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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
99
world-class

538 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 538
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,186
Gots: 101 | FT: 8
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 538 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mulder1010
4.05/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip
Got in Black booty volume 5
shared with mrkennedy ( good idea in retrospect)

A-- Poured a deep, dark amber brown. Great looking ruby hues to this. Little to no head at all. Just a thin layer of film with this. Lots of spotty lacing on the sides of the glass and ABV legs.

S-- Holy crap!!! Rich bourbon, total kick in the ass smell. Big amounts of bourbon, melted brown sugar, Carmel, vanilla, toasted oak and dark fruits. Spent several minutes just smelling the nose on this.

T-- Matches the nose but bigger. Sublime taste as just blends very well together with the barrel. Still get the dark fruits and bits of strawberry jam. Not a lot of hops so a dead give away that this is more slanted to an English Barleywine. Kick ass beer.

M-- Rich, thick, decadent. Sublime really. Silky smooth. Biggest fault is the obvious alcohol. Very obvious sipper, still quite smooth though. Heavy feel and low carbonation. Honestly a beast of a beer.

O-- Damned good. One is enough though. Heck, honestly this beer is a monster. Would love to have again. Not as good or as rounded as MOAS, or older vintages of Arctic Devil but pretty much a world class beer worth looking for and hording as much as possible

Photo of BostonHops
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a murky, deep amber / mahogany tone while yielding no head. as others have noted, for a big EBW this comes as no surprise. nose is outstanding with a huge bourbon wallop right off the bat followed by bold notes of caramel, brown sugar, then some vanilla, oak, and a dark fruit presence.

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

overall, outstanding. very tasty barrel aged EBW. one to sip and savor.

(originally reviewed: 01-30-2012)

Photo of jethrodium
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a dark brown with very small white head that settles to a ring and leaves close to no lacing on the glass. The aroma is big caramel, toasted marshmallow, bourbon, toasted oak, and vanilla. The taste is sweet with oak, caramel, bourbon, toasted marshmallow, and vanilla. The finish has a bit of lingering oak. Medium-full body. Low carbonation. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of s1ckboy
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottle. Another amazing extra from Jack.

A - light brown body, less than a finger of off white head.

S - Sugary candy, caramel, alcohol (bourbon).

T - Bourbon, caramel, toffee, some dark fruits, a tiny bit of citrus on the back end (from the hops?). Very sweet.

M - Medium. Low carbonation, works good for the style.

Fantastic. Probably the best barleywine I've tried so far. Took me by surprise.

Photo of billab914
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with just a trace amount of white lacing around the edges of the glass.

The aroma really mixes the barleywine and bourbon barrel flavors well. Notes of caramel, toffee, fig and cherry come out and are complimented excellently by the bourbon, brown sugar, oak and vanilla. Perfect balance of beer and barrel flavors and a fantastic aroma overall.

The bourbon really comes out in the taste. Brown sugar, slightly boozy bourbon, caramel, cherry and plum are all things that come to mind. A nice oaky vanilla flavor comes out in the finish as well as some balancing bitterness helping it from becoming overly sweet. Again, the beer and barrel flavors seem really well balanced and complimenting of each other.

The mouthfeel feels a little thin, but the lack of almost all carbonation could be contributing to that. I like low carbonation in beers like this though, so I'm not really complaining.

Overall I thought it was a really great beer. The barleywine flavors were really good, the bourbon was really good and together they complimented each other excellently. Overall, it really comes together well and was definitely one of the better barrel aged versions of the style I've had.

Photo of portia99
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2010 vintage - 15.1% ABV) poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A - Pours an astonishingly clear and bright mahogany color that is just beautiful in the glass. A small fizzy and soda-like head makes a brief appearance before falling to the surface leaving only the thinnest of collars on the edge of the glass. Fizziness and lack of any lasting head are minor detractors here sadly.

S - Smooth brown sugar, caramel, vanilla bean...almost like creme brulee in overall effect. A bit of burnt sugar comes on with a mild bourbony alcohol hit rounds things out. This smells outstanding!

T - Very nice and well rounded flavors. First sip hits with rich caramel and brown sugar surrounded by smooth bourbon. Quite vanilla'y, overall sweet and dessert-like with hints of raisins. Alcohol is evident but exceptionally smooth.

M - Body is medium-full and carbonation is tingly but still at a relatively low level. Alcohol is quite smooth, but there is no doubt about the 15% here. Quite a sipper...it is boozy and almost spirit like. There is a definite warmth and tingle left on the lips and tongue from the alcohol. Very much a dessert in a glass.

O - Overall, an excellent BA Barleywine...barreling is well done. Hops really don't play much of a role in the beer at all - the barrel is the balancing element against the sweetness of the malt. The malt is candy-like, sweet and complex with many different sugary impressions made. The bourbon gives this a kick that it needs and really cuts thru the sweetness to bring this back into balance. Very well done...but I didn't really expect anything less from this one.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of resistdefy
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Romulux
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of TimP2115
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of nrbw23
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark ruby red color with a very thin head. Head becomes a thin ring and leaves pretty much no lacing.

S- Not a whole lot here going on compared to some of the others. Quite a bit of sweetness, sugary, oats, vanilla and booze.

T- Vanilla, oats, a touch of citrus, burnt sugar, wood and booze.

M- Medium in body and low carbonation.

O- This is a good beer for sure. I enjoyed this one.

Photo of ajs4bd
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of cosmicevan
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

2010
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.

Photo of JMRSN
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of ehammond1
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for providing this one, UCLABrewN84!

Blind Tasting and Review

Dark, cloudy brown with very little visible carbonation. There's a thin film on top of the beer, but that hardly qualifies as anything resembling a head. That being said, this appearance is about par for the course for barrel-aged barleywines.

Aroma is a nice combination of caramel, brown sugar, black bread, and some alcohol heat. It's sweet without being overly so. It's boozy without being overly so. There's a bit of vanilla and oak character as well.

The flavor is quite exceptional, with lots of vanilla, cream, oak, caramel, toffee, and bourbon combining. For being so exceptionally high in ABV, this one hides it fairly well, even at this relatively young age.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Fantastic. This ranked as one of the highest in our blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

Photo of boralyl
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

A - Poured into a tulip glass. The beer produces virtually no head, and what does appear fades away quickly. The beer is dark brown with a reddish tint. It's somewhat murky looking.

S - The aroma is full of sweetness and booziness. There is a huge caramel component along with some vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon isn't too strong and I"m surprised I don't get more alcohol in the aroma, based on the high percentage.

M - Full in body and lightly carbonated. The feel is just right, not too thin and not too thick.

T - The alcohol content is a bit more noticeable in the taste. The bourbon is pretty forward with the caramel sweetness taking the back seat. There is a little vanilla present as well.

Kuhnhenn does some amazing barrel aged beers. I didn't really notice any oxidation, despite the ~3.5 years of age. This is a great barrel aged English Barelywine ale, although I prefer their barrel aged 4th Dementia.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour provided by myself at the blind barrel aged barleywine tasting hosted by DarthKostrizer.

Thanks to FINEBEERGUY for this one!

2011 vintage.

Pours a slightly murky brown with a khaki head that fades to nothing. There is no lacing on this one. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some alcohol. Taste is much better with malt, brown sugar, caramel, wood, and bourbon flavors. There is an alcohol kick in the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a nice smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine that tastes much better than it smells.

Photo of BraatenBrew
3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of pest
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of kawilliams81
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, poured from 12 oz. bottle into Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- Pours a dark copper with a minimal trace of off-white head. Small lines of lacing remain.

S- Oak, vanilla, and bourbon are the front runners here. Nice sweet caramel notes, slight notes of leather and tobacco.

T- Holy sweet candi sugar Batman! Vanilla, bourbon, leather, oak, and toffee. Very malt forward as is the style, with very minimal bitterness.

M- Full body and low carbonation. Very smooth, slightly slick, and crazy drinkable at 14.5%.

O- Amazing barleywine. This could be one of the best I have ever had, and I have had KH, MoaS, BA NE, etc. Will have to try and get a case of this if I ever have the chance!

Photo of cadaugherty
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of psychotia
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of whartontallboy
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 538 ratings.