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

BA SCORE
82
good
635 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.19%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Award winning Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a unique sipping beer with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted bourbon. Our Kentucky Ale is aged for up to 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrels. Pleasantly smooth and robust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale may also be served as an aperitif or after dinner drink.

Added by SheepNutz on 07-13-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
635
Ratings:
2,913
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
963
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,913
Photo of SykDoc
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear golden copper color. A 1/4 inch egg shell head forms and quickly reduces to minimal lacing. Carbonation is visible.

The aroma is rather weak with some notes of vanilla mixed with caramel and just a hint of whiskey.

The taste redeems the nose with a quick whiskey followed by vanilla and some malty sweetness at the finish. Some oaky and perhaps a bit of dark cherry is present.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a solid level of carbonation. It goes down smooth and leaves a pleasant dryness on the roof of your mouth.

Overall, this is a solid beer. The components are there, it just seems like it could have had a bit more punch, which would have made it even better.

 731 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange. One inch tan head fades quickly.

S: Strong smells of bourbon and wood jump out immediately. Low herbal hop bitterness. Underlying notes of warm vanilla and caramel sweetness.

T: Very sweet up front with tastes of caramel and bourbon mingling nicely. Some grainy malt tastes come out mid-palate. Bourbon presence remains strong throughout, but stays warm and cozy and never gets too hot. Very woody throughout too. Some faint floral/herbal hops, but bitterness mainly balances here and doesn't overachieve. Warm vanilla is slightly subdued, but still there. Finishes sweet with tastes of caramel, bourbon, and wood.

M: Medium bodied, very full, creamy, and smooth. Low carbonation. Warming alcohol is slight, and soothes rather than burns.

O: This is a hard beer for me to grade. I really liked it. It's a fine beer to sip, and fairly easy to drink. However, underneath the bourbon flavors, all you have is a very simple, bland beer. The whole beer seems to have been designed only to showcase the bourbon, making it a bit of a one-trick pony. It does a great job of it though, and if you're into bourbon and barrel flavors (as I am), then this is one you will absolutely want to seek out. I ended up grading it a 'B,' but it's probably the highest 'B' I've ever given.

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Photo of MikeOPFL
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts with a light ale with a hint of biscuit and grain, with the bourbon scents/taste "overpowering" this beer in a positive way.

On the tongue, the first notes are strong of bourbon, vanilla and oak. As far as the "treatment" of this ale, mission accomplished! The downside is that it overpowers the ale itself.

I'm a huge bourbon barrel beer fan, but a more complex malt profile would make this a much better beer, leaving me somewhat disappointed.

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Photo of Yesac
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Not the color I was expecting. Clear pale golden yellow. No head, just a ring around the glass.

S- Big aroma. Sweet vanilla, cotton candy with bourbon. Interesting.

T- Very 'ale' tasting. Sweet bourbon and vanilla on a toasty malt base.
Weak taste overall.

M/D- Medium carbonation and medium body. Just not an exciting beer here.

 336 characters

Photo of Durge
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A clear orange tea color with a modest white cover that clings to the sides and leaves very little lace on the snifter glass served at Max & Erma's at Cincinnati Airport, terminal B. The aroma is a decent carmel malt which I guess is basically a product of the proported bourbon with a hint of citrus hop. The bourbon is a bit more clear in the taste, almost candied It's crisp and clean with good, fine carbonation. There is a mild bitterness that gathers at the back of my mouth, bread and biscuit with some malt, a touch of flowery sweetness and some alcohol. I don't think I would want to drink a lot of these, that bourbon and bitter theme wears a little thin on the taste buds, but it is a fair experience, worth the try. I had it with an excellent turkey club sandwich which seemed to only accentuate the bourbon flavor. It also seemed to have a little kick, the ale not the sandwich.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a clear medium gold with some orange highlights. The carbonation is bad, no head rises, no lacing, the beer looks oily.

The aroma is pretty light, giving off light notes of vanilla, oak, and candy sugar at the end.

The taste is really weird, there is some distinct vanilla but its combined with alcohol and sugar.

The feel is super light and watery feeling without much of an aftertaste or feel.

Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, this beer is really weird. Its like drinking a light barrel ris that's combined with a pilsner. Not a great combo.

 623 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright amber body capped by a thinning layer of white bubbles.

Smell: Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and humble pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a caramel kick to them make way for the far stronger flavors of vanilla, oaken barrel extract, light brown sugar, and even toasted coconut. Medium sweetness throughout. Never much in the way of hops or bitterness. Rebound of basic malty sweetness along with a rather woody quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly interesting, I'll give it at least that much. Maybe its the decaying brain cells, but I cannot adequately recall such a light base beer getting the bourbon barrel treatment. It's appealing to try all the characteristics bourbon barrel aging has to offer without being hampered and diluted by a... well, more substantial beer, but it doesn't make for an overall sublime drinking experience and doesn't have much appeal beyond the one bottle.

