Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder LagerKuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Eisbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2003

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Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 131
Photo of ypsifly
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz 2005 vintage purchased at The Beer Depot in Ann Arbor and poured into a Maudite tulip. Label sez 15.5% abv.

Tiny head of vanilla rises up and is then crushed by the abv and forms a thin ring with an even thinner veil. Spotty lace but what would you expect given the caliber? At least it has a nice shade of dark amber...

The nose is deep dark fruits and spiced rum. The heat and spices open my sinus cavities yet it isn't the painful burning one would expect from such a potent brew. The yeasts have a pleasant bleu cheese like aroma that sounds weird but works really well.

The mouth is full and lacks decent carbonation but it doesn't get slick in any way. Maybe the alcohol clears the oils....whatever the case this is a nice full yet smooth mouthfeel. Again the dark fruits jump in first with some apples and pears followed by the spices that taste of coriander and and anise. Slowly warming alcohol with citric tartness and lingering spices in the finish. I wish I could be more articulate about the flavors in this beer but I will say that everything comes together perfectly so much that it earns a five for taste. I'm a sucker for a big ass beer that is so damn tasty.

The most interesting aspect of this beer was the nose. A weird yet interesting mix of aromas, especially the bleu cheese notes. That reminded me that I have a small chunk of Bleu d' Auvergne in the fridge and oddly enough, the pairing works quite well. A dangerously drinkable beer. Tough to find outside of the brewery when they have it. If you find it, buy all that is available. I did.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. 2004 bottling, notes 15.5% abv. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/4" beige head over the glowing burnished copper brew. Head fades quickly to an uneven layer of bubbles, not unexpected for the style, and average lacing for this abv is actually impressive. Aroma is bubblegum fruitiness, with warming alcohol, even in the nose. Flavor is sweet maltiness upfront, with the bubblegum carrying in here as well. A vinous tart close, and subtle warming is the only indication of alcohol here. For the style, the mouthfeel and drinkability are stupid good. Wow. Check this out if you can.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12ozer bottled in 2004 and picked up at the brewpub. Pours out thick deep reddish brown with a good sized off white head. No lace and the head quickly drops down into the murky body. Big dark ripe fruity notes come out as soon as this is poured. There is a touch of alcohol peaking though but nothing to hint at 15%. More sweet fruit notes are released as this warmed. Some notes of toffee and light maple syrup are noted as well. The flavor is equally big in fruits mainly of the dark variety. Some molasses and caramel. Very rich malty flavor that hides the alcohol extremely well. The sweetness manages to keep from being cloying as well. This stuff is very thick with a big warming quality to it. Right after the first sip you know this was strong stuff with the way the warming is. Pretty damn drinkable too in my opinion. I would have liked more than one bottle even though it took me awhile to finish. This is just an ideal beer to be sipping on in the cold months or anytime for that matter.

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Photo of afausser
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours with numerous fizzy carbonation bubbles that result in initially a very sparse head, which quickly and predictably disappears. Pretty bubbles, though, and the color is a green toned deep chocolate that also has a reddish tint, the color of which comes across as clay or paprika. As it settles and more is drank, it's green around the edges and varying shades of amber throughout the body.

Smell: Comes across as spiced apple juice--no alcohol at all evident. Cinnamon and clove spice, as well as dark fruits, particularly raisins, and a peppermint note that holds its own yet manages to not overwhelm the rest of the brew. A sweet buttery note comes through--and oddly, this brew really really smells like incense to me. Slight perfume and floral notes that come across as lavender and jasmine. Pears and kiwi also come out as it warms, as well as a slight sour funk that is just barely present. Thyme. Pine. A little hint of curry and especially chili powder notes as it warms.

Taste: The taste is, much like the nose, heavily flavored by fruits. Apple juice is again the dominant note, with a hint of a sweet syrup, as well as clove spice, light raisin flavor and a slight fruity aftertaste. The smallest amount of licorice blends in with the taste as well as a slight amount of wintergreen, both of which are also present in the aftertaste. A bit of nutmeg adds to the spice blend as well as some sweet cinnamon. Particularly as it warms I get cherries and a strong kiwi flavor. Slight alcohol but nicely blended.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is just about perfect but maybe slightly undercarbonated. The aftertaste is great too. Not much to say beyond that.

Drinkability: so very drinkable. Could easily drink this for quite a while. And its not infected!!!

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Photo of DrJay
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub, listed as 15.5%. This beer was a hazy, deep amber colour with a bit of a reddish hue. The short, off-white head showed great retention and left sheets of fine lace on the glass. Complex aroma with a mixture of bubblegum, orange, banana, and floral hops. Alcohol became evident as it warmed. The huge sweetness assaults the palate, but other flavours help bring this into perspective. The bubblegum, orange, and banana character appeared again, but this was supplemented by pineapple and lots of citrus at the mid-point. This created an intensely complex fruit character. Low bitterness overall, with mild alcohol and a lingering sweet finish. Heavy body that was on the syrupy side, but didn't become overbearing. The carbonation was well-integrated and refined. I was surprised at how well the alcohol content was masked in the flavour, but this stuff really messes you up fast. An exceptional winter beer, I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured straight from the tap at the Kuhnhenn pub.

This one, much like the regular eisbock, defies it's category and description really. Though the ABV was quite high, you wouldn't know it to taste it. How do these guys pull that off? Maybe a deal with Satan? Who knows!

Pours a bright amber in color with a white head to match. Nose was seriously complex, smells of candy almost, fruity, almost wine like in charatcer, reminded me of barleywine to be honest. Taste was quite the experience I've got to say, taste of cherries, bubble gum (yes, I said bubble gum, bazooka to be exact) grapes, malts and hops well in unision, neither dominating overall. Honestly, this seemed more like an ale to me somehow, a light one yes, but still an ale. I really like the experimental nature of the brew, it really is something different like many of their brews are. I really like the fact the don't go the high hop route with everything too, that idea seems so played out to me. This is a great example of creativity at work.

I really enjoyed this brew overall, also was available in bottles. I hope they make more next year, I'll definatly be looking for it.

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Photo of mikeale
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think it's fitting that I'm drinking this beer on the first day of winter 2008.

2007 vintage 15.5%

Thanks, GrandCruDrew

A. Served in my DFH snifter. Tan head that dissipates quite quickly into a thin skim layer. Dark orange, hazy bright orange when held up to light.

S. boozy alcohol, dark fruts, sweet maltiness

T. sweet dark fruits raison, malty, alcohol, long lasting finish. No hopiness at all.

M. Full bodied, rich, thick mouth coating, sticky.

D. Well balanced, alcohol hidden quite well, while this is not a session beer it is quite drinkable, very warming for a cold stormy winter night.

Thanks again, GrandCruDrew

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with golden tints. Decent head that ebbs quickly but leaves great lace on the glass. Light amount of yeast suspended in the carbonation bubbles.
Aromas of dark fruits, yeast, cloves, honey, coriander, heavy hops and alcohol. The hops add the familar grapefruity nose to this beer.
Taste of heavy malt dominates. Through the thickness sub-flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, spicy alcohol and dark bread show through. Minor hop bitterness hides the majority of the alcohol.
Highly, highly drinkable for such a heavy alcohol beer. Almost good enough to session. Very lively in the mouth and the powerhouse of flavors realy balance the alcohol well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No head at all at first but slowly but surely a thin tan cloud rises up and over the top and settles down giving a touch of light foam along the sides and the bottom of the glass.

Tons of rich toffee and caramel initially on the nose, once it warms up though it becomes one of the most complex aromas I have ever encountered. Light alcohol notes, hints of dark cherries and fruit, light chocolate and almost a root beer like touch as it really comes up near room temperature. To say the aroma was inviting would be an understatement, this was intense. Smooth, full, thick body on this one really let the flavor just coat your tongue, and again this was an expierence all its own. A malt monster, caramel and light molasses notes led the charge until a soothing, candy like chocolate and toffee notes come in. But it was the fruit like cherry notes and rich cola flavor that set it apart

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Photo of marburg
4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ha! Little did I realize until this afternoon that I actually had this beer, I believe, back on November 1. The owners were sampling something with the employees, and my friend handed me a small glass and asked me to give my impressions. The first words out of my mouth were "strong," "estery," and "ale."

Well, I was wrong about the ale part.

And apparently, it's all in the yeast. The brothers used some sort of highly unique yeast strain to produce this wildly estery effect that you can't generally find in a lager. This is on par with the sweetest and fruitiest of flavors generated by any yeast.

Estery characteristics dominate the nose. Powerful. Sweet. Apricots and fleeting blackberry flavors push the palate around a tiny bit. Light bitterness and a mild astringency. Potent, syrupy texture conveys a warmth that's re-asserted by alcohol in the finish. Surprisingly well hidden, though. Strong and sip-worthy but not at all harsh or "difficult."

Another amazing Kuhnhenn's experiment in pushing the limits of beer without resorting to twelve tons of hops to do it.

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Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version, delivered from the brewery via grub!

