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

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BA SCORE
82
good
618 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
BEER INFO

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

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:
618
Ratings:
2,842
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
39.5%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
925
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 618 | Ratings: 2,842
Photo of TBoneJones
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky copper/ light brown with some particles. Decent head, some nice lacing.
Smells of some malts and caramel. Some alcohol present on this nose.
Tastes like an oak-casked ale. But nothing complex or too special. Oak and vanilla. More sweet than bitter. There's a tangy aspect for certain, and I'm not much a fan of it, however some nice malts poke through the tang.
It is pretty smooth, medium-lighter bodied.
Okay, decent, not complex. I do wonder how many unassuming samplers of new beer mistake this , due to its name, for a KBS or something along those lines. I didn't, but I did assume it would be a stout and not a strong ale. Big difference.

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Photo of hathaway78
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard brew to rate.... As a point of reference, imagine leaving a jim beam and coke out all night fulll of ice.... Now this beer is not quite the same, but that's a good starting point. An ice melted bourbon and coke.

Aside from the reference this is a creatively interesting beer. The roasted amber nut taste is definitely present, along with a swift kick of vanilla bean and roasting malt.

The flavors in this beer surround the palate, but personally I cannot get past the melted bourbon and coke reference....

Good beer to try for the extreme novelty, but not a prize winner by any standard....

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Photo of ndekke39
3.62/5  rDev 0%
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 srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep honey, thin white head, very clear brew.

S - WOOD! Wood, bourbon. Well there was wood and bourbon too.

T - Taste follows smell. Some malt but not much. Like a carbonated light whiskey.

M - Good carb, balance is a joke.

D - One is enough per session.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into my....Wait for it....Wait for it...Founders Brewing snifter. Gave my trustee Darkness snifter the day off.

Berr pours a light to medium caramel color with a good finger of off white head. Scant lacing remains around my glass. Bourbon on the nose. Oak and caramel round it out. Bourbon isn't as pungent as a lot of beers.The more I let it warm and decant the better it smells. It's a rather thin beer on my tongue.Bourbon and caramel malt dance on my tongue. I get some slight roasted coconut in there too. I would never guess an abv over 8%. Pretty easy to drink. The aftertaste to me is even better than the sip. It just keeps lingering.

Not an all star here. A nice after dinner brew. I'll bet this would be a solid choice with a cigar. Certainly glad I tried this.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Way Downtown in Provincetown during my Cape weekend trip. Served in the snifter (11oz) made for this beer.

A- Appears a translucent golden slightly brown color with a pretty much nonexistent head. Minimal carbonation, definitely below average. Not too much in terms of lacing.

S- Very strong sweet bourbon smell. Very aromatic, but definitely smells like a sugar bomb (almost as if it was a bourbon flavored soda). A little oak/vanilla smell mixed in the sweetness. Pleasant smelling, but the heavy/sweet bourbon smell almost gives you the notion that it might be a booze bomb covered up with gross amounts of sugar. However at 8.19% you know that this is not the case.

T- Not as strong or as heavy of a bourbon-presence as I was expecting from the smell. Still fairly sweet though with a definite bourbon presence. A little bit of underlying oak + vanilla, however not as much as some bourbon BA beers but not bad considering the 6-week aging time period.

M- Low carbonation, smooth, easy to drink, slightly syrupy but not overly so.

O- This was an interesting beer. I've never smelled a beer quite like this one. Definitely very sweet and a distinct bourbon smell. Nicely balanced bourbon, with slight vanilla and oak presence, with not too much of an overpowering syrupy feel. The faults on this was that it was a little bit too soda-like for a beer. If you are a bourbon fan I would recommend giving this a try.

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.62/5  rDev 0%
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 stonermouse
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Poured golden and crystal-clear. Fantastic, puffy head, which constantly regenerated. Great lacing as well.

Mild, oaky aroma. Very little bourbon in the smell, which was a bit disappointing. It's a little bready in the aroma as well, more like bread and butter. A touch of vanilla presents as well. Interesting at least.

