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

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
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Style:
English Strong Ale
Ranked #34
ABV:
8.19%
Score:
84
Ranked #31,856
Avg:
3.74 | pDev: 17.65%
Reviews:
697
Ratings:
3,171
From:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  168
Gots
  1,092
SCORE
84
Good
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Notes: 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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Reviews: 697 | Ratings: 3,171
Photo of ndekke39
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle with no date on it. A definitely brown bourbon color. Clear, with a very small head. No lacing. Smells of... uh, bourbon. Strong nutty notes, too. Definitely an overall sweet character. Tastes again of... uh, bourbon (not that that's a bad thing!). Again the nutty character. Elements of wood, light buttery finish. Mouthfeel is a tad watery. Overall, the bourbon dominates as expected with this style, but it gives the beer a nice character. Perfect for sipping cold on a summer evening.

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Photo of cbl2
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

8/23/2006 $12.00 4 pack purchased at Roof Brothers in Paducah KY. No best by date.

Appearance:

Pours a radiantly clear orange that is tinged with hints of peach topped by a quarter inch of white foam that rapidly settles.

Aroma:

They weren't joking when they said aged in bourbon barrels, as the bourbon shines through here along with notes of toffee, buttered popcorn and peat.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very odd diacetyl and fusel alcohol up front, with the long lingering presence of kettle corn in the background. Vanilla and oak are apparent throughout, imparted by the wood contact.

Bourbon has always been my father's drink, and I've never gotten a taste for it, but I figured while I was out visiting my grandmother in Kentucky, I'd try what the locals drink (though in beer form). It's interesting, but I still am not a bourbon fan, which is perhaps why I knocked a few points off the drinkability and taste.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a hotel tumbler, since that's all I've got. Body is a deep golden amber color with a flourish of a creamy white head that quickly vanishes. Good carbonation keeps on coming. Aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, bourbon, a light nutty character, and more bourbon. Palate is light sweet malt at first, with the bourbon emerging mid-palate and building to a nice, warm finish. After a few sips acclimate you to the strong whisky character, notes of caramel, almond, vanilla, and some mild fruity hops come through the booze to make for an interestingly complex beer. Body is a little thin, yet also mildly sticky, as I've come to expect from American strong ales. Good for sipping, and thorougly enjoyable. It's got me thinking I need to mix my whisky and beer more often.

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Photo of mutt
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

being a fan of bourban in the winter months, i had to give this one a try. very nice beer. drank from a snifter, it was suggested and i had no clean pints, so what the hey, i use the snifter. great amber color, sweeter than i anticipated, but not to much. nice bourban aftertaste lingers. if you like bourban and you're reading this, you obviously like beer, so try this one

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the highly anticipated bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And not the ceramic, novelty, $40 bottle that if you rub it, a beautiful bourbon barrel jeanie will magically appear and hastily remind you of how much you over paid for her beer. Released this week, is the 12 oz. $9.99 per 4-pack bottles now on the retail shelves. Packaged in a handsome and artistic lable and carton with a reminescence of the horse and bourbon herritage in Central Kentucky that represents the Blugrass well. Must say that the beer remains as tasty as ever, but the concern is how much stability will this beer handle durring travel and on the shelves. I pick up a mild vinegar aroma and flavor that rides the background of Strong Ale sweetness and strength, distinctive bourbon character, vanilla, coconuts, butterscotch, toffee, toastedness, nuttiness, oakiness, and a touch of brown sugar. So much power, character, intensity, and complexity without pushing the body into thickness. In fact, the beer remains refreshingly thin without watering. Mildly creamy, sweetly rich, and a constant bourbon warming throughout. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat, toffee sweetness and a mild dryness.

It will be interesting to see if the newly bottled Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale will continue to vary from batch to batch. Locally, this beer will show more vanilla and coconut in one batch, and then more oak and bourbon the next. Sometimes it tastes like a stronger, sweeter standard Kentucky Ale and other times take on cherry or berry character. Many Budweizer drinkers will call this 'inconsistancy'. I call it 'variety' -- a little bit of Christmas in every pint. If this crosses over to the 12oz. bottles, then it will be interesting to see if it gains praise (as it does locally) or criticism.