Pours a clear amber, think white head, very brilliant colour, little bit of lace, settles down to a thin ring. Smell is crazy, very intense, caramel, some fruity alcohol, the bubblegum, but amped up in every aspect, pretty fantastic. Taste is more of the same, very malty, toffee, bubblegum fruitiness, alcohol, clean bitter finish, excellent. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation. A sipper, at 15.5% covers the alcohol extremely well, this fucker sneaks up and smacks you good and hard. Thanks a lot Russ!!

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4.44/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With a vigorous pour you do get about an inch of tan head that fades to just a skim in a couple of minutes. Body is a murky dark swampy brown. Nose has fones of ripe grape, port, sweet malt and a bit of citrus twords the end. Enters the mouth with big electric dark fruit notes. This brew is nicely sweet with overly ripe apple tones and a malty spice based pofile. Maybe some creamy dark toffee notes come through on the back end of the palate. This is a really hard to define brew style wise. Alchol is well hidden but does warm the belly well. Mouthfeel is very attractive for such a big beer. A wonderful sipper for any time of year.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Fairly clear dark amber, small head leaves fast to tan ring.

S - Sweet and REALLY fruity. Cooked fruits from all over the plate. Truly inviting.

T - It just gets better and better. Reminds me of an after dinner apertif, rich, cooked fruits and booze, thick sweet and delicious.

M - Heavy, for the sweetness, pretty good balance. Very coating.

D - Sorry. Too big and too BIG. One is good, and I hope I get another in the future!

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Photo of woosterbill
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from 2007 into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to Knifestyles for opening this, yet another crazy Kuhnhenn.

A: Cloudy orange-amber body with a finger of frothy tan foam. Great retention but very little lace. Nice enough.

S: Wow. Smells like an insanely good Barleywine: toffee, brown sugar, figs, sherry, raisins, and general sweet goodness. Terrific.

T: Even sweeter and fruitier than the nose. Terrific, albeit intense and boozy.

M: Sticky, lightly carbonated full body. A bit of spiky booze, but generally solid.

O: Chris handed me this one to try without telling me that it was an Eisbock, so I had nothing more than "lager" and "Kuhnhenn" with which to form my expectations. It's saying something that I wasn't really surprised to find myself confronted with an insanely huge, absolutely delicious malt-bomb. Great stuff.


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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shadowy amber body, capped with a thin, but sure, off-white layer of foam.
Nose is rich, malty, strong, cognac and cherries, with chocolate on the side...slick, devilish, delightful.
Ahhhh...one sip and I know this is a juicy gem! Big, robust fruit, ooozing berries and grapes, rasins and dates, tangible texture, oily mouthfeel, and absolutely delicious!
flavor rebounds again and again, tastes better every time, too...can't feel the booze yet, either, but it's early, still.
this is a genius choice for a winter beer. I think I'll open the window, for maximum effect. Intensely warming and fabulously flavored.
Another brilliant Kuhnhenn effort. Big surprise.

btw, the label on my bottle reads 15.5% abv
(much thanks to cjrmellor)

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Photo of grub
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at the brewery 12/27/06.

pours copper red with a thin off-white head that drops almost immediately and leaves no lace.

aroma is great. bubblegum and alcohol. caramel. only really these three things, but it's intense.

taste is nuts. alcohol. bubblegum. medium bitterness. tons of caramel and toffee. crackery malt.

mouthfeel is good. low carbonation and a big body work well with this one.

drinkability is good, much more than you'd think at 15.5%. definitely a sipper, but very good.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to waltonc for sending this one my way. enjoyed from a kuhnhenn tulip.

a - brew poured a caramel purple brown with a foamy cream colored head that was gone quick.

s - really nice malty caramel sweetness. the booze is there but adds a mentholated crispness to the smell and compliments it nicely.

t - caramel plums. some booziness, but really tasty. kind of winter warmer like. very nice.

m - big and bold without being syrupy. boozy.

o - it isn't winter, but this winter was a wonder and this beer is supreme for an eisbock. if you aren't looking for big bold malt bomb with a smooth glazing of 13% then this is not for you...however, if you are looking for that, this beer hits it. loved it.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the brewery. 2005 batch, not sure of the abv this year.

Poured amber with a tan colored head that give way to nice lacing. Smells of alcohol and fruit. Apples, grapes, and bubblegum with an alcohol finish flood my mouth. Mouthfeel is very thick and warming. Halfway through the glass and I feel my face getting a little flush. Very drinkable, not sure I'd get another growler to myself though.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kkulacki for picking this up for me. Pours a dark walnut brown, touch of thin bubbles on the surface. Laces thickly, like concentrated prune juice. Smells of plums, black currants, slight hint of a European hop, strong alcohol. Tastes strongly of alcohol, interlaced well with a malty, fruity base. Prune flavor and tart cherry flavor, along with a dry caramel and ethanol kick. Huge and syrupy. full bodied to the MAX! A hardcore, liquor-like, evening-by-the-fire beer. Very strong and decadant.

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Photo of rye726
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage '09

Pours a hazy, woody brown with a silky tan head.

Nose has ripe pitter fruits, spicy alcohol and dark candies.

Taste is a bit more complex. Sweet plums and cherries followed by figs and dates. Bready malts, toffee coated pecans, a touch of peppery booze and caramel.

Medium body is nicely carbonated. A cellar worthy lager from Kuhnhenn.

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Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

Poured into snifter. Pours hardly an head. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Aroma: Rich and malty. Toffee, caramel, dried fruits. Plums, cherries, raisins, and licorice. Has the distinct Kuhnhenn heat to it, which I really enjoy. I like it.

Taste: Fairly sweet, but still rich. Toffee, caramel, and leather flavors. Plums, raisins, dried cherries, licorice all show again. Shows some more heat. Very malty, but provides a nice amount of dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Warming, smooth, creamy. Medium to full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation (but it works). Ends dry and malty.

Overall, another winner from kuhnhenn. This beer provides the warmth similar to a lot of the other big kuhnhenn beers. I had no idea what the style was on this one when I opened it, but at first smell, I knew it was bigger than a typical lager. Get some!

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature tulip glass, 2012 winter solstice bottling. Pours hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, cherry, apple, pear, apple skin, molasses, pepper, clove, coriander, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, herbal, and earthy yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of huge sweet raisin, plum, cherry, pear, apple, molasses, caramel, toffee, pepper, clove, herbal, toast, brown sugar, light chocolate, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark and light fruits, caramel, toffee, molasses, toast, clove, herbal, light chocolate, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, balance, and robustness of malt and yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish surprisingly. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Doppelbock style! Huge complexity, balance, and robustness of flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of biegaman
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Winter Wonder Lager has an alcohol content that eclipses most beers and, indeed, looks more like a cognac. It has a sleek and syrupy complexion and the colour of buckwheat honey. The sepia-tinted foam that formed off the pour melts away at a glacier pace...a glacier that is being viewed in time-lapse video. This Winter Wonder is quickly without any snow.

This beer is a literally a Rubik's Cube every time you take a sniff; the amount of flavours, the different combination of those flavours, the difference between those flavours - it's mind-blowing. Actually no it isn't - it's downright soothing; these aromas of butterscotch, dried fruits, and caramel malts provide a massage for the olfactory bulb.

The flavour unravels many more layers of this complex puzzle: raspberry-filled truffles, icewine-glazed pears, chocolate-covered raisins, bubblegum and bruised bananas. It sheds a whole new light on malt - who knew simple cereal grains were capable of all this? Naturally, yeast, alcohol, and probably hops too have provided a helping hand. Still, it's outstanding.

When I first had Winter Wonder Lager in 2007 it was listed as 15.5% alcohol - I didn't have any problems drinking it then and, at a "measly" 11.7%, I certainly don't have any now. Of course it's not the kind of lager you gulp down - something this rich and complex begs to be savoured - but it doesn't put up a fight going down, that's for sure.

Like the Winter Solstice, a beer like this comes along but once in a year. Kuhnhenn has a habit of making special (and rare) beers but Winter Wonder Lager continues to be one of my favourites in their portfolio. There's as few beers like this one as there are places to buy it; if you're ever in the Detroit area and happen to spot a bottle, don't pass on it!

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Photo of mcallister
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like an amber lager. Poured with no head which is dissapointing and hurts it's point total.

Pint glass pour holds back a bit on the nose would have much preferred this behemoth out of an snifter. Honey comb bursts out at the ole factor with a fruity bliss (is this a lager?) thick and sweet malt dominates the spectrum.

Almost like a braggot. Very malty but layers upon layers of honey comb, caramel and toffee. Thick creamy delicious mouthfeel. Again a fruity quality very uncanny of a lager. Berry characteristics than going into more dark fruit flavors. Boysenberry being a standout. A tremendous beer with that signature malty sweetness that I've come to love in the various Kuhnhenn beers I've tried.

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Photo of hopdog
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade. 2005 Vintage.

Poured a medium amberish color with a small sized off white head. Aromasf o nuttiness, some alcohol, caramel, dark fruits, and cherries. Tastes of nuts, dark fruits, and caramel. Very light alcohol in the finish but no where near 13%. Light tart finish.

Notes from 3/04/08

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Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 131 ratings.
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