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

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
3,041 Ratings
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Brewed by:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Kentucky, United States

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

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Ratings: 3,041 |  Reviews: 670
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.07/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color with no head forming on the pour. Smell is sweet and alcoholic. Not necessarily a bourbon smell, but a sweet alcohol. Taste is overly carbonated and cheap bourbon. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. I was hoping more from a brewery that is located in the backyard of bourbon. The Jefferson's Reserve Stout is lightyears better.
A disclaimer is that I've heard this beer is an entirely different animal on draft compared to bottle. I'll seek it out on draft and update my rating accordingly.

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

A clear orange tea color with a modest white cover that clings to the sides and leaves very little lace on the snifter glass served at Max & Erma's at Cincinnati Airport, terminal B. The aroma is a decent carmel malt which I guess is basically a product of the proported bourbon with a hint of citrus hop. The bourbon is a bit more clear in the taste, almost candied It's crisp and clean with good, fine carbonation. There is a mild bitterness that gathers at the back of my mouth, bread and biscuit with some malt, a touch of flowery sweetness and some alcohol. I don't think I would want to drink a lot of these, that bourbon and bitter theme wears a little thin on the taste buds, but it is a fair experience, worth the try. I had it with an excellent turkey club sandwich which seemed to only accentuate the bourbon flavor. It also seemed to have a little kick, the ale not the sandwich.

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Photo of Greggy
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a large snifter leaving a quick 1 finger head that recedes quickly into a thin cap with decent lacing. No sediment present in the golden amber body.

S- Big waft of bourbon as well as what i perceive to be scotch. There is a definite caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and light baking chocolate that is reminiscent of scotch ale. Digging deeper I catch some darker fruits like figs and even a touch plum.

T- starts off with a nice light bourbon taste that is a little oaky and dry on the finish which is nice. I get notes of light butteriness (oak), a touch of vanilla, and just a hint of butterscotch.

M- Just a hint of light carbonation which is nice for an oak aged beer. The mouthfeel is quite dry and oaky which is nice.

D- This beer hides its 7% with ease; however, I think this beer got most of its character form the barrel. I would have liked to see a bit more complexity of bourbon and maybe a little more smokiness. If you can get it, definitely try it. It's not the greatest oak aged beer, but I will definitely enjoy the rest of mine.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wow, this was neat! particularly if you like bourbon. thanks to hopasaurusrex for sharing this brew.

A - nice clear copper color with a thin head white head that quickly fades.

S -wonderful bourbon whiskey - solid vanilla and oak with a touch of caramel in the background. Wonderful aroma!

T -wonderfully balanced, definitely all about the bourbon. The vanilla became a bit overdominant in the end of the glass.

M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, nice lasting bourbon notes.

D - nice sipping brew. would've scored higher if the bourbon notes didnt' run so strong into the vanilla flavors. I'd get this again!

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Photo of KeefD
4.19/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Bright amber orange with no head, but plenty of carbonation. Big hints of bourbon soaked fruit on the nose. Hints of vanilla and spice. Taste is wonderful. Definite hints of bourbon, backed up by some sweet malt, some vanilla undertones, and a not-too-cloying fruit sweetness. Hints of caramel are present. This beer is a bourbon lover's dream. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but it's perfect for the style. Not too much carbonation to get in the way of the body, which would have made it a bit too crisp. A very nice Kentucky Koncoction.


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Photo of naterock
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
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 biggred1
4.26/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear copper with a slight white head, very fine lacing.

S- Pretty potent smell,big oaked wood and whiskey aroma, some sweet faint vanilla in the background.

T- Nice vanilla bean, coconut and caramel up front with a decent warm alcoholic woody finish.

M- Smooth and creamy, coats the tongue.

D-Nice stuff in moderation. One of the better examples of the bourbon beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Bobdope
4.44/5  rDev +20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this on draught at Max and Erma's in the Cincinnati airport, Delta concourse. This beer had a very clear light look, it had a great bourbon smell to it. I went in for on and could not leave without having another. The bartender served this fine drink in a schafer glass.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle gifted from friends. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" white head above the clear golden amber brew. Head is down to a small-bubbled film pretty quick, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet and bourbony. Taste starts with a moderate pale malt sweetness, oak and vanilla come on in the middle, and then fade into the close. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is much too easy. Still liking this brew.

