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.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,487 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,487
Reviews: 612
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 18.48%
Wants: 137
Gots: 650 | 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.
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Ratings: 2,487 | Reviews: 612
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Glowing golden body with easily 2 fingers of white head. Good lacing that sticks al over glass.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, and more booze.

Taste: This is an interesting beer! Sweet taste of bourbon, caramel, and butterscotch. Hints of oak and light taste of tannins. A buttery, desert like flavor continues through the middle to end of taste. Very nice balance of flavors here; nothing is overly sweet and very well integrated flavors in this beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is really creamy and accentuates the sweetness noted in the taste.

Overall: This was a really tasty beer! I nice surprise that a friend brought home with him for us to try. I will be looking for this beer and it is worth seeking out; quite good!

Photo of FosterJM
4.19/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1473rd Review on BA
Bottle to Great Lakes Snifter
12oz

2012 Vintage

Thanks to EgadBananas for the trade

App- Was really suprised at the coloring of this beer. Was more of a golden color and was expecting a deeper brown/crimson color. The head was a quick receding off white with maybe 2 dots of cling.

Smell- Incredible bourbon notes. Char, vanilla, oak and malts. The beer is as close to pure bourbon I have smelled on a -BA beer before. Floral and pleasant to say the least.

Taste- It's a very tasty beer. Lots going on but blended well. Malty and smooth with a rich vanilla flavor and a little bit of oak on the back end. Not overly boozy but you get a lot of the bourbon notes to it.

Mouth- A thinner medium body with a low/medium carbonation. Residual spicey boozey flavor with hints of vanilla.

Drink- A good beer. Very barrel and booze forward. I really enjoyed it. I bet this would be a good one for aging.

Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This brew is a copper colored, mostly clear brew. The head is white, with some intricate lace. The smell is sweet, with a malt-forward and clean aroma. Some grain. The taste is sweet, and a really notable wood character comes out. Woody, some boozy components from the bourbon, and a bit of complexity. It has the impression of dryness from all of the wood notes. Medium-full and relatively smooth in body. A good brew.

Photo of jera1350
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a dark gold color with a creamy clean white cap of foam on top.

The aroma lends notes of sour whiskey, cherry and vanilla. After some hard digging, I can pick out some coconut faintly. The nose a little light overall though.

Whiskey notes up front, followed by rather strong vanilla and toasted coconut. A very long and pleasant finish full of the aforementioned flavors. I wish the malt bill was a little bigger on this one, with some added sweetness. Right now, it tastes like a light version of Backwoods Bastard, which is still a fine quality to have.

Very smooth, but the body could use a bit of heft to round it out. Very dry feeling as well.

Rather enjoyed this one. Lives up to all of the bourbon barrel in its name. I just wish it had some more malt to add sweetness and body. It would then be an "A" or higher in my book. Still, this is one tasty beer. Actually kind of nice to have a barrel aged beer under ten percent alcohol for once. I would certainly pick this one up again.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

So I saw this sitting on the shelves at Marty's and figured it was worth a shot. Last night we were hanging around with a buddy and both of our wives. We were trying some beers and this one finally hit the table. The women absolutely loved it. My buddy's wife calls it her "Coconut beer"

She is correct that the beer smells a even taste quite a bit like coconut. Reminded her of sun tan lotion which she meant as a compliment.

A light amber/copper color that is very bright. A decent light beige head shows some retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

In addition to the description above the aroma also had a lot of vanilla and straight bourbon notes. The oak was very present.

I really wasn't expecting much and I'm not sure why, but this was pretty damn good. The flavors were lead by bourbon and the entire gang from the aroma came for the ride. Coconut, vanilla, oak... Really nice flavor. All the bourbon with none of the booziness. I have to admit they fooled me on the abv. After drinking for a bit I was asked what the abv was and I said I didn't know, but it didn't seem high and I guesses 5ish... At 8.1 this hides the abv extremely well. Frankly scary well.

The body is the one area where I think this has room for improvement. It seemed just a hair too thin for all the other components. Just a touch more body and this could get very interesting.

I was shocked we all like this so much and the ladies want to know when I can get more.

Looks like this will be in my beer fridge again. Definitely worth picking up.

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a light nutty brown hue with a 1/4 finger head. The head is small and fizzy and leaves behind no lace.

S: Nice barrel aromas. Bold oak with nice vanilla tones. Nice sweet malt with brown sugar.

