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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
95
world-class

191 Reviews
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Reviews: 191
Hads: 631
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 1,231
Gots: 135 | FT: 15
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
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Reviews: 191 | Hads: 631
Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (1,480 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +14.8%
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! (2,099 characters)

Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
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 (1,050 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (954 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. Poured in to Founders snifter.

A - Very dark brown. Only a small ring of light brown head.

S - Loads of dark caramel and toffee up front with some bourbon, oak and vanilla aromas. Hints of chocolate in the background.

T - Sticky toffee, brown sugar and dark caramel up front. The bourbon shows up in the middle with a touch of vanilla. Some oaky/woody flavours are present throughout. Light chocolate flavours show up in the background.

M - Full body. Very light carbonation. Carbonation is a little low but works somewhat well for this beer. (563 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz, gold foiled bottle to Bruges hyrid glass on 1/24/12
*From notes

-- Muchos gracias, TurdFurgison --

Vintage: Winter Solstice 2011

A: Like it's BA brethren BB4D, this looks like a cask ale. When I say I forcefully poured this beer into the glass, I mean I Bobby Brown'ed this son of a bitch down the center of the vessel. Not a mere trace of head or lacing, though I will say there's a minimal collar to it. Unfiltered cider brown in hue.

S: What a spectacular nose. It's eisbiere-like, as every bit of amazingness is jam packed into one concentrated space, fitting beautifully into my nostrils. The overly ripened fruit, warm vanilla and bourbon are outstanding.

T: Beautiful from the get-go. Colorful dried fruit up front, which leads to a slightly sweet mid-palate. The barrel characteristics really evolve and arrive on the back end, as it's quite woody. The lingering finish overflows with creamy caramel, pipe tobacco and a signigigant amount of hearty lees.

M: This in no way comes close to the best BA Barleywines, but it's no slouch, either. It lacks carbonation (which I credit to the barrel aging), and from this, it feels a tad bit thin fo such a big, hefty beer.

O: Kuhnhenn has knocked another barrel aged brew out of the park, as their BBBW is top shelf. They seem to find concentration in their beers that I've never before witnessed, and it's a marvel to behold. Big thumbs up from Rhettroactive - this is delicious stuff. (1,456 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (771 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 6.3.13

2011 Vintage

A - Pours a dark brown with a few dark tan bubble that disapper instantly.

S - Booze, dark fruit, plums.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, vanilla - Amazing!

D - Low carbonation with a heavier body.

O - Didn't smell that great, but the layers of flavors are amazing. So good and inviting. Delicious. (341 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.33/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I found some old notes, I mention its a 2005 bottle and it was 5 years old so I'm guessing this was from Sunday of the British Open at hoser's Aug, 2010

A light brown until held to the light then it has a reddish glow, no much for head or lace

S big molasses, some smokey earth, teryaki, raisin, and soy

T more of the same, a little sweet, tastes more like a stir-fry sauce then a barley wine, not bad but a little disappointing

M flat and a little sticky, some heat but not to bad

O Meh, for a 5 year old BB barley wine I expected a little more considering who brewed it

I think Trevor (presario) brought this one, its not everyday I find three year old notes, then again it's not everyday I clean out the closet (721 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.4/5  rDev -21.1%
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. (1,025 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a rather deep chestnut hue that is not see through. Next to no head, tiny thin wisps.

S - Aromas of bourbon galore, tons of caramel, toffee, alcohol soaked raisins. This smells super enticing. The alcohol is super faint, which is awesome.

T - Taste is bourbon caramels galore, malty sweetness, light raisins. Maybe dinner slight oxidation. No detectable ABV, not hot at all. Quite tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is rather flat, super lightly carbonated. The alcohol though is super hidden. Very well done.

O - Overall this beer was a bit disappointing, probably should have drank it last year. (649 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A HUGE thanks to my boy Alex(masterski) for yet another hook up.

2005!!! version...A darkish brown, watery though, semi clear, not much carbonation...The aroma here is unreal, its almost all dark liquid brown sugar, so nice and sweet but with a bite, light wood on the finish, a little vanilla...The taste is almost equally amazing, brown sugar, vanilla is more pronounced, light wood finish. Super easy to drink.

This is the second best bw I've had, right below Wooden Hell.

2010 Version, unreal aroma that is Dr. Pepper mixed with pure malt, awesome. (555 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
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. (1,500 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kevin for bringing this along - 2010 vintage. Yet another infamous Kuhnhenn brew that has eluded me longer than it should have. It pours a solid, red-tinted copper color with really nice clarity. Barely any head forms, though that's not much of a surprise for a three year old 15.1% ABV barley wine; a small beige collar is the one sign that carbonation still exists within this brew.

After popping the cap, the smell of Kuhnhenn's BBBW fills the room - after pouring it and bringing the glass to my face, it smells like I'm standing in a sticky caramel and toffee factory. So insanely sweet and so insanely strong. Sticky caramel, heavy toffee, dark fruits (prunes, juicy dates, raisins), and sticky maple syrup. The beer smells big... Actually, it smells HUGE.

The barrel influence isn't as strong as I was expecting, or at least compared to Kuhnhenn's other popular barrel aged beer, BB4D. Perhaps the barrel-aging time was left, or maybe it's the three years of mellowing that has muzzled it just a bit. Light, woody barrel and vanilla in the finish with pretty staunch booze and bourbon. The bourbon from the barrel is heavier than the barrel itself.

I cut this beer with a knife and take a bite... Seriously, the body is huge; extremely viscous, chewy, sticky, and creamy beyond your wildest dreams. The largest, caramel-y and toffee-laden backdrop asserts itself immediately with each sip; a substantial boozy flavor swims throughout the sugary sweet and malty base, confirming that the "bourbon" is more forward than the "barrel".

Plenty of dark, fruity sweetness plays amidst the caramel and brown sugar bath; more dates, more raisins, and tons of sweet prunes. Light anise and a drying, palate-scraping assertion of booze-soaked oak and wood lasts long into the aftertaste. Palate coating to the maximum, this is the type of beer you'll be tasting long after you've swallowed.

Such a treat, and such a great beer. Robust, ominous, and one of the best barley wines I can recall drinking in recent memory. Though many people would argue, I'd say that I enjoy this beer much more than Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia. This beer is just so hard to criticize. I'll be sure to stock up on this each time Kuhnhenn releases it... Such an awesome barley wine. (2,274 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (1,044 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
3.91/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,361 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
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. (860 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a recent trade with mikeyson4, thanks man. '14 vintage, aged in the barrel for an extra 4 months, apparently.

This one pours a medium dark clear amber, with no real head or lacing.

This smells just absolutely fantastic, huge caramel, brown bread, tons of bourbon and barrel, and toffee. The aroma is super super strong here.

As this warms, it becomes super super hot and boozy, but it still tastes quite good. So much caramel and vanilla, and a whole lot of bourbon. There's some astringent oak that I could just also be confusing with the astringent booze. There's some mild dark fruit, toasty brown bread, caramelized sugar, and some kinda earthy spices or something.

This is medium bodied, and fortunately remains not syrupy, which could get tiring. The 14.5% ABV is definitely present- warming and hot, hot, hot. A definite slow sipper.

An awesome and intense barleywine, I think this will age very well. As of now, it's very boozy, so that may fade with time. (988 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

recieved via trade with mrandypandy! Thanks Andy!

Vintage 2010.

poured into a tulip.

Appearance: A glowing brownish amber colored body with no head at all; a very small ring of white head around the glass is hardly noticable.

Smell: This beer smells really sweat! Malt bomb for sure! Caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, toffee, vanilla, and of course oak!

Taste: Moderate sweetness, this beers nose follows the taste. Vanilla and barrel notes hit strong right away. The malty backbone is quite noticable too. The caramel and brown sugar are really hard to miss and make there presence known! Dark fruit linger in the background with the wood notes of the barrel. It gets boozey quick and stays boozey through the aftertaste. The booze tends to mute most of the flavors.

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with low...virtually no carbonation. This beer is syrupy and heavy.

Overall: This is another great Kuhnhenn offering, but it needs more time in the cellar. When the heat dies it will be out of this world! Its a great nightcap for a cool night just like this evening in Illinois. (1,082 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.92/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Eternal thanks & glory unto FlandersNed & beerisheaven for shipping me this much sought-after treat. I never thought I'd see one of these, much less multiples from different years. Winter Solstice 2010 edition, with 15.1% alcohol on the label vs. the 14.5% on the BA listing.

Poured into my lovely Captain Lawrence glass, where the a white head feints & withdraws so quickly it might have been imagined. Very dark beer, but when held to the light, glows with the inner fires of Mordor. Smell is pure top-shelf barrel-aged barleywine: rich bourbon, vanilla, warm sweet malts, sting of alcohol. This one writes the book & adds a few footnotes; the aroma is perfect.

Out of the fridge, I let it warm for several minutes before sipping. Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. One sip & I'm blowing over the limit. The is a complex, boozy, brawler of a beer. Big Time Rush hits my tongue in multiple places; huge bourbon backed with vanilla, brown sugar, molasses and/or maple syrup, sticky dancing raisins, oak or ash or maple, dash of caramel, holy holy hell. Then a tidal wave of alcohol wraps them all up, sticks a bow down their throat, & warms my chest cavity all the way down to my Achilles tendon.

Seriously. Smoother than cream silk pie, & screw the ABV, this is so drinkable I wish it came in a bomber so I couldn't wake up for work tomorrow. A sipper that demands to be gulped, Dew-style. It's a bit hot, but who gives a rip? I can't imagine age doing anything good to this, it's so good already.

OK, I knew this was an A+ beer after the second sip. This, along with the Perfect Storm, are the pinnacle of barrel-aged barleywines. Absolutely fantastic, borderline perfect, & I'm delighted I have a few more in the basement. Epic beer. Damn. (1,751 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to bierenutz for hooking this one up. put a 2010 and 2011 in the fridge, starting out with the 2010 and will hopefully move onto the 2011, but after 15.1%, not sure i'll be able to tackle a 14.5%, but hey, it IS monday...isn't it? enjoyed out of my kuhnhenn snifter.

2010
a - popped the bottle and filled my glass, the brew poured a rich mahogany caramel color with a fingers worth of greyish creamy head that fizzled away in less than a minute leaving a small ring of bubbly head around the surface of the brew. no lacing to speak of whatsoever. pretty much what i'd expect for a beer this big.

s - as soon as i popped the bottle i could smell this gem. in a word perfection. caramel soaked in bourbon. a really perfect blend. great sweetness. nuttiness. really just a magical blend. the heat is invisible in the nose.

t - the taste is just as spectacular as the nose, but the heat is a bit more evident. for a 15.1% beer though, this is WELL hidden. excellent english barleywine with toffee and caramel like malts.

m - the heat can really be felt in the aftervibe. my mouth tingles with delight of the booze that has just gone down my gullet. SUPER smooth...super amazing.

o - overall, i am blown away. all this talk of king henry and abacus/sucaba, and even BB4D to a large extent. where are the people screaming from the rooftops about BBBW (i do know that there are a few of you out there though). can't wait to rip open the 2011...the plan is to open it when i have an ounce or two of this left for comparison. fingers crossed that i can handle all that dynomite brew tonight.

*** ** ***
2011 (side-by-side with a few ounces of 2010 saved for comparison)

a - 2011 looks a bit deeper and darker and more purple.

s - there is a distinct difference in the smell, the 2010 clearly carries more booze when compared to the 2011, but both hide it magnificently. the 2011 has a stronger sweetness presence, but the 2010 is far more complex (and also warmed up a bit, so perhaps things will change). much more nutmeg in the 2011.

t - wow, the 2011 might taste better. in the side-by-side, the 2010 tastes much more boozy. the 2011 is just phenomenal (both are really). both are balanced amazingly. both exhibit everything you want in an english barleywine and HUGE ABVs that are well masked and masterfully crafted.

m - just as smooth as the 2010, the booze is just as well hidden. the 2011 clearly has less booze in a side-by-side.

o - choosing a favorite between the two is like choosing a favorite child...just not possible. they each have characteristics that are amazing and both have similarities that are just top of the heap.

ISO more of this beer. (2,676 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of masonjer poured into a snifter. I can't thank Jeremy enough for the opportunity to try this rarity.

Pours a dark murky reddish brown with little head outside of a small ring of bubbles that leaves very little remnants.

The aroma is massive and just explodes out of the glass. It has hints of citrus up front but the caramel malts, toffee and brown sugar really dominate. There are hints of dark fruits, bourbon and vanilla as well, though very subtle.

The taste has the same dominant malt backbone with tons of caramel malts and brown sugar. The wood makes itself felt a little more in the taste with some vanilla hints and the finish has a huge bourbon burn that lingers between sips.

The mouthfeel is extremely slick and just coats the mouth with bourbon and sugary sweetness. The carbonation is almost non-existent.

This is a damn fine barleywine and one that I've been looking to try for a while. I got hints of oxidation in the taste but that's really just nitpicking with such a great beer. (1,021 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a fresh 64oz growler, thanks Mentor!

Rusty-nail brown with a very nice espresso coloured head that makes this beer look absolutely appealing! The aroma of this beer is absolutely amazing. I smell bourbon soaked dark fruits, caramel, oak, vanilla, nice malts, a bit of roastiness and a slight hint of smokiness also come through. Wow, can you say complex? The taste is even more complex with the alcoholic dark fruits hitting first followed by the luxurious notes of oak, vanilla, carmelized sugar, and more. The middle is sweet and dry and the finish is warm, coating, and wonderful. Mouthfeel is thick, and this stuff grabs, and sticks to every tastebud on your tonuge. Drinkability is excellent for a barleywine of this abv, and I beleive that this is only a 2004 vintage of this stuff. Dry-hopped and aged in bourbon barrels this is another masterpiece from a brewery that I will soon visit! (902 characters)

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.