Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
82
good
609 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
BEER INFO

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

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:
609
Ratings:
2,806
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
18.51%
 
 
Wants:
150
Gots:
909
For Trade:
8
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 609 | Ratings: 2,806
Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a finger of off white head. It is amber colored and clear. The aroma is bourbon and vanilla. I can also get whiffs of caramel malt. The taste is dominated by the bourbon. I get the oak/vanilla taste as well. This beer is a great example of what bourbon barrel aging can do to a beer. I am not a big whiskey drinker but I could see this as an alternative.

 384 characters

Photo of Morey
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper-amber in color with brilliant clarity. One finger head has settled to a thin lace after several minutes. Moderate head retention.

Smell is heavy on bourbon, butterscotch and vanilla. It's fun a enough just smelling this beer, can't wait to drink it!

Taste like an Pale Ale with a double shot of bourbon in it. What's not to like? You definitely get the butterscotch and vanilla in the taste as well. Really nice.

Surprisingly thin mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

I could easily drink 3 or 4 of these, but I'd wind up in trouble!

Morey's Bottom Line: Nice change of pace to have a Bourbon-Aged beer that isn't a Stout or Barleywine. If you're looking for something a bit different, pick up a 4 pack of this, you won't regret it.

 752 characters

Photo of Brent
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Pazzo's in Lexington, served in a snifter embossed with the beer logo - these guys know their stuff. Gold infused with amber. Relatively low carbonation. I've had several bourbon barrel-aged stouts, but never an ale - an interesting concept. The Kentucky ale used as the base is a lightly flavored beer, so the bourbon had plenty of room to come through. Light bourbon flavor, mostly evident as oaky vanilla. The mouthfeel was a bit light, which did not seem to harmonize with the bourbon flavor, but maybe I'm just too acclimated to the bourbon in a heavy stout.

 573 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2013-01-20 in Columbia, PA

A - Clear amber with a 1.5 finger white head that fades quickly leaving little lacing.

S - Moderate bourbon, oak and vanilla. Nowhere near as powerful a bourbon smell as some imperial stouts I've had.

T - Decidedly different. A pleasant blending of the bourbon and malt. Not so much bourbon that it tastes like having a whiskey and water. The sweet malt reminds me of a wee heavy but with a dollop of butterscotch and oak . The alcohol is present, adding to the sweetness and the drying on the aftertaste, which also hints at some bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth and a tad oily.

O - After just having had their Kentucky Ale and Bourbon Barrel Stout, I am quite pleasantly surprised at how much better this is. Nice combination of aroma, flavor and feel. Easy to sip but not too heavy on the ABV. I'll have this again.

 890 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with the bottled version. Pours a clear light amber body that seems a shade lighter than the draft version. Head is small and shortlived and leaves some wispy spots of lace on the snifter. Aroma is bourbon, and lots of it. Vanilla and oak notes are also prominent. Body is light to light medium, almost watery. Low carbonation. Taste has plenty of bourbon, joined by flaked coconut and vanilla. Slight caramel notes are also present and the wood tones are prevalent. Hops aren't noticed but there is a pleasant bourbon bitterness all the way through. A good sipper, but I still prefer this on draft.

 619 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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 PorterLambic
4.44/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arrives a clear and bright reddish brown. Minimal, nearly non-existent, head, just a faint ring.
Smell is malty with notes of vanilla, coconut, bourbon, smoke/char and an really well received brown sugar sweetness. Very complex and really well balanced.
Taste is exactly the same: sweet, malty, vanilla, light smoke, bourbon, coconut. Again, very complex and very well balanced.
Smooth, fairly rich, and it only gets better as it warms. The ABV hides well but there is a warming aspect that develops as it warms up stopping short of becoming cloying. I highly recommend this one.

 581 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew on tap at the fish market in Newport Kentucky.

A- pours a clear dark copper in appearance with a sticky white lacing that sticks to the side.

S- subtle scent of bourbon and oak with a touch of sweet malt, barely a trace of spicy hops. Was looking for a bit more oaky bourbon smell.

T- sweet vanilla and oak presence up front, followed with a splash of bourbon. Finishes slightly sweet and malty with light oak lingering on the palate. Great balance and the linger on the palate is very refreshing.

M- medium carbonation, light and refreshing

O- this ale does a great job of showcasing the oak and bourbon flavors while still staying light enough for an ale. The linger on the palate was most impressive, almost similar to the linger of a good cabernet, but with a touch of bourbon. This complemented rare yellowfin tuna quite well and even saved some for a dessert afterward.

 896 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a deep golden color. A finger of feathery white foam hangs around for a minute but is losing the battle quickly.

Aroma - a vapor of bourbonesque aroma starts out of the glass on the pour. Upon settling, much of that fades and while there is still some oaky smell remaining, it is mixed with a mild diacetyl, vanilla, and coconut as it warms.