The taste here is easily nailed down to any bourbon fan. If you've ever mixed your bourbon or Jack Daniels with a diet ginger ale, over-iced it, then gotten distracted and not had a chance to drink it until the ice melted, this is pretty much what we're dealing with here. The only difference is that oak from the aroma, which smooths out the flavor a bit. It's unique, but can be achieved much more successfully with a cheap whiskey and your ginger ale brand of choice.

As this warms, the carbonation dies back and a little more sweet vanilla flavor shows through. But cold, it's a dead ringer for Jack and ginger.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, actually. Not as sticky and sweet as I expected it to be, and the oak flavor makes it pretty smooth and rich. The pillowy head adds some depth as well.

Interesting brew. Neat flavors, but nothing is overly spectacular. Try it once, marvel at the watery bourbon and ginger ale similarity, and that'll do.

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Photo of mlockman
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was really surprised by the flavor of this brew; honestly, the bourbon flavor does not stand out but rather blends into the malt profile, which is decently attenuated by slight hopping, for a smooth and interesting drinking experience.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Warm, bright, just slightly golden light copper. Totally clear with multiple streams of steady bubbles rising to a smallish white head. It falls, but retains a ring and leaves some okay lacing.

S: Bourbon – vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, and a hint of booze. Some toasty pale base grain and malt sweetness behind the bourbon. A hint of caramel increases as it warms. Decent strength for the bourbon aspect, light on the beer, but interesting and pleasant overall.

T: Vanilla & coconut oaky bourbon is about as forward as in the nose, but relatively less pronounced since there is more other stuff going on. Sweetness especially is increased from the nose. Both a low crystal / caramel malt sweetness, and a spicy/boozy/vanilla bourbon alcohol sweetness. Toasty pale base grain is there, but it stays in the background. Also in the background are some softly balancing earthy / herbal hops. The bourbon barrel aspect really lingers on in the finish.

M: Medium body with matched carbonation that is very finely textured & soft feeling. Quite attenuated with only a hint of lingering sugars. Most of texture seems to be from oak tannins. Slowly creeping warmth.

D: Quite interesting & pretty tasty. A bit dangerous as the over 8% abv is very well hidden. I would like to see just a touch more heft to the body and some more robustness to the malts. Still it is very much alright as is and really lets the nuances of the bourbon show through without being the least bit overdone or harsh. I am not one for bourbon, but this brew is pretty nice. It is remarkable in how it does not depend on robust malts or a hefty body to carry the bourbon.

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Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This brew is a copper colored, mostly clear brew. The head is white, with some intricate lace. The smell is sweet, with a malt-forward and clean aroma. Some grain. The taste is sweet, and a really notable wood character comes out. Woody, some boozy components from the bourbon, and a bit of complexity. It has the impression of dryness from all of the wood notes. Medium-full and relatively smooth in body. A good brew.

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Photo of jbredbeard
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is surprising in a few ways. It has an almost undetectable grassy aroma. The flavor has a sweet, heavy plum quality that is completely unexpected. It's very rich but not exactly full bodied in that it also has a crisp, pilsner-like drinkability. Seems like it contradicts itself in a few ways...and that is the best part. Kind of pricey, but that's okay for this every once in a while brew.

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Photo of Jayzilla513
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer on tap and in the bottle. It is far far better on tap. For those who think it is good in the bottle, do yourself a favor and get it on tap! Nice amber color, small head with light lacing. The "burbon" flavor is wonderful! Slightly sweet almost butterscotch notes. The beer is a solid 4 on tap, in bottle I'd say 3.25.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"The Lord may whiskey so I drank it" - Three Day Threshold

Crystal clear deep amber with a fluffy white tight lager-like head. Not much lace other than a few early Spring speckles but a fair collar of retention. My bottle looks nothing like that lovely vessel in the picture.

Smells a little like bourbon but more like a butt-load of vanilla extract.

Taste is a meek bourbon over a slightly fruity ale. Mildly toasty whole wheat bread. I hear tell this is an Irish red and English pale hybrid - I'll buy that.

Has hints and elements of bourbon but I was hoping for something more along the lines of a hefty bourbon wallop.

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Photo of barczar
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant deep copper brown with a modest cream head.

Bourbon, oak, and amber malt fruitiness comprise the initial aroma. Fairly boozy, with notes of vanilla and floral hops.

Flavor reveals fruity amber malt notes underlying a fairly bready, toasted malt backbone. Oak and bourbon shine through. Subsequent sips reveal dominant vanilla, caramel, and coconut notes.

Body is moderate to full, with moderate carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Too much vanilla for my liking. The malt backbone is nice, and oak provides good dryness. The fruity notes are somewhat offputting.

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Photo of Abra
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very clear amber/burnt orange color with a decent head that dissipates quickly.
Aroma is very sweet picking up on the bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste is dominantly vanilla with the bourbon picking up towards the end leaving a warm finish. Very smooth. However, the taste doesn't linger and there isn't much depth, which I think really would've made it shine.

Overall, the bourbon gives it a very nice taste and aroma, but the mouthfeel is significantly lacking. It would've made all the difference.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No label information. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is brewed in the style of an English Strong Ale aged in oak bourbon barrels. Available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy creamy head of an ecru-white complexion over a moderately hazy copper-amber body with moderate carbonation. Retention is below average and there is no lacing. 3.25

(Smell) The aroma is distinctively sweet and aromatic, with a light blend of pale and toffee malts forming a modest body, fairly sweet and quite clean. No notable hop characteristics, but yeast tones generate a mellow fruitiness and mild mineral quality to this beer that make it seem very English-inspired. Atop it all is the distinctive smell of mainstream bourbon, sweet and fairly clean with a touch of drying oak. The aroma is very imbalanced in favor of the sweetness this beer seems to have, but with such a simple malt base this seems to be expected. 3.5

(Taste) Toasted toffee and pale malts with a moderate sweetness and mild body are given a glazing of Bourbon, very clean sipping with light alcohol heat, and distinctive vanilla with lesser oak, lightly dry. A very simple malt base that surprisingly is able to hold up alongside the bourbon barrel treatment, although I get more Bourbon flavor in this beer than "barrel", so the complexity of the bourbon barrel aging doesn't run deep either. There certainly could manage to be a bit more malt body and flavor with no significant drawbacks, but in its current light-bodied form, it does fine by me. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, lightly chewy and thinly syrupy viscosity, moderately dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a medium carbonation. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is moderately sweet over boozy and oaky dry. Alcohol presence is modest and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) Although sometimes a bit generic in its simplicity, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale does manage to find an approachable level of Bourbon and barrel character an integrate into a fair-bodied English ale. The Bourbon is clean and easy to drink, and the barrel notes, while modest in this beer, are enjoyable and not overpowering. Don't consider this the textbook example of what a Bourbon Barrel aged beer should be, but it's a decent starting point to see how nicely that Bourbon and beer can come together to compliment each other in a fine ale. The price point is a bit above the median for the style, even for a beer with Bourbon barrel aging, so consider a single bottle before diving into the pricier 4 pack. 3.5

Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.'s
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
3.59/5.00

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Photo of Shrews629
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very clear dark orange to light amber color. An off white colored head that was small, fizzy and dissipated rather quickly. It left a scant amount of lacing behind. The head was comprised of small bubbles and settled to a ring around the top.

Smell - The first aroma was, of course, the Bourbon whiskey. It smells slightly sweet. Aromas of vanilla and toffee. Gradual notes of caramel as it started to warm.

Taste - The flavor brought out more of the Bourbon whiskey. Some decent touches of vanilla. As I sipped, the Bourbon started to settle in and become more pleasant and balanced. Some "woody/oak" flavors are there, but seem to be restrained. The sweetness is a nice compliment to restrain the whiskey.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Smooth and dry. A small warming effect from the alcohol, but nothing too great or overbearing. Leaves trace amount of flavor on the palate.

Drinkability - This Bourbon Barrel Ale is a decent example for the style. Not the best example I've had, but nothing horrible or undrinkable. Not quite balanced as well as some of the others. The Bourbon comes off a bit strong at first, but it does calm down as you get going.

