Kuhnhenn American Imperial Stout - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn American Imperial StoutKuhnhenn American Imperial Stout

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105 Ratings
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Ratings: 105
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 7.91%
Wants: 241
Gots: 24 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: walleye on 11-26-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 105 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by 3Vandoo:
Photo of 3Vandoo
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah, chocolate flavours, it is a chocolate cake, a black forest that was liquified as beer.

She is pitch black, black, dark with some strikes of reddish hues. Tan head who dissaperead quickly "Hi and bye!"

Smell is like a chocolate cake, chocolate flavours, followed by alcohol, malt and roasted burnt coffee. Deep dark chocolate flavours, sweet smell followed by rich creamy malty cherry flavours.

Taste is rich, decadent complex. chocolate hits you right away followed by a rich alcohol warmness then malty flavours come in and ends up with burnt coffee flavours. Heavy, full bodied beer, I wont have two in a row

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks again to Mike for opening this beauty at an impromptu tasting; his altruism is extremely admirable and will one day be repaid. This sucker is thick and black, like motor oil that's seen its fair share of mile. The head is an impressively deep tan color; thin-bubbled and foamy as it rests upon the black hole and takes its time settling to a collar.

What a wonderfully huge and bellowing aroma, perhaps amplified from the lackluster Brooklyn Black OPS consumed just before this one. Thick, sweet mountains of baker's chocolate held up with hands of mildly roasted malt. Light coffee beans outline the aroma, with a hint of cream and sweet (brown) sugar that blends nicely with the mild roast character. Sweet without being cloying, and roasty without being over-charred... Great execution.

Just like I'd imagine, the first sip begins with an up-front induction of bittersweet chocolate; think somewhere along the lines of rich fudge; very, very lightly bitter with a heavier hand in the creamy and sweet department. This sucker is packed with tons and tons of cocoa flavors; cocoa powder, liquid molten chocolate, and dense, deep fudge cake. As sickeningly sweet as that sounds, it's balanced exceptionally well by the moderately roasty malts.

A faint undercurrent of sweet anise is present in the tail end, along with a light, scraping coffee bean, dry finish. A good mix of flavors all-around, although the clear king of the hill is definitely the decadent amount of fudge. The alcohol is hidden almost completely, and this could probably pass for a chocolate-introduced sweet stout over an imperial stout. The mouth is huge, creamy, and almost as thick as the fudge its flavor resembles. Mild carbonation to retain that silky smooth mouth feel.

One of my biggest wants from one of my favorite breweries... I don't know how this one eluded me for so long. Huge thanks again to Mike for cracking his last bottle with me. Definitely one of the best of the night (for me at least). I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as Kuhnhenn's Michigan Mud stout, but it was still damn good nonetheless. Their ability to perform well with so many different styles never ceases to amaze me.

Photo of badbeer
3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with a brown-ish head that receded, but did still leave some lacing. Smell is very roasty, with some chocolate notes as well. Still a little too green in the nose and taste to warrant a higher score. The taste did have similar roastiness to it, and seemed to have a little bit of molasses and hints of vanilla. Mouthfeel was full bodied with medium carbonation. Decent beer now, but with age it should improve greatly.

Photo of standardcherry
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle, 12oz

A: Pitch black, thick body with a large mocha colored head. Looks perfect. Receded a bit but it still left a nice head on the beer.
S: Very roasty. Huge chocolate notes with a bit of piney hops. Smells like chocolate cake, cocoa powder and coffee all in one. Amazing.
T: I had tried this fresh and it was too hoppy for me. Hops faded a lot, there is a slight piney bitterness (although I think most of the bitterness in this case comes from the roast). Roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, coffee. This is almost fudge-like. A hint of caramel as well. Tastes like chocolate doughnuts paired with coffee.
M: Great full body with medium carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a slightly dry finish.
O: I'd say this is the best non-BA stout I've had. I was extremely impressed by this and I would love to have it again.

Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Hop Devil in NYC as part of their Kuhnhenn tasting. This beer poured an impressive beep black hole color with a deep tan medium thickness head. Very intimidating looking. There was a nice warming chocolate character to the nose with even more of the chocolate and coffee notes in the taste. There is also a nice hop profile to the beer but not overpowering. All in all the tastes make for a well balanced, yet big, stout.

Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Mondiale 2007. Review #2200. A very good RIS, I do not know why it is labelled American. Dark brown with a macha crown. Chocolate and alcohol nose. Medium plus mouthfeel. A lot of sweetish chocolate. Significant carbonation.Would have liked lower alcohol for drinkability.

Photo of Rutager
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A big thank you to liamt07 for this badass 2012 beer.

Appearance. Pours black with half a finger of rich brown head.

Smell. Molasses and dark chocolate, dark roasty malts and a touch of dark fruit and black coffee

Taste. Tons of dark chocolate, woody dry and roasty malts, maybe a touch of dark fruit, cocoa powder and char in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Great representation of a big American stout. Bold and flavourful, great stuff.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of creamy medium-dark chocolate notes with light floral coffee notes with some roasted malt notes but limited bitterness. Taste is quite spectacular with great creamy medium-dark chocolate notes with some floral dry coffee notes, some lactose notes and some medium dry bitter roasted malt to finish. Body is full with luscious creamy texture with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Quite a balanced experience with loads of flavours while retaining some good amount of drinkability.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Listed at 9.5%, so seemingly very different from the previous vintages.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Ink black with a thin layer of mocha colored head that immediately reduced to a thin ring around the glass.

S - Big hop presence is noticeable right away with some pine notes. Some roast and chocolate aromas are also present.

T - Lots of piney hops up front with a fairly big bitterness. Roast, chocolate, char and some ash. The ashy-char flavours really come to the forefront as the beer warms up.

M - Full body, Thick and chewy. Light carbonation.

Photo of jegross2
4.79/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the American Imperial Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company out of Warren, Michigan. This imperial stout was most recently released at Kuhnhenn's annual Winter Solstice party.

Score: 98

2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/16/12. Shout out to Robbie Moy for hooking me up with this bottle!

Appearance: The body of the beer is black as ink with no transparencies (sorry, no ruby tones here) to speak of. Pours a thin layer of mocha-colored head that settles to a ring around the glass. Dare I assume that this Kuhnhenn beer has some carbonation!? Absolutely outstanding lacing and retention. Quite frankly, this is a beautiful looking beer. 5/5

Smell: Slightly sweet milk chocolate, roasty malt, fudge and a little caramel are my first impressions. A modest amount of fig and raisin and a little leather is present as well. Faint bitter/burnt coffee and bakers chocolate too. As the beer warms up and airates, a little more sweet dark fruit complexity and a touch of brown sugar come out as well. What an absolutely inspiring and complex imperial stout nose! It is sweet/bittersweet, and totally balanced. A dash of "woody" and pine hops are present in the nose, but it's perfectly incorporated. A faint hint of black licorice comes through at room temperature. 4.75/5

Taste: The taste is surprisingly different from the nose. The dark fruit and sweetness takes a backseat to the more roasty and bitter/bittersweet elements. Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate with a little burnt roast and "coffee breath"-like flavor are the boldest elements of the taste. A very faint amount of black licorice and a little non-sweet dark fruit follow the upfront bitter and dark chocolate flavors. Towards the finish, there is just a touch of sweet fig that rounds out the beer and adds balance to a bitter "upfront" flavor experience. Finishes with a nice roasty, slightly burnt (and ashy) cacao flavor. The beer is bitter/bittersweet. I am not detecting much, if any, hops in the flavor -- but they are not missed. As the beer warms up, a well-incorporated (a la Black Albert) cherry flavor starts to come through in the back half of the beer, in addition to a little more of the woody/ashiness in the finish. When the cherry comes through as the beer warms up, it loses a bit of its bitter edge and becomes more "balanced." Needless to say, this beer tastes as complex as it smells. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a perfect amount of "low carbonation" (versus Kuhnhenn's traditional "where's the carbonation"-type carbonation). Bitter/bittersweet on the palate. Finishes somewhat dry, but not chalky dry. 5/5

Overall: This is without a doubt one of the absolute best stouts that I have ever had. It is complex, flavorful and dynamic. The nose and taste have similar elements, but each is quite different in which characteristics shine. I love how the beer developed as it went from cellar temperature to room temperature, though I probably preferred it slightly more on the colder side of that scale. My only regret is that I only got one of these. I will have to seek out more.

Recommendation: Seek this beer out; it is one of the best imperial stouts you will find!

Pairings: A cigar.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an absolutley massive beer. A big thanks goes out to jay for even getting this gem of a beer into my hands, I was soo absurdley happy I was beside myself. Served at about fifty degrees and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 01/05/2009..

Damn this was thick! The darkest of darks, and deepest of black is what came out of this bottle. Just retarded in how big it looked. No light escaping, in fact it sucked it in! A small head, maybe a qurter inch of dark brown rose up after a few minutes time, but mostly a very thick looking black beer.

