Kuhnhenn American Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn American Barley WineKuhnhenn American Barley Wine

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66 Ratings
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Ratings: 66
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 16.11%
Wants: 28
Gots: 10 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: plaztikjezuz on 12-25-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 66 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by DavoleBomb:
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to glazeman for the opportunity to drink this. Hope this is the right one, says "American Barley Wine 2010" on the bottle.

4.0 A: Hazy dark amber color. One finger of creamy off-white head that falls fairly quickly and leave a small ring of lacing.

4.0 S: Much earthier and drier than your typical barleywine. Earth, hay, toffee, and bitterness come through strongest. Cherry, fig, and raisin fruitiness. Alcohol is well hidden. Pretty good.

4.0 T: Sweeter than I expected based on the nose. Toffee is the strongest flavor, followed by fig, raisin, and plum fruitiness. Alcohol taste is moderately noticeable with a moderate residual sweetness. The earthiness is still there, but not nearly as strong as in the nose. Cherry and tobacco on tail end. Wish a bit more bitterness showed up to add some balance.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy. No complaints here.

3.5 D: Good sipper, but a touch too cloying towards the end of the glass. A few more IBUs could do a lot for this beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of glid02
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Grant – thanks!

Pours a deep copper color with a light tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of muted caramel malts with good amounts of rough medium fruit aromas. Also present are mild amounts of citrus hops.

Tastes more barleywine-like than it smells. Mildly sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by equal amounts of herbal hops, citrus hops, and medium fruits. The fruits fade out a bit midway through the sip, allowing the hops to carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this wasn’t a very clean beer and it’s not one I’d revisit. Maybe some tweaking of the yeast would help a bit.

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Pours apple cider medium coloured body, no head. Slightly sweet aroma.Above average mouthfeel, a sipper and spot on the style.Apple fruit and caramel, light vanilla. If only I had aged it more years.Bottle from Steve. Alcohol surprisingly hidden.

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006

Thanks once again to hoppymeal. I've been anxious to try this one, but I am reluctant to see the bottle go.

Appearance: As far as color goes, this is the benchmark for a barleywine. It's a little hazy and a dark chestnut color with ruby highlights shining through. It's topped off with an off-white color head that was lucky to a finger in depth. It receded very quickly and left very little lacing behind. ABV victim? That's my guess.

Smell: It's right in line for the style. Up front it's very malty and sweet smelling. A prevelant amount of fruit aromas quickly follow. There's some rasberry, cherry, and a strong dark fruit presence. It's primarily raisin and plum as far as dark fruits go. Hops are noted, but aren't nearly as strong as they probably were two years ago. There's a light tobacco aroma rounding it out.

Taste: Barleywines really are special with some age on them. This is no different. It's got a very brown sugary, sweet flavor and has an excellent, sturdy malt base. It is fruity. Dark fruits come through most in flavor. Very tasty plum and raisin flavors stick to the palate throughout. There's some secondary cherry and light rasberry flavors lingering. There's some faint, bitter hop notes, but clearly the hops have diminished quite a bit over time. That's far from a negative here. The dark fruit flavors provide a very interesting sour flavor that's every bit as satisfying. There are some light tobacco and vanilla notes on the tail. Alcohol is noted, but it's blended very well. I have no clue what the ABV is, but I suspect it's pretty high. It finishes sweet and a little sour.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It features a medium to thick body and a pretty impressive smooth feel. Carbonation is very light and helps smooth it out quite a bit. Drinkability is good, but is limited a little. It's a big beer and is definitely a sipper. I suspect the abv is also pretty high, but can't confirm that. It goes down easy, but one 12 oz. is good for me.

Kuhnhenn's got a nice barleywine here. I wish I could compare it to a fresh bottle, but I've only got the vintage here. It's very impressive with some age on it. I suspect it's every bit as good fresh, but with a different character. I really enjoyed this bottle. Definitely recommended if you have the opportunity. Thanks, Derek.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to omgshesaboy for this one. 2010 bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip a mahogany with a half finger of sea foam head that quickly dissipates.

The nose hits with butterscotch and some dried darker fruits.

A sip is immediately citric like pineapple - open and watery before warming with sweet bready malt and a smack of floral hop sweetness, like a boozy nectar; Hints of apricot and light raisin. The body is pretty thin and lightly carbonated for the style, I think, but it was overall smooth and not upsetting as the flavor is unique. Alcohol presence was nicely hidden with just a sweet warmth. Seems like an interesting interpretation of an American barley wine being more floral and sweet than hoppy.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.44/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with maroon highlights. Big head fades quickly but leaves a great pattern of lace on the glass.
Aroma is slighyl bizarre (in a good way!) Oranges and citrus fruits along with vanilla and dark fruits are present. Hint of yeast and definite alcoholic waft comes through.
Flavors of weet heavy malt accompanied by mellow citrus notes dominate, very nice combination that hides the high alcohol very well and produces a highly drinkable beer. Bitters are present but are just soft enough to not overcome the highly malty beer. Slightly smoky, peaty finish with a just a hint of the alcohol. Very drinkable barleywine and really enjoyable.

Photo of airohead2001
3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big ol' thanks to glazeman for this one. 2010 Summer Solstice vintage - label says "Kuhnhenn Ale American Barley Wine." For someone who is not a HUGE fan of barleywines, this beer is spot on.

A - Clear, thick, amber/copper. Pours with a small one finger slightly beige head that quickly fades to a few bubbles that line the rim of my Westvleteren snifter. Little to no lacing.

S - Very complex - just excellent. I get toffee, caramel, booze, citrus hops, and some coconut.

T - Sweet, caramel/toffee malts up front followed by a citrus hop finish. I'm assuming a little age would cause the hops to fade and the malts to dominate, so I'm thankful I cracked this one early.

M - Thick, sticky, and dry. The hops in this beer make me thirsty for a glass of water. Moderate carbonation.

D - Drinkable, but certainly limited by the alcohol heat. A bottle of this is enough for me.

Photo of weeare138
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TomDecapolis for sharing this one...
Appears a hazy, dark amber with a small off-white head that quickly fades into a mild cap. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of mild cardboard oxidation up front with aromas of tart cherries, caramel, and vanilla standing out among the pleasantries.
Taste is of the same tart cherries, caramel, and vanilla. Seems a bit lackluster and flabby for a barleywine.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, noticable abv, tartness is a bit too much. This one is only 2 years old. For a barleywine, it shouldn't be showing signs at this point that it's over the hill. Unfortunately, the bottling method got the better of this brew.
I love almost everything that Kuhnhenn does but once in a while, I end up getting a dud, or a bad bottle. Oh well. The betterments from Kuhnhenn far outdo the negatives.

Photo of plaztikjezuz
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at the brewery 12/21/2007
Labeled Kuhnhenn Brewing 2006 Barley Wine

poured in the a brandy snifter the elixir is a deep amber/light mahogany with no head.
the aroma is pretty complex malty, hoppy, citrus, spicy, alcohol and a wild tinge.
the flavor is malty, toffee, caramel, little pine, spice, little peppery, fades off with a little acidic twang that cuts the sweetness and the warming of alcohol.
little different but very good, glad i have a couple for the cellar, this will age well.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.64/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours an amber-brown color with a thin off-white head and a bit of a collar throughout. The nose carries some heavy malt and a bit of a musty character. Bit of booze as well. Flavor has similar issues. Perhaps oxidized, but not quite to the level I'd expect with that. Mild fruit. Medium body, low carbonation, and a boozy finish. Boom.

Photo of hopdog
3.22/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle shared courtesy of TomDecapolis.

Poured deeper and cloudy brownish color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, raisins, vanilla, other dark and fruitiness. Very nice aroma, looked forward to the tastes and then, wham, tastes of sour and tart cherries with some caramel. The tart/sour cherries domininated.

Notes from 5/17/08

Photo of AgentZero
2.91/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Really dark red color, a bit of an off-white head that left a little bit of lacing.

S - Earthy with a lot of caramel and toffee. Some dark fruit and subtle floral hops.

T - Taste is a brown sugar/caramel bomb that is pretty in your face. Dark fruit is secondary, with a little licorice all over some floral/earthy mild hops. I don't think this is particularly good, pretty one noted, boring, and a bit strong.

M - Syrupy, heavier-medium bodied, smooth.

O - Not impressed, somewhat hot and boring tasting, don't really like the flavor profile on this one.

Photo of womencantsail
3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is from the 2010 vintage. Thanks, Derek!

A: The full bottle pours perfectly into my Hair of the Dog tulip. Dark amber in color with a finger of khaki colored head with some spotty lacing.

S: Starts off with caramel and toffee on the nose. A hint of booze comes through, not surprising for a beer that's north of 11% ABV. Some definitely fruitiness to it, maybe some pineapple along with grapefruit.

T: Warming alcohol to go with what is mostly bread and toffee. This probably could have used some more time as there is quite a bit of green apple flavor. Some other fruit notes like blackberries. Maybe a little chocolate on the finish. Unfortunately, it's sort of watery.

M: Thin in body and a touch watery. Carbonation is low to medium.

O: Amazing how much better the barrel aged one is. Not an awful barleywine, but not my favorite either.

Photo of Andreji
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. so my closing beer at the rattle n hum is definetly a style which i hadn't the chance to indulge in since around 2005. a very easygoing environment at the RnH brought it on me.

Look of it is an opaque, reddish hue with hardly any transluscence, some fizzing body but for the most part hardly any head to accompany.

Smell was brilliant. very subtle if you ask me....the discrete feel was that of a sweeter scotch if anything. Sweet feeling without losing its seriousness.

and indeed, the malty sweetness dominates the first part before the alcohol becomes overwhelmingly believable. subtle ripe apricot feel at once becomes a very sweet palate, while the the alcohol feel tampers with the nostrils in an additive fashion. and the body's seriously thick and viscous.

Overall, my first K'henn was a brilliant experience which gave me a new optic on this style, definetly can't complain. Still to review a few others, based on their invasion of Rattle n Hum.

Photo of FosterJM
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1118th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

Summer Solstice 2010

Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one.

App- A mix of browns, reds and ambers. A lot of particulites in the glass with a very fast receding 1/2 head that left very little cling.

Smell- A good malty forward smelling ABW with a high level of sweetness and a lot of booze behind the nose. Has a certain fruit quality as if bordering on a quad nose.

Taste- It was good but I feel it couldve been better. The booze overpowers the layers of malty richness and citrus notes and even more of the dark fruits.

Mouth- A bit thin medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. A bit malty residual creaminess remains.

Drink- I was a little let down by this one but I think it could be that it was my last beer of the night and at 11.5% it killed my palate. Ill try to land another bottle.

Photo of cambabeer
3.91/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Barleywines aren't really my style, though this one is pretty good. Smells like alcohol and prune juice. Feel is barely carbonated, fairly heavy. Taste is heavy on the barley and alcohol. This is the 2010 release that's been aging since. Good but not outstanding.

Photo of robwestcott
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to a generous BA for this one - sorry, don't know who sent it though...

2010 vintage

poured from the bottle a murky copper / amber to a dogfish head signature glass with a hint of a short lasting off white head with minimal retention.

aroma of sweet caramel and toffee and a bit of dark fruits - black cherries, raisins and dates.

sticky sweet, big malty malts - a bit of a mess actually, a bit of a tangy / bitter after.

sweet, minimal carbonation, thin and smooth.

drinkable... no, not really.

Photo of david131
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottling.

A- A very deep, ruby red liquid with some orange highlights when held to a light. The light brown head is thin but creamy and has nice retention.

S- Rather light smelling with apples, caramel, toffee, and bread. I am not really picking up on the alcohol.

T- Sweet malt and dark fruit. Not a big punch to it. Surprisingly mild considering the style and alcohol content.

M- A smooth body with a bit of a foamy finish.

D- A bit rich, but not in your face. Smooth... almost uninteresting. Not bad though.

Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a barley wine looks like. Deep russet colored with ruby shining through. Little tan head fades instantly. Still if mesmerizing.

Very tantalizing nose with a spicy hop that leads into a resiny hop aroma. Large doses of caramel, fig, cherry, and date with a bit of red currant and alcohol. Great nose.

A very different barley wine. Mouthfeel is puckering and sour and absolutely full of cherry flavor. Robotussin, fig paste, quince, caramel, alcohol, red currants, licorice, big and complex. The sour sharp mouthfeel adds an odd dimension to the style but does not deter from taste whatsoever for me. Make this a refreshing barley wine for a hot day like today. Almost is reminiscent of an Imperial Duchesse.

Photo of srandycarter
3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Winter Solstice 2010. Poured Cola brown, small off white head. Not much, but some, spotty lace. Smells of brown sugar, cooked dark fruit and something a little sharp. Disappointing taste. Not as deep as hoped, and somewhat sour. Perhaps slightly infected? Dammit. Nothing to really write home about in the depts of taste, mouth and drinkability. Bummer.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Rattle & Hum.

American Barley wine lays in the glass looking one shade bronze with some lighter highlights here and there. A 1/2 inch of foamy fuzz up top, ok retention, no stick. Scent is rather fruity and I get some pungent hops coming out. Im not sure of the vintage, but I would wager that this is on the fresher side. Taste is odd, because this is more fruity than barleyesque, some caramel comes out though. Lighter fruits such as apricot with a splash of alcohol. A hit of american hops with a slight pine taste in there. Feel is sticky and above medium. the carb is light but the alcohol leaves a small bite on the tounge. This reminds me of a older version of Weyerbacher insanity for a strange reason. Overall a decent barleywine, but nothing memorable.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.58/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. From a trade with semibaked. Thanks!

2010 vintage. I have high expectations for this one; Kunhhenn has shown that they know how to work around an old ale, and a barleywine isn't too different (I'm sure the Venn diagram overlap is pretty large).

A: Pours a murky, but translucent, maroon with a short-lived beige head. It leaves a very thin film and collar on the beer, with a little sticky lace during sips.

S: Pineapple and grapefruit are the most dominant aromas; this is definitely an American barleywine made with some pretty evocative hops. It's mildly floral, too -- hints of rose coming through. I find the malt profile to be subdued when the beer is cold, but as it warms I pick up elements of toffee and caramel. When cold, it has this stale, old-towel aroma (English hops?) that I don't care for. It vanishes as the beer warms, which is good.

T: When cold, it is hop-dominated, with a one-note pineapple and grapefruit flavor carried by mild sweetness. As it warms, the sweetness amps up and malt flavors develop into toffee and caramel, which take the center stage. I'm not particularly impressed by the choice of malt / hop bill here. It doesn't meld together, nor is it particularly complex. Maybe it will age well?

M: On the thin side for a barleywine. I'd peg it at medium-bodied, at best. Some booze shines through, but only if you're really looking for it. Flavors are underdeveloped.

O: Surprisingly poor. I expected a lot more given Kunhehnn's seeming dominance in this area.

Photo of gford217
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Derek for another Kuhnhenn beer, 2010 bottle labeled "American Barley Wine". Not sure if it's the same recipe as this listed beer, but I'll stick the review here.

The pour is a clear deep amber with a small wispy beige head that hangs on as a small collar and leaves some boozy legs along the sides.

Aroma is very sweet with caramel and toffee dominating. I'm also getting some candied apples and the hops are pretty subtle in the nose, with hints of floral but not a lot.

The taste is much more abrasive than I was expecting with some bitterness from citrus hops up front with the sweetness following it - more apples and toffee. There is not as big a caramel sweetness as I got in the nose.

The mouthfeel is slick with low carbonation and sticky with a bitter hoppiness in the finish accompanied by some alcohol burn.

This is a decent barleywine but the taste is pretty abrasive with both hops and alcohol dominating at this early age. I like the beer but like my barleywines a bit sweeter - I bet this one would be excellent with a year or two on it.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz. bottle ~ Summer Solstice 2010. Poured to a snifter, a nightcap in the wee hours of 12/30/11. Thanks to hoppymeal/Derek for sending this (and several other Kuhnhenns) last year; it's been cellared ever since.

A: A pretty red-toned amber, almost clear but for the slightest haze; a dusting of the tiniest yeasty flakes settle on the bottom of the glass. Small, refined carbonation creeps up the glass at various locations to a short head of the densest ivory cream. Lace holds in undulating ribbons and a splaying of dots and drips.

S: Appropriately sweet and well-fruited, a nose loaded with toffee and strawberry and breakfast cereal (seriously, there's a Cap'n Crunch thing going on here) along with something vaguely 'tropical'. It's strong without a ton of substance. Some alcohol fumes leave an annoying tickle in my nostrils.

T: It's odd that this 'American' barleywine presents itself in such an 'English' way - meaning its hops are subdued and its sweetness heightened. I'm used to grassy or spicy hops en masse to amply bitter a barleywine - this doesn't really have those. As I get used to the flavor, some orange sweetness (as well as other fruits: apple, pear?) arises along with a little more drying/earthy spiciness. In the end, balance isn't bad; as it warms, spice and even some tangier citrus creep into the finish.

M: A milder mouthfeel, a bit thinner in body and softer in flavor/complexity than a some barleywines I've tried. Underwhelming. Creamier texture after an early bite. A lingering warmth, but not offputting and certainly in line with an 11.5% pour.

O: I've been impressed with other Kuhnhenn offerings but this one is just OK. It's a fairly one-dimensional barleywine with lots of sweetness in aroma and flavor. Still, I like it - my tastes skew toward maltiness; for fans of a less hoppy barleywine, this may be right up your alley.

Photo of mdfb79
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a murky mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, especially cherries and berries, alcohol, caramel malts, toffee, and light bread. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of alcohol, some sour cherries, dark fruit, and caramel malts. Too sour and the alcohol is pretty strong. A major step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, thick body.

d - I really enjoyed the smell of this one with the caramel and the cherries/berries; it was very nice. Unfortunately the taste was not as good; lots of alcohol and sour notes. This was a 2010 vintage and I'd be curious to see what happens to the taste with some time on it. Probably wouldn't seek out again, but maybe with some time on it it could be better. A sipper for sure.

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Kuhnhenn American Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.