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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.42/5
Outstanding
747 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#257
Reviews:
207
Ratings:
747
pDev:
8.37%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,233
Gots:
156
Trade:
23
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 747 |  Reviews: 207
Photo of capnamerica
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of CLaBarre
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of gulogulo
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Centennial
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Ferocious
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of hu5om
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of ajs4bd
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of kirkfrailey
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of donnierickles
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The absolute best barley wine i've ever had.

44 characters

Photo of pzymali
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of elephantrider
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Sparty1224
4.99/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A first things first, huge, enormous thanks goes out to Jay for hooking this one up. This has been a mission of mine forever and I owe him for that! Twelve ounce bottle was chilled down to cellar temperature as soon as I received it and served at the same temperature in a snifter. Consumed on 08/04/2008.

The pour was just what I would have expected. Rich notes of caramel colored brown, with hints of ruby around the edges and a deep, opaque haziness that overtook the entire session. Smallish head of deep tan lace then formed on the top and settled down quickly to just a broken film, but this did the job of thoroughly coating the inside of the glass with abundant lacing throughout the session.

The aroma is the thing that dreams are made of, well Bourbon Barrel dreams anyway  Incredibly subtle, yet complex I have not ever had something this wonderful cross my nose. Rich notes of bourbon and vanilla, so strong, yet so welcoming just layer on top of each other, seamlessly dancing around the effortless profile. Hints of toffee and caramel, some touches of almost some kind of coffee or something, this was incredible. The flavor, I am really having a hard time putting into words, but suffice to say this was by far the best barley wine I have ever had. Complex wasn't the word, started out with big notes of vanilla, coating the tongue and not letting anything stand in its way. Light notes of oak and bourbon starting to come in now as it begins to warm, then the bourbon takes over and starts to mix in with toffee and caramel, some light vinous properties and a touch of spice. There is some light fruitiness going on in here, maybe some fig, some tart cherries, not sure, but it was a nice little splash around right before the finish. And let me just tell you, the vanilla flavor lasted so long, I was still tasting this after I brushed my teeth it felt like, just really tremendously good. This was ridiculously smooth, I cannot even begin to try and get that point across. This was over 14% abv, but I have not had anything in this category. It was amazingly subtle and sublime, complex yet simple. Perfectly aged, yet still vibrant. This is what it should be, what all barrel aged beers should strive to be. Nothing here is overdone, quite the contrary, it is done as just enough.

Overall, wow, this was worth the search, and deserving of the appraise that it gets. It was a whole new level of Barley wine for me, this was exactly what I wanted it to be, exactly what it needed to be. A fantastic brew that literally blew me away. I would love to get this one again, but I know it won't happen. Still though, WOW.

 2,644 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a big beer. Pours a deep mahogany with tangerine hues. Nose is superb. Like a rich candy: toffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate. A bit of golden raisins and figs come out too. Bourbon comes out nicely in the finish. Really nicely done. Sweet, rich, and smooth. A beer of epic proportions. Thanks for opening this Joe!

 325 characters

Photo of ncvbc
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Murky, rusty, red with brownish hues. Thin tan head that fades to a ring. Slow rising carbonation. It looks potent.

Smell is pretty remarkable. It's soft, subtle, and insanely complex. Bourbon and vanilla seem to blanket a vast assortment of aromas. Toffee, oatmeal, chocolate, coconut. Raisin, fig, spice. Too much to mention, really.

How could it get any better? Well, it does. I literally got chills when I took my first sip of this beer. Big, sweet, chewy malt flavors. A perfect warmth from the bourbon that isn't overpowering by any means. Layered with a depth of flavors that I have found in only a handful of brews and they work some serious magic.

This beer absorbs itself into the tongue. So rich and extremely smooth. Perfect carbonation and texture. To be enjoyed slowly but surely as a sipper.

While it is quite huge and needs to be consumed slowly, it's like heaven in a bottle. One bottle happens to be just enough. Not quite the ultimate in terms of drinkability volume-wise but as close as it gets. There are others that I could have more of but I won't savor and enjoy them like this one.

A big, big thanks goes out to grub for the chance to try this most excellent brew.

 1,197 characters

Photo of proc
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I could literally copy trbeer's review for this word for word and feel satisfied with the review. I too had this at the Polar Beer Fest right along side trbeer. This was such a drinkable barleywine, that it blew me away. The flavor exploded in the mouth, with hints of spice and a wonderful buttery flavor present. An outstanding beer. Kuhnhenn...I'm in love.

 359 characters

Photo of bmh_the_legend
4.96/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +12%
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 Roger85
4.95/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of grub
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pulled from my cellar, purchased at the brewery in december 2006.

12oz bottle.

pours deep ruby red, almost burgundy, with just a small ring of dense off white head around the glass. the colour on this is just amazing.

wow. fantastic aroma. huge blast of malt. bread and biscuit. caramel and toffee. raisin and date. lots of alcohol. vanilla and light bourbon.

taste is amazing. everything from the aroma and more. nice caramel sweetness. date and raisin. light bourbon and vanilla. alcohol. chocolate truffle. i could drink this all night.

mouthfeel is excellent. low carbonation is excellent. nice big body.

drinkability is exceptional. very well balanced. definitely doesn't taste like 14.5%. just great stuff. another winner from kuhnhenn.

 760 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Eternal thanks & glory unto FlandersNed & beerisheaven for shipping me this much sought-after treat. I never thought I'd see one of these, much less multiples from different years. Winter Solstice 2010 edition, with 15.1% alcohol on the label vs. the 14.5% on the BA listing.

Poured into my lovely Captain Lawrence glass, where the a white head feints & withdraws so quickly it might have been imagined. Very dark beer, but when held to the light, glows with the inner fires of Mordor. Smell is pure top-shelf barrel-aged barleywine: rich bourbon, vanilla, warm sweet malts, sting of alcohol. This one writes the book & adds a few footnotes; the aroma is perfect.

Out of the fridge, I let it warm for several minutes before sipping. Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. One sip & I'm blowing over the limit. The is a complex, boozy, brawler of a beer. Big Time Rush hits my tongue in multiple places; huge bourbon backed with vanilla, brown sugar, molasses and/or maple syrup, sticky dancing raisins, oak or ash or maple, dash of caramel, holy holy hell. Then a tidal wave of alcohol wraps them all up, sticks a bow down their throat, & warms my chest cavity all the way down to my Achilles tendon.

Seriously. Smoother than cream silk pie, & screw the ABV, this is so drinkable I wish it came in a bomber so I couldn't wake up for work tomorrow. A sipper that demands to be gulped, Dew-style. It's a bit hot, but who gives a rip? I can't imagine age doing anything good to this, it's so good already.

OK, I knew this was an A+ beer after the second sip. This, along with the Perfect Storm, are the pinnacle of barrel-aged barleywines. Absolutely fantastic, borderline perfect, & I'm delighted I have a few more in the basement. Epic beer. Damn.

 1,751 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presently, this is the #9 ranked English Barleywine here on BA.

2010 Vintage served in a snifter.

A: Poured a saturated, caramel color, with a bit of ruby highlights poking through. The slight, marshmallow looking head was but a mere ring around the brew, but had tremendous staying power.

S: Just flat out awesome! Sort of a caramel-nut-butterscotch combo. The nuttiness was obviously the bourbon. This definitely was designed as dessert fodder, completely devoid of pine, citrus, and anything that might be considered a solvent.

T: Caramel-toffee and then some, with a bit more hoppy bitterness than I was expecting, but that worked its magic in terms of cutting through the intense sugariness. Strong for sure, yet quite delectable.

M: I've never tasted this fresh, but I have a hunch that it was quite a bit sweeter than this. Sure, this was post dinner fare, but I certainly wouldn't classify this as an outright sugar bomb. The carbonation had only a tinge of prickle and some lacing was left behind after a gentle swirl.

O: This is truly one of the best brews I've had all year, possible in the last few.

 1,118 characters

Photo of CaptainFleeker
4.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.42 out of 5 with 747 ratings
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