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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

481 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 481
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,150
Gots: 98 | 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: 481 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle in a trade with deyholla. Poured 2/12/13. Deep amber brown pour, somewhat cloudy, and with no head whatsoever. Aroma of plums, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, and toffee. Nice. Hot bourbon up front that smooths into a very sweet vanilla toffee on the back of the palate. Long lingering oaky vanilla. Medium to heavy on the palate. Alcohol warmth is there, but not overly boozy. Never had a fresh one so it could be the age. Unexpectedly smooth for 15.1%. A top barley wine for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 00:30:43 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390

Indiana

4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 02:54:59 | More by rlee1390
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

07-19-2014 00:25:42 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of ThePorterSorter
ThePorterSorter

Missouri

3.99/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2014 01:31:48 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the 2011 vintage of the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from the Kuhnhenn Brewing Company out of Michigan.
Score: 96

2011 vintage bottle served in a Three Floyds teku glass and enjoyed on 08/13/12. A huge thanks to Ben for hooking me up with a bottle of this majestic beer.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany, burnt chestnut color that is translucent with a ruby caramel hue and a gorgeous yellow to chestnut brown fade when held up to the light. Absolutely no head at pour save for a thin tan bubbly ring around the glass at pour, even though I tried hard pouring this beer. Minimal oily lacing with good spotty cling. 4.5/5

Smell: Holy moly! This one instantly reminds me of King Henry. Huge notes of bourbon soaked raisin, vanilla, brown sugary caramel/molasses, and dark fruit. The vanilla flavor is light and fluffy and dessert like, but it is bold and perfectly complementary to the dark fruit aromas of the beer. Some toffee and even a little milk chocolate comes out as the beer warms. There's a very subtle woodiness in the nose too. The nose is incredibly malty and sweet, but for it's just so...inviting! The beer never seems "too sweet" at any point. There are ample bourbon notes in the noose that are rich and robust. Seriously, this aroma is just as good as King Henry's.5/5

Taste: Taste is the same as the nose but with a little more brown sugar and bourbon flavor upfront. The flavors are big, bold, malty and delicious. The sweet maltiness of the beer gets a little boozy as the beer hits room temperature, and I found the beer best enjoyed slightly chilled. The beer is less balanced on the palate than it was in the aroma, but the blend of desserty vanilla and sweet raisin flavors here is absolutely unreal. For all the malty booziness that comes through on the tongue as the beer warms up, you would never guess this one was nearly 15% ABV. I could imagine that a little more time to smooth out the "booziness" of this brew could turn this into something even better. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: An absolute lack of carbonation is the great downfall of this beer. I expect my heavy ABV beers to be low in carbonation, but Kuhnhenn seems to be trying to rival the Lost Abbey's "psst"-less bottles here. Full bodied with an oily and viscous mouthfeel that seems to border on "syrupy" based on how sticky it feels at times. Malty sweet finish. 2/5

Overall: A big and bold barrel-aged beer -- which is just how I like them! This beer would likely rival King Henry for the crown of best barleywine that I have ever had if it had even a modicum of carbonation. I really need to try this one on tap.

Recommendation: Seek this one out and enjoy with friends. This beer is likely a bit too bold for the casual beer drinker.

Pairings: Filet Mignon.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 08:07:10 | More by jegross2
Photo of hoppymcgee
hoppymcgee

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +12.6%

12-22-2011 15:30:24 | More by hoppymcgee
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buschbeer

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

12-30-2012 00:06:38 | More by buschbeer
Photo of beergorrilla
beergorrilla

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-20-2014 03:11:48 | More by beergorrilla
Photo of lupercmda
lupercmda

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +7%

06-30-2014 01:38:07 | More by lupercmda
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release courtesy of Dlucky, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: A turgid, brackish, pond water amber, existing in that area right between ruby and brown sugar. On the one hand, you don't get too much out of the hue, because even holding it up to extreme light reveals very little chromatic character - it sports a dirty, hazy, completely opaque body, lying underneath a ring of dense but nonetheless wispy-looking lace, as if the slightest agitation might cause it to dissipate as quickly as the half-finger of lightly tanned head did. On the other hand, there's a sort of understated beauty to the color, how the burned orange hues around the edges of the glass transition beautifully in to the earthy garnet ambers nearer the center which themselves meld seamlessly in to the vast, darker core. The lacing is similar to that of a 14.5% abv barrel-aged barleywine - that is, there isn't any.

Aroma: Very aromatic, even from a distance, and one of the earthiest and most robust malt showcases I've ever smelled. What's most surprising about the nose is the near-complete lack of bourbon, which is only a surprise because of the overwhelming amount of bourbon you usually get out of these bourbon barrel barleywines. Only extreme agitation drags the faintest whiff of that earthy spirit spice out. What this one doesn't hide, however, are the barrel notes - coconut and vanilla are large, mingling with a nice woody earthiness. Brown sugar, molasses, raw sugar, and dark toffee provide a caramelized edge to compliment toast, earth, bread crusts, and even faint cocoa. Dark raisin and cherry notes in turn compliment a lighter citrusy hop note, though the hop component here is mostly earthy, herbal, slightly minty. The smell on this one is "heavy" - that is, you have to agitate it even after warming to truly get everything that's here - but once you coax it out, it proves well worth the effort. The complete lack of any hint of heat or spice just adds to the impressiveness.

Taste: Kuhnhenn's BBBBW starts off dry, and in fact stays dry throughout. This sets it apart from many other barleywines, and indeed many barrel-aged barleywines. The malt characteristics of the nose are very earthy, wholesome, and brown, and - though they do occasionally exhibit the above-mentioned brown sugar, lighter toffee, caramel, and molasses notes - are more inclined towards bread crusts, dry toast, and heavily-attenuated fruit sugars. The attenuation is a virtue, not a vice, and it's a complex, solid malt foundation, authentic, and ends up doing this beer wonders.

In a beer where the barrel characteristics had been less expertly crafted, the above might be a problem. Not so here. KB^4W's relative lack of malt showiness puts the remainder of this brew's mouth on parade for all to experience. Coconut, vanilla, oak esters, and wood sugars come through strongly, as does a less submissive bourbon presence, slightly heated, prickly, golden. The fruits here are more impressive still, with cherries, plums, dates, and raisins melding with the tropical fruit overtones imparted by the hops and the residual sweetness. Hop bitterness is large, but does get somewhat lost in the reason this one does lose half a point, a mild amount of boozy, spicy, warming (not hot) alcohol. Truth be told, what's more impressive is how faint and pleasant this heat really is, given its high numerical value, and in many ways it almost contributes more than it detracts. The remainder of the hop notes - earthy leather, wintergreen, pine, faint grapefruit and berry notes - meld with all the above notes in interesting and unique ways. They seem both mellowed and subdued while at the same time not being buried at all, likely a result of the aforementioned dryness.

Mouthfeel: An amazingly balanced body. This one's chewy, sure - what 14.5% abv barrel aged barleywine isn't? - but it's not nearly as thick or heavy or biting as you'd expect it to be. Instead, it's relatively attenuation makes for a smooth, not-too-sticky body, filled with tons of fine effervescence. The result is as creamy as you'd like, as crisp as you'd like, and truth be told fairly light for a beer of this magnitude, which definitely eases the (wanted) imposition that is the slew of aforementioned flavors.

