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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.

574 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 574
Hads: 2,621
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 758 | 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.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 574 | Hads: 2,621
Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.34/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is clear copper with light carbonation, the Head is small white and leaves little lace.

The smell is great, lots of a very nice bourbon, vanilla and caramel seem to dominate.

The taste is equally as good but a bit different. Toasted coconut seems to be the taste the bourbon brings not vanilla so much. Really a nice brew to sip. Lightly toasted caramel and some vanilla notes do come out but nothing like the coconut.

The mouthfeel is light body and light carbonation nothing to great here, but not a reason to put it down either.

The drinkability is very good I would love to see this in a store. Thanks to NFLMVP for this very cool find, Prosit MK

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.34/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

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Photo of mutt
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

being a fan of bourban in the winter months, i had to give this one a try. very nice beer. drank from a snifter, it was suggested and i had no clean pints, so what the hey, i use the snifter. great amber color, sweeter than i anticipated, but not to much. nice bourban aftertaste lingers. if you like bourban and you're reading this, you obviously like beer, so try this one

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Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at HopJack's in Pensacola, FL.

A: Huge light tan head, beautiful orange - red color.

S: The oak and citrus are prominent.

T: The barrel is the first taste to hit the palate. Red fruit and light citrus are also present. More subtleties emerge as the beer warms.

M: The beer is light and crisp.

O: This was a well balanced beer, but not overly complex. This is a great example of the style, and I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Dave128
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington. Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel snifter.

A - An average pour from the pitcher yields a finger of slightly off white head that dissipates pretty slowly into a thin disc on top of the beer. Clear dark amber in color, very similar to actual bourbon. Lace rings occur on the pitcher from every pour.

S - sweet caramel and bourbon on the nose. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for an 8 percent beer.

T - incredibly sweet and rich on the caramel malt. Bourbon is definitely on the forefront in the taste. Of the bourbon ales I have tasted, this is definitely the most bourbony. It is woody and delicious. The reason I am giving it a 5 on taste is that it is so unique and I have never had anything quite like it.

M - It is a little light bodied for the flavors present and doesn't really seem like that big of a beer, but carbonation is average to low which is spot on for this style.

O - It's not really that drinkable of a beer. Being a whiskey lover, I like it a lot, but it is hard to have a lot of it in one sitting since the flavors are pretty intense and the alcohol content is high. Like it or not, it is definitely a unique experience for anyone that tries it.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
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.

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Photo of StuyBeerGuy
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This beer has a light copper color body with a lively white head and good retention and lacing. Makes one want to drink it.

Smell - Smell and strong. The bourbon flavors that stand out are a minimal and intriguing bite with caramel smells.

Mouthfeel - Smooth. Also, this is one of the few weak-points of the beer. I wish it was longer in the mouth. It is smooth and bubbly besides a small issue.

Taste - Delicious, all of the smoky flavors of a bourbon with sweet flavors. Goes well with the decor of a irish pub.

I'd suggest this beer to a friend.

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Photo of Broman
4.31/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Copper red tint under a minuscule head that disappears almost immediately to nothing. Fairly transparent but inviting.

Smell- Mostly sweet bourbon on the nose. Other less obvious undertones are noted. Aggressive smell lets you know what this beer is about. Not overpowering but up front and inviting. Combined with the visual a very inviting beer.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation sting is the first note. Light body on the palet. The carbonation sting gives way to a distinct alcohol flavor.

Taste- Up front are malts and bourbon. There is a sweet hint as if brown sugar. The high alcohol content is apparent in the aftertaste. Overall not exceptionally complex but a very tasty beer.

Overall- Great beer. Definate try. I wouldn't advise consuming many due to the alcohol content. Not a beer for a new beer drinker, but one that could sway some to the light of good beer choices.

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Photo of mobyfann
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paid $9.99 for a growler from The Party Source...

Pours a clear amber colored base with a medium white head, great retention and minimal lacing. The aroma is very subtle in Elijah Craig bourbon and sweet caramel malts.

The taste is all about the smoothness when looking at a beer this strong, it reminds me of a Yuengling lager, made with enough quality ingredients to be noticeable but not pretentious; yet deliver as a true winner (despite the usual overpowering of heavier beers). Low carbonation and good head retention make this one of the smoothest beers east of the Mississippi.

Final Thought: An absolute stunner of a session beer, best in class for style!

