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 UCLABrewN84
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Harrigan’s Tavern, Dayton, OH

A: The beer is crystal clear light amber in color. It poured with a thin head on the surface that left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of bourbon in the nose; the smell intensifies as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the bourbon barrel aging really stands out in the taste, imparting flavors of bourbon and vanilla along with hints of oak. The vanilla becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The bourbon is nicely incorporated into this beer and doesn’t really add alcohol heat. I enjoyed this because the bourbon is very evident but not overpowering. (790 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak and coconut; just a hint of bourbon

Taste: Starts out with a buttered brown bread and bourbon-influenced caramel flavor; lots of vanilla and coconut arrive by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a brief flourish of very smooth bourbon and oak that lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really nice Bourbon treatment here instead of the typical barrel-aging of a big stout; the beer has some nice subtleties (629 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams. (2,452 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (1,599 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle. I get a weird feeling about the provenance of this offering, given that it is imported by the same liquor chain/agent that recently brought in all those re-branded, bland contract brews from World Brews.

This beer pours a crystal clear, pale copper amber hue, with one finger of loosely foamy, bubbly off-white head, which leaves but a few stray specks of lace around the glass as it hastily melts away.

It smells of woody caramel and vanilla, a bit of musky spice which zeroes in on the particular type of whisky barrel here, some grainy malt sweetness, and mildly citrusy, earthy hops. The taste is still big on the vanilla and toffee barrel notes, with a further lessening of the spicy, fruity character one might expect from the titular spirit, a soft oaken woodiness, smooth candy-tinted doughy caramel malt, and some obscured leafy, citrusy hops. The barrel notes do well to integrate the 16.38-proof (we are talking Yankee booze here) ABV.

The carbonation is quite sedate, not really doing much beyond very basic support, the body a sturdy medium weight, but bordering on cloying in its bald-tire smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, the soused vanilla, caramel, toffee, and malt all facing little counterpoint action.

A decent malt-forward English-style ale, awash in beginners' bourbon barrel character. That's all fine and good, and tasty enough to be a means to an end. However, for me to actually desire another, there needs to be something in the way of balance to the well varied sweetness. Oh, and as for this brewer's origins? I apologize for intimating that they are in the same league as World Brews. (1,642 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After tackling a growler solo in my past review, it's time to slow things down a bit and consume 12oz. at a time, and appreciate.

Bottle pours a high clarity orange tone, with a small cap of white foam. Spotty bits of lace ring the tulip glass.

Oak, vanilla, sweet corn mash, and brown sugar in the nose. Becomes slightly funky as it warms.

A light bourbon taste, yet it touches on all my favorite aspects of this Kentucky-bred specialty. Woody oak, caramel sauce, buttery theater popcorn, a hint of coconut, with creamy vanilla bean in the long finish.

The thin, clean mouthfeel and refreshing nature of this ale deceptively mask it's alcohol content. Lacks body and complexity, but the bourbon flavor is good. Respect this beer, and it won't mess you up. Drinking a growler of this stuff made me feel like I had put down a pint of bourbon... (851 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.34/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am going to go way out on a limb with this one I am sure, but I am sorry I absolutely loved it. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/24/2010.

The pour was not what I would consider, um great. Light amber in color, nearly golden with a very, very clear body to it. Lots of carbonation could be seen streaming up towards the top of the glass which coalesced into a thin, but firm white cap at about a quarter of an inch, but this really did not stay long, fading with no real side glass lacing. Aroma is sweet, unbelievably sweet with loads of vanilla and sweet candy like notes. I found this incredibly appetizing and dove straight in. Super light body takes you off guard, but once you let this thing open up it's over. Rich beyond words with a sweetness that is unmatched. Like French vanilla ice cream mixed with hints of bourbon and light grain, it just worked. So light it was almost refreshing as I really just could not get enough of this one. 

Overall wow, I did not see this coming. I was not sure I was going to like it nearly as much as I did, but wow it really, really worked for me. I would love to have this one again any time, it is just a wonderful, sweet concoction that truly just worked for me. (1,253 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark orange/amber color with a tan, creamy, but small head. It left some trails of lace.

S - It smelled of bourbon, vanilla and molasses.

T - The taste really had too much bouron flavor. It was still sweet and caramely, but the bourbon flavor was almost too strong.

M - It was smooth, soft and creamy. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is okay, but I prefer just hints of bourbon flavor in my beer and this one was just too strong. (457 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe the first Kentucky beer I have had,I poured into an oversized wine glass to get the full aroma aspects of this beer,it poured clear deep golden with a very thin head,good clarity just not much head to it.Man that stuff smells like Wild Turkey,full oak and vanilla/caramel notes with a bit of biscuit malt,no hop presence that I could find.Light mouthfeel but not sharp,just a little thinner than expected I guess.Flavors are oaky and vanilla tinged with that caramel and and biscuit showing through as well,again no hop presence noticrable in my mind.Something a little different,it tastes just as much as a bourbon as a strong ale,but I liked it for a change of pace. (674 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright amber body capped by a thinning layer of white bubbles.

Smell: Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and humble pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a caramel kick to them make way for the far stronger flavors of vanilla, oaken barrel extract, light brown sugar, and even toasted coconut. Medium sweetness throughout. Never much in the way of hops or bitterness. Rebound of basic malty sweetness along with a rather woody quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly interesting, I'll give it at least that much. Maybe its the decaying brain cells, but I cannot adequately recall such a light base beer getting the bourbon barrel treatment. It's appealing to try all the characteristics bourbon barrel aging has to offer without being hampered and diluted by a... well, more substantial beer, but it doesn't make for an overall sublime drinking experience and doesn't have much appeal beyond the one bottle. (1,044 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 oline73
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm going to try to do better at guessing what I'm drinking than I did with the first bottle. Beer#2. A blinded 12oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy reddish amber with a small layer of off white head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and doesn't leave much lacing. 3

Smell: This is getting interesting. I'm hit with a slightly fruity sourness right away. There is some sweet malt as well. I feel like I'm picking up some pineapple and maybe some red wine. 3

Taste: The sourness from the smell definitely shows up here as well. I'm picking up some red wine notes here too. The flavor is slightly buttery with some butterscotch in the finish. Along with the sourness, there is a slight bitterness that magnifies the wine like flavor in the finish. 3.5

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with smooth and tingly carbonation. The finish is quite dry. 4

Overall: This was an interesting beer. I would guess that it was wine barrel aged. Not real sure on the style, something with some wild yeast? 3.5 (1,050 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I could be way off on this, but it seemed to me like Kentucky Ale that had been barrel aged. It poured a golden colored body beneath a short head of creamy white foam. The nose was loaded with bourbon, but I didn't find it really intriguing. It had the sweetish, woody, alcoholic notes, but I'd imagine that you could pull that out of a barrel just by adding water. The flavor was better, and there's a bit of malt base to it (but again, it seemed simply like standard Kentucky Ale). It was well rounded with vanilla and wood though, and there wasn't too much alcohol (as can happen in some cases). Other than that there's not much I can say about this beer. It seems kind of light for a Bourbon barrel beer. I'd like to see more malt behind it, but it was enjoyable. Would I have two in a row? - Never! But it has its merits. I might like to enjoy one with a good book in front of the hearth, or perhaps with a meal that included caramelized onions and yams, or something like that. Or at a backyard barbeque in the summer with some tangy ribs! Worth trying... but not worth buying a six pack. (1,094 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, alcohol, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon barrel aging is quite evident as it is in the smell but it also brings medicine-like flavor. The malt character is on the thin side for this type of beer and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence. However, there isn’t as much balance as you get from most barrel-aged beers. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good variation of style, it’s not a bad beer but there are several other barrel-aged beers I would choose over this one. (934 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a tough one to get. It was originally only on tap available in growlers only, but this winter they decided to add it to a gift pack with bottles. Thanks a bunch to Noslenwerd for going out of his way to get me this one. Unfortunately the glass that came in the sampler pack broke in the trip here, but at least the beer made it. I'm excited to try it, despite the B rating.

A: A very light fluffy head forms and disperses just as fast. It's a very clear pale golden color with a little orange.

N: Nose is actually pretty sweet, with a very bourbon barrel characteristic. It reminds me of when I went to a couple distilleries in KY and the basic aroma you get from nosing the actual barrels when they are opened, minus the crazy bourbon aroma. It's a little creamy and fruity, but mostly just a great bourbon aroma. Not much on the way of beer yet.