Taste - a brief underpinning of grain, quickly met by the sweet, mashy flavor of bourbon. The wood, vanilla, whiskey, it's all there. The balance is uncanny for a barrel beer. Solid flavors but they don't overrun their boundaries. A mild alcohol warmth but not hot at all. A great way to experience the barrel without doing a number on the palate. Not much beer flavor to this but I'm just so very impressed with the balanced flavor of oak and bourbon. Being somewhat diluted to 7% allows the nuances of the flavors to emerge and stand or fall on their own merits. This beer stands.

Mouthfeel - medium to slightly light, crisply carbonated. Feels like a 5% session beer. I wish it were bigger.

Drinkability - the most sessionable bourbon beer so far. A great intro to the style too.

 1,147 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well I ve had this bottle for a bit and thanx to kmpitz2 for the sample. I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass.
The beer pours a clear amber color with fizzy off white head foaming up about 1 cm and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer.
The aroma is bourbon and bourbon. I get some wooden notes and a bit of vanilla and caramel as well. Some warm alcohol as well. Overall pretty appealing. First sip reveals a relatively lite body and very fine carbonation that gently rolls across my palate. The flavor is bourbon right up front. I get some oak and vanilla notes and the beer finishes with a little warming kick, or maybe that is just my typical reaction to drinking bourbon. This beer is very bourbony and if dont like bourbon as a liquor you wont like this beer. Think slightly thinner, mildly carbonated bourbon and there's your drink.
It is quite nice, and I enjoy it.

 887 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.34/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've never seen this before-so I decided to try it today on-tap at Vintage Wine and Estates.

A- Body is a nearly transparent dark copper hue that is served with the perfect 1/2 finger foamy white head. The head has perfect retention the whole way down the glass.

S- Nose is pretty much what you would expect. Full of whiskey, rye, and malted barley. A hint of bourbon sweetness comes through but nothing really fantastic.

T- Hot, fresh, bourbon everywhere. Not aged enough to have that note of sweetness. A hint of malted barley and maybe rye in the background. A hint of wet oak as well. Finish is moderately astrigent and leaves behind a decent size alcohol heat.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body. More of a classic ale mouthfeel than a hot astrigent one.

D- This is a decent beer overall. It offers exactly what it advertises-bourbon flavor. Pretty one dimensional and not much else to it. Ironically-I've come across BBL "stouts" with an identical profile with the exception of the appearance.

 1,014 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale on tap at Mellow Mushroom in Columbus, Ohio.

Appearance: Light amber, almost no lacing. Barely any head. Not very impressive.

Smell: Beautiful! Oak, vanilla. Some bourbon. Light nose overall but very enticing.

Taste: Bourbon and vanilla in a nice balance. Woodsy.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, smooth and low carbonation.

Drinkability: High, unless you tire of bourbon. I love KBB and feel it is an underrated beer.

 455 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep honey, thin white head, very clear brew.

S - WOOD! Wood, bourbon. Well there was wood and bourbon too.

T - Taste follows smell. Some malt but not much. Like a carbonated light whiskey.

M - Good carb, balance is a joke.

D - One is enough per session.

 262 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a shifter at sugar
Maple.

A: deep clear red, short white head, decent lacing, no retention

S: nose is all vanilla with a candy like sweetness, notes of icing, bourbon is vanilla with no oak, pretty mild on the nose

T: starts off with mild malts, turns into sweet vanilla, no backbone to this brew. The bourbon character is shallow and lacks any oak character. The abv is not detectable.

Mf: high carbonation, light body

O: this beer has an unpleasant candy character. The base beer does not stand up to the bourbon aging

 536 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.73/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at meadhall

It’s a toasted gold ale with just a ring of soapy white foam. Smells of applesauce, rich peach and booze, some caramelized sugars and a bit of an immature oak. Taste is sweet, vanilla, nougat and more sweetness – really one dimensional. Medium bodied with lighter carb and a surprisingly dry finish. Not really a fan of this one.

 353 characters

Photo of Brew33
2.26/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wow.... this is brutal. It's all bourbon. Low carbonation. The aroma is all bourbon. The first sip is nothing but cheap bourbon. It's like they didn't even try. Slightly boozy with a surprisingly dry finish. I will never drink this again.

I don't care for Bourbon or any kind of whiskey so I don't know what I was expecting. This has a very strong, forced bourbon taste. Avoid.

My first ever drain pour.... Unforgettable for all the wrong reasons....

 453 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"The Lord may whiskey so I drank it" - Three Day Threshold

Crystal clear deep amber with a fluffy white tight lager-like head. Not much lace other than a few early Spring speckles but a fair collar of retention. My bottle looks nothing like that lovely vessel in the picture.

Smells a little like bourbon but more like a butt-load of vanilla extract.

Taste is a meek bourbon over a slightly fruity ale. Mildly toasty whole wheat bread. I hear tell this is an Irish red and English pale hybrid - I'll buy that.

Has hints and elements of bourbon but I was hoping for something more along the lines of a hefty bourbon wallop.

