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

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

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

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:
614
Ratings:
2,828
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
39.5%
 
 
Wants:
150
Gots:
918
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 614 | Ratings: 2,828
Photo of Knilas
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Glowing, dark Amber color. Notes of brown sugar and vanilla on the nose. Slight bite of char from the barrels, but mostly caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and a touch of tobacco for flavor. Very smooth...and a nice change of pace. Worth the coin.

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Photo of crosamich
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very impressed with this beer. Although a bit light (color and body) for the style, a decent light amber ale greatly improved with bourbon. The bourbon flavor was very much upfront but not overpowering or overly woody to knock you over the head. This would be a fantastic introductory beer for any drinkers that reject or assume they would reject a bourbon-aged beer. I gave a taste to several people in the standard beer-drinking group I was with and several ordered pints for themselves. granted, we had just visited a bourbon distillery the day before...

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Photo of Synn
4.39/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My reviews are going to be straight forward.

My journey -

The occasional drinker may not notice how superb and smooth this ale is. I come from drinking stouts like Samuel Smith, and other craft beers you may have not heard from, so bringing this to the counter was just another one of my "let me try this" beers. To say the least I was pleasantly surprised. It pours like a typical ale with a nice amber color, lets not get into looks here because lets be honest, who care's about what beer looks like? As you pop open the bottle with your face close it you instantly smell the beers beautiful aroma. It hits you with a slight hint of vanilla, a wiff of dry bourbon, and honestly it draws you in.

Taste -

As the beer hits your nasal glands and tongue you taste your typical ale. A nice crisp, refreshing, and smooth beer. It took me about 2 bottles to really get the taste and feel down. To be honest, I'm not going to fluff this review up any more. You'll taste a nice hint of maple, some woody and clean taste that's unlike anything I've ever tasted. To put it simply, if you like ales, bourbon, or any hint of Jack, Makers Mark, or whisky, GO GET THIS BEER. I had it with a seafood chowder and it complimented it beautifully.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.37/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this on-tap at Conway and O’Rielly’s in Janesville, WI in mid 2012. Pours a golden amber color with a strong bourbon scent. Strong crisp taste of bourbon that is silky smooth that is barrel aged to perfection. I thought this was a lot better than what the ratings reflect.

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Photo of ryalmighty1
4.37/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams specialty pint glass. Ya know, the pretty curved one!

A- Lightly carbonated, medium-light amber hue. Almost looks like good Savannah honey. Small, one finger head dissipating quickly into slight lacing.

S- Well, this was heaven to me, 'cause I love a good bourbon. So much sweet, caramel-vanilla bourbon smell, you would think you were smelling a well aged bottle of Four Roses Bourbon. Definitely smell oak and a tiny hint of smokiness.

T- Very sweet, very bourbon-esque. A mild American Ale with slight hop characteristics with an overload of vanilla, oak, caramel, fig and, of course, BOURBON! Very pleasant taste. It hides its ABV VERY well. Only complaint is it needs a more complex malt character as well as a little smokiness to balance the sweetness. Almost NO aftertaste.

M- As creamy as Sleeman's Cream Ale. Light, yet silky smooth. Goes down easily, if not a bit TOO easily. This beer is unexpectedly light on the tongue.

D- Oh it's great to drink, just not in large quantities. Its sweetness can be overpowering, and its ABV will leave you wondering what happened after only a few. It will sneak up on you quick with this one.

Overall, a very warm and tasteful beer for those who look for the unusual or unexpected. Great for relaxing in a chair and pairs very well with good cigars, especially Conneticut Shade wrapped stogies. Definitely worth trying, just don't expect this to be the next great session beer.

[EDIT]
When I was home on leave Thanksgiving '09, I went to the Paddy Wagon in Richmond, KY and had this on tap. Wow, was it great! Something about it being on draft brought out all the subtle little tastes even more, such as the caramel and vanilla. Followed it up with a glass of Knob Creek Bourbon and man was I on cloud 9, and it wasn't from the ABV either. This beer is great to warm the soul and relax.

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Photo of sardonicone
4.37/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sent into a beer mug.

