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Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Solar EclipseKuhnhenn Solar Eclipse

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 18.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by grub on 01-08-2008

For Trade:
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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 196
Photo of dar482
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
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.

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Photo of Jasonrm72
4.68/5  rDev +19.1%
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.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage. Big thanks to glazeman for the opportunity to drink this.

4.5 A: Black color. Not quite one finger of light brown frothy head that falls quickly overall, but has good retention for being 18% ABV.

5.0 S: Wow this is nice. Full on flavor. Good bit of roastiness to start with, then bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and toffee next. Also a bit hit of smokiness. The most amazing thing about the aroma is that the massive alcohol is hidden nearly perfectly. It doesn't really register in the nose, but can tell it's there on the exhale as it blows it up into my eyes, causing a slight burning. Not the most complex smelling brew, but the integration of what is there is flawless.

4.5 T: Taste is not quite as amazing as the nose, but it does follow it closely. Good bit of roastiness again, but this time the residual sweetness is strong enough to overcome it. Molasses is a big contributor here (and the heavy body leads you to believe that you might be drinking molasses anyway), toffee, dark roast coffee which I didn't pick up in the nose, sweet caramel, bittersweet chocolate again. Warming alcohol throughout and especially on finish. However, the taste of alcohol (not the warming) is again pretty well hidden.

5.0 M: Big thick, rich, and heavy body. Smooth as silk. Carbonation is on the lower end, but is fine for this brew. This is how I like RISs to feel.

4.5 D: An excellent example of a super high gravity brew. The residual sweetness can be a bit cloying at times, but it's pretty well balanced for what it is. I'm not big on the taste of alcohol and fortunately this brew does a great job of hiding it. There aren't really any major flaws, but this could perhaps be a bit better with a touch more roasted barley. Anyway, I think I have to get some more of this now.

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Photo of Spica66
4.63/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am so glad this is this beer that is earning me my BA Initiate mug!!

A: Completely black. Thin ring of head with some retention and fine lacing left on the glass.

S: Dark roast, some coffee, alcohol, and a little dark chocolate.

T: Dark roast malt. Sweeter than I expected. Coffee and dark chocolate notes. Really strong alcohol. A sipper to be sure. Love it!!

M: Smooth, but with an alcohol burn all the way down to the bottom of your stomach.

D: Considering that a few years ago this would have been one of the strongest beers in the world, I had no problem making this one disappear!

This is a no-gimmick RIS. Sweet, strong and very nice to drink. Wow, what a great beer...

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Hoppymeal for getting this one to me. Twelve ounce bottle that had been sitting in my cellar for a few weeks after I received it. Served at cellar temp and poured into an oversized wine glass. Consumed on 07/16/2008.

The bottle erupted as soon as I popped the cap on it. A cascading stream of tan foam poured out of the bottle when I was not looking and I probably lost a good two ounces. Once I made it into the glass it was dark, black as night, with a huge four inch high head of tan foam that took forever for it to finally sit back down. Even once it did, it never fully went away and in fact it kept about an inch of foam layer across the top throughout the rest of the session. Deep side glass lace just dripped down the sides of the glass throughout the session and really gave a great overall look, too bad it was a gusher.

The aroma was very full. Loaded down with cocoa and dark fruits, I knew this one was going to be big from the very first moment. Rich prunes and fig notes were cascading from all angles here. This was really a tremendously good smelling beer. Hints of coffee and alcohol as it warmed only served to enhance the overall presence here. The flavor just followed along beautifully. First thing I have to make note of was the smack of alcohol as I opened it up. Burned the lips a bit at first as it was very strong, but as it warmed and the session wore on, it mellowed out considerably. Deep cocoa and prune flavor. Rich, with raisins and coffee bouncing around, hints of run soaked raisins and touches of sweet malts way in the back. Had a very Belgian like feel to it, lots of fruity yeast flavors, especially toward the back end of it. Long drawn out finish was drown in cocoa and alcohol, leaving hints of it lasting long after it was gone. Fantastic Mouthfeel on this one, rich and very well carbonated. It was not as heavy as some of the bigger stouts, but was just as rich in texture. Very lively, never really giving up any ground on me, I was very impressed here. For 18.00% ABV, this had to be one of the most drinkable big stouts I have ever come across. Just easy to sip on, though I was feeling it later, this was ridiculously smooth after the first initial sip.

