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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

494 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 494
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,169
Gots: 101 | 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: 494 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

HuskyinPDX, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

iL0VEbeer, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Poured vigorously with just a few khaki bubbles. Mostly flat otherwise. Deep red brown with a bit of sediment at the end of the pour.

Smell - Excellent barrel character. Bourbon, lots of charred oak, vanilla. Deep brown sugar. Oxidation has started, but it adds instead of detracts at this point.

Taste - Immediate bourbon alcohol bite. Lots of brown sugar and vanilla. Oak even more present here. There is a slight acidic twang from the barrel, too. Just a little bitterness in the back.

Mouthfeel - Well it's nearly flat. It's also boozy, but I don't mind that so much.

Overall - An immense beer in every respect. Incredible.

Alieniloquium, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of TurdFurgison
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.

TurdFurgison, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of wordemupg
3.31/5  rDev -25.5%
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

wordemupg, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of drummermattie02
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

drummermattie02, Jan 11, 2013
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.35/5  rDev -2%
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.

Rhettroactive, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of xnicknj
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

xnicknj, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of jrallen34
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

jrallen34, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

TheSevenDuffs, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Cynic-ale, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of chippo33
4.75/5  rDev +7%

chippo33, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

AgentZero, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of bsuedekum
5/5  rDev +12.6%

bsuedekum, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

DefenCorps, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of gford217
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

gford217, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of Gobzilla
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Gobzilla, Mar 30, 2013
Photo of francisweizen
4.9/5  rDev +10.4%
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!

francisweizen, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of aasher
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

aasher, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev -11%
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.

Jwale73, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of enelson
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

enelson, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of sweemzander
3.95/5  rDev -11%
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.

sweemzander, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of tectactoe
4.75/5  rDev +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.

tectactoe, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of DmanGTR
4.98/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a big beer. Pours a deep mahogany with tangerine hues. Nose is superb. Like a rich candy: toffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate. A bit of golden raisins and figs come out too. Bourbon comes out nicely in the finish. Really nicely done. Sweet, rich, and smooth. A beer of epic proportions. Thanks for opening this Joe!

DmanGTR, Jan 19, 2014
Photo of whartontallboy
5/5  rDev +12.6%

whartontallboy, Mar 22, 2012
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 494 ratings.