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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

558 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 558
Hads: 2,547
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.21%
Wants: 144
Gots: 695 | 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: 558 | Hads: 2,547
Photo of nanertak
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle brought from Kentucky, poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Poured brilliant amber. Very light head, no lattice. Reasonable amount of carbonation. Relatively thin body.

Nose: Sweet vanilla and coconut dominate, hint of honey and sweet orange zest background.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of body, a little thin. Wish it had a little more.

Taste: Vanilla and toffee up front, very sweet. Malts and honey, fading to golden raisins or sweet dried fruit (again a hint of orange). No hops anywhere in flavor profile.

Finish: Low, lingering finish, honey and vanilla flavors persist. Sweet again.

Overall: Good sipper if you're in the mood. You can actually taste the bourbon, as opposed to so many weak bourbon ales that lack the flavor of the spirit. Good beer, I'd get it again when I'm in KY. (796 characters)

Photo of mikey711
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade with BEERchitect

Orange in color with some good lacing. It's transparent and with a good level of carbonation. I was surpirsed how light this beer was in color. Vanilla is the dominating smell, not as much bourbon spiciness as I had hoped, alot of caramel. There is minimal hoppiness, but the bourbon does come through a bit more in the taste. The vanilla again dominates followed by the caramel sweetness. Once it warms up a bit more though more of the bourbon comes through. The mouthfeel is light yet creamy. The drinkability is fairly high, but the sweetness is a little troubling. This is definitely one of those beers that only gets better as it gets warmer, because the flavor balance out more.

I am very happy to have tried this beer and much thanks to a great trader. (810 characters)

Photo of ElGeordie
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On a recent visit to Lexington I tried a pint of this at the hotel bar. Visually it was a lot lighter than I expected: light abmber with a half inch of dense white head. The noese was quite fruity too.
I wasn't sure what to expect on the first sip, and after a pint of kKntucky ale the first taste was a shock to the system. The bourbon flavour was overpowering, the hops were nowhere to be found -the sweetness of the bourbon just eliminated any bitterness that the hops may have imparted, almost like drinking a boilermaker. I'm pretty sure I pulled a face ! I did persevere with it and after a few more sips my palatte adjusted to the bourbon sledgehammer and I began to discern some familiar beer flavours. I'm glad I tried it but it wasn't one of my favourites. (766 characters)

Photo of shroompod
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear golden orange , small head some lacing.

Faint Aroma of whiskey , sweet malts.

Fairly sweet and mellow with a sharp bourbon finish. Smokey oaked aftertaste.Very little to no hops detected.

Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation.

Overall a fairly tasty brew. (275 characters)

Photo of drtth
3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard Shaker-style glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark golden color with ½" white head that soon recedes to thin film and a small ring around the glass. Sipping leaves a light lacing but the lacing is mostly gone by about half way through the beer.

Smell: The aroma is soft and filled with the coconut, vanilla and oak of the bourbon cask with some hints of faint caramel from the malt. There is no sign of any hops here.

Taste: The flavor here is all about the bourbon barrel with active support from the malts in the ale. There is coconut and vanilla as expected from the aroma. This is layered over the sweet caramel malt that provides a nice backbone. The flavor is almost too sweet but somehow seems quite right and I suspect having the hops play a more active role would be a mistake.

Mouthfeel: The mounthfeel is medium bodied to light bodied, with moderate carbonation that becomes very faint and hard to detect well before the end of the beer. The finish is medium length and is soft and sweet with no hops detectable. (Seems to me that it is in the finish where a bit of dry bittering effect from the hops would be nice to prepare one for the next sip.)

