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

BA SCORE
82
good
639 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:
639
Ratings:
2,928
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
970
For Trade:
8
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 639 | Ratings: 2,928
Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
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 mikesgroove
4.34/5  rDev +19.6%
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 smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
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 Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -5%
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 Jason
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
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 mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
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 TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
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 woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +24%
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 vfgccp
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Surprisingly clear orange brown body. Fine white head with low retention and ok lace.

S - Super sweet with brown sugar and yellow raisin, slightly boozy, lots of vanilla, touch of wet oak.

T - Vanilla ice cream, cream soda, and bourbon complete with vanilla and an edge of oak. Touch watery.

M - Light frame, especially for the style. Low on carbonation.

O - The sweetness is definitely off balance, but when you sit back and work through flavors it tastes like a bourbon ice cream float, and at face value that's a pretty tasty.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.33/5  rDev -35.8%
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 johnnnniee
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
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 WoodBrew
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
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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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.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -16.8%
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 jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
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 +16.5%
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 GarthDanielson
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
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 Tone
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark gold color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of strong bourbon and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong bourbon, slight sweet malt, and slight grain. Overall, the bourbon was over-powering. Not well blended in either aroma or body.

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Photo of Duff27
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Little white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Cool alcohol legs at the swirl of the tulip. Clear dark amber color.

Smells like apple juice!

Tastes a little like apple juice as well. Slight bourbon feel. Not much hop prescence.

Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Worth a try if you need a Kentucky tick but otherwise you may want to pass....especially in the age of widely available, better tasting barrel agead beers.

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Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had to at least try this one since it's been all the rage in Indianapolis for the past couple months. It pours a crystal clear dark gold in color with a one finger off white head that dissipates into a white lacing around the glass. It smells of syrupy artificial bourbon, honey, and vanilla with a touch of alcohol. It's odd and where's the bourbon? This smells fake. It tastes of essentially watered down bourbon with honey and a touch of vanilla. The flavors are too mellow and blase overall. Why are people going crazy about this? The bourbon is so subtle and is really only present in the aftertaste. You would think a bourbon barrel aged ale would be able to give off more bourbon aromas and stronger flavor. Overall this beer is just average all around. It drinks light and is easy to drink but I don't think it's what they were going for and just didn't live up to the abv or attention that this has gotten in the midwest. That said, it does "taste good", being a honey ale in my opinion and is easy to drink. This beer just doesn't rate very well in my opinion.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium coppery amber with a half finger off-white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of mild biscuit and caramel malt, light bourbon and some vanilla. Flavor is light pale malt, woody oak, dry caramel and light bourbon. Finishes a little thin, but with a pleasant light woody bourbon flavor with somewhat astringent wood and light hops. Medium bodied with slight creaminess. The bourbon and wood notes are nice enough in this, but there is little or no interesting malt or hop flavors. It tastes like an English mild that has had slight barrel treatment, but distinct wood added. Technically done right, but needs some more emphasis on a solid, flavorful base ale. Satisfactory, but not inspiring.

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Photo of stevoj
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap in DC. Lots of candy, sugar babies, caramel, super sweet, slippery and slick. Some wood aging apparent, but mostly sugary sweet (and delicious)

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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.

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of light bourbon. Taste is light bourbon, malts, some sugary sweetness as it warms, alcohol is well hidden. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a decent beer, but not as flavorful as it could have been.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Pours a clear bright copper in color, small ring of head forms and recedes away. Aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, butterscotch, and alcohol fumes. The taste follows suit, but does so nicely. There is a sweetness from the oaky tannins of the bourbon barrels, vanilla like. Bourbon flavor makes itself known, with a vaguely smokey sweet alcohol grain flavour. The english pale/irish red base beer lends itself perfectly in its lightness to pick up all the flavors from the barrel. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall, this beer really highlights what fresh bourbon barrels can do to a simple base ale. Quite nice.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,928 ratings.
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