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Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder LagerKuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

121 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 121
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 11 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Eisbock |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev +3.6%

ej285701, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2009 vintage courtesy of Derek. Thanks!

A: The pour is an incredibly murky dark brown color with minimal at best head formation.

S: As with almost all eisbocks, this one is sweet, very sweet. There is a ton of caramel and toffee, but also tons of booze. The usual dark fruit suspects: raisins, plums, and prunes. There is a bit of toasted bread and perhaps some red grapes.

T: Sugar and booze are the two main food groups here. Intense caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and bread flavors are all present. There are lots of raisin and plum flavors, and maybe a bit of black cherry. A light fruity tartness and hints of bold red wine.

M: The body is medium to full with rather low carbonation.

O: I like eisbocks and I like Kuhnhenn, but this was a bit too much for me.

womencantsail, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No head at all at first but slowly but surely a thin tan cloud rises up and over the top and settles down giving a touch of light foam along the sides and the bottom of the glass.

Tons of rich toffee and caramel initially on the nose, once it warms up though it becomes one of the most complex aromas I have ever encountered. Light alcohol notes, hints of dark cherries and fruit, light chocolate and almost a root beer like touch as it really comes up near room temperature. To say the aroma was inviting would be an understatement, this was intense. Smooth, full, thick body on this one really let the flavor just coat your tongue, and again this was an expierence all its own. A malt monster, caramel and light molasses notes led the charge until a soothing, candy like chocolate and toffee notes come in. But it was the fruit like cherry notes and rich cola flavor that set it apart

mikesgroove, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of maximum12
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

What are you trying to do to me, Brian? I get this little bottle in a beautiful box from beerisheaven & think "yeah, just mowed the lawn, I'm hot & sweaty, time to kick back...oooh, a nice cute lager. Let's pop that open." Holy crap, 13%? Must mentally shift gears to prepare for alcoholic onslaught. 2010 Winter Solstice Release, vintage 2009.

Pour about half the bottle into a nice New Holland glass & it's a gorgeous color, like the burnished scales of a Copper Dragon (the one from the original '70s Monster Manual...crap, that other geek is showing up now). The aroma raises my blood alcohol level about .02 & blows deep sweetness, sugar-coated apples, & a horn full of Middle Eastern goodies. I don't know that this is the base for the Raspberry Eisbock, but it sure smells it. Fantastic.

Winter Wonder Lager is an alcoholic A-bomb. Hold on, I need a moment here. Lightning-based alcohol whips the throat, laced with a generous helping of figs, dash of sweet prunes. Wild malts mimic the deep, saturating sweetness of the aroma & cling to the palate like a happy tick. Flickers of caramel, apples in the finish before the boozy slop obliterates all of the that lovely depth. Dead flat, little to no life to this one, but who'd want this to be a fizzy, lively beer? Not I. Damn good thing this comes in a small bottle; it's intriguing how a beer like this can be so stinging while other big beers can mask the alcohol content so well.

This is an epic, brawling, rude, in-your-face big beer with a ton of depth & taste (not to mention the 58% alcohol). Very good.

maximum12, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant. Unfortunately I didn’t record the vintage but I’ll assume it’s the 2009 version.

Pours a clear brownish-amber color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet medium malts with moderate amounts of indistinct spices. Also present are mild amounts of booze-soaked raisins.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though more robust. Moderately sweet caramel malts with hints of darker toasted malts kick things off and are joined quickly by dark fruit flavors – raisins and figs. Midway through the sip light amounts of dark spices – nutmeg and brown sugar if I had to choose – come into play, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn’t have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I was pretty ambivalent about this beer – nothing was not badly but nothing made me excited about my next sip either. Worth a shot if you see it around, especially if eisbocks are your thing.

glid02, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my mom for picking up the 2009 edition at the 2010 Winter Solstice party for me. Served in a snifter. Closing out the eisbock list with this beer.

Pours a moderate brown color with some amber coloring in there as well. Very thin off-white head and a few legs down the side of the glass. Slight collar. Nose is loaded with dark fruits and some alcohol. Slightly spicy as well. Taste is a bit oxidized and really quite warm. Warm as in lots of booze, even for an eisbock. Low carbonation. Decent but probably way too young. Normally Kuhnhenn hides alcohol better than this.

Thorpe429, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle opened by Thorpe last night in an attempt to temporarily shut down the eisbock list. Served in a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy with almost no head or lacing, low carbonation. Looks OK.

Aroma is sweet with a mild sense of booze. It's not offputting though. Smells rather nice.

Beer is sweet and much thicker than I was expecting. It's not bad tasting at all it's just a little simple. It's sweet with a mild alcoholic bite and a relatively plain finish. Easy drinking for a 13% + beer and as far as eisbocks go it was above average in my opinion. I'd have it again except I trend toward the lower ABV spectrum on beers.

drabmuh, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of Beertracker
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Kuhnhenn's Winter Wonder Lager (2008) pours up like a flat soda pop w/o much luster, but it manages to release enough carbonation to create a wisper thin beigeish-white head that barely manages to ring the glass above a rather dull, murky brown-burnt umber body. It's rather an ugly mess to be brutally honest! The complex, sweet nose starts to make up some ground with its aromatics and rich melanoidin maltiness complimented by some enjoyable toastiness that's reminiscent of freshly baked Tin Vienna bread. There's quite a bit of fruitiness with some Noble hop spiciness and a defined alcohol presence, but very bready (yeasty)... yet generous! The flavor is dominated by a rich, saturated melanoidin maltiness that is marked by the faintest touch of spicy bitterness. The sweet, chewy full-bodied finish is quite syrupy, but just manages to avoid being a pancake condiment thanks to some alcohol afterburners. Winter Wonder Lager is a love it or hate it kind of a beer. I'm not totally convinced this one aged well, so I'll revisit with a fresher bottle. However, being a refined man of the malt, I tend to give it marks simply for its bold audacity and the layers, upon layers of malt richness. I'd recommend WWL to any barleywine & malt lovers in the house, but don't expect finesse. Here's to a Winter Wonderland!

PROST! Beertracker

Beertracker, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of jrallen34
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into my Darkness glass. 2009 batch picked up at 2010 Winter Solstice...Dark brown ugly pour with a little amber. As it pours initially no head or carbonation at all. As it settles a thin light tan ring forms around the glass. No lacing...The aroma is very quadish with dark fruits, raisins, plums, candied sugar, bubblegum, spice, and a little apple brandy finish. A quad on steroids, but I'm digging it for sure...Taste not as successful as there is tons of alcohol on the taste and feel, too warm. Rubbing alcohol from start to finish, acetone notes too. Quad notes of dark fruits, etc, are essentially gone.

Not enjoyable, maybe this will be better with time, but not ready yet.

jrallen34, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of Sean9689
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from 2010 Winter Solstice poured into my Darkness snifter. It's Christmas Eve, what better time to crack this?

A - Pours a reddish/brown, small off-white head. No lacing or retention, or bubbles after it all settles down, just the beer and nothing else.

S - Dark fruity notes: lots of raisins, plums, dates, cherry liquorish, boozy alcohol, although it's not quite 13.5% worth. Very rich and fruity, sure to warm me up!

T - Not as fruity as the nose suggests. Very warming! Haha. Slight bitter cough syrup notes, some sweetness which helps balance the bitterness. The 13.5% is pretty well hidden, there's some hotness on the finish, but very slight.

M - Medium to full, very slight carbonation (if any), buttery finish.

D - Very solid and perfect for this cold and snowy Christmas Eve. The alcohol is hidden very well and I'm looking forward to seeing how this one ages. Recommend.

Sean9689, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of mothman
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

Poured into snifter. Pours hardly an head. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Aroma: Rich and malty. Toffee, caramel, dried fruits. Plums, cherries, raisins, and licorice. Has the distinct Kuhnhenn heat to it, which I really enjoy. I like it.

Taste: Fairly sweet, but still rich. Toffee, caramel, and leather flavors. Plums, raisins, dried cherries, licorice all show again. Shows some more heat. Very malty, but provides a nice amount of dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Warming, smooth, creamy. Medium to full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation (but it works). Ends dry and malty.

Overall, another winner from kuhnhenn. This beer provides the warmth similar to a lot of the other big kuhnhenn beers. I had no idea what the style was on this one when I opened it, but at first smell, I knew it was bigger than a typical lager. Get some!

mothman, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. 2007 vintage. Poured into a CCB snifter. Pours an opaque rusty mahagony color with zero head, only a razor thin collar around the glass. The aroma is intriguing with notes of dark fruit like cherry, plum, and raisin. The booze is pretty evident upon the first sip of this brew, not in a bad way, but in a "let's just sip on this" way. Sweet and malty with a heavy mouthfeel this beer starts sweet with dark fruit notes that transitions to a long drawn out finish with some bitterness. Big and chewy. Alcohol warms you as you drink. Pretty nice although the lingering bitterness is not that pleasing.

kbutler1, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

3.5 A: Murky dark orange brown color. One finger of creamy light tan head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing.

4.0 S: Lots of toffee, tons of it really. Currant and raisiny fruitiness. Some molasses and brown sugar in there as well as a moderate booziness.

3.5 T: Lots of toffee again with lots of caramel too. Raisiny fruitiness again. Strong neutral maltiness and moderate to heavy booze. Good, but a bit lacking in complexity for a brew with this ABV.

4.5 M: Thick heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Though a bit sweet, this is very smooth and creamy.

4.0 D: Another solid effort from Kuhnhenn. Could be a bit more complex, but good overall.

DavoleBomb, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of beerhan
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Perhaps I did not have this beer under the best circumstances but it was damn near undrinkable. It was a cool night but this beer really warms you up. It has the aroma of christmas time and the look of a dortmunder. The cluster of flavors just bombards you but nonetheless the alcohol is not hidden at all. I only had a taste luckily because I could not have taken anything more than this. Way too alcoholic to drink more than 4 ounces.

beerhan, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of bobsy
2.42/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this at the Mondial de la Biere, and grabbed a whole bottle while I kicked back and watched the drunks stagger past our booth at the end of the day.

This is an absolute boozebomb. Pours a burnt umber with a patchy white film of a head that gamely tries to leave something behind, but fails. Aroma is all booze and sugar. Well, perhaps there's some caramel and grain in there too, but holy smokes this thing is hot and sweet. Bejesus, this will sit you on your ass pretty quick. Mondial lists it at 14%, but I'd be more inclined to believe it of it said 24%. Screaming hot alcohol like a 12oz pour of whiskey combined with twice the sugar of your average coke. Instant buzz guaranteed. Alcohol-soaked dark fruit and alcohol-soaked spices add (some) depth. Peppery finish on the tongue and instant heart-warming makes the drunks seem almost passable. Syrupy body with a low carbonation meant it took me an hour to get this one down.

Wow. Hot mess. Rocket fuel for beer snobs.

bobsy, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of nickd717
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle shared by bring - thanks, Barry! Weird how largadeer had some of the same bottle and gave it an F, but I didn't think this was too bad.

Pours hazy medium amber with a small off-white head.

Aroma is sweet malt, candy apple, spices, and a little booze. Smells decent.

Flavor is sweet caramel and toffee, apple cider, cinnamon, allspice, and some bubble gum.

Medium-full bodied and just a little boozy with average carbonation level.

Above average drinkability for the ABV. Not a bad beer overall, but definitely not a great one.

nickd717, May 07, 2010
Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'09 bottle as part of a generous gift from waltonc

A: Pours a dark carmel / maple syrup brown with yellow highlights at the edges. Pretty much zero head with some lacing at the edges and the middle.

S: A port-like aroma with a sizable dose of alcohol mixed with some currants and elderberries. A bit medicinal as well. Some all spice and cloves are buried in the background.

T: A ton of sugar, molasses and stewed prunes? The fruit backbone is difficult to pinpoint, but the taste reminds me of the smell of beer being brewed (more exactly the smell of North Coast brewery when they are brewing Le Merle). Again, spices are there as well but muted.

M: Medium viscosity and on the light side with carbonation. For the style and gravity works well.

O: This is a very interesting beer and when I had it on tap at the brewery I really liked it. This review is from a bottle with a few months age and it starts to marinate on itself and lose some of the nuances that it had fresh (odd as many beers develop nuance as they age).

JoeySchlitz, May 07, 2010
Photo of largadeer
1.15/5  rDev -70.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks, Barry. 09 vintage. Murky rusty copper body with a thin cap. Ridiculously sweet bubblegum aroma. Booze, caramel and spice make up the rest of the smell. Horrific bubblegum syrup flavors abuse the palate; this is like Bubble Yum dissolved in moonshine, and then heavily spiced. Incredibly syrupy and heavy on the palate with a wearying spicy and syrupy finish, this is abysmal.

largadeer, May 06, 2010
Photo of HopHead84
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


2009 vintage. Pours hazy rust water orange with a small creamy beige head.

Candied dates and figs are evident in the aroma, as well as earthy hops. The malt profile is rich and complex. Dark fruit notes are of prunes and plums. Alcohol is light.

The flavor is rich malt balanced by a hearty alcohol presence. Dried dates and figs are evident, accompanied by prunes and a light sugary sweetness. Hops are low and earthy with a low bitterness. The robust finish is sweet and then dry, with lingering dried fruits and alcohol.

The beer is full bodied with low carbonation and distinct alcohol warming. Quite enjoyable, though potent.

HopHead84, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of rye726
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage '09

Pours a hazy, woody brown with a silky tan head.

Nose has ripe pitter fruits, spicy alcohol and dark candies.

Taste is a bit more complex. Sweet plums and cherries followed by figs and dates. Bready malts, toffee coated pecans, a touch of peppery booze and caramel.

Medium body is nicely carbonated. A cellar worthy lager from Kuhnhenn.

rye726, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of afausser
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours with numerous fizzy carbonation bubbles that result in initially a very sparse head, which quickly and predictably disappears. Pretty bubbles, though, and the color is a green toned deep chocolate that also has a reddish tint, the color of which comes across as clay or paprika. As it settles and more is drank, it's green around the edges and varying shades of amber throughout the body.

Smell: Comes across as spiced apple juice--no alcohol at all evident. Cinnamon and clove spice, as well as dark fruits, particularly raisins, and a peppermint note that holds its own yet manages to not overwhelm the rest of the brew. A sweet buttery note comes through--and oddly, this brew really really smells like incense to me. Slight perfume and floral notes that come across as lavender and jasmine. Pears and kiwi also come out as it warms, as well as a slight sour funk that is just barely present. Thyme. Pine. A little hint of curry and especially chili powder notes as it warms.

Taste: The taste is, much like the nose, heavily flavored by fruits. Apple juice is again the dominant note, with a hint of a sweet syrup, as well as clove spice, light raisin flavor and a slight fruity aftertaste. The smallest amount of licorice blends in with the taste as well as a slight amount of wintergreen, both of which are also present in the aftertaste. A bit of nutmeg adds to the spice blend as well as some sweet cinnamon. Particularly as it warms I get cherries and a strong kiwi flavor. Slight alcohol but nicely blended.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just about perfect but maybe slightly undercarbonated. The aftertaste is great too. Not much to say beyond that.

Drinkability: so very drinkable. Could easily drink this for quite a while. And its not infected!!!

afausser, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of Dlucky - thanks!. 2009 vintage, poured in to a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a burned rosewood, very fruit juice-like, and thoroughly hazed - or at least dark and deep enough that light is lost quickly just under the surface - such that the only characteristic visible within this beer's interior are occasional and terribly small bubbles creeping upwards towards what remains of a half finger of fizzy white head that even the most vigorous of pours couldn't get higher or to last longer. Indeed, this beer is very still looking - after the fade of the head

Aroma: Cherries and dark fruits dominate - sweet, sticky, and nearly cloying - over other non-fruity malts such as brown sugar and light molasses (and wrapped up with a phenolic clove kiss), though a few lighter notes (particularly apples and pears) peek though. As it warms, a lot of other interesting things emerge. At first, they're light - lavender, rose hips perhaps - though as it warms further, I get a few heavy leafy tobacco notes, woody, faintly smoky, sort of like sandalwood, as well as hints of chili powder or curry. This could be a result of the unique interactions between a faint, distance alcohol burn - standing in for the tinge that you get from smoky, spicy, herbaceous wood - mingling with the earthiness and faint smokiness of the malts, or perhaps not. Either way it's unique, complex, unexpected, and surprisingly pleasant.

Taste: A wave of brown sugar and light toffee sweetness grapples with a ton of raisny, cherry, prune, and fig sweetness. Even a few tropical fruits join in - kiwk, pineapple - though that could be a more result of the nearly canned sugar/cane sugary sweetness that this beer exhibits. Lighter fruits emerge with agitation, buttery pears and fuji apples. Yeasty spiciness - mildly phenolic, faintly nutty - that's mostly clove-like rounds things off. Less of that surprisingly woody, smoky, herbal quantity here in the taste, as it seems most things are fairly well hidden under the fruity sweetness, though a fair amount of tobacco, jasmine, and beachwood emerge as this one approaches room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, though probably not as sticky, cloying, syrupy, or sugary as it by all rights should be. The carbonation here is incredibly fine, well-integrated, and consistent, resulting in a creamy body full of pinpoint effervescence. A nice balance.

Drinkability: An odd, complex, and unique beer. It's definitely an eisbock - that is, it's a malty brew with Belgian yeasty overtones - but this one has a lot going on in places. Typical of Kuhnhenn - the brewery that seems like it's done in some guy's basement, rough edges, high abv%'s, small batches and all - to produce something like this. The 13% (or 15%, or 12%, or 18%, or whatever this year's batch is - also very Kuhnhenn-esque!) is definitely feelable, if not noticeable in the taste or aroma. A potent lager win for Kuhnhenn, even if the alcohol retardation is occasionally noticeable and the sweetness is rather formidable.

CrellMoset, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle thanks to DrJay. Bottle states - 2007 vintage, 15.5%. Uncapped and poured into my Ithaca shaker glass. The lager appears the color of murky iced tea with a good inch or so of quickly fading, light tan head. Nose and flavors consist of sherry, brown sugar, molasses, plums, sweet cherries, fermenting over ripe apples, alcohol (although it wasn't as hot as I was expecting), sweet caramel, a peppery spiciness, overall, quite sweet and a bit boozy. Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation levels. A noticeable alcohol burn in the throat after each sip. The sweetness gets to you after a bit and that hurts the drinkability. Plan to spend an hour plus sipping this one, or better yet, share it with a friend or two.

ClockworkOrange, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of webmanspidey
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle of the 2009 variety poured into a Duvel tulip glass. This is a dark brown/purple color without much in the way of head. Smell is a potent, very sweet mix of plums, grapes, cherries, and maybe dark chocolate. Alcohol is pretty intense in the flavor, and its burn is really dominating. Some very sweet dark fruit and tart cherries are present, followed by a quick bitter finish and more of the strong alcohol burn.

This would probably be a little better if I had given it some time to mellow. As is, it is a little too hot and boozy.

webmanspidey, Feb 07, 2010
Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.