1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,874 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,874
Reviews: 498
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 18.26%
Wants: 81
Gots: 234 | FT: 3
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:
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.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 07-13-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,874 | Reviews: 498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdr4669
mdr4669

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev +15%

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.

04-23-2011 03:22:51 | More by mdr4669
Photo of crashdavisinoh
crashdavisinoh

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +15%

A-Dark Amber...redish...no head

S-Sweetness, bourbon, malts, caramel

T-Bourbon...very smooth...love the way this tastes...the bourbon is the star but the supporting cast is not completely overshadowed. Sweet flavors...caramel, vanilla, hint of chocolate perhaps.

M-Low carbonation...feel the bourbon...smooth

D-I love this beer...it is one of my standard off the shelf favorites (if not favorite)...they ABV will catch up to you but I have no problem drinking mulitples.

04-19-2011 20:10:55 | More by crashdavisinoh
Photo of spree92
spree92

New Brunswick (Canada)

4.55/5  rDev +24%

Notes taken on 4/16/11-while in Boston for the weekend.

A- pouted a 10oz drink into a small swifter. A bubbly white head sat on a rich copper ale.

S- velvety malts, bourbon is very strong, oak from the barrels and a warmth of alcohol.

T- Awesome. The bourbon has a chewy, sticky caramel to it. So creamy and rich, buttery.

M- Full, moist beer. As it sat and warmed up, the complexityeas ever changing. Even though I did not know the abv, I could tell it was in the 8-10% range.

O- Enjoyed this a lot. One of the better beers I have ever had. Easily the best Bourbon beer imo.

04-18-2011 12:44:20 | More by spree92
Photo of zrab11
zrab11

Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

A- Pours a Very Clear light amber color with no head.

S- The first aroma is Bourbon whisket with some slight sweet notes of carmel. Has a very warm Smell

T- Bouron whiskey hits you right off the bat. Starts to warm your belly like straight whiskey or a bottle of wine would do.

M-Very light and Crisp, witha warming effect

D- This beer was not that drinkable for me. It was more like i ordered whiskey on the rocks and the rocks had melted. I felt like i was drinking a mixed drink more than a beer. Still good tasting but the whiskey was too over powering for me.

04-17-2011 19:16:16 | More by zrab11
Photo of gfreed
gfreed

Massachusetts

1.63/5  rDev -55.6%

This is one of the clearest, brightest beers I've ever poured into a glass; a big, bright pool of shimmery amber just begging to be sipped. But... stop! Unless you like butter, pour this one down the drain. Butter in the aroma, suffocating butter in the taste... butterbutterbutterBUTTAH! Even the body felt a bit oily. I don't know if this thing was aged in an oak barrel or aged over oak chips (or aged in a vat of butter), but the brewery boys and girls need to take a lesson in moderation. Too much oak = too much butter. Might taste good on pancakes, but not much else. Poo.

04-14-2011 20:59:31 | More by gfreed
Photo of gabedivision
gabedivision

New York

3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter glass

Pours an orange amber color with a thick white fully head. Very sweet smelling, Strong bourbon smell met with a nice sweet vanilla or maple scent, chocolates, toffee and butterscotch all in the mix as well. The taste explodes in your mouth with the bourbon feel from the barrels followed by all the sweet flavors that were present in the smell. Almost too sweet, but decently well balanced on all the areas of the all the flavors despite how complex it is. This beer fizzes up in the mouth and tingles around the tongue and teeth. Pretty medium balanced and easy to drink on despite what the smell would have you believe. Overall this is a decent beer, the over the top sweetness is taking its toll on me halfway throuh this beer. good for a try, would like to try this again if it ever makes its way up to buffalo.

04-14-2011 02:44:49 | More by gabedivision
Photo of Shrews629
Shrews629

Kentucky

3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Appearance - Very clear dark orange to light amber color. An off white colored head that was small, fizzy and dissipated rather quickly. It left a scant amount of lacing behind. The head was comprised of small bubbles and settled to a ring around the top.

Smell - The first aroma was, of course, the Bourbon whiskey. It smells slightly sweet. Aromas of vanilla and toffee. Gradual notes of caramel as it started to warm.

Taste - The flavor brought out more of the Bourbon whiskey. Some decent touches of vanilla. As I sipped, the Bourbon started to settle in and become more pleasant and balanced. Some "woody/oak" flavors are there, but seem to be restrained. The sweetness is a nice compliment to restrain the whiskey.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Smooth and dry. A small warming effect from the alcohol, but nothing too great or overbearing. Leaves trace amount of flavor on the palate.

Drinkability - This Bourbon Barrel Ale is a decent example for the style. Not the best example I've had, but nothing horrible or undrinkable. Not quite balanced as well as some of the others. The Bourbon comes off a bit strong at first, but it does calm down as you get going.

04-10-2011 13:51:29 | More by Shrews629
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

04-10-2011 13:31:36 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of Tartarus
Tartarus

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

04-07-2011 19:55:25 | More by Tartarus
Photo of azdback
azdback

Arizona

3.13/5  rDev -14.7%

Thanks to BgThang for this extra! Poured into a pilsner glass. Bright, clear orange color. A lot of carbonation bubbles. Head is almost a bright white and quite frothy. The lace is sticky and stays the night with us.

Smell is almost all bourbon. There are some sweet malts that poke their heads up. I do also get a hint of booze.

The taste is all bourbon. It almost tastes like a bourbon flavored Sasparilla. Very sweet and hollow.

The mouth is as I have already explained. Very watery. Carbonation falls off quite a bit.

Once again I want to thank BgThang for this. I wasn't overly swayed to the good or the bad on this one. I did like the bourbon flavors, but they almost tasted like they were artificial.

04-06-2011 06:48:54 | More by azdback
Photo of b3shine
b3shine

Ohio

3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

Draft to 5 oz. sampler. The equal weighting of appearance, smell, taste, and mouthfeel minimize this beer's qualities; it's better tasting than its reviews suggest. Plus it's filtered, so you can push your way through more without being weighted down. Bourbon is pronounced, but not overpowering. A decent brew for its type.

04-02-2011 17:32:52 | More by b3shine
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.95/5  rDev +7.6%

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared by Thorpe429 at a local DC tasting. Bottle says "Official Beer of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games"...awesome that they chose an 8.19% ABV bourbon barrel aged beer as their official beer.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks nothing like an American strong ale; I was shocked how light in color it was.

s - Smells of heavy bourbon, vanilla, bready malts, light oak. Pretty enjoyable.

t - Tastes of light bourbon, oak, vanilla, bready malts, wheat. Bourbon is up front in the taste, but not as strong as the nose.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation. For a bourbon barrel aged beer that is over 8% ABV, this one was insanely drinkable. I would have had no problem drinking the entire bottle myself.

o - Overall this was an interesting bourbon barrel aged beer that I enjoyed and thought worked well. I don't think it is an American strong ale, but more like a light beer aged in bourbon barrels. None the less something I would like to have again sometime.

04-01-2011 15:11:20 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%

Thanks to WhyBeNormal for putting this box in N00b BIF Round 3. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a brew that is a moderate-brown color with a thin tan head that fades into a thin collar. The nose is dominated by bourbon. Strong bourbon notes pervade, and only increase in intensity as the beer warms. Nice and fairly mellow, but I'd like a bit more complexity here. The flavor is the same way, though there is a touch of caramel and brown sugar in the background. Medium body with lowish carbonation. A bit too hot in the finish. Not bad at all. I've got another that I'll need to cellar for a bit to see if it mellows out.

03-28-2011 12:05:50 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of mdunman
mdunman

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

03-27-2011 01:29:43 | More by mdunman
Photo of capeannbass36
capeannbass36

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9%

A- Poured into snifter that came with beer.
Clear, amber. 1/4 inch head that quickly dissipated. Minimal lacing.

S- Sweet, bourbon, vanilla, a little wood.

T- Surprisingly tastes just as good as it smells. Bourbon and vanilla. Caramel comes out as beer temperature rises. Slightly warm feeling after swallowing.

M- Light to medium body. Light carbonation.

