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

BA SCORE
82
good
635 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:
635
Ratings:
2,912
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
965
For Trade:
8
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,912
Photo of endincolorado
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an ultra-clear, pale copper with a decent, off-white head that settles quickly. Lacing is adequate.

Aroma is heavy on vanilla and slight woodiness, reminds me of whiskey and water. Some sweet malt aroma- no hops.

Flavor is also big on vanilla and is pleasantly reminiscent of bourbon, though also slightly of cream soda as well. A lingering sweetness and a slight hop presence can be found in the finish.

Mouthfeel is okay. Could be a little creamier, and less carbonated.

A drinkable beer, and one that might be a stand-by if not for the price tag. I'd heard this was amazing and I was skeptical. It's pretty good, but there are a lot better barrel-aged beers.

 672 characters

Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.06/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle with no freshness date into a pint glass. Only mildly suds for a head. The smell was amazing to me. I was letting this brew sit and breathe. I could smell the sweetness from the malts almost as a candied fruits would smell. I could also smell a titch of the original bourbon. Certainly malts are tasted but the overwhelming flavor for me is the bourbon and woody nature. No real hop flavor. Booze present and not hidden well. Its a sipper for me.

 465 characters

Photo of vobr0002
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- nice white head, golden amber color. Almost like mixing some bourbon with light beer.

S- lots of vanilla, some bourbon and caramel but fairly muted.

T- very light flavors but a nice smooth bourbon flavor. Not too much else.

M- very smooth light body. Higher carbonation.

O- its a good beer. Its a nice change of pace when you want something light but still want the bourbon flavor.

 388 characters

Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a tulip glass. A dark translucent amber body, no real head to speak of but a white ring of bubbles. Smell is really lacking to the point that I feel like I have a stuffy nose from a cold, which I don't. Only the faintest hint of bourbon comes through.
Ahh, well at least the taste delivers. Extremely strong notes of vanilla from the bourbon. For what is self-described as a sipper, I'd say this is really tasty and drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, let alone and English strong ale. You get a nice dark fruit backbone in the middle but finishes smooth and crisp.
Weak smell, very nice taste.

 615 characters

Photo of Yesac
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Not the color I was expecting. Clear pale golden yellow. No head, just a ring around the glass.

S- Big aroma. Sweet vanilla, cotton candy with bourbon. Interesting.

T- Very 'ale' tasting. Sweet bourbon and vanilla on a toasty malt base.
Weak taste overall.

M/D- Medium carbonation and medium body. Just not an exciting beer here.

 336 characters

Photo of Bluecrow
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

clear, dark tap pour with little discernible effervescence. Whiskey and toffee notes in the nose. Flavor includes malt and whiskey and a touch of vanilla, but is the body is very thin and finish is flat.

 206 characters

Photo of naterock
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours nice bourbon color. resembles a classic kentucky bourbon.
smells slightly of whiskey, but no very strong. mostly alcohol.
T: tastes very bitter and boozy, successful bourbon transferrence. I think someone mixed actual bourbon with this beer. I like a nice bourbon on rocks, and I like this ale. if you don't like bourbon don't drink this beer.

 350 characters

Photo of simplejj81
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

I wish this would have been aged more than 6 weeks. Too sweet and not enough heat to meet my expectations for this beer. Its good, but I was hoping for more.

 159 characters

Photo of 1Adam12
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought this today. The first day it's been available in bottles in Indiana. Carmel colored poured from the bottle to my snifter. Smells of very light bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and malt. Very nice taste. I catch alot of vanilla and caramel, with very mild bourbon. I'd have liked more bourbon, but seems about right for the short amount of aging time. Alcohol really isn't present. Very light, low carbonated mouthfeel. I really did like this beer, however, with the 15 dollar a 4 pack price on it, it's just not even close to worth the price.

 543 characters

Photo of EMH73
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap, poured a clear medium amber with no head. Smells of bourbon, toffee, malts and oak. Taste follows the nose with additional notes of vanilla. Watery mouth feel, minimal carbonation and medium bodied.

 213 characters

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

Poured into my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter that came with the beer.

A: Pours a transparent amber color with an off-white head that dissipates into a thin lace.

S: Smells like I am drinking a Manhattan. Some serious bourbon scent with a bit of a woodiness and a hint of vanilla.

T: The taste is just as it smells. A quick explosion of bourbon upfront which is immediately followed by a vanilla burst that carries into the finish and well after.

M: Thin/medium bodied with average carbonation.

D: The name on the label fits this beer perfectly. You get the bourbon flavor in the smell and right upfront, but then the vanilla flavor comes in and takes over. It seems that this is exactly what they were going for and it works nicely.

 746 characters

Photo of MrDanno96
2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep golden color with hints of red. A thin white head encircles the edges of the glass with some spotty lacing.

S: Strong aroma of bourbon and that's pretty much it. Notes of vanilla come through along with the strong booziness of bourbon.

T/M: Meh. All you can really taste is bourbon. This typically would not be a problem, but it really just tastes like really watered down bourbon - no real beer character at all except for its medium, slightly carbonated body.

D: I did not really enjoy this to be honest. I don't think this is a good base beer to age in bourbon barrels - pale ale and bourbon don't really mix. It just tastes like someone took a session beer and poured several shots of bourbon into it.

 727 characters

Photo of br3wmeister
2.41/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Light gold colored beer with a nonexistent head.

S- Biscuity with some caramel, vanilla, nuts, bourbon and coconut.

T- Large biscuit flavor with lots of butter. Hint of vanilla, some caramel nuts, and again coconut.

M- Not too much going on. Medium bodied with a light oily feel.

Overall I would say this is just not my style, though i could tolerate it I did not feel compelled to finish the bottle.

 411 characters

Photo of jancona
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sweet vanilla and bourbon smell along with a hint of brown sugar - taste follows - mellow bourbon flavor with a sweet vanilla malt backbone / no booziness - very enjoyable.

 172 characters

Photo of jacobseyb
3.52/5  rDev -3%
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.

 381 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a four-pack at my local Stein's Liquor to split with my dad, who really enjoys this one. No discernible bottled on date. Poured at cellar temperature into my Red Eye pint glass.

L: Pours a pale copper with about a quarter-inch of off-white head that dissipates quickly into an almost nonexistent film which leaves almost no lacing on the glass. Crystal-clear, with moderate visible carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel malts are present, as well as some distinctive vanilla and bourbon notes. Just a bit of earthiness--it's a predominantly sweet bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malt flavors right up front. A bit of breadiness in there, as well. Rather quickly, the bourbon flavor begins to assert itself, though it's not accompanied by any clear alcohol or warming properties. The middle also sees a bit of the vanilla coming through. There's a bit of a red wine sensation near the back end, which doesn't necessarily clash with the bourbon notes. The close has more of the caramel malt and vanilla sweetness, with the bourbon flavor riding things out. A slight bitterness rises in the aftertaste.

F: Medium-bodied, though probably on the lighter side of that categorization. It's crisp at the front and a bit creamy in the middle, aided by a nice level of carbonation. This one doesn't have any stick to it and finishes quite cleanly.

O: This is a pretty tasty brew, given what it purports to be. I wish there was a little more heat from the bourbon, and the malt profile could be a little more engaging. That being said, it's quite drinkable for a beer with this high an ABV, and it will probably please a lot of casual fans of bourbon-flavored anything. But at this price point ($10 for a four-pack), I'm not likely to return to it any time soon.

 1,752 characters

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sniffer

Appearance - Dark orange with a hazy appearance; good lacing on the side

Smell - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Malts, and toffee. It's like smelling an actual bottle of bourbon with a slightly more vanilla scent

Taste - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Toffee, Malts and Yeast. While it still tastes great, the flavors all come off as a bit underwhelming despite the complexity.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and light with some moderate carbonation. It feels great and refreshing but it would feel much better if it had a creamy texture to it

Overall - As a bourbon ale, it's good but it feels a bit underwhelming for what it is. That doesn't mean that it's a bad beer, far from it! For a beer in general, it's pretty damn good.

 741 characters

Photo of bmeehan
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I wish I had drank this sooner after I bought it, but regardless, it's still a beer that can be appreciated. It pours a beautiful golden brown and there is a faint aftertaste of bourbon, but its scent is almost non existent and compared to other ales aged in bourbon barrels, this one is forgettable.

 300 characters

Photo of DJoe
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. Had from a bottle, poured into a pint glass. There was very little about this that could be called distinctive other than the moderate vanilla flavor. Never tasted any bourbon or oak traits.

 198 characters

Photo of McNealc31
4.94/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All the familiar characteristics of a good bourbon hit me immediately. That oakey and vanilla scent, the copper color. It drinks like the smoothest bourbon you've ever had with that unctuous buttery feel going down. And a hint of residual warmth. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is delicious, smooth, and has an aggressive, tricky 8% ABV.

 334 characters

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, medium amber color, but with minimal head and no lacing.

S: The bready malt, typical of an ale, is the first thing I smell. Strong vanilla aromas come next, followed by some leather notes. Yep, there's whiskey in this beer.

T: There is some malt flavor here, and a little hops bitterness in the finish. But they are completely buried by the taste of bourbon whiskey.

M: Despite the lackluster head, the carbonation is good and it has a nice crispness to it.

O: I'm a big fan of bourbon, but sometimes there's just too much of a good thing. I was hoping for a beer complemented by the whiskey, not dominated by it. It wasn't bad, per se, just not what I was hoping for.

 682 characters

Photo of Auslander
3.36/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. It is the color of honey. Bone white head does not last long. Almost no lacing.

Smells of bourbon and muted vanilla.

Taste- Wow. Nice mixture of vanilla, honey, and mellow bourbon. I like this. It is a worthwhile beer.

 262 characters

Photo of Gear54
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: minimal amount of foam that faded quickly. It had a dark copper color and slight lacing.

S: vanilla and oak mostly with a slight alcohol note underneath

T: to me this beer lived up to its potential. It was slightly sweet with vanilla and oak flavored. There was little doubt about the bourbon barrel's impact on this brew. Hardly any bitterness

M: light with a lasting bourbon finish

O: This wasn't the beer I was planning on having at the pub but I'm glad it's the one that landed on my coaster! I'll be grabbing some for the beer fridge!

 546 characters

Photo of ArchimedesSox
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown amber, honey color, dense off white head, good lacing

S: Butterscotch, booziness, vanilla

T: Butterscotch right up front, vanilla comes in, oak flavors

M: Medium, heat from the alcohol

O: I got a lot of flavors associated with bourbon but the taste did not scream bourbon to me. A good beer none the less.

 329 characters

Photo of cooncat
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Save-On in Mentor as a single for $3.00 for a 12 oz. bottle.

Poured at fridge temps into my S.A. glass, the beer is a bit darker than your standard BMC lager in color, with a 1 fingered ecru head which diminishes quickly. A bit of lacing on a swirl of the glass, but no stickage (or very little).

The nose has bourbon in it, which, given the name, is not a surprise. Its not overwhelming, but more of a hint of bourbon. Behind that is a light malty sweetness. Overall, nothing exciting going on in the nose.

The taste is pretty similar to the nose. To be honest, it tastes pretty much like someone added a dash of bourbon to a glass of BMC type lager. I'm stretching my taste buds to try to pick up some of the other flavors I've read other reviewers mention, and I'm not coming up with much. There is a bit of caramel malt behind the bourbon; no noticeable hop presence. Carbonation level is on the high side .. not enough to make it "bitey", but enough to thin the mouthfeel to med-light. As for drinkability, I'd have to say that I'd reach for one of my homebrews before I reached for another one of these.

This is my first beer from a Kentucky brewer, and this particular brewer (Lexington Brewing Co.). Hope that my next beer from this region offers a bit more. Would I recommend it? Well, if you can get yourself a single, and you enjoy the flavor of a "shot and a beer", you'll probably be a candidate for giving this one a try. Otherwise, I can't recommend it .. especially at $3 for a single.

Na Zdravje!

 1,532 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,912 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe