Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barleywine | Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel BarleywineKentucky Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

Brewed by:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Kentucky, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERchitect on 03-12-2014

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 179
Photo of barczar
3.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aged 2 years ,so rating set to current average.

Aroma is initially very caramel forward, bourbon, with sherry oxidation emerging to counter the sweetness. Notes of cardboard surface.

Flavor is very sweet throughout, big caramel character, with notes of vanilla and bourbon dominating. The finish is fairly woody, with lingering bitterness. Sherry is faint, but adds a little character. Still very boozy and overly bitter. Touch astringent.

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Photo of madbrewer9
2.92/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Looks like a barleywine, smells like ethyl alcohol, tastes like??
Wow,how do you mess up a barrel aged barleywine to this extent!
Taste is slight burnt rubber and rubbing alcohol which a touch of dark fruit.
Finishes very thin and somewhat bitter.
BA barleywine is one of my favorite styles, this one totally misses the mark!

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Photo of Jaypeajus
3.29/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I had a nice long review of this but it froze and lost it...short story..GREAT looking beer, aaaaand not much else. Not what a barley wine could be IMHO

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

beardsonbrews hooked me up with this gem... I am SURE I've had it before, but am still stoked to get a new review! Thanks Mike!! Pours a little hazy amber with a good light khaki head.. Caramel and treacle notes with vanilla woody tannins.. A bit astringent but gets a lot better with warmth.. Cool to try an old favorite once again, thanks buddy!!


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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.52/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear deep plum color. One finger of frothy beige head. Retention is alright given the ABV and a short ring of lacing is left.

3.25 S: The barrel comes through well. Big leather, vanilla, and oak. Caramel, toastiness. Just a few hints of dark fruits including plum, red apple, and a touch of raisin. The base beer doesn't offer a whole lot.

2.25 T: The taste is severely lacking. It's all barrel and no base beer. Leather, tannic astringency, vanilla, oak. Toasty. Just a touch of plum, raisin, and toffee. Overall pretty dry.

2.25 M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Lacking all creaminess.

2.0 D: This is a pretty piss poor beer. Fails miserably as a barleywine.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.93/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Crystal clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Oak and bourbon nose and flavor is citrusy oak and hints of caramel. High ABV is hidden. $4.20 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of taters21
4.5/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep red wine color with a small white foamy head. Toffee, vanilla, and oak on the nose. Starts with an alcohol oak, then turns into a vanilla bourbon with notes of dark fruit, and finishes with earthy bittering hops. Mouthfeel is a moderate, it's thin but does coat the mouth well enough. Overall, interesting, I like the complexity but even though I let it warm, still wanted more fruit notes.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +19.8%

Ale pours a brilliant ruby red with light pooling foam layer that just keeps hanging around
with excellent lacing. Nose of rich dark berry fruits, oak, sweet caramel, and mild bourbon.
This ale increases in complexity the more it warms. A very nice smooth mouthfeel, moderately
coating with decent carbonation for the style. Brown sugar, and a dark plum like flavor hits
upfront with alcohol and oak coming though on the back with a decent amount of sticky hops
kick to keep the hop heads happy. Strident and in line with the style, this is one you could
easily lay down for a time. Ice cold does nothing for this one. Let it warm and speak to you,
it will tell an interesting tale.


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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: Murky red color. Off white head dissipates quickly. Wispy and spotty lacing.

S: Rich brown caramel, brown bread, raspberry scones, fruitcake, pinch of brown cocoa, juicy red berry and currant esters. Bourbon and wood are initially quiet, but become more prominent as the beer warms.

T: Candy apple shell, brown bread, chewy caramel, toffee, brown cocoa. Earthy and herbal hops are stiff and bitter with a spicy and oily punch that clamps down a bit. They bring a nectarine/marmalade citrusy dimension too. Vinous fruitiness of cherries, currants, and red berries. Woody barrel flavors and bourbon punch through toward the back with a touch of spicy alcohol heat. Sweet candied finish with earthy bitter hops gripping harder.

M: Thick and chewy in body with a syrupy and viscous feel. Low carbonation. Spicy alcohol warmth.

O: It feels very young and rough, but there's some potential here. This is easily a beer that can-and probably should- spend at least a year in the barrel.

