Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
82
good
623 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:
623
Ratings:
2,868
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
39.39%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
939
For Trade:
8
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 623 | Ratings: 2,868
Photo of Dragginballs76
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour - Deep copper color with thick white head that lasts several minutes good lacing. Head dissipates completely but returns with a light swirl of the glass.

Smell - I get some bourbon and oak i also get a slight sweet smell I am not sure what it is.

Taste - The first thing I get is again something sweet like vanilla pudding, also get some oak and a little bourbon.

Feel - Very light and carbonated no alcohol burn.

Overall - A decent ale I would like to have had a little more depth in the bourbon and a little less sweetness. Still overall a very drinkable good beer.

 576 characters

Photo of Kbogac
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light caramel color with a nice one finger of creamy light foam.

Smell is oaky bourbon, vanilla and caramel. The bourbon and wood are very prominent.

Taste is a nice vanilla caramel with an oaky bourbon finish.

Medium heavy, creamy mouthfeel.

Overall very good. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. A little on the heavy side. I don't think I'd have two in a row but it was very good.

 400 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice brew sent by unclejedi for the CEO BIF.

Poured a clear amber brown, with a small tan head that died quickly.Did leave some lace rings as I progressed through the brew. Intriguing aroma of a barleywine type caramel and malt – just some hints of bourbon.

Then the quaff, nice hints of a Maker Mark type bourbon, Then a finish comes with notes of vanilla, which by mid-bottle become a tad too dominate. The vanilla sweetens the brew too much – it just needed a touch, and we got a handful. Still a tasty brew, medium bodied, crisp and dry.

The 7% alcohol is nowhere to be seen. Sip and enjoy this brew (just cut that vanilla in the next batches).

 655 characters

Photo of dcajero
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bronze and clear with a fast growing head that quickly fades.

S - Butter, caramel and popcorn

T - Caramel, burned sugar and oak. More butter.

M - Rich and sweet, it rolls over your tongue and lingers.

D - Very easy to drink although it could be a little sweet for some. Bourbon flavor is not as pronounced as others but still a nice drink all said.

 356 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a light nutty brown hue with a 1/4 finger head. The head is small and fizzy and leaves behind no lace.

S: Nice barrel aromas. Bold oak with nice vanilla tones. Nice sweet malt with brown sugar.

T: Tastes a bit like watered down Jack Daniels...in a good way. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla stand up front. A touch of sweetness in the middle with a touch of hops in the oaky finish.

M: On the thinner side.

D: Darn drinkable. A nice lighter barrel aged brew.

 497 characters

Photo of treyrab
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend of a friend brought a four-pack of this up from Kentucky when he came up for New Years Eve last night. I had never had it, or heard of it, so I was anxious to try it. As we sat and chatted about all the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, I sipped this out of a Stella Artois gold-rimmed glass...

A: Pours a crystal clear gold with a spritzy white head. The beer was as clear as can be with no signs of priming yeast or other particles in the beer. Fine carbonation kept a head going for a little, but the head was very thin and finally faded after a few minutes.

S: The smell starts with a nice whiff of sweet bourbon. The bourbon is soft, however, and you can tell this is not going to be a bourbon bomb. Sweet scents of vanilla, oak, and bourbon reel you in before some finer scents of caramel come into play. Not an overly complex nose, but the bourbon and vanilla scents are rather nice.

T: The taste is again sweet bourbon, vanilla, and some pale malts. The taste is not very complex, as it is predominantly bourbon, but it is still very nice and blended rather well. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, and pale malts.

Overall, I was very glad to try this beer. It is not very complex, but if you are looking for a straight-forward bourbon beer on the lighter side, this is a great option.

 1,294 characters

Photo of matt20102
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into goblet at refrigerator temperature with little lingering head. Appearance is an attractive golden brown; aroma suggests apple cider, sugar, oak, and lemon. Mouthfeel is light and spritzy. The beer is most closely reminscient of a malt cider, were there to be such a thing; little hop aroma or taste is present; despite the claim of 8.19% ABV, there is no alcohol taste (research was required to verify this number, actually.) Given this high ABV, the drinkability of this brew is quite high, although it might be higher with more familiar flavors. This is definitely a unique beer without the need to come out of left field like some other highly esteemed breweries. While not an everyday libation, this is one that is definitely worth trying, especially given its limited distribution. Recommended.

 811 characters

Photo of naterock
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours nice bourbon color. resembles a classic kentucky bourbon.
smells slightly of whiskey, but no very strong. mostly alcohol.
T: tastes very bitter and boozy, successful bourbon transferrence. I think someone mixed actual bourbon with this beer. I like a nice bourbon on rocks, and I like this ale. if you don't like bourbon don't drink this beer.

 350 characters

Photo of RickS95
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The pour is an attractive show. It appears to be a rich looking beer, but your eyes are immediately distracted by the cascading of the forming head. The color is actually a somewhat clear amber orange. It's not that rich looking at all. The head is a snow white collection of symmetrical bubbles that retains fairly well. Medium spotting of lace.

It's quite nice for an English ale with a combination of caramelly malts and subtle dark fruits. No hop presence and nothing noticeable as far as alcohol is concerned.

The fruits are no longer evident in the taste. The malt is there, but I can't pick up the caramel. Also, hops are now present in the swallow. Kind of standard issue English hops and malts. The taste is not bad at all, but somewhat disappointing given the smell. Not sure what the grain bill is for this, but it's full of graininess.

Very grainy mouthfeel. The graininess sticks with you. There's a pinch of sweet to start off, but the classic English variety hops soon take over. It's never overly bitter, just very present. There's a bit of bourbony taste and feel as the beer gets close to the swallow. Medium bodied. There's not much in the way of carbonation, but there's something that scrapes the palate clean after each sip.

It's a pretty good beer for the type. The flavors aren't assertive and they're kind of mundane in that they don't blow you away. Still, it's an easy beer to drink (despite the grainy feel) and has a nice ABV level. You could certainly do worse.

 1,495 characters

Photo of drtth
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard Shaker-style glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark golden color with ½" white head that soon recedes to thin film and a small ring around the glass. Sipping leaves a light lacing but the lacing is mostly gone by about half way through the beer.

Smell: The aroma is soft and filled with the coconut, vanilla and oak of the bourbon cask with some hints of faint caramel from the malt. There is no sign of any hops here.

Taste: The flavor here is all about the bourbon barrel with active support from the malts in the ale. There is coconut and vanilla as expected from the aroma. This is layered over the sweet caramel malt that provides a nice backbone. The flavor is almost too sweet but somehow seems quite right and I suspect having the hops play a more active role would be a mistake.

Mouthfeel: The mounthfeel is medium bodied to light bodied, with moderate carbonation that becomes very faint and hard to detect well before the end of the beer. The finish is medium length and is soft and sweet with no hops detectable. (Seems to me that it is in the finish where a bit of dry bittering effect from the hops would be nice to prepare one for the next sip.)

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer and it is easy to let one sip follow another, but it is also a one per evening type beer because of the sweetness of the malt and bourbon character of the beer. As an example of bourbon barrel aging this is a very nice beer that illustrates well that such aging need not be restricted to Stouts and Barleywines. The bourbon barrel comes through clearly and adds a nice aroma, flavor and character to the ale.

 1,706 characters

Photo of mikefuski17
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer about 3 years ago and couldn't remember what it was called so I looked it up. The beer itself was really good and has a nice strong flavor. The color was rich and smelled great. I am not much of a whiskey can but I really enjoyed the beer.

 253 characters

Photo of rhinos00
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised to see this on tap at a local bar. Properly served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

A- Poured a clear red, amber color. Very little to no head presented itself.

S- The bourbon smell hits you smack in the nose. Hidden behind it, is a combination sweet vanilla and carmel notes.

T- Very happy to see that the oak flavor was present. Like the taste, the bourbon was combined sweet vanilla notes.

M- Medium to light bodied with some carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Definitely a sipper. Snifter is more than enough for one sitting.

Overall, a very nice bourbon aged beer. Looking very forward to opening the Old Friends to compare.

 653 characters

Photo of NickTinyRace
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mix of my two favorite things. Beer and bourbon. You can taste the the carmel flavor from the ole barrels and it has a wonderful smooth finish which was a pleasant surprise for a bourbon barrel beer.

 201 characters

Photo of TheWildflower
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Really smooth brew with enought bourbon that you know its there. Slighly sweet from bourbon, but not heavy or liquor like. Lighter version of BBC Bourbon Barrel stout that can be too heavy and bourbon like, which I've thrown up before. Its not pretty. Totally poundable, easy to drink, with some nice bourbon touches. The original brew is probably week as hell, I dont get much "beer" from this one.

 399 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black with a 1" head that hung around a while. Some mild lacing develops during the session.

Smell: roasted malts and hints of bourbon are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild roasted malts, prunes, bourbon tones, vanilla, and a bit of alcohol are wrapped in a soft bitterness. Well balanced beer here.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Heavy in body. Aftertaste lingers a bit on the tongue.

Drinkability: an easy to drink beer as the flavors are not over the top and the alcohol is in check here. You should give this a try especially if it is on draft.

 571 characters

Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a tulip glass. A dark translucent amber body, no real head to speak of but a white ring of bubbles. Smell is really lacking to the point that I feel like I have a stuffy nose from a cold, which I don't. Only the faintest hint of bourbon comes through.
Ahh, well at least the taste delivers. Extremely strong notes of vanilla from the bourbon. For what is self-described as a sipper, I'd say this is really tasty and drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, let alone and English strong ale. You get a nice dark fruit backbone in the middle but finishes smooth and crisp.
Weak smell, very nice taste.

 615 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is boozy, like I was taking a whiff of bourbon. Flavor is more bourbon than anything. Not really complex at all. But it is creamy. Feel carries the same character on liquid and carbonation is lower. A nice sipper. If you like the bourbon, this is pretty heavy with it, so you'd be happy.

 336 characters

Photo of scoobybrew
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - super clear light amber color with a modest head and decent lacing

S - strong aroma of bourbon and oak, not much else; no hop and a faint hint of malt

T - oaky moderately sweet malt at first with the whisky flavor throughout from start to finish; the hop is only for balancing as any hop flavor is absent but finishes with only a touch of sweetness

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is truly a different and unique beer. I've had a number of stouts and barleywines aged in barrels and this is truly unique. Despite it's high abv, I find this beer highly quaffable - dangerously so. It almost reminds me of a fuller bodied seltzer & bourbon drink to a point and also somewhat like Vernor's, a soft drink from Michigan that is aged in oak (I grew up with Vernor's - can't help but see some similarity). This is definitely worth a try, but don't come to the glass with expectations of a complex strong ale - it is unassuming and doesn't pull any punches.

 972 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Gulden Draak goblet.

Pours a bright golden-orange hue that's both clear and well-carbonated. A torrent of bubbles rises up from the etched glass bottom to help fuel a fleeting, eggshell-creme head that dissipates to a ring of bubbles. The aroma is more muted than I had hoped, with a slight hint of vanilla oak, bourbon, crystal malts, and floral hops.

The flavor easily makes up for what the aroma lacks, with a smooth, oaked vanilla kick and a hint of spicy bourbon heat. The hops are slight, while the malts are husky and lightly breaded. Body is on the thinner side of things considering the style, but the carbonation level and smoothness certainly make this a drinkable beer. Although the steep price limits the purchasing potential for this brew ($11/4-pack), its still a tasty treat from the center of bourbon country, USA.

 856 characters

Photo of BareFeetPete
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to give big props for individuality. I almost don't know how to describe the taste of this beer. A couple of very pronounced flavors hit me at different times. Initially it's a very typical American amber, but quickly lightens (as I swallow) to something more like a pale.

The smell is really nothing special. I mean, I like ambers so I'm already predisposed to liking how this smells, but if I'm being objective about it there's really nothing special about it.

I already described the initial taste, but the after taste was what made this beer fun to drink for me. I had a couple of bottles, one poured into a pint glass, the other straight from the bottle. The bourbon flavor was really pronounced when I drank from the bottle, and when I drank from the glass I got a lot of the wood and vanilla flavors I had heard about.

The mouth feel was another enjoyable characteristic, more so out of the bottle than the glass. I'm not a big fan of heavy carbonation but they seem to have hit a really nice balance here. If anything the carbonation helped to enhance the lighter undertones like the vanilla to balance out the more noticeable flavors of the traditional amber.

Overall, it's certainly not something I expected, and to be honest it was an impulse buy by my buddy who thought it looked like something different to try. So I have to say it was pleasantly surprising and if I am ever offered one I will definitely take it. But would I buy it again? Probably not. It's a novelty and something to try if you're looking for a break from your norm. But it's not a good session beer and it's not something that I would look for on a regular basis.

*I'm young, I only started really thinking about good beer three years ago, and this is my first review on the BA. So feel free to review my review and tell me how I did. I welcome criticism and advice.*

 1,863 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PPoitras for the bottle
Pours a deep copper and amber colors with a thin veneer of head that quickly dissapates.
Aroma has that sweet sour mash aroma with some charcoal, a bit of corn liquor and some caramelized malt present. More on the floral then on the peaty side of the spectrum.
Flavor is heavy on the butterscotch side with some bittering hops preventing it from reaching cloying state.
Mouthfeel was pretty solid, especially given the road it took to my home bar. As it warmed really produced a nice boozy, liquor feel that was just sublte enough to be overpowering but really enjoyable. Sort of a light pale or amber with some bourbon characteristics, not over the top at all.
Drinkability was fairly high. Could have been a real booze burner but it really settled into a fairly mellow and flavorful beer. Well made and really enjoyable twist.

 867 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger white head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Almost clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is bourbon, flavor is sweet oak/bourbon. Clean finish. $2.99 for a 12oz bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma.

 258 characters

Photo of JebBeerFish
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Black Cow in Newburyport. Nice light caramel color. Nice bourbon taste, not sure why this is not rated better. My theory is because not much love for this brewery. I would have again.

 199 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden maple wood crystal clear body with a thing white film of head. There are a few strands of tiny bubbles trailing to the surface.

S- This beer has a big smell of sweet bourbon and a slightly oaky smell with a hint of smoky flavor as it warms.

T- This beer has a smooth sweet bourbon flavor with a light caramel note in it. There is a dark toffee note that comes through as it warms with an oaky and wet wood taste aswell. The finish has a slight white sugar note but no alcohol bite.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz finish that dries out the beer nicely. There is a slight creamy texture that is more noticeable when it is warm and it doesn't have any alcohol heat.

D- This beer has nice big bourbon and barrel flavors but it is a bit too much like candy flavors. They are not overly sweet but they could use something to balance or give more depth to the flavors.

 975 characters

Photo of MDHopster
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%

Clear cooper with white head about 3/4 inch. Excellent smell with vanilla oak bourbon nose, pleasantly drinkable with slight alcohol bite. Blends well with steak and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

 197 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,868 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe