By Richard Thomas
Finishing beer in bourbon barrels isn’t a trend anymore; it’s a fixture of the craft beer scene. Yet in my book, it’s not the bourbon barrel ales that occupy center stage in this particular category. That place is reserved for bourbon barrel stouts.
Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company has already made quite a splash with their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and so it was exciting to learn that they had followed up on that success with Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout. When I returned to Kentucky a week and a half ago, I just had to stop by the brewstillery to try some, and this is what I found.
The stout is brewed with coffee grinds and then aged in coffee beans, these coming from parent company Alltech’s Haitian coffee project, something those who read our review of Bluegrass Sundown should already be familiar with. The result is an aroma of a chocolatey stout with overtones of soft roasted bitterness. The flavor is where the bourbon barrel finish, comes into play balancing the stout flavors with sweet caramel.
I spoke with Mark Coffman, the Engineering Director at Lexington Brewing and Distilling, and he told me they were still experimenting with the Bourbon Barrel Stout, with an eye on taking it in a creamier direction. This is a fine beer as is, but I think a creamier emphasis might just bring out the bourbon finishing more, and that would be even better.
Like the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, this bourbon-finished stout comes in a four-pack, and that retails for $13 to $14.