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

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

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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 Preismj
4.15/5  rDev +14%
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. (1,095 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

A well done beer. Drink this fresh for a nice bourbon beer experience. (811 characters)

Photo of johnnycakes
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My wife picked me up a 4-pack of this from the local grocery. (I live in Louisville, KY and our grocery stores are good about stocking local brews.)

I was not expecting a much because I am not a fan of Kentucky Ale's standard ale. However I was pleasantly surprised.

It poured with nearly no head.
The color is a beautiful amber-golden.

I've been reading these reviews that say it tastes too much like bourbon and I'm very confused. I was actually shocked at how un-bourbon tasting this ale is. I've had Bluegrass Brewing Co and Browning's each make a bourbon barrel stout that are wonderful and have a distinct bourbon taste. This ale does not.

The bourbon barrel aging of this ale has surprisingly given it a banana/vanilla flavor. Upon my first sip, I immediately thought of banana nut bread.

Overall, I think this is a great ale to be paired with the right food.
(Not exactly sure what that food would be - just think this would be a good ale to accompany a meal rather than to drink on its own) (1,020 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After tackling a growler solo in my past review, it's time to slow things down a bit and consume 12oz. at a time, and appreciate.

Bottle pours a high clarity orange tone, with a small cap of white foam. Spotty bits of lace ring the tulip glass.

Oak, vanilla, sweet corn mash, and brown sugar in the nose. Becomes slightly funky as it warms.

A light bourbon taste, yet it touches on all my favorite aspects of this Kentucky-bred specialty. Woody oak, caramel sauce, buttery theater popcorn, a hint of coconut, with creamy vanilla bean in the long finish.

The thin, clean mouthfeel and refreshing nature of this ale deceptively mask it's alcohol content. Lacks body and complexity, but the bourbon flavor is good. Respect this beer, and it won't mess you up. Drinking a growler of this stuff made me feel like I had put down a pint of bourbon... (851 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caramel color and semi-transparent. White head forms then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the glass and minimal lacing.

Rich aroma of oak, caramel, toffee and nuts. Complex, intricate and inspires curiosity.

Similar flavors in beginning and middle. Definitely a sweet tone with caramel and brown sugar. Some vanilla and mild bourbon notes. Fruity with cherries and apples adding to the sweetness. Finishes fairly clean with lingering bready malt flavor.

Surprising light feel, just barely medium bodied. Crisp, even carbonation. Exceptionally smooth texture.

I really like this. Highly complex and well balanced. (625 characters)

Photo of julian89
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

4/27/2012
Got a growler of this from work at Hop City.
Poured from growler into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a half inch head no lacing, decent retention. Bubbling is seen through the glorious translucent amber.

Smell: Vanilla and coconut dominate. Bourbon smell of sweet butterscotch. Last I smell earthly notes of smoked oak.

Taste: The progression... smooth bourbon and malty taste, then I received a strong medium bodied vanilla and coconut taste, then the earthly feel on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A medium to soft bodied feel with watery flow. Decent carbonation from a growler.

Drinkability: Very good taste and smell. It is a very pretty beer. I will say it's downfall if mouthfeel and it could be a bit stronger due to it's ~8% ABV but alas. It still gets a fairly high rating from me. (825 characters)

Photo of scotorum
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

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

s: Bourbon!

t: Bourbon! Dayum! Dry boozy finish.

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

o: Good for what it is. Think I still prefer beer that tastes more like beer, but it is a unique experience to have a beer that tastes like weak bourbon. Maybe this will grow on me though, I loved Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Aged beer from the gitgo and still enjoy it now and then. But unlike Innis & Gunn, I get the impression there is not much substance here beyond the bourbon flavor and aroma. Still, that flavor is seductive, so I'll probably buy more of this. (895 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Pours a clear bright copper in color, small ring of head forms and recedes away. Aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, butterscotch, and alcohol fumes. The taste follows suit, but does so nicely. There is a sweetness from the oaky tannins of the bourbon barrels, vanilla like. Bourbon flavor makes itself known, with a vaguely smokey sweet alcohol grain flavour. The english pale/irish red base beer lends itself perfectly in its lightness to pick up all the flavors from the barrel. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall, this beer really highlights what fresh bourbon barrels can do to a simple base ale. Quite nice. (703 characters)

Photo of mavbrew
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (746 characters)

Photo of Crundy
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear dark amber, bourbon color, white foamy head and thin lacing

S: the bourbon smell hits you up front, next comes a pleasant sweetness that reminds me of banana bread and vanilla and some clove

T: Again the bourbon is prominent, the oakiness comes out more as well, some vanilla and a hint of hop bitterness and minimal malt presence.

