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

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618 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Brewed by:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Kentucky, United States

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

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Reviews: 618 | Ratings: 2,849
Photo of BigDaddyWil
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to kmpitz2 for this sample.
Poured from a growler into a snifter glass.

For those of you who live in the Midwest, this beer reminds me Vernor's soda pop, not just in appearance but also in smell. I mean this tastes like bourbon flavored Vernor's pop. Crazy! Pours a clear brilliant golden color, looks like Southern Comfort. A nice half inch thick bright white head forms. No lacing is left behind. Big bourbon aromas, combined with vanilla, wood, and coconut. Very pleasing on the nose. Well balanced flavors of bourbon and beer. Both compliment each other well. Medium to light bodied and a nice smooth mouthfeel. This is way too easy to drink. I'm glad I have a growler of this stuff!! See ya in the emergency room! Thanks again, Kevin!

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Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into snifter that came with beer.
Clear, amber. 1/4 inch head that quickly dissipated. Minimal lacing.

S- Sweet, bourbon, vanilla, a little wood.

T- Surprisingly tastes just as good as it smells. Bourbon and vanilla. Caramel comes out as beer temperature rises. Slightly warm feeling after swallowing.

M- Light to medium body. Light carbonation.

O- I really enjoyed this. Definitely going out to find some more.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this as an extra in a trade with 6DaysBottomOcean recently. I am very excited for this one for I haven't heard of it until it fell in my lap. Poured into a pint glass. This one is a very clear amber color with about two fingers of bubbly white head. Nice sticky lacing on this. The smell is unlike any other beer I can recall. Smells of rich butterscotch and sweet bourbon run straight to the front. My words can't do the smell justice. It has a certain sweetness to the aroma that I am familiar with but can't place my finger on. It smells really nice and very malty with subtle oak undertones. I'm intrigued to say the least. It has a nice balance of bourbon and malt with a slight sweetness that I can only call comforting. The bourbon hits nicely right up front but it creeps very subtly, to finish strongly with sweet malts and a spot on oak flavor. The mouthfeel is as expected, medium bodied with fair carbonation. For what this is I would say it is quite drinkable, even though I would only want it once in a while. It is however, really hitting the spot on a cool Autumn night in New England.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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 NuclearDolphin
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sniffer

Appearance - Dark orange with a hazy appearance; good lacing on the side

Smell - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Malts, and toffee. It's like smelling an actual bottle of bourbon with a slightly more vanilla scent

Taste - Vanilla, Oak, Whisky, Scotch, Toffee, Malts and Yeast. While it still tastes great, the flavors all come off as a bit underwhelming despite the complexity.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and light with some moderate carbonation. It feels great and refreshing but it would feel much better if it had a creamy texture to it

Overall - As a bourbon ale, it's good but it feels a bit underwhelming for what it is. That doesn't mean that it's a bad beer, far from it! For a beer in general, it's pretty damn good.

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Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks goes to weeare138 for this beer. poured like southern comfort with a very small off white to beige head. aroma whiskey when it is first poured into the glass than get some vanilla, woody, a slight floral. flavor wow just like Jack Daniels with out the alcohol kick. If I didn’t pour this myself I would have never guessed this to be a beer. that said this was good.

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for this one!

Pours bright, clear copper with a thin head that becomes a thin cover. Some lacing follows down the glass.

The smell is of bourbon whiskey. Vanilla and oak really stand out. Caramel/toffee backs it up.

The taste is of bourbon. The vanilla and oak are quite strong. Caramel shows a firm maltiness. A light touch of earthy bitterness balances some of the sweetness. Whiskey hangs on well into the aftertaste.

It's on the full side of medium with medium carbonation.

Alcohol is reasonably well-covered, but this is still a sipping, one at a sitting brew for me. Nice bourbon character. Barrel aging well-done.

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Photo of Jraiona
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beer pours clear Amber in color and produces a light-moderate head. Aroma of caramel and oak. Taste of bourbon is very distinct yet not overwhelming or boozy. Living in bourbon country and being a lover of bourbon this beer is a real pleasure.

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Photo of MDekker
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straight from my brother in Lexington, KY! Pours out light brown, clearly filtered, with a disappointingly small head. It smells sweet, like alcohol, bourbon, and orange. Naturally, there's bourbon in the flavor, which makes it quite unique. The hops at the end are just enough to balance the sweetness, but don't do any more than that. Overall, it's different, but good. In the mouth it's actually quite smooth, and has a slight and satisfying aftertaste. Went down easy, althogh the slightly higher alcohol was noticable.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Surprisingly light color, clear amber blonde, almost orange tint. Looks a bit like Bourbon, save the thin but full cover of white head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Boozy, with a worty sweetness.

Taste: Unsurprisingly, a bit of bourbon with my beer. It's not unpleasant, which is to say I don't care for bourbon generally, but occasionally will have one. The bourbon is a firm part of the flavor but melds with the English Strong base and fits rather well. A light smoky aspect but no real strong wood flavors, which is a nice departure from most attempts in barrel aged beers.

