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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
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194 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 194
Hads: 659
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 16.13%
Wants: 1,243
Gots: 138 | 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: 194 | Hads: 659
Photo of waltersrj
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle from splax23 (thanks buddy)!

Pour: Reddish brown hue when held up to the light. The off white head is sparkling like a champagne but quickly disappears. Fine bubbles are left around the edge of the glass.

Nose: Molasses, brown sugar, toffee, slight caramel, vanilla (more as it warms), slight oak, toasted coconut and sweet remnants of bourbon. The alcohol is also quite prevalent in the nose which I've found in every Khunhenn beer I've tried.

Taste: Slightly oxidized malt, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted coconut, sweet bourbon and oak.

Mouthfeel: Slightly drying with an initial alcohol burn. This is between oily and watery, pretty nice actually.

Overall: This beer is pretty fantastic and gets better as it warms. I think the alcohol is over bearing at first but the taste gets better as it warms. The slight oxidation is moderately off putting but that's the only real strike against this beer.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of dar482
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 2014 vintage.

Having this next to Aaron, this was quite disappointing. The beer was hot, watery with some spicy hops on the back. Some sweetness balances this beer out, but in general, tastes more towards an barrel aged American Barleywine.

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

12 oz 2010 thanks to jrallen34

A - dark orange with very little head that dissipated in seconds. A bit of chill haze

S - Tons of caramel, vanilla and a bit of biscuit and popcorn. The sweet smells dominate, but some complex malts there as well

T - Great sweet caramel followed by a huge hit of bourbon. THis is perhaps the strongest bourbon taste I've ever had in a beer. I'd swear there is a shot of booker's in my glass. I wish there was a bit more sweetness to balance it, but if you love bourbon, this is ideal!

M - Despite all the solid bourbon flavor, there is virtually no head. A year has done this beer well apparently. Not too oily, and nice full bodied. Very little carb, but that's exactly what I want in a BA barleywine.

O - Fantastic beer. Extremely well made with no apparent flaws. I wish there was a bit more residual sweetness, but this is a stellar barleywine.

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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 Bung
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of mulder1010
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
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

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Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to hoppymeal for hooking it up with a 2009 bottle of this recently. Shared with friends at an impromptu CBS tasting last night (man, it feels awesome to say that).

A: The pour is a murky dark amber color with very little in the way of carbonation and little to no head.

S: The nose is very heavy on the bourbon, with plenty of sweet molasses, brown sugar, caramel, with a light touch of chocolate. There is also some noticeable alcohol.

T: Like the nose, the flavor is definitely heavy on the bourbon. There are, however, nice brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel, and chocolate flavors with a hint of alcohol heat.

M: The body is fairly full, and due to the low carbonation, quite smooth and sticky on the tongue.

D: While there is a decent amount of heat to this beer, I still really enjoyed the flavors. I think the vanilla and chocolate oxidation flavors go nicely with the barleywine base. Perhaps it would have been good to let this age for a bit, but it's still enjoyable fresh.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter glass at Churchkey DC.

A deep mahogany to dark chestnut brown along the edges. Only a thin presence of tan bubbles but very tiny and uniform makes a collar around. Looks a lot like King Henry. Seems it might be a bit thin also.

Quite a warm but not too boozy nose. Light oak, heat, and this large sense of nutty tannic quality.

Palates comes with a bit of a surprise. Big wetness and not much round oak aging character in the feel, for a barrel aged beer. Flavors do come out to play though. Dark chocolate comes out quite a bit more with some alcohol like a bottle of Godiva liqueur. There's a great sense of chocolate macadamia nuts all rolled into this almost like a bottle of Frangelico as well. Subsequent sips come in with lots of stomach alcohol warmth.

Overall though it doesn't have enough beer style character and is slightly heavy on the booze. But it's got impressive flavors to round out everything else going on.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Tulip glass.

A cloudy reddish copper color with only a wisp of light stone colored film which mostly fizzles out by the time you've set the bottle down. Apple and caramel are at the forefront of the nose, along with sweet malt, nuttiness, cherry vanilla, whipped cream, but finally a slightly harsh solvent and alcohol aroma at the end. The smell is wonderfully complex but the alcohol harshness definitely detracts from it for me. Tastes like caramel malt and cherry, with some dry oakiness and a dry finish which again features alcohol prominently and a slightly off flavor that I can't place. I'm not picking up any of the bourbon flavors here or on the nose. Carbonation is pretty low but supports the surprisingly medium-light body just fine. Slightly tannic. Overall, this smells quite good, tastes pretty good, but the alcohol presence is a little much and unfortunately the bourbon is MIA. It tasted good enough but I'm not sure I'd reach for it regularly.

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Photo of unclekeith
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber with minimal head. Malty and sweet booziness on the the nose. Not as sweet as I expected. More oak than bourbon. Good backbone with some bitterness. Well balanced. Solid barleywine.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 winter solstice release
The beer pours much darker than the regular barleywine - a very dark brown with a loose off-white/slightly grayish head and no sediment. The nose has deep notes of bourbon, leather & raisins, slight booze, and mild sweetness/fruit when it warms. The taste is a rush of barrel flavors, heavy on the oak tannins and bourbon caramel (definitely more more balanced as it warms) that transitions into the warming caramel/vanilla notes in time. It's full bodied, bold, and slightly syrupy with minimal carbonation with some harsher oak bitterness, which cuts deeply into the beer's bready body and leaves burning ethanol on the palate after each sip. I prefer the regular FGR barleywine in mouthfeel, but think this will not disappoint someone looking for big barrel notes in a bbbw.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of justinp444
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter it pours a hazy darker amber brown with a quickly dissapating beige head. Smell is cherry, bourbon, leather, sweet malt, caramel and vanilla. Taste is much the same with earth, caramel, molasses, cherry, vanilla, oak, leather, lots of bourbon, sweet malt, toast, and a bit of chocolate. I am getting a little bit of butter, diacetyl, I think this bottle was infected. It has a crisp full mouth feel and a body.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Still pour with a wonderful nose of liquified butterscotch. Taste just can't match and is very brown sugar forward. A nice treat and surprise...thanks, Kyle!

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Photo of FosterJM
3.95/5  rDev -9%
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

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Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle courtesy of Seeswo. 2010 vintage served in my Old Stock snifter. Pours a translucent mahogany with a loose, half-inch off-white head that quickly disperses towards the shoulders, forming a thin, bubbly band. There's also a residual oily slick across the center of the glass. Nose expresses milk chocolate, a trace of dark fruit and a pleasant buttery vanilla character. Only the merest suggestion of bourbon presents itself. Taste expresses toffee, butter candied fruit and a slightly acrid ethanol character that lingers at the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light (but closer to light) with a slightly coarse carbonation and quite a bit of residual heat that lingers on the tongue and at the back of the throat. All and all, a pretty good barleywine that could use some time to allow that alcohol presence to dissipate. That said, if the alcohol does in fact dissipate, the thinness to the body would be more prominent. I'm not sure if a lot of age will improve this beer, but another year in the cellar might reveal a decent balance.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 Vintage. Thanks to steebo777 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a deep reddish sienna brown color. Produced a surprising cap of tan foam despite the massive ABV level of the beer. Even some lace showed up.

(S)- The bourbon barrel has pretty much dominated the aroma. A sweet yet dry alcohol burn with bits of oak and vanilla. In the far background is some brown sugar and toffee.

(T)- Similar to the smell; without a doubt this is definitely bourbon barrel aged. The bourbon flavors are not timid in this beast. Some sweetness of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar, but this is very much mostly an oaky bourbon with some subtle malty notes. I like it though for what it is.

(M)- This is where the beer starts to fail in my opinion. It has a nice mellow carbonation level, however, you feel and taste every single % of that huge 15.1%ABV. Its not necessarily off-putting, but very potent, so you really need to like straight bourbon to appreciate this beer to the fullest.

(D)- I have mixed feelings with this beer. It looked great and I enjoy the flavor it offers, but it very much oozes bourbon heat from every molecule. Its definitely a sipper if there ever was one. I did enjoy it however, but I definitely took my time and savored it over a few hours. I do look forward to seeing what a few years of time will do to this.

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Photo of Spider889
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Per the bottle: Winter Solstice 2010. 15.1% abv.
Thanks to iceicebaby for this bottle.

Live review.

Beer is a hazed ruddy orange color with hints of aged wood. The carbonation is low, but I was able to produce a small head that was relatively short lived.

Smells of bourbon alright. Lots of wet oak and vanilla as well as some citrus notes. Heavy caramel malt flavors, quite sweet smelling. Doesn't smell really hot or astringent as some higher abv beers can sometimes be.

The flavor is much more alcohol forward, though I still am surprised at the 15.1% abv listing. Seems much less boozy than, say, BCBS. Bitter hops push through to mid palate. Meanwhile dry grainy oak and caramel apple are also quite potent. The bourbon is well integrated but also liquor-heavy.

The mouthfeel is extremely dry. Dry, dry, dry.

Overall an excellent beer. I'd be happy to drink this again.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very pretty reddish maroon. A bit of white head around the edges. Very good looking beer. Smells a bit oxidied but very nice. A touch of bourbon on the nose but the oxidized aromas. Tastes sweet but dry. Roasty and bourbon heavy. The malts are oxidized but still nice. Overall solid but disappointing with regards to the oxidation

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.87/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Carlos for sharing @ the Ballast Point 12th!

Poured a deep ruby with a small off-white lace.

The aroma was full of rich caramel malt, bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Some alcohol was present.

The flavor of the beer had a rich caramel maltiness appropriate for the style. It was well infused with prominent notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak, which added tremendous complexity. Some medium dried fruits came through in the palate as well. It did, however finish too sweet, IMO. This bottle was a tad past it's prime. I prefer just a tad bit of oxidation in my American barleywines, but this had gone past that point. The hoppiness was too low for the style.

The mouthfeel was pretty heavy. The body was full and creamy. The carbonation was delicate and was appropriate for the style.

A solid barleywine that exhibits a good barrel character, but not the best example I've had.

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.