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

556 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 556
Hads: 2,513
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.21%
Wants: 138
Gots: 665 | 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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Reviews: 556 | Hads: 2,513
Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared by Thorpe429 at a local DC tasting. Bottle says "Official Beer of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games"...awesome that they chose an 8.19% ABV bourbon barrel aged beer as their official beer.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks nothing like an American strong ale; I was shocked how light in color it was.

s - Smells of heavy bourbon, vanilla, bready malts, light oak. Pretty enjoyable.

t - Tastes of light bourbon, oak, vanilla, bready malts, wheat. Bourbon is up front in the taste, but not as strong as the nose.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation. For a bourbon barrel aged beer that is over 8% ABV, this one was insanely drinkable. I would have had no problem drinking the entire bottle myself.

o - Overall this was an interesting bourbon barrel aged beer that I enjoyed and thought worked well. I don't think it is an American strong ale, but more like a light beer aged in bourbon barrels. None the less something I would like to have again sometime. (1,065 characters)

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the bottled version. Pours a clear light amber body that seems a shade lighter than the draft version. Head is small and shortlived and leaves some wispy spots of lace on the snifter. Aroma is bourbon, and lots of it. Vanilla and oak notes are also prominent. Body is light to light medium, almost watery. Low carbonation. Taste has plenty of bourbon, joined by flaked coconut and vanilla. Slight caramel notes are also present and the wood tones are prevalent. Hops aren't noticed but there is a pleasant bourbon bitterness all the way through. A good sipper, but I still prefer this on draft. (619 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lace.

Smell: A very whiskey forward and fairly sweet malty aroma. Big barrel presence with hints of bourbon whiskey, wood, oak chips, and vanilla. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, yeast, grains, and biscuit. Also some sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Hop presence is very light. A little scent of booze. Aroma is pretty much bourbon and caramel malt. Decent.

Taste: Like it smells, very barrel forward with with sweet notes of caramel malt. Barrel notes of bourbon whiskey, oak chips, wood, and vanilla upfront. Toasty malts with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, grain, yeast, and biscuit. Some molasses and brown sugar add to the sweetness. Very little in the way of hops. Sweet but smooth and not syrupy. Decent bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, smooth, and slightly slick. Alcohol presence is pretty smooth for a barrel aged beer.

Overall: A decent barrel aged brew. Good smooth whiskey taste. The base beer could of had some more substance but it went well with the barrel. (1,295 characters)

Photo of endincolorado
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an ultra-clear, pale copper with a decent, off-white head that settles quickly. Lacing is adequate.

Aroma is heavy on vanilla and slight woodiness, reminds me of whiskey and water. Some sweet malt aroma- no hops.

Flavor is also big on vanilla and is pleasantly reminiscent of bourbon, though also slightly of cream soda as well. A lingering sweetness and a slight hop presence can be found in the finish.

Mouthfeel is okay. Could be a little creamier, and less carbonated.

A drinkable beer, and one that might be a stand-by if not for the price tag. I'd heard this was amazing and I was skeptical. It's pretty good, but there are a lot better barrel-aged beers. (672 characters)

Photo of mcguirmn
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Appearance: pours an orange-amber color. Minimal carbonation.

Smell: obvious Bourbon presence. Other than that, not much there smell-wise. I gave it a 4.5 because I really like Bourbon.

Taste: I scored the taste a little lower because, as other reviewers noted, besides the Bourbon, there isn't much else there taste-wise.

Carbonation: thin. Low carbonation.

Overall: I might be a little biased, given my love of whiskey and bourbon, but I really liked this beer. I first tried it by drinking it straight out of the bottle, and it tasted a bit harsh. But when I tried it out of the kentucky bourbon barrel ale snifter, it was much more enjoyable. This beer has all the taste of bourbon without any of the harshness. (771 characters)

Photo of JohnnyMc
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The taste of Bourbon is what really hits you with your first sip, but the sweet and oaky taste of the ale follows after.

The aroma is also a heavy amount of bourbon, but also slightly sweet. It is a very different kind of beer, but I enjoyed it and it is especially good for the winter time. (293 characters)

Photo of craytonic
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear bright amber with a nice off-white head. Guess they don't make the cool bottle pictured on BA anymore; came in a 12oz-er.

Smell: sweet almost milky creaminess with some faint bourbon

Taste: First sip tastes like whiskey and water (not necessarily a bad thing). After that, it I get tons of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla with a nice smooth bourbon backdrop and a bit of french oak.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth and creamy; a bit light which really just bumps the drinkability up.

