Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Solar EclipseKuhnhenn Solar Eclipse

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very good

188 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 188
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.27%
Wants: 139
Gots: 33 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  18.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: grub on 01-08-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 188 | Reviews: 97
Reviews by brystmar:
Photo of brystmar
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

64oz growler from New Beer Distributors.

A: the first glass poured two full fingers of creamy tan head; the second yielded precious little. Mild, beady lace forms raindrops on the sides of my glass.

S: disappointing, as it's very subdued with dark fruit and booze being the only two items I can even detect. There's precious little here to savor, even from the first pour with plenty of head. Gets boozier as it warms.

T: plums, raisins, figs, and other dark fruits surprised me up front. Booze and roasty malts bring up the rear. Dry finish with plenty of alcoholic warmth, but really not harsh like I expected. Easily the fruitiest RIS I've ever consumed.

M: big, creamy body helps with the drinkability. Slippery and smooth on the tongue. This is as good as it gets without nitro.

D: pretty drinkable for an 18%, but I'm not sure I can stand more than one glass at a time. Definitely easier to drink than a fresh pour of Bourbon County Stout -- despite being nearly 50% stronger -- but still quite far behind other big boys like Dark Lord, 120 IPA, or DFH Fort. An enjoyable brew, but not one I'd purchase again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of badbeer
2.38/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle generously shared by iowaherkeye, thanks Joey! Very dark brown color, brownish head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is very boozy, once you get past a big wiff of alcohol you find some bready and roasty aromas; just not very pleasant. Taste is also very boozy, burnt, ashy, and just a little weird to me. High carbonation and light body. Too much focus on alcohol, not enough attention to the beer. More body and less alcohol, then we'll talk; no more alcohol for the sake of alcohol. I have all the confidence in the world that the Kuhnhenn brothers will get this one fixed up and into another one of their masterpieces; it's just not there yet, IMO.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is hot alcohol, chocolate, roasted malt and maple. The flavor is hot alcohol, roasted malt and chocolate. The beer smells and tastes very good, but the alcohol is so hot that it is tough to drink too much of it. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A good imperial stout, that would be even better if the alcohol was toned down just a little bit.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can't think of a better occassion to drink this beer than. . . a solar eclipse. Popped open at the fiftyfifty solar eclipse party. Wasn't all big bad black in the appearance, was equal parts black and brown actually. Aroma was just pungent alcohol and yeast more than anything else.

Taste, powerful alcohol, a yeasty dominance, you can pull out some oak/wood and chocolate malt notes if you really search and get acclimated to the strength of the beer. A little more sweetness to the beer may have helped cover up the alcohol heat. A little bit of that dark fruit sensation is there, but this is a relatively straightforward beer, probably two yeast strains and just gobs of alcohol all over it. Enjoyable for what it is, a novelty.

Photo of rudylaw
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mully for providing these 2008 bottles. Sampled fourth in a ten stout tasting and placed second.

Of course, pitch black pour with a colossal mocha head. It smells very interesting. Not picking up a lot of alcohol but plenty of sweetness. Toffee, dark fruits, sherry, anise and vanilla.

Wow is this sweet! Even after smelling this, the amount of sweetness just knocks me over. Plums, anise, cherries, figs, sherry... so much going on! Very, very fruity and not at all what I was expecting.

After having this on tap @ GTOM, I wasn't all that impressed. Having it a second time in the bottle, I was overjoyed! Good works, Kuhnhenn!

Photo of pwoods
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to hoppymeal for this trade.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours nearly solid black. 2 fingers of light toffee head forms and takes its time falling. Nice patchy lacing.

S: Very deeply burnt malts with a stinging bitterness in the back. If I try real hard I get a burnt sugar sweetness.

T/M: Wow. I really regret not setting this down for a year or 2(or 10 lol). 2-3 seconds after the first sip hits my lips it's a stinging alcohol blast. The nose really doesn't suggest this at all(Edit: until it nears room temp). Deeply burnt malts with a nice smoky soot and a hoppy bite right in the beginning. A very pleasant molasses sugary sweetness starts to come out right as the alcohol hits ya. The alcohol is very raw and grainy. Body is a bit below full yet a little sticky. Carbonation is fairly high. If the alcohol was smoothed out a bunch, I think this would be an amazing beer.

D: Wow. This is going to take me an hour or two to finish. I think I'll hunt another one of these down and see what time will do.

Photo of r0nyn
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz growler from New Beer Distributors. Poured into a Duvel tulip and shared with a fellow beer lover.

Probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, getting a growler of an 18% abv stout, but for the price, it was a steal. And I can't let good beer go to waste.

Pours a dark, mahogany brown with minimal carbonation. Murky in the middle, but with touches of light scoring the edges. Smallish head is the tone of milk chocolate, with lots of spotty lacing as it's swirled. The legs on this brew are ridiculous, but that's par for the course given how much heat this thing is packing. The nose is, naturally, full of booze. Underneath that solid layer of ethanol is a bouquet of dark, dried fruits. We've got the cornucopia here with raisins, dates, figs and prunes, maybe even a little dried apricot. There's a sweetish malt backbone as well. Quite the unique nose for such a big stout.

The taste is pretty much exactly like the nose, with the very prevalent alcohol taste sitting heavily on the tongue. Fruity notes follow, along with very subtle nuances of baker's chocolate and a little bit of peppery spice. Nice malt component on the back end to round out a very interesting taste. For how much booze this bad boy was packing, it was really really easy to drink. The heat is never oppressively heavy and the smooth, silky mouthfeel aids in its consumption. Even as the beer warms, it's still amazingly quaffable, despite the increased alcoholic kick. The body is somewhat on the lightish side, especially for such a potent stout, but still manages to maintain a nice, velvety feel.

Solar Eclipse is a big, big stout. That 18% is definitely there and you'll feel it. You won't necessarily taste it, however, given how smooth and balanced it is, even at warmer temperatures. Quality stuff, but you'll definitely want to share it with a friend.

Photo of timc100
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5


Pours like a porter - dark brown and decently clear. Not a menacing looking stout. No head to speak of - leaves a film of alcohol around the glass. Aroma and taste are decent. Bakers chocolate, slight vanilla, dark fruits, a lot of umami/soy sauce that is not in balance with the other flavors. Taste is huge - big booze, some chocolate and dark fruits, and more of the umami flavor. Mouthfeel is viscous and sticky - lingers a long time.

Wanted a lot more out of this - is unnecessarily boozy and out of balance.

Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewpub. Dark body, very little head, some lace. Thick chocolate body, some coffee. Good RIS, though not the most complex,and so not the most representative of what brewers are innovating now, this is mostly chocolate malt delivery, it is enjoyable and surprisingly high abv.

Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a small bottle with a couple friends. This could be the best 18%+ stout I've had. Yes, there was a touch of sharp alcohol, but it wasn't overly rough or thick with residual sugar.

If you told me this was a Belgan take on the style I'd believe it. The dark berry fruit esters are unmistakable up front. This is followed by smooth caramel and mellow roasted barley. Overall this was a great sipping beer. A fine drink for a snifter on a chilly day.

Photo of mikey711
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brief notes From a Handbottle

A: Pitch black, with a single mocha colored ring around the edge that did not leave any lacing.

S: Very boozy, almost like a chocolate liquer. Some roasted notes and some molasses as well

T: Dark fruit notes with a touch of caramel, some roastiness and lots of booziness. Molasses and some chocolate

M: Very thick with a nice amount of creaminess

D: This is a huge beer and i actually quite enjoyed the boozy quality. I had about 10 ounces of this no problem and actually found myself wanting more once i was nearing the end. I definitely would like to try this one again

Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle generously shared by bring.

Pours darkest brown with minimal head.

Aroma is roast, chocolate, caramel, sweet malt, and booze.

Flavor is nice and not too boozy. Oaky, almost as if this was -bal aged. Roast, chocolate, anise, caramel, and molasses. Maybe some dark berries or prunes also.

Medium-full bodied and only a little boozy despite the ABV. Low carbonation.

This is a nice imperial stout, I'm impressed. Drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of Shumista
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage from the summer solstice party.

Solar eclipse pours dark brown with little to no head at all. Some lighter brown highlights around the edge. Smells firstly of alcohol, then some roasted coffee, dark fruits, and wood. The taste is actually much less boozy than the smell suggested it might be. Very very sweet, puckeringly so at first. Tastes of roasted coffee, dark fruits, bitter chocolate and of course some alcohol. At the abv of a liquer, however, it is not as noticeable as I would have expected. Syrupy mouthfeel, warming and sticky. Surprisingly I had no problem polishing off a full 12 oz bottle over the course of about an hour.

Photo of md655321
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap and in bottles, not a big difference between the two.

Incredibly black, with just a smidgen of dark tan head. Pours like motor oil, as can be expected.

Complex smell of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts, but just hints of all three. Fairly standard.

Taste is pretty incredible for such a big beer. Some hotness, but tastes like a 12 or 13% RIS, nothing overwhelming. In addition to everything in the smell, there is just a touch of dark fruits and VERY little tart cherry. Finish lasts for days.

Carbonation skips out pretty quickly after the pour, making it difficult to drink a whole bottle and still have carbonation at the end. Not really a beer to have 12 oz of anyways, much more suited to 4 oz. That being said, its still pretty drinkable, especially for being so huge.

Still pretty raw at only a few months old. This is a very good and, imo, underrated beer. An experience like few others, and far superior to Dogfish's WWS.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a small foamy head with minimal retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of light residual sugar with some subtle black chocolate and surprisingly no alcohol. Taste is not as flavorful as expected with some notes black chocolate and some light dry coffee that seems to cover most of the alcohol. Body is fuller then average with an oily texture with average carbonation and surprisingly no alcohol is discernible.

3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I only pour for a split second and the head crawls past four fingers and over the top of the glass and out of the bottle. This beer is totaly carbonated. When it settles you get a leather brown head. Body is used oil jet black. Nose is of sweet malt, port, black currant and some coco with a bit of alchol. Soured dark fruit enter the mouth shrill and darkly bitter. The dark ruits keep a very dry feel throughout the palate. Bitter and mediciney tart feel really hangs on to the back of the tongue and creates the sharp mouthfeel. Alchol really warms the belly. A slight coco liquer feel comes about as this on warms a bit. Drinkability would suggest this one in small doses.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. 2010 vintage bottle into a small snifter. Part of Kuhnhenn's Summer Solstice series of beers.

A: Dark, dark cherry brown riding on the very verge of black.

S: The best feature of this beer. Honey, fermented figs, and black licorice with a hint of booze. Neat.

T: Caramel, rum raisin, hazelnut, and a good amount of booze.

M: Slick, oily, and buttery with little carbonation.

D: I thought this was quite the nice sipper. I think most beers at this ABV would be way too sweet for my liking. Let it be know that this is much less sweet than Black Tuesday, but at the same time I wouldn't classify this beer as an RIS but rather an Old Ale.

Overall, this one from Kuhnhenn was built to last. Pick up a bunch of this year's batch and throw 'em in the cellar, but make sure you try one first!

Photo of EgadBananas
2.48/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2007 vintage. Alcohol roasted malts and dark fruits aroma. Some licorice. Black, some brown edges. Surprisingly nice tan head. Alcohol taste, faint chocolate and roasted notes, light coffee. Not very dynamic. Carbonation is extreme for the style and very stingy and prickly. Fairly full bodied, but hard to enjoy with the carbonation.

Very disappointed in this this.

Photo of jsanford
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

Poured a dark, inky black with a thick, creamy mocha-colored head that fades to a thick cap, leaving spotty lacing. Big aromas of dark malt, bitter chocolate, dried stone fruits, and caramel with a bit of alcohol on the edges. Taste follows the nose pretty closely, with huge chocolate notes that dominate the palate and linger for some time. Reminds me a bit of a liquor-soaked chocolate cake of some kind. Bit of dark fruits, caramel, and coffee are present as well as a touch of alcohol. Still, surprisingly smooth given the 18% ABV. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a big, creamy body and low carbonation. Overall a very intense, big beer that reminds me a much more refined DFH World Wide Stout. Seriously, how is an 18% Stout so darn drinkable!?

Photo of mikesgroove
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Hoppymeal for getting this one to me. Twelve ounce bottle that had been sitting in my cellar for a few weeks after I received it. Served at cellar temp and poured into an oversized wine glass. Consumed on 07/16/2008.

The bottle erupted as soon as I popped the cap on it. A cascading stream of tan foam poured out of the bottle when I was not looking and I probably lost a good two ounces. Once I made it into the glass it was dark, black as night, with a huge four inch high head of tan foam that took forever for it to finally sit back down. Even once it did, it never fully went away and in fact it kept about an inch of foam layer across the top throughout the rest of the session. Deep side glass lace just dripped down the sides of the glass throughout the session and really gave a great overall look, too bad it was a gusher.

The aroma was very full. Loaded down with cocoa and dark fruits, I knew this one was going to be big from the very first moment. Rich prunes and fig notes were cascading from all angles here. This was really a tremendously good smelling beer. Hints of coffee and alcohol as it warmed only served to enhance the overall presence here. The flavor just followed along beautifully. First thing I have to make note of was the smack of alcohol as I opened it up. Burned the lips a bit at first as it was very strong, but as it warmed and the session wore on, it mellowed out considerably. Deep cocoa and prune flavor. Rich, with raisins and coffee bouncing around, hints of run soaked raisins and touches of sweet malts way in the back. Had a very Belgian like feel to it, lots of fruity yeast flavors, especially toward the back end of it. Long drawn out finish was drown in cocoa and alcohol, leaving hints of it lasting long after it was gone. Fantastic Mouthfeel on this one, rich and very well carbonated. It was not as heavy as some of the bigger stouts, but was just as rich in texture. Very lively, never really giving up any ground on me, I was very impressed here. For 18.00% ABV, this had to be one of the most drinkable big stouts I have ever come across. Just easy to sip on, though I was feeling it later, this was ridiculously smooth after the first initial sip.

Overall this was just flat out awesome. I have to find away to get another one of these somehow. This was just too damn good. A truly rich and decadent dessert, you need to seek this one out, it really was that good! Thanks again to Hoppymeal for this one, really packed a punch!

Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage. Thanks, Barry. Pitch black body, viscous and thick with a wispy layer of bubbles. Molasses, roasted barley, alcohol, soy sauce and a bit of charcoal make up the aroma. There's some dark fruit in there too. Sweet, borderline syrupy on the palate, roasty with flavors of molasses, charred malt, teriyaki sauce and dark fruit. Intense lingering molasses and and burnt toast finish. Surprisingly smooth stuff, the alcohol is well-hidden and it's fairly drinkable despite the sheer intensity of flavor.

Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Explosive, with a huge foaminess going on upon open. A few glasses needed to catch it all.

S: Aroma is not horribly bad. Appears to be a fair bit infected.. a big chocolatey aroma, but a bit of a sour cherry tartness that sits in there.

T + M: Big chocolate, some hitns of coffee, tartness isn't overbearing (but it's there!), big and boozy. Quite hot going down. Quite an assertive carbonation, giving a bit of a bite.

D: Hugely boozy, and while it seems to be notably infected, it's not doing anything too foul. Just needs to be taken easy.

Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of alcohol and chocolate malts in the nose, which intensify as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the chocolate malts stand out in the taste, which is quite malty and also has raisin flavors.
M: It feels full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There is a moderate to strong amount of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: The beer is remarkably drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Note: 2007 vintage

Photo of Gfunk720
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle, out of my CL tulip.

A- Pretty black, though not completely. I expected it to be really thick, but it looks fairly average. Nice tannish head, with some light lacing.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweetness, and licorice. Hints of brown sugar, some soy, and a touch of booze.

T- A rather robust and sweet RIS, strong roasted malt flavor. Brown sugar and caramel, and again with the soy. A hint of hops on the back end and some heat. A bit cloying, but surprisingly drinkable for the ABV

M- Despite its appearance it is quite syrupy. There is a light level of carbonation, but it is pretty fitting for the style. The sweetness gets to be a bit much.

O- Overall this was a decent sipper. Very sweet, and the flavor was a bit over the top. About half way through it, I really started to have a hard time drinking it. Wish I split it with some friends.


Photo of JamnesCameron
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a jet black color, with no light getting through, and no highlights around the edges. No head to speak of. A little lacing, but tons of legs.

Aroma of alcohol, licorise, dark roasted coffee, and dark cocoa.

First sip is of licorise, semisweet dark cocoa, and alcohol. A bit of a burn from the alcohol. Finish is medium with a slow fade. Burnt malts, cocoa, and alcohol linger.

Mouthfeel is big, chewy, mouthcoating with roasted flavors. Lots of alcohol warmth.

Very drinkable for such a big beer. Sweetness helps balance the roasted, burnt malts and alcohol. Very nicely done.

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Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.