Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Solar EclipseKuhnhenn Solar Eclipse

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

188 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(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
Photo of alexgash
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. 2010 edition.

Dark root beer brown body. Vigorous pour yields a dark sandy brown head that dissipates quickly. The nose is a mix of smoky meats, dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, figs, soy sauce, aged balsamic, and vanilla. Intriguing for sure.

Roasted, charred malts greet the tongue. Quickly turns sweet and rich with notes of treacle, port, figs, ripe plums, and blackberry reduction. Peppery alcohol settles in, with vanilla and dark chocolate accents. Roasted coffee bitterness in the long, warming finish. Big and rich and sweet, but not too hot for the abv. Full-bodied with a thick, syrupy feel. A sipper for sure, and a good one at that.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

A- The high alcohol kills any chances this beer has of supporting a head. It fizzes out right away. On the pour it doesnt look to be as thick as some of the thickest beer.

S- Really nice smelling. Heavy on the chocolate and raisins. Obviously strong alcohol notes but not anywhere near what I was expecting.

T- Again, alcohol is beastly but its not anywhere near how it should be for 18%. The first few sips almost take your breath away with alcohol but I soon became acclimated. Sweet chocolate covered raisins play the dominant roll. A nice bittering roast brings it down to earth. Finish is warm but still very smooth.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage. Big thanks to glazeman for the opportunity to drink this.

4.5 A: Black color. Not quite one finger of light brown frothy head that falls quickly overall, but has good retention for being 18% ABV.

5.0 S: Wow this is nice. Full on flavor. Good bit of roastiness to start with, then bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and toffee next. Also a bit hit of smokiness. The most amazing thing about the aroma is that the massive alcohol is hidden nearly perfectly. It doesn't really register in the nose, but can tell it's there on the exhale as it blows it up into my eyes, causing a slight burning. Not the most complex smelling brew, but the integration of what is there is flawless.

4.5 T: Taste is not quite as amazing as the nose, but it does follow it closely. Good bit of roastiness again, but this time the residual sweetness is strong enough to overcome it. Molasses is a big contributor here (and the heavy body leads you to believe that you might be drinking molasses anyway), toffee, dark roast coffee which I didn't pick up in the nose, sweet caramel, bittersweet chocolate again. Warming alcohol throughout and especially on finish. However, the taste of alcohol (not the warming) is again pretty well hidden.

5.0 M: Big thick, rich, and heavy body. Smooth as silk. Carbonation is on the lower end, but is fine for this brew. This is how I like RISs to feel.

4.5 D: An excellent example of a super high gravity brew. The residual sweetness can be a bit cloying at times, but it's pretty well balanced for what it is. I'm not big on the taste of alcohol and fortunately this brew does a great job of hiding it. There aren't really any major flaws, but this could perhaps be a bit better with a touch more roasted barley. Anyway, I think I have to get some more of this now.

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 Darien
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Poured into a pint glass and was presented with a beer that was as black as night, zero head and no lacing obviously. Smells like alcohol covered by roasted malt and chocolate. Tastes much the same. The alcohol is not as strong tasting as the smell would have you think, there are plenty of dark fruit flavors here and a very very sweet malt presence. Mouthfeel is very creamy, thick and rich, pretty chewy. This beer could really really use some age on it to mellow it out, it's definitely a sipper but the alcohol is more hidden than the smell has you thinking.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees, fridge chilled approx 15 min. before opening
VINTAGE: 2008 (Summer Solstice 2009 Release)

Black, black, black. A small, filmy head of dark brown foam appears and recedes fairly quickly, but at 18.00%abv, that's no big surprise. There is some nicely spotted lacing, but it's very slippery.

This is a huge nose. Big, bold, and rich. Loads of rum/wiskey soaked dark fruit notes. Figs and dates and prunes. Lots of cocoa presence. A smooth roastiness. Very boozy (Shocker!). Very light traces of vanilla and smokiness.

Huge presence of dark roasted malts. Burnt sugar notes and dark fruit notes land a nice sweetness. Blackberries and currants. Milk chocolate and cocoa powder. Blackstrap molasses out the wazoo. Good presence of smoke. Very light trace of vanilla smoothness. I believe that there is a touch of candi sugar in this one, as it has similar sweetness characteristics.

This is full-bodied and has a light-to-mild carbonation level. It's active enough to keep things interesting, but not to really generate a head or anything. Very smooth, like satin. Would love to see this one with some creamy carbonation to it.

Okay, you smell the big abv and you feel it via some warmth, all the way down, but you don't taste it. Nice. This one is a way tasty sipper. Easier to drink than it rightfully should be.

Photo of mdfb79
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 5/21/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting. 2007 vintage.

a - Pours a dark brown with 1 inch of tan head and lighr carbonation.

s - Smells mostly of oak and whiskey. Hint of chocolate.

t - Tastes of oak, whiskey, chocolate, and caramel and roasted malts. Has some heat to it.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - Enjoyable but still too hot; could use even more time in the cellar. Would like to try again ina nother 2-3 years.

Photo of Murchmac
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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

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.

Photo of maximum12
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

J

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.

Photo of rhinos00
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Nickls
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(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.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of gford217
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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.

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 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 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 HopHobo
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of tprokop7
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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