Drinkability: Had to make myself not gulp it. This one isn't incredibly complex and is not a "big" beer (despite the unnoticeable 8.19% ABV) but it is tasty and enjoyable. That said, there is always a bit of branch and bourbon element to it. (746 characters)

Photo of do_ob
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Pours a clear copper with about 1/2 a finger of white foam. Good carbonation. Smells of oak, leather, roasted nuts, and a hint of bourbon. The smell kinda fooled me, honestly. Strong bourbon notes on the taste, along with vanilla, butterscotch, and wheat. A slight hop bitterness makes its presence known about middle ways. Finishes quite smooth given the abv and leaves a charred oaky flavor on the taste buds.

Surprisingly good. Slightly underrated, in my opinion. It's lacking a bit of density in the body, but the flavors are pleasant. This one would go great with some grilled pork or salmon. (628 characters)

Photo of ferrari29
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
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 (1,003 characters)

Photo of Totentanzer
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
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 (333 characters)

Photo of einman
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer. My brothers and I stopped in KY and randomly picked a store near Lafayette on our way back home to MN from a GA drive. I grabbed this and a few other things in my search for local brews I can't get back home. The smell is great and I really like the mild cocoa smoothness in this.
Completely random buy and completely satisfied. (354 characters)

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice orange color with a light head that stays mostly to the glass.

The nose on this is definitely the strong point. Lots of fresh bourbon in the nose with a kiss of hops.

The taste is a bit confused. The bourbon and the beer seem to be competing for palate time. Individually they are good, but if they could get along it would be outstanding.

The feel is light and bubbly. Nothing special.

This is a great nightcap beer and one of a couple of reasons I wished I lived in Kentucky. (486 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: mostly clear, somewhere between straw and golden. The full creamy off white saves it.
Smell: Oak and vanilla, brown sugar, and bourbon, but fairly tame, not as rich as all those flavors would suggest.
Taste: matches the nose.
Overall: very nice. I still prefer the monsters but this is a solid beer. (312 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours honey gold with minimal head and active carbonation.

Has a honey sweet smell, with definite notes of whiskey (likely from the barrel aging). Caramel malt with a buttery feel to it is also present.

Malty, with a strong whiskey taste giving this beer a bit of a tangy zing. Slightly sweet, this ends with a buttery warmth with low bitterness.

Medium bodied, this beer has a strong start with a smooth finish.

I've had this on tap before, and prefer it that way, but out of the bottle it is still a decent brew. I would definitely have again, but only on tap. (614 characters)

Photo of TheSarge
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours decently with a light tan head that dissipates rather quickly into a thin film of lace. The body is copper in color and is very clear.

The aroma is mostly bourbon with subtle hints of vanilla and toffee.

Taste wise it's earthy, woody, vanilla and bourbon.

The feel to this brew is a bit warming, oily, and lightly carbonated. Overall a uniquely flavored beer and something nice to sip on. (399 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for finally gettin' this off my Wants!

Kentucky + Bourbon + beer = yes. This thing pours a clear, bright amber topped by a minor bit o' white foam. The nose comprises oak, caramel, whiskey, butterscotch, and a tiny touch o' vanilla. The alcohol hangs over the surface, both a come-hither eying and a staunch admonition. I like a challenge. The taste refuses to deviate from the smell, with the bourbon-draped oak coming in at full force. A sly hint of maple syrup nudges the 'buds' arms, rather than just coming right out and introducing itself. I like it. The body is a slender medium, with a light carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice little sipper, something to be enjoyed, though rapture remains aloof. (773 characters)

Photo of rmalinowski4
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my bells snifter. Received as an extra from Preismj. Thanks Matt.

Pours a clear bourbon brown with a half finger of off white head. The head recedes quickly leaving a ring of lacing on the glass. You can see the bubles dance up the glass.

Smell is bourbon and sweet malt, there are no hops on the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, and sweat, bready malt. Smells like an after dinner drink.

Taste is vanilla, bourbon, oak, and malt. The vanilla hits in the front followed almost immediately by the bourbon and oak. The finish is bready malt that lingers on the palate with some of the oak. The flavors are strong and a little overpowering. If you like bourbon, you will like this beer.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium. The carbonation is moderate, just about right for the mouthfeel.

