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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine | Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
96
world-class
202 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score
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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley WineKuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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
Reviews:
202
Ratings:
722
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.76%
 
 
Wants:
1,242
Gots:
158
For Trade:
27
User Reviews
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Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 722
Photo of msubulldog25
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A chilly Sunday night, watching the pathetic battle between the 6-9 Seahawks and 7-8 Rams. Dulcet sounds of banjo lessons in the background (my wife's first session with a friend of ours). A good night for a hearty beer.

2009 version, 12 oz. bottle poured to a snifter; 'ALABAMA' in blocky silver font across the black cap. Another cheap-looking printer-quality label that belies the quality of beer inside. Big thanks to hoppymeal for sending this a couple months back.

A: Warm sienna/chestnut orange, subtly hazed and cut gently by tiny carbonation. Hardly any head, just a swirling and breaking skimcoat of powdery tan. Slinky ring, no lace whatsoever.

S: Oh my ~ PLENTY of sweetness in the nose, a surge of maple-syrupiness and vanilla erupting from the glass. Bourbon and raisins with a lilting, almost perfumed, woody undertone.

T: Candy: creme brulee, vanilla beans, boozy fruit and spicy/brown-sugary bourbon. What starts overtly sweet and grain-forward mellows wonderfully, revealing a more savory woodiness and a remarkably dry, even peppery finish. Balance and depth are both spot-on - just a delicious barleywine that's drinking wonderfully 1+ year after its release.

M: Remarkable feel, just a 'wow'-inducing creaminess. Velvety, trace bits of woody coating, lingering sugars. Soothing heat approaches slyly, building gradually without ever dominating - amazing for a beer as sizable as this. Impossibly velvety and smooth.

D: Big aroma and flavor, balanced enough for a barreled barleywine but skewed well toward sugariness. A wonderful sipper that'd be a treat to have again. Just like it was a treat to have tonight. Great job, Kuhnhenn, and thanks again, Derek.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Cola colored, small near white head leaves fast. Some spotty lace.

S - Fruity! Lots of booze, definitely wood, brandy like, burnt candy.

T - OUch. Hot. Boozy, rich and sweet, carbonation and booze burns the taste out dry at the end.

M - Full body, enough carbonation to carry it off, last part of balance is to the sweet.

D - Palate killer and equivalent to almost 3 beers in alcohol. Definitely not a session beer.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for providing this one, UCLABrewN84!

Blind Tasting and Review

Dark, cloudy brown with very little visible carbonation. There's a thin film on top of the beer, but that hardly qualifies as anything resembling a head. That being said, this appearance is about par for the course for barrel-aged barleywines.

Aroma is a nice combination of caramel, brown sugar, black bread, and some alcohol heat. It's sweet without being overly so. It's boozy without being overly so. There's a bit of vanilla and oak character as well.

The flavor is quite exceptional, with lots of vanilla, cream, oak, caramel, toffee, and bourbon combining. For being so exceptionally high in ABV, this one hides it fairly well, even at this relatively young age.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Fantastic. This ranked as one of the highest in our blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my CBS snifter. 2011 Vintage. Huge thanks to ChadlyG for this one!

A: Pours a ruddy brown/copper color. Very murky and cloudy. Absolutely zero head, kinda disappointing, but not surprising considering the ABV on this. Almost zero lacing as well. Beautiful color, but the lack of any head or lacing whatsoever knocks this down a bit.

S: Can smell the barrel on this from over a foot away. The bouquet is filled with ripe dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, raisin, and some hints of tobacco, cherry, and just a hint of leather. Something just a little bit dank and rotten on the back end of the nose here. Detected the same characteristics in BB4D, so perhaps it is the barrels these are aged in. That little "offness" holds this one back just a touch.

T: Nearly perfect. Thick, creamy caramel, ripe figs, plums, and raisins. Plenty of vanilla and bourbon notes, along with rich, dark chocolate and just a bit of oak char. A spectacularly complex flavor profile. As it warms, toasted coconut becomes more apparent. Excellent.

M: Flavors are well balanced. Could use a bit more carbonation, as the finish overdoes it just a bit with the sweetness. A touch more carb would take some of the edge off.

O: There are better barrel-aged barleywines out there, but not many. This doesn't hold a candle to the likes of King Henry or Mother of All Storms, but few things do. On its own, Kuhnhenn BB Barleywine is a good example of quality barrel aging elevating what is likely a fairly pedestrian base beer. I enjoyed this one and will age the other to see what time does here.

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Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Winter Solstice Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine courtesy of jrallen34, thanks again!

