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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.
BA SCORE
82
good

560 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 560
Hads: 2,554
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.21%
Wants: 145
Gots: 699 | 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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 560 | Hads: 2,554
Photo of rypkr
4.44/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I normally only rate the beers I've had and do not write full reviews, but this one was too unique to not log.

Picked out 12 random beers from a local shop to be tried at home. This one was about 20% more expensive than most others but I wasn't sure why. Before trying I looked over the bottle for perhaps an extremely high abv or maybe even a rarer brewery (wasn't even sure who it was made by) but found little information on it.

appearance - medium amber. Cloudier upon first pouring but settled pretty clear. Very frothy and white head. Let settle before finishing pour.

Smell - my thoughts literally went caramel! No butterscotch! No wait toffee! Still not sure which specific aroma it is that's so dominant but its something sweet.

Taste - this is where my evaluation went whoa. Did I just drink a carbonated, low ABV whiskey? It's sweet and smooth, much more so than any Bourbon I'd ever sipped (but not a liquor drinker by any stretch) all the while being entwined in fizzy frenzy of carbonation. Warm alcohol expels briefly after each sip like an exhale after whiskey itself.

Mouth feel - has a soft creaminess to it. Medium to maybe slightly over medium carbonation.

Overall - truly unique. Had (whiskey/bourbon) barrel aged beers before but never one that picked up this much whiskey flavor. Certainly worth trying but couldn't see myself regularly sipping on this one when reaching for a beer. Would go well on a cold night in the mountains around a hunting camp fire. (1,486 characters)

Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4.33/5  rDev +19%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of BucBasil
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the tap into a tulip.

Aroma is Heavy butterscotch malt with caramel and toast.

Tastes very smooth with lots of malt. Buttery and toasty. A bit of scotch comes through as if I diluted a single malt with lots of water. Interesting!

Overall an ok beer. Very satisfying in the middle of the mountains. (312 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lace.

Smell: A very whiskey forward and fairly sweet malty aroma. Big barrel presence with hints of bourbon whiskey, wood, oak chips, and vanilla. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, yeast, grains, and biscuit. Also some sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Hop presence is very light. A little scent of booze. Aroma is pretty much bourbon and caramel malt. Decent.

Taste: Like it smells, very barrel forward with with sweet notes of caramel malt. Barrel notes of bourbon whiskey, oak chips, wood, and vanilla upfront. Toasty malts with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, grain, yeast, and biscuit. Some molasses and brown sugar add to the sweetness. Very little in the way of hops. Sweet but smooth and not syrupy. Decent bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, smooth, and slightly slick. Alcohol presence is pretty smooth for a barrel aged beer.

Overall: A decent barrel aged brew. Good smooth whiskey taste. The base beer could of had some more substance but it went well with the barrel. (1,295 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A-Pours a clear golden amber body with a medium 2 finger fizzy white head that reduces fairly quickly to leave spotty lacing.

S- Lots of whiskey, not much beer. Smells like a glass of whiskey on the rocks without the alcohol. Caramel and vanilla. There's a metallic aroma too.

T- A little nicer than the aroma but still very one-dimensional. Sweet caramel, butterscotch, french vanilla. Definitely get whiskey and maybe some bready malt in the aftertaste.

M- Medium body, medium-high carbonation. Pretty drinkable for the abv.

Overall a decent beer. Pros: it's drinkable, pretty flavorful, and definitely has a heavy bourbon character. Cons: One-dimensional and a little too bourbon forward. (746 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 07/17/13 on the neck.

A: Pours a clear golden with a 1 finger mostly white head. A bit of visible carbonation. Leaves some spots of lacing.

S: Bourbon and malt notes right off the bat. A sweetness to it, hints of vanilla and oak.

T: Reminds me of a more mainstream beer with a healthy dose of bourbon. Doesnt blow you away with the complexity yet is a good flavor.

M: Light to medium body with lowish carbonation. A touch of stickiness but not too bad. Seems a touch watery.

Overall its not offensive and would be a good intro to bourbon barrel beers. Give it a go if you can pickup a single. (636 characters)

Photo of dnoahg
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I find this brew to be exceedingly average. It is not much different than a lot of the sweet beers I've tried, but with only the hint of the Bourbon to differentiate it. There was no sparkle from the carbonation, or noticeable bitterness.

First, it pours a nice amber color, with a small head that rapidly disappeared (used a 16 oz. tulip glass). There was little to no lacing. You could detect the Bourbon smell, but it wasn't overpowering, and after a while it was barely noticeable.

The taste was sweet....something. I don't know what exactly. I didn't taste vanilla, maybe it was caramel, but it didn't strike me that way. It was drinkable. Not cloying, but not very exciting. (682 characters)

Photo of MistahBeah
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear honey. Little carbonation. Small head. No lace. Not much else to speak of

Smell: Sweet bourbon. Some oaky vanilla. Molasses as it gets a bit warmer

Taste: Definitely bourbon. Tastes similar to an innis & gunn. Some oak. None of the sweeter aromas come out in flavor other than the bourbon but its nice

Mouthfeel: Very light. A little crisp but smooth. A little boozy sting as it warms but its still pretty well hidden. Not bad

Overall: A nice package overall. Really nice flavor but not terribly complex - not that it claims or needs to be. I would get it again (583 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 Broman
4.31/5  rDev +18.4%
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. (886 characters)

Photo of brockdidntslide
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

on draft at the public house in savannah.

beautiful copper color, medium head and a strong, but not overwhelming bourbon-vanilla taste. mouthfeel is rich and a bit sticky.

this one exceeded my expectations and certainly was far better than the BA score would have led me to believe. (284 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Light amber hue. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, white head. Lots of effervescence. Settles quickly. Very slight, spotty lacing.

S: Woody malt, caramel, and bourbon.

T: Bitter pecan shells and licorice. Malty with a light buttery sweetness, and a light bourbon treatment.

M: Something of a 'thick' feel. Full and hearty in the front, dry bitter finish.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice hue, and a solid head, but no real lacing. Nose is a woody and buttery with a distinct bourbon smell. Flavor is bitter from the bourbon treatment balanced with a hearty malt and buttery sweetness. Overall, this is a really good quaff. (695 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Almost no head, the color was bourbonesque, with soft brown tones.

The scent is creamy, milky and sweet with hints off coconuts. Very light bourbon, oak and earth are hard to come by.

The taste is very creamy, silky, milky lactose and strong coconut. I lost the actual bourbon flavor that I expected. The feel ended with a bourbon aftertaste and hints of alcohol on the tongue but overall this is a quality tasting ale. (421 characters)

Photo of CardiacNP
4.29/5  rDev +17.9%
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. (685 characters)

Photo of jimmah120
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

growler served in a brandy snifter

brownish ale color, with a small filmy brown cap. smell is warm with alcohol, also charred brown sugar and bourbon. flat feel to the beer, like a thinned-out aunt jemima. taste is mostly generic bourbon and oak, alcohol is evident. no hops to speak of, ends up disappointing in most aspects.

all-around poor beer (349 characters)

Photo of breakingbland
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A beautiful clear golden. The head had dissipated by the time the glass reached the table.

Aroma:Hoppy with some malt. Not a strong aroma.

Taste: Considerable malty sweetness. The maltiness has an odd tasting component -- maybe bubblegum (still not too good at discerning & describing the various taste components; see "Re-review" below). A medium hops presence.

Mouthfeel: A very fine carbonation. It has a fairly full body.

Overall: The malt/hops balance is nice and appropriate for this style. I'll have this beer again, but overall it's not too exciting (still bothered by the odd sweetness).

Re-review: After drinking a few more of these, it occurred to me that the odd sweetness is likely due to the oak/bourbon aging. (duh on my part!) It still tastes a bit odd to me, though. (804 characters)

Photo of Zach136
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear sweet tea body with off white head. OK lacing.

Aroma: Straight butterscotch dum dum lollipop. There could be a hint of oak in there, but the diacetyl is overpowering.

Flavor: The buttery off flavor is covered a bit more on the palate with flavors of oak, vanilla and a hint of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium light bodied, slick.

Overall: A painfully flawed beer, no doubt from short cuts in the brewing process. (433 characters)

Photo of pcguitarwzrd
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper-orange, hazy, two-finger creamy head.

S: Definitely bourbon, also molasses, toffee, and...cherry pie? Idk, that's what I'm getting.

T: Bready, almost shortbread-like malt character followed by sweet toffee, finishing with booze and powerful vanilla. The oak character is blended in nicely rather than being a slap in the face.

M: Much lighter than expected for such a malt-heavy beer. Velvety carbonation.

O: I really didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised! Sweet, malty, and quite drinkable. (527 characters)

Photo of Keginator70
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

For the record this is the first time I've ever given a negative review. If I hadn't paid $12.99 for a four pack I would have let it go but there are too many great and very good beers waiting to be had that get less hype.

