Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
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BA SCORE
95
world-class

188 Reviews
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Reviews: 188
Hads: 623
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 4.64%
Wants: 1,231
Gots: 133 | FT: 14
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: 188 | Hads: 623
Photo of justinp444
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter it pours a hazy darker amber brown with a quickly dissapating beige head. Smell is cherry, bourbon, leather, sweet malt, caramel and vanilla. Taste is much the same with earth, caramel, molasses, cherry, vanilla, oak, leather, lots of bourbon, sweet malt, toast, and a bit of chocolate. I am getting a little bit of butter, diacetyl, I think this bottle was infected. It has a crisp full mouth feel and a body. (432 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a recent trade with mikeyson4, thanks man. '14 vintage, aged in the barrel for an extra 4 months, apparently.

This one pours a medium dark clear amber, with no real head or lacing.

This smells just absolutely fantastic, huge caramel, brown bread, tons of bourbon and barrel, and toffee. The aroma is super super strong here.

As this warms, it becomes super super hot and boozy, but it still tastes quite good. So much caramel and vanilla, and a whole lot of bourbon. There's some astringent oak that I could just also be confusing with the astringent booze. There's some mild dark fruit, toasty brown bread, caramelized sugar, and some kinda earthy spices or something.

This is medium bodied, and fortunately remains not syrupy, which could get tiring. The 14.5% ABV is definitely present- warming and hot, hot, hot. A definite slow sipper.

An awesome and intense barleywine, I think this will age very well. As of now, it's very boozy, so that may fade with time. (988 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short Review. I've been wanting to try this beer for a very long time and I'm happy to finally get to try, it's very good and it lived up to my high expectations, the bourbon barrel is strong and the barlywine base is just what I want with some nice rich flavors that go well with bourbon barrel. I really need some bottles of this. Highly recommended if you like the style. It's a boozy sipper, but damn is it tasty. (422 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from IAmJacksHopTongue (many thanks!). 2014 vintage. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours an attractive reddish chestnut with less than a quarter finger cap of ecrue froth. Anything that would have been called head is gone soon after the pour. Some impressive legs form after a quick swirl but there is no lace to speak of.

Smells of sweet bourbon, vanilla, coconut, oak, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Those sweet aromas welcome a sip.

Sugars and booze drive the flavors. Bourbon, burnt sugar, toffee, caramel, vanilla, cereal grains, mild herbal bitterness, brown sugar, oak and a hefty whallop of alcohol. The flavors play well off of each other with nothing seeming out of place in the blend. Despite the undeniable heat this goes down with an ease that belies the 14.5% abv.

Full, almost syrupy feel with soft carbonation. The aftertaste is lingering, hot & sweet. Notes of bourbon, burnt caramel, toffee and a mild bitter herbaceousness.

Kuhnhenn has yet another excellent barrel aged offering with their Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. It comes accross as just a bit hot but is a pleasing quaff nonetheless. As with everything else I've had from Kuhnhenn, I was quite happy to have a chance to try this and would love to try one with a little age at some point. (1,293 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 2014 vintage.

Having this next to Aaron, this was quite disappointing. The beer was hot, watery with some spicy hops on the back. Some sweetness balances this beer out, but in general, tastes more towards an barrel aged American Barleywine. (243 characters)

Photo of blankenhoney
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
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 BarrytheBear
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Still pour with a wonderful nose of liquified butterscotch. Taste just can't match and is very brown sugar forward. A nice treat and surprise...thanks, Kyle! (157 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dad got me this one when they visited the brewery in MI a while back. Thanks heaps for going down there and picking me up some stuff. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white film that quickly recedes to a bubbly ring only. Clear, dark maroon red body with no carbonation evident. A slight ring remains leaving no lacing down the glass. Nice looking barleywine, though the head could leave a bigger mark on the experience.

SMELL: Piles of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, caramel and toffee on the nose. Hints of milk chocolate as well. Very barrel heavy, but very complex and enticing as well. Great.

TASTE: Excellent. Oak, bourbon, alcohol in just the right amount, red fruits and caramel sweetness up front. A big and flavorful finish of bourbon, oak, vanilla, more caramel and toffee, with light notes of milk chocolate lingering on the palate. Very bold and flavorful with some well measured alcohol tying it all together.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Really, really good. Quite strong of course, but the alcohol never overpowers. Lots of aroma and flavor all over the place and a good feel to support the show. A great bourbon barrel aged barleywine; very much enjoyed this. Thanks again dad! Highly recommended. (1,442 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A perfect BA Barleywine. This beer really brought me from BA stouts over to BA Barleywine. When done well, the extra hardiness brings a little extra flavor and enjoyment to the overall profile. (195 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 winter solstice release
The beer pours much darker than the regular barleywine - a very dark brown with a loose off-white/slightly grayish head and no sediment. The nose has deep notes of bourbon, leather & raisins, slight booze, and mild sweetness/fruit when it warms. The taste is a rush of barrel flavors, heavy on the oak tannins and bourbon caramel (definitely more more balanced as it warms) that transitions into the warming caramel/vanilla notes in time. It's full bodied, bold, and slightly syrupy with minimal carbonation with some harsher oak bitterness, which cuts deeply into the beer's bready body and leaves burning ethanol on the palate after each sip. I prefer the regular FGR barleywine in mouthfeel, but think this will not disappoint someone looking for big barrel notes in a bbbw. (806 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter glass at Churchkey DC.

A deep mahogany to dark chestnut brown along the edges. Only a thin presence of tan bubbles but very tiny and uniform makes a collar around. Looks a lot like King Henry. Seems it might be a bit thin also.

Quite a warm but not too boozy nose. Light oak, heat, and this large sense of nutty tannic quality.

Palates comes with a bit of a surprise. Big wetness and not much round oak aging character in the feel, for a barrel aged beer. Flavors do come out to play though. Dark chocolate comes out quite a bit more with some alcohol like a bottle of Godiva liqueur. There's a great sense of chocolate macadamia nuts all rolled into this almost like a bottle of Frangelico as well. Subsequent sips come in with lots of stomach alcohol warmth.

Overall though it doesn't have enough beer style character and is slightly heavy on the booze. But it's got impressive flavors to round out everything else going on. (960 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger head that tries to leaves some lacing.

S-Bourbon, malt, caramel, some dark fruits, toffee.

T-Really good balance. Starts with nice bourbon and oak. Then malt and caramel, good deal of dark fruits, some smoke notes, mild bitterness.

M-Medium to heavy in body, nice carbonation

O-An amazing beer, nice balance. One of of the better BA barleywines out there. (392 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to rudzud for sharing this interesting beast.
2011 vintage.

Pours no head, like nooo head, light legs but not as clingy as I thought, murky weird molasses maroon color.

Nose is incredible, bourbon city, tons of toffee and caramel, nutty, a nice soft aged malt thing too, bit of a raisin and brandy soaked raisin, very light booze warmth, touch of vanilla barrel and great bourbon. Just a faint hint of oxidation which keeps it from epic status.

Taste starts great but has a weird flavor, slight bbq like sauce but very light, perhaps oxidation. Other than that very nice, tons of bourbon and mild vanilla barrel, lots of toffee, caramel, little molasses, more brandy soaked raisin, mild bitterness too. Finish is nice, bit more bitter, hint of warming booze, more toffee, brandy raisins, bourbon and little barrel.

Mouth is a bit thin but not too syrupy, how it has so much and yet not too heavy or boozy, but too light on the carb.

Overall great, just that one bbq sauce possible oxidation thing, otherwise nice bourbon, toffee, brandy raisin, malts, etc. (1,075 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a rather deep chestnut hue that is not see through. Next to no head, tiny thin wisps.

S - Aromas of bourbon galore, tons of caramel, toffee, alcohol soaked raisins. This smells super enticing. The alcohol is super faint, which is awesome.

T - Taste is bourbon caramels galore, malty sweetness, light raisins. Maybe dinner slight oxidation. No detectable ABV, not hot at all. Quite tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is rather flat, super lightly carbonated. The alcohol though is super hidden. Very well done.

O - Overall this beer was a bit disappointing, probably should have drank it last year. (649 characters)

Photo of kevanb
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (1,409 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.61/5  rDev +7%
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. (525 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a big beer. Pours a deep mahogany with tangerine hues. Nose is superb. Like a rich candy: toffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate. A bit of golden raisins and figs come out too. Bourbon comes out nicely in the finish. Really nicely done. Sweet, rich, and smooth. A beer of epic proportions. Thanks for opening this Joe! (325 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
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 Thehuntmaster
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (1,620 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.33/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I found some old notes, I mention its a 2005 bottle and it was 5 years old so I'm guessing this was from Sunday of the British Open at hoser's Aug, 2010

A light brown until held to the light then it has a reddish glow, no much for head or lace

S big molasses, some smokey earth, teryaki, raisin, and soy

T more of the same, a little sweet, tastes more like a stir-fry sauce then a barley wine, not bad but a little disappointing

M flat and a little sticky, some heat but not to bad

O Meh, for a 5 year old BB barley wine I expected a little more considering who brewed it

I think Trevor (presario) brought this one, its not everyday I find three year old notes, then again it's not everyday I clean out the closet (721 characters)

Photo of Hugonaut13
4.86/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into snifter. 2011 vintage

A - Pours a very dark murky brown with a hint of burgundy when held to the light. Zero carbonation to speak of.

S - Oh. My. God. Melted toffee, caramel, vanilla, and booze. Fills the room with this smell. Very strong and I don't want to take it away from my nose.

T - Amazing. Follows the nose but the barrel is more integrated. Liquid caramel sex. Figs, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla, followed with some light bourbon. It's like having a decadent dessert with a dram of high end bourbon neat on the side.

M - This is a sipper. Alcohol, although plays very well here, is obvious. Coats your mouth on each sip. My last sip was 8 minutes ago and I still taste it. Zero carb, and that is NOT an issue here. This beer is an event.

O - I'm blown away. The flavors here are so well integrated and complement each other perfectly. This is a huge beer that you'll want to take your time with. This is a BA Barleywine that other BA Barleywines should strive to be. (1,009 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (2,274 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thank you to liamt07 for this big big want. 2012 bottle.

Appearance pours a very hazy, deep rusty brown with a very thin collar, no real head to speak of.

Smell. Sweet creamy caramel and toffee, brown sugar and bourbon, just a hint of dark fruit. Sweet and delicious. The bourbon is a nice level, not overwhelming.

Taste. Sweet creamy caramel and toffee again, brown sugar, a little bit of molasses, vanilla and a bit of woody bourbon.

Mouthfeel. Very thick but not too sticky, low carbonation.

Overall. Fantastic stuff. Pretty much a benchmark for a BB bwine. (572 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 6.3.13

2011 Vintage

A - Pours a dark brown with a few dark tan bubble that disapper instantly.

S - Booze, dark fruit, plums.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, vanilla - Amazing!

D - Low carbonation with a heavier body.

O - Didn't smell that great, but the layers of flavors are amazing. So good and inviting. Delicious. (341 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (515 characters)

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.