Solar Eclipse
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Solar EclipseSolar Eclipse
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #716
Ranked #10,728
3.98 | pDev: 12.81%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Solar EclipseSolar Eclipse
Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 198 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer from Ohio

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

355 ml bottle
Served in a Kuhnhenn snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with less than an inch of tan head that leaves no lacing.

The first thing I smell is anise. As it warms I get some dark chocolate and hints of alcohol.

The taste begins with anise. Then I get some dark fruit and dark chocolate with hints of warming alcohol.

Full mouthfeel

It drinks pretty smooth for an 18%er. The alcohol is warming, and I can feel the effects only about halfway through.

Aug 22, 2017
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SerialTicker from Michigan

4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. Ay caramba, now that's an aged beer. 18%. I was worried this would be past its prime, but... nah.

Can't really categorize this beer. It's very unique. It's stout-like, yet not. It's almost like a port, yet not. It's a bit sour with a wine-like, tannin vibe... I don't even know if it's supposed to have that quality, but it does. The depth on this is incredible. The smell is tough to describe. The flavor is the same way. Despite sitting for six years, there's still a definite warmth on this beer, though it's surely mellowed out from what it once was. Boozy, but not overwhelmingly so. Dark fruits, roast, some chocolate, "je ne sais quois" ... this beer really is a treat. Hard for me to really commit to what style it truly tastes like, as it tastes like a blend of many. Would be ecstatic to get my hands on another bottle of this.

Oct 02, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thought this was gonna be darker but no. There are darker beers. Aroma was fucking harsh, hot and boozy.

Taste was a little better than that, thick ass malt, heavy booze sting, yeast pronounced? A cool non barrel aged beer of this strength, yes, but I don't think it is a return trip if I'm buying. Just huge and hot covering up other aspects of the beer.

Jan 07, 2016
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Soneast from Wisconsin

4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle. Pours a thick black color, with a sudsy cap. Smells almost exactly like chocolate malted milk balls. The flavor isn't too far off, chocolate malt notes, sugared boozy finish that warms up the belly. Very smooth and aged quite well. I imagine this was a bit hot when fresh, but after 5 years it is just a mellow dessert drink that is fun to sip on a cold day.

Dec 27, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2007 bottling

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a frothy film that fades quickly; the ringlet is leggy

Smell: Chocolate, roast and a vinous, plummy character; c;early boozy

Taste: The boozy, vinous character dominates, with chocolate and roast peeking through; tart tones build through the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Overall: I am being generous with my scores as this beer is well past its prime; I have had other Kuhnhenns with similar age that have held up better but this one is souring

Oct 24, 2015
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dar482 from New York

4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a dark brown, almost Cola color.

The beer pops of rich dates, plums, raisins, licorice. It follows with tobacco, roasted bitterness, and cacao. The amount of complexity makes the beer seem barrel aged. The ABV is completely hidden as it drinks nowhere towards BA beers of similar ABV like Uncle Jacob's or Black Tuesday.

The beer offers unbelievable complexities and hides its ABV extremely well.

Jun 23, 2015
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 Bottle. Pours out black as night with a finger of mocha colored head. Lots of dark fruits and roasted malt bitterness. How is this 18%, seriously. So smooth. Really good.

Mar 27, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

2010 vintage.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, caramel, and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick 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 tasty but very boozy.

Jun 04, 2014
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scottfrie from California

4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into snifter. 2008 vintage courtesy of TurdFurgison. Thanks again, Eric!

A: Pours a thick inky black color with a short lived dark chocolate colored head that quickly faded away into a faint collar.
S: Still boozy as hell after almost 8 years. Oxidation is minimal but sherry and wet cardboard and soy sauce are noticeable. Dark chocolate, booze, leather, sweet but faded caramel, and brown sugar dominates the nose.
T: In terms of oxidization, thankfully only a touch of sherry comes through on the mouth and not the soy. Flavors of thick chocolate fudge, rich toasted caramel, black licorice, peat, leather, toast/roast, aged molasses, raisin and other dark fruits, faint vanilla, and even more dark chocolate in the finish. The aftertaste is sticky with chocolate and caramel and lingers long after the swallow.
M: Very low carbonation tingles up on the tip of my tongue at first, but then melts into tiny soft bubbles that create a bit of chew to the extremely thick, syrupy, chewy and rich mouthfeel. This is one potent beer. Alcohol flavor is present but there isn’t much warmth or heat to the beer anymore. Very smooth overall. Drinks like something 8% less ABV.
O: Thick, rich, and very well aged. This has got to be one of the top thickest beers I’ve ever tasted. Thanks again Eric!

Feb 17, 2014
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timc100 from Illinois

3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5


Pours like a porter - dark brown and decently clear. Not a menacing looking stout. No head to speak of - leaves a film of alcohol around the glass. Aroma and taste are decent. Bakers chocolate, slight vanilla, dark fruits, a lot of umami/soy sauce that is not in balance with the other flavors. Taste is huge - big booze, some chocolate and dark fruits, and more of the umami flavor. Mouthfeel is viscous and sticky - lingers a long time.

Wanted a lot more out of this - is unnecessarily boozy and out of balance.

Feb 02, 2014
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Jasonrm72 from Colorado

4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2008 vintage
pitch black, no head.
Strong bourbon scent, strong bourbon flavor. Finishes with a bourbon booziness (redundant, but saying it once doesn't do it justice) . Incredibly smooth, Full mouthfeel, a bit sticky. For not being barrel aged, this is as good as it gets. This is what I look for in a stout.
Edit: Whew, 18% ABV, didn't say it on the bottle. That explains some things.

Mar 02, 2013
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sinstaineddemon from Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2007 Vintage

A - the name is a misnomer, solar eclipses are generally brighter than this beer, a big fizzy brown head that fades quickly

S - whoa! the age has brought this beer to powerful heights! bourbon, oak, some vanilla, even some dastardly dark fruits, the aroma is pervasive, from feet away even

T - some beers pack a punch, this one packs a shotgun blast! big alcohol, and definitely bourbon, with some vanilla derived sweetness, toffee or burnt caramel. Some tartness makes me pucker , but its soooo worth it!

M&D&O - smooth and ass-kicking all at once, sor puckering for just a moment, then sooo good. smooth,layered, complex, and challenging,. I miss Kuhnhenn!

Feb 14, 2013
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WorldWideStout from Pennsylvania

3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage.

A: Quite thick and dark as it is poured out, and no head whatsoever. Obviously.

S: As I am pouring the beer, my nostrils pick up what at first smells like pure alcohol. Luckily, more in depth sniffs reveal molasses, dark fruit, chocolate, and brown sugar, with alcohol fusels in the background, not dominating.

T: I get the booze right away, which is an oddity for me, as I usually don't taste the heat until the middle of the sip. There are also some notes of unripe plums and molasses that come in soon after. The dark fruit pervades the middle, turning a bit tart, truth be told. The beer gets even odder towards the end, with a cherry cough medicine taste taking over at the very end of the sip and comprising the entirety of the aftertaste which lingers for at least 10 seconds, much longer than preferred.

M: More carbonated and less thick than I would have expected. It does feel fairly creamy when sloshed around in the mouth, but not that heavy.

O: A peculiar beer. I have another that I will age for a few more years, but I fear that the medicinal aspects of the beer will only become more prominent.

Dec 16, 2012
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can't think of a better occassion to drink this beer than. . . a solar eclipse. Popped open at the fiftyfifty solar eclipse party. Wasn't all big bad black in the appearance, was equal parts black and brown actually. Aroma was just pungent alcohol and yeast more than anything else.

Taste, powerful alcohol, a yeasty dominance, you can pull out some oak/wood and chocolate malt notes if you really search and get acclimated to the strength of the beer. A little more sweetness to the beer may have helped cover up the alcohol heat. A little bit of that dark fruit sensation is there, but this is a relatively straightforward beer, probably two yeast strains and just gobs of alcohol all over it. Enjoyable for what it is, a novelty.

Jun 06, 2012
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mikereaser from Pennsylvania

3.17/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

A - Pours a pitch black with no foam but a ring of tan bubbles around the glass
S - I'm picking up alot of dark fruits, some soy sauce, brown sugar some roastiness.
T - Hit with a big amount of plum, really sweet brown sugar, very sweet, there is no roastiness at all. There is also a bit of a soy sauce flavor to it but its not distracting. The sweetness almost becomes cloying which is weird. I've never had a RIS this sugary. Maybe it should have sat longer.
M/D - smooth and slightly creamy. almost thin bodied. The alcohol is actually starting to take effect on me. The sweetnes limits this one so far and the alcohol hits you pretty quickly.

