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

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
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.

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 691 | Ratings: 3,145
Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Kentucky native and decided to try this.

Poured it into my clear beer stein. Fair carbonation, not too thick of a head and is quite modest really. Smells like toffee and a little bit of vanilla, but really quite nice. Tastes really flavorful in the mixture of the toffee and also quite oaky, which I really like as it makes a sort of setting in the mouth. Also feels pretty rich, but not too flat.

Pretty good!

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Photo of MackT
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a medium colored amber. Minimal head, though aggressively poured. Aroma akin to apple vinegar. Underlying taste of same. I may have got a dead bottle. Only bought 1, would like to give this another try.

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured Kentucky Bourbon Ale into a snifter.
A - Pours a dark golden with a half of finger of white foam.
S - I smell toffee, vanilla, butterscotch.
T - On first taste I'm getting butterscotch, vanilla. Mid palate spicy hops and more vanilla.
M - Medium to high carbonation, thin mouthfeel.
O - A nice golden barrel aged ale. Cheers!

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Photo of Trailboss76
4.63/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

** Fabulous amber color. Not a big head. Sweet bourbon aroma. Super smooth non-bitter first taste. In taste, smell, and look you can definitely tell the beverage is laced with bourbon. This is a great ale! I would never have guessed it was 8.2% ABV as smooth as it goes down.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.54/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the ginger man,nyc.

Appearance....light copper, no head.
Taste...whiskey and water. Needs more malt or hops or something else., low carb.

Not too good.


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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
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 KMillard
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know what to think of this. Reminds me of the French beer adelscott by Fischer without the peat malt smoke, well I guess they originated the idea. It's been awhile since I've had adelscott as one does not France often. This beer pours thin and disappates quickly (something in common with adelscott). The flavors that come through are oak, vanilla and syrupy sweetness mixed with thin beer, I.e. whatever bourbon was in the barrel is the flavors you get, and tastes like a pretty good bourbon. Well I like bourbon, so I like this. Would I be better off just drinking bourbon perhaps. Adelscott is successful in France bc beer is socially less acceptable than scotch whiskey or wine. If there is a beer function that requires beer, French who do not like beer but love scotch drink adelscott. I don't think the same applies to USA, as we out proud of beer and bourbon. Conclusion, well worth a try, I am interested and want to try this brewer's darker I mission accomplished!

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice amber color to this beer but with a fleeting head. Boy you can really smell the bourbon along with sweet vanilla from this brew. Taste translates well from the nose with bourbon and sweet vanilla coming through. Sort of watery with a bit of heat on the finish.

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Photo of EMH73
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of Babalu614
4.96/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. A dark amber/ copper color. Aromas of bourbon, oak , and honey. Crisp flavorful tastes of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Very easy to drink for an 8.2 abv and only 190 calories per 12 oz. One of my go to beers, Kentucky Bourbon Ale never disappoints.

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Photo of MR2slow
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From bottle to glass.
Pours a nice deep amber color with a decent head that fades quickly. Smell is mainly charred wood with hints of toffee. Taste is very much oak with a sweetness of caramel and vanilla with a very slight whiskey kick. Feel is light and finish is slightly flat. Overall, it would be a very nice beer with a steak and some oak logs in the fireplace on a cold, quiet night.

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Photo of Bluecrow
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of jp32
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours transparent amber in color with a good sized head that leaves nice lacings. Smells malty, sweet, with notes of oak, booze, and vanilla in the background. Flavor of toasted caramel malt, leather, oak, and a low tea-like bitterness. Relatively thin bodied compared to most barrel aged beers that I've had, but perfectly carbonated and seemingly well-made. A bit of bourbon shines through in the middle taste. The beer finishes a bit bready, yet simple and clean with no lingering aftertaste. Pretty decent beer here. It's year-round widespread availability makes it a common gateway beer for people just getting into craft beer.

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Photo of Hackattack
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a local pizza place. I was surprised at the malty sweetness. I expected more of a bourbon overtone in the taste. Also the high ABV at 8.19% was deceiving...... it was not whisky-like at all. Really flavorful taste.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of MrWonka
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is what I consider one of my go-to beers. Though a bit pricey at about $12.29/4pk (of course prices are always variable depending on where you're shopping), you just have to know what you're getting yourself into when buying this particular beer. It is year-round in availability, but I still consider it to be a "classy-type" drink, either when out at a bar/dinner, or at a social gathering at someone's house. This is a beer that is sure to impress at least one/some of the people you are with.

It's interesting because I don't drink bourbon or liquor at all. Strictly craft beer. That being said, I find in interesting how much I like this particular beer. Its flavor, the aroma, the drinkability for it being 8.2%, pretty much everything about this beer receives a good rating.

