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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.

575 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 575
Hads: 2,623
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 761 | 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: 575 | Hads: 2,623
Photo of becktone
2.97/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is poor. The color is very nice-crystal clear copper. The beer looks dead very little carbonation bubbles floating to the top. This beer's inability to form a head and or lacing and keep what little film it did form is sorely disapointing.

Wow! Strong aroma of burbon, almost overwhelming! I can't say that this is bad, however I am not really a fan of burbon. However, I saw this beer and decided to try it. No hop or malt aromas, just burbon and alcohol. It is a burbon barrel aged brew and it definitely smells like burbon so I guess it achieves what the brewers were going for.

Weirdest beer that I've ever drank. It tastes like burbon, though I've never had it I can assume that it tastes like burbon. I've had scotch though, and it reminds me of that. Lots of flavor, some butterscotch in there. As I Said before I am not a fan of burbon or scotch for that matter, ever since I drank a whole bottle of scotch in one night.

Can't really finish this brew, it tastes too much like scotch/burbon. Sure that's what the brewer was going for but I can't take it. It is light on the palate and almost flat, very low carbonation. Alcohol is obviously apparent. I will not buy this brew again. I can't abide the taste of scotch/burbon. Since I am reviewing this brew with an open mind and trying to judge it by the brewer's interpretation of an American Strong Ale aged in Burbon barrels I'll give it flat 3's across the board...except for appearance, all beer should be able to form and keep a head.

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Photo of zhooker
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the tap into a standard pint glass. Not much foam up top, hence not much lacing either. Deep, dark golden-amber in color, and rather clear.

The nose is light but enjoyable. Wood and an oaky sweetness come out, like a very mild bourbon. There are some roasted malt scents as well. Frankly, I am a little underwhelmed.

The taste is even more underwhelming. Incredibly light. A well-rounded malt flavor with a tinge of sweetness, but not much bourbon or oak/wood on the tongue. Hops mild, hardly present. Disappointed.

I will admit, as a beer (in general), this is a good ale. But I'm thinking barrel-aged when I drink this, and compared to other barrel-aged ales (bourbon barrel in particular) this just tastes weak. Drinkable? Very. And it hides its 7-9% ABV well. But it really fails to deliver in the flavor department.

Overall, it feels like a Kentucky brewery trying to cash in on the Kentucky bourbon legacy, making it palatable and consumable, but really missing the amazing powers that barrel-aging can impart.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one!

(A)- Pours a clear orange amber color that produced a thin film of white foam.

(S)- A sweet oaky vanilla and caramel/toffee/brown sugar sweetness. Tons of bourbon sweetness in this.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Very sweet caramel/butterscotch character with a dry oaky vanilla. Some corn meal in the far background, but the bourbon definitely takes center stage.

(M)- A decent carbonation level. A very sugary sweet richness with obvious bourbon notes. A bit syrup-like in feel. Rather boozy too for the ABV.

(D)- An interesting take on the style. Very obvious with the bourbon barrel aging that totally takes over what the beer is and becomes the main focus of the beer itself. Decent, but way too sweet to have more.

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Photo of SGDJosh
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On draft at Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop on 9/14:

A - New penny copper in color with very little head. What head was there has dissipated quickly leaving a soft lace on top.

S - Bourbon, burnt sugar, malts.

T - Sweet oak, lots of vanilla and little hint of chocolate. Tastes like a cheap Bourbon to me...

M - Light-Medium Body, carbonation is nice but it doesn't carry the alcohol well.

O - Not a great combination of body, flavor, and booze. It's sweet but doesn't hide the alcohol with such a light body. Just not my thing.

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

I bought this on a trip this summer. Poured it into a Jester King Tour Glass.

Copper Color,very little head but decent lacing. This bottle is dated
Dec 2011, but it has been cellared since June, and considering the high abv, it should have been able to hold up.

Smells like bourbon, but not like very good bourbon.

Taste is OK, pretty much bourbon and nothing else. Malt doesn't come through.

Not thin or heavy on the mouthfeel.

This beer is OK, but I am not super excited about trying to get it again. I think that my preference is for stouts aged in bourbon barrels and not this type of ale.

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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 DanH83
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It tastes like what it is. A cheap light ale aged for a short time in barrels. It's sticky sweet on the nose with a touch of bourbon. It has an oily and light mouthfeel.

It looks average, tastes okay if a little bit strange.

You can pass on this one with no remorse. It's not offensive, but I don't think I'll make it through the bottle, it's just not worth it.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my little brother for picking this up in Ohio on his trip.

Pours a clear goldish amber.

Smell is very one note bourbon in front, middle and back.

Taste is the same bourbon all the way with a hint of vanilla and oak.

Mouthfeel is very thin, to thin for a beer of this alchol imo.

It is not bad, I will drink it all. It is just to one note for me. I know some bourbon lovers might like this but if so, why not just drink strait bourbon??

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Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Deep copper and bronze orange body but quite hazy and dull. Head has a creamy yellow and light tan color consistency and makes about two fingers to slowly settle into a soapy collar. Not bad minus the hazy quality, sort of looks like a barleywine.

Light bodied, and some small faint butterscotch like caramel. Senses a bit wet. Slightly sweet but not much oak or barrel aging character it seems. Pleasant at least.

Palate is quite surprising. Extremely light and airy, and very watery. I am talking tap water consistency. Senses of flat root beer like sweetness, and vanilla. Virtually no depth of malt on this at all. Palate isn't off putting, but this is really not lively.

This feels like a dead barleywine mixed with flat root beer. It's not horrid to drink but strangely doesn't remind me of beer let alone a barrel aged one. The only thing I would say is the weak watery body makes it super easy to drink, but my desire to ever want to have this again is virtually nil.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a small brandy snifter. Color is clear, light amber gold. In fact, it looks like lightly carbonated bourbon. The nose offers up some muted alcohol aroma mixed with some citrus. In other words, it smells like a screwdriver.

Flavor is somewhat hop-forward. It's light and fizzy and there is a faint taste of bourbon that just doesn't complement the beer flavor at all. Mouthfeel is average.

Overall, this was disappointing. I wouldn't say that this is a poorly-made beer, just that it was poorly thought out. Bourbon-barrel aging just cries out for a beer that is rich and malty, not a light ale that is crisp and hoppy. I don't want a beer that tastes like bourbon, I want a beer whose flavors are complemented by the bourbon notes (see Founders Backwoods Bastard or BBC Bourbon Barrel Big Brown). This was not what I was looking for.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Amber color, with minimal head that fades fast
S: smells like sweet alcohol and funky beer
T: reminds me of flat sweet wine. Likes it's been left in the glass overnight.
F: thin and watery.
O: not going to get again

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Photo of eclipse54
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Casanova on my New Glarus run. Saw it sitting there and figured I'd give it a shot. Poured into a DFH signature glass.

The body is much lighter than expected, being more of a golden wheat color with some reddish, copper hues. It's very transluscent and only develops a thin, quarter-inch layer of eggshell white head. Minimal retention and lacing, but there is an ever present pillow of bubbles streaming up the center of the glass and billowing out on the surface. Still, I would not have guessed this was a barrel aged strong ale by looking at it (maybe an IPA?).

Aroma is of bourbon and not much else. Maybe some brown sugar or caramel, maybe. A bit offputting, and here's to hoping that it tastes better than it smells.

And it does, tasting of bourbon, some vanilla and toffee, a bit of oak and caramel, some brown sugar, and a hefty dose of ethanol. Surprisingly, it's not too bad once you get past the dominating bourbon.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and resinous, and it finishes pretty dry. Prominent alcohol burn on the finish.

Overall, this isn't one I'll be revisiting anytime soon. The bourbon is just way too pronounced for me. It really seems like you could have recreated this by just adding bourbon as opposed to barrel aging. Perhaps it will mellow out a bit with some time, but I'm not going to be the one to find out.

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

Bottle poured into a snifter

Clear copper color with steady stream of bubbles. White one finger foam settles to flotsam and jetsam rafts of bubbles. Some lacings

Faint bourbon aroma

Faint bourbon taste , oak and vanilla

Had this on draft at a restaurant. It was excellent. Ordered a second glass. Still excellent. Saw it on the shelf of the local packie and had to try it. Wow! What a 180 . Nowhere near as enjoyable in the bottle as it was on draft. I will not buy this in bottles again, only draft. Never had such a drastic disparity in taste between bottle and draft.

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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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Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pour is clear orange with reddish hues and a creamy bubbly off white head. Nose is interesting, heavy bourbon with strong vanilla notes and wood undertones. Off chocolate malt notes and some charred barrel in back. Taste is heavy wooded bourbon and chocolate malt. Fair amount of vanilla behind the flavors but finish is a bit empty. Thinned out body in back with strong carbonation making an odd combo. Fair amount of running alcohol in the finish but somehow not hot. Very different beer.

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Photo of TVolt1
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Golden, clear appearancewith small amount of white head.

S: bland smell with a hint of vanilla/creme.

T: i am not a fan. It tastes like a bland beer with a small amount of vanilla extract and bourbon.

M: Okay mouthfeel. Not very carbonated and a small to moderate thickness.

O: Overall, it's an alright beer. Not my fav and there isn't anything great about it.

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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 far333
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Brent for sharing this one. Crystal-clear, brand-new-penny copper colored with fine columns of tiny bubbles rising quickly to the top and capping it off with a fine frothy off-white head.

Aroma of caramel and brown sugar maltiness, with a definite vein of bourbon rising up through.

Dry mouthfeel, but rich and full, a mixture of creamy richness and fine bubbly tingles.

Flavor is not overly complex, very malty, but tending to sweet, nearly cloying for me. No hops to speak of, but lots of bourbon flavor coming through, plus some banana and vanilla. Not very drinkable for me, a bit overwhelming to the taste buds.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color with no head forming on the pour. Smell is sweet and alcoholic. Not necessarily a bourbon smell, but a sweet alcohol. Taste is overly carbonated and cheap bourbon. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. I was hoping more from a brewery that is located in the backyard of bourbon. The Jefferson's Reserve Stout is lightyears better.
A disclaimer is that I've heard this beer is an entirely different animal on draft compared to bottle. I'll seek it out on draft and update my rating accordingly.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

355 ML poured into a tulip
Thanks to Shagtastic for the bottle
Shared with Mr Kennedy

A-- Poured a near clear, light colored carmel. One finger of white head that faded to a white collar. Just bits of spotty lacing one sides of the glass.

S-- Barrel notes all over the place. Oak, bourbon, big vanilla, and Carmel. Vanilla dominated the nose through drinking.

T-- See above. Reminded me of a vanilla wafer as had a bit of crisp wafer taste along with the vanilla.

M-- Quite a thin body. Not a lot of the base beer to notice as the barrel character, vanilla, just dominated the beer. Slightly sweet feel and a lot of dry vanilla.

O-- Had this in Louisville on tap in July 2011 and loved it. Bottle version??? Not so much. Really dominated by vanilla. Would get it again if on tap only. Was far more balanced on tap.

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Photo of kissmybunniebutt
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

This was a weird beer. It was creamy on the tongue and sweeter than I would have expected. I got little hints of bourbon at first sniff, but afterwards I really only got sweet. And random side note, It was also one of the most carbonated bottles of beer I've ever had. It REALLY wanted out of that bottle.

 305 characters

Photo of JAFoley
3.09/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - crystal-clear pale amber body with bubbly white head.

S - smoky bourbon musty and sugary

T - subdued bourbon and spices amidst tangy fruits. Flavors are weak and drop off fast

M - medium/light body with moderate/light carbonation.

O - not a beer I'd drink again. Weak flavors and body, not a big fan.

 309 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

best by march 08 2012

pours clear gold with a 1 finger white head that faded fast and left some spotted lacing

smell - the first thing i thought of was a candy my friend makes called tutti fruiti - sweet candy malt vanilla some oak

taste is nice - a little sweet and cloying - no real bourbon flavor - all malt vanilla and oak

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation - a bit sticky

overall - for the price this beer is a fail and for being aged in bourbon barrels this beer not only falls short but lost yards - however the flavor was pleasant - i will enjoy the rest of the 4 pack but would never buy this again

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one at his UCLA vs. USC viewing party.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, bourbon, wood, and a distinct funky aroma. Taste is much the same but no funk comes through in the flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that is a pretty poor example of a barrel aged beer.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 575 ratings.