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
82
good

556 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

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Reviews: 556
Hads: 2,513
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.21%
Wants: 138
Gots: 665 | 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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Reviews: 556 | Hads: 2,513
Photo of beerwolf77
2.45/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Huge thanks to wisconsinality for another Kentucky brew. Poured into my pint glass the beer is golden amber with about one finger of off white head. Not much head retention no lace.

The aroma is mostly bourbon barrel and sweet malt. That's about all I can pick up. So not real complex but close to style.

The flavor was rather dissapointing. Pretty much bourbon and more bourbon. I got no other flavors. It reminds me of a whiskey and water at the bar.

Thin and watery body. Light carbonation.

Overall nothing special at all. I actually had this on my wants at one time. I'm glad I never pulled the trigger. (612 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.19% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Wisconsinality for breaking this out for his Kentucky tasting!

A - Pours out a clear golden light bronze color with a thin ring of bone foam. The color is great but the lack of any head is disappointing.

S - Pure oak bourbon aroma. Nothing else is really going on. The malts and hops are absent in aroma. A bit of cold refrigerator that's reminiscent of Sam's Club (no kidding) appears on the back end. Good oak and bourbon that's not too boozy/alcohol rich in aroma but definitely needs more malts in the back.

T - Oaky wood and straight bourbon flavor. No malts, no hops, just straight bourbon flavor. Interesting thing is it's not boozy alcohol at all. The bourbon barrel level is great...if there would be more complimentary flavors going on.

M - Thin and light-medium-bodied with a smooth and fairly crisp texture. Decent finish on it with out any hot alcohol.

D - The thin feeling texture and flavor give it easy drinkability but the bourbon becomes a little much towards the end with out any malts. Serious work is needed on this one. (1,127 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Date: 06/17/2010
Type: 12oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

*First off, I would like to thank Kevin(BEERchitect) for hooking me up w/ this brew and giving me the opportunity to sample it.

Poured a golden straw color w/ light red hues and a 1/4 finger white bubbly head, that left a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Nose was of light whiskey, oak, vanilla, and maybe a touch of brown sugar. Almost smells like a very light Jack or Beam and coke. The taste was of oak, vanilla, and subtle bourbon whiskey that gives you enough for you to know it's there, but does not overwhelm. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, but adequate as it brings more bourbon notes from the barrel aging forward. Drinkability? I could drink this all night, actually I am going to put another 12ozer in the fridge as we speak.

Kevin, I hope you don't mind trading me some more of this brew next week, because I am sure the 6-pack is not going to last long! Do seek this brew out if you enjoy whiskey BAing that is very mild and makes for an extremely drinkable brew. (1,064 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a finger of off white head. It is amber colored and clear. The aroma is bourbon and vanilla. I can also get whiffs of caramel malt. The taste is dominated by the bourbon. I get the oak/vanilla taste as well. This beer is a great example of what bourbon barrel aging can do to a beer. I am not a big whiskey drinker but I could see this as an alternative. (384 characters)

Photo of zhooker
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the tap into a standard pint glass. Not much foam up top, hence not much lacing either. Deep, dark golden-amber in color, and rather clear.

The nose is light but enjoyable. Wood and an oaky sweetness come out, like a very mild bourbon. There are some roasted malt scents as well. Frankly, I am a little underwhelmed.

The taste is even more underwhelming. Incredibly light. A well-rounded malt flavor with a tinge of sweetness, but not much bourbon or oak/wood on the tongue. Hops mild, hardly present. Disappointed.

I will admit, as a beer (in general), this is a good ale. But I'm thinking barrel-aged when I drink this, and compared to other barrel-aged ales (bourbon barrel in particular) this just tastes weak. Drinkable? Very. And it hides its 7-9% ABV well. But it really fails to deliver in the flavor department.

Overall, it feels like a Kentucky brewery trying to cash in on the Kentucky bourbon legacy, making it palatable and consumable, but really missing the amazing powers that barrel-aging can impart. (1,025 characters)

Photo of aubuc1
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a snifter.

Pours a light brown with a thin white head.

Smell is first smooth whiskey, then a mellow malty bread. Don't know if I should sip it or bite in to it.

Taste reminds me of a bourbon/vanilla creamshake. The vanilla is very pronounced after the bourbon.

Good mouthfeel and good drinkability for a bourbon beer. (348 characters)

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

An interesting experiment, basically this is your session bourbon barrel aged ale. Overall for me the base beer, sort of a malty amber, is too weak and really takes a beating from the bourbon, leaving you with a watered down glass of bourbon. (723 characters)

Photo of mondegreen
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a stemmed Cantillon glass.

A: Clear golden color with a moderate head. Fades quickly to a ring on the outside of the glass.