No head or aroma to speak of. In a nutshell I just had a 12 oz boilermaker watered down with vanilla extract. I needed salted pistachios to eliminate the strange aftertaste at sip number three.

If I'm drinking whiskey and want a beer chaser this might be more appealing.

I'm going to try it in a chile or a lamb and lentil soup recipe.

As a stand alone quaff definitely not recommended. Won't try it again. (634 characters)

Photo of DanH83
3.01/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It tastes like what it is. A cheap light ale aged for a short time in barrels. It's sticky sweet on the nose with a touch of bourbon. It has an oily and light mouthfeel.

It looks average, tastes okay if a little bit strange.

You can pass on this one with no remorse. It's not offensive, but I don't think I'll make it through the bottle, it's just not worth it. (363 characters)

Photo of Gu3mom
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

At our house, we use a 10-point scale. For this particular beer our ratings are as follows:

Her - 0 Too reminiscent of Cream Soda; not what's wanted in a beer.
Him - 7 A little sweet and rather flat.

An okay change of pace but couldn't/wouldn't make a steady diet of it. Cheers! (280 characters)

Photo of suspect
2.39/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Real Ale Snifter.

A: Pours a crystal clear amber color. Aggressive pour leads to a 1 finger fast fading white head.

S: BIG Bourbon in the nose. Wood and some vanilla and hints of tannin-y saw dust type of smell.

T: Bourbon is tamed down a little with some sweetness and wood. Not complex and an underwhelming

M: Thin and undercarbonated. Messy finish.

O: Boy this is a beer that's completely all over the place. It's got such a big bourbony nose but falls flat on the flavor. It's thin and watered down and the color is weird. (565 characters)

Photo of yamar68
1.37/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Pours an awkwardly transparent caramel gold with a thin finger of white head that is just as awkward - dissipates quickly, showing more fizz than true carbonation. No real lacing but a touch of alcohol legging.

Have you ever had Kentucky Beau? It sort of smells like that... grainy alcohol character smothered with a "bourbon" aroma... vanilla syrup and faint brown sugar.

Watery cheap bourbon with a vanilla/caramel sweetness. It finishes with a weird sweet corn type mellowness... the fact that it's as thin as a Bud Select 55 doesn't really do us any favors.

How is this a viable beer to produce? Did we all just get punk'd? What is this world coming to? (661 characters)

Photo of moistnugget
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at my favorite joint in Orlando, OBLIVION. Great place! Poured this myself into a tall and pretty ale glass. Bless them for knowing what glass I like! +0.25 for being in an ale glass for appearance. Clear, amber, and threatening, with a little white head. Almost looks like...bourbon! Who knew? Smells great, sweet, boozy, and again, kinda like bourbon. Let's taste.

Sip.. annnnd... Alright, you'll never guess what it tastes like! Bourbon! Mingled in there is a buttery diacetyl, a little smokiness and woodiness, and the finish is soft and sweet like a funnel cake, which has also been dunked in Wild Turkey 101. Mouthfeel is similarly buttery and creamy. Carbonation is right. If this were to venture any further I would dare say it would be awful and soda-poppy, but I believe Lexington's gotten it just right.

Still reading? Yes? Thanks! And please also understand that I quite like bourbon, thus I would recommend if you don't, then I would stay away. Otherwise, it's good stuff, overall. Certainly a must try! Daily drinker? No way, I could never see that happening. Great stuff to keep on hand when you feel like it, and possibly would like to share something a little different. (1,201 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Surprisingly light color, clear amber blonde, almost orange tint. Looks a bit like Bourbon, save the thin but full cover of white head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Boozy, with a worty sweetness.

Taste: Unsurprisingly, a bit of bourbon with my beer. It's not unpleasant, which is to say I don't care for bourbon generally, but occasionally will have one. The bourbon is a firm part of the flavor but melds with the English Strong base and fits rather well. A light smoky aspect but no real strong wood flavors, which is a nice departure from most attempts in barrel aged beers.

Mouthfeel: A bit prickly, seems a touch over carbonated but lots of body keeps it far from fizzy. Lightly slick texture and a slow drying clean finish.

Overall: I didn't expect to like this beer much, and am pleasantly impressed to be very wrong. Rich complementing flavors, heavy body pushing me around at over 8% abv.
I feels sophisticated sipping on this one. Quite refined and enjoyable.
Solid brew!

Thanks to Illudium for the sample! (1,051 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 560 ratings.