I have also noticed that this beer gets far lesser review ratings if it has beer 'shipped' out of the Bluegrass than those ratings where BA's sampled it locally. I don't think it's because of our biased tendencies of wanting our local 'baby' to succeed. I have noticed that this beer has traditionally not traveled well. Althought the bottle is pleasant, it's a far cry from the quality freshness that is available locally, expecially brewery fresh. A must drink if traveling through Lexington. Sit back with a brandy sniffer full of the Bourbon Barrel and discuss which horse stole all of your money earlier that day at Keenland. This is the stuff of dreams.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to kmpitz2 for this sample.
Poured from a growler into a snifter glass.

For those of you who live in the Midwest, this beer reminds me Vernor's soda pop, not just in appearance but also in smell. I mean this tastes like bourbon flavored Vernor's pop. Crazy! Pours a clear brilliant golden color, looks like Southern Comfort. A nice half inch thick bright white head forms. No lacing is left behind. Big bourbon aromas, combined with vanilla, wood, and coconut. Very pleasing on the nose. Well balanced flavors of bourbon and beer. Both compliment each other well. Medium to light bodied and a nice smooth mouthfeel. This is way too easy to drink. I'm glad I have a growler of this stuff!! See ya in the emergency room! Thanks again, Kevin!

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Photo of Kicksmile67
4.74/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being both a beer and bourbon drinker this is the perfect marriage. Living in the hometown of this brew I can get it most places one would find good beer. The ability to get it on tap while touring the brewery is an experince I extend to anyone in Lexington, its free and its cold!
The appearance of this beer is a reddish gold color with a thin but lively head. The smell should be a perfume. Beautiful sweet bourbon with a mild sent of hops. The taste is amazing. Very bold with an immediate taste of good quality bourbon and a slight but enjoyable beer finish. The mouth feel is rich but not thick and tingles the tougue with the hint of whiskey it embodies. Drinkability is dangerous as this "beer" can take you more like a whiskey and more than a couple can fog the mind of the most avid beer drinker (trust me). If you can get this its a must try, especially those who enjoy a good quality Kentucky bourbon on occasion. Possible derby beer methinks?

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PPoitras for the bottle
Pours a deep copper and amber colors with a thin veneer of head that quickly dissapates.
Aroma has that sweet sour mash aroma with some charcoal, a bit of corn liquor and some caramelized malt present. More on the floral then on the peaty side of the spectrum.
Flavor is heavy on the butterscotch side with some bittering hops preventing it from reaching cloying state.
Mouthfeel was pretty solid, especially given the road it took to my home bar. As it warmed really produced a nice boozy, liquor feel that was just sublte enough to be overpowering but really enjoyable. Sort of a light pale or amber with some bourbon characteristics, not over the top at all.
Drinkability was fairly high. Could have been a real booze burner but it really settled into a fairly mellow and flavorful beer. Well made and really enjoyable twist.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well I ve had this bottle for a bit and thanx to kmpitz2 for the sample. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass.
The beer pours a clear amber color with fizzy off white head foaming up about 1 cm and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer.
The aroma is bourbon and bourbon. I get some wooden notes and a bit of vanilla and caramel as well. Some warm alcohol as well. Overall pretty appealing. First sip reveals a relatively lite body and very fine carbonation that gently rolls across my palate. The flavor is bourbon right up front. I get some oak and vanilla notes and the beer finishes with a little warming kick, or maybe that is just my typical reaction to drinking bourbon. This beer is very bourbony and if dont like bourbon as a liquor you wont like this beer. Think slightly thinner, mildly carbonated bourbon and there's your drink.
It is quite nice, and I enjoy it.

