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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

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 728
Photo of PHBoiler
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of david131
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. 15.1% ABV.

A- A very deep ruby liquid with some orange highlights. The head is very splotchy and thin with just a ring and a small spot in the middle.

S- Absolutely monstrous. Maple syrup, oats, and vanilla. The aroma is enjoyable and fills the room but is not extraordinarily complex.

T- Molasses, vanilla, oats, cotton candy, citrus, and a touch of alcohol. Unique and enjoyable.

M- A smooth, if not slightly under-carbonated body. The alcohol is slightly numbing.

D- Although the alcohol is apparent, it is only warming. Sweet and rich. Very tasty. The more I get into it, the more I enjoy it. Highly recommended.

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Photo of unclekeith
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber with minimal head. Malty and sweet booziness on the the nose. Not as sweet as I expected. More oak than bourbon. Good backbone with some bitterness. Well balanced. Solid barleywine.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Tulip glass.

A cloudy reddish copper color with only a wisp of light stone colored film which mostly fizzles out by the time you've set the bottle down. Apple and caramel are at the forefront of the nose, along with sweet malt, nuttiness, cherry vanilla, whipped cream, but finally a slightly harsh solvent and alcohol aroma at the end. The smell is wonderfully complex but the alcohol harshness definitely detracts from it for me. Tastes like caramel malt and cherry, with some dry oakiness and a dry finish which again features alcohol prominently and a slightly off flavor that I can't place. I'm not picking up any of the bourbon flavors here or on the nose. Carbonation is pretty low but supports the surprisingly medium-light body just fine. Slightly tannic. Overall, this smells quite good, tastes pretty good, but the alcohol presence is a little much and unfortunately the bourbon is MIA. It tasted good enough but I'm not sure I'd reach for it regularly.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release courtesy of Dlucky, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: A turgid, brackish, pond water amber, existing in that area right between ruby and brown sugar. On the one hand, you don't get too much out of the hue, because even holding it up to extreme light reveals very little chromatic character - it sports a dirty, hazy, completely opaque body, lying underneath a ring of dense but nonetheless wispy-looking lace, as if the slightest agitation might cause it to dissipate as quickly as the half-finger of lightly tanned head did. On the other hand, there's a sort of understated beauty to the color, how the burned orange hues around the edges of the glass transition beautifully in to the earthy garnet ambers nearer the center which themselves meld seamlessly in to the vast, darker core. The lacing is similar to that of a 14.5% abv barrel-aged barleywine - that is, there isn't any.

Aroma: Very aromatic, even from a distance, and one of the earthiest and most robust malt showcases I've ever smelled. What's most surprising about the nose is the near-complete lack of bourbon, which is only a surprise because of the overwhelming amount of bourbon you usually get out of these bourbon barrel barleywines. Only extreme agitation drags the faintest whiff of that earthy spirit spice out. What this one doesn't hide, however, are the barrel notes - coconut and vanilla are large, mingling with a nice woody earthiness. Brown sugar, molasses, raw sugar, and dark toffee provide a caramelized edge to compliment toast, earth, bread crusts, and even faint cocoa. Dark raisin and cherry notes in turn compliment a lighter citrusy hop note, though the hop component here is mostly earthy, herbal, slightly minty. The smell on this one is "heavy" - that is, you have to agitate it even after warming to truly get everything that's here - but once you coax it out, it proves well worth the effort. The complete lack of any hint of heat or spice just adds to the impressiveness.

Taste: Kuhnhenn's BBBBW starts off dry, and in fact stays dry throughout. This sets it apart from many other barleywines, and indeed many barrel-aged barleywines. The malt characteristics of the nose are very earthy, wholesome, and brown, and - though they do occasionally exhibit the above-mentioned brown sugar, lighter toffee, caramel, and molasses notes - are more inclined towards bread crusts, dry toast, and heavily-attenuated fruit sugars. The attenuation is a virtue, not a vice, and it's a complex, solid malt foundation, authentic, and ends up doing this beer wonders.

In a beer where the barrel characteristics had been less expertly crafted, the above might be a problem. Not so here. KB^4W's relative lack of malt showiness puts the remainder of this brew's mouth on parade for all to experience. Coconut, vanilla, oak esters, and wood sugars come through strongly, as does a less submissive bourbon presence, slightly heated, prickly, golden. The fruits here are more impressive still, with cherries, plums, dates, and raisins melding with the tropical fruit overtones imparted by the hops and the residual sweetness. Hop bitterness is large, but does get somewhat lost in the reason this one does lose half a point, a mild amount of boozy, spicy, warming (not hot) alcohol. Truth be told, what's more impressive is how faint and pleasant this heat really is, given its high numerical value, and in many ways it almost contributes more than it detracts. The remainder of the hop notes - earthy leather, wintergreen, pine, faint grapefruit and berry notes - meld with all the above notes in interesting and unique ways. They seem both mellowed and subdued while at the same time not being buried at all, likely a result of the aforementioned dryness.

Mouthfeel: An amazingly balanced body. This one's chewy, sure - what 14.5% abv barrel aged barleywine isn't? - but it's not nearly as thick or heavy or biting as you'd expect it to be. Instead, it's relatively attenuation makes for a smooth, not-too-sticky body, filled with tons of fine effervescence. The result is as creamy as you'd like, as crisp as you'd like, and truth be told fairly light for a beer of this magnitude, which definitely eases the (wanted) imposition that is the slew of aforementioned flavors.

Drinkability: A masterstroke from the enigmatic QC-challenged, dot-matrix label-applying genius of micro breweries, and likely the most drinkable 14.5% brew I've ever had. An amazingly mature brew, for two reasons: first, the alcohol heat is incredibly tame for its numerical equivalent; and second, the flavors are incredibly well-blended/balanced for the age of this beer, with everything complimenting and mingling with everything else in a way that you usually only see in a beer of this size at an age four times this one's age. A must have for barleywine fans, and I'm confident Wooden Hell ain't got shit on this beauty. Seek it out if you can - you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of mentor
3.14/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2009 release has a bottlecap which says "Alabama". WTF? Tried the orignal batch in 2005 and loved it. A friend picked up this bottle for me at the end of 2009 and brought it here to me in Colorado while visiting over the holidays. Pours a soda pop head that quickly disappears over a fairly clear ruby brown liquid. Smells bourbon, almonds, coconut, vanilla, cherry, and clean alcohol. Some brown malt character is carried on the alcohol as nutty or faint chocolate. Some dark fruits, which I suspect will develop more as time goes by.

Tastes almond, chocolate nutty, cherry sour, rounded vanilla, and a strong drying wood character with a strange waxy component. Strong, but very clean, alcohol. Caramel and prune way beneath and found only with searching. Dominated by the wood and bourbon with too much alcohol to allow the malt to show through. It's potent, like in a quality cognac. Mouthfeel is md-thin and drinkability is sure to improve.

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Photo of farrago
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring heartily right into the center of the glass yields close to zero head, hence can't be any lacing either, right? Murky copper orange to brown hued liquid, more orange and general glow further near the rims, remains translucent not opaque. The nose betrays the bourbon immediately but thankfully not the alcoholic burn, vanilla, butterscotch, dutch chocolate, caramel leap to the fore, behind these come candied orange peel, cake batter, ginger and a blend of banana, peach and maraschino cherry fruit scents, underneath lies a subtle lactose funkiness. Full-bodied without seeming heavy, the density comes mostly from the strong bourbon character as well as, here, the alcoholic burn. Vanilla, butterscotch, caramel comes with a little licorice, ginger root. Clamps down a little too hard to give free berth to the orange peel, apricot, peach, cherry, banana fruit, ends on a drying note. The carbonation is somewhat inactive but what's there is fluffy like a cotton ball. For its type, good drinkability but I would still characterize it as along the lines of a "dessert beer." (12/09 vintage)

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Photo of Phelps
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was sent to me by seeswo during the Blind Beers BIF. The blind 2011 vintage 12-ounce was poured into a snifter and reviewed blind.

