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

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619 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 619 | Ratings: 2,851
Photo of JamnesCameron
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
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 mcguirmn
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Appearance: pours an orange-amber color. Minimal carbonation.

Smell: obvious Bourbon presence. Other than that, not much there smell-wise. I gave it a 4.5 because I really like Bourbon.

Taste: I scored the taste a little lower because, as other reviewers noted, besides the Bourbon, there isn't much else there taste-wise.

Carbonation: thin. Low carbonation.

Overall: I might be a little biased, given my love of whiskey and bourbon, but I really liked this beer. I first tried it by drinking it straight out of the bottle, and it tasted a bit harsh. But when I tried it out of the kentucky bourbon barrel ale snifter, it was much more enjoyable. This beer has all the taste of bourbon without any of the harshness.

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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 haddon
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on cask at The Pub in Lexington, KY.

Pours a cola color that is a little lighter than expected for a casked bourbon barrel ale. not much head but there probably shouldn't be from the cask.

Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of malts. weak on the nose all-around.

malts and caramel that give way to vanilla, oak, brown sugar. All around sweet taste without much complexity. not much by way of hops or bitterness.

Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

you know, being a KY boy, I really wanted to like this but there just isn't much there. it seems that Lex Brew Co. has taken a ho-hum beer and tried to do something with it by throwing it in the bourbon barrels. Guys, make our bourbon heritage proud by coming up with something better there on the bourbon trail.

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Photo of THECPJ
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange copper with a 1 finger head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, fruity

taste: sour fruit, something went wrong in this bottle

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: I think I'm going to need to try it again. But sincne I haven't reviewed anything from this company I had to add my review.


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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
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 Hojaminbag
2.68/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

After a huge hiss, this one proved to be a gusher. The head is massive and fizzy looking, quickly filling my glass with a huge tower that quickly dissipates. Besides the fact that there's decent lacing it looks a lot like soda.

It doesn't smell good. It seems a bit sour, with a touch of bourbon and black malt.

It's not sour, but it isn't good either. There is a little blast of bourbon with just a bit of wood. Next there is a charcoal flavor. The finish has just a bit of bitterness to it, and it manages to leave the overall impression of being sweet without any real sweet flavor. The finish has the slight taste of charcoal, or maybe even cigarettes.

The mouthfeel is pretty bad. Really light and fizzy; it doesn't just look like a soda, it tastes like one also.

I'm not a fan of this one. Not much going on here. It isn't unpleasant tasting, but the smell and feel are off, and it really isn't good either.

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Photo of ddahlen
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at De'shea's in the Lexington, Kentucky airport. Poured out a nice golden hue with a 1 inch head.
The nose has a great woody, caramel, bourbon aroma as you'd expect. Comparing this to their base beer, Kentucky Ale, you can tell the aromatics come 90% from the bourbon.
The taste has quite a bit of caramel from the malt, but is really predominated with the bourbon. It retains quite a bit of sweetness on the backend.
The mouthfeel is crisp and fairly light for the abv.
Overall, if bourbon beers are your thing, this is definitely for you. All in all, the beer component of this one doesn't bring all that much to the table, it's a basic, but good, bourbon ale.

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Photo of brewski09
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow, talk about a strongly flavored beer...

A - This was a little bit darker of a beer with a good head to it. It looked great and the head stuck around for me throughout the drink.

S - I really liked the bourbon barrel smell, but it was a bit strong. Still, I give it high marks here because it smelled wonderful to me as I like liquors too.

T - This is where I had an issue. The bourbon flavor dominated and didn't let any of the maltyness show though for the beer. There was no hop character to speak of and I didn't really get significant bitterness either. Sadly, his was just unbalanced.

M - Very silky, smooth, and thick on the way down. I wanted to love this beer for so many reasons.

D - This was not drinkable to me due to the bourbon imbalance. Other people really loved the beer, but I just couldn't get over the imbalance. Sorry.

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Photo of silentjay
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

with a beer that doesn't fit into a specific style guideline, its hard to say what it should look like, but I was very surprised to see a crystal clear yellow/copper beer with a pure white head. it forms to about 1 finger in height, quickly recedes to a thin, spotty film, but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

the aroma is a mixture of light caramel, vanilla, bourbon, raisins, light molasses, oak, maple syrup.

the flavor is as if i poured a shot of bourbon into a weak-flavored amber beer. vanilla and caramel and toast. thats about it. I like the flavor, but its just so simple for a barrel-aged beer.

syrupy medium bodied with subtle carbonation and a slight alcohol heat.

if i wanted a weak bourbon, I would drink it on the rocks. I like when they use barrels to add complexity rather than use beer to water down bourbon. It tastes good enough, I would drink it again, but its nothing Id seek out.

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Photo of BZero007
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at a NOVA BA tasting and provided by a very generous BA. Big Thanks!

Pours a crystal clear light amber/orange hue in to my Duvel green snifter. Head forms a off white color and hangs around for a little bit. Honestly the beer looks just amazing for a Barrel Aged brew. The aroma is bourbon and oak but it is not overwhelming and is very welcomed. The taste was very interesting as I thought the the bourbon and oak were as close to perfect as you can get in a brew. The base brew I found to not match up very well though. The base brew was good and sweet but for some reason just did not pair well with the bourbon and oak levels. Mouth feel was pretty interesting as I felt it was close to a medium body but not close enough. A well crafted brew tht I would recomend to anyone who enjoys a bourbon and oak brew as the levels of both were amazing.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle golden orange with a little bit of white head, less than a finger strong. Bourbon dominates the nose , with some alcohol finishing it out. Bourbon and caramel malt are present in taste with little to no hops present. Feel is very smooth, some carbonation, some oiliness. Overall it is not my favorite, I would have preferred more flavor and more carbonation.

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Photo of alexhahn82
2.23/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A. Copper orange in color with just shy of a one finger head.

S. Nothing too killer, a hint of vanilla, medium malt.

Taste. Slight caramel with a small taste of vanilla, not really getting any tones of bourbon?

Mouthfeel. Medium to moderator carbination, slight bite, not writing home about this one.

O. For a year round bourbon barrel I guess its decent, but aging 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels I would still expect a little more. I drink a whole hell of a lot of bourbon barrel beers, but this one to me isn't even tasting or resembling one, I would rate this right with Allagash Curieux (bourbon barrel) they both taste like good/decent beers, just don't taste anything like bourbon to me.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Urbancaver for sending this my way.

a - opened the bottle and filled my founders sniftery tulip. The stream from the bottle was a pretty soft yellow, but it settled as much more orange in the glass. Very lively visible carbonation...head was thin and didn't hang long, but could be rebuilt on command, but would leave quickly. Lacing is pretty sparse.

s - Yum. A nice sweet woody bourbon smell. A tangy vanilla...like vanilla extract is also present, but sweet oaky bourbon tells the story. Quite nice if you like that (which I do). Toffee as well.

t - WOW...that was a surprise. This beer is dominated by a toffee like caramel or even butterscotch. The heavy bourbon on the nose is much tamer on the flavor. This is a great tasting beer, but it is a bit muted and watered down in the flavor.

m - surprisingly watery and thin. leaves a sweet aftertaste, not as much tingle as I would've expected...not as bourbony as I expected.

o - overall after a sniff, I was ready for a new favorite, but then was surprised when the beer hit my lips. Don't get me wrong, this is a solid beer, and VERY unique (the butterscotch toffee thing is pretty crazy), but the flavor is a bit watered down. If I could turn up the flavor intensity a few notches, this would be an A+ beer. That being said, I'd love to have another and another since it is such an easy drinker.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber, with a solid head of fine, off-white foam. No lace to speak of.

Aroma is distinctly bourbon...I get oak wood and vanilla. Oh, the vanilla.

Taste is pretty strong, sweet but with an unmistakable bourbon feel. Actually, this is the most "bourbon-like" of any barrel-aged brew I've ever had.

Alcohol is strong here, and this is an ideal middle-ground in-between beer and whiskey. Not for the faint of heart, but unique and innovative all the same.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of chaunur
4.49/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Talbots Inn in Bardstown-Bourbon capital of the World.

Wow, Now I really love bourbon and have always been disappointed in the the "Bourbon Barrel" beers out there, it's like they just showed the the beer the barrel. But not this stuff. One whiff and you know you have the real thing.

Poured a very nice clear medium light amber into a snifter. Off white, fluffy 1/2" head the faded fairly quickly. Nice lingering lacing.

As I said one whiff and you know what you have. A very strong but not overpowering presence of Bourbon, vanilla, carmel, oak tones and slighly woodsy. It reminded me of the Angels share in a Bourbon warehouse.

The aroma was right with the flavor, again the bourbon was present but not overpowering. Maybe just a tad sweet and a little heavy on the tongue. Some heat in the mouth from the high alcohol content. It is most defintely a sipping beer.

We had just finished touring and sampling at 3 Bourbon distilleries, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Markers Mark when we hit Talbots for dinner and drinks, A Hot Brown and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale were the perfect finish to the day!

Overall this one of my favorites.

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Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a KY Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter obtained at a Pazzo's Pint Night years ago... I remember not liking this beer the first time I had it, but oh how my tastes have changed! This is now one of my favorite go-to locals...

A- 4 Pours an attractive, clear burnt orange / amber color with a one finger fluffy white head. The head lacks retention as it dies down quickly but there's a nice ring left around the edges and the tiniest of bubbles lace the glass smoothly.

S- 4.5 Caramel, malt, bourbon and wood... In no particular order. Just balanced and pure. The oak makes its presence felt as much as anything, and the rest composes a nice sweetness that has me itching to raise the glass... The snifter is worthwhile here because there really is some good stuff going on.

T- 4 Though I generally detect the same elements in its taste as I did from the aroma, the taste is notably sweeter and not quite as balanced. That said, it is quite good. I get a bit more caramel and bourbon here, with just a touch of oak on the finish. Though it has a respectable ABV, it is just barely detectable at the end of the drink.

M- 4 KBBA is medium in body with a smooth creaminess that is quite manageable. It is heavier on the palate than I expected from its appearance. It has a good level of carbonation. It is a little syrupy on the finish, with the slightest bit of heat from the alcohol.

D- 4 I really enjoy this beer and could put down a few of them. I don't think I could do it all night because it is a little sweeter than I prefer ideally. Regardless, this is an enjoyable ale with a bourbon presence that fits in nicely. I'd definitely recommend trying this if you enjoy bourbon brews or are visiting KY where you can easily find it in bottles or draft. It also blends well with Guinness, ala a 'black and tan,' and is known as a 'black barrel.' It is a succulent combination... Cheers to Lex-Vegas and the growing popularity of KBBA!

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Photo of Mario61Aler
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice suprise from the 335 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass. It poured a nice golden color, with a white head that disapated quickly. Hardly any lacing at all. Aroma was of carmel and a just hint of the bourbon. Taste was of Malts and a hint of alcohol, bourbon and then a sweetness comes into play, like a dried cherry. Was slightly creamy with a medium body that makes this a very drinkable Ale. I will revisit this one.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Glowing golden body with easily 2 fingers of white head. Good lacing that sticks al over glass.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, and more booze.

Taste: This is an interesting beer! Sweet taste of bourbon, caramel, and butterscotch. Hints of oak and light taste of tannins. A buttery, desert like flavor continues through the middle to end of taste. Very nice balance of flavors here; nothing is overly sweet and very well integrated flavors in this beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is really creamy and accentuates the sweetness noted in the taste.

Overall: This was a really tasty beer! I nice surprise that a friend brought home with him for us to try. I will be looking for this beer and it is worth seeking out; quite good!

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Photo of mdr4669
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Rich honey gold color with minimal foamy white head. Tons of tiny bubble float from the bottom up to the surface, with patchy lacing.

Smell: The scent is dominated by the sweet caramel and vanilla characteristic of a good bourbon.

Taste: The taste follows the scent, the strongest characteristic is the taste of bourbon. I also notice a nice hint of vanilla a bit of some caramel as well.

MF: Very light and easy going with a warm after taste, and a nice kick for the finale.

Overall: A well crafted ale with all the bark, and bite I was looking for. I will definitely have this beer again.

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Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Dark Amber...redish...no head

S-Sweetness, bourbon, malts, caramel

T-Bourbon...very smooth...love the way this tastes...the bourbon is the star but the supporting cast is not completely overshadowed. Sweet flavors...caramel, vanilla, hint of chocolate perhaps.

M-Low carbonation...feel the bourbon...smooth

D-I love this beer...it is one of my standard off the shelf favorites (if not favorite)...they ABV will catch up to you but I have no problem drinking mulitples.

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Photo of spree92
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes taken on 4/16/11-while in Boston for the weekend.

A- pouted a 10oz drink into a small swifter. A bubbly white head sat on a rich copper ale.

S- velvety malts, bourbon is very strong, oak from the barrels and a warmth of alcohol.

T- Awesome. The bourbon has a chewy, sticky caramel to it. So creamy and rich, buttery.

M- Full, moist beer. As it sat and warmed up, the complexityeas ever changing. Even though I did not know the abv, I could tell it was in the 8-10% range.

O- Enjoyed this a lot. One of the better beers I have ever had. Easily the best Bourbon beer imo.

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Photo of zrab11
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a Very Clear light amber color with no head.

S- The first aroma is Bourbon whisket with some slight sweet notes of carmel. Has a very warm Smell

T- Bouron whiskey hits you right off the bat. Starts to warm your belly like straight whiskey or a bottle of wine would do.

M-Very light and Crisp, witha warming effect

D- This beer was not that drinkable for me. It was more like i ordered whiskey on the rocks and the rocks had melted. I felt like i was drinking a mixed drink more than a beer. Still good tasting but the whiskey was too over powering for me.

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Photo of gfreed
1.72/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is one of the clearest, brightest beers I've ever poured into a glass; a big, bright pool of shimmery amber just begging to be sipped. But... stop! Unless you like butter, pour this one down the drain. Butter in the aroma, suffocating butter in the taste... butterbutterbutterBUTTAH! Even the body felt a bit oily. I don't know if this thing was aged in an oak barrel or aged over oak chips (or aged in a vat of butter), but the brewery boys and girls need to take a lesson in moderation. Too much oak = too much butter. Might taste good on pancakes, but not much else. Poo.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.62 out of 5 based on 2,851 ratings.
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