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

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BA SCORE
82
good
613 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:
613
Ratings:
2,826
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
39.78%
 
 
Wants:
150
Gots:
918
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 613 | Ratings: 2,826
Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe the first Kentucky beer I have had,I poured into an oversized wine glass to get the full aroma aspects of this beer,it poured clear deep golden with a very thin head,good clarity just not much head to it.Man that stuff smells like Wild Turkey,full oak and vanilla/caramel notes with a bit of biscuit malt,no hop presence that I could find.Light mouthfeel but not sharp,just a little thinner than expected I guess.Flavors are oaky and vanilla tinged with that caramel and and biscuit showing through as well,again no hop presence noticrable in my mind.Something a little different,it tastes just as much as a bourbon as a strong ale,but I liked it for a change of pace.

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Photo of jlindros
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a tough one to get. It was originally only on tap available in growlers only, but this winter they decided to add it to a gift pack with bottles. Thanks a bunch to Noslenwerd for going out of his way to get me this one. Unfortunately the glass that came in the sampler pack broke in the trip here, but at least the beer made it. I'm excited to try it, despite the B rating.

A: A very light fluffy head forms and disperses just as fast. It's a very clear pale golden color with a little orange.

N: Nose is actually pretty sweet, with a very bourbon barrel characteristic. It reminds me of when I went to a couple distilleries in KY and the basic aroma you get from nosing the actual barrels when they are opened, minus the crazy bourbon aroma. It's a little creamy and fruity, but mostly just a great bourbon aroma. Not much on the way of beer yet.

T: Taste actually starts with a slight malty flavor, but mostly is again bourbon. Tastes like a nice light and smooth bourbon with much less alcohol. It has some clear woody esthers as well, and an obvious oak taste. More of that fresh from the barrel bourbon flavor. It also has a little fruitiness, and some more sweet almost honey like flavors. It still hides the 8%abv well though. The bourbon and woody flavors come out even more as it warms. I recommend letting it warm a bit. With all the flavors, and bourbon especially, it's still really smooth.

M: Semi thin, more than I expected, and very little carbonation.

F: Finishes a little sweet still, and even has a touch of creaminess. It has some woody esthers that linger, as well as some oak. Not much lingering on the bourbon flavor. A little bitterness starts to come through, but more from the esthers than hops. It doesn't last long before your mouth is clean and ready for more.

Being a big bourbon fan, the fresh bourbon and oak flavors of this really impress. The beer side is a little flat and the lack of carbonation in a light ale is a little hard to get by. But how much great bourbon flavor this has, and even seems to have a little of the sweet bourbon mash and woody esthers, I really enjoyed it.

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

Brightest topaz topped with nearly two fingers of eggshell colored foam that is slightly crackly and does no better than a passable job with respect to glass decoration. High-ABV, barrel-aged beer often struggles in the head and lace departments.

After having been aged for 6 weeks in *recently decanted* bourbon barrels, one would think the nose would be more whiskey-like. This is a somewhat pleasant sniffer if you like that spirit, but it's too mild. The base beer doesn't contribute much either.

Kentucky Ale is average beer. Its metamorphosis into Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a definite move to higher ground. It isn't amazing beer by any means, but the bourbon character finds that middle ground between 'too much' and 'not enough' (closer to the latter).

This offering tastes like an amber ale to which a very small splash of bourbon was added. Caramelized sugar and vanilla notes are subtle, and there wasn't enough time for much woodiness to have made it into the final product. Hard to believe the ABV went from 5.34% to 8.19% after 6 weeks contact with whiskey-soaked wood.

The mouthfeel didn't change... and wasn't expected to. It's still waaay too light, doesn't bulk up with warming, and the bubbles don't do a great job either. It's barely acceptable for a sipper, just don't expect much in the way of mouth pampering.

My advice to Kentucky Brewing Company is to use a different (better) beer as the base for this beer. Something with more malty guts would be a great place to start. Too bad this is the 12 ounce bottle rather than the cool looking cobalt vessel shown above.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I could be way off on this, but it seemed to me like Kentucky Ale that had been barrel aged. It poured a golden colored body beneath a short head of creamy white foam. The nose was loaded with bourbon, but I didn't find it really intriguing. It had the sweetish, woody, alcoholic notes, but I'd imagine that you could pull that out of a barrel just by adding water. The flavor was better, and there's a bit of malt base to it (but again, it seemed simply like standard Kentucky Ale). It was well rounded with vanilla and wood though, and there wasn't too much alcohol (as can happen in some cases). Other than that there's not much I can say about this beer. It seems kind of light for a Bourbon barrel beer. I'd like to see more malt behind it, but it was enjoyable. Would I have two in a row? - Never! But it has its merits. I might like to enjoy one with a good book in front of the hearth, or perhaps with a meal that included caramelized onions and yams, or something like that. Or at a backyard barbeque in the summer with some tangy ribs! Worth trying... but not worth buying a six pack.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

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

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, alcohol, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon barrel aging is quite evident as it is in the smell but it also brings medicine-like flavor. The malt character is on the thin side for this type of beer and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence. However, there isn’t as much balance as you get from most barrel-aged beers. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good variation of style, it’s not a bad beer but there are several other barrel-aged beers I would choose over this one.

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

Thanks to the BAer who brought this to our Nov. '12 Philly 'burbs bottle share.

I was told this comes from a land where you can order Bud, Miller Lite, or Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. So yay, for this. Poured a clear, honey-brown color with a thin bubbly white head that didn't stick around for too long. Aroma of caramel malts, bourbony oak, toffee. It's always interesting to taste a bourbon-aged beer that isn't a stout or porter, and it really works for this beer, which would probably otherwise be a simple, timid, English ale. Pale malts, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, bourbon and vanilla; pretty much nothing as far as hoppiness goes. Medium body, fairly smooth and creamy, slick with booze but not harsh or hot, lower carbonation. Yeah, it was different, and it was good.

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

I picked this one up while at Ft Knox at the Px, just getting around to reviewing it.

Poured cold into a session ale glass

A - An ale the shade of bourbon w/ a bone white 2 1/2 finger fluffy head. The lace clings moderately well

S - The scent of bourbon is strong in the nose w/ a subtle ale fruitiness and boozy woody notes that accent the aroma

M - Very mild sweetness w/ a mild carbonation and gently chalky feel w/ nutty vanilla oaky wood textures and smooth finish that practically falls flat

T - The bourbon smell carries over into the taste w/ a mostly light ale flavor and subtle fruity tinges w/ a vanilla bourbon oak taste w/ a beer flavor that really has a meek demeanor in relation to the Bourbon oakiness that accents it almost dominates it. There is a slight hop/vegetal note and possible adjunct type sweetness in the flavor, an overall light ale taste that seems out of porportion in relationship to the sweetness in the bourbon.

D - I enjoyed the bourbon flavor in this , but one or two seems like more than enough. This ale just falls short of great and allows the bourbon aging to manhandle the flavor while making the beer seem light. It isn't the best wood aged beer, but it is worth a try

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Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

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

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

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

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

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for finally gettin' this off my Wants!

Kentucky + Bourbon + beer = yes. This thing pours a clear, bright amber topped by a minor bit o' white foam. The nose comprises oak, caramel, whiskey, butterscotch, and a tiny touch o' vanilla. The alcohol hangs over the surface, both a come-hither eying and a staunch admonition. I like a challenge. The taste refuses to deviate from the smell, with the bourbon-draped oak coming in at full force. A sly hint of maple syrup nudges the 'buds' arms, rather than just coming right out and introducing itself. I like it. The body is a slender medium, with a light carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice little sipper, something to be enjoyed, though rapture remains aloof.

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Photo of Jason
3.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to clvand0 for the sample ...

A- Mild haze off of a deep golden hue, thin lacing from a light carbonation.

S- WOW!! Big hit of bourbon in the aroma, sweet vanilla, alcoholic and woody.

T- Upfront malt sweetness melds perfectly with the thick layer of bourbon flavor, mild hopping shows a modest but balancing bitterness. Both vanilla and wood are all over the palate with a warming alcohol from the 7.0% abv.

M- A tad too under-carbonated for my liking but it does not really take away from the beer that much. Nice and creamy though.

D- Sipping and sipping only ... I could only see having one glass in a sitting.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with some light hints of visible carbonation. The beer had a thin (maybe 1/8 finger tall) off-white head that quickly dissipated to just the faintest of rings at the edge of the glass. Very light lacing is observed.

S: There is a very subtle amount of malt sweetness in the background but upfront this beer is all bourbon - the bourbon smell is a little harsh but has elements of caramel, toffee, and vanilla.

T: Like the smell, the taste of this beer is dominated by the bourbon. The beer starts out with the caramel/toffee malt sweetness but then the bourbon elements come in with the oak and vanilla. There is quite a lot of sweetness to this beer.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: As a bourbon lover, I had very high hopes for this beer and was a little disappointed by the harshness of the bourbon flavor and smell (it almost seemed like they used real cheap bourbon - rot gut stuff). This beer was not sessionable, the flavors were too intense to be able to have more than one at a session and this was a sipping beer.

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Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Low level head that leaves little lace. The color is a perfect neutral amber and is crystal clear.

More earthy than anything else. There's a bit of sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

This is a sweet ale. Again, molasses seems to be the strongest flavor. If there is bitterness, it is overwhelmed by the malt sugars. Not complex. Very rich body--low carbonation.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours a light orange/copper color with small white bubbles that made up a smallish head, moderate lacing. Lots of small carbonation bubbles released from the bottom.

S: A little bit of caramel and vanilla, light bourbon aromas, some darker fruit, and a little bit of molasses and brown sugar.

T: It tasted very similar to apple juice, with a slightly sour flavor to it, almost vinegary. Not sure whats going on as the flavor profile is extremely different than the aroma.

M: Medium bodied, but seemed a little thin, with moderate carbonation.

O: A puzzling beer, not really sure what happened, or why the beer tasted as it did. Can only hope to try it again in the future.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared by Thorpe429 at a local DC tasting. Bottle says "Official Beer of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games"...awesome that they chose an 8.19% ABV bourbon barrel aged beer as their official beer.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks nothing like an American strong ale; I was shocked how light in color it was.

s - Smells of heavy bourbon, vanilla, bready malts, light oak. Pretty enjoyable.

t - Tastes of light bourbon, oak, vanilla, bready malts, wheat. Bourbon is up front in the taste, but not as strong as the nose.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation. For a bourbon barrel aged beer that is over 8% ABV, this one was insanely drinkable. I would have had no problem drinking the entire bottle myself.

o - Overall this was an interesting bourbon barrel aged beer that I enjoyed and thought worked well. I don't think it is an American strong ale, but more like a light beer aged in bourbon barrels. None the less something I would like to have again sometime.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.33/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears a pale copper translucent color with a large bright white head, fine bubbled lacing forms evenly as it dwindles and continues the pattern with each sip.

Aroma is straight up oak barrel and vanilla with whiskey just coming out of it's pores. It smells like Hank Williams Jr in the 80s or Tim Mcgraw's new cologne that's out now. When leather, oak, brown sugar and vanilla collide without any cohesion. Big charred oak characteristics, the base beer just seems so lifeless I guess the whiskey barrel aging gives it what's here doesn't really complement the beer like so many other versions of brews that sit in the whiskey soaked oak. There's something very solvent and chemical about the aroma that doesn't even make me want to take my first sip.

Flavor yep there's a reason why I didn't want any part of it, it's like sipping on whiskey without the 80 proof. Whiskey tea we'll call it. Sour mash is evident with vanilla, charred oak and hints of caramel and toffee with some serious booziness for a beer this thin in body. Makes it seem like such a gimmick beer that's only really being brewed for the Kentucky Derby, there's no other audience that is going to take to this beer.

Mouthfeel is thin way to thin for alcohol level and the flavor profile it just doesn't carry it too well, it's like watered down whiskey tea. Booze gives a bit of a burn, but it's really the charred oak flavor bringing out a bit of cinnamon like expressions on the palate. Gag reflux get ready I'll be lucky to make it through 12 oz of this brew.
Drinkability overall when in Rome I guess, like if I was at the Derby bidding and I was really worn out of the official mixed drink of the Alltech F.E.I. than yeah maybe I would have this abomination. I'd rather have brews run through whiskey soaked oak chips in an infuser like Bocktown has been doing for quite some time now.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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

This poured with a light, off-tan head with very low retention, quickly reducing to wisps. The color was a beautiful orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose was redolent with vanilla and wood. The first sip gave me the same vanilla and wood that I noted on the nose, plus coconut and honey on the tongue. Wow! Mouthfeel was full and creamy. The finish had a slight alcohol burn, but that was fine by me. I am usually not a huge liquor drinker, nor do I routinely stray from the hops, but dang!, this was some good stuff.

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for this one!

Pours bright, clear copper with a thin head that becomes a thin cover. Some lacing follows down the glass.

The smell is of bourbon whiskey. Vanilla and oak really stand out. Caramel/toffee backs it up.

The taste is of bourbon. The vanilla and oak are quite strong. Caramel shows a firm maltiness. A light touch of earthy bitterness balances some of the sweetness. Whiskey hangs on well into the aftertaste.

It's on the full side of medium with medium carbonation.

Alcohol is reasonably well-covered, but this is still a sipping, one at a sitting brew for me. Nice bourbon character. Barrel aging well-done.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beatiful pour from the growler into the chosen chalice, a lush, milky white head, very slowly settling, over a uniquely colored brew, a hue somewhere between tangerine and tea.

Aroma carries hints of cherries, oak and maple, followed by harder traces of whiskey, sweetness and harsher alcoholic whiffs...although I find that this nose opens up, widens in scope and character over time...who can says what I'll smell further into the glass.

One the tongue, almost 100% pure bourbon. I like that, bourbon would be my liquor of choice, if I went near the hard stuff. Plumb and rich, abundant whiskey flavor. Makes sense, seeing as how they used a pale ale as a base, that the bourbon character would dominate. Damnably delicious!

Medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel, soft, woody/cherry-ish finish...quite mellow, actually. And defiantly drinkable, ....though every now and then, I remember the strength and put on the brakes...perhaps this growler will serve as a tasty nightcap over the next few days?

Wow. Very nice. Way to go, Lexington!
And thanks to my buddy, kmpitz, for the growler!

(Edit, after reading other reviews: vanilla, and coconut...yeah...why didn't I catch that earlier?)

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle at America on tap.
Rich caramel with hints of vanilla and oak with a bit of sweetness to round it all out. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Deep copper and bronze orange body but quite hazy and dull. Head has a creamy yellow and light tan color consistency and makes about two fingers to slowly settle into a soapy collar. Not bad minus the hazy quality, sort of looks like a barleywine.

Light bodied, and some small faint butterscotch like caramel. Senses a bit wet. Slightly sweet but not much oak or barrel aging character it seems. Pleasant at least.

Palate is quite surprising. Extremely light and airy, and very watery. I am talking tap water consistency. Senses of flat root beer like sweetness, and vanilla. Virtually no depth of malt on this at all. Palate isn't off putting, but this is really not lively.

This feels like a dead barleywine mixed with flat root beer. It's not horrid to drink but strangely doesn't remind me of beer let alone a barrel aged one. The only thing I would say is the weak watery body makes it super easy to drink, but my desire to ever want to have this again is virtually nil.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a light, clean, golden-chestnut coloring with a thin, off-white head. Aromas are light and sweet, with a vanilla, slight booze, and creamy blend. The beer's flavors are smooth and rich, with a cream overlay of the booze/bourbon characteristics, with a light toffee malt laced throughout. The aftertaste is the creamy sweetness, almost buttercream. Smooth, light finish. Very enticing. Strong flavor profiles, but remains well balanced on the smooth body.

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

Tried this beer at the midwest brew fest. The beer poured a copperish color with a minimial head. Smells like whiskey rather than beer. Taste like a combination of bourbon and beer which I find unique. Went down smooth as beer and with a hint of whiskey. Overall a good beer for those who like bourbon.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.
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