1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,780 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,780
Reviews: 490
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 17.98%
Wants: 74
Gots: 200 | FT: 3
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:
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.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 07-13-2004)
View: Beers (16) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,780 | Reviews: 490 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of breakingbland
breakingbland

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A beautiful clear golden. The head had dissipated by the time the glass reached the table.

Aroma:Hoppy with some malt. Not a strong aroma.

Taste: Considerable malty sweetness. The maltiness has an odd tasting component -- maybe bubblegum (still not too good at discerning & describing the various taste components; see "Re-review" below). A medium hops presence.

Mouthfeel: A very fine carbonation. It has a fairly full body.

Overall: The malt/hops balance is nice and appropriate for this style. I'll have this beer again, but overall it's not too exciting (still bothered by the odd sweetness).

Re-review: After drinking a few more of these, it occurred to me that the odd sweetness is likely due to the oak/bourbon aging. (duh on my part!) It still tastes a bit odd to me, though.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 02:55:48 | More by breakingbland
Photo of rfbenavi80
rfbenavi80

Missouri

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed with a friend.
Bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a deep golden color with 2 fingers of white creamy looking head that dissipates moderately slow, leaving virtually no lacing, but does create a ring around the edge.

S- Smells of sweet oak, mixed with vanilla and charcoal. Not as bourbon forward as I want it to be.

T- Definitely a unique tasting beer. Toasty vanilla bourbon flavors are there, however it tastes very young and unrefined.

M- Medium light body, with a light amount of carbonation.

O- Disappointed, because I've definitely had better barrel aged beers. The Kentucky name in leads me to believe the bourbon taste and aroma would be front and center, however its not.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 10:35:55 | More by rfbenavi80
Photo of taylorhamrick
taylorhamrick

South Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2009 02:10:47 | More by taylorhamrick
Photo of HarryPlopper
HarryPlopper

Rhode Island

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 21:36:54 | More by HarryPlopper
Photo of bacabuck
bacabuck

California

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Don for bringing this back from Kentucky on one of his many trips around the country.

Beer poured a clean, clear copper color. Smell has strong undertones of bourbon with a rich sweet malt scent. Taste works best with food. Don't know if I'd score it as well if it were alone. I paired it with a chili dry-rub ribeye. Really made the difference. A hearty brew that is nice as a treat. Don't think I'd tip back more than one at a time however.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2006 06:01:04 | More by bacabuck
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium orange hue with the tiniest hint of haze and an extremely robust effervescence. Head is a thick finger of pillowy ivory foam with decent retention. I like it.

Smell: sweet malt with a buttery bourbon aroma right through it. Decent, if you like bourbon.

Taste: sweet malt with a definite buttery taste to it. Strong diacetyl from brewing, or an artifact from the barrel aging process? I can't say. Altogether this beer has a very butterscotch-like quality which I don't love, although it's not strong enough to turn me away completely.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a decent, if not completely mouth-filling, creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a sweet, not-too-bad strong ale; just a bit butterscotchy for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 23:03:43 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up while at Ft Knox at the Px, just getting around to reviewing it.

Poured cold into a session ale glass

A - An ale the shade of bourbon w/ a bone white 2 1/2 finger fluffy head. The lace clings moderately well

S - The scent of bourbon is strong in the nose w/ a subtle ale fruitiness and boozy woody notes that accent the aroma

M - Very mild sweetness w/ a mild carbonation and gently chalky feel w/ nutty vanilla oaky wood textures and smooth finish that practically falls flat

T - The bourbon smell carries over into the taste w/ a mostly light ale flavor and subtle fruity tinges w/ a vanilla bourbon oak taste w/ a beer flavor that really has a meek demeanor in relation to the Bourbon oakiness that accents it almost dominates it. There is a slight hop/vegetal note and possible adjunct type sweetness in the flavor, an overall light ale taste that seems out of porportion in relationship to the sweetness in the bourbon.

D - I enjoyed the bourbon flavor in this , but one or two seems like more than enough. This ale just falls short of great and allows the bourbon aging to manhandle the flavor while making the beer seem light. It isn't the best wood aged beer, but it is worth a try

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2008 23:44:57 | More by Slatetank
Photo of orcasteve
orcasteve

North Carolina

3.45/5  rDev -6%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2008 19:37:18 | More by orcasteve
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brightest topaz topped with nearly two fingers of eggshell colored foam that is slightly crackly and does no better than a passable job with respect to glass decoration. High-ABV, barrel-aged beer often struggles in the head and lace departments.

After having been aged for 6 weeks in *recently decanted* bourbon barrels, one would think the nose would be more whiskey-like. This is a somewhat pleasant sniffer if you like that spirit, but it's too mild. The base beer doesn't contribute much either.

Kentucky Ale is average beer. Its metamorphosis into Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a definite move to higher ground. It isn't amazing beer by any means, but the bourbon character finds that middle ground between 'too much' and 'not enough' (closer to the latter).

This offering tastes like an amber ale to which a very small splash of bourbon was added. Caramelized sugar and vanilla notes are subtle, and there wasn't enough time for much woodiness to have made it into the final product. Hard to believe the ABV went from 5.34% to 8.19% after 6 weeks contact with whiskey-soaked wood.

