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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

2,336 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,336
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.53%
Wants: 119
Gots: 511 | 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: 2,336 | Reviews: 565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of jlindros
4.24/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a tough one to get. It was originally only on tap available in growlers only, but this winter they decided to add it to a gift pack with bottles. Thanks a bunch to Noslenwerd for going out of his way to get me this one. Unfortunately the glass that came in the sampler pack broke in the trip here, but at least the beer made it. I'm excited to try it, despite the B rating.

A: A very light fluffy head forms and disperses just as fast. It's a very clear pale golden color with a little orange.

N: Nose is actually pretty sweet, with a very bourbon barrel characteristic. It reminds me of when I went to a couple distilleries in KY and the basic aroma you get from nosing the actual barrels when they are opened, minus the crazy bourbon aroma. It's a little creamy and fruity, but mostly just a great bourbon aroma. Not much on the way of beer yet.

T: Taste actually starts with a slight malty flavor, but mostly is again bourbon. Tastes like a nice light and smooth bourbon with much less alcohol. It has some clear woody esthers as well, and an obvious oak taste. More of that fresh from the barrel bourbon flavor. It also has a little fruitiness, and some more sweet almost honey like flavors. It still hides the 8%abv well though. The bourbon and woody flavors come out even more as it warms. I recommend letting it warm a bit. With all the flavors, and bourbon especially, it's still really smooth.

M: Semi thin, more than I expected, and very little carbonation.

F: Finishes a little sweet still, and even has a touch of creaminess. It has some woody esthers that linger, as well as some oak. Not much lingering on the bourbon flavor. A little bitterness starts to come through, but more from the esthers than hops. It doesn't last long before your mouth is clean and ready for more.

Being a big bourbon fan, the fresh bourbon and oak flavors of this really impress. The beer side is a little flat and the lack of carbonation in a light ale is a little hard to get by. But how much great bourbon flavor this has, and even seems to have a little of the sweet bourbon mash and woody esthers, I really enjoyed it.

Photo of Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up while at Ft Knox at the Px, just getting around to reviewing it.

Poured cold into a session ale glass

A - An ale the shade of bourbon w/ a bone white 2 1/2 finger fluffy head. The lace clings moderately well

S - The scent of bourbon is strong in the nose w/ a subtle ale fruitiness and boozy woody notes that accent the aroma

M - Very mild sweetness w/ a mild carbonation and gently chalky feel w/ nutty vanilla oaky wood textures and smooth finish that practically falls flat

T - The bourbon smell carries over into the taste w/ a mostly light ale flavor and subtle fruity tinges w/ a vanilla bourbon oak taste w/ a beer flavor that really has a meek demeanor in relation to the Bourbon oakiness that accents it almost dominates it. There is a slight hop/vegetal note and possible adjunct type sweetness in the flavor, an overall light ale taste that seems out of porportion in relationship to the sweetness in the bourbon.

D - I enjoyed the bourbon flavor in this , but one or two seems like more than enough. This ale just falls short of great and allows the bourbon aging to manhandle the flavor while making the beer seem light. It isn't the best wood aged beer, but it is worth a try

Photo of oline73
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm going to try to do better at guessing what I'm drinking than I did with the first bottle. Beer#2. A blinded 12oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy reddish amber with a small layer of off white head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and doesn't leave much lacing. 3

Smell: This is getting interesting. I'm hit with a slightly fruity sourness right away. There is some sweet malt as well. I feel like I'm picking up some pineapple and maybe some red wine. 3

Taste: The sourness from the smell definitely shows up here as well. I'm picking up some red wine notes here too. The flavor is slightly buttery with some butterscotch in the finish. Along with the sourness, there is a slight bitterness that magnifies the wine like flavor in the finish. 3.5

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with smooth and tingly carbonation. The finish is quite dry. 4

Overall: This was an interesting beer. I would guess that it was wine barrel aged. Not real sure on the style, something with some wild yeast? 3.5

Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

Pours honey/amber with one finger of rapidly falling pearl colored head. Nice viscous look to this with average lacing & head retention

S: Toffee, butterscotch & bourbon by the bucket that faded as this warmed

T: Dryness, bourbon & butterscotch & some booze warmth upfront. Much toffee, oaky, dryness & vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry, semi-boozey with a touch of honey, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: A bit thin all things considered, more malt depth is needed, with medium carbonation

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the BAer who brought this to our Nov. '12 Philly 'burbs bottle share.

I was told this comes from a land where you can order Bud, Miller Lite, or Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. So yay, for this. Poured a clear, honey-brown color with a thin bubbly white head that didn't stick around for too long. Aroma of caramel malts, bourbony oak, toffee. It's always interesting to taste a bourbon-aged beer that isn't a stout or porter, and it really works for this beer, which would probably otherwise be a simple, timid, English ale. Pale malts, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, bourbon and vanilla; pretty much nothing as far as hoppiness goes. Medium body, fairly smooth and creamy, slick with booze but not harsh or hot, lower carbonation. Yeah, it was different, and it was good.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
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?)

Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

C+

Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Low level head that leaves little lace. The color is a perfect neutral amber and is crystal clear.

More earthy than anything else. There's a bit of sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

This is a sweet ale. Again, molasses seems to be the strongest flavor. If there is bitterness, it is overwhelmed by the malt sugars. Not complex. Very rich body--low carbonation.

Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of wrightst
1.5/5  rDev -59.1%

Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -15%
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.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,336 ratings.