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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

494 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 494
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,168
Gots: 101 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  14.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 494 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by coldmeat23:
Photo of coldmeat23
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
VINTAGE: 2009
Huge thanks goes out to MasterSki for this one!

This one pours a dark copper color. A thin head of loose bubbles forms and quickly recedes. The lacing is present as an abundant spottiness, which slides down the slick oiliness on the side of the glass back into the liquid.

A thick rich maltiness permeates this snifter of goodness. A definite level of booziness is present, but at 14.50%, that is certainly to be expected. Loads of bourbon presence. A strong vanilla caramel presence, also. Big oakiness. Light hints of maraschino cherries. Lots of golden brown sugar notes along with golden raisins. Nice hints of yeast and spices.
This smells so much like delicious candy, laced with whiskey.

The taste is more spicy than sweet. There is still a lot of brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla in here. They are leveled out by the warmth and spiciness of the bourbon along with the dryness of the oak. Marascino cherries soaked in bourbon with a splash of rum. Lots of raisins and a touch of blackstrap molasses. Very nice hints of dates. There is a nice level of hops here that get all but lost, by the covering booziness. They make a brief, shining appearance right before the finish, only to be swallowed up again by a wonderful bourbon sweetness. The finish itself is on the dry side and has a wonderful warmth which you can feel for quite a while after it is swallowed.

This one is full-bodied, but the carbonation level is light. This provides it with a wonderful smoothness, but it hasn't got any creaminess to it, which I find to be disappointing. With a nice amount of creaminess, this could be perfect.

Okay, so it's true that the high abv will keep you from slamming these down. The beautiful taste will make you want to try, though. It's smooth enough that you might think that you could get away with it, too.
This is a delicious beer and worth the effort to track down, if you aren't afraid of the sweeter side of the glass.

coldmeat23, Feb 25, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

DanGeo, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kevin for bringing this along - 2010 vintage. Yet another infamous Kuhnhenn brew that has eluded me longer than it should have. It pours a solid, red-tinted copper color with really nice clarity. Barely any head forms, though that's not much of a surprise for a three year old 15.1% ABV barley wine; a small beige collar is the one sign that carbonation still exists within this brew.

After popping the cap, the smell of Kuhnhenn's BBBW fills the room - after pouring it and bringing the glass to my face, it smells like I'm standing in a sticky caramel and toffee factory. So insanely sweet and so insanely strong. Sticky caramel, heavy toffee, dark fruits (prunes, juicy dates, raisins), and sticky maple syrup. The beer smells big... Actually, it smells HUGE.

The barrel influence isn't as strong as I was expecting, or at least compared to Kuhnhenn's other popular barrel aged beer, BB4D. Perhaps the barrel-aging time was left, or maybe it's the three years of mellowing that has muzzled it just a bit. Light, woody barrel and vanilla in the finish with pretty staunch booze and bourbon. The bourbon from the barrel is heavier than the barrel itself.

I cut this beer with a knife and take a bite... Seriously, the body is huge; extremely viscous, chewy, sticky, and creamy beyond your wildest dreams. The largest, caramel-y and toffee-laden backdrop asserts itself immediately with each sip; a substantial boozy flavor swims throughout the sugary sweet and malty base, confirming that the "bourbon" is more forward than the "barrel".

Plenty of dark, fruity sweetness plays amidst the caramel and brown sugar bath; more dates, more raisins, and tons of sweet prunes. Light anise and a drying, palate-scraping assertion of booze-soaked oak and wood lasts long into the aftertaste. Palate coating to the maximum, this is the type of beer you'll be tasting long after you've swallowed.

Such a treat, and such a great beer. Robust, ominous, and one of the best barley wines I can recall drinking in recent memory. Though many people would argue, I'd say that I enjoy this beer much more than Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia. This beer is just so hard to criticize. I'll be sure to stock up on this each time Kuhnhenn releases it... Such an awesome barley wine.

tectactoe, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Schlais, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of marvin213
3.53/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Among the darkest barleywines I've poured, it's more menacing than inviting. NO head to speak of suggests this one's a bruiser! It looks thick like coagulated mud. Should I sip...or spoon? As an aside, I find cheap foil wrappings a tad on the tacky side.

It smells like bourbon barrel-aged formaldehyde...I mean, it smells like death. The nose is SO potent and it's off-turning like a waft from a liquor bottle. I know it teeters on 15%, and I like the big-hitters, but I'm not sure how imma handle this one. Objectively, the nos is bourbon and alcohol with tinges of toasted caramelized toffee. The burning raw strength is an abrasive weakness.

The taste is more palatable than expected, despite (because of?) the burnt nose hairs. An odd, toffee caramel corn provides a sweet and buttery feel. It's oily. I wonder what more carbonation would do. The buttery taste is NOT creamy. I'd love to try it on tap! How crazy would nitro be? It's like that initial tongue touch has a candied appeal, but the gasoline burn makes it a serious sipper. Tastes like butter oil but burns like gasoline--I wonder if I could put it in the popcorn popper.

Like each of the few brews I've had from Kuhnhenn Brewing, it's a nice novelty, strongly sweet bear of a beer. Do they make a pale ale? I respect going big, and I seek out the barrelly influenced (bourbon on the taste here is nearly an afterthought), but I'm still uncertain about these liquids from Warren, MI. Gosh, there are so many beers from MI....

marvin213, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of tjthresh
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky muddy brown with large bubbled brown head. The nose is huge with loads of toffee, hops and oak. The flavor is a fantastic blend of toffee and booze. The mouthfeel is thick but very drinkable. The heat from the booze lingers just for a bit.

tjthresh, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of Chris_Panos
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Chris_Panos, Feb 18, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage. The beer pours brownish-red/amber color with a white head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of bourbon, but also some orange citrus, caramel and brown sugar notes. The flavor is heavy on the maple with some brown sugar, vanilla, alcohol, caramel and bourbon. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

A very nicely done bourbon-aged beer, that I am very happy I got to try.

Mora2000, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

jaminjohnson, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +7%

bpfrush, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of ehammond1
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for providing this one, UCLABrewN84!

Blind Tasting and Review

Dark, cloudy brown with very little visible carbonation. There's a thin film on top of the beer, but that hardly qualifies as anything resembling a head. That being said, this appearance is about par for the course for barrel-aged barleywines.

Aroma is a nice combination of caramel, brown sugar, black bread, and some alcohol heat. It's sweet without being overly so. It's boozy without being overly so. There's a bit of vanilla and oak character as well.

The flavor is quite exceptional, with lots of vanilla, cream, oak, caramel, toffee, and bourbon combining. For being so exceptionally high in ABV, this one hides it fairly well, even at this relatively young age.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Fantastic. This ranked as one of the highest in our blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

ehammond1, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Cynic-ale, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

williamjbauer, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of jtladner
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

jtladner, May 09, 2014
Photo of striker2160
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

striker2160, May 21, 2014
Photo of pwoods
3.55/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle poured into a Russian River tulip.

A: Pours a ruby garnet with decent clarity considering the barrel aging. Moderate head on the pour with a bit of retention and not much lacing.

S: Under a decent amount of bourbon and barrel, molasses and toffee... I get a faint but distinct aroma of my grandmas and mothers Christmas cookies. Butter cookies with home made icing. Doesn't smell overly sweet, either. Maybe some oatmeal cookies and walnuts, too. Bizarre.

T/M: The bourbon is there and not as over powering as I was expecting, but it's not quite melding with the BW like I did expect. Plenty of barrel, vanilla. A bit more sweetness than the nose implied. Alcohol heats up quite a bit as it warms. Maybe the slightest hint of the Christmas cookies, but I might be reaching. Body is only about medium and the carbonation is mild to medium.

D: After the aroma I was expecting great things, and I've rarely been let down by Kuhnhenn... but things just didn't quite add up. A decent beer but I was expecting more.

pwoods, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of JasonFromLA
5/5  rDev +12.6%

JasonFromLA, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of timc100
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage

Deep mahogany, dark dirty brown/ruby - completely opaque. A surprisingly long-lingering creamy head with big alcohol legs. Aroma isn't huge but fantastic - very soft, sweet vanilla and marshmallow from the barrel as well as very smooth toffee and caramel. Taste is huge and mouthfeel is perfect. Very smooth and full bodied carries the sticky caramel, toffee, vanilla, and lots of oak.

I'm not getting a ton of bourbon off of this, but the barrel/beer blend is fantastic - incredibly smooth and well balanced.

timc100, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of weonfire
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

weonfire, Jan 14, 2014
Photo of mdaschaf
4.41/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear brown/burgundy color with very little head, just a few bubbles forming. No retention or lacing at all.

S: The aroma is quite strong. Lots of caramel with plenty of the bourbon coming through, vanilla, toffee, a little molasses.

T: Fantastic, the flavors are blended together nicely. Brown sugar, vanilla, and caramel dominate with bits of oak/wood.

M: Medium to full bodied, extremely smooth. Low carbonation.

O: Lived up to the hype, really enjoyed this barleywine. Smoothness helped a lot.

mdaschaf, May 08, 2013
Photo of MrVonzipper
5/5  rDev +12.6%

MrVonzipper, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

UWBadgerFan4Life, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of king75
4.75/5  rDev +7%

king75, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of Mar02x
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Mar02x, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mondiale 2007. Dark brown body with amber highlights. A great soapy white head. Very fresh tasting, vanilla and caramel. A very good bourbon barrel effort, and a great matchup of barleywine. 14.5% was extreme and it was a good thing this was my last beer of the night. Had the 2010 and was good though not best, great aroma though coconut dominated taste.

Sammy, Jun 01, 2007
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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 494 ratings.