Review of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

15 Apr
For tonight’s review, I thought I would try another Bourbon Barrel Ale from my home state called the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale made by the Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State is known for producing some of the finest Bourbon in the world and this concoction blends whiskey with a traditional ale.

From the website,, I found a nice little 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.

Let’s see if it makes the state proud.

This 12oz. bottle had a cool little label and an ABV of 8.19%.

The appearance was a very clear, dark orange to light amber in color.  An off white head that was small and dissipated rather quickly.  It left only a scant amount of lacing behind as I worked my way down the glass.  The fizzy head was comprised of small bubbles that settled to a thin ring around the top. 
The aroma was at first, of course, the Bourbon whiskey.  It smelled slightly sweet, conjuring up notes of vanilla and toffee that gradually gave way to some welcome caramel as it warmed. 
The flavor brought out more of the Bourbon along with the oak”y”/woody tones.  The Bourbon was a bit strong on the initial swallow, but as I continued to sip, the alcohol started to become more pleasant and balanced.  The “oak” tones seemed to become more restrained also, which let the sweetness of the caramel and vanilla take part in the complexity. 
The mouthfeel was an overall medium that was surprisingly smooth, considering the high alcohol presence.  This Ale left a dry, welcome, warming effect deep in the chest, however it was nothing harsh, distracting or displeasing.  Trace amounts of flavor were left on the tongue, although I thought more could have been accounted for.  Overall though, it wasn’t bad.

The Lexington Brewing Co. provides a decent example for this style.  It’s not the best Bourbon “beer” I have tried, however it’s nowhere near horrible or undrinkable.  It wasn’t balanced as well as I thought it could have been.  The Bourbon comes off a bit strong at first, but it does calm down as you get going.  I’m more than proud to say this is a “hometown” brew and I hope they continue to make it.  This definitely puts Kentucky in the discussion when it comes to making a respectable, worthwhile beer.  

Have you had it?  What did you think?  Please leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Score:  3.45 out of 5
Grade:  B-      

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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Alltech, Country: USA


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