Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reviews: Lexington Brewery Kentucky Ale & Bourbon Barrel Ale

Many thanks to Jeremy Wells of fairelescourses.net for bringing me a couple of beer back from his home state of Kentucky.  I'll be honest, when I think Kentucky beer I think first of Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but it turns out Founder's isn't even in Kentucky.  They are actually in Michigan, so where does that leave Kentucky?  Uh... honestly I didn't know.  Until Jeremy brought me a couple of beers from the Lexington Brewery (@kentuckyale) I don't think I could have named a single Kentucky brewery, and that's a shame. 

First up was the Kentucky Ale, which is labeled as an English Pale Ale, definitely not the style I was expecting from the official beer of the World Equestrian Games, but hey... that's what they wanted to brew!  
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass, it's a pale amber color with a small white head. This one comes in a respectable 5.3% alcohol, which is probably right on for the style.

The aroma is definitely hoppy with a lot of sweet notes to it.  The taste has a stronger malt base, and not as much hops as were on the nose.  I was expecting a little more hops here, but that's alright, English Pale Ales are usually a little more mild than the American versions. 

Easy to drink, medium body, it's a decent beer but nothing crazy here. 
My Rating: B
Up next was the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which I incorrectly assumed was a bourbon barrel aged version of their Kentucky Ale.  Nope, it's actually a different style altogether, an 8% alcohol American Strong Ale that was aged in bourbon barrels. Well okay then... they fooled me but I guess they are marketing to people in Kentucky who want to know they are drinking a local product.  Can't say I blame anyone for that.

For this one, I went with an imperial pint glass... the brew is a deep yellow color with a small white head. It really was lighter and less bubbly than expected from such a strong beer. 

The aroma is more like bourbon than beer to me. Strong alcohol notes with caramel and vanilla. There's a little bitter hop in there but not a crazy amount. The flavor is more of the same, strong bourbon flavors and not a lot of beer. It's obviously a beer because it's just not burning down the throat but it's hard to pick up specific beer characteristics.

It's a good beer if you like bourbon, which I do. Just be warned that the bourbon dominates, not compliments.  This is pretty similar to the Lazy Magnolia Southern Gentleman in that regard, as these are two of the more bourbon-heavy barrel-aged beers I've tried.

My Rating: B-

Thanks again to Jeremy for bringing these down for me to try!  I can't say that either blew me away, but neither were disappointing either.  Cheers!


  1. We love these brews! Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale IS actually Kentucky Ale aged for 6 weeks in bourbon barrels...we prefer it in the snifter! Cheers!

  2. the bourbon was that strong? just sitting in the barrels? i Brewed a home batch of brown bourbon ale with dry malt extracts a liquid malt extract a crystal malt and a roasted barley malt, some northern brewer hops for some bitterness and liberty hops for more aroma. i let sit in primary fermenter for a week while i was letting 16 oz of lightly toasted oak wood chips sit in 16 oz of jack then when racked into the second fermenter i dumped that in and let sit for a couple months and just bottled it last week. the color is light brown the aroma is nice cant really smell the bourbon more hoppy than anything but not strong. on the pallet its very nice a smooth woody flavor somewhat sweet followed up with a not to overwhelming hop flavor and a smooth finish of sweet bourbon. as you mentioned the small white head this also has a small white head i believe it is due from the alc content of the brew not sure tho anyway enjoyed your post! cheers!