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

very good
326 Reviews
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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 438
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
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 metter98
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rustico Restaurant & Bar, Alexandria, VA

A: The beer poured jet black with a thin layer of bubbles on the surface that leaves nice lacing patterns.
S: There's a light to moderate aroma of bourbon in the nose.
T: Unlike the smell, the bourbon flavors are relatively weak and do not dominate the overall taste, which is relatively sweet and has flavors of chocolate and coffee.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth and creamy on the palate. There's not that much carbonation.
D: The subdued bourbon flavors make this beer very drinkable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aaww, come on BA'ers, it's not that bad. In fact, I thought it was quite good. Sure, it's light on sweetness and body, but the dry, powdery texture is nice for the drinkability. And, the roastedness shines a bit better under the light sweetness. The aroma, though light and roasted, shows little in the way of bourbon character. Very low vanilla, caramel, coconut, and woodiness. Flaovrs display a nice, subtle bourbon flair. Light in body, almost Porter-ish. Finsihes more akin to a Dry Stout rather than a Double, but I do like the less-harsh, low hopped, easy drinking attributes of this beer. The alcohols are hardly detected--I question the true alcoholic strength of this beer; 11%?

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Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a coal black color with a tan head that drops quickly to a ringlet and bubble islands

Smell: Coffee and bourbon-tinged oak

Taste: Starts with a bourbon chocolate flavor; after the swallow the bitter coffee elements kick in; the finish is slightly acidic

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin for the style; low carbonation and curiously little warming for 11%

Drinkability: Although the beer would benefit from a fuller mouthfeel (maybe add some oats to the grist), it is an intriguing and tasty brew

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Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this one, Nick. Black with some transparency around the edges. A finger of light tan head quickly recedes to a thin crown.

It smells very grainy, like raw chocolate malt, oatmeal, soy sauce. The graininess is pretty pervasive. Not much barrel character, perhaps a hint of whiskey.

Raw chocolate malt is again pretty dominant on the palate - toasty, grainy, just a hint of barrel. The body is pretty thin, and the finish drops off quickly. Chocolate malt flavors are persistent from start to finish. There's a touch of soy sauce-like oxidation. A decent beer, but in no way exciting.

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Fickle Peach in Muncie, IN.

I've had bottles of this before, but this was the first time I saw it on tap. Black body with a thin layer of tan foam.

A sweet aroma with some roastiness.

Bourbon is a big component in this beer, but it doesn't overshadow the stout, which lends itself to being pretty balanced. Some distinct coffee and chocolate notes, not especially bitter or too boozy. The smooth velvety body complimented the flavor well, and there was no sign of harsh alcohol. Very easy to have a pint, or several.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Daalamar: Poured a deep black color stout with a small off-white foamy head with average retention. Aroma of coffee and chocolate with some roasted malt is pretty inviting. Taste is a nice mix between roasted malt that provide some bitterness with some nice coffee and chocolate touch. Bourbon is present though I find it quite subtle. Body is definitely too thin though for the style and the beer would have gained from a bigger and fuller body.

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Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark brown color with highlights of ruby. It had a small, tan head that left soapy trails of residue on the glass.

S - It smelled of oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. There was a very muted bourbon aroma.

T - I picked up very little bourbon flavor. Good chocolate and caramel with a touch of vanilla.

M - It was soft and a little chewy. A medium-bodied brew with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a fairly easy-drinking beer. It just didn't have much of a bourbon aged feel. It makes a nice vanilla stout, though.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Rustico. Seems to be on nearly year round there. Reviewed from notes.

Pours deep brown with a nice off white-tan head and bits of lacing here and there. Nose brings a pretty good amount of bourbon along with some oak, vanilla, dark roasted malt, and some mild sweetness. Taste brings a moderate amount of bourbon and oak along with some sweet, roasted malt in the background. Medium body with light carbonation and not too much booze; a nice mix. Drinks fairly well, but isn't as smooth as I would like.

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Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from Wasatch so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, some hops and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts off with strong flavors of chocolate and bourbon up front and background flavors of vanilla and coffee. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence that brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a good stout with some strength that you can drink a few of or just sip on for a while.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep black body with a full, frothy, tan head.

Smell: Aroma of dark malts, baker's chocolate, and an opened can of condensed milk. Mild bourbon character.

Taste: Chocolatey dark maltiness with a splash of coffee. Overall, a restrained level of sweetness. Hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and wood, but you gotta look past those full malts to see'm. Chocolate syrup finish with a sprinkling of sugar.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good! A nice beer for a nice Saturday afternoon.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Roasted walnut with meager russet highlights along the edges. A barely audible escape of CO2 on crown cracking was followed by the creation of a golden ecru cap that maxed out at a fat one finger and melted to a thin disk in several minutes. Glass coverage is decent.

The nose is reminiscent of an American stout without the Double/Imperial qualifier. Dark chocolate and coffee beans are present, with the latter being slightly more prominent. Unfortunately, there isn't as much bourbon as there should be.

At least bourbon whiskey is present on the palate. Trouble is, JRBBS is anything but a big stout. In fact, it drinks smaller than the 5.0% oatmeal stout that I reviewed yesterday. Granted, I reviewed the best oatmeal stout in the universe yesterday.

