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

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BA SCORE
82
good
623 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:
623
Ratings:
2,868
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
39.39%
 
 
Wants:
152
Gots:
939
For Trade:
8
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 623 | Ratings: 2,868
Photo of notchucknorris
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a friend in Cincinnati. Enjoyed with some Skyline Chili. Tasty combination!

A: Clear dark golden color with barely any head. Light pale tan foam lingers for a bit.

S: A nice blast of bourbon on the nose. Some nice vanilla and hints of brandy soaked apricot and oak.

T: The base beer does just enough here to not take away from all the great bourbon flavor but to also not let this beer become a bourbon bomb. Some lightly bready malts peek from behind the bourbon and go well with the subtle vanilla and charred oak bourbon flavor. Very drinkable for all the bourbon present.

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Photo of Hophead717
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH Signature Glass.

A: A perfectly clear golden brown. The shade on this one is absolutely beautiful. Not a lot of head-a 1/4 in of fizzy head fades quickly. A significant amount of lacing though.

S: This is easily the most bourbon I've ever gotten in a nose-perhaps because it's on a brown ale, rather than a big stout, but still. I get some sweet malts too-almost hints of raisin in the sweetness-but the nose is just dominated by a sweet bourbon. It smells awesome, but I'm concerned that it's going to taste a bit too sweet.

T: This is one of the more unique brews I've sampled. Upfront is strong bourbon, which is quite pleasant. You get some notes from the oak too. Underneath the bourbon and noticeable oak flavors, is a somewhat standard ale. It's not too sweet, as I feared, but it's right along the line. Definitely one to sip on. The alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering. The aftertaste is more oak than anything else. It's a good flavor, but the bourbon isn't of the highest quality, so it's unable to break above a B for me.

M: A bit thin to be sure. Finely carbonated, though.

O: An incredibly unique "bourbon ale." I'm glad I have three more to savor. I'd recommend trying this one if you come across it, but don't trip over yourself to locate it.

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Photo of k1001001
4.74/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I used to live in Lexington, and I love drinking this beer. Being that Lexington is in the heart of bourbon country, there couldn't be a more fitting beer for the region (I think the beer is aged in casks from Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark).

Be careful and don't drink too much! It is 8.2% ABV. Much like bourbon, it is best to sip on.

It has a very sweet taste, much like the bourbons that it takes its flavors from. It makes for a good "dessert" beer. If I had one complaint, I would say that sometimes the bourbon overpowers the beer. You can definitely taste when you have a Woodford batch for sure.

For a bourbon-based ale, this is the best. All of the others are weak imitations in comparison.

I prefer it best in a bottle.

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Photo of Dave128
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington. Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel snifter.

A - An average pour from the pitcher yields a finger of slightly off white head that dissipates pretty slowly into a thin disc on top of the beer. Clear dark amber in color, very similar to actual bourbon. Lace rings occur on the pitcher from every pour.

S - sweet caramel and bourbon on the nose. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for an 8 percent beer.

T - incredibly sweet and rich on the caramel malt. Bourbon is definitely on the forefront in the taste. Of the bourbon ales I have tasted, this is definitely the most bourbony. It is woody and delicious. The reason I am giving it a 5 on taste is that it is so unique and I have never had anything quite like it.

M - It is a little light bodied for the flavors present and doesn't really seem like that big of a beer, but carbonation is average to low which is spot on for this style.

O - It's not really that drinkable of a beer. Being a whiskey lover, I like it a lot, but it is hard to have a lot of it in one sitting since the flavors are pretty intense and the alcohol content is high. Like it or not, it is definitely a unique experience for anyone that tries it.

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Photo of divineaudio
2.92/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

tulip glass

a - pours a transparent golden color with a few streams of carbonation rising up. forms a finger's worth of sudsy, white head that dissipates quick. some leggy lacing.

s - maple syrup, vanilla, slight booziness.

t - starts off a little toasty with faint vanilla notes and moves quickly into bourbon flavor. very faint hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. really tastes like a watered down bourbon, or as if someone poured a shot of bourbon into a bottle of light lager. seems almost cloyingly sweet without much else to back it up.

m - lighter side of medium with a little too much carbonation. has a pretty significant alcohol warming going on.

o - not a bad beer, but not great either. proof positive that barrel aging doesn't make everything better. worth a try i guess, but i'd never buy it again.