 1,044 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draught. It was served colder than I would have had it from the bottle. This is a very pretty beer but I didn't taste much bourbon. Slight vanilla taste but overall rather pedestrian. Not bad but not special, either.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very beautiful beer, light brown colored, with amazing clarity. The bubbles of carbonation stream upward in numerous lines, supporting a half inch thick off-white foam with excellent retention. Nose is straightforward bourbon, with vanilla notes and sort of a nutty malt character.

The flavor is rather unsweetened and a bit dry with toasty oak and vanilla notes, and yet more nuttiness, almost like almonds. It's suprisingly not overpowering, but something is a bit off here. Perhaps it's a bit too one dimesional, I think it actually needs a bit more kick. The finish is dry and without much depth, it could use a little more bitterness or even some heat to round things out. Mouthfeel is a bit light, carbonation softer than it would appear.

Not as bad as I was expecting, but not good either really. This beer is more of a novelty, probably to entice whisky fans into trying a bourbon-esque brew that will suit their tastes. Hardcore beer fans will likely pass on this one as the beer itself lacks complexity.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Pours a clear amber hue with a two fingered white head that drops rather quickly. Some light lacing evident.

Aromas of oak, light vanillla, malt. No hop aroma.

Flavors of diluted vanilla, oak, malt, no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is relatively thin, decent level of carbonation.

Overall, nothing special here. Rather subdued in all its character.

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Photo of IPreferPotButBeerIsGood
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Looks tasty. Nice dark amber color, very bourbon-y in color with a very thin, bubbly head that leaves a nice ring and a very thin film.

A: Literally smells like watered down bourbon and a bit of ale hint. Not a bad smell.

T: Tasted like bourbon as well, however was very much an ale. Somewhat bitter, but kind of tangy as well. It was interesting, but unimpressive.

F: Felt very nice and bubbly. High-medium carbonation. Went down smoothly.

O: Not bad if you like bourbon, but if you like bourbon, drink bourbon. This isn't something I would quite feel inclined to buy again, and I'm glad I only got a bottle instead of a growler.

 637 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Medium gold color, and very, very clear. One finger's worth of white head, and lots of visible carbonation.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, charcoal, caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose - very bourbon forward, but with nice woody flavors and a caramel sweetness.

M: Thin thin mouthfeel. Nice carbonation on the tongue. Not overly hot even with the bourbon flavors.

O: This one is different, interesting, but ultimately not great. I feel like it's a bourbon-aged non-hoppy pale ale.

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a clear amber, with ~1 finger of white head, which fades gradually, leaving a thin, incomplete cap. No lacing noted.

S- A strong odor of pure bourbon.

T- Like sweet bourbon with a few hint of banana esters and vanilla. Alcohol bite is moderate. Sweetness is fairy high.

M- Moderate carbonation/fairly creamy.

D- Decent. Nice bourbon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a nice feel.

Future outlook: Probably not one to seek out often, but a pleasant brew that I wouldn't turn down.

 541 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

Pours honey/amber with one finger of rapidly falling pearl colored head. Nice viscous look to this with average lacing & head retention

S: Toffee, butterscotch & bourbon by the bucket that faded as this warmed

T: Dryness, bourbon & butterscotch & some booze warmth upfront. Much toffee, oaky, dryness & vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry, semi-boozey with a touch of honey, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: A bit thin all things considered, more malt depth is needed, with medium carbonation

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes

 571 characters

Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt amber look with light carbonated head.

Strong bourbon smell to this one. Very light vanilla smell.

Mostly bourbon flavor, but it's not too strong, with a light smokey vanilla finish that is very pleasant.

Not too light and not to heavy, this is a good moderate beer that seams to get all over you mouth and has a good finish.

I may get another one of these and age it for some time. It seams like one of those beers that will get much better with a little aging. Will update if I do.

 496 characters

Photo of martyl1000
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish amber, with a slight head into a tulip glass. The aroma is nice, bourbon and mild brown ale, with a bit of maple syrup and raisin.

It's quite smooth in the mouth, though with very subdued flavor, a tad bit of vanilla mixed with tame bourbon and wood barrel. But mostly just pedestrian English brown ale, with modest carbonation. Definitely easy drinking, with a totally hidden ABV. It's just not something I'd buy again, given the price and the vast array of better BBA beers out there.

A little sweet, to be sure, but hardly anything else going for it, other than its creamy feel on the pallate.

Other than the aroma, which is quite nice, this comes off as an entirely forgettable BBA beer. It's not bad (or is it?) It's definitely muted in flavor and uninspired in execution. It's as if one took an anonymous English ale (think Boddignton's, or Newcastle Founders) and dipped it briefly in a bourbon barrel.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'm used to serious BBA beers, with a year in the barrel, like Central Waters, or BCBS, or Founders KBS, or Hoppin Frog BA Boris. Somehow Alltech's Lexington feels it is respectable to barrel age for only six weeks, which is what they state on their website.