The malt bill includes pale, wheat, chocolate and roasted. That's all well and good, though why not add less of the first two and more of the last two? Much, much more. Jefferson's Reserve is akin to a porter that was aged in bourbon barrels for considerably less than the claimed 60 days. Only a hint of caramelized sugar and oak are appreciated.

This might be the thinnest 8.5% double stout in the history of 8.5% double stouts. On the silver lining side, more carbonation would have resulted in an even lower score. Bluegrass needs a larger adding-malt-to-the-kettles shovel.

I've had my eye on this brew for a year or so and finally found a single. I'm not sure what was expected, but very little ended up being delivered. If you're looking for a decent bourbon-accented porter, then have at it. Decent is as good as it gets, though.

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Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
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

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

black as night with a light tan head of maybe an inch and a half across the top. This faded down to about a quarter inch but never got any lower then that. Lots of side glass lacing all over the sides as it went down. The aroma was a touch boozy, with tons of chocolate and roasted malts coming through. Almost a licorice like smell as it warms, incredible. As I take my first sip I am floored, rich vanilla and cocoa taste with a large dose of roasted malts. Tons of flavor here, with bourbon notes really coming through on this one. I am literally drooling as I write this that I dont have any left. The finish was soo smooth, and chocolate filled, it was a dessert beer to the extreme.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I shared this one w/ evets at a community brew day he hosted recently.
Poured cold into a goblet from the 12oz brown bottle
A - A deep brown almost black in the light w/ an inch of cream colored cap w/ a very fine bead

S - The aroma is of cocoa w/ sweet cream and vanilla from the oaking as it warms

M - Sweet, moderate carbonation and slightly woody toasted w/ a pleasant semi-dry finish w/ oak bourbon aspects lingering on

T - This is a fine stout, however I felt the aroma was better than the taste. The flavors are well blended w/ plenty of toasted and chocolate malt upfront and a sweet bourbon like creaminess w/ vanilla and gentle booze tinges following. The subtlety of bourbon in this stout is its strong point, it really has the flavor of a lighter stout.

D - Very good drinkability for an 8.5% beer this is one you may want to sip since it is deceptive. It has many layers of flavor and I appreciated the chance to try the bottle as well as having this on tap, but prefer the draft version.

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Photo of smcolw
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good blanket lace from a relatively modest head. Near black color but sunlight does shine through the center of the glass.

Mild, but stout-like smell of burnt does come through.

More chocolate than black patent malt. Blindfolded, I would say this is a porter--a well-made porter, mind you. But it does miss the mark for a true stout. There is some sweetness that will contrast the dry, dark chocolate.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours an opaque black with not much of a head to speak of. The nose is dark malts, oak, whiskey, toffee, and a surprising kick of alcohol. The taste emphasizes the wood and whiskey, though the malts, toffee, and newcomer vanilla remain, all waltzing together in harmonious flavoring. The body is on the heavy side of medium, leaning toward the lighter side of heavy, with a nicely subtle carbonation and a velvety smooth texture. Overall, despite its chewiness and slight bit of boozy burn, this brew is very tasty and highly drinkable. The Fox would be proud...

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Rustico in Alexandria, VA.

Served in a snifter. The beer is nearly black with a thin, beige head that leaves ample lacing on the glass. The aroma is of licorice, roast, alcohol. The flavor is quite sweet, a bit overly so in my opinion, with bourbon and oak notes coming through clearly. The body is too thin for the style, and can't support the myriad of flavors that a bourbon barrel imperial stout offers. Overall, a middle of the road representation of the style.

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Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2009 12oz bottle poured into a tulip, the brew appears black in color with a khaki cap.

The nose is pretty mild but with a hint of oak, roasty chocolate/espresso and vanilla/caramel.

Taste has some nutty character, sweet with milk chocolate and a very clean finish with an aftertaste mildly oaky. As it warms up, the nuance of oak comes forth with caramel and vanilla.

Medium to lighter in body with moderately low carbonation. Decent

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
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 johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle received in trade, but I don't know who from. I've been trading too much and I forgot who sent this. But thank you for the opportunity!

Pours a dark brown/black. Lets a little light through when held up to it. Meager tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is some chocolate, some bourbon, some oak, and I pick up a bit of vanilla, faint but its there. Taste is roasty, oakey, sweet and chocolaty. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would expect for a stout. Tasty mix of flavors, but should be a bit thicker. Drinking this feels more like drinking a porter or even a strong brown ale. Tasty, but labeled incorrectly.

Big thanks to DavoleBomb for sending me this in the Secret Santa Bif and allowing me to try this again.
I might have been a bit harsh in my review of this the first time around, I was young forgive me. The nose on this one is great Oak, bourbon, and vanilla without being overpowering on top of chocolate, dark fruits and licorice. I could smell this all day. Taste follows the smell. I was right the first time that the body is quite thin. I adjusted my score up based on this tasting.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a light brown head. Nose is sweet molasses with dark baking chocolate. Flavor is roasted and smoked a bit. Bourbon kicks a slight bit, yes. Smooths out over subsequent sips. Thick malts. Warming it warms it gets much better, displayin cocoa character and a thick, even, and lasting flavor profile. (it's enough to bump up the score .5) Feel is thick on liquid but appropriately lower on carbonation. An easy to drink stout. I wonder what age would do to this.

Thanks to Grafter for this one on a very generous trade.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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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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