The mouthfeel didn't change... and wasn't expected to. It's still waaay too light, doesn't bulk up with warming, and the bubbles don't do a great job either. It's barely acceptable for a sipper, just don't expect much in the way of mouth pampering.

My advice to Kentucky Brewing Company is to use a different (better) beer as the base for this beer. Something with more malty guts would be a great place to start. Too bad this is the 12 ounce bottle rather than the cool looking cobalt vessel shown above.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2010 11:32:40 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It comes off the tap a clear shining gold color. It sports a billowing head that foams up and drops down to a bit of a lighter whitish cap. With time, it recedes to the edges while leaving a wispy island. Some pretty good spotting with light legging does cling to the glass.
Wood is the inital note, not particularly dry, and something lighter that gives the imprssion of beech or balsam (but obviously isn't). Nice vanilla and toffee notes are present too. Oddly, I get something like plum, but a softer, pale flesh sort, and only a few flashes here and there. It's got a bit of booziness, but it's fairly tame.
A touch of the vanilla and toffee sweetness come out on the tongue with the wood up front, all under a note of grains that follows through to the end.
While smooth, it is a bit too lightly carbonated, and thins out slightly toward the end.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2013 22:30:28 | More by Brenden
Photo of Richardbeerlover
Richardbeerlover

Texas

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 02:37:54 | More by Richardbeerlover
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WhyBeNormal for putting this box in N00b BIF Round 3. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a brew that is a moderate-brown color with a thin tan head that fades into a thin collar. The nose is dominated by bourbon. Strong bourbon notes pervade, and only increase in intensity as the beer warms. Nice and fairly mellow, but I'd like a bit more complexity here. The flavor is the same way, though there is a touch of caramel and brown sugar in the background. Medium body with lowish carbonation. A bit too hot in the finish. Not bad at all. I've got another that I'll need to cellar for a bit to see if it mellows out.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 12:05:50 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Low level head that leaves little lace. The color is a perfect neutral amber and is crystal clear.

More earthy than anything else. There's a bit of sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

This is a sweet ale. Again, molasses seems to be the strongest flavor. If there is bitterness, it is overwhelmed by the malt sugars. Not complex. Very rich body--low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 21:16:15 | More by smcolw
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon drinkers ought to be happy with this. The overall drinking experience is easy and smooth. The Bourbon barrel flavor dominates everything. Think Bourbon, chilled, mixed with seltzer. You might get a very similar thing to what this beer is. Nothing else is particularly noteworthy about this brew. Lots of wood aged stuff on the market.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 01:02:04 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of GatorBeerNerd
GatorBeerNerd

Georgia

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2009 03:52:55 | More by GatorBeerNerd
Photo of megamass
megamass

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

05-08-2013 22:58:25 | More by megamass
Photo of donunrue
donunrue

Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

03-20-2012 05:36:41 | More by donunrue
Photo of thaghost
thaghost

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

07-11-2013 00:43:03 | More by thaghost
Photo of IrishGermanAmerican
IrishGermanAmerican

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

11-17-2013 05:27:26 | More by IrishGermanAmerican
Photo of bpfrush
bpfrush

Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

06-19-2013 18:21:38 | More by bpfrush
Photo of Cynic-ale
Cynic-ale

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

08-01-2013 02:57:19 | More by Cynic-ale
Photo of frankiepop
frankiepop

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my 1st bourbon barrel aged ale so I struggle to review. However, I can say what I have here is quite different. Appearance is a slightly smokey ale with a nice white head & some decent lacing.

The aromas, not mere aroma, is a wild bourbon slash ale with a slight citrusy sourness.

The taste is like no ale or beer that I ever tasted. Man, there is a beer flavor warmed with a tasty sweet and slightly tart flavors. That's bourbon. Like a boilermaker. Not my cup of tea, but I bet if you like that sort of thing this would be nice to try.

The carbonation is nice and easy, but the bourbon like warmth slows this to nice sipper. I will rarely engage in this type of beverage again, but this was a nice experience.

I would pair this friend with something southern. Maybe Bobby Bare "The Moon was Blue"

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 04:32:15 | More by frankiepop
Photo of Adkins1203
Adkins1203

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

02-27-2013 01:04:14 | More by Adkins1203
Photo of king75
king75

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

10-09-2013 17:47:42 | More by king75
Photo of haddon
haddon

Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on cask at The Pub in Lexington, KY.

Pours a cola color that is a little lighter than expected for a casked bourbon barrel ale. not much head but there probably shouldn't be from the cask.

Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of malts. weak on the nose all-around.

malts and caramel that give way to vanilla, oak, brown sugar. All around sweet taste without much complexity. not much by way of hops or bitterness.

Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

you know, being a KY boy, I really wanted to like this but there just isn't much there. it seems that Lex Brew Co. has taken a ho-hum beer and tried to do something with it by throwing it in the bourbon barrels. Guys, make our bourbon heritage proud by coming up with something better there on the bourbon trail.

Serving type: cask

06-02-2011 03:10:29 | More by haddon
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,780 ratings.