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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: 2,573
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: 2,573
Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Deep copper and bronze orange body but quite hazy and dull. Head has a creamy yellow and light tan color consistency and makes about two fingers to slowly settle into a soapy collar. Not bad minus the hazy quality, sort of looks like a barleywine.

Light bodied, and some small faint butterscotch like caramel. Senses a bit wet. Slightly sweet but not much oak or barrel aging character it seems. Pleasant at least.

Palate is quite surprising. Extremely light and airy, and very watery. I am talking tap water consistency. Senses of flat root beer like sweetness, and vanilla. Virtually no depth of malt on this at all. Palate isn't off putting, but this is really not lively.

This feels like a dead barleywine mixed with flat root beer. It's not horrid to drink but strangely doesn't remind me of beer let alone a barrel aged one. The only thing I would say is the weak watery body makes it super easy to drink, but my desire to ever want to have this again is virtually nil.

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Photo of martyl1000
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish amber, with a slight head into a tulip glass. The aroma is nice, bourbon and mild brown ale, with a bit of maple syrup and raisin.

It's quite smooth in the mouth, though with very subdued flavor, a tad bit of vanilla mixed with tame bourbon and wood barrel. But mostly just pedestrian English brown ale, with modest carbonation. Definitely easy drinking, with a totally hidden ABV. It's just not something I'd buy again, given the price and the vast array of better BBA beers out there.

A little sweet, to be sure, but hardly anything else going for it, other than its creamy feel on the pallate.

Other than the aroma, which is quite nice, this comes off as an entirely forgettable BBA beer. It's not bad (or is it?) It's definitely muted in flavor and uninspired in execution. It's as if one took an anonymous English ale (think Boddignton's, or Newcastle Founders) and dipped it briefly in a bourbon barrel.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'm used to serious BBA beers, with a year in the barrel, like Central Waters, or BCBS, or Founders KBS, or Hoppin Frog BA Boris. Somehow Alltech's Lexington feels it is respectable to barrel age for only six weeks, which is what they state on their website.

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Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Hopscat
3.99/5  rDev +9.9%
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 Utica_Brew_Review
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
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 brewskifan55
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Westmalle goblet.

A: Clear, bourbon-y amber with minimal white head that quickly shifts to lots of interspersed bubbles.

S: Smooth Kentucky bourbon, malts and a hint of vanilla. Oak barrel in the periphery.

T: like drinking a jigger of Kentucky bourbon. Sweet, mellow. Caramel and molasses with vanilla and smokey oak. A real sipper. The alcohol slides in for the kill.

M: light to medium with light carbonation. Picking up some soft mellow fizz the longer it sits on the tongue.

O: a nice surprise. Definitely an after dinner sipper, perhaps with a cigar. More like a bourbon than a beer.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.44/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arrives a clear and bright reddish brown. Minimal, nearly non-existent, head, just a faint ring.
Smell is malty with notes of vanilla, coconut, bourbon, smoke/char and an really well received brown sugar sweetness. Very complex and really well balanced.
Taste is exactly the same: sweet, malty, vanilla, light smoke, bourbon, coconut. Again, very complex and very well balanced.
Smooth, fairly rich, and it only gets better as it warms. The ABV hides well but there is a warming aspect that develops as it warms up stopping short of becoming cloying. I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of barczar
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant deep copper brown with a modest cream head.

Bourbon, oak, and amber malt fruitiness comprise the initial aroma. Fairly boozy, with notes of vanilla and floral hops.

Flavor reveals fruity amber malt notes underlying a fairly bready, toasted malt backbone. Oak and bourbon shine through. Subsequent sips reveal dominant vanilla, caramel, and coconut notes.

Body is moderate to full, with moderate carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Too much vanilla for my liking. The malt backbone is nice, and oak provides good dryness. The fruity notes are somewhat offputting.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a FW tulip

Pours a dark copper, almost reddish color with a slight head. The smell is very big on bourbon notes ... just from the nose you could confuse this with a bourbon barleywine or possibly stout (tho no chocolate flavor here.) Extremely smooth taste with vanilla on the back end but with bourbon up front and lingering. Just as expected and oh so tasty! Caramel and toffee are present as well. Body is medium, just where it should be. Low in carbonation. Real real easy drinking and ABV undectable.

