American Imperial Stout
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

American Imperial StoutAmerican Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #284
Ranked #1,449
4.32 | pDev: 7.87%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
American Imperial StoutAmerican Imperial Stout
Notes: This black ale has a malty sweet aroma, a roasty coffee like flavor, and a nice balanced hop bitterness. This is a bold full flavored stout.

Serve at 45-55 F (7-12 C).
Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 125 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 8 years later, how has it held up?

This one pours an exceptionally dark black color, with a surprisingly large head, dark and mocha colored, with huge sheets of sticky lacing down the glass. I really expected this to be nearly still after all this time, but it's almost the opposite.

This smells fantastic, with minimal-to-no signs of oxidation. The hop flavor seems to have fallen off, and what's left is dark chocolate truffles, smoke, roasty dark coffee, caramel, and slight dark fruit.

It's really astonishing how well this one held up. A little bit colder, it's all dark chocolate and roast, with some coffee-like undertones, and a hint of smoke. As the beer warms, layers of dark fruit reveal themselves - raisin, plum, cherry, what have you. There's no booze, no hop character, and no oxidation - other than maybe that fruitiness.

This is medium bodied, super creamy, and very drinkable. I'm still just so surprised how well this aged.

Most Kuhnhenn big beers seem to have nearly unlimited aging potential. I am so pleasantly surprised by how good this was.

Jul 07, 2020
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CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - 1-finger mocha head slowly fades down into a pitch black body.

S - chocolate cookies, bourbon bonbons. God.

T - coffee-chocolate dessert drink. Fresh espresso, dark chocolate, bourbon heat, vanilla. Low bitterness. Low sweetness. Moderate-low booziness.

F - medium-full body with average carb,

O - just lovely.

Feb 17, 2019
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buschbeer from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 Fluid Ounce bottle
Served in a Kuhnhenn snifter

This beer pours black and doesn't really have much head. There is a small cap of mocha head the disappears fairly quickly. It looks like motor oil when poured. It appears quite viscous.

The aroma is fantastic with smells of dark and milk chocolate along with hints of anise.

The tastes starts out sweet with milk chocolate. Then some anise and chocolate malt flavors come into play. It develops a light bitter chocolate and black coffee flavor in the finish and aftertaste.

The body is thick and viscous with a full, chewy mouthfeel.

It is sometimes risky to hold onto stouts this long. This cellaring paid off. It is a delicious stout with great flavor and aroma and a perfect mouthfeel. It was well worth the four year wait to try.

Dec 31, 2016
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Resuin from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. This came out in 2012.

A: Pours jet black and leaves a finger + of medium brown head. The head lingers for a while. A good looking beer.

S: Roasty coffee, smoked malts, char, bitter dark chocolate, hint of dark fruits.

T: Big toasted malts, roasty coffee, a bit of marshmallow, toasted oak, char/coals, dark chocolate fudge. On the bitter side but with huge flavors.

M: Thick, full, creamy body with a low to medium carb. Really nice feel for the style.

O: Tons of big flavors: char and roasted malts are big in the flavor and finishes a little bitter. This is a nice stout.

Nov 12, 2015
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PHBoiler from Illinois

3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really nice richness and deep flavors. Pitch black stout. There's a hint of the hops as well as charred roast. The fruitiness throws the flavor a bit out of balance. Very interesting big stout.

Apr 13, 2015
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dar482 from New York

4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer offers smokey flavors with lots of meaty flavors. However, it is generally surrounded by bourbon, lots of vanilla, coffee, and 100% cacao dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium plus to full.

A beautifully complex barrel aged stout deserving of much praise. Another world class Midwest barrel aged stout.

Jan 14, 2015
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

I've had this bottle for at least three years. Black label with a yellow eagle

A: poured into a snifter to a viscous black with a dark brown head that fades quickly and leaves no lacing
S: smells of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts and a little coffee.
T: taste is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, a little bit of charred black malt, slight sweetness and a hint of oxidation. swallow is a little oxidized with some lingering notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate and dark roast coffee
M: full in the mouth with soft carbonation and a drying finish
O: an impressive beer. with some age on it it's a very smooth sipper that has some nicely blended edges. I'd like to try a fresher bottle to see how it compares.

Oct 30, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.7/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at GRG1313's tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is fairly simple but tasty.

