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Huge Arker - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Huge ArkerHuge Arker

Educational use only; do not reuse.

48 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 48
Hads: 244
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 22.68%
Wants: 17
Gots: 78 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: chinchill on 01-29-2014

Bourbon Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 48 | Hads: 244
Photo of 02maxima
4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Beautiful, pitch black with a nice tan head on the pour. Recedes to a thin collar.

S - Bourbon, delicious! Slight hints of chocolate and malt.

T - Much like the nose this is a bourbon bomb. Some malt after the bourbon flavor.

M - Pretty light actually. Very slick and goes down easy.

O - This is how I hope my bourbon barrel aged beers taste. This is not a cheap beer but I will be buying several more to cellar. This beer compares very nicely to my favorite BBL aged beer, Allagash Black.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

Poured from a bomber into a tulip on 05.21.14.

A: 2 1/2 finger tan head. Midnight black with some red at the bottom.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, cream, brown sugar.

T: Bourbon, vanilla dominate. Caramel, brown sugar, woodiness, plum are subtle.

M: Creamy. Somewhat chewy.

O: The bottle could have used some cellaring because everything was so strong. The alcohol burn was definitely there, but it's hard to hide with such a high ABV. It's a big beer and it snuck up on me even though I sipped on it. It was a very good BB stout.

Rating: A

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Photo of Catracho5
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: 22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance: Pitch black, no hint of ruby on the edges, beautiful creamy tan head with tiny bubbles floating on top, nice lacing down the sides, head diminishes after a few minutes.

Smell: Big bourbon smell upfront, no hint of roasted malt or coffee, not a huge bourbon smell like other bourbon barrel aged stouts I have tasted. You get some alcohol on the back end.

Taste: Big bourbon taste up front, then comes the alcohol on the back end, the bourbon dominates on the palate, some alcohol, some bitterness on the backend, no dark fruity flavors that I can notice.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation, not as heavy as I expected, thicker than your average stout but no as thick as other Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged stout I have tasted.

Overall: Awesome beer, I hope this is made year round, enjoyed it greatly. Just cracked a bottle with a year on it, still getting some bourbon but it has aged really well, a lot smoother aged than it is fresh. Looking to see what two years does to it.

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Photo of JamesBondGA
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black in color with white head. good amount of lacing. aroma is all wild turkey bourbon. taste has a bit of roast, boozy, cola taste. will coat your mouth with the thick taste.

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Photo of DrSpaceman
4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cellared for one year, purchased from Anderson Valley. Pours deep brown, not black as I expected. Thin head, dissipates quickly. Smell is very close to the other Anderson Valley bourbon barrel offerings. Taste is pleasantly different however, imperial stout body is definitely thick enough to hold up to the 13.5% ABV. Perfectly balanced, strong molasses and oak up front with slight alcohol heat on finish. Rich and buttery, well worth the wait.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My extremely good and awesome buddy Jon Passow, who as of a few months ago became the Manager of Barrel Room Operations at Anderson Valley Brewing Company, sent me this in a package from northern, CA about 6 months ago. I've I've been cellaring this beer for awhile, and for whatever reason I decided it was finally time to crack this one open tonight. Poured out of the 22 oz bomber into my snifter glass, this beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color that has no interest at all in letting any light in. Has a slightly off white head that is about 2/3 or an inch thick when first poured that settles pretty quickly to a very thick, fluffy ring lining the inside of the glass along with a nice big cluster swirl of foam that blankets most of the beer's surface along with pretty good lacing. Big roasted caramel malt aromas along with bitter coffee notes, oak and vanilla that gives way to hints of bourbon. The taste is pretty much the same, starting out with very roasty caramel sweet notes that immediately give way to some coffee and vanilla bitter notes. Hints of dark fruits are certainly present as well. Rounded out with a touch of hops with a bourbon finish. The 13.5% ABV really sneaks up on you in a subtle manner. Has a slightly crisp, mainly smooth and somewhat creamy, slightly oily, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A quite excellent beer all around indeed!


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Photo of avalon07
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick texture. There was a two inch, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Below average lacing.

S: A very good aroma of chocolate, malt, dark fruit, bourbon, and vanilla.

T: Tasted of some malt, chocolate, hints of vanilla, a good amount of bourbon, plum, and caramel. Needless to say, this is a complex, robust flavor. Very tasty and powerful.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish, Full-bodied.

O: A very weighty and well made RIS. Easy to like and lots of character.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Unlabeled bomber at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 48 degrees
Aroma of Wild Turkey
Head large (five cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy/creamy, diminishing to
Lacing excellent – complete bands of tiny to medium bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – definite Wild Turkey bourbon taste, becomes harsher as it warms up; no hops, some alcohol burn, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.5, Aroma 4.5, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.5

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black pour with ruby around the edges; thick khaki foam with good head retention and excellent lacing. Strong whiskey aroma; more toffee notes as liquid warms up. Whiskey and dark chocolate flavors up front; oaky middle with boozy bite as this beverage warms. Velvety bittersweet tongue coating with medium mouthfeel; dry oaky finish; overall quite impressive, whiskey comes thru but is not cloying; bittersweet chocolate and booze win the day. Tasty.

