Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley WineBourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #6
Ranked #312
4.44 | pDev: 8.11%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley WineBourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine
Reviews: 216 | Ratings: 788 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.71/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For purposes of this review, the 2014 vintage was sampled.

Appearance - The beer poured a rusty red color with a few white bubbles crowning the top of the glass.

Smell - The nose was a sweet bready barleywine, with hints of bourbon. This pretty much nailed the expectation.

Taste - The profile had the appropriate level of sweetness. There were notes of raisin, tobacco, orange rind, big caramel, and a nice mild alcohol burn at the finish.

Mouthfeel - The feel was smooth, almost slick with carbonation largely faded.

Overall - This is fairly old school, but it is still elite.

Oct 30, 2020
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2018 - quite low carb, which really accentuates the rich, oily body of the beer. There is a ton of thick caramel to the beer - sweet, but nicely balanced by malt and hops. Smooth, zero trace of the ABV, with a surprisingly clean finish. The nose isn't powerful but very accurately communicates the rich toffee and caramel of the beer.

Sofa king good. Highly recommended.

Apr 02, 2020
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matts2896 from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drinks smooth w/o strong fusel presence, but warms the insides and clearly swings above 14.5%.

Absolutely still, a slightly translucent dirty amber. No head, leaves transparent sheeting on the glass.

Smells of oxidation--sweet toffee, sherry, the library attic, light unsweetened peanut, and faint marshmallow--and a curious crab apple/orchard rot undertone.

Taste follows nose: sherry, brandy, orange liquor, old books, faint peanut and marshmallow, and drying crabapple on the finish. Drinks like 18%, but in a wonderful way--so close to a fine spirit, yet just far enough away to remain drinkable and assert itself as a beer.

Kuhnhenn bros strike again!

Mar 02, 2020
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StoutSnob40 from California

4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amazing ruby red with a head that dissipates immediately. Smells is super spicy. I would guess this was aged in a rye barrel if it didn’t specifically say bourbon. It’s a sipper. 14.5% drinks like 80 proof. It’s a monster, and a masterpiece.

Sep 14, 2019
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kemoarps from Washington

4.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage poured into a Founders KBS stem. Thanks to @FlintB for sending this my way during NBS BIF#007!

Pour is the medium brown of rich toffee or dates. Lightening at the corner, and nary a hint of a head save for a few scattered soapy bubbles that accumulate at the edge.

Cold, the nose leads with a woody character and some faint chocolate and alcohol. I'mma let this warm up for a bit, because I have a sneaking suspicion I pulled it too cold from the fridge and it will benefit from opening up a little bit.
OK. Checking back in on it I think I made the right move. While still lead by the woody character of the barrel, there is a little more depth and richness to it as well as some slight char on the malts.

Rich notes of caramel and vanilla and sugar dates. Spicy bourbon influence and some tobacco and leather... classic BW flavours wrapped in a sipping level bourbon influence that is incredibly rich and creamy and smoothe.

Big smoothe rich body. Like velvet on the tongue. Carbonation plays off the spicy bourbon notes nicely. Definitely a sipper, but 14.5% is not as in your face as I would have expected. Just incredibly smoothe and rich and impressively drinkable for how big it is.

Very much enjoying this one. Thanks for sending it along Brian!!

May 17, 2019
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.27/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This was the 2011 version, the label is different, it isn't black and gold as pictured, this one is like white and pink lettering.

Pours almost black, tons of malt, this is very dark brown with almost no head on the top, 1/10" is too generous of a size. Aroma is heavy on the boozy toffee. Toffee and bourbon, all day every day.

Taste, whooosh, this is a strong one. Damn. Just oppressive heat, caramel, toffee, like roasted AF toffee/caramel here, scorched earth policy. A lot of raisin bitterness as if this was a Russian Imperial Barleywine or some shit with pumped up dark fruit pushing weight around the projects. I dunno, I know its not popular to say, but I found this one to be a quite hot, and not up to its reputation. Loved 4d and whatnot, but I dunno, this was hotter and I can think of plenty of bourbon barrel barleywines I would rather have that are easier to acquire. I do like the convenient format though.

Apr 09, 2018
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M_chav from New Mexico

4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Toffee on Toffee, sweet molasses with a coating malt finish. It's a bit hot but still delicious. Oak and caramel dominate the senses. Would call this one of the better barleywines that I've ever had, a true classic to style.

Jan 27, 2018
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Radcpa from Washington

4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark appearance with slight tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is a very pleasant standard barleywine. Taste is also a very pleasant standard barleywine with a nice feel.

Oct 10, 2017
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: pours very dark with no head
S: big barrel and caramel covered raisins. Awesome aroma!
T: huge booze on this. Behind the massive alcohol there is some caramel sweetness, but man this is boozy
F: booze heat, rather thin too.

Apr 21, 2017
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.11/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Stark burgundy, shifting between brown, red and purple somehow, with a quickly fizzling out tan film.

Smell is intense, rich caramel, vanilla, shortbread, biscuit, and oak, with a little sharp bourbon spice and hints of juicy grape.

Taste is rich and complex fig, caramel, biscuit, toasted graham, slightly smokey molasses, rum vanilla bean, and hot, dry, chewy bourbon with a touch of oak.

Thin to moderate body, fizzy yet dry, leaving sticky lips.

Mar 29, 2017
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage
12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep brown with ruby hues, thin foamy off-white head has short retention but leaves a ring around the edge

S- melted caramel & toffee up front mixes with woody oak barrel, bourbon, vanilla, fig & raisin. Lesser notes of tobacco, leather & alcohol

T- opens with HUGE flavors of caramel & toffee, quickly followed by a hit of bourbon barrel that provides woody oak, vanilla and more caramel. Mid-palate continues with bourbon, and brings out sweet dark fruit notes of fig & raisin . The finish gives a mineral-like saltiness that mixes with earthy tobacco, lingers of more caramel, bourbon & fig

M- medium-heavy body with low carbonation leads to a foamy viscous mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish, abv hidden very well, given the abv

O- pretty much everything you look for in a BA English Barleywine, tons of caramel, dark fruit and plenty of barrel character

Mar 01, 2017
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maxcoinage from Illinois

4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage bottle into a snifter a very dark brown with very little head

Aromas of caramel, oak, bourbon

Tastes of brown sugar, caramel malt, toffee, raisins, and a boozy finish

Heavy, syrupy, lower carb

Overall a well done barleywine with such a great barrel presence. Well worth the $9 price tag wish I would've gotten more than 2

Dec 30, 2016
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IMFletcher from Kentucky

3.86/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle pour; Nice amber color, not as dark as expected. Nose is completely inviting, all the characteristics of a great BA barleywine. But then you taste it. Thin in an alarming fashion, and an odd finish that worsened as it warmed and caused me to react like I was drinking something especially tart (though it wasn't tart at all).

Apr 17, 2016
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Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.99/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. No bottled on date, but it's 2015 edition, so maybe 4 months old at this point.

A: Pours a very murky brown. Medium to full body. Lace of an off-white head lingers.

S: Very nice mix of fig, raisin, vanilla, oak, char, molasses, cherries, bourbon. Nothing comes up too strong or faint, but you can pick out each one as you take one waft after another.

T: Big notes of raisin, fig, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, molasses. Very sweet up front, but finishes with a nice warm up from the bourbon.

M: Nice and full. Light carbonation. Most amazing thing here is how well hidden the ABV is and how little sting you get from the bourbon, yet retaining all the flavorful aspects that the barrels impart.

O: In my BCBBW review, I mentioned this beer as probably the only other BA Barley Wine I like more. And well, yeah, that's pretty much confirmed now. This is a beast of a beer, but without all the traditional harshness and booziness of high ABV BA beers. This one comes through super drinkable and pulls off this amazing feat off pulling all these flavors from the barrels, but not leaving behind any boozy or strong whiskey flavors. Some people actually like barrel-forward beers, and I enjoy them too, but I really have a strong appreciation for when beers can use them, yet still be very pleasant and drinkable. One of the best beers from Kuhnhenn and one of the best beers around, period.

Recommendation: A Winter Solstice exclusive, but should be on your Must-Try list.

Mar 25, 2016
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LAp from Ohio

4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a nearly-snifter-size-and-shaped wine-glass (the closest thing to a snifter I have on hand right now). Pours a beautiful, viscous, cola color, with a thin miniscus of rapidly dissipating head. Nose is sweet white wine, currant, and honey; strawberry jelly, and caramel. The nose is tremendously complex, with layer upon layer of scents. Palate is corn syrupy malt, with a distinct but not overpowering undertone of bourbon. There's a boozy warmth here, befitting the bold 14.5% abv, but once again it is subdued (I expect it will develop as the beer warms). The mouthfeel is almost creamy. Overall, perhaps the best entry in this style I've tasted. This beer nails the beautiful complexity possible with barleywines, without straying from the distinct palate of flavors that make the style to distinct. A beautifully crafted beer.

Feb 07, 2016
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Hootie159 from Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 From bottle. Looks like blood in the mud water. But in a good way. Oily film on top. Smell reminds me more of an old ale. Toffee, caramel, sweet bourbon. Taste significantly improves as it warms. A sweet candi sugar and bourbon pair wonderfully with the traditional English barleywine taste. Despite some of the other reviews, I don't find this to be hot or overly boozy. Feel is nice and has a smooth carbonation. A little thin. This beer does definitely sneak up on you, though.

Jan 22, 2016
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2013 at a blind tasting of 12 barleywines

Smell is raisin, fig, licorice, bourbon
Taste is huge dark fruit, bourbon, fig, watery, caramel, red apple

Jan 21, 2016
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SerialTicker from Michigan

4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Part of the Kuhnhenn 2015 Winter Solstice mixed pack ... $35 for the pack = $8.75 per bottle. Haven't had this yet, but only heard good things.

Appearance: Poured looking infected or something -- I say that because it looked like liquid caramel. Very strange but nice. Thick/viscous. In the glass it's a burnt caramel brown color with a lot of hazze. A surprising little ring floats on top of the beer.

Smell: Caramel and toffee with quite a bit of booze and barrel. Butterscotch as well? Super aromatic/potent. Very slightly burns my nostrils. Smells of a delicious, quality barleywine with a bit of a unique twist thanks to the unexpected but very welcome butterscotch aroma. As usual, the coconutty and vanilla-y accents from the barrel are what's really making this smell great.

Taste/feel: Maybe too big for its own good...? Tastes like a beer most people would say "This needs to be aged.", but I don't believe much in aging... if a beer has to sit in the basement for "x" years before drinking, then I don't think it should be brewed. Anyway, this is possibly the biggest beer I've ever had, and I've had quite a few big beers -- even ones with a higher ABV than this. This is super hot and boozy.Flavors are all over the place: like the aroma, toffee and caramel, oakiness, quite a bit of bourbon, and alcohol are all present, especially the booze. Unfortunately, the intense heat and strong, strong alcohol flavors are taking precedent over all else. It's strange to me that the alcohol is hidden quite well in the aroma, but in the taste, it's insanely potent -- especially when, strangely enough, the beer is on the colder side. I don't find myself getting any dark fruits, bizarrely enough.The feel of this beer is pretty nice: great (unexpected) moderate carbonation, with a medium -- yet stilky -- feel. I think most impressively about this beer, it's not at all overly sweet. It's one of the more balanced 15% beers I've had.

All-in-all, great beer that could probably be amazing if the alcohol wasn't raging so hard in the flavor. As it warms, the alcohol (I think) fades a tick for some reason. This let's a toffee and caramel oaky coconut flavor really come through and provide a pretty unique flavor experience. Phenomenally boozy, but if you can get past that, you'll really enjoy this. I think this would be a mindblower after a few years in a cellar, but again, I don't believe in buying a beer just having to wait however long for it to perfect itself.

Worth a purchase, the price, and the experience, without a doubt. In a word, intense. The alcohol is too strong for my liking (something you will NOT hear me say very often), but the other flavors are very balanced and quite good.

Jan 14, 2016
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thatoneguymike from Georgia

4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with no head, almost cola-like. The nose.... certainly off-putting. Smells like rubbing alcohol cut with caramel. But the taste, though....the taste saves this, and is a nice mix of caramel, vanilla, dark fruit, and just a touch of hops. The mouthfeel is nice and sticky too, and finishes with a lingering heat that goes so well in these cold winter nights.

One that I never sought out, but certainly glad to have tried, and would definitely recommend, even to those who normally say 'nay' to barleywines such as myself.

Jan 12, 2016
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Dactrius from Wisconsin

4.11/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

Practically completely still. Smell is easily among the best of any barleywine I've had, tons of caramel. Taste follows suit but doesn't quite live up to the amazing nose. Feel is the weak point and I really wanted this to be more carbonated. A great barleywine that could've been one of the best ever with more carbonation.

Nov 29, 2015
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Lazhal from Michigan

3.69/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 vintage, poured into snifter.

The is by far the most disappointing BB Barleywine I've had. While it isn't hyped per se, given how well it ranks among barleywines, I'm surprised I didn't enjoy it very much.

One thing that really hit home, was the label says its 14.5% alcohol. I'm considerably LESS bombed after a 19% 120 Minute. 14.5% has to be a mistake. Jesus, what's my name again?

Look - meh
Smell - great
Taste - Tastes like sweet alcohol. Alcohol is hidden well for the 30% this thing must clock in at.
Feel - I can't remember anymore.
Overall - Trading the rest of these. Or hell, I might pay people to drink shots of this and watch them fall on the floor.

Nov 21, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottling

Appearance: WIth a bubbly froth that fritters away to a ringlet, the liquid beneath is still and Bourbonesque, with a brilliant, burnt caramel color

Smell: Boozy Bourbon aromatics, with toasted coconut, vanilla, caramel and oak,

Taste: Somewhat oxidized flavors right off the bat, bringing toasted coconut, Bourbon, vanilla and dry oak aspects; after the swallow, the dryness builds, with subtle fruit flavors adding another dimension; tannic finish

Mouthfeel Full bodied, boozy and still

Overall: I have had this in my cellar for some time now and, while the oxidation is more than I had hoped, this is still a powerful beverage

Oct 05, 2015
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DaveBar from Canada (ON)

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

Had their $4.95 6oz pour at the brewery that came back a solid pour. Served in a snifter at 7deg C.

A- Poured a 1" high white head that filmed out in 3mins. Thick looking foam let me tell you. Red/Brown colour and filtered clear

S- Oodles of orange peel, malt and hops but above all else..... HEAT and lots of it.

T- Super sweet. The heat is intense but it is a nearly 15% alcohol brew. Lots of clove, hops and spice. Very well rounded brew to say the least.

M- Sticky. Unbelievably sticky. SO much sugar

O- Nice brew. Like the blend but the heat takes this rating down a touch

Food Pairing

This very good brew would go well with....... Braised short rib au jus. Backed onto some root veggies and a sautéed baby bok choy in a vinegar/soy base.


Aug 30, 2015
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PHBoiler from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Loads of toffee on the nose. Hints of fig and raisin. Primarily burnt caramel and toffee throughout the taste. Overly boozy and hot. Nearly still. The mouthfeel doesn't have the body to carry the high ABV.

Aug 24, 2015
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Dan_Inreallife from Colorado

4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich and bright shade of amber with red and golden accents. Virtually no discernible head, but a very thin pale collar. Huge sticky legs drape the edge of the glass. Closer in appearance to a well aged bourbon than a beer.
S: Massive oak and toffee, lots of sweetness, some dusty chocolate/cocoa powder, burnt sugar, and molasses with some booze/alcohol notes at the end.
T: Boozy, no question about that, the alcohol hits up front with a punch that combines with massive burnt sugar and charred oak to explode across the palate. Toffee/vanilla/caramel follows with hints of dark fruits - cherries and plums mainly - and cocoa/molasses/leather/tobacco. The barrel dominates throughout the very long finish even over the sweetness and booze.
M: Slightly thinner than expected but has a definitely syrupy note, lots of residual sugars. Carbonation is medium, slightly low, but perfect for the style. Just a tad more body would be nice.
O: This is exactly what I expect from a BA Kuhnhenn beer - deep and complex, incredibly sweet and chewy, lots of alcohol but not overwhelmingly boozy. Very well crafted.

Aug 02, 2015
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 788 ratings