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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: 757 | 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 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 BourbonKYGent
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mmmmm....I'm not sure if it's the beer or my uncontrollable desire for Bourbon (i.e. Makers Mark) but WOW this beer smells good. I must admit the only way I'd ever drink this brew is on tap. I tried it once from a bottle and it tasted like moldy cheese... totally serious. If you like bourbon you'd probably like this one. However, BEWARE... in the words of a famous comedian "it'll get ya DRUNK!" The ABV is high...I mean really high, so be careful because it tastes good and you might want a few. Also, it's extremely expensive. Which may drive you to try it on bottle, but remember... it'll taste like poopy cheese. So with all that said, break the bank and put on your favorite seersucker suit because it's derby day and you'll need a Bourbon Ale... but really a mint julep if we're being totally honest.

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Photo of SFLpunk
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Purchased at Liquors 44, Northampton, MA. 12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Neck dated Oct, 13 2011, 13:48, 44-286. Trying this at the behest of a former client...here goes:

Pours a orange amber with very thin white head. Nose is a mix of orange peel, cinnamon, vanilla extra and toffee/caramel. But non of the items are very distinct.

Palate is very sharp with alcohol burn. Thin caramel extract, butterscotch schnapps (very boozy), butterscotch and fusel/alcohols all over the place.

This beer is a train-wreck. A huge mess of butterscotch and booze. I can only assume that the Bros had a different batch than this one. Feels a lot like a marketing beer approach to barrel-aged beers. I think the AB Winters Cask is better than this.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
2.55/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle pours a transluscent light copper color. Little off white cream head dies down quick. No lacing, but pretty descent alcohol legs. I was expecting a thicker, fuller beer - but lets see what we have here...

Nose is some sweet malts & seemingly watered down bourbon. Very bourbon dominant here.

A sweet kick up front & bourbon all over the palate. Its not overwhelmingly strong, but its just not good - very one dimensional. In the back end I get a kick of corn, yes - corn, semi sweet & not so tasty. There is a little boozy burn at the back too.

Too thin (4/10) for my taste . In my opinion, this brew needs more complexity (no corn taste please) & a bigger body.

Overall, I really did not enjoy this one. If you like bourbon, you will probably like this beer. But I dont - I prefer beers with a hint of bourbon, not a smack of it to the mouth. I will be giving out the rest of the 4pack unfortunately.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was poured into my crystal mug and showed a clear old copper gold color with a white head building about one finger high. It dissipates fast and left no lacing
Smelling this beer, you will instantly recognize the bourbon whiskey flavors and the oak barrel wood notes.
Tasting the beer, you will be strongly introduced to those sweet bourbon notes. In the middle the bourbon is still dominant, but some malty notes are present. At the end, I only can guess the hint of some hop. For my taste the bourbon whiskey flavors are just to much and powerful. I see no balance in this beer and would not buy it again, but it might suit others.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from tap into an authentic Lexington Brewing Co. style stemmed-snifter glass

A - Beer was served with a healthy looking solid white head, one finger in size; dark copper colored clear body; well carbonated; beer formed nice rings of lacing around the glass; head was rich and thick

S - Light bourbon scents; roasted malt back-end; some vanilla bean in there, but was mostly covered up by the bourbon notes; butterscotch

T - Dark sugary flavors, like brown sugar and maple syrup; caramel; rich bourbon taste, strong than the initial smell; plenty of vanilla bean taste; butterscotch taste coats the tip of the tongue

M - Beer is effervescent; bourbon-dry aftertaste; good solid body feel

D - Slight scotch taste, but overall very good; makes a nice after dinner beer and goes well with a sugary dessert; should have been served a bit warmer to let the bourbon taste and smell really come out, but I couldn't help myself and decided to drink it ASAP. good stuff, I'd have another for sure

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Photo of yankeej13
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this beer as a present from a friend who went driving up north and on his way back down south saw this and thought of me so I thank him for that!

