Conntucky Lightnin' Bourbon Ale
Two Roads Brewing Company

Conntucky Lightnin' Bourbon AleConntucky Lightnin' Bourbon Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - American
Ranked #248
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
84
Ranked #36,787
Avg:
3.73 | pDev: 13.67%
Reviews:
41
Ratings:
219
From:
Two Roads Brewing Company
 
Connecticut, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  15
Gots
  50
SCORE
84
Good
Conntucky Lightnin' Bourbon AleConntucky Lightnin' Bourbon Ale
Notes: The Connecticut Yankees of Two Roads have CONNjured up this moonshine inspired bourbon-like ale. Using good ol' USA corn grits and aged in real bourbon barrels from a famous Kentucky distillery, this unique CONNcoction includes notes of whiskey, oak and vanilla. It should make your taste buds happier than a pig in "____"
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 219 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of VashonGuy
VashonGuy from Washington

3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I'd like to like this beer more than I really do. It's an unusual effort that doesn't quite work.

The look is amber, with a slight head and no lacing. The smell is sweet, with just a hint of the bourbon barrel. The taste is corn, some bourbon (not very much). It reminds me a bit of a malt liquor, which is a bug not a feature. There is a little sourness and funk, but not enough to make it like a good Belgian.

I'd give these guys an A for effort and imagination, but a C for execution.

Oct 07, 2020
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Btld 02/23/17

Notes of bourbon, corn whiskey, oak, vanilla, some malty caramelized grains, corn grits, dried fruits, with mild earthy herbal grassy hops

May 22, 2020
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bobv from Vermont

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml.
Bottled 02/17/16.
Moderate to vigorous pour yields a one inch slightly off white head over a reddish-amber body with some sticky lacing. Nose of sour mash whiskey and bourbon whiskey with hints of the bourbon barrel's caramel and vanilla. Taste mirrors nose somewhat with much more booze than the label would lead you to believe. Good feel and overall, not something I would have again any time soon. Cheers!

Jul 31, 2018
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sour Mash Ale - I had no idea what to expect out of the bottle but, even then, when it poured a clear-ish copper hue with crackling carbonation resulting in a ziffy body with a soapy head I was surprised. Again - not sure what I expected.

Aroma is slightly sweet corn, cereal, malt, with a pleasant butterscotch wafting about. Spicy rye, perhaps?

Taste is a sweeter English pale ale with that nice butterscotch and light caramel followed by a punchy alcohol zing. Not picking up much oak or vanilla.

Light on the palate, slightly thin and very carbonated, almost effervescent. Big ABV with light flavor.

Jun 15, 2018
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.57/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

**
06/24/17

Sampled (from bottle) with JPK after knocking down a shed.

Lots of char and wood. Hickory and whiskey.
Pretty good flavor

A touch thin; not sure if this was supposed to be an ale or a porter...named "Sour Mash Ale". I guess an ale based on the description here. Lots of carbonation.

**

Jun 25, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was a murky dark brown color with a finger’s worth of off white foamy head that fell off at a nice pace. Stringy lace. The aroma had some dark fruits, herbal qualities, light grassy hops - somewhat sweet, some basement and earthiness and ended with a little bit of a nice caramel/toffee malt base. The flavor yielded to the sweet dryness of the malts clinging to some leather and butterscotch starting to enter a tad bit more as it warmed. All of this seemed to blend into the aftertaste and follow through nicely into the finish. The palate was about medium bodied with a good sipping quality about it. Carbonation felt decent. ABV felt good as projected. Overall, pretty nice strong ale, but to me at least seemed more of an English styled one. Also, was this bourbon barreled? Cause I missed that quality in this unless my undated bottle was old.

