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 drperm
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First off, a cursory glance at reviews suggests that the bottled version does not hold up nearly as well as the draught. Here's no exception: I immenseley enjoyed the tap version I had last night.

Ap: Very dark, nearly opaque with flecks of red. Extremely thin tan lace atop.

S: Madagascar vanilla, amaretto, coffee liqueur, dark chocolate.

T: Impossibly smooth: notes of almond, mocha, kahlua, and an oaky, woodsy finish of quality bourbon whisky to balance the sweetness.

P: Totally smooth and efortlessly drinkable. The subtle notes of the finish keep on going long after I set the glass down.

O/D: A noble brew. Very rich but eminently drinkable. Beware, though: the 8.5% will sneak up on you. Highly recommended.

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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 Riccymon
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a deep black color with a quarter inch of brownish head. Head is short-lived, and no lacing remains. The nose on Jefferson's Reserve turns out to be the highlight of the beer, in my opinion. A really appealing woody aroma is easy to smell, and there are chocolate and whiskey notes making it smell even nicer.

After that nice aroma, the flavor in Jefferson's is subdued to the point of being disappointing. All the flavors are there, but they're just not that bold. The whiskey/vanilla flavor is nice, but underwhelming, especially compared to other, similar beers. Body is on the thin side, and it drinks very easily. I definitely don't feel like I'm drinking an 8.5% bourbon-barrel stout. On the whole, this was nice to drink, and I'm glad I bought a four-pack, but it doesn't measure up the way it could.

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Photo of tcfishler
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark chocolate brown with a modest but nicely finely textured head.

Dryish aromas of charred oak staves and unaggressive cocoa.

Surprisingly light bodied for the ABV with a faint juiciness. Both these qualities make for a remarkably drinkable big beer, which is otherwise not too well distinguished.

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Photo of rlg5150
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this from a 12oz bottle into a Pilsner-type glass.

A- Looks really good. Very dark, almost completely black. The head was exceptionally big (more on this later) and settled into a nice creamy foam.

S- Chocolate. That's pretty much all I'm getting from this one. Maybe a little bourbon peeping through but perhaps that's just because I was expecting it. It smells very nice and malty, though.

T- Fairly sweet with almost no bitter. The bourbon doesn't really come in until the aftertaste.

M- Strange, I've had this before but I don't remember it being as carbonated as a Sprite. The head was enormous with a much-less-than-vigorous pour and the mouthfeel was just as you'd expect from seeing it. I think this is a one time thing because it's more carbonated than any BMC light.

D- As drinkable as any 8.50% ABV beer. Taste is good but too many of these will bloat you up and knock you on your ass.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At the 11th Street Taphouse in Virginia Beach.

Oh a nice deep black beer with a little brown head. No thick foam here and no lacing as the head fades fast.

Great roasty malt aroma, some coffee notes and a great vanilla character that brings it all together. The taste is subtly roasty, vanilla and nice hints of bourbon. Just a touch of bitter hops in in the finish, but the lingering of sweet malt and bourbon is what I am ultimately left with. A well made beer with a great balance of flavors.

Big bodied, noticeably viscous in the glass. Low carbonation level is perfect. A great drinkable AIS, I would have had another but for the price tag on this pint.

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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 cpetrone84
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a nearly opaque black color that lets a little red hue through on the edges, the head is pretty tight and fizzy lingering for a little, khaki colored, with a nice lace left on the side of the glass.

S-the nose has lots of rich dark chocolate, very decadent, a nice oak presence with a faint touch of bourbon from the barrel. Roasted malts and a touch of nuttiness to it in the back.

T-roasted maltiness with a lot of rich dark chocolate, very creamy and decadent chocolate. a solid oak presence and a hint more bourbon than the nose but still light enough to not detract from the flavor. The back has a touch of nuttiness and a faint note of some slightly burnt coffee.

M-this is a little thin, medium bodied and very smooth and creamy on the palate. well carbonated to give it a good crisp finish. its just too thin.

D-very tasty brew and quite subtle showing no signs of the larger abv. the body really detracts from the quality but the flavors are pretty tasty, a little one dimensional, all roasted maltiness but the rich chocolate actually gives it notes of sweetness.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark as night with a nice tan head. Minimal lacing, but I don't usually expect tons of that here.

S - Bourbon is hot. Get some roasted malts and a little bit of coffee, but the bourbon dominates.

T - Tastes pretty good, chocolaty with a nice roasted malt backbone. Little coffee, and hot bourbon. The bourbon is good, but doesn't meld in enough with the rest of the tastes to make this exceptional.

M - Full bodied, slight carbonation.

D - Hot bourbon and high abv knock this one down, it tastes good but the bourbon gets too overpowering at times. Would drink it again, but guessing this one will cool down and get better with time.

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Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with a generous tan head. looks inviting and beggs a first sip.

S - This beer smells so good that it should be made into a candle scent. seriously. With nose notes of sweet roasted barley, fine chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and a hint of bourbon.

T - Big dark chocolate flavor, roasted malt, freshly brewed coffee, nice hint of bourbon, a little vanilla extract.

