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

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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 438
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 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 notchucknorris
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Jet black with a thin mocha colored head.

S: A lot of bourbon and a bit of molasses and vanilla.

T: Mouthfeel seems a bit too thin for this style to me. Some good flavors of bourbon, coffee, vanilla and a little oak. It feels like it could be better with some aging.

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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 7UCK
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
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 Derek
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled October '09.

A: This must have picked up some bugs in the barrel, it's a gusher & took some time to get into the glass. Tons of bubbly head.

S: Oaky, boozy aroma, some dry roasted grain (roasted nut, coffee), brown sugar, sweet caramel, with hints of leather. I like it!

T: It picked up some bourbon and vanilla from the oak, as well as some Brett. It probably would have been better younger, as the Brett has really come forward, a bit like a Belgian stout. Dark caramel, roasted nut, molasses, coffee, hints of licorice, vanilla, sweet bourbon and oak. Balanced bitterness. Good stuff.

M: VERY dry & over-carbonated... not that I really care.

D: It's different, but I'm diggin' it.

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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 generalnotsew
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice dank, black solid coloring but the head was quite weak and the beer itself looking a bit thin. Smell is mostly a candied sugar with hints of vanilla and the bourbon toned down quite a bit. I actually like it. Not overpowering. Some dark chocolate and not much coffee. Taste is roasty and slightly bitter. Can't taste the bourbon at all. Actually may need to let it set a bit. It is a tad too cold. But so far I think it is better than most people give it. Ok letting it sit hasn't opened much more flavor. The lack of an aftertaste bugs me the most. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Very middle of the road stout. Not bad but not great.

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Photo of IIKaRuII
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled june of 08'
Took me at least 10 minutes to even get the entire 120z bottle in the pint glass. But it allows it to get a little warmer which i think it tastes better
This is a very dark, and you cannot at all... see through this.
Smell is an amazing bourbon, smells of oak, kind of sweetness. kinda nutty aswell
Taste is a very warming... almost black liquorish presence with a heavy coffee aftertaste. Has a little dark chocolate bitterness to it. this is very heavy and almost makes your stomach explode. But this is one of the best stouts i have ever had the pleasure to try.

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Photo of Swamper
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottled Nov 07.
Immense head upon pour. Think it took me 3 or 4 very slow pours to empty the 12oz into the Luettich Balloon. Off white head with a bit of pigmentation settled over about a 5 minute period and left a bit of lacing above pour.
Taste was a bit bitey from carbonation at first, vanilla came across on the sweet side. Upon warming a bit I couldn't get over the resemblance to what a flat Coke Classic would taste like if it went flat and was recarbonated and left warm. Not bad just couldn't get beyond that.
Mouthfeel was pleasant, left slight booze aftertaste.
Not sure I'd drink more than 1 of these in a single sitting.

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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 gopens44
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers of cream colored head resting atop an opaque dark brown beverage.

S - Malty with hints of coffee and not much else

T - Again, malty, coffee. There were some nice vanilla notes with a muted bourbon backing note as well. Not overly boozy, and as a matter of fact, not too boozy at all. I likely could have had a few of these without realizing any meaningful alcohol presence.

M - Creamy with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste.

D - Well, the reason I wouldn't have had a few of these was due to the fact that there are so many more tasty choices where I had this. I'm glad a had this, but it's not one of my top choices when it comes to an IRS.

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

My buddy brought this back from a trip with his brother down south. I enjoyed it a lot even though I am not a regular Stout drinker.

A - Huge tan creamy head on top of a super black viscous liquid.

S - Lots of roasted malt - coffee, chocolate, some caramel. Some bourbon and oak in the back of my nose.

T - A lot of bourbon up front with coffee bitterness on swallow - the bourbon completely overwhelmed any more subtle flavors on the first sip. As you adjust to the bourbon, the roasted malt flavors appear.

M - Thin with high carbonation - probably my least favorite part of the beer.

D- Nice sipping beer. I picture drinking this on a warm summer evening at a pig roast eating pulled pork. The bourbon finish is tasteful, the burnt faint background brings depth to the beer. Very enjoyable beer.


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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 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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Photo of vtfan77
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark brown, stout-like... oh, I guess this is a stout, so that's appropriate. Not much in the way of head, with just a thin wisp of lace forming on the pour.

