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:
157
Gots:
964
For Trade:
8
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,912
Photo of obywan59
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On a visit to my brothers in August, I purchased this at a Vine Grove KY convenience store (near Elizabethown). I drank half of the 4 pack at the time, and forgot to grab the other 2 when I left for the 8 hour drive home to VA. The 2 beers were still in the fridge when I returned for Christmas, and this time, made it safely home with me.

Crystal clear with a 2 finger white head from a hard pour. Bubbles of carbonation coat the inside of the glass and rise up from the base, diminishing in synchrony with the quickly shrinking head. A bright orange/copper in color. Minimal lace. Looks a bit thin to the eye.

Bourbon, vanilla and oak on the nose, combining to give the impression of dark fruits in syrup, even bananalike at times, with a bit of char. On the second glass, the vanilla/bourbon combo gave me cherry instead of banana.

Lightly sweet bourbon, vanilla and oak are even more dominant in the taste. Bitter char overcomes them all in the middle before everything mellows out in the end. Light alcohol throughout.

Moderate in body with pepper and a bit of fire yet, even after 4 1/2 months. Slightly numbing on the tongue. Nice warmth, as the fire would imply.

This beer is better for the age in my opinion. My brother described his single swallow as "stiff, but good" (he prefers Coors Light), but I agree, it seemed more harsh back in August. It's definitely more mellow now. A bit less char, and I'd have given it even higher marks.

 1,453 characters

Photo of coltonbrimhall
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-really shitty head...
- has a light whiskey scent the wood really overpowers
- taste as a English ale with a lot of oak and whiskey notes a slight skunk
-ok feel thicker
- ok beer not my style for sure, they hit alot of notes i think they were aiming for but it wasn't a enjoyable drink for me...

 297 characters

Photo of Beric
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Bottle into pint
Served: 24 December 2015

This one feel through the cracks due to Christmas, so I'm reviewing now.

Appearance: Honestly, this is probably the weakest point for the beer- the beer pours a muted gold color with a dishwater head that collapses under influence from the alcohol content. I'm not a huge fan of the color- it just looks off.

Smell: Sweet vanilla notes from the bourbon dominates the nose more than anything else.

Taste: Sweet malts and an overwhelming sweet vanilla note from the bourbon barrels. Finishes far drier than I would have anticipated given the style, but I found this really nice. It demands continual sips.

Mouthfeel: High body, despite the coloring, and medium carbonation.

Overall: I think this beer is drastically underrated. For being a barrel aged beer that's brainlessly easy to acquire, it's pretty tasty.

 866 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Almost no head, the color was bourbonesque, with soft brown tones.

The scent is creamy, milky and sweet with hints off coconuts. Very light bourbon, oak and earth are hard to come by.

The taste is very creamy, silky, milky lactose and strong coconut. I lost the actual bourbon flavor that I expected. The feel ended with a bourbon aftertaste and hints of alcohol on the tongue but overall this is a quality tasting ale.

 421 characters

Photo of Veillantif
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, about 11 degrees C, poured into a stange glass, not chilled.

A: The rustic label promises nothing more—thank God—than "ale aged in oak barrels," and that is exactly what it looks like upon pouring: a handsome oaky color. Two fingers of foamy head dwindle in under a minute down to one, then in another minute down to a gossamer thickness. Damn; wanted it to last.

S: I've had three oak-barreled, ersatz-Bourbon beers, and this is the first whose scent of Bourbon is potent without being overpowering. As I foresaw, there's a smoky flavor; as I hoped, there was an evident beer flavor, too.

T: Don't these guys get a bit of a free ride? I mean, the smoky Bourbon flavor is so irresistible that it almost inoculates a brew like this from criticism. But other than its tree-given charm, is there something beerishly great about this one? Beerishly good, yes: this is by no means third-rate swill given instant cred with a flavor gimmick. But what do I taste after that admittedly awesome rush of smokiness passes? Vanilla, sweet malt: agreeable subordinate flavors that know their place.

M: I wish that the carbonation were a little more robust, since it's way too easy to drink something too delicious too fast. But I'll tell you, this aftertaste will make the happiest ex-smoker in the land light up within five minutes.

D: My dream is that someday, some enterprising fellows will come along and make Trappist-style ale with crystal malt, then age it in these oak barrels. On that day thereon I will drink nothing else whatsoever as long as I live. Until then I will happily drink another one of these babies whenever I happen to be in the Bluegrass State.

 1,674 characters

Photo of megahurts4
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Appearance: amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: bourbon sweetness and a malty grain.

