1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Solar EclipseKuhnhenn Solar Eclipse

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

165 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 165
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.98%
Wants: 137
Gots: 36 | FT: 8
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Murchmac


3.53/5  rDev -10.2%

Thanks to flandersned for this puppy in a trade. Cant believe it's 18%

This 2009 pours out a coffee head with an eclipsing black that overwhelms your eyes.

Smells of chocolate, alcohol, and licorice fill the room.

Taste follows the nose with heat, licorice, anis, chocolate, and roasty character thrown in to boot.

Too much heat and not enough sweet.

05-31-2010 04:24:14 | More by Murchmac
Photo of bargerking


4.58/5  rDev +16.5%

2009 poured into a pint snifter.

A - Pitch black with a brown hue on the lace. Very little carbo. Thick viscosity.

S - Sweet candy sugars. Fudge. Molasses. Hints of bitter chocolate. Not really getting any dark roasts out of this. Light booze but 18%? Really?

T/M - Sweetness. Lots of candy sugars. Nothing dark or bitter just a lot of sweet chocolate malts. Almost like a brownie. Heat factor is considerably low. 18% ABV? Really?

D - Considering the ABV, this is extremely drinkable. I wish I had more!

05-15-2010 02:38:19 | More by bargerking
Photo of nickd717


3.95/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

05-07-2010 16:35:05 | More by nickd717
Photo of largadeer


3.8/5  rDev -3.3%

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.

05-06-2010 03:51:14 | More by largadeer
Photo of emmasdad


3.65/5  rDev -7.1%

2009 vintage. Been in the cellar for 8-9 months. Pours pitch black with a minimal tan head. Smells rich and boozy, with hints of dark malt, chocolate and fusel alcohol. On the palate, this seems to be closer to a barley wine than an imperial stout. A whole lot going on in this one, and it doesn't all quite come together. Alcohol is prominent and almost overpowering. Hard to drink more than a glass of this one.

03-27-2010 20:40:10 | More by emmasdad
Photo of maximum12


4.6/5  rDev +17%

Thanks to mully for a bottle of this treat. Had a few sips on tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest & have been longing for a full bottle ever since. On a school night, too. This is officially the biggest brew I've had to date. I hope I don't need my mommy by the time I get to the bottom of it. Label claims a 2008 birthday.

Black. Still, dead, unmoving. What's coming off the light-sucking pool is faint, malts & chocolate.

What comes off Solar Eclipse in the mouth is anything but faint. Malts like a Marine ambush doubling, tripling, quading up in all the corners & crevices. Heavy chocolate syrup, with a healthy dosing of cherry on top. Anise springs a suprise as it rolls down the throat & it's done up right, just right, to make this stout almost a port. Naturally there's alcohol, too, but the touch is lighter than expected for the ABV.

Heavy, of course, this is a pure sipper all the way to Cooperstown, but what a sipper. Warming. I could see this after a day hunting pike out on the ice, pulling it out & propping my feet by the fire with a book in hand. Mmmm, that sounds nice. I could knock this on drinkability, but why? It's twelve ounces I'll gladly knock back, & it's so damn good I could do another.

This is straight-up damn great beer. When I first saw it I figured "gimmick!" with the high ABV, but this is crafted like a Bechstein piano. Nicely balanced, good touch. Fantastic.

01-28-2010 03:11:07 | More by maximum12
Photo of Jmoore50


4.33/5  rDev +10.2%

Thanks to fellow BA James for opening this one up while watching some Jersey Shore. Classic.

The appearance is dark and thick. It pours a motor oil black with lighter purple edges. It really has no head, even with a vigorous poor. If you read any of my reviews, I need head on my brew and this came with none. There was a slight leg around the glass, but nothing worth writing home about.

The smell is pretty sweet in a dark fruit and candied sugar way. This one has some ABV present as well. I did not know that this was a 18% ABV brew when I drank it, but damn, I would guess it was 8.5%-10% at the most. It had lots of plumbs in the smell, as well in the tastes.

The taste was pretty extraordinary. This does not taste anything like the ABV. It has hints of bitter cooking chocolate with figs and lots of sweet candy sugars. Some bitter espresso flavor in there as well, but not overwhelming. It was perfectly carbonated and sat heavy on the palate. It took the best characteristics of cooking chocolate and espresso and made them shine through. There were prune and raisins that were the strongest dark fruit flavors.

The mouthfeel was heavy and perfectly carbonated. It was a bit hot in the mouthfeel, in the end you got some of the ABV. Again, this is probably the best hidden ABV I have ever encountered, which is why I rated the Drinkability so high. It was a great sipping beer and would of gone great with some vanilla truffles or fudge.


01-26-2010 05:45:46 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

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.

01-16-2010 03:57:08 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of rhinos00


4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

Was fortunate enough to try this beer, thanks beace. Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark, black coffee color. Zero visibility. Formed a thin layer of cream/tan head. Dissipated pretty quickly.

S- Very potent. Lots of sweet malts, brown sugar, raisins and figs. Picked up a slight smoked character. Complex and rich.

T- Takes after the aroma, except for the fact that the alcohol hits you like a hammer after each sip. Lots of complexity with caramelized malts, burnt brown sugars, and dark fruits. The alcohol was not harsh in any way...more of a soothing warmness that took over.

M- This was a big beer. Thick and viscous. Coated the palate nicely.

D- Drinkability suffered because of the copious amounts of alcohol. Definitely a sipper.

Overall, another great Kuhnhenn beer. Highly recommended.

12-21-2009 06:37:38 | More by rhinos00
Photo of Nickls

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%

(From notes)

A - Deep dark black; nearly no head whatsoever...thin than line; just really dense looking overall

S - Dark chocolate; booze; and a little savory in some of the aromas, but in a good way

T - Sweet at first; then an alcohol bite comes in a little hot; deep roastiness; lingering booze burn; and back to bittersweet chocolate

M - Viscous and thicker; coating; soft carbonation

D - Decent, but not the most drinkable in the style range for me. This is a massive brew in terms of the abv, and the alcohol definitely let me know who was boss.

Overall, one massive RIS, and it was good, but extreme.

11-13-2009 19:39:33 | More by Nickls
Photo of CrellMoset


3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

12 oz. bottle courtesy of goryshkewych - thanks! Poured into a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a thick, inky, jet black, oily and viscous, tumbling in to the cervoise. I knew before I even opened up (which, by the way, when I did, I was accompanied by a slight hiss, which is a good sign - not dead, and not infected either) that this one wasn't going to have a famous head, and it had precisely nothing for the first 80% of the pour. As the liquid level approached the rim, however - and as the angle of my pour increased - very slowly, almost painfully slowly, a number of incredibly fine, incredibly slow bubbles forced their way to the top of this thick black morass to form a quarter-of-a-finger of deeply tan head for approximately three seconds before fading into a wispy dusting, a microscopically-thin collar of lace, and lacing that looks like a symptom of some tropical disease, ebola perhaps. So, hey, at least there's that.

Aroma: Perhaps this beer's best component, actually. Thoroughly, thoroughly impressed that I get practically no alcohol out of this - perhaps I should wait 'til it warms to judge. It's very clean, with a large amount of slick chocolate-covered raisins, anise, smoke, huge earthy, toasty malts. Very nice, but very clean ... almost too clean. Only the faintest hint of soy sauce.

Taste: My first thought as I take the initial sip is "Hey - I'm drunk." The alcohol - not prickly or harsh up front - is incredibly warming in the finish, borderline hot, and given the thickness of this one, it just FEELS big. But on to the actual components of the flavor. Large and up front is cocoa, thick and chocolatey and relatively sweet. Other dark malts, toast, earth (not quite burnt, but it's borderline), slight brown sugar, and slight smoke make up the remainder of the recognizable malt notes. Equally as prominent are sweet, estery, fruits, ranging from darker (raisins, huge figs) to lighter (cherries, pears). A few slight spicy notes - obviously huge anise (which is not really anise but more a sensory fart) and cinnamon - round things out. Very port-like, but - like a good port - also very clean, with no sticky, cloying afternotes or harsh, chemical-y notes.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily but viscous and thick so it goes down like an obese slug. I'm assuming this is from a combination of the huge, sticky malts, cut by (at a ratio of nearly 1:4) a huge amount of ethanol. So, yeah, it's not as thick as you'd imagine, or at least, it doesn't feel as thick as you'd imagine. Slight carbonation keeps it from being absolutely dead in your mouth.

Drinkability: I will never rate a beer that is 18% abv above a 4.0 in drinkability. Because there is nothing about an 18 abv% beer that is better than "good" with regard to drinkability. I want to rate this beer higher than I am, because I was actually sort of impressed by it, but I'm finding it a little difficult to do so. There's just enough that's wrong - more with the framework than the construction within that framework - that keeps me from doing it, unfortunately. Nonetheless, remarkable for Kuhnhenn to pull off an 18 abv% brew, especially one with so little alcohol character. Kudos to them, and a must for anyone to try, though more for the novelty than anything else.

09-17-2009 04:56:24 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of gford217


3.9/5  rDev -0.8%

Another great beer from hoppymeal, poured into a snifter.

This one is really dark, pitch black with an aggressive pour producing a short-lived tan head that recedes very quickly to a small ring. There's not much lacing, but there are boozy legs lining the glass after each sip.

