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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

507 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 507
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,169
Gots: 100 | FT: 8
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: 507 | Reviews: 180 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

XmnwildX12, May 08, 2014
Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Halcyondays, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

imperialking, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

InspectorBob, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

drewone, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

yourefragile, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to Jeff(ipa247) for opening this at our tasting.

Pours a dark caramel toffee brown color with burnt amber edges. Completely still with a faint, very thing ring that quickly fades.

Sweet boozy aroma with a very prominent bourbon presence. Hints of caramel and toffee along with some dark fruit, especially fig, plum and raisin. Again, the bourbon is dominant but you can still smell the oak and other notes.

Very hot and extremely boozy with a ton of bourbon that dominates the flavor and lingers into a long warm finish. Subtle vanilla from the barrel along with some slick caramel toffee sweetness and dark fruit, namely fig, date and raisin. A bit too hot and bourbony and not as well balanced as I prefer but it's a very nice sipping beer that should be savoured slowly.

corby112, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to hopdog for breaking this open...
Appears a semi-transparent amber with a small, off-white head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, caramel, toffee, rock candy, vanilla, flowers, raisins, cherries...very complex stuff.
Taste echoes the aromas with as much complex characters coming through in the form of caramel, ripe fruit, and oaky bourbon.
Mouthfeel is syrupy, sticky, hot, and lovely. This is dessert heaven. More, please!

weeare138, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of tempest
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Clark's Ale House.

An incredibly mellow brew. The main flavor and aroma I got pineapple hops. The malt profile was a little too mellow, but there was no trace of alcohol. It was just a smooth sipper. At the end I got some vanilla flavor, but really, the pineapple dominated.

tempest, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

barleywinefiend, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

duceswild, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Foofaa for sharing.

A: The barleywine is a pretty orange-brown color that I'd be inclined to call auburn. The fuller body renders the ale opaque.

S: The nose has two distinct features. The first is a strong bourbon aroma, featuring vanilla and brown sugar. The second is an intensely caramel malt presence that has the aroma of an ale brewed with super-heated stones.

T: The malt side stands out upfront, with caramel appearing in alternating strong-weak blasts. Behind the malts, the bourbon lurks. As it comes to full strength, vanilla, dark fruits and brown sugar all appear in succession. The strength of the beer is deceiving, rarely indicating that it is more than 10%.

M: The mouthfeel is softened by a diminished carbonation. The punch of the malts, off and on flavor-wise, is nice.

D: A few sips is good. Anything more and the heavy pricetag kicks you square between the eyes. A full, malt-centric barleywine if ever I've had one.

akorsak, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of mothman
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage

Big thanks to eyebrews for sending this one out

Pours hardly any beige head. Color is an amazing bright ruby hued mahogony brown. This beer is glowing. Very appealing.

Aroma: Sweet and malty. Caramel and toffee. Big oak flavors. Bourbon is subtle but a perfect amount for the beer. Raisins and dark dried fruit notes in there as well. Perfect.

Taste: More bourbon up front. Rich caramel and toffee. Big oak flavors again. Reminds me a bit of cedar. Vanilla comes out here. The flavors blend very well. A little hot, but not bad.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Fairly large bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry with some bourbon notes. Very well done.

Overall, a damn fine ba bwine. A little hot, but still very well done.I don't really mind the small amount of heat for the style. They tops many ba bwines I have had. I really want more.

mothman, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Huhzubendah, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Gonzoillini, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.41/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear brown/burgundy color with very little head, just a few bubbles forming. No retention or lacing at all.

S: The aroma is quite strong. Lots of caramel with plenty of the bourbon coming through, vanilla, toffee, a little molasses.

T: Fantastic, the flavors are blended together nicely. Brown sugar, vanilla, and caramel dominate with bits of oak/wood.

M: Medium to full bodied, extremely smooth. Low carbonation.

O: Lived up to the hype, really enjoyed this barleywine. Smoothness helped a lot.

mdaschaf, May 08, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

smakawhat, May 10, 2014
Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine appears murky on first glance but, upon closer inspection, is in actuality very clear. This is a fact easy to miss given the stunning dark crimson colour and gorgeous, blushing scarlet highlights. There are a select few bubbles resting on the surface but no matter how hard one swirls it's impossible to generate any sort of head (though the glossy tracks of liquid tearing down the glass are beautiful).

The aroma is sweet and deliciously rich. The proper use of bourbon barrels manifests token notes of vanilla, oak, and wood spice but they're accompanied by chocolate, dates, licorice, currants and rich, heavenly malts. My god, the malts! With each smell one delves deeper and deeper into the scent, layer by layer becoming more and more sedated by its divine complexities.

Kuhnhenn should have named *this* beer 4D - it has endless dimensions. While giant bourbon-influenced flavours hit the palate upfront, a great depth of slightly delayed and delicious nuances set in after the swallow: tastes of chocolate mousse and truffles, dates and raisins, french vanilla latte, anise, and heavy caramel. It's like a rich dessert that's big in body and luscious in texture.

The use of bourbon barrel aging is appreciable but sensibly done; all the distinction and character of the whiskey is blended with the malty essence of a barleywine, and somehow managed to loose the strong alcohol presence somewhere along the way. How is it that nearly 15% alcohol goes unnoticed? Neither the ale nor the bourbon dominates. They meld and marry, though the mouth is always coated with rich, viscous caramelly malts.

Oh glory of glories, oh heavenly testament to the eternal majesty of God's creation...
HOLY MACARONI! Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine is among - if not the - best crafted beer I've tried. The precision of detail and particularities, the depth of flavour, the sensible use of barrel aging, the sheer quality - it's a downright divine drink. While other brewers may write music, Kuhnhenn writes symphonies. This was something beautiful. Thanks Grub!

biegaman, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of billab914
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with just a trace amount of white lacing around the edges of the glass.

The aroma really mixes the barleywine and bourbon barrel flavors well. Notes of caramel, toffee, fig and cherry come out and are complimented excellently by the bourbon, brown sugar, oak and vanilla. Perfect balance of beer and barrel flavors and a fantastic aroma overall.

The bourbon really comes out in the taste. Brown sugar, slightly boozy bourbon, caramel, cherry and plum are all things that come to mind. A nice oaky vanilla flavor comes out in the finish as well as some balancing bitterness helping it from becoming overly sweet. Again, the beer and barrel flavors seem really well balanced and complimenting of each other.

The mouthfeel feels a little thin, but the lack of almost all carbonation could be contributing to that. I like low carbonation in beers like this though, so I'm not really complaining.

Overall I thought it was a really great beer. The barleywine flavors were really good, the bourbon was really good and together they complimented each other excellently. Overall, it really comes together well and was definitely one of the better barrel aged versions of the style I've had.

billab914, Jun 22, 2012
Photo of Kelp
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Kelp, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of Viggo
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at Mondial de la Biere 2007. They give generous samples at the Petit Pub. 8 or so ounces for $5 CDN.

Pours a hazy caramel brown, thin off white head, lace spots, decent retention, head eventually disappears though. Smell is wow. Toffee, bourbon, alcohol, very rich, dates raisons, amazing. Taste is too. Sweet toffee, buttery oak, bourbon, dates, more toffee, bit of citrus, alcohol, super caramelized oaky vanilla goodness, just insane good. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation, hot going down, just right. Kuhnhenn is amazing.

Viggo, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of Zaphog
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Zaphog, Dec 23, 2012
Photo of liamt07
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Peter of Flying Monkeys. 355ml bottle into some tulips, from the 2010 Winter Solstice release. Civic day tasting, long time want - thanks a TON Peter!

Low carbonation evident on the initial pour, leaves nothing more than some bubbles as a collar. Moderate legs on this, but pretty close to still nonetheless. Body is burgundy in colour, with some light brown sugar-like highlights. Nose is bourbon, caramel, molasses - sweet and sugary all around, not overpoweringly so. Some brown sugar like notes as well. Taste showcases more bourbon, brown sugar, caramel and booze. Sticky, and sweet and a medium mouthfeel - not as thick or syrupy as I thought it would be. Great flavour and a really nice BBBW, exactly the kind of barrel treatment I enjoy from the style. 35/45/4/45/45

Had on draught at the 2012 Winter Solstice, they were pouring the 2011 vintage.

Fantastic barrel integration here, fantastic sweet malt interplay with the barrel and borubon character. Absolute magic, phenomenal when it hits room temperature. 45/4/45/45/5

liamt07, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of DrJay
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at the brewpub. Clear and brown with reddish highlights. The yellowish, light brown head showed good retention given the gravity and fine bubbles stuck to the sides of the glass throughout. What a beauty. Aromas of toffee, vanilla, wood, light citrus, and mellow alcohol came together nicely. Moderate bitterness that barely keeps up with the other flavours. Lots of toffee and caramel, vanilla, and oak. Hops were quite citrusy, mostly grapefruit, and the bourbon character melded nicely with the alcohol flavour and warmth in the finish. Full bodied with low carbonation, smooth texture with a bit of dryness. Very tasty! The alcohol was really well hidden given the strength of this brew, making for an easy (and dangerous) drink. Another winner from Kuhnhenn.

DrJay, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

iL0VEbeer, Jul 21, 2014
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.