M: very mellow and smooth but slightly dry on the finish, it has a subtle sweet aftertaste and it light bodied

O: very good beer, though a bit too sweet for me but not overly so. Very drinkable and very pleasant oaky bourbon flavors. If you don't like the strength and bite of bourbon but still like the associated flavors, this is a good beer for you. (697 characters)

Photo of Mistofminn
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to auroracrisis for sending me some bottles of this! Wanted to try this for a long time, so thanks Ben for the chance.

I needed a boubron beer fix (see my review for BBC Reserve Boubron Barrel Stout to see why) so I grabbed one of these next.

My bottle didn't look like the sweet one in the picture above, it was simply a brown 12 oz bottle.

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color into a pint glass. Off white head is produced on the pour, and shrinks to a small pillow and ring around the outside edge of the glass. Doesn't leave a ton of lacing. I love the color though.

The nose is...fantastic! This has to be my first bourbon barrel beer that isn't a stout, porter, barleywine or brown ale so this is very good news for the rest of bourbon barrel beers in my eyes. I get bourbon soaked fruits...incredibly fruity. A nice woody character in the background and a nice warming bourbon smell, which is mostly soaked into the fruit aromas.

The taste is similar to the nose, very fruity with a bourbon soaked fruit/wood character. This is tasty stuff, but it's just not as tasty as the nose advertises unfortunately. Still, very tasty. Totally not expecting it to be so fruity. It's like it's an average beer with bourbon (and good bourbon mind you) soaked fruit dropped in. Great stuff.

The mouthfeel is light, and slightly overcarbonated. I'm not feeling this section of the beer, but I'm definitely into the taste and smell.

Drinkability is great. If the ABV were slightly lower this would be an awesome session beer. I really like the aroma and flavor of this, and I could have a few without getting knocked on my ass. What more could you ask?

If I lived in an area where this was readily available, I would buy this all the time. At $12 a four pack, how could you go wrong? (1,793 characters)

Photo of Mario61Aler
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice suprise from the 335 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass. It poured a nice golden color, with a white head that disapated quickly. Hardly any lacing at all. Aroma was of carmel and a just hint of the bourbon. Taste was of Malts and a hint of alcohol, bourbon and then a sweetness comes into play, like a dried cherry. Was slightly creamy with a medium body that makes this a very drinkable Ale. I will revisit this one. (426 characters)

Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a KY Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter obtained at a Pazzo's Pint Night years ago... I remember not liking this beer the first time I had it, but oh how my tastes have changed! This is now one of my favorite go-to locals...

A- 4 Pours an attractive, clear burnt orange / amber color with a one finger fluffy white head. The head lacks retention as it dies down quickly but there's a nice ring left around the edges and the tiniest of bubbles lace the glass smoothly.

S- 4.5 Caramel, malt, bourbon and wood... In no particular order. Just balanced and pure. The oak makes its presence felt as much as anything, and the rest composes a nice sweetness that has me itching to raise the glass... The snifter is worthwhile here because there really is some good stuff going on.

T- 4 Though I generally detect the same elements in its taste as I did from the aroma, the taste is notably sweeter and not quite as balanced. That said, it is quite good. I get a bit more caramel and bourbon here, with just a touch of oak on the finish. Though it has a respectable ABV, it is just barely detectable at the end of the drink.

M- 4 KBBA is medium in body with a smooth creaminess that is quite manageable. It is heavier on the palate than I expected from its appearance. It has a good level of carbonation. It is a little syrupy on the finish, with the slightest bit of heat from the alcohol.

D- 4 I really enjoy this beer and could put down a few of them. I don't think I could do it all night because it is a little sweeter than I prefer ideally. Regardless, this is an enjoyable ale with a bourbon presence that fits in nicely. I'd definitely recommend trying this if you enjoy bourbon brews or are visiting KY where you can easily find it in bottles or draft. It also blends well with Guinness, ala a 'black and tan,' and is known as a 'black barrel.' It is a succulent combination... Cheers to Lex-Vegas and the growing popularity of KBBA! (1,941 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this English Strong Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This ale poured a amber color. Produces a very small white head, poor retention and it leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma of this ale consists of bourbon whisky, vanilla and oak. Full bodied, this ale has a foundation of malted grain, features the flavor of bourbon ale throughout. There are also hints of vanilla, and oak. High ABV- Dry finish, this one is a sipping beer,- Overall impression is that this is very unique- It easy to forger your drinking a beer and not a mixed drink. Extremely unique- its a must try! (609 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak and coconut; just a hint of bourbon

Taste: Starts out with a buttered brown bread and bourbon-influenced caramel flavor; lots of vanilla and coconut arrive by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a brief flourish of very smooth bourbon and oak that lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really nice Bourbon treatment here instead of the typical barrel-aging of a big stout; the beer has some nice subtleties (629 characters)

Photo of innersanctum
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best bourbon aged beer that I've had thus far! Having started my journey with the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout this is a tall order. KBBA is an extremely drinkable and likeable ale.

