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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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Reviews: 623 | Ratings: 2,868
Photo of Ragingbull
3.19/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with no head and moderate prickle. Heavy bourbon nose. The attack is pretty smooth. The bourbon presents itself about halfway through the sip/flavor. Once the bourbon strikes it really dominates the flavor. That being said, the beer finishes surprisingly clean. The mouthfeel is heavy and malty. This is much better than other liquour infused/liquour styled beers that I have had, but it isn't stellar. I love bourbon and I love beer, but mixing the two together I am thinking might not be my style. I might be to much of a traditionalist. I am glad to have tried it however.

 588 characters

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle split 3 ways.

A- Pours a pale golden with very minimal head. Quite frankly, it looks like something from a BMC company.

S- Bourbon just dominates the nose. A little bit of wood in there and some pungent alcohol. Some caramel and molasses lie deep with there.

T- The bourbon is pretty well integrated with the smooth oak. Almost has a caramel/ buttery after taste. The alcohol is fairly hidden.

M- Lighter bodied but very smooth. No real feel of carbonation and not even any burn from the alcohol.

D- This one goes down smoothly but if you aren't a fan of bourbon, you will not enjoy this. I would call this a cheap bourbon alternative.

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Photo of mklinger
2.88/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 12 oz snifter. Deep golden color. Thin white head, but lots of carbonation. Fine looking beer.

Aroma is all bourbon. Smells exactly like a bourbon with ice & water. I don't get much else that I would characterize as beer-like.

Flavor is interesting, not what I was expecting. There's beer character in there, some light malt character & a bit of hops, but it is a very light in character beer to be paired with such a strong bourbon flavor. I've had Lexington's Kentucky Ale & it's still one of my lower rated beers. This tastes like it's probably not much of a different beer than that but with some barrel aging with a lot of bourbon still in the barrel.

Mouthfeel is remarkably thin for some big beer with the barrel flavor. This really is one of the odder barrel aged beers I've had. The base beer is pretty unremarkable I think, bringing the focus all on the bourbon barrel. This makes the base beer better & improved, but still not great.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Warm, bright, just slightly golden light copper. Totally clear with multiple streams of steady bubbles rising to a smallish white head. It falls, but retains a ring and leaves some okay lacing.

S: Bourbon – vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, and a hint of booze. Some toasty pale base grain and malt sweetness behind the bourbon. A hint of caramel increases as it warms. Decent strength for the bourbon aspect, light on the beer, but interesting and pleasant overall.

T: Vanilla & coconut oaky bourbon is about as forward as in the nose, but relatively less pronounced since there is more other stuff going on. Sweetness especially is increased from the nose. Both a low crystal / caramel malt sweetness, and a spicy/boozy/vanilla bourbon alcohol sweetness. Toasty pale base grain is there, but it stays in the background. Also in the background are some softly balancing earthy / herbal hops. The bourbon barrel aspect really lingers on in the finish.

M: Medium body with matched carbonation that is very finely textured & soft feeling. Quite attenuated with only a hint of lingering sugars. Most of texture seems to be from oak tannins. Slowly creeping warmth.

D: Quite interesting & pretty tasty. A bit dangerous as the over 8% abv is very well hidden. I would like to see just a touch more heft to the body and some more robustness to the malts. Still it is very much alright as is and really lets the nuances of the bourbon show through without being the least bit overdone or harsh. I am not one for bourbon, but this brew is pretty nice. It is remarkable in how it does not depend on robust malts or a hefty body to carry the bourbon.

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Photo of alkemy
4.16/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear light amber with only about a finger of head and minimal lacing. The aroma is strong with bourbon. That may be a bad choice of words. By strong, I mean it's the dominant scent. Overall the aroma is not terribly strong. I'm a fan of this because I really don't want to be overpowered with bourbon. There's also wood and vanilla. The taste begins with a bourbon and vanilla note. There's some caramel malts, but the bourbon and vanilla reappear and linger after each drink. It's in this malty middle that an actual "beer" taste is most present. This is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Alcohol is completely muted. I was shocked that 8.19% was listed on the bottle. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it works well for this style. I'd gladly have this one again.

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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.

 731 characters

Photo of breakingbland
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A beautiful clear golden. The head had dissipated by the time the glass reached the table.

Aroma:Hoppy with some malt. Not a strong aroma.

Taste: Considerable malty sweetness. The maltiness has an odd tasting component -- maybe bubblegum (still not too good at discerning & describing the various taste components; see "Re-review" below). A medium hops presence.

Mouthfeel: A very fine carbonation. It has a fairly full body.

Overall: The malt/hops balance is nice and appropriate for this style. I'll have this beer again, but overall it's not too exciting (still bothered by the odd sweetness).

Re-review: After drinking a few more of these, it occurred to me that the odd sweetness is likely due to the oak/bourbon aging. (duh on my part!) It still tastes a bit odd to me, though.

