Bourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel American Imperial StoutBourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #246
Ranked #1,269
4.38 | pDev: 5.71%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Bourbon Barrel American Imperial StoutBourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout
Notes: This barrel aged ale has a malty sweet aroma, a roasty coffee like flavor, and a nice balanced hop bitterness. This is a bold full flavored stout.
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 92 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of larryi86
larryi86 from Delaware

4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Blind review:
12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass

A- Black with a small dark mocha head. 4

S- Chocolate, bourbon, oak, some smoke, caramel, dark fruits, some roasted coffee. 4.5

T- Dark chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon, oak, caramel, some smoke, roasted coffee. 4.75

M- Smooth, full body. 4.25

O- A great complex strong ale, seems to be a stout but there are some barelywine and wee heavy like flavors to this. 4.5

Jul 21, 2020
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. 2018 version. Viscous and oily looking on the pour with a small tan head, Nice barrel presence on the nose along with dark chocolate and faint char. Taste followed with a rich chocolatey flavor cut with slightly tannic oak and bourbon. Some floral bitterness which blended well. Thick and full bodied. Not overly boozy. Outstanding.

Dec 24, 2019
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superspak from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2018 vintage. Pours dense pitch black color with a small dense dark brown head with great retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, dark bread/crust, licorice, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness. Light increasing booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/black/roast/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with big strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, dark bread/crust, licorice, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate pine, herbal, woody, grassy, roast, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, dark bread/crust, licorice, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a fantastic hop/char bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and super full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/slick/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky/resinous/tannic mouthfeel that is fantastic. Mild increasing warmth of 12.9%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged American imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV, with the modestly bitter/charred/tannic/drying finish. Fantastic soft feel for the style/ABV. Amazing balanced super rich malts, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel presence/integration; with solid earthy hops. Light residual sweetness with lingering bitter/charred/tannic dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and outstanding style example as expected. Not overly bitter/tannic/charred.

Jul 31, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Damn. I mean damn.
12 oz bottle
Sent from Junior
2018 Vintage
That! NEIPA glass

One of the thickest, most raunchy pours I've ever seen. It's so angry, so deep, so thick. There's shades of angry red in there, and the alcohol legs are wonderful even though there's no head to speak of.

Aroma is ASMR-level orgasmic. Smoke. Smoke. Ash. Plum. Tobacco-caramel-vanilla. Maybe a touch of Brandy in there too. Oats. Sweet caramel. It all comes around again. Smoke. Tobacco. Ash. Vanilla cigar papers. Pinch me.

Flavor brings the same kind of intensity. Sweet bourbon and caramel. Tobacco. Vanilla cigar papers. Plum. Smoke. Ash. Burnt caramel. Dark cherry. Dark fig. Pinch me.

Feel is slick, oily, resinous, HUGE, intense, angry, acidic, stinging, coating, lovely. Alcohol sting on the tongue is like pleasure mixed with pain.

Overall this is the BDSM of stouts. It's so angry and dark, and it punishes your mouth but you feel you deserve it. It's so tasty, so smooth, so decadent, but oh so violent. Amazing stuff guys.

Jul 26, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout, 12.9% ABV. Pours very thick and very black, with a slight dark brown head. Nose is bourbon and chocolate. Taste is oak, bourbon, coffee, roast malt, chocolate, and other subtle flavors I couldn't identify. Very complex. Excellent mouthfeel, overall outstanding.

Apr 28, 2019
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kemoarps from Washington

4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sent my direction by the generosity of @FlintB during the shenanigans of NBS BIF#007.
2017 bottle

Inky almost ebony black body that yields no ground to light whatsoever. Minimal rich brown head leaves little more than the classic ring around the collar.

Nose is big rich notes of coffee/chocolate/barreling. Mmmm

Flavour is rich chocolatey toffee coffee tumble with some faint figginess and a spicy bite of bourbon dusting around the edges. Even two years out it's still pretty hot, and could be a little smoother, but it's just a big rich delicious jumble in your face.

Sharp carbonation accentuates the sharp spicy notes from the alcohol and is one of the few quibbles I could have here. The rest of the body is oily smoothe and for as pronounced as the alcohol can be throughout the middle stages, the finish actually releases it and refocuses back more on the chocolate and some lightly fruity hop bitterness to balance.

This is a tasty tasty treat and I am grateful to Brian for sending it my direction and giving me a chance to sample it myself. Thanks man!

Apr 17, 2019
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darktronica from Indiana

4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12-ounce bottle from the December 2018 Winter Solstice release. Pours black, moderately thick, with a thin layer of dark cocoa head that produces modest retained lacing. Green apple, roasted grains, and light smoke on the nose. Fascinatingly complex on the palate, with all the roasted grains and hop bitterness of a dry Irish stout, light smoke and meatiness of a smoked stout or rauchbier, and subtle vinous and iodine notes that wouldn't be amiss in a RIS or Baltic porter. This straddles genres in a way that won't be for everyone, but it is really quite an adventure. Sip slowly and let it warm up to see how it evolves over time and temperature.

Jan 07, 2019
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, snifter glass. Dark black body, one finger mocha head, good retention- devolves into a medium collar, no lacing. Smell is milk chocolate, fudge, brownies, moderate bourbon with a slight smoke, toasted malt, chocolate chips. Big chocolate and bourbon presence on the palate; smooth milk chocolate, chocolate chips, lightly roasted grain and fudge brownies, finished off by a mildly smoky but otherwise sweet, toasted and oaky bourbon finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied, substantial, good carbonation and certainly not thin by any means. A very nice bourbon barrel-aged stout with big body and big flavours.

Dec 23, 2018
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Beersnake1 from California

4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from fridge temp. Pours jet black with little head. Nose is insane. TONS of bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, and toffee. Exactly what I hope for in a BA stout. Taste is even better. Slightly bitter upfront, with licorice, dark chocolate, bourbon, roasted malts, dark fruit, and sweet molasses. Alcohol is detectable, but not off-putting in any way. Mouthfeel is super thick and creamy - really coats the mouth. Overall, one of the best BA stouts out there!

Apr 27, 2018
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet-black - nose doesn't give much away, but it smells hot! Not even the hint of a head to this beer - it doesn't look flat, but it doesn't look like there is much carbonation. I always worry when I see that in a stout - thankfully, this one doesn't smell sour. Whew.

After warming to air temp-ish, the beer tastes fantastic - the bourbon to the nose lacks any sort of alcohol burn, but is quite warm in your throat and chest. The ABV is exceptionally well-disguised - this is a perfectly aged beer. The barrel seems to have imparted a bit of vanilla, while there must be some chocolate or cocoa nibs; the vanilla and chocolate are quite rich and add lots of dimension and complexity to the beer.

Fantastic beer. This wasn't even on my radar - it was part of a fantastic LIF box from FlintB. Thanks again, and for the matching glassware, too!

Jan 17, 2018
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.73/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to FlintB for this 12 oz. bottle of a beer that I wasn’t sure would be packaged again. Typical 1994 Kuhnhenn label (which I mean as a compliment), with this 2017 batch listed at 12.9% ABV. So excited!

The pour is Bic ink black, with a head roughly three atoms thick, which has dissipated by the time I walk ten feet across the room. The nose is supremely rich vanilla, dark chocolate, & black sugar, if there is such a thing.

American Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged is akin to being stabbed in the back of the throat with a bourbon dagger before being waterboarded with the melted weapon. It is a full frontal bourbon assault: scorched wood, scoopfuls of bourbon, alcohol heat that numbs the back of the throat within a few sips. If one can get past the barrel there is sweet Karo, molasses, vanilla, black licorice. Thick & brutal, the very definition of a sipper; good thing I have a (natural gas) fire going. 12.9% ABV my pimply ass; six ounces in & I’m starting to sway in place. Wish it came in bombers.

In my experience, there isn’t another brewery in the country that hits the wedding night highs & pig-shit lows of Kuhnhenn. The marriage of barrel with a sweet, sticky stout is masterful. I don’t want this to end, & I may have hit my annual beer high-point sixteen days into 2018. Close to perfection.

Jan 17, 2018
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SerialTicker from Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Kuhnhenn XV.

This was so much better as it warmed up... as is usually the case with BBA'd beers. Doesn't smell or taste BBA'd at all initially. As it warms, it comes through a bit more. Nice and roasty bitterness with a nice, mellow bourbon flavor. Doesn't at all taste like 14%, though it does feel a touch thin given the ABV. One of the beers I was least impressed with at the event, but again, there were so many damn good ones that it's not really a knock on this one -- although I was expecting more bourbon/barrel ... especially on the nose.

Aug 21, 2016
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mtomlins from Canada (ON)

4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to JasonR1975 for the bottle
2014 Version, 12.9% ABV

Pours black ("darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night" black) with a short finger of fizzy brown head that falls quickly to a thin but persistent collar leaving bits of ephemeral lacing in its stead. The nose is a big, boozy grain bomb; sweet roasted grain, prunes, molasses with some coffee, dark chocolate, char and of course, a punch of bourbon. The taste follows suite to the nose but is more intense and starts with that massive grain bill: roasted grain, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, molasses, café au lait, some char, bourbon. This is big, full and round on the palate with lowish carbonation giving it a big presence. One knows they are drinking a high gravity beer, but there is zero alcohol heat. Wow, a really nice example of the style.

Apr 01, 2016
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Short Review. This is a very good Bourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout, the base is true to style and just what I would expect with the bourbon barrels being the star of the show and they impart some big oak, bourbon. vanilla and toasted coconut flavors that is just what I want in this style of beer. It was on the boozy side, that's to be expected for such a strong beer and it makes it a sipper. One of the best of the style that I've had. Great job guys, this beer is awesome.

