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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
82
good

561 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 561
Hads: 2,555
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 16.25%
Wants: 145
Gots: 700 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 561 | Hads: 2,555
Photo of mavbrew
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter that came with the beer.

A: Pours a transparent amber color with an off-white head that dissipates into a thin lace.

S: Smells like I am drinking a Manhattan. Some serious bourbon scent with a bit of a woodiness and a hint of vanilla.

T: The taste is just as it smells. A quick explosion of bourbon upfront which is immediately followed by a vanilla burst that carries into the finish and well after.

M: Thin/medium bodied with average carbonation.

D: The name on the label fits this beer perfectly. You get the bourbon flavor in the smell and right upfront, but then the vanilla flavor comes in and takes over. It seems that this is exactly what they were going for and it works nicely. (746 characters)

Photo of jacobseyb
3.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle golden orange with a little bit of white head, less than a finger strong. Bourbon dominates the nose , with some alcohol finishing it out. Bourbon and caramel malt are present in taste with little to no hops present. Feel is very smooth, some carbonation, some oiliness. Overall it is not my favorite, I would have preferred more flavor and more carbonation. (381 characters)

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sniffer

Appearance - Dark orange with a hazy appearance; good lacing on the side

Smell - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Malts, and toffee. It's like smelling an actual bottle of bourbon with a slightly more vanilla scent

Taste - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Toffee, Malts and Yeast. While it still tastes great, the flavors all come off as a bit underwhelming despite the complexity.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and light with some moderate carbonation. It feels great and refreshing but it would feel much better if it had a creamy texture to it

Overall - As a bourbon ale, it's good but it feels a bit underwhelming for what it is. That doesn't mean that it's a bad beer, far from it! For a beer in general, it's pretty damn good. (741 characters)

Photo of McNealc31
4.94/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All the familiar characteristics of a good bourbon hit me immediately. That oakey and vanilla scent, the copper color. It drinks like the smoothest bourbon you've ever had with that unctuous buttery feel going down. And a hint of residual warmth. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is delicious, smooth, and has an aggressive, tricky 8% ABV. (334 characters)

Photo of Auslander
3.36/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. It is the color of honey. Bone white head does not last long. Almost no lacing.

Smells of bourbon and muted vanilla.

Taste- Wow. Nice mixture of vanilla, honey, and mellow bourbon. I like this. It is a worthwhile beer. (262 characters)

Photo of cooncat
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Save-On in Mentor as a single for $3.00 for a 12 oz. bottle.

Poured at fridge temps into my S.A. glass, the beer is a bit darker than your standard BMC lager in color, with a 1 fingered ecru head which diminishes quickly. A bit of lacing on a swirl of the glass, but no stickage (or very little).

The nose has bourbon in it, which, given the name, is not a surprise. Its not overwhelming, but more of a hint of bourbon. Behind that is a light malty sweetness. Overall, nothing exciting going on in the nose.

The taste is pretty similar to the nose. To be honest, it tastes pretty much like someone added a dash of bourbon to a glass of BMC type lager. I'm stretching my taste buds to try to pick up some of the other flavors I've read other reviewers mention, and I'm not coming up with much. There is a bit of caramel malt behind the bourbon; no noticeable hop presence. Carbonation level is on the high side .. not enough to make it "bitey", but enough to thin the mouthfeel to med-light. As for drinkability, I'd have to say that I'd reach for one of my homebrews before I reached for another one of these.

This is my first beer from a Kentucky brewer, and this particular brewer (Lexington Brewing Co.). Hope that my next beer from this region offers a bit more. Would I recommend it? Well, if you can get yourself a single, and you enjoy the flavor of a "shot and a beer", you'll probably be a candidate for giving this one a try. Otherwise, I can't recommend it .. especially at $3 for a single.

Na Zdravje! (1,532 characters)

Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter with its own logo, this brew looks nice. An interesting red tea like color to it. Small head quickly drops to nothing. Smell is a tad weak. Bourbon dominates with some wood in there as well. Taste is sweet candy and bourbon. No real hop presence detected. Lighter than I would have expected but the mouthfeel is just right. Very drinkable as an after dinner beer. (385 characters)

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aroma - Vanilla, wood, and a hint of sweet fruit

Appearance - Poured a big light tan head that dissipated to just a thin film and collar. The beer was a very light golden yellow.

Taste - Almost the same as the nose. Slightly buttery flavor surrounded by sweetness with a hop bite at the end.

Notes - This seems to pale in comparison to the draft versions I've had before. The draft versions I remember are full of buttery smooth flavors while this seems a watery dull version of that. I hope this was just a bad bottle or batch. (531 characters)

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of welldigger888
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured an amber hue with a nice snow white head that leaves ample lacing.

Seems to be an average ale in aroma with just a kiss off barrel aging.

The vanilla woodsy bourbon comes through well in the flavor.

Nice and creamy that plays well with all the bourbon.

A nice well done brew. (286 characters)

Photo of eclipse54
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Casanova on my New Glarus run. Saw it sitting there and figured I'd give it a shot. Poured into a DFH signature glass.

