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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

588 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 588
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 8.58%
Wants: 1,200
Gots: 118 | FT: 12
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: 588 | Reviews: 190
Photo of mrebeka
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Winter Solstice Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine courtesy of jrallen34, thanks again!

This bottle says it is 15.1% ABV.

Pours a dark amber color with a pretty nice head that faded away pretty quickly, decent lacing.

Aromas are of roasted nuts, mocoa, dark fruits, caramel, dustiness and booze.

Taste is boozy, but not overly so. Notes of roasted coconut, caramel, dark fruits, and brown sugars. Finish is warm with a nice bourbon barrel booziness.

Mouthfeel is good, surprisingly smooth, with a lighter body than I expected.

Overall this is a very good bourbon barrel barley wine. The taste is quite good, but the dustiness on the nose is a bit odd though.

Photo of rlee1390
4.34/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger head that tries to leaves some lacing.

S-Bourbon, malt, caramel, some dark fruits, toffee.

T-Really good balance. Starts with nice bourbon and oak. Then malt and caramel, good deal of dark fruits, some smoke notes, mild bitterness.

M-Medium to heavy in body, nice carbonation

O-An amazing beer, nice balance. One of of the better BA barleywines out there.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of ncaudle
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Jspriest
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Jeffo
4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dad got me this one when they visited the brewery in MI a while back. Thanks heaps for going down there and picking me up some stuff. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white film that quickly recedes to a bubbly ring only. Clear, dark maroon red body with no carbonation evident. A slight ring remains leaving no lacing down the glass. Nice looking barleywine, though the head could leave a bigger mark on the experience.

SMELL: Piles of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, caramel and toffee on the nose. Hints of milk chocolate as well. Very barrel heavy, but very complex and enticing as well. Great.

TASTE: Excellent. Oak, bourbon, alcohol in just the right amount, red fruits and caramel sweetness up front. A big and flavorful finish of bourbon, oak, vanilla, more caramel and toffee, with light notes of milk chocolate lingering on the palate. Very bold and flavorful with some well measured alcohol tying it all together.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Really, really good. Quite strong of course, but the alcohol never overpowers. Lots of aroma and flavor all over the place and a good feel to support the show. A great bourbon barrel aged barleywine; very much enjoyed this. Thanks again dad! Highly recommended.

Photo of Chaney
4.92/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presently, this is the #9 ranked English Barleywine here on BA.

2010 Vintage served in a snifter.

A: Poured a saturated, caramel color, with a bit of ruby highlights poking through. The slight, marshmallow looking head was but a mere ring around the brew, but had tremendous staying power.

S: Just flat out awesome! Sort of a caramel-nut-butterscotch combo. The nuttiness was obviously the bourbon. This definitely was designed as dessert fodder, completely devoid of pine, citrus, and anything that might be considered a solvent.

T: Caramel-toffee and then some, with a bit more hoppy bitterness than I was expecting, but that worked its magic in terms of cutting through the intense sugariness. Strong for sure, yet quite delectable.

M: I've never tasted this fresh, but I have a hunch that it was quite a bit sweeter than this. Sure, this was post dinner fare, but I certainly wouldn't classify this as an outright sugar bomb. The carbonation had only a tinge of prickle and some lacing was left behind after a gentle swirl.

O: This is truly one of the best brews I've had all year, possible in the last few.

Photo of Floydster
4.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle generously shared by seaoflament on 10/25/08, thanks to Carlos for going out of his way once again, reviewed from notes, four to five ounces poured into a small sampling glass

A-Color is a dark brown with red hihglights, very small maybe 1/8 inch beige bubbly head that disappears immediately, no retention or lacing
S-First off the smell was outstanding, it had bourbon, maple syrup, dried fruits, berries, raisins, lots of butterscotch, sweet chocolate, toffee, deep caramel scents, vanilla, oak, and dates
T-Flavor was slightly oxidized and that was the first thing I noticed and really the only complaint, the combination of woody accents, big bourbon flavor, caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, dark fruits, and chpcolates was unparalleled, I sipped on this for close to a half hour and it was better with each sip, and very different each time too, starts off on the sweeter side, some chewiness in the middle, slightly dry finish with some booze and sweetness there to balance it out, cannot believe how well the flavors worked together, this stuff is great
M-Hot, sweet, chewy, and sticky mouthfeel, full bodied for a barrel aged brew and on the verge of being syrupy, very low level of carbonation, taste lingered for a long time and was great
D-Could have the drank the whole bottle it tasted so good, but both the alcohol and sweetness would have got the best of me, but the booze are hidden incredibly well for a brew that is near fifteen percent

This was for sure on my top three beers to try list, and the fact that they were only one hundred bottles ever produced made it look like I might not get to try it, luckily I did, going out on a limb here and saying that this is the best barleywine I have ever had, I think this was a 2006 vintage but I am sure this would hold up for another decade, would love to drink this again but not likely, cannot recommend this enough

Photo of CTJman
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of thewimperoo
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Stevedore
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, from the 2013 Winter Solstice release. Poured into a GLBC snifter today, 1/12/2014.

Appears just like BB4D- dark brown, very hazy and nearly opaque, with a fairly minimal tan head that leaves a small film. It looks boozy, but maybe that's just because I know it's made by Kuhnhenn.

Smells friggin' phenomenal. Intense toffee and butterscotch notes round out a vanilla marshmallow bomb. Seriously reminds me of the likes of BVDL in how much vanilla and marshmallow there is, and the intensity of it. Best smellin' barleywine I've ever sniffed. It does get some more solvent alcohol as it warms up though, which isn't unexpected.

It's not quite living up to what it smells like, but it's still very good. Intense butterscotch and toffee flavours along with a nice rich barrel vanilla flavour that is not overpowering like in the nose. Brown sugar, molasses, anything else that makes a beer sweet- it's in here but this is still balanced by a bit of alcohol heat and oak.

Medium-thick bodied, about what I'd want from a good barleywine. A bit sticky, solid carbonation. A sipper due to the intensity of the flavours and the ABV is definitely a lot less apparent than the 14% it says on the label.

Phenomenal English Barleywine. Probably the best I've had to date that wasn't made from third-run barrels. It's very similar to Bourbon County Barleywine- but the smell on this one blows away the BCBW. I do think the BCBW is more balanced and easier to drink. Either way, if you enjoy sweet and boozy barleywines, this is absolutely your beer.

Photo of Overlord
4.14/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Masterski!

Pours a brown, ruddy color. Maybe a few stray bubbles on side of glass. Basically a completely flat beer. Not low carbonation, it's flat.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, a whiff of coconut, dark fruits, and like generally sweet "malt." And alcohol heat. Whoa, so much alcohol heat.

Taste is really sweet, with bourbon-y, vanilla-y malt, a ton of caramel and brown sugar-y, teeth rotting sweetness, and an almost candied dark fruit background. The alcohol folks. The alcohol makes this more akin to having hard liquor than beer. Completely flat mouthfeel, but at least its' a fairly thick brew.

I probably enjoyed drinking this a lot more than the score would indicate, but to be fair, it's got some problems that perhaps only time in the bottle will sort out.

Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of grub
4.92/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pulled from my cellar, purchased at the brewery in december 2006.

12oz bottle.

pours deep ruby red, almost burgundy, with just a small ring of dense off white head around the glass. the colour on this is just amazing.

wow. fantastic aroma. huge blast of malt. bread and biscuit. caramel and toffee. raisin and date. lots of alcohol. vanilla and light bourbon.

taste is amazing. everything from the aroma and more. nice caramel sweetness. date and raisin. light bourbon and vanilla. alcohol. chocolate truffle. i could drink this all night.

mouthfeel is excellent. low carbonation is excellent. nice big body.

drinkability is exceptional. very well balanced. definitely doesn't taste like 14.5%. just great stuff. another winner from kuhnhenn.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.55/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle courtesy of jconrick1. Shared with trep; my half poured into a Maudite tulilp.

'Alabama' on the bottle cap, and BBBW chugs into the glass with a dull, copper-brown body--murky with yeast. Despite the care on the pour, lots of dark yeasties swirl at the bottom of the tulip and become an unappetizing distraction with each sip. A faint, effervescent tan head tries its best to matriculate with a swirl, but given the ABV, I'm surprised there's even the least bit of foam. The aroma is buttery...an auspicious start. I mean this thing is REALLY buttery: butterscotch, burnt toffee, and maple syrup. Lots of hot booziness to back it up, but the sweet buttered note is distracting, and nearly clouds all traces of the bourbon-aging. Not necessarily bad, but just not even close to how I thought this would smell.

The flavor cranks up the booziness and thankfully shows off more of that signature bourbon heat that Kuhnhenn does so well with their barrel-aged beers. A bit medicinal at times, but the buttery presence is nearly non-existent on the tongue. Body feels sticky and chewy with a hot, syrupy finish. Still, surprisingly smooth for the ABV. The BBBW is the first real "miss" I've had from Kuhnhenn. The buttery aroma was distracting, and the rest of the beer was verging on a hot mess. Not something I'd look for again, but this brewery's track record is impressive enough for me to want to try every last beer they produce.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.99/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of nickd717
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bring, who was generous enough to share 12oz bottles of the 2005 and 2009 vintages for a vertical tasting. This'll be big review #800 for me, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who cares about that.

2005 pours hazy dark amber with minimal head. 2009 pours hazy medium amber with a minimal head.

Both have an excellent aroma - sweet malt, caramel, toffee, oak, bourbon, and vanilla. More oxidative notes in the 2005 and some leather and sherry.

Both flavors are intense. Sweet caramel and toffee, bourbon, and lots of -bal notes of oak and vanilla. 2005 has some leather, molasses, and sherry oxidation notes as well. More barrel and vanilla too. 2009 has more alcohol, as the 2005 has almost no booze to it.

Just a tad boozy on the palate, less so with the 2005. Medium-bodied and smooth with appropriately low carbonation.

Overall both were great, but the aged version was really special. Extremely drinkable for the ABV. Really enjoyed this one (or these ones).

Photo of anteater
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of buschbeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Crosling
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12’er. What nectar. Dark brown color. Outstanding aroma. Astonishingly complex flavor of absorbed wood (coconut, vanilla, soaked wood, light whiskey) and heavy malt (an array of cinnamon covered fruit, caramel and toffee. Very, very smooth. If anyone has any bottles of this for trade, I am willing to trade heavily for it.

Photo of hoppymcgee
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of nrbw23
4.32/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

M- Medium in body and low carbonation.

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

Photo of Brew33
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 588 ratings.