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

BA SCORE
82
good
631 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:
631
Ratings:
2,899
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
155
Gots:
956
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 631 | Ratings: 2,899
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Drunkmonk for this brew.
Poured a light gold with a small white head. Nose smells sweet, vanilla and slight bourbon.
Tastes of oak, vanilla, bourbon, honey and butterscotch. Mouthfeel has some syrup, oak, honey, butterscotch with light bourbon. Drinkability is very good, not overly boozy. This beer blends lots of flavors together very well and a treat to drink!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden maple wood crystal clear body with a thing white film of head. There are a few strands of tiny bubbles trailing to the surface.

S- This beer has a big smell of sweet bourbon and a slightly oaky smell with a hint of smoky flavor as it warms.

T- This beer has a smooth sweet bourbon flavor with a light caramel note in it. There is a dark toffee note that comes through as it warms with an oaky and wet wood taste aswell. The finish has a slight white sugar note but no alcohol bite.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz finish that dries out the beer nicely. There is a slight creamy texture that is more noticeable when it is warm and it doesn't have any alcohol heat.

D- This beer has nice big bourbon and barrel flavors but it is a bit too much like candy flavors. They are not overly sweet but they could use something to balance or give more depth to the flavors.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.99/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one!

(A)- Pours a clear orange amber color that produced a thin film of white foam.

(S)- A sweet oaky vanilla and caramel/toffee/brown sugar sweetness. Tons of bourbon sweetness in this.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Very sweet caramel/butterscotch character with a dry oaky vanilla. Some corn meal in the far background, but the bourbon definitely takes center stage.

(M)- A decent carbonation level. A very sugary sweet richness with obvious bourbon notes. A bit syrup-like in feel. Rather boozy too for the ABV.

(D)- An interesting take on the style. Very obvious with the bourbon barrel aging that totally takes over what the beer is and becomes the main focus of the beer itself. Decent, but way too sweet to have more.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Rich auburn pour, little glimmers of red, orange and light brown throughout it, a fall cornacopia if you will fitting of some autumn wreath on your door and shit. Small beige head on the beer. Aroma, toffee, oak and bourbon, its a little strong and not well integrated when a heatwave hits your nose.

On the palate, the alcohol heat isn't as strong, tastes nice, integrates well. It is very strong on the charred oak and bourbon mouthfeel, this isn't all that nuanced. Some dark cherry, vanilla, caramel, toffee and plum tinge to it, hard to discern through the massive amount of oak and bourbon. Nothing in terms of hops to pick up on. The most minimalistic bitterness, and even probably half of that in which I am picking up on, is probably just alcohol heat + carbonation confusing my tongue. If there was any aspect that could use significant improvement, its the mouthfeel, the beer just felt a little too watery or thin for all the flavor and heat to it. I think more two row would bulk this up to 9-10% but taste wise, it wouldn't feel like it.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a FW tulip

Pours a dark copper, almost reddish color with a slight head. The smell is very big on bourbon notes ... just from the nose you could confuse this with a bourbon barleywine or possibly stout (tho no chocolate flavor here.) Extremely smooth taste with vanilla on the back end but with bourbon up front and lingering. Just as expected and oh so tasty! Caramel and toffee are present as well. Body is medium, just where it should be. Low in carbonation. Real real easy drinking and ABV undectable.

Overall an amazing beer in my eyes. One i could drink a few of without a problem. Im a lover of bourbon so thats definitely a reason why, but why would you even try this beer if you dont like bourbon?

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Photo of barczar
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant deep copper brown with a modest cream head.

Bourbon, oak, and amber malt fruitiness comprise the initial aroma. Fairly boozy, with notes of vanilla and floral hops.

Flavor reveals fruity amber malt notes underlying a fairly bready, toasted malt backbone. Oak and bourbon shine through. Subsequent sips reveal dominant vanilla, caramel, and coconut notes.

Body is moderate to full, with moderate carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Too much vanilla for my liking. The malt backbone is nice, and oak provides good dryness. The fruity notes are somewhat offputting.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Kentucky Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with no head at all. Not much lacing either. It smells like oak, bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some toasted/smoked malt and even a bit of coconut in there too. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, with average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. Alcohol surprisingly isn't very noticable at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, I liked it a lot. A pretty decent choice, I think.

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%

Bourbon, light caramel and vanilla on the nose.
Pours brilliant orange amber with a thin rocky white foam cap. Light lace.
Starts with caramel malty sweetness followed by bourbon and vanilla and finished with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation, smooth.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle gifted from friends. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" white head above the clear golden amber brew. Head is down to a small-bubbled film pretty quick, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet and bourbony. Taste starts with a moderate pale malt sweetness, oak and vanilla come on in the middle, and then fade into the close. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is much too easy. Still liking this brew.

