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Kickin' Chicken Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kickin' Chicken Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKickin' Chicken Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

27 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 27
Hads: 87
Avg: 3.46
pDev: 19.08%
Wants: 12
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GabrielM on 10-24-2010

This unique and limited offering takes one of our most outstanding beers, the legendary Chicken Killer Barley Wine, and adds even more flavor and complexity. First, we brew the Chicken Killer Barley Wine using twice the ingredients of our other beers, but only yielding half the usual amount of liquid. This concentrated elixir then sits in Wild Turkey 101 bourbon barrels for nine months, giving the beer and oak a chance to mingle their flavors. In addition to a distinct bourbon undertone, this aging process imbues the beer with notes of vanilla, wood, and caramel. The complex flavors of this beer further evolve through the natural carbonation process that takes place in each bottle. Despite kickin’ the flavors of our barley wine up a few notches, the Kickin’ Chicken Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley Wine retains the smoothness and balance that is the signature of the entire Santa Fe Brewing Co. lineup. Whether you pop one open today or stash a few in the cellar to age for a year or two, get this limited release while you can!
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Reviews: 27 | Hads: 87
Photo of GabrielM
4.57/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very limited release of their Chicken Killer Barleywine that has been aged in oak bourbon barrels. Poured into a tulip.

A - a nicely decorated and waxed bottle poured a deep amber color with an ample amount of off-white head on top.

S - bourbon, hop bitterness, brown sugar sweetness and a bit of alcohol.

T - bourbon right up front, but it's not as strong as the smell indicated. A perfect balance of bourbon, hop dryness and malt sweetness. A slight alcohol warmth that is definitely appropriate for being a 12%ABV brew.

M - fantastic balance of flavors and great carbonation leave a nice coating on the palate.

D - this brew is delicious and I'll greatly enjoy the bottle, but I think the others will be even better with some more time on them.

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Photo of DenverLogan
4.21/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Oh boy...from the beautiful waxed bottle. Poured in a chalice. Dark copper with small lingering head.
Aroma of bourbon barrel, big time... sour fruit, wildness.
Minimal carbonation, strong booze invader of the tongue.
Flavors include big bourbon, toffee, raisin, vanilla. Overall a whopper of a brew! As suggested, a year or two of aging might mellow out some of the strong alcohol heat.

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Photo of DRyan
4.21/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served at 50 degrees into a Ranger Creek Tulip glass

A: Mahogany red with a minimal, thin, off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. Looks thinner than most big barleywines I’m used to.
S: Sweet maltiness, a little bourbon kick, and some citrus notes. There’s definitely some aroma from the yeast production as well.
T: Wow. It kicks right up front with a quick sour tinge (which I love), then follows that with the big barleywine flavors (toffee, vanilla, caramel) I epexct, and the flavor is rounded out by the bourbon notes at the end. While the alcohol is present, there is little to no alcohol astringency, it is very well masked in the complexities of this beer. This is MUCH nicer than the regular Chicken Killer.
M: Pretty thin for a barleywine, pretty light lightly carbonated, overall much thinner and less body that I would expect or hope for from a barleywine.
D: Very drinkable. This is 12%?

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Photo of sjdevel
4.17/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Look: Upon pouring out of the bomber, there was decent 2-3 finger head that lessened but kept a nice foam ring with continued lacing. This brew is murky and mostly opaque with a deep bronze color.

Smell: At first there is a strong vinegary / fruity smell, then strong caramel notes chime in. There are also hints of whiskey and wood with a slight smokiness. There are also some slight floral hop notes.

Feel: There is a nice medium-full bodied mouthfeel with this one. It is on the thicker / syrupy side (which may be a bit surprising with the whiskey and higher alcohol content).

Taste: There is an quick hop bite with a great deal of fruity tartness mixed in, but it is not overly sour. The tartness is soon offset by malt sweetness and other fruity / floral notes. There are mysterious hints of banana after the initial punch of tartness.

Overall: This barrel aged Barley Wine is quite different than expected. There are more fruit notes (banana?) and is a very rich brew. It is hard to believe that this one is 10% ABV as it is not overly noticeable and there are a lot of things going on other than just the alcohol. This is a decent Barley Wine that has been further conditioned from Santa Fe’s regular Barley Wine (Chicken Killer). There is a nice balance of bitterness and malts, but I am left wanting a little more hop flavor. If you like tart (but not sour) oaky/whiskey infused aged brews then I do not think you will be disappointed. If you do not like the taste of bananas, then I would say stay away from this one.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.06/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz gold waxed bomber into a snifter - courtesy of GabrielM

A: Pours a super murky redish brown with a small white head that fades to a ring pretty quickly leaving no real lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is vanilla, caramel, and grapefruit hops.

T: The taste is big on vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, and grapefruit hops on the finish. I wouldn't call this a bourbon bomb but the barrel is definitely at the forefront. The hops help to balance things out.

M: The feel is medium-full bodied with a nice oily mouth coating quality.

D: I really enjoyed this one but if you don't like bourbon forward beers you probably won't like this that much. The ABV is a bit high and will definitely

Perhaps the extra month I let this age toned down the bourbon heat but I thought this was a tasty beer.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.01/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours murky brown with a small white head fading quickly. Good lacing down the glass.

Smells nice and boozy. Bourbon presence is high with sweet toffee and brown sugar cutting through the alcohol. A bit of vanilla and oak as well.

Similar flavors. Some stone fruit up front along with sweet caramel/brown sugar flavors. Bourbon is present on the back end cutting through the sweetness with a nice punch. Still leans a bit on the sweet side, but still tasty.

Medium to heavier bodied with carbonation a shade below medium. Fairly sticky with booze presence felt, but not overpowering.

Wasn't expected much after seeing the ratings on this, but was pleasantly surprised. Not the best BA barleywine I've had, but still solidly in the good category.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle shared by Tim at Kill the Cellar Day, thanks!

A: Murky and turbid light brown. Small white head.

S: Toffee melds with earth, caramel, and brown sugar. I get some vanilla with a subtle candied citrus note. Booze is light and bourbon is strong.

T: Sweet caramel with light toffee notes and brown sugar. Nice bourbon presence. Restrained vanilla with evident oak. Booze is perceivable in the finish but it's not inappropriate. The beer is moderately bitter and pretty sweet.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky and sticky with alcohol warming on the palate.

Overall: A pretty nice barrel aged Barleywine. Better than expected and the best Santa Fe Brewing beer of the day.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing, Tim.

The pour is a light amber color with minimal head formation. Starts off with lots of bourbon and vanilla notes. There’s a hint of oxidation in there too. Quite a nice fruit quality to this: raisin, plum, and grape. Plenty of caramel and toffee of course, too. The flavor has a nice touch of bourbon and vanilla long with a bit of oak. Not quite as much fruit, but still good. Caramel, toffee, and a bit of brown sugar are also present. Solid all around barleywine.

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Photo of Tartoot
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I love people complaining that this one has an "alcohol" taste to it. It's 12% ABV, so if that's a problem go back to drinking Bud. That being said, it's pretty sweet for a barely wine, and maybe a little too sweet. At times I thought to myself that it had more of a porter taste than a barely wine taste to it. Still, it is a good beer so long as you are not paying more than $8 for the 22oz bomber. Santa Fe makes another barley wine called "Chicken Killer" that is not quite as strong and is not quite as sweet as it has more of the barely flavour you might expect. I would rate "Kickin' Chicken" higher if it were not for the sweet taste that should not dominate a good barely wine. Still, it is a very drinkable ale. It kills me that people complain about a 12% barely wine having an "alcohol" taste to it. Maybe they should be drinking a 6% margarita instead.

Poured from a 22oz bottle.
Slow pour results in a thin head that fades quickly, but has nice lacing.
Smells and tastes sweet with an aftertaste that reminds you of its strength.
I recommend serving this one at 33-40F as it is a sipper and the colder it is the more it retains.

[Perhaps I am not meant for beeradvocate. Too many reviews sound like a bunch of kibble to me. Just tell us what you think and skip the intense jargon that makes you sound like every other word you used was looked up in a thesaurus. These reviews, like a fine craft beer, should be easy to swallow]

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Photo of Mora2000
3.78/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle. I really enjoy the regular version of this beer, so I am expecting good things from Kickin Chicken.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is full of caramel malt and alcohol, but I don't get as much barrel aging notes as I expected.

The flavor is a little different and a little bit better. I get a lot caramel and toffee malt, as well as some pine from the hops and some alcohol. I also get some maple and bourbon notes, but they are still fainter than expected.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazed brown/caramel with a pinky of sandy colored head. Viscious look to this; a modicum of lacing & head retention

S: Cherries, oakyness, & sourmash

T: Follows the nose, some boozey figs, plus a little bit of leafy hops. Dryness, sourmash & plums as this warms, some caramel & toffee as well. Finishes with boozey warmth, pipe tobacco, strong Bourbon & dryness & sourwood honey

MF: Chewy, fairly assertive carbonation, very warming & dry

The makings of a great barrel-aged barleywine, needs at least another year to come in to its prime. I don't understand why they released this so soon, I had higher hopes for this...