The aroma was heaven. Rich chocolate and dark fruits melded together seemlessly. Really very rich and full, and easily one of theb est smells I have come across. As it warmed some nice touches of molasses and woody notes start to dominate with a really intrsting bourbon smell in the back. To taste this was like falling into a giant pillow. Super mellow and smooth, what 12+% this thing had the alcohol so well hidden it was scary. Rich and full with a woody, oak soaked, chocolate geyser of taste just exploding from the glass. Some burnt sugar notes, sweet lactose like flavors, and that really nice dark fruit tartness in the finish. Different then most other giant stouts, this one had a mind all its own.

I continue to be blown away by these beers. Seriously there was nothing here to not like and I could have went for another one with ease. One of the better beers I have had, period.

Photo of rallison
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a wonderful RIS tasting last night. Was a standout!

A: Thick, thick black with no head. Very viscous looking.

S: Dark chocolate, warming alcohol and roast coffee.

T: Rich chocolate and espresso with some warming alcohol. Very tasty and complex.

M: Low carbonation and nice and rich.

D: As rich and strong as this is, it drinks extremely well.

Highly recommended. At our RIS tasting, this was one of the favorite. Rich flavors that all come together so well.

Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

I've had this bottle for at least three years. Black label with a yellow eagle

A: poured into a snifter to a viscous black with a dark brown head that fades quickly and leaves no lacing
S: smells of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts and a little coffee.
T: taste is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, a little bit of charred black malt, slight sweetness and a hint of oxidation. swallow is a little oxidized with some lingering notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate and dark roast coffee
M: full in the mouth with soft carbonation and a drying finish
O: an impressive beer. with some age on it it's a very smooth sipper that has some nicely blended edges. I'd like to try a fresher bottle to see how it compares.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.55/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out a little head that dissapated quickly like most high alcohol beverages do. Little lacing and black as night with a little brown swirls. The smell was powerful with sweet molasses and roasted malts, it's very green so I will cellar the rest for a while. The taste is really green with a powerful sweet molasses taste to it. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Overall I will try more in a few years, but it's still pretty good.

Photo of grub
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pulled from my cellar, purchased at the brewery in december 2006.

12oz bottle.

pours like motor oil from the bottle - thick and nearly black. a small incredibly dense brown head quickly drops to a ring around the glass.

aroma is great. lots of roast. big rich malts. caramel. bit of espresso. light alcohol. anise. dark chocolate.

taste is excellent. roast. dark chocolate. anise. bit of espresso. light alcohol. light caramel sweetness. lots of malt.

mouthfeel is great. nice low carbonation level. big chewy body.

drinkability is excellent. very well balanced. alcohol is hidden very well.

Photo of hopdog
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz, wax dipped, bottle acquired in trade with badbeer (thanks!).

Poured a dark black color with a small sized brown head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits, and I'm getting a little woodiness. Tastes of dark fruits (more than the aromas and included raisins, prunes, and cherries), chocolate, roast, and coffee. Smooth and creamy body with the alcohol well hidden. Kuhnhenn beers can go either way, and this one was pretty darn good. My 5 year old smelled this and said it smelled like pineapples mixed with sweet patatoes...

Notes from 7/9/08

Photo of davey101
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Massive thanks to steimie for this beer!

A - Pours a rather thick looking pitch black body. Two fingers of absurdly dark mocha foam forms from the pour. A swirl produces thick lacing with unreal retention...a minute later....ya, clinging foam is still slowly making its way down the side of the glass. A finger high cap sticks around the whole time.

S - A dangerously inviting combination of sweet and roasty. The sweetness comes across almost in a lactose fashion ala a milk stout. Sweet milk chocolate and lightly bitter dark chocolate. Is it hops creating this sweetness? Its very hard to describe...but unbelievably awesome. Subtle raisins, coconut, and molasses. Finishes with a touch of roasted coffee and malts. Pretty much perfect.

T - A lot more roast than the nose. Starts with some milk chocolate and coffee and cream. Brash roasted malts and bakers chocolate with a lingering bitterness. Faint touch of citric hops. Aftertaste is a bit ashy. Very tasty.

M - Thick and coating, borderline syrupy but a medium level of carbonation cuts through and helps. Can't detect any alcohol....drinks way too easy!

O - One of the best non-barrel aged stouts I have ever had. The aroma and appearance are just perfect, and the taste was a bit roast heavy but remained insanely tasty. I'm sad to say that I drank half the beer just formulating this review. I want more!!!! Incredibly impressive stuff here.

Photo of glazeman
4.61/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best imperial stouts out there. Here's to hoping they continue to release this often. So thick and flavorful.

Photo of dar482
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer offers smokey flavors with lots of meaty flavors. However, it is generally surrounded by bourbon, lots of vanilla, coffee, and 100% cacao dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium plus to full.

A beautifully complex barrel aged stout deserving of much praise. Another world class Midwest barrel aged stout.

Photo of jrenihan
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

Beer is jet black. The pour results in a large, cocoa-coloured head. Very good retention, some lace. Very nice looking.

Nose contains roast malt, vanilla, dark fruit and chocolate. Rich and good.

Taste contains a lot of roasted malt, and a good amount of coffee and dark chocolate. A bit of anise and dark fruit. Though it isn't fresh, the hops are still notable, resulting in some bitterness. The finish is a nice balance of bitter and slightly fruity sweetness. Really tasty.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated. Very smooth and silky. Booze is quite well hidden.

Overall, excellent. A seriously good RIS. Super enjoyable.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

BIG thanks goes out to steimie for going out and picking this up for me bro (as well as the gold lettered kuhnhenn glass!!!!)...enjoyed from my new glass!!!

a - brew poured a fairly stunning motor oil black with a gorgeous shine on it. i swear it has that barrel aged shine even though it is not. nice thing dark tan head that slowly bubbled away. easy to rebuild with a swirl of the glass and leaves nice milk chocolate spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

s - deep roast, but not overbearing. big chocolate notes with a great hop. reminds me a lot of hoppy stout from greenport harbor or even darkness.

t - flavor matches the nose with a really great balanced hop. this beer is bada$$. everything is in the right place. some chocolate, some coffee, some hops, some magically delicious beer.

m - perfectly thin for such a thick beer and perfectly thick for such a thin beer. slides down the gullet super easily.

o - overall...WOW...WHAT A BEER! i had heard some good things about this one, but this blew me away. one of the best imperial stouts i've ever tasted in my life. a real winner that should be sought out.

Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very opaque black, some brown in the edges, tiny brown head, some lace spots, looks like a stout. Smell is very sweet and malty, chocolate, tons of licorice, toffee, roast, very rich, tons of aroma. Taste is similar, very intense licorice, caramel, coffee/chocolate roast, toffee, more licorice, alcohol, lots of dark fruit, amazing. Mouthfeel is full bodied, quite thick, low carbonation. Excellent, very smooth for 13.5%, another great beer from Kuhnhenn.

Photo of jacewg
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black as night with a quickly fading mocha head. Leaves a nice, small tan ring on top. Good looking imperial stout. Leaves spotty, dark lacing.

Aroma: Really nice nose. Roasty malt, chocolate, dark fruit, and molasses/burnt sugar are the dominant notes.

Taste: Quite roasty with a pronounced hop bitterness. Nice coffee and chocolate type notes with a hint of dark fruit character, but not as pronounced as in the nose. Very light sweetness. This is what I hope the Bell's Expedition Stouts I'm aging to taste like in a few years. Has a lot of the same flavor elements but much more balanced and ready to drink now. A really delicious imperial stout.

Mouthfeel: Really, really nice. Medium-low carbonation, which is perfect for the style and a really velvety mouthfeel. Coats the mouth without being syrupy. Spot on.

Overall: Up there with the best of the best imperial stouts.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at GRG1313's tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is fairly simple but tasty.

Photo of wordemupg
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330ml 2012 bottle poured into tulip 7/6/13, massive thanks towards liamt07 for this bottle

A motor oil right out of the bottle, just a dark fingernail for an edge, perhaps the darkest two finger foam I've ever seen has decent retention, swirls leaves legs and color on the glass, no lace however

S bakers chocolate and coffee, a little licorice and lots of bruised plum with some fudge and chocolate liqueur, I have no idea where the booze is hiding

T even darker in the mouth with a little char and the burnt espresso is a step up from the coffee I was smelling, tastes rich and somehow the chocolates darker then the nose, its just dark in general and again the booze is almost non-existent

M I could stand a spoon up in this liquid, shes thick alright and still has enough carbonation to give it a creamy feel, I got a little stuck in my teeth and the dark chocolate syrup on the finish will be there tomorrow at this rate

O this is a great example of the style, thick, rich, massive dark roast and booze is almost invisible, a classic version of a big ass stout

Somewhat straightforward but the intensity is turned up a notch bringing it to a whole new level. Just awesome stuff in my glass this evening, a 2012 bottle already has enough age on it for supreme drinkability, that's impressive to say the least

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Kuhnhenn American Imperial Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.