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer and it is easy to let one sip follow another, but it is also a one per evening type beer because of the sweetness of the malt and bourbon character of the beer. As an example of bourbon barrel aging this is a very nice beer that illustrates well that such aging need not be restricted to Stouts and Barleywines. The bourbon barrel comes through clearly and adds a nice aroma, flavor and character to the ale. (1,706 characters)

Photo of Ragingbull
3.19/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with no head and moderate prickle. Heavy bourbon nose. The attack is pretty smooth. The bourbon presents itself about halfway through the sip/flavor. Once the bourbon strikes it really dominates the flavor. That being said, the beer finishes surprisingly clean. The mouthfeel is heavy and malty. This is much better than other liquour infused/liquour styled beers that I have had, but it isn't stellar. I love bourbon and I love beer, but mixing the two together I am thinking might not be my style. I might be to much of a traditionalist. I am glad to have tried it however. (588 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a 4 pack split with a friend from a store in Bowling Green, KY. Poured into a regular pint glass.

A: Pours a light brown with not much of a head at all. The little bit of head that is there doesn't leave any lace at all.

S: Bourbon really dominates the nose which I would normally love. However, this is a one trick pony so I am only giving it slightly better than average.

T: A hint of malt sweetness mixed with some vanilla and oak flavors. I am not really getting the bourbon taste which is surprising based on the aroma.

M: It feels extremely thin almost watery. Not really a lot of other character either.

D: Since it is listed as a strong ale, it is pretty drinkable for that style. (727 characters)

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Different packaging from the picture, but it must be the same beer.

Pours out a perfectly clear kind of copper color, with a very thin head that dissipated, leaving little bits of lacing as I drink it. The clarity is nice, but the head is disappointing. The smell is just straight bourbon with just a little bit of sweetness behind it. No not of beer, none at all, just some vanilla and wood and a bit of char. I kind of expected something different, but I don't see why I should have. The taste isn't as strong on the bourbon as I expected - really just the flavors without the burn, which I like. There's a bit of a pale ale/amber ale back, absolutely no hoppiness. Kind of light on the body, but a pretty good medium for the bourbon flavors. There's huge vanilla, with a nice woody, earthy feeling that doesn't exactly cling. This isn't really dry, but not sweet. The wood kind of fills up my stomach and warms me. Overall, this kind of feels like a more full bodied bourbon. I wonder what more and more age in the barrels would do to this (the website says it only spends 6 weeks in the barrels). This one is just clearly made for the barrel taste. The carbonation is a bit prickly at first but calms down quickly. I would expect more body from a bourbon barrel. Overall, I found this very pleasant and enjoyable. I could never drink more than one of these - actually, I doubt if I'll have another one, but it was pleasant, and kind of quick drinking, a very interesting canvas for the bourbon-barrel painting. I would recommend it if you're looking for something interesting. (1,581 characters)

Photo of br3wmeister
2.41/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Light gold colored beer with a nonexistent head.

S- Biscuity with some caramel, vanilla, nuts, bourbon and coconut.

T- Large biscuit flavor with lots of butter. Hint of vanilla, some caramel nuts, and again coconut.

M- Not too much going on. Medium bodied with a light oily feel.

Overall I would say this is just not my style, though i could tolerate it I did not feel compelled to finish the bottle. (411 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I'd previously had the Kentucky Ale, but when I ordered this at the Brews Cafe in Granville, I was expecting something dark....usually bourbon-barrel aging usually equals RIS, not an amber ale! Surprising, and different, but not the greatest outcome. THis beer had a ton of bourbon character without a ton of booziness, which is admirable, but somehow it seemed overly sweet to me and not all that drinkable.

Color is a clear and (for a barrel aged beer) surprisingly brilliant amber color with a fine head coating. Aroma is fruity, a touch boozy and very bourbon-y. Flavor was (thankfully) less boozy, but very bourbon-y and also quite sweet, perhaps too much so. A bit too sweet for my tastes, pretty astringent, and not much else to appeal to me besides some bourbon character. Just OK. Mouthfeel is dry and warming.

This beer was just sort of OK...not terrific. I had this on-tap at the Brews Cafe in Granville. (918 characters)

Photo of Yesac
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Not the color I was expecting. Clear pale golden yellow. No head, just a ring around the glass.

S- Big aroma. Sweet vanilla, cotton candy with bourbon. Interesting.

T- Very 'ale' tasting. Sweet bourbon and vanilla on a toasty malt base.
Weak taste overall.

M/D- Medium carbonation and medium body. Just not an exciting beer here. (336 characters)

Photo of aggiearcher13
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice golden color, thin, about a 1/2" of head, nothing really stands out to me.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon.

T: BOURBON, vanilla and cinnamon. Tastes a little bit like Maker's Mark, if it were a beer. Sweet, smoky bourbon flavors really overwhelm the malt.

M: Kind of creamy, much to my surprise. Smooth.

D: I like bourbon a lot, but I couldn't finish this one, it was a little sweeter than what I was in the mood for. (435 characters)

Photo of stbfan
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours gold/transparent. very thin, quickly dissapating white head.

smells like BOURBON, faint vanilla, light hops.really smells like bourbon.

tastes of bourbon, vanilla. dry, light alcohol finish.

not a bad brew. bourbon really gives it a unique mouthfeel.

pretty good drinkability.not bad. not real good. in between. (321 characters)

Photo of iceball585
4.62/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Bright amber color, clear, one finger thick fluffy head that faded quickly, lots and lots of bubbles rising throughout

S- Bourbon, vanilla, oak, malty, strong auroma of alcohol

T- Kentucky bourbon whiskey, oak, pale malts, vanilla, light hops flavor

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth, flavorful, slight warming of alcohol, dry finish

D- Definitely worth trying

If you like bourbon whiskey as much as I do... then you really need to try this one. It's amazing the amount of flavor from the bourbon barrel that comes out in this brew. (549 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Light brown color with thin head that dissipates quickly leaving some mild lace.

S- Whoa! This smells like straight bourbon! A deeper sniff revealed some light vanilla and oak scents.

T- Tastes like bourbon with the slightest malt and vanilla sweetness. A bit hot from the alcohol but not much else really going on.

M- Smoother than I anticipated, but bitter ester alcohol in the finish.

D- Not a bad brew but the flavor profile was a bit one demensional. (463 characters)

Photo of Brew33
2.26/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wow.... this is brutal. It's all bourbon. Low carbonation. The aroma is all bourbon. The first sip is nothing but cheap bourbon. It's like they didn't even try. Slightly boozy with a surprisingly dry finish. I will never drink this again.

I don't care for Bourbon or any kind of whiskey so I don't know what I was expecting. This has a very strong, forced bourbon taste. Avoid.

My first ever drain pour.... Unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.... (453 characters)

Photo of goatgoat
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear gold with just a hint of orange. A white one finger head quickly falls to nothing. No lace.
Aroma is heavily bourbon and oak with a sharp alcohol. As it warms it lets a bit more vanilla through.
Taste opens up a bit. More oak than bourbon and still strong though less overwhelming. I'm still missing the "beer" in this beer. A vanilla alcohol finish, very sweet, with a bit of a burn. Though that may be more a sensory memory association due to the bourbon aroma.
Light body with more carbonation that the appearance lets on.

My first bourbon barrel brew, gotten in a trade. It's a very new experience, interesting, not something I'll seek out again. I've never been a fan of brown liquor, though. (712 characters)

Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
2.17/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This one starts out good and then divebombs. The appearance is great. A clear amber with a decent fluffy white head. The smell is all wrong. The vanilla overpowers everything and it smells too sweet like candy. There is a hint of bourbon and some malt as well. The taste is the same. The vanilla sweetness is too much. This should be a flavor that hides in the background. The bourbon is there but there is no beer backbone to support the amount of bourbon and vanilla flavor here. This beer seems like it was created in a laboratory, not aged in barrels. The mouthfeel is really thin but syrupy at the same time. This plays into the idea that beer is not big enough to handle the bourbon barrel "aging" at all. Drinkability is low, very low. This one reminds me of my first sip of ST Creme Brulee. The intent and craftmanship were there but somewhere along the line a good idea turned into a bad product. (905 characters)

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a light nutty brown hue with a 1/4 finger head. The head is small and fizzy and leaves behind no lace.

