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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
96
world-class
202 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
202
Ratings:
721
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
16.36%
 
 
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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 721
Photo of rlee1390
4.34/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of rudzud
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of kevanb
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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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 DmanGTR
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
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!

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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.

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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 wordemupg
3.33/5  rDev -23.3%
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

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Photo of Hugonaut13
4.86/5  rDev +12%
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.

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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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Photo of Rutager
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
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 Alieniloquium
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Poured vigorously with just a few khaki bubbles. Mostly flat otherwise. Deep red brown with a bit of sediment at the end of the pour.

Smell - Excellent barrel character. Bourbon, lots of charred oak, vanilla. Deep brown sugar. Oxidation has started, but it adds instead of detracts at this point.

Taste - Immediate bourbon alcohol bite. Lots of brown sugar and vanilla. Oak even more present here. There is a slight acidic twang from the barrel, too. Just a little bitterness in the back.

Mouthfeel - Well it's nearly flat. It's also boozy, but I don't mind that so much.

Overall - An immense beer in every respect. Incredible.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle in a trade with deyholla. Poured 2/12/13. Deep amber brown pour, somewhat cloudy, and with no head whatsoever. Aroma of plums, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, and toffee. Nice. Hot bourbon up front that smooths into a very sweet vanilla toffee on the back of the palate. Long lingering oaky vanilla. Medium to heavy on the palate. Alcohol warmth is there, but not overly boozy. Never had a fresh one so it could be the age. Unexpectedly smooth for 15.1%. A top barley wine for me.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle into snifter. Thanks for sharing Justin.

Pours a near flat caramel color without any head or sign of bubbles. Caramel, vanilla, leather and tobacco fill my nose with a decent splash of bourbon. Taste follows suit with very smooth flavors. Tobacco and bourbon are warming in the aftertaste. The alcohol is hidden very well despite being nearly 15% and this drinks crazy well. A rich, smooth and sweet (but not cloying) barrel aged sipper. Thanks again Justin.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.64/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes.

The color is a ruby caramel brown with a transparent tan edge. A small off-white cap leaves only an island after a few moments.

The aroma is sweet, deep, and complex. Bourbon, caramel, lots of vanilla, and oak.

The flavor unwraps slowly, bringing out new layers as it warms. Caramel, toffeet, and a bit of bready malt contribute to a sweet front. There is some oak and vanilla next. As the sip comes to a close, a bourbon presence really steps up and dominates. It causes some tingling of the tongue, burn in the back of the throat, and warming of the stomach. I can handle a strong bourbon presence, but this is almost over the top. It might get better with some significant age on it.

Other than that, this is a big-bodied barleywine, with enough booze and intensity to take on the strongest beer aficionado.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at Kuhnhenns.

appearance- brownish and no visible head upon serving. slight lacing along the sides as i drank.

smell-mostly bourbony as expected. other than that I smelled vanilla and some toffee maybe a little bit of weaker fruits such as figs.

taste- the bourbon is definitely the strongest and the first taste but it is quickly followed by the vanilla and the barleywine style. toffee and vanilla are the most prevalent. the alcohol comes in strong in this brew but it is expected and balanced well by the other tastes

mouthfeel- medium to thicker body and low carbonation. its not to thick for a bourbon barleywine and not overly sticky. overall it felt very good as a sipper.

overall- great beer. not dominated by the bourbon but not understated. a good and tasty bourbon barleywine. the strength in taste comes as bourbon but the vanilla and toffee catch up easily. my first kuhnhenns and definitely not my last! a good and balanced bourbon barleywine. easliy worth the price i paid (~$8 per 12 oz)

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Photo of Chaney
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presently, this is the #9 ranked English Barleywine here on BA.

2010 Vintage served in a snifter.

A: Poured a saturated, caramel color, with a bit of ruby highlights poking through. The slight, marshmallow looking head was but a mere ring around the brew, but had tremendous staying power.

S: Just flat out awesome! Sort of a caramel-nut-butterscotch combo. The nuttiness was obviously the bourbon. This definitely was designed as dessert fodder, completely devoid of pine, citrus, and anything that might be considered a solvent.

T: Caramel-toffee and then some, with a bit more hoppy bitterness than I was expecting, but that worked its magic in terms of cutting through the intense sugariness. Strong for sure, yet quite delectable.

M: I've never tasted this fresh, but I have a hunch that it was quite a bit sweeter than this. Sure, this was post dinner fare, but I certainly wouldn't classify this as an outright sugar bomb. The carbonation had only a tinge of prickle and some lacing was left behind after a gentle swirl.

O: This is truly one of the best brews I've had all year, possible in the last few.

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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 trxxpaxxs
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed this blind, thanks to abraxel... 2011 vintage...

A: Pours a murky brown, with absolutely no head at all, just some thin whisps across the top of the beer. No lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is sweet of malt, caramel, figs, dates, and vanilla. It’s a nice mélange of those notes.

T: It’s sweet to start, with the beer getting a little funky in the middle (but in a good way). I get malt and caramel up front. I get the fruit notes (fig and date) in the middle, and I get some seaweed like funk in the back end. Seaweed notes tend to turn me off, but this is actually really pleasant.

M: Full bodied beer. Sweet and syrupy, coating, and mild linger on the back end. Not an easy drinker, but it’s very enjoyable.

O: Really nice beer. I’d have to be in the mood to want to open this beer, but it’s really good.

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Photo of papat444
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***2011 Vintage***

Thanks to Masterski for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: A rusty brown body with minimal head though it does leave a nice slick sheet as the glass is tilted.

Smell: Intense, sweet fruit notes, pungent plums and apricot, bourbon is a nice compliment and it's not too boozy.

Taste: I taste a wave of flavors: bourbon, oak, dark cherries (no tartness), sweet berries, smoky wood, coconut. There's probably more but this is really good.

Mouthfeel: First sip lets you know what this is as it is a bit boozy but not overly heavy. Ultra smooth in the palate remarkably.

Overall: A top notch barleywine. Could use a few of these for the upcoming winter :)

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Photo of joefuzz
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown with a red tint with a very small light brown head that fades to a ring of bubbles clinging to the rim of the glass.

Smells of sweet bourbon and vanilla pods with plenty of malt.

Tastes has a lot of raisins and over ripe plums up front that fades to a vanilla bourbon and some slight char, slight warming down the throat from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick and carbonation is very low...but it fits this beer perfectly.

Overall this is a amazing example of the style it is everything I could ask for in a BA barleywine and it comes in a 12oz awesome sipper.

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.