T: Tastes a bit like watered down Jack Daniels...in a good way. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla stand up front. A touch of sweetness in the middle with a touch of hops in the oaky finish.

M: On the thinner side.

D: Darn drinkable. A nice lighter barrel aged brew.

Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sept 15 2011 stamped on the bottle neck. Pours a clear, dark amber with two fingers of rocky white head. The head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass.

At first it had a raw whisky aroma but after it breaths a few moments, it mellows into a rich bourbon aroma. The bourbon dominates the aroma and does not let anything else come out.

The bourbon dominates the flavor as well. But some sweet malt tries to give some balance to the beer. Has a sweet finish rather than a hot, boozy flavor.

For a beer that does not pack a lot of malt flavor, it has a surprisingly robust body. Nice carbonation.

Just not enough beer qualities come through. It does feature bourbon in one of the purest ways in a beer.

Photo of Brent
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Pazzo's in Lexington, served in a snifter embossed with the beer logo - these guys know their stuff. Gold infused with amber. Relatively low carbonation. I've had several bourbon barrel-aged stouts, but never an ale - an interesting concept. The Kentucky ale used as the base is a lightly flavored beer, so the bourbon had plenty of room to come through. Light bourbon flavor, mostly evident as oaky vanilla. The mouthfeel was a bit light, which did not seem to harmonize with the bourbon flavor, but maybe I'm just too acclimated to the bourbon in a heavy stout.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I got a bottle of Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that my brother brought back from his trip down south. I have had this beer a couple times a while ago, this was actually my first Bourbon Barrel beer that I ever I had, I liked it, but I thought that it was pretty intense, so lets see what I think of it now. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I like the label on this beer it's pretty clean and classic looking, it looks pretty good to me. It poured a lighter caramel color that took on a nice bright copper hue when held to the light and it had two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end. This was a decent looking strong ale, but I wish it had better head retention and lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with a pretty heavy bourbon aroma that imparts some oak, vanilla, and slightly smokey aromas. Next comes some sweet malts that impart a molasses, toffee, caramel, and some booze soaked raisins. The caramel and toffee come through again towards the end along with a lighter boozy aroma. This was a great and complex smelling beer, the malt base isn't covered up and there tons of great complex aromas imparted from the Bourbon Barrels.

T- The taste follows the aroma nicely with the sweet malts showing up first and they impart some sweet caramel and molasses flavors with a slight bit of toffee. Next comes some flavors from the barrel, I get some vanilla, oak, charred oak, and Bourbon flavors. Towards the end I get some Bourbon soaked raisins and a lighter alcohol presence that isn't warming and it had a low amount of medium bitterness. This was a good tasting beer, the heavy caramel flavor helped balance all those flavors from the barrel, but the flavors did taste slightly watery.

M- Pretty smooth, crisp, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a higher amount of prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel was going the right direction till I got to the carbonation, it was just too prickly for this style of the beer and the body could have been a little thicker.

Overall I thought that this was a good beer and a good example of barrel aged beer that isn't a Stout, Stouts usually work the best because of how their robust malty taste balances out the heavy barrel notes, but with this beer the malt base was very caramel like which provided good balance to the barrel aspects of this beer. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it went down pretty smooth for a barrel aged beer, it wasn't overly boozy, I could see drinking another one if I had it. What I liked most about this beer was the aroma, it was really nice and complex, just what I want from a barrel aged American Strong Ale. What I liked least about this beer was the slightly thin body and the prickly carbonation, the body was the main flaw with this beer. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for a cheaper barrel aged beer, but it isn't available here, so who knows when I will be able to drink it again. I recommend giving this beer a try, it might make for a good introduction to barrel aged beers, it worked for me, maybe it can work for you. This beer made for a good first impression for this brewery, I would like to try some of their other beers. This is a good example of a barrel aged American Strong Ale, it had good flavors and was nicely balanced which isn't that easy to do when barrel aging a beer, this is good but it can't hang with some of the better bourbon barrel beers, but it's a good easily accessible example of the style and that isn't easy to come by, good brew guys.

Photo of Dope
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle approximately a year old.

A: Pours a mostly clear medium amber with some floaties. Good sized fizzy white head. Fades at a reasonable pace and leaves almost no lacing.

S: Smells like bourbon, unsurprisingly. Harsh bourbon. Toffee, caramel, raisins and oak.

T: Initially toffee and caramel and oak. Then lots of vanilla. And I mean a lot. Sweet.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Pretty standard.

