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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.

575 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 575
Hads: 2,624
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 763 | 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.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 575 | Hads: 2,624
Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared by Thorpe429 at a local DC tasting. Bottle says "Official Beer of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games"...awesome that they chose an 8.19% ABV bourbon barrel aged beer as their official beer.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks nothing like an American strong ale; I was shocked how light in color it was.

s - Smells of heavy bourbon, vanilla, bready malts, light oak. Pretty enjoyable.

t - Tastes of light bourbon, oak, vanilla, bready malts, wheat. Bourbon is up front in the taste, but not as strong as the nose.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation. For a bourbon barrel aged beer that is over 8% ABV, this one was insanely drinkable. I would have had no problem drinking the entire bottle myself.

o - Overall this was an interesting bourbon barrel aged beer that I enjoyed and thought worked well. I don't think it is an American strong ale, but more like a light beer aged in bourbon barrels. None the less something I would like to have again sometime.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beatiful pour from the growler into the chosen chalice, a lush, milky white head, very slowly settling, over a uniquely colored brew, a hue somewhere between tangerine and tea.

Aroma carries hints of cherries, oak and maple, followed by harder traces of whiskey, sweetness and harsher alcoholic whiffs...although I find that this nose opens up, widens in scope and character over time...who can says what I'll smell further into the glass.

One the tongue, almost 100% pure bourbon. I like that, bourbon would be my liquor of choice, if I went near the hard stuff. Plumb and rich, abundant whiskey flavor. Makes sense, seeing as how they used a pale ale as a base, that the bourbon character would dominate. Damnably delicious!

Medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel, soft, woody/cherry-ish finish...quite mellow, actually. And defiantly drinkable, ....though every now and then, I remember the strength and put on the brakes...perhaps this growler will serve as a tasty nightcap over the next few days?

Wow. Very nice. Way to go, Lexington!
And thanks to my buddy, kmpitz, for the growler!

(Edit, after reading other reviews: vanilla, and coconut...yeah...why didn't I catch that earlier?)

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for this one!

Pours bright, clear copper with a thin head that becomes a thin cover. Some lacing follows down the glass.

The smell is of bourbon whiskey. Vanilla and oak really stand out. Caramel/toffee backs it up.

The taste is of bourbon. The vanilla and oak are quite strong. Caramel shows a firm maltiness. A light touch of earthy bitterness balances some of the sweetness. Whiskey hangs on well into the aftertaste.

It's on the full side of medium with medium carbonation.

Alcohol is reasonably well-covered, but this is still a sipping, one at a sitting brew for me. Nice bourbon character. Barrel aging well-done.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with some light hints of visible carbonation. The beer had a thin (maybe 1/8 finger tall) off-white head that quickly dissipated to just the faintest of rings at the edge of the glass. Very light lacing is observed.

S: There is a very subtle amount of malt sweetness in the background but upfront this beer is all bourbon - the bourbon smell is a little harsh but has elements of caramel, toffee, and vanilla.

T: Like the smell, the taste of this beer is dominated by the bourbon. The beer starts out with the caramel/toffee malt sweetness but then the bourbon elements come in with the oak and vanilla. There is quite a lot of sweetness to this beer.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: As a bourbon lover, I had very high hopes for this beer and was a little disappointed by the harshness of the bourbon flavor and smell (it almost seemed like they used real cheap bourbon - rot gut stuff). This beer was not sessionable, the flavors were too intense to be able to have more than one at a session and this was a sipping beer.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured with a light, off-tan head with very low retention, quickly reducing to wisps. The color was a beautiful orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose was redolent with vanilla and wood. The first sip gave me the same vanilla and wood that I noted on the nose, plus coconut and honey on the tongue. Wow! Mouthfeel was full and creamy. The finish had a slight alcohol burn, but that was fine by me. I am usually not a huge liquor drinker, nor do I routinely stray from the hops, but dang!, this was some good stuff.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Deep copper and bronze orange body but quite hazy and dull. Head has a creamy yellow and light tan color consistency and makes about two fingers to slowly settle into a soapy collar. Not bad minus the hazy quality, sort of looks like a barleywine.

Light bodied, and some small faint butterscotch like caramel. Senses a bit wet. Slightly sweet but not much oak or barrel aging character it seems. Pleasant at least.

Palate is quite surprising. Extremely light and airy, and very watery. I am talking tap water consistency. Senses of flat root beer like sweetness, and vanilla. Virtually no depth of malt on this at all. Palate isn't off putting, but this is really not lively.

This feels like a dead barleywine mixed with flat root beer. It's not horrid to drink but strangely doesn't remind me of beer let alone a barrel aged one. The only thing I would say is the weak watery body makes it super easy to drink, but my desire to ever want to have this again is virtually nil.

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Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black with a 1" head that hung around a while. Some mild lacing develops during the session.

Smell: roasted malts and hints of bourbon are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild roasted malts, prunes, bourbon tones, vanilla, and a bit of alcohol are wrapped in a soft bitterness. Well balanced beer here.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Heavy in body. Aftertaste lingers a bit on the tongue.

