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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
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193 Reviews
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Reviews: 193
Hads: 649
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 8.76%
Wants: 1,238
Gots: 139 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  14.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 193 | Hads: 649
Reviews by perrymarcus:
Photo of perrymarcus
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a murky, deep amber / mahogany tone while yielding no head. as others have noted, for a big EBW this comes as no surprise.

nose is outstanding with a huge bourbon wallop right off the bat followed by bold notes of caramel, brown sugar, then some vanilla, oak, and a dark fruit presence.

taste follows the aroma. lots of bourbon-y, caramel-y, brown sugary goodness with the vanilla, oak, and dark fruit joining in the background. very sweet, though doesn't cross the line into cloying. boozy in the finish, but that 14.5% ABV is hidden well. chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with low carbonation.

overall, outstanding. very tasty barrel aged EBW. definitely a sipper. many thanks to abanton for the opportunity.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of blankenhoney
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from the 2014 Winter Solstice release, savored from a snifter

A: BBBW pours clearer and thinner-looking than I was expecting, with absolutely no head. Kind of a deep brown or mahogany, with bright ruby tones.

S: Aromas are fantastic: old-smelling wood; ripe cherries, dates, and raisins; a little bit of vanilla; and a nice touch of straight alcohol.

T: But the taste is where this one heads to another dimension: an incredible blend of wood, alcohol, red fruits, and butterscotch. Everything the nose promised, and more.

M: Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and on the thinner, vinous side. Essentially no carb.

O: A world-class English barleywine, and a great way to wind down the weekend. Loved the strong wood presence, the slick mouthfeel, and everything about the way it tastes. This is about as good as a BA English barleywine gets (though it didn't unseat what I think is the king of the style, Mother of All Storms).

 937 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, from the 2013 Winter Solstice release. Poured into a GLBC snifter today, 1/12/2014.

Appears just like BB4D- dark brown, very hazy and nearly opaque, with a fairly minimal tan head that leaves a small film. It looks boozy, but maybe that's just because I know it's made by Kuhnhenn.

Smells friggin' phenomenal. Intense toffee and butterscotch notes round out a vanilla marshmallow bomb. Seriously reminds me of the likes of BVDL in how much vanilla and marshmallow there is, and the intensity of it. Best smellin' barleywine I've ever sniffed. It does get some more solvent alcohol as it warms up though, which isn't unexpected.

It's not quite living up to what it smells like, but it's still very good. Intense butterscotch and toffee flavours along with a nice rich barrel vanilla flavour that is not overpowering like in the nose. Brown sugar, molasses, anything else that makes a beer sweet- it's in here but this is still balanced by a bit of alcohol heat and oak.

Medium-thick bodied, about what I'd want from a good barleywine. A bit sticky, solid carbonation. A sipper due to the intensity of the flavours and the ABV is definitely a lot less apparent than the 14% it says on the label.

Phenomenal English Barleywine. Probably the best I've had to date that wasn't made from third-run barrels. It's very similar to Bourbon County Barleywine- but the smell on this one blows away the BCBW. I do think the BCBW is more balanced and easier to drink. Either way, if you enjoy sweet and boozy barleywines, this is absolutely your beer.

 1,555 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tectactoe
4.73/5  rDev +9%
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.

 2,274 characters

Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of cjn40277
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SkiBum22
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of marvin213
3.46/5  rDev -20.3%
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....

 1,498 characters

Photo of StoutFox
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tjthresh
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 251 characters

Photo of Chris_Panos
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 440 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Prospero
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of ehammond1
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of sourdog
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of jtladner
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of freehafe
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.