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

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Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutJefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Very Good
438 Ratings
Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutJefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Kentucky, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 04-07-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 438 |  Reviews: 326
Reviews by notafood:
Photo of notafood
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler at the Main and Clay taproom ($5 Tuesdays!).
Poured into a tulip, very dark (black) with a thin, quickly dissolved tan head.

Ahhh, bourbon, chocolate and malt. A touch of coffee and maybe a hint of oatmeal. I know it's just me, but it has a smell I associate with the taproom. Nostalgia.

A mediocre imperial stout. Well-balanced, but just not enough diversity, it tastes like coffee and chocolate. None of that namesake bourbon barrel seems to show up in the flavor profile. Very pedestrian.

Surprisingly thin for and Imperial Stout. Coats the mouth nicely without being sticky. Good, bitter finish.

Like most breweries in Louisville, this is nothing to really write home about. It makes a great session beer (Browning's ESB, Cumberland Brews' Red) but the 8.5% ABV kind of puts the brakes on drinking too much. Goes down good and smooth, perfectly acceptable (and affordable) alternative to your Stone's, Founder's, and Rogue's.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of bluesoul
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Give this thing plenty of warming time or you're missing out.

A - Poured into pint glass. Pours pitch black with a two-finger tan head that's slow to fade. Of concern is there's a TON of sediment in the beer, very slow to settle. Here's hoping it won't kill ya.

S - Boozy accord, a very good whiskey note alongside some hoppy bitterness that comes to the forefront when swirled. Coffee notes are present, overall the smell is quite creamy. Very strong aroma honestly.

T - Tastes like...well, tastes like a stout. Has a woody taste presumably imparted by the barrel-aging. Quite a bit of complexity to the brew thanks to the bourbon flavor. Not something I'm going to reach for very often but I do respect it for what it is.

M - Lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Has a burn in the back of the mouth that could be the bourbon aging or could just be the high ABV. Carbonation is a bit high. Body is a bit weak for a stout.

D/O - Goes down smooth and the bourbon is a nice touch. I'm finding that I'm a bit on the outs with stouts so I'm trying to be objective here. Given the high ABV a session of these would likely take you out of commission for a while.

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Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark and inky, but not thick or syrupy. Two finger cocoa shaded head has modest retention and leaves some sheets and spotty patches of lace.

Aroma is very subdued, especially before it warms to room temperature. Oak notes dominate, with hints of chocolate and charcoal.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a bit chalky from the oak barrel, with a strong moderate carbonation.

Taste has some mild roasty notes with a burnt charcoal influence. Maybe a hint of bourbon, but the bourbon is largely missing in action here. No hint of the big alcohol. Becomes thinner as it warms, becoming more like a brown ale than a stout. Some earthy hops here and there.

This one doesn't come across as an imperial or double stout. Barely stoutlike at all. Decent enough, but very understated.

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Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, 1/4 inch head

Smell:burnt malt, oak, caramel, and bourbon

Taste: oak, whiskey, burnt malt, chocolate, and caramel

Mouthfeel: nice bitter and sweet combo--in a malty sense, medium heavy body, creamy

Drinkability: I like this and the sweet aftertaste that lingers is amazing. I noticed the alcohol, but the taste was pleasant and not overpowering. I would have several if not for the high abv. I really like this brew

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Photo of Mora2000
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

This is my first rate from the great state of Kentucky.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with a gigantic tan head. It is the kind of head you get from an infected beer, but there are no other signs of infection present.

The aroma is bourbon, oak, chocolate, vanilla and maple. All of the things you expect to smell in a bourbon-barrel aged beer are present.

The flavor is heavy on the bourbon and chocolate with some roasted malt mixed in.

The only complaint that I have is that the mouthfeel is a little too thin for my tastes and the carbonation is a little too high.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tiley4 for this brew in a trade. Cheers. Thin head. Black as my heart. Big smell of vanilla. Taste is mostly of malt and the rich vanilla with the sweetness of the bourbon. Mouthfeel is smooth & this is as drinkable as anything aged in bourbon. Not as thick as most beers of this style. A nice beer & my first from this brewery.


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Photo of bartlettc42
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of Hugh37
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice mix of dirty malts with dark chocolate and oak barrel tones with vanilla and oak. Appears a dark black hue with a nice mocha tan head forming thick and leaving fine lacing down the sides of my glass without a problem. Aromatics offer up the barrel aging effects namingly charred oak, vanilla, and some booze especially some whiskey notes. Creamy dark chocolate in the flavor with all of those oak barrel effects going on that I mentioned above, not the most complex or cohesive effort I've tried but this one is acceptable and damn drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied softly carbonated keep watching for other beers from these guys they were always a hoot in the past. Drinkability is solid no complaints do not return to sender.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to billab914 for this cool extra!

Pours brown with a humongous two finger head.

Smells like toast, burnt chocolate, coffee beans and a hint of bourbon.

And the here comes the bourbon! I'm picking up nuttiness, woodiness and more bourbon. Thing is, it's not delicious bourbon... house bourbon is more applicable.

This beer is also way over-carbonated. Stings a bit going down. Thin mouthfeel... eh, not really feeling this at all.

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Photo of monoXcide
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is a good beer!

Appearance - Dark! Barely any light comes though. Pours a light brown head with medium retention and excellent sticky lacing that refuses to fade away and puts up a fight before finally dissipating.

Smell - Typical slight burnt smell that comes with a stout along with hints of bourbon.

Taste - Burnt woody taste with hints of bourbon. Its a stout with bourbon that is well balanced and neither one over powers the other and last throughout from start to finish. The 8.5% alcohol is very well hidden but aparent with the slight buzz I get from just one bottle.

Mouthfeel - Good presence and the right amount of carbonization.

Drinkability - Deceptively smooth! Careful with this one. It goes down very easy and is a pleasure to drink. If Im in the mood for a stout that is not too complex then this is what I will reach for.

Will gladly drink again.

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Photo of pwoods
2.92/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: Pitch black, good viscosity. Very small head, little retention. Little lacing.

S: very sweet. Raw bourbon. A bit of molasses.

T/M: Dominated by bourbon. To its credit, it has the most authentic bourbon taste froma beer that I've had. Sweet malts but on the bland side. Body is medium or so but feels thinner, like bourbon. Low carbonation.

D: Drinkable but very one dimensioned and lacking complexity.

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Photo of mully
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

good thick creamy dark tan head fades slowly thick black color hints if brown around the edges. Good carbonation is visibly present.

chocolate, coffee, vanilla just a hint of boubon smells great

Solid stout with a nice bourban layer over the top Roast malts contribute the choclate and cofee from the nose, the bouban gives it the vanilla and the brewer gave it one of the smoothest blends I have enjoyed lately.

Not as heavy as I was expecting, in a good way smooth slick balanced

Very drinkable, I really dig this beer, I should have bought more!! It is really good.

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Photo of eweneek83
4.67/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thick with a nice, creamy, but thin dark brown head. Dark black,a great stout characteristic.

Smell: Chocolatey and a tiny bit of bourbon with a mild roasty scent.

Taste: Creamy, tastes like a chocolate stout with a sweetness that is appetizing from the bourbon barrel aging. A great chocolate taste. I'm not sure if they meant for that, but man this is tasty! It's high alcohol but doesn't taste like it. The sweetness from the bourbon complements the stout very nicely.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not too thick. Lightly carbonated. Surprising for a stout of this nature but it still stays on the tongue with a nice aftertaste. Exactly like a cholate milkshake.

Drinkability: Outstanding. A very unique beer with a fabulous flavor! In fact it just 'reserved' itself a place in my fridge beside Newkie Broon, and St. Bernardus while I watch WVU rule this football season, what a great combo.

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Photo of jimmyjgo
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

APPERANCE 4.0-looked very tasty. had all the attributes of what a bourbon barrel stout should look like. the pour said alot about the beer including a major drawback which i felt took away from the beer and that is the amount of carbonation i could see and later feel/taste.

SMELL 5.0-a very delicious smell came from this beer. you can smell a varitey of smells ranging from oak,chocolate,vanilla,bourbon,cocoa. oh only if this beer tasted as well as it smelled :(

TASTE 2.5- the reason i gave this beer such a low rating on taste was how not tasty it was. as soon as i took my first drink i felt like i just wasted 10.50 on this 4-pack. it was very carbonated and taste like they made a great batch of beer than decieded to make profit by making have the bottle with water. just did not taste like a mans beer.

MOUTHFEEL 2.5- once again i would have to give this another 2.5 rating because even thought i knew i was drinking beer my mouth was telling me what a fizzy interesting soda this is. very fizzy in your mouth. could taste the flavors but could not get past the carbonation.

DRINKABILITY 2.5- overall i would have to say that is a little under average for the drink factor. the 8.5% ABV does sneak up on u though. once again i would have to bring in the fizz and watery taste in this beer.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank you Imstillthegman for this opportunity.

