American Barley Wine
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Barleywine - American
Ranked #348
Ranked #36,700
3.72 | pDev: 15.32%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 77 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2010 bottle. 10 year old barleywine, i don't know what to expect here.

This one pours a deep dark reddish brown color, with a very small head, and no lacing.

This smells like sherry, dark fruit, caramel, maple, toffee, and cardboard-ish oxidation.

This has definitely seen better days - those better days might have been five years ago - but there's still some enjoyment factor to be found here. The oxidation is less cardboard and more old fruitiness - sherry, cherry, dark fruit, etc. The base barleywine still comes through with some caramel and toffee, and there's a touch of citrusy hop character still left somehow, even 10 years later.

This is light bodied, with basically no carbonation left. It's a very slow sipper by all accounts.

I would not suggest aging this beer for this long - 5 years is probably closer to the line. But I'm still happy to have tried this one anyway.

May 21, 2020
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sweemzander from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage
(A)- Pours a deep sherry-like brown amber color. Some minimal froth
(S)- Rich, leathery toffee and caramel meets an ever so slight sign of oxidation starting
(T)- Similar to the smell. Quite sweet with toffee and caramel. The finish disappears and drops off flat in flavor
(M)- Very low carbonation level; not flat but close. Quite smooth for 11.5% but also quite sweet and has a thin middle and finish to it. It just kind of falls off the palate
(O)- Nicely smooth but the flavor falls off really quick. What is there are some really nice barleywine flavors though

Sep 07, 2015
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cambabeer from New York

3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Barleywines aren't really my style, though this one is pretty good. Smells like alcohol and prune juice. Feel is barely carbonated, fairly heavy. Taste is heavy on the barley and alcohol. This is the 2010 release that's been aging since. Good but not outstanding.

Jan 29, 2015
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Pours apple cider medium coloured body, no head. Slightly sweet aroma.Above average mouthfeel, a sipper and spot on the style.Apple fruit and caramel, light vanilla. If only I had aged it more years.Bottle from Steve. Alcohol surprisingly hidden.

Sep 09, 2012
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FosterJM from California

3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1118th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

Summer Solstice 2010

Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one.

App- A mix of browns, reds and ambers. A lot of particulites in the glass with a very fast receding 1/2 head that left very little cling.

Smell- A good malty forward smelling ABW with a high level of sweetness and a lot of booze behind the nose. Has a certain fruit quality as if bordering on a quad nose.

Taste- It was good but I feel it couldve been better. The booze overpowers the layers of malty richness and citrus notes and even more of the dark fruits.

Mouth- A bit thin medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. A bit malty residual creaminess remains.

Drink- I was a little let down by this one but I think it could be that it was my last beer of the night and at 11.5% it killed my palate. Ill try to land another bottle.

Feb 26, 2012
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msubulldog25 from Oregon

3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz. bottle ~ Summer Solstice 2010. Poured to a snifter, a nightcap in the wee hours of 12/30/11. Thanks to hoppymeal/Derek for sending this (and several other Kuhnhenns) last year; it's been cellared ever since.

A: A pretty red-toned amber, almost clear but for the slightest haze; a dusting of the tiniest yeasty flakes settle on the bottom of the glass. Small, refined carbonation creeps up the glass at various locations to a short head of the densest ivory cream. Lace holds in undulating ribbons and a splaying of dots and drips.

S: Appropriately sweet and well-fruited, a nose loaded with toffee and strawberry and breakfast cereal (seriously, there's a Cap'n Crunch thing going on here) along with something vaguely 'tropical'. It's strong without a ton of substance. Some alcohol fumes leave an annoying tickle in my nostrils.

T: It's odd that this 'American' barleywine presents itself in such an 'English' way - meaning its hops are subdued and its sweetness heightened. I'm used to grassy or spicy hops en masse to amply bitter a barleywine - this doesn't really have those. As I get used to the flavor, some orange sweetness (as well as other fruits: apple, pear?) arises along with a little more drying/earthy spiciness. In the end, balance isn't bad; as it warms, spice and even some tangier citrus creep into the finish.

M: A milder mouthfeel, a bit thinner in body and softer in flavor/complexity than a some barleywines I've tried. Underwhelming. Creamier texture after an early bite. A lingering warmth, but not offputting and certainly in line with an 11.5% pour.

O: I've been impressed with other Kuhnhenn offerings but this one is just OK. It's a fairly one-dimensional barleywine with lots of sweetness in aroma and flavor. Still, I like it - my tastes skew toward maltiness; for fans of a less hoppy barleywine, this may be right up your alley.

Dec 30, 2011
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srandycarter from California

3.12/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Winter Solstice 2010. Poured Cola brown, small off white head. Not much, but some, spotty lace. Smells of brown sugar, cooked dark fruit and something a little sharp. Disappointing taste. Not as deep as hoped, and somewhat sour. Perhaps slightly infected? Dammit. Nothing to really write home about in the depts of taste, mouth and drinkability. Bummer.

Dec 28, 2011
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drabmuh from Maryland

2.83/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared by Thorpe. Thanks.

Beer is dark amber, hazy, thin head, tan bubbles, low retention, carbonation and lacing.

Aroma is boozy with this odd funk to it. Oak.

Beer is sweet, a little boozy, a little funky, kind of a mess, not a repeat. Seems to be a little oxidized, I didn't catch the vintage but this one is well past its prime if it was ever considered good.

Dec 22, 2011
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

2.64/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours an amber-brown color with a thin off-white head and a bit of a collar throughout. The nose carries some heavy malt and a bit of a musty character. Bit of booze as well. Flavor has similar issues. Perhaps oxidized, but not quite to the level I'd expect with that. Mild fruit. Medium body, low carbonation, and a boozy finish. Boom.

Dec 19, 2011
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

2.78/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz 2010 bottle shared by Mr. Thorpe.

Pours a murky dark amber, with a thin cream head and minimal lacing. Offputting aroma of cheese, gym sock, caramel malt and toffee. Flavor is equally...wrong. Starts with caramel malt body, fairly robust. But then descends into an odd mix of sweat, cheese, cardboard and wet paper. Medium thick and moderately carbed. Umm, not enjoyable.

Dec 19, 2011
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is dark orange with a small head. The aroma offers malt, spices, fruit, booze. The flavor brings a healthy amount of fruit, booze, malt, sweetness. Good stuff. A bit boozy, light, and fruity. Apples / apple cider in the flavor. Best in small quantities.

Dec 19, 2011
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woosterbill from Kentucky

3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to Knifestyles for opening this one.

A: Slightly hazy golden-brown body with a wispy head of fine tan foam. Solid.

S: Toffee, biscuit, raisin and booze. Maybe some faint hops. Nice.

T: Fruity up front (raisins, apricot, figs), followed by some honey, toffee, and light alcohol. Tasty.

M: Medium body, light carbonation. A little under-powered.

O: Very nice Barleywine, but a pale comparison to its barrel-aged brethren.


Dec 10, 2011
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

2.76/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I think I got this at the 2010 Winter Solstice. Served in an Alchemist glass.

A - Late-rising white foam that eventually yields a quarter-finger in volume. The retention is surprisingly and yields a wisp near-complete cap and thin collar as well as thin fingers and small spots of lace. Lightly hazed cider color.

S - It's an American barleywine alright - grapefruit hops are still present after nearly a year. The malt bill is bready, with some burnt sugars, and English toffee. There's some definite alcohol presence, fruity yeast, as well as a bit of papery oxidation.

T - Taste is strange and less pleasant than the aroma. Acetaldehyde imparts some green apple flavors, which mingles with bready malts and a touch of cardboard. Finish is astringent and bitter, with a bit of solvent mixed in. As it warms a bit more caramel comes out, but it's still not very good.

M - Watery, medium-full body. Very low carbonation and a lightly sticky finish. There's a bit of alcohol heat, but nothing excessive for 11.5%.

D - This can't be the base beer for the superb Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine - I refuse to believe it! A pretty mediocre barleywine that is reminiscent of Brooklyn Monster. I got through about 6oz before I gave up.

Dec 10, 2011
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albertjr21 from New York

4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler fill at the very excellent Kuhnhenn tasting event at New Beer Distributors on the opening day of NY Craft Beer Week 2011.

Into a snifter, a deep rusty orange amber sits under a resilient sudsy head. Aroma is a cool and deep herbal one with notes of candied sugar and bitter citrus. There's no doubt that's a bright and flavorful barleywine with overlying tones of deep fruit (perhaps apricot, peach and/or orange) with deep burnt sugary malt to comp. Not the smoothest of an abv but nonetheless, a great palate appeal .

Sep 21, 2011
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glid02 from Georgia

3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Grant – thanks!

Pours a deep copper color with a light tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of muted caramel malts with good amounts of rough medium fruit aromas. Also present are mild amounts of citrus hops.

Tastes more barleywine-like than it smells. Mildly sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by equal amounts of herbal hops, citrus hops, and medium fruits. The fruits fade out a bit midway through the sip, allowing the hops to carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this wasn’t a very clean beer and it’s not one I’d revisit. Maybe some tweaking of the yeast would help a bit.

Aug 25, 2011
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OldIronLungs from Massachusetts

3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to omgshesaboy for this one. 2010 bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip a mahogany with a half finger of sea foam head that quickly dissipates.

The nose hits with butterscotch and some dried darker fruits.

A sip is immediately citric like pineapple - open and watery before warming with sweet bready malt and a smack of floral hop sweetness, like a boozy nectar; Hints of apricot and light raisin. The body is pretty thin and lightly carbonated for the style, I think, but it was overall smooth and not upsetting as the flavor is unique. Alcohol presence was nicely hidden with just a sweet warmth. Seems like an interesting interpretation of an American barley wine being more floral and sweet than hoppy.

May 23, 2011
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out as a nice brown color with some orange and gold highlights. The head is thin and doesn't really stick around too much. The smell of this beer is rather sweet smelling, but I find it to be a really nice sweetness. There is some hop aromas coming through as well and some fruits. The taste isn't overly complex but it does have some good character to it. The sweet malts mix with the dark fruits and the finish leaves you with the hop bitterness. It's a pretty nice beer all around I think. I would drink this one again.

May 07, 2011
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Andreji from Texas

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. so my closing beer at the rattle n hum is definetly a style which i hadn't the chance to indulge in since around 2005. a very easygoing environment at the RnH brought it on me.

Look of it is an opaque, reddish hue with hardly any transluscence, some fizzing body but for the most part hardly any head to accompany.

Smell was brilliant. very subtle if you ask me....the discrete feel was that of a sweeter scotch if anything. Sweet feeling without losing its seriousness.

and indeed, the malty sweetness dominates the first part before the alcohol becomes overwhelmingly believable. subtle ripe apricot feel at once becomes a very sweet palate, while the the alcohol feel tampers with the nostrils in an additive fashion. and the body's seriously thick and viscous.

Overall, my first K'henn was a brilliant experience which gave me a new optic on this style, definetly can't complain. Still to review a few others, based on their invasion of Rattle n Hum.

May 01, 2011
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BARFLYB from Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Rattle & Hum.

American Barley wine lays in the glass looking one shade bronze with some lighter highlights here and there. A 1/2 inch of foamy fuzz up top, ok retention, no stick. Scent is rather fruity and I get some pungent hops coming out. Im not sure of the vintage, but I would wager that this is on the fresher side. Taste is odd, because this is more fruity than barleyesque, some caramel comes out though. Lighter fruits such as apricot with a splash of alcohol. A hit of american hops with a slight pine taste in there. Feel is sticky and above medium. the carb is light but the alcohol leaves a small bite on the tounge. This reminds me of a older version of Weyerbacher insanity for a strange reason. Overall a decent barleywine, but nothing memorable.

Apr 27, 2011
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Arbitrator from California

2.58/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. From a trade with semibaked. Thanks!

2010 vintage. I have high expectations for this one; Kunhhenn has shown that they know how to work around an old ale, and a barleywine isn't too different (I'm sure the Venn diagram overlap is pretty large).

A: Pours a murky, but translucent, maroon with a short-lived beige head. It leaves a very thin film and collar on the beer, with a little sticky lace during sips.

S: Pineapple and grapefruit are the most dominant aromas; this is definitely an American barleywine made with some pretty evocative hops. It's mildly floral, too -- hints of rose coming through. I find the malt profile to be subdued when the beer is cold, but as it warms I pick up elements of toffee and caramel. When cold, it has this stale, old-towel aroma (English hops?) that I don't care for. It vanishes as the beer warms, which is good.

T: When cold, it is hop-dominated, with a one-note pineapple and grapefruit flavor carried by mild sweetness. As it warms, the sweetness amps up and malt flavors develop into toffee and caramel, which take the center stage. I'm not particularly impressed by the choice of malt / hop bill here. It doesn't meld together, nor is it particularly complex. Maybe it will age well?

M: On the thin side for a barleywine. I'd peg it at medium-bodied, at best. Some booze shines through, but only if you're really looking for it. Flavors are underdeveloped.

O: Surprisingly poor. I expected a lot more given Kunhehnn's seeming dominance in this area.

Apr 25, 2011
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brokensail from California

3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is from the 2010 vintage. Thanks, Derek!

A: The full bottle pours perfectly into my Hair of the Dog tulip. Dark amber in color with a finger of khaki colored head with some spotty lacing.

S: Starts off with caramel and toffee on the nose. A hint of booze comes through, not surprising for a beer that's north of 11% ABV. Some definitely fruitiness to it, maybe some pineapple along with grapefruit.

T: Warming alcohol to go with what is mostly bread and toffee. This probably could have used some more time as there is quite a bit of green apple flavor. Some other fruit notes like blackberries. Maybe a little chocolate on the finish. Unfortunately, it's sort of watery.

M: Thin in body and a touch watery. Carbonation is low to medium.

O: Amazing how much better the barrel aged one is. Not an awful barleywine, but not my favorite either.

Mar 22, 2011
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AgentZero from Illinois

2.91/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Really dark red color, a bit of an off-white head that left a little bit of lacing.

S - Earthy with a lot of caramel and toffee. Some dark fruit and subtle floral hops.

T - Taste is a brown sugar/caramel bomb that is pretty in your face. Dark fruit is secondary, with a little licorice all over some floral/earthy mild hops. I don't think this is particularly good, pretty one noted, boring, and a bit strong.

M - Syrupy, heavier-medium bodied, smooth.

O - Not impressed, somewhat hot and boring tasting, don't really like the flavor profile on this one.

Mar 17, 2011
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MICAMD from Maryland

3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottling.

A- A very deep, ruby red liquid with some orange highlights when held to a light. The light brown head is thin but creamy and has nice retention.

S- Rather light smelling with apples, caramel, toffee, and bread. I am not really picking up on the alcohol.

T- Sweet malt and dark fruit. Not a big punch to it. Surprisingly mild considering the style and alcohol content.

M- A smooth body with a bit of a foamy finish.

D- A bit rich, but not in your face. Smooth... almost uninteresting. Not bad though.

Feb 25, 2011
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to FlandersNed for a bunch of Kuhnhenn bottles that I've never seen before; I've had a few great & a few ho-hum beers & wanted to try more from this small brewery. Here we go with the Lunar Eclipse '10 beers. Bottle banner of Summer Solstice 2010.

Pour is a deep, winesque toffee color. The beer is quiet & still, close to zero evident carbonation. Smell is hip-deeep malts & the richest tofffee & caramel coming off the surface. Pinpricks of oxidation might be evident.

This barley wine needs to warm a bit, so I leave it to its own devices for a few minutes. This is far more earth, dirty, & musty than any barley wine I've had to date. Big toffee, caramel rules this roost, to the point of feeling the caramel work its way under the skin in the top of my mouth. It's stuck there. Over-the-top sweetness practically burns the tongue. Wrinkled up grapes, too.

Heavy heavy, the lack of carbonation makes this lay heavy in the veins, & it would be truly improbable to drink more than one twelve ounce portion of this brew.

Pretty good beer. Not perfect, it hits some high notes in the taste. Glad to have tried it.

Feb 06, 2011
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mdfb79 from New York

3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a murky mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, especially cherries and berries, alcohol, caramel malts, toffee, and light bread. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of alcohol, some sour cherries, dark fruit, and caramel malts. Too sour and the alcohol is pretty strong. A major step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, thick body.

d - I really enjoyed the smell of this one with the caramel and the cherries/berries; it was very nice. Unfortunately the taste was not as good; lots of alcohol and sour notes. This was a 2010 vintage and I'd be curious to see what happens to the taste with some time on it. Probably wouldn't seek out again, but maybe with some time on it it could be better. A sipper for sure.

Jan 08, 2011
American Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 77 ratings