 628 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this into a tulip glass, and I was immediately surprised by the coloring on this beer. Typically the bourbon barrel aged beers are stouts, and this one is definitely not one. There is a single finger of foam from the initial pour. The coloring is a simple orange.

Off the top you can definitely smell a lot of vanillin and some of the oak. There is also the bourbon characteristics there as well. I also smell toffee. It is a little different to smell the bourbon without a coffee there.

The flavor has a lot of bourbon to it. It is almost like a thin bourbon with some carbonation added to it. I don't taste much of the beer aspects.

This is definitely something different, and new to me. I would pick up a bottle as this is one of those beers that you could lover or hate.

 787 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PPoitras for the bottle
Pours a deep copper and amber colors with a thin veneer of head that quickly dissapates.
Aroma has that sweet sour mash aroma with some charcoal, a bit of corn liquor and some caramelized malt present. More on the floral then on the peaty side of the spectrum.
Flavor is heavy on the butterscotch side with some bittering hops preventing it from reaching cloying state.
Mouthfeel was pretty solid, especially given the road it took to my home bar. As it warmed really produced a nice boozy, liquor feel that was just sublte enough to be overpowering but really enjoyable. Sort of a light pale or amber with some bourbon characteristics, not over the top at all.
Drinkability was fairly high. Could have been a real booze burner but it really settled into a fairly mellow and flavorful beer. Well made and really enjoyable twist.

 867 characters

Photo of jsanford
2.21/5  rDev -39%
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.

 777 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer experience for me. Poured from the tap into a snifter. The head was good sized, about 0.75 inches, but fell before finishing the glass to almost nothing. Beer was a nice dark amber color; it let light through, but with resistance. It didn't smell as strong as I had expected from something out of a bourbon barrel. Smelled slightly sweet with the bourbon coming though. The taste was nice; heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel, with flavors of caramel and oak, with a slight sweetness that I can't place. I didn't have time to see how it progressed as it warmed, though it was served chilled, and not cold. Mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I would like, but since it's the stock ale as a base, I'm not surprised. The lacing was absolutely beautiful after finishing the glass. It was not overly heavy, but coated the entire snifter from the top down. I will not pass this one up when I find it offered again. Worth trying if you come across it.

Edit: I went back and revisited this one to see what I come up with after reviewing for a while. The bourbon flavors play very heavily in this one iving it great vanilla, almost coconut tones. I think this is a much better beer than I gave it credit for before.

 1,235 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A friend of mine brought back a single 12oz bottle of this beer for me when he returned from the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. He said they come in 4 packs for $8.99. No freshness date.

The beer poured a perfectly clear amber/copper color with a 1½-finger white head that had decent retention. Thin rings of lace slid down the glass as I drank it.

The beer has a wonderful bourbon smell with a hefty dose of vanilla, as well as some oak barrel and alcohol.

While the bourbon isn't overpowering, it is the dominant flavor in this beer. Not much in the way of either malt or hops as vanilla, oak, and alcohol make up the balance of the flavors. Sort of reminds me of a watered down highball (whiskey and ginger ale over ice).

Much thinner and lighter than I thought it would be with carbonation on the low to moderate side. It goes down nice and smooth though.

A nice sipper and a nice change of pace beer. For a really great bourbon barreled beer, try Goose Island's.

 972 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Medium gold color, and very, very clear. One finger's worth of white head, and lots of visible carbonation.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, charcoal, caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose - very bourbon forward, but with nice woody flavors and a caramel sweetness.

M: Thin thin mouthfeel. Nice carbonation on the tongue. Not overly hot even with the bourbon flavors.

O: This one is different, interesting, but ultimately not great. I feel like it's a bourbon-aged non-hoppy pale ale.

 540 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
2.68/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

After a huge hiss, this one proved to be a gusher. The head is massive and fizzy looking, quickly filling my glass with a huge tower that quickly dissipates. Besides the fact that there's decent lacing it looks a lot like soda.

It doesn't smell good. It seems a bit sour, with a touch of bourbon and black malt.

It's not sour, but it isn't good either. There is a little blast of bourbon with just a bit of wood. Next there is a charcoal flavor. The finish has just a bit of bitterness to it, and it manages to leave the overall impression of being sweet without any real sweet flavor. The finish has the slight taste of charcoal, or maybe even cigarettes.

The mouthfeel is pretty bad. Really light and fizzy; it doesn't just look like a soda, it tastes like one also.

I'm not a fan of this one. Not much going on here. It isn't unpleasant tasting, but the smell and feel are off, and it really isn't good either.

 917 characters

Photo of mcallister
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nothing special about the looks of this beer. A simple orangish, copper with a small white head and some erratic lacing.

Nose is nice. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, some nuttiness and other woodsy notes. Hints of flowery hop and sweet malts.

Not a bad beer but not one I would drink more than one of. Again dominated by coconut and vanilla, with a bourbon finish. A bit creamy in the mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Overall a beer worth trying once.

 456 characters

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
82 out of 100 based on 609 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe