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

BA SCORE
82
good
635 Reviews
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
Reviews:
635
Ratings:
2,913
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
963
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,913
Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
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

 2,771 characters

Photo of Shrews629
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
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 -1.1%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.7%
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 -1.7%
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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Photo of Durge
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
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 jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a clear medium gold with some orange highlights. The carbonation is bad, no head rises, no lacing, the beer looks oily.

The aroma is pretty light, giving off light notes of vanilla, oak, and candy sugar at the end.

The taste is really weird, there is some distinct vanilla but its combined with alcohol and sugar.

The feel is super light and watery feeling without much of an aftertaste or feel.

Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, this beer is really weird. Its like drinking a light barrel ris that's combined with a pilsner. Not a great combo.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright amber body capped by a thinning layer of white bubbles.

Smell: Toasty, oaky aroma with slightly lesser notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and humble pale malts.

Taste: Pale malts with a caramel kick to them make way for the far stronger flavors of vanilla, oaken barrel extract, light brown sugar, and even toasted coconut. Medium sweetness throughout. Never much in the way of hops or bitterness. Rebound of basic malty sweetness along with a rather woody quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly interesting, I'll give it at least that much. Maybe its the decaying brain cells, but I cannot adequately recall such a light base beer getting the bourbon barrel treatment. It's appealing to try all the characteristics bourbon barrel aging has to offer without being hampered and diluted by a... well, more substantial beer, but it doesn't make for an overall sublime drinking experience and doesn't have much appeal beyond the one bottle.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draught. It was served colder than I would have had it from the bottle. This is a very pretty beer but I didn't taste much bourbon. Slight vanilla taste but overall rather pedestrian. Not bad but not special, either.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very beautiful beer, light brown colored, with amazing clarity. The bubbles of carbonation stream upward in numerous lines, supporting a half inch thick off-white foam with excellent retention. Nose is straightforward bourbon, with vanilla notes and sort of a nutty malt character.

The flavor is rather unsweetened and a bit dry with toasty oak and vanilla notes, and yet more nuttiness, almost like almonds. It's suprisingly not overpowering, but something is a bit off here. Perhaps it's a bit too one dimesional, I think it actually needs a bit more kick. The finish is dry and without much depth, it could use a little more bitterness or even some heat to round things out. Mouthfeel is a bit light, carbonation softer than it would appear.

Not as bad as I was expecting, but not good either really. This beer is more of a novelty, probably to entice whisky fans into trying a bourbon-esque brew that will suit their tastes. Hardcore beer fans will likely pass on this one as the beer itself lacks complexity.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Pours a clear amber hue with a two fingered white head that drops rather quickly. Some light lacing evident.

Aromas of oak, light vanillla, malt. No hop aroma.

Flavors of diluted vanilla, oak, malt, no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is relatively thin, decent level of carbonation.

Overall, nothing special here. Rather subdued in all its character.

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Photo of IPreferPotButBeerIsGood
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Looks tasty. Nice dark amber color, very bourbon-y in color with a very thin, bubbly head that leaves a nice ring and a very thin film.

A: Literally smells like watered down bourbon and a bit of ale hint. Not a bad smell.

T: Tasted like bourbon as well, however was very much an ale. Somewhat bitter, but kind of tangy as well. It was interesting, but unimpressive.

F: Felt very nice and bubbly. High-medium carbonation. Went down smoothly.

O: Not bad if you like bourbon, but if you like bourbon, drink bourbon. This isn't something I would quite feel inclined to buy again, and I'm glad I only got a bottle instead of a growler.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Medium gold color, and very, very clear. One finger's worth of white head, and lots of visible carbonation.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, charcoal, caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose - very bourbon forward, but with nice woody flavors and a caramel sweetness.

M: Thin thin mouthfeel. Nice carbonation on the tongue. Not overly hot even with the bourbon flavors.

O: This one is different, interesting, but ultimately not great. I feel like it's a bourbon-aged non-hoppy pale ale.

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a clear amber, with ~1 finger of white head, which fades gradually, leaving a thin, incomplete cap. No lacing noted.

S- A strong odor of pure bourbon.

T- Like sweet bourbon with a few hint of banana esters and vanilla. Alcohol bite is moderate. Sweetness is fairy high.

M- Moderate carbonation/fairly creamy.

D- Decent. Nice bourbon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a nice feel.

Future outlook: Probably not one to seek out often, but a pleasant brew that I wouldn't turn down.

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Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this one, Thanks Joe!

Pours honey/amber with one finger of rapidly falling pearl colored head. Nice viscous look to this with average lacing & head retention

S: Toffee, butterscotch & bourbon by the bucket that faded as this warmed

T: Dryness, bourbon & butterscotch & some booze warmth upfront. Much toffee, oaky, dryness & vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry, semi-boozey with a touch of honey, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: A bit thin all things considered, more malt depth is needed, with medium carbonation

Drinks alright, a bit dry for my tastes

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Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt amber look with light carbonated head.

Strong bourbon smell to this one. Very light vanilla smell.

Mostly bourbon flavor, but it's not too strong, with a light smokey vanilla finish that is very pleasant.

Not too light and not to heavy, this is a good moderate beer that seams to get all over you mouth and has a good finish.

I may get another one of these and age it for some time. It seams like one of those beers that will get much better with a little aging. Will update if I do.

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Photo of martyl1000
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish amber, with a slight head into a tulip glass. The aroma is nice, bourbon and mild brown ale, with a bit of maple syrup and raisin.

It's quite smooth in the mouth, though with very subdued flavor, a tad bit of vanilla mixed with tame bourbon and wood barrel. But mostly just pedestrian English brown ale, with modest carbonation. Definitely easy drinking, with a totally hidden ABV. It's just not something I'd buy again, given the price and the vast array of better BBA beers out there.

A little sweet, to be sure, but hardly anything else going for it, other than its creamy feel on the pallate.

Other than the aroma, which is quite nice, this comes off as an entirely forgettable BBA beer. It's not bad (or is it?) It's definitely muted in flavor and uninspired in execution. It's as if one took an anonymous English ale (think Boddignton's, or Newcastle Founders) and dipped it briefly in a bourbon barrel.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'm used to serious BBA beers, with a year in the barrel, like Central Waters, or BCBS, or Founders KBS, or Hoppin Frog BA Boris. Somehow Alltech's Lexington feels it is respectable to barrel age for only six weeks, which is what they state on their website.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(12 oz bottle date 122915 - poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: just about perfectly-clear, orange-amber liquid... very little foam on the pour, and it all but disappears - glass is neat and clean, and the head loudly sizzles out... it really just looks like Old E

S: little bit of vanilla, maybe some candied orange peel... whisper of booze in the back, but relatively mellow on that front... malt in the background, but no grainy definition...

T: clean, lightly sweet malt up front... the barrel character (vanilla creme, wood tannins) soft-surges up in the finish... vaguely metallic bitterness lingering in aftertaste, as well as a touch of wood and smoke... best compliment is that it's drier in the finish than expected

F: light and thin in the finish, slightly glassy texture... moderate frip of suds across the tongue, burps to be had... mild boozy glow lighting up the back of the palate... again, given its relative dryness, the lighter body is welcome

O: is this an ale?... nothing particularly wrong about the taste, it just doesn't taste like there's a quality brew to start... really just tastes like a bourbon barrel-aged malt liquor - barrel age Steel Reserve or Old E and you'll get something similar to this

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Photo of Gajo74
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with a modest head that quickly dissipates and leaves an ultra thin lacing that soon diss spears entirely.
Big bourbon and butterscotch aroma; my favorite attribute of the beer.
The taste is bourbon like, buttery, toffee and mostly sweet. There is a boozy and syrupy finish. Medium bodied but on the thin and watery side. I would have liked to see more body and complexity in this one. Overall, nothing special.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This pours lighter than I thought it would. It is an amber colored beer. The head is frothy, and does last. Thee isn't much nose to it, but what's there, I get notes of the barrel. The taste is somewhat sweet to me. There's booziness aftertaste. I guess I was expecting more from this beer.

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Photo of masterbruewer
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden brown, plenty of head.

Smell has hints of earthy bourbon flavor,

Interesting blend of flavor. The bourbon taste is stronger than I expected, but settles in fairly well.

Mouthfeel is unremarkable.

In fairness, I'm not a big fan of any "flavored" beer, be it cherry, pumpkin or bourbon. I tried to factor that in to my opinion. That said, it wasn't bad. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now and revisit later when I'm more familiar with the style.

If you like bourbon or flavored beer, it's worth a try.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,913 ratings.
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