Jan 20, 2014
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MusicaleMike from Pennsylvania

4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Served in a snifter. This imperial stout pours a deep, dark brown, verging on pitch black. No light passes through the body of this beer. The head has a thick, cream-like texture to it, and looks about as dark as coffee and cream itself. There is lots of lacing going on, and the heads retention is very good.

The aroma is a mix of light fruitiness and a subtle nutty, roasted smell. The aroma is light in general, but that might be because of the temperature. Notes of walnut, fig, ripened pear, chocolate, and marshmallow. Nice complexity, but could use more volume.

A full bodied stout, viscous creamy mouthfeel, gentle (ever so soft) reminder of the alcohol content in the finish. Flavors of bitter hops in the finish and aftertaste, mixed with intense charred grain, coffee, fig pudding, raisins, caramel, and a certain acrid tang to the palette. Lots of flavor in this beer! Bold flavors.

Another great beer from Kuhnhenn! Very impressive that this beer has the body and flavor of a stout with much higher alcohol. Very rich, and well worth seeking out.

Jan 02, 2014
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Rutager from Canada

4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A big thank you to liamt07 for this badass 2012 beer.

Appearance. Pours black with half a finger of rich brown head.

Smell. Molasses and dark chocolate, dark roasty malts and a touch of dark fruit and black coffee

Taste. Tons of dark chocolate, woody dry and roasty malts, maybe a touch of dark fruit, cocoa powder and char in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Great representation of a big American stout. Bold and flavourful, great stuff.

Sep 16, 2013
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jrenihan from Canada

4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

Beer is jet black. The pour results in a large, cocoa-coloured head. Very good retention, some lace. Very nice looking.

Nose contains roast malt, vanilla, dark fruit and chocolate. Rich and good.

Taste contains a lot of roasted malt, and a good amount of coffee and dark chocolate. A bit of anise and dark fruit. Though it isn't fresh, the hops are still notable, resulting in some bitterness. The finish is a nice balance of bitter and slightly fruity sweetness. Really tasty.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated. Very smooth and silky. Booze is quite well hidden.

Overall, excellent. A seriously good RIS. Super enjoyable.

Sep 16, 2013
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tectactoe from Michigan

4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks again to Mike for opening this beauty at an impromptu tasting; his altruism is extremely admirable and will one day be repaid. This sucker is thick and black, like motor oil that's seen its fair share of mile. The head is an impressively deep tan color; thin-bubbled and foamy as it rests upon the black hole and takes its time settling to a collar.

What a wonderfully huge and bellowing aroma, perhaps amplified from the lackluster Brooklyn Black OPS consumed just before this one. Thick, sweet mountains of baker's chocolate held up with hands of mildly roasted malt. Light coffee beans outline the aroma, with a hint of cream and sweet (brown) sugar that blends nicely with the mild roast character. Sweet without being cloying, and roasty without being over-charred... Great execution.

Just like I'd imagine, the first sip begins with an up-front induction of bittersweet chocolate; think somewhere along the lines of rich fudge; very, very lightly bitter with a heavier hand in the creamy and sweet department. This sucker is packed with tons and tons of cocoa flavors; cocoa powder, liquid molten chocolate, and dense, deep fudge cake. As sickeningly sweet as that sounds, it's balanced exceptionally well by the moderately roasty malts.

A faint undercurrent of sweet anise is present in the tail end, along with a light, scraping coffee bean, dry finish. A good mix of flavors all-around, although the clear king of the hill is definitely the decadent amount of fudge. The alcohol is hidden almost completely, and this could probably pass for a chocolate-introduced sweet stout over an imperial stout. The mouth is huge, creamy, and almost as thick as the fudge its flavor resembles. Mild carbonation to retain that silky smooth mouth feel.

One of my biggest wants from one of my favorite breweries... I don't know how this one eluded me for so long. Huge thanks again to Mike for cracking his last bottle with me. Definitely one of the best of the night (for me at least). I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as Kuhnhenn's Michigan Mud stout, but it was still damn good nonetheless. Their ability to perform well with so many different styles never ceases to amaze me.

Jul 06, 2013
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Phyl21ca from Canada

4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of creamy medium-dark chocolate notes with light floral coffee notes with some roasted malt notes but limited bitterness. Taste is quite spectacular with great creamy medium-dark chocolate notes with some floral dry coffee notes, some lactose notes and some medium dry bitter roasted malt to finish. Body is full with luscious creamy texture with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Quite a balanced experience with loads of flavours while retaining some good amount of drinkability.

Jul 05, 2013
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wordemupg from Canada

4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330ml 2012 bottle poured into tulip 7/6/13, massive thanks towards liamt07 for this bottle

A motor oil right out of the bottle, just a dark fingernail for an edge, perhaps the darkest two finger foam I've ever seen has decent retention, swirls leaves legs and color on the glass, no lace however

S bakers chocolate and coffee, a little licorice and lots of bruised plum with some fudge and chocolate liqueur, I have no idea where the booze is hiding

T even darker in the mouth with a little char and the burnt espresso is a step up from the coffee I was smelling, tastes rich and somehow the chocolates darker then the nose, its just dark in general and again the booze is almost non-existent

M I could stand a spoon up in this liquid, shes thick alright and still has enough carbonation to give it a creamy feel, I got a little stuck in my teeth and the dark chocolate syrup on the finish will be there tomorrow at this rate

O this is a great example of the style, thick, rich, massive dark roast and booze is almost invisible, a classic version of a big ass stout

Somewhat straightforward but the intensity is turned up a notch bringing it to a whole new level. Just awesome stuff in my glass this evening, a 2012 bottle already has enough age on it for supreme drinkability, that's impressive to say the least

Jun 08, 2013
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Treebs from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served in a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 vintage.

A: Pours a dark black color with a dark tan head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin cap and collar. Splotchy lace is left down the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malts, some dark fruit and some cocoa. A little fig with some coffee grounds and creamy chocolate.

T: A ton going on. Creamy chocolate, figgy dark fruit and dust cocoa up front. Bitter coffee grounds with a heavy roasted malt profile come up mid palate. The finish is a mix of roast and slightly sweet booze.

M: Heavy bodied, slick and chewy mouthfeel, with a medium carbonation level. The finish is slightly sweet from the booze, but it's not hot at all.

O: Another winner from Kuhnhenn. A deliciously balanced Imperial stout. Sweet and roasty with a heavy and chewy mouthfeel. Glad it's cold on this Memorial Day because it goes perfectly with the day.

May 28, 2013
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standardcherry from Massachusetts

4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle, 12oz

A: Pitch black, thick body with a large mocha colored head. Looks perfect. Receded a bit but it still left a nice head on the beer.
S: Very roasty. Huge chocolate notes with a bit of piney hops. Smells like chocolate cake, cocoa powder and coffee all in one. Amazing.
T: I had tried this fresh and it was too hoppy for me. Hops faded a lot, there is a slight piney bitterness (although I think most of the bitterness in this case comes from the roast). Roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, coffee. This is almost fudge-like. A hint of caramel as well. Tastes like chocolate doughnuts paired with coffee.
M: Great full body with medium carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a slightly dry finish.
O: I'd say this is the best non-BA stout I've had. I was extremely impressed by this and I would love to have it again.

May 16, 2013
Photo of chugalug06
chugalug06 from Colorado

4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be the thickest brew I've ever seen...pours like burnt oil. Head rises one-finger and rises with thick foam with tar like bubbles.

Chocolate and Molasses strike hardest. Bready, toffee, coffee, milky, creamy...

Nice strong sweet bitterness. Carbonation is a bit too much. Flavors are also not quite as complex as I wished. Very waxy, thick, no burn, robust, solid, chewable, tons of heavy DARK chocolate, dare I say "drinkable"?

Awesome brew. Perfect for a cold rainy day. One of the deepest brews I've had. It could use more complexity, if anything negative needs to be said...? Highly recommended, even at the price tag. Should be considered a must try.

Apr 03, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada

4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Jason. 2012 vintage server in a snifter.

A - Dark mocha foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and minimal lacing. Body is pretty much black; with perhaps a hint of brown to it.

S - Classic Imperial Stout, with hefty doses of roast, anise, char, dark breads, dark chocolate, and a hint of caramel. Good balance of flavors, with well-hidden ABV.

T - The taste is a bit more roasty and charry, with light anise and dark chocolate in the periphery. Not as sweet as the aroma - very well-attenuated and dry. Solid, but not as compelling as the aroma.

M - Creamy and velvety smooth, before yielding to a dry and roasty finish. Medium-full in body, with pleasant, low carbonation and a hint of alcohol warming.

D - A well-made classic Imperial Stout. Wish there was a tiny bit more sweetness on the palate, but on the whole it was quite enjoyable. Looking forward to the inevitable bourbon barrel version.

Mar 18, 2013
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divineaudio from Michigan

3.71/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 2012 batch, 9.25%
founders snifter

a - pours an extremely viscous looking, oily dark brown. gave me a pinky's worth of dense, creamy, dark brown head that calmed to a film right away. leaves thin, leggy lacing behind.

s - roasted malt, licorice, tobacco, faint peat.

t - roasted and burnt malts at the forefront with strong tobacco notes. also picking up milder notes of anise, charcoal and molasses. dark chocolate comes out a bit as the beer warms. has a bitterness that stings the tongue on the back end and a slightly boozy finish.

m - far beyond full bodied, but just shy of syrupy. adequate carbonation with a finer co2 profile and just a bit of alcohol burn.

o - interesting take on the style and enjoyable, but a bit of a chore to drink. flavors and mouthfeel are so intense that it fatigues the palate quickly. i could see this pairing well with a fine cigar.

Feb 24, 2013
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davey101 from Connecticut

4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Massive thanks to steimie for this beer!

A - Pours a rather thick looking pitch black body. Two fingers of absurdly dark mocha foam forms from the pour. A swirl produces thick lacing with unreal retention...a minute later....ya, clinging foam is still slowly making its way down the side of the glass. A finger high cap sticks around the whole time.

S - A dangerously inviting combination of sweet and roasty. The sweetness comes across almost in a lactose fashion ala a milk stout. Sweet milk chocolate and lightly bitter dark chocolate. Is it hops creating this sweetness? Its very hard to describe...but unbelievably awesome. Subtle raisins, coconut, and molasses. Finishes with a touch of roasted coffee and malts. Pretty much perfect.

T - A lot more roast than the nose. Starts with some milk chocolate and coffee and cream. Brash roasted malts and bakers chocolate with a lingering bitterness. Faint touch of citric hops. Aftertaste is a bit ashy. Very tasty.

M - Thick and coating, borderline syrupy but a medium level of carbonation cuts through and helps. Can't detect any alcohol....drinks way too easy!

O - One of the best non-barrel aged stouts I have ever had. The aroma and appearance are just perfect, and the taste was a bit roast heavy but remained insanely tasty. I'm sad to say that I drank half the beer just formulating this review. I want more!!!! Incredibly impressive stuff here.

Feb 06, 2013
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jacewg from District of Columbia

4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black as night with a quickly fading mocha head. Leaves a nice, small tan ring on top. Good looking imperial stout. Leaves spotty, dark lacing.

Aroma: Really nice nose. Roasty malt, chocolate, dark fruit, and molasses/burnt sugar are the dominant notes.

Taste: Quite roasty with a pronounced hop bitterness. Nice coffee and chocolate type notes with a hint of dark fruit character, but not as pronounced as in the nose. Very light sweetness. This is what I hope the Bell's Expedition Stouts I'm aging to taste like in a few years. Has a lot of the same flavor elements but much more balanced and ready to drink now. A really delicious imperial stout.

Mouthfeel: Really, really nice. Medium-low carbonation, which is perfect for the style and a really velvety mouthfeel. Coats the mouth without being syrupy. Spot on.

Overall: Up there with the best of the best imperial stouts.

Jan 28, 2013
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DmanGTR from New York

4.78/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to joe for popping this during our tasting.

Poured very dark, black almost with a tan head. Lots of creamy goodness here and a hearty dose of roasted malt. Nice earthy and slightly piny hop aromas. Huge flavor, lots going on. Very rich with burnt toast and toasted marshmallows. Velvety smooth and a very big body. Approved.

Jan 28, 2013
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jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Anonymous1 for this one. 12oz bottle poured into a Founders snifter. '12 bottling.

A- Pours a fairly viscous pitch black with about a quarter of fairly dark mocha brown head that forms but recedes to pretty much no head. Consistent carbonation.

S- Dark chocolate, fudge, fairly light presence of dark fruits: raisins + figs, a hint of booze. Fairly aromatic with dark chocolate fudge definitely being the most prominent smell.

T- Dark chocolate that is very fudge like coats the palate, some light figs, a light booze presence, more dark chocolate on the finish with a faint hint of raisins. Dark chocolate lingers as an aftertaste. Again dark fudge-like chocolate is the most prevalent. Very good, but some aging might make it a little bit better by bringing out some more flavors and dulling the booze a bit.

M- Nice thick presence that coats the palate and goes well with the chocolate fudge-like aspect of the taste, finishes very smooth with only a very faint hint of abv burn, decent carbonation that adds a very slight prickly feel and is fairly consistent throughout.

O- This was a very good imperial stout and also my first beer from Kuhnhenn. I have to admit that I'm definitely impressed and I'm looking forward to trying some of their other offerings. This beer would definitely benefit with a little bit aging on it. It might bring out the dark fruits a little bit, which are fairly subtle at this point, and mask the very slight booze presence in it. Overall this is one of the better imperial stouts I've had (although not the best) and I definitely recommend trying it.

Jan 21, 2013
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cosmicevan from New York

4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

BIG thanks goes out to steimie for going out and picking this up for me bro (as well as the gold lettered kuhnhenn glass!!!!)...enjoyed from my new glass!!!

a - brew poured a fairly stunning motor oil black with a gorgeous shine on it. i swear it has that barrel aged shine even though it is not. nice thing dark tan head that slowly bubbled away. easy to rebuild with a swirl of the glass and leaves nice milk chocolate spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

s - deep roast, but not overbearing. big chocolate notes with a great hop. reminds me a lot of hoppy stout from greenport harbor or even darkness.

t - flavor matches the nose with a really great balanced hop. this beer is bada$$. everything is in the right place. some chocolate, some coffee, some hops, some magically delicious beer.

m - perfectly thin for such a thick beer and perfectly thick for such a thin beer. slides down the gullet super easily.

o - overall...WOW...WHAT A BEER! i had heard some good things about this one, but this blew me away. one of the best imperial stouts i've ever tasted in my life. a real winner that should be sought out.

Jan 17, 2013
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jegross2 from Illinois

4.79/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the American Imperial Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company out of Warren, Michigan. This imperial stout was most recently released at Kuhnhenn's annual Winter Solstice party.

Score: 98

2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/16/12. Shout out to Robbie Moy for hooking me up with this bottle!

Appearance: The body of the beer is black as ink with no transparencies (sorry, no ruby tones here) to speak of. Pours a thin layer of mocha-colored head that settles to a ring around the glass. Dare I assume that this Kuhnhenn beer has some carbonation!? Absolutely outstanding lacing and retention. Quite frankly, this is a beautiful looking beer. 5/5

Smell: Slightly sweet milk chocolate, roasty malt, fudge and a little caramel are my first impressions. A modest amount of fig and raisin and a little leather is present as well. Faint bitter/burnt coffee and bakers chocolate too. As the beer warms up and airates, a little more sweet dark fruit complexity and a touch of brown sugar come out as well. What an absolutely inspiring and complex imperial stout nose! It is sweet/bittersweet, and totally balanced. A dash of "woody" and pine hops are present in the nose, but it's perfectly incorporated. A faint hint of black licorice comes through at room temperature. 4.75/5

Taste: The taste is surprisingly different from the nose. The dark fruit and sweetness takes a backseat to the more roasty and bitter/bittersweet elements. Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate with a little burnt roast and "coffee breath"-like flavor are the boldest elements of the taste. A very faint amount of black licorice and a little non-sweet dark fruit follow the upfront bitter and dark chocolate flavors. Towards the finish, there is just a touch of sweet fig that rounds out the beer and adds balance to a bitter "upfront" flavor experience. Finishes with a nice roasty, slightly burnt (and ashy) cacao flavor. The beer is bitter/bittersweet. I am not detecting much, if any, hops in the flavor -- but they are not missed. As the beer warms up, a well-incorporated (a la Black Albert) cherry flavor starts to come through in the back half of the beer, in addition to a little more of the woody/ashiness in the finish. When the cherry comes through as the beer warms up, it loses a bit of its bitter edge and becomes more "balanced." Needless to say, this beer tastes as complex as it smells. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a perfect amount of "low carbonation" (versus Kuhnhenn's traditional "where's the carbonation"-type carbonation). Bitter/bittersweet on the palate. Finishes somewhat dry, but not chalky dry. 5/5

Overall: This is without a doubt one of the absolute best stouts that I have ever had. It is complex, flavorful and dynamic. The nose and taste have similar elements, but each is quite different in which characteristics shine. I love how the beer developed as it went from cellar temperature to room temperature, though I probably preferred it slightly more on the colder side of that scale. My only regret is that I only got one of these. I will have to seek out more.

Recommendation: Seek this beer out; it is one of the best imperial stouts you will find!

Pairings: A cigar.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

Jan 17, 2013
American Imperial Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 125 ratings