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Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Low level head that leaves little lace. The color is a perfect neutral amber and is crystal clear.

More earthy than anything else. There's a bit of sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

This is a sweet ale. Again, molasses seems to be the strongest flavor. If there is bitterness, it is overwhelmed by the malt sugars. Not complex. Very rich body--low carbonation.

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Photo of taigor
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter glass.

A - Poured clear amber color with medium head that quickly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Very strong scent of bourbon with slight scents of malts, vanilla and caramel.

T - Strong bourbon upfront followed by very sweet flavor of malts, honey with hints of vanilla and caramel.

M - Medium bodied with average carbonation.

O - Slightly below average for me. Presence of bourbon is just too overwhelming and it was way too sweet. I would not recommend it.

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Photo of rangerred
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Served in a snifter.

Appearance is a clear, light brown. There is a thin head that doesn't stick around for long.

Smells overwhelmingly of bourbon with vanilla being the predominant smell.

At first sip there is a strong punch of bourbon. This is followed by vanilla along with some light oakiness. After sipping on the beer for awhile, the bourbon flavors subside and maltiness becomes much more predominant. I can detect very little alcohol flavor.

The mouthfeel is a little light but I don't feel it is off-putting.

Overall I think this is a very good bourbon barrel beer. The body could be thicker but the beer is fairly well balanced and is an excellent sipper.

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Photo of BrewIrish98
1.48/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer is awful. I purchased a 4 pack to include it in a gift for my brother. I decided to sample one of these beers before I included it in the gifts.

Needless to say, I did not include it. Twice I've offered it to friends to get their thoughts with the same results. The only way I can describe this beer is awful. Way too sweet and too astringent from the alcohol.

I enjoy ales, reds, pales, and bourbons ages beers. This taste like a frat kid poured a shot of cheap bourbon into a bottle of subpar beer.

I decided to give it a second chance at a Local BeerFest as the brewery was there. Had the same opinion straight from the tap.

Don't waste your money on this one, Try their KY Light or Kolsh they are a little more forgiving.

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Photo of gratefuld
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale brown with minimal head. Decent enough.

S: Hints of vanilla

T: Soft taste with a pretty heavy vanilla aftertaste. You can taste the bourbon aging. The taste was not nearly as strong though as I anticipated. I really like this one.

M: Low carbonation with a nice soft feel on the palate.

O: I really like this beer. It exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of Duff27
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Little white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Cool alcohol legs at the swirl of the tulip. Clear dark amber color.

Smells like apple juice!

Tastes a little like apple juice as well. Slight bourbon feel. Not much hop prescence.

Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Worth a try if you need a Kentucky tick but otherwise you may want to pass....especially in the age of widely available, better tasting barrel agead beers.

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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 kbutler1
2.8/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours a clear, medium copper color with a thin white head. Interesting aroma of cherry, bourbon, vanilla, and oak. The aroma slightly reminds me of New Glarus Enigma just not as strong. Medium mouthfeel with carbonation. Banana is the first flavor that comes to mind in this one followed by some bourbon notes like a watered down whiskey and coke. Lingers with a slight sweet bitterness. Taken as is the beer isn’t terrible but I’m not sold on this being anything great either. On the plus side, I think the booze is fairly well hidden. Curious how long this spent in bourbon casks. Oaked Arrogant Bastard slays this beer hands down.

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Photo of jera1350
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a dark gold color with a creamy clean white cap of foam on top.

The aroma lends notes of sour whiskey, cherry and vanilla. After some hard digging, I can pick out some coconut faintly. The nose a little light overall though.

Whiskey notes up front, followed by rather strong vanilla and toasted coconut. A very long and pleasant finish full of the aforementioned flavors. I wish the malt bill was a little bigger on this one, with some added sweetness. Right now, it tastes like a light version of Backwoods Bastard, which is still a fine quality to have.

Very smooth, but the body could use a bit of heft to round it out. Very dry feeling as well.

Rather enjoyed this one. Lives up to all of the bourbon barrel in its name. I just wish it had some more malt to add sweetness and body. It would then be an "A" or higher in my book. Still, this is one tasty beer. Actually kind of nice to have a barrel aged beer under ten percent alcohol for once. I would certainly pick this one up again.

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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 Gyle41386
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. I added this beer to my Wants list a long time ago because the picture was off this rocking blue and white jug type thing. I guess they don't use that anymore? I have the bottle that is pictured now, which isn't a problem or anything. I just won't be keeping it.

The pour reminds me of cream soda. Similar color with about a finger of foam, most of which fizzes away quickly to leave behind a small thick cap. There's a decent sheet of lacing stuck to the middle of the glass.

To put it as simply as possible, this beer smells like barrel. It's like when you smell a barrel-aged beer and you notice all of the aromas of the base beer and then whatever elements the barrel aging imparts. Well, with this beer, I'm not really smelling anything I would attribute to a base beer. It's really just those barrel elements, like oak, vanilla, caramel, maybe just a little bit of bourbon.

The flavor pretty much follows that. The description says that this beer is a marriage of an Irish Red and English Pale aged in bourbon barrels. I suppose I'm getting more English Pale than Irish Red, but this really just tastes like a generic barrel-aged beer. Tastes like brown sugar, vanilla, some almost toasty oak...I'm not really noticing any bourbon. Perhaps subtlety is what they were shooting for.

The texture is definitely Irish Red/English Pale. Much lighter than I expected for a barrel aged strong ale, but then again, I suppose it's such a broad style that it could still be appropriate. I don't know. Carbonation does very little to this beer, as it just sort of lays flat on the tongue. It's not lively and bubbly, nor is is mouth-coating and sticky. On the bright side, it's a very easy drinker for being 8+%. I never taste even a hint of alcohol, and the aforementioned light body gives this beer the potential to be very dangerous. All in all, a pleasant drinking experience despite not being terribly exciting.

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Photo of BareFeetPete
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to give big props for individuality. I almost don't know how to describe the taste of this beer. A couple of very pronounced flavors hit me at different times. Initially it's a very typical American amber, but quickly lightens (as I swallow) to something more like a pale.

The smell is really nothing special. I mean, I like ambers so I'm already predisposed to liking how this smells, but if I'm being objective about it there's really nothing special about it.

I already described the initial taste, but the after taste was what made this beer fun to drink for me. I had a couple of bottles, one poured into a pint glass, the other straight from the bottle. The bourbon flavor was really pronounced when I drank from the bottle, and when I drank from the glass I got a lot of the wood and vanilla flavors I had heard about.

The mouth feel was another enjoyable characteristic, more so out of the bottle than the glass. I'm not a big fan of heavy carbonation but they seem to have hit a really nice balance here. If anything the carbonation helped to enhance the lighter undertones like the vanilla to balance out the more noticeable flavors of the traditional amber.

Overall, it's certainly not something I expected, and to be honest it was an impulse buy by my buddy who thought it looked like something different to try. So I have to say it was pleasantly surprising and if I am ever offered one I will definitely take it. But would I buy it again? Probably not. It's a novelty and something to try if you're looking for a break from your norm. But it's not a good session beer and it's not something that I would look for on a regular basis.

*I'm young, I only started really thinking about good beer three years ago, and this is my first review on the BA. So feel free to review my review and tell me how I did. I welcome criticism and advice.*

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Photo of jondeelee
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale opens with a rich, malty, flavorful nose that bears a marked resemblance to bourbon poured over top-notch vanilla ice cream--the kind made with flakes of real vanilla bean. Some hints of biscuit and grain lie just beneath, but the bourbon scents are the larger part of the aroma. Still, the aroma is fairly light and evanescent, as if you were smelling a bottle that had been empty for several hours already.

On the tongue, the first notes are bourbon and, somewhat unfortunately, cola flavors, the beer thus immediately recalling a rum and coke, albeit one made with good, spiced rum. The bourbon barrel aging has added vanilla and oak flavors, which largely dominate the flavor profile, easily overpowering what appears to be a weak ale base. Some fruit esters such as berry and apple do float to the surface, but are light. Subsequent sips are even more dominated by the rum-and-coke flavors, and the beer's somewhat high carbonation levels contribute to this sensation. Mouthfeel is medium-light.

Overall, I was disappointed with the flavors in this brew, expecting more from the malts, and perhaps not quite so much from the bourbon barrel aging. The beer seems out of balance, which is a shame, since the bourbon barrels have obviously added a tremendous level of complexity to an ale that doesn't seem quite able to keep up.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.94/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All the familiar characteristics of a good bourbon hit me immediately. That oakey and vanilla scent, the copper color. It drinks like the smoothest bourbon you've ever had with that unctuous buttery feel going down. And a hint of residual warmth. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is delicious, smooth, and has an aggressive, tricky 8% ABV.

