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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 Gear54
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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!

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Photo of haddon
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of goatgoat
2.66/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.17/5  rDev -12.4%
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..

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of jancona
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sweet vanilla and bourbon smell along with a hint of brown sugar - taste follows - mellow bourbon flavor with a sweet vanilla malt backbone / no booziness - very enjoyable.

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Photo of simplejj81
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

I wish this would have been aged more than 6 weeks. Too sweet and not enough heat to meet my expectations for this beer. Its good, but I was hoping for more.

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Photo of ixodus
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to auroracrisis for providing this in a trade.

A: Pours golden amber in color with a small white head that dissipates quickly into foam just covering the surface leaving no lacing.

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, bread, small trace of alcohol.

T: The barrel is on the main stage in this one. Oak, vanilla, and bourbon in the forefront, and bready caramel in the back. Quite smooth and not very hot, easy drinking,

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation and a little bit of warming from the alcohol. Could have been a little more full.

O: Overall it's definitely the most easy to drink bourbon barrel beer I've ever had. My glass went empty fast. If it were available here I'd definitely pick some up.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to see a Triad Ba has tried this recently. Picked mine up in Bardstown back in June when I went to Maker's Mark Distillery!
Poured a golden color-like clover honey. Very thin head that dissipated.
Aroma-Smells like Maker's Mark with vanilla notes and whiff of caramel.
Mouthfeel-sweet like a Bourbon and ginger ale, very little hop bitterness but they are detectable.A froth on the palate elicits the alcohol. Tasty but I would like a bolder malt backbone to go with the very good bourbon flavor. The 7% can be felt not too long after finishing this one. Does not look like much when poured but it has a nice sweet bourbon flavor and it finishes clean. Wish i could have found a big flip-top jug like the one in the picture.

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Photo of Retroman40
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a snifter (as recommended by the brewer).

A - Poured out a very clear light copper color with a small but good head.

S - Definite bourbon tones along with malt and grains.

T - Malt with hints of vanilla and oak.

M - Good carbonation, but perhaps just a little thin.

O - I like this one because the bourbon flavors seem to work with the beer, not fight it. It's not like simply pouring some bourbon into a beer as the flavors seem well intertwined with each other. If you go for this type of beer this is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a four-pack at my local Stein's Liquor to split with my dad, who really enjoys this one. No discernible bottled on date. Poured at cellar temperature into my Red Eye pint glass.

L: Pours a pale copper with about a quarter-inch of off-white head that dissipates quickly into an almost nonexistent film which leaves almost no lacing on the glass. Crystal-clear, with moderate visible carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel malts are present, as well as some distinctive vanilla and bourbon notes. Just a bit of earthiness--it's a predominantly sweet bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malt flavors right up front. A bit of breadiness in there, as well. Rather quickly, the bourbon flavor begins to assert itself, though it's not accompanied by any clear alcohol or warming properties. The middle also sees a bit of the vanilla coming through. There's a bit of a red wine sensation near the back end, which doesn't necessarily clash with the bourbon notes. The close has more of the caramel malt and vanilla sweetness, with the bourbon flavor riding things out. A slight bitterness rises in the aftertaste.

F: Medium-bodied, though probably on the lighter side of that categorization. It's crisp at the front and a bit creamy in the middle, aided by a nice level of carbonation. This one doesn't have any stick to it and finishes quite cleanly.

O: This is a pretty tasty brew, given what it purports to be. I wish there was a little more heat from the bourbon, and the malt profile could be a little more engaging. That being said, it's quite drinkable for a beer with this high an ABV, and it will probably please a lot of casual fans of bourbon-flavored anything. But at this price point ($10 for a four-pack), I'm not likely to return to it any time soon.

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Photo of Merkur
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this on tap at Drake's, a new KY based resteraunt that has opened an outpost in the Nashville area.

While a huge, huge fan of bourbon barrel aged beers (stouts especially, and who isn't), this was a bit of a let down.

This beer was served in a Kentucky Brewery snifter glass. It poured a dark amber color. Much lighter than I would have thought.

Like most good bourbon barrel aged brews, this had your usual vanilla and booze smell.

The beer tasted very strongly of the bourbon. While a good stout will pair well and not have this taste overpower the beer, for this beer it was definately in forefront.

The overall mouthfeel was much ligher than I would have imagined. Much more like a brown ale.

Overall this beer has good flavor, but by the end the flavor felt a bit played out.

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Photo of JAFoley
3.09/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - crystal-clear pale amber body with bubbly white head.

S - smoky bourbon musty and sugary

T - subdued bourbon and spices amidst tangy fruits. Flavors are weak and drop off fast

M - medium/light body with moderate/light carbonation.

O - not a beer I'd drink again. Weak flavors and body, not a big fan.

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Photo of Aenema
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a bright, clear amber with a short-lived 1.5 finger soapy off-white head with very little lacing.
Smell - Bourbon, vanilla and caramel.
Taste - Lots of vanilla and sweet caramel - almost a caramel apple flavor - and bourbon.
Mouthfeel - Light-medium body; a little thin and watery with light carbonation. The carbonation begins at a moderate pace but runs out of steam relatively quickly.
Drinkability - Surprisingly drinkable, though the sweetness of this beer prevents it from being a beer to have more than 12 ozs of.
Overall - A very interesting beer that is a nice change of pace.

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Photo of shippos
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

courtesy of clvand0

poured froma growler with a dense pure white head sitting on top of a clear brillant light amber body. soft vanillian notes mixed cream and whiskey but without the harsh hot alcohol. mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, as far as the base beer is concerned it's needs some more body. a bit of a subtile malt character. aging this in boubon barrels really brings out the flavors of the barrels without the base beer getting in the way. absolutly fantastic.