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Photo of daave1
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Like most reviews state, it's quite boozy throughout, but it's offset by the malts, dark candied fruits, raisins and brown sugar. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy; very substantial. The nose is wonderful and matches the taste. This is a great beer for enjoying slowly, perhaps with a nice cigar. I bet if you cellared one of these bad boys for a year or two, you'll have a gem on your hands. I've been disappointed at Anderson Valleys offerings of late, so this is a welcomed surprise. Great beer.

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Photo of Darkbeerlvr
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Head dissipated quickly soupy blend of tan and off-white. Deep, dark brown, almost black, looks thick like midnight in the middle of a field.
Smells wonderfully of caramelized brown sugar and some Bourbon. You can anticipate how strong this beer will taste given the singe of whiskey-like malt that emanates from the glass like a cloud of smog that hangs over L.A. when it hits my nose....
Taste is overwhelming/amazing on the first sip. Alcohol taste is so headdy that I get a buzz in the first ten ounces(says more about me than the beer I realize). There is a serious battle between a menage a trios of Bourbon, hops and malt that leaves me wanting more with each sip. An inherent heat that really indicates that Anderson valley is true to their word that this beverage is aged in wild turkey barrels for six months.
Feel is dense, after swallowing, but lighter in the mouth before actual consumption, with a lingering stick of alcohol that you get after a shot of dark liquor.
This beer is no joke
If you like to sip a neat scotch or spiced rum this is the beer for you. It ain't no Mich ultra that's for sure... @ $ 16.47+tax in NC on 7/17/15, this is the potency I expect from a beer that costs too damn much! The great thing is I'm a convert. I'd pay this again... I'd buy this again against my better senses of the 2 or 3 beers that I could get for this same price. Damn you Anderson Valley!!!!!

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

PItch black, 3-finger tan head, good streaky lacing. Huge bourbon, some vanilla, strong oak flavors, and coffee, caramel and dark chocholate. A little smoked-tasting and somewhat bitter on the finish, which lasts a while. Very nice. Easy-enough drinking and delicious, solid beer.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a big beer by any definition. Respectable in most every way, but not quite dialed in like some of the top big barrel aged stouts out there. Its also very heavy handed on the bourbon flavoring. More than most others as well. Still enjoyable and reasonably priced to split with friends.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark, glossy black, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells very bourbon-forward, with some smoke and chocolate.

The taste is similar. One of the more bourbon forward stouts I've had, this is huge and tasty. Some vanilla, and chocolate, a slight kiss of smokiness, and some good roasted malt flavors.

Thick bodied, quite viscous and sticky, but still very drinkable. Low carbonation.

This was very tasty, I was impressed.

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4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Let me first say that I haven't been overly impressed with Anderson Valley beers in the past. I will also say that I am a big fan of Wild Turkey for the price point, so I am going into this one optimistic and open minded.

My overly strong pour achieves three fingers of bubbly mocha brown head. Head turns very rocky as it slowly fades leaving crust like lace behind. Body is simple and sexy pure ink black.

Nose is like dessert with big sweet bourbon tones that are dominant. You get a ton of toffee, carmel and some chocolate as well. Delicious nose going on here.

With first sip I had to quickly check the label to make sure of the alcohol content. It is so smooth I thought there is no way that this is 13.5%. The bourbon is incredibly evident in the taste profile of this beer. You do perceive more of the alcohol heat as you continue to drink. There is some chocolate, fig, anise and black strap molasses all playing here in the flavor. This one definitely warms the belly.

Overall a solid Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. This one could use a couple of years in the cellar to round out to something much more complex and beautiful.

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Photo of fx20736
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought 2 bottles from Beers of the World, April 2014. Poured into a Chimay chalice, served at cellar temp.

appearance: Espresso black with an au lait head, creamy lacing.

smell: roast coffee char, a touch of molasses and a faint whiff of bourbon

taste: simple roast with a brown sugar and whiskey finish. There is some unmasked alcohol on the tail.

mouthfeel: creamy, slippery, smooth

overall: tasty, decent BA Stout but not a competitor to BCBS.

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have been waiting to try this and luckily found it at an awesome place in Eugene Oregon. Thanks to The Bier Stein for getting this one. Barrel aged imperial stouts are mt favorite style of beer, when I want something strong.

Pours a weak black, kind of brownish hues, and a small khaki head that recedes to a ring and bubbles. Not the best looking RIS.

Smell is a big whiff of bourbon and plum/prune. Its sort of one dimensional, but it smells good though. You can faintly make out some toffee or caramel. Not much chocolate or coffee smell.