Appearance: Light amber, 2 finger head that left nice lacing and a bubble ring around the glass.

Smell: Vanilla bean and scotch. Not overpowering, in fact it's a very mellowing scent.

Taste: Fantastic imho. Vanilla, scotch, almost nutty, something roasted, can't quite make out what, but I love it. Bitter on the back end.

Mouth: Medium, slightly over carbonated, the liquor burns on your tongue while you leave it there, burns on the back end and has a familiar warming sensation all the way down.

This has quickly become a favorite of mine, and is a routine member of my rotation.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like these beers brewed in flavored barrels - luckily bourbon is a favorite of mine...

Out of the glass it pours a beautiful black with highlights of red. The bourbon smell mixes well with the hops and malts and it does about the same for the taste. In fact, I like the taste much better than what met the nose and it was a plus that the beer was only lightly carbonated with a thick texture to round out it out quite well. Overall, it's probably one of the better flavored barrel beers I have had.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.34/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is clear copper with light carbonation, the Head is small white and leaves little lace.

The smell is great, lots of a very nice bourbon, vanilla and caramel seem to dominate.

The taste is equally as good but a bit different. Toasted coconut seems to be the taste the bourbon brings not vanilla so much. Really a nice brew to sip. Lightly toasted caramel and some vanilla notes do come out but nothing like the coconut.

The mouthfeel is light body and light carbonation nothing to great here, but not a reason to put it down either.

The drinkability is very good I would love to see this in a store. Thanks to NFLMVP for this very cool find, Prosit MK

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.34/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am going to go way out on a limb with this one I am sure, but I am sorry I absolutely loved it. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/24/2010.

The pour was not what I would consider, um great. Light amber in color, nearly golden with a very, very clear body to it. Lots of carbonation could be seen streaming up towards the top of the glass which coalesced into a thin, but firm white cap at about a quarter of an inch, but this really did not stay long, fading with no real side glass lacing. Aroma is sweet, unbelievably sweet with loads of vanilla and sweet candy like notes. I found this incredibly appetizing and dove straight in. Super light body takes you off guard, but once you let this thing open up it's over. Rich beyond words with a sweetness that is unmatched. Like French vanilla ice cream mixed with hints of bourbon and light grain, it just worked. So light it was almost refreshing as I really just could not get enough of this one. 

Overall wow, I did not see this coming. I was not sure I was going to like it nearly as much as I did, but wow it really, really worked for me. I would love to have this one again any time, it is just a wonderful, sweet concoction that truly just worked for me.

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Photo of mutt
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

being a fan of bourban in the winter months, i had to give this one a try. very nice beer. drank from a snifter, it was suggested and i had no clean pints, so what the hey, i use the snifter. great amber color, sweeter than i anticipated, but not to much. nice bourban aftertaste lingers. if you like bourban and you're reading this, you obviously like beer, so try this one

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Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at HopJack's in Pensacola, FL.

A: Huge light tan head, beautiful orange - red color.

S: The oak and citrus are prominent.

T: The barrel is the first taste to hit the palate. Red fruit and light citrus are also present. More subtleties emerge as the beer warms.

M: The beer is light and crisp.

O: This was a well balanced beer, but not overly complex. This is a great example of the style, and I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Dave128
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington. Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel snifter.

A - An average pour from the pitcher yields a finger of slightly off white head that dissipates pretty slowly into a thin disc on top of the beer. Clear dark amber in color, very similar to actual bourbon. Lace rings occur on the pitcher from every pour.

S - sweet caramel and bourbon on the nose. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for an 8 percent beer.

T - incredibly sweet and rich on the caramel malt. Bourbon is definitely on the forefront in the taste. Of the bourbon ales I have tasted, this is definitely the most bourbony. It is woody and delicious. The reason I am giving it a 5 on taste is that it is so unique and I have never had anything quite like it.

M - It is a little light bodied for the flavors present and doesn't really seem like that big of a beer, but carbonation is average to low which is spot on for this style.