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Photo of Badbobx
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. There was a brief head that soon disappeared. There was no lacing.
The smell and aroma were predominately bourbon. I enjoy bourbon and this was an enjoyable experience. I sensed some malt sweetness through the bourbon, but not much. This is a rather light beer altogether. The mouthfeel is rather like drinking a lightly carbonated whiskey. I enjoyed this beer and would drink it again.

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Photo of gobrewins
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a glass.

A: Light brownish copper in color, decidedly translucent, pours with a light, not foamy head that does not last for too long and does not re-form well after sips are taken.

S: Smells like a bottle of Jack Daniels, only not as strong of course, due to the much reduced alcohol percentage in comparison

T: Strong bourbon flavor makes this ale seem to have the character of a darker ale, though it is not. A much greater malt presence than hop presence, and not a lot of other flavors are there to overpower the bourbon.

M:The bourbon flavor creates a small burn through each sip, with the sugary malts present on the tongue.

Overall, I'm very happy with this beer. The bourbon is the strongest flavor, perhaps overpowering the other flavors of the ale. And yet, what does one really expect when they're picking up something called "bourbon barrel ale"? Adding that to the fact that bourbon is one of the few liquors I enjoy drinking, and you end up with a beer I strongly approve of. Great taste, definitely would get again.

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Photo of jsanford
2.21/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

A - Pours a clear orange with a small creamy white head that recedes to a slight swirl of haze.
S - Sweet aromas of caramel malt, butterscotch, vanilla, and bourbon. Fairly one-dimensional, basically smells like Bourbon, which I usually wouldn't complain about.
T - Eww...not too good. Almost reminds me of a big Adjunct Lager that's been haphazardly slapped in a Bourbon barrel. Definitely getting the Bourbon flavors, but other then that there's some sweet malt, corn, and artificial butterscotch flavor. No thanks.
M - Thin and fizzy with too-high carbonation.
O - This got grosser the more I drank it. Perfect example of a Bourbon barrel not being able to fix a crappy beer. This is the kind of barrel-aged beer Budweiser would make.

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

A: Pretty clear amber head, puffy white head, mediocre lacing.

S: Kind of sour up front, a lot of vanilla, caramel malt, and bourbon.

T: The sourness carries over to the taste, but doesn't ruin the experience. Tons of sweet malt, touch of hop bitterness. Tastes like sugar cookies and short bread soaked in bourbon.

M: Quite light, but very creamy, smooth carbonation.

O/D: It's something I'd definitely try again. Pleasant bourbon flavor that doesn't overpower the more subtly flavors.

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Photo of Merkur
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this on tap at Drake's, a new KY based resteraunt that has opened an outpost in the Nashville area.

While a huge, huge fan of bourbon barrel aged beers (stouts especially, and who isn't), this was a bit of a let down.

This beer was served in a Kentucky Brewery snifter glass. It poured a dark amber color. Much lighter than I would have thought.

Like most good bourbon barrel aged brews, this had your usual vanilla and booze smell.

The beer tasted very strongly of the bourbon. While a good stout will pair well and not have this taste overpower the beer, for this beer it was definately in forefront.

The overall mouthfeel was much ligher than I would have imagined. Much more like a brown ale.

Overall this beer has good flavor, but by the end the flavor felt a bit played out.

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Photo of shortbus7
4.29/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a snifter from a bottle chilled in the fridge.

A: This beer has oranges red tint to it, very much like a dark apple juice. Thin lacing surrounds the glass.

A: 100% bourbon and I love it!

M: A light mouthfeel with very little carbonation. The carbonation kicks in a little bit during the aftertaste with a slight tingling on the tongue. I have had this on tap once and it had much more carbonation, which I liked greatly. In the bottle it almost tastes a little flat.

T: The beer is very sweet at first taste and is followed quickly by bourbon. The taste agrees with the title of the name perfectly. This may sound weird but beer taste like 7-up mixed with bourbon.

O: I really like bourbon so I enjoy this beer. If you are not a fan of bourbon, this will probably not sit very well with you. Overall a good beer but much better on tap due to the increased carbonation.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,868 ratings.
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