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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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BA SCORE
98
world-class

576 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 576
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 1,200
Gots: 120 | FT: 13
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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 576 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tewaris
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Winter release

12 oz poured into a snifter. Thanks Ron, as always! Poured a deep copper brown with hardly any head. There was quite a bit of sediment, mostly confined to the bottom part of the bottle, and was carefully avoided. For now. Like any robust strong ale, legs were more impressive than the lace.

Have I been drinking too many barleywines? Or too few? Dried dark fruit, toasted coconut, toffee, bourbon, oak summarize the aroma. Taste is similar, but more intense... for one, hops are present, very much so. The sweetness is not as fruity as it is alcoholic and liqueur like, but this beer is not harsh. Not at all. Finishes quite clean with some warmth, and a long taste lingers. Smooth and coating with a very good body, this is a cigar beer all around. Still a notch below King Henry in my opinion. Although a blind tasting will easily expose my refined palate :/

I have not had a single strong beer from Kuhnhenn that I cannot call amazing. I have had my fair share of strong/old/barleywine style ales and only a few of them have seemed worth seeking out again. These beers, unlike a pilsner, have to be chosen with care and consideration because of their ABV. If I had to choose only on the basis of the brewer, I will always pick Kuhnhenn. In line with the pedigree, the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is an amazing ale, with great balance and drinkability. Perhaps not "THE" barleywine but not too far behind. Love it!

4, 4, 4.5, 4.5, 4

Photo of Fux
4.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Opaque, dark brown with mahogany glints. Almost no head. Looks like a solid, strong barleywine...

S: Very powerful nose. Aromas of Port, Bourbon. Chocolate malts along with red fruits (cherry, grapes), dark fruits. Woody, oaky scent. Smells like a solid, strong barleywine...

T: Sharp attack, a bit boozy. Chocolate maltiness. Lots of ripened red fruits, dark fruits. Notes of bourbon, vanilla. Sweet. Big kick of alcohol on the finish.

M: Surprisingly smooth, oily. Powerfully warming. A winter night sipper. But neither sticky nor cloying.

O: Nice beer. Would be glad to see how it ages and if develops these woody notes very present on the nose but slightly hidden by the alcohol on the palate.

Photo of VAbdoyan
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of billyshears
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

Photo of KevSal
4.17/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

been waiting to try this guy, finally got a chance tonight. big thanks to dblab33 for the hook up. i need to get my hands on more kuhnhenn brews!

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

a- very little head. looks a lot more like a ba wee heavy, like bog water. murky reddish orange brown with nearly no head. doesn't look too spectacular, but its expected.

s- tons of sweet malts, hint of cherry, toffee and a nice whiff from the english barelywine base.

t- loads of flavor on this one! some sweetness from the malts and vanilla from the barrel. not too much Bourbon on htis one but a enough to hint its there. slight alch burn in the finish along with a bit of cherry, which isnt very much at all. these guys hold the secret. certain flavors in there keep this one from beering great, cant put my finger on it.

m- thick bodied, almost chewy. the heftiness works great to layer the flavor on the tongue.

o- very good beer! theres a few things i wish were present, that "something" (which ba 4d seems to nail it just right). if you got the chance, go for it, very nice treat.

edit: woa 14.5! i didn't realize this guy was that high. man these guys are the king of disguising the booze

Photo of jmpizzo
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of perrymarcus
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
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 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. definitely a sipper. many thanks to abanton for the opportunity.

Photo of AshleyMiller
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz, gold foiled bottle to Bruges hyrid glass on 1/24/12
*From notes

-- Muchos gracias, TurdFurgison --

Vintage: Winter Solstice 2011

A: Like it's BA brethren BB4D, this looks like a cask ale. When I say I forcefully poured this beer into the glass, I mean I Bobby Brown'ed this son of a bitch down the center of the vessel. Not a mere trace of head or lacing, though I will say there's a minimal collar to it. Unfiltered cider brown in hue.

S: What a spectacular nose. It's eisbiere-like, as every bit of amazingness is jam packed into one concentrated space, fitting beautifully into my nostrils. The overly ripened fruit, warm vanilla and bourbon are outstanding.

T: Beautiful from the get-go. Colorful dried fruit up front, which leads to a slightly sweet mid-palate. The barrel characteristics really evolve and arrive on the back end, as it's quite woody. The lingering finish overflows with creamy caramel, pipe tobacco and a signigigant amount of hearty lees.

M: This in no way comes close to the best BA Barleywines, but it's no slouch, either. It lacks carbonation (which I credit to the barrel aging), and from this, it feels a tad bit thin fo such a big, hefty beer.

O: Kuhnhenn has knocked another barrel aged brew out of the park, as their BBBW is top shelf. They seem to find concentration in their beers that I've never before witnessed, and it's a marvel to behold. Big thumbs up from Rhettroactive - this is delicious stuff.

Photo of Bung
4.07/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Nicely murky dark brown/orange/amber pour. There was a pop from the cap, but next to zero carbonation appears. A few bubbles around the edge. Really, for a big English BW, not offensive.

Aroma, Caramel, sugar daddy, vanilla, oak, all heavily present. You can smell this from a good foot and a half away.

Taste, Malt, molasses, rum cake. Vanilla, some roast that comes across as peat/oak, hefty booze as well. Vanilla oak finish.

It's warm and a sipper, coating, heavy side of medium bodied. Could use maybe just a tad more carbonation, but with the heat that may not work either.

As a few others have said, the heat keeps this a step down from the 4Ds, but it's pretty solid. Worth grabbing, just grab 2.

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 01/15/12 notes. Big, big thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing this one, a big Want of mine. Thanks Mike. 2011 vintage I believe.

a - Pours a dark amber-brown color with one inch of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, caramel malts, toffee, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, toasted malts, and burnt malts. Some very nice bourbon and caramel in the nose, I like it a lot.

t - Tastes of bourbon, caramel malts, toffee, oak, toasted malts, burnt malts, light fruit and vanilla, and alcohol. Very nice again, though a bit hot, so docking it a bit.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. A nice mouthfeel but docking it a little bit due to some alcohol heat.

o - Overall I thought this was another great barleywine from Kuhnhenn. While I don't think this is as good as 4D and BB4D, I thought it was a ton better than their American Barleywine. Great nose and I bet with some time on it this could become a world class BBA barleywine. Would love to have again.

Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of 1noa
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of auroracrisis
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 12oz into two snifters.

Amber color with rose highlights and a thin film around the edges of the liquid. Pretty thick and hazy but not opaque by any means.

Toffee and vanilla greet your nostrils then quickly moves into oak and notes of coconut. More bourbon influence is introduced as it moves into a touch of heat and more vanilla. Less sweet than I had anticipated which is a good thing.

Opens with sweet toffee and decadent coconut sweetness. Moves into the more savory barrel and oaky flavors, then onto more bourbon. The bourbon in the beer never becomes boozey at all, and remains a nice compliment to the base beer.

Creamy and full bodied with moderate carbonation.

Great notes of toffee and warming bourbon. Not boozey at all which is a feat for a beer of this abv. Trade for this if you can, it will not disappoint.

Photo of siege06nd
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my CBS snifter. 2011 Vintage. Huge thanks to ChadlyG for this one!

A: Pours a ruddy brown/copper color. Very murky and cloudy. Absolutely zero head, kinda disappointing, but not surprising considering the ABV on this. Almost zero lacing as well. Beautiful color, but the lack of any head or lacing whatsoever knocks this down a bit.

S: Can smell the barrel on this from over a foot away. The bouquet is filled with ripe dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, raisin, and some hints of tobacco, cherry, and just a hint of leather. Something just a little bit dank and rotten on the back end of the nose here. Detected the same characteristics in BB4D, so perhaps it is the barrels these are aged in. That little "offness" holds this one back just a touch.

T: Nearly perfect. Thick, creamy caramel, ripe figs, plums, and raisins. Plenty of vanilla and bourbon notes, along with rich, dark chocolate and just a bit of oak char. A spectacularly complex flavor profile. As it warms, toasted coconut becomes more apparent. Excellent.

M: Flavors are well balanced. Could use a bit more carbonation, as the finish overdoes it just a bit with the sweetness. A touch more carb would take some of the edge off.

O: There are better barrel-aged barleywines out there, but not many. This doesn't hold a candle to the likes of King Henry or Mother of All Storms, but few things do. On its own, Kuhnhenn BB Barleywine is a good example of quality barrel aging elevating what is likely a fairly pedestrian base beer. I enjoyed this one and will age the other to see what time does here.

Photo of marvin213
3.46/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Among the darkest barleywines I've poured, it's more menacing than inviting. NO head to speak of suggests this one's a bruiser! It looks thick like coagulated mud. Should I sip...or spoon? As an aside, I find cheap foil wrappings a tad on the tacky side.

It smells like bourbon barrel-aged formaldehyde...I mean, it smells like death. The nose is SO potent and it's off-turning like a waft from a liquor bottle. I know it teeters on 15%, and I like the big-hitters, but I'm not sure how imma handle this one. Objectively, the nos is bourbon and alcohol with tinges of toasted caramelized toffee. The burning raw strength is an abrasive weakness.

The taste is more palatable than expected, despite (because of?) the burnt nose hairs. An odd, toffee caramel corn provides a sweet and buttery feel. It's oily. I wonder what more carbonation would do. The buttery taste is NOT creamy. I'd love to try it on tap! How crazy would nitro be? It's like that initial tongue touch has a candied appeal, but the gasoline burn makes it a serious sipper. Tastes like butter oil but burns like gasoline--I wonder if I could put it in the popcorn popper.

Like each of the few brews I've had from Kuhnhenn Brewing, it's a nice novelty, strongly sweet bear of a beer. Do they make a pale ale? I respect going big, and I seek out the barrelly influenced (bourbon on the taste here is nearly an afterthought), but I'm still uncertain about these liquids from Warren, MI. Gosh, there are so many beers from MI....

Photo of monitorpop
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Phelps
4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of NikkoE82
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of travMI13
4.79/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, 2011 Winter Solstice vintage, poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter.

A: Deep, murky mahogany. Not a lot of light getting through here. Very thick, yet very little lacing.

S: The smell is wonderful. Bourbon, toffee, caramel, and a touch of vanilla. Some straight up booze mixed in with the rest of the nose, but it is definitely concealed.

T: Bourbon, toffee, and caramel again. I am picking up the oak, and there is a nice vanilla sweetness on the finish. This almost reminds me of a sticky bun. I'm glad this is my dessert for the evening. Fantastic.

M: Sticky and sweet. No carbonation at all. Leaves a nice, lingering aftertaste over the tongue.

O: The standard Kuhnhenn Barley Wine is one of my favorites. I didn't think it could really be improved upon. I was horribly mistaken. I want to age this to see if it gets even better, but I'm skeptical. Fantastic beer as it stands, and perfect for a cold winter night.

Photo of bsuedekum
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Retail1LO
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Firestone Walker Proprietors Reserve Series snifter

Pours a dark but brilliant garnet shade of dark red, with the scantest of heads despite a straight down the middle pour. Minimal lacing. The nose is incredible. Lush cocoa, vanilla, and dark fruits intermixed with a lovely touch of the bourbon barrel treatment. This is a damn tasty barley wine, I'll say that right now. This is rich in the aforementioned flavors. It's awesome when a beer's nose and taste align this well. It's damn near perfect. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a sweet finish that's rounded off perfectly by the bourbon. I can't believe for the life of me that this is 14.5% ABV. Where is it? I can't find it. There's booziness to it, but nothing about this beer screams out that it's this goddam big. Overall this isn't just a home run, but a grand slam. Twice over. I'm permanently in search of this. For like, forever.

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of marct
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of CelticAleMan
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.