S: Bourbon supported by sweet malts. Honey and dark sugar linger in the background. In all, an interesting mish-mash, but pretty tame.

T: Leaves me wanting. The bourbon is pretty faint and the malts
leave a sweet residue on the palate. Nothing more to report. I was really hoping for huge bourbon notes from this one.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Just about average.

D: Probably a little more drinkable than I'd like. I want my bourbon ales be challenging sippers. It may sound harsh, but this tastes like the lawnmower beer of strong ales. (701 characters)

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice orange color with a light head that stays mostly to the glass.

The nose on this is definitely the strong point. Lots of fresh bourbon in the nose with a kiss of hops.

The taste is a bit confused. The bourbon and the beer seem to be competing for palate time. Individually they are good, but if they could get along it would be outstanding.

The feel is light and bubbly. Nothing special.

This is a great nightcap beer and one of a couple of reasons I wished I lived in Kentucky. (486 characters)

Photo of crosamich
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very impressed with this beer. Although a bit light (color and body) for the style, a decent light amber ale greatly improved with bourbon. The bourbon flavor was very much upfront but not overpowering or overly woody to knock you over the head. This would be a fantastic introductory beer for any drinkers that reject or assume they would reject a bourbon-aged beer. I gave a taste to several people in the standard beer-drinking group I was with and several ordered pints for themselves. granted, we had just visited a bourbon distillery the day before... (563 characters)

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A staple at Vintage Estate's tap room, I was happy to see it turn up in my local bottle shop.

Poured into a snifter: Nice copper, honey color. Clear, with just the thinnest collar of head. Plenty of tiny, fast bubbles. Not the greatest composition, but I love that color.

Smells of light, sweet caramel with a woody bourbon ring. A little buttery, like butterscotch or buttered rum. The only drawback is that the alcohol smell is a tad sharp. Sweetness turns to toasty sugar, like creme brulee.

Taste is, again, lightly sweet & caramel, like cream soda, with a "round" bourbon character that's present but not too strong. Mild fruity finish & slight dryness in aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. A little viscous in "afterfeel."

I really enjoy this: very smooth & easy-drinking for a barrel-aged ale. I like the fact that you get the barrel flavor without it being super-heavy. Maybe it's the positive associations with VE, but this warms my heart a little. I can see how it might be too sweet for some, but that doesn't bother me. Time & place. (1,060 characters)

Photo of mantis3333
4.78/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a light copper color. Smells very sweet. Tastes a lot like Werthers original candy. I am usually not a fan of bourbon but I loved this beer. Well worth $12 for a 4-pack. I would love to try a draft of this. I would not drink this exclusively in a sitting though. 1-2 is good occasionally. (295 characters)

Photo of nova009
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a bronze copper color reminiscent of pennies. Light carbonation with little to no head.

S- Wow fantastic smell! The bourbon really hits you from the start. Vanilla and oak follow with a fair amount of prominence.

T- Really complex and delicious flavors. The mixture of bourbon and vanilla make for a very smooth drink. Alcohol is present but is not overbearing.

M- Carbonation is light but balances well. An almost silky feel that makes you want to swish it around in your mouth for awhile.

D- Definitely one you want to sip on. A great one to drink before bed.

I love bourbon and good beer so this one was perfect for me. Definitely one of my favorites. (668 characters)

Photo of endincolorado
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an ultra-clear, pale copper with a decent, off-white head that settles quickly. Lacing is adequate.

Aroma is heavy on vanilla and slight woodiness, reminds me of whiskey and water. Some sweet malt aroma- no hops.

Flavor is also big on vanilla and is pleasantly reminiscent of bourbon, though also slightly of cream soda as well. A lingering sweetness and a slight hop presence can be found in the finish.

Mouthfeel is okay. Could be a little creamier, and less carbonated.

A drinkable beer, and one that might be a stand-by if not for the price tag. I'd heard this was amazing and I was skeptical. It's pretty good, but there are a lot better barrel-aged beers. (672 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.26/5  rDev +17%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this a while ago when I visited Lexington for a weekend. At the time I knew very little about beer and I thought bourbon barrel aging was something totally unheard of. I liked the beer then, lets see how it is now that I know more about beer.

A- Smallish head rises and fades super fast. This beer is way lighter than I thought it was going to be (I had it right from the bottle before). Its a super clear amber red beer.

S- STRAIGHT bourbon. Really not much else. Its still good as hell smelling though. Its basically toned down bourbon. Very very vanilla-y. There is also a lot of nuttiness.

T- Pure vanilla, oak, nuts and bourbon. This is quite good. This is so close to the taste of a scotch that its insane. Just way way less boozy and more drinkable.

M- Low carbonation which is typical for a barreled beer. It makes it creamy and smooth. It finishes surprisingly clean, only a tad bit oily and vanilla-y

D- Good stuff. Its better than I remember. I will have to procure more of this good ale from a small time brewery. (1,034 characters)

Photo of jkrich
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. This one poured a deep, clear gold to copper - much like a new penny. There was no freshness date.

The odor was strongly sweet and alcoholic. Yes, it does smell like a sweet Kentucky bourbon.

The flavor is thickly sweet with vanilla highlights and butterscotch. There are also hints of coconut. Despite this seemingly cloying melange, the aftertaste is rather refreshing.

There is that thick, sweet mouthfeel that encourages slow sips. The carbonation is moderate.

If you enjoy bourbon as much as you do beer, this one is for you. This is a unique offering, though not one I would seek out. I will slowly sip this glass and call it a night. (683 characters)

Photo of Stigs
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, got this as an extra from a trade with BA user BEERchitecht. poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A - got about a finger worth of slightly off-white foam which fell to a thin layer + ring rather quickly. the beer is a crystal clear, solid gold color with slight amber accents, with active visible carbonation.

S - lots of grain, rice and corn...weird bourbon twinge...like the sour mash without the bourbon. turns slightly fruity then finishes with somewhat harsh rubbing alcohol.

T - odd...this one tastes like a beer for a hot second, light and grainy before transforming rather ungracefully into a watered down and slightly sweetened bourbon. this actually just took me back quite a few years when i frequently drank (cheap) bourbon and ginger ale in college, this tastes like a strongly poured one that was left to melt and sweat until the next day, taking on an odd and somewhat stale taste (yes i didnt let any booze go to waste then). some sweetness in the finish, vanilla and an aftertaste somewhat like cream soda.

M - quite syrupy and coats the mouth, thicker body than expected. carbonation kind of gets lost fighting through the thickness.

D - dont know what to say about this one, it is truly unique - not like any beer i am familiar with. as a bourbon fan, im actually a bit put off by the in-your-face booze taste. bourbon can be a great accenting or secondary taste in a beer when done gracefully, this is not. (1,446 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear golden color, nothing real special going on here, small white head that dissipated rather quickly leaving no lacing.

S - Well, definately can smell the bourbon. Strong bourbon kick wrapped around carmel malts.

T - Not my think, the bourbon is very strong, but doesn't meld with the rest of the beer at all. Tastes like I'm drinking whisky and water, albeit not quite to that extent. No complexity to speak of, really lose the beer taste here. Sweet brown sugary taste, but outside of the bourbon, that's really about it.

M - The strength of the bourbon makes this beer seem a lot more watery than it really is, but don't really care much for the feel of this, I keep checking expecting to see ice in here.

D - It's not hard to drink, other than it tastes bad, so that one made me end this relatively quickly. Would not drink again. (846 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a clear medium gold with some orange highlights. The carbonation is bad, no head rises, no lacing, the beer looks oily.

The aroma is pretty light, giving off light notes of vanilla, oak, and candy sugar at the end.

The taste is really weird, there is some distinct vanilla but its combined with alcohol and sugar.

The feel is super light and watery feeling without much of an aftertaste or feel.

Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, this beer is really weird. Its like drinking a light barrel ris that's combined with a pilsner. Not a great combo. (623 characters)

Photo of canislupus88
4.48/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, first time i poured into a glass and second time i decided it was good from the bottle too.

looks like beer, nothing really special about the appearance.

smells of bourbon, with a little vanilla, like vanilla extract in a way.

tastes of sweet delicious bourbon. very mild ale with sweet bourbon and a slight hint of vanilla extract, i can't stop drinking this, i downed the first one in less than 10 minutes it's so good. but the "ale" part of the beer is purely just the way it is fermented because it is very mild for the 8.1% abv, tastes like a boilermaker. my dad who only drinks coors light, harp, and molsons actually liked this beer.

this beer is really drinkable, if it weren't for the high alcohol i would have no problem pouring the entire 4 pack down me in one sitting (but it takes me a few hours haha) but then you're a little sick.

i would love to have this beer all the time, i think it is worth the $12 for the 4 pack. (953 characters)

Photo of adamette
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Live review. Picked this up as a single from Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio last Wedensday when I stopped in to see Wally for $1.66. He made sure that I knew that Founders Nemesis was available which was really cool. This single was one of his "new" ones. No observed "best by" date. Poured into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale pint glass.