Overall, I like this beer. I like bourbon and vanilla, and that is what this beer is about. It is not a very complex beer, which is why I didn't rate it higher. Thanks again Matt for this very nice beer. (1,016 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer dozens of time if not hundreds and i really enjoy it but it loses points for having no consistency from bottle to bottle or keg to keg. This bad boy varies in flavour a LOT

Pours A reddish amber with a decent amount of head. The head on this pen dissipates but leaves a thin layer of white bubbles across the surface. The aroma at it's best is very strongly of vanilla. Smetimes the vanilla is not very present and there is a strong oakiness on the nose. Taste is similar. The base beer is not very flavorful so the beer basically just takes on the characteristics of the barrel. When it's at it's best there is a ton of vanilla and a nice background of oak. The beer is always sweet and rich and creamy almost with a solid mouthfeel and hearty drinkability but the flavour profile is what varies. (817 characters)

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of Groomsy
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with "bottled on" date of Nov. 15 2010. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Poured a very transparent and clear light red/amber, basically the same as a Kentucky Ale. However, there was zero head (only a collar of bubbles) and zero lacing. Occasional carbonation bubbles rise, more so when the glass is swirled for agitation. When I first poured it, I thought I got a bad batch, or maybe I just didn't pour it vigorously enough. Beautiful color, though.

Aroma: Big hit of sweet bourbon on the nose is immediate, followed by some vanilla, woody accents, and a subtle malt backing from the Kentucky Ale. I wish they could make a candle after this beer; I would keep it lit in my house all day long, haha. The bourbon and vanilla become much more pronounced as the beer warms. Very promising aroma for this one.

Taste: The bourbon takes the largest part in taste; very sweet with a substantial amount of warming from the alcohol. As the beer warms, more of the malt flavors emerge, as well as the mentioned hints of vanilla and smoky wood. Maybe a little too sweet for its own good, but certainly a great-tasting beer to sip on slowly and enjoy. My only issue with the taste here is that it could be a little more "together"; at certain points, especially after the beer warmed, I felt like the bourbon and beer taste were playing tug of war: Bourbon at the front, beer in the back. Other than that, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: More or less the same as regular Kentucky Ale, minus the carbonation (which Kentucky Ale didn't have a lot of in the first place). A little too thin for its own good, but suitable for the "sipping" nature of the beer.

Drinkability: The alcohol, although noticeable, is fairly well masked by the other flavors in the beer, and this makes it a dangerously drinkable beer. The sweet malts and bourbon characteristics make it a sweet and delicious dessert beer. That being said, if you drink more than two of these, you'll be feeling it; the alcohol creeps up slowly.

Like others, although this beer is great, I wish that Alltech would use a different base beer to age; Kentucky Ale isn't bad, but it's certainly not what one would think to use as an aging candidate. The aging process really stepped up the beer's game substantially, though. I'm proud to drink this and would go after it again. (2,332 characters)

Photo of BourbonKYGent
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (808 characters)

Photo of denver10
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with absolutely no head. Aroma is nice and oaky, soft bourbon presence, vanilla, and a tease of some toffee. Aroma is nice but I wish it could have had a touch more depth to allow it to be great; nails the bourbon and barrel influence, lacks enough beer presence. Flavor is toasty and spiceyy with oak, vanilla, toffee, and a soft bourbon presence. A medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this far surpassed my expectations. I always saw this one on tap at the craft bars in Colorado but always passed on it. For whatever reason I assumed it was a dud. Now that I am living in Kentucky and found singles of it on the local shelves, figured I'd give it shot. Certainly glad I did, decent stuff. (710 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (373 characters)

Photo of Hopscat
3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (512 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4/5  rDev +9.9%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, golden amber/straw color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed wispy clouds that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Boozy, as you can definitely smell the bourbon of the bourbon barrels the beer was aged in, as well as some oak, vanilla, butter, toasted malt, toffee.

Taste: Interesting. Pretty damn good, in fact! Strong malt notes up front, imparting flavors of buttered toast, caramel and toffee-like sweetness. I also get some vanilla and oak, along with the boozy bourbon flavors courtesy of the aging in bourbon barrels.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and pretty smooth, as there is pretty much no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 8.19%, there is a definite presence of alcohol on the palate, imparting a pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: This is a much better beer than I was expecting. Nice malt notes, nicely balanced with toffee and caramel and the bourbon overtones. Very nice! I’d certainly drink it again. (1,117 characters)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 556 ratings.