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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: 2,619
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 756 | 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: 2,619
Photo of chaunur
4.49/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Talbots Inn in Bardstown-Bourbon capital of the World.

Wow, Now I really love bourbon and have always been disappointed in the the "Bourbon Barrel" beers out there, it's like they just showed the the beer the barrel. But not this stuff. One whiff and you know you have the real thing.

Poured a very nice clear medium light amber into a snifter. Off white, fluffy 1/2" head the faded fairly quickly. Nice lingering lacing.

As I said one whiff and you know what you have. A very strong but not overpowering presence of Bourbon, vanilla, carmel, oak tones and slighly woodsy. It reminded me of the Angels share in a Bourbon warehouse.

The aroma was right with the flavor, again the bourbon was present but not overpowering. Maybe just a tad sweet and a little heavy on the tongue. Some heat in the mouth from the high alcohol content. It is most defintely a sipping beer.

We had just finished touring and sampling at 3 Bourbon distilleries, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Markers Mark when we hit Talbots for dinner and drinks, A Hot Brown and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale were the perfect finish to the day!

Overall this one of my favorites.

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Photo of LucienDeRubempre
3.44/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thin red with little head and lacing, and without the thick syrupy look that usually goes with bourbon barrel aged and high ABV beers in general. Lots of bourbon in the nose, some malts. Big bourbon taste, but leaves you a little disappointed in the malts department, too light and undemanding for the bourbon flavor. The low carbonation isnt balanced by a full mouthfeel, seems almost flat. Easily the most drinkable bourbon barrel aged, but is that really a good thing?

An interesting experiment, basically this is your session bourbon barrel aged ale. Overall for me the base beer, sort of a malty amber, is too weak and really takes a beating from the bourbon, leaving you with a watered down glass of bourbon.

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

Poured into a KY Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter obtained at a Pazzo's Pint Night years ago... I remember not liking this beer the first time I had it, but oh how my tastes have changed! This is now one of my favorite go-to locals...

A- 4 Pours an attractive, clear burnt orange / amber color with a one finger fluffy white head. The head lacks retention as it dies down quickly but there's a nice ring left around the edges and the tiniest of bubbles lace the glass smoothly.

S- 4.5 Caramel, malt, bourbon and wood... In no particular order. Just balanced and pure. The oak makes its presence felt as much as anything, and the rest composes a nice sweetness that has me itching to raise the glass... The snifter is worthwhile here because there really is some good stuff going on.

T- 4 Though I generally detect the same elements in its taste as I did from the aroma, the taste is notably sweeter and not quite as balanced. That said, it is quite good. I get a bit more caramel and bourbon here, with just a touch of oak on the finish. Though it has a respectable ABV, it is just barely detectable at the end of the drink.

M- 4 KBBA is medium in body with a smooth creaminess that is quite manageable. It is heavier on the palate than I expected from its appearance. It has a good level of carbonation. It is a little syrupy on the finish, with the slightest bit of heat from the alcohol.

D- 4 I really enjoy this beer and could put down a few of them. I don't think I could do it all night because it is a little sweeter than I prefer ideally. Regardless, this is an enjoyable ale with a bourbon presence that fits in nicely. I'd definitely recommend trying this if you enjoy bourbon brews or are visiting KY where you can easily find it in bottles or draft. It also blends well with Guinness, ala a 'black and tan,' and is known as a 'black barrel.' It is a succulent combination... Cheers to Lex-Vegas and the growing popularity of KBBA!

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Photo of busterwhite
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with a one finger head. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Nose is straight vanilla.

Tastes is sweet, sweet vanilla and bourbon. No real hop flavor.

Light on carbonation but nice and creamy.

Overall its a little sweet for me. A definite sipper full of vanilla and bourbon.

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Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
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 -2.8%
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 +16%
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 schwansmantr
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale with a ABV of 8.2 I think one might want to take it easy on this beer. When you pop the top you get a very nice smoke with a slight hint of Jack Daniels followed by a malty burnt bread crust smell and then I slight fruity punch, very complex. It poured a slight head and seams to have a decent amount of carbonation. The dark caramel stained glass looks very inviting as I peer into the climbing bubbles. The taste is that of smoothness that's light on the tongue then bam comes the bourbon fallowed by an oh so slight fruitiness to only give you a climax of hops. This is a hard one indeed, very hard. I feel like I'm jipping the beer by not writing more. There is a lot going on with this Ale and most of it is good. If you are whiskey lover you will adore this beer if your not it could be tough for some girly men/women to drink. Sip,sip,sip. Wow is this a tough one. I do know there's a reason it comes in a four pack it's got some jolt to it.

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Photo of MickeyBeer
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
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 -24.3%
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 +11.9%
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 +6.9%
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 +23.2%
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 -18.5%
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 wdberkley
1/5  rDev -72.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

First off, I'm typically a fan of anything that spends time in a barrel.

However, if you take a beer that's slightly better than hangover piss and barrel age it "for up to six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries," you're bound to have something that gives off a slight hint of oak, some mediocre bourbon notes, and still tastes like hangover piss.

If I was presented with only two options for vital life sustaining hydration - drink this again or squeeze water out of elephant shit in the African Savanna a'la Bear Grylls - I'm picking the elephant shit every time.

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Photo of crosamich
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
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 +13.8%
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 -0.8%
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 -61.3%
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 -11.6%
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 ACD
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
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 matt20102
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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 EFitzsimmons
3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
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 Badbobx
3.73/5  rDev +3%
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 +13.5%
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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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 572 ratings.