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Photo of iceball585
4.62/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Bright amber color, clear, one finger thick fluffy head that faded quickly, lots and lots of bubbles rising throughout

S- Bourbon, vanilla, oak, malty, strong auroma of alcohol

T- Kentucky bourbon whiskey, oak, pale malts, vanilla, light hops flavor

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth, flavorful, slight warming of alcohol, dry finish

D- Definitely worth trying

If you like bourbon whiskey as much as I do... then you really need to try this one. It's amazing the amount of flavor from the bourbon barrel that comes out in this brew.

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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 yuenglingfan101
4.76/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into pint glass. Great 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 dare to mix whiskey and beer blends

 294 characters

Photo of ndekke39
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle with no date on it. A definitely brown bourbon color. Clear, with a very small head. No lacing. Smells of... uh, bourbon. Strong nutty notes, too. Definitely an overall sweet character. Tastes again of... uh, bourbon (not that that's a bad thing!). Again the nutty character. Elements of wood, light buttery finish. Mouthfeel is a tad watery. Overall, the bourbon dominates as expected with this style, but it gives the beer a nice character. Perfect for sipping cold on a summer evening.

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Photo of abrand
4.21/5  rDev +16%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In Kentucky for the night so what better way to spend it than watching opening night of NFL with an ale aged in kentucky bourbon barrels. This 4 pack of 12 ounce bottles set me back a total of $12. Very rustic looking label with no best before/bottled on date.

12 ounce bottle poured into my brand spankin new Founders pint glass. Pours an orange color with very little head and no lacing lining the glass. Nose consists of sweet vanilla and kentucky bourbon. Tastes mostly of sweet bourbon with bitter beer hints settling out the palate. Also sweet caramel is noted. Mouthfeel is light bodied Drinkability is pretty solid, definitely more bourbon in the taste than I would prefer but the sweet finish really sets this beer off. We'll see how i'm feeling after I finish the 4 pack.

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Photo of TheBierBand
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

OK.... so The Bier Band was performing at the Mainstrasse Village Oktoberfest in Covington, KY. We NORMALLY get FREE BIER when we perform.... but not here. Oh Well! So, I figured that I would try this KY Bourbon Barrel Ale (I'd had the KY Ale from them in a bottle and it was pretty good).

It was served in a plastic cup (and a pretty small one at that)... not as big as the cups they served the KY Ale in. It formed about a 1?2" creamy head but it didn't stick around very long. The color of the bier was quite dark... kind of a dark caramel color.

SMELL: Woah!.... right away... a sweet whif of bourbon... then a caramel malt.

TASTE: WOAH!.... this didn't taste bourbon barrel aged.... it tasted as though they took a 12 oz beer and added a shot of bourbon to it! VERY pronounced bourbon flavor... WAY too much... I'm more into subtilty. I was just overwhelmed by the bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Flat.... but creamy

Drinkability: Well, in retrospect, I'm glad I only got a 12 oz cup.... I had trouble finishing it. Don't get me wrong.... I normally like a nice robust STRONG ALE... Arrogant Bastard Ale is one of my favorites of all time.... but this just clubbed you over the head with bourbon!

 1,201 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at 16 bit arcade. Boston shaker.

Appearance: pours a clear amber/orange with 1 finger off-white head. Little, but steady carbonation. No lacing, head dissipates fairly quickly. Lighter in color than expected.

Aroma: sweet, strong caramel, malt, no hops, vanilla, some oak. Butterscotch. Actually smells really awesome.

Taste: bourbon is noticeable; right from the arrival; strong even. Very sweet. Transitions quickly to a surprisingly firm bitterness for 15 IBUs. Oaky woodiness at the end, lingers a bit, then clean. Right before the transition to bitterness, you get the presence of these bourbon congeners that are really outstanding. Irish red ale sweetness and taste really come through in this.

Mouthfeel: midweight. More carbonation than expected. Quite clean.

Overall: had it once before, but didn't think much of it. I love bourbon, and I love English style ales, and this does surprisingly well on both those fronts. Kind of sweet and boozy, but surprisingly quite clean. Really easy drinking for 8+%. I can see why it's popular.

 1,052 characters

Photo of DocJitsu
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Grey Goose in Lexington, Ky. Poured into a snifter. Very attractive clear bourbon color. No head at all, but that's likely due to the care the bartender took in pouring the beer. Some oaky vanilla on the nose, but it's so very delicate. Not much else going on in the aroma. Mouthfeel is slick, wet, and a little oily. The flavor consists of mild oak, vanilla, and bourbon. It falls a little flat. But, otherwise a decent beer.

 444 characters

Photo of mobyfann
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paid $9.99 for a growler from The Party Source...

Pours a clear amber colored base with a medium white head, great retention and minimal lacing. The aroma is very subtle in Elijah Craig bourbon and sweet caramel malts.

The taste is all about the smoothness when looking at a beer this strong, it reminds me of a Yuengling lager, made with enough quality ingredients to be noticeable but not pretentious; yet deliver as a true winner (despite the usual overpowering of heavier beers). Low carbonation and good head retention make this one of the smoothest beers east of the Mississippi.

Final Thought: An absolute stunner of a session beer, best in class for style!

 667 characters

Photo of orangemoustache
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours an even transparent amber. A soft slightly off-white cap lingers for a few moments before retreating to a thin cover that remains. Sloppy patches of lacing cling to the sides of the mug. Big smells from the oak barrel, slightly floral with lots of vanilla coming through. This is gentle on the tongue with a light creamy touch when swished around. The alcohol is masked well, but shows on the finish. Vanilla and bread crust malts up front. Bourbon is slightly muted by a lightly bitter hop presence. Again sweet notes of alcohol and oak hang on the pallet until the next sip. This seems to be very drinkable at first. The ABV seems to be the only hindrance as the flavors are never overwhelming or unappreciated. Solid Bourbon Ale.

 738 characters

Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.57/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance-Light copper with a 1/2 finger off white head that immediate dissapears.

Smell-Definitely get Bourbon..lots of booze, sweet malts, vanilla. Kind of what I was expecting.

Taste-First taste wasn't so bad, Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Then it kind of just went downhill. Just tastes watery, almost like a Bourbon and Coke thats been sitting out for a while and all the ice has melted. Not very good.

Mouthfeel-Boozy. Very light in the body and a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall-I like Bourbon, but I don't really get this beer. The aroma was nice, but it was just watered down whiskey with carbonation. I'm going to give my other bottle to someone else, I just can't appreciate this beer.

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Photo of joberlander
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really nice bourbon in the aroma but the mouth feel and taste is so thin. I get hints of the bourbon but its almost a watered down taste and don't really get other flavors from the beer. Hides the alcohol well but when I drink a bourbon barrel beer I like it to be a bit thicker. Overall, its great if you want a little bourbon flavor in a beer you can have a few of, but I wish they aged it a bit longer in the barrels.

 423 characters

Photo of titosupertramp
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber in color with about a finger of foamy off-white head. Some film to cap the beer with slick lacing around the glass.

S: Boubon, vanilla, some alcohol. Some fruity qualities to the smell as well.

T: The bourbon vanilla is out in front. Towards the end, I notice some toasted, bready flavors. Light fruit flavors mixed in as well. Alcohol is pretty well hidden in the taste.

M: Medium bodied and dry. Has a creamy quality to it.

O: For a barrel aged strong ale, this goes down pretty easily. This reminds me a lot of fresh, unskunked Innis & Gunn. If this were available in Nashville, I'd pick it up on occasion.

 628 characters

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

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

Pours a clear goldish amber.

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

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

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

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

 450 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like these beers brewed in flavored barrels - luckily bourbon is a favorite of mine...

Out of the glass it pours a beautiful black with highlights of red. The bourbon smell mixes well with the hops and malts and it does about the same for the taste. In fact, I like the taste much better than what met the nose and it was a plus that the beer was only lightly carbonated with a thick texture to round out it out quite well. Overall, it's probably one of the better flavored barrel beers I have had.

 511 characters

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz unlabeled bottle courtesy of ppoitras.
Pours a deep copper color with no head, lacing or apperent carbonation.
Smell is a little boozy. Definitely bourbon in the aroma. Some buttery toffee and caramel, along with mild hops.
Taste is buttery, caramel, slightly bitter hops with a slight alcohol kick. Although, there seems to be more bourbon flavor than alcohol heat. It's extremely smooth going down.
Mouthfeel is a tad limp with the lack of carbonation and all, but still not terrible. The more you drink of this the better it gets, which is always nice.
Overall, a very good beer, with a very good flavor, I would like to have had a bit better appearance but hey, what are you going to do.

 702 characters

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Different packaging from the picture, but it must be the same beer.

Pours out a perfectly clear kind of copper color, with a very thin head that dissipated, leaving little bits of lacing as I drink it. The clarity is nice, but the head is disappointing. The smell is just straight bourbon with just a little bit of sweetness behind it. No not of beer, none at all, just some vanilla and wood and a bit of char. I kind of expected something different, but I don't see why I should have. The taste isn't as strong on the bourbon as I expected - really just the flavors without the burn, which I like. There's a bit of a pale ale/amber ale back, absolutely no hoppiness. Kind of light on the body, but a pretty good medium for the bourbon flavors. There's huge vanilla, with a nice woody, earthy feeling that doesn't exactly cling. This isn't really dry, but not sweet. The wood kind of fills up my stomach and warms me. Overall, this kind of feels like a more full bodied bourbon. I wonder what more and more age in the barrels would do to this (the website says it only spends 6 weeks in the barrels). This one is just clearly made for the barrel taste. The carbonation is a bit prickly at first but calms down quickly. I would expect more body from a bourbon barrel. Overall, I found this very pleasant and enjoyable. I could never drink more than one of these - actually, I doubt if I'll have another one, but it was pleasant, and kind of quick drinking, a very interesting canvas for the bourbon-barrel painting. I would recommend it if you're looking for something interesting.

 1,581 characters

Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.06/5  rDev +11.8%
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.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,868 ratings.
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