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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: 2,575
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: 2,575
Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

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

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

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

M: On the thinner side.

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

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Photo of wcudwight
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber in color with some yellow and golden highlights. Scant fizzy head but that's to be expected given the style. It kind of looks like bourbon.
Smells of bourbon with hints of oak burning in a woodstove. The aroma is not as strong as I expected.
Bourbon flavored. Suprise! There's also hints of vanilla and maybe coconut. Again for a barrel aged beer it's kind of mild. It's still complex and tasty though. This beer's almost suductive in it's flavor profile.
Lighter in body than most of the style but this doesn't detract from the overall experience of drinking the beer.
Nice beer that I'm glad I've had the oppurtunity to try, thanks to Grafton.

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Photo of Beejay
2.53/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A; A pale yellow amber.. Low level of white head.

S: Whiskey, bitter like coffee, smells like driving by a distillery, or waking up in a frat house after an all night Jim Beam bender..

T: Sweet at first with a hint of whiskey, The flavors progress to a little more bitter. and it finished with a toasted malt taste.. A very strange brew indeed..

M: Slightly oily, and the flavor takes your mouth on a roller coaster..

D: One off... Don't think I will buy this one again, which is sad.. as whiskey ( And preferably Whisky) is my other drink of choice..

Don't buy a sixer, get a single for a change of pace.

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Photo of hathaway78
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard brew to rate.... As a point of reference, imagine leaving a jim beam and coke out all night fulll of ice.... Now this beer is not quite the same, but that's a good starting point. An ice melted bourbon and coke.

Aside from the reference this is a creatively interesting beer. The roasted amber nut taste is definitely present, along with a swift kick of vanilla bean and roasting malt.

The flavors in this beer surround the palate, but personally I cannot get past the melted bourbon and coke reference....

Good beer to try for the extreme novelty, but not a prize winner by any standard....

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Gulden Draak goblet.

Pours a bright golden-orange hue that's both clear and well-carbonated. A torrent of bubbles rises up from the etched glass bottom to help fuel a fleeting, eggshell-creme head that dissipates to a ring of bubbles. The aroma is more muted than I had hoped, with a slight hint of vanilla oak, bourbon, crystal malts, and floral hops.

The flavor easily makes up for what the aroma lacks, with a smooth, oaked vanilla kick and a hint of spicy bourbon heat. The hops are slight, while the malts are husky and lightly breaded. Body is on the thinner side of things considering the style, but the carbonation level and smoothness certainly make this a drinkable beer. Although the steep price limits the purchasing potential for this brew ($11/4-pack), its still a tasty treat from the center of bourbon country, USA.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Vanilla, oak, spicy undertones. No hop aroma. Clean fermentation character.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear amber pour with a sticky white head. Head retention is poor.

Flavor: More oak and woody notes. Faint biscuity malt background and some earthy hop bitterness. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, moderate-high carbonation, and slightly slick. A touch of astringency and warming alcohol on the back of the palate.

Overall impression: A clean, wood-aged ale. Not really sure what this beer would be without the bourbon and wood-aged character. Maybe an amber? Very one dimensional. Not a big fan of bourbon/barrel-aged beers and this does nothing to help that.

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Photo of orcasteve
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a clear orange color, the sent is oak and sour mash, the flavor is, sour at first sip with hints of corn mash, the second wave is a gental oak flavor and sweet alchoal that warms the belly. at the end i am left with a combo of sour, oak and clean krisp bitter hops. this isnt what i would call a great beer but just avrage, this is a beer that i would drink if offered but wont go out of my way to get more

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a clear amber, with ~1 finger of white head, which fades gradually, leaving a thin, incomplete cap. No lacing noted.

S- A strong odor of pure bourbon.

T- Like sweet bourbon with a few hint of banana esters and vanilla. Alcohol bite is moderate. Sweetness is fairy high.

M- Moderate carbonation/fairly creamy.

D- Decent. Nice bourbon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a nice feel.

Future outlook: Probably not one to seek out often, but a pleasant brew that I wouldn't turn down.

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Photo of PretzelCity
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Grafter for this one. Poured into my pint glass a nice golden color with a solid two inch head that slowly dissipated. The smell was a little weak with the bourbon overpowering the ale despite the bourbon not being that intense. The taste was more of the same. The bourbon had a bigger presence than the ale itself. It tasted to me like the bourbon used was better than the beer they aged. Overall not a great beer but I'd try it again down the road.

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Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe the first Kentucky beer I have had,I poured into an oversized wine glass to get the full aroma aspects of this beer,it poured clear deep golden with a very thin head,good clarity just not much head to it.Man that stuff smells like Wild Turkey,full oak and vanilla/caramel notes with a bit of biscuit malt,no hop presence that I could find.Light mouthfeel but not sharp,just a little thinner than expected I guess.Flavors are oaky and vanilla tinged with that caramel and and biscuit showing through as well,again no hop presence noticrable in my mind.Something a little different,it tastes just as much as a bourbon as a strong ale,but I liked it for a change of pace.

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Party Source. The beer is a clear amber-orange color with a medium off-white head that dissipates steadily. Thin ting of lacing with spots under it. The aroma is pretty much all bourbon, with maybe a hint of malt buried under it. Medium-bodied with a bourbon overkill character of which the smell warned. Touches of woody malt and hops but again the bourbon overwhelms. The finish is oak and bourbon with a lingering whiskey aftertaste. Not for me.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised to see this on tap at a local bar. Properly served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

A- Poured a clear red, amber color. Very little to no head presented itself.

S- The bourbon smell hits you smack in the nose. Hidden behind it, is a combination sweet vanilla and carmel notes.

T- Very happy to see that the oak flavor was present. Like the taste, the bourbon was combined sweet vanilla notes.

M- Medium to light bodied with some carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Definitely a sipper. Snifter is more than enough for one sitting.

Overall, a very nice bourbon aged beer. Looking very forward to opening the Old Friends to compare.

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

At the nose, I question if I just poured a beer or 12 ounces of bourbon. Definitely a strong bourbon smell. Color is just fairly light and transparent, not really what I think of from a strong ale.

Taste is not bad although the bourbon smell is somewhat overpowering; the alcohol is very evident.

Not a bad beer although I can't see having more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is boozy, like I was taking a whiff of bourbon. Flavor is more bourbon than anything. Not really complex at all. But it is creamy. Feel carries the same character on liquid and carbonation is lower. A nice sipper. If you like the bourbon, this is pretty heavy with it, so you'd be happy.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright amber body capped by a thinning layer of white bubbles.

Smell: Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and humble pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a caramel kick to them make way for the far stronger flavors of vanilla, oaken barrel extract, light brown sugar, and even toasted coconut. Medium sweetness throughout. Never much in the way of hops or bitterness. Rebound of basic malty sweetness along with a rather woody quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly interesting, I'll give it at least that much. Maybe its the decaying brain cells, but I cannot adequately recall such a light base beer getting the bourbon barrel treatment. It's appealing to try all the characteristics bourbon barrel aging has to offer without being hampered and diluted by a... well, more substantial beer, but it doesn't make for an overall sublime drinking experience and doesn't have much appeal beyond the one bottle.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours a clear, copper color with a thin white head. The nose has a lot of bourbon on it, with some hints of vanilla and oak.

The flavor is malty with some of the vanilla coming through and more bourbon flavor. There is a bit of mild bitterness on the otherwise quick finish. The mouthfeel is a bit thin with low carbonation.

This is a pretty fun beer to try. Most bourbon barrel beers I've had have been porters and stouts, whose strong beer flavor leave the bourbon as only a small accent. Due to this having a milder flavored base beer, the bouron is allowed to really come out, for better or worse.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
2.77/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 12oz brown bottle - Pours a clear reddish/orange. No carbonation, very light lacing . Smells of strong bourbon. First sip tastes like a glass of scotch on ice that whose ice has completely melted leaving a watery flavor. Other than the bourbon there is not much going on. A big disappointment.

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Photo of zeff80
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark orange/amber color with a tan, creamy, but small head. It left some trails of lace.

S - It smelled of bourbon, vanilla and molasses.