M - Moderate body. silky smooth. velvet texture. perfect balance of carbonation and syrupy thinkness.

D - Overall this beer is very well rounded. complex enough to keep you interested, but drinkable enough to pound a few. just watch your pace with this one. that 8.5% will sneak up on you!

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Photo of katan
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz into a tulip, March 2009 vintage

A - This beer has extreme carbonation problems. It took forever to get a pour due to its gushing head. It filled my tulip up over and over again. The beer itself is very dark black, opaque.

S - Pulls through a very strong bourbon flavor - burnt, woody, noticeably dry. Somewhat vanilla notes are present. Pretty edgy.

T - Starts off light, a hair of burnt barley, grainy and edgy. Somewhat acidic. Bourbon notes come up, a little more oak and vanilla. Finishes bourbony, edgy, woody, somewhat burnt. Very earthy tasting beer.

M - Extremely stingy from all the carbonation. Beer body itself is a little bit light, seems low in body compared to a strong DIS. Finishes with a light film on the tongue, lightly sweet, light oily texture of woody notes.

D - Not very drinkable. ABV is pretty low for a DIS, but at the same time the carbonation is very filling. Flavors are a bit edgy- would have hoped for more balance from vanilla and bourbon.

I have aged this beer for 6 months hoping it would come around - short answer is that it probably got worse.

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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 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 BeerAndBourbon
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Unfortunately this bottle feel out of my fridge while rearranging my beer. Since the cap popped open a bit I needed to drink it. That said the head was massive, which might be a result of being shaken right before being served.

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. Wow! Tons 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 make an appearance, but make no mistake this is a bourbon beer. The alcohol manages to hide fairly well, though.

M. Thin with a fairly high level of carbonation - probably my least favorite part of the beer. With an imperial stout I expect to be chewing on the beer.

D. I must say that it's not supremely drinkable at 3 o'clock on a Thursday, but most people probably won't be drinking it at this time. That said, as a bourbon lover I appreciate the bourbon character, but I also wish that it blended in with the other flavors a bit more.

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Photo of biglite351
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - slight orange around the edge, otherwise black. Tall off white head that drops slow but leaves no lacing.

S - very strong bourbon smell. Some malts from the stout break through, but there is no confusing what kind of brew this is, bourbon barrel.

T - opposite of the scent. Solid stout flavor with a hint of bourbon coming through. One MAJOR problem with most bourbon Stouts is that the bourbon flavor way overpowers the flavor of the beer. If I wanted something that just tasted like bourbon, I would have a glass of bourbon. These folks got the mix right, a stout with a little bourbon flavor playing on the sides of the tongue. The stout flavor itself is okay, but a little shallow.

M - very light coating with only a light tingle on the front sides of the tongue.

D - Nothing negative about it makes it drinkable, but the overall lack of flavor depth would have you grab another option after a few.

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Photo of nova009
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown pushing black color, about a half finger tan head that quickly dissipates, very weak lacing

S- chocolate and coffee are the initial scents, bourbon and oak are barely noticeable

T- coffee and chocolate stand out the most, highly disappointed with the lack of bourbon, oak, and vanilla flavors that usually emerge from a bourbon barrel stout

M- medium body, carbonation is pretty high, kind of distracts you from he flavors

D- not hard to drink, probably won't purchase another one of these

P.S. If you want a good stout from BBC try the Heine Brother's Coffee Stout

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Photo of OnThenIn
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It pours a dark jet black with a half finger of brown head. The head doesn't last forever, but it does leave some nice lacing.

Smell: The beer has a bourbon aroma with notes of roasted malt and a certain sweetness that all comes together for a chocolate and coffee like smell.

Taste: The taste is really smooth to the point of almost tasting a little watered down, with nice roasted notes that are not followed by bitter roasted malt flavor. The beer finishes surprisingly clean and dry with just a hint of residual bitterness. The beer also has a definite bourbon flavor. Their is also a bit of vanilla and coffee.

Mouthfeel: The beer is a little more carbonated than I would expect, and the beer is full bodied, but not huge by any means.

Drinkability: The beer is surprisingly drinkable for a 8.5% bourbon barrel aged. For the pricing, especially considering that this was bourbon barrel aged, I would definitely pick it up again. This is actually my first bourbon barrel and I was hoping the bourbon wouldn't blow me away. In fact, it didn't and I am looking forward to the next bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle picked up on a recent trip to kentucky. drank from my stone irs snifter.

A- the pour is a very dark brown, with only a little red showing up when held near a light. a small fluffy coffee colored head forms on top and quickly fades. it leaves behind nearly complete rings of lacing.

S- dark roasted malts come up first. a little bit of chocolate, both milk and dark, comes up next. the bourbon and oak come through very faintly.

T- dark roasted malts and chocolate. mostly dark, but a little milk also. some spiciness and a little bit of vanilla from the oak. the bourbon comes through even more faintly in the taste than the nose, and i wasnt sure that was possible. some coffee at the end.

M- medium bodied, which is too thin for the style. the carbonation is also a little too high for an RIS.

D- not my favorite bourbon barrel stout, but its still somewhat drinkable. the price and abundance of this makes it something ill probably get again.

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Photo of bevenson
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Label has place for bottling date but it is unmarked.

A - Ink black with very low forming, deep tan head that quickly dissapates to a thin ring on the edge of the glass.

S - Light chocolate, coffee and toffee malts. Mild oakiness with a touch of bourbon. A touch of anise and licorice. Mild yeast fruitiness emerges as the beer warms. Initial impressions are that this will be a much tamer beer than some other bourbon barrel stouts.

T - Moderate roasted malt with a firm bitterness from the dark roasted malts and the hops. A tinge of bourbon and vanilla follow the roast. A light spiciness from the oak and presumably from the hops. Bourbon becomes more apparent as the beer warms. Woody and floral hops emerge midglass.

M - Medium to thin body and dry with a stronger carbonation than the lack of head retention lead me to believe. Very sneaky alcoholic presence; very smooth for an 8% ABV. Not a very overwhelming aftertaste which makes for an oddly refreshing bourbon barrel beer.

D - At first I was expecting a bourbon barrel RIS, but I don't think that's what BBC was shooting for. I think they were intending to do something closer to a Dry Irish Stout or an American Stout for this beer. So this beer doesn't have the huge, bold flavors of a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout or a Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged BORIS. This one is a little more subtle, which I appreciate. If you're leery on trying a bourbon barrel beer I suggest giving this one a try.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a recent trade with kelly88. Thanks Sean!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Poured out dark brown with reddish hues; created a fizzy, tan head that dissipated quickly. Once settled, the body is opaque - brownish black throughout. A very thin ring of bubbles clings to the glass. When swirled, the head foams up a bit, but it doesn't last. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Very metallic, to a point where it detracts from the other aromas. I get hints of toffee, dark chocolate, and bourbon-like phenols. Meh.

Taste: Toffee and dark chocolate stand out immediately, and bourbon comes through very nicely in the finish. That metallic twang is still there, but it's not nearly as prevalent as it was in the smell. There are also some mild floral notes, which come through the most in the finish and aftertaste. With that said, the aftertaste is pretty weak. Alcohol is hidden well, and it's done so without making the beer too sweet. Could use some more complexity.

Mouthfeel: Malty, somewhat chewy, a bit warm, and a bit dry. Moderate level of carbonation. Body is on the thin side for an imperial stout. All in all, I'd call this average; there are a lot of improvements to be made, but what's there is satisfactory.

Drinkability: For the right price, I'd buy this. Far from special, but this bourbon stout gets the job done.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle into big red wine glass.

Pours black all the way around, with a wee thin brown head after an aggressive pour that fizzles quickly to a thin swirl of bubbles on top.

Nose is certainly big on the bourbon - huge whiffs of Kentucky bourbon, carrying notes of big oak, currants, and vanilla, rather boozy; over a bit of chocolaty roast malt.

Taste is odd, really thin and watery. Watered down bourbon is in there, maybe a bit of slightly acidic roasted malt, some burnt grain, a bit of chocolate, but really not much else. The finish is stupidly clean for the style, carrying just a hint of bourbon. It's rather disappointingly... well, missing.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, medium bodied if that, coarse but overly light carbonation.

I guess this could be drinkable... if it had enough flavor to actually make you want to drink more of it. Really kind of disappointing.

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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 nickd717
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle as an extra in a trade.

Pours darkest brown with a small light tan head.

Aroma is roast, caramel, bourbon, and smoke. A little weak.

Flavor has a weird BBQ sauce-like note, maybe Worcestershire sauce. Roast, chocolate, and liquid smoke as well. A little grainy even. Not much bourbon.

Smooth but pretty light on the palate.
Overall good but not too impressive for the style. I expected more. Drinkable, but if you call it an imperial stout, this is weak.

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

This beer was a little bit underwhelming for a Bourbon Barrel style beer. It lacks punch. The smell was nice and bourbony, but bourbon was lacking in the flavor. It is a pretty good flavor, but I want more bourbon kick. Has your typical Stout mouthfeel with a bourbon/hairspray tinge? Not sure how to describe this weird flavor I am getting but its a little funky. Alcohol hidden pretty well for the ABV

Probably will avoid this one in the future.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque black color with brown highlights when held aloft. The tan head is initially tall, with a creamy, densely frothy texture. Retention is good with decent lacing left along the glass.

S: Firm notes of coffee and dark chocolate, with some lactic notes. Somewhat roasty with mild charcoal notes. Bourbon and oak are noticeable but not overwhelming.

T: Moderate roasted malt presence up front. Dark chocolate is more prevalent than coffee, although neither is overly strong. Some sweet lactic notes and perhaps a hint of vanilla. A bit of oakiness adds a pleasant touch, with some bourbon notes into the finish.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is mild, contributing to a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is not very noticeable. Somewhat withering overall; a disappointment given the style.

D: This is a pretty good beer, but the mouthfeel and (to a lesser extent) the maltiness (or lack thereof) hold this back a fair amount. Given the hype that bourbon barrel aged beers receive, this is a letdown even though it's still pretty solid 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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