O- I really enjoyed this. Definitely going out to find some more.

03-26-2011 21:56:55 | More by capeannbass36
Photo of titosupertramp
titosupertramp

Tennessee

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%

A: Clear amber in color with about a finger of foamy off-white head. Some film to cap the beer with slick lacing around the glass.

S: Boubon, vanilla, some alcohol. Some fruity qualities to the smell as well.

T: The bourbon vanilla is out in front. Towards the end, I notice some toasted, bready flavors. Light fruit flavors mixed in as well. Alcohol is pretty well hidden in the taste.

M: Medium bodied and dry. Has a creamy quality to it.

O: For a barrel aged strong ale, this goes down pretty easily. This reminds me a lot of fresh, unskunked Innis & Gunn. If this were available in Nashville, I'd pick it up on occasion.

03-26-2011 18:17:13 | More by titosupertramp
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%

"The Lord may whiskey so I drank it" - Three Day Threshold

Crystal clear deep amber with a fluffy white tight lager-like head. Not much lace other than a few early Spring speckles but a fair collar of retention. My bottle looks nothing like that lovely vessel in the picture.

Smells a little like bourbon but more like a butt-load of vanilla extract.

Taste is a meek bourbon over a slightly fruity ale. Mildly toasty whole wheat bread. I hear tell this is an Irish red and English pale hybrid - I'll buy that.

Has hints and elements of bourbon but I was hoping for something more along the lines of a hefty bourbon wallop.

03-25-2011 00:48:44 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of mavbrew
mavbrew

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

Poured into my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter that came with the beer.

A: Pours a transparent amber color with an off-white head that dissipates into a thin lace.

S: Smells like I am drinking a Manhattan. Some serious bourbon scent with a bit of a woodiness and a hint of vanilla.

T: The taste is just as it smells. A quick explosion of bourbon upfront which is immediately followed by a vanilla burst that carries into the finish and well after.

M: Thin/medium bodied with average carbonation.

D: The name on the label fits this beer perfectly. You get the bourbon flavor in the smell and right upfront, but then the vanilla flavor comes in and takes over. It seems that this is exactly what they were going for and it works nicely.

03-22-2011 23:57:07 | More by mavbrew
Photo of seanyfo
seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%

355ml bottle brought back from Kentucky by my good mate Feech, September last year, cheers mate!

No BBE date!

A- Cloudy light amber body, creamy white 3 finger head with excellent retention and lacing.

S- Vanilla and toffee dominating, with an underlying whisky note, touch of banana perhaps with a little almond.

T- Caramel malt forward, with a tangy lemon like sour note which develops into the expected bourbon flavours. Finish is semi dry with a buttery note. Alcohol well hidden.

M- Medium carbonation, light body considering style.

D- Not what i was expecting. Looked good and nose was promising but let down in flavour profile and mouthfeel. Was expecting something much richer and fuller. Bourbon flavours were well presented in the aroma and flavour but this still missed for me.

03-19-2011 22:15:46 | More by seanyfo
Photo of VncentLIFE
VncentLIFE

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +14.4%

12 oz bottle poured into a Hoegaarden glass.

Appearance - Pours a good amber color. frothy head that sticks around for a bit. good carbonation. no lacing

Smell - Strong hop right away followed by butter and whiskey notes.

Taste - A good comibination of hops and whiskey. Slightly grainy and small notes of butter. Light body

Mouthfeel - All of the flavors mix well, and the whiskey notes stick around with the grain flavor. I really like this beer!

03-17-2011 14:09:54 | More by VncentLIFE
Photo of TheHoppiest
TheHoppiest

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +8.4%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours honey gold with minimal head and active carbonation.

Has a honey sweet smell, with definite notes of whiskey (likely from the barrel aging). Caramel malt with a buttery feel to it is also present.

Malty, with a strong whiskey taste giving this beer a bit of a tangy zing. Slightly sweet, this ends with a buttery warmth with low bitterness.

Medium bodied, this beer has a strong start with a smooth finish.

I've had this on tap before, and prefer it that way, but out of the bottle it is still a decent brew. I would definitely have again, but only on tap.