T - The taste really had too much bouron flavor. It was still sweet and caramely, but the bourbon flavor was almost too strong.

M - It was smooth, soft and creamy. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is okay, but I prefer just hints of bourbon flavor in my beer and this one was just too strong.

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Photo of icefisherman
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

well thanks go out ot greggy for this one it looks like beer great beer smells to me like a cheap chardony wine yuk! but taste like some one poored in a half shot of jim beam with like some medioker mild/amber but all in all not the worst i have had but kinda un impressive

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Photo of TheBierBand
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

OK.... so The Bier Band was performing at the Mainstrasse Village Oktoberfest in Covington, KY. We NORMALLY get FREE BIER when we perform.... but not here. Oh Well! So, I figured that I would try this KY Bourbon Barrel Ale (I'd had the KY Ale from them in a bottle and it was pretty good).

It was served in a plastic cup (and a pretty small one at that)... not as big as the cups they served the KY Ale in. It formed about a 1?2" creamy head but it didn't stick around very long. The color of the bier was quite dark... kind of a dark caramel color.

SMELL: Woah!.... right away... a sweet whif of bourbon... then a caramel malt.

TASTE: WOAH!.... this didn't taste bourbon barrel aged.... it tasted as though they took a 12 oz beer and added a shot of bourbon to it! VERY pronounced bourbon flavor... WAY too much... I'm more into subtilty. I was just overwhelmed by the bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Flat.... but creamy

Drinkability: Well, in retrospect, I'm glad I only got a 12 oz cup.... I had trouble finishing it. Don't get me wrong.... I normally like a nice robust STRONG ALE... Arrogant Bastard Ale is one of my favorites of all time.... but this just clubbed you over the head with bourbon!

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear ruby color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into thin lacing. The aroma is of oak and bourbon, but not much else. It is a very pleasant aroma, but to lacking in any sort of malt or hops to make it interesting. The taste is still full of oak and bourbon, but there is some malt. It still isn't very interesting though. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is an alright beer, but rather boring. I could drink it again, but it won't be something I search out.

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Photo of byaeger
4.77/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Though I have had this on tap at the brewery's "bier stube," I'm rating this on the bottles I've had. This is a remarkable beer. I know barrel-aging is getting big including aging this or that in bourbon barrels, but for a golden ale from Lexington, this one makes the most sense since the barrels emanate from down the road.

I credit this beer with turning me into a bigger bourbon fan. Rich, vanilla-oak flavors dominate, but you can sip it like a rich beer. The scent hits you first and though it's not very carbonated, it fills the mouth with equal parts beer and bourbon in a symbiotic fashion.

Though you can only drink one of these in a sitting--or at least should--the one bottle will leave you feeling GOOOOD. When the angel's share of the 90 proof bourbon marries out with the 5ish percent ale, what's left is a strong 9 percent beer that is liquid gold and warmth.

Biggest downside: Only available in Kentucky, and when the hell are you gonna be in Kentucky?

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Photo of Umbra
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on the way out of CVG at the ?& Erma's
Though it had the same great color as the bottle version, the carbonation and head were non-existent. Aroma was muted as well, with only some faint bourbon and vanilla mixing around. Again, I really liked the flavor, though the vanilla seemed to distract from the bourbon at times. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweet finish. Quite drinkable, but only for 2-3.

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Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

Pours honey/amber with one finger of rapidly falling pearl colored head. Nice viscous look to this with average lacing & head retention

S: Toffee, butterscotch & bourbon by the bucket that faded as this warmed

T: Dryness, bourbon & butterscotch & some booze warmth upfront. Much toffee, oaky, dryness & vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry, semi-boozey with a touch of honey, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: A bit thin all things considered, more malt depth is needed, with medium carbonation

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color with no head forming on the pour. Smell is sweet and alcoholic. Not necessarily a bourbon smell, but a sweet alcohol. Taste is overly carbonated and cheap bourbon. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. I was hoping more from a brewery that is located in the backyard of bourbon. The Jefferson's Reserve Stout is lightyears better.
A disclaimer is that I've heard this beer is an entirely different animal on draft compared to bottle. I'll seek it out on draft and update my rating accordingly.

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