O - It's not really that drinkable of a beer. Being a whiskey lover, I like it a lot, but it is hard to have a lot of it in one sitting since the flavors are pretty intense and the alcohol content is high. Like it or not, it is definitely a unique experience for anyone that tries it.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A staple at Vintage Estate's tap room, I was happy to see it turn up in my local bottle shop.

Poured into a snifter: Nice copper, honey color. Clear, with just the thinnest collar of head. Plenty of tiny, fast bubbles. Not the greatest composition, but I love that color.

Smells of light, sweet caramel with a woody bourbon ring. A little buttery, like butterscotch or buttered rum. The only drawback is that the alcohol smell is a tad sharp. Sweetness turns to toasty sugar, like creme brulee.

Taste is, again, lightly sweet & caramel, like cream soda, with a "round" bourbon character that's present but not too strong. Mild fruity finish & slight dryness in aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. A little viscous in "afterfeel."

I really enjoy this: very smooth & easy-drinking for a barrel-aged ale. I like the fact that you get the barrel flavor without it being super-heavy. Maybe it's the positive associations with VE, but this warms my heart a little. I can see how it might be too sweet for some, but that doesn't bother me. Time & place.

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Photo of StuyBeerGuy
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This beer has a light copper color body with a lively white head and good retention and lacing. Makes one want to drink it.

Smell - Smell and strong. The bourbon flavors that stand out are a minimal and intriguing bite with caramel smells.

Mouthfeel - Smooth. Also, this is one of the few weak-points of the beer. I wish it was longer in the mouth. It is smooth and bubbly besides a small issue.

Taste - Delicious, all of the smoky flavors of a bourbon with sweet flavors. Goes well with the decor of a irish pub.

I'd suggest this beer to a friend.

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Photo of Broman
4.31/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Copper red tint under a minuscule head that disappears almost immediately to nothing. Fairly transparent but inviting.

Smell- Mostly sweet bourbon on the nose. Other less obvious undertones are noted. Aggressive smell lets you know what this beer is about. Not overpowering but up front and inviting. Combined with the visual a very inviting beer.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation sting is the first note. Light body on the palet. The carbonation sting gives way to a distinct alcohol flavor.

Taste- Up front are malts and bourbon. There is a sweet hint as if brown sugar. The high alcohol content is apparent in the aftertaste. Overall not exceptionally complex but a very tasty beer.

Overall- Great beer. Definate try. I wouldn't advise consuming many due to the alcohol content. Not a beer for a new beer drinker, but one that could sway some to the light of good beer choices.

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Photo of mobyfann
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paid $9.99 for a growler from The Party Source...

Pours a clear amber colored base with a medium white head, great retention and minimal lacing. The aroma is very subtle in Elijah Craig bourbon and sweet caramel malts.

The taste is all about the smoothness when looking at a beer this strong, it reminds me of a Yuengling lager, made with enough quality ingredients to be noticeable but not pretentious; yet deliver as a true winner (despite the usual overpowering of heavier beers). Low carbonation and good head retention make this one of the smoothest beers east of the Mississippi.

Final Thought: An absolute stunner of a session beer, best in class for style!

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer experience for me. Poured from the tap into a snifter. The head was good sized, about 0.75 inches, but fell before finishing the glass to almost nothing. Beer was a nice dark amber color; it let light through, but with resistance. It didn't smell as strong as I had expected from something out of a bourbon barrel. Smelled slightly sweet with the bourbon coming though. The taste was nice; heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel, with flavors of caramel and oak, with a slight sweetness that I can't place. I didn't have time to see how it progressed as it warmed, though it was served chilled, and not cold. Mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I would like, but since it's the stock ale as a base, I'm not surprised. The lacing was absolutely beautiful after finishing the glass. It was not overly heavy, but coated the entire snifter from the top down. I will not pass this one up when I find it offered again. Worth trying if you come across it.

Edit: I went back and revisited this one to see what I come up with after reviewing for a while. The bourbon flavors play very heavily in this one iving it great vanilla, almost coconut tones. I think this is a much better beer than I gave it credit for before.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A clear golden amber body with orange highlights and a creamy (although it makes a fizzy sound in the glass) mostly lasting head.

S: No joking around when it's said this is a bourbon barrel ale. Strong aroma of bourbon along with sweet vanilla & subtle malts.