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer experience for me. Poured from the tap into a snifter. The head was good sized, about 0.75 inches, but fell before finishing the glass to almost nothing. Beer was a nice dark amber color; it let light through, but with resistance. It didn't smell as strong as I had expected from something out of a bourbon barrel. Smelled slightly sweet with the bourbon coming though. The taste was nice; heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel, with flavors of caramel and oak, with a slight sweetness that I can't place. I didn't have time to see how it progressed as it warmed, though it was served chilled, and not cold. Mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I would like, but since it's the stock ale as a base, I'm not surprised. The lacing was absolutely beautiful after finishing the glass. It was not overly heavy, but coated the entire snifter from the top down. I will not pass this one up when I find it offered again. Worth trying if you come across it.

Edit: I went back and revisited this one to see what I come up with after reviewing for a while. The bourbon flavors play very heavily in this one iving it great vanilla, almost coconut tones. I think this is a much better beer than I gave it credit for before.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A clear golden amber body with orange highlights and a creamy (although it makes a fizzy sound in the glass) mostly lasting head.

S: No joking around when it's said this is a bourbon barrel ale. Strong aroma of bourbon along with sweet vanilla & subtle malts.

T: This one taste just as good as it smells. Upfront bourbon flavor followed with caramel malts and sweet vanilla. A very warming finish.

M: A smooth and creamy beer with a medium body and high carbonation.

D: One of my favorite beers for the summer, but I drank 3 of these tonight just relaxing around the house. Great beer.

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Photo of Knilas
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glowing, dark Amber color. Notes of brown sugar and vanilla on the nose. Slight bite of char from the barrels, but mostly caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and a touch of tobacco for flavor. Very smooth...and a nice change of pace. Worth the coin.

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Photo of CardiacNP
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice draft pour from Fox & Hound in Ohio served in a nice matching snifter.

Poured a clear golden amber color with a small dense white head. There Was excellent lacing throughout the beer.

The aroma of bourbon was there along with a light sweet scent follow by woody oak hints.

Taste was very smooth slightly sweet with a wonderful bourbon aftertaste. Slight caramel and oak flavors present. Very very small hop characters noted.

Mouth feel was smooth , and a bit viscous. Very light carbonation. Little alcohol finishes but surprisingly light for a 8.2%ABV

Over all a very enjoy able ale. If you like bourbon also you would be please to try this beer. I know I will again.

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Photo of shortbus7
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a snifter from a bottle chilled in the fridge.

A: This beer has oranges red tint to it, very much like a dark apple juice. Thin lacing surrounds the glass.

A: 100% bourbon and I love it!

M: A light mouthfeel with very little carbonation. The carbonation kicks in a little bit during the aftertaste with a slight tingling on the tongue. I have had this on tap once and it had much more carbonation, which I liked greatly. In the bottle it almost tastes a little flat.

T: The beer is very sweet at first taste and is followed quickly by bourbon. The taste agrees with the title of the name perfectly. This may sound weird but beer taste like 7-up mixed with bourbon.

O: I really like bourbon so I enjoy this beer. If you are not a fan of bourbon, this will probably not sit very well with you. Overall a good beer but much better on tap due to the increased carbonation.

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Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: medium carbonation, minimal head, orange-brown in color, hazy

Smell: toasted malt and light oak

Taste: big time oak and bourbon, a pleasant taste of vanilla, meadow, and sweet toasted malt

Mouthfeel: sweet with big time oaking, moderate carbonation and medium-light body

Overall: I really like this. The problem I have with a lot of oak beers is that they are one dimensional oak and/or alcohol bombs. While this one has both, there is a sweetness and complexity that I do not often find with the style. The oak, vanilla, and bourbon all get a chance to shine and blend wonderfully. I wish I picked up a six of this. Really great beer.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a hotel tumbler, since that's all I've got. Body is a deep golden amber color with a flourish of a creamy white head that quickly vanishes. Good carbonation keeps on coming. Aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, bourbon, a light nutty character, and more bourbon. Palate is light sweet malt at first, with the bourbon emerging mid-palate and building to a nice, warm finish. After a few sips acclimate you to the strong whisky character, notes of caramel, almond, vanilla, and some mild fruity hops come through the booze to make for an interestingly complex beer. Body is a little thin, yet also mildly sticky, as I've come to expect from American strong ales. Good for sipping, and thorougly enjoyable. It's got me thinking I need to mix my whisky and beer more often.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well I ve had this bottle for a bit and thanx to kmpitz2 for the sample. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass.
The beer pours a clear amber color with fizzy off white head foaming up about 1 cm and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer.
The aroma is bourbon and bourbon. I get some wooden notes and a bit of vanilla and caramel as well. Some warm alcohol as well. Overall pretty appealing. First sip reveals a relatively lite body and very fine carbonation that gently rolls across my palate. The flavor is bourbon right up front. I get some oak and vanilla notes and the beer finishes with a little warming kick, or maybe that is just my typical reaction to drinking bourbon. This beer is very bourbony and if dont like bourbon as a liquor you wont like this beer. Think slightly thinner, mildly carbonated bourbon and there's your drink.
It is quite nice, and I enjoy it.