Taste: bourbon, oak, and a malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium and sweet.

Overall:
This has a nice bourbon flavor, but I think it may be a tad too sweet.

 281 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I got a bottle of Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that my brother brought back from his trip down south. I have had this beer a couple times a while ago, this was actually my first Bourbon Barrel beer that I ever I had, I liked it, but I thought that it was pretty intense, so lets see what I think of it now. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I like the label on this beer it's pretty clean and classic looking, it looks pretty good to me. It poured a lighter caramel color that took on a nice bright copper hue when held to the light and it had two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end. This was a decent looking strong ale, but I wish it had better head retention and lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with a pretty heavy bourbon aroma that imparts some oak, vanilla, and slightly smokey aromas. Next comes some sweet malts that impart a molasses, toffee, caramel, and some booze soaked raisins. The caramel and toffee come through again towards the end along with a lighter boozy aroma. This was a great and complex smelling beer, the malt base isn't covered up and there tons of great complex aromas imparted from the Bourbon Barrels.

T- The taste follows the aroma nicely with the sweet malts showing up first and they impart some sweet caramel and molasses flavors with a slight bit of toffee. Next comes some flavors from the barrel, I get some vanilla, oak, charred oak, and Bourbon flavors. Towards the end I get some Bourbon soaked raisins and a lighter alcohol presence that isn't warming and it had a low amount of medium bitterness. This was a good tasting beer, the heavy caramel flavor helped balance all those flavors from the barrel, but the flavors did taste slightly watery.

M- Pretty smooth, crisp, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a higher amount of prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel was going the right direction till I got to the carbonation, it was just too prickly for this style of the beer and the body could have been a little thicker.

Overall I thought that this was a good beer and a good example of barrel aged beer that isn't a Stout, Stouts usually work the best because of how their robust malty taste balances out the heavy barrel notes, but with this beer the malt base was very caramel like which provided good balance to the barrel aspects of this beer. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it went down pretty smooth for a barrel aged beer, it wasn't overly boozy, I could see drinking another one if I had it. What I liked most about this beer was the aroma, it was really nice and complex, just what I want from a barrel aged American Strong Ale. What I liked least about this beer was the slightly thin body and the prickly carbonation, the body was the main flaw with this beer. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for a cheaper barrel aged beer, but it isn't available here, so who knows when I will be able to drink it again. I recommend giving this beer a try, it might make for a good introduction to barrel aged beers, it worked for me, maybe it can work for you. This beer made for a good first impression for this brewery, I would like to try some of their other beers. This is a good example of a barrel aged American Strong Ale, it had good flavors and was nicely balanced which isn't that easy to do when barrel aging a beer, this is good but it can't hang with some of the better bourbon barrel beers, but it's a good easily accessible example of the style and that isn't easy to come by, good brew guys.

 3,618 characters

Photo of smalenberg
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - lovely amber with slightly beige head

S - Woodiness from the barrel aging, bourbon and malty sweetness combine. Bourbon comes through stronger as the beer rests and hints of alcohol strength.

T - very flavorful malty sweetness with caramel and candy notes followed quickly by the strength of the bourbon.

M - smooth with a bite of alcohol, the body seems light at first, but as the bourbon makes its presence know, it moves quickly to medium. Some alcohol warmth, but not unpleasant. Long lingering bourbon sweetness on the palate.

O - Really glad I've had the opportunity to taste the base amber used to make this beer, which is good in its own right. The bourbon barrel aging takes it up a few notches. Very well done and well worth a try if you appreciate bourbon.

In a Duvel glass.

 794 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour - Deep copper color with thick white head that lasts several minutes good lacing. Head dissipates completely but returns with a light swirl of the glass.

Smell - I get some bourbon and oak i also get a slight sweet smell I am not sure what it is.

Taste - The first thing I get is again something sweet like vanilla pudding, also get some oak and a little bourbon.

Feel - Very light and carbonated no alcohol burn.

Overall - A decent ale I would like to have had a little more depth in the bourbon and a little less sweetness. Still overall a very drinkable good beer.

 576 characters

Photo of Kbogac
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light caramel color with a nice one finger of creamy light foam.

Smell is oaky bourbon, vanilla and caramel. The bourbon and wood are very prominent.

Taste is a nice vanilla caramel with an oaky bourbon finish.

Medium heavy, creamy mouthfeel.

Overall very good. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. A little on the heavy side. I don't think I'd have two in a row but it was very good.

 400 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice brew sent by unclejedi for the CEO BIF.

Poured a clear amber brown, with a small tan head that died quickly.Did leave some lace rings as I progressed through the brew. Intriguing aroma of a barleywine type caramel and malt – just some hints of bourbon.

Then the quaff, nice hints of a Maker Mark type bourbon, Then a finish comes with notes of vanilla, which by mid-bottle become a tad too dominate. The vanilla sweetens the brew too much – it just needed a touch, and we got a handful. Still a tasty brew, medium bodied, crisp and dry.

The 7% alcohol is nowhere to be seen. Sip and enjoy this brew (just cut that vanilla in the next batches).

 655 characters

Photo of dcajero
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bronze and clear with a fast growing head that quickly fades.

S - Butter, caramel and popcorn

T - Caramel, burned sugar and oak. More butter.

M - Rich and sweet, it rolls over your tongue and lingers.

D - Very easy to drink although it could be a little sweet for some. Bourbon flavor is not as pronounced as others but still a nice drink all said.

 356 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a light nutty brown hue with a 1/4 finger head. The head is small and fizzy and leaves behind no lace.

S: Nice barrel aromas. Bold oak with nice vanilla tones. Nice sweet malt with brown sugar.

T: Tastes a bit like watered down Jack Daniels...in a good way. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla stand up front. A touch of sweetness in the middle with a touch of hops in the oaky finish.

M: On the thinner side.

D: Darn drinkable. A nice lighter barrel aged brew.

 497 characters

Photo of treyrab
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend of a friend brought a four-pack of this up from Kentucky when he came up for New Years Eve last night. I had never had it, or heard of it, so I was anxious to try it. As we sat and chatted about all the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, I sipped this out of a Stella Artois gold-rimmed glass...

A: Pours a crystal clear gold with a spritzy white head. The beer was as clear as can be with no signs of priming yeast or other particles in the beer. Fine carbonation kept a head going for a little, but the head was very thin and finally faded after a few minutes.

S: The smell starts with a nice whiff of sweet bourbon. The bourbon is soft, however, and you can tell this is not going to be a bourbon bomb. Sweet scents of vanilla, oak, and bourbon reel you in before some finer scents of caramel come into play. Not an overly complex nose, but the bourbon and vanilla scents are rather nice.

T: The taste is again sweet bourbon, vanilla, and some pale malts. The taste is not very complex, as it is predominantly bourbon, but it is still very nice and blended rather well. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, and pale malts.

Overall, I was very glad to try this beer. It is not very complex, but if you are looking for a straight-forward bourbon beer on the lighter side, this is a great option.

 1,294 characters

Photo of matt20102
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into goblet at refrigerator temperature with little lingering head. Appearance is an attractive golden brown; aroma suggests apple cider, sugar, oak, and lemon. Mouthfeel is light and spritzy. The beer is most closely reminscient of a malt cider, were there to be such a thing; little hop aroma or taste is present; despite the claim of 8.19% ABV, there is no alcohol taste (research was required to verify this number, actually.) Given this high ABV, the drinkability of this brew is quite high, although it might be higher with more familiar flavors. This is definitely a unique beer without the need to come out of left field like some other highly esteemed breweries. While not an everyday libation, this is one that is definitely worth trying, especially given its limited distribution. Recommended.

 811 characters

Photo of naterock
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours nice bourbon color. resembles a classic kentucky bourbon.
smells slightly of whiskey, but no very strong. mostly alcohol.
T: tastes very bitter and boozy, successful bourbon transferrence. I think someone mixed actual bourbon with this beer. I like a nice bourbon on rocks, and I like this ale. if you don't like bourbon don't drink this beer.

 350 characters

Photo of RickS95
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The pour is an attractive show. It appears to be a rich looking beer, but your eyes are immediately distracted by the cascading of the forming head. The color is actually a somewhat clear amber orange. It's not that rich looking at all. The head is a snow white collection of symmetrical bubbles that retains fairly well. Medium spotting of lace.

It's quite nice for an English ale with a combination of caramelly malts and subtle dark fruits. No hop presence and nothing noticeable as far as alcohol is concerned.

The fruits are no longer evident in the taste. The malt is there, but I can't pick up the caramel. Also, hops are now present in the swallow. Kind of standard issue English hops and malts. The taste is not bad at all, but somewhat disappointing given the smell. Not sure what the grain bill is for this, but it's full of graininess.

Very grainy mouthfeel. The graininess sticks with you. There's a pinch of sweet to start off, but the classic English variety hops soon take over. It's never overly bitter, just very present. There's a bit of bourbony taste and feel as the beer gets close to the swallow. Medium bodied. There's not much in the way of carbonation, but there's something that scrapes the palate clean after each sip.