Overall an amazing beer in my eyes. One i could drink a few of without a problem. Im a lover of bourbon so thats definitely a reason why, but why would you even try this beer if you dont like bourbon?

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Photo of ckollias
3.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a copper hue with a thin white head that quickly dissipates leaving no trail and semi wispy lace.

S: Sweet malty aroma with a bourbon alcoholic scent.

T: Smooth malty flavor with a sweet profile with hints bourbons that finishes on the sweet side of dry.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Decent brew – was expecting a little bit more.

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Photo of bad72amx
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the most inconsistent beer I have ever tried. I have had it tapped numerous times, often in the same BW3 in Louisville. Sometimes, it is thick, rich, and Oakes with nice complex flavors of malt, candied sugar, very mild hops and some minor bourbony afterburn. If it were always like this, it would be a solid 4.5 overall. When it's like this, with a nearly syrupy mouthfeel, it is a personal favorite. It doesn't sound like it, but the mouthfeel and creamy head make it work.

Here comes the downside, and I have noticed this at different bars that have sometimes poured an excellent brew. Sometimes, it's just okay. Malty and sugary, with almost artificial bourbon aftertaste. No rich oak notes, no caramally candied sugars, just sweet malt. Like raw canned brewing malt was watered down. When it's like this it's almost fizzy, yet it builds and retains almost no head. Also, when it's like this it is more of a muddled dark straw color, instead of the deep golden brown it should be. It's almost like a lager with a dash of grenadine added without stirring. It's pretty, but when I see that I know I'm getting a mediocre beer.

Altech, please read this and revisit your Lexington brewery. It seems to me your quality control is very lacking, and lately I get more bad batches than excellent batches. I understand the need to meet demand, but if it makes a stellar beer okay, you are not doing anyone any favors.

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Photo of scotorum
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute

a: A gorgeous crystal clear amber with a finger thick white head which receded quickly to thin surface foam, some stringy lacing eventually appears. Not much carbonation evident.

s: Bourbon!

t: Bourbon! Dayum! Dry boozy finish.

m: Light to moderate. Lighter than the bourbon flavor wants you to believe. Much more carbonation evident on drinking than is visually evident.

o: Good for what it is. Think I still prefer beer that tastes more like beer, but it is a unique experience to have a beer that tastes like weak bourbon. Maybe this will grow on me though, I loved Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Aged beer from the gitgo and still enjoy it now and then. But unlike Innis & Gunn, I get the impression there is not much substance here beyond the bourbon flavor and aroma. Still, that flavor is seductive, so I'll probably buy more of this.

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Photo of Omnium
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours out a darker gold color, very clear, one finger of head that fades fast, no lacing at all.
S - Very light aroma here, you get some of the bourbon, but its very subdued, a little vanilla bean, toasted caramel, toffee, a slight hint of cinnamon. Where's the bourbon?
T - You get some bourbon mixed with that caramel malt and thats the standard for most of the flavor here, a little spice, very sweet on the end, almost like some dried fruits or a spritzer kinda taste. The end is almost tart like some lemon.
M - Somewhat crisp, not really sweet or boozy despite being bourbon, but there is a slight alcohol burn.
O - Not super, not bad, somewhere in between, but the idea of this ale is greater than what it actually is, which is unfortunate.

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Photo of Radome
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet.

A - Deep gold or light copper color, some brown shades, but not amber. Extremely clear. Head is very thin and essentially just a light ring around the edges and a tiny cloud in the center of the surface. The head color is off-white.

S - Aroma is surprisingly faint. The strongest note is bourbon whisky, with its vanilla and sweet cinnamon aromas. There is very little malt or hops that come through. No yeast notes. Alcohol comes through with the whiskey.

T - The taste is all about bourbon whisky. The base beer style is indecipherable because no hops or malt are evident. The bourbon flavor is good, but the overall taste is un-beer-like. No yeast or alcohol flavors.

M - Thin body; low carbonation, although there is a bit of creaminess. Low alcohol burn. No hops bitterness is evident, but beer does not seem overly sweet.

O - Beer is overly thin and overly bourbon-like, without any beer backbone to hold it up.

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours brown with a rapidly-receding tan head, leaves minimal lacing.