O: An interesting but otherwise uneventful beer. I had this fresh and I remember it being much harsher and pretty much just pure cheap bourbon. Now it's just a flash of bourbon and tons of vanilla. It's honestly not bad but pretty simple and straightforward.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a friend in Cincinnati. Enjoyed with some Skyline Chili. Tasty combination!

A: Clear dark golden color with barely any head. Light pale tan foam lingers for a bit.

S: A nice blast of bourbon on the nose. Some nice vanilla and hints of brandy soaked apricot and oak.

T: The base beer does just enough here to not take away from all the great bourbon flavor but to also not let this beer become a bourbon bomb. Some lightly bready malts peek from behind the bourbon and go well with the subtle vanilla and charred oak bourbon flavor. Very drinkable for all the bourbon present.

Photo of jsh420
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

best by march 08 2012

pours clear gold with a 1 finger white head that faded fast and left some spotted lacing

smell - the first thing i thought of was a candy my friend makes called tutti fruiti - sweet candy malt vanilla some oak

taste is nice - a little sweet and cloying - no real bourbon flavor - all malt vanilla and oak

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation - a bit sticky

overall - for the price this beer is a fail and for being aged in bourbon barrels this beer not only falls short but lost yards - however the flavor was pleasant - i will enjoy the rest of the 4 pack but would never buy this again

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the bottled version. Pours a clear light amber body that seems a shade lighter than the draft version. Head is small and shortlived and leaves some wispy spots of lace on the snifter. Aroma is bourbon, and lots of it. Vanilla and oak notes are also prominent. Body is light to light medium, almost watery. Low carbonation. Taste has plenty of bourbon, joined by flaked coconut and vanilla. Slight caramel notes are also present and the wood tones are prevalent. Hops aren't noticed but there is a pleasant bourbon bitterness all the way through. A good sipper, but I still prefer this on draft.

Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice brew sent by unclejedi for the CEO BIF.

Poured a clear amber brown, with a small tan head that died quickly.Did leave some lace rings as I progressed through the brew. Intriguing aroma of a barleywine type caramel and malt – just some hints of bourbon.

Then the quaff, nice hints of a Maker Mark type bourbon, Then a finish comes with notes of vanilla, which by mid-bottle become a tad too dominate. The vanilla sweetens the brew too much – it just needed a touch, and we got a handful. Still a tasty brew, medium bodied, crisp and dry.

The 7% alcohol is nowhere to be seen. Sip and enjoy this brew (just cut that vanilla in the next batches).

Photo of kwjd
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright orange colour with thin white head. Not too much lacing, head dissipates after a bit. Smells like bourbon, vanilla and some butter. A lot more bourbon in the smell than I expected, but I guess with a lighter beer than typical bourbon barrel aged ones it makes the bourbon stand out more. Flavour is fairly sweet, pretty one dimensionally bourbon. Smooth mouth feel.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a deep golden color. A finger of feathery white foam hangs around for a minute but is losing the battle quickly.

Aroma - a vapor of bourbonesque aroma starts out of the glass on the pour. Upon settling, much of that fades and while there is still some oaky smell remaining, it is mixed with a mild diacetyl, vanilla, and coconut as it warms.

Taste - a brief underpinning of grain, quickly met by the sweet, mashy flavor of bourbon. The wood, vanilla, whiskey, it's all there. The balance is uncanny for a barrel beer. Solid flavors but they don't overrun their boundaries. A mild alcohol warmth but not hot at all. A great way to experience the barrel without doing a number on the palate. Not much beer flavor to this but I'm just so very impressed with the balanced flavor of oak and bourbon. Being somewhat diluted to 7% allows the nuances of the flavors to emerge and stand or fall on their own merits. This beer stands.

Mouthfeel - medium to slightly light, crisply carbonated. Feels like a 5% session beer. I wish it were bigger.

Drinkability - the most sessionable bourbon beer so far. A great intro to the style too.

Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep honey, thin white head, very clear brew.

S - WOOD! Wood, bourbon. Well there was wood and bourbon too.

T - Taste follows smell. Some malt but not much. Like a carbonated light whiskey.

M - Good carb, balance is a joke.

D - One is enough per session.

Photo of Morey
4.24/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper-amber in color with brilliant clarity. One finger head has settled to a thin lace after several minutes. Moderate head retention.

Smell is heavy on bourbon, butterscotch and vanilla. It's fun a enough just smelling this beer, can't wait to drink it!