Mouthfeel: A bit prickly, seems a touch over carbonated but lots of body keeps it far from fizzy. Lightly slick texture and a slow drying clean finish.

Overall: I didn't expect to like this beer much, and am pleasantly impressed to be very wrong. Rich complementing flavors, heavy body pushing me around at over 8% abv.
I feels sophisticated sipping on this one. Quite refined and enjoyable.
Solid brew!

Thanks to Illudium for the sample!

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Photo of secondtooth
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber, with a solid head of fine, off-white foam. No lace to speak of.

Aroma is distinctly bourbon...I get oak wood and vanilla. Oh, the vanilla.

Taste is pretty strong, sweet but with an unmistakable bourbon feel. Actually, this is the most "bourbon-like" of any barrel-aged brew I've ever had.

Alcohol is strong here, and this is an ideal middle-ground in-between beer and whiskey. Not for the faint of heart, but unique and innovative all the same.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer at the midwest brew fest. The beer poured a copperish color with a minimial head. Smells like whiskey rather than beer. Taste like a combination of bourbon and beer which I find unique. Went down smooth as beer and with a hint of whiskey. Overall a good beer for those who like bourbon.

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Photo of bheilman
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden color with a decent head with a medium to high amount of carbonation. The smell is fantastic. Somewhat sweet smell with a delicious slightly bourbon accented aroma. The taste is solid but not mind blowing. About what you would expect although a lot lighter than any other beer I've had that was aged in bourbon barrels. Leaves a decent aftertaste, but the lightness allows the taste to fade quickly. Fairly drinkable for a stronger beer although I would want to switch up after about three or four of these because it has more sweetness than a typical beer. Overall I was pleasantly surprised and although it isn't the most tasty bourbon barrel beer I've had it is still a special beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
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 beeragent
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass from a 12oz. bottle. The beer poured a clear medium amber, forming a thin white head which quickly faded. The aroma is strong bourbon along with a hint of malt. The taste is a smooth combination of bourbon, malt, caramel, and a hint of vanilla. Not very complex, but the simplicity works for this brew. Clean smooth mouthfeel. Aside from the slightly higher abv., this is definitely a beer I wouldnt mind having a few of. Overall, I was expecting a bad tasting beer after hearing reviews about it, but I was suprised to find that the beer actually had a good flavor. I will definitely buy this again. Recommended!!

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Urbancaver for sending this my way.

a - opened the bottle and filled my founders sniftery tulip. The stream from the bottle was a pretty soft yellow, but it settled as much more orange in the glass. Very lively visible carbonation...head was thin and didn't hang long, but could be rebuilt on command, but would leave quickly. Lacing is pretty sparse.

s - Yum. A nice sweet woody bourbon smell. A tangy vanilla...like vanilla extract is also present, but sweet oaky bourbon tells the story. Quite nice if you like that (which I do). Toffee as well.

t - WOW...that was a surprise. This beer is dominated by a toffee like caramel or even butterscotch. The heavy bourbon on the nose is much tamer on the flavor. This is a great tasting beer, but it is a bit muted and watered down in the flavor.

m - surprisingly watery and thin. leaves a sweet aftertaste, not as much tingle as I would've expected...not as bourbony as I expected.

o - overall after a sniff, I was ready for a new favorite, but then was surprised when the beer hit my lips. Don't get me wrong, this is a solid beer, and VERY unique (the butterscotch toffee thing is pretty crazy), but the flavor is a bit watered down. If I could turn up the flavor intensity a few notches, this would be an A+ beer. That being said, I'd love to have another and another since it is such an easy drinker.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light gold with a thin, creamy white mousse that dissipates quickly.

S: This ale really captures the essence of bourbon. Strong scents of vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, woody spices, toasted coconut, and honeysuckle are framed against a backdrop of grassy, earthy hops and biscuits.

T: Extremely robust notes of charred oak, woody spices, toasted coconut, heavy cream, vanilla bean, biscuits, grassy hops, minerals, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and honeysuckle wash across the palate. The finish is rich and smooth with notes of vanilla, grassy hops, spice, caramel, butterscotch, and toasted coconut underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and very dry. Alcohol presence is understated. Carbonation is very active. Very heavy in the mouth. Definitely a sipper.

O: This is a very enjoyable strong ale. I particularly like the fact that it actually smells and tastes like bourbon-something most barrel aged ales fail at by the way. I can see this becoming a go-to evening sipper.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light gold with a small white head that leaves just a little lacing.
Smells sweet, vanilla and slight bourbon.
Tastes wonderful with mild carbonation. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, honey meld together really well. Not exactly what I expected and I'm glad as this is a great brew. I'm glad to see it's 7% as I plan to drink a few more.
Get some, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on draft on the recommendation of Brian Yaeger, author of "Red, White, and Brew." Brian was nice enough to give me another 12oz bottle of this that I brought to a tasting to share.

A - This beer is a nice clear amber color with a small off-white head and nice lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and oak. Smells very nice.

T - Slightly sweet caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla, oak, buttery notes, and a little alcohol. Very well balanced. It's nice to see a bourbon barrel aged beer done well other than the massive imperial stouts and such.

M - Body is medium and palate is smooth with medium-low carbonation.

D - This is an underrated beer, and drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a small snifter. Off-white head, moderate retention on a light amber body. Aroma is mainly caramel malt and whisky. Taste is sweet with malts with a slight vanilla flavor, very faint bitterness. I actually expected a let down after seeing the beer but is actually pretty excellent the way the whisky has rounded out this beer and made it way too easy to drink considering the abv.

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Photo of cbutova
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems like the beers with lighter Bourbon barrel influence get less love on this website, from the first few sips I think this is a good use of barrels.

A- Golden-orange ale into my DFH snifter. A small white head forms and dies out quickly leaving a small cloud on the beer and a ring around the edges. Some legs but no lace.

S- I mostly get fruit and a moderate amount of Bourbon influence in the aroma. The fruit is dark like cherries and raisins. Also some oak and vanilla.

T- Very interesting. Diluted Bourbon works out well, giving off some great flavors (oak, whiskey, vanilla, toast) without totally dominating the base beer. It seems like the base beer contains some yeast spice, bread, caramel, toasted nuts, citrus and floral hops, raisin and general fruit.

MF- Highly carbonated, lighter-end body (for barrel aged) with a somewhat creamy and silky feel. Ends with a bit of warmth on the back of the palate and throat.

I think this deserves more than a B. The wood and whiskey flavors come through nicely and do not take over the whole flavor, a nice base still remains after aging. Interesting and a beer that I had a lot to write about, which is always a nice thing.

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Photo of moistnugget
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at my favorite joint in Orlando, OBLIVION. Great place! Poured this myself into a tall and pretty ale glass. Bless them for knowing what glass I like! +0.25 for being in an ale glass for appearance. Clear, amber, and threatening, with a little white head. Almost looks like...bourbon! Who knew? Smells great, sweet, boozy, and again, kinda like bourbon. Let's taste.

Sip.. annnnd... Alright, you'll never guess what it tastes like! Bourbon! Mingled in there is a buttery diacetyl, a little smokiness and woodiness, and the finish is soft and sweet like a funnel cake, which has also been dunked in Wild Turkey 101. Mouthfeel is similarly buttery and creamy. Carbonation is right. If this were to venture any further I would dare say it would be awful and soda-poppy, but I believe Lexington's gotten it just right.

Still reading? Yes? Thanks! And please also understand that I quite like bourbon, thus I would recommend if you don't, then I would stay away. Otherwise, it's good stuff, overall. Certainly a must try! Daily drinker? No way, I could never see that happening. Great stuff to keep on hand when you feel like it, and possibly would like to share something a little different.

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Photo of Gear54
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: minimal amount of foam that faded quickly. It had a dark copper color and slight lacing.

S: vanilla and oak mostly with a slight alcohol note underneath

T: to me this beer lived up to its potential. It was slightly sweet with vanilla and oak flavored. There was little doubt about the bourbon barrel's impact on this brew. Hardly any bitterness

M: light with a lasting bourbon finish

O: This wasn't the beer I was planning on having at the pub but I'm glad it's the one that landed on my coaster! I'll be grabbing some for the beer fridge!

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Photo of schwansmantr
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale with a ABV of 8.2 I think one might want to take it easy on this beer. When you pop the top you get a very nice smoke with a slight hint of Jack Daniels followed by a malty burnt bread crust smell and then I slight fruity punch, very complex. It poured a slight head and seams to have a decent amount of carbonation. The dark caramel stained glass looks very inviting as I peer into the climbing bubbles. The taste is that of smoothness that's light on the tongue then bam comes the bourbon fallowed by an oh so slight fruitiness to only give you a climax of hops. This is a hard one indeed, very hard. I feel like I'm jipping the beer by not writing more. There is a lot going on with this Ale and most of it is good. If you are whiskey lover you will adore this beer if your not it could be tough for some girly men/women to drink. Sip,sip,sip. Wow is this a tough one. I do know there's a reason it comes in a four pack it's got some jolt to it.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle with no freshness date into a pint glass. Only mildly suds for a head. The smell was amazing to me. I was letting this brew sit and breathe. I could smell the sweetness from the malts almost as a candied fruits would smell. I could also smell a titch of the original bourbon. Certainly malts are tasted but the overwhelming flavor for me is the bourbon and woody nature. No real hop flavor. Booze present and not hidden well. Its a sipper for me.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.62 out of 5 based on 2,849 ratings.
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