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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.

574 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 574
Hads: 2,621
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 39.78%
Wants: 147
Gots: 757 | 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
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Reviews: 574 | Hads: 2,621
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 Knilas
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glowing, dark Amber color. Notes of brown sugar and vanilla on the nose. Slight bite of char from the barrels, but mostly caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and a touch of tobacco for flavor. Very smooth...and a nice change of pace. Worth the coin.

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Photo of NiceTaps
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in a snifter.

Copper-orange color, "aged in oak" look. 1F white head, quick fade to film. Slightly cloudy with active bubbles. No lacing at all.

Smells of sweet alcohol. Woody. Thick malts and whiskey.

I taste the vanilla, oak, caramel, and lots of whisky alcohol. Sweet bourbon.

The full malt body is beat up by the sugary alcohol.

It's a sipper. The malts make it a "beer", I guess. I'd prefer less booze, more beer character.

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Photo of RyanLehr
4.44/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first time I tried this beer it was the first that I had tried of this style and it was amazing so naturally I kept getting it every so often. That is what my score of this beer reflects. Recently though, it has gone way downhill. I don't know if they changed the process of brewing or what happened, but the color isn't what it used to be as well as the aroma, but most of all the flavor isn't there at all anymore. I'm actually shocked that more people haven't noticed that this beer has lost it's quality.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
2.92/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

seems like anyone can drop beer in bourbon barrels and try to sell it as top market stuff.pretty mediocre to be fair.not much barrel presence at all in this beer.

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Photo of jancona
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sweet vanilla and bourbon smell along with a hint of brown sugar - taste follows - mellow bourbon flavor with a sweet vanilla malt backbone / no booziness - very enjoyable.

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Photo of joberlander
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice bourbon in the aroma but the mouth feel and taste is so thin. I get hints of the bourbon but its almost a watered down taste and don't really get other flavors from the beer. Hides the alcohol well but when I drink a bourbon barrel beer I like it to be a bit thicker. Overall, its great if you want a little bourbon flavor in a beer you can have a few of, but I wish they aged it a bit longer in the barrels.

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Photo of do_ob
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of jps0869
2.89/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's more of a whiskey-chaser than a complete beer. The barrel aging adds the expected notes of vanilla, brown sugar, spice, and everything nice, but the beer itself, despite a purported 8.2% ABV, lacks any kind of reward for sustained engagement. The mouthfeel is smooth and it'll get you drunk, but it's hardly got enough depth to justify $12for a four-pack. Not bad, not great, bit more than little disappointing.

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Photo of EMV
3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at 'World of Beer' in Orlando, poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a clear light mahogany color. Moderate white head and decent lacing of the glass.

S: Probably the best part of this beer... bourbon notes with toasted malts. Mild vanilla and cloves.

T/F: This one just didn't do it for me, and it tasted thin and watered down. Like there was more flavor to be had that just didn't make it forward. Sweeter than expected, not boozy at all for a beer with this ABV, and mild vanilla and oak tones. Moderately carbonated.

O: Just not a fan, and again... it tasted like somebody took a better beer and watered it down. It smelled good... but the flavor just wasn't there, and there are way better bourbon aged brews out there. Wouldn't have it again.

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
3.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-really shitty head...
- has a light whiskey scent the wood really overpowers
- taste as a English ale with a lot of oak and whiskey notes a slight skunk
-ok feel thicker
- ok beer not my style for sure, they hit alot of notes i think they were aiming for but it wasn't a enjoyable drink for me...

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale brewed by, Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. This ale has an ABV of 8.19% The ale pours out a nice deep amber color with a nice smell off white head. You smell rich bourbon, grains and malts in the smell of this brew. Now for the taste , it is full of flavor, with grains and malts. You get a nice bourbon, taste in this brew. There is a lot going on this brew, but it has a nice balance to it. Nothing overpowering in this brew. Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., did a nice job with this one. The mouthfeel is full bodied , smooth and rich. You really don't pick up on 8.19% ABV in this brew. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4 out of 5. I would buy this brew again.

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Photo of E-McFarden
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pale amber in color, crystal clear. First scents at a distance bring sweet oaky vanilla certainly reminding me of bourbon, then comes the hops and caramel malts. The taste is well balanced and brings the drinker just the right amount of oaky bourbon flavors to balance the malt profile. The alcohol is surprisingly not overpowering considering the subtle flavors. Finishes smooth and dry. I'm surprised this beer isn't getting higher ratings, I would definitely say that if you're drinking this one right out of the fridge you're missing out on the nice flavors and aromas. I like it.

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Photo of StMichael
4.84/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my day to day beer. I get it draft from my growler. It has amazing flavor and you can drink it like water. @8.2% it has a nice punch. The whiskey barrel aging again does its magic making this my daily drinker.

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Photo of DJoe
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. Had from a bottle, poured into a pint glass. There was very little about this that could be called distinctive other than the moderate vanilla flavor. Never tasted any bourbon or oak traits.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No label information. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is brewed in the style of an English Strong Ale aged in oak bourbon barrels. Available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy creamy head of an ecru-white complexion over a moderately hazy copper-amber body with moderate carbonation. Retention is below average and there is no lacing. 3.25

(Smell) The aroma is distinctively sweet and aromatic, with a light blend of pale and toffee malts forming a modest body, fairly sweet and quite clean. No notable hop characteristics, but yeast tones generate a mellow fruitiness and mild mineral quality to this beer that make it seem very English-inspired. Atop it all is the distinctive smell of mainstream bourbon, sweet and fairly clean with a touch of drying oak. The aroma is very imbalanced in favor of the sweetness this beer seems to have, but with such a simple malt base this seems to be expected. 3.5

(Taste) Toasted toffee and pale malts with a moderate sweetness and mild body are given a glazing of Bourbon, very clean sipping with light alcohol heat, and distinctive vanilla with lesser oak, lightly dry. A very simple malt base that surprisingly is able to hold up alongside the bourbon barrel treatment, although I get more Bourbon flavor in this beer than "barrel", so the complexity of the bourbon barrel aging doesn't run deep either. There certainly could manage to be a bit more malt body and flavor with no significant drawbacks, but in its current light-bodied form, it does fine by me. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, lightly chewy and thinly syrupy viscosity, moderately dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a medium carbonation. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is moderately sweet over boozy and oaky dry. Alcohol presence is modest and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) Although sometimes a bit generic in its simplicity, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale does manage to find an approachable level of Bourbon and barrel character an integrate into a fair-bodied English ale. The Bourbon is clean and easy to drink, and the barrel notes, while modest in this beer, are enjoyable and not overpowering. Don't consider this the textbook example of what a Bourbon Barrel aged beer should be, but it's a decent starting point to see how nicely that Bourbon and beer can come together to compliment each other in a fine ale. The price point is a bit above the median for the style, even for a beer with Bourbon barrel aging, so consider a single bottle before diving into the pricier 4 pack. 3.5

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

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Photo of CAC329
4.21/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Head was high and creamy looking but died fast.
Loved the initial aroma when I first popped it.
Taste is smooth easy and just right amount of bourbon.

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Photo of cyclewag
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Really have to have a taste for the brown liquor store enjoy these new beer plus blends. Being a fan of Innis and Gunn Rum cask aged I thought I'd try this and whiskey and scotch beer blends... Not for me.

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Photo of azretan
4.57/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful dark Amber color, with a strong bourbon smell and taste and light after taste. Enjoyable on occasion but not an every day beer despite the lightness of its feel

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Photo of Caveworm
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass (no snifter in my glassware collection as of yet. newb move, yes I'm aware), this brew's got a two finger finely porous off-white head that dissipates rather promptly, not too much lacing, and a medium amber transparent body.

Smells like, you've taken the correct guess, bourbon. Albeit nowhere near as profound as the real deal, this has certainly got the redeeming qualities of a finely made, true Kentucky bourbon. Take it from a guy whose entire father's side is from the state!

The taste here is exactly the same as the aroma described above. Damn tasty, folks. It is very drinkable.

Mouthfeel is lively and crisp.

Overall, a 4.5 for Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. I will purchase this beer regularly

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Photo of Chris_Burton
2.39/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Amber to light brown body. I was very excited to try this but honestly I'm not impressed. Smell is pleasant with hints of whiskey and caramel. Taste is surprisingly bland; slight booziness with sweetness from the barrels but other than that, not a huge amount of flavour to speak of; largely malt forward with no hop flavour but there's really not much there from the malt either. A distinct lack of complexity one would hope from a beer like this. Maybe some vanilla, or am I trying to hard to find it? As a sidenote it calls itself barrel aged ale but neglects to mention what kind of ale it was before being aged.