S- Lots of malt and sugars but not much bourbon. Definitely getting caramel, vanilla, maybe some gingerbread / sugar cookie.

T- Similar to the aroma, lots of caramel, vanilla, sugar cookie, mild bourbon.

M- Medium-bodied, a bit thin for its ABV, moderate carbonation.

O- Pretty meh for something that's been in a bourbon barrel. I was just expecting more flavor, but the base beer is too thin and bland to really hold up against or complement a more substantial bourbon flavor.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 8/22/13

Appearance: Pours unexpectedly crystal clear, bright orange with some honey and copper - small, white head, fades to few small wisps of a cap, leaves a few spots and streaks of lacing

Smell: Caramel malts, vanilla, and bourbon - lightly toasted caramel malts, and crystal malts - some caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with some vanilla - some wood - definitely some bourbon aromas, and they are weird (not in a bad way) - very mild and gentle bourbon

Taste: Caramel malts with an undercurrent of mild, remarkably mellow bourbon - pale and caramel malts - lightly bready, with some interesting buttery esters (English yeast?) - basically, toasted bread with butter, caramel, and vanilla (part of your complete breakfast) - oak and very smooth, very mild bourbon - more like bourbon flavor than straight-up bourbon, I'm guessing this was not aged very long

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, nicely carbonated, nice finish

Overall: "I know what I hate... and I don't hate this"

I am pleasantly surprised that is isn't a hot mess. I've been more or less disenchanted with bourbon-barrel aged beers over the last year, and I really just bought this out of mild curiosity. The base beer is pretty mild, but so is the barrel aging. This is far from a big, burly barrel-aged stout, and I'm sure that's why some would scorn at this. But I think it's worth a try.

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Photo of SassieCassie
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Served in a tulip glass darkish/medium amber color, not much head retention. The nose is definitely the distinct smell of bourbon. The taste is quite neat. It tastes like bourbon beer! I was expecting that bitter alcohol taste that hard liquor delivers, but got quite the opposite. It brings out all the great flavors of bourbon: oak,vanilla, burnt caramel, but adds a malt beer flair.

Definitely an interesting brew. It's a great beer to try when you want something different

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Photo of mikefuski17
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer about 3 years ago and couldn't remember what it was called so I looked it up. The beer itself was really good and has a nice strong flavor. The color was rich and smelled great. I am not much of a whiskey can but I really enjoyed the beer.

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

First had KBBA on tap at the wedding rehearsal dinner of my daughter and son-in-law three years ago. Only recently realized it's marketed in bottles as well. Pretty strong bourbony aroma and flavor with a kick from a higher alcohol content. Despite it's boldness KBBA goes down pretty smooth with no noticeable aftertaste. I've got a feeling you either really like this sort of thing or you really don't. Count me in!

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.51/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

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Photo of Brenden
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It comes off the tap a clear shining gold color. It sports a billowing head that foams up and drops down to a bit of a lighter whitish cap. With time, it recedes to the edges while leaving a wispy island. Some pretty good spotting with light legging does cling to the glass.
Wood is the inital note, not particularly dry, and something lighter that gives the imprssion of beech or balsam (but obviously isn't). Nice vanilla and toffee notes are present too. Oddly, I get something like plum, but a softer, pale flesh sort, and only a few flashes here and there. It's got a bit of booziness, but it's fairly tame.
A touch of the vanilla and toffee sweetness come out on the tongue with the wood up front, all under a note of grains that follows through to the end.
While smooth, it is a bit too lightly carbonated, and thins out slightly toward the end.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
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 jwhancher
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dad gave me a 4-pack after his b-day. Freshness day reads 10/15/14. Poured into a snifter for review.

Pours a clear copper with head that fades rather quickly to nothing. Some lazy carbonation persists. Smells of sweet bourbon with strong punch of vanilla and some light oak char. Some caramel malts, and and almost honely like quality, blend beautifully with the bourbon oak character.

Tastes bourbon-like upfront and throughout. Not over the top or too subtle. Just the right balance. Sweetness of malts again blend perfectly with the vanilla, oak, and light char. A little burn in the back of the throat, but alcohol is well in check at just over 8% ABV. No real hop character, but bitterness balances well and comes in at the end.

A well done beer. Drink this fresh for a nice bourbon beer experience.

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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 harrymel
2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
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.

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