May 01, 2015
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cosmicevan from New York

4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to craftybastard for the hookup, enjoyed from a kuhnhenn tulip.

a - brew is majestic...deep rich lush black. oil. sludge. but shines like a gem. decent off tan head that left some streaks and spots of lace on the glass as i devoured the beer.

s - nose is that of an imaculate barrel aged stout. not fact, if i could pump the booziness up i would since i love big boozy beers, but this is a balanced beast. bourbon and wood dance with chocolate coffee notes of a super solid stout.

t/m/o - in a word - wow. BA stouts are one of my favorite styles and this beer is a homerun grandslam touchdown ace in the hole. light and silky but robust in flavor with all the magic of the nose...roasted chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and wood. my only complaint is that the bottle was too small.

Mar 18, 2015
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle received in a recent trade with mikeyson4. Thanks so much dude, this was out of this world good.

Pours a dark, glossy, and oily looking black, with a quarter inch head, and a good amount of stringy lacing.

I exclaimed "oh, holy shit" when I first smelled this one. It smells like a goddamn dream. Rich, roasty malt, chocolate, vanilla, oak, and bourbon, with a good amount of dark fruits as well.

This is honestly astounding. It's so rich and so complex, with a brilliant amount of charred and roasted character. So many barrel-aged stouts lose this character, and become unbalanced towards the sweet end of the spectrum. Beyond the bitter roast, there's a good amount of rich dark bitter chocolate, sweet sultry bourbon, vanilla, burnt coconut, raisin, and sweet dark fruits. There's even a bit of piney, leafy, bitter hop character still lingering around here even with the barrel aging. This is so freakin' good.

This is pretty thick bodied, with a creamy, full, and luscious mouthfeel- not too sticky. There's a lower but pleasant level of carbonation. It's very drinkable, but still a slow sipper due to the intense flavors.

This is one of the best barrel aged stouts I've ever had. It's really complex, really tasty, and just jaw-dropping at times. I love it.

Mar 07, 2015
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from IAmJacksHopTongue (many thanks for all the Kuhnhenn love in the most recent box!). 2014 Vintage. Served in a Toppling Goliath teku.

Pours jet black with a three quarter finger cap of tight tan bubbles that slowly recede to a tiny halo, leaving some small splotches of lace.

Dark and roasty nose of cooked grains, mild wood char, cocoa, caramel and molasses. Stouty!

Layers of flavor roll over the tongue. Molasses, licorice, smoked pine, dark cocoa, a little barrel char, coffee grounds, a leafy herbaceousness, dark fruity currants, very subtle hints of bourbon, burnt caramel, vague toasted coconut and an edge of booze. So much going on that the bourbon and alcohol content are sometimes lost in the waves of other flavors. Very smooth for almost 13%.

Excellent body on this one! Oily, chewy, big mouthfeel with subdued carbonation. Aftertaste is bittersweet with roasty malts, faint piney char, vague barrel sweetness and some dark fruit skins.

A slightly different set of flavors makes Kuhnhenn's Barrel Aged American Imperial Stout a welcome addition to the wide world of barrel aged stouts. The barrel is subtle but adds a few sweet layers on top of the slighty hoppy American stout. For my tastes it may not dethrone any of the kings but it's another well constructed brew from Kuhnhenn and well worth a try if you get a chance.

Jan 04, 2015
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blankenhoney from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2014 Winter Solstice release, enjoyed from a snifter. The ABV on my bottle is 12.9%.

A: Pours dark, incredibly vinous, and basically flat. Thick, dirty sheeting on the glass

S: Dark red fruit, cocoa powder, roasted malts, and a faint sweetness

T: Delicious blend of dark cherries, light chocolate, marked hop presence, and roast, Roast, ROAST. Barrel presence is light to non-existent: comes through mainly as a very faint sweetness and maybe on the smooth mouthfeel.

M: Smooth, creamy, and viscous

O: A delicious and crushable imperial stout. Totally awesome and worth seeking out, as long as you keep in mind it's not a bourbon/booze bomb.

Jan 04, 2015
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barhoc11 from Michigan

4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is seriously an amazing Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. It is thick enough to stand up to a Bourbon County and so smooth. This is up there with the big boys, just wish I could get more!

Dec 30, 2014
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WCW from Michigan

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Kuhnhenn's 2014 version description....
-Bourbon Barrel Aged American Imperial Stout – 12.9% ABV
Thick and black as motor oil, this style has a more pronounced hop presence than its cousin, the Russian Imperial Stout. Herbal hop notes lightly cut through aromas of luscious black currants, brown sugar, and rich, dark chocolate. Big and bold on the palate, the roasty, chewy flavors are nuanced with a slight fruitiness and just the right amount of bitterness, both from the roasted malt and the hops. Several months aging in spent Bourbon barrels imparts toasty vanilla and coconut notes, while allowing the beer to mellow out into a smooth fireside sipper.

Dec 23, 2014
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mwbrady12 from Florida

4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cellared sample shared by FlandersNed (thanks!) at the brewpub during 2012 Winter Solstice. Strong aroma of booze and perfect black appearance with a taste of chocolate, molasses and bourbon and a thin but warming mouthfeel. Incredibly complex but still smooth.

Jul 21, 2013
Bourbon Barrel American Imperial Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 92 ratings