Apperance- A nice light red color with a nice little rim of foam. Lots of carbonation, nearly clung to the glass making it hard to tell the color of the beer lol.

Smell- I have never had a bourbon ale before so I was not sure what or what not I was supposed to smell but this you can clearly tell, it had bourbon in it...duh.

Taste- It was pretty well balanced. It did not have an overpowering bourbon taste As quick as you taste the bourbon its gone a second later.

Mouthfeel- Nice light and very crisp. Leaves a small hint of bourbon behind with leaves your mouth with a good flavor.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer considering I would have never tried this if my friend did not bring it to me so for that I say...Cheers!

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Photo of litheum94
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. August 18, 2011 stamped on the bottle. I can only assume this is a best by date, which seems a little odd for a barrel aged beer.

P: Clear amber body. Dirty white head, one finger thick. Settles down to a patchy cover with large bubbles.

A: Jack Daniel's whiskey aromas. Toffee and sweet taffy. Burnt caramel. Oak. Spicy hops. There's an almost artificial aroma. Buttered popcorn?

T: Vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors. The bourbon is a little hot, giving the impression that the barrels weren't of the highest quality. Some buttery malts. Cola flavors on the finish. No hop profile.

I vacillated between liking this beer and loathing it. It has some nice flavors, but the bourbon portion of it just tasted artificial and cheap. It was an interesting style to barrel age, and I have one more bottle, so my opinion may change. But at this point, I'm not overly impressed.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of Veillantif
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, about 11 degrees C, poured into a stange glass, not chilled.

A: The rustic label promises nothing more—thank God—than "ale aged in oak barrels," and that is exactly what it looks like upon pouring: a handsome oaky color. Two fingers of foamy head dwindle in under a minute down to one, then in another minute down to a gossamer thickness. Damn; wanted it to last.

S: I've had three oak-barreled, ersatz-Bourbon beers, and this is the first whose scent of Bourbon is potent without being overpowering. As I foresaw, there's a smoky flavor; as I hoped, there was an evident beer flavor, too.

T: Don't these guys get a bit of a free ride? I mean, the smoky Bourbon flavor is so irresistible that it almost inoculates a brew like this from criticism. But other than its tree-given charm, is there something beerishly great about this one? Beerishly good, yes: this is by no means third-rate swill given instant cred with a flavor gimmick. But what do I taste after that admittedly awesome rush of smokiness passes? Vanilla, sweet malt: agreeable subordinate flavors that know their place.

M: I wish that the carbonation were a little more robust, since it's way too easy to drink something too delicious too fast. But I'll tell you, this aftertaste will make the happiest ex-smoker in the land light up within five minutes.

D: My dream is that someday, some enterprising fellows will come along and make Trappist-style ale with crystal malt, then age it in these oak barrels. On that day thereon I will drink nothing else whatsoever as long as I live. Until then I will happily drink another one of these babies whenever I happen to be in the Bluegrass State.

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Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sept 15 2011 stamped on the bottle neck. Pours a clear, dark amber with two fingers of rocky white head. The head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass.

At first it had a raw whisky aroma but after it breaths a few moments, it mellows into a rich bourbon aroma. The bourbon dominates the aroma and does not let anything else come out.

The bourbon dominates the flavor as well. But some sweet malt tries to give some balance to the beer. Has a sweet finish rather than a hot, boozy flavor.

For a beer that does not pack a lot of malt flavor, it has a surprisingly robust body. Nice carbonation.

Just not enough beer qualities come through. It does feature bourbon in one of the purest ways in a beer.

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Photo of seabass87
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip.

A- Glowing copper color. Translucent and effervescent body. Aggressive pour yields a small, short-lived, fizzy head.

S- Bourbon (surprising, I know). Apple juice, oddly enough. Not incredibly complex, but is vaguely inviting.