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Photo of dcotom
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a Craft Beer Club sampling glass. Bourbon-like in appearance, clear, dark copper color contrasted by nice head of white foam. The aroma is bourbon barrel forward, but had mellowed quite a bit compared to a fresh one from the same four pack that I sampled a year and a half ago. The harshness on the palate had also diminished, resulting in a very drinkable product with some nice alcohol warmth and a smooth finish. (Kind of like... bourbon.)

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a tulip glass. A dark translucent amber body, no real head to speak of but a white ring of bubbles. Smell is really lacking to the point that I feel like I have a stuffy nose from a cold, which I don't. Only the faintest hint of bourbon comes through.
Ahh, well at least the taste delivers. Extremely strong notes of vanilla from the bourbon. For what is self-described as a sipper, I'd say this is really tasty and drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, let alone and English strong ale. You get a nice dark fruit backbone in the middle but finishes smooth and crisp.
Weak smell, very nice taste.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.76/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into pint glass. Great 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 dare to mix whiskey and beer blends

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Photo of Spidey13
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours a clear, copper color with a thin white head. The nose has a lot of bourbon on it, with some hints of vanilla and oak.

The flavor is malty with some of the vanilla coming through and more bourbon flavor. There is a bit of mild bitterness on the otherwise quick finish. The mouthfeel is a bit thin with low carbonation.

This is a pretty fun beer to try. Most bourbon barrel beers I've had have been porters and stouts, whose strong beer flavor leave the bourbon as only a small accent. Due to this having a milder flavored base beer, the bouron is allowed to really come out, for better or worse.

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

Straight from my brother in Lexington, KY! Pours out light brown, clearly filtered, with a disappointingly small head. It smells sweet, like alcohol, bourbon, and orange. Naturally, there's bourbon in the flavor, which makes it quite unique. The hops at the end are just enough to balance the sweetness, but don't do any more than that. Overall, it's different, but good. In the mouth it's actually quite smooth, and has a slight and satisfying aftertaste. Went down easy, althogh the slightly higher alcohol was noticable.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: golden amber in color, poured into a flute with a very minimal pure white head. little to no lacing to speak of.
S: holy sweet bourbon. the smell is so intense, and i love it. vanilla and toffee notes mingle, but its really just huge SWEET bourbon. i cant emphasize enough how strong it is. the toffee thats mixed in makes an excellent second fiddle, but i could see how some may see it as too much.
T: pretty pleased with the full flavor. sugary bourbon, toffee, cloves, delicious. vanilla bean.
M: its lighter than i initially thought it would be. it comes across almost a little watery, as much as i hate to say it. not up front, but in the backend it lets up just a little bit. flavor is still there, maybe a
little more carbonation would buff it up a little bit.
D: its delicious, and i love this take on a bourbon barrel beer, so id drink them till they were gone. unfortinately i only have one!

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Photo of Buschyfor3
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 12oz bottle served in my Sam Adams perfect pint glass (review from notes earlier in 2014)

A: Amber body with good clarity; pour produces a 1.5 finger thick off-white colored head; retention is decent; clingy lacing down the side of the glass.

S: First whiff reveals the barrel character – slight wood character, some vanilla, a hearty dose of that familiar caramel/butterscotch sweetness from Kentucky bourbon, and just a flash of the boozy alcohol that awaits. Interestingly, I don’t get much from the underlying ale – nothing from the hops, no bitterness, not much of the malt profile.

T: Bourbon presence is strongly felt from the start – flashes of oak, vanilla, and butterscotch all compete for your attention; next the flavors turn to a buttered toast and nutty quality – there is the underlying English ale finally breaking through the barrel character; a flash of heat from the alcohol from the bourbon quickly reminds your palate who is really in charge; finish reintroduces that butterscotch sweetness, and it lingers well after each sip, competing with a growing, glowing burn from the alcohol.

M: Medium-bodied, nice slickness though not overly sticky/syrupy.

O: Compared to the Kentucky Ale, this is miles ahead. Barrel aging adds a some character to the beer – a lot more flavor on the palate and a quite a bit of oomph to the overall package, but at the expense of really overpowering the underlying ale. At 8+% ABV, the booze is present the entire time, and borders on being hot, so drinkability is likely limited to a bottle or two at most.

If I were out somewhere and faced with the choice between Alltech's two most popular offerings, I’d pick the BBA over the standard Kentucky Ale every time. However, most establishments that carry this on draft/bottle lists seem to have a better than average selection of similarly situated craft offerings, and I would probably go there first unless I was really in the mood for something barrel aged with a bit of kick. Still, a decent BBA offering, especially for the price.

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Photo of Hopscat
3.99/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with little head. Server in a small snifter @ John Barleycorns in Chicago. Nose is definitely bourbon with some vanilla and caramel hints. Smells delicious.
Taste follows with bourbon up front and mild smoked and vanilla- caramel malts in mid-palate and bourbon and alcohol burn asserting itself in the end. Not overwhelming for me . Can understand how some can be put off by the bourbon- but really, it's in the Name !
Overall this is a well made beer for the type . Will seek this out again.

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Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Dark Amber...redish...no head

S-Sweetness, bourbon, malts, caramel

T-Bourbon...very smooth...love the way this tastes...the bourbon is the star but the supporting cast is not completely overshadowed. Sweet flavors...caramel, vanilla, hint of chocolate perhaps.

M-Low carbonation...feel the bourbon...smooth

D-I love this beer...it is one of my standard off the shelf favorites (if not favorite)...they ABV will catch up to you but I have no problem drinking mulitples.

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Photo of DJoe
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. Had from a bottle, poured into a pint glass. There was very little about this that could be called distinctive other than the moderate vanilla flavor. Never tasted any bourbon or oak traits.

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