Jan 21, 2012
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billab914 from Virginia

3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured into my CBS snifter. It poured black in color with a fine tan lacing sticking to the edges of the glass. Very dark and still.

The aroma has a lot of dark fruits in it. I get fig and plum mixing with a brown sugar and molasses sweetness. Decent amount of booze is there as well. Just a hint of roasted malts. Very nice aroma to it.

The taste shows a lot of the sweeter dark fruits to it throughout. I get a little chocolate and roasted malts in the finish along with some caramel and alcohol. Lots of malty, fruity sweetness to it. Very flavorful beer overall.

The mouthfeel is thick and a little syrupy with carbonation being low. Overall it was a pretty good beer. It has a lot of dark fruit, sweeter, malty flavors to it and seemed to lean towards the old ale style a little to me. Pretty smooth and flavorful, especially given the abv %, but it also seemed a little overly sweet and one dimensional at times as well. A very enjoyable beer to sip on though this evening.

Jan 07, 2012
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.27/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

Pours a dark chocolate brown color that appears pitch black and completely opaque in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Streaks of lacing left behind.

Sweet, boozy aroma with with subtle dark fruit accompanying the sweet and roasted dark malts. Huge ethanol/alcohol presence overpowers things a bit too much for my liking hiding the malt character. Underneath all of the booze there are hints of chocolate, coffee bean, toffee, fig and raisin. The malts become more prominent as it warms but the alcohol still dominates the nose.

Medium bodied and slightly oxidized with tight carbonation lingering throughout. Lots of sweet, boozy heat but more complex than the aroma suggests. Slight smokey presence with a subtle roasted malt character that counters all of the sweetness. Hints of dark chocolate, coffee bean, char and oatmeal provide some nice bitterness as a counterpoint to the booze, chocolate malt and dark fruit notes. This beer has calmed down a bit in four years but there is still a ton of alcohol flavor. Sweet booze overpowers the other flavors but the ABV is relatively well masked. A decent amount of heat in the finish but not harsh and it's surprisingly easy to drink. It's definitely still a sipper but I finished the bottle way faster than expected.

Jan 03, 2012
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Gfunk720 from Connecticut

3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle, out of my CL tulip.

A- Pretty black, though not completely. I expected it to be really thick, but it looks fairly average. Nice tannish head, with some light lacing.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweetness, and licorice. Hints of brown sugar, some soy, and a touch of booze.

T- A rather robust and sweet RIS, strong roasted malt flavor. Brown sugar and caramel, and again with the soy. A hint of hops on the back end and some heat. A bit cloying, but surprisingly drinkable for the ABV

M- Despite its appearance it is quite syrupy. There is a light level of carbonation, but it is pretty fitting for the style. The sweetness gets to be a bit much.

O- Overall this was a decent sipper. Very sweet, and the flavor was a bit over the top. About half way through it, I really started to have a hard time drinking it. Wish I split it with some friends.


Dec 25, 2011
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EgadBananas from Louisiana

2.48/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2007 vintage. Alcohol roasted malts and dark fruits aroma. Some licorice. Black, some brown edges. Surprisingly nice tan head. Alcohol taste, faint chocolate and roasted notes, light coffee. Not very dynamic. Carbonation is extreme for the style and very stingy and prickly. Fairly full bodied, but hard to enjoy with the carbonation.

Very disappointed in this this.

Nov 05, 2011
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flexabull from California

4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle courtesy of jrallen34, thanks again.

Pours thick and dark, flat black, with a small tan head that quickly faded, no lacing. It looks really still in the glass.

Aromas are boozy, with notes of dark chocolate, dark bread, and coffee beans.

Taste is of dark and slightly bitter chocolates, espresso, with some nice brown sugary sweetness. Finish is warm, boozy, but not overly strong from the high alcohol level.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Really full, smooth, with good body.

Overall this is a very nice Imperial Stout, it just isn't very pretty to look at.

Oct 10, 2011
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Spider889 from Ohio

4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got to sample this at a little tasting at The Brick Store Pub back in July. Sorry I don't remember who brought this...