The look: A nice, copper color; showing mild carbonation. A tiny white head remains, but it is extremely faint.
The smell: Sweet, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, wood, oak, slight alcohol and some mild dark fruit.
The taste: Follows the smell, with oak and wood flavors becoming a bit more prominent. In a way it is somewhat hard for me to explain more in regards to how this beer tastes, so everyone reading this will have to rely on my analysis above.

All in all, this is an extremely underrated beer, especially considering its year-round in availability. While many will argue over/complain about the price; I myself am partially happy this brewery is charging what they are for this beer. Not only is it a high-quality beer, but one of my main hopes is that some customers/craft beer enthusiasts will go about in liquor stores, stumble across this beer, and think to themselves, "Hm, I wonder what this beer is all about. Almost $13 for a 4-pack? Must be pretty good then. I think I'll try one." Boom. Purchased. Done deal. Ah how a man can dream.

Cheers everyone.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling - Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. 8.2% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Look: Dark amber body, appears as tea, with a small short lived head.

Smell: Most prevalent is the bourbon, somewhat boozy, accompanied by the barrel char. Not really accented by any additional aromas.

Feel: On the thin side, with some light carbonation. Watery feel.

Taste: Mirror of the aroma. Not much besides boozy bourbon and oak barrel. Has a quaint sweet finish paired with the booze.

Overall: I had higher hopes for this, because of how well I liked the other bourbon barrel beers from Alltech, but this just seemed too bland and boozy.

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Photo of kitschiguy
3.12/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

255ml bottle / 8.2%

Pours a dark copper with a pretty crappy head which died. Left a litttle lacing though.

Lots of bourbon on the palate. A hint of vanila. Very little hop bitterness, a little butterscotch - maybe off.

Mouth quite thin.
Alcohol masked very well.

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Photo of Sapsquatch
1.6/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Does anyone else remember when this beer was good? It actually changed my life when I first had it about four or five years ago. I was blown away by the vanilla flavor that came through in the beer. I could not believe how much a bourbon barrel could change a beer. It was delicious.

Not any more.

I'm disappointed every time I taste it. Every now and then I will sample it from various taps in hopes of a good batch. And I know it when I have it. I have yet to consistently sample it at the quality level of when it first came to Ohio. Really, it was that good.

You know, it might still be a good beer. But this beer set a higher standard for me. It is unfortunate that I am holding this beer to the very standard it created for me years ago. Every now and then I will get lucky (less than 5% of the time) and stumble across a good batch. But I have given up at this point. The business decision that was made to sacrifice quality lost me as a consumer.

Maybe it is the aging time. Or maybe it is the process that has changed. It sure seems like the bourbon barrels are being used too many times to claim "barrel aged" on the label without adding flavor. I miss the original. I would have paid more for it. Now, it is so mainstream that the quality has been sacrificed for distribution.

This could have become an iconic beer if quality was more important than quantity. Demand would have always exceeded supply. Instead, consumers like me - that helped to build demand for this beer - are no longer the consumers buying it.

Am I the only one that noticed this?

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
3.39/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I got this beer in a beer trade. I was expecting more bourbon considering the name and I did not expect it to be sour. However, it was still a good beer.

Look: Copper color almost reddish brown with a thin white head.

Aroma: sweet woody aroma.

Taste: Bready, caramel, vanilla, sour apple, pretty sour, and very mild bourbon.

Feel: Medium body and medium carbonation.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.16/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Meadhall. The beer had a red appearance with a thin head. Aromas included a strong vanilla bourbon flavor with a taste that did follow that nose quite well. The mouthfeel to this beer was quite good as well; generally smooth and creamy, which helped make this a great after dinner/dessert drink. Overall, I thought this was really good.

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Photo of seansean95
4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: pretty dark gold with a minimal head and constant lacing.

Smell: sweet and woody.

Taste: similar to taste with a slightly malty aftertaste.

Feel: very smooth with minimal carbonation

Overall not as great as I was hoping. I'd been wanting this beer for a while, but paid $5.75. It frankly wasn't worth that, but it was still a fairly good beer.

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Photo of 57md
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light copper color with almost a finger of head. There a re soft bourbon notes on the nose; the same holds for the flavor. The mouthfeel is grainy. The body is a bit thin for a strong ale and the maltiness is a bit wanting as well. The finish has a nice dry character that compliments the sweetness of the bourbon.

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Photo of donspublic
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip from tap, minimal head, good retention, nice lacing. Clear amberish red in the glass, really pretty beer. Not getting much on the nose like a lot of ba beers, slight vanilla, some bourbon notes coming thru, really restrained. Taste is where this guy shines, great bourbon on the front, slides into vanilla And finishes with a mild semisweet bitter finish. Mouthfeel is great., This is a great beer to keep around for that bourbon kick, doesn't feel that heavy

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 3,145 ratings