Jun 11, 2017
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superspak from North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got in a BIF from Roguer. 750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 5/14/2014. Pours hazy deep orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, cracker, corn, biscuit, rye, toffee, toasted oak, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, golden raisin, plum, fig, apricot, cherry, and apple; with light tobacco, leather, pepper, butterscotch, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with solid strength. A bit too fruity/yeasty, but not overwhelming. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, cracker, corn, biscuit, rye, toffee, toasted oak, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, golden raisin, plum, fig, apricot, cherry, and apple; with light tobacco, leather, pepper, butterscotch, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light herbal bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, cracker, corn, biscuit, rye, toffee, toasted oak, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, dark/light fruits, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a nice malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Lightly drying from bitterness/oak spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium full body; with a very smooth, creamy, fairly grainy, and slightly sticky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Mildly warming alcohol for 8.5%, with zero barrel booziness. Overall this is a very nice barrel aged imperial Kentucky common style. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Fits the base style really well, but is a bit too fruity overall; likely from the higher ABV. Nice well rounded malt complexity; good barrel presence without being boozy or overly tannic/drying. A very enjoyable offering.

Mar 25, 2017
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.66/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the corked, caged 750 bottle with a bottling date of 02/17/16. Sampled on December 14, 2016.

It has a medium amber pour with orange and slightly red highlights under a foamy cream colored head. I notice yeast sediments in the mix.

The brewery calls it a Sour Mash Ale but I really pick up more of a sweet, sough dough, and fruity character in the aroma. The liquor from the barrel aging is low profile. So are the hops.

Medium body.

Like the aroma the taste leans on the sweet bready side with some grape-like characters and a slightly warming Bourbon-influenced finish. It fades fast.

Dec 14, 2016
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FFreak from Vermont

4.19/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was impressed with this despite it not having any barrel or bourbon character to speak of. Poured into a tall tulip. Appears a slightly hazy, dark copper color with a huge tan head that coats the glass. Smell is a little malty and maybe vinous. Taste is very nice, with a slight acidity balanced by malty sweetness. Hard to describe. The mouth feel is great and was the highlight of the beer for me - light body, somewhat dry, but still creamy and refreshing. Very easy drinking. Overall, a little let down that it has no barrel or bourbon, but still a solid and satisfying brew.

Nov 07, 2016
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

-Road less traveled series, sour mash ale in bourbon barrels. 2016. stout/porter glass.

A: Hazy ice tea coloring with loads of effervesce. Foamy tan colored head, two fingers shows an outstanding resilience.

S: Faint bourbon, fresh barley stalks, dried rum, with some sugars but very faint at heart. Alcohol of 8.5% comes off sub 5% with watery bourbon influence.

T: The flavor was light watery bourbon and barley grains, lightly dry barrel wood and dried rum sugars. The dry bourbon begins to pick up after a few sips saving this from being an utter disappointment. Some dried rum and dry alcohol breath.

M: Light side of medium body, slippery smooth feel, but really nothing to write home about, expected a bit more.

O: I expected a bit more from this per cost ($15) a bomber and big looking bourbon style label that sucked me in. Decent sour mash, though a bit light on complexities, body, and aroma. Bourbon influence falls a bit short for me, the name and label looked promising, don't judge a beer by its label. Didn't hold my attention for long and drinkability was a bit mundane. Moderate drinker at best, not worth the cost.

Aug 27, 2016
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threeviews from Florida

4.52/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle (BOD: 04/11/15) into a Two Roads Conntucky Lightning Mason Jar

A - Pours a clear, deep amber color with a 2-3 finger worth of an off-white sudsy head.

S - Bourbon, Oak, caramel and some orange rind citrus.

T - Bourbon and mild tartness is the best descriptor I can afford. Sour it is not and the bourbon barrel is definitely present. The balance is where this beer shines.

M - Mild sweetness from the malt bill and bourbon barrel is met quickly with an enormously dry finish thanks to a adjunct-heavy malt bill and a long with a hearty level of carbonation.

O - One of the most unique beers to find its way to production. What's more, time in the bottle has done it well and the balance is sublime. Although I prefer it fresh (i.e. on tap at the Two Roads taproom). The caramel from the malt, the sweetness from the barrel and the dry finish is reminiscent of Belgian Strong Pale Ale a la Piraat which possesses the same body, dry and fruty complexity.


Believe it or not, I had a bottle of the same vintage (opened one year ago) that I drain poured due to the overwhelming sour component. This bottle has none of those descriptors and am happy to review it so favorably this time around.