Drinkability: A masterstroke from the enigmatic QC-challenged, dot-matrix label-applying genius of micro breweries, and likely the most drinkable 14.5% brew I've ever had. An amazingly mature brew, for two reasons: first, the alcohol heat is incredibly tame for its numerical equivalent; and second, the flavors are incredibly well-blended/balanced for the age of this beer, with everything complimenting and mingling with everything else in a way that you usually only see in a beer of this size at an age four times this one's age. A must have for barleywine fans, and I'm confident Wooden Hell ain't got shit on this beauty. Seek it out if you can - you won't be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2010 05:10:28 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-21-2013 14:53:07 | More by jampics2
Photo of mrebeka
mrebeka

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

03-05-2013 03:26:52 | More by mrebeka
Photo of HopStoopid120
HopStoopid120

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +12.6%

11-15-2011 03:53:59 | More by HopStoopid120
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-22-2013 13:23:15 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 23:32:26 | More by Phelps
Photo of mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.1/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2009 release has a bottlecap which says "Alabama". WTF? Tried the orignal batch in 2005 and loved it. A friend picked up this bottle for me at the end of 2009 and brought it here to me in Colorado while visiting over the holidays. Pours a soda pop head that quickly disappears over a fairly clear ruby brown liquid. Smells bourbon, almonds, coconut, vanilla, cherry, and clean alcohol. Some brown malt character is carried on the alcohol as nutty or faint chocolate. Some dark fruits, which I suspect will develop more as time goes by.

Tastes almond, chocolate nutty, cherry sour, rounded vanilla, and a strong drying wood character with a strange waxy component. Strong, but very clean, alcohol. Caramel and prune way beneath and found only with searching. Dominated by the wood and bourbon with too much alcohol to allow the malt to show through. It's potent, like in a quality cognac. Mouthfeel is md-thin and drinkability is sure to improve.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 05:50:50 | More by mentor
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 05:28:32 | More by david131
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2010 vintage - 15.1% ABV) poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A - Pours an astonishingly clear and bright mahogany color that is just beautiful in the glass. A small fizzy and soda-like head makes a brief appearance before falling to the surface leaving only the thinnest of collars on the edge of the glass. Fizziness and lack of any lasting head are minor detractors here sadly.

S - Smooth brown sugar, caramel, vanilla bean...almost like creme brulee in overall effect. A bit of burnt sugar comes on with a mild bourbony alcohol hit rounds things out. This smells outstanding!

T - Very nice and well rounded flavors. First sip hits with rich caramel and brown sugar surrounded by smooth bourbon. Quite vanilla'y, overall sweet and dessert-like with hints of raisins. Alcohol is evident but exceptionally smooth.

M - Body is medium-full and carbonation is tingly but still at a relatively low level. Alcohol is quite smooth, but there is no doubt about the 15% here. Quite a sipper...it is boozy and almost spirit like. There is a definite warmth and tingle left on the lips and tongue from the alcohol. Very much a dessert in a glass.

O - Overall, an excellent BA Barleywine...barreling is well done. Hops really don't play much of a role in the beer at all - the barrel is the balancing element against the sweetness of the malt. The malt is candy-like, sweet and complex with many different sugary impressions made. The bourbon gives this a kick that it needs and really cuts thru the sweetness to bring this back into balance. Very well done...but I didn't really expect anything less from this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2012 00:48:20 | More by portia99
Photo of Photekut
Photekut

Tennessee

5/5  rDev +12.6%

11-14-2011 23:19:25 | More by Photekut
Photo of bum732
bum732

Lesotho

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-09-2014 20:33:25 | More by bum732
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark mahogany with almost no head that vanishes with no lacing.

S: tons and tons of caramelized vanilla and toffee. Some oak, smooth vanilla, and slight cocoa as well.

T: similar to the aroma, tons of caramel, vanilla, and toffee. Some bourbon toward the finish as well. Light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet.

O: a pretty decent beer. It's very sweet and sticky with a significant alcohol presence, but still tasty enough. Definitely a beer to be drank in small quantities.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 02:41:05 | More by n2185
Photo of trxxpaxxs
trxxpaxxs

New York

4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 13:31:37 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

3.83/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

06-23-2014 02:27:11 | More by nlmartin
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CelticAleMan

California

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

01-14-2012 05:15:53 | More by CelticAleMan
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.