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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.

565 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 565
Hads: 2,575
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 39.67%
Wants: 145
Gots: 718 | FT: 9
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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Reviews: 565 | Hads: 2,575
Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I favor my memories of bourbon - hey, even the lost ones! I am favoring this new craft of using old bourbon casks/barrels to enhance beers. Usually this crafty enhancement is pronounced on the sturdy styles of beers: stouts and porters. This particular one is applied on a what could be categorized as a Brown or Belgian Ale style. The amber color predicts nothing of it's flavor. Someone mentioned vanilla - oh yeah - like a VANILLA WOMP. It is predicted in the aroma BUT it kicks you with a BIG Li'l Abner vanilla boot. The flavor is WAY TOO unusualy present in the beer to be ignored as a character when it is too busy banging you over the head with a mallet. It is like when you have a restaurant chain franchise meal and notice a preservative flavor that reminds you it isn't real food. The vanilla masks any memory of bourbon. IF YOU LIKE vanilla Coke - THIS is the beer for you. The beer is just TOO vanilla for me.

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

A: Dark amber with a pretty good head and some linger

S: Maltiness with a strong bourbon note

T: Bourbon takes over and doesn't let go. There is some malt and hoppiness in there, but it's drowned out by the bourbon

M: Medium body, good carbonation

First couples sips of this are pretty incredible. After that it's a tough drink to finish, there is simply too much bourbon flavor. It was good, but once was enough for me.

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Photo of mdr4669
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Rich honey gold color with minimal foamy white head. Tons of tiny bubble float from the bottom up to the surface, with patchy lacing.

Smell: The scent is dominated by the sweet caramel and vanilla characteristic of a good bourbon.

Taste: The taste follows the scent, the strongest characteristic is the taste of bourbon. I also notice a nice hint of vanilla a bit of some caramel as well.

MF: Very light and easy going with a warm after taste, and a nice kick for the finale.

Overall: A well crafted ale with all the bark, and bite I was looking for. I will definitely have this beer again.

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Photo of MickeyBeer
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Not a dark beer like you might expect from a bourbon ale. Orange in color with about a finger of head that went down quickly.

S- Smells a little bit like whiskey. Maybe I don't have the best sense of smell but didn't really get any other aromas.

T- Kind of like a whiskey coke in the form of a beer. No noticeable hop flavor, a little malty in flavor and some sweetness. The dominating flavor is still the bourbon. Alcohol is actually well covered in this beer.

M- Carbonation is medium-heavy. Really does remind me of a whiskey coke only less sweet. I could see myself having a few of these. It is smooth and has a nice finish.

O- An interesting beer that I would have again. Somewhat lacking in complexity but still tasty.

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Photo of Tonmeister
2.74/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into tulip shaped glass

Appearance: poured a thick off-white head, but it dissipated very quickly to the point that it has no head and no lacing. It's a light golden color.

Smell: I can smell the bourbon to the point that it almost burns my nostrils. It Smells like alcohol with a hint of caramel and vanilla notes.

Taste: It has a very strong alcohol flavor on the fore front. The bourbon cuts through, but then towards the middle its pretty sweet. The wood notes come out towards the end. It's a very sweet after taste. The vanilla, caramel and sweet malt really cuts through on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin with light carbonation

Overall: This is not my favorite Bourbon Barrel Beverage. Doom, by Founders is the best bourbon barrel I've ever had and this does not compare. This beer is not that balanced in my opinion, the booziness alcoholic flavors dominate on this. I am not a very big fan. I would not buy this again. I just wanted to try it, and now I regret buying it. I had to dump it in the sink.

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Photo of moistnugget
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at my favorite joint in Orlando, OBLIVION. Great place! Poured this myself into a tall and pretty ale glass. Bless them for knowing what glass I like! +0.25 for being in an ale glass for appearance. Clear, amber, and threatening, with a little white head. Almost looks like...bourbon! Who knew? Smells great, sweet, boozy, and again, kinda like bourbon. Let's taste.

Sip.. annnnd... Alright, you'll never guess what it tastes like! Bourbon! Mingled in there is a buttery diacetyl, a little smokiness and woodiness, and the finish is soft and sweet like a funnel cake, which has also been dunked in Wild Turkey 101. Mouthfeel is similarly buttery and creamy. Carbonation is right. If this were to venture any further I would dare say it would be awful and soda-poppy, but I believe Lexington's gotten it just right.

Still reading? Yes? Thanks! And please also understand that I quite like bourbon, thus I would recommend if you don't, then I would stay away. Otherwise, it's good stuff, overall. Certainly a must try! Daily drinker? No way, I could never see that happening. Great stuff to keep on hand when you feel like it, and possibly would like to share something a little different.