Taste like an Pale Ale with a double shot of bourbon in it. What's not to like? You definitely get the butterscotch and vanilla in the taste as well. Really nice.

Surprisingly thin mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

I could easily drink 3 or 4 of these, but I'd wind up in trouble!

Morey's Bottom Line: Nice change of pace to have a Bourbon-Aged beer that isn't a Stout or Barleywine. If you're looking for something a bit different, pick up a 4 pack of this, you won't regret it.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color. The head is around a finger high, and white in shade. It doesn't have a particularly soft-looking texture or great retention by any means. No lacing, either. Generally, though, it looks pretty good. (3.5)

Smell: Well, it does bring a bourbon character, that's for sure. However, it's closer to actual bourbon than bourbon barrel (there's a minimal oak note, at best). It also brings butterscotch. A LOT of butterscotch. While the diacetyl and caramel characters blend very well to create such a quality, it also seems overly sweet and sugary. Not bad, but I don't think it will entirely be to my taste, either. (3)

Taste: Actually, it's far more oak laden than I anticipated. Bourbon attacks the palate immediately, though obviously it doesn't have the nuance of a BCBS. The midtaste brings the butterscotch I picked up in the nose, along with some vanilla and banana. Finally, the finish is somewhat prickly and hot for 8.2%. I'll forgive the latter since it's designed to showcase bourbon flavor rather than be a melange of various flavors. Even with all the diacetyl, this really isn't an awful beer once you realign your expectations - though it does seem to become rather metallic after warming up significantly (drink it cooler!) (2.75)

Mouthfeel: The feel is rather sharp, initially. After around half the bottle, though, it transforms from a slightly biting feel to a sweet, buttery one. It seems to feature decent carbonation, but it's a bit hard to discern the fizz from the tannin bite. (3)

Overall: I totally get the appeal of this - think of it as a beginner's bourbon barrel-aged beer. It's 'basicness' is both its greatest plus and its biggest flaw, though. I don't see much reason to revisit this personally. (3)

2.91/5: It has understandable appeal, it's just not my bag, baby

Photo of jzeilinger
2.51/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a medium copper gold color with a one finger deep soapy, white head and medium carbonation.

A - Sweet toffee/caramel malt with bourbon and a hint of light vanilla.

T - Very one dimensional with lots of bourbon mixed in with sweet malt finishing with a sweet bourbon and light vanilla oak finish.

M - Thin medium body.

O - I'd pass on this one next time unfortunately.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've never seen this before-so I decided to try it today on-tap at Vintage Wine and Estates.

A- Body is a nearly transparent dark copper hue that is served with the perfect 1/2 finger foamy white head. The head has perfect retention the whole way down the glass.

S- Nose is pretty much what you would expect. Full of whiskey, rye, and malted barley. A hint of bourbon sweetness comes through but nothing really fantastic.

T- Hot, fresh, bourbon everywhere. Not aged enough to have that note of sweetness. A hint of malted barley and maybe rye in the background. A hint of wet oak as well. Finish is moderately astrigent and leaves behind a decent size alcohol heat.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. More of a classic ale mouthfeel than a hot astrigent one.

D- This is a decent beer overall. It offers exactly what it advertises-bourbon flavor. Pretty one dimensional and not much else to it. Ironically-I've come across BBL "stouts" with an identical profile with the exception of the appearance.

Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%

Bourbon, light caramel and vanilla on the nose.
Pours brilliant orange amber with a thin rocky white foam cap. Light lace.
Starts with caramel malty sweetness followed by bourbon and vanilla and finished with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation, smooth.

Photo of homebrew311
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a shifter at sugar
Maple.

A: deep clear red, short white head, decent lacing, no retention

S: nose is all vanilla with a candy like sweetness, notes of icing, bourbon is vanilla with no oak, pretty mild on the nose

T: starts off with mild malts, turns into sweet vanilla, no backbone to this brew. The bourbon character is shallow and lacks any oak character. The abv is not detectable.

Mf: high carbonation, light body

O: this beer has an unpleasant candy character. The base beer does not stand up to the bourbon aging

Photo of harrymel
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at meadhall

It’s a toasted gold ale with just a ring of soapy white foam. Smells of applesauce, rich peach and booze, some caramelized sugars and a bit of an immature oak. Taste is sweet, vanilla, nougat and more sweetness – really one dimensional. Medium bodied with lighter carb and a surprisingly dry finish. Not really a fan of this one.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,487 ratings.