Beer Review: Kentucky Coffee Barrel Stout

The Kentucky Coffee Barrel Stout.

I’m going to say it at the start: I think coffee beers are my new thing? I mean, I love coffee and I love trying beer, why not combine the two? I’m also particularly fond of milk stouts. Again, sounds weird, but it’s creamy, smooth and yummy.

This particular coffee beer is the Kentucky Coffee Barrel Stout, a combination of Alltech Café Citadelle Haitian coffee and the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company’s “aged in world-famous Kentucky bourbon barrels.” As the website says, the result is a “complex stout with dark-roasted malts, hints of caramel and vanilla, and a lightly roasted coffee finish.”

I’m probably showing my ignorance here because my understanding is that bourbon has notes of caramel and vanilla (again, I’m not good at parsing flavors in anything), but to be clear, I would add, there’s a hint of the bourbon flavor, of course, because it’s aged in these bourbon barrels. I actually had some bourbon last week, and I’m not much of a liquor person. Well, straight up liquor. If you at least dilute it with water, that helps, but my preference first is beer, then wine, and then mixed drinks, like a Long Island Iced Tea.

But when you add in beer and then this hint of bourbon, it makes for a really rich, delicious flavor. You get the dark-roasted malts because it’s a stout, the hint of the coffee flavor, which I’ll always like (and pairs well with the dark-roasted, of course), and then the kick of the bourbon.

This also has an eight percent ABV, which I definitely seek those out. For instance, one of the first beers I looked at was around five percent, and I passed on it. I like six percent or higher at this point. That said, it’s only a four-pack, which I guess is fine, because if it’s not my favorite beer, then I only have to drink three more. But also, to pay $14-ish, as I did, for a four-pack of beer is quite an ask.

Also, I kind of like drinking a beer that “wakes me up” a little bit more than the typical IPA, which can kind of get me sleepy if I have two.

One other note, I’m big on beer covers and art, and there isn’t much to say about this one. It’s a classic, minimalist look. I do like if you look closely at the silver strip across the bottom, it’s a look inside the aging process with the barrels. That’s neat, but there isn’t much else to say about it. As I’ve said before, cover art often will entice me to buy a beer, but what enticed me about this was the big lettering of COFFEE. Which, I guess, mission accomplished?

If you’re into drinking beer, but haven’t tried a coffee beer, or are even skeptical of stouts, I would recommend this Kentucky Coffee Barrel Stout. If that hint of bourbon doesn’t pull you in, well, I guess this just isn’t your beer, but it’s a real winner. Again, a bit pricey, but for my tastes, worth it.

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