T: Taste actually starts with a slight malty flavor, but mostly is again bourbon. Tastes like a nice light and smooth bourbon with much less alcohol. It has some clear woody esthers as well, and an obvious oak taste. More of that fresh from the barrel bourbon flavor. It also has a little fruitiness, and some more sweet almost honey like flavors. It still hides the 8%abv well though. The bourbon and woody flavors come out even more as it warms. I recommend letting it warm a bit. With all the flavors, and bourbon especially, it's still really smooth.

M: Semi thin, more than I expected, and very little carbonation.

F: Finishes a little sweet still, and even has a touch of creaminess. It has some woody esthers that linger, as well as some oak. Not much lingering on the bourbon flavor. A little bitterness starts to come through, but more from the esthers than hops. It doesn't last long before your mouth is clean and ready for more.

Being a big bourbon fan, the fresh bourbon and oak flavors of this really impress. The beer side is a little flat and the lack of carbonation in a light ale is a little hard to get by. But how much great bourbon flavor this has, and even seems to have a little of the sweet bourbon mash and woody esthers, I really enjoyed it. (2,130 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (336 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
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 (1,216 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to clvand0 for the sample ...

A- Mild haze off of a deep golden hue, thin lacing from a light carbonation.

S- WOW!! Big hit of bourbon in the aroma, sweet vanilla, alcoholic and woody.

T- Upfront malt sweetness melds perfectly with the thick layer of bourbon flavor, mild hopping shows a modest but balancing bitterness. Both vanilla and wood are all over the palate with a warming alcohol from the 7.0% abv.

M- A tad too under-carbonated for my liking but it does not really take away from the beer that much. Nice and creamy though.

D- Sipping and sipping only ... I could only see having one glass in a sitting. (627 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

Pours honey/amber with one finger of rapidly falling pearl colored head. Nice viscous look to this with average lacing & head retention

S: Toffee, butterscotch & bourbon by the bucket that faded as this warmed

T: Dryness, bourbon & butterscotch & some booze warmth upfront. Much toffee, oaky, dryness & vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry, semi-boozey with a touch of honey, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: A bit thin all things considered, more malt depth is needed, with medium carbonation

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes (571 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the BAer who brought this to our Nov. '12 Philly 'burbs bottle share.

I was told this comes from a land where you can order Bud, Miller Lite, or Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. So yay, for this. Poured a clear, honey-brown color with a thin bubbly white head that didn't stick around for too long. Aroma of caramel malts, bourbony oak, toffee. It's always interesting to taste a bourbon-aged beer that isn't a stout or porter, and it really works for this beer, which would probably otherwise be a simple, timid, English ale. Pale malts, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, bourbon and vanilla; pretty much nothing as far as hoppiness goes. Medium body, fairly smooth and creamy, slick with booze but not harsh or hot, lower carbonation. Yeah, it was different, and it was good. (782 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.33/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears a pale copper translucent color with a large bright white head, fine bubbled lacing forms evenly as it dwindles and continues the pattern with each sip.

Aroma is straight up oak barrel and vanilla with whiskey just coming out of it's pores. It smells like Hank Williams Jr in the 80s or Tim Mcgraw's new cologne that's out now. When leather, oak, brown sugar and vanilla collide without any cohesion. Big charred oak characteristics, the base beer just seems so lifeless I guess the whiskey barrel aging gives it what's here doesn't really complement the beer like so many other versions of brews that sit in the whiskey soaked oak. There's something very solvent and chemical about the aroma that doesn't even make me want to take my first sip.

Flavor yep there's a reason why I didn't want any part of it, it's like sipping on whiskey without the 80 proof. Whiskey tea we'll call it. Sour mash is evident with vanilla, charred oak and hints of caramel and toffee with some serious booziness for a beer this thin in body. Makes it seem like such a gimmick beer that's only really being brewed for the Kentucky Derby, there's no other audience that is going to take to this beer.

Mouthfeel is thin way to thin for alcohol level and the flavor profile it just doesn't carry it too well, it's like watered down whiskey tea. Booze gives a bit of a burn, but it's really the charred oak flavor bringing out a bit of cinnamon like expressions on the palate. Gag reflux get ready I'll be lucky to make it through 12 oz of this brew.
Drinkability overall when in Rome I guess, like if I was at the Derby bidding and I was really worn out of the official mixed drink of the Alltech F.E.I. than yeah maybe I would have this abomination. I'd rather have brews run through whiskey soaked oak chips in an infuser like Bocktown has been doing for quite some time now. (1,868 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

C+ (4,995 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (367 characters)

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