The only element this brew lacked was its aroma, which took some time to open up and share some vanilla notes. The taste has a nice blend of oak and vanilla which is picked up nicely from the barrels. I could not discern the specific type of ale which this brewe is from but it does not have a hoppy presence. Its mouthfeel is smooth and consistent and about as heavy as Champagne while lacking the carbonation. (611 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a nice off white head and low lace. Amber color. Clear. Aroma is oak and bourbon dominant with vanilla. Flavor is much like a barleywine with a shot of the finest aged bourbon in it. Really. Mf is light and slight EtOH nip. Overall THE ultimate bourbon drinker's brew. (277 characters)

Photo of lochef81
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bba ale pours a handsome deep copper color with very little head but decent film and legs. The aroma is a rich blend of vanilla, oak, leather, and nice warm booze. The flavor is just as rich and delicious. There is alot of bourbon here and alcohol heat. Its actually surprisingly hot given the abv. Mouthfeel is thick n sticky, in the best way. I love this, but I also love bourbon. If you don't then you're gonna hate this. If you do, do yourself a favor and drink this at room temperature. (496 characters)

Photo of jancona
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sweet vanilla and bourbon smell along with a hint of brown sugar - taste follows - mellow bourbon flavor with a sweet vanilla malt backbone / no booziness - very enjoyable. (172 characters)

Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is basically regular Kentucky Ale that has been aged in bourbon barrels. It's only available at a few places in Lexington, so get it while you can bourbon lovers!

On tap poured into a snifter glass. It pours a medium amber color with two fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing. The smell is malty with lots of sweet cherry and oak. A nice aroma. The taste starts fairly malty with charred oak under brown sugar sweetness. The bourbon REALLY comes out after it warms up some. The finish has a nice little dose of citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is very very good. This is a big improvement to regular Kentucky Ale. They need to bottle this stuff. It would really put them on the map. (743 characters)

Photo of shand
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've got to say, I was excited to see this one come to Florida. I've heard about it being an unbalanced bourbon bomb, but I've enjoyed other beers of a similar nature like Twisted Pine's Reilly's Oak Whiskey Red, so I'm hoping this one will be to my liking as well. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours much lighter than I expected, a pretty clear orange color with a small head. The aroma hits right away with vanilla and oak, with sweet malts, grains, and a distinct boozy note. The taste is rather remarkable in that it really tastes quite like a bourbon without the burn. Not a great bourbon, but a surely passable one. Kinda like an Evan Williams kind of thing going on, if you dig. It's got vanilla and oak from the barrel as well. Very unique in the sheer force of flavor going on - there's absolutely nothing here but bourbon and barrel. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, lightly carbonated, and slick. Works well with the bourbon feel. The drinkability is pretty solid. Overall, I like this beer. It works as almost a "session bourbon", if you will. (1,053 characters)

Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

golden brown. crystal clear. poor head retention, and poor lacing.

toffee, caramel, malty, sweet, alcohol smells. there is some bourbon aroma there too but not as much as the name would suggest. i think the bourbon notes are coming off as caramel and toffee. dont taste oak, just toffee and caramel. some of the vanilla from the bourbon come through as well.

immediately huge caramel an toffee flavor. like biting into a skor bar. sweet and crisp, very malty flavor. again it doesnt taste immediately taste like whiskey, but the flavor of whiskey is what lingers after the finish.

medium body. crisp finish.

this is definitely an interesting beer. this beer has benefitted from being bourbon barrel aged, i have tried the original. a beer with decent complexity. i would like to serve this to a friend who drinks nothing but cheap whiskey and cheap domestic lager and see if he digs it. (890 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours a dark golden color, with very little head. There is a nice oaky aroma, with hints of scotch. The taste had a strong oak like barrel flavor, with strong hints of scotch like flavors. Very easy to drink, and good full flavor. Overall a found this a very enjoyable beer. (302 characters)

Photo of beefnbarley
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
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. (313 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew on tap at the fish market in Newport Kentucky.

A- pours a clear dark copper in appearance with a sticky white lacing that sticks to the side.

S- subtle scent of bourbon and oak with a touch of sweet malt, barely a trace of spicy hops. Was looking for a bit more oaky bourbon smell.

T- sweet vanilla and oak presence up front, followed with a splash of bourbon. Finishes slightly sweet and malty with light oak lingering on the palate. Great balance and the linger on the palate is very refreshing.

M- medium carbonation, light and refreshing

O- this ale does a great job of showcasing the oak and bourbon flavors while still staying light enough for an ale. The linger on the palate was most impressive, almost similar to the linger of a good cabernet, but with a touch of bourbon. This complemented rare yellowfin tuna quite well and even saved some for a dessert afterward. (896 characters)

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