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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 XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

05-08-2014 01:17:08 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of imperialking
imperialking

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

03-02-2013 21:43:59 | More by imperialking
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 22:35:37 | More by corby112
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

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!

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2007 15:10:16 | More by weeare138
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

01-18-2013 02:13:05 | More by yourefragile
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 16:06:13 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2007 05:35:42 | More by tempest
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

11-21-2013 06:34:39 | More by zestar
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2010 01:52:09 | More by akorsak
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

10-05-2013 18:45:16 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2010 15:41:00 | More by mothman
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-21-2013 16:48:28 | More by duceswild
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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!

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2007 15:52:00 | More by biegaman
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 21:31:39 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

02-19-2014 09:12:17 | More by drewone
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

5/5  rDev +12.6%

11-26-2013 02:38:48 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2014 12:36:45 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2007 04:23:55 | More by Viggo
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 22:07:20 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 03:06:30 | More by DrJay
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

4.75/5  rDev +7%

01-09-2012 00:14:44 | More by Kelp
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 00:54:32 | More by billab914
Photo of Zaphog
Zaphog

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

12-23-2012 03:12:56 | More by Zaphog
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1/15/2010

2009 vintage. Bottle received in a trade with Masterski, to whom I still owe beer. Thanks a lot Alex. The beer pours ruddy rust water with a thin layer of bubbles resulting from a vigorous pour rather than carbonation. Thick legs on the glass presage the ABV.

The nose is of figs, dates, vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar. Bourbon is very powerful and alcohol heat is palpable, stinging my delicate nostrils, an offense I don't take lightly. Other notes are of toffee and wood. It smells excellent.

The flavor is boozy caramel with a heavy dose of bourbon. Sweetness is at an upper moderate level but it's never cloying. Figs and dates are perceivable, and vanilla is prominent. Alcohol is painfully evident in the flavor; I taste every bit of the 14.5%. At first I thought that it was at a very tolerable level, but as I made my way through the 12oz bottle it began to wear on me. I suppose it's partially my fault for drinking the entire bottle myself. Warming is evident in the bourbon laden caramel finish. The beer is nearly flat, but it's something I've come to accept with the higher alcohol examples of the style. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Kuhnhenn's Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine is an enjoyable, albeit potent barrel aged barleywine. I like a high level of alcohol heat in beers of this style, but this became a bit distracting and detracting. If the alcohol abates with age, and precluding an infection in the bottles, I daresay this will be great.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2010 07:45:56 | More by HopHead84
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.4/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 version, from the 2010 Winter Solstice, something like $7.50 each if I remember correctly. I brought this to a little tasting on a Wednesday night in northern OH.

It pours very clear, with a nice dark amber color and a fairly thin head. The smell is really strong and sweet. Someone mentioned sugary cookie dough and I think that fits pretty well. Almost sickly sweet, with brown sugar and lots of malt, also a barrel component that stays in front of the aroma.

IMO this is NOT an English Barleywine, this is a STRONG tasting American style barleywine. Not so much in liquor, the barrel presents more with vanilla oaky flavors. Loads of sweet sugary malts, sweet to a fault really. Everyone else seemed to like it more than me, guess I don't have the correct disposition for this beer style. The alcohol is pretty noticeable too which is another negative for me.

Light carbonation, decent body but who cares. The massive flavors are the draw here. I think this could definitely benefit from a few years of mellowing.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 04:05:30 | More by TurdFurgison
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.