The body is much lighter than expected, being more of a golden wheat color with some reddish, copper hues. It's very transluscent and only develops a thin, quarter-inch layer of eggshell white head. Minimal retention and lacing, but there is an ever present pillow of bubbles streaming up the center of the glass and billowing out on the surface. Still, I would not have guessed this was a barrel aged strong ale by looking at it (maybe an IPA?).

Aroma is of bourbon and not much else. Maybe some brown sugar or caramel, maybe. A bit offputting, and here's to hoping that it tastes better than it smells.

And it does, tasting of bourbon, some vanilla and toffee, a bit of oak and caramel, some brown sugar, and a hefty dose of ethanol. Surprisingly, it's not too bad once you get past the dominating bourbon.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and resinous, and it finishes pretty dry. Prominent alcohol burn on the finish.

Overall, this isn't one I'll be revisiting anytime soon. The bourbon is just way too pronounced for me. It really seems like you could have recreated this by just adding bourbon as opposed to barrel aging. Perhaps it will mellow out a bit with some time, but I'm not going to be the one to find out. (1,373 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a 4 pack split with a friend from a store in Bowling Green, KY. Poured into a regular pint glass.

A: Pours a light brown with not much of a head at all. The little bit of head that is there doesn't leave any lace at all.

S: Bourbon really dominates the nose which I would normally love. However, this is a one trick pony so I am only giving it slightly better than average.

T: A hint of malt sweetness mixed with some vanilla and oak flavors. I am not really getting the bourbon taste which is surprising based on the aroma.

M: It feels extremely thin almost watery. Not really a lot of other character either.

D: Since it is listed as a strong ale, it is pretty drinkable for that style. (727 characters)

Photo of mondegreen
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a stemmed Cantillon glass.

A: Clear golden color with a moderate head. Fades quickly to a ring on the outside of the glass.

S: Bourbon supported by sweet malts. Honey and dark sugar linger in the background. In all, an interesting mish-mash, but pretty tame.

T: Leaves me wanting. The bourbon is pretty faint and the malts
leave a sweet residue on the palate. Nothing more to report. I was really hoping for huge bourbon notes from this one.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Just about average.

D: Probably a little more drinkable than I'd like. I want my bourbon ales be challenging sippers. It may sound harsh, but this tastes like the lawnmower beer of strong ales. (701 characters)

Photo of tvv375ia
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-ochre colored with about a 2 finger head that stays around for awhile

S-bourbon dominates when being poured and still strong when the glass is sitting on the table and can be smelled for a few feet. When the glass rest for a time it settles down I can smell a litte carmel and vanilla as well

T-bourbon comes throgh here as well with a faint touch of malt but not a lot really

M-light to medium bodied with pretty good carbonation throughout

O-I guess I would go along with the people calling it a bourbon bomb (557 characters)

Photo of MistahBeah
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear honey. Little carbonation. Small head. No lace. Not much else to speak of

Smell: Sweet bourbon. Some oaky vanilla. Molasses as it gets a bit warmer

Taste: Definitely bourbon. Tastes similar to an innis & gunn. Some oak. None of the sweeter aromas come out in flavor other than the bourbon but its nice

Mouthfeel: Very light. A little crisp but smooth. A little boozy sting as it warms but its still pretty well hidden. Not bad

Overall: A nice package overall. Really nice flavor but not terribly complex - not that it claims or needs to be. I would get it again (583 characters)

Photo of JLSIV
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass, Bright clear copper color with a thin one finger head that dissipated very quickly, some lacing.

Aroma of oak and bourbon was extremely pleasant

Taste was bourbon up front, with an aggressive alcohol flavor for an 8.5 ABV brew. I have had trippels and quads that were more subtle. If you are looking for an old-fashioned boiler maker flavor, then this is for you.

Mouthfeel is thin and a little watered down.

Overall, I think this is a gimmicky attempt to attract the crossover high end spirit crowd. I am glad that I purchased this as a single, it just isn't my thing I guess. Again, some of the positives are the aroma and appearance…it is definitely an eye grabber for the initial aroma and color, I think there are better English Strong Ales out there. I gave it the mark I did based largely on appearance, aroma, and effort. Probably won't be trying again. (921 characters)

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

poured a clear orange color, the sent is oak and sour mash, the flavor is, sour at first sip with hints of corn mash, the second wave is a gental oak flavor and sweet alchoal that warms the belly. at the end i am left with a combo of sour, oak and clean krisp bitter hops. this isnt what i would call a great beer but just avrage, this is a beer that i would drink if offered but wont go out of my way to get more (413 characters)

Photo of hoptualBrew
2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle pours a transluscent light copper color. Little off white cream head dies down quick. No lacing, but pretty descent alcohol legs. I was expecting a thicker, fuller beer - but lets see what we have here...

Nose is some sweet malts & seemingly watered down bourbon. Very bourbon dominant here.

A sweet kick up front & bourbon all over the palate. Its not overwhelmingly strong, but its just not good - very one dimensional. In the back end I get a kick of corn, yes - corn, semi sweet & not so tasty. There is a little boozy burn at the back too.

Too thin (4/10) for my taste . In my opinion, this brew needs more complexity (no corn taste please) & a bigger body.

Overall, I really did not enjoy this one. If you like bourbon, you will probably like this beer. But I dont - I prefer beers with a hint of bourbon, not a smack of it to the mouth. I will be giving out the rest of the 4pack unfortunately. (917 characters)

Photo of stonermouse
3.61/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Poured golden and crystal-clear. Fantastic, puffy head, which constantly regenerated. Great lacing as well.

Mild, oaky aroma. Very little bourbon in the smell, which was a bit disappointing. It's a little bready in the aroma as well, more like bread and butter. A touch of vanilla presents as well. Interesting at least.

The taste here is easily nailed down to any bourbon fan. If you've ever mixed your bourbon or Jack Daniels with a diet ginger ale, over-iced it, then gotten distracted and not had a chance to drink it until the ice melted, this is pretty much what we're dealing with here. The only difference is that oak from the aroma, which smooths out the flavor a bit. It's unique, but can be achieved much more successfully with a cheap whiskey and your ginger ale brand of choice.

As this warms, the carbonation dies back and a little more sweet vanilla flavor shows through. But cold, it's a dead ringer for Jack and ginger.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, actually. Not as sticky and sweet as I expected it to be, and the oak flavor makes it pretty smooth and rich. The pillowy head adds some depth as well.

Interesting brew. Neat flavors, but nothing is overly spectacular. Try it once, marvel at the watery bourbon and ginger ale similarity, and that'll do. (1,304 characters)

Photo of Shrews629
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very clear dark orange to light amber color. An off white colored head that was small, fizzy and dissipated rather quickly. It left a scant amount of lacing behind. The head was comprised of small bubbles and settled to a ring around the top.

Smell - The first aroma was, of course, the Bourbon whiskey. It smells slightly sweet. Aromas of vanilla and toffee. Gradual notes of caramel as it started to warm.

Taste - The flavor brought out more of the Bourbon whiskey. Some decent touches of vanilla. As I sipped, the Bourbon started to settle in and become more pleasant and balanced. Some "woody/oak" flavors are there, but seem to be restrained. The sweetness is a nice compliment to restrain the whiskey.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Smooth and dry. A small warming effect from the alcohol, but nothing too great or overbearing. Leaves trace amount of flavor on the palate.

Drinkability - This Bourbon Barrel Ale is a decent example for the style. Not the best example I've had, but nothing horrible or undrinkable. Not quite balanced as well as some of the others. The Bourbon comes off a bit strong at first, but it does calm down as you get going. (1,174 characters)

Photo of haddon
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (823 characters)

Photo of goatgoat
2.66/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear gold with just a hint of orange. A white one finger head quickly falls to nothing. No lace.
Aroma is heavily bourbon and oak with a sharp alcohol. As it warms it lets a bit more vanilla through.
Taste opens up a bit. More oak than bourbon and still strong though less overwhelming. I'm still missing the "beer" in this beer. A vanilla alcohol finish, very sweet, with a bit of a burn. Though that may be more a sensory memory association due to the bourbon aroma.
Light body with more carbonation that the appearance lets on.

My first bourbon barrel brew, gotten in a trade. It's a very new experience, interesting, not something I'll seek out again. I've never been a fan of brown liquor, though. (712 characters)

Photo of JunkYardJake
3.17/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into tulip.
Pours amber in color with a small head. Smells very much of bourbon as the barrel aging really took to the brew. A little vanilla in the nose as well. Taste follows the nose with the vanilla coming out a little more but still very much a hot bourbon palate. The bourbon imparts a raw licorice and raisin taste. Mouthfeel is creamy and coats the mouth and throat. Not my favorite but I'm glad I had a chance to try it.. (450 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Date: 06/17/2010
Type: 12oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

*First off, I would like to thank Kevin(BEERchitect) for hooking me up w/ this brew and giving me the opportunity to sample it.

Poured a golden straw color w/ light red hues and a 1/4 finger white bubbly head, that left a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Nose was of light whiskey, oak, vanilla, and maybe a touch of brown sugar. Almost smells like a very light Jack or Beam and coke. The taste was of oak, vanilla, and subtle bourbon whiskey that gives you enough for you to know it's there, but does not overwhelm. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, but adequate as it brings more bourbon notes from the barrel aging forward. Drinkability? I could drink this all night, actually I am going to put another 12ozer in the fridge as we speak.

Kevin, I hope you don't mind trading me some more of this brew next week, because I am sure the 6-pack is not going to last long! Do seek this brew out if you enjoy whiskey BAing that is very mild and makes for an extremely drinkable brew. (1,064 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: minimal amount of foam that faded quickly. It had a dark copper color and slight lacing.

S: vanilla and oak mostly with a slight alcohol note underneath

T: to me this beer lived up to its potential. It was slightly sweet with vanilla and oak flavored. There was little doubt about the bourbon barrel's impact on this brew. Hardly any bitterness

M: light with a lasting bourbon finish

O: This wasn't the beer I was planning on having at the pub but I'm glad it's the one that landed on my coaster! I'll be grabbing some for the beer fridge! (546 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 561 ratings.