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The Beer Circle » Beer, Better From The Barrel?, Cellar, Heaven Hill, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Old Ale » Better From The Barrel: Kuhnhenn Fourth Dementia (4D)

Better From The Barrel: Kuhnhenn Fourth Dementia (4D)

Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is not a brewery I can say I was very familiar with until a few months ago when I was offered a few of their beers in a trade. After looking up the kinds of beers they were involved with, and the well above average ABVs (and ratings), I was sold. Today’s post fits nicely into our Cellar column and our Better From The Barrel column as I have Fourth Dementia and Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia from Kuhnhenn’s 2010 bottling. Before I get into the reviews, I wanted to walk you through how the brewery came to be.

Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn were your down-home working men, owning Lutz Hardware and going about their lives when a big hardware store opened just down the road. Unable to compete, the two took an interesting route and didn’t close up shop completely:they turned the hardware shop into a microbrewery/brew-on-premise destination. Seem like a stretch? That’s what I thought, but the brothers were active homebrewers and sold homebrewing supplies out of their hardware store. From such humble beginnings grew a well respected full fledged brewery in Warren, MI that puts out numerous beers varying from Old Brunes to Old Ales.

Fourth Dementia 2010 Vintage
Pours out of the bottle a hazy brown, and sits in my glass deep brown, almost glowing, with a finger or so of light brown head. A decent amount of head remains after a while, and lacing sticks to the glass in spots. A nice amount of bubbles are noted through the muck, gathering happily beneath the head.
The aroma of 4D is really nice. Deep caramel and roasted malts, dark fruits, and molasses contribute to a sweet yet mellowed aroma. Some booze is noted, but not enough for me to garner it's 13.5% ABV.
The taste isn't quite as nice. The caramel malts and dark fruits are present as is the booze, but amazingly the taste just drops off into nowhere. The booze is offensive, but the sweetness curbs it quickly and leaves not much on the palate after the beer is gone. It's very one dimensional and just not all that impressive.
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but 4D seemed to be too thin. Also, the booze is too offensive and the carbonation too low. Not much of a finish.
I traded for this beer and remember being quite surprised when it was offered with its Bourbon Barrel older brother for pretty low prices. I'd say if this is available in your area give it a try.
I was ready for this to be a huge beer, but it just wasn't. The ABV, I believe, was too high and took away from the Old Ale characteristics. Loved the aroma, wish the taste and feel was better.

Beer Stats
Style: Old Ale
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 13.50%
BA Score: 94
RB Score: 100
Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia 2010 Vintage
Looks exactly like the non-barrel aged version. It pours out of the bottle a hazy brown with a finger or so of light head. The difference is that the lacing and retention have taken a blow. Not really anything left to assess after only a few minutes.
Barrel Aged 4D is more boozy than 4D. The Bourbon accents the alcohol, the combination of which overpowers the malt and dark fruits. Other characteristics are there, but bourbon, oak, and booze are just too strong for them to be taken seriously. As the beer warms, however, more roast and molasses come out.
The taste absolutely saves this beer and is the highlight of both offerings. My word, this is like a gourmet dessert. The booze is there, but it allows the other parts to shine as well. Overall it's hard to describe. Mellowed to perfection between bourbon, caramel malts, molasses, deep dark fruits, booze, and vanilla. It's amazing how no one flavor comes out and dominates the taste. For this to have such a high ABV and be this mellowed, I'm blown away.
I'm a little worried by how fast I drank this beer. It's heavy with a low amount of carbonation, but the finish is clean and sweet and the booze is not even close to offensive. Complete 180 from the non-BA version.
As I said before, I traded for both of these beers and I'm glad I did. If you know somebody who's willing to part with one, take them up on it.
Could not have been more impressed. I saw the 99 rating on here and had my doubts, but it delivered. The barrel treatment added to the beer, which is something I really look for in a good barrel aged/cellared beer. I'm thinking a few years really helped curb the alcohol and make this beer stand out. I'm not a fan of Old Ales, but I highly recommend this.

Beer Stats
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 13.50%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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