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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

471 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 471
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 1,146
Gots: 99 | FT: 10
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)
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Ratings: 471 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sinstaineddemon
sinstaineddemon

Connecticut

4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - this gem of a brew pours a dark translucent ruby red that turns near transparent brown when held to light, a thin thin rapidly dissipating white head that fizzes as it vanishes and vary miniscule scant streams of carbonation

S - a power packed aroma, big and up front is raisins, toffee and alcohol, well blended and complimentary, secondary and subtle is a slight chocolate aroma, very intriguing

T - wow, you can really taste the bourbon, ive had bourbon barrel aged b rews that have a slight bourbon flavors, this one has a big up front bourbon flavor, so smooth and velvety, its incredible; all the other flavors that were detected in the aroma, the raisin, the toffee, the slight chocolate, are all elongated by the bourbon into a seemingly endless finish that lasts for several minutes, wish i could get this more often.

M&D - as I noted in the taste, the bourbon created an incredible smoothness that will at least neutralize the ABV (which is pretty high) for some and enhance it for others, depends on your tastebuds, but an amazing taste and brew, if you go to eastern MI and dont stop here, you are doing yourself a serious disservice

afternote; had this at my New Years party, got kinda drunk (the one night a year), and although i had this first so i could enjoy it unimpaired, i found one last sip in the AM, and it got better with some time to breathe, richer and smoother.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2007 16:19:57 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to my buddy Russ for trading me this bottle. You told me that this would be one of the best beers I will ever have this year and you're probably right. Shared this one today with Kyle and a few other people at the Ballast Point 12th Anniversary Fest.

Pours a vibrant brown color with some ruby edges. Thin head on top with a skim ring on the edge.

Wow, lots of bourbon notes, raisins, brown sugar, and molasses are the first things I detect. Lots of sugary goodness in this beer, caramel and candied yams. This beer has a complex malt profile.

Again, wow. Dark fruits, cherry, sweet strawberry, and rum soaked raisins. Caramel and butterscotch in the aftertaste. Milk chocolate becomes more apparent after it warms up. The beer develops more of a nutty profile too, with roasted almonds in the aftertaste.

Such a smooth beer for 14.5% My only complaint would be that the finish is a tad too sweet. Still, this is one of the best, if not the best barleywine I've had so far. I easily took 20-25min finishing off my sample of this, I just didn't want it to be over.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 02:31:36 | More by seaoflament
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010-label says 15.1%
Clear with a brownish amber color, finger of head, looks great.
The aroma has prominant but not hot alcohol, it really is a full strong bourbon but not fusel at all, fantastic. Light vanilla with some earthy molasses. Just great aroma, this is awesome stuff.
Ah, take a sip and you will want to sip this every night, it's like a very refined and gentle bourbon, so gentle with alot of warmth. notes of brown sugar incorporate with the bourbon and vanilla and create the best 15%+ beer i think i have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 05:36:20 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of Thehuntmaster
Thehuntmaster

South Africa

4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle 15,1% Abv.
Served chilled in a snifter.
2010 Vintage

Appearance: Kuhnhenn BBBW (I’m not sure I like this abbreviation) appears mahogany brown in the glass, with a backlight revealing a beautiful deep ruby colour with bright golden edges. A rough pour yields a good sized beige coloured head that fizzes away quite quickly, leaving nothing in the way of lacing. A swirl coats the glass in heavy alcohol legs.

Smell: Mmmm, this smells phenomenal. Big bourbon notes, soft vanilla and buttery caramel just leap out of the glass as soon as the beer is poured. As the beer warms, the nose begins to open up, with notes of toasted coconut, oak, butterscotch, toasted malts, alcohol soaked raisins, cherries, brown sugar and an earthy, almost leathery note. The beer manages to hide its alcohol incredibly well, even at room temperature, there is almost no trace of the 15%.

Taste: Delicious, just delicious! The initial flavour is dominated by bourbon, vanilla and caramel, with brown sugar, oak, toasted coconut, bourbon-soaked raisins, cherry and toasted malt soon becoming apparent. As the beer warms, a lovely sweet maple syrup note emerges, alongside a little alcohol. About the only flaw in an otherwise world class flavour is the finish – it is lightly bitter and seems a little flat.

Mouthfeel: Kuhnhenn seem to nail the mouthfeel on all their big beers and this is no exception – full bodied, with a medium-low level of smooth carbonation.

Overall: Another phenomenal beer from Kuhnhenn – these guys seem to nail it every time! I hope I will be able to get this again in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 20:41:04 | More by Thehuntmaster
Photo of kevanb
kevanb

Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2013 vintage, poured into a Kuhnhenn Etched Snifter.

The beer pours a dark burgundy color, opaque, hazy and thick in texture, a taut, fizzy khaki head rises about a finger high from the the beer before receding nicely, leaving only a few touches of lace behind, which themselves wither and fade easily. The aroma is monstrous, tons of marshmallow character, toffee, oak, bourbon, charred wood, brown sugar, a bit of molasses, vanilla and some pitted fruit. It's huge, complex, sweet, savory albeit a bit astringent at the back end. The flavors are right in line, tons of rich malt, toasted marshmallow, burnt brown sugar, soft toffee, vanilla, raisin, bourbon, chewy oak, charred character, some light stone fruit, but boy does the barrel character shine here. Potent alcohol is also a big component but its really smooth, more of a warming character at the finish. The body is the one area of concern, its smooth and the carbonation is low, but it does feel a bit thin, and underwhelming. The finish is soft and mild, warm and sweet from the alcohol.

Verdict: A truly delicious Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Kuhnhenn and the best beer I've tried from them, surpassing BB4D, which I didn't think possible. The complexity is astounding on the tongue and the marshmallow character is wonderful. If only it had a richer, thicker body to carry the flavors. Cheers to Kuhnhenn for this masterclass.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 04:09:48 | More by kevanb
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Kuhnhenn Brewery, 12.27.2009.

Just stopped in to pick up one of the remaining bottles of Fourth Dementia (thanks to all the BA's who pointed this out in the Great Lakes forum), and we were lucky enough to catch the 2009 version of this on tap at the brewery.

7oz pour into a mini snifter.

A: Dark caramel with some closer-to-gold hues. Bronze and a small off-white slash tan head. Moderately transparent, and somewhat of a glow. Minimal lacing.

S: The smell is immediate bourbon. Underneath the bourbon comes a malty balance including caramel, raisins, a bit of dates, hints of vanilla, toffee, and a wee bit of oak. The bourbon was definitely one of the dominant flavors, but didn't quite overpower like it does with the Perfect Storm.

T: Much like the smell, and the complexity really hits you, with each sip revealing more flavors. As the beer warms, the bourbon mellows through, and out comes a bit of malt sweetness, some nice caramelization, toffee, and a bit of woodiness. A touch of spiciness as well.

M: Quite full bodied and the alcohol doesn't come through nearly as much as would be expected from a 14% beer. Nice and chewy throughout.

D: Very, very drinkable. It was quite sad running out of this, and I would absolutely love to get my hands on a bottle to see what a few years does to this one. As it is, I'm quite glad we were lucky enough to catch this one in time--props to my parents for deciding to move to MI and give my wife and I an excuse to stop by and try this one out.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2009 22:31:48 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of fartingdog
fartingdog

California

4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with very little carbonation. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, alcohol. Taste is big and complex- lots going on here. Malty sweetness, bourbon, vanilla, date, plums- it's a constant discovery severy sip. Mouthfeel seemed a bit thin at first, but as you sip it grows nicely. This is definitely one of those beers that gets better with every sip.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2007 22:54:49 | More by fartingdog
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A HUGE thanks to my boy Alex(masterski) for yet another hook up.

2005!!! version...A darkish brown, watery though, semi clear, not much carbonation...The aroma here is unreal, its almost all dark liquid brown sugar, so nice and sweet but with a bite, light wood on the finish, a little vanilla...The taste is almost equally amazing, brown sugar, vanilla is more pronounced, light wood finish. Super easy to drink.

This is the second best bw I've had, right below Wooden Hell.

2010 Version, unreal aroma that is Dr. Pepper mixed with pure malt, awesome.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2010 19:23:12 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 15:10:59 | More by Stevedore
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from my favorite brewery. from the tap.poured a dark brown with hints of mahogany around the edges nice tan head. aroma, plums, raisins, toffee, chocolate, malts, hints of wood, cherries, alcohol red wine flavors . flavor, licorice, honey, chocolate, toffee, malts, alcohol a nice blend of sweetness and bitterness. a nice smooth mouth feel. this is a kicken beer. WOW

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2004 22:23:03 | More by walleye
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release courtesy of Dlucky, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: A turgid, brackish, pond water amber, existing in that area right between ruby and brown sugar. On the one hand, you don't get too much out of the hue, because even holding it up to extreme light reveals very little chromatic character - it sports a dirty, hazy, completely opaque body, lying underneath a ring of dense but nonetheless wispy-looking lace, as if the slightest agitation might cause it to dissipate as quickly as the half-finger of lightly tanned head did. On the other hand, there's a sort of understated beauty to the color, how the burned orange hues around the edges of the glass transition beautifully in to the earthy garnet ambers nearer the center which themselves meld seamlessly in to the vast, darker core. The lacing is similar to that of a 14.5% abv barrel-aged barleywine - that is, there isn't any.

