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Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Solar EclipseKuhnhenn Solar Eclipse

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

179 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 179
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 138
Gots: 34 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  18.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: grub on 01-08-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
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 r0nyn
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
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 brystmar
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 winter solstice edition, now opening it 7 months later as I thought it could use some age after reading reviews and considering the 18% ABV.

This pours dark, more brown than black and with zero head. STRONG aroma of dark fruits and alcohol, sweet roasted malts and toffee/molasses. Like liquor soaked plums or raisins would smell.

It tastes very strong too, with a fairly strong burning feeling after each sip. Initially sweet, lots of dark fruit like figs/raisins/plums and plenty of malt. Thick bodied and viscous, nice match for the overwhelming flavors.

This defines a sipper beer, more like a night cap than a poundable beer.

Photo of Wadsey
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solar Eclipse, vintage 2010

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours extremely deep dark with a minimal light brown head, which is surprising, given the 18 abv of this beer. When the glass is held up to a bright light and angled, the beer is revealed as clear and amber. 

S: Alcohol, port/fortified wine, dark cherries, raisins.  Additional aromas include very toasted grains, caramel and red grape skins. 

T: Alcohol is more subdued but still present. Sweet, but I expected that. The caramel is stronger on tongue and mingles nicely with notes of port, dark cherries, and raisins. Medium-light bitterness. Finish brings rubbing alcohol tingling and numbness. 

M: Heavy body and light carbonation. Flows in mouth like water but has velvety feel and sticks to every surface it touches, in particular glass and lips.

O: Solar Eclipse drinks like a much more refined World Wide Stout. Stouts that showcase dark and dried fruits rarely rate well for me, but this is an exception. Very well tuned.  

The alcohol does become much more obvious as the beer warms, bullying other aromas and tastes. I'm curious if another year or two will tame the alcohol a bit more. Until then, I suggest thoroughly chilling beer before consuming. 

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
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 kirok1999
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Romulux for a nice extra.
Pours absolutely black, no visible head or carbonation and it leaves nice legs on the side of the snifter.
Smell is nicely sweet and a ton of alcohol comes through. This is boozy as hell as an 18% beer should be. There is a faint spice note, maybe cinnamon? Yep, that's it....cinnamon. Go figure. Tons of dark malt with just bare hints of chocolate and coffee. Mild vanilla as well.
Taste is sweet and creamy, smacking of dense malts, vanilla, milky coffee and bourbon. Leaves a bit of a burn on the throat, which I like. Sticky and close to cloyingly sweet, the sweetness starts it off, the spice comes in the middle and it finishes with a clingy sweetness.
This thing is dense and smooth. The lack of carbonation suits the sweetness well. It coats the palate and it is only possible to take very small sips.
Overall a very nice stout and one I wish I could get on a regular basis.

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

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

2007 vintage

The beer appears a deep, dark brown with a thin head that leaves a fair amount of lacing behind. The nose brings a heavy dose of roasted malt and alcohol. The flavor is big and bold. I'm sure age has tamed the beer to a certain extent, but it still packs a heavy punch. Flavors include roasted malt, booze, brown sugar, chocolates, dark fruits. The feel is heavy with plenty of booze. I guess it is 18% abv, after all. Overall, a pretty good beer, albeit a slow sipper. A few ounces was plenty for me.

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 mentor
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle of 2008 brewery aged version. Pours almost no head over a pitch liquid. Smells chocolate, roast, dark fruit, anise, carob, scorched caramel, lemon, black patent sour, and clean alcohol sting. Strong cappucino.

Tastes very nice. Strong malt sweet with dark fruits, gentle black malt sour, and clean stingy alcohol. Malt is thick chocolate and mild roast. Fruits are prune, fig, lemon, and . Salty. Hazelnut and sour jordan almond. Nice soured caramel oxidation from aging. End dries just a bit from the alcohol and salt.

Thick with mild astringency in the finish. Very mild carbonation.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse, 12-oz bottle purchased at Spuyten Duyvil Grocery in Brooklyn, New York. $14!!!

