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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: 647
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 15.9%
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 193 | Hads: 647
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of StrongRepublican
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich and bright shade of amber with red and golden accents. Virtually no discernible head, but a very thin pale collar. Huge sticky legs drape the edge of the glass. Closer in appearance to a well aged bourbon than a beer.
S: Massive oak and toffee, lots of sweetness, some dusty chocolate/cocoa powder, burnt sugar, and molasses with some booze/alcohol notes at the end.
T: Boozy, no question about that, the alcohol hits up front with a punch that combines with massive burnt sugar and charred oak to explode across the palate. Toffee/vanilla/caramel follows with hints of dark fruits - cherries and plums mainly - and cocoa/molasses/leather/tobacco. The barrel dominates throughout the very long finish even over the sweetness and booze.
M: Slightly thinner than expected but has a definitely syrupy note, lots of residual sugars. Carbonation is medium, slightly low, but perfect for the style. Just a tad more body would be nice.
O: This is exactly what I expect from a BA Kuhnhenn beer - deep and complex, incredibly sweet and chewy, lots of alcohol but not overwhelmingly boozy. Very well crafted.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle also had on-tap at the Solstice Party

a - pours a deep copper color with a minimal ivory head, slightly hazy but fairly clear, retention around the edges only and not much lacing

s - big caramel malt aroma mixed with vanilla, oak and big bourbon notes, the alcohol is prominent but not overwhelming

t - as with the aroma, big toasty and sweet caramel flavor up front with considerable oak and vanilla flavors on the mid-palate, big bourbon notes on the finish with some toast and oak mixed in, alcohol is pretty powerful but it works with the flavor profile, that said, I think this would benefit from sitting in the bottle for a bit longer, very complex

m - full-bodied and low carbonation, fairly sweet and hot finish, big alcohol warming effect

d - the definition of a sipper, but that's what the style is all about, I give it points for being interesting and complex, this beer also evolves as it sits in the glass

Really, really good beer overall. I have a few bottles of the 2005 that I look forward to trying to see what this might evolve into over time. Reminds me a bit of the Perfect Storm but a bit hotter.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.6/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of timc100
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a murky mahogany brown; no head, no lacing

S: Smells of sweet sticky bourbon-infused caramel/toffee; strong woody notes pervade the background with hints of bananas, figs, and leather. Smells incredible

T: Deliciously sweet bourbon-y maple syrup, candied dark fruits, smoky wood. The flavors are strong and perfectly balanced

M: Med-thin viscosity, oily, slick; very slight hint of booze on the tongue, but warms nicely as it goes down. This is the only aspect of this beer that falls short, as I would have liked a thicker, chewier mouthfeel

O: This beer is beyond fantastic, definitely the second best barleywine I've ever had behind King Henry. Highly recommended

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Photo of Phelps
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was sent to me by seeswo during the Blind Beers BIF. The blind 2011 vintage 12-ounce was poured into a snifter and reviewed blind.

The liquid runs out of the bottle a thin caramel-brown but darkens once in the glass to a cloudy burnt hue. What head does appear comes late and is extremely thin, fizzling away after just a second.

In the nose, I get good amounts of butterscotch, smooth vanilla, oak and toffee. Sweet, sugary dark cherries and maple syrup emerge upon closer inspection.

Wow. I wasn’t expecting the sweet, malty flavors this is delivering, but that doesn’t detract from their glory. In equal amounts I get toffee, cherries and sugared orange slices. Oak, grape and a pinch of nutty almond are behind that. Citrus notes surge at the swallow, but are swiftly overtaken by lingering toasted oak and subtle chocolate.

Carbonation is light but prickly, awakening the tongue to the brilliant flavor and playing nicely off the bright citrus. The body is luscious, thick and smooth, yet it doesn’t weigh down the palate all that much. There’s hardly any alcohol heat, which I have a feeling I’ll be surprised at when I take of this beer’s wrapper.

Incremazing. Brilliant, smooth flavors and an amazing balance between citrusy barleywine notes and barrel-aging. This is without a doubt the best BA barleywine I’ve ever had, and a perma-want has been set.

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Photo of nyctreal
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$6 for a wine glass serving at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY. Apparently it was illegally trucked in by an anonymous individual. Well kudos to that individual and to the folks here for letting us in on the secret. Pretty sure when this one is kicked, that's it. By far one of the best Barley Wines I've had, with the bourbon barrel in no way overpowering the original flavors of the beer. So I'd clearly recommend getting over to try it out. And of course this is privileged info to be kept between you and me, and any one else who would use the knowledge for good.

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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).

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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

big thanks to bierenutz for hooking this one up. put a 2010 and 2011 in the fridge, starting out with the 2010 and will hopefully move onto the 2011, but after 15.1%, not sure i'll be able to tackle a 14.5%, but hey, it IS monday...isn't it? enjoyed out of my kuhnhenn snifter.

a - popped the bottle and filled my glass, the brew poured a rich mahogany caramel color with a fingers worth of greyish creamy head that fizzled away in less than a minute leaving a small ring of bubbly head around the surface of the brew. no lacing to speak of whatsoever. pretty much what i'd expect for a beer this big.

s - as soon as i popped the bottle i could smell this gem. in a word perfection. caramel soaked in bourbon. a really perfect blend. great sweetness. nuttiness. really just a magical blend. the heat is invisible in the nose.

t - the taste is just as spectacular as the nose, but the heat is a bit more evident. for a 15.1% beer though, this is WELL hidden. excellent english barleywine with toffee and caramel like malts.

m - the heat can really be felt in the aftervibe. my mouth tingles with delight of the booze that has just gone down my gullet. SUPER smooth...super amazing.

o - overall, i am blown away. all this talk of king henry and abacus/sucaba, and even BB4D to a large extent. where are the people screaming from the rooftops about BBBW (i do know that there are a few of you out there though). can't wait to rip open the 2011...the plan is to open it when i have an ounce or two of this left for comparison. fingers crossed that i can handle all that dynomite brew tonight.

*** ** ***
2011 (side-by-side with a few ounces of 2010 saved for comparison)

a - 2011 looks a bit deeper and darker and more purple.

s - there is a distinct difference in the smell, the 2010 clearly carries more booze when compared to the 2011, but both hide it magnificently. the 2011 has a stronger sweetness presence, but the 2010 is far more complex (and also warmed up a bit, so perhaps things will change). much more nutmeg in the 2011.

t - wow, the 2011 might taste better. in the side-by-side, the 2010 tastes much more boozy. the 2011 is just phenomenal (both are really). both are balanced amazingly. both exhibit everything you want in an english barleywine and HUGE ABVs that are well masked and masterfully crafted.

m - just as smooth as the 2010, the booze is just as well hidden. the 2011 clearly has less booze in a side-by-side.

o - choosing a favorite between the two is like choosing a favorite child...just not possible. they each have characteristics that are amazing and both have similarities that are just top of the heap.

ISO more of this beer.

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

Purchased at the brewery - summer 2007. I've been looking forward to trying this. The aroma can be detected from across the room. There is a great play between dark fruity goodness, sweet caramel, hints of alcohol and woody bourbon-ness. The flavor is a sweet kiss on the lips with figs, dates, minced raisins soaking in molasses and an absolutely delicious river of caramel candy. A pleasant warming sensation does show up around the finish. Competing with the barleywine flavors but a couple notches below in strength is a bourbon and wood sensation. Very nice compliment creating an enjoyable experience. The after taste is a mix of dark fruit, caramel and hints of wood. The only knock I could find would be the body. It's a bit too thin. Sure hope they plan on making more this next winter.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage. Big thanks to Urbancaver for hooking me up.

3.5 A: Murky dark brown color. Just a quarter finger of tannish head than falls quickly and leaves very little lacing. Kuhnhenn has little time to worry about their beers asthetics.

5.0 S: Aggressive, complex, yet extremely complementary. Thick, rich caramel and toffee. Huge raisin, tobacco, plum, prune, and date slap the smell receptors silly. Only mildy boozy despite the huge ABV. Bourbon and barrel add more complexity to an already superbly complex base. Leather, light peat, earth, and melon fruits in addition to oak and vanilla from the barrel.

4.5 T: Tastes like the nose, but isn't as aggressive (how could it be, really?). Huge raisin, prune, tobacco, plum and all that jazz. Again the booze is hidden very well. Big sweetness, but nothing out of hand and definitely not Bruery level. Leather, peat, earth, melon, vanilla, oak. Wonderful taste.

4.5 M: Heavy body. Carbonation is on the lower end of acceptable. Rich, palpable thickness without necessarily being overly chewy.

5.0 D: A taste could have also been a 5.0, so I'll add it here. Really wonderful beer. Kuhnhenn are masters at hiding booze while delivering the amount of flavor that you can only get from a huge ABV beer. Not quite as good as BB4D, but damn close.

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Photo of GoGriz
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love Bourbon Barrel Barleywines and some just taste better than others. This is one of them.

Pours a super dark copper color with a thin filmy head that hangs around for a bit. The smell is of fig and dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel bourbony goodness. Hints of vanilla follow. The flavor is like the nose only balanced by a mild hop presence at the back end. My only knock on this beer is that it could be more decadent (a heavier, more extreme flavor profile) and I would imagine that in time it will be. I have an 08' that I will drink and compare this with later. Mouthfeel is perfect with a good creamy heft and nice carbonation. Drinkability is hard to judge...can you give a 15% beer a 5 on drinkability?

Do yourself a favor and track this down. If this beer was a woman, well you know....

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Photo of Viggo
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at Mondial de la Biere 2007. They give generous samples at the Petit Pub. 8 or so ounces for $5 CDN.

Pours a hazy caramel brown, thin off white head, lace spots, decent retention, head eventually disappears though. Smell is wow. Toffee, bourbon, alcohol, very rich, dates raisons, amazing. Taste is too. Sweet toffee, buttery oak, bourbon, dates, more toffee, bit of citrus, alcohol, super caramelized oaky vanilla goodness, just insane good. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation, hot going down, just right. Kuhnhenn is amazing.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 bottle into a Birra del Borgo tulip. Huge thanks to Knifestyles for sharing this fantastic beer.

A: Practically still, hazy orange body. While the lack of carbonation is a bit off-putting at first, closer observation reveals how richly the beer coats the glass with rich, symmetrical legs. This looks more like a fine whisky than a beer, and it's intoxicatingly appealing.

S: So rich, so insane. Vanilla and bourbon are the predominant notes, but it's so much more than that. The complexity is so great it calls for a narrative to explain it: this beer smells like a marshmallow that got toasted and lightly burnt in a cherry-wood fire, was extinguished in moist, leafy soil, and was then kept in a raw oak box full of fine small-batch bourbon. Yeah, it's that awesome.

T: How can something so boozy be so good? Smooth, rich, and sweet. Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, earthiness, tobacco, leather, and straight alcohol. Terrific.

M: Slick, substantial, and prickly with alcohol heat.

O: This is the third time I've been fortunate enough to taste this beer, but my encounter with the '09 vintage. It's significantly more complex and drinkable than the '10, but of course the '10 is a bit stronger, and also amazing. Whatever crazy things the Kuhnhenn people do to make this beer, they need to keep on doing it. I've never had a barrel-aged barleywine that manages to be so ridiculously dense with flavor while reining in the booze so elegantly; even though a couple ounces of this beer lasts a long, long time, I have no doubt that I could easily put back an entire bottle without losing the least bit of interest and excitement. It's only rival in this class of beer is Kuhnhenn's own Bourbon Barrel 4th Dementia, and I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite. I guess I'll just have to try to them side-by-side someday!


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Photo of hoppymeal
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber to brown and clear with the slightest flash of some cream colored carbonation that fades back in an instant. Aroma is rich sweet maltiness, prunes, raisins, cherries, aged overripe fruit, and coconutty alcohol. Nose is a good indicator of taste here as the beer is incredibly rich and sweet. Bourbon comes thru in the taste but only very lightly, a little cola flavor is evident which mixes with the sweet sugary fruity and pruney maltiness. There is alcohol evident in the taste as well, no real bite, just a nice mellow warmth. Fairly full in body, the carbonation is definitely low as evidenced on the pour, there is a nice tingle on the tongue that balances the sweetness and some dryness in the warming finish. This beer was absolutely incredible for me, one of those that every smell was as good as the first and every taste made me say wow. A nice sweet night cap, and even though the alcohol content is quite high I savor each drop and know I could definitely drink more of this.

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Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2005 batch that has been in my cellar since release.

This is a dense, deep garnet, opaque and just plain dirty looking with almost no carbonation.

Nose is wonderful, full of dried sweet fruits of date, raisin, prune, and fig with large toffee reserves and caramel. Hints of milk chocolate, than a burst of vanilla and bourbon too round things out.

Beers really don't get much better than this. The bourbon and vanilla character is very well done and just adds a layer of complexity to the rich malt backbone instead of taking the lead role like so many barrel aged beers do. Tastes almost identical to the nose with a bit of acidity and warmth in the mouth and chest. Love english style barley wines and this one is one of the best I've ever had. Very sweet but not cloying, the epitome of an after dinner/dessert beer.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mega thanks goes out to Mothman, for sharing this with me. 6 oz of this whale, all to myself!

Pours a amber orangish color, clear with some flaky sediment. Poured with a head, but shrinks and disappears. Leaves little to no lacing.

The nose is strong and intense. Big woody notes. I don't get a ton of bourbon here, or booze for that matter. Just a dry, oaky, caramely, malty barleywine. It smells fantastic.

Sitting here now reviewing this, I'm kind of amazed that the ABV on this is so high. I never imagined it was this high when I was enjoying it. Being the last beer of the night, one could argue my senses were skewed. I beg to differ, as we sipped on some low ABV sours for quite some time before cracking into this night cap. And boy was it a night cap...

The taste is great...brown sugar and caramel, oak and malts, sweet toffee and vanilla. Again, literally no alcohol, it's incredibly well hidden amongst the layers of intense flavors. It's different every time I take a sip, and evolves as it warms. This was sipped and savored over the course of half an hour or so.

About medium in body, with a pefect carbonation level. Smooth and slightly boozy in the feel. I only say that because you can feel the heat in your throat and stomach, it's just hard for me to taste actual alcohol. Drinkability is probably criminally dangerous.

Obviously, a world class beer. One I will probably never get to try again. The beer exceeds the hype on this one. If you don't like this beer, then BA Barleywine's just aren't for you, as this is the top of it's class. Thanks Ben for this once in a lifetime chance!

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Photo of mothman
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage

Big thanks to eyebrews for sending this one out

Pours hardly any beige head. Color is an amazing bright ruby hued mahogony brown. This beer is glowing. Very appealing.

Aroma: Sweet and malty. Caramel and toffee. Big oak flavors. Bourbon is subtle but a perfect amount for the beer. Raisins and dark dried fruit notes in there as well. Perfect.

Taste: More bourbon up front. Rich caramel and toffee. Big oak flavors again. Reminds me a bit of cedar. Vanilla comes out here. The flavors blend very well. A little hot, but not bad.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Fairly large bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry with some bourbon notes. Very well done.

Overall, a damn fine ba bwine. A little hot, but still very well done.I don't really mind the small amount of heat for the style. They tops many ba bwines I have had. I really want more.

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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.

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4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Noah1 for the bottle. 2011 Vintage.
12oz bottle to tulip.
Sampled 07MAR13

[A] Pours a very dark crimson - just a few shades away from black. Rather still in the glass, there is a nothing more than a single strand of fine bubbles arranged around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

[S] Rich, plump, overly ripe dark fruits with a hint of earthy soil and old leather. Surprisingly low alcohol presence. A faint tea-like herbal quality comes through as well, probably due to the age more than anything else. The bourbon barrel made the invite list but is not the star of the party.

[T] The sugary malt sweetness displays amazing depth. Buttery caramel, dark brown sugar and dark molasses - just a phenomenally complex balance between sweetness and bitterness. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink. How in the world did they manage to remove nearly every last trace of alcohol and heat? It's dumbfounding honestly.

[M] Easily a 5. This is one of the thickest, chewiest mouthfeels I've ever come across. Gentle carbonation starts at the beginning of the palate and helps to lift the the slick and syrupy texture. Completely cloying...just the way a big, 14.5% barleywine should be. I absolutely love it.

[O] This beer is nothing short of world class. And I want more.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a growler recently procured at the Kuhnhenn Brewery. Color is that of a dirty, crusty, many years old penny, murky brown with just a bit of light coming through. No filtering here whatsoever, I can tell this is going to be one filthy beast of a barleywine, I love it already. The huge aroma is sweet and fills the air with boozey bourbon and soft rotting fruit, sweet and just a bit tart. Notes of sticky molasses and vanilla. I can’t pick out anything singularly hoppy in the aroma, but I know they’re buried somewhere in the melee.
Taste starts out with a rich blend of bourbon soaked plums, raisins, dates, and over-ripe fermenting autumn fruit, once it’s started to brown and fall from the tree to be beset upon by bees. Fruit notes taper off in a perfect tartness as sweet caramel syrup begins to drip off your tongue as the murky malt mixture takes over in the middle. Body is just a bit on the heavy side, consistency is thick enough to make this almost a meal in itself, chewy and delicious. Finish stokes a slowly building fire out of smoldering oak logs, leaving you with a nice warm burn and bewilderment as to how they packed so much complex flavor in this amazing creation. Bourbon is present throughout this beer but perfectly complements rather than dominates the malt and hop flavors. Drinks dangerously smooth as well. Excellently crafted, Kuhnhenn amazes me once again.

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