Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley WineBourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.42/5
Outstanding
761 Ratings
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley WineBourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine
BEER INFO

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

Style: British 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:
#327
Reviews:
210
Ratings:
761
pDev:
8.37%
 
 
Wants:
1,233
Gots:
158
Trade:
22
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 761 |  Reviews: 210
Photo of gvhockey
3.79/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.78/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage

Appearance -- Pours a claret hue with a mild haze that catches light beautifully. Slim sudsy beige head quickly fades to a purity ring. Nice.

Smell -- Caramel buns, toffee, dark fruit, vanillin, bourbon, and some alcohol harshness. The aroma makes me think this is a bit rough around the edges, but still pretty good. Nice malt complexity.

Taste -- Again, a bit rough. The bourbon is a bit tart/harsh and the perceived alcohol is high. That said, the base flavors are great: dark fruit, toffee, vanilla/caramel, and with mild earthy hops to stop this from seeming cloying. Well-balance in terms of maltiness. Lingering flavors of bourbon and sugar cookie.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with milder carbonation. Nowhere near still, but pleasantly smooth. If the body was slightly fuller this would've been perfect.

Overall -- Honestly, this didn't live up to my hopes/expectations. This one definitely needs time to mellow. I love how the base beer hits all of my favorite barleywine/strong ale sweet spots, but the alcohol needs to soften before this is can be considered exceptional.

 1,105 characters

Photo of Beerman6686
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of Luk13
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of BraatenBrew
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of Brew33
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of dougofthefuture
3.74/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF #5.

A - This pours a muddy brown/red that is hazy under the light. Just the smallest bit of head.

S - As soon as I popped the cap I'm thinking barrel aged barleywine. Central Waters perhaps? It smells of sweet bourbon, warm alcohol, and dark fruity malts. This is going to be a nice afternoon...

T&M - TONS of alcohol here. Maybe it is just because it is the first beer of the day, but this hits hard. I feel it in my nose. The carbonation is low and body is a bit weak, so not much of the complexity I thought I could smell really comes out in the flavor. It finishes much more harsh than warming. It is barely afternoon - is that throwing me off, or is this beer really 15%? As it warms, I pick up a bit more of the malty depth, but this seems over-attenuated for a barleywine. I like a bit more thickness.

O - Wow, that's a big glass. I'm warming up to it as it warms, but this is just too overpowering without enough complexity to match the booze. This would definitely be a better beer at the end of the night, but I guess I'll enjoy an afternoon nap instead...

 1,106 characters

Photo of vacax
3.7/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2009. Thanks Andrew. Chestnut brown in color, slight cloudiness, and little head, only a few strands of bubbles. Smells of molasses, hot buttered rum, and cheddar cheese. Tastes of hot buttered rum, with corresponding alcohol heat, chocolate malts, and overall clean flavors. Finish is warming and brings buttery brown sugar. Medium bodied, much lighter than expected, with a light carbonation that goes with the alcohol heat. This is a tasty beer, some good clean flavors here, but the flavors and body don't seem to stand up to the alcohol content.

 558 characters

Photo of Lazhal
3.69/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

 677 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.64/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes.

The color is a ruby caramel brown with a transparent tan edge. A small off-white cap leaves only an island after a few moments.

The aroma is sweet, deep, and complex. Bourbon, caramel, lots of vanilla, and oak.

The flavor unwraps slowly, bringing out new layers as it warms. Caramel, toffeet, and a bit of bready malt contribute to a sweet front. There is some oak and vanilla next. As the sip comes to a close, a bourbon presence really steps up and dominates. It causes some tingling of the tongue, burn in the back of the throat, and warming of the stomach. I can handle a strong bourbon presence, but this is almost over the top. It might get better with some significant age on it.

Other than that, this is a big-bodied barleywine, with enough booze and intensity to take on the strongest beer aficionado.

 828 characters

Photo of pwoods
3.59/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle poured into a Russian River tulip.

