Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is an award-winning, barrel-aged English-style Strong Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is an English-style Strong Ale that’s brewed by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Packaging art for the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

What You Need to Know

The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale begins as an Irish Red Ale and is then aged in bourbon barrels for a period of six weeks. Launched in 2006, flagship beer for Lexington Brewing has received numerous awards and accolades. So how was it? Let’s get to the review.

Appearance

The ale pours a mostly clear reddish-copper hue and is topped by a generous stack of dense ivory-white foam that shows good retention. The head’s reduction leaves behind a smattering of residue on the sides of the glass.

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Aroma

The aroma is strong with a scent of toffee and vanilla. Once the beer loses its chill, a heady aroma of booze takes over.

Flavor

The palate is led by bready malt that offers a lightly baked flavor. Sweet notes of toffee, caramel, and vanilla wade through the middle before being rounded out with a mild dose of floral hops and boozy bourbon. There’s a hint of earthy oak in the mix as well.

Label art for the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Label art for the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

Mouthfeel

The feel is smooth with a somewhat chewy medium-full body and moderately-light carbonation. The sweetness lightly coats the back of the mouth. The finish is bone dry and the alcohol lends a mild warming sensation.

Overall

The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale presents quite nicely. The aroma is straightforward but pleasant enough. The ABV is a touch high for the style but you wouldn’t know it. The booze is masked quite well and only serves to complement the tasting. The palate leans malty, as expected, but there’s enough balance from the hops, oak, and booze to keep things interesting. For a Strong Ale, this brew exhibits a wonderful complexity and a thoroughly enjoyable session.

Recommended Pairings

Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. recommends the following food pairings with their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale: rich spicy foods like barbecued beef, Oaxacan mole, or hearty Szechuan dishes. Great with buttery, well-aged cheddar. Pairs with desserts like milk chocolate, cream puffs; try it as a float with your favorite vanilla or caramel ice cream.

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