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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 RickS95
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of drtth
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of mikefuski17
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer about 3 years ago and couldn't remember what it was called so I looked it up. The beer itself was really good and has a nice strong flavor. The color was rich and smelled great. I am not much of a whiskey can but I really enjoyed the beer.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised to see this on tap at a local bar. Properly served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

A- Poured a clear red, amber color. Very little to no head presented itself.

S- The bourbon smell hits you smack in the nose. Hidden behind it, is a combination sweet vanilla and carmel notes.

T- Very happy to see that the oak flavor was present. Like the taste, the bourbon was combined sweet vanilla notes.

M- Medium to light bodied with some carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Definitely a sipper. Snifter is more than enough for one sitting.

Overall, a very nice bourbon aged beer. Looking very forward to opening the Old Friends to compare.

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Photo of NickTinyRace
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mix of my two favorite things. Beer and bourbon. You can taste the the carmel flavor from the ole barrels and it has a wonderful smooth finish which was a pleasant surprise for a bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of TheWildflower
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Really smooth brew with enought bourbon that you know its there. Slighly sweet from bourbon, but not heavy or liquor like. Lighter version of BBC Bourbon Barrel stout that can be too heavy and bourbon like, which I've thrown up before. Its not pretty. Totally poundable, easy to drink, with some nice bourbon touches. The original brew is probably week as hell, I dont get much "beer" from this one.

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Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black with a 1" head that hung around a while. Some mild lacing develops during the session.

Smell: roasted malts and hints of bourbon are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild roasted malts, prunes, bourbon tones, vanilla, and a bit of alcohol are wrapped in a soft bitterness. Well balanced beer here.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Heavy in body. Aftertaste lingers a bit on the tongue.

Drinkability: an easy to drink beer as the flavors are not over the top and the alcohol is in check here. You should give this a try especially if it is on draft.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a tulip glass. A dark translucent amber body, no real head to speak of but a white ring of bubbles. Smell is really lacking to the point that I feel like I have a stuffy nose from a cold, which I don't. Only the faintest hint of bourbon comes through.
Ahh, well at least the taste delivers. Extremely strong notes of vanilla from the bourbon. For what is self-described as a sipper, I'd say this is really tasty and drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, let alone and English strong ale. You get a nice dark fruit backbone in the middle but finishes smooth and crisp.
Weak smell, very nice taste.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is boozy, like I was taking a whiff of bourbon. Flavor is more bourbon than anything. Not really complex at all. But it is creamy. Feel carries the same character on liquid and carbonation is lower. A nice sipper. If you like the bourbon, this is pretty heavy with it, so you'd be happy.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - super clear light amber color with a modest head and decent lacing

S - strong aroma of bourbon and oak, not much else; no hop and a faint hint of malt

T - oaky moderately sweet malt at first with the whisky flavor throughout from start to finish; the hop is only for balancing as any hop flavor is absent but finishes with only a touch of sweetness

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is truly a different and unique beer. I've had a number of stouts and barleywines aged in barrels and this is truly unique. Despite it's high abv, I find this beer highly quaffable - dangerously so. It almost reminds me of a fuller bodied seltzer & bourbon drink to a point and also somewhat like Vernor's, a soft drink from Michigan that is aged in oak (I grew up with Vernor's - can't help but see some similarity). This is definitely worth a try, but don't come to the glass with expectations of a complex strong ale - it is unassuming and doesn't pull any punches.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of BareFeetPete
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to give big props for individuality. I almost don't know how to describe the taste of this beer. A couple of very pronounced flavors hit me at different times. Initially it's a very typical American amber, but quickly lightens (as I swallow) to something more like a pale.

The smell is really nothing special. I mean, I like ambers so I'm already predisposed to liking how this smells, but if I'm being objective about it there's really nothing special about it.

I already described the initial taste, but the after taste was what made this beer fun to drink for me. I had a couple of bottles, one poured into a pint glass, the other straight from the bottle. The bourbon flavor was really pronounced when I drank from the bottle, and when I drank from the glass I got a lot of the wood and vanilla flavors I had heard about.

The mouth feel was another enjoyable characteristic, more so out of the bottle than the glass. I'm not a big fan of heavy carbonation but they seem to have hit a really nice balance here. If anything the carbonation helped to enhance the lighter undertones like the vanilla to balance out the more noticeable flavors of the traditional amber.

Overall, it's certainly not something I expected, and to be honest it was an impulse buy by my buddy who thought it looked like something different to try. So I have to say it was pleasantly surprising and if I am ever offered one I will definitely take it. But would I buy it again? Probably not. It's a novelty and something to try if you're looking for a break from your norm. But it's not a good session beer and it's not something that I would look for on a regular basis.

*I'm young, I only started really thinking about good beer three years ago, and this is my first review on the BA. So feel free to review my review and tell me how I did. I welcome criticism and advice.*

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PPoitras for the bottle
Pours a deep copper and amber colors with a thin veneer of head that quickly dissapates.
Aroma has that sweet sour mash aroma with some charcoal, a bit of corn liquor and some caramelized malt present. More on the floral then on the peaty side of the spectrum.
Flavor is heavy on the butterscotch side with some bittering hops preventing it from reaching cloying state.
Mouthfeel was pretty solid, especially given the road it took to my home bar. As it warmed really produced a nice boozy, liquor feel that was just sublte enough to be overpowering but really enjoyable. Sort of a light pale or amber with some bourbon characteristics, not over the top at all.
Drinkability was fairly high. Could have been a real booze burner but it really settled into a fairly mellow and flavorful beer. Well made and really enjoyable twist.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger white head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Almost clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is bourbon, flavor is sweet oak/bourbon. Clean finish. $2.99 for a 12oz bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Black Cow in Newburyport. Nice light caramel color. Nice bourbon taste, not sure why this is not rated better. My theory is because not much love for this brewery. I would have again.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden maple wood crystal clear body with a thing white film of head. There are a few strands of tiny bubbles trailing to the surface.

S- This beer has a big smell of sweet bourbon and a slightly oaky smell with a hint of smoky flavor as it warms.

T- This beer has a smooth sweet bourbon flavor with a light caramel note in it. There is a dark toffee note that comes through as it warms with an oaky and wet wood taste aswell. The finish has a slight white sugar note but no alcohol bite.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz finish that dries out the beer nicely. There is a slight creamy texture that is more noticeable when it is warm and it doesn't have any alcohol heat.

D- This beer has nice big bourbon and barrel flavors but it is a bit too much like candy flavors. They are not overly sweet but they could use something to balance or give more depth to the flavors.

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Photo of MDHopster
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%

Clear cooper with white head about 3/4 inch. Excellent smell with vanilla oak bourbon nose, pleasantly drinkable with slight alcohol bite. Blends well with steak and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a finger of off white head. It is amber colored and clear. The aroma is bourbon and vanilla. I can also get whiffs of caramel malt. The taste is dominated by the bourbon. I get the oak/vanilla taste as well. This beer is a great example of what bourbon barrel aging can do to a beer. I am not a big whiskey drinker but I could see this as an alternative.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale pours a clear, copper color with a thin white head. The nose has a lot of bourbon on it, with some hints of vanilla and oak.

The flavor is malty with some of the vanilla coming through and more bourbon flavor. There is a bit of mild bitterness on the otherwise quick finish. The mouthfeel is a bit thin with low carbonation.

This is a pretty fun beer to try. Most bourbon barrel beers I've had have been porters and stouts, whose strong beer flavor leave the bourbon as only a small accent. Due to this having a milder flavored base beer, the bouron is allowed to really come out, for better or worse.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one on a work trip to OH. 12oz bottle...

A: Super clear copper color with a very white 1/2 inch head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: A nice bourbon malt upfront with some grape booziness in the middle and hints of toffee on the backend. Good.

T: Some light sugary malt and rye breadiness followed by some watery earthiness. Not much else. Decent.

M: Medium body with a good carbonation. Good.

D: Goes down very easy.

All in all, this is an ok brew. Decent brew, but not a good or great brew. Many other offerings in the style that are better. Super Kitty comes to mind. Don't worry about this one unless you have access.