Jul 04, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a very interesting beer right here, not like many i have had before. its a kentucky common as a base, but its aged in bourbon barrels, and it has a lot going on. some pale shade of brown in color, like coffee was dumped into a wheat beer. i dont get much of chocolate or other darker grains in aroma or flavor, but the color is there, maybe from the barrels or something. good head though, soft and inviting look to it. smells like vanilla and bourbon for sure, wet oak, but also not as sweet as others, very little booze coming through, and oddly enough a really interesting grain quality that might include some wheat and rye, definitely a multigrain cracker thing. plenty of whiskey up front in the flavor, but like the aroma, its real dry later on, the whiskey is almost gone by the end, toasted barley malt and something else, corn maybe, come out in the end more than the barrels do. almost crisp for what it is, almost lake a lager hybrid, the body reflects that too, they have been nice and patient with this, which i always appreciate. an inventive and quite well built beer, awfully weird, but also very good. no hint at all of its alcohol strength. fun stuff.

Jun 20, 2016
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip glass with a modest head. Settles to rim bubbles and leaves several small spots for lace. Dark amber, light brown color. Moderate haze.

Strong, oily aroma of malted crystal and alcohol. Light definitive hop nose in the background.

Starts off like a heavily hopped barley wine with an alcohol warmth that exceeds the 8.5 abv. I think it must come from the aging in the Bourbon barrels. The hop barely makes a dent to the strong semisweet, toasted caramel. Light carbonation until the swallow where it becomes spritzy. Very full bodied. Lingering aftertaste that's similar to the initial sip.

Jun 17, 2016
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ExtraStout from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this 8.5% ABV brew on tap at Foxwoods. Given the name, I was expecting a bit more deeper color. It came in a frosted glass with a nice size white head but at best was a light colored copper shade.

I wanted to like it straight away but I had to have several to reach a conclusion. When all was said and done I didn't regret the experience but it wasn't anything over average.

May 08, 2016
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Will_cigars-n-brews from Pennsylvania

2.68/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

What a let down, it was just basic beer taste, like any standard american domestic. What a waste of $17, I'm not even sure the abv was as stated on the bottle at 8.5%. Just completely lacking

Jan 01, 2016
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.56/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Two Roads Brewing Company "Conntucky Lightning"
750 ml brown glass bottle, corked & caged.
The bottling date isn't quite clear but it appear to be 04/11/15
$13.99 @ Wegmans, Malvern, PA

What an interesting and charming beer Two Roads has produced!

It's clear and deep amber in color beneath a frothy head of off-white that hold well and leaves some decent, but not great, lacing behind.

I can smell the oak in the aroma, along with just a hint of Bourbon, some caramelish sugar, a delicate spiciness, and tart fruit (apple, maybe mango, soft lemon, and some cherry). It's not a bold aroma, but it's interesting, and I hate to say it but it initially reminded me somewhat of a boutique scented candle.

The flavor is similar in that it's not bold, and in fact, it's really quite accessible and drinkable. It's labeled as a "sour mash ale", and that makes sense as it's just slightly funky (leather, minerals, metallic, earthy) and not really that tart: the pH was dropped in the mash and eventually stopped, whereas soured beers are inoculated and just go until the strain can't go any more. At the very least, the tartness and "funk" that's present is balanced by enough malty sweetness that you only really find it up-front. It's gently tart and fruity, and then woody and spicy with a bit of almost-burnt sugar over a gently caramelish malt base. There's less fruit overall than the nose suggests, and there's a touch more spiciness, but also a rounding, sweetish note of vanilla. While I didn't find the "Bourbon" in the aroma, I did find it in the flavor; and in fact, it finishes very much like Bourbon, or at least a "Manhattan" with a Maraschino cherry added. I should point out, however, that even at 8.5% ABV the alcohol never really shows. You'll feel it, but it won't jump out at you. And I'm curious as to what yeast they've used as I'm finding a general character that reminds me of Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre's "Trois Monts" Biere de Garde.

In the mouth it's medium-bodied and gently zesty with what seems like a natural carbonation.

I'll keep my conclusion pretty simple in stating that like many other beers that don't quite fit easily into a recognized style, there are some that will like it while others will not. I'm a fan based on it's uniqueness, it's funk, it's woodiness, and it's "Bourbon" character. Easily one of the best beers I've had in a very long time, and absolutely worth seeking out!

Dec 17, 2015
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mdfb79 from New York

3.79/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 10/22/15 notes. 8 oz pour at Pony Bar HK in NYC.

Pours a medium brown color with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident. Lots of malts....caramel malts, dark fruity malts, bready and toasted malts, bourbon, coconut, wood, leather, figs, and alcohol. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

overall a decent BA strong ale. The booze comes through and you get a lot of that hot coconut flavor from the barrel.

Oct 23, 2015
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khoff5 from Connecticut

2.23/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

So rare to find a Two Roads fail, was looking forward to one of my favorite breweries producing a "sour mash ale aged in bourbon barrels" as I love sours - this is no sour. Smell is a tiny bit sour, but taste is flat, no sour and unremarkable, just blah.

Sep 21, 2015
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ShanePB from Pennsylvania

2.28/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

750 ml bottle. Hazy amber body, no head or retention. Boring, flat looking beer. Aromas of wood, corn, pale malt, wet wood. Flavor is corn, wet wood and no real bourbon anywhere here at all. What a complete disappointment of a beer.

Aug 24, 2015
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bmeehan from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is so much cooler in theory than it is in execution. I got excited when I saw it because I love Two Roads, I love sours, and I love beers that are aged in other alcoholic barrels, but this beer is one with two conflicting flavors that are in competition with each other. You don't get the sour and you don't get the bourbon because the two effectively cancel each other out.

Aug 19, 2015
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

3.06/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Whiskey, oak, bourbon barrels? I don't get any of that... this is like a light amber ale with a bit of artificial vanilla flavor at the end of the sip. Reminds me of Anheuser-Busch jumping the barrel-aged wagon.

Those American grits used in the mash sound interesting, but they smell and taste like cheap Budweiser mass-produced corn.

Truly forgettable and underwhelming, with a thin body to boot.

Jun 22, 2015
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Johnct from New York

3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't think it's worth trying even if you can shell out $13 for a bottle. Had a lot of promise but fell a little flat. Something's just a little off with this one

Jun 06, 2015
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damndirtyape from Ohio

3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cask Republic, Stamford, CT. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Hazy dark amber with a massive foam which slowly died back to a thin skin across the top and plenty of lacing all over the glass.

Smell: A bit sour, with some tart cherry, strong whiskey notes, and a hint of rye + wood.

Taste: Similar to how it smelled: sour, fruit notes, whiskey, but a bit of some citrus as well. The citrus is muted and fleeting though, as if it is competing against the other flavors and aromas and losing.

Mouthfeel: Very light carbonation, approaching flat. Sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: A slow sipper, and not something I could really have by itself. I ended up pairing this with a desert where it went much better as a complimentary flavor. One is definitely enough with this beer - the whiskey does surprisingly pack a punch that I noticed pretty quickly after starting on this beer. A bit unbalanced in flavor though - I almost wonder if this aged too long, or if there was a desire for the hops from the strong ale to balance with the whiskey flavor if they ended up clashing a bit or were lost in the beer as the sour notes and wood flavors took over. I'll simply say I enjoyed it, but not enough for another or to have again. There was something just slightly off with this beer - probably the carbonation, and again, maybe something in the base ale that clashed with the wood aging. Or it's just my taste buds just not enjoying the combination, although I liked the nose of this beer quite a bit.

May 17, 2015
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BeerEsquire from Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Fruit sweetness on the nose that I can't quite pinpoint. Deliciously smooth n refined by bourbon barrels both in taste n color; perfectly achieved abv

May 13, 2015
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WhiteHillsStore from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice smooth brown with a thin off white head that trails the glass. The scent is full of wood from the barrels, vanilla, alcohol, and sweet scents like toffee. The taste is just as packed full flavor with sweet bread and toffee being on the forefront, which then gives way to the alcohol and vanilla on the finish. Very delicious although it is a sipping beer.

May 09, 2015
Conntucky Lightnin' Bourbon Ale from Two Roads Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 219 ratings