Aroma is definitely boozy with some heavily roasted dark chocolate malts and dark fruits. Caramelized sugar and licorise lend a bit of sweetness to things. There seems to be a smoked character to the aroma as well

The taste is sweet with lots of licorice and molasses before the burnt malts take over in the middle. The finish is dry and boozy with a lingering bitterness from the charred malts.

The mouthfeel is heavy and slick with very little carbonation.

This is definitely a sipper and a good beer, but it's definitely not in the top tier of impy stouts. The drinkability is always going to be limited with an 18% ABV but it's not completely overpowering on the palate.

09-13-2009 03:35:59 | More by gford217
Photo of storksonm


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Had this at GTOM

Saw a giant line in the Kuhnhenn corner of the tent and wanted to see what all the fuss was about all I saw was a sign that said imperial stout 19% and new I had to try it. It was a dark rich stout with noticable alcohol smelled like chocolate malts and had a smooth mouthfeel with a alcohol burn in the aftertaste. It was a very fine imperial stout but it had me nursing it so I wouldn't get to sloshed at the great taste.

08-22-2009 03:52:31 | More by storksonm
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -5.1%

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.

08-20-2009 04:21:18 | More by Sammy
Photo of rudylaw


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

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!

08-10-2009 15:47:27 | More by rudylaw
Photo of md655321


4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

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.

08-06-2009 16:53:09 | More by md655321
Photo of HopHobo


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

2008 vintage picked up at Kuhnhenn Summer Soltice Party 2009

Poured jet black with a 1/2 finger of dark tan head into my Kuhnhenn tulip glass. The head diminishes after the first drink or two, but for 18% the carbonation is really quit nice. The smell gives a bit of mystery to the beer because it does not have a strong smell. It has faint smells of smoked malts, sugar and coffee, once again for a beer that weighs in at 18% it really doesn't have much of a booze smell. The taste is actually quit nice. I expect that this beer would have been very sweet in 2008, but a year to age has done wonders. The booze flavor is apparent, but not overpowering by any means. It also has tastes of leather, honey, maple syrup, roasted and smoke malts. The mouthfeel is medium and the beer is very complex with waves of flavor coming on as the beer warms in my mouth. I really enjoyed this offering and I have a feeling it will only get better. I really look forward to trying this beer as it ages and possibley trying it on a cold winters day. I must admitt...I had the Bo's version of this beer when it weighed in at ~23% and that version was all kinds of too sweet, I enjoy this version much more. Kuddos to Kuhnhenn!

06-28-2009 03:56:45 | More by HopHobo
Photo of tprokop7


4.15/5  rDev +5.6%

Pours black with a fluffy tan head. Shared a bottle (thanks hoppymeal) with tedstertm and jamie2dope.

It seemed a little too sweet at first, but then we noticed that it's 18% abv. Even at 2 years cellared, it's still just barely hot with alcohol. Nice molasses notes, just slightly too syrupy to be great for mouthfeel, but definitely not bad. Overall, really excited to have tried this and I can't wait to try it again in a year or so.

06-04-2009 01:43:38 | More by tprokop7
Photo of Lothore


2.53/5  rDev -35.6%

A- Pours a deep black color, I could tell this was almost a gusher. The head is out of hand ... almost like overcarbonated homebrew status.

S- Sweet, roasted malt notes with a tangy mettalic smell followed by a caramel scent, hints of baby diaper. I should note that the smell is a little off and because of the carbonation at this point it's possible the bottle could be infected but lets press on and find out.

T- Taste is lots of roasted malt followed by a thick mettalic taste. Alcohol is well hidden. At this point I don't necessarily think it is infected but it just seems off to me.

M- Thick with lots of carbonation.

D- This was not drinkable for me at all. I loved trying it but there were multiple things in the taste and smell that made me want to run from the hills. The high alcohol was very well hidden but that's the least of this beers concern at this point. I have to believe it was better fresh.

05-19-2009 04:43:22 | More by Lothore
Photo of bennetj17


3.65/5  rDev -7.1%

Oops, did I just open an %18 beer? I guess I did. Doesn't look too thick, but dark nonetheless. Seems like it wants to foam alot in the pour. The head fills to the brim but dissipates quickly. I'm actually getting some almost tart, fruity notes upon opening the bottle, perhaps infected? After getting a whiff the fruit notes seem mild, and there are some burnt malty notes in the mix. Did I mention some alcohol fume? Not as potent as expected though.

The first sip feels so light on the tongue, like it's just floating. It foams up quite a bit on the palate, too much in fact, but the flavor is nice, and the effervescent alcohols are warming. A touch of sweet chocolate and tangy cherry are there, but it's hard to let it rest on the tongue to taste it, as it all turns to foam in my mouth. Suprisingly, the high ABV is not that noticible, this could pass for 12% in my book.

Overall not bad. Needs some work in the mouthfeel. The drinkability was decent. I would be interested to try this again to see what a few more years could do to it...

05-15-2009 05:14:42 | More by bennetj17
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -2.5%

Big thanks to Dave Schuster for bringing this to our "mini" stout tasting on Friday night. Bottle is from 2007 and also says "Burns" - does that mean this will burn? At 18% I suspect it might...

A - ...and we've got a gusher. Thank you Kuhnhenn for high-quality bottling. Once we got this under control we managed to collect most of it in a communal glass that we passed around. Quick-dissipating dark mocha foam - no lace. Pitch black with a hint of orange-red at the fringes when held to the light.

S - Dark roasted malt barley, sweet cream, caramel, molasses, a pinch of dark fruits. This is one very sweet and very boozy brew. There is a surprising hop presence as well - sort of pine-like. I'm not sure how that's possible, but it was there! Like most of my Kuhnhenn experiences, it smelled wonderful.

T - Sour dark fruits, roast malt, dark chocolate, coffee with cream, and (drum roll please) alcohol! Reminded me of Black Albert after taking stanozolol.

M - Medium body, surprising carbonation generating a ton of tingling sensations. Gritty and sticky, with lots of alcohol warmth.

D - Let's see - high ABV and carbonation. Not the best combo here, as you end up stupidly drunk and bloated. The brew tastes quite good, but there's no way anyone would drink two of these.

This (like many Kuhnhenn brews) is kind of a novelty. While I prefer Kuhnhenn's high-gravity beers to those of Dogfish Head, I can still only consume one in an evening.

02-08-2009 15:50:51 | More by MasterSki
Photo of badbeer


2.38/5  rDev -39.4%

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.

12-27-2008 23:57:55 | More by badbeer
Photo of joe1510


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

12oz Bottle

A big thank you goes out to hoppymeal for yet another big bad Kuhnhenn brew, thanks Derek! This huge stout pours as black as Satan's soul which is appropriate considering it was being poured into a Maudite snifter. The milk chocolate head grew immediately, even on the soft pour, peaking at three fingers before crackling down to one finger where it rests. Big fluffy lacework clings to the glass on the heads way down. This is an excellent looking stout!

A big nose full of dark berries, coffee, heavy cream and barely charred roastiness greet my nose each time it enters the glass. Surprisingly enough it took a quick swirl of the glass to get the aroma going at first. Pine needles and a barely noticeable booziness cut through the other aroma briefly. Cocoa powder plays a big role in the nose and from time to time dominates.

Wow, this is a heavy hitter! The nose pretty much nailed this one but all those aromas really jump out on the tongue. Cocoa powder and roastiness are the major players in this brew. Coffee grounds with a splash of heavy cream come around mid-palate but never push aside the cocoa or roastiness. The swallow actually has a heavy handed dose of anise which I never picked up and the nose and I think adds a nice depth to the overall flavor. The booziness isn't even noticeable until the swallow when if warms up my entire chest.

The mouthfeel on this brew is purely decadent. It's easily one of the heaviest bodied most velvety textured brews I have had in a long time. The alcohol certainly warms up my chest on the way down but there are no fumes before then. The carbonation is soft and this beer just flows like lava over the tongue.

The HUGE abv limits the drinkability on this stout without a doubt but I'm thoroughly enjoying this one as I type. Solar Eclipse is a sipper that will last me a long time and delicious until the last drop.

This is one of the biggest abv beers I have ever had and it's really a treat. I actually expected a lot of heat but it's surprisingly well restrained. Thanks again for this big badass sipper Derek; it makes for a perfect Christmas Eve sipper.

12-25-2008 05:43:02 | More by joe1510
Photo of DrJay


4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

Bottle courtesy of grub. Thanks!
It gave a powerful pop when the cap was removed. A very gentle pour produced a gigantic brown head, sort of fluffy, that settled to a coarse, one finger cap in a minute or two. The beer itself was black with perhaps the faintest brown edges. Decent head retention, not much in the way of stickage or lacing. Lots of roast and toffee in the nose, sweet caramel and chocolate notes, heavy fruit character, sherry, mild alcohol, dry cocoa, a hint of licorice and vanilla. A bit smoky as it warmed. Giant flavour, quite intense. Solid bitterness, partly from the dark malts. Tons of roast and dark chocolate, figs and cherries, toffee, sherry, and alcohol. Quite fruity overall. Lingering sweetness. The carbonation was too high, making the texture a bit coarse, but once that problem dissipated a little it was much smoother. A little bit syrupy, full bodied, lots of warm alcohol. An easy drinker for such a big stout and pretty tasty.

12-18-2008 01:43:52 | More by DrJay
Photo of tmoneyba


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottle shared by alexsdad06.

Poured a black color with an average to large frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted malt, licorice and alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with sticky texture. Medium to heavy bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy roasted bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

My expectations where met.

12-02-2008 02:42:23 | More by tmoneyba
Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.