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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
98
world-class

488 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 488
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,158
Gots: 100 | FT: 9
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: 488 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.93/5  rDev +11%

Eternal thanks & glory unto FlandersNed & beerisheaven for shipping me this much sought-after treat. I never thought I'd see one of these, much less multiples from different years. Winter Solstice 2010 edition, with 15.1% alcohol on the label vs. the 14.5% on the BA listing.

Poured into my lovely Captain Lawrence glass, where the a white head feints & withdraws so quickly it might have been imagined. Very dark beer, but when held to the light, glows with the inner fires of Mordor. Smell is pure top-shelf barrel-aged barleywine: rich bourbon, vanilla, warm sweet malts, sting of alcohol. This one writes the book & adds a few footnotes; the aroma is perfect.

Out of the fridge, I let it warm for several minutes before sipping. Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. One sip & I'm blowing over the limit. The is a complex, boozy, brawler of a beer. Big Time Rush hits my tongue in multiple places; huge bourbon backed with vanilla, brown sugar, molasses and/or maple syrup, sticky dancing raisins, oak or ash or maple, dash of caramel, holy holy hell. Then a tidal wave of alcohol wraps them all up, sticks a bow down their throat, & warms my chest cavity all the way down to my Achilles tendon.

Seriously. Smoother than cream silk pie, & screw the ABV, this is so drinkable I wish it came in a bomber so I couldn't wake up for work tomorrow. A sipper that demands to be gulped, Dew-style. It's a bit hot, but who gives a rip? I can't imagine age doing anything good to this, it's so good already.

OK, I knew this was an A+ beer after the second sip. This, along with the Perfect Storm, are the pinnacle of barrel-aged barleywines. Absolutely fantastic, borderline perfect, & I'm delighted I have a few more in the basement. Epic beer. Damn.

03-03-2011 03:20:58 | More by maximum12
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Been wanting to try this one for a long time. Served from a 12oz bottle in asnifter at cellar temp.

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Nose has rich malts, caramel, toffee, ripe pitted fruits, oak, vanilla and bourbon. Taste has similar profile except for a subtle tart cherry presence. Medium body drinks well.

03-02-2011 03:29:21 | More by rye726
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.13/5  rDev -7%

A - Cola colored, small near white head leaves fast. Some spotty lace.

S - Fruity! Lots of booze, definitely wood, brandy like, burnt candy.

T - OUch. Hot. Boozy, rich and sweet, carbonation and booze burns the taste out dry at the end.

M - Full body, enough carbonation to carry it off, last part of balance is to the sweet.

D - Palate killer and equivalent to almost 3 beers in alcohol. Definitely not a session beer.

03-01-2011 04:59:41 | More by srandycarter
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4/5  rDev -9.9%

Thank you for this long time want, Alex! This is the 2010 version, clocking in at 15.1%. In true Kuhnhenn fashion, the label did not deal with being refrigerated very well.

Decanted into my snifter, this is a clear, ruby red with an off-white head that recedes to a ring rather rapidly. Swirling the beer in my glass leaves some coating. The nose is rather excellent.Plenty of brown sugar, plenty of booze, bourbon and tannins, all really powerful, and a little bit of vanilla as well. Surprisingly fruity, there's a blend of candied orange peel and a light floral character. In addition, there's an almost brandy-like character here. Excellent stuff.

The palate opens rather monstrous - big, boozy, hot and sweet. A friend of mine once commented that he likes his barleywines like he likes his women - hot, boozy messes. Well, this definitely does fit the bill. Brown sugar, maple syrup, a little toffee are present on the malt front, but in all honesty, this is almost entirely about the barrels - hot, bourbony, almost alcoholic burn are present, and it is quite fitting on this rainy, late-winter night. Tannins appear, lingering on into the finish, this does add a light nutty character. Vanilla is moderate, but there's some honey, light and fruity. Full in body with soft, creamy carbonation, this does beer does feel very smooth on the palate. Dark fruit character is quite light, this is more along the lines of a young JW Lees. Warming, this is great stuff, though not the most drinkable.

03-01-2011 00:05:59 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%

2010 Vintage. 15.1% ABV.

A- A very deep ruby liquid with some orange highlights. The head is very splotchy and thin with just a ring and a small spot in the middle.

S- Absolutely monstrous. Maple syrup, oats, and vanilla. The aroma is enjoyable and fills the room but is not extraordinarily complex.

T- Molasses, vanilla, oats, cotton candy, citrus, and a touch of alcohol. Unique and enjoyable.

M- A smooth, if not slightly under-carbonated body. The alcohol is slightly numbing.

D- Although the alcohol is apparent, it is only warming. Sweet and rich. Very tasty. The more I get into it, the more I enjoy it. Highly recommended.

02-27-2011 05:28:32 | More by david131
Photo of KAP1356
KAP1356

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -7.7%

Thanks to bdberr for this one in a trade. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle from the 2010 release. ABV is listed at 15.1%...

A - Pours an almost opaque dark maroon-brown color. A very thin eggshell white head forms and quickly recedes to a collar of the same color.

S - Wow. Very thick dark malts, caramel, vanilla, oak, and nice bourbon all coming through. There are some dark sticky fruits coming through as well; prunes, dates, figs. Some slight cherry there as well.

T - Nice dark brown sugar and dark malts right away. Right after that is a sweet bourbon, vanilla and spiciness which really adds nicely. The dark fruits are there but much more subdued on the palate; I assume from the presence of the bourbon barrel aging. Really strong bourbon presence, which for a bourbon lover like me, is very very nice.

M - Very smooth and a nice full medium to full body on this one. There is a bit of heat from the alcohol and a slight burn on the back palate. Low carbonation, but not all too detrimental.

D - I think this will be a far superior beer with some age on it. That said, this is quite a solid offering from Kuhnhenn. Such a smooth beer for the high ABV. The nice little bit of bourbon heat adds nicely and I really dig it.

02-24-2011 01:24:31 | More by KAP1356
Photo of JAXSON
JAXSON

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -7.7%

2010 bottle. Pours a clear plum/orange with a thin ring around the edges. Nose is wonderful -- thick malt, spicy oak, a nicely weaved sweet bourbon, and a vinous note with plums, raisins. Flavor begins with sweet brown sugar and a light hop note, then rolls into the oak, dry and spciy, and the bourbon. I like the marriage of base beer and bourbon barrel here -- not so overt but powerful, nicely done. There are some faults here, as the booze is a bit heavy on the finish, and there's kind of a hole in the back palate. In style this is akin to Wooden Hell in a way, but it's not as nicely realized.

02-24-2011 00:44:44 | More by JAXSON
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.83/5  rDev -13.7%

From a 12 oz. bottle, excited to try this, 2009 Vintage,

A: Pours a murky unfiltered brown with a mild head, for an aged barleywine it's solid.

S: Brie and bourbon, it's cheesy definitely a unique smell, off putting at times, but it'll make an impression.

T: Taste is much more straightforward. Sweet bourbon and malt, vanilla, full-flavoured though it is really that one flavour, but the one flavour is very good.

M: Full-bodied, rich, smooth, very mild carbonation. Ethanol is very well hidden, I had no idea this was 14.5%

D: Definitely a good beer, my first from the legendary Kuhnhenn. Definitely has it's good points, I would love to see where this is fresh.

02-19-2011 04:47:45 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.4/5  rDev -23.4%

2010 version, from the 2010 Winter Solstice, something like $7.50 each if I remember correctly. I brought this to a little tasting on a Wednesday night in northern OH.

It pours very clear, with a nice dark amber color and a fairly thin head. The smell is really strong and sweet. Someone mentioned sugary cookie dough and I think that fits pretty well. Almost sickly sweet, with brown sugar and lots of malt, also a barrel component that stays in front of the aroma.

IMO this is NOT an English Barleywine, this is a STRONG tasting American style barleywine. Not so much in liquor, the barrel presents more with vanilla oaky flavors. Loads of sweet sugary malts, sweet to a fault really. Everyone else seemed to like it more than me, guess I don't have the correct disposition for this beer style. The alcohol is pretty noticeable too which is another negative for me.

Light carbonation, decent body but who cares. The massive flavors are the draw here. I think this could definitely benefit from a few years of mellowing.

02-17-2011 04:05:30 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

4/5  rDev -9.9%

From the 2010 Winter Solstice.

A - Beautiful deep red color that goes amber/yellow on the edges. One finger of white head that instantly disappeared and left a loose ring on the outside. Miniscule traces of lace randomly and sparsely left on the glass.

S - Big caramel smell on this, with deep notes of vanilla and barrel. A lot of brown sugar and roasted malts, with some dark fruits.

T - Nose follows the taste, as it is a caramel and brown sugar bomb. There is a really big nut taste to this, not sure where that is coming from. Vanilla is big on the end, with some oak. Alcohol is buried.

M - Pretty close to full bodied and smooth. Lower level carbonation.

D - Super easy to drink at 15.1% (what this batch says on the bottle). This is a great beer, but having had an earlier version, not nearly as good or complex. Maybe it just needs a bit of time.

02-10-2011 05:45:06 | More by AgentZero
Photo of webmanspidey
webmanspidey

Michigan

4.03/5  rDev -9.2%

This is the 2008 Barleywine release at 2010 Winter Solstice.. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Color is a translucent reddish brown without much head whatsoever. Smell is very sweet with lots of caramel, acidity, toffee, bourbon, and alcohol.

Taste is heavy on bourbon with loads of vanilla, caramel, molasses, and oak. Alcohol is intense here, as there is a noticeable burn at the finish. Little to no carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Very tasty, but intense.

02-06-2011 03:34:42 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of ColdPoncho
ColdPoncho

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev -8.8%

Winter Solstice 2010. ABV on bottle listed as 15.1%

A - the pour is a light amber color, but the body fills out to a more robust reddish color with a modest ring of foam around the edge. it's mostly translucent, with hints of orange light peeking through.

S - I could smell it as soon as I started pouring - lots of malt. Up close, the bourbon is the first thing you get, then some vanilla, wood, and alcohol.

T - Bourbon and vanilla and wood, and a touch of raisins are the first things you get. If you look hard enough, behind all of this there is a strong malty character of a barleywine. But overall, this tastes like bourbon and booze. There's a dryness to it, which might be hop-induced, but I think it's more from the wood.

M - very smooth and creamy, a really big beer.

D - This is too powerful, and with too strong a taste of alcohol (let alone the effect of it) to be highly drinkable. It is smooth and tasty, of course, but still something that will have to be respected and not drank quickly.

02-01-2011 22:09:45 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of GoGriz
GoGriz

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +4.7%

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....

01-25-2011 00:22:56 | More by GoGriz
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -9.9%

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 and Amyliz4. Thanks Mike and Amy!

Served in a blind taste test with Alpine Great and Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

A: This beer appears brown and hazy, with a thin, wispy head that leaves a few random traces of lacing on the glass.

S: Bourbon, sweet malt, toffee, caramels, oak.

T: Sweet raisins, plums, toffee, and dark fruits, all soaked in alcohol. This is a potent brew, and well done.

M: Medium-thin in body, with a fairly low carbonation level.

D: A great beer for sharing, or slowly sipping over the course of an hour or two. Perfect for a rainy, wintry day.

01-07-2011 21:31:39 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.2/5  rDev -5.4%

Bottle shared by beergirl8 in a blind taste test. Thanks.

Beer is dark brown and hazy wtih a thin broken white head of small and large bubbles that fail to rally to form much lacing on the glass. Carbonation appears low. Looks "to style" to me for a bourbon barreled barleywine.

Smell is nice and liquor. There is a lot going on in the aroma of this one, not my favorite out of the three but probably the middle one for me. This one has a lot of complex malts and caramel with raisins and stone fruits all mixed in with some bourbon, fun.

The taste is as complex as the aroma in my opinion with the exception that the taste has more oak in it than the aroma. Maybe I just missed the oak but it is present in the taste. Lead off is sweetness with the stone fruits and raisins to follow. Beer is lighter in body than I expected and finishes a little dry. A good beer overall.

01-06-2011 21:26:37 | More by drabmuh
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%

A chilly Sunday night, watching the pathetic battle between the 6-9 Seahawks and 7-8 Rams. Dulcet sounds of banjo lessons in the background (my wife's first session with a friend of ours). A good night for a hearty beer.

2009 version, 12 oz. bottle poured to a snifter; 'ALABAMA' in blocky silver font across the black cap. Another cheap-looking printer-quality label that belies the quality of beer inside. Big thanks to hoppymeal for sending this a couple months back.

A: Warm sienna/chestnut orange, subtly hazed and cut gently by tiny carbonation. Hardly any head, just a swirling and breaking skimcoat of powdery tan. Slinky ring, no lace whatsoever.

S: Oh my ~ PLENTY of sweetness in the nose, a surge of maple-syrupiness and vanilla erupting from the glass. Bourbon and raisins with a lilting, almost perfumed, woody undertone.

T: Candy: creme brulee, vanilla beans, boozy fruit and spicy/brown-sugary bourbon. What starts overtly sweet and grain-forward mellows wonderfully, revealing a more savory woodiness and a remarkably dry, even peppery finish. Balance and depth are both spot-on - just a delicious barleywine that's drinking wonderfully 1+ year after its release.

M: Remarkable feel, just a 'wow'-inducing creaminess. Velvety, trace bits of woody coating, lingering sugars. Soothing heat approaches slyly, building gradually without ever dominating - amazing for a beer as sizable as this. Impossibly velvety and smooth.

D: Big aroma and flavor, balanced enough for a barreled barleywine but skewed well toward sugariness. A wonderful sipper that'd be a treat to have again. Just like it was a treat to have tonight. Great job, Kuhnhenn, and thanks again, Derek.

01-03-2011 04:09:37 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of glazeman
glazeman

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%

Huge thanks to my brother for picking this up from the Kuhnhenn winter solstice release! This is the 2010 version coming in at 15.1%

A: Murky brown in color with a ¼ finger light tan head that fades quickly into a swirl of bubbles and a crown that remained for the duration of the drink. Pretty much what I had expected from this beer and near perfect.

S: There's a lot of bourbon on the nose. Other than that there's some oak, maple syrup, and cabernet.

T: Nice balance of caramel, vanilla, and bourbon. What surprised me the most was that the finish was pretty dry. There's a tad of alcohol head here, but not very much. There's also a little bit of nuttiness here.

M: Low carbonation, but that's how I like a 15% ABV beer. This one is smooth and sits well on the tongue.

D: There's no real alcohol presence in the taste, but there's a warming sensation that goes down my throat and into my stomach as I drink this beer. Perfect for a winter night. With the excellent taste and feel this has "dangerous" drinkability.

12-29-2010 06:13:00 | More by glazeman
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

3.83/5  rDev -13.7%

Big thanks to Jeff (ipa247) for this one. 2009 vintage. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Extended pour yields a single layer of off-white colored coarse bubbles that dissipates quickly, forming a single ring along the side of the glass. Beer is a cloudy brownish mud/clay. Lacing is stringy and with no stick.

S: Bourbon barrel aging is prominent in the nose. Big oak and vanilla upfront. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and roasted malt. Some prunes in there also. Rather subtle but rich and sweet at the same time.

T: Caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and toffee upfront. Roasted malt. Very rich with a strong malt backbone. Relatively hot. Prune and raisin in the background with a nice, subtle, dark chocolate bitterness. Finishes with an alcoholic spiciness. Pleasant brown sugar and caramel aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Bubbles are detectable but oily and dense on the palate overall. Smooth going down with a detectable bit of heat. Finish is accented and aftertaste lingers.

D: A very solid representation of the style. Notably, what sets this apart from the best in its class is that lack of richness and integration of flavor. This one's a bit rough around the edges and all the ingredients don't seem to have melded with one another yet. Bal-aging also seems to imparted a bit too much heat. Still, a very good beer and I'm glad to have had the chance to try it.

12-13-2010 21:39:51 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of joshuaseresse
joshuaseresse

Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev -3.2%

Bottle shared by my homie Brian, thanks a lot man. Poured into a snifter:

A - Pour produces really no head but only bubbles around the edges. Brown cream, little murky and cloudy.

S - Sweet and delicious bourbon barrel, caramel and brown sugar. Stingy sensation to the nostrils. Dark fruits abound.

T - Creamy and sweet bourbon and creamy vanilla, brown sugar. Oak and earthy, tingly barrel.

M - Tingly and velvety. Nice cream feel, which is very nice. I like this a lot but there is a bit lack of carbonation.

D - Very good and a great bbbw. I wish I had more. Typical taste and feel of a Kuhnhenn brew which is never bad. Must get more...

11-23-2010 19:11:02 | More by joshuaseresse
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.33/5  rDev -2.5%

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage. The beer pours brownish-red/amber color with a white head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of bourbon, but also some orange citrus, caramel and brown sugar notes. The flavor is heavy on the maple with some brown sugar, vanilla, alcohol, caramel and bourbon. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

A very nicely done bourbon-aged beer, that I am very happy I got to try.

09-14-2010 05:43:08 | More by Mora2000
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

4.72/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

09-12-2010 20:31:55 | More by mcallister
Photo of Khazadum
Khazadum

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -5%

HUGE props to Alex for busting this out at his impromptu tasting. This bottle is the 2005 vintage. A hefty pour hit my GI tasting glass.

A- Fantastic off-mocha head caresses my glass with minuscule carbonation noted from the body of the liquid. It fizzles down to a faint skin but the lacing on this bad boy is amazing. It sticks like molasses at times. Caramel apple sauce body color.

S- Whoo heavy bourbon after all this time aging. After the spirit smells I find a mixture of sugar and sweets. Its like a big basket of goodies. Raisins that have been breaded in brown sugars. Apples coated in toffee.

T- Initially sour with the fruity nature of apples. Not much brown sugar or raisins here but definitely bourbon to balance everything out as expected.

M- For a bourbon barrel aged beer this is unbelievably smooth. It has an average body that compliments the flavors well. It clearly helps define the flavor profile and generates that somewhat enjoyable finish.

D- I'd definitely say that there is no problem drinking this beer. I want more even and would put away two in a night. I can't believe it is 14.5%.

08-22-2010 03:57:53 | More by Khazadum
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +3.2%

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.

08-20-2010 19:23:12 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -5.9%

On tap @ The Great Taste of the Midwest (Madison, WI) on 8/14/10. Dispensed from a little keg carried on the back of "Spaceman Todd" during the event.

Pours a murky brownish caramel color, with (to be expected) just a very light smattering of bubbly off-white head which quickly scatters and leaving just the tiniest smattering of light spotty foamy down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a lot going on with it. Cocoa, some dark fruit, burnt smelling molasses, vanilla, and brown sugars notes all make an appearance. There's a good bit of woody tannic character present from the barrel which lends this a green feel in the nose. Unfortunately, the warmth of the barrel is also VERY strong here and threatens to overpower some of the flavors in spots. You gotta' dig deep to get to the goods in this bouquet.

The taste is fairly similar to the nose and if anything, runs maybe even more intense with flavors of chocolate, toffee, fruit, and those unmistakable notes of vanilla and burnt molasses from the bourbon barrel. The woody character is also VERY strong here, giving the overall profile an earthy tannic feel that blends in effortlessly with some very light herbal hop activity that hangs in the background. The mouthfeel is chewy, thick, and hot, and to its credit I guess, it's tough to figure out if the extreme heat is coming from the ridiculous ABV or the obviously very fresh barrels that these were aged in. I'm betting more on the fresh barrels, which is a credit to the depth of flavor here helping cover up the high alcohol in the body.

Still too young and raw to really call this world class, I can definitely see though why the aged 2005 vintage is so highly sought after. Let some of that heat mellow off and this stuff will be outstanding in a couple of years. I'm going to have to seek a bottle or two of this out.

08-19-2010 19:35:29 | More by Kegatron
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

4.33/5  rDev -2.5%

Vintage 2009

Many thanks to Beerisheaven and JessetheHutt for the bottles.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine pours a darker, caramel brown. It's full of haze, but has some reddish highlights with backlighting. A very modest, off-white head tops it off. It's barely a surface covering. Retention was on the short side, and lacing was very light.

The nose is very impressive. It has a very rich smelling, sweet caramel malt base. Bourbon is fairly moderate, but easily noted. It complements the sweet, caramel scent very well and isn't overbearing in the least. Dark fruit notes of plum, raisin, and fig are secondary and smell fantastic. A little oak and vanilla creep in the mix late. I'm not getting much in terms of hops. No huge surprise there. Alcohol is noted, but is blended well for 14.5%. This is very deep, complex smelling beer. I might add...it smells delicious.

The flavor is likewise excellent. It has a sweet, caramel malt base that's quite sturdy. Brown sugar is noted and is a nice touch. Bourbon plays its role perfectly. It's moderate in terms of strength, and is a perfect complement to the variety of flavors. Oak and vanilla add nice depth, as well. A little cherry and dark fruit flavors of fig, raisin, and plum emerge. The flavor profile seems to grow deeper with each sip. It's impressive. Alcohol is definitely noted, and runs a tad warm. It's a big, kick-ass Barleywine, so it doesn't have a negative impact on the flavor, but it is there. Finishes sweet, with a tangy, dark fruit aftertaste...and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine has a thick body that's somewhat chewy. Carbonation is very, very light. It definitely has a smooth feel. I wouldn't mind a few more bubbles though. For such a big beer, drinkability is good. It does run a tad warm, but it's relatively easy drinking. At 14.5% abv though, you must tread lightly.

Kuhnhenn's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine was something I sought out for a long, long time. I had high expectations, and they've mostly been met. This is a fantastic Barrel-aged Barleywine. I don't know how long it was in barrels, but it was the perfect amount of time. The bourbon flavor is spot-on and works perfectly. The only qualms I have are perhaps too few bubbles and a little too much alcohol. Small gripes. This is fantastic beer. Seek it out.

08-08-2010 00:10:13 | More by prototypic
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.