American Imperial Stout
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

American Imperial StoutAmerican Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #294
Ranked #1,452
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
Reviews by biegaman:
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No head but a defining mocha outline that lay rest around the trim of the glass. Even repetitive, hard swirling could not generate any foam. It would, however, drape panes of brown coloured coating all where it touched. Opaque. A sexy, oil black colour.

The aroma is dense and full-bodied. Huge notes of chocolate, coffee, anise, and roasted - nay, charred - malts. It's a lavish smell, everything is so full and immodest.

Flavours coat the mouth thoroughly with a strong, charred bitterness. So present are the roasted dark malts, black licorice and espresso, that you can almost feel them staining your teeth. They coat the entire mouth, including the roof and to the back of the throat as well. The aftertaste is sweet, just like eating a brownie. Where is the alcohol hiding in this one?

The taste is quite an extravagance. Strong, decadent chocolate (mousse, truffle, bakers, syrup, all of the above) as well as hazelnut, anise, and espresso. Very, very chocolaty with a strong, bitter espresso taste. The finish is a twisted blend of anise and chewing tobacco. Quite an elaborate blend of such straight forward flavours.

This stout has earned the use of "American" in its title. If there's anything the Americans like to do it's take something and make it bigger and better and more lavish. I took a course in modern art history with a brilliant Prof who in a lecture reflected on just this. At the conclusion of the Second World War, the U.S was the only major power still with half their pre-war GDP. Unlike a poor, indebted and destroyed Europe, Americans could afford luxuries, which was reflected in the design of their commodities. Even the example she would use - toasters - could illustrate how American designs symbolized attitude and indicated prosperity.

Indeed, Kuhnenn's American Imperial Stout is an example of just that. The amount of malt is an almost gluttonous level, the chocolate and espresso is beyond decadence and the alcohol reaches a staggering 13.50%!!!

I've described this beer using words like "decadent", "lavish", and "extravagant". Indeed it was. Especially to pair it with dessert like we did, this beer is gratifying, it was...pure indulgence. And I loved every sip of it.

By far one of the best stouts I've ever had. This stuff makes me puurrr ...

Thanks Grub! I'll remember you come Valentine's Day!

Jul 24, 2007
More User Reviews:
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

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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mentor from Colorado

4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've previously enjoyed several Kuhnhenn offerings, so when crosling offered to share a bottle of this, I was definitely 'in'. Pours incredibly thick and pitch black. Very little dark brown head. Smells coffee creamy and mild cherry sour. Alcohol sting. Bread crust. Lots of esters ride the alcohol. Wonderful.

Tastes smooth thick and creamy. Blast of coffee mocha hazelnut. Clean alcohol vanilla and playful dance of anise. Coffee and toffee beneath the roast. Superthick mouthfeel, but not overbearing. Mild carbonation. This was a real treat.

Feb 12, 2007
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Crosling from Colorado

4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Extremely think and dark pour with a light brown froth. Consuming deep roast aroma, with hints of espresso, coffee beans, fruit and chocolate. Very little aromatic hops in the nose, a plus. Bountiful body. Tremendous flavor, very similar to McNeillÂ’s Imperial Stout. Very flavorful, bitter roast, chocolate, rich fruit. Nice balance. A great beer.

Feb 24, 2007
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Mondiale 2007. Review #2200. A very good RIS, I do not know why it is labelled American. Dark brown with a macha crown. Chocolate and alcohol nose. Medium plus mouthfeel. A lot of sweetish chocolate. Significant carbonation.Would have liked lower alcohol for drinkability.

Jun 01, 2007
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DrJay from Texas

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the brewpub. Completely black body with a chocolate coloured head composed of coarse bubbles. There was a bit of lacing and head didn't fall very fast. Rich malty aroma with lots of caramel, toffee, roast, chocolate, and some faint hops. Bitterness wasn't as forward as I expected, but provided balance for the big maltiness. Loads of caramel and toffee formed a base, while licorice, roast, and milk chocolate filled out the flavour. Notes of nuts and vanilla appeared from time to time, and there was a light acidity in the finish. Full bodied with moderately low carbonation. A little heavy, but with a silky texture. This is a big stout, but still surprisingly drinkable.

Jan 04, 2007
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walleye from Michigan

4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

at my favorite brewery from the tap poured black with a nice size dark tan head. aroma malts, barley, caramel, honey,chocolate covered cherries, toffee, alcohol. flavor, malts, barley, caramel, honey,toffee bitter sweet chocolate, some hopshas a very nice sweetness to it,hint of bitterness. hides the alcohol well.I think this is one of best beers that has come out of this brewery

Nov 26, 2004
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Viggo from Canada (ON)

4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very opaque black, some brown in the edges, tiny brown head, some lace spots, looks like a stout. Smell is very sweet and malty, chocolate, tons of licorice, toffee, roast, very rich, tons of aroma. Taste is similar, very intense licorice, caramel, coffee/chocolate roast, toffee, more licorice, alcohol, lots of dark fruit, amazing. Mouthfeel is full bodied, quite thick, low carbonation. Excellent, very smooth for 13.5%, another great beer from Kuhnhenn.

Jun 02, 2007
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3Vandoo from Canada (QC)

4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah, chocolate flavours, it is a chocolate cake, a black forest that was liquified as beer.

She is pitch black, black, dark with some strikes of reddish hues. Tan head who dissaperead quickly "Hi and bye!"

Smell is like a chocolate cake, chocolate flavours, followed by alcohol, malt and roasted burnt coffee. Deep dark chocolate flavours, sweet smell followed by rich creamy malty cherry flavours.

Taste is rich, decadent complex. chocolate hits you right away followed by a rich alcohol warmness then malty flavours come in and ends up with burnt coffee flavours. Heavy, full bodied beer, I wont have two in a row

May 06, 2011
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz, wax dipped, bottle acquired in trade with badbeer (thanks!).

Poured a dark black color with a small sized brown head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits, and I'm getting a little woodiness. Tastes of dark fruits (more than the aromas and included raisins, prunes, and cherries), chocolate, roast, and coffee. Smooth and creamy body with the alcohol well hidden. Kuhnhenn beers can go either way, and this one was pretty darn good. My 5 year old smelled this and said it smelled like pineapples mixed with sweet patatoes...

Notes from 7/9/08

Nov 10, 2008
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ggaughan from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Hop Devil in NYC as part of their Kuhnhenn tasting. This beer poured an impressive beep black hole color with a deep tan medium thickness head. Very intimidating looking. There was a nice warming chocolate character to the nose with even more of the chocolate and coffee notes in the taste. There is also a nice hop profile to the beer but not overpowering. All in all the tastes make for a well balanced, yet big, stout.

Feb 24, 2007
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grub from Canada (ON)

4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pulled from my cellar, purchased at the brewery in december 2006.

12oz bottle.

pours like motor oil from the bottle - thick and nearly black. a small incredibly dense brown head quickly drops to a ring around the glass.

aroma is great. lots of roast. big rich malts. caramel. bit of espresso. light alcohol. anise. dark chocolate.

taste is excellent. roast. dark chocolate. anise. bit of espresso. light alcohol. light caramel sweetness. lots of malt.

mouthfeel is great. nice low carbonation level. big chewy body.

drinkability is excellent. very well balanced. alcohol is hidden very well.

Jul 22, 2007
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badbeer from Iowa

3.58/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with a brown-ish head that receded, but did still leave some lacing. Smell is very roasty, with some chocolate notes as well. Still a little too green in the nose and taste to warrant a higher score. The taste did have similar roastiness to it, and seemed to have a little bit of molasses and hints of vanilla. Mouthfeel was full bodied with medium carbonation. Decent beer now, but with age it should improve greatly.

May 10, 2007
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hoppymeal from Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours inky black with a thin red clay colored covering of head that immediately fades away. Aroma is roasty and bourbony, some black licorice and hints of chocolate and a sprite like sweetness that mixes with the twangy roastiness. Agitation also produces a leathery aroma. Some chocolate sweetness flashes up front, then the lemon lime sweetness and roasty acidic twanginess mid taste. The alcohol is very well balanced and fairly non evident in the taste, just a slight warmth in the finish. Aftertaste is a nice slightly drying roastiness. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy rich, full bodied and thick, glides over the tongue without to much coating/cloying, very low level of carbonation. An outstanding beer, there is nothing worse for me in an imp stout than a thin body and this beer is far from that.

Jun 28, 2007
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Erdinger2003 from Iowa

3.55/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out a little head that dissapated quickly like most high alcohol beverages do. Little lacing and black as night with a little brown swirls. The smell was powerful with sweet molasses and roasted malts, it's very green so I will cellar the rest for a while. The taste is really green with a powerful sweet molasses taste to it. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Overall I will try more in a few years, but it's still pretty good.

Jan 21, 2007
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rallison from California

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a wonderful RIS tasting last night. Was a standout!

A: Thick, thick black with no head. Very viscous looking.

S: Dark chocolate, warming alcohol and roast coffee.

T: Rich chocolate and espresso with some warming alcohol. Very tasty and complex.

M: Low carbonation and nice and rich.

D: As rich and strong as this is, it drinks extremely well.

Highly recommended. At our RIS tasting, this was one of the favorite. Rich flavors that all come together so well.

Jan 14, 2008
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montageman from Michigan

4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought from Kuhnhenn's last weekend. Poured motor oil thick into a pint glass. There's a bit of tan head that dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of lacing. Smells like roasted malt, dark chocolate, and espresso. The taste is an excellent blend of espresso, sweetness from the alcohol, and maltiness. This is a rich beer and the mouthfeel feel emphasizes that - very thick almost syrupy in its texture. This is an interesting take on the imperial stout style - I could drink another one of these. Recommended.

Dec 31, 2006
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3.5/5  rDev -19%

Nov 19, 2011
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GreatStoutman from Texas

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

Oct 23, 2019
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joe1510 from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Wax Capped

Review #400

Received this is a trade awhile back from Badbeer. Kuhnhenn's American Imperial Stout slowly gurgles black as night from the bottle. A small swirling head is all I can muster even as I pour a little aggressively. The small head that does form fades quickly to an oil slick and a skimpy ring. A Small head is expected on such a big beer but I was hoping for something more than I got.

The aroma on this beer is huge! Big brandy-like berriness runs throughout with a healthy dose melted dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Each swirl brings about under-ripe berries but that fades as the head does. Ghost like alcohol in the background that adds some spice and tickles the nose hair.

Flavor seems to move in stride with the aroma. The berries are there and bright but he dark chocolate is rich and creamy in the mouth. There's a flash of that greenness I mentioned in the aroma and a sharp but quick bitterness on the finish form the giant roastiness. This beer really shines as it gets close to room temperature!

The mouthfeel matches the flavor in its sheer size. Thick body, creamy and slick. Like sipping on some used motor oil. That may not sound too good but it fits this beer nicely.

This goes down pretty easy for such a big rich beer. One bottle is plenty but makes a great cold weather sipper.

I haven't had the opportunity to sample much from Kuhnhenn's but what I have tried has been very good! There seemed to be the smallest amount of oxidation but it ended up complimenting the other elements.

Mar 15, 2008
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drewone from California

3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Jan 24, 2014
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an absolutley massive beer. A big thanks goes out to jay for even getting this gem of a beer into my hands, I was soo absurdley happy I was beside myself. Served at about fifty degrees and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 01/05/2009..

Damn this was thick! The darkest of darks, and deepest of black is what came out of this bottle. Just retarded in how big it looked. No light escaping, in fact it sucked it in! A small head, maybe a qurter inch of dark brown rose up after a few minutes time, but mostly a very thick looking black beer.

The aroma was heaven. Rich chocolate and dark fruits melded together seemlessly. Really very rich and full, and easily one of theb est smells I have come across. As it warmed some nice touches of molasses and woody notes start to dominate with a really intrsting bourbon smell in the back. To taste this was like falling into a giant pillow. Super mellow and smooth, what 12+% this thing had the alcohol so well hidden it was scary. Rich and full with a woody, oak soaked, chocolate geyser of taste just exploding from the glass. Some burnt sugar notes, sweet lactose like flavors, and that really nice dark fruit tartness in the finish. Different then most other giant stouts, this one had a mind all its own.

I continue to be blown away by these beers. Seriously there was nothing here to not like and I could have went for another one with ease. One of the better beers I have had, period.

Jan 07, 2009
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Lothore from California

4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a deep brownish black hue with little to no head.

S- Smells a lot like 5th dementia, deep caramel, mixed berries, dark fruity undertones. Quite a bit different from the coffee / roasted malt smell I was expecting.

T- Sweet, caramel, fig, raisin, hidden hints of blackberry dominate the first wave of taste. I have never had a beer before that had such a distinct first and second phase to the taste as Kuhnhenns AIS. The first few seconds, as previously described tasted more like a barleywine or an old ale. Once that rounded itself out and you thought the flavor was over a deep wave of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt flooded the tongue. It was just like a good long hop bitterness in a DIPA but instead of bitterness, there was a wave of coffee. This second wave didnt present at all until after the original taste had subsided.

M- Low carbonation (it has been in the cellar a couple years) with a high viscosity.

D- This is one of the most interesting beers I have ever tasted and certainly one of the best imperial stouts I have had. It's definitely not your traditional imperial stout. This makes me wish I flew over for the winter solstice so I could have tasted the BA version.

May 07, 2009
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

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