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Photo of brureview
4.08/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an attractive copper red color in a snifter with no head.

I could smell the aroma from the bottle: strong toffee and oak.

The mouth feel was very carbonated.

Intially, the beer had a strong alcoholic finish and a prominent oak presence which dwarfed the
the taste of the fruit ( 45°F). Then as it warmed up, the taste was totally different.
It was more balanced, the oak, and alcoholic finish diminished, and there was a stronger fruit taste.

Overall- an excellent American Barleywine. An issue with this beer is that it must be tasted at a warmer temp 50-55F, otherwise it may appear imbalanced. Glassware is also key. A snifter or a tulip works well for this style- much better than a pint glass.

The lower ratings are probably due to tasting the beer at colder serving temps.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine (2014 Limited Release) has a thin-to-medium off-white head, a mostly clear, rust-red color, some bubble streams, and light lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweetness, bourbon barrels, and alcohol. Taste is of bourbon, wood, vanilla, very sweet malt, and a slight balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is light-to-medium, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine 2014 finishes semi-dry and surprisingly easy drinking. The alcohol warmth kicks in with the sipping.


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Photo of mfnmbvp
2.95/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, vintage 2014 printed on the bottleneck label. Acquired a single bottle of this somewhere along the line and have had it for a month or so. My second beer review from Alltech.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - It pours a somewhat thin watery looking burnt sienna orange / ruby colored body with about two fingers of off-white / khaki head. It leaves some okay lacing behind, but it appears below average for the style.

S - The aroma is pretty bland. Mild oak wood / bourbon / whiskey fumes, and some faint vanilla / caramel / toffee aromas. It smells half-assed and semi-medicinal / artificial.

T - Taste follows the nose - some hot whiskey / bourbon alcohol fumes, some woodsy oak barrel, and mild caramel / vanilla / toffee. Alcohol seems pretty dominant.

M - The feel is lightly fumey / hot, with some stickiness lingering on the palate. Thin / light and watery for the style. Hot booze on the finish.

Overall, this thing needs to be barrel aged longer, and I mean longer. None of the wonderful characteristics that I expect to stand out in a nice barrel aged beer are present here at all. Not recommended by any means, unless you want to see what a bourbon barrel aged barleywine shouldn't taste like.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine ---3/5.

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Photo of Paincane
3.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Clear amber body with tan head and good lacing. Decent head retention.
S: Boozy Bourbon and caramel malt aromas. A most pleasant bouquet.
T: Flavors follow nose and are bourbon, sweet malty, caramel and booze.
M: Smooth, rich and flavorful.
O: Tasty Barleywine that is easily drinkable.

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Photo of fastrodney
3.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a Mason jar.

A: Dark copper with thin lacing

S: Slight sweet, toasted caramel with some alcohol

T: Sweet malt - not too strong, balances well with the 10% alcohol. Bourbon flavor is not overpowering

M: Medium body, medium carbonation

O: This is my first barleywine, so not familiar with the style, but this beer works well. Nothing is overpowering - the sweetness of the malt, the steep alcohol, and thankfully bourbon flavor that is more of a team player than many.

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Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
3.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Crystal clear red amber color. Foamy head that didn’t leave much lacing.

Aroma: Toasted nuts, caramel, bourbon, and alcohol.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Flavor on the tongue is that of buttery caramel, and the texture is appropriately smooth. The finish sees flavors of toasted pecan, nutty malt, and lots of booze. Flavors on the back of the tongue are resiny bitterness, and alcohol.

Final Word: Throughout the beer, the strong flavor of booze overwhelms the others. This brew takes many of the great flavors in Alltech’s KY Bourbon Barrel Ale and ups the alcohol content without adding to the complexity or richness of the original. The final product has lots of great things to taste, but they are all masked and overwhelmed by the strong presence of alcohol. Perhaps a bit more aging is in order? Either way, in its current state, I’d recommend snagging the excellent KY Bourbon Barrel Ale over the Barleywine version, hands down!

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Photo of ThickNStout
1.98/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle from Barrel and Barley (Woodstock, GA). 3.79. No apparent bottling date. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a rose hued burgandy brown with a half finger ecrue head. The head settles to a thin ring, only leaving occasional dots of lace.

Lackluster aromas of simple syrup, bourbon and cereal grains.

The flavor is so unnecessarily boozy. Hot bourbon, burnt sugar, cereal, charred oak and tons of harsh alcohol. All burn and very little flavor.

Slick yet fairly thin body with mild carbonation. Harsh, boozy hot finish with burnt wood, bourbon and blackened sugar.

Yikes. This turned out to be a hot, unflavorful mess. I powered through about 7-8 ounces in the name of science to finish this review. That was too much.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance 3.25: Poured out a deep, translucent, reddish-brown. No head and no lacing. Still, this beer looks striking in the glass.

Smell 4.0: Awesome hit of vanilla and oak tannins once I opened the bottle. This only faded slightly the longer the beer was exposed to air. Gorgeous scents of burnt sugar, barley, deep oaky tannins and, of course...bourbon.

Taste 3.25: Front is flat and somewhat dry. Middle is where the tastes come rolling in: vanilla, oak, bourbon, faint hints of dried stonefruits and a slight hop bite. Finish is slightly bitter, with a warming sensation from all the alcohol (however, there is no taste of the alcohol). Aftertaste is long and heavy on the oak and bourbon. There is a bitterness that lingers on the palate at this level. It is slightly off-putting, but not unbearable.

Mouthfeel 3.0: Dry in the mouth and somewhat less than enticing for multiple sips. The bitterness also detracts from the score at this level.

Overall 3.25: Very good barley wine. The oak aging puts it over the top and I am certain that if you let a bottle of this sit around for a few years it will be exponentially better than it is currently. Still, for those of us who cannot resist, this beer is warming and exhibits all the delicious flavors that we "aged in oak" nuts love.

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Photo of DrDemento456
2.29/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Damn the reviews on this are so disheartening if I wasn't drunk already I would sway away but I paid $3.99 for the single so I will give it a shot.
A - Well it looks like a great barleywine. Color is a clear deep red amber brown with a 1/4 inch of head. It actually makes for great lacing but fizzes out rather quickly.
S - Solvent alcohol smells in the glass reminds me of Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus in a way no noticeable grapes but strong alcohol smells. Hope it taste sweeter than it smells.
T - Well the taste only brings out some sweetness mostly like a cleaning product the finish coats the tongue and burns. Not really choking at the flavor but I could see why other reviews say it taste like the regular BB beer with a shot of vodka.
M - Well it drinks with a medium to heavy body. Kind of hurts when it sits on the palate.

Please avoid this beer it is like a barley wine aged in a vodka barrel. Like malt liquor bad. Don't drink!

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Photo of guityler83
2.5/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured into ye old pint glass, the foam stood an inch tall and receded moderately quickly. Off white head that left a snow esque lacing on the edge. The beer is dark amber or a maroon leather kind of vibe. Clarity is high, no haze or sediment really.

S: Moderately high malt aroma on the first impression. Plums, prunes, raisins, over ripened fruit, some toffee notes. Very sweet impression. Mild to low hop aroma with herbal and spicey characteristics.

T: Rich malt sweetness with flavors consistent with the aroma. Prunes and raisins mixed with over ripe apples and pears. The balance is on the malt side and coming off very sweet. The hop bitterness is only apparent in the aftertaste where it expresses on the back of the tongue with the spicey, earthy flavors. Very low level of bourbon flavor coming through with zero wood flavor or tannins.

M: Carbonation levels are moderate for the beer but the body is big and thick. There is an astringancy / harshness in the aftertaste that might be coming from the hops or the barrel.. can't really tell.. but its unpleasant.

O: With out seeing the label I would have a hard time believing this beer is barrel aged at all. The sweetness is so overwhelming maybe its covering it up. If you like your English BW's sweet with some herbal hop notes this might be up your alley. Just not my thing

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.27/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours an absolutely gorgeous copper color. The head pale yellow in shade, and a finger high. The retention is quite good, and a minor ring of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Well, I'm getting the vanilla...unfortunately it seems slightly artificial. There are also touches of oaky bourbon, and that's about it. It's amazing how insipid this is for a 10% BA barleywine.