Drinkability: an easy to drink beer as the flavors are not over the top and the alcohol is in check here. You should give this a try especially if it is on draft.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle at America on tap.
Rich caramel with hints of vanilla and oak with a bit of sweetness to round it all out. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Pours a clear bright copper in color, small ring of head forms and recedes away. Aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, butterscotch, and alcohol fumes. The taste follows suit, but does so nicely. There is a sweetness from the oaky tannins of the bourbon barrels, vanilla like. Bourbon flavor makes itself known, with a vaguely smokey sweet alcohol grain flavour. The english pale/irish red base beer lends itself perfectly in its lightness to pick up all the flavors from the barrel. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall, this beer really highlights what fresh bourbon barrels can do to a simple base ale. Quite nice.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a light, clean, golden-chestnut coloring with a thin, off-white head. Aromas are light and sweet, with a vanilla, slight booze, and creamy blend. The beer's flavors are smooth and rich, with a cream overlay of the booze/bourbon characteristics, with a light toffee malt laced throughout. The aftertaste is the creamy sweetness, almost buttercream. Smooth, light finish. Very enticing. Strong flavor profiles, but remains well balanced on the smooth body.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad, but a bit too oaky and sweet. Pours amber with very little head, Smells sweet and oaky with a bourbon nose of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak. Simple, and a bit sweet, but not bad. Similar taste, with the same notes in the nose, but it feels a bit more washed out and fades toward the end. Right at the finish, there is a fairly bit hit of vanilla. Overall, although there are indeed Bourbon flavors here, it's not any Bourbon I'd ever drink- far too one dimensional and lacks subtlety, yet at the same time is a bit washed out and lacks punch, substituting oaky sweetness instead. Just okay.

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Photo of weeare138
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to kmpitz for getting this for me!
Appears a gold with a lush white head and scattered lacing. Very little amounts of carbonation coming to the top of the glass. This is understandable with the heavy bourbon/oak aging.
Smell is of subtle oaky vanilla, bourbon, cream, sweet fermented corn and rye, along with a candy aroma.
Taste is of the same aromas with a butteryness to it, along with vanilla and bourbon...which I love.
Mourthfeel is sweet, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

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Photo of Duff27
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Little white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Cool alcohol legs at the swirl of the tulip. Clear dark amber color.

Smells like apple juice!

Tastes a little like apple juice as well. Slight bourbon feel. Not much hop prescence.

Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Worth a try if you need a Kentucky tick but otherwise you may want to pass....especially in the age of widely available, better tasting barrel agead beers.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer at the midwest brew fest. The beer poured a copperish color with a minimial head. Smells like whiskey rather than beer. Taste like a combination of bourbon and beer which I find unique. Went down smooth as beer and with a hint of whiskey. Overall a good beer for those who like bourbon.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.33/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Drunkmonk for this brew.
Poured a light gold with a small white head. Nose smells sweet, vanilla and slight bourbon.
Tastes of oak, vanilla, bourbon, honey and butterscotch. Mouthfeel has some syrup, oak, honey, butterscotch with light bourbon. Drinkability is very good, not overly boozy. This beer blends lots of flavors together very well and a treat to drink!

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Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger white head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Almost clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is bourbon, flavor is sweet oak/bourbon. Clean finish. $2.99 for a 12oz bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden maple wood crystal clear body with a thing white film of head. There are a few strands of tiny bubbles trailing to the surface.

S- This beer has a big smell of sweet bourbon and a slightly oaky smell with a hint of smoky flavor as it warms.

T- This beer has a smooth sweet bourbon flavor with a light caramel note in it. There is a dark toffee note that comes through as it warms with an oaky and wet wood taste aswell. The finish has a slight white sugar note but no alcohol bite.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz finish that dries out the beer nicely. There is a slight creamy texture that is more noticeable when it is warm and it doesn't have any alcohol heat.

D- This beer has nice big bourbon and barrel flavors but it is a bit too much like candy flavors. They are not overly sweet but they could use something to balance or give more depth to the flavors.

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Photo of Tone
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

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Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium orange hue with the tiniest hint of haze and an extremely robust effervescence. Head is a thick finger of pillowy ivory foam with decent retention. I like it.

Smell: sweet malt with a buttery bourbon aroma right through it. Decent, if you like bourbon.

Taste: sweet malt with a definite buttery taste to it. Strong diacetyl from brewing, or an artifact from the barrel aging process? I can't say. Altogether this beer has a very butterscotch-like quality which I don't love, although it's not strong enough to turn me away completely.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a decent, if not completely mouth-filling, creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a sweet, not-too-bad strong ale; just a bit butterscotchy for me.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a FW tulip

Pours a dark copper, almost reddish color with a slight head. The smell is very big on bourbon notes ... just from the nose you could confuse this with a bourbon barleywine or possibly stout (tho no chocolate flavor here.) Extremely smooth taste with vanilla on the back end but with bourbon up front and lingering. Just as expected and oh so tasty! Caramel and toffee are present as well. Body is medium, just where it should be. Low in carbonation. Real real easy drinking and ABV undectable.

Overall an amazing beer in my eyes. One i could drink a few of without a problem. Im a lover of bourbon so thats definitely a reason why, but why would you even try this beer if you dont like bourbon?

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of light bourbon. Taste is light bourbon, malts, some sugary sweetness as it warms, alcohol is well hidden. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a decent beer, but not as flavorful as it could have been.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle gifted from friends. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" white head above the clear golden amber brew. Head is down to a small-bubbled film pretty quick, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet and bourbony. Taste starts with a moderate pale malt sweetness, oak and vanilla come on in the middle, and then fade into the close. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is much too easy. Still liking this brew.

11/30/05 - 4/3.5/4.5/5/5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/4" of off-white head over the clear light copper brew. Head is gone pretty quick, with sparse bubbly lacing, both kind of par for a barrel-aged brew. Aroma is extremely boozy, easily overpowering the malt sweetness found in the Kentucky Ale base brew. Taste is much more balanced than the nose was indicating, with the malt sweetness smoothly fading into the bourbon tinges, with vanilla and wood apparent, but not enough so as to overpower the other flavors. This is one of the smoothest barrel-aged brews I've had, and the drinkability is just as good. I know it's only 7%abv, but with a lighter brew to start, it would take a bit more finesse to not destroy the original beer. This one is great.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 575 ratings.