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

very good
438 Ratings
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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 Double / 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.

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Ratings: 438 |  Reviews: 326
Photo of cpz28
1.03/5  rDev -72.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Another winner from Bluegrass.
A-Brown, Yes, this "imperial stout" is a clear brown color, not opaque and nowhere near black. If you showed it to me in the glass and told me nothing about it, I'd call it a nut brown ale. It has a fizzy head, which is odd for an imperial stout but doesn't look out of place here, because this beer doesn't look like an imperial stout, or any stout for that matter.
S- This beer smells caramelly with no real roasted, oak, or bourbon notes. For supposedly being a stout, it has failed the smell and appearance test. Boring is a word that comes to mind when I think of this one.
T/M- No roasty, coffee, or chocolate notes here, kids, just a shitty caramel flavor with some faint, with an emphasis on"faint", bourbon notes. The body is thin, and the beer has as much carbonation as any pop, which makes it seem even thinner. The flavor is sweet and shitty. There are no redeeming qualites in this beer. Let me hammer this into the ground one last time- this is not a stout. It tastes as if somebody brewed a mediocre brown ale and diluted it by 50% with water.
O- This beer is not only a waste of my time but a waste of grain, hops, and water. If it were from another brewery, I might be let down, but since it is from Bluegrass, it's exactly what I would expect-GARBAGE. Bluegrass, please stop making your shitty beer; it consumes shelf space at liquor stores that could be occupied by any other microbrewery's product, which could never suck as bad as the swill you continually pump out. Can I please have my money back?

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Photo of DoctorDog
1.06/5  rDev -72%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Label has "Bottled On" and is notched at "A (April) 09"'s only January 09 in this dimension of time as I sample this this a harbinger of quality control issues...?

A- Dark brown/black in appearance/ opaque. Pours with massive and overflowing tan head, which necessitates multiple pours over an extended period of time. This seems quite inappropriate and begins to stir concerns....

S- Funky, slightly metallic, and an odd nutty/woody aroma. Off-putting, and actually making me dread tasting....

T- After an extra minute or two of warming time, I work up the courage to take a drink. For my bravado, I am (unsurprisingly) rewarded with the taste of horribly burned/ acrid coffee and charcoal. Highly drying/astringent and coating. Absolutely disgusting. Infection?

M- Extremely over-carbonated, thin, and watery.

D- Drinkable....? Wave good-bye to this one as it pours down my drain, and begin to ponder how to scrub this taste out of my mouth. Too bad there's no "0" option for rating this one.

Future outlook: Had high hopes for this one, only to be dashed by an infected train wreck in a bottle. Stylistically, this one is still quite appealing, so there's a chance that I'll again tempt fate in hopes of getting a non-infected bottle...but not anytime soon.

I contacted the Bluegrass Brewing Company about this quality control debacle, and I must say that I am quite impressed by their response. They were practically falling over themselves to make things right with me, and have quickly restored my faith in them as a brewery.

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Photo of nlmartin
1.91/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I was at a beer tasting lately. One of the guys I was talking with talked up this beer. I remember not being particularly blown away with it. Many of the other guys there seemed shocked by this. I figured I would give this beer another try.

I served the beer in my pub glass. The beer was served cold and I let it warm to room temperature.

Appearance: The beer pours a ruby opaque black coloration. The head was a thin off white coloration. The head had no retention. For me the appearance was the high point of the beer.

Smell: To me the beer had a overwhelming boozey smell. This boozeyness was not of the pleasing bourbon variety. The beer smelled of cheap alcohol. The beer smelled a bit better at room temperature but still was dominated by cheap alcohol smell. The beer at room temperature had undertones of lightly roasted coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Frankly the smells are just far too dominated by alcohol .Some bourbon smell would have been nice. Hell some bolder smells would have been good also.

Taste: Generally I dont mind a boozey beer. I am a big man and boozey smells generally mean I will have a satisfying beer drink. This was not the case with this beer. The beers lead in flavor was alcohol and not of the bourbonesque sort. The beer has very muted lightly roasted coffee, chocolate and vanilla in the flavor. The flavors came out a bit more as the beer warmed up. Sadly, I never really experienced any boldness of flavor here.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer seemed thin to me. The beer was mildly carbonated. I am totally underwhelmed by this beer. The beer isnt particularly bourbon or stout like. I think BBC wanted to do a balls to the walls sort of beer and frankly failed. It was a chore to finish this beer. I have read some of the reviews of this beer and I can hardly believe we drank the same beer.

Note: I had a second bottle of this at room temperature and it didnt seem any better.

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Photo of aforbes10
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to dispholidus1 who shared this with me. Bottle cellared for 4-6 months. Poured dark and kind of thin looking...white head that looks strange on what should be a thick stout. Doesn't smell great....not much there and what is there is really just a ghost of what i was expecting. weak bourbon/alcohol odor. Weak watery flavor. some oak barrel and malt notes...very little bourbon. kind of a coca-cola taste. all very weak...weak is the magic word for this one. really not a great stout.

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Photo of chilly460
2.37/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Tried this on tap during a happy hour, came highly recommended. I love bourbons so was looking forward to this. I don't know if it was the particular day, but I couldn't get over the cloying bourbon taste here, it tasted like an extract and was far too strong to work with the beer. I could barely choke down the pour...

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.42/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Pitch black color. One and a half fingers of creamy head that doesn't retain too well and doesn't leave much lacing either.

4.0 S: Pleasant fruitiness with black currants. Next, is oak and vanilla. Bourbon is more subdued than I'd like, but still adds to the depth. Hints of roastiness as well.

2.0 T: Comes through a lot drier than I had hoped. Way too dry. There's a touch of bourbon, but not much. Not much malt character except for hints of roasted barley.

1.5 M: Light body, super light for the ABV and style. A bit undercarbonated, but pretty smooth.

1.5 D: Not impressed with this one.

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Photo of bamadog
2.46/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer on tap at a place called Mahogany's in Latonia, KY. Very much let down... I'm hoping that maybe there was just a bad batch on tap as the overall scores for this beer seem to be around the B+ range and I"m pretty sure mine's going to come out lower...

Appearance: Dark, no light was coming through at all. There was about a 1/2 finger of tan head that looked a little chunky, so the appearance was nice enough. The head disappated into the same ring around the top that so many other stouts go to. Not bad.

Smell: A little malty and a bit of bitter chocolate in there. Not smelling anything bourbon like at all... Sigh.

Taste: Light in the malt departmnet, slightly bitter chocolate in there as well. A very mild touch of alcohol as it warmed a bit. But again, like the smell, I taste no bourbon... Sigh.

Mouthfeel: Frankly, this was watery. Leaves a slightly dry coating on the palate as it goes down. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkability: Sadly, very low because I was let down by the beer. Overall, it was actually pretty easy to get down, but hey, so is a lager and this should have been a bit more of a challenge.

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Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -34%

Photo of jgasparine
2.59/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A- Poured from the tap into a PINT GLASS (of all things) with no head whatsoever... just a small collar. The body was a completely opaque jet-black body, which when held to the light appears garnet at the edges.

S- Despite the fact that this beer is served quite cold, it has a nice nose comprised of stewed and roasted malt, substantial vanillins, and some lesser coffee aromas. I'm also getting some impressions of bourbon and oak. An impressively delicate and complex nose.

T- Ugh- this is HORRIBLE. A huge, extremely bold flavor that reminds me of dirty water and old used coffee filters. I want to say that I get some roasted and stewed malt there, some low-alpha hop flavor, and definitely some impressions of bourbon and vanillins... but this pervasive dirty water/spent coffee grounds thing just ruins the experience for me.

M- Medium body with pervasive delicate carbonation. Surprisingly no heat from the ethanol. No real texture though...

D- Drinkability is just killed by the Dirty Water and Used Coffee Filter flavors. This beer is a drain pour.

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Photo of mdcrouser
2.59/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours absolutely bottle-brown - like molten liquid glass pouring into the pint glass. It settles in as lightish black, with very little head.

A good malty stout, but with obvious overtones of the bourbon within - smoothly toasted alcohol.

Said alcohol jumps up in your mouth and lashes your tongue with over-powering bourbon. The stout becomes very much secondary, even tertiary, as the bourbon is big enough to take the first two spots - that's nearly all I'm getting. What else exists back there is lightly toasted, but difficult to find.

