Review of Bluegrass Brewing Co. Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

02 Apr
For this review I would like to sample the Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series) beer from the Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stouts are a favorite style of mine and I stumbled upon this while visiting Chuck’s Liquors in Bowling Green, KY.  I had never seen it before, so I thought I would pick up a bottle and see how it was.

Not a lot info was given on the website,, but I will provide a small statement from the brewery.

A silky American Stout delicately aged in 2005 Bourbon barrels for approximately 60 days.  The malt sweetness is perfectly balanced by the roasted barley and a nice hint of bourbon flavor and aroma.  The Bourbon Barrel Stout was first brewed on December 22, 2005.

Let’s get it poured and see if it’s any good.

The ABV on this 12 oz. bottle was 8.6 %.

The beer poured a very dark brownish almost black color with a light tan head that was of nice size, very creamy and very smooth looking.  As I sipped, some beautiful lacing was left on the glass.  The head retention was outstanding and after a few minutes it settled to a fine film across the top which lasted for the duration of the drink. 
The smell brought forth a smokey variety backed up by some “peat” notes.  Coffee aromas were present, but they are hidden a bit by the smoke.  Some chocolate came through, however it was mild and smelled more like a dried cocoa powder.  I didn’t really get any of the Bourbon or alcohol as I thought I might. 
The taste provided more of the aforementioned smoke, which I liked, but once again I did not receive any Bourbon flavoring.  The coffee notes were mild and the chocolate was hidden in the background.  Nary a hint of alcohol was found, which surprised me considering the high ABV content.  The taste nor the smell wasn’t extremely well balanced. 
The mouthfeel was medium and mostly dry.  It was smooth, but not as creamy as I thought it might be.  No real alcohol warmth was to be found and the flavor did not stick to the palate as much as I had hoped.  I thought the mouthfeel was a little bit lackadaisical considering the style.  Most big Bourbon beers that I have had thus far seem to really blanket the tongue and throat very well until the next sip.   

Well, this beer looked really good in the glass and I loved the smokey aspects, although I was expecting and hoping for a bit more of the Bourbon aroma and flavoring.  Oh well, It was still a rather enjoyable and an easy drink.  It went down very easy even with the high ABV.  The brew was not horrible by any means, but it was rather misleading.  I would be more than happy to have another.  Maybe even two.  I thought this would be a “sipper”, but I found myself taking big gulps.  I don’t want to confuse you and say that this example was horrible because it wasn’t.  It just didn’t provide the “kick” that I thought it might.  That being said, I always like to pick up a few Bluegrass Brewing Co. beers on occasion to support my home states local breweries. 

Score:  3.6 out of 5
Grade:  B


One response to “Review of Bluegrass Brewing Co. Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

  1. Skinnybeard

    April 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    When I had this beer I could taste the bourbon in it! I thought it was awesome, although that was a few years ago.


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