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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: 2,618
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 572 | Hads: 2,618
Photo of ABOWMan
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

The ale poured a rich golden color with perfect clarity. With some effort, I was able to obtain a creamy off white head of relatively course bubbles which dissipated rapidly. No lacing was evident as I drank this aromatic ale.

Speaking of aroma, this ale wreaks of bourbon and vanilla with some burnt wood smokey notes to finish. What's lacking is any faint aroma of anything beer, like malt for instance. Close your eyes, or keep them open, and waft a smell and you'd think you were sniffing a high ball.

The flavor is bourbon upfront, charred wood, vanilla and brown sugar. The lack of any beer flavor ruins what would could have been, a decent brew.

The mouthfeel is thin and watery. It seems almost impossible to be so thin given the ABV and intensity of bourbon flavor. As a result, drinkability is average, but why bother given the price for a four pack. There are plenty of good bourbon barrel ales out there. Don't waste your money on this one.

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Photo of Preismj
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is personal favorite of mine in terms of local brews. works well with guinness as a type of 'black and tan' which is, locally, called a 'black barrel'. I recommend the mix.

a: brown amber color with a mostly white head and hints of light brown.

s: a malty sweetness from the bourbon gets you first here with a caramel in the mix. toffee and a roasted scent catch you at the tail.

t: sweet from bourbon. the booze is present for sure, but such a nice finish to this beer. the caramel is strong in this along with a roasted and burnt taste of toffee.

m: Perfect carbonation and very smooth in the mouth.

d: I could have (and often do have) many of these in a row. It is a great beer that gets better as you have more. Once the booziness dies down, the taste of the caramel shines and tastes like a drink you've never had before.

I recommend taking an actual sip of bourbon before a sip of this stuff to get some of the booziness out of the way up front. While the heat is welcome, it is that taste of the caramel and toffee that keeps me coming back to this beer again and again.

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Photo of nova009
4.52/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a bronze copper color reminiscent of pennies. Light carbonation with little to no head.

S- Wow fantastic smell! The bourbon really hits you from the start. Vanilla and oak follow with a fair amount of prominence.

T- Really complex and delicious flavors. The mixture of bourbon and vanilla make for a very smooth drink. Alcohol is present but is not overbearing.

M- Carbonation is light but balances well. An almost silky feel that makes you want to swish it around in your mouth for awhile.

D- Definitely one you want to sip on. A great one to drink before bed.

I love bourbon and good beer so this one was perfect for me. Definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Amber color with mild to no head and moderate carbonation. Strong bourbon aroma with a hint of smokiness and hop notes. Beer? What beer? Smells like we poured a glass of bourbon. Caramel bourbon flavor without an alcoholic kick. Mostly bourbon flavors and not much in the way of beer. Perhaps a bit too heavy on the bourbon flavor which suffocates the beer flavor? Finishes with a carbonated bite. Good strong bourbon flavor.

If you want bourbon. Drink bourbon.

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Photo of Umbra
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on the way out of CVG at the ?& Erma's
Though it had the same great color as the bottle version, the carbonation and head were non-existent. Aroma was muted as well, with only some faint bourbon and vanilla mixing around. Again, I really liked the flavor, though the vanilla seemed to distract from the bourbon at times. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweet finish. Quite drinkable, but only for 2-3.

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Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

golden brown. crystal clear. poor head retention, and poor lacing.

toffee, caramel, malty, sweet, alcohol smells. there is some bourbon aroma there too but not as much as the name would suggest. i think the bourbon notes are coming off as caramel and toffee. dont taste oak, just toffee and caramel. some of the vanilla from the bourbon come through as well.

immediately huge caramel an toffee flavor. like biting into a skor bar. sweet and crisp, very malty flavor. again it doesnt taste immediately taste like whiskey, but the flavor of whiskey is what lingers after the finish.

medium body. crisp finish.

this is definitely an interesting beer. this beer has benefitted from being bourbon barrel aged, i have tried the original. a beer with decent complexity. i would like to serve this to a friend who drinks nothing but cheap whiskey and cheap domestic lager and see if he digs it.