Appearance: Served in a Sierra snifter, pours very thick, like black oil or liquid chocolate, European style. Surprisingly, it produces a sizable head, almost one finger. Good retention, a tan rim remains around the glass. Lacing is quasi non-existent.

Smell: Chocolate, burnt sugars, booze (bourbon) and wood. Also some savory/nourishing aroma, like pork belly simmering in a stout reduction sauce. Coffee, grapes, plums.

Taste: Surprisingly thin for such a gigantic beer, but still very tasty. Chocolate all over, sugary sweetness (never bad or overbearing, though). Smoke, dark fruit again (this time pureed and filtered), more bourbon and booze. Tingly and dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth, dry finish. Full flavor and body, low carbonation. Satisfying and well-balanced overall.

Drinkability: Incredibly high. The only point of comparison I have is World Wide Stout, that other 18% crazy stout. WWS knocks me out and I'm a big drinker, but Solar Eclipse is fine. Just a nice buzz and rosy cheeks.

I love this one.

Photo of foogerd
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage
A- Pouring it out of the bottle it looked like milk chocolate, turned out to look like dark hazy chocolate mix. No head.

S- Chocolate fudge, chocolate covered coffee beans, some figs, no booze in sight.

T- Chocolate laced with booze, some smokey flavor as well, dark fruits.

M- Thinner than expected for this big of a brew, hardly any carbonation at this point.

D- As drinkable as it gets for 18%. I havent seen anything this well masked. Tasty, worth a try.

Photo of paytoplay
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

2010 GABF bottle. Look good? meh. Smell good. Meh. Taste, pretty awesome, super complex. Mouthfeel. Amazing, thick rich and seems sweet but comes together. Drinkability? 18%? Doesn't seem hot but you know it's there lurking over your shoulder. Would pass this up but also would just ask for 3 or 4 oz of the stuff.

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.

Photo of levifunk
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

bottle sent to me by badnewsbeers. poured into darkness snifter.

a - pitch black pour with very little head.

s - smoke, light caramel sweetness. some booze, but not as much as i'd expect from 18% beer.

t - large dark fruit sweetness. chocolate. smokey finish. again I don't get as much booze as I'd expect. I can feel it down my throat more than i can taste it.

m - super thick. very little carbonation. somewhat of a dry finish.

overall - I get the impression that kuhnhenn, following the trend with RIS, brewed the biggest baddest beer they could. Low carbonation is this beers fault, but other than that it is very impressive how high they got the ABV with how little it shows through. very impressive that its 5% points higher than DL '09 with less booze flavor.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewpub.

Another booze bomb from Kuhnhenn. Good thing these beers are normally pretty good, so I had to give it a go. Pours black with a minimal head and some nice legs in its stay as the small amount of foam goes away. Nose is strong roast, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and slight dark fruits. A bit of molasses. The taste is actually quite a bit boozy, and I'm wondering whether we might have gotten into the batch a bit too early. Feel is boozy and a bit sweet. Drinks well after my mouth gets used to the booze, but this definitely needs some time.

Photo of rtepiak
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

come out feeling like a intensely aged baltic porter. pour is black as expected with a very small head, obviously due to the large abv but the sugar seems to hold the beer with some body. there is lace. there is a body that is very much so not something to write home about. nose is mesquite bbq molasses, and coffee and chocolate this is in the palate but with a resounding quality of toasted malt and the sweet honey. very dense and syrupy. one dimensional. rich but not a ender but something to mask the over doing of the beer itself.

i couldn't finish it so i put it in a resealable small bottle and had i again a week later. still maintained a bit of head. and the palate has substantially broadened. now is was notes of chocolate and cherry and a very reduced palate of acidic smokiness. the mouth feel is still a sort of chunky flaky feeling of carob powder. but this is quite drinkable now. quite sippable. and great for cooking. great for mole sauce and as a shortening for borsch. brings out sweet earths.

Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cracked a growler of this the other night. Split with kbutler1 and crew. I am still trying to figure out why we did this.

Poured into snifter.

Pours a dark brown, near black. Very little head.

Aroma: Rich, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, and booze. Dark fruits also shine through this one. Pretty big.

Taste: Super rich and chocolaty. Boozy and oaky. Lots of dark dried fruits, cherries, plums, and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Very rich, sweetness, and boozy, but not overwhelming for how big it is. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends boozy and rich.

Overall, this beer hides its abv very well. Fairly drinkable. Good flavors. For what it is, it's not too bad. And yes, we did finish the growler. So intense.

Photo of kbutler1
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So 4 of us decided it was a good idea to attack a growler of this on Friday night, either a really good idea or a really bad idea!
Pours a super dark brown/black wih very minimal head. The aroma is super roasted chocolate, some coffee, and vanilla with an overall sweet smelling nose. The mouthfeel is freaking heavy as hell but surprisingly drinkable. Super malty is the first thing that comes to mind. Dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla, and oh so rich rich flavors. Ends rather sweetly. Very good but god damn this thing is tough to drink but in the end we killed the growler and moved on.

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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 fear025
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma:Hot alcohol and dark malts. Maybe a hint of chocolate and vanilla.

Appearance:Black, mocha head. Very little head.

Taste:Huge alcohol burn slowly fades to dark malt and chocolate. The alcohol stays hot through the midtaste, and lets you know it's still there on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:Medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability:This is a dark alcohol bomb, pretty tasty, and very unique.

Photo of Spica66
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am so glad this is this beer that is earning me my BA Initiate mug!!

A: Completely black. Thin ring of head with some retention and fine lacing left on the glass.

S: Dark roast, some coffee, alcohol, and a little dark chocolate.

T: Dark roast malt. Sweeter than I expected. Coffee and dark chocolate notes. Really strong alcohol. A sipper to be sure. Love it!!

M: Smooth, but with an alcohol burn all the way down to the bottom of your stomach.

D: Considering that a few years ago this would have been one of the strongest beers in the world, I had no problem making this one disappear!

This is a no-gimmick RIS. Sweet, strong and very nice to drink. Wow, what a great beer...

Photo of tpd975
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very deep dark black with a very small tan ring. No lace, but this is a very thick beer that really coats the glass.

S: Aromas of deep roasted malt, sweet molasses, and dark fruit. Strong chocolate notes , coffee, and loads and loads of sugar.

T: Bold and rich. Sweet molasses and candied sugar covered figs up front. Nice chocolate tones with some roast. There is some boozy burn on the backend.

M: Rich, bold, sweet, thick.

D: It's a sipper. Sweet and rich, but very good.

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

First bottle: 8.26.2010
Second bottle: 4.25.2011

A. Pours a dark motor oil black with a wisp of a dark tan head that disappeared as soon as I saw it.

S. Strong fig smell with coffee, sweet milk chocolate, caramel, dark rum, and a bit of nuttiness (walnuts or pecans).

T. Thick loaf of delicious sweet bread pudding with caramel, brown sugar, walnuts, and rum. A second bottle had a lot more alcohol on the tongue with some soy sauce as well; I deducted .5 from the taste score.

M. Medium to thick with very little carbonation. A bit hot on the tongue.

D. An incredible sipper. It's a bit hot still, but much smoother than I expected at 18%. This is a heavenly dessert in a bottle. I'll probably let this sit another 4-6 months before I pull another bottle out, but I'm already excited for it. The beer (oddly) seemed more fresh with an additional 8 months in the cellar. The alcohol numbs your cheeks and tongue a bit, but doesn't come through in the taste as much as the beer warms. While I still like this beer, I'm not as enamored as I was after the first bottle of it.

Photo of HopHead84
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black with a small toffee colored head and thick legs on my glass. The aroma is of dark chocolate with an accompanying light roast, and a big brown sugar influence. Alcohol is potent. The flavor is stinging alcohol with chocolate and light oxidation. Brown sugar is strong and dark fruits are subtle. The mouthfeel is thick, full, and viscous. Carbonation is low.

Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 179 ratings.