The liquid runs out of the bottle a thin caramel-brown but darkens once in the glass to a cloudy burnt hue. What head does appear comes late and is extremely thin, fizzling away after just a second.

In the nose, I get good amounts of butterscotch, smooth vanilla, oak and toffee. Sweet, sugary dark cherries and maple syrup emerge upon closer inspection.

Wow. I wasn’t expecting the sweet, malty flavors this is delivering, but that doesn’t detract from their glory. In equal amounts I get toffee, cherries and sugared orange slices. Oak, grape and a pinch of nutty almond are behind that. Citrus notes surge at the swallow, but are swiftly overtaken by lingering toasted oak and subtle chocolate.

Carbonation is light but prickly, awakening the tongue to the brilliant flavor and playing nicely off the bright citrus. The body is luscious, thick and smooth, yet it doesn’t weigh down the palate all that much. There’s hardly any alcohol heat, which I have a feeling I’ll be surprised at when I take of this beer’s wrapper.

Incremazing. Brilliant, smooth flavors and an amazing balance between citrusy barleywine notes and barrel-aging. This is without a doubt the best BA barleywine I’ve ever had, and a perma-want has been set.

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Photo of Hugonaut13
4.86/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into snifter. 2011 vintage

A - Pours a very dark murky brown with a hint of burgundy when held to the light. Zero carbonation to speak of.

S - Oh. My. God. Melted toffee, caramel, vanilla, and booze. Fills the room with this smell. Very strong and I don't want to take it away from my nose.

T - Amazing. Follows the nose but the barrel is more integrated. Liquid caramel sex. Figs, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla, followed with some light bourbon. It's like having a decadent dessert with a dram of high end bourbon neat on the side.

M - This is a sipper. Alcohol, although plays very well here, is obvious. Coats your mouth on each sip. My last sip was 8 minutes ago and I still taste it. Zero carb, and that is NOT an issue here. This beer is an event.

O - I'm blown away. The flavors here are so well integrated and complement each other perfectly. This is a huge beer that you'll want to take your time with. This is a BA Barleywine that other BA Barleywines should strive to be.

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

Review #300. 2009 Vintage. Poured vigorously from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Carmine body with lust and amber highlights, clear, with a shiny pearl head that recedes to a creamy collar with good retention, beset as it is by comets of microbubbles ascending from the bottom of the glass. A consetallation of minute lacing dusts the sides against a back-drop of thick French Polish.

Intensely malty aromatics - dark chewy black bread, caramel, a hint of treacle, nuts, carmelized figs, nectarines, along with a light barrel note suggesting vanilla and rye.

Punishing maltiness backed by a wave of spirits from the alcohol on the palate. Quite ester-heavy, which ramps up the sweetness, though the alcohol and light tannins from the barrel manage to reign it in before you reach the extended finish with hints of char, burnt toast, and ginger syrup. The bourbon is present, but is subtle compared to a lot of barrel aged beers I've tried.

Medium-light bodied, maybe a little thin but there is a creaminess that makes up for this aspect; very warming (no surprise there) if not a little hot (extended aging would probably tame this somewhat), and well carbonated.

The ABV and the price gave me pause, but if you can stand the heat, this is well worth tracking down...

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Photo of brystmar
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 opened next to Bligh's. My last bottle :(

Much darker body than Bligh's: dark brown/black, minimal beads of white head & lace. Boozy, complex aroma showcases the bourbon character amidst sweet malts. Alcoholic, yet age-y and fantastic.

Plenty of bourbon against the barleywine backbone. Tons going on here: caramel sweetness, bready, barrel character, boozy warmth. Among the best barleywines I've ever tasted; I actually prefer this over KH. Truly unfortunate that I don't have any more of these :(

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very pretty reddish maroon. A bit of white head around the edges. Very good looking beer. Smells a bit oxidied but very nice. A touch of bourbon on the nose but the oxidized aromas. Tastes sweet but dry. Roasty and bourbon heavy. The malts are oxidized but still nice. Overall solid but disappointing with regards to the oxidation

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, poured from 12 oz. bottle into Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- Pours a dark copper with a minimal trace of off-white head. Small lines of lacing remain.

S- Oak, vanilla, and bourbon are the front runners here. Nice sweet caramel notes, slight notes of leather and tobacco.

T- Holy sweet candi sugar Batman! Vanilla, bourbon, leather, oak, and toffee. Very malt forward as is the style, with very minimal bitterness.

M- Full body and low carbonation. Very smooth, slightly slick, and crazy drinkable at 14.5%.

O- Amazing barleywine. This could be one of the best I have ever had, and I have had KH, MoaS, BA NE, etc. Will have to try and get a case of this if I ever have the chance!

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Photo of Spider889
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Per the bottle: Winter Solstice 2010. 15.1% abv.
Thanks to iceicebaby for this bottle.

Live review.

Beer is a hazed ruddy orange color with hints of aged wood. The carbonation is low, but I was able to produce a small head that was relatively short lived.

Smells of bourbon alright. Lots of wet oak and vanilla as well as some citrus notes. Heavy caramel malt flavors, quite sweet smelling. Doesn't smell really hot or astringent as some higher abv beers can sometimes be.

The flavor is much more alcohol forward, though I still am surprised at the 15.1% abv listing. Seems much less boozy than, say, BCBS. Bitter hops push through to mid palate. Meanwhile dry grainy oak and caramel apple are also quite potent. The bourbon is well integrated but also liquor-heavy.

The mouthfeel is extremely dry. Dry, dry, dry.

Overall an excellent beer. I'd be happy to drink this again.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
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

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Photo of kevanb
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2013 vintage, poured into a Kuhnhenn Etched Snifter.

The beer pours a dark burgundy color, opaque, hazy and thick in texture, a taut, fizzy khaki head rises about a finger high from the the beer before receding nicely, leaving only a few touches of lace behind, which themselves wither and fade easily. The aroma is monstrous, tons of marshmallow character, toffee, oak, bourbon, charred wood, brown sugar, a bit of molasses, vanilla and some pitted fruit. It's huge, complex, sweet, savory albeit a bit astringent at the back end. The flavors are right in line, tons of rich malt, toasted marshmallow, burnt brown sugar, soft toffee, vanilla, raisin, bourbon, chewy oak, charred character, some light stone fruit, but boy does the barrel character shine here. Potent alcohol is also a big component but its really smooth, more of a warming character at the finish. The body is the one area of concern, its smooth and the carbonation is low, but it does feel a bit thin, and underwhelming. The finish is soft and mild, warm and sweet from the alcohol.

Verdict: A truly delicious Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Kuhnhenn and the best beer I've tried from them, surpassing BB4D, which I didn't think possible. The complexity is astounding on the tongue and the marshmallow character is wonderful. If only it had a richer, thicker body to carry the flavors. Cheers to Kuhnhenn for this masterclass.

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

2009 Release

A: Amber brown body. Fairly clear. Moderate light tan head. Quickly receded but remained as a skim for the duration. Spotty lacing throughout.

S: Dangerously sweet. Like warm maple syrup. Quite a bit of bourbon with its oak and vanilla companion notes. Caramel, brown sugar, and raisins fill out the sweet maltiness. Subtle spicy underbelly.

T: All of the notes from the nose are here, but the sweetness has mellowed out. Bourbon, oak and vanilla are up front paired with a slight booze blast. Caramel, molasses, brown sugar, raisins, and a hint of citrus. Some earthy/spicy hop bitterness. Well balanced between the booze/malt/hops.

M: Moderate-heavy bodied with near ideal carbonation. Only a slight booze burn (considering the 14.5% ABV, this is impressive). Clean finish, with a bit of bitterness and only a little lingering sweetness. Manages to deliver an incredible amount of sweetness from start to finish but never crosses the line and becomes cloying.

D: Slow drinking, but that should be no surprise. Deliciously complex with a good body = top tier bourbon aged barleywine. I'd imagine aging this brew would only improve the balance and help bring out additional layers of flavor.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - this gem of a brew pours a dark translucent ruby red that turns near transparent brown when held to light, a thin thin rapidly dissipating white head that fizzes as it vanishes and vary miniscule scant streams of carbonation

S - a power packed aroma, big and up front is raisins, toffee and alcohol, well blended and complimentary, secondary and subtle is a slight chocolate aroma, very intriguing

T - wow, you can really taste the bourbon, ive had bourbon barrel aged b rews that have a slight bourbon flavors, this one has a big up front bourbon flavor, so smooth and velvety, its incredible; all the other flavors that were detected in the aroma, the raisin, the toffee, the slight chocolate, are all elongated by the bourbon into a seemingly endless finish that lasts for several minutes, wish i could get this more often.

M&D - as I noted in the taste, the bourbon created an incredible smoothness that will at least neutralize the ABV (which is pretty high) for some and enhance it for others, depends on your tastebuds, but an amazing taste and brew, if you go to eastern MI and dont stop here, you are doing yourself a serious disservice

afternote; had this at my New Years party, got kinda drunk (the one night a year), and although i had this first so i could enjoy it unimpaired, i found one last sip in the AM, and it got better with some time to breathe, richer and smoother.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed blind as part of Blind Beer BIF #6

A - Pours a murky muddy brown with very little foam.
S - Strong bourbon, raisin aroma, dark fruit and some vanilla
T - Flavor is the same as the aroma, dark fruit, plums, raisins, some sugary sweetness and bourbon. There is some alcohol present in the finish along with some more sweetness.
M - creamy mouthfeel, medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Lightly syrupy.
D - Very easy to drink and enjoy, the alcohol is noticeable but not detracting.

I'm guessing this is a quad or a barleywine but thats about as good as I can guess.
rip it open and its
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley Wine 2011
wow, 14% and you really can't pick up on it at all. Its not something to gulp but not one that has to be sipped.

tip of the hat to abraxel for another tasty bottle, and hitting a want. sweet!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at Kuhnhenns.

appearance- brownish and no visible head upon serving. slight lacing along the sides as i drank.

smell-mostly bourbony as expected. other than that I smelled vanilla and some toffee maybe a little bit of weaker fruits such as figs.

taste- the bourbon is definitely the strongest and the first taste but it is quickly followed by the vanilla and the barleywine style. toffee and vanilla are the most prevalent. the alcohol comes in strong in this brew but it is expected and balanced well by the other tastes

mouthfeel- medium to thicker body and low carbonation. its not to thick for a bourbon barleywine and not overly sticky. overall it felt very good as a sipper.

overall- great beer. not dominated by the bourbon but not understated. a good and tasty bourbon barleywine. the strength in taste comes as bourbon but the vanilla and toffee catch up easily. my first kuhnhenns and definitely not my last! a good and balanced bourbon barleywine. easliy worth the price i paid (~$8 per 12 oz)

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Photo of DaveBar
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
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.


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4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Noah1 for the bottle. 2011 Vintage.
12oz bottle to tulip.
Sampled 07MAR13

[A] Pours a very dark crimson - just a few shades away from black. Rather still in the glass, there is a nothing more than a single strand of fine bubbles arranged around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

[S] Rich, plump, overly ripe dark fruits with a hint of earthy soil and old leather. Surprisingly low alcohol presence. A faint tea-like herbal quality comes through as well, probably due to the age more than anything else. The bourbon barrel made the invite list but is not the star of the party.

[T] The sugary malt sweetness displays amazing depth. Buttery caramel, dark brown sugar and dark molasses - just a phenomenally complex balance between sweetness and bitterness. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink. How in the world did they manage to remove nearly every last trace of alcohol and heat? It's dumbfounding honestly.

[M] Easily a 5. This is one of the thickest, chewiest mouthfeels I've ever come across. Gentle carbonation starts at the beginning of the palate and helps to lift the the slick and syrupy texture. Completely cloying...just the way a big, 14.5% barleywine should be. I absolutely love it.

[O] This beer is nothing short of world class. And I want more.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
Huge thanks goes out to MasterSki for this one!

This one pours a dark copper color. A thin head of loose bubbles forms and quickly recedes. The lacing is present as an abundant spottiness, which slides down the slick oiliness on the side of the glass back into the liquid.

A thick rich maltiness permeates this snifter of goodness. A definite level of booziness is present, but at 14.50%, that is certainly to be expected. Loads of bourbon presence. A strong vanilla caramel presence, also. Big oakiness. Light hints of maraschino cherries. Lots of golden brown sugar notes along with golden raisins. Nice hints of yeast and spices.
This smells so much like delicious candy, laced with whiskey.

The taste is more spicy than sweet. There is still a lot of brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla in here. They are leveled out by the warmth and spiciness of the bourbon along with the dryness of the oak. Marascino cherries soaked in bourbon with a splash of rum. Lots of raisins and a touch of blackstrap molasses. Very nice hints of dates. There is a nice level of hops here that get all but lost, by the covering booziness. They make a brief, shining appearance right before the finish, only to be swallowed up again by a wonderful bourbon sweetness. The finish itself is on the dry side and has a wonderful warmth which you can feel for quite a while after it is swallowed.

This one is full-bodied, but the carbonation level is light. This provides it with a wonderful smoothness, but it hasn't got any creaminess to it, which I find to be disappointing. With a nice amount of creaminess, this could be perfect.

Okay, so it's true that the high abv will keep you from slamming these down. The beautiful taste will make you want to try, though. It's smooth enough that you might think that you could get away with it, too.
This is a delicious beer and worth the effort to track down, if you aren't afraid of the sweeter side of the glass.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.33/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Review # 200. I love the Barleywines and have been looking forward to this for a long time. Let's give this big beast a go. 2009 Vintage 12oz bottle split with my beer bud...

A: Deep murky butterscotch brown with no head and a tiny lace atop the brew. Kind of looks like liquid caramel. Very good.

S: Heavy bourbon blended awesome with toffee. Some thick dark fruits in the middle. Apple, grape, plum, raisin. Heavy booze bite on this. Super hot smell. I get some walnut and almont scents on the backend. Good.

T: Holy hot burn Batman! Immediate dry alcohol bite blended with some bitter hop on the back. Hints of toffee / caramel in the middle. A lot less complex than I expected. The boozy bourbon just melts all other flavors away. Hard to pick out many different tastes with such a boozy bite to it. Man, did this disappoint. Ok.

M: Super thick dry body. Leaves some decent flavor on the palate. Good.

D: Eh, as easy as drinking Petron straight. Warming, but not an easy one to get down.

All in all, man, this one started good and went downhill from there. This is like drinking straight hard liquor. I'm not even sure if age would help settle this one down enough to improve it. This, to me, is not a good example of a good barleywine. Strong barleywine? Yes. Not too complex because all of the flavors are buried by the liquor. I'd say that this one was definitely not worth hunting down. Don't bother here. You will trade a lot and get a little. Only try once if you have access. Otherwise, don't bother.

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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 728 ratings.
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