Overall this was just flat out awesome. I have to find away to get another one of these somehow. This was just too damn good. A truly rich and decadent dessert, you need to seek this one out, it really was that good! Thanks again to Hoppymeal for this one, really packed a punch!

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Photo of bargerking
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 poured into a pint snifter.

A - Pitch black with a brown hue on the lace. Very little carbo. Thick viscosity.

S - Sweet candy sugars. Fudge. Molasses. Hints of bitter chocolate. Not really getting any dark roasts out of this. Light booze but 18%? Really?

T/M - Sweetness. Lots of candy sugars. Nothing dark or bitter just a lot of sweet chocolate malts. Almost like a brownie. Heat factor is considerably low. 18% ABV? Really?

D - Considering the ABV, this is extremely drinkable. I wish I had more!

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Photo of maximum12
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mully for a bottle of this treat. Had a few sips on tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest & have been longing for a full bottle ever since. On a school night, too. This is officially the biggest brew I've had to date. I hope I don't need my mommy by the time I get to the bottom of it. Label claims a 2008 birthday.

Black. Still, dead, unmoving. What's coming off the light-sucking pool is faint, malts & chocolate.

What comes off Solar Eclipse in the mouth is anything but faint. Malts like a Marine ambush doubling, tripling, quading up in all the corners & crevices. Heavy chocolate syrup, with a healthy dosing of cherry on top. Anise springs a suprise as it rolls down the throat & it's done up right, just right, to make this stout almost a port. Naturally there's alcohol, too, but the touch is lighter than expected for the ABV.

Heavy, of course, this is a pure sipper all the way to Cooperstown, but what a sipper. Warming. I could see this after a day hunting pike out on the ice, pulling it out & propping my feet by the fire with a book in hand. Mmmm, that sounds nice. I could knock this on drinkability, but why? It's twelve ounces I'll gladly knock back, & it's so damn good I could do another.

This is straight-up damn great beer. When I first saw it I figured "gimmick!" with the high ABV, but this is crafted like a Bechstein piano. Nicely balanced, good touch. Fantastic.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mully for providing these 2008 bottles. Sampled fourth in a ten stout tasting and placed second.

Of course, pitch black pour with a colossal mocha head. It smells very interesting. Not picking up a lot of alcohol but plenty of sweetness. Toffee, dark fruits, sherry, anise and vanilla.

Wow is this sweet! Even after smelling this, the amount of sweetness just knocks me over. Plums, anise, cherries, figs, sherry... so much going on! Very, very fruity and not at all what I was expecting.

After having this on tap @ GTOM, I wasn't all that impressed. Having it a second time in the bottle, I was overjoyed! Good works, Kuhnhenn!

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Photo of storksonm
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at GTOM

Saw a giant line in the Kuhnhenn corner of the tent and wanted to see what all the fuss was about all I saw was a sign that said imperial stout 19% and new I had to try it. It was a dark rich stout with noticable alcohol smelled like chocolate malts and had a smooth mouthfeel with a alcohol burn in the aftertaste. It was a very fine imperial stout but it had me nursing it so I wouldn't get to sloshed at the great taste.

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Photo of grub
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at the winter solstice party dec 21/07. label also notes "Burns 2007" at the top, indicating it was brewed by their new brewer, Wayne Burns, formerly of Bo's. sampled jan 7/08.

pours nearly black and opaque even at the edges. a hefty "pfft" when i popped the cap had me nervous that it was over carbonated, but a gentle pour got it into the glass ok. a big light brown head made of medium bubbles rises to the rim of the glass and fairly quickly drops to a 1/4" layer on the beer. no lace.

aroma is nice. light roast. bit of roast. light alcohol. coffee and baker's chocolate. light vanilla. anise. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuits. hint of orange citrus hiding in the background.

taste is great. nice warming alcohol. solid roasty hit. rich dark chocolate, like those fancy dark 60% cocoa bars. medium bitterness level seems to come mostly across as bakers chocolate. anise. vanilla. molasses. espresso. loads of caramel. bit of toffee. malt from here to tomorrow - toasted multi-grain bread, fresh baked biscuits, crackers. bit of smoke. there's so much going on here. there's something else that i can't quite put my finger on, but i think it's a bit of orangey citrus in the background.

