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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.

572 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 572
Hads: 2,617
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 754 | 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: 572 | Hads: 2,617
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 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 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 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 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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Photo of smalenberg
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - lovely amber with slightly beige head

S - Woodiness from the barrel aging, bourbon and malty sweetness combine. Bourbon comes through stronger as the beer rests and hints of alcohol strength.

T - very flavorful malty sweetness with caramel and candy notes followed quickly by the strength of the bourbon.

M - smooth with a bite of alcohol, the body seems light at first, but as the bourbon makes its presence know, it moves quickly to medium. Some alcohol warmth, but not unpleasant. Long lingering bourbon sweetness on the palate.

O - Really glad I've had the opportunity to taste the base amber used to make this beer, which is good in its own right. The bourbon barrel aging takes it up a few notches. Very well done and well worth a try if you appreciate bourbon.

In a Duvel glass.

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Photo of Groomsy
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with "bottled on" date of Nov. 15 2010. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Poured a very transparent and clear light red/amber, basically the same as a Kentucky Ale. However, there was zero head (only a collar of bubbles) and zero lacing. Occasional carbonation bubbles rise, more so when the glass is swirled for agitation. When I first poured it, I thought I got a bad batch, or maybe I just didn't pour it vigorously enough. Beautiful color, though.

Aroma: Big hit of sweet bourbon on the nose is immediate, followed by some vanilla, woody accents, and a subtle malt backing from the Kentucky Ale. I wish they could make a candle after this beer; I would keep it lit in my house all day long, haha. The bourbon and vanilla become much more pronounced as the beer warms. Very promising aroma for this one.

Taste: The bourbon takes the largest part in taste; very sweet with a substantial amount of warming from the alcohol. As the beer warms, more of the malt flavors emerge, as well as the mentioned hints of vanilla and smoky wood. Maybe a little too sweet for its own good, but certainly a great-tasting beer to sip on slowly and enjoy. My only issue with the taste here is that it could be a little more "together"; at certain points, especially after the beer warmed, I felt like the bourbon and beer taste were playing tug of war: Bourbon at the front, beer in the back. Other than that, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: More or less the same as regular Kentucky Ale, minus the carbonation (which Kentucky Ale didn't have a lot of in the first place). A little too thin for its own good, but suitable for the "sipping" nature of the beer.

Drinkability: The alcohol, although noticeable, is fairly well masked by the other flavors in the beer, and this makes it a dangerously drinkable beer. The sweet malts and bourbon characteristics make it a sweet and delicious dessert beer. That being said, if you drink more than two of these, you'll be feeling it; the alcohol creeps up slowly.

Like others, although this beer is great, I wish that Alltech would use a different base beer to age; Kentucky Ale isn't bad, but it's certainly not what one would think to use as an aging candidate. The aging process really stepped up the beer's game substantially, though. I'm proud to drink this and would go after it again.

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Photo of E-McFarden
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pale amber in color, crystal clear. First scents at a distance bring sweet oaky vanilla certainly reminding me of bourbon, then comes the hops and caramel malts. The taste is well balanced and brings the drinker just the right amount of oaky bourbon flavors to balance the malt profile. The alcohol is surprisingly not overpowering considering the subtle flavors. Finishes smooth and dry. I'm surprised this beer isn't getting higher ratings, I would definitely say that if you're drinking this one right out of the fridge you're missing out on the nice flavors and aromas. I like it.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice golden color, thin, about a 1/2" of head, nothing really stands out to me.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon.

T: BOURBON, vanilla and cinnamon. Tastes a little bit like Maker's Mark, if it were a beer. Sweet, smoky bourbon flavors really overwhelm the malt.

M: Kind of creamy, much to my surprise. Smooth.

D: I like bourbon a lot, but I couldn't finish this one, it was a little sweeter than what I was in the mood for.

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Photo of BZero007
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at a NOVA BA tasting and provided by a very generous BA. Big Thanks!

Pours a crystal clear light amber/orange hue in to my Duvel green snifter. Head forms a off white color and hangs around for a little bit. Honestly the beer looks just amazing for a Barrel Aged brew. The aroma is bourbon and oak but it is not overwhelming and is very welcomed. The taste was very interesting as I thought the the bourbon and oak were as close to perfect as you can get in a brew. The base brew I found to not match up very well though. The base brew was good and sweet but for some reason just did not pair well with the bourbon and oak levels. Mouth feel was pretty interesting as I felt it was close to a medium body but not close enough. A well crafted brew tht I would recomend to anyone who enjoys a bourbon and oak brew as the levels of both were amazing.

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

Fantastic beer. Had many times on tap and in bottle form before writing this review. You have to want to taste vanilla in your beer to like it. It's buttery smooth and unique -- I wish I had another beer to compare it to but I've found none. There's a magic formula here that will be duplicated ... eventually.

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Photo of MDHopster
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%

Clear cooper with white head about 3/4 inch. Excellent smell with vanilla oak bourbon nose, pleasantly drinkable with slight alcohol bite. Blends well with steak and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Black Cow in Newburyport. Nice light caramel color. Nice bourbon taste, not sure why this is not rated better. My theory is because not much love for this brewery. I would have again.

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
2.17/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This one starts out good and then divebombs. The appearance is great. A clear amber with a decent fluffy white head. The smell is all wrong. The vanilla overpowers everything and it smells too sweet like candy. There is a hint of bourbon and some malt as well. The taste is the same. The vanilla sweetness is too much. This should be a flavor that hides in the background. The bourbon is there but there is no beer backbone to support the amount of bourbon and vanilla flavor here. This beer seems like it was created in a laboratory, not aged in barrels. The mouthfeel is really thin but syrupy at the same time. This plays into the idea that beer is not big enough to handle the bourbon barrel "aging" at all. Drinkability is low, very low. This one reminds me of my first sip of ST Creme Brulee. The intent and craftmanship were there but somewhere along the line a good idea turned into a bad product.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have tried this beer on 3 different occasions.
I am not a bourbon drinker, but I can tell the difference between bourbons.
Each time was different. I asked the bartender what he thought of the beer ( he knows his stuff) and he told me that this "batch" tasted like it was a makers mark barrel...I then tasted makers mark.
He continued to tell me they use different bourbon brand barrels for it and you can discern the difference in bourbons.
I liked the previous ones better (no idea what brand barrel they used....or if that is even true)

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Photo of frankiepop
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my 1st bourbon barrel aged ale so I struggle to review. However, I can say what I have here is quite different. Appearance is a slightly smokey ale with a nice white head & some decent lacing.

The aromas, not mere aroma, is a wild bourbon slash ale with a slight citrusy sourness.

The taste is like no ale or beer that I ever tasted. Man, there is a beer flavor warmed with a tasty sweet and slightly tart flavors. That's bourbon. Like a boilermaker. Not my cup of tea, but I bet if you like that sort of thing this would be nice to try.

The carbonation is nice and easy, but the bourbon like warmth slows this to nice sipper. I will rarely engage in this type of beverage again, but this was a nice experience.

I would pair this friend with something southern. Maybe Bobby Bare "The Moon was Blue"

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I must admit this was the first time I had ever enjoyed a lighter-bodied ale that had spent any amount of time inside the guts of a bourbon barrel. I had unceremoniously consumed Lexington’s daily ale a few days earlier and I could only imagine, while drinking this bourbon ale, that the weaker beer was used as it’s base (I believe I am wrong). Thankfully, that bubbly malt beverage had no real inspiration therefore letting those beautiful barrels do the real man’s job.

In my mouth this bourbon ale sang with an almost artificial bourbon essence like a vocoder covering up the very real mistakes. High notes of cherry, coconuts and vanilla extract made this taste almost like bourbon & cream-soda cocktail.

Strange though, through all my negativities, I actually enjoyed it and could see it’s rightful place in a styrofoam cooler on some double-wide’s cement slab, The Derby blaring on a tiny old tube TV. Just me & a couple good old boys lazing on a sun-bleached couch.

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Photo of joberlander
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice bourbon in the aroma but the mouth feel and taste is so thin. I get hints of the bourbon but its almost a watered down taste and don't really get other flavors from the beer. Hides the alcohol well but when I drink a bourbon barrel beer I like it to be a bit thicker. Overall, its great if you want a little bourbon flavor in a beer you can have a few of, but I wish they aged it a bit longer in the barrels.

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Photo of Dwreck
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

Huge smell of oak which was exciting, but that was about it. Has a bright clear copper color. Mouthfeel was medium high carbonation and the taste was bright but odd. The high carbonation hurt the bourbon flavors. Both beers I have tried from this brewer were disappointing. Looked good, smelled good, fell short.

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Photo of masterbruewer
3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden brown, plenty of head.

Smell has hints of earthy bourbon flavor,

Interesting blend of flavor. The bourbon taste is stronger than I expected, but settles in fairly well.

Mouthfeel is unremarkable.

In fairness, I'm not a big fan of any "flavored" beer, be it cherry, pumpkin or bourbon. I tried to factor that in to my opinion. That said, it wasn't bad. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now and revisit later when I'm more familiar with the style.

If you like bourbon or flavored beer, it's worth a try.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 572 ratings.