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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 azdback
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of b3shine
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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

S: Maltiness with a strong bourbon note

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

M: Medium body, good carbonation

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

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Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"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.

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

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.

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Photo of seanyfo
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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!

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of Morey
4.24/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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Photo of Preismj
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of Spider889
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter

Thanks to boxcar01 for the beer and glassware to match

This beer pours a clear golden orange color with faint residues of white on the surface. The aromatics are quite profound. The obvious aromas are bourbon and oak with hints of butterscotch and maple in the background. The off smells came from what could be interpreted as some tart white grapes, which IMO had no business being there. The flavors are also on the complicated side. There are the aforementioned bourbon, oak and butterscotch, but in addition there are strong notes of cinnamon with hints of vanilla. The body of the beer is mostly bourbon, in fact it actually tastes mostly like drinking a complicated yet super weak bourbon. The finish of the beer is interesting it leaves the taste of raspberries in my mouth and I have no idea why. The mouthfeel is a bit watery for the strong boozy bourbon character of this beer. I enjoyed drinking it. It was surprisingly intense, but manageable.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer dozens of time if not hundreds and i really enjoy it but it loses points for having no consistency from bottle to bottle or keg to keg. This bad boy varies in flavour a LOT

Pours A reddish amber with a decent amount of head. The head on this pen dissipates but leaves a thin layer of white bubbles across the surface. The aroma at it's best is very strongly of vanilla. Smetimes the vanilla is not very present and there is a strong oakiness on the nose. Taste is similar. The base beer is not very flavorful so the beer basically just takes on the characteristics of the barrel. When it's at it's best there is a ton of vanilla and a nice background of oak. The beer is always sweet and rich and creamy almost with a solid mouthfeel and hearty drinkability but the flavour profile is what varies.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for finally gettin' this off my Wants!

Kentucky + Bourbon + beer = yes. This thing pours a clear, bright amber topped by a minor bit o' white foam. The nose comprises oak, caramel, whiskey, butterscotch, and a tiny touch o' vanilla. The alcohol hangs over the surface, both a come-hither eying and a staunch admonition. I like a challenge. The taste refuses to deviate from the smell, with the bourbon-draped oak coming in at full force. A sly hint of maple syrup nudges the 'buds' arms, rather than just coming right out and introducing itself. I like it. The body is a slender medium, with a light carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice little sipper, something to be enjoyed, though rapture remains aloof.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. Had many times on tap and in bottle form before writing this review. You have to want to taste vanilla in your beer to like it. It's buttery smooth and unique -- I wish I had another beer to compare it to but I've found none. There's a magic formula here that will be duplicated ... eventually.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of beefnbarley
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh, poured a light amber color. Had a light colored head that quickly fell. Great aroma of reminent bourbon from barrel. Vanilla notes from the barrel. Slight alcohol in the nose as well, but not fusel. Easy drinking, pleasant beer. Medium-light body and well balanced. Finishes slightly sweet. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.8/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This review is going to be brief, as there is very little I can add to the testament of BA 'radioscooter' in the review below this one. It does smell like a Budweiser with a half-drop of Bourbon in it, and it does taste like a Bud Light with a half-drop of Whiskey, to boot. It also looks fairly pedestrian, which is apt, I guess. Wimpy mouthfeel.

I differ from him in that, a) I had not had the beer at anytime prior, so, b) I did not have a fond recollection of it, and, c) I was more irked than BA 'radioscooter' over the absolute banality of the brew.

My bottle was uber-special too. It was 'Brewed Exclusively for the 2011 World Equestrian Games'.

To be honest, the label looked dangerously close to copyright infringement of 'Killian's Red'. Not that I give a damn about such things...

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Photo of radioscooter
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Vintage Estate some months back and liked it enough to remember to pick up a bottle this last trip (yesterday)

Bottled version does not do my memory of it justice.

Appearance is just like someone splashed a few drops of Bourbon into a Bud. Sadly, the taste is pretty much like someone splashed a few drops of bourbon into a Bud light - or to be more accurate, probably it's the Lexington pale ale.

There's a vanilla, caramel, maltiness there, which I should like, given my proclivities. But, this is really not up to par with some of the heavier stuff. I guess it's a bit like the beers that put the fake lime or chili or whatever in it. Maybe this is a ballpark version of the Bourbon aged stuff that is out there. Though to be fair, there is a nice syrup quality to the mouthfeel and it's not a full-on fake flavor deal. Plus the high ABV is well-disguised, though also well-telegraphed by the bourbon taste. The aftertaste/finish is pleasing. Not as boozy a feel as you'd expect. Mellow.

Honestly the idea that someone just poured a light beer into a glass that still had some Kentucky bourbon in it is hard to shake or get past.

Not one I'd get again. But not offensive in any way. The mellowness and lack of any real problems is what made me give it a b-. If you're working your way through the bourbon-modified beers, this should go on your list.

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Photo of MrDanno96
2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep golden color with hints of red. A thin white head encircles the edges of the glass with some spotty lacing.

S: Strong aroma of bourbon and that's pretty much it. Notes of vanilla come through along with the strong booziness of bourbon.

T/M: Meh. All you can really taste is bourbon. This typically would not be a problem, but it really just tastes like really watered down bourbon - no real beer character at all except for its medium, slightly carbonated body.

D: I did not really enjoy this to be honest. I don't think this is a good base beer to age in bourbon barrels - pale ale and bourbon don't really mix. It just tastes like someone took a session beer and poured several shots of bourbon into it.

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