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

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
BA SCORE
3.7/5
Good
3,015 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
Ranking:
#29,230
Reviews:
661
Ratings:
3,015
pDev:
17.84%
Bros Score:
3.77
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
1,029
Trade:
8
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Ratings: 3,015 |  Reviews: 661
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look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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3/5  rDev -18.9%

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3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of bobhits
2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

OK I'm going to break the rules here and feel free to remove my review if this offends anymore. I've had this beer 20+ times over the last few years and I've had it both on tap and in bottles almost equally. The advantages of living in Lexington where it's brewed I suppose. This beer varies so much imo it's impossible to review a single bottle and do it justice. As a result I wanted to use this review to tell you my thoughts on this kentucky favorite.

A OK nothing major changes here. Dark amber almost brown in color. A nice off white head will form and this is pretty consistent.

S Here is where this beer gets interesting. Every batch of this seems a bit different. This a nice amber beer (site says English pale ale for the Kentucky ale...dunno about that one) with a touch of malt and some subtle hops way back there. They then barrel age it and from talking to the sales reps they don't consistently pick the same barrels to use. This results in a nose that goes from strong vanilla to strong oak to almost smelling like a boiler maker with a shot of bourbon in there. That said there's nothing wrong with any of this in the nose, but don't go in expecting a certain aroma cause they'll throw you a curve ball every time.

T I recall my fist time having this a few years back. I bought a nice 4 pack of it and was excited to try it. I truly struggled to get a single bottle down. It was this amazingly strong bourbon flavor that just took control of the beer. The abv seemed a joke and it was a sipper beyond words. I never liked that 4 pack...each bottle was just too much. That said this beer is everywhere and I had to try it again. The next time I picked it up I expected much the same and was prepared. The problem was I got a completely different beer. The first beer was harsh and the bourbon dominated so much that I couldn't taste anything else. This second batch was overwhelmingly vanilla. It was smooth, silky, the original beer was shining through with its caramel malt and earthy hop character. It was actually lacking that bourbon flavor I wanted and instead the oak and vanilla where all that the beer offered. Fresh and on tap however this beer often hits a near perfect balance of the vanilla and bourbon and creates this true gem. When this beer gets things right it mixes a fairly thin and mild ale with some amazing vanilla and oak flavors finishing with a nice bourbon flavor while mixing in the caramel malt and subtle hops. This is a beer that will turn a whiskey drinker for at least a night into a beer drinker and turn even the biggest beer snob into a fan. The problem is this isn't what I normally find.

At its best this beer is a solid 4's with a few 4.5's mixed in there. At its worse just avoid. On average and the majority of bottles I have had, this is a really solid beer. It looks good, the bourbon nose is solid, it tastes as you'd expect a bourbon aged english ale to be, and it drinks pretty well. It's a shame this is not more consistent and isn't on that better side of things more often, but go in with these expectations and hopefully you get one of their better bottles.

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3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

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3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BostonHops
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pours a clear, medium-light amber tone while yielding a finger or so of short lived head. not much lacing to speak of. nose is a bit more subdued than i was anticipating with subtle notes of caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mild bourbon.

flavor mostly follows the aroma with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and some - though not a lot of - bourbon. unique flavor profile, not what i expected. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, while it does have the uniqueness element going for it, in the final analysis it's an average beer - doesn't really work for me. it's not terrible, just not something i would seek out again. worth a try though.

(originally reviewed: 02-08-2012)

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3/5  rDev -18.9%

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4.5/5  rDev +21.6%

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3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of fmccormi
3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my Double Bastard tumbler glass. Seemed appropriate for the beer, and I think it works! Bottling date might be printed on the underside of the bottle, but it’s hard to tell. If I’m reading it right, this was bottled on August 19, 2011 (“1231 73E0831”).

Appearance (4.0): One and a half fingers of off-white head (pretty tight foam) fades relatively quickly to a haze on the top and a sudsy ring all around the glass as it dissipates. Body is a just-barely-hazy, rich golden color. Kind of looks like apple juice. Even so, it’s actually a pretty good-looking beer!

Smell (3.0): Mainly bourbon. Not an overpowering, nostril-searing, boozy kind of scent, but the mix of smooth vanilla and buttery oak that comes with bourbon. There’s a bit of booze, too, but not a ton. Nice bourbon scent, but not a lot else going on here.

Taste (3.0): Again, bourbon. But once again, not the harsh booze of bourbon, so much as the vanilla and buttery oak character. Finishes with an almost tart fruitiness, like green apples. There’s booze on the palate, but it’s not from the 8.19% ABV—it’s from the bourbon barrel. Again, not particularly strong or harsh, but it doesn’t feel like it’s “naturally” part of the beer, so to speak. I’m not complaining. This is decent, for sure. To be honest, it tastes like a light ale brewed with only plain-Jane, biscuity pilsner malt, and not a ton of it at that. Hops, I have no idea where they are—a faint grassiness in the finish maybe, but that’s it. Tastes like a very simple, golden ale aged in bourbon barrels.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Pretty nice mouthfeel, actually. Tingles all over the tongue and foams nicely going down. On the light side of medium, and easy-drinking. Pretty dry finish.

Overall (3.5): This is an interesting beer. It looks like apple juice and even tastes kind of like apple juice (but not as sweet, and aged in bourbon barrels). So, unsweetened, bourbon barrel-aged apple juice. It’s an alright beer. Think of it as a simple golden ale destined to carry the bourbon character in a clear and straightforward manner. Definitely drink it on the warmer side, drinking it cold does it no favors.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 3,015 ratings
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