This is from the summer solstice 2010.

Black, thin, with a short khaki head and large soapy bubbles.

Smelled really fruity - raisin, fig, dark cherry aromas all present. There was a nice maltiness to this too, and not much alcohol was discernible from the nose.

Tastes really sweet, with some light char in there. The biggest flavor component was fruit, as in the aroma. Fig and rum raisin are bold and very tasty. There's some nice warmth to the beer, and the finish has a subtle vanilla quality to it.

The mouthfeel is warm but not hot. Sticky, but with a thin body.

Overall the abv works very well in this brew. Quite tasty.

Oct 09, 2011
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ChadQuest from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black hole of a liquid with some nice legs that get me excited, i love good legs on a beer. The head receded quick but we both knew that wasn't going to last.
The aroma has some heat too it but not alot, really. I saw the bottle and made a verbal remark of disbelief. Kuhnhenn does high alcohol so well.
The flavors contain many layers of chocolate that contains milk chocolates and then dark chocolates that have elements of roasts and coffee withen, and a slightly under attentuated body that goes nicely with the heat from the alcohol within this snifter.
Mouthfeel is medium-full viscosity.

Very nicely done Kuhnhenn, i realy like what i have seen so far from you.

Sep 11, 2011
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rudzud from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at a private tasting.

*2010 Vintage*

A - A nice deep dark pour with a surprising head. considering the ABV.

S - Pretty good RIS aromas here. Some light dark fruits and chocolate.

T - Taste isnt that bad. Sweet malts (carmel) and dark fruits along with a little roasted chocolate. ABV is nicely hidden.

M - Alright mouthfeel. Not quite as creamy as I'd like. I agree with others that this is like a more refined WWS.

O - Overall, this is a tasty beer. Wouldn't mind getting one and tossing it in the cellar.

Sep 05, 2011
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jsanford from Georgia

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

12oz bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

Poured a dark, inky black with a thick, creamy mocha-colored head that fades to a thick cap, leaving spotty lacing. Big aromas of dark malt, bitter chocolate, dried stone fruits, and caramel with a bit of alcohol on the edges. Taste follows the nose pretty closely, with huge chocolate notes that dominate the palate and linger for some time. Reminds me a bit of a liquor-soaked chocolate cake of some kind. Bit of dark fruits, caramel, and coffee are present as well as a touch of alcohol. Still, surprisingly smooth given the 18% ABV. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a big, creamy body and low carbonation. Overall a very intense, big beer that reminds me a much more refined DFH World Wide Stout. Seriously, how is an 18% Stout so darn drinkable!?

Aug 15, 2011
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r0nyn from New York

3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz growler from New Beer Distributors. Poured into a Duvel tulip and shared with a fellow beer lover.

Probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, getting a growler of an 18% abv stout, but for the price, it was a steal. And I can't let good beer go to waste.

Pours a dark, mahogany brown with minimal carbonation. Murky in the middle, but with touches of light scoring the edges. Smallish head is the tone of milk chocolate, with lots of spotty lacing as it's swirled. The legs on this brew are ridiculous, but that's par for the course given how much heat this thing is packing. The nose is, naturally, full of booze. Underneath that solid layer of ethanol is a bouquet of dark, dried fruits. We've got the cornucopia here with raisins, dates, figs and prunes, maybe even a little dried apricot. There's a sweetish malt backbone as well. Quite the unique nose for such a big stout.

The taste is pretty much exactly like the nose, with the very prevalent alcohol taste sitting heavily on the tongue. Fruity notes follow, along with very subtle nuances of baker's chocolate and a little bit of peppery spice. Nice malt component on the back end to round out a very interesting taste. For how much booze this bad boy was packing, it was really really easy to drink. The heat is never oppressively heavy and the smooth, silky mouthfeel aids in its consumption. Even as the beer warms, it's still amazingly quaffable, despite the increased alcoholic kick. The body is somewhat on the lightish side, especially for such a potent stout, but still manages to maintain a nice, velvety feel.

Solar Eclipse is a big, big stout. That 18% is definitely there and you'll feel it. You won't necessarily taste it, however, given how smooth and balanced it is, even at warmer temperatures. Quality stuff, but you'll definitely want to share it with a friend.

Aug 04, 2011
Solar Eclipse from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 198 ratings