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Photo of slusk
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: This brew pours a thin white head. It is brilliantly clear with a copper/ orange color.

S: Oak and caramel dominate the nose with a spicy, woody note from the hops filling in the background. There's a bit of mild raisin. This reminds my of smelling an empty bourbon barrel.

T: The taste goes right along with the smell, a nice oaky flavor of the bourbon with the spicy notes of earthy hops in the background. There is a bit of alcohol burn and it tastes of a higher ABV than it actually has. The sweet caramel underpins the flavor profile, but the bourbon and oak is ever present.

M: It has a low/medium body with a lower carbonation that lets the bourbon shine.

O: This is a nice beer. The alcohol bite hits you early but it changes its character as you drink. Over all it's a nice beer that I wouldn't think twice about sipping on a cold winter night.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Vintage Estate some months back and liked it enough to remember to pick up a bottle this last trip (yesterday)

Bottled version does not do my memory of it justice.

Appearance is just like someone splashed a few drops of Bourbon into a Bud. Sadly, the taste is pretty much like someone splashed a few drops of bourbon into a Bud light - or to be more accurate, probably it's the Lexington pale ale.

There's a vanilla, caramel, maltiness there, which I should like, given my proclivities. But, this is really not up to par with some of the heavier stuff. I guess it's a bit like the beers that put the fake lime or chili or whatever in it. Maybe this is a ballpark version of the Bourbon aged stuff that is out there. Though to be fair, there is a nice syrup quality to the mouthfeel and it's not a full-on fake flavor deal. Plus the high ABV is well-disguised, though also well-telegraphed by the bourbon taste. The aftertaste/finish is pleasing. Not as boozy a feel as you'd expect. Mellow.

Honestly the idea that someone just poured a light beer into a glass that still had some Kentucky bourbon in it is hard to shake or get past.

Not one I'd get again. But not offensive in any way. The mellowness and lack of any real problems is what made me give it a b-. If you're working your way through the bourbon-modified beers, this should go on your list.

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Photo of alexhahn82
2.23/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A. Copper orange in color with just shy of a one finger head.

S. Nothing too killer, a hint of vanilla, medium malt.

Taste. Slight caramel with a small taste of vanilla, not really getting any tones of bourbon?

Mouthfeel. Medium to moderator carbination, slight bite, not writing home about this one.

O. For a year round bourbon barrel I guess its decent, but aging 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels I would still expect a little more. I drink a whole hell of a lot of bourbon barrel beers, but this one to me isn't even tasting or resembling one, I would rate this right with Allagash Curieux (bourbon barrel) they both taste like good/decent beers, just don't taste anything like bourbon to me.

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Photo of julian89
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this from work at Hop City.
Poured from growler into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a half inch head no lacing, decent retention. Bubbling is seen through the glorious translucent amber.

Smell: Vanilla and coconut dominate. Bourbon smell of sweet butterscotch. Last I smell earthly notes of smoked oak.

Taste: The progression... smooth bourbon and malty taste, then I received a strong medium bodied vanilla and coconut taste, then the earthly feel on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A medium to soft bodied feel with watery flow. Decent carbonation from a growler.

Drinkability: Very good taste and smell. It is a very pretty beer. I will say it's downfall if mouthfeel and it could be a bit stronger due to it's ~8% ABV but alas. It still gets a fairly high rating from me.

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Photo of Bierlerner
4.19/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle and into a KBBA snifter

A- pours a very crisp, clear golden caramel color. A bright white head of 1 finger bubbles up fast and then almost as fast clears away. From appearance it looks a bit thin. When drinking, little splotches of lacing are left behind.

S- nice and light bourbon aroma. Faint hints of oak. Butter.