S: Nice barrel aromas. Bold oak with nice vanilla tones. Nice sweet malt with brown sugar.

T: Tastes a bit like watered down Jack Daniels...in a good way. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla stand up front. A touch of sweetness in the middle with a touch of hops in the oaky finish.

M: On the thinner side.

D: Darn drinkable. A nice lighter barrel aged brew. (497 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber in color with some yellow and golden highlights. Scant fizzy head but that's to be expected given the style. It kind of looks like bourbon.
Smells of bourbon with hints of oak burning in a woodstove. The aroma is not as strong as I expected.
Bourbon flavored. Suprise! There's also hints of vanilla and maybe coconut. Again for a barrel aged beer it's kind of mild. It's still complex and tasty though. This beer's almost suductive in it's flavor profile.
Lighter in body than most of the style but this doesn't detract from the overall experience of drinking the beer.
Nice beer that I'm glad I've had the oppurtunity to try, thanks to Grafton. (657 characters)

Photo of Beejay
2.53/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A; A pale yellow amber.. Low level of white head.

S: Whiskey, bitter like coffee, smells like driving by a distillery, or waking up in a frat house after an all night Jim Beam bender..

T: Sweet at first with a hint of whiskey, The flavors progress to a little more bitter. and it finished with a toasted malt taste.. A very strange brew indeed..

M: Slightly oily, and the flavor takes your mouth on a roller coaster..

D: One off... Don't think I will buy this one again, which is sad.. as whiskey ( And preferably Whisky) is my other drink of choice..

Don't buy a sixer, get a single for a change of pace. (611 characters)

Photo of hathaway78
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard brew to rate.... As a point of reference, imagine leaving a jim beam and coke out all night fulll of ice.... Now this beer is not quite the same, but that's a good starting point. An ice melted bourbon and coke.

Aside from the reference this is a creatively interesting beer. The roasted amber nut taste is definitely present, along with a swift kick of vanilla bean and roasting malt.

The flavors in this beer surround the palate, but personally I cannot get past the melted bourbon and coke reference....

Good beer to try for the extreme novelty, but not a prize winner by any standard.... (610 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Gulden Draak goblet.

Pours a bright golden-orange hue that's both clear and well-carbonated. A torrent of bubbles rises up from the etched glass bottom to help fuel a fleeting, eggshell-creme head that dissipates to a ring of bubbles. The aroma is more muted than I had hoped, with a slight hint of vanilla oak, bourbon, crystal malts, and floral hops.

The flavor easily makes up for what the aroma lacks, with a smooth, oaked vanilla kick and a hint of spicy bourbon heat. The hops are slight, while the malts are husky and lightly breaded. Body is on the thinner side of things considering the style, but the carbonation level and smoothness certainly make this a drinkable beer. Although the steep price limits the purchasing potential for this brew ($11/4-pack), its still a tasty treat from the center of bourbon country, USA. (856 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Vanilla, oak, spicy undertones. No hop aroma. Clean fermentation character.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear amber pour with a sticky white head. Head retention is poor.

Flavor: More oak and woody notes. Faint biscuity malt background and some earthy hop bitterness. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, moderate-high carbonation, and slightly slick. A touch of astringency and warming alcohol on the back of the palate.

Overall impression: A clean, wood-aged ale. Not really sure what this beer would be without the bourbon and wood-aged character. Maybe an amber? Very one dimensional. Not a big fan of bourbon/barrel-aged beers and this does nothing to help that. (688 characters)

Photo of orcasteve
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a clear orange color, the sent is oak and sour mash, the flavor is, sour at first sip with hints of corn mash, the second wave is a gental oak flavor and sweet alchoal that warms the belly. at the end i am left with a combo of sour, oak and clean krisp bitter hops. this isnt what i would call a great beer but just avrage, this is a beer that i would drink if offered but wont go out of my way to get more (413 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 558 ratings.