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 Axnjxn
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
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 pat61
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%

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 +23.5%
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 barczar
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
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 +12.4%
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 DrDemento456
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
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 avalon07
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

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 jzeilinger
2.51/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a medium copper gold color with a one finger deep soapy, white head and medium carbonation.

A - Sweet toffee/caramel malt with bourbon and a hint of light vanilla.

T - Very one dimensional with lots of bourbon mixed in with sweet malt finishing with a sweet bourbon and light vanilla oak finish.

M - Thin medium body.

O - I'd pass on this one next time unfortunately.

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Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +18%
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 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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 sweemzander
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
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 -6.6%
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 Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
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 jrallen34
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
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 Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
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 +11.9%
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 maximum12
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
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 THECPJ
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
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.


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Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
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 -10.2%
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 Suds
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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 cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pour is clear orange with reddish hues and a creamy bubbly off white head. Nose is interesting, heavy bourbon with strong vanilla notes and wood undertones. Off chocolate malt notes and some charred barrel in back. Taste is heavy wooded bourbon and chocolate malt. Fair amount of vanilla behind the flavors but finish is a bit empty. Thinned out body in back with strong carbonation making an odd combo. Fair amount of running alcohol in the finish but somehow not hot. Very different beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful clear coppery amber with a thick and rather persistent fluffy ivory head. Malty aroma has a strong, oaky overtone of bourbon barrel and a hint of caramel. Bourbon and oak dominate the flavor, but not too much, letting through malty and subtle fruity notes plus a caramel hint. Firm texture has OK fizz and leaves a nice bourbon-barrel finish. I hope that this is a year-round beer and not a one-and-done special.

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Photo of Pencible
2.66/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured a clear dark gold with some off-white head. It smelled strange, like light sulfur and sweet bourbon, with some fresh oak and peaches and sour apple. It tasted much like it smelled, with sulfur and light bourbon and oak, along with some cabbage and vanilla and peach and bready yeast. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a sour aftertaste. Overall I'm not sure if this was how this beer is supposed to taste, or if it was skunked. But if this was actually a "good" bottle, then I am really not a fan.

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Photo of Durge
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A clear orange tea color with a modest white cover that clings to the sides and leaves very little lace on the snifter glass served at Max & Erma's at Cincinnati Airport, terminal B. The aroma is a decent carmel malt which I guess is basically a product of the proported bourbon with a hint of citrus hop. The bourbon is a bit more clear in the taste, almost candied It's crisp and clean with good, fine carbonation. There is a mild bitterness that gathers at the back of my mouth, bread and biscuit with some malt, a touch of flowery sweetness and some alcohol. I don't think I would want to drink a lot of these, that bourbon and bitter theme wears a little thin on the taste buds, but it is a fair experience, worth the try. I had it with an excellent turkey club sandwich which seemed to only accentuate the bourbon flavor. It also seemed to have a little kick, the ale not the sandwich.

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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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