Whenever someone brings up King Henry, I tell them just to drink Kuhnhenn Barleywine. They make delicious things and meads and sweet treats that people who dont live in a state shaped like an oven mitt seem to overlook. Today we look at the less celebrated, but still danky, regular old 4th Dementia.
Kuhnhenn 4th Dementia Olde Ale, 13.5% abv
A: Nice raisin purplish color with deep amber and brown hues, very minimal carbonation and no lacing. This has always rustled my jimmies about Kuhnhenn beers. When Lost Abbey releases flat beer, everyone loses their shit and makes jpegs for days about it. Kuhnhenn just hangs up their mash paddle and calls it a day. In an Old Ale it really isn’t a big deal, but Road Rash, BB4D, 4D, BBBW, have all been as flat as Keanu Reeves dialogue. Leave Tomme Arthur alone, srsly guize.
S: Smells of smoky tobacco and figs. It comes across like someone overboiled a batch of barley wine. There is a mild bourbon note but without the oakiness. The alcohol is well integrated and the charred caramel is good, it reminds me of the time I did a burnout on top of a box of Werthers Originals in my IROC Camaro.
T: There are initially no huge notes to speak of for a split second and then the smoky deep plums and dark fruits rise out of the watery murk and set up Hoovervilles. The taste resounds with a lightly bitter hop balance and just reverberates like church bells in an abbey. When this beer warms up, things become real in and around the field, stone fruits, bruised peaches, plums, figs; it is like Gamgam’s Apotehcary, which is what I will name my Old Ale if I ever brew one.
M: The mouthfeel is surprising light for a beer this huge, also, the booziness is kept to a minimum. It is very impressive that they were able to pull this off with such a strangely balanced imbalance. I mean that the notes are very aggressive and watery at the same time. It doesn’t fill you up and doesn’t have a huge maltiness but manages to coat very aggressively. Nicely done.
D: I never understood the different between aggressive barley wines and olde ales but this is an exceptional example of an “Imperial” Barleywine which is basically an Olde Ale as far as I can tell. Some people will get butthurt and point out differences in the malt bill and the grain profile, start mumbling something about residual sugars but, come on, we all know who you really banging on the side. It has all of the deep dark fruits reduced to a syrupy watery mouthfeel. The taste is very good and it is therefore a pleasure to drink regardless of circumstance, however, the abv is prohibitive and the lingering almost coppery agro deep fruit notes may be difficult over a long session.
Narrative: “Just chopping and screwing beats all day man, if I aint in the lab, I aint worth nay thin.” DJ4D had an impressive work ethic and remained steadfast in his phillipic against the illusory “haters” that allegedly were constantly holding him back. “They said “yo 4D, you just layed the most savory stickiest flows we ever heard, then I pulled it clean on them and dropped sweet notes right on the treble, see haters hate when you pull of that saccharine shit, they just sit back, judging your sticky crispiness.” The reporter nodded pensively and scribbled furiously, hovering up these gems for his forthcoming article. “THAT’S WHY I PUT THE GRAPEVINE JAMS UP IN THE MIX BECAUSE YOU JUST ALWAYS GOTTA KEEP IT STICKY FOR THE HATERS.” His furrowed brown knitted his fitted cap back; the Expos logo bobbed in concurrence with every statement. None of this made any sense and people would question the death of print media with every word.