T- At first sip, it tasted of a watered down bourbon. But once warmed and sipped more, it blossomed into much more balance. Bourbon, oak, a hint of lemon peel. And a very pleasant creamy caramel and butterscotch through out as well. Not very complex, but very pleasant and very well balanced.

M- my one complaint, the mouthfeel is a bit thin. Could use some more body and perhaps more carbonation.

O- overall a fantastic after dinner nightcap, which is why I'm looking past the light body. Would stock in reserve lol

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Photo of rmalinowski4
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my bells snifter. Received as an extra from Preismj. Thanks Matt.

Pours a clear bourbon brown with a half finger of off white head. The head recedes quickly leaving a ring of lacing on the glass. You can see the bubles dance up the glass.

Smell is bourbon and sweet malt, there are no hops on the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, and sweat, bready malt. Smells like an after dinner drink.

Taste is vanilla, bourbon, oak, and malt. The vanilla hits in the front followed almost immediately by the bourbon and oak. The finish is bready malt that lingers on the palate with some of the oak. The flavors are strong and a little overpowering. If you like bourbon, you will like this beer.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium. The carbonation is moderate, just about right for the mouthfeel.

Overall, I like this beer. I like bourbon and vanilla, and that is what this beer is about. It is not a very complex beer, which is why I didn't rate it higher. Thanks again Matt for this very nice beer.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Amber color, with minimal head that fades fast
S: smells like sweet alcohol and funky beer
T: reminds me of flat sweet wine. Likes it's been left in the glass overnight.
F: thin and watery.
O: not going to get again

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Photo of gratefuld
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale brown with minimal head. Decent enough.

S: Hints of vanilla

T: Soft taste with a pretty heavy vanilla aftertaste. You can taste the bourbon aging. The taste was not nearly as strong though as I anticipated. I really like this one.

M: Low carbonation with a nice soft feel on the palate.

O: I really like this beer. It exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of raleigh_blue
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle with no date. Picked up a few months ago in NOLA.

A: Aggressive pour into Iron Abbey snifter leaves a thin head with no lacing. Clear golden amber.

S: Hints of caramel and malts. Not much here. No Bourbon whatsoever.

T: Somewhat pleasing vanilla caramel and malt. Again, like the nose, zero bourbon. Is very hot - does not disguise the abv whatsoever.

M: A little thin but with good carbination .

O: A poor mans BBA ASA. I would not buy it again but its not awful.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass at around 45F. The beer looks like a pale ale; dark gold/light orange, perfectly clear, with moderate carbonation. The head is a loose white foam that falls to a thin cap. No lacing. The nose is very big, with vanilla highly dominant and bourbon pretty hidden; nothing else shows through. Flavor is vanilla again, with a bit of honey-like sweetness and some graininess toward the finish. There's a dulce de leche like quality to the beer; a mild, buttery caramel. Interestingly, while the beer is generally sweet, the finish dries out a bit, and prickly carbonation balances the beer. Hops don't play much of a role with this one; none in the nose, none in the flavor, and the bittering appears to be just enough to prevent the beer from being cloying. It's not heavy on the tongue, and the alcoholic heft doesn't make itself noticed. Perhaps a bit out of balance, but an interesting drink just the same.

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Photo of KELPAK
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A real nice beer to sit back and sip on amongst friends or watching a game. Has a real likeness to drinking a tumbler of bourbon which can be a great thing for some people but for me it was a little much.

Taste is on the sweet side but it is an enjoyable beer for the bourbon barrell enthusiest which there are a great deal of in my area.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to kmpitz2 for this sample.
Poured from a growler into a snifter glass.

