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

BA SCORE
82
good
632 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:
632
Ratings:
2,901
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
155
Gots:
956
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 632 | Ratings: 2,901
Photo of Pauly2X
4.07/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear deep gold/light amber, with a half finger head.

S- Sweet caramel malts with strong vanilla notes with hints of oak in the background.

T- Sweet, sweet caramel malts infused with vanilla and warm, soft oak. The sweetness could easily be described as cloying by some, but I enjoy it. While being sweet it does present an elegantly complex flavor.

M- Full bodied very smooth. Carbonation may seem a tad high however it does serve to break up the sryupy nature of the beer.

O- If you're a hophead who detests malt bomb then go ahead and obtain a restraining order on this beer. However if you crave that chewy pint of malty goodness than look no further.

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Photo of GoldHorde
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I favor my memories of bourbon - hey, even the lost ones! I am favoring this new craft of using old bourbon casks/barrels to enhance beers. Usually this crafty enhancement is pronounced on the sturdy styles of beers: stouts and porters. This particular one is applied on a what could be categorized as a Brown or Belgian Ale style. The amber color predicts nothing of it's flavor. Someone mentioned vanilla - oh yeah - like a VANILLA WOMP. It is predicted in the aroma BUT it kicks you with a BIG Li'l Abner vanilla boot. The flavor is WAY TOO unusualy present in the beer to be ignored as a character when it is too busy banging you over the head with a mallet. It is like when you have a restaurant chain franchise meal and notice a preservative flavor that reminds you it isn't real food. The vanilla masks any memory of bourbon. IF YOU LIKE vanilla Coke - THIS is the beer for you. The beer is just TOO vanilla for me.

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Photo of rmalinowski4
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my bells snifter. Received as an extra from Preismj. Thanks Matt.

Pours a clear bourbon brown with a half finger of off white head. The head recedes quickly leaving a ring of lacing on the glass. You can see the bubles dance up the glass.

Smell is bourbon and sweet malt, there are no hops on the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, and sweat, bready malt. Smells like an after dinner drink.

Taste is vanilla, bourbon, oak, and malt. The vanilla hits in the front followed almost immediately by the bourbon and oak. The finish is bready malt that lingers on the palate with some of the oak. The flavors are strong and a little overpowering. If you like bourbon, you will like this beer.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium. The carbonation is moderate, just about right for the mouthfeel.

Overall, I like this beer. I like bourbon and vanilla, and that is what this beer is about. It is not a very complex beer, which is why I didn't rate it higher. Thanks again Matt for this very nice beer.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my little brother for picking this up in Ohio on his trip.

Pours a clear goldish amber.

Smell is very one note bourbon in front, middle and back.

Taste is the same bourbon all the way with a hint of vanilla and oak.

Mouthfeel is very thin, to thin for a beer of this alchol imo.

It is not bad, I will drink it all. It is just to one note for me. I know some bourbon lovers might like this but if so, why not just drink strait bourbon??

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Photo of BrewAskew
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a nice off white head and low lace. Amber color. Clear. Aroma is oak and bourbon dominant with vanilla. Flavor is much like a barleywine with a shot of the finest aged bourbon in it. Really. Mf is light and slight EtOH nip. Overall THE ultimate bourbon drinker's brew.

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Photo of innersanctum
4.11/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best bourbon aged beer that I've had thus far! Having started my journey with the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout this is a tall order. KBBA is an extremely drinkable and likeable ale.

The only element this brew lacked was its aroma, which took some time to open up and share some vanilla notes. The taste has a nice blend of oak and vanilla which is picked up nicely from the barrels. I could not discern the specific type of ale which this brewe is from but it does not have a hoppy presence. Its mouthfeel is smooth and consistent and about as heavy as Champagne while lacking the carbonation.

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Photo of n2185
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear orange-gold with three fingers of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Caramel malts and vanilla on the nose along with some DMS, giving it a bit of a steamed veggie aroma. There are light oak notes under the vanilla.