It's a pretty good beer for the type. The flavors aren't assertive and they're kind of mundane in that they don't blow you away. Still, it's an easy beer to drink (despite the grainy feel) and has a nice ABV level. You could certainly do worse.

 1,495 characters

Photo of drtth
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard Shaker-style glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark golden color with ½" white head that soon recedes to thin film and a small ring around the glass. Sipping leaves a light lacing but the lacing is mostly gone by about half way through the beer.

Smell: The aroma is soft and filled with the coconut, vanilla and oak of the bourbon cask with some hints of faint caramel from the malt. There is no sign of any hops here.

Taste: The flavor here is all about the bourbon barrel with active support from the malts in the ale. There is coconut and vanilla as expected from the aroma. This is layered over the sweet caramel malt that provides a nice backbone. The flavor is almost too sweet but somehow seems quite right and I suspect having the hops play a more active role would be a mistake.

Mouthfeel: The mounthfeel is medium bodied to light bodied, with moderate carbonation that becomes very faint and hard to detect well before the end of the beer. The finish is medium length and is soft and sweet with no hops detectable. (Seems to me that it is in the finish where a bit of dry bittering effect from the hops would be nice to prepare one for the next sip.)

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer and it is easy to let one sip follow another, but it is also a one per evening type beer because of the sweetness of the malt and bourbon character of the beer. As an example of bourbon barrel aging this is a very nice beer that illustrates well that such aging need not be restricted to Stouts and Barleywines. The bourbon barrel comes through clearly and adds a nice aroma, flavor and character to the ale.

 1,706 characters

Photo of mikefuski17
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer about 3 years ago and couldn't remember what it was called so I looked it up. The beer itself was really good and has a nice strong flavor. The color was rich and smelled great. I am not much of a whiskey can but I really enjoyed the beer.

 253 characters

Photo of rhinos00
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised to see this on tap at a local bar. Properly served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

A- Poured a clear red, amber color. Very little to no head presented itself.

S- The bourbon smell hits you smack in the nose. Hidden behind it, is a combination sweet vanilla and carmel notes.

T- Very happy to see that the oak flavor was present. Like the taste, the bourbon was combined sweet vanilla notes.

M- Medium to light bodied with some carbonation. Very smooth.

D- Definitely a sipper. Snifter is more than enough for one sitting.

Overall, a very nice bourbon aged beer. Looking very forward to opening the Old Friends to compare.

 653 characters

Photo of NickTinyRace
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mix of my two favorite things. Beer and bourbon. You can taste the the carmel flavor from the ole barrels and it has a wonderful smooth finish which was a pleasant surprise for a bourbon barrel beer.

 201 characters

Photo of TheWildflower
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Really smooth brew with enought bourbon that you know its there. Slighly sweet from bourbon, but not heavy or liquor like. Lighter version of BBC Bourbon Barrel stout that can be too heavy and bourbon like, which I've thrown up before. Its not pretty. Totally poundable, easy to drink, with some nice bourbon touches. The original brew is probably week as hell, I dont get much "beer" from this one.

 399 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black with a 1" head that hung around a while. Some mild lacing develops during the session.

Smell: roasted malts and hints of bourbon are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild roasted malts, prunes, bourbon tones, vanilla, and a bit of alcohol are wrapped in a soft bitterness. Well balanced beer here.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Heavy in body. Aftertaste lingers a bit on the tongue.

Drinkability: an easy to drink beer as the flavors are not over the top and the alcohol is in check here. You should give this a try especially if it is on draft.

 571 characters

Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap into a tulip glass. A dark translucent amber body, no real head to speak of but a white ring of bubbles. Smell is really lacking to the point that I feel like I have a stuffy nose from a cold, which I don't. Only the faintest hint of bourbon comes through.
Ahh, well at least the taste delivers. Extremely strong notes of vanilla from the bourbon. For what is self-described as a sipper, I'd say this is really tasty and drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, let alone and English strong ale. You get a nice dark fruit backbone in the middle but finishes smooth and crisp.
Weak smell, very nice taste.

 615 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin creme head. Nose is boozy, like I was taking a whiff of bourbon. Flavor is more bourbon than anything. Not really complex at all. But it is creamy. Feel carries the same character on liquid and carbonation is lower. A nice sipper. If you like the bourbon, this is pretty heavy with it, so you'd be happy.

 336 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe