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

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618 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: 618 | Ratings: 2,849
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 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 head

S-Sweetness, bourbon, malts, caramel

T-Bourbon...very 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 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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Photo of gabedivision
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter glass

Pours an orange amber color with a thick white fully head. Very sweet smelling, Strong bourbon smell met with a nice sweet vanilla or maple scent, chocolates, toffee and butterscotch all in the mix as well. The taste explodes in your mouth with the bourbon feel from the barrels followed by all the sweet flavors that were present in the smell. Almost too sweet, but decently well balanced on all the areas of the all the flavors despite how complex it is. This beer fizzes up in the mouth and tingles around the tongue and teeth. Pretty medium balanced and easy to drink on despite what the smell would have you believe. Overall this is a decent beer, the over the top sweetness is taking its toll on me halfway throuh this beer. good for a try, would like to try this again if it ever makes its way up to buffalo.

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Photo of Shrews629
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very clear dark orange to light amber color. An off white colored head that was small, fizzy and dissipated rather quickly. It left a scant amount of lacing behind. The head was comprised of small bubbles and settled to a ring around the top.

Smell - The first aroma was, of course, the Bourbon whiskey. It smells slightly sweet. Aromas of vanilla and toffee. Gradual notes of caramel as it started to warm.

Taste - The flavor brought out more of the Bourbon whiskey. Some decent touches of vanilla. As I sipped, the Bourbon started to settle in and become more pleasant and balanced. Some "woody/oak" flavors are there, but seem to be restrained. The sweetness is a nice compliment to restrain the whiskey.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Smooth and dry. A small warming effect from the alcohol, but nothing too great or overbearing. Leaves trace amount of flavor on the palate.

Drinkability - This Bourbon Barrel Ale is a decent example for the style. Not the best example I've had, but nothing horrible or undrinkable. Not quite balanced as well as some of the others. The Bourbon comes off a bit strong at first, but it does calm down as you get going.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

So I saw this sitting on the shelves at Marty's and figured it was worth a shot. Last night we were hanging around with a buddy and both of our wives. We were trying some beers and this one finally hit the table. The women absolutely loved it. My buddy's wife calls it her "Coconut beer"

She is correct that the beer smells a even taste quite a bit like coconut. Reminded her of sun tan lotion which she meant as a compliment.

A light amber/copper color that is very bright. A decent light beige head shows some retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

In addition to the description above the aroma also had a lot of vanilla and straight bourbon notes. The oak was very present.

I really wasn't expecting much and I'm not sure why, but this was pretty damn good. The flavors were lead by bourbon and the entire gang from the aroma came for the ride. Coconut, vanilla, oak... Really nice flavor. All the bourbon with none of the booziness. I have to admit they fooled me on the abv. After drinking for a bit I was asked what the abv was and I said I didn't know, but it didn't seem high and I guesses 5ish... At 8.1 this hides the abv extremely well. Frankly scary well.

The body is the one area where I think this has room for improvement. It seemed just a hair too thin for all the other components. Just a touch more body and this could get very interesting.

I was shocked we all like this so much and the ladies want to know when I can get more.

Looks like this will be in my beer fridge again. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of Tartarus
3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A&S: Poured into a challice, copper colored, with about a quarter inch of head that dissapated leaving a nice film on top. Smell is sort of apple-y.

T&M: Taste is slightly fruity, with a strong alcohol taste mouthfeel is very smooth. I definitely get the bourbon in the name. Taste is interesting and different, not quite aure how I feel about it.

D: Pretty drinkable considering the high abv, it comes off pretty light.

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Photo of azdback
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to BgThang for this extra! Poured into a pilsner glass. Bright, clear orange color. A lot of carbonation bubbles. Head is almost a bright white and quite frothy. The lace is sticky and stays the night with us.

Smell is almost all bourbon. There are some sweet malts that poke their heads up. I do also get a hint of booze.

The taste is all bourbon. It almost tastes like a bourbon flavored Sasparilla. Very sweet and hollow.

The mouth is as I have already explained. Very watery. Carbonation falls off quite a bit.

Once again I want to thank BgThang for this. I wasn't overly swayed to the good or the bad on this one. I did like the bourbon flavors, but they almost tasted like they were artificial.

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Photo of b3shine
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft to 5 oz. sampler. The equal weighting of appearance, smell, taste, and mouthfeel minimize this beer's qualities; it's better tasting than its reviews suggest. Plus it's filtered, so you can push your way through more without being weighted down. Bourbon is pronounced, but not overpowering. A decent brew for its type.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.62 out of 5 based on 2,849 ratings.
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