11/30/05 - 4/3.5/4.5/5/5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/4" of off-white head over the clear light copper brew. Head is gone pretty quick, with sparse bubbly lacing, both kind of par for a barrel-aged brew. Aroma is extremely boozy, easily overpowering the malt sweetness found in the Kentucky Ale base brew. Taste is much more balanced than the nose was indicating, with the malt sweetness smoothly fading into the bourbon tinges, with vanilla and wood apparent, but not enough so as to overpower the other flavors. This is one of the smoothest barrel-aged brews I've had, and the drinkability is just as good. I know it's only 7%abv, but with a lighter brew to start, it would take a bit more finesse to not destroy the original beer. This one is great.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
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 Generik420
1.4/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I tried this at a street festival in Covington, KY this past weekend and have to say it was pretty horrid. I kind of wonder if they don't leave bourbon in the barrel before they add the beer. If you have ever done a depth charge shot, where you drop a shot of whiskey into a pint of beer and slam it, you know what this tastes like. Another reviewer mentioned it tasted like bourbon on the rocks where the ice has melted.. well let me get a little more specific.. imagine that the ice cubes were originally beer and that is what melted into your glass of bourbon. The problem is the beer itself I don't believe is *big* enough to be aged in a bourbon barrel. This was a fairly light colored beer, amber at best, with a straight whiskey aroma. There just wasn't enough there to work with the bourbon flavors and in the end what you get is a mess.

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Photo of shivtim
2.73/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Have to agree with aforbes10 that this wasn't that great of a beer. Maybe we just got a bad six-pack? I got it from Kentucky and transported it to Indiana myself, so I know it was somewhat fresh.
Poured out clear yellow/orange with no head whatsoever. nose was old bourbon and cork, with cornmeal. taste was watery bourbon and vanilla, like bourbon on the rocks with the ice all melted. Not disagreeable, but not great. Slight medicine qualities. Mouthfeel was pretty average. Overall it's just a so-so beer.

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Photo of aforbes10
1.9/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle purchased by shivtim on his drive through Kentucky. We assumed this was one of those MBC "front breweries" but apparantly its not. Pours an uninteresting amber with a slight, wispy head. Smells like grain alcohol, shitty bourbon. Tastes like watered down bourbon, vanilla flavoring and not much else. pretty bland and watery. Medium to thin bodied. Eh.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a deep golden color. A finger of feathery white foam hangs around for a minute but is losing the battle quickly.

Aroma - a vapor of bourbonesque aroma starts out of the glass on the pour. Upon settling, much of that fades and while there is still some oaky smell remaining, it is mixed with a mild diacetyl, vanilla, and coconut as it warms.

Taste - a brief underpinning of grain, quickly met by the sweet, mashy flavor of bourbon. The wood, vanilla, whiskey, it's all there. The balance is uncanny for a barrel beer. Solid flavors but they don't overrun their boundaries. A mild alcohol warmth but not hot at all. A great way to experience the barrel without doing a number on the palate. Not much beer flavor to this but I'm just so very impressed with the balanced flavor of oak and bourbon. Being somewhat diluted to 7% allows the nuances of the flavors to emerge and stand or fall on their own merits. This beer stands.

Mouthfeel - medium to slightly light, crisply carbonated. Feels like a 5% session beer. I wish it were bigger.

Drinkability - the most sessionable bourbon beer so far. A great intro to the style too.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Kentucky Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with no head at all. Not much lacing either. It smells like oak, bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some toasted/smoked malt and even a bit of coconut in there too. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, with average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. Alcohol surprisingly isn't very noticable at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, I liked it a lot. A pretty decent choice, I think.

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Photo of stewart124
4.19/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light amber color with a thick white head. Carbonation sounds and looks to be high.

Deep smells of bourbon for sure. Sweet hints of grape and caramel malts. Slight floral notes.

Toasted bready notes in the flavor blend very well with this beer. Nice malty flavor overall. Toffee and vanilla are hidden in this beer. Big complexity that I would not have guess. Body seems medium to big.

Aftertaste is thick with more vanilla, oak, and a slight smoked chewy feeling. Alcohol is hidden fairly well but I'm sure I'd have to limit my intake of these.


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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.34/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is clear copper with light carbonation, the Head is small white and leaves little lace.

The smell is great, lots of a very nice bourbon, vanilla and caramel seem to dominate.

The taste is equally as good but a bit different. Toasted coconut seems to be the taste the bourbon brings not vanilla so much. Really a nice brew to sip. Lightly toasted caramel and some vanilla notes do come out but nothing like the coconut.

The mouthfeel is light body and light carbonation nothing to great here, but not a reason to put it down either.

The drinkability is very good I would love to see this in a store. Thanks to NFLMVP for this very cool find, Prosit MK

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
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 thisisbigrob
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Poured a very clear light amber color. I had to pour forcefully to get a small, fine white head that disappeared quickly leaving a small ring of foam around the glass.

S: Slightly sweet malt smell with a definite sour mash presence. No hop smell at all.

T: Sweet with a blast of bourbon. No hop flavor to be found.

M: Very smooth, almost feels like a lager. Would be great if it were a lager, but I prefer my ales to be a little meatier maltwise.

D: The lager qualities make it go down smooth, and I'm not noticing the alcohol content at all. But I'm quickly growing tired of the whiskey flavor and wouldn't drink two in a sitting.

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Photo of beeragent
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass from a 12oz. bottle. The beer poured a clear medium amber, forming a thin white head which quickly faded. The aroma is strong bourbon along with a hint of malt. The taste is a smooth combination of bourbon, malt, caramel, and a hint of vanilla. Not very complex, but the simplicity works for this brew. Clean smooth mouthfeel. Aside from the slightly higher abv., this is definitely a beer I wouldnt mind having a few of. Overall, I was expecting a bad tasting beer after hearing reviews about it, but I was suprised to find that the beer actually had a good flavor. I will definitely buy this again. Recommended!!

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Friend of mine brought down a 4-pack of this as a wedding gift to me.

Pours out very clear-- copper in color. Nearly non-existent head. Smells slightly sweet and woody. Slight bourbon notes as well.

Taste is quite bourbon flavored. Sweet start, bourbon down the middle, and a bit alcoholy at the end. Definitely picking up some woody flavors as well. Seems more of a beer delivering a bourbon taste than a beer with bourbon nuances. Perhaps this might benefit from some aging?

Prickly carbonation, and rather thin mouthfeel versus my expectations. Quite smooth, though. I think a more full-bodied beer would carry that bourbon flavor better. Not sure I would drink more than 1 of these at a time -- mostly due to the rather strong bourbon taste, not so much the strength.

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Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice brew sent by unclejedi for the CEO BIF.

Poured a clear amber brown, with a small tan head that died quickly.Did leave some lace rings as I progressed through the brew. Intriguing aroma of a barleywine type caramel and malt – just some hints of bourbon.

Then the quaff, nice hints of a Maker Mark type bourbon, Then a finish comes with notes of vanilla, which by mid-bottle become a tad too dominate. The vanilla sweetens the brew too much – it just needed a touch, and we got a handful. Still a tasty brew, medium bodied, crisp and dry.

The 7% alcohol is nowhere to be seen. Sip and enjoy this brew (just cut that vanilla in the next batches).

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Photo of atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper with almost no head. Aroma is a nice blend of burnt caramel, Bourbon, oak and some vanilla. The taste is a great blend of Bourbon, caramel and vanilla. The slight oak flavor adds a nice touch. This is a great beer for someone who also likes Bourbon, good taste of both worlds. The beer is light bodied with good warming undertoned alcohol. This is a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to see a Triad Ba has tried this recently. Picked mine up in Bardstown back in June when I went to Maker's Mark Distillery!
Poured a golden color-like clover honey. Very thin head that dissipated.
Aroma-Smells like Maker's Mark with vanilla notes and whiff of caramel.
Mouthfeel-sweet like a Bourbon and ginger ale, very little hop bitterness but they are detectable.A froth on the palate elicits the alcohol. Tasty but I would like a bolder malt backbone to go with the very good bourbon flavor. The 7% can be felt not too long after finishing this one. Does not look like much when poured but it has a nice sweet bourbon flavor and it finishes clean. Wish i could have found a big flip-top jug like the one in the picture.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 3,041 ratings