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
83
good

2,482 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,482
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 18.48%
Wants: 138
Gots: 646 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,482 | Reviews: 611
Photo of RickFromArizona
4.24/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You will either love this beer or hate it with every fiber in your body. It's like cilantro in that aspect. It pours with no head. Normally I'd be wary. Then you smell it. What is this? Then you sip it and it just makes sense. Oak, vanilla...then you end up sculling it. I'm in California now and can't get it and I feel like a crackhead. I love IPAs and almost drink them exclusivley but this was my go to when I needed a break. Now she has been taken from me. Most bourbon barrel beers are stouts that overpower the oak and vanilla with coffee and chocolate. You owe yourself to try this ale. If you hate it, send it to me and I'll take it down for you.

Photo of TippedMixology
4.84/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'll start this by saying I'd gladly drink this beer every day for the rest of my life. It brings together everything great about bourbon, the smokiness, vanilla hints, and oak tastes, and combines it effortlessly with a malty, sweet ale, not a dark and brooding porter or stout. This yields the most drinkable attempt of adding bourbon to beer that I've ever tasted.

Appearance - Nothing special, but it does hold a great head, looks great in and out of the bottle, and is reminiscent of bourbon.

Smell - Bourbon and beer--perfect.

Taste - Again, perfectly combines two of the most amazing creations on earth.

Mouthfeel - Crisp, sweet, and sumptuous. No harsh notes of alcohol from the aging in bourbon barrels. Just smooth and wonderful.

- Adam from Tipped Mixology

Photo of mralphabet
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Poured a deep copper colors with a good fingers worth of head that settled to a small ring with very little lacing.

S: I'm getting a lot bourbon hints of vanilla, oak and sweet malt.

T: Pretty straight up ale in the background.... But the foreground is full wonderful bourbon, vanilla, oak and sweet malt just like it smells.. Great mix of flavors over top of an ale.... not over the normal stout.

M: Strangely light to mid bodied but so so smooth.

O: Wonderful take on a bourbon barrel idea, well worth looking for..

Photo of Ego
2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

don't even recall where I picked this thing up, been sitting in the old cellar for some years

eyes...
sizzling white head which settles quickly but does not disappear completely, ample carbonation populating this orange hued brew, lacing is decent, not a bad looking brew but not winning any beauty contests either (hey, but we have to get to the talent portion of the competition)

nose...
spicy apples ? some booze, slightly skunky, some wet wood/oak, some sweetness lingering in the back... not sure what I think of this one, it is OK I suppose

taste etc...
nice bright biting carbonation, the flavor is of weak whiskey and almost fruity, the booze does do a little kickaroo to the stomach, I think the aging has really filed the teeth down on this one, the whiskey note is fast and not so furious, so before you can say boo your mouth is awash in mediocrity, after a while you get a slight residue of wood in the aftertaste, body wise this is spot on and is probably this beer's best feature

verdict?
eh. not so great, not terrible

Photo of HarryPlopper
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is clearly a novelty beer. The whiskey taste definitely jumps out at you and is not subtle. It's more whiskey than beer. This is a decent beer for sipping, but I would never drink more than one at a time. I should note that I am not a huge fan of whiskey.

Photo of slusk
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: This brew pours a thin white head. It is brilliantly clear with a copper/ orange color.

S: Oak and caramel dominate the nose with a spicy, woody note from the hops filling in the background. There's a bit of mild raisin. This reminds my of smelling an empty bourbon barrel.

T: The taste goes right along with the smell, a nice oaky flavor of the bourbon with the spicy notes of earthy hops in the background. There is a bit of alcohol burn and it tastes of a higher ABV than it actually has. The sweet caramel underpins the flavor profile, but the bourbon and oak is ever present.

M: It has a low/medium body with a lower carbonation that lets the bourbon shine.

O: This is a nice beer. The alcohol bite hits you early but it changes its character as you drink. Over all it's a nice beer that I wouldn't think twice about sipping on a cold winter night.

Photo of StoneTSR
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

APPEARANCE: The color is somewhere between DIPA-orange and Barleywine mahogany with a quickly dissipating head. Half the surface of the beer ends up covered in an exceptionally thin layer of off-white foam.

SMELL: A little boozy, with vanilla and oak aromas. Not as strong as I would have expected, but pleasant.

TASTE: Caramel provides all of the backbone to this beer, but the bourbon flavors all come through as well. There's a touch of oak, a bit more vanilla and a good dose of boozy heat.

MOUTHFEEL: Lighter in body than any other Bourbon Barrel brew I've ever had, but still at least medium to big. The carbonation is light and there is a slight stickiness.

OVERALL: Solid beer and a nice change of pace from typical Bourbon stouts (although I truly love a Bourbon stout too). This would make an excellent 4th course in a 5-course beer dinner, especially with a nice steak dish.

Photo of Abra
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very clear amber/burnt orange color with a decent head that dissipates quickly.
Aroma is very sweet picking up on the bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste is dominantly vanilla with the bourbon picking up towards the end leaving a warm finish. Very smooth. However, the taste doesn't linger and there isn't much depth, which I think really would've made it shine.

Overall, the bourbon gives it a very nice taste and aroma, but the mouthfeel is significantly lacking. It would've made all the difference.

Photo of Act25
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Perfect mahogany, slightly hazed pour into a snifter. Not much head lasting, but plenty of lace. 3.75

S: A little bit of beer stink, malts, sweet, woody, alcohol, no hops. Not much aroma. 3.25

T: Best part of this beer. Clear bourbon back drop, which is filled with malts, caramel, vanilla, wood, cedar shavings, and sweet apple / raisin fruits, and a bit of finishing tingle. 3.75

MF: Too low carbonation, great finish, but would like more weight in a beer of this ABV and with this bourbon profile. I upped this due to extra ordinary, lasting bourbon mouth finish that lasts for an hour +.

O: It's slightly better than their bourbon stout, enjoyable, nice to find at an airport. Definitely a sipper.

Photo of RoamingGnome
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonick pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Bright amber in color. It's shiny... There was basically no head. Might as well been a glass of juice.

S) An aroma of sweet malt, vanilla, and bourbon. The aroma was not a complete turn off, but something about it came across as a bit artificial. I guess I could have let it warm up a little.

T) I taste the bourbon, and it's not to harsh or hot, but it sure wasn't enjoyable either. There's some sweetness to this too. Aftertaste was okay. I got the feeling that letting this warm up would not improve the situation.

M) The mouthfeel is thin and sad.

O) I can appreciate the attempt with this ale, and I can understand how others may enjoy it. But.... This was not for me. I could have likely found the same amount of pleasure in cracking open a macro and giving it a splash of my old man's Jameson.

Photo of puboflyons
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on March 9, 2014.

The pour is highly attractive with its medium amber, bronze color. The head builds up quickly but just as quickly fades. Great clarity.

I was expecting more booze on the nose. Certainly I get a great dose of caramel malts and sweetness but little in the way of bourbon. It seems like a sweeter pale ale.

Medium body.

The taste is a more promising with its sweet malty notes and vague bourbon notes. But nothing extraordinary. Just a generally sweet beer but don't think you're getting a good dose of bourbon or other liquor when you have it. Maybe it is meant to be subtle.

Photo of Amalak
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. It has a clear, copper color with a small white head and limited lacing. There are bubbles surrounding the glass that pop up to the top from time to time.

S. There is certainly a bourbon scent there. Heavy alcohol.

T/M. It has a refreshing kick to it. A slight bourbon taste, heavy malt and grape taste. Full bodied with a long finish. A very mild bitter kick.

O. It's got a nice, smooth taste, but the flavor isn't as bold as I might have been hoping for.

Photo of RickS95
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The pour is an attractive show. It appears to be a rich looking beer, but your eyes are immediately distracted by the cascading of the forming head. The color is actually a somewhat clear amber orange. It's not that rich looking at all. The head is a snow white collection of symmetrical bubbles that retains fairly well. Medium spotting of lace.

It's quite nice for an English ale with a combination of caramelly malts and subtle dark fruits. No hop presence and nothing noticeable as far as alcohol is concerned.

The fruits are no longer evident in the taste. The malt is there, but I can't pick up the caramel. Also, hops are now present in the swallow. Kind of standard issue English hops and malts. The taste is not bad at all, but somewhat disappointing given the smell. Not sure what the grain bill is for this, but it's full of graininess.

Very grainy mouthfeel. The graininess sticks with you. There's a pinch of sweet to start off, but the classic English variety hops soon take over. It's never overly bitter, just very present. There's a bit of bourbony taste and feel as the beer gets close to the swallow. Medium bodied. There's not much in the way of carbonation, but there's something that scrapes the palate clean after each sip.

It's a pretty good beer for the type. The flavors aren't assertive and they're kind of mundane in that they don't blow you away. Still, it's an easy beer to drink (despite the grainy feel) and has a nice ABV level. You could certainly do worse.

Photo of Retroman40
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a snifter (as recommended by the brewer).

A - Poured out a very clear light copper color with a small but good head.

S - Definite bourbon tones along with malt and grains.

T - Malt with hints of vanilla and oak.

M - Good carbonation, but perhaps just a little thin.

O - I like this one because the bourbon flavors seem to work with the beer, not fight it. It's not like simply pouring some bourbon into a beer as the flavors seem well intertwined with each other. If you go for this type of beer this is definitely worth a try.

Photo of NoHorsePiss
4.83/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was only the 3rd beer that I found that I liked the taste of enough to not need to wash down every sip with another non-beer drink. That aside, I actually like this beer and would drink it daily if it was around and I didn't have to go anywhere.

I like stouts and sort of like porters. I don't like a barley taste, and this had none of that.

I tasted something sweet and savory, almost chocolate in nature. It was nicely fizzy and goes exceptionally well with Pringles Sour Cream and Chives, with a side of LOTR or The Hobbit.

I'm very happy my local ABC carries it and will be very disappointed if I ever go there and it's not an option.

If you're not a big beer drinker because you haven't found one you like, I recommend trying this one.

Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer has all of the typical characteristics of an English Strong Ale without any depth at all. It's fairly true to the style with a strong malty backbone,booziness, and light English hops. It fails to deliver any depth and and is fairly one note especially for a beer aged in bourbon barrels.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz

Pours clear brownish golden. Off-white lacing for a head.

Smells of brown sugar, biscuit, toffee, and bourbon.

Tastes of biscuit malt, brown sugar, and whiskey. Hint of maple.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the tongue. Hint of warmth.

Pretty good ale with a nice bourbon flavor and feel. Goes down easy and is something I will probably look for again.

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice one and a half inch head and a nice amber color. No lacing on the glass. Has a sweet bourbon smell that reminds me of guess what bourbon. Initial sip is first bourbon and then you get the beer feel. Tastes like guess what bourbon. I ended up sipping this like a neat bourbon. That's how bourbon like this thing tastes. A little bit of carbonation. If you like bourbon you will like this beer. They seem to hit the bourbon flavor straight on. But as a beer there's not much IMO. Not a whole lot of flavor or heartiness.

Photo of skyout
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Clear amber color with very little head.

Smell - Strong smell of bourbon and caramel. Excellent notes that aren't found in too many other beers of the same style.

Mouthfeel - Extremely smooth feel however not overly bubble. It leaves one wishing for a little more carbonation.

Taste - This is one of the most important and unfortunately one of its weakest characteristics. The taste does not linger and leaves one desiring a little more. However there are very nice hints of the bourbon at the end.

Overall, I gave this beer a 3.00 because while the appearance and smell are fantastic, however the mouthfeel and short finish leave both ale and bourbon lovers wanting more.

Photo of Totentanzer
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Really shines on-tap. Prominent bourbon aroma, almost sweet to the nose. Little to no head. Served in a snifter. The ale itself is nothing robust or impressive. It is a simple vehicle with wich to deliver the oakiness & leached bourbon essences. Not one I reccomend enjoying all the time, but really nice as an occasional treat Enjoy

Photo of StuyBeerGuy
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Deep copper and bronze orange body but quite hazy and dull. Head has a creamy yellow and light tan color consistency and makes about two fingers to slowly settle into a soapy collar. Not bad minus the hazy quality, sort of looks like a barleywine.

Light bodied, and some small faint butterscotch like caramel. Senses a bit wet. Slightly sweet but not much oak or barrel aging character it seems. Pleasant at least.

Palate is quite surprising. Extremely light and airy, and very watery. I am talking tap water consistency. Senses of flat root beer like sweetness, and vanilla. Virtually no depth of malt on this at all. Palate isn't off putting, but this is really not lively.

This feels like a dead barleywine mixed with flat root beer. It's not horrid to drink but strangely doesn't remind me of beer let alone a barrel aged one. The only thing I would say is the weak watery body makes it super easy to drink, but my desire to ever want to have this again is virtually nil.

Photo of martyl1000
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish amber, with a slight head into a tulip glass. The aroma is nice, bourbon and mild brown ale, with a bit of maple syrup and raisin.

It's quite smooth in the mouth, though with very subdued flavor, a tad bit of vanilla mixed with tame bourbon and wood barrel. But mostly just pedestrian English brown ale, with modest carbonation. Definitely easy drinking, with a totally hidden ABV. It's just not something I'd buy again, given the price and the vast array of better BBA beers out there.

A little sweet, to be sure, but hardly anything else going for it, other than its creamy feel on the pallate.

Other than the aroma, which is quite nice, this comes off as an entirely forgettable BBA beer. It's not bad (or is it?) It's definitely muted in flavor and uninspired in execution. It's as if one took an anonymous English ale (think Boddignton's, or Newcastle Founders) and dipped it briefly in a bourbon barrel.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'm used to serious BBA beers, with a year in the barrel, like Central Waters, or BCBS, or Founders KBS, or Hoppin Frog BA Boris. Somehow Alltech's Lexington feels it is respectable to barrel age for only six weeks, which is what they state on their website.

Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This brew is a copper colored, mostly clear brew. The head is white, with some intricate lace. The smell is sweet, with a malt-forward and clean aroma. Some grain. The taste is sweet, and a really notable wood character comes out. Woody, some boozy components from the bourbon, and a bit of complexity. It has the impression of dryness from all of the wood notes. Medium-full and relatively smooth in body. A good brew.

Photo of Hopscat
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with little head. Server in a small snifter @ John Barleycorns in Chicago. Nose is definitely bourbon with some vanilla and caramel hints. Smells delicious.
Taste follows with bourbon up front and mild smoked and vanilla- caramel malts in mid-palate and bourbon and alcohol burn asserting itself in the end. Not overwhelming for me . Can understand how some can be put off by the bourbon- but really, it's in the Name !
Overall this is a well made beer for the type . Will seek this out again.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,482 ratings.