For those of you who live in the Midwest, this beer reminds me Vernor's soda pop, not just in appearance but also in smell. I mean this tastes like bourbon flavored Vernor's pop. Crazy! Pours a clear brilliant golden color, looks like Southern Comfort. A nice half inch thick bright white head forms. No lacing is left behind. Big bourbon aromas, combined with vanilla, wood, and coconut. Very pleasing on the nose. Well balanced flavors of bourbon and beer. Both compliment each other well. Medium to light bodied and a nice smooth mouthfeel. This is way too easy to drink. I'm glad I have a growler of this stuff!! See ya in the emergency room! Thanks again, Kevin!

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Photo of TVolt1
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Golden, clear appearancewith small amount of white head.

S: bland smell with a hint of vanilla/creme.

T: i am not a fan. It tastes like a bland beer with a small amount of vanilla extract and bourbon.

M: Okay mouthfeel. Not very carbonated and a small to moderate thickness.

O: Overall, it's an alright beer. Not my fav and there isn't anything great about it.

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Photo of mkotsayfan
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a dark copper with a finger of white head. The smell is appealing, lots of bourbon and dark fruits. The taste follows the aroma, with some grains and malts added. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation, and a crisp finish.

Not bad, just lacking characteristics that would make it great. The bourbon, vanilla, and oak notes are nice, but the base beer behind that just can't keep up.

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Photo of Kbogac
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light caramel color with a nice one finger of creamy light foam.

Smell is oaky bourbon, vanilla and caramel. The bourbon and wood are very prominent.

Taste is a nice vanilla caramel with an oaky bourbon finish.

Medium heavy, creamy mouthfeel.

Overall very good. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. A little on the heavy side. I don't think I'd have two in a row but it was very good.

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Photo of icefisherman
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

well thanks go out ot greggy for this one it looks like beer great beer smells to me like a cheap chardony wine yuk! but taste like some one poored in a half shot of jim beam with like some medioker mild/amber but all in all not the worst i have had but kinda un impressive

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

A: Clear dark amber, bourbon color, white foamy head and thin lacing

S: the bourbon smell hits you up front, next comes a pleasant sweetness that reminds me of banana bread and vanilla and some clove

T: Again the bourbon is prominent, the oakiness comes out more as well, some vanilla and a hint of hop bitterness and minimal malt presence.

M: very mellow and smooth but slightly dry on the finish, it has a subtle sweet aftertaste and it light bodied

O: very good beer, though a bit too sweet for me but not overly so. Very drinkable and very pleasant oaky bourbon flavors. If you don't like the strength and bite of bourbon but still like the associated flavors, this is a good beer for you.

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Friend of mine brought down a 4-pack of this as a wedding gift to me.

Pours out very clear-- copper in color. Nearly non-existent head. Smells slightly sweet and woody. Slight bourbon notes as well.

Taste is quite bourbon flavored. Sweet start, bourbon down the middle, and a bit alcoholy at the end. Definitely picking up some woody flavors as well. Seems more of a beer delivering a bourbon taste than a beer with bourbon nuances. Perhaps this might benefit from some aging?

Prickly carbonation, and rather thin mouthfeel versus my expectations. Quite smooth, though. I think a more full-bodied beer would carry that bourbon flavor better. Not sure I would drink more than 1 of these at a time -- mostly due to the rather strong bourbon taste, not so much the strength.

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Photo of wescj
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

I like how the color is very bourbonish. Downside to appearance is the quickly vanishing head. I don't know much about the science of bourbon aging--maybe the process kills the head?

Smells good, malt blends with the bourbon very well. Reminds me of a sweet bourbon sauce you might pour on a dessert.

Bourbon taste comes out great, without overpowering the rest of the brew. Again, there's a good, caramelly malt backbone. The only beef I have with the beer is that the bourbon doesn't taste "blended" with the other characteristics of the beer. Like maybe someone put an ounce or so of bourbon in the glass right after I poured it. But I won't discount this one for it; it seems to be a pretty common characteristic among the lighter bourbon ales (ie, not stouts).

I gotta say, the bourbon gives this one an odd aftertaste. Pretty good besides that.

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