Aroma: Very aromatic, even from a distance, and one of the earthiest and most robust malt showcases I've ever smelled. What's most surprising about the nose is the near-complete lack of bourbon, which is only a surprise because of the overwhelming amount of bourbon you usually get out of these bourbon barrel barleywines. Only extreme agitation drags the faintest whiff of that earthy spirit spice out. What this one doesn't hide, however, are the barrel notes - coconut and vanilla are large, mingling with a nice woody earthiness. Brown sugar, molasses, raw sugar, and dark toffee provide a caramelized edge to compliment toast, earth, bread crusts, and even faint cocoa. Dark raisin and cherry notes in turn compliment a lighter citrusy hop note, though the hop component here is mostly earthy, herbal, slightly minty. The smell on this one is "heavy" - that is, you have to agitate it even after warming to truly get everything that's here - but once you coax it out, it proves well worth the effort. The complete lack of any hint of heat or spice just adds to the impressiveness.

Taste: Kuhnhenn's BBBBW starts off dry, and in fact stays dry throughout. This sets it apart from many other barleywines, and indeed many barrel-aged barleywines. The malt characteristics of the nose are very earthy, wholesome, and brown, and - though they do occasionally exhibit the above-mentioned brown sugar, lighter toffee, caramel, and molasses notes - are more inclined towards bread crusts, dry toast, and heavily-attenuated fruit sugars. The attenuation is a virtue, not a vice, and it's a complex, solid malt foundation, authentic, and ends up doing this beer wonders.

In a beer where the barrel characteristics had been less expertly crafted, the above might be a problem. Not so here. KB^4W's relative lack of malt showiness puts the remainder of this brew's mouth on parade for all to experience. Coconut, vanilla, oak esters, and wood sugars come through strongly, as does a less submissive bourbon presence, slightly heated, prickly, golden. The fruits here are more impressive still, with cherries, plums, dates, and raisins melding with the tropical fruit overtones imparted by the hops and the residual sweetness. Hop bitterness is large, but does get somewhat lost in the reason this one does lose half a point, a mild amount of boozy, spicy, warming (not hot) alcohol. Truth be told, what's more impressive is how faint and pleasant this heat really is, given its high numerical value, and in many ways it almost contributes more than it detracts. The remainder of the hop notes - earthy leather, wintergreen, pine, faint grapefruit and berry notes - meld with all the above notes in interesting and unique ways. They seem both mellowed and subdued while at the same time not being buried at all, likely a result of the aforementioned dryness.

Mouthfeel: An amazingly balanced body. This one's chewy, sure - what 14.5% abv barrel aged barleywine isn't? - but it's not nearly as thick or heavy or biting as you'd expect it to be. Instead, it's relatively attenuation makes for a smooth, not-too-sticky body, filled with tons of fine effervescence. The result is as creamy as you'd like, as crisp as you'd like, and truth be told fairly light for a beer of this magnitude, which definitely eases the (wanted) imposition that is the slew of aforementioned flavors.

Drinkability: A masterstroke from the enigmatic QC-challenged, dot-matrix label-applying genius of micro breweries, and likely the most drinkable 14.5% brew I've ever had. An amazingly mature brew, for two reasons: first, the alcohol heat is incredibly tame for its numerical equivalent; and second, the flavors are incredibly well-blended/balanced for the age of this beer, with everything complimenting and mingling with everything else in a way that you usually only see in a beer of this size at an age four times this one's age. A must have for barleywine fans, and I'm confident Wooden Hell ain't got shit on this beauty. Seek it out if you can - you won't be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2010 05:10:28 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of DanGeo
DanGeo

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

12-29-2013 12:46:09 | More by DanGeo
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

03-07-2014 05:59:35 | More by Schlais
Photo of Chris_Panos
Chris_Panos

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

02-18-2014 22:25:49 | More by Chris_Panos
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jaminjohnson

Yukon (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

11-27-2013 09:21:19 | More by jaminjohnson
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williamjbauer

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-12-2014 02:56:22 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of jtladner
jtladner

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-09-2014 23:32:46 | More by jtladner
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striker2160

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-21-2014 14:04:05 | More by striker2160
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mhenson42

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

09-05-2012 01:18:56 | More by mhenson42
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leschkie

California

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

07-11-2012 22:01:01 | More by leschkie
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FalconA

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

04-14-2013 22:32:16 | More by FalconA
Photo of beerhan
beerhan

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

11-08-2012 03:34:24 | More by beerhan
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beergorrilla

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-20-2014 03:11:48 | More by beergorrilla
Photo of Sisky
Sisky

California

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

02-05-2014 04:48:39 | More by Sisky
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bum732

Lesotho

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-09-2014 20:33:25 | More by bum732
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 471 ratings.