Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
kbrewery.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
742
Reviews:
207
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.76%
 
 
Wants:
1,232
Gots:
155
For Trade:
23
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 742 |  Reviews: 207
Photo of Duff27
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dicers
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MasterSki
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'05 Vintage - Brewery Aged version from the '09 Winter Solstice Party. Served in my Darkness snifter.

A - Wow! A hard pour yields a half-finger of toffee-colored foam that dissipates slowly to a thin ring and some haze. There are even a few spots of lace. Lots of bubbles on the sides of the glass. Body is an opaque milk chocolate color. Impressive for a 14.5% beer from 2005, and one of the best-looking Kuhnhenn beers I've had (which ain't saying much).

S - The smell is wonderful. Caramel, bourbon, burnt brown sugar, dried dark fruits (raisins, dates, figs, prunes), lots of oak. The booziness of the '09 has subsided quite a bit, and only pops up when the brew is at room temperature. Reminds me of Abacus quite a bit, which is high praise, but it's a bit more mellow.

T - Tons of caramel, molasses, spiced rum, anise, chocolate-covered cherries, and burnt sugars. There's some light oxidation, but you can tell this was aged in a keg and not in the bottle. The finish is incredibly spicy, oaky, and tannic - perhaps even too much at this point, as it lingers as an aftertaste for more minutes than I had the patience to measure (as I was reaching for another sip by then!). Surprisingly mellow and smooth for something so strong and boozy when fresh.

M - The body is actually a little thinner than it should be for such a high gravity brew. Otherwise it's very smooth and soft, with very low carbonation that is style-appropriate. After about half-a-glass there's some nice alcohol warmth and a nice buzz building, but that's not wholly unexpected for something this strong. Basically if it were a touch more viscous and chewy it'd be perfect.

D - I've managed to drink an entire 12oz bottle of this beer (both the '09 and '05) on a few separate occasions. It's a slow sipper, but never becomes a chore. The tannic and oaky flavors become a bit tiring, but otherwise it's about as drinkable as a 14.5% beer can be. I think I like Abacus more, but this is still quite excellent.

 1,989 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of VeganUndead
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a recent trade with mikeyson4, thanks man. '14 vintage, aged in the barrel for an extra 4 months, apparently.

This one pours a medium dark clear amber, with no real head or lacing.

This smells just absolutely fantastic, huge caramel, brown bread, tons of bourbon and barrel, and toffee. The aroma is super super strong here.

As this warms, it becomes super super hot and boozy, but it still tastes quite good. So much caramel and vanilla, and a whole lot of bourbon. There's some astringent oak that I could just also be confusing with the astringent booze. There's some mild dark fruit, toasty brown bread, caramelized sugar, and some kinda earthy spices or something.

This is medium bodied, and fortunately remains not syrupy, which could get tiring. The 14.5% ABV is definitely present- warming and hot, hot, hot. A definite slow sipper.

An awesome and intense barleywine, I think this will age very well. As of now, it's very boozy, so that may fade with time.

 988 characters

Photo of aasher
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Gonzoillini
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of IrishColonial
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by beergirl8 in a blind taste test. Thanks.

Beer is dark brown and hazy wtih a thin broken white head of small and large bubbles that fail to rally to form much lacing on the glass. Carbonation appears low. Looks "to style" to me for a bourbon barreled barleywine.

Smell is nice and liquor. There is a lot going on in the aroma of this one, not my favorite out of the three but probably the middle one for me. This one has a lot of complex malts and caramel with raisins and stone fruits all mixed in with some bourbon, fun.

The taste is as complex as the aroma in my opinion with the exception that the taste has more oak in it than the aroma. Maybe I just missed the oak but it is present in the taste. Lead off is sweetness with the stone fruits and raisins to follow. Beer is lighter in body than I expected and finishes a little dry. A good beer overall.

 876 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of Gobzilla
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Peter of Flying Monkeys. 355ml bottle into some tulips, from the 2010 Winter Solstice release. Civic day tasting, long time want - thanks a TON Peter!

Low carbonation evident on the initial pour, leaves nothing more than some bubbles as a collar. Moderate legs on this, but pretty close to still nonetheless. Body is burgundy in colour, with some light brown sugar-like highlights. Nose is bourbon, caramel, molasses - sweet and sugary all around, not overpoweringly so. Some brown sugar like notes as well. Taste showcases more bourbon, brown sugar, caramel and booze. Sticky, and sweet and a medium mouthfeel - not as thick or syrupy as I thought it would be. Great flavour and a really nice BBBW, exactly the kind of barrel treatment I enjoy from the style. 35/45/4/45/45

Had on draught at the 2012 Winter Solstice, they were pouring the 2011 vintage.

Fantastic barrel integration here, fantastic sweet malt interplay with the barrel and borubon character. Absolute magic, phenomenal when it hits room temperature. 45/4/45/45/5

 1,050 characters

Photo of tempest
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Clark's Ale House.

An incredibly mellow brew. The main flavor and aroma I got pineapple hops. The malt profile was a little too mellow, but there was no trace of alcohol. It was just a smooth sipper. At the end I got some vanilla flavor, but really, the pineapple dominated.

 287 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. Poured in to Founders snifter.

A - Very dark brown. Only a small ring of light brown head.

S - Loads of dark caramel and toffee up front with some bourbon, oak and vanilla aromas. Hints of chocolate in the background.

T - Sticky toffee, brown sugar and dark caramel up front. The bourbon shows up in the middle with a touch of vanilla. Some oaky/woody flavours are present throughout. Light chocolate flavours show up in the background.

M - Full body. Very light carbonation. Carbonation is a little low but works somewhat well for this beer.

 563 characters

Photo of dar482
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 2014 vintage.

Having this next to Aaron, this was quite disappointing. The beer was hot, watery with some spicy hops on the back. Some sweetness balances this beer out, but in general, tastes more towards an barrel aged American Barleywine.

 243 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage. The beer pours brownish-red/amber color with a white head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of bourbon, but also some orange citrus, caramel and brown sugar notes. The flavor is heavy on the maple with some brown sugar, vanilla, alcohol, caramel and bourbon. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

A very nicely done bourbon-aged beer, that I am very happy I got to try.

 440 characters

Photo of tommy5
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of enelson
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine appears murky on first glance but, upon closer inspection, is in actuality very clear. This is a fact easy to miss given the stunning dark crimson colour and gorgeous, blushing scarlet highlights. There are a select few bubbles resting on the surface but no matter how hard one swirls it's impossible to generate any sort of head (though the glossy tracks of liquid tearing down the glass are beautiful).

The aroma is sweet and deliciously rich. The proper use of bourbon barrels manifests token notes of vanilla, oak, and wood spice but they're accompanied by chocolate, dates, licorice, currants and rich, heavenly malts. My god, the malts! With each smell one delves deeper and deeper into the scent, layer by layer becoming more and more sedated by its divine complexities.

Kuhnhenn should have named *this* beer 4D - it has endless dimensions. While giant bourbon-influenced flavours hit the palate upfront, a great depth of slightly delayed and delicious nuances set in after the swallow: tastes of chocolate mousse and truffles, dates and raisins, french vanilla latte, anise, and heavy caramel. It's like a rich dessert that's big in body and luscious in texture.

The use of bourbon barrel aging is appreciable but sensibly done; all the distinction and character of the whiskey is blended with the malty essence of a barleywine, and somehow managed to loose the strong alcohol presence somewhere along the way. How is it that nearly 15% alcohol goes unnoticed? Neither the ale nor the bourbon dominates. They meld and marry, though the mouth is always coated with rich, viscous caramelly malts.

Oh glory of glories, oh heavenly testament to the eternal majesty of God's creation...
HOLY MACARONI! Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine is among - if not the - best crafted beer I've tried. The precision of detail and particularities, the depth of flavour, the sensible use of barrel aging, the sheer quality - it's a downright divine drink. While other brewers may write music, Kuhnhenn writes symphonies. This was something beautiful. Thanks Grub!

 2,099 characters

Photo of Eziel
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 742 ratings.
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