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Photo of biggred1
4.26/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear copper with a slight white head, very fine lacing.

S- Pretty potent smell,big oaked wood and whiskey aroma, some sweet faint vanilla in the background.

T- Nice vanilla bean, coconut and caramel up front with a decent warm alcoholic woody finish.

M- Smooth and creamy, coats the tongue.

D-Nice stuff in moderation. One of the better examples of the bourbon beer in my opinion.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.26/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

A thick off-white head is the first thing you see as your pour, its foamy and extremely thick, which allows it to form a nice thick lacing around the glass. This is a ice medium amber colored ale with some good carbonation as you pour. The carbonation slowly dies down and so does the head, eventually forming a nice thin layer of bubbles completely covering the top of the ale.

Fruits and malts hit your nose first, mild citrus fruits, apples, mild esters all mixed in with grassy and floral note come together to make a nice aroma for this beer.

The malts and citrus fruit zest are the first flavors you taste, followed by a medium alcohol taste. As it warms up, caramel, butter and a bready flavor come through. It really warms up your mouth.

This is a medium to full bodied ale with plenty of carbonation as you drink it. It really coats you mouth well and leaves that nice warming effect as you breath in.

This is quick a nice find and a really great tasting ale, The aromas and flavors really do this beer justice, don't pass it up.

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Photo of brureview
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Doherty's in Pawtucket, RI. The served beer had a light honey color and poured a 1/2 finger head.

Carbonation bubbles streamed upwards from the bottom of the glass.

The beer smells like bourbon, and tastes like bourbon with vanilla overtones.

This is a special treat, and it doesn't taste like beer- it tastes like whiskey. A bit overwhelming, but worth drinking.

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Photo of clvand0
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this several times now, all on tap. Hard to find. Snifter glass used. This pours an amber color with a small head that doesn't stick around too long, but leaves some nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet, malty, and has a nice, mellow bourbon aroma. Interesting. The flavor is sweet and malty, but has a strong bourbon and oak character. Nice body and mouthfeel. An awesome improvement to the standard KY Ale. Best barrel aged beer I've had.

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Photo of maximum12
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks out over the rain-filled skies of Minnesota to BEERchitect for sending this nice little extra in a recent trade. Feels like a good way to wrap up an evening of poker with the boys (& old men, who are sometime far more amusing & interesting than the boys).

I'm certain this is the lightest bourbon barrel aged brew I've ever had, looks very much like a pale ale, yellow with red highlights. Smell is subtle malts, bourbon, with a stronger whiff of wood.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale makes me think brewers should be sticking more than RIS & barleywines in barrels. The wood, as much as the bourbon, is on top of this sandwich, leaving a dry, vanilla, bourbon, slightly sweet malt taste sticking around. The lighter malts really play off the bourbon nicely, leaving a more true bourbon experience without the scorching heat of true bourbon. Very interesting. Slides down very nicely. This is one of the few brews of the style that I can see going down quickly, & easily, for a few hours at a time.

Excellent beer & a great twist on barrel aging. Let's try this whole paler beer in a barrel thing, it's working here!

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Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very large thanks goes out to kmpitz2 for hauling a growler from the source to Madison last weekend for me!

appearance: pours a light amber shade, tea-like appearance, a light white head accompanies

smell: alcohol, potent bourbon, vanilla, oak...Tis a good thing I am a fan of bourbon

taste: well this is trule is a bourbon ale....The bourbon explodes on the tongue and leaves a strong alcohol aftertaste...underneath that is sweet vanilla, oak, quite sugary sweet, nice sweet caramel malts in the background

mouthfeel: pretty light bodied, smooth though

drinkability: good thing im splitting this thing

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.