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Photo of zac16125
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to fatbeats18 for sending this one as an extra!

A: dark brown, small amount of head quickly dissipates down, leaves almost no lacing

S: interesting combination of burnt sugar and floral herbaceous notes. It's certainly unique and grows on you as it warms. Barrel notes present but not prominent

T: follows the nose; burnt sugar and herbaceous, not really any significant barrel notes

M/d: full body, carbonation on the heavier side, ABv controlled and fair drinkability

O: interesting and unique. I don't love it but it's certainly worth a try

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a burnt orange with strong thick white head... Sour and sweet on the nose with lots of malt coming through. Subtle bourbon characteristics with some interesting flavours... lots of belgiany flavours but doesn't taste much like a barleywine. Sharp and a bit thin on the tongue but too weak for a barleywine

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Photo of beergoot
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not sure about the age on this one, but the bottle ABV is listed as 10.0% vice 12.0% currently cited on BA. I've probably had this one in the "cellar" for about two years...

Crystal-clear copper colored body with a thin yet lasting white head; persistent carbonation bubbles drifting upwards. Deep caramel and booze aroma; peppery and minty. Bright sweetness and slightly sour flavor; acidic with some fair hop bitterness. Heavy bodied; semi-dry finish.

An okay barleywine with a somewhat tart and biting quality overall. Depth and complexity comes across as being rather thin and lackluster. Not bad overall, but hardly impressive for the style.

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Photo of mothman
3.37/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into Stone Old Guardian glass.

Pours a light layer of beige head. Color is a burnt orange rust.

Aroma: Straight up bourbon and oak. I am having a hard time distinguishing this is a bwine. It seems more of an American strong ale that has been -bal aged. It has malts and dark fruits, but the bourbon covers everything up. Hints if vanilla.

Taste: Again, more bourbon and then some. Don't get me wrong, I like the bourbon flavors, but they take away so much of the base beer itself that it is hard to tell what the base beer is. It has some raisins and dried cherries with a bit of bready malts and some caramel. Vanilla mixes in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends very dry and hot.

Overall, I pretty much said it already, the bals took this beer over. I somewhat like it, but it has no complexity or depth to it. Somewhat drinkable, but for they style this is a bit of a let down. I have had much better bal aged beers.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Undated bottle at 45 degrees into snifter
Aroma of bourbon
Head small (<1 cm, aggressive pour), off white, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to a partial 1 mm ring and no layer
Lacing none
Body medium garnet, muddy
Flavor begins with bourbon, slightly sweet, quickly becoming vinegary; no hop bitterness or aroma, no malt flavors, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 2.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 2.75, Palate 4, Overall 3.25

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This came to me from GabrielM in Secret Santa 2010. Thanks Gabe.

Kickin' Chicken Barleywine has a brown, translucent body and a solid looking tan head. Retention is fairly good, as the foam settles into a creamy collar, but no lacing is left behind.

The aroma isn't necessarily hot, but it is mostly just bourbon with some wood behind. Just a bit of barleywine peaks through.

Kickin' Chicken pretty much tastes like bourbon without the burn. Lots of whiskey up front, with some barrel characteristics behind it that include wood, vanilla. Some booze-soaked, fruity esters are somewhere in there. A bit of caramel and rich toffee work their way through the booze. The finish has a bit of a burn and a hint of alcohol.

Pretty low carbonation, not quite a big enough body.

This definitely has some kick to it, but it seems like the kick is all there is. The bourbon, although not unbearable, overwhelms the beer.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Boulevard 25cl tulip.

The pour is noticeably murky and the beer ends up looking like cloudy black tea, opaque and very much brown not red. A tight tan nearly half inch head formed on the pour but became a decent ring, leaving the middle mostly cleared of foam. Good retention for such a big, barreled beer.

Immediately noticeable is that distinctive bourbon bite that says America. What would we do without this corn distillate? Vanilla, sweet corn, caramel, toasted oak; it's more subtle barrel aromas, but so far there isn't a lot to back it up. There is a clean, almost minty scent that I associate with some Belgian yeast strains.

There's obvious oak with some tannins and the bourbon. The spirit imparts some of that back of the throat coating, cleaning, and singeing. Also the usual suspects of vanilla and caramel with coconut and light dried fruit. The base beer is severely underachieving for me. The barrel aging is executed very well, though this just seems like another vehicle for bourbon flavors, not an addition of flavors to improve the base beer.

Medium body, very slick, medium-low carb. It sits on the palette like bourbon; heavy and quite bitter of alcohol (a bit of hop bitterness).

Amazingly, this scores highest in drinkability. The fact that I like bourbon a lot coupled with the smooth alcohol of this beer make it a hell of an easy drinker for a Wild Turkey 101 barrel aged 12% Barleywine.

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Photo of mmapes
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought a bottle at Hazel's before reading the reviews here. I see a couple people report either infection or nasty sourness, so I'm skeptical.

Poured into two tulip glasses. A beautiful clear amber color, almost no head. Sweet, alcohol, barrel notes on the nose. Someone else reported "plastic" scent, but we think that's the barrel. Someone else reported rubbing alcohol smell -- we don't get that, either.

First sip: sour - surprisingly. Tart/fruity. You'd think a barrel might mellow that more. Malty barrel finish. No plastic (phew!), but a dominant tart-cherry, mouth-coating finish.

Later: poured the bottom of the bottle and the liquid gets cloudy. Taste is a little less bright, but is still about the same.

It's 10% ABV, and it tastes pretty hot.

I prefer a malty, smooth, carmelly barleywine and would probably not buy this one again. I don't think ours is flawed, but that sour note seems weird for the style.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.13/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Poured into a duck rabbit snifter glass a slightly cloudy reddish mahagony color with a slight tan head that collars arund the glass. The bourbon notes about burn your nostril hairs off when you take a big whiff of it. I can't really get anything out of the nose other than the bourbon. Medium mouthfeel. Again, the bourbon dominates the flavor profile with little else making itself known. Really trying, notes of caramel and vanilla can be tasted along with some spice. Alcohol warms as it makes itself down your throat. Getting kicked in the mouth by a chicken is not all that pleasant. The bourbon is way overdone and kills this beer in my opinion. As it warms it gets a little better and drinkable but still not outstanding.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.07/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with malt, brown sugar, bourbon, and fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with sour fruit and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is definitely suffering from an infection issue but is actually not that offensive to drink.

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Photo of SHODriver
2.92/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Been sitting on this one for a couple years now, got it in a trade during the spring of 2012

A: poured into a snifter to a light brown with a finger of light tan head that fades quickly to a small collar and small mat of foam and leaves minimal lacing
S: smells of caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon
T: taste is somewhat sour with notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, and it's a little fruity. some bourbon flavors as well. swallow is alcohol heat, a slight fruity sourness and a slightly grapey flavor on the finish. Unfortunately it's showing signs of infection
M: this beer is on the fuller side with slightly prickly carbonation and a drying finish
O: I'm a little bummed out by the unintended souring of this beer and a sour barleywine is something I don't think has been done before. It kinda works but it isn't what I was expecting nor does it follow the style guidelines.

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Photo of TenHornsProud
2.9/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky brown/red with a small white head.

Smells of bourbon.

Tastes of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is alcohol/bourbon/too damned carbonated.

This here ain't beer. This here is bourbon-beer tea. Drink if you want to not drink bourbon or beer???

I guess some people might enjoy this...

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Photo of mactrail
2.88/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Brownish amber slightly hazy brew. Pours with a modest head. Below average carbonation in the mouth. Medium body that is less sweet and less malty than most Barley Wines.

This reminds me more of a Long Island Iced Tea than any beer I can think of. Fairly thin and sharp flavor with a distinct boozy tang. This is not exactly sour, but it seems like there is not much esidual sugar left. A taste of Lemon Snapple with some vodka. The alcohol is quite noticeable Not much barrel flavor except for a faint woodiness. A bitter finish seems more medicinal and less hoppy.

This seems to get worse the more you drink. I should rate it lower but my ears are buzzing. It From the 22 oz bottle bought at Jubilation Fine Wines in Albuquerque.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.74/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this because i like Santa Fe beers. $11.99 22oz. Huge head on this at first which is always a little odd for a barrel aged barleywine. First couple whiffs were plastic (uh-oh). Flavor was strong fruits and a hint of tartness. I honestly struggled with whether I thought this beer was slightly infected. The aroma as it warmed was very high alcohol like rubbing alcohol, hint of bourbon, plastic went away. Flavor was grapes, fruit, heavy alcohol, slight vanilla, slightly tart. This may or may not have been infected but its just not very good. :(

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Kickin' Chicken Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.