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Photo of silentjay
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

with a beer that doesn't fit into a specific style guideline, its hard to say what it should look like, but I was very surprised to see a crystal clear yellow/copper beer with a pure white head. it forms to about 1 finger in height, quickly recedes to a thin, spotty film, but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

the aroma is a mixture of light caramel, vanilla, bourbon, raisins, light molasses, oak, maple syrup.

the flavor is as if i poured a shot of bourbon into a weak-flavored amber beer. vanilla and caramel and toast. thats about it. I like the flavor, but its just so simple for a barrel-aged beer.

syrupy medium bodied with subtle carbonation and a slight alcohol heat.

if i wanted a weak bourbon, I would drink it on the rocks. I like when they use barrels to add complexity rather than use beer to water down bourbon. It tastes good enough, I would drink it again, but its nothing Id seek out.

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Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sept 15 2011 stamped on the bottle neck. Pours a clear, dark amber with two fingers of rocky white head. The head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass.

At first it had a raw whisky aroma but after it breaths a few moments, it mellows into a rich bourbon aroma. The bourbon dominates the aroma and does not let anything else come out.

The bourbon dominates the flavor as well. But some sweet malt tries to give some balance to the beer. Has a sweet finish rather than a hot, boozy flavor.

For a beer that does not pack a lot of malt flavor, it has a surprisingly robust body. Nice carbonation.

Just not enough beer qualities come through. It does feature bourbon in one of the purest ways in a beer.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber in color with about a finger of foamy off-white head. Some film to cap the beer with slick lacing around the glass.

S: Boubon, vanilla, some alcohol. Some fruity qualities to the smell as well.

T: The bourbon vanilla is out in front. Towards the end, I notice some toasted, bready flavors. Light fruit flavors mixed in as well. Alcohol is pretty well hidden in the taste.

M: Medium bodied and dry. Has a creamy quality to it.

O: For a barrel aged strong ale, this goes down pretty easily. This reminds me a lot of fresh, unskunked Innis & Gunn. If this were available in Nashville, I'd pick it up on occasion.

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Photo of SykDoc
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear golden copper color. A 1/4 inch egg shell head forms and quickly reduces to minimal lacing. Carbonation is visible.

The aroma is rather weak with some notes of vanilla mixed with caramel and just a hint of whiskey.

The taste redeems the nose with a quick whiskey followed by vanilla and some malty sweetness at the finish. Some oaky and perhaps a bit of dark cherry is present.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a solid level of carbonation. It goes down smooth and leaves a pleasant dryness on the roof of your mouth.

Overall, this is a solid beer. The components are there, it just seems like it could have had a bit more punch, which would have made it even better.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange. One inch tan head fades quickly.

S: Strong smells of bourbon and wood jump out immediately. Low herbal hop bitterness. Underlying notes of warm vanilla and caramel sweetness.

T: Very sweet up front with tastes of caramel and bourbon mingling nicely. Some grainy malt tastes come out mid-palate. Bourbon presence remains strong throughout, but stays warm and cozy and never gets too hot. Very woody throughout too. Some faint floral/herbal hops, but bitterness mainly balances here and doesn't overachieve. Warm vanilla is slightly subdued, but still there. Finishes sweet with tastes of caramel, bourbon, and wood.

M: Medium bodied, very full, creamy, and smooth. Low carbonation. Warming alcohol is slight, and soothes rather than burns.

O: This is a hard beer for me to grade. I really liked it. It's a fine beer to sip, and fairly easy to drink. However, underneath the bourbon flavors, all you have is a very simple, bland beer. The whole beer seems to have been designed only to showcase the bourbon, making it a bit of a one-trick pony. It does a great job of it though, and if you're into bourbon and barrel flavors (as I am), then this is one you will absolutely want to seek out. I ended up grading it a 'B,' but it's probably the highest 'B' I've ever given.

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Photo of MikeOPFL
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts with a light ale with a hint of biscuit and grain, with the bourbon scents/taste "overpowering" this beer in a positive way.

On the tongue, the first notes are strong of bourbon, vanilla and oak. As far as the "treatment" of this ale, mission accomplished! The downside is that it overpowers the ale itself.

I'm a huge bourbon barrel beer fan, but a more complex malt profile would make this a much better beer, leaving me somewhat disappointed.

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Photo of Yesac
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.62 out of 5 based on 2,842 ratings.
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