Taste is a big bourbon hit. Wild turkey whiskey on your tongue, and its quite hot at 13.5%.
This beer is half and half too big and boozy, and being balanced. Its not like parabola, yet its got a sort of sophistication that invites more sips. It seemed this could have been better with more roasted barley or black patent, as the flavor is almost like a barrel aged imperial brown ale. Still, there is moderate tones of cocoa here and there, but mostly its a huge caramel and bourbon bomb, that is melded decently. I don't get any coffee notes, which I enjoy in this style.

Mouthfeel is just above average, being on the thicker side. It is creamy in carbonation, and loads the tongue with flavor each sip.

This beer isn't for the amateur, its complex in its own, while falling just short of the style mark for BA'RIS, STILL - I will give this a high rating as there are no off flavors, the bourbon is not off putting in any way, it is quite pleasant

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Photo of RickS95
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deeply black pour as you'd guess. There is some dark brown around the edge when held to a light, but you'd notice it otherwise. Thin tan head that doesn't retain very long...13.5% ABV will do that.

There's lot of dark malts and roasty notes in the nose, but I'm not getting a lot of bourbon. Faint oak notes, but I'm missing bourbon. Beer might be too cold to pick up everything.

In the first sip I found the bourbon. While it doesn't really taste 'boozy,' the warmth is there. Bittersweet chocolate, char, vanilla, caramel malts (there is clearly a Barleywine taste to it) all fight for top billing, but they work well together.

The feel is extreme and mostly hot. My tongue is already starting to lose sensation and my lips and throat are hot. There's a slight sweetness that's quickly destroyed by the warm boozy feel of this beast. Full bodied and then some. It's a fairly pleasant feel, just LOTS of it.

This is a good beer and I'm glad I got it. It's a sipper for sure and has a nice taste to it. Very manly, but it fits the style well.

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Photo of Mike-Harms
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A big bad bourbon bomb. You could really taste the wild turkey. And that on a huge imperial stout to begin with.

Had tremendous body and a syrupy stout taste, and bourbon all over it.

As powerful its taste and impact, this might as well be your last beer of a long weekend.... but very worthy of that honor.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: very dark brown, nearly opaque. Some ruby highlights around the edges when held to light. Big mocha head on the pour, impressive for such a big abv.
Smell: surprisingly subdued for such a beast. Some roasty notes and vanilla but fairly subtle.
Taste: big and roasty. Much richer than the nose. Some vanilla and bourbon and a hint of booze (would never guess 13% though). The flavors meld well IMO.
Mouthfeel: full and creamy.
Overall: nicely done. Not quite up to Bcbs standards but nice big bourbon barrel stout to be sure.

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Photo of n2185
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: lots of oak on the nose with roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: lots of oak here as well with roasted malts, burnt sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and a bit of char before a moderately boozy finish

M: thick body with moderate carbonation, this beer is surprisingly lively feeling for such a big beer.

O: I really enjoy this one. Most BBA beers this high in alcohol are so cloyingly sweet or boozy that they're tough to drink more than a few ounces of. This one avoids those qualities and becomes dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

served on draft

black in color with white head. good lacing. aroma is all bourbon, quite boozy. taste has a bit of roast, boozy. thicker, coats the mouth.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into snifter. The color is virtually black with a thin but creamy light tan head and lacing. The smell features malt, molasses, caramel, coffee, and some dark fruit. The bourbon is also prevalent. The taste is bourbon forward with raisin, plum, caramel, malt, and more bourbon, with some sweet vanilla at the finish. It's also quite oaky. It has a nice creamy body. This is one potent stout with a strong alcohol burn. It is most definitely a sipper. Plan on sharing the bomber because there's really too much booze. I'm a fan of big, barrel-aged stouts and this one doesn't disappoint. The flavors are rich and complex. I just wish it were a little smoother. This stout would be better at 10% ABV than the 13.5%.

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Photo of stevoj
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Bar Gernika. Warm whiskey notes at first sniff, dark brown sticky body. Taste also brings the wood barrel notes on top of a robust RIS. Plenty of heat follows.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours pitch black with a half finger light brown head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of bourbon with dark malt and chocolate barely making themselves known. Flavor follows, with an intense bourbon, vanilla, dark malt and hints of chocolate, very boozy; light chocolate and vanilla appear in the finish after the bourbon settles. Medium, creamy bodied. Whoa, this is one bourbon monster. Many bourbon aged stouts taste like a stout with a shot bourbon, this tastes like a bourbon with a shot of stout. Not sure how I feel about this one. I like bourbon and I do really like drinking this, but it really seems to be a bit unbalanced in favor of of the booze. I am certainly going to buy a couple of these to cellar, this could be interesting with a few years on it. Rating is a bit below my actual enjoyment value because it deviates so much from the style. A powerful, bourbon flavored sipper.

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Huge Arker from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.