Definitely not worth the price I paid. Did I get a bad bottle? Really not a great beer.

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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.

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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.

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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 kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Branded pry-off pressure cap. Appealing label design. Brown glass. 12 fl oz.

Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged...ale? No specific style is identified on the label. 8.19% ABV. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in low altitude Austin, Texas. Expectations are above average given the brewery and the description/marketing - which makes it sound good.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Okay frothiness. It's not as creamy, full, or thick as it ought to be. Should look softer as well. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes. Leaves no lacing.

BODY: Clear translucent copper of average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Doesn't look unique or special, but it's generally appealing. Has no stand-out characteristics.

AROMA: Barrel sugars, vanilla, hints of white oak, lovely charred barrel characteristics, English malt character, and marshmallow. Bourbon? I guess...but I wouldn't notice it if I tried this blind. It's got those great vanilla notes, but it never really rings distinct as bourbon per se.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hops, or off-notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity is mild.

A pleasant, soft aroma. I'm interested in trying it, but I did hope for more of an overt bourbon character. The base seems underwhelming and unfocused. The oak could be more evocative.

TASTE: Marshmallow, vanilla, English malts, English mild characteristics (including the beginnings of a buttery note), caramel, barrel sugars, a fleeting wisp of white oak, hints of charred wood, some toastiness, and hints of some kind of unrefined sugar - but it isn't piloncillo, brown sugar, or treacle. What's strangely missing is bourbon; I mean it has the hints of oak and it has the vanilla, but it never touches on bourbon at all for me. I can't quite put my finger on why.

Balanced? Sort of. It has a loose cohesion at best, and there are no egregious clashes of flavour, but it's by no means a gestalt whole of a build. I'm not really even sure what style this falls in...it's not even a bourbon ale - as vaguely defined as I find that descriptor - because there's not really much of a bourbon character. It does feel English in character (likely from the yeast) but never commits to toffee or anything beyond the caramel.

Has no obvious hop profile. No yeast character or off-notes come through. It does have some light alcohol warmth.

Overall, I just find it unrefined. It's fairly shallow in terms of depth of flavour. Duration and intensity of flavour are average. Adequately complex and subtle, but it's not world-class in either respect. I do like it in a general sense, but it needs honing. And it has touches of artificial flavoring throughout which bother me.

TEXTURE: Full-bodied, moderately thick, moderately weighty, smooth, wet, and unrefreshing. Slight overcarbonation.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough or scratchy.

Overall, this texture suits the taste decently, but fails to elevate the beer or to accentuate the flavour profile's constituent notes.

OVERALL: It's a drinkable brew, but never touches on the bourbon character it promises...in fact, the marketing and description are so hubristic about Kentucky and bourbon that it makes bourbon's absence more conspicuous. It's frankly rather embarrassing. I'm enjoying it for what it is, but at this price point I couldn't justify a second purchase. Seems like a cash-grab for the bourbon barrel aged niche. I like some of the English leanings, but this just never feels like a focused or deliberate brew to me, and the balance needs dialing in. Moreover, if you want to run with the big dogs in the bourbon barrel aged category (regardless of style), you've got to bring more to the table in terms of intricacy and subtlety of flavour. This is largely a let-down, and needs work. I can't see this ever becoming a world-class brew no matter how much fine-tuning they do; it'd need a whole new recipe. I guess I'm glad I tried it once, but it's not the best beer I've had from this brewery, and I wouldn't recommend it to friends or trade partners.

The barrel char is the stand-out note.

Apparently, this is aged for "up to" 6 weeks in bourbon barrels...um, for starters 6 weeks just ain't enough. But "up to" suggests some batches (if not most) are aged in bourbon barrels for less than 6 weeks. That's a nice way to increase profits and bolster marketing potential, but it doesn't strike me as honest - or maybe honest isn't the word, because they are disclosing this info (just not on the bottles themselves). I guess the word I'm looking for is "cheap" or perhaps more appropriately "pathetic." Why not just throw it in bourbon barrels for one day? Hell, technically it'd still be "aged." I'd like to see the brewers behind this grab their balls, gain some fucking integrity, and start genuinely committing to their craft; there's clearly potential here.


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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.