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Photo of brap
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent and drinkable but didn't really taste all that barreled. I've had some barrelled beer where you really can taste the nuances of the wood but this just seemed like a sweetish ale. Not horrible but didn't have the complexity the name suggested. Seemed more marketing ploy than anything. Given the price per 12 oz bottle there are a number of different directions I would go before returning to this. That said, if someone handed me a cold one, I wouldn't turn it away.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Could be the best beer deal ever - I picked up a growler of this for $4.99 at Wine and Beyond in Sherwood Park. This ale poured nicely with a reasonable amount of head that disappeared fairly quickly (not surprising for a draft growler that has been sitting for a couple of days.) The bourbon flavour is just enough to give this ale a very unique and pleasant taste. It has a decent amount of kick and goes down very nicely. The combination of great taste and killer deal make this a highlight reel brew.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

So I saw this sitting on the shelves at Marty's and figured it was worth a shot. Last night we were hanging around with a buddy and both of our wives. We were trying some beers and this one finally hit the table. The women absolutely loved it. My buddy's wife calls it her "Coconut beer"

She is correct that the beer smells a even taste quite a bit like coconut. Reminded her of sun tan lotion which she meant as a compliment.

A light amber/copper color that is very bright. A decent light beige head shows some retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

In addition to the description above the aroma also had a lot of vanilla and straight bourbon notes. The oak was very present.

I really wasn't expecting much and I'm not sure why, but this was pretty damn good. The flavors were lead by bourbon and the entire gang from the aroma came for the ride. Coconut, vanilla, oak... Really nice flavor. All the bourbon with none of the booziness. I have to admit they fooled me on the abv. After drinking for a bit I was asked what the abv was and I said I didn't know, but it didn't seem high and I guesses 5ish... At 8.1 this hides the abv extremely well. Frankly scary well.

The body is the one area where I think this has room for improvement. It seemed just a hair too thin for all the other components. Just a touch more body and this could get very interesting.

I was shocked we all like this so much and the ladies want to know when I can get more.

Looks like this will be in my beer fridge again. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of Chaz
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant brass in color, exhibiting average amount of carbonation. The beer is topped with a two-fingered, lighter tan head (more off-white) which falls rather quickly and leaves a ring of foamy lace and thin film on top.

Nose offers vanilla and sort of an indeterminate malty fruitiness. On second guess, the bourbon aspect is full and there's even some boozy character. There's an almost tropical sensibility on the nose -- tropical fruit and rum with vanilla? It's a little odd, and much different than what I was expecting...

Sweet and full of the bourbon barrel character on the first sip. Equal parts warming alcohol and vanilla overtones, along with the tropical fruit aspect present in the malt character on the nose, and WOW! Am I tasting coconut, or am I just imagining it?

Mouthfeel is a little fuller than I'd expect (and the barrel treatment always seems to thin any beer style), but it's really sort of an average mouthfeel, and the carbonation actually seems lighter on the palate than it "looked" streaming from the bottom of the glass...

Overall this is a quirky drink. It's no carbon copy barrel-aged anything, and is instead unique enough to seek out insofar as the flavor is concerned. Frankly --and though I'm sure it isn't to everyone's liking-- as a fan of shmaltzy Tiki drinks I might seek to buy this one by the case!

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Photo of jera1350
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a dark gold color with a creamy clean white cap of foam on top.

The aroma lends notes of sour whiskey, cherry and vanilla. After some hard digging, I can pick out some coconut faintly. The nose a little light overall though.

Whiskey notes up front, followed by rather strong vanilla and toasted coconut. A very long and pleasant finish full of the aforementioned flavors. I wish the malt bill was a little bigger on this one, with some added sweetness. Right now, it tastes like a light version of Backwoods Bastard, which is still a fine quality to have.

Very smooth, but the body could use a bit of heft to round it out. Very dry feeling as well.

Rather enjoyed this one. Lives up to all of the bourbon barrel in its name. I just wish it had some more malt to add sweetness and body. It would then be an "A" or higher in my book. Still, this is one tasty beer. Actually kind of nice to have a barrel aged beer under ten percent alcohol for once. I would certainly pick this one up again.

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