T: This one taste just as good as it smells. Upfront bourbon flavor followed with caramel malts and sweet vanilla. A very warming finish.

M: A smooth and creamy beer with a medium body and high carbonation.

D: One of my favorite beers for the summer, but I drank 3 of these tonight just relaxing around the house. Great beer.

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Photo of CardiacNP
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice draft pour from Fox & Hound in Ohio served in a nice matching snifter.

Poured a clear golden amber color with a small dense white head. There Was excellent lacing throughout the beer.

The aroma of bourbon was there along with a light sweet scent follow by woody oak hints.

Taste was very smooth slightly sweet with a wonderful bourbon aftertaste. Slight caramel and oak flavors present. Very very small hop characters noted.

Mouth feel was smooth , and a bit viscous. Very light carbonation. Little alcohol finishes but surprisingly light for a 8.2%ABV

Over all a very enjoy able ale. If you like bourbon also you would be please to try this beer. I know I will again.

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Photo of shortbus7
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a snifter from a bottle chilled in the fridge.

A: This beer has oranges red tint to it, very much like a dark apple juice. Thin lacing surrounds the glass.

A: 100% bourbon and I love it!

M: A light mouthfeel with very little carbonation. The carbonation kicks in a little bit during the aftertaste with a slight tingling on the tongue. I have had this on tap once and it had much more carbonation, which I liked greatly. In the bottle it almost tastes a little flat.

T: The beer is very sweet at first taste and is followed quickly by bourbon. The taste agrees with the title of the name perfectly. This may sound weird but beer taste like 7-up mixed with bourbon.

O: I really like bourbon so I enjoy this beer. If you are not a fan of bourbon, this will probably not sit very well with you. Overall a good beer but much better on tap due to the increased carbonation.

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Photo of LisaPPitMom
4.28/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, pours gorgeous clear light copper color. Especially if you are a Belgian-lover, betting you will enjoy this one. Light butterscotch nose, inoffensively boozy burnt sugar-caramel balance, and the oak does not overwhelm. I keep coming back to this one.

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Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: medium carbonation, minimal head, orange-brown in color, hazy

Smell: toasted malt and light oak

Taste: big time oak and bourbon, a pleasant taste of vanilla, meadow, and sweet toasted malt

Mouthfeel: sweet with big time oaking, moderate carbonation and medium-light body

Overall: I really like this. The problem I have with a lot of oak beers is that they are one dimensional oak and/or alcohol bombs. While this one has both, there is a sweetness and complexity that I do not often find with the style. The oak, vanilla, and bourbon all get a chance to shine and blend wonderfully. I wish I picked up a six of this. Really great beer.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a hotel tumbler, since that's all I've got. Body is a deep golden amber color with a flourish of a creamy white head that quickly vanishes. Good carbonation keeps on coming. Aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, bourbon, a light nutty character, and more bourbon. Palate is light sweet malt at first, with the bourbon emerging mid-palate and building to a nice, warm finish. After a few sips acclimate you to the strong whisky character, notes of caramel, almond, vanilla, and some mild fruity hops come through the booze to make for an interestingly complex beer. Body is a little thin, yet also mildly sticky, as I've come to expect from American strong ales. Good for sipping, and thorougly enjoyable. It's got me thinking I need to mix my whisky and beer more often.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well I ve had this bottle for a bit and thanx to kmpitz2 for the sample. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass.
The beer pours a clear amber color with fizzy off white head foaming up about 1 cm and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer.
The aroma is bourbon and bourbon. I get some wooden notes and a bit of vanilla and caramel as well. Some warm alcohol as well. Overall pretty appealing. First sip reveals a relatively lite body and very fine carbonation that gently rolls across my palate. The flavor is bourbon right up front. I get some oak and vanilla notes and the beer finishes with a little warming kick, or maybe that is just my typical reaction to drinking bourbon. This beer is very bourbony and if dont like bourbon as a liquor you wont like this beer. Think slightly thinner, mildly carbonated bourbon and there's your drink.
It is quite nice, and I enjoy it.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 614 ratings.
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