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Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks goes to weeare138 for this beer. poured like southern comfort with a very small off white to beige head. aroma whiskey when it is first poured into the glass than get some vanilla, woody, a slight floral. flavor wow just like Jack Daniels with out the alcohol kick. If I didn’t pour this myself I would have never guessed this to be a beer. that said this was good.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz unlabeled bottle courtesy of ppoitras.
Pours a deep copper color with no head, lacing or apperent carbonation.
Smell is a little boozy. Definitely bourbon in the aroma. Some buttery toffee and caramel, along with mild hops.
Taste is buttery, caramel, slightly bitter hops with a slight alcohol kick. Although, there seems to be more bourbon flavor than alcohol heat. It's extremely smooth going down.
Mouthfeel is a tad limp with the lack of carbonation and all, but still not terrible. The more you drink of this the better it gets, which is always nice.
Overall, a very good beer, with a very good flavor, I would like to have had a bit better appearance but hey, what are you going to do.

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Photo of weeare138
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to kmpitz for getting this for me!
Appears a gold with a lush white head and scattered lacing. Very little amounts of carbonation coming to the top of the glass. This is understandable with the heavy bourbon/oak aging.
Smell is of subtle oaky vanilla, bourbon, cream, sweet fermented corn and rye, along with a candy aroma.
Taste is of the same aromas with a butteryness to it, along with vanilla and bourbon...which I love.
Mourthfeel is sweet, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

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Photo of Brent
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Pazzo's in Lexington, served in a snifter embossed with the beer logo - these guys know their stuff. Gold infused with amber. Relatively low carbonation. I've had several bourbon barrel-aged stouts, but never an ale - an interesting concept. The Kentucky ale used as the base is a lightly flavored beer, so the bourbon had plenty of room to come through. Light bourbon flavor, mostly evident as oaky vanilla. The mouthfeel was a bit light, which did not seem to harmonize with the bourbon flavor, but maybe I'm just too acclimated to the bourbon in a heavy stout.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very large thanks goes out to kmpitz2 for hauling a growler from the source to Madison last weekend for me!

appearance: pours a light amber shade, tea-like appearance, a light white head accompanies

smell: alcohol, potent bourbon, vanilla, oak...Tis a good thing I am a fan of bourbon

taste: well this is trule is a bourbon ale....The bourbon explodes on the tongue and leaves a strong alcohol aftertaste...underneath that is sweet vanilla, oak, quite sugary sweet, nice sweet caramel malts in the background

mouthfeel: pretty light bodied, smooth though

drinkability: good thing im splitting this thing

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beatiful pour from the growler into the chosen chalice, a lush, milky white head, very slowly settling, over a uniquely colored brew, a hue somewhere between tangerine and tea.

Aroma carries hints of cherries, oak and maple, followed by harder traces of whiskey, sweetness and harsher alcoholic whiffs...although I find that this nose opens up, widens in scope and character over time...who can says what I'll smell further into the glass.

One the tongue, almost 100% pure bourbon. I like that, bourbon would be my liquor of choice, if I went near the hard stuff. Plumb and rich, abundant whiskey flavor. Makes sense, seeing as how they used a pale ale as a base, that the bourbon character would dominate. Damnably delicious!

Medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel, soft, woody/cherry-ish finish...quite mellow, actually. And defiantly drinkable, ....though every now and then, I remember the strength and put on the brakes...perhaps this growler will serve as a tasty nightcap over the next few days?

Wow. Very nice. Way to go, Lexington!
And thanks to my buddy, kmpitz, for the growler!

(Edit, after reading other reviews: vanilla, and coconut...yeah...why didn't I catch that earlier?)

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the growler a clear golden amber, vibrant with a bubbly head that fades rather quickly to a ring around the glass. Aromas begin with beautiful bourbon, vanilla, sweet caramel, woody tones and light fruit notes. Very nice, enchanting aroma here.

First sip brings a sweet fruity caramel maltiness. Luscious bourbon flavors dance on the palate. A hefty helping of vanilla and woody tannins show up mid palate. Finishes smooth and slightly sweet. Very well balanced overall, the lingering bourbon barrel notes are great here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Mellow carbonation works really nice in the overall brew. I could drink a lot of this with no problem. Wonderfully melded flavors and quite refreshing. Goes to show how great barrel aging can be. Many thanks to clvand0 for the opportunity. Word is that this beer is aged in Woodford Reserve barrels as well.

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Photo of Jason
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to clvand0 for the sample ...

A- Mild haze off of a deep golden hue, thin lacing from a light carbonation.

S- WOW!! Big hit of bourbon in the aroma, sweet vanilla, alcoholic and woody.

T- Upfront malt sweetness melds perfectly with the thick layer of bourbon flavor, mild hopping shows a modest but balancing bitterness. Both vanilla and wood are all over the palate with a warming alcohol from the 7.0% abv.

M- A tad too under-carbonated for my liking but it does not really take away from the beer that much. Nice and creamy though.

D- Sipping and sipping only ... I could only see having one glass in a sitting.

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Photo of mntlover
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color, looks like the same color as Jim Bean Whiskey when compared side by side. Has a small white head that did leave some decent lace behing when I had one at lunch with my BBQ not much lace out of my day old growler but not expected.

Aroma is nice light caramel malt with nice bourbon flavors that mix with some subtle vanilla hints from the wood. Very nice inviting aroma starting to really enjoy bourbon barrel aged beer.

Taste is nice light caramel malt back bone with nice bourbon flavors plus some woody vianilla hints mixed with touch of citrus hops in the finish. This is made with Kentucky Brewings stock ale that is aged in bourbon barrels straight from the distillery. Amazing how much bourbon flavors and even alcohol is added just from aging in the barrels

Mouthfeel is a little light for this very flavorable beer but drinkability is very good worried about drinking this growler but went down nice and smooth no problems at all. Thanks go to kmpitz2 and clvand0 for getting me and merlin48 to go on a tour of this little local brewery, even learned something I didn't know and had a good time hanging out with fellow BA's. This is only on tap around Lexington area if you can find it recommend you try it, very nice. Also tour the brewery very friendly people.

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Photo of shippos
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

courtesy of clvand0

poured froma growler with a dense pure white head sitting on top of a clear brillant light amber body. soft vanillian notes mixed cream and whiskey but without the harsh hot alcohol. mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, as far as the base beer is concerned it's needs some more body. a bit of a subtile malt character. aging this in boubon barrels really brings out the flavors of the barrels without the base beer getting in the way. absolutly fantastic.

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Photo of clvand0
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this several times now, all on tap. Hard to find. Snifter glass used. This pours an amber color with a small head that doesn't stick around too long, but leaves some nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet, malty, and has a nice, mellow bourbon aroma. Interesting. The flavor is sweet and malty, but has a strong bourbon and oak character. Nice body and mouthfeel. An awesome improvement to the standard KY Ale. Best barrel aged beer I've had.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer experience for me. Poured from the tap into a snifter. The head was good sized, about 0.75 inches, but fell before finishing the glass to almost nothing. Beer was a nice dark amber color; it let light through, but with resistance. It didn't smell as strong as I had expected from something out of a bourbon barrel. Smelled slightly sweet with the bourbon coming though. The taste was nice; heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel, with flavors of caramel and oak, with a slight sweetness that I can't place. I didn't have time to see how it progressed as it warmed, though it was served chilled, and not cold. Mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I would like, but since it's the stock ale as a base, I'm not surprised. The lacing was absolutely beautiful after finishing the glass. It was not overly heavy, but coated the entire snifter from the top down. I will not pass this one up when I find it offered again. Worth trying if you come across it.

Edit: I went back and revisited this one to see what I come up with after reviewing for a while. The bourbon flavors play very heavily in this one iving it great vanilla, almost coconut tones. I think this is a much better beer than I gave it credit for before.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is basically regular Kentucky Ale that has been aged in bourbon barrels. It's only available at a few places in Lexington, so get it while you can bourbon lovers!

On tap poured into a snifter glass. It pours a medium amber color with two fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing. The smell is malty with lots of sweet cherry and oak. A nice aroma. The taste starts fairly malty with charred oak under brown sugar sweetness. The bourbon REALLY comes out after it warms up some. The finish has a nice little dose of citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is very very good. This is a big improvement to regular Kentucky Ale. They need to bottle this stuff. It would really put them on the map.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 3171 ratings