A: Pours a ruby garnet with decent clarity considering the barrel aging. Moderate head on the pour with a bit of retention and not much lacing.

S: Under a decent amount of bourbon and barrel, molasses and toffee... I get a faint but distinct aroma of my grandmas and mothers Christmas cookies. Butter cookies with home made icing. Doesn't smell overly sweet, either. Maybe some oatmeal cookies and walnuts, too. Bizarre.

T/M: The bourbon is there and not as over powering as I was expecting, but it's not quite melding with the BW like I did expect. Plenty of barrel, vanilla. A bit more sweetness than the nose implied. Alcohol heats up quite a bit as it warms. Maybe the slightest hint of the Christmas cookies, but I might be reaching. Body is only about medium and the carbonation is mild to medium.

D: After the aroma I was expecting great things, and I've rarely been let down by Kuhnhenn... but things just didn't quite add up. A decent beer but I was expecting more.

 1,032 characters

Photo of TonyLuvsBeer
3.59/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wagenvolks
3.55/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle courtesy of jconrick1. Shared with trep; my half poured into a Maudite tulilp.

'Alabama' on the bottle cap, and BBBW chugs into the glass with a dull, copper-brown body--murky with yeast. Despite the care on the pour, lots of dark yeasties swirl at the bottom of the tulip and become an unappetizing distraction with each sip. A faint, effervescent tan head tries its best to matriculate with a swirl, but given the ABV, I'm surprised there's even the least bit of foam. The aroma is buttery...an auspicious start. I mean this thing is REALLY buttery: butterscotch, burnt toffee, and maple syrup. Lots of hot booziness to back it up, but the sweet buttered note is distracting, and nearly clouds all traces of the bourbon-aging. Not necessarily bad, but just not even close to how I thought this would smell.

The flavor cranks up the booziness and thankfully shows off more of that signature bourbon heat that Kuhnhenn does so well with their barrel-aged beers. A bit medicinal at times, but the buttery presence is nearly non-existent on the tongue. Body feels sticky and chewy with a hot, syrupy finish. Still, surprisingly smooth for the ABV. The BBBW is the first real "miss" I've had from Kuhnhenn. The buttery aroma was distracting, and the rest of the beer was verging on a hot mess. Not something I'd look for again, but this brewery's track record is impressive enough for me to want to try every last beer they produce.

 1,443 characters

Photo of beertooth
3.54/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle poured into a goblet glass.

This beer pours an almost still burnt amber with a tiny collar of white bubbles.

The nose is fairly complex. HUGE bourbon and alcohol notes burn the nostrils and burnt sugar, stone fruit, and dates follow suit. I think I'm picking up on some cardboard-esque oxidization. Far from the rich fruits and oaky notes I was expecting.

Very boozy and hot in the taste. Some mildly sweet malts mix with barrel and bourbon. Bourbon overpowers most of the beer. It's just not doing it for me. I love bourbon barrel aged barley wines, but this is falling short. Not enough complexity to back up on the booze.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thinner side for the style with a very low level of carbonation.

Big thanks to Masterski for tossing me this bottle. I'm glad I was able to try it, but it wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe the batches vary. Maybe I should've let this cellar a bit longer.

 916 characters

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of billyshears
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle.

Pours a real reddish amber with virtually no head. Maybe a tiny tan ring. Looks - bourbon barrel aged ;) Nose is a caramel, dark fruit, booze bomb. I don't get much barrel or vanilla, but I get straight alcohol. There is just enough sweetness in the nose to not make this offensive. Taste is mega booze, dark fruit, caramel, generic sweetness, maybe a touch of vanilla. This isn't pulling strongly positive qualities out of the barrel in the same way that a good barrel-aged imperial stout lays a canvas for the barrel-aging. That being said, this beer is pretty good, but could use some time. Not as good as MOAS was fresh. Neither was as good as they will become. Mouthfeel is medium thick and picks up some carbonation, though it is low. Drinkability - well, this beer is almost 15%, which is crazy, and yet isn't offensively boozy. That being said, it is pretty darn boozy and doesn't try to hide it. I will go out on a limb and say that despite my willingness to call a strong beer very drinkable, this one is not so much. Much like fresh MOAS, 2 years could make this beer an A+.

 1,099 characters

Photo of kscaldef
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Needs more carbonation, nearly flat. Very boozy. Sweet but finishes fairly clean.

81 characters

Photo of axeman9182
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of BirdsandHops
3.48/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark mahogany with almost no head that vanishes with no lacing.

S: tons and tons of caramelized vanilla and toffee. Some oak, smooth vanilla, and slight cocoa as well.

T: similar to the aroma, tons of caramel, vanilla, and toffee. Some bourbon toward the finish as well. Light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet.

O: a pretty decent beer. It's very sweet and sticky with a significant alcohol presence, but still tasty enough. Definitely a beer to be drank in small quantities.

 532 characters

Photo of BeerThursdays
3.47/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of marvin213
3.46/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Among the darkest barleywines I've poured, it's more menacing than inviting. NO head to speak of suggests this one's a bruiser! It looks thick like coagulated mud. Should I sip...or spoon? As an aside, I find cheap foil wrappings a tad on the tacky side.

It smells like bourbon barrel-aged formaldehyde...I mean, it smells like death. The nose is SO potent and it's off-turning like a waft from a liquor bottle. I know it teeters on 15%, and I like the big-hitters, but I'm not sure how imma handle this one. Objectively, the nos is bourbon and alcohol with tinges of toasted caramelized toffee. The burning raw strength is an abrasive weakness.

The taste is more palatable than expected, despite (because of?) the burnt nose hairs. An odd, toffee caramel corn provides a sweet and buttery feel. It's oily. I wonder what more carbonation would do. The buttery taste is NOT creamy. I'd love to try it on tap! How crazy would nitro be? It's like that initial tongue touch has a candied appeal, but the gasoline burn makes it a serious sipper. Tastes like butter oil but burns like gasoline--I wonder if I could put it in the popcorn popper.

Like each of the few brews I've had from Kuhnhenn Brewing, it's a nice novelty, strongly sweet bear of a beer. Do they make a pale ale? I respect going big, and I seek out the barrelly influenced (bourbon on the taste here is nearly an afterthought), but I'm still uncertain about these liquids from Warren, MI. Gosh, there are so many beers from MI....

 1,498 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.4/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 version, from the 2010 Winter Solstice, something like $7.50 each if I remember correctly. I brought this to a little tasting on a Wednesday night in northern OH.

It pours very clear, with a nice dark amber color and a fairly thin head. The smell is really strong and sweet. Someone mentioned sugary cookie dough and I think that fits pretty well. Almost sickly sweet, with brown sugar and lots of malt, also a barrel component that stays in front of the aroma.

IMO this is NOT an English Barleywine, this is a STRONG tasting American style barleywine. Not so much in liquor, the barrel presents more with vanilla oaky flavors. Loads of sweet sugary malts, sweet to a fault really. Everyone else seemed to like it more than me, guess I don't have the correct disposition for this beer style. The alcohol is pretty noticeable too which is another negative for me.

Light carbonation, decent body but who cares. The massive flavors are the draw here. I think this could definitely benefit from a few years of mellowing.

 1,025 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.33/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I found some old notes, I mention its a 2005 bottle and it was 5 years old so I'm guessing this was from Sunday of the British Open at hoser's Aug, 2010

A light brown until held to the light then it has a reddish glow, no much for head or lace

S big molasses, some smokey earth, teryaki, raisin, and soy

T more of the same, a little sweet, tastes more like a stir-fry sauce then a barley wine, not bad but a little disappointing

M flat and a little sticky, some heat but not to bad

O Meh, for a 5 year old BB barley wine I expected a little more considering who brewed it

I think Trevor (presario) brought this one, its not everyday I find three year old notes, then again it's not everyday I clean out the closet

 721 characters

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.42 out of 5 with 761 ratings