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:
2,912
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
156
Gots:
964
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,912
Photo of Vetbidder
3.74/5  rDev +3%
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 -7.2%
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 +36.6%
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 +16.3%
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 -9.1%
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 -4.1%
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 +12.9%
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 +4.1%
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 +17.1%
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 -4.1%
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 +4.1%
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 -14%
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 -55.9%
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?

 1,593 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
3.39/5  rDev -6.6%
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 +14.6%
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 +19.3%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.5%
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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Photo of daliandragon
3.64/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep copper color with almost no head. Some sedimet is visible. It basically smells like whisky, all right.

Smoother in texture than you'd think, and although the whisky flavor is high, it isn't harsh, apart from the general booziness. Definitely some toasted notes in the aftertaste. Not really my thing, but it certainly is well crafted and true to what it claims to be.

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Photo of Roby923
4.11/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep copper. Great balance of hops, malt and and bourbon. Not usually a fan of barrel aged brews, but this one is a new highlight. Great after dinner brew. Wish it was more widely available. Bottled from various bars in Kentucky.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Despite not being a critically acclaimed beer, I've heard about this beer a lot, and have wanted to try it for awhile. Well, it just so happens...

Appearance: Copper with a modest haze to it. A ring of head with just a few swirls of lace.

Smell: Bourbon, bread, fruity esters... and sourness? Not in an infected/negative way, but there seems to be a "twang" on the nose. I like it, but am confused by why it's there.

Taste/feel: A lot like the aroma. Very nice depth. Bready bourbon flavors are what comes through in the finish with an unexpected sourness, but on the front, I get a quick hit of tartness that makes my tongue "go" a bit, with a flavor that I can't quite explain -- but maybe, like another reviewer said, is sort of like sour apple. It's definitely faint, but I can taste it. This beer is nicely balanced -- not very sweet, which was a pleasant surprise. The feel is very smooth for an 8% -- no warmth at all, with a light/medium body and a very nice carbonation that suits this beer nicely.

I think this beer is quite a bit better than the 82 "Good" rating on this site, as you can see. I feel like people have to be going in expecting something it's not (a BBA stout). Or, people are turned off by that strange sour sort of smell and flavor, which I could understand, at least.

In any event, I really enjoy this. It reminds me a touch of a Massacre Light, for the .5% of people who have had Massacre by Wolverine State Brewing Company.

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Photo of colts9016
2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A one finger light tan head that is bubbly and creamy, the head dissipates quickly. The color of the beer is a golden amber color with some reddish orange hues. The clarity of the beer is clear with carbonation bubbles visible.

N: Super bready, citrus, resin, honey, vanilla, wood, bourbon, yeast, caramel, toffee, and some earthy notes.

T: Bready, boozy, vanilla, wood, bourbon,yeast, caramel, toffee, earthy, resin, and citrus.

M: very warming, carbonated, medium body, and slightly astringent.

O: Terrible, the beer has no balance the alcohol is every revealing and hot.

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Photo of stratslinger
4.84/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ok, by far my favorite beer ever! I'm a Kentucky boy, so bourbon is close to my heart. Tried this and fell in love. Deep amber color. Pours nice with heavy head. Definitely smell the vanilla notes and oakyness of the charred oak barrels. Malts come though nice in the scent department as well. Taste is exceptional! The sweetness of the bourbon, oak, and malt all intertwine together to make a refreshing drink. I consider this a dessert beer as drinking 6 or 7 of these would get a bit too heavy. But a couple after dinner is amazing. ABV near 9% (?) gives this brew the power to warm you up on a cold night! Around $12 a 4-pack, but pick some up if you never had it. And better yet, try it on draft when you can find it! #GOBIGBLUE #WILDCATS

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Photo of Beersnake1
2.33/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Had this on tap in Ohio. It was literally the only thing on the menu that sounded remotely good (at a restaurant), so I gave it a whirl. Appearance as light brown - watery looking. Smell was almost not apparent. Wasn't expecting much. Taste was a watered-down mess. Barely any bourbon and the rest was a bitter flavor with zero mouthfeel. Very disappointed.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like these beers brewed in flavored barrels - luckily bourbon is a favorite of mine...

Out of the glass it pours a beautiful black with highlights of red. The bourbon smell mixes well with the hops and malts and it does about the same for the taste. In fact, I like the taste much better than what met the nose and it was a plus that the beer was only lightly carbonated with a thick texture to round out it out quite well. Overall, it's probably one of the better flavored barrel beers I have had.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,912 ratings.
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