This bottle says it is 15.1% ABV.

Pours a dark amber color with a pretty nice head that faded away pretty quickly, decent lacing.

Aromas are of roasted nuts, mocoa, dark fruits, caramel, dustiness and booze.

Taste is boozy, but not overly so. Notes of roasted coconut, caramel, dark fruits, and brown sugars. Finish is warm with a nice bourbon barrel booziness.

Mouthfeel is good, surprisingly smooth, with a lighter body than I expected.

Overall this is a very good bourbon barrel barley wine. The taste is quite good, but the dustiness on the nose is a bit odd though.

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Photo of Floydster
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle generously shared by seaoflament on 10/25/08, thanks to Carlos for going out of his way once again, reviewed from notes, four to five ounces poured into a small sampling glass

A-Color is a dark brown with red hihglights, very small maybe 1/8 inch beige bubbly head that disappears immediately, no retention or lacing
S-First off the smell was outstanding, it had bourbon, maple syrup, dried fruits, berries, raisins, lots of butterscotch, sweet chocolate, toffee, deep caramel scents, vanilla, oak, and dates
T-Flavor was slightly oxidized and that was the first thing I noticed and really the only complaint, the combination of woody accents, big bourbon flavor, caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, dark fruits, and chpcolates was unparalleled, I sipped on this for close to a half hour and it was better with each sip, and very different each time too, starts off on the sweeter side, some chewiness in the middle, slightly dry finish with some booze and sweetness there to balance it out, cannot believe how well the flavors worked together, this stuff is great
M-Hot, sweet, chewy, and sticky mouthfeel, full bodied for a barrel aged brew and on the verge of being syrupy, very low level of carbonation, taste lingered for a long time and was great
D-Could have the drank the whole bottle it tasted so good, but both the alcohol and sweetness would have got the best of me, but the booze are hidden incredibly well for a brew that is near fifteen percent

This was for sure on my top three beers to try list, and the fact that they were only one hundred bottles ever produced made it look like I might not get to try it, luckily I did, going out on a limb here and saying that this is the best barleywine I have ever had, I think this was a 2006 vintage but I am sure this would hold up for another decade, would love to drink this again but not likely, cannot recommend this enough

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Photo of Chaney
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark ruby red color with a very thin head. Head becomes a thin ring and leaves pretty much no lacing.

S- Not a whole lot here going on compared to some of the others. Quite a bit of sweetness, sugary, oats, vanilla and booze.

T- Vanilla, oats, a touch of citrus, burnt sugar, wood and booze.

M- Medium in body and low carbonation.

O- This is a good beer for sure. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 winter solstice release
The beer pours much darker than the regular barleywine - a very dark brown with a loose off-white/slightly grayish head and no sediment. The nose has deep notes of bourbon, leather & raisins, slight booze, and mild sweetness/fruit when it warms. The taste is a rush of barrel flavors, heavy on the oak tannins and bourbon caramel (definitely more more balanced as it warms) that transitions into the warming caramel/vanilla notes in time. It's full bodied, bold, and slightly syrupy with minimal carbonation with some harsher oak bitterness, which cuts deeply into the beer's bready body and leaves burning ethanol on the palate after each sip. I prefer the regular FGR barleywine in mouthfeel, but think this will not disappoint someone looking for big barrel notes in a bbbw.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.79/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Jeff (ipa247) for this one. 2009 vintage. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Extended pour yields a single layer of off-white colored coarse bubbles that dissipates quickly, forming a single ring along the side of the glass. Beer is a cloudy brownish mud/clay. Lacing is stringy and with no stick.

S: Bourbon barrel aging is prominent in the nose. Big oak and vanilla upfront. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and roasted malt. Some prunes in there also. Rather subtle but rich and sweet at the same time.

T: Caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and toffee upfront. Roasted malt. Very rich with a strong malt backbone. Relatively hot. Prune and raisin in the background with a nice, subtle, dark chocolate bitterness. Finishes with an alcoholic spiciness. Pleasant brown sugar and caramel aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Bubbles are detectable but oily and dense on the palate overall. Smooth going down with a detectable bit of heat. Finish is accented and aftertaste lingers.

D: A very solid representation of the style. Notably, what sets this apart from the best in its class is that lack of richness and integration of flavor. This one's a bit rough around the edges and all the ingredients don't seem to have melded with one another yet. Bal-aging also seems to imparted a bit too much heat. Still, a very good beer and I'm glad to have had the chance to try it.

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Photo of Overlord
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Masterski!

Pours a brown, ruddy color. Maybe a few stray bubbles on side of glass. Basically a completely flat beer. Not low carbonation, it's flat.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, a whiff of coconut, dark fruits, and like generally sweet "malt." And alcohol heat. Whoa, so much alcohol heat.

Taste is really sweet, with bourbon-y, vanilla-y malt, a ton of caramel and brown sugar-y, teeth rotting sweetness, and an almost candied dark fruit background. The alcohol folks. The alcohol makes this more akin to having hard liquor than beer. Completely flat mouthfeel, but at least its' a fairly thick brew.

I probably enjoyed drinking this a lot more than the score would indicate, but to be fair, it's got some problems that perhaps only time in the bottle will sort out.

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Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2005 batch that has been in my cellar since release.

This is a dense, deep garnet, opaque and just plain dirty looking with almost no carbonation.

Nose is wonderful, full of dried sweet fruits of date, raisin, prune, and fig with large toffee reserves and caramel. Hints of milk chocolate, than a burst of vanilla and bourbon too round things out.

Beers really don't get much better than this. The bourbon and vanilla character is very well done and just adds a layer of complexity to the rich malt backbone instead of taking the lead role like so many barrel aged beers do. Tastes almost identical to the nose with a bit of acidity and warmth in the mouth and chest. Love english style barley wines and this one is one of the best I've ever had. Very sweet but not cloying, the epitome of an after dinner/dessert beer.

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Photo of grub
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.55/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of nickd717
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bring, who was generous enough to share 12oz bottles of the 2005 and 2009 vintages for a vertical tasting. This'll be big review #800 for me, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who cares about that.

2005 pours hazy dark amber with minimal head. 2009 pours hazy medium amber with a minimal head.

Both have an excellent aroma - sweet malt, caramel, toffee, oak, bourbon, and vanilla. More oxidative notes in the 2005 and some leather and sherry.

Both flavors are intense. Sweet caramel and toffee, bourbon, and lots of -bal notes of oak and vanilla. 2005 has some leather, molasses, and sherry oxidation notes as well. More barrel and vanilla too. 2009 has more alcohol, as the 2005 has almost no booze to it.

Just a tad boozy on the palate, less so with the 2005. Medium-bodied and smooth with appropriately low carbonation.

Overall both were great, but the aged version was really special. Extremely drinkable for the ABV. Really enjoyed this one (or these ones).

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle also had on-tap at the Solstice Party

a - pours a deep copper color with a minimal ivory head, slightly hazy but fairly clear, retention around the edges only and not much lacing

s - big caramel malt aroma mixed with vanilla, oak and big bourbon notes, the alcohol is prominent but not overwhelming

t - as with the aroma, big toasty and sweet caramel flavor up front with considerable oak and vanilla flavors on the mid-palate, big bourbon notes on the finish with some toast and oak mixed in, alcohol is pretty powerful but it works with the flavor profile, that said, I think this would benefit from sitting in the bottle for a bit longer, very complex

m - full-bodied and low carbonation, fairly sweet and hot finish, big alcohol warming effect

d - the definition of a sipper, but that's what the style is all about, I give it points for being interesting and complex, this beer also evolves as it sits in the glass

Really, really good beer overall. I have a few bottles of the 2005 that I look forward to trying to see what this might evolve into over time. Reminds me a bit of the Perfect Storm but a bit hotter.

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Photo of Crosling
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12’er. What nectar. Dark brown color. Outstanding aroma. Astonishingly complex flavor of absorbed wood (coconut, vanilla, soaked wood, light whiskey) and heavy malt (an array of cinnamon covered fruit, caramel and toffee. Very, very smooth. If anyone has any bottles of this for trade, I am willing to trade heavily for it.

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Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%
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+.

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

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Shared by Jeff (ipa247) at his epic sour tasting. Thanks man.

A: Pours a clear caramel-amber brown in the glass. Its short-lived head quickly vanishes into a light ring of bubbles; the stillness makes it look for all the world like a glass of bourbon.

S: And it smells like it, too. Bourbon, butterscotch, toffee, caramel, and light booze. It's warm, but not crazy hot. There's a slight dark fruit presence (figs), with brown sugar.

T: Quite the same stuff I pick up in the nose. A very complex sipper, introducing waves of bourbon, toffee, and caramel as I taste. Dark fruits, brown sugar, and butterscotch are evident in the middle. The finish is moderate tannins with not-insubstantial vanilla. The head is more evident in the taste than the nose.

M: It's pretty hot (in the taste). It works well for the most part, but I could stand to see it cooler. Its full body is supported by velvety carbonation that lets it roll over the tongue and coat the palate without building up too much.

D: It's quite good, and well deserving of its place in the Top 100 (IMO). Having recently had Alpine Great, however, I find that this falls just short of the quality of that one in the bourbon-barrel barleywine category.

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Photo of portia99
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2010 vintage - 15.1% ABV) poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A - Pours an astonishingly clear and bright mahogany color that is just beautiful in the glass. A small fizzy and soda-like head makes a brief appearance before falling to the surface leaving only the thinnest of collars on the edge of the glass. Fizziness and lack of any lasting head are minor detractors here sadly.

S - Smooth brown sugar, caramel, vanilla bean...almost like creme brulee in overall effect. A bit of burnt sugar comes on with a mild bourbony alcohol hit rounds things out. This smells outstanding!

T - Very nice and well rounded flavors. First sip hits with rich caramel and brown sugar surrounded by smooth bourbon. Quite vanilla'y, overall sweet and dessert-like with hints of raisins. Alcohol is evident but exceptionally smooth.

M - Body is medium-full and carbonation is tingly but still at a relatively low level. Alcohol is quite smooth, but there is no doubt about the 15% here. Quite a sipper...it is boozy and almost spirit like. There is a definite warmth and tingle left on the lips and tongue from the alcohol. Very much a dessert in a glass.

O - Overall, an excellent BA Barleywine...barreling is well done. Hops really don't play much of a role in the beer at all - the barrel is the balancing element against the sweetness of the malt. The malt is candy-like, sweet and complex with many different sugary impressions made. The bourbon gives this a kick that it needs and really cuts thru the sweetness to bring this back into balance. Very well done...but I didn't really expect anything less from this one.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Still pour with a wonderful nose of liquified butterscotch. Taste just can't match and is very brown sugar forward. A nice treat and surprise...thanks, Kyle!

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Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try this one for a long time. Served from a 12oz bottle in asnifter at cellar temp.

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Nose has rich malts, caramel, toffee, ripe pitted fruits, oak, vanilla and bourbon. Taste has similar profile except for a subtle tart cherry presence. Medium body drinks well.

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Photo of jegross2
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the 2011 vintage of the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from the Kuhnhenn Brewing Company out of Michigan.
Score: 96

2011 vintage bottle served in a Three Floyds teku glass and enjoyed on 08/13/12. A huge thanks to Ben for hooking me up with a bottle of this majestic beer.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany, burnt chestnut color that is translucent with a ruby caramel hue and a gorgeous yellow to chestnut brown fade when held up to the light. Absolutely no head at pour save for a thin tan bubbly ring around the glass at pour, even though I tried hard pouring this beer. Minimal oily lacing with good spotty cling. 4.5/5

Smell: Holy moly! This one instantly reminds me of King Henry. Huge notes of bourbon soaked raisin, vanilla, brown sugary caramel/molasses, and dark fruit. The vanilla flavor is light and fluffy and dessert like, but it is bold and perfectly complementary to the dark fruit aromas of the beer. Some toffee and even a little milk chocolate comes out as the beer warms. There's a very subtle woodiness in the nose too. The nose is incredibly malty and sweet, but for it's just so...inviting! The beer never seems "too sweet" at any point. There are ample bourbon notes in the noose that are rich and robust. Seriously, this aroma is just as good as King Henry's.5/5

Taste: Taste is the same as the nose but with a little more brown sugar and bourbon flavor upfront. The flavors are big, bold, malty and delicious. The sweet maltiness of the beer gets a little boozy as the beer hits room temperature, and I found the beer best enjoyed slightly chilled. The beer is less balanced on the palate than it was in the aroma, but the blend of desserty vanilla and sweet raisin flavors here is absolutely unreal. For all the malty booziness that comes through on the tongue as the beer warms up, you would never guess this one was nearly 15% ABV. I could imagine that a little more time to smooth out the "booziness" of this brew could turn this into something even better. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: An absolute lack of carbonation is the great downfall of this beer. I expect my heavy ABV beers to be low in carbonation, but Kuhnhenn seems to be trying to rival the Lost Abbey's "psst"-less bottles here. Full bodied with an oily and viscous mouthfeel that seems to border on "syrupy" based on how sticky it feels at times. Malty sweet finish. 2/5

Overall: A big and bold barrel-aged beer -- which is just how I like them! This beer would likely rival King Henry for the crown of best barleywine that I have ever had if it had even a modicum of carbonation. I really need to try this one on tap.

Recommendation: Seek this one out and enjoy with friends. This beer is likely a bit too bold for the casual beer drinker.

Pairings: Filet Mignon.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

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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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Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.
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