S- Like a caramel macchiato: coffee, butterscotch, vanilla, toffee, cocoa... lots going on here, and very pleasant. I only wish it were stronger.

T- Thin roasted malt with a little bit of bourbon coming through, but not much. There's a sour, lightly astringent flavor throughout that is not particularly pleasant. Not terrible, but it doesn't live up to the smell at all.

M- Fairly thick and very smooth, almost a little creamy. Could possibly be a bit fuller.

D- Nice mouthfeel and the alcohol is nearly undetectable; I would have pegged the ABV at under 6%. However, the taste wears thin after a little while. I definitely wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, and it's definitely a slow sipper at that.

A little disappointing for a bourbon barrel-aged stout. I was definitely expecting more in the way of flavor. That said, it certainly wasn't bad and I'd possibly drink it again, but I don't really think it's worth the price.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
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 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 Chaney
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap over at Rustico in Alexandria, VA:

A: Served in a pint glass? Wow.... I can't see jack through this thing! Pitch black with a slightly foamy head. I'm sure it's there, but I would need night vision to detect any carbonation.

S: The bourbon is very faint, however, the richness of chocolate roastiness is definitely detectable.

T: While this is way too thin to be a "reserve" beer, I really dig the way the bourbon tastes in this setting. It's almost as if there is some sort of mildly sweet dark fruit that was allow to steep in the bourbon barrel. Nice upfront taste, but very dry, and almost charcoal-like or chalky on the finish.

D: The ABV is slightly detectable, but not too bad. Nice creamy texture that doesn't coat.

NOTE: The fact that a place like Rustico, known for it's selection and knowledge of craft beer, chose to serve this barrel-aged, reserve beer in a pint glass speaks volumes as to the brew's perceived imperial-ness. I think the Bluegrass Brewing Co. should tweak the recipe: lower the ABV about a point or two and market the beer as "Bourbon Stout." After all....the brew was made in Kentucky! It could be perhaps a be a seasonal (Dec.-Feb)?

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

Pours black with a light brown head that leaves no lacing

Nose is roasted malts, vanilla, coffee and bourbon and some oak.

Taste is like the nose, roasted malt, vanilla, coffee, bourbon and some oak. The bourbon and oak are very subdued compared to other bourbon barrel oak stouts.

ABV is hidden well, but not sure I would want more than one of these in a session.

Not a great Bourbon Barrel Stout, but not a bad one either. You get what you pay for.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received a couple bottles of this one, in a couple different trades. Pours from the bottle a dark brown/black color, with a nice cap of medium brown foam. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla and dark chocolate. A little thin on the palate, with more bourbon, oak and vanilla, along with a bit of medium bodied coffee and roasted malt. Apparently an afforable bourbon beer, and a pretty decent one.

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Photo of rembrant
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look is ultra deep brown. Some lace but not much head

As you'd guess,some stout chocholate/coffee malt hints,faint bourbon,some prune-black cherry. No hop aroma. Not a big aroma for a stout

Taste--actually a rather nice flavor,the malt side is fairly rich though more caramel than roasty-toasty. The Bourbon barrell adds some depth but is understated.

The hops side...where's the hops side? They show up a little in the aftertaste.,but the effect is closer to a Porter than a Stout. Jefferson Reserve BB Stout does run a bit cheaper than most Bourbon Barrell brews but there's a sense the brewer was not going all out,was aiming for a market niche. The basic taste is nice,add more hops, let the barrell have time to matter, boost the carbonation some and it might have done very well. It does let us frugal folk try a Barrel Stout at 1/3 the $ of a KBS, but I wish they had the boys at Victory stop by with a sack of their big fresh hops to balance a nice set of malts.

Mouth. Maybe this was past date. I recall likuing it more a previos time. I didn't note the lack of carbonation so much. With the short carbonation and the hops just aftertaste in the back of the mouth, it's too like a Porter mixed with a half cup of cold coffee.-and a dribble of Bourbon.
Pity. They had decent body and tasteful malts.

Drinkable? It's only "Econo" relative to other Barrell aged stouts,but the barrell + bourbon add too little
It's soft + sweet enough my sister in llaw liked it...but that's almost a clue that it's not stout enough.

It isn't overpowering or boozy. I could drink several. Not bad or rank but not special. Other reviews suggest perhaps batches vary.

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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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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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