbon and black malt.

It's not sour, but it isn't good either. There is a little blast of bourbon with just a bit of wood. Next there is a charcoal flavor. The finish has just a bit of bitterness to it, and it manages to leave the overall impression of being sweet without any real sweet flavor. The finish has the slight taste of charcoal, or maybe even cigarettes.

The mouthfeel is pretty bad. Really light and fizzy; it doesn't just look like a soda, it tastes like one also.

I'm not a fan of this one. Not much going on here. It isn't unpleasant tasting, but the smell and feel are off, and it really isn't good either.

Photo of ddahlen
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at De'shea's in the Lexington, Kentucky airport. Poured out a nice golden hue with a 1 inch head.
The nose has a great woody, caramel, bourbon aroma as you'd expect. Comparing this to their base beer, Kentucky Ale, you can tell the aromatics come 90% from the bourbon.
The taste has quite a bit of caramel from the malt, but is really predominated with the bourbon. It retains quite a bit of sweetness on the backend.
The mouthfeel is crisp and fairly light for the abv.
Overall, if bourbon beers are your thing, this is definitely for you. All in all, the beer component of this one doesn't bring all that much to the table, it's a basic, but good, bourbon ale.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,481 ratings.