Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
No picture.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

192 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 192
Hads: 635
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 1,230
Gots: 137 | FT: 17
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 192 | Hads: 635
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (1,323 characters)

Photo of nrbw23
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (398 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
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. (2,676 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (886 characters)

Photo of boralyl
4.31/5  rDev 0%
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. (936 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (603 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
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! (702 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1171st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2011 vintage

Thanks to BdubleEdubleRUN for this one

Shared with GuruDel, jazzpatel, MrHirschybar and BdubleEdubleRUN

App- Pours a very dark orange with pockets of amber and yellow. No head or cling at all. Looked a bit too thin in the glass. Some body was missing.

Smell- Very sweet on the nose. Had a punget sweet booze note that was masked by a malty background with a ton of sugary citrus.

Taste- So somehow after not looking or smelling the part this monster comes to play. The vanilla is upfront with a decent amount of tempered citrus and the malts mellow everything out. The barrel adds some good background flavors to this small but big beer.

Mouth- A well layered medium body with a low medium carbonation. A good amount of oaky sweet vanilla remains.

Drink- In the end, this was actually very tasty. Had a few flaws but was tasty, boozy, grainy and oaky vanilla (923 characters)

Photo of b3shine
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter. Looks good; dark and thick with minimal lacing. Smells great! Bourbon, candied cane, and molasses. Tastes excellent! This brewery really has the barreling down to a science! Mouthfeel is good as well. Overall, a fantastic brew that I really appreciate getting to try. (286 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany with hardly any carbonation. By the time a touch of carbonation has showed up it is off white, but it goes away immediately. 3.5

Smell: Sweet and malty, I'm picking up a bunch of caramel and some bourbon. Smells a bit like barleywine candy. Getting lots of dark fruit as well. 4.5

Taste: Follows from the smell. This beer is a bit hot, but that is to be expected given the fact that it's so young and the abv is so high. Sweet caramel malt with dark fruit and some vanilla notes. Warming bourbon and more sweetness in the finish. Very good. 4.5

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with mild, tingly carbonation and a slick finish. 4.5

Overall: This beer is fantastic. Really sweet and warm, but that was to be expected. I would like to get some more of this to let it sit for a year or two and see how it is at that point. 4.5 (915 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured a murky reddish brown color with good carbonation and a nice tan cap

S: Big bourbon influence, plenty of heat with some big dark fruits: i can literally pick them out...figs,prunes and a fresh raisin. Some toffee and, wood and vanilla

T: Heat but not as bad as many beer from this brewery. The sugary sweetness of 4d turned me off but this beer is a bit more balanced and rounded if you can call this balanced lol. Figs, plums, raisins, with toffee, caramel and brown sugar and some Earthy wood notes.

M: Big body, a bit thin on the mouthfeel with heat going down. I felt the body should have been a bit bigger for a beer of this weight

O: Good but not the best. Worth a try for sure. (698 characters)

Photo of tewaris
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
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 (1,459 characters)

Photo of Fux
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (704 characters)

Photo of KevSal
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
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 (1,191 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (749 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (1,456 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
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. (715 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (979 characters)

Photo of auroracrisis
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (835 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (1,578 characters)

Photo of marvin213
3.46/5  rDev -19.7%
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.... (1,498 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.61/5  rDev +7%
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. (1,392 characters)

Photo of travMI13
4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (931 characters)

Photo of Retail1LO
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (945 characters)

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. Thanks to Mike for sending this to me. Poured into DFH Signature glass.

A: Vigorous pour yields a frothy thin cap on top of a very dark mahogany/brown color. Beautiful lacing remains on the side of the glass, slowly moving it's way down. Some super tight, thin legs.

N: Nose is a big hit of bourbon, with not alot more coming through. I'm getting a bit of sweet caramel, toffee, and even some dark dried fruits.

T: Man, this puppy is complex. I'm getting all sort of flavors coming through, and not overpowered by that beautiful bourbon. Vanilla, toffee, caramel, some of that prune/dried candied fruit, followed by a nice mellow chocolate sensation at the end. Almost a bit of bitterness, I'm detecting some nice anise notes. Wow. Really enticing and spectacular.

M: A bit hot, but not to it's detriment. It's 14.5%, what do you expect? What I didn't expect was the extremely creamy character. Absolutely mind blowing.

D and O: Man...just a great English Barleywine. Really easy drinking for the ABV, and extremely enjoyable. Fantastically balanced, well rounded, very deep amount of flavor. (1,116 characters)

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.