 1,214 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(12 oz bottle date 122915 - poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: just about perfectly-clear, orange-amber liquid... very little foam on the pour, and it all but disappears - glass is neat and clean, and the head loudly sizzles out... it really just looks like Old E

S: little bit of vanilla, maybe some candied orange peel... whisper of booze in the back, but relatively mellow on that front... malt in the background, but no grainy definition...

T: clean, lightly sweet malt up front... the barrel character (vanilla creme, wood tannins) soft-surges up in the finish... vaguely metallic bitterness lingering in aftertaste, as well as a touch of wood and smoke... best compliment is that it's drier in the finish than expected

F: light and thin in the finish, slightly glassy texture... moderate frip of suds across the tongue, burps to be had... mild boozy glow lighting up the back of the palate... again, given its relative dryness, the lighter body is welcome

O: is this an ale?... nothing particularly wrong about the taste, it just doesn't taste like there's a quality brew to start... really just tastes like a bourbon barrel-aged malt liquor - barrel age Steel Reserve or Old E and you'll get something similar to this

 1,227 characters

Photo of Gajo74
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with a modest head that quickly dissipates and leaves an ultra thin lacing that soon diss spears entirely.
Big bourbon and butterscotch aroma; my favorite attribute of the beer.
The taste is bourbon like, buttery, toffee and mostly sweet. There is a boozy and syrupy finish. Medium bodied but on the thin and watery side. I would have liked to see more body and complexity in this one. Overall, nothing special.

 433 characters

Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This pours lighter than I thought it would. It is an amber colored beer. The head is frothy, and does last. Thee isn't much nose to it, but what's there, I get notes of the barrel. The taste is somewhat sweet to me. There's booziness aftertaste. I guess I was expecting more from this beer.

 290 characters

Photo of masterbruewer
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden brown, plenty of head.

Smell has hints of earthy bourbon flavor,

Interesting blend of flavor. The bourbon taste is stronger than I expected, but settles in fairly well.

Mouthfeel is unremarkable.

In fairness, I'm not a big fan of any "flavored" beer, be it cherry, pumpkin or bourbon. I tried to factor that in to my opinion. That said, it wasn't bad. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now and revisit later when I'm more familiar with the style.

If you like bourbon or flavored beer, it's worth a try.

 533 characters

Photo of EMV
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at 'World of Beer' in Orlando, poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a clear light mahogany color. Moderate white head and decent lacing of the glass.

S: Probably the best part of this beer... bourbon notes with toasted malts. Mild vanilla and cloves.

T/F: This one just didn't do it for me, and it tasted thin and watered down. Like there was more flavor to be had that just didn't make it forward. Sweeter than expected, not boozy at all for a beer with this ABV, and mild vanilla and oak tones. Moderately carbonated.

O: Just not a fan, and again... it tasted like somebody took a better beer and watered it down. It smelled good... but the flavor just wasn't there, and there are way better bourbon aged brews out there. Wouldn't have it again.

 770 characters

Photo of dcotom
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a Craft Beer Club sampling glass. Bourbon-like in appearance, clear, dark copper color contrasted by nice head of white foam. The aroma is bourbon barrel forward, but had mellowed quite a bit compared to a fresh one from the same four pack that I sampled a year and a half ago. The harshness on the palate had also diminished, resulting in a very drinkable product with some nice alcohol warmth and a smooth finish. (Kind of like... bourbon.)

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-ochre colored with about a 2 finger head that stays around for awhile

S-bourbon dominates when being poured and still strong when the glass is sitting on the table and can be smelled for a few feet. When the glass rest for a time it settles down I can smell a litte carmel and vanilla as well

T-bourbon comes throgh here as well with a faint touch of malt but not a lot really

M-light to medium bodied with pretty good carbonation throughout

O-I guess I would go along with the people calling it a bourbon bomb

 557 characters

Photo of domtronzero
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper orange with a medium, short-lived, whitish head.

S - Big caramel, bready malts, oak, vanilla, slight alcohol.

F/M - Caramel, big sweat malt profile. Vanilla and oak, toffee. Slightly boozy alcohol. Medium-bitterness lets the malts shine. Medium body with medium low bitterness.

D - Clean, not too huge, but just a little too thick and sweet to put more than one of these down in a sitting.

 409 characters

Photo of kegger22
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is an odd beer. It's color is amber with a modest head that quickly fades to nothing. It is the aroma and taste that are odd. Both are like a parody of what bourbon barrel aging should be like. That being said, while the aroma was like an imitation scent, the taste wasn't that bad. It was certainly malty sweet and the other dominant flavor, while not evocative of bourbon, is more caramel and vanilla. The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is OK.

KBBA is not a bad beer, but it just comes across as contrived, to me anyway.

Edit: The reviewer below me mentioned coconut and I realize that's it. The smell and taste remind me, not of coconut, but of coconut extract.

 726 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,913 ratings.
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