T- The bourbon taste isn't as strong as many bourbon barrel beers. It actually feels a bit "watered down" for lack of a better explanation, sort of like sipping a glass of bourbon after the ice has melted. I can't help but get a bit of apple juice from this... might be an anomaly. A soft vanilla taste comes during transition, and a few seconds later we are hit with a big wave of vanilla.

M- Light bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. A lighter version of a bourbon barrel ale. Dry finish.

O- This is more or less a light version of a bourbon beer. The most interesting aspect is the huge wave of vanilla that is delayed by a few seconds after transition. I had this on tap a few weeks ago and the flavors were more pronounced. Not a bad beer, could be sessionable but 8.19% ABV is a bit heavy.

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Photo of cbutova
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems like the beers with lighter Bourbon barrel influence get less love on this website, from the first few sips I think this is a good use of barrels.

A- Golden-orange ale into my DFH snifter. A small white head forms and dies out quickly leaving a small cloud on the beer and a ring around the edges. Some legs but no lace.

S- I mostly get fruit and a moderate amount of Bourbon influence in the aroma. The fruit is dark like cherries and raisins. Also some oak and vanilla.

T- Very interesting. Diluted Bourbon works out well, giving off some great flavors (oak, whiskey, vanilla, toast) without totally dominating the base beer. It seems like the base beer contains some yeast spice, bread, caramel, toasted nuts, citrus and floral hops, raisin and general fruit.

MF- Highly carbonated, lighter-end body (for barrel aged) with a somewhat creamy and silky feel. Ends with a bit of warmth on the back of the palate and throat.

I think this deserves more than a B. The wood and whiskey flavors come through nicely and do not take over the whole flavor, a nice base still remains after aging. Interesting and a beer that I had a lot to write about, which is always a nice thing.

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Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.09/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of Tone
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark gold color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of strong bourbon and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong bourbon, slight sweet malt, and slight grain. Overall, the bourbon was over-powering. Not well blended in either aroma or body.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium orange with a slight off-white head. No lace. Good clarity, some bubbles.

Good cherry-wood and whiskey aroma mingling with toasted malt. Some wood and sweet vanilla notes. Nice balanced nose.

Some wood, some harsh bitterness and bitter(ed) malt, but some nice vanilla, a touch of caramel, and then it dries out a bit. Nice complexities. Fruit is hard to find, but the woody edge, a little alcohol, and malt all work well.

Medium bodied. Surprised this didn't have much more in this area, but it really helps with the drinkability. I liked this one. A little different for the style, but enjoyable.

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

Pours a bright orange colour with thin white head. Not too much lacing, head dissipates after a bit. Smells like bourbon, vanilla and some butter. A lot more bourbon in the smell than I expected, but I guess with a lighter beer than typical bourbon barrel aged ones it makes the bourbon stand out more. Flavour is fairly sweet, pretty one dimensionally bourbon. Smooth mouth feel.

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Photo of AleWatcher
1.6/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 1 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Grabbed a 4 pack on a recent excursion to the Hoosier state... I planned on drinking one and tossing the others in as extras-- and now that I've opened this, I'm even more certain that will be my action with the other 3!

Served in my Portsmouth tulip.

The one finger... Er... Half finger... Ummm... The thin ring of antique-whitish bubbles form a collar around the inside of the glass. Oh wait, they're gone now. This looks like it was apricot juice, if such a thing existed. No lacing. No signs of carbonation.

The nose and flavor are pure cheap boozey bourbon and artificial vanilla. I don't get anything from a base beer here.
This is boozy and harsh. Unbalanced and unenjoyable as a sipper. As this warms, I'm reminded of honey flavored cough drops.
The body is very thin and holds limited carbonation.

Overall, there are so many bourbon barrel-aged beers out there, I would be fine to never drink this again. The beer isn't my cup of tea-- but that doesn't mean I cannot imagine some one else enjoying it.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Appearance: amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: bourbon sweetness and a malty grain.

Taste: bourbon, oak, and a malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium and sweet.

This has a nice bourbon flavor, but I think it may be a tad too sweet.

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Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had to at least try this one since it's been all the rage in Indianapolis for the past couple months. It pours a crystal clear dark gold in color with a one finger off white head that dissipates into a white lacing around the glass. It smells of syrupy artificial bourbon, honey, and vanilla with a touch of alcohol. It's odd and where's the bourbon? This smells fake. It tastes of essentially watered down bourbon with honey and a touch of vanilla. The flavors are too mellow and blase overall. Why are people going crazy about this? The bourbon is so subtle and is really only present in the aftertaste. You would think a bourbon barrel aged ale would be able to give off more bourbon aromas and stronger flavor. Overall this beer is just average all around. It drinks light and is easy to drink but I don't think it's what they were going for and just didn't live up to the abv or attention that this has gotten in the midwest. That said, it does "taste good", being a honey ale in my opinion and is easy to drink. This beer just doesn't rate very well in my opinion.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

64oz growler filled at the liquor barn in lexington. this has sat in my fridge for close to 2 weeks. drank from my big eddy snifter.

A- the pour is an amazingly translucent very light copper colored body with a finger of bright white head on top. the head is quick to fizzle away, and leaves behind little as far as lacing goes.

S- bourbon is the first thing that comes to mind. some bready malts mixed with some spiciness brings out a sugar cookie-like scent. bourbon and a touch of vanilla finish this off.

T- the taste starts out with more of the bready malts that mix with some spiciness in my mouth creating the sugar cookie thing that i could smell. interesting. after that i get some sweetness from the bourbon as well as a mild shot of vanilla form the barrel. a mild bourbon aftertaste as well.

M- the body is on the thin side of medium. the carbonation is nice and subdued. little burn from the alcohol, but my mouth is left tasting like bourbon.

O- i liked the bottle version much more than the growler. this seems like a pretty generic beer with some bourbon poured in.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I must admit this was the first time I had ever enjoyed a lighter-bodied ale that had spent any amount of time inside the guts of a bourbon barrel. I had unceremoniously consumed Lexington’s daily ale a few days earlier and I could only imagine, while drinking this bourbon ale, that the weaker beer was used as it’s base (I believe I am wrong). Thankfully, that bubbly malt beverage had no real inspiration therefore letting those beautiful barrels do the real man’s job.

In my mouth this bourbon ale sang with an almost artificial bourbon essence like a vocoder covering up the very real mistakes. High notes of cherry, coconuts and vanilla extract made this taste almost like bourbon & cream-soda cocktail.

Strange though, through all my negativities, I actually enjoyed it and could see it’s rightful place in a styrofoam cooler on some double-wide’s cement slab, The Derby blaring on a tiny old tube TV. Just me & a couple good old boys lazing on a sun-bleached couch.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.57/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance-Light copper with a 1/2 finger off white head that immediate dissapears.

Smell-Definitely get Bourbon..lots of booze, sweet malts, vanilla. Kind of what I was expecting.

Taste-First taste wasn't so bad, Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Then it kind of just went downhill. Just tastes watery, almost like a Bourbon and Coke thats been sitting out for a while and all the ice has melted. Not very good.

Mouthfeel-Boozy. Very light in the body and a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall-I like Bourbon, but I don't really get this beer. The aroma was nice, but it was just watered down whiskey with carbonation. I'm going to give my other bottle to someone else, I just can't appreciate this beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a shifter at sugar

A: deep clear red, short white head, decent lacing, no retention

S: nose is all vanilla with a candy like sweetness, notes of icing, bourbon is vanilla with no oak, pretty mild on the nose

T: starts off with mild malts, turns into sweet vanilla, no backbone to this brew. The bourbon character is shallow and lacks any oak character. The abv is not detectable.

Mf: high carbonation, light body

O: this beer has an unpleasant candy character. The base beer does not stand up to the bourbon aging

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