T: Similar to the aroma, caramel malts and vanilla dominate the flavor profile. There are some slight oak and bourbon notes toward the finish, which is clean and slightly bready.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is pretty lively in the mouth, which along with the vanilla flavors is reminiscent of a cream soda.

O: An alright beer, overall. Nothing special, and the bourbon notes are nearly undetectable outside of a strong vanilla presence. Still, I've spent more money on worse barrel aged beers.

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Photo of fmccormi
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my Double Bastard tumbler glass. Seemed appropriate for the beer, and I think it works! Bottling date might be printed on the underside of the bottle, but it’s hard to tell. If I’m reading it right, this was bottled on August 19, 2011 (“1231 73E0831”).

Appearance (4.0): One and a half fingers of off-white head (pretty tight foam) fades relatively quickly to a haze on the top and a sudsy ring all around the glass as it dissipates. Body is a just-barely-hazy, rich golden color. Kind of looks like apple juice. Even so, it’s actually a pretty good-looking beer!

Smell (3.0): Mainly bourbon. Not an overpowering, nostril-searing, boozy kind of scent, but the mix of smooth vanilla and buttery oak that comes with bourbon. There’s a bit of booze, too, but not a ton. Nice bourbon scent, but not a lot else going on here.

Taste (3.0): Again, bourbon. But once again, not the harsh booze of bourbon, so much as the vanilla and buttery oak character. Finishes with an almost tart fruitiness, like green apples. There’s booze on the palate, but it’s not from the 8.19% ABV—it’s from the bourbon barrel. Again, not particularly strong or harsh, but it doesn’t feel like it’s “naturally” part of the beer, so to speak. I’m not complaining. This is decent, for sure. To be honest, it tastes like a light ale brewed with only plain-Jane, biscuity pilsner malt, and not a ton of it at that. Hops, I have no idea where they are—a faint grassiness in the finish maybe, but that’s it. Tastes like a very simple, golden ale aged in bourbon barrels.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Pretty nice mouthfeel, actually. Tingles all over the tongue and foams nicely going down. On the light side of medium, and easy-drinking. Pretty dry finish.

Overall (3.5): This is an interesting beer. It looks like apple juice and even tastes kind of like apple juice (but not as sweet, and aged in bourbon barrels). So, unsweetened, bourbon barrel-aged apple juice. It’s an alright beer. Think of it as a simple golden ale destined to carry the bourbon character in a clear and straightforward manner. Definitely drink it on the warmer side, drinking it cold does it no favors.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 12oz bottle served in my Sam Adams perfect pint glass (review from notes earlier in 2014)

A: Amber body with good clarity; pour produces a 1.5 finger thick off-white colored head; retention is decent; clingy lacing down the side of the glass.

S: First whiff reveals the barrel character – slight wood character, some vanilla, a hearty dose of that familiar caramel/butterscotch sweetness from Kentucky bourbon, and just a flash of the boozy alcohol that awaits. Interestingly, I don’t get much from the underlying ale – nothing from the hops, no bitterness, not much of the malt profile.

T: Bourbon presence is strongly felt from the start – flashes of oak, vanilla, and butterscotch all compete for your attention; next the flavors turn to a buttered toast and nutty quality – there is the underlying English ale finally breaking through the barrel character; a flash of heat from the alcohol from the bourbon quickly reminds your palate who is really in charge; finish reintroduces that butterscotch sweetness, and it lingers well after each sip, competing with a growing, glowing burn from the alcohol.

M: Medium-bodied, nice slickness though not overly sticky/syrupy.

O: Compared to the Kentucky Ale, this is miles ahead. Barrel aging adds a some character to the beer – a lot more flavor on the palate and a quite a bit of oomph to the overall package, but at the expense of really overpowering the underlying ale. At 8+% ABV, the booze is present the entire time, and borders on being hot, so drinkability is likely limited to a bottle or two at most.

If I were out somewhere and faced with the choice between Alltech's two most popular offerings, I’d pick the BBA over the standard Kentucky Ale every time. However, most establishments that carry this on draft/bottle lists seem to have a better than average selection of similarly situated craft offerings, and I would probably go there first unless I was really in the mood for something barrel aged with a bit of kick. Still, a decent BBA offering, especially for the price.

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

Had this beer at Mead Hall in Cambridge. Served cool, on tap and in a snifter.

Pours incredibly clear amber body and an off white ring head. This is a simple review. Smells like whisky, tastes like whisky. Just had a much lighter body than whisky. No very beer like but an amazing beer to try. Very drinkable. Whisky without the burn.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

355 ML poured into a tulip
Thanks to Shagtastic for the bottle
Shared with Mr Kennedy

A-- Poured a near clear, light colored carmel. One finger of white head that faded to a white collar. Just bits of spotty lacing one sides of the glass.

S-- Barrel notes all over the place. Oak, bourbon, big vanilla, and Carmel. Vanilla dominated the nose through drinking.

T-- See above. Reminded me of a vanilla wafer as had a bit of crisp wafer taste along with the vanilla.

M-- Quite a thin body. Not a lot of the base beer to notice as the barrel character, vanilla, just dominated the beer. Slightly sweet feel and a lot of dry vanilla.

O-- Had this in Louisville on tap in July 2011 and loved it. Bottle version??? Not so much. Really dominated by vanilla. Would get it again if on tap only. Was far more balanced on tap.

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Photo of bnes09
4.14/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caramel color and semi-transparent. White head forms then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the glass and minimal lacing.

Rich aroma of oak, caramel, toffee and nuts. Complex, intricate and inspires curiosity.

Similar flavors in beginning and middle. Definitely a sweet tone with caramel and brown sugar. Some vanilla and mild bourbon notes. Fruity with cherries and apples adding to the sweetness. Finishes fairly clean with lingering bready malt flavor.

Surprising light feel, just barely medium bodied. Crisp, even carbonation. Exceptionally smooth texture.

I really like this. Highly complex and well balanced.

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Photo of stonermouse
3.61/5  rDev -0.6%
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 JohnnyMc
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The taste of Bourbon is what really hits you with your first sip, but the sweet and oaky taste of the ale follows after.

The aroma is also a heavy amount of bourbon, but also slightly sweet. It is a very different kind of beer, but I enjoyed it and it is especially good for the winter time.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of 9-1-11.

A- Pours a deep golden to lighter amber hue. Fairly translucent with a 1-finger foamy head that is gone quickly. A constant cascade of carbonation bubbles. Ok lacing.

S- Bourbon and hops combo is prominent in the scent. Underlying sweeter tones and grassy notes. Lots of oak notes.

T- Pretty much what you would think from this one. A delicious blend of bourbon and beer. Sweet notes come after a strong bourbon flavor. Hints of vanilla and slight hops bitterness intermingle. A true sipping flavor.

M- Sort of light for such a complex flavor profile. High carbonation, but not too much to overwhelm the bourbon flavors.

Overall, an interesting experience for my first oak aged beer. Not quite like sipping some Jack, but comparable. A true sipping, session beer.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pours a clear, medium-light amber tone while yielding a finger or so of short lived head. not much lacing to speak of.

nose is a bit more subdued than i was expecting with subtle notes of caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mild bourbon.

flavor mostly follows the aroma with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and some - though not a lot - bourbon. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, while it does have the uniqueness element going for it, in the final analysis it's an average beer; just doesn't work for me. that said, it's not terrible, just not something i would seek out again.

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Photo of Crundy
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear dark amber, bourbon color, white foamy head and thin lacing

S: the bourbon smell hits you up front, next comes a pleasant sweetness that reminds me of banana bread and vanilla and some clove

T: Again the bourbon is prominent, the oakiness comes out more as well, some vanilla and a hint of hop bitterness and minimal malt presence.

M: very mellow and smooth but slightly dry on the finish, it has a subtle sweet aftertaste and it light bodied

O: very good beer, though a bit too sweet for me but not overly so. Very drinkable and very pleasant oaky bourbon flavors. If you don't like the strength and bite of bourbon but still like the associated flavors, this is a good beer for you.

