Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutJefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
87
Avg:
3.83 | pDev: 13.84%
Reviews:
326
Ratings:
438
From:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  34
Gots
  16
SCORE
87
Very Good
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutJefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Notes:
Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 438 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jlindros:
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can't remember who gave this to me, looking through my notes it must have slipped through. If you sent this to me in a trade, please let me know so I can give you credit.

A: A darker colored 1/2 finger head rises and fades slowly. The beer is pitch black, no light coming through there.

N: Some malts there, little roast and black patent, some crystal, etc. A little syrupy molasses. Lots of woody esthers on the nose as well, with a little bourbon aroma. A slight dark bakers chocolate aroma with some creamy chocolate milk in there hidden. As it warms more bourbon comes out, and it starts to get that aroma of sticking my nose in the bourbon cask.

T: Starts with a creamy malt taste actually, then more malts with a slight roast, chocolate with dark chocolate and creamy milk chocolate, and some crystal malt. Some syrupy flavors, slight caramel, but not as much. Then some woody esthers, not so much oak as woody esthers. Theres's also a slight bourbon flavor, not as much as I would have wanted. A nice pillowy chocolate flavor as well. Also a slight berry flavor, which is a little strange. No real booze flavor which is good for 8.5%.

M: Good carbonation with a medium body, I was expecting thicker though, and very slightly watery.

F: Finishes much drier, with a slight sweetness. More syrupy sticky sweet flavors lingering, and dark malts, no real roast but a hint of chocolate and bakers chocolate. A slight creamy flavor lingering. A little bitterness coming from the charred malts. More woody esthers, and a little oak this time, with hints of lingering bourbon. The bourbon seems to come out more as it warms, as well as the chocolate. Really late bakers chocolate lingering. Still pretty much no booze flavor, so drinking really well.

Jun 07, 2010
More User Reviews:
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this a bonus beer from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

Pours an ebony tinged chestnut with 3 fingers of mocha head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla & oak smells, plus chocolate

T: Bourbon notes, some chocolate & mocha up front. A bit of caramel, some smokey notes, more vanilla & oakyness as this warms. Finishes dry, with nice cocoa notes & vanilla, tasty

MF: Medium bodied with some oilyness, fairly vigirous carbonation.

Drinks great for the abv and style. A very respectable Imp Stout

May 16, 2008
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BillyBoysPie from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Third Avenue Cafe in Louisville, KY.

Nice deep chocolate brown with a tan head. Good lacing, but not the best pour...

Rich chocolate smell. A touch of toast, clean hoppiness. Well balanced smell.

Very tasty, rich chocolate malts and a touch of toastiness. And, as it is aged in a bourbon barrel, and the fact I grew up with bourbon, there's typical caramel and butter flavors from that. My favorite part is the touch of mint on the end of the flavor profile. Very Kentucky.

Well balanced and the firm alcohol isn't overly present. Proper carbonation and mouthfeel.

Nice to drink, well balanced. Good brew, and a nice example of the Bourbon Stout variety.

Dec 17, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison from Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (Mustard Seed Market in Fairlawn had this in singles). The beer poured a black color with a thick tan foam. The aroma was about right, bourbon and roasted malts, rich and sweet. The taste was decent, lots of bournon highlights but the malts came through kind of diminished. It was really a pretty good flavor but not as rich as the smell. The mouthfeel is easy to rate low, this was just way thinner than you'd expect for the style. I was under the impression that thick beers are generally barrel aged, maybe I'm wrong but this seems true in general based on my experience, The thinness does keep the drinkability up, but still I'd prefer a fuller body.

Jul 02, 2008
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zestar from California

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Nov 14, 2014
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meatyard from Florida

3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle is about 3 years old by now.

Pours a very dark brown with cola colored edges. The head is a 1-finger, light brown color that falls quickly to a center cap.

The smell is mainly a straight up bourbon aroma with a little chocolate in the background.

The taste is bourbon but has smoothed out over time, a bit of licorice, some dark chocolate and a small bit of a tangy, sourness.

Mouthfeel is fairly thin with low carbonation.

Overall: There's nothing special about this beer. It's not bad but just doesn't compare well with many other options of this style.

Apr 28, 2011
Photo of Pahn
Pahn from New York

3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled May, 2005.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 2 inch frothy light tan head that dissipates steadily and lacelessly. Pours pitch black and leaves a couple bubbly swatches of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: smells like a bottle of liquid dark chocolate. In the glass: Dark and unsweetened chocolate at first. Smooth, small background note of coffee and rum. Odd, emerging sugary/nutty liqueur note... hard to put my finger on it... pistachio ice cream! It definitely smells like pistachio ice cream. What a strange way for a beer to smell.

The pistachio ice cream soon becomes the dominant note in the aroma, along with heavy whipped cream and sugary cookies. Some chocolate and coffee stick around in the background.

Somehow borders on offensive while still smelling very good. Extra points for smelling like pistachio ice cream (???).

Taste: First sip: follows the nose but with less chocolate and more whipped cream. Wow, terrible mouthfeel, but interesting flavor. Nice hit of roasted malt comes in and takes over the flavor in the finish, assuaging the immediate too-sweet/too-rich worries. Coffee with cream aftertaste.

Subsequent sips show this beer to be a nice dessert stout. There's a pleasant and subtle hit of bourbon in the middle between the milky coffee / pistachio ice cream beginning and heavy roasted malt finish. These are good flavors that not only work well together, but solve each other's problems to a large degree.

The wateriness is holding the flavor back, and despite the welcome roasted character, the beer could definitely benefit from some more hop bitterness. Extra points for some unique and pleasing flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thin, chalky, and paradoxically at once milky and watery. Moderate carbonation, and a nice long finish. No alcohol heat. While definitely bad, the mouthfeel is less a disaster and more deep flaws coexisting with decent aspects. It's too thin, has a few unpleasant flaws, but provides some good stuff as well (a short, unsatisfying finish would push this to a 1, but there's enough done right here for it to be a 2).

---

Overall: I like it. Despite its problems, it has no off flavors, and is giving me some stuff I rarely get from a stout.

Given that this bottle is about 6 years old, I'll weigh in on the "Cellarable?" question and say, "Sure, if you have a lot of space, it's worth putting one of these aside and waiting on it for awhile." While the thin mouthfeel problems don't get any help from age, some nice, smooth, *very dessert-oriented* flavors come out, and could well justify the endeavor if you like that sort of thing.

P.S. Pairs awesome with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Jul 17, 2011
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Metalmonk from North Carolina

4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a muddy pitch-dark brown with a small tan head that doesn't last very long.

Huge dusty cocoa smell permeates the aroma, with just a hint of boozy bourbon-ness. Oak woodiness comes out further upon warming. If there are hops here, you wouldn't know it from the smell.

Taste: Now the hops come through, rather strongly, but balanced with a mild whisky essence, a pinch of anise, overripe dark fruit, woody earthiness and plenty of roasted coffee. Quite delicious...been a while since I had a stout, and this was a fine one to return to.

The mouthfeel is as it should be, thick and creamy but not overly so, and not sticky either.

A good sippin' stout. Superbly well-hidden alcohol. Everything in its right place, also exhibiting small bits of its own unique character. Just such a high ABV that you might want to watch yo'self.

Jul 27, 2006
Photo of Ladybugger
Ladybugger from Maine

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with undertones and a thin tan head that quickly dissipates to lace. Aroma is of coffee and roasted malts with a hint of bourbon and oak. Flavor is unmistakable bourbon, followed with some malty sweetness and coffee. Bitterness lingers. Mouthfeel is thin for a stout and there is little coating, but the carbonation really carries the flavors. This is a flavorful stout which could be consumed en masse at drinker's peril.

Jan 30, 2010
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Faro for this brew.

Pours a deep/clean black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy/fizzy tan head, no lacing at all though. The nose is slightly sweet, roasty malts, vanilla, toffee, coffee, and caramel. The taste is very nice, sweet, roasted malts, slight vanilla, toffee, nice touch of coffee and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty ADS, definitely could drink a few of these, highly recommended.

Jun 16, 2007
Photo of nova009
nova009 from Kentucky

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown pushing black color, about a half finger tan head that quickly dissipates, very weak lacing

S- chocolate and coffee are the initial scents, bourbon and oak are barely noticeable

T- coffee and chocolate stand out the most, highly disappointed with the lack of bourbon, oak, and vanilla flavors that usually emerge from a bourbon barrel stout

M- medium body, carbonation is pretty high, kind of distracts you from he flavors

D- not hard to drink, probably won't purchase another one of these

P.S. If you want a good stout from BBC try the Heine Brother's Coffee Stout

May 23, 2010
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mcallister from Ohio

3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nearly ink black from draft. Small tight head with little lacing. The nose on this beer is very sweet and very enticing. Sweet vanilla, bourbon, oak, lavender, echoes of cocoa, and malt.

So this beer is nearly a milkshake. Sweet succulent vanilla, burnt choclate, oak, bourbon, raisin, prune, caramel. Problem is a very short finish, and a little light on it's feet. Leaves very dirty tannins in the mouth.

I had already bought a 4 pack of this beer ($15.99) earlier today and was really looking forward to trying it especially since I can't find Kentucky Breakfast or Bourbon County anymore. And hence to say the two I can't find are far superior.

Worth a try? Of course, worth the price of $15.99 a 4 pack? I'm not sure I haven't tried it bottled yet. Worth a second pour here at BW3 Indy? Hell no too damn many good beers on draught to choose from.

UPDATE: I had this on draught again last night but at a different place. And the beer was much fuller and smoother with a better roasted malt quality.

Apr 08, 2006
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stoutlover1978 from Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Feb 27, 2012
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nickss from Texas

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a milk chocolate-esque frothy head.

The aroma consists of chocolate overtones... certainly more chocolate than bourbon. In fact, the bourbon is barely perceptable. That being said, the deep rich chocolate smells delicious.

Fantastic.. big chocolate and malt notes with a tight hop bitterness. As the brew warms, a delicious bourbon essence begins to seep through.

Perfect consistency and thickness... I would like the carbonation levels to be a bit lower, but this is pretty damn nice.

Amazingly drinkable for a brew of this might... fantastic.

Nov 20, 2006
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lilnicky068 from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Jan 27, 2012
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kirok1999 from Ohio

3.01/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this which were dashed as soon as I poured it. Poured thin and light colored with not much aroma at all. What was there was dark malts, no fruit, no sweetness, slight hop bitterness. Taste was just as disappointing, dry and bitter, lacking much complexity. There were some dark malts, dry hop bitterness, slight wisps of vanilla and oak.
I'm sure this is easy to drink because there just isn't much there. Nothing to overpower the tastebuds, or excite them either.

Feb 09, 2007
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mdfb79 from New York

3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Had on 3/12/10 at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, VA.

a - Pours black with little carbonation and absolutely no head at all.

s - Smells of coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little bourbon.

t - Taste follows the nose. Vanilla dominates the taste, and only a hint of bourbon.

m - Smooth and creamy. Little carbonation and medium body. Great feel to it and pretty easy to drink.

d - Overall this was a pretty good stout. I thought the vanilla dominated the taste and would have liked to taste a little more bourbon, but it was still enjoyable and very easy to drink. Would definitely try it again.

Mar 14, 2010
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JMBSH from Colorado

3/5  rDev -21.7%

Sep 18, 2012
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biglite351 from Pennsylvania

3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - slight orange around the edge, otherwise black. Tall off white head that drops slow but leaves no lacing.

S - very strong bourbon smell. Some malts from the stout break through, but there is no confusing what kind of brew this is, bourbon barrel.

T - opposite of the scent. Solid stout flavor with a hint of bourbon coming through. One MAJOR problem with most bourbon Stouts is that the bourbon flavor way overpowers the flavor of the beer. If I wanted something that just tasted like bourbon, I would have a glass of bourbon. These folks got the mix right, a stout with a little bourbon flavor playing on the sides of the tongue. The stout flavor itself is okay, but a little shallow.

M - very light coating with only a light tingle on the front sides of the tongue.

D - Nothing negative about it makes it drinkable, but the overall lack of flavor depth would have you grab another option after a few.

May 31, 2010
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RedHaze from Nebraska

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Pours dark black, with just some hints of light seeping through the edges. The head reaches about one finger in height, and then fades very slowly to a solid cap that leaves behind a very solid lacing.

Smell; you definitely can smell the bourbon, but it's not as overpowering to me as some others that I've had. Vanilla beans and coconut are present, as well as a little chocolate, and some molasses.

Taste; as with the aroma the bourbon is initially what you taste, but then the other flavors come through. Vanilla and chocolate, some dark fruits and molasses and just some hints of coffee.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and mildly creamy, with a nice smooth carbonation, and though some alcohol was detectable, though I didn't think it detracted from the overall drinkability. This made for a very nice after dinner beer.

Jun 17, 2007
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jlindsey from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Feb 23, 2013
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oldirtycaffrey from Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was very impressed with this beer. Had 14oz served to me in a snifter at the excellent Park Lane Tavern in Fredericksburg, VA (which has a really good selection of beers on tap). Color is near black with an inch tan foamy head. Smell is strong in vanilla, malt, and caramel. Hints of chocolate as well. Simply a delicious brew to have after dinner, or as I like to have with imperial stouts, a nice, crisp burger with bacon (preferably applewood). Big Thumbs Up!

Apr 11, 2012
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aasher from Indiana

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a viscous, chocolaty black with a very light dark khaki head that dissipates very quickly. It smells very sweet and reminds me a lot of syrup and molasses. It is also moderately heavy on the bourbon and smells well roasted, in a sugary fashion. The taste is very good. It has a good, roasted malty sweetness to it. The bourbon really isn't apparent at all, or the alcohol. It drinks very, very smoothly and is a little thicker in body. It's very drinkable considering it's bourbon barrel aged and 8.5%. I don't normally like BBC but this one was pretty good.

Sep 17, 2010
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, bottled in October 2007. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head. The head goes away quickly, and the lacing is OK. It smells like bourbon, coffee, chocolate, wood and vanilla. The aroma is nice, but not strong at all however it does improve as it warms up some. It tastes like wood, smoke, coffee and a little bit of bourbon and vanilla. There's also a lingering bitter coffee and wood aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, it's a bit thinner than I like my stouts to be. However, it is very smooth and silky. Because it is a bit lighter, the drinkability is very good. This is really easy to drink and the alcohol isn't noticable at all. It's not a great beer, but it's still a good one. I'd drink this again, it's a decent choice and it's sessionable enough for an 8.5% ABV beer.

Nov 22, 2007
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Hugh37 from Tennessee

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Aug 15, 2013
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 438 ratings