1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

2,131 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,131
Reviews: 516
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.53%
Wants: 98
Gots: 357 | FT: 5
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 2,131 | Reviews: 516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Sammy, May 29, 2014
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

t0rin0, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one at his UCLA vs. USC viewing party.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, bourbon, wood, and a distinct funky aroma. Taste is much the same but no funk comes through in the flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that is a pretty poor example of a barrel aged beer.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 18, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

djrn2, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

zestar, Apr 28, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -18.3%

acurtis, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WhyBeNormal for putting this box in N00b BIF Round 3. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a brew that is a moderate-brown color with a thin tan head that fades into a thin collar. The nose is dominated by bourbon. Strong bourbon notes pervade, and only increase in intensity as the beer warms. Nice and fairly mellow, but I'd like a bit more complexity here. The flavor is the same way, though there is a touch of caramel and brown sugar in the background. Medium body with lowish carbonation. A bit too hot in the finish. Not bad at all. I've got another that I'll need to cellar for a bit to see if it mellows out.

Thorpe429, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -18.3%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Texasfan549, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Harrigan’s Tavern, Dayton, OH

A: The beer is crystal clear light amber in color. It poured with a thin head on the surface that left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of bourbon in the nose; the smell intensifies as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the bourbon barrel aging really stands out in the taste, imparting flavors of bourbon and vanilla along with hints of oak. The vanilla becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The bourbon is nicely incorporated into this beer and doesn’t really add alcohol heat. I enjoyed this because the bourbon is very evident but not overpowering.

metter98, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -18.3%

kjkinsey, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak and coconut; just a hint of bourbon

Taste: Starts out with a buttered brown bread and bourbon-influenced caramel flavor; lots of vanilla and coconut arrive by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a brief flourish of very smooth bourbon and oak that lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really nice Bourbon treatment here instead of the typical barrel-aging of a big stout; the beer has some nice subtleties

brentk56, Aug 22, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams.

BEERchitect, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brightest topaz topped with nearly two fingers of eggshell colored foam that is slightly crackly and does no better than a passable job with respect to glass decoration. High-ABV, barrel-aged beer often struggles in the head and lace departments.

After having been aged for 6 weeks in *recently decanted* bourbon barrels, one would think the nose would be more whiskey-like. This is a somewhat pleasant sniffer if you like that spirit, but it's too mild. The base beer doesn't contribute much either.

Kentucky Ale is average beer. Its metamorphosis into Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a definite move to higher ground. It isn't amazing beer by any means, but the bourbon character finds that middle ground between 'too much' and 'not enough' (closer to the latter).

This offering tastes like an amber ale to which a very small splash of bourbon was added. Caramelized sugar and vanilla notes are subtle, and there wasn't enough time for much woodiness to have made it into the final product. Hard to believe the ABV went from 5.34% to 8.19% after 6 weeks contact with whiskey-soaked wood.

The mouthfeel didn't change... and wasn't expected to. It's still waaay too light, doesn't bulk up with warming, and the bubbles don't do a great job either. It's barely acceptable for a sipper, just don't expect much in the way of mouth pampering.

My advice to Kentucky Brewing Company is to use a different (better) beer as the base for this beer. Something with more malty guts would be a great place to start. Too bad this is the 12 ounce bottle rather than the cool looking cobalt vessel shown above.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.3%

ygtbsm94, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am going to go way out on a limb with this one I am sure, but I am sorry I absolutely loved it. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/24/2010.

The pour was not what I would consider, um great. Light amber in color, nearly golden with a very, very clear body to it. Lots of carbonation could be seen streaming up towards the top of the glass which coalesced into a thin, but firm white cap at about a quarter of an inch, but this really did not stay long, fading with no real side glass lacing. Aroma is sweet, unbelievably sweet with loads of vanilla and sweet candy like notes. I found this incredibly appetizing and dove straight in. Super light body takes you off guard, but once you let this thing open up it's over. Rich beyond words with a sweetness that is unmatched. Like French vanilla ice cream mixed with hints of bourbon and light grain, it just worked. So light it was almost refreshing as I really just could not get enough of this one. 

Overall wow, I did not see this coming. I was not sure I was going to like it nearly as much as I did, but wow it really, really worked for me. I would love to have this one again any time, it is just a wonderful, sweet concoction that truly just worked for me.

mikesgroove, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +9%

kylehay2004, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Knapp85, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright amber body capped by a thinning layer of white bubbles.

Smell: Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and humble pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a caramel kick to them make way for the far stronger flavors of vanilla, oaken barrel extract, light brown sugar, and even toasted coconut. Medium sweetness throughout. Never much in the way of hops or bitterness. Rebound of basic malty sweetness along with a rather woody quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly interesting, I'll give it at least that much. Maybe its the decaying brain cells, but I cannot adequately recall such a light base beer getting the bourbon barrel treatment. It's appealing to try all the characteristics bourbon barrel aging has to offer without being hampered and diluted by a... well, more substantial beer, but it doesn't make for an overall sublime drinking experience and doesn't have much appeal beyond the one bottle.

ChainGangGuy, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of SocalKicks
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

SocalKicks, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe the first Kentucky beer I have had,I poured into an oversized wine glass to get the full aroma aspects of this beer,it poured clear deep golden with a very thin head,good clarity just not much head to it.Man that stuff smells like Wild Turkey,full oak and vanilla/caramel notes with a bit of biscuit malt,no hop presence that I could find.Light mouthfeel but not sharp,just a little thinner than expected I guess.Flavors are oaky and vanilla tinged with that caramel and and biscuit showing through as well,again no hop presence noticrable in my mind.Something a little different,it tastes just as much as a bourbon as a strong ale,but I liked it for a change of pace.

oberon, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of largadeer
2.5/5  rDev -31.9%

largadeer, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After tackling a growler solo in my past review, it's time to slow things down a bit and consume 12oz. at a time, and appreciate.

Bottle pours a high clarity orange tone, with a small cap of white foam. Spotty bits of lace ring the tulip glass.

Oak, vanilla, sweet corn mash, and brown sugar in the nose. Becomes slightly funky as it warms.

A light bourbon taste, yet it touches on all my favorite aspects of this Kentucky-bred specialty. Woody oak, caramel sauce, buttery theater popcorn, a hint of coconut, with creamy vanilla bean in the long finish.

The thin, clean mouthfeel and refreshing nature of this ale deceptively mask it's alcohol content. Lacks body and complexity, but the bourbon flavor is good. Respect this beer, and it won't mess you up. Drinking a growler of this stuff made me feel like I had put down a pint of bourbon...

emerge077, Jun 30, 2007
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,131 ratings.