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Photo of NickTinyRace
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mix of my two favorite things. Beer and bourbon. You can taste the the carmel flavor from the ole barrels and it has a wonderful smooth finish which was a pleasant surprise for a bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of taters21
4.46/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional ale with a considerable oakiness and subdued vanilla note from the bourbon barrel aging but not overpowered and has a nice smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of ElGeordie
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On a recent visit to Lexington I tried a pint of this at the hotel bar. Visually it was a lot lighter than I expected: light abmber with a half inch of dense white head. The noese was quite fruity too.
I wasn't sure what to expect on the first sip, and after a pint of kKntucky ale the first taste was a shock to the system. The bourbon flavour was overpowering, the hops were nowhere to be found -the sweetness of the bourbon just eliminated any bitterness that the hops may have imparted, almost like drinking a boilermaker. I'm pretty sure I pulled a face ! I did persevere with it and after a few more sips my palatte adjusted to the bourbon sledgehammer and I began to discern some familiar beer flavours. I'm glad I tried it but it wasn't one of my favourites.

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Photo of crosamich
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very impressed with this beer. Although a bit light (color and body) for the style, a decent light amber ale greatly improved with bourbon. The bourbon flavor was very much upfront but not overpowering or overly woody to knock you over the head. This would be a fantastic introductory beer for any drinkers that reject or assume they would reject a bourbon-aged beer. I gave a taste to several people in the standard beer-drinking group I was with and several ordered pints for themselves. granted, we had just visited a bourbon distillery the day before...

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Photo of Mario61Aler
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice suprise from the 335 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass. It poured a nice golden color, with a white head that disapated quickly. Hardly any lacing at all. Aroma was of carmel and a just hint of the bourbon. Taste was of Malts and a hint of alcohol, bourbon and then a sweetness comes into play, like a dried cherry. Was slightly creamy with a medium body that makes this a very drinkable Ale. I will revisit this one.

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Photo of Abra
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very clear amber/burnt orange color with a decent head that dissipates quickly.
Aroma is very sweet picking up on the bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste is dominantly vanilla with the bourbon picking up towards the end leaving a warm finish. Very smooth. However, the taste doesn't linger and there isn't much depth, which I think really would've made it shine.

Overall, the bourbon gives it a very nice taste and aroma, but the mouthfeel is significantly lacking. It would've made all the difference.

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Photo of Generik420
1.4/5  rDev -61.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I tried this at a street festival in Covington, KY this past weekend and have to say it was pretty horrid. I kind of wonder if they don't leave bourbon in the barrel before they add the beer. If you have ever done a depth charge shot, where you drop a shot of whiskey into a pint of beer and slam it, you know what this tastes like. Another reviewer mentioned it tasted like bourbon on the rocks where the ice has melted.. well let me get a little more specific.. imagine that the ice cubes were originally beer and that is what melted into your glass of bourbon. The problem is the beer itself I don't believe is *big* enough to be aged in a bourbon barrel. This was a fairly light colored beer, amber at best, with a straight whiskey aroma. There just wasn't enough there to work with the bourbon flavors and in the end what you get is a mess.

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Photo of maximthegreat
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Poured a light golden color. A little head.

Smells are mostly bourbon. Slight caramel coming through on the nose also.

Lots of heat from the bourbon and not much else honestly. There is a slight sweetness, but not enough to balance the bourbon.

Good carbonation, but felt a little watery and thin.

Overall, not a beer I would buy again. Nothing offensive, but nothing that makes it interesting either. Plenty of better beers on the shelves.

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Photo of matt20102
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into goblet at refrigerator temperature with little lingering head. Appearance is an attractive golden brown; aroma suggests apple cider, sugar, oak, and lemon. Mouthfeel is light and spritzy. The beer is most closely reminscient of a malt cider, were there to be such a thing; little hop aroma or taste is present; despite the claim of 8.19% ABV, there is no alcohol taste (research was required to verify this number, actually.) Given this high ABV, the drinkability of this brew is quite high, although it might be higher with more familiar flavors. This is definitely a unique beer without the need to come out of left field like some other highly esteemed breweries. While not an everyday libation, this is one that is definitely worth trying, especially given its limited distribution. Recommended.

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Photo of ACD
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great overall after dinner sipping beer. I have had this on tap at Bison County in Waltham Ma (great Barbeque). And out of the bottle.

In both cases it seems best served in a sniffer type glass and to let sit. It taste better a little on the warm side

A smell of bourbon at the beginning

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bourbon like kick.

Overall and excellent after dinner beer if you are looking for only one or two and to leisurely sip it.

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

poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. There was a brief head that soon disappeared. There was no lacing.
The smell and aroma were predominately bourbon. I enjoy bourbon and this was an enjoyable experience. I sensed some malt sweetness through the bourbon, but not much. This is a rather light beer altogether. The mouthfeel is rather like drinking a lightly carbonated whiskey. I enjoyed this beer and would drink it again.

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Photo of innersanctum
4.11/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best bourbon aged beer that I've had thus far! Having started my journey with the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout this is a tall order. KBBA is an extremely drinkable and likeable ale.

The only element this brew lacked was its aroma, which took some time to open up and share some vanilla notes. The taste has a nice blend of oak and vanilla which is picked up nicely from the barrels. I could not discern the specific type of ale which this brewe is from but it does not have a hoppy presence. Its mouthfeel is smooth and consistent and about as heavy as Champagne while lacking the carbonation.

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Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt amber look with light carbonated head.

Strong bourbon smell to this one. Very light vanilla smell.

Mostly bourbon flavor, but it's not too strong, with a light smokey vanilla finish that is very pleasant.

Not too light and not to heavy, this is a good moderate beer that seams to get all over you mouth and has a good finish.

I may get another one of these and age it for some time. It seams like one of those beers that will get much better with a little aging. Will update if I do.

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Photo of Frothboss
4.78/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is very zesty and fast at first pour with a thick two finger off white head that quickly bubbles away to a loose layer fed by the constant bubbles dancing to the top. This is very active and as exciting to watch as the horse races, it slowly loose its quick carbonation and settle down on the warm up lap. Light bronze in color, clear and consitent looking.
Smells very sweet, almost like a peice of caramel or a bourbon ball at christmas time. Light hint of bourbon that i really enjoy. I love the smell of this beer.
Tastes delicious. Very sweet, the bourbon seeps through ever so gently in each sip. Nice alcohol content that compliments the sweet flavor.
This is an absolutely delightful beer. I really enjoy this by beer. It stands by itself, unique.

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Photo of jpalarchio
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the nose, I question if I just poured a beer or 12 ounces of bourbon. Definitely a strong bourbon smell. Color is just fairly light and transparent, not really what I think of from a strong ale.

Taste is not bad although the bourbon smell is somewhat overpowering; the alcohol is very evident.

Not a bad beer although I can't see having more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of Zacemy
4.56/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a delicious brew. I am a big fan of bourbon and the taste is excellent. This a beer that you want to take your time and enjoy its rich flavor. I stumbled upon it and will most likely be drinking it again. You do not need to be a big fan of bourbon to enjoy this beers big flavor.

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Photo of CardiacNP
4.29/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice draft pour from Fox & Hound in Ohio served in a nice matching snifter.

Poured a clear golden amber color with a small dense white head. There Was excellent lacing throughout the beer.

The aroma of bourbon was there along with a light sweet scent follow by woody oak hints.

Taste was very smooth slightly sweet with a wonderful bourbon aftertaste. Slight caramel and oak flavors present. Very very small hop characters noted.

Mouth feel was smooth , and a bit viscous. Very light carbonation. Little alcohol finishes but surprisingly light for a 8.2%ABV

Over all a very enjoy able ale. If you like bourbon also you would be please to try this beer. I know I will again.

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Photo of brewski09
2.65/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow, talk about a strongly flavored beer...

A - This was a little bit darker of a beer with a good head to it. It looked great and the head stuck around for me throughout the drink.

S - I really liked the bourbon barrel smell, but it was a bit strong. Still, I give it high marks here because it smelled wonderful to me as I like liquors too.

T - This is where I had an issue. The bourbon flavor dominated and didn't let any of the maltyness show though for the beer. There was no hop character to speak of and I didn't really get significant bitterness either. Sadly, his was just unbalanced.

M - Very silky, smooth, and thick on the way down. I wanted to love this beer for so many reasons.

D - This was not drinkable to me due to the bourbon imbalance. Other people really loved the beer, but I just couldn't get over the imbalance. Sorry.

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Photo of Tartarus
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A&S: Poured into a challice, copper colored, with about a quarter inch of head that dissapated leaving a nice film on top. Smell is sort of apple-y.

T&M: Taste is slightly fruity, with a strong alcohol taste mouthfeel is very smooth. I definitely get the bourbon in the name. Taste is interesting and different, not quite aure how I feel about it.

D: Pretty drinkable considering the high abv, it comes off pretty light.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 565 ratings.