Monday, September 12, 2011

Beer Review: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is Brewed by the Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Origin: United States (Lexington, Kentucky)
Style: The brewer doesn’t make a distinction, but I would say that it’s almost an Imperial Amber (talk about your oxymorons)

Color: Deep, rich amber with little to no haze; almost crystal clear.

Aroma: The initial bouquet on this beer can be slightly discouraging.  Upon the first sniff of this brew, I was alarmed at how putridly sweet it smelled.  After making sure that the offensive aroma was indeed emanating from the beer like a low cloud of noxious fumes wafting off a paper mill in middle of summer, I decided to let the beer breath while I performed some remedial household chores.  Much to my pleasure, my patience was rewarded by the sweet aroma of bourbon mixed with a malty slice of warm bread (strong upfront presence of toffee and caramel, transitioning quickly to notes of malt, followed by a hint of vanilla, and finishing with the slightest vegetal aroma).

Taste: Complex and mysterious yet familiar.  The initial shock to your taste buds comes from the crisp explosion of maltiness, which is unexpected from such a sweet smelling beer.  This quickly transitions to taste of summer fruits (plums or apricots).  But the final taste is that of bourbon or whiskey, almost like vanilla mixed with coffee and caramel.  The final taste on the palate is the slightest hint of cinnamon. 

Mouthfeel: For the sweetness of this beer, it has an unexpected crispness; though I should note that it is not a dry beer by any stretch of the imagination.  Unfortunately however, it does linger much longer than one would expect. 

Recommendation: This is a great beer for sipping by the fire on a cool autumn evening, the operative word here being “sipping.”  At slightly over 8% ABV this brew packs a surprising punch.  Also recommended is a light palate cleanser prior to imbibing on a different brewski, as it tends to overwhelm even the most experienced of palates. 

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