Pours almost black with just a hint of deep mahogany red to the liquid that no light gets through with a nice half finger of tan bubbles that leave a mass of sticky lace in their wake.

Aromas of roasted sweet amber malt and tons of bourbon and oak. Absolutely love that bourbon and oak.

Taste is more of the same. The toasted amber malt doesn't really give way to sweetness (which is a good thing) but melts into the bourbon and oak notes very smoothly. Everything seems to become mellow and smooth and very well blended.

Mouthfeel is only slightly thin and that's the only disappointment I have here with this beer.

Aftertaste is clean and allows you to ready yourself for the next sip.

Nice stuff!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bluegrass- Jefferson's Stout

A- Deep mahogany brown with a huge frothy tan head. Slight lacing 1-2 ring on the glass.
S- Light cream and vanilla dominate with hints of birch and charcoal.
T- Sweet vanilla meets birch/ root beer. Nice notes sweet and smooth charcoal bourbon. Earthy mossy flavors appear in the end.
M- Sweet and creamy smooth. A sugary cream soda like feel.

Overall- Quite tasty and easy to polish off. Alcohol is quite hidden and this would be a good 6er to drink on poker night.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a pretty big tan head that leaves decent lacing. The smell has dark fruit,alcohol, and a woody oak barrel aroma,thu not too strong. The taste has a big chocolate flavor along with dark fruit,alcohol, coffee,carmel, and an oak woodiness. The m/f is light and abit thin,but all the flavors mix well. Not a bad brew,some flaws, but you can do alot worse. Cheers.

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Photo of 7UCK
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours out a dark bron/tan color

Smell- Caramel, smoked flavor with a hint of coffee and bourbon

Taste- Taste of bourbon and maybe a BBQ flavor and a mild coffee

Mothfull- Very smooth and with minimun carbonation

Drinkablity- great for diner or sipping

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Photo of asabreed
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. glass into a Thomas Hardy snifter, which I'm hoping serves this brew well.

Appearance: Black as expected, with no light getting through this sucker. A nice mocha-colored head dissipates fairly quickly but still lets some lines of lacing hang around.

Smell: A smooth and sweet toasted marshmallow, light but vanilla and oak-y bourbon, slight mocha and coffee, and berries,

Taste: Slightly, and somehow rich, burnt coffee, creamy mocha, chocolate powder, and toasted marshmallow, backed by some vanilla and bourbon flavors, oak and woodiness, and dark berries. Pretty wonderful stuff. Finishes slightly bittersweet with the coffee, marshmallow and bourbon dominating in such good ways.

Mouthfeel: How can this seem lighter-bodied for its seeming richness and alcohol? Well, it does unless I'm crazy. Rich enough but also light and extremely easy to drink--is it the bourbon doing this, making it lighter in the body? I can't really answer that.

Drinkability: Devastatingly delicious stuff, which I've consumed way too fast. Expensive as hell in bottles (around $4 for each), but I wouldn't mind buying a 4-pack for a treat every now and then, especially since winter's coming. I love barrel aging and have been a fan of the experiment for a while now, and this one certainly doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of cokes
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark tar brown body with the faintest wisp of a lighter brown head.
The nose is fairly closed, with cocoa, roasted grains, caramel, and a fleeting glimpse of Bourbon, which only really appears as it warms to room temperature.
It follows suit, tastewise. A very templatic big stout, with mild roasted coffee, cocoa, and toffee notes. Some traces of buttery vanilla from the oak, but very small amounts of actual Bourbon footprints.
Lowly carbonated, and somewhat flaccid in body. It drinks smaller than it is, because of it's overall lack of oomph.
When the boast is made of the top-shelf Bourbon barrels that the stout is aged in, I expect some of those traits to be manifest, if not pronounced. The underlying stout is not interesting enough in its absence.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good stout, like a 1.5X rather than a double, with some thickness and good chocolate with some coffee nicely roasted. A well done minority of bourbon in aroma and taste. Smooth drinker. Absent of head. Above average mouthfeel.Balance and taste, though not the thickest.

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Photo of haddon
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- pours almost black in the glass with a nice two finger mocha head

S- love the smells! sweet chocolate with nuts & coffee undertones. the roasted malt smell is there from the beginning

T- the most dominant flavor has to be the roasted malts with a mocha cofffee taste. also, a toffee note mixed in as well

M- real smooth flowing over the tongue. the carbonation is a little lighter than expected but it was a good balance. little thin and light

D- the 8.5% abv is well hidden. not much of a sipper. enjoyed trying it but probably won't earn a spot in my cellar.

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Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 438 ratings