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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

479 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 479
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,146
Gots: 99 | FT: 10
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: 479 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 23:08:37 | More by rudzud
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.8/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to markwise for bringing a fresh bottle of this one to the tasting.

A: Pours a dark orangish brown hue with a small head. No retention but it does have some legs.

S: Huge aromas here. Tons of coconut, caramel, brown sugar. The barrel stands out in a big way as well with fresh oak, vanilla, and booze.

T: Crazy good brew. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Coconut macaroons, hints of dark fruit and lots of oak, vanilla, and light booze.

M: Medium in body, perfect carbonation, smooth, with a nice boozy finish.

D: Out of this world. World class beer. Kuhnhenn does it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2010 02:42:26 | More by tpd975
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.93/5  rDev +11%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 03:20:58 | More by maximum12
Photo of enelson
enelson

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

02-08-2014 00:40:03 | More by enelson
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

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

12oz bottle acquired in trade with hopscotch (thanks!).

Poured a medium mahogany color with a very small sized off white head. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, citrus, toffee, raisins, plums, and cherries. Tastes of bourbon, caramel, cherries, dark fruits, and toffee. Light alcohol finish. Perfect for our night cap beer!

Notes from and tasted on 7/3/07

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2008 18:31:52 | More by hopdog
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Jrallen34 for this one.

Even with an aggressive pour there is no head on this beer. Slight haze and a deep amber color with ruby highlights. No lace.

Aroma is very nice and a nice blend of vanilla, bourbon, alcohol and caramel. A touch of stone fruit as well.

I really enjoy almost everything I’ve tried from Kuhnhenn and this is no exception. Chewy caramel, lots of bourbon and vanilla. A touch of cherry. Lots of layers to the malt. Really nice.

Warming alcohol fairly bold body and slick.

Very nice. In the mood for a barleywine tonight and this really fit the bill.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 00:16:47 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 18:38:53 | More by tectactoe
Photo of bpfrush
bpfrush

Wisconsin

4.75/5  rDev +7%

01-25-2014 04:26:35 | More by bpfrush
Photo of eawolff99
eawolff99

Colorado

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

05-20-2012 02:05:07 | More by eawolff99
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage. Big thanks to Urbancaver for hooking me up.

3.5 A: Murky dark brown color. Just a quarter finger of tannish head than falls quickly and leaves very little lacing. Kuhnhenn has little time to worry about their beers asthetics.

5.0 S: Aggressive, complex, yet extremely complementary. Thick, rich caramel and toffee. Huge raisin, tobacco, plum, prune, and date slap the smell receptors silly. Only mildy boozy despite the huge ABV. Bourbon and barrel add more complexity to an already superbly complex base. Leather, light peat, earth, and melon fruits in addition to oak and vanilla from the barrel.

4.5 T: Tastes like the nose, but isn't as aggressive (how could it be, really?). Huge raisin, prune, tobacco, plum and all that jazz. Again the booze is hidden very well. Big sweetness, but nothing out of hand and definitely not Bruery level. Leather, peat, earth, melon, vanilla, oak. Wonderful taste.

4.5 M: Heavy body. Carbonation is on the lower end of acceptable. Rich, palpable thickness without necessarily being overly chewy.

5.0 D: A taste could have also been a 5.0, so I'll add it here. Really wonderful beer. Kuhnhenn are masters at hiding booze while delivering the amount of flavor that you can only get from a huge ABV beer. Not quite as good as BB4D, but damn close.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2012 03:04:49 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A healthy 4 oz. pour given to me by a very generous, yet unknown BA at DLD '09.

A-Dark, murky, red tinted, deep brown with a thin ring of light tan bubbles.

S-Huge blast of a complex swirl of aromas. Dominated by a large dose of caramel malts, toffee and turbinado. Subtle hints of orange rind and raisin follow. Ends with notes of bourbon, astringent oak and a hint of vanilla.

T-Dominant caramel malt and turbinado. Oak dryness and vanilla sweetness creeps in underneath the malt onslaught. A bit of alcohol heat in the finish.

M-Medium-heavy, slick and somewhat syrupy. Deep lingering flavours and a nice astringent finish.

D-As good as advertised. This is a BBA malt lovers dream. Nicely done, but I think the sweetness and ABV would slow me down in the end.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 16:25:34 | More by Deuane
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-09-2013 15:18:41 | More by Sean9689
Photo of smartassboiler
smartassboiler

Illinois

4/5  rDev -9.9%

12-01-2013 06:32:43 | More by smartassboiler
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

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

A chilly Sunday night, watching the pathetic battle between the 6-9 Seahawks and 7-8 Rams. Dulcet sounds of banjo lessons in the background (my wife's first session with a friend of ours). A good night for a hearty beer.

2009 version, 12 oz. bottle poured to a snifter; 'ALABAMA' in blocky silver font across the black cap. Another cheap-looking printer-quality label that belies the quality of beer inside. Big thanks to hoppymeal for sending this a couple months back.

A: Warm sienna/chestnut orange, subtly hazed and cut gently by tiny carbonation. Hardly any head, just a swirling and breaking skimcoat of powdery tan. Slinky ring, no lace whatsoever.

S: Oh my ~ PLENTY of sweetness in the nose, a surge of maple-syrupiness and vanilla erupting from the glass. Bourbon and raisins with a lilting, almost perfumed, woody undertone.

T: Candy: creme brulee, vanilla beans, boozy fruit and spicy/brown-sugary bourbon. What starts overtly sweet and grain-forward mellows wonderfully, revealing a more savory woodiness and a remarkably dry, even peppery finish. Balance and depth are both spot-on - just a delicious barleywine that's drinking wonderfully 1+ year after its release.

M: Remarkable feel, just a 'wow'-inducing creaminess. Velvety, trace bits of woody coating, lingering sugars. Soothing heat approaches slyly, building gradually without ever dominating - amazing for a beer as sizable as this. Impossibly velvety and smooth.

D: Big aroma and flavor, balanced enough for a barreled barleywine but skewed well toward sugariness. A wonderful sipper that'd be a treat to have again. Just like it was a treat to have tonight. Great job, Kuhnhenn, and thanks again, Derek.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 04:09:37 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for providing this one, UCLABrewN84!

Blind Tasting and Review

Dark, cloudy brown with very little visible carbonation. There's a thin film on top of the beer, but that hardly qualifies as anything resembling a head. That being said, this appearance is about par for the course for barrel-aged barleywines.

Aroma is a nice combination of caramel, brown sugar, black bread, and some alcohol heat. It's sweet without being overly so. It's boozy without being overly so. There's a bit of vanilla and oak character as well.

The flavor is quite exceptional, with lots of vanilla, cream, oak, caramel, toffee, and bourbon combining. For being so exceptionally high in ABV, this one hides it fairly well, even at this relatively young age.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Fantastic. This ranked as one of the highest in our blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2012 15:13:05 | More by ehammond1
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

Many thanks to Beerisheaven and JessetheHutt for the bottles.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine pours a darker, caramel brown. It's full of haze, but has some reddish highlights with backlighting. A very modest, off-white head tops it off. It's barely a surface covering. Retention was on the short side, and lacing was very light.

The nose is very impressive. It has a very rich smelling, sweet caramel malt base. Bourbon is fairly moderate, but easily noted. It complements the sweet, caramel scent very well and isn't overbearing in the least. Dark fruit notes of plum, raisin, and fig are secondary and smell fantastic. A little oak and vanilla creep in the mix late. I'm not getting much in terms of hops. No huge surprise there. Alcohol is noted, but is blended well for 14.5%. This is very deep, complex smelling beer. I might add...it smells delicious.

The flavor is likewise excellent. It has a sweet, caramel malt base that's quite sturdy. Brown sugar is noted and is a nice touch. Bourbon plays its role perfectly. It's moderate in terms of strength, and is a perfect complement to the variety of flavors. Oak and vanilla add nice depth, as well. A little cherry and dark fruit flavors of fig, raisin, and plum emerge. The flavor profile seems to grow deeper with each sip. It's impressive. Alcohol is definitely noted, and runs a tad warm. It's a big, kick-ass Barleywine, so it doesn't have a negative impact on the flavor, but it is there. Finishes sweet, with a tangy, dark fruit aftertaste...and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine has a thick body that's somewhat chewy. Carbonation is very, very light. It definitely has a smooth feel. I wouldn't mind a few more bubbles though. For such a big beer, drinkability is good. It does run a tad warm, but it's relatively easy drinking. At 14.5% abv though, you must tread lightly.

Kuhnhenn's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine was something I sought out for a long, long time. I had high expectations, and they've mostly been met. This is a fantastic Barrel-aged Barleywine. I don't know how long it was in barrels, but it was the perfect amount of time. The bourbon flavor is spot-on and works perfectly. The only qualms I have are perhaps too few bubbles and a little too much alcohol. Small gripes. This is fantastic beer. Seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2010 00:10:13 | More by prototypic
Photo of Exiled
Exiled

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

11-14-2011 17:42:18 | More by Exiled
Photo of AlexFields
AlexFields

Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

10-05-2013 13:41:34 | More by AlexFields
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle into snifter. Thanks for sharing Justin.

Pours a near flat caramel color without any head or sign of bubbles. Caramel, vanilla, leather and tobacco fill my nose with a decent splash of bourbon. Taste follows suit with very smooth flavors. Tobacco and bourbon are warming in the aftertaste. The alcohol is hidden very well despite being nearly 15% and this drinks crazy well. A rich, smooth and sweet (but not cloying) barrel aged sipper. Thanks again Justin.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 17:01:38 | More by scottfrie
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Winter Solstice Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine courtesy of jrallen34, thanks again!

This bottle says it is 15.1% ABV.

Pours a dark amber color with a pretty nice head that faded away pretty quickly, decent lacing.

Aromas are of roasted nuts, mocoa, dark fruits, caramel, dustiness and booze.

Taste is boozy, but not overly so. Notes of roasted coconut, caramel, dark fruits, and brown sugars. Finish is warm with a nice bourbon barrel booziness.

Mouthfeel is good, surprisingly smooth, with a lighter body than I expected.

Overall this is a very good bourbon barrel barley wine. The taste is quite good, but the dustiness on the nose is a bit odd though.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 03:45:38 | More by flexabull
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.13/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Cola colored, small near white head leaves fast. Some spotty lace.

S - Fruity! Lots of booze, definitely wood, brandy like, burnt candy.

T - OUch. Hot. Boozy, rich and sweet, carbonation and booze burns the taste out dry at the end.

M - Full body, enough carbonation to carry it off, last part of balance is to the sweet.

D - Palate killer and equivalent to almost 3 beers in alcohol. Definitely not a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 04:59:41 | More by srandycarter
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 01:07:19 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of williamjbauer
williamjbauer

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

01-12-2014 02:56:22 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of Bung
Bung

Michigan

4.05/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Nicely murky dark brown/orange/amber pour. There was a pop from the cap, but next to zero carbonation appears. A few bubbles around the edge. Really, for a big English BW, not offensive.

Aroma, Caramel, sugar daddy, vanilla, oak, all heavily present. You can smell this from a good foot and a half away.

Taste, Malt, molasses, rum cake. Vanilla, some roast that comes across as peat/oak, hefty booze as well. Vanilla oak finish.

It's warm and a sipper, coating, heavy side of medium bodied. Could use maybe just a tad more carbonation, but with the heat that may not work either.

As a few others have said, the heat keeps this a step down from the 4Ds, but it's pretty solid. Worth grabbing, just grab 2.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 03:47:16 | More by Bung
Photo of tom10101
tom10101

Quebec (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

03-20-2013 20:12:39 | More by tom10101
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 479 ratings.