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Photo of jsh420
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

best by march 08 2012

pours clear gold with a 1 finger white head that faded fast and left some spotted lacing

smell - the first thing i thought of was a candy my friend makes called tutti fruiti - sweet candy malt vanilla some oak

taste is nice - a little sweet and cloying - no real bourbon flavor - all malt vanilla and oak

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation - a bit sticky

overall - for the price this beer is a fail and for being aged in bourbon barrels this beer not only falls short but lost yards - however the flavor was pleasant - i will enjoy the rest of the 4 pack but would never buy this again

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Photo of Crass3000
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice orange color with a finger, white head with decent retention.

Smell is vanilla, some chocolate, and a little dark matls. Really melds together nicely. The taste is really nice vanilla, a little hops in the background, and maybe a tiny bit of booze. But just a really nice beer. This is my second time having it and it seems just as goo dor better this time. Highly recommend it.

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Photo of sommersb
4.24/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 02-01-2012
Freshness: Best by 03-15-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Dogfish Head signature glass
Purchased: 4-pack from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Pours a clear, bright copper color. The white head is a finger's worth high, with low retention and heavy lacing.

Big aromas of bourbon dominate, with wood and oak, sweet malts and vanilla. Very rich, aromatic and pleasant.

Taste is of caramel malts, bourbon whiskey, woodiness, toffee and vanilla. Features a nice alcohol warming and little to no bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with moderate carbonation and a medium body. Finish is of caramel malts and bourbon.

Overall a very enjoyable bourbon beer. Different in that most bourbon barrel aged beers are bigger and heavier, but this lighter beer is quite tasty.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Orange-amber color with a one-finger head that thinned quickly
S: Fairly nondescript overall, though malt and the toasted bourbon aromas do come through.
T: Sweet, with tons of vanilla and bourbon. Malty; hardly anything hoppy comes across.
M: Medium-bodied, smooth and a bit sticky from the sweetness.
O: Tasty for sure, though I'd prefer a little less sweetness and a little more complexity.

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Photo of busterwhite
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with a one finger head. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Nose is straight vanilla.

Tastes is sweet, sweet vanilla and bourbon. No real hop flavor.

Light on carbonation but nice and creamy.

Overall its a little sweet for me. A definite sipper full of vanilla and bourbon.

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Photo of KELPAK
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A real nice beer to sit back and sip on amongst friends or watching a game. Has a real likeness to drinking a tumbler of bourbon which can be a great thing for some people but for me it was a little much.

Taste is on the sweet side but it is an enjoyable beer for the bourbon barrell enthusiest which there are a great deal of in my area.

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Photo of Bierlerner
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle and into a KBBA snifter

A- pours a very crisp, clear golden caramel color. A bright white head of 1 finger bubbles up fast and then almost as fast clears away. From appearance it looks a bit thin. When drinking, little splotches of lacing are left behind.

S- nice and light bourbon aroma. Faint hints of oak. Butter.

T- At first sip, it tasted of a watered down bourbon. But once warmed and sipped more, it blossomed into much more balance. Bourbon, oak, a hint of lemon peel. And a very pleasant creamy caramel and butterscotch through out as well. Not very complex, but very pleasant and very well balanced.

M- my one complaint, the mouthfeel is a bit thin. Could use some more body and perhaps more carbonation.

O- overall a fantastic after dinner nightcap, which is why I'm looking past the light body. Would stock in reserve lol

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a small brandy snifter. Color is clear, light amber gold. In fact, it looks like lightly carbonated bourbon. The nose offers up some muted alcohol aroma mixed with some citrus. In other words, it smells like a screwdriver.

Flavor is somewhat hop-forward. It's light and fizzy and there is a faint taste of bourbon that just doesn't complement the beer flavor at all. Mouthfeel is average.

Overall, this was disappointing. I wouldn't say that this is a poorly-made beer, just that it was poorly thought out. Bourbon-barrel aging just cries out for a beer that is rich and malty, not a light ale that is crisp and hoppy. I don't want a beer that tastes like bourbon, I want a beer whose flavors are complemented by the bourbon notes (see Founders Backwoods Bastard or BBC Bourbon Barrel Big Brown). This was not what I was looking for.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,901 ratings.
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