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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 438
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from a 120z bottle.

Pours black with a light minuscule bubbly head. No lacing.

Smells of roasted bourbon. Period.

This has great flavor, the bourbon really shines through and really pairs well with the typical roasted flavor of stouts. Though this is pretty light for such a big stout. Despite that I still love the whiskey flavor

Thin, thin, thin. Despite the low carbonation, this beer is severely lacking in body.

I love bourbon and stouts. There is room for improvement in this beer, but it is very drinkable and has great flavor.

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Photo of hchinaski
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle serving, around 9pm. (still have effects of slight cold)

A- pours nice and thin into an imperial pint glass. about a half inch head that disipated in about a min.

S- did not catch much aroma from the beer(see above about a cold) maybe a little sweetness, but was overzealous and snorted an ounce or so. have had this beer a couple of times, so i'll grade from memory.

T- very nice and silky. goes down like water, but not in a taste way. aftertaste is a wondrously sweet, warm sensation that masks the ABV

M- leaves no ill effects on the sense. very nice.

D- i could drink these all night long, if my liver and wife would let me. the ABV does tend to sneak up on you, due to the smoothness. one of our beer distributors left me one at the bar where i work last week, and he's now my favorite person.

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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 blackie
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Decent mocha head recedes to an average, well-retained layer and ring. The beer is a very dark mahogany brown in color.

s: Aromatic roasted malts, notes of dry chocolates, and a great bourbon-soaked oak presence that really sets it off. Enough base malt and perhaps some lightly fruity amber malt keep things away from the thick/sweet side. Doesn't blow your face off with complexity, but it's an excellent aroma for its subtlety and restraint.

m: medium carbonation, delicate and smooth with a full body

t: Smooth, chocolate-roast stout flavors blend extremely well with the woody bourbon barrel presence over a lighter base of caramel/amber/whatever malts. Not sweet, not totally dry. Hop flavors are light, with a moderate bitterness. Various roasts linger. A straightforward but very well brewed session stout that benefits from a tasteful example of barrel aging.

d: One of the more drinkable of the sub-style I've found...very enjoyable and underappreciated in my opinion. Maybe disappointing if you go into it wanting something thick and complex, but that's not what this beer is about.

4-pack from Rick's in Alexandria...bottled January 2008, and probably not a great candidate for cellaring

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Photo of Ladybugger
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of oldirtycaffrey
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into over sized wine glass from bottle.

A- Large bubbly tan head sits atop a very dark brownish red beer, it is almost black.

S- Dark chocolate, brown sugar and roasted barley dominate the aroma. Subtler notes that come through are coffee, some roasted nuts, and a hint of dark fruit. As it warms up the bourbon becomes more apparent.

T- This is a super smooth beer. It feels like silk on the tongue. The favors are pretty subtle yet complex. Milk chocolate, caramel coffee and hints of vanilla make this a tasty beer.

Overall I would say this is a very good stout. The subtleties make this something special.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Most Bourbon barrel aged stouts deliver a pretty distinctive Bourbon flavor component, and I was surprised that this beer really didn't seem to have much of a Bourbon presence. I'm not a fan of Bourbon alone (heresy from a native Kentuckian), so the absence of the big Bourbon punch was not a problem for me, but might be for others with that expectation. The beer was rather sweet, but not so much as to classify as a sweet stout. Hershey cocoa powder with intermingled vanilla (which may be the Bourbon influence). Rather creamy mouthfeel - struck me as an after-dinner beer. Not all that big, but, overall, quite enjoyable.

11% abv? Wow, never would have guessed.

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Photo of brdc
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Small capped beer poured into a snifter. Aged one year in my cellar but unsure about bottling date.

Nearly pitch black, average sized dark brown head, reasonable retention and lacing.
The aroma, just like the beer itself makes for a very good stout, richer than average, but not quite a double or imperial - northyorksammy called it 1.5X which seems about right.
Dark malt, lots of chocolate, milk, with just a touch of bourbon and vanilla.
Medium bodied, very smooth, highly drinkable, mostly showing chocolate, but also hints of roasted malts, milk, bourbon, vanilla.
This could be called an exceptional stout, or a good double stout. Depends what you are looking for this evening.

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Photo of six13racer
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer, not alot of good reviews but I like it.
Pours very opaque black, very small tan head that leaves a decent lacing in the glass.
Smells of burnt chocolat maltiness. A little smoky and vanilla from the oak. Bourbon is there but only in small notes. I like the flavor of Kentucky Bourbon Ale a little better. No alcohol burn for such a high ABV, very thin mouthfeel also for such a high ABV.
All in all a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a huge head, even when extreme care is taken to pour slowly down the side. The head dissipates fairly quick, and you're left with a dark brown beer.

S: Vanilla and bourbon are the main notes that I pick up from this beer. Some roasted coffee and chocolate notes come through as the beer warms up.

T: Flavors of coffee and bourbon lead, and an unpleasant aftertaste perhaps poor quality vanilla.

M: Fairly smooth.

D: Not the best beer of this style I've had. I really wouldn't want to do any sessions of just this beer. A beer this strong really needs to be more balanced than this one is. It seems almost as if the flavors didn't really merge very well.

Updated 12-29-2010

This is a beer that my fiancee and I had almost a year ago today. After nearly a year of aging, this beer has definitely improved. The beer is slightly over carbonated, foaming vigorously on the pour. The appearance is pretty good with a thick off white head, and a nice dark brown color. The aroma is of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. The taste is mostly the same, with a healthy helping of roast barley as well. The mouthfeel has a fair bit of carbonation with some alcohol heat. A tasty beer, but not one I'd want to drink more than one or two of in an evening.

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Photo of hopdog
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with OhioDad (thanks!). Bottle notched bottled on A(pril) 06.

Poured a dark black color with a large sized brown head. Aromas of roast, wood, chocolate, vanilla and very light bourbon. When I first poured it, roast was the main aroma that faded into the others. Tastes of roast, bitter chocoalte, coffee, wood, and very light bourbon. The bourbon wasn't overpowering. Alcohol content hidden.

Notes from 12/6/06

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Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev +10%
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 rtratzlaff
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This comes in a 12 oz. glass at Capital City Alehouse in Richmond, VA.

A solid black body as I would expect nothing else in an imperial stout with a thin tan head that doesn't stand up very long (could be the high abv).

The aroma is coffe, chocolate, and bourbon.
The flavors are dark roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, malty sweet and roasted bitter.
This was served too cold and the mouthfeel might get better with warmth. There's a slight sourness to this as well. Perhaps it picked up some lacto or somethin funky from the barrel. Either way, I like it.

Down to the last 1/3 of the 12 oz. and the sweetness and mouthfeel have picked up along with the bourbon oakiness, vanilla, and the sour thing I tasted earlier is all but gone.

This is nothing to seek out, but good nonetheless. Plenty of character and rarity are the two things going for this.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Commercial Tap House in Richmond, VA...

Deep, dark body paired with very bready-looking head.

Can smell copious amounts of fresh bread and cinnamon on this one.

Taste is strong, powerful combination of fresh grain/malt and burnt sugar.

Velvety and smooth mouthfeel with deep, strong finish

This drinks a lot easier than expected; could be dangerous. Good stuff.

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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 iconoklaztor
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice black color with a tan head that seems to stick around for a while! The smell is very boozy and has a oat smell as well.

The taste is a little thin, not very hoppy, but decent. It's notes of bourbon are there but wait to the finish to come about.

I think at 8.5% its super drinkable and very dangerious if quickly consumed! Its a brew that I would like to enjoy more often. A very good go to bourbon stout!


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Photo of RedBaron
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A Confederate strong stout...I just had to pick up a four-pack of this interesting-looking beer while traveling to Indianapolis recently (from Chicago).

Appearance: Super-dark brown, but not quite opaque. Low carbonation (good for the style).
Smell: Faint whiff of molasses and hand-cut cured tobacco.
Taste: Aged-whiskey sweetness, but tastefully mellowed; fig and chocolate notes, too. Quite yummy.
Mouthfeel: This beer is all about the malts and additions of the residuals sugars of having been aged in bourbon barrels. Finishes sweet, but perhaps a bit thin. The alcohol in this beer is quite apparent in the finish.
Drinkability: Not your every day beer, but one to be enjoyed when the cold winds blow.

Cunningly, I purchased many strong beers, such as this one, on a jaunt to Indianapolis in late October. My rationale was to store these types of can't-find-at-home beers in my basement until such time (i.e. WINTER IN CHICAGO) was called for.

This is one of those beers that remind me that Kentucky is one of the leading American producers of bourbon and tobacco, and only a fella with blood-ties to that state, and the South in general, could fully appreciate it, I suppose. It ain't the kind of barrel-aged stout I'm used to (having lived most of my life in the North), but I really appreciate the subtleties and mellowness in this beer. Sipping this beer makes me nostalgic for swimming in places like Kentucky Lake, or spelunking in Mammoth Cave (or Horse Cave, for those who REALLY know Kentucky cave exploration), and remembering spotting all those families in the western part of the state who hang tobacco to age under little outdoor awnings on their property.

I only hope my kin south of the Mason-Dixon line has easier access to this beer than I do!

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Photo of blakesell
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Obtained in January 2007. Poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Black as night. Looks like spent motor oil and I couldn't be happier. Frothy head that dissapates into a creamy top layer not unlike Guiness. Fairly minimal lacing

Smell - Espresso, licorice, bourbon, Chocolate malts, vanilla.

Taste- Thick chocolate goodness with the bourbon barrel aging present. This beer is quite underrated. It isn't Goose Island Bourbon County or Kentucky Breakfast, but this is a great stout to house back and enjoy every few months/years. Coffee flavours come in with a bit of alcohol warmth and oak. Creamy!

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Chocolate lingers on the toungue long after first sips are had.

Drinkability- A great beer that I could drink until it's too late. Fine bourbon prescence that doesn't go overboard as many others do. 'Bigness' makes it more of a sipper than a multiple drinker.

Great beer.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - Black in color, small head here.

smell - Malt, chocolate, and bourbon.

taste - Coffee, chocolate, malt, some bourbon present. Cocco

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Decent beer, was a nice sipper I should say. Would try again .

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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 DuqTroops
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank at the downtown Marriot in Louisville on business trip.

Appearance - dark black in color, little head (poured by bartender).

Smell - coffee and chocolate overtones, a bit of malt smell.

Taste - love the small amount of bitterness to connect with the malts and coffee complexions.

Mouthfeel - very sweet and smooth, not overpowering.

Drinkability - excellent drink.

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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 IntriqKen
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
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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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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