T: All I taste is oak. Biting, harsh oak. Wait, I lie - I'm getting the faintest hint of vanilla on the finish. I'm just going to put it like this: this is watery. A 10% BA barleywine. Watery. I lie again - this isn't a barley wine. This is tannin water. Some wisps of caramel try to appear, but to no avail. Nope, this one is no good.

M: Tannins bite the palate hard, and don't let go. There actually isn't a massive alcohol presence, just the harsh oak barrel making it seem that way. It's also dry and clean finishing, giving it okay drinkability at the cost of richness and decadence. Somewhat overcarbonated for the style.

O: When tasting beers with low averages, there's always the hope that it will do better than what the review collective says. Well, that's not the case here. It tastes like the base beer stood no chance against the barrel treatment - oak flavors hideously overpower everything. Even worse, the bourbon flavor is insipid and lacking in complexity. The best I can say about this is that it makes me look at Sucaba and Insanity in new lights. I'd even go so far as to say it's the worst barrel-aged beer I've ever had.

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Photo of Sleepy_Conscience
2.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I was pretty excited to see this at my local grocery store since I'm a big fan of their flagship Bourbon Barrel Ale and Queen's Velvet (mixing the Bourbon Barrel Ale with Vanilla Porter, preferably from Breckenridge Brewery). Gotta say I was pretty underwhelmed. Basically tastes like they dumped half a shot of vodka into a bottle of the regular Bourbon Barrel Ale. That's a little too harsh probably, but gets at my problem with it. It's basically the same thing but with a clear taste of more alcohol. Kind of bitter, but not in a good way. This isn't the first non-BBA beer of their's I haven't liked. I'm starting to think this brewery is kind of a one hit wonder.

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Photo of DIM
2.32/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

a: Shiny, clear copper; poured with a big, sticky, rocky head.

s: Lots of oaky wood and astringent, floral heat dominate the nose. Some hints of vanilla and toffee, no bourbon that I could find.

t: A little sweet toffee up front and a sharp, perfumed alcohol finish with lingering charred, woody astringency. This tastes like a thin beer was aged in old, dried out barrels. No bourbon character whatsoever.

m: Thin and watery.

o: Short of infection, this is as bad as a barleywine gets.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.72/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

This has a light root beer brown cleanliness with lots of carbonation and a thin fizzy head with little to no retention.

The aroma holds hints of brownie, boozy toffee, and light dark fruit like prune and date. Oakey barrel and bourbon touch the nose slightly with some marshmallow creaminess.

The flavor has good chocolate qualities with some toffee, caramel and Werthers candy. The oak and bourbon are creamy and definitely reveal the same barrel in the KY Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech. I also get touches of maple, prune, coconut and butterscotch.

This really seems to be an excellent addition to the Lexington Craft Beer scene but for an all too off putting feel. This is exceptionally thin, bitter and a touch boozy. Three qualities that I don't want in a Barleywine. The feel is so poor that it actually detracts from the flavor which I found quite good.

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Photo of rangerred
2.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear deep ruby with a half finger off-white head. Really great lacing along with some decent head retention.

The aroma on this is seriously lacking. Very light caramel and toffee with just the slightest hints of vanilla from the bourbon. Quite disappointing.

The flavor, thankfully, is a little more bold but not much. A mix of vanilla and burnt toffee with wood notes coming through later in the taste. Everything is very light, though, and not nearly as assertive as I was hoping for. Fairly thick mouthfeel along with a sticky finish.

Overall, this beer is a bit disappointing. Everything about it is light and weak; not at all like I though a barrel aged barley wine would be. Not really one worth seeking out.

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Photo of tigg924
2.97/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: high carbonation, 3/4 inch head, clear, copper in color

Smell: citrus hops, bark, and light bourbon

Taste: Like the smell, citrus hops, bitter barky hops, and fresh bourbon

Mouthfeel: sweet start with a bitter middle and dry bitter finish, heavy-bodied, high carbonation

Overall: Of all of the Lexington brewery beers I have had so far this is my least favorite. The finish here is really dry and the bourbon seems a bit young. This might be better with age, but for the price-point I am unlikely to try it...especially when I know I can get their regular bourbon ale and be perfectly happy.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.34 out of 5 based on 179 ratings.
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