03-14-2011 01:15:13 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of Morey
Morey

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +14.4%

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.

03-12-2011 21:39:15 | More by Morey
Photo of Preismj
Preismj

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

03-12-2011 21:16:46 | More by Preismj
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev +0.8%

12oz bottle with a date of Jan 07 2011 - don't know if that is best by or bottled on. Poured into a Shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Clear orange-copper beer with a off-white head. Some tints of pink mixed in with the orange when held up to the light. Poured a 1/4" head initially, but this died down to a ring and a persistent film across the top. Some strands and islands of lacing noted. Lots of bubbles coming up through the beer.

Smell: When first poured, nothing but bourbon whiskey. As it warms up the bourbon still dominates, but hints of caramel and some berry-like fruitiness come out as well. I'm a fan of bourbon, but this is kind of odd.

Taste: Bourbon whiskey taste and bit right up front, moving into some sweeter caramel and toffee flavors. Toasted/roasted malt coming right behind the sweeter flavors and then something of a sudden, but very mild, bitterness, and then it smooths out with more sweetness and bourbon flavors. This beer is indeed very whiskey like, it even has a bit of the bourbon alcohol bite present - it's not as hidden as you think it would be. The overall taste is well on the sweet side and I think you would need to be a whiskey fan to really appreciate this one.

Mouthfeel: Mild carbonation on the tongue despite all the bubbles coming up, which is good, as too much carbonation would get in the way here. Slick beer that coats the whole mouth and sticks to the teeth a bit.

Drinkability: This is a hybrid of a whiskey and a beer. The bourbon flavors dominate, but the toasted and roasted malts come through and do add something nice to the whole beer. But...this beer really only has one flavor, and that's bourbon whiskey, and it's not an outstanding whiskey at that. Which means this is a sipper for me and one at a time for me as well. I cannot see myself having more than one an evening. Still, interesting brew and glad I tried it, but it's just okay and if I really want whiskey, I'll pour myself some proper Kentucky bourbon into a glass over ice and enjoy. I think with some more depth of profile where the bourbon flavors are complimenting, rather than dominating, the beer - would be preferred. Of course - the bourbon is the point of this beer isn't it? So maybe I'm just not a fan and I'll leave it at that.

03-09-2011 23:41:57 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of Spider889
Spider889

Ohio

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%

Had this at Winking Lizard last month as part of a tasting of this, the parent Kentucky Ale, and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon. I will be adding my notes of the bourbon itself to this review as I think they are pertinent.

Served with an excellent presentation - a place mat has descriptors of each beer and the bourbon, pictures of each, and a place to put each glass (which included a snifter and tasting glass I got to keep). Very nice presentation.

This is a darker version of the regular Kentucky Ale. As expected there was little head. A ring of soapy bubbles sat atop the beer. I got minimal spotty legs of lace on the snifter. Still crystal clear, they clearly are filtering this beer, it is a nice warm hue of garnet.

The aroma begins with subtle hints of honey. The bourbon is very inviting but strong as hell. Vanilla abounds and makes the aroma very sweet. Some wet oak shows up as the beer warms, along with some light char.

The flavor wasn't bad at all, though the thin, inferior beer that went into the barrels meant that no amount of barrel aging could make this beer world class. I really wanted heavier malt and a stronger oak presence. If I had to guess, this beer is aged in fresh barrels, but for a very limited amount of time.

Overall it was not a bad brew. The alcohol isn't very well hidden, and is warming all the way down. But the beer itself was creamy and smooth. I still wouldn't buy this again, but it's worth a try if you must - just promise me not to pay for the non barreled version.

My notes on the bourbon:
Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Lots of vanilla. Very smooth on the palate, but strong as hell going down. A healthy burn stings the throat. The nose is biting with alcohol on a deep inhale, but in doing so I could detect a nice honey component, and deep grainy oak.

I'm not a bourbon drinker normally, but I actually kind of liked this. It's sad to say, but the straight bourbon was the best part of the tasting I did at Winking Lizard!

03-08-2011 09:03:38 | More by Spider889
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,874 ratings.