mouthfeel is ok. initially the carbonation was on the high side, but with a few minutes of swirling while i explored the flavour and aroma it mellowed out to a more pleasant level. even with the above average carbonation it still manages to feel silky smooth. this is also one of the biggest, chewiest beers i've ever had. massive body.

drinkability is surprisingly high considering its initial carbonation and high abv. the malt balances the alcohol very well. there's nearly no taste, but no mistaking the warmth that starts with the first sip and spreads from there. it almost forces you to slow down and sip at this one, but damn is it good. with the right carbonation this one would be stellar. actually reminds me strongly of dark lord.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse, 12-oz bottle purchased at Spuyten Duyvil Grocery in Brooklyn, New York. $14!!!

Appearance: Served in a Sierra snifter, pours very thick, like black oil or liquid chocolate, European style. Surprisingly, it produces a sizable head, almost one finger. Good retention, a tan rim remains around the glass. Lacing is quasi non-existent.

Smell: Chocolate, burnt sugars, booze (bourbon) and wood. Also some savory/nourishing aroma, like pork belly simmering in a stout reduction sauce. Coffee, grapes, plums.

Taste: Surprisingly thin for such a gigantic beer, but still very tasty. Chocolate all over, sugary sweetness (never bad or overbearing, though). Smoke, dark fruit again (this time pureed and filtered), more bourbon and booze. Tingly and dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth, dry finish. Full flavor and body, low carbonation. Satisfying and well-balanced overall.

Drinkability: Incredibly high. The only point of comparison I have is World Wide Stout, that other 18% crazy stout. WWS knocks me out and I'm a big drinker, but Solar Eclipse is fine. Just a nice buzz and rosy cheeks.

I love this one.

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Photo of grandq
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tucking into this for the opening Bruins v Habs game (I can't well go drinking Peche Mortel as a B's fan now can I?). Thanks to Hoppymeal for this long ago trade - I took the advise to lay it down for nearly a year.

Pours into my snifter a deep dark brown with a surprisingly huge head with a light pour. The tan head cloud that emerges on top is composed of very visible large bubbles - seems kinda like a honey comb. Really proncounced or I don't know that I'd comment on it. Smells heavily of licorice and molasses, with a little smokey, meaty quality. The taste is powerful, though I anticipated that after the Road Rash. Dark chocolate and licorice are pretty prominent. A salty, sea water quality blends to boozy cherries and figs before the mists of peat smoke roll in. Some lactic sweetness backing up. In spite of a truly substantial body, the carbonation is just nuts - very prickly and lifting. Alcohol creeps in to warm but stops just shy of searing, leaving a salt and pepper dash atop the chocolate on the finish. Faintly calls to mind some Belgian interpretations of the style, but on steroids. A fan of salt/choco combos, this is ace. Can't say this will be everyone's cup of tea, but having come to expect intense and unique stuff from Kuhnhenn, this is no dissapointment. Different from any RIS I've had.

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Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

grub picked me up some Kuhnhenn at their Winter Solstice Party, always looking out for me!

Pours a deep impenetrable black, very opaque, big fizzy brown head forms, very thick and hearty, a few spots of lace on the glass, settles to a thin ring. Smell is huge, tons of fruit, chocolate, roast, toffee, sherry, alcohol, molasses, bit of smoke, quite nice. Taste is very sweet, tons of fruit, milk chocolate, iron, alcohol, sherry, molasses and candi sugar, cherries, charred wood, smoke, very complex. Mouthfeel is full bodied with high carbonation, smooths out nicely the more it sits though, alcohol burn but pretty damn drinkable for 18%. Nicely done from Kuhnhenn! When you were shouting at the devil... we were in league with Satan!!!

Thanks Russ!

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Photo of levifunk
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

bottle sent to me by badnewsbeers. poured into darkness snifter.

a - pitch black pour with very little head.

s - smoke, light caramel sweetness. some booze, but not as much as i'd expect from 18% beer.

t - large dark fruit sweetness. chocolate. smokey finish. again I don't get as much booze as I'd expect. I can feel it down my throat more than i can taste it.

m - super thick. very little carbonation. somewhat of a dry finish.

overall - I get the impression that kuhnhenn, following the trend with RIS, brewed the biggest baddest beer they could. Low carbonation is this beers fault, but other than that it is very impressive how high they got the ABV with how little it shows through. very impressive that its 5% points higher than DL '09 with less booze flavor.

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Photo of hopdog
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in a couple of trades.

***Light gusher aleart***

Poured a dark black color with a large sized off white head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, smoke, tabacco, and some dark fruits. Tastes of roast, nuts, dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and lighter smoke. Light alcohol in the finish but no where near 18%.

Notes from 4/3/08

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Photo of Soneast
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to fellow BA James for opening this one up while watching some Jersey Shore. Classic.

The appearance is dark and thick. It pours a motor oil black with lighter purple edges. It really has no head, even with a vigorous poor. If you read any of my reviews, I need head on my brew and this came with none. There was a slight leg around the glass, but nothing worth writing home about.

The smell is pretty sweet in a dark fruit and candied sugar way. This one has some ABV present as well. I did not know that this was a 18% ABV brew when I drank it, but damn, I would guess it was 8.5%-10% at the most. It had lots of plumbs in the smell, as well in the tastes.

The taste was pretty extraordinary. This does not taste anything like the ABV. It has hints of bitter cooking chocolate with figs and lots of sweet candy sugars. Some bitter espresso flavor in there as well, but not overwhelming. It was perfectly carbonated and sat heavy on the palate. It took the best characteristics of cooking chocolate and espresso and made them shine through. There were prune and raisins that were the strongest dark fruit flavors.

The mouthfeel was heavy and perfectly carbonated. It was a bit hot in the mouthfeel, in the end you got some of the ABV. Again, this is probably the best hidden ABV I have ever encountered, which is why I rated the Drinkability so high. It was a great sipping beer and would of gone great with some vanilla truffles or fudge.


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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

unfortunately I can not recall who sent this gem to me. I also have them to blame as now I'd like a couple more:-)

A- pitch black with a nice tan head.
S - dark malts, molasses, boozy rum soaked dark fruits, raisins, prunes.
T - similar to the aroma but with a viscous vinous effect. does that even make sense?
M - full bodied, nicely carbonated definitely strong but thankfully no eye watering fumes at this strength.
D - a sipper to be sure. a nice sipper to be sure. probably a couple of abv strong for me but darn, this is a tasty brew

post script - I noticed many reviews indicating a gusher. I served mine at cellar temp and did not have this issue.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Romulux for a nice extra.
Pours absolutely black, no visible head or carbonation and it leaves nice legs on the side of the snifter.
Smell is nicely sweet and a ton of alcohol comes through. This is boozy as hell as an 18% beer should be. There is a faint spice note, maybe cinnamon? Yep, that's it....cinnamon. Go figure. Tons of dark malt with just bare hints of chocolate and coffee. Mild vanilla as well.
Taste is sweet and creamy, smacking of dense malts, vanilla, milky coffee and bourbon. Leaves a bit of a burn on the throat, which I like. Sticky and close to cloyingly sweet, the sweetness starts it off, the spice comes in the middle and it finishes with a clingy sweetness.
This thing is dense and smooth. The lack of carbonation suits the sweetness well. It coats the palate and it is only possible to take very small sips.
Overall a very nice stout and one I wish I could get on a regular basis.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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!

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is hot alcohol, chocolate, roasted malt and maple. The flavor is hot alcohol, roasted malt and chocolate. The beer smells and tastes very good, but the alcohol is so hot that it is tough to drink too much of it. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A good imperial stout, that would be even better if the alcohol was toned down just a little bit.

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Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Artusory for the wondrous extra.

Pours a dark, dark brown, black core, brown foam. Surprising amount of head for an 18%!!! beer. Whoa. I perhaps should have done more research before opening the bottle, as this was a good candidate for cellaring. Oh well.

Smells like chocolate with a gigantic blast of rum soaked dark fruits. The taste is gargantuan, with huge molasses/dark fruit tones mixed with some sweet malt and a hint of chocolate. This is an overpoweringly strong flavored beer; and I like intense tastes.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin: this really feels like half stout, half port wine. Good stuff.

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Photo of flexabull
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 196 ratings.
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