Like woody bourbon in the mouth, with additional carbonation and toasted undertones.

In terms of overall drinkability, if you enjoy bourbon, you'll love it. Personally, I'm not a fan, which explains my impression of this beer.

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Photo of danielocean03
2.65/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Notched label indicates bottled on date of Decemeber 2007. Appearance is opaque dark reddish brown, fizzy thin finger of light brown head dissipated quickly into a light sticky ring of lacing. Very active carbonation, appearance is not unlike a Pepsi or Coca-cola. Aroma is light, sweet and malty with hints of vanilla and undertones of chocolate, light alcohol scent. Taste is also light, malty with the slightest hint of a bourbon flavor, smoky earthen-grain undertones. Finish is slightly dry with a hint of alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is watery-thin consistency with the highest levels of carbonation of any brew I've ever drank. Roughs up the palate to the point of practically ruining this beer for me, it washes off the tongue so quickly there is hardly any complexity to the flavor. The scent is also weak and it leaves something to be desired. Drinkability suffers for the latter, makes one want to move on to something else. Maybe this one needs to sit for a year or so to calm down and fall into its own, but as a fresh(er) stout, I expected better. Would not seek out again.

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Photo of craytonic
2.71/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Apperance: WOW huge head, about 1/4 inch of beer and 5 or 6 inches of head. Repeat. Finally get about 2" of beer, it is a chestnut-brown color.

Smell: Metallic notes dominate, followed by a nutty maltiness. No bourbon.

Taste: Again the metallic twange, also some coffee, toffee, roast, and nuttiness. No bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thin and dry

Drinkability: it took me 15 mins to pour two inches of beer, I gave up as it wasn't that rewarding. I assume it was infected.

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Photo of steadydose
2.74/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

January 09 bottle

Poured this one into a tulip glass, beer pours black/ very dark brown with an initial 1/2 inch of beige foam.

Had a sweet smell of toffee, caramel, but I can't really smell any of the bourbon. Allowing the beer to warm up, more of a woody smell came through (sawdust).

This beer had good bitterness on the finish which was the most dominant taste for me. Before this I tasted black malt, burnt toast taste. I began tasting a little sourness to the beer as it warmed up.

Good amount of carbonation, body feels kind of light.

I expected more from this barrel aged stout. This beer was just too thin and lacked bourbon character I enjoy in Bourbon BA stouts. Although this beer is pretty drinkable, it just didn't hit the spot for me.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of karengarys
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured dark mahogany as expected. Carbonation was pop-like.

Smelled strongly of bourbon. A bit alcoholic, though, and overpowering.

Tasted strong of bourbon, which was kind of good. Next on the list is alcohol. Next was water. Yep, water. And finally, a small packet of hops.

Mouthfeel was that of a super-good pepsi. ...not good for this style. Watery and fizzy and that is about it.

Overall this did not impress me. I am glad I was able to find this in a single 12oz bottle, because four of these would be a big disappointment. One is worth just seeing what it is all about if you are in the mood for such an activity.

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Photo of russwbeck
2.76/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Black pour with a light brown head. What remains of the head does lace nicely. Lots of bourbon on the smell. Roasted malts and vanilla underneath. I wish more of a typical stout taste remained. It worries me that the beer will be too thin and all bourbon when I can't tell it was a stout some lifetime ago. Roasted malts begin the taste lightly with a lot of intrusive bourbon. Really the bourbon is all you taste. Vanilla, oak, not balanced at all. Heavy body though, was expecting lighter. Nicely carbonated with a decent amount of alcohol noted. Overall this is another Bluegrass Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Aged beer that really disappointed me. Not enough stout, all bourbon, no balance, just a mess of a beer.

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Photo of sonicdescent
2.78/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

pours as your typical stout does with slightly more head. Black liquid, tan foam.

I was taken aback by the heavy brown sugar character that overpowers chocolate and bourbon. Some dark fruit there also.

This one is pretty light on the bourbon and unfortunately there aren't many other robust characteristics to back this up. Vanilla and dark fruits are here.

Mouth is med thick bodied and med carbonation. A bit too much carbonation.