A Rather basic looking translucent copper body under a briefly present off white head (it was gone within about a minute, down to a ring around the top of the beer). 3.0

S I love the caramel sweet goodness of a bourbon barrel aged beer and that is the smell that dominates with a nice, soft bourbon notes. It is interesting, inviting. 4.5

T The bourbon taste is there but it is a bit weak, almost becomes a taste of macaroni (if you can imagine for a minute) in a cheap kind of way. I am glad to say that the after taste is a much better bourbon like taste that is good. It strikes me that this is "gateway" bourbon barrel aged beer, the beginning of one's journey through the bourbon barrel aged beers which will end with Allagash Curieux or possibly BA B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher. Anyway, I am a sucker for bourbon barrel aged stuff so it probably gets a little bump in rating because of it. 3.5

M The bourbon softens the feel nicely in my opinion (I have found that with other beers as well) but this is probably more thin than I would have liked. 3.0

D One and done for me (and not just because I bought the single) but because of the 8.19% ABV and its relative bigness. That being said, I enjoyed drinking this one. 4.0 (1,578 characters)

Photo of waltonc
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BEERchitect for this extra.

Pours a clear, light copper with lots of white head. First bourbon barrel aged beer I've had that's this light in appearance and body. Smells like...bourbon and malt. Tastes like...bourbon. Very pronounced bourbon. Not hot, and not excessive bourbon, but this almost tastes like bourbon mixed with water. Tasty though. Takes some getting used to for me because I'm used to my bourbon barrel aged beers being higher ABV, thicker, etc. This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with a lot of carbonation. (549 characters)

Photo of ABOWMan
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

The ale poured a rich golden color with perfect clarity. With some effort, I was able to obtain a creamy off white head of relatively course bubbles which dissipated rapidly. No lacing was evident as I drank this aromatic ale.

Speaking of aroma, this ale wreaks of bourbon and vanilla with some burnt wood smokey notes to finish. What's lacking is any faint aroma of anything beer, like malt for instance. Close your eyes, or keep them open, and waft a smell and you'd think you were sniffing a high ball.

The flavor is bourbon upfront, charred wood, vanilla and brown sugar. The lack of any beer flavor ruins what would could have been, a decent brew.

The mouthfeel is thin and watery. It seems almost impossible to be so thin given the ABV and intensity of bourbon flavor. As a result, drinkability is average, but why bother given the price for a four pack. There are plenty of good bourbon barrel ales out there. Don't waste your money on this one. (956 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.33/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears a pale copper translucent color with a large bright white head, fine bubbled lacing forms evenly as it dwindles and continues the pattern with each sip.

Aroma is straight up oak barrel and vanilla with whiskey just coming out of it's pores. It smells like Hank Williams Jr in the 80s or Tim Mcgraw's new cologne that's out now. When leather, oak, brown sugar and vanilla collide without any cohesion. Big charred oak characteristics, the base beer just seems so lifeless I guess the whiskey barrel aging gives it what's here doesn't really complement the beer like so many other versions of brews that sit in the whiskey soaked oak. There's something very solvent and chemical about the aroma that doesn't even make me want to take my first sip.

Flavor yep there's a reason why I didn't want any part of it, it's like sipping on whiskey without the 80 proof. Whiskey tea we'll call it. Sour mash is evident with vanilla, charred oak and hints of caramel and toffee with some serious booziness for a beer this thin in body. Makes it seem like such a gimmick beer that's only really being brewed for the Kentucky Derby, there's no other audience that is going to take to this beer.

Mouthfeel is thin way to thin for alcohol level and the flavor profile it just doesn't carry it too well, it's like watered down whiskey tea. Booze gives a bit of a burn, but it's really the charred oak flavor bringing out a bit of cinnamon like expressions on the palate. Gag reflux get ready I'll be lucky to make it through 12 oz of this brew.
Drinkability overall when in Rome I guess, like if I was at the Derby bidding and I was really worn out of the official mixed drink of the Alltech F.E.I. than yeah maybe I would have this abomination. I'd rather have brews run through whiskey soaked oak chips in an infuser like Bocktown has been doing for quite some time now. (1,868 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.34/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am going to go way out on a limb with this one I am sure, but I am sorry I absolutely loved it. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/24/2010.

The pour was not what I would consider, um great. Light amber in color, nearly golden with a very, very clear body to it. Lots of carbonation could be seen streaming up towards the top of the glass which coalesced into a thin, but firm white cap at about a quarter of an inch, but this really did not stay long, fading with no real side glass lacing. Aroma is sweet, unbelievably sweet with loads of vanilla and sweet candy like notes. I found this incredibly appetizing and dove straight in. Super light body takes you off guard, but once you let this thing open up it's over. Rich beyond words with a sweetness that is unmatched. Like French vanilla ice cream mixed with hints of bourbon and light grain, it just worked. So light it was almost refreshing as I really just could not get enough of this one. 

Overall wow, I did not see this coming. I was not sure I was going to like it nearly as much as I did, but wow it really, really worked for me. I would love to have this one again any time, it is just a wonderful, sweet concoction that truly just worked for me. (1,253 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 556 ratings.