By Richard Thomas
Aging beer in old whiskey barrels has become a popular way to create a new and more lively beer, and old bourbon barrels are arguably the most popular choice, especially in the United States. A particularly good example of the bourbon beer trend is Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of beers products from the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. The company’s bourbon beer is essentially their normal Kentucky Ale aged for up to six weeks in discarded bourbon barrels, a readily available commodity in central Kentucky.
On the nose, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale smacks (unsurprisingly) of bourbon. It smells of vanilla syrup and wood, and that vanilla sweetness dominates the taste as well. This ale is sweet, full-bodied and heavy, and that thick sweetness is what separates this bourbon ale from many of its competitors. Bourbon stouts lack that quality, and many other non-stout bourbon beers are not nearly so rich and complex.
Overall, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of the best bourbon beers in general distribution. I’ve had a few bourbon beers that were better, but they weren’t bottled and available on supermarket shelves.
The brewers recommend serving Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in a snifter, where it takes on a coppery-amber color. The ale has a hefty alcohol content of 8.19%.
As one might expect, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale isn’t cheap. A four-pack usually runs about $8 or $9.