I wouldn't have this one again. While it is an easily available ba stout, it's worth the extra effort to get a kbs.

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Photo of SeasonalBrew
2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a stout glass..

A: Dark, dark brown with a one finger tan head that quickly disappears entirely. Pretty underwhelming start.

S: Have to almost stick my nose into the beer to get much of a scent. Just some oak and a touch of bourbon.. little else.

T: Like some other reviews, I get a metallic taste.. normally I'd assume it's just a bad bottle, but I'm not nearly the only one to notice this unfortunate characteristic. I do get good maltiness and some of the oak and bourbon, but just kinda blah.

M: I expected this to be thick and have great mouthfeel. Instead.. honestly.. it is thin and watery. What an AWFUL mouthfeel for an imperial stout! FAIL!

D: Considering how watery it is.. it's drinkable, but not if I want to enjoy the taste.. which, of course, I do. So yeah, never having this one again.

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Photo of roadhouse
2.84/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Appears a very dark brown with a two finger tan head that requires some careful pouring. A shit load of nasty looking particulates floating around. Keeps a nice head on top at least.

Smell is something I can't quite describe. Kind of woody, but verging on plastic or something. Roasted malts are hidden behind this rather foul smell.

Taste is better than the smell, but still has that strange character. Maybe a bit of bourbon flavor?...but I'm probably just being optimistic. Nothing going on here really.

Mouthfeel was alright. It was a bit too light and watery, but very smooth and creamy.

Not good at all really. I barely even get any roasted malt flavors. I'm not sure if I'll be able to put the rest of this one down. Such a ripoff at 11 bucks a four pack.

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Photo of giblet
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

i am updating. it is now january 30, 2010. i have let this beer cellar for six more months. the bottle is marked june of 2008.

all foam. one half inch poured into the glass and then 12 oz of pure foam. i remembered an old trick of rubbing your finger over your forehead to gather oils. ring this in the foam and it settles. this is the only way to calm this down. oh well.

well i wanted to like it...i wanted to win the super lotto too and that did not happen either.

poured two bottles into three glasses each. that is correct, one bottle and three 16 oz glasses of all foam except a quarter inch of liquid. after 5 minutes they settled to 2/3 head and 1/3 beer.

appearance = good after 10 minutes, color is good and dark, miserable at start.

smell = good, chocolate and malts.

taste = good cept a little flat...maybe cuz it started as all foam

mouthfeel = not too good...flat

this was marked on the labe as may/jun 2008. i will let the others "age" a bit longer and see.


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Photo of pwoods
2.92/5  rDev -23%
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 DIM
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: This was a deep ruby red color, not quite black. It poured with a smallish tan head that faded quickly.

s: Muted aromas of malts, oak, bourbon, and very faintly, vanilla. The wood aromas take center stage, unfortunately.

t: This isn't bad at all, just kind of bland. Smokey malt and wood flavors dominate. There is little if any bourbon flavor to be found.

m: This was under carbonated, but viscous enough.

d: This was okay, but once was enough for me. My buddy and I compared this blind with barlewinebrewer's bourbon infused Russian Imperial Stout. It wasn't even close, the homebrew won easily.

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Photo of iRun2Beer
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Arbitrator
2.98/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. An extra courtesy of drgonzo3705. Thanks Paul!

A: Pours a pitch black that rubies (yes, dammit, that's a verb!) out at the edge. An inch of tan-colored head recedes over a few minutes into a thin line on top of the brew that never quite goes away. Moderate washes of lacing down the glass during a swig, but nothing that sticks.

S: Coffee is strongest, followed by dark chocolate and a lighter bourbon nose. Some roasted barley malt and caramel.

T: Again, mostly coffee and dark chocolate. Roasted malt and caramel provide some sweetness, and there's only the slightest hint of bourbon (why?). I expected more bourbon-dominated flavor given the name...

M: On the thin side, actually. Carbonation is low and works pretty well to bring out the flavor. Well-masked ABV. Not boozy in the slightest.

D: It's all right. I'd probably skip it if I saw it.

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Photo of jimmyjgo
2.99/5  rDev -21.1%
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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Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
3.79 out of 5 based on 438 ratings.
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