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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.

572 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 572
Hads: 2,617
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 753 | 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: 572 | Hads: 2,617
Photo of RedlinerScott
4.46/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First had KBBA on tap at the wedding rehearsal dinner of my daughter and son-in-law three years ago. Only recently realized it's marketed in bottles as well. Pretty strong bourbony aroma and flavor with a kick from a higher alcohol content. Despite it's boldness KBBA goes down pretty smooth with no noticeable aftertaste. I've got a feeling you either really like this sort of thing or you really don't. Count me in!

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.51/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a medium copper gold color with a one finger deep soapy, white head and medium carbonation.

A - Sweet toffee/caramel malt with bourbon and a hint of light vanilla.

T - Very one dimensional with lots of bourbon mixed in with sweet malt finishing with a sweet bourbon and light vanilla oak finish.

M - Thin medium body.

O - I'd pass on this one next time unfortunately.

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Photo of Brenden
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It comes off the tap a clear shining gold color. It sports a billowing head that foams up and drops down to a bit of a lighter whitish cap. With time, it recedes to the edges while leaving a wispy island. Some pretty good spotting with light legging does cling to the glass.
Wood is the inital note, not particularly dry, and something lighter that gives the imprssion of beech or balsam (but obviously isn't). Nice vanilla and toffee notes are present too. Oddly, I get something like plum, but a softer, pale flesh sort, and only a few flashes here and there. It's got a bit of booziness, but it's fairly tame.
A touch of the vanilla and toffee sweetness come out on the tongue with the wood up front, all under a note of grains that follows through to the end.
While smooth, it is a bit too lightly carbonated, and thins out slightly toward the end.

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Photo of Brianedonovan
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have tried this beer on 3 different occasions.
I am not a bourbon drinker, but I can tell the difference between bourbons.
Each time was different. I asked the bartender what he thought of the beer ( he knows his stuff) and he told me that this "batch" tasted like it was a makers mark barrel...I then tasted makers mark.
He continued to tell me they use different bourbon brand barrels for it and you can discern the difference in bourbons.
I liked the previous ones better (no idea what brand barrel they used....or if that is even true)

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Photo of jwhancher
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of Tonmeister
2.74/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into tulip shaped glass

Appearance: poured a thick off-white head, but it dissipated very quickly to the point that it has no head and no lacing. It's a light golden color.

Smell: I can smell the bourbon to the point that it almost burns my nostrils. It Smells like alcohol with a hint of caramel and vanilla notes.

Taste: It has a very strong alcohol flavor on the fore front. The bourbon cuts through, but then towards the middle its pretty sweet. The wood notes come out towards the end. It's a very sweet after taste. The vanilla, caramel and sweet malt really cuts through on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin with light carbonation

Overall: This is not my favorite Bourbon Barrel Beverage. Doom, by Founders is the best bourbon barrel I've ever had and this does not compare. This beer is not that balanced in my opinion, the booziness alcoholic flavors dominate on this. I am not a very big fan. I would not buy this again. I just wanted to try it, and now I regret buying it. I had to dump it in the sink.

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Photo of harrymel
2.73/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at meadhall

It’s a toasted gold ale with just a ring of soapy white foam. Smells of applesauce, rich peach and booze, some caramelized sugars and a bit of an immature oak. Taste is sweet, vanilla, nougat and more sweetness – really one dimensional. Medium bodied with lighter carb and a surprisingly dry finish. Not really a fan of this one.

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Photo of einman
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer. My brothers and I stopped in KY and randomly picked a store near Lafayette on our way back home to MN from a GA drive. I grabbed this and a few other things in my search for local brews I can't get back home. The smell is great and I really like the mild cocoa smoothness in this.
Completely random buy and completely satisfied.

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Photo of Bayern1971
4.58/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm a bit surprised at the so-so reviews of this beer. IMHO it's one of the best American beers I've tasted in a long time. Most beers classified as "Bourbon" usually come off as Chocolate mouth-bombs. Yeah, melted & fermented cocoa nightmares. What's so lovely about this one is that it hints at the cocoa but also has a subtle oak and vanilla flavor. Taste is complex and only becomes understandable after subsequent tastings. 9% alcohol is barely perceivable and there's little carbonation which is KBB's only weakness.

In parting, KBB is the best American brew I've tasted in years. There's a revolution going on here and I'm glad I'm along for the ride.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pour is clear orange with reddish hues and a creamy bubbly off white head. Nose is interesting, heavy bourbon with strong vanilla notes and wood undertones. Off chocolate malt notes and some charred barrel in back. Taste is heavy wooded bourbon and chocolate malt. Fair amount of vanilla behind the flavors but finish is a bit empty. Thinned out body in back with strong carbonation making an odd combo. Fair amount of running alcohol in the finish but somehow not hot. Very different beer.

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap at The BBC in Norwood.

A- Pours a caramel color with minimal head. Quite frankly, it looks like fizzy bourbon.

S- Bourbon just dominates the nose. A little bit of wood in there and some pungent alcohol. Some caramel and molasses lie deep with there.

T- The bourbon is pretty well integrated with the smooth oak. Almost has a caramel/ buttery after taste. The alcohol is fairly hidden.

M- Lighter bodied but very smooth. No real feel of carbonation and not even any burn from the alcohol.

D- This one goes down smoothly but if you aren't a fan of bourbon, you will not enjoy this. I would call this a cheap bourbon alternative.

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Photo of maximthegreat
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Poured a light golden color. A little head.

Smells are mostly bourbon. Slight caramel coming through on the nose also.

Lots of heat from the bourbon and not much else honestly. There is a slight sweetness, but not enough to balance the bourbon.

Good carbonation, but felt a little watery and thin.

Overall, not a beer I would buy again. Nothing offensive, but nothing that makes it interesting either. Plenty of better beers on the shelves.

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Photo of rypkr
4.44/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

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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 BucBasil
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of gcamparone
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of dnoahg
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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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

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.09/5  rDev +13%
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.

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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 brockdidntslide
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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Photo of bmwats
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 572 ratings.