11/30/05 - 4/3.5/4.5/5/5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/4" of off-white head over the clear light copper brew. Head is gone pretty quick, with sparse bubbly lacing, both kind of par for a barrel-aged brew. Aroma is extremely boozy, easily overpowering the malt sweetness found in the Kentucky Ale base brew. Taste is much more balanced than the nose was indicating, with the malt sweetness smoothly fading into the bourbon tinges, with vanilla and wood apparent, but not enough so as to overpower the other flavors. This is one of the smoothest barrel-aged brews I've had, and the drinkability is just as good. I know it's only 7%abv, but with a lighter brew to start, it would take a bit more finesse to not destroy the original beer. This one is great.

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Photo of avalon07
2.25/5  rDev -38%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden yellow color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Pretty good lacing.

S: A mild aroma of bourbon and malt, but little else.

T: Tasted of an overabundance of malt, light fruit and some bourbon. There wasn't nearly enough bourbon to make an impact here, but that seems to be the problem with the flavor. It's too thin and unfocused.

M: A fair amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This beer is kind of a mess all around. It simply wasn't pushed far enough, therefore it was a thin brew.

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Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: medium carbonation, minimal head, orange-brown in color, hazy

Smell: toasted malt and light oak

Taste: big time oak and bourbon, a pleasant taste of vanilla, meadow, and sweet toasted malt

Mouthfeel: sweet with big time oaking, moderate carbonation and medium-light body

Overall: I really like this. The problem I have with a lot of oak beers is that they are one dimensional oak and/or alcohol bombs. While this one has both, there is a sweetness and complexity that I do not often find with the style. The oak, vanilla, and bourbon all get a chance to shine and blend wonderfully. I wish I picked up a six of this. Really great beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A very solid inch of full head that looks very creamy and has tons of bubbles in the glass. The beer itself is a bit lighter than I would expect for a bourbon barrel beer a slightly darker amber brown, clear with an orange tint.

S - Ah yes this one is flowing with bourbon goodness with supporting oak, vanilla, and sweet grain profile.

T - Not bad like an English double ESB with bourbon flavor. It actually doesn't transition much bourbon into the flavor which is kind of nice but it doesn't seem to support much oak or vanilla flavor which is a real shame. Grain is kind of sour too.

M - Medium to heavy a lot lighter than say "Innis & Gunn" bourbon beers, Expected a tad more thick body for such a bourbon heavy smell.

Overall this beer is quite good it's very drinkable and the smell is just overflowing with complex aroma's but the beer base can't seem to hold onto them and you just get a semi sweet grainy vanilla beer with mild bourbon tones.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Glowing golden body with easily 2 fingers of white head. Good lacing that sticks al over glass.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, and more booze.

Taste: This is an interesting beer! Sweet taste of bourbon, caramel, and butterscotch. Hints of oak and light taste of tannins. A buttery, desert like flavor continues through the middle to end of taste. Very nice balance of flavors here; nothing is overly sweet and very well integrated flavors in this beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is really creamy and accentuates the sweetness noted in the taste.

Overall: This was a really tasty beer! I nice surprise that a friend brought home with him for us to try. I will be looking for this beer and it is worth seeking out; quite good!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave Guay for sharing. Pours a golden-copper hue with a crystal clarity and no head. Nose is fairly subdued - some bourbon notes as well as a trace of butter and burnt sugar. Flavors come off a bit watered down and the bourbon is a bit masked. There's also a slight graininess in the mix. It all comes off a bit light and not what I would consider within the American Strong Ale category. Mouthfeel is light in body with a smooth, even carbonation. Overall, I found this beer interesting, but somewhat lacking in a clear style or identity. Maybe a little more time in the bourbon barrels would impart more character.

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Photo of cbutova
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
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 Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Auburn color pour, you get little glimmers of red, orange and light brown throughout it, small beiege head on the beer. Aroma, toffee, oak and bourbon, its a little strong.

On the palate, the alcohol heat isn't as strong, tastes nice, integrates well. It is very strong on the charred oak and bourbon mouthfeel, this isn't all that nuanced. Some dark cherry, vanilla, caramel, toffee and plum tinge to it, hard to discern through the massive amount of oak and bourbon. Nothing in terms of hops to pick up on. The most minimalistic bitterness, and even probably half of that in which I am picking up on, is probably just alcohol heat + carbonation confusing my tongue. If there was any aspect that could use significant improvement, its the mouthfeel, the beer just felt a little too watery or thin for all the flavor and heat to it. I think more two row would bulk this up to 9-10% but taste wise, it wouldn't feel like it.

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Photo of maximum12
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks out over the rain-filled skies of Minnesota to BEERchitect for sending this nice little extra in a recent trade. Feels like a good way to wrap up an evening of poker with the boys (& old men, who are sometime far more amusing & interesting than the boys).

I'm certain this is the lightest bourbon barrel aged brew I've ever had, looks very much like a pale ale, yellow with red highlights. Smell is subtle malts, bourbon, with a stronger whiff of wood.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale makes me think brewers should be sticking more than RIS & barleywines in barrels. The wood, as much as the bourbon, is on top of this sandwich, leaving a dry, vanilla, bourbon, slightly sweet malt taste sticking around. The lighter malts really play off the bourbon nicely, leaving a more true bourbon experience without the scorching heat of true bourbon. Very interesting. Slides down very nicely. This is one of the few brews of the style that I can see going down quickly, & easily, for a few hours at a time.

Excellent beer & a great twist on barrel aging. Let's try this whole paler beer in a barrel thing, it's working here!

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Photo of jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a clear medium gold with some orange highlights. The carbonation is bad, no head rises, no lacing, the beer looks oily.

The aroma is pretty light, giving off light notes of vanilla, oak, and candy sugar at the end.

The taste is really weird, there is some distinct vanilla but its combined with alcohol and sugar.

The feel is super light and watery feeling without much of an aftertaste or feel.

Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, this beer is really weird. Its like drinking a light barrel ris that's combined with a pilsner. Not a great combo.

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Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This brew is a copper colored, mostly clear brew. The head is white, with some intricate lace. The smell is sweet, with a malt-forward and clean aroma. Some grain. The taste is sweet, and a really notable wood character comes out. Woody, some boozy components from the bourbon, and a bit of complexity. It has the impression of dryness from all of the wood notes. Medium-full and relatively smooth in body. A good brew.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
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 THECPJ
2.87/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange copper with a 1 finger head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, fruity

taste: sour fruit, something went wrong in this bottle

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: I think I'm going to need to try it again. But sincne I haven't reviewed anything from this company I had to add my review.

Cheers,l
The CPJ

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Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very large thanks goes out to kmpitz2 for hauling a growler from the source to Madison last weekend for me!

appearance: pours a light amber shade, tea-like appearance, a light white head accompanies

smell: alcohol, potent bourbon, vanilla, oak...Tis a good thing I am a fan of bourbon

taste: well this is trule is a bourbon ale....The bourbon explodes on the tongue and leaves a strong alcohol aftertaste...underneath that is sweet vanilla, oak, quite sugary sweet, nice sweet caramel malts in the background

mouthfeel: pretty light bodied, smooth though

drinkability: good thing im splitting this thing

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.19% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Wisconsinality for breaking this out for his Kentucky tasting!

A - Pours out a clear golden light bronze color with a thin ring of bone foam. The color is great but the lack of any head is disappointing.

S - Pure oak bourbon aroma. Nothing else is really going on. The malts and hops are absent in aroma. A bit of cold refrigerator that's reminiscent of Sam's Club (no kidding) appears on the back end. Good oak and bourbon that's not too boozy/alcohol rich in aroma but definitely needs more malts in the back.

T - Oaky wood and straight bourbon flavor. No malts, no hops, just straight bourbon flavor. Interesting thing is it's not boozy alcohol at all. The bourbon barrel level is great...if there would be more complimentary flavors going on.

M - Thin and light-medium-bodied with a smooth and fairly crisp texture. Decent finish on it with out any hot alcohol.

D - The thin feeling texture and flavor give it easy drinkability but the bourbon becomes a little much towards the end with out any malts. Serious work is needed on this one.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.91/5  rDev -19.8%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color. The head is around a finger high, and white in shade. It doesn't have a particularly soft-looking texture or great retention by any means. No lacing, either. Generally, though, it looks pretty good. (3.5)

Smell: Well, it does bring a bourbon character, that's for sure. However, it's closer to actual bourbon than bourbon barrel (there's a minimal oak note, at best). It also brings butterscotch. A LOT of butterscotch. While the diacetyl and caramel characters blend very well to create such a quality, it also seems overly sweet and sugary. Not bad, but I don't think it will entirely be to my taste, either. (3)

Taste: Actually, it's far more oak laden than I anticipated. Bourbon attacks the palate immediately, though obviously it doesn't have the nuance of a BCBS. The midtaste brings the butterscotch I picked up in the nose, along with some vanilla and banana. Finally, the finish is somewhat prickly and hot for 8.2%. I'll forgive the latter since it's designed to showcase bourbon flavor rather than be a melange of various flavors. Even with all the diacetyl, this really isn't an awful beer once you realign your expectations - though it does seem to become rather metallic after warming up significantly (drink it cooler!) (2.75)

Mouthfeel: The feel is rather sharp, initially. After around half the bottle, though, it transforms from a slightly biting feel to a sweet, buttery one. It seems to feature decent carbonation, but it's a bit hard to discern the fizz from the tannin bite. (3)

Overall: I totally get the appeal of this - think of it as a beginner's bourbon barrel-aged beer. It's 'basicness' is both its greatest plus and its biggest flaw, though. I don't see much reason to revisit this personally. (3)

2.91/5: It has understandable appeal, it's just not my bag, baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,899 ratings.
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