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

BA SCORE
82
good
2,942 Ratings
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
Ratings:
2,942
Reviews:
643
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
156
Gots:
980
For Trade:
8
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,942 |  Reviews: 643
Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of LXIXME
3.64/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear deep orange/amber/light copper color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, honey, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, butterscotch, fruitiness, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, honey, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, butterscotch, fruitiness, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light earthy bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, honey, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, brown bread, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with no cloying sweetness after the finish. Minimal dryness. Medium carbonation and medium-plus body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy/creamy, and lightly tannic mouthfeel that is nice. Minimal warming alcohol for 8.2%, with zero barrel booziness. Overall this is a very good barrel aged English strong ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. Not a ton of malt complexity, but showcases the bourbon barrel character very well. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,682 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WhyBeNormal for putting this box in N00b BIF Round 3. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a brew that is a moderate-brown color with a thin tan head that fades into a thin collar. The nose is dominated by bourbon. Strong bourbon notes pervade, and only increase in intensity as the beer warms. Nice and fairly mellow, but I'd like a bit more complexity here. The flavor is the same way, though there is a touch of caramel and brown sugar in the background. Medium body with lowish carbonation. A bit too hot in the finish. Not bad at all. I've got another that I'll need to cellar for a bit to see if it mellows out.

 630 characters

Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +8%
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.

 674 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of jlindros
4.24/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

 2,130 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 1,094 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 934 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

 1,124 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 782 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of dcmchew
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

 1,044 characters

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

 571 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -5%
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.

 1,599 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -14%
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.

 703 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

 367 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,942 ratings.
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