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Huge Arker - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Huge ArkerHuge Arker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

53 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 53
Hads: 261
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 21.71%
Wants: 18
Gots: 87 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 53 | Hads: 261
Photo of VashonGuy
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm a big fan of bourbon barrel aged impy stouts, but I found this one a bit disappointing. It's got the bourbon, but the overall complexity of the underlying stout itself isn't up to the better beers of this type. And the booze at 13.5% ABV is too strong, especially when the flavor of the stout doesn't match the booze. It's still fun to drink, of course, but there are better BBA stouts out there.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley's Huge Arker, imperial stout aged for 6 months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels. 13.5% ABV.

A: Almost three fingers of chocolate milk brown head. Black in the glass. Dark brown in the dimple, with a toffee brown edge. Slight, yet permanent, sheeting. Spotty, emaciated lacing.

S: Dark cereal grain. Light Bourbon chocolate note. Dark, rich toffee.

T/MF: More dark toffee, and sweet Bourbon char. Bittersweet chocolate. Finish is full on sweet char. Slight sweet graphite. An almost fruity, raisin-y edge. Not as complex or flavorful as other BBA stouts I've had, but a good mile better than Anderson's base BBA stout.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy dark brown with a finger of fluffy, khaki head.

S: Roasted, sweet malts up front with some fruity, light coffee that hits before the bourbon aromas of vanilla and light marshmallow come in for the finish.

T: Bourbon presence takes over the flavor much more than the aroma. Vanilla, marshmallow and slight caramel all present along with some booziness that begs attention.

M: In general feel is slightly light for the ABV and style, especially when compared to world class. However it is not at all inappropriate or disappointing.

O: For the availability, price and lack of hype around this brew it is pretty sneaky and underrated. Good value and worth a look.

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Photo of Zorro
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near black colored beer with a momentary thin brown head.

Smells fruity with lots of grape and berry. Scents of vanilla and caramel. Scent of whiskey and chocolate. Sent of Kahlua liquor.

Starts out sweet and a little bitter. Lots of chocolate and caramel. Fruit flavor and the taste of berries. Taste of coconut. Abundant warming in the chest and no alcohol tasted. Bitterness level is moderate. Bitter chocolate after taste.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall a good heavy beer. But it isn't quite Bourbon County Stout level.

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Photo of biegaman
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge Arker is straightforward black. You wouldn't think such a simple looking beer could pack such deep, profound complexities; one colour equates to a multitudes of flavours. The amount of head the forms from the pour (and sticks around) is surprising and very impressive given the alcohol content.

I love whiskey, but it's not something I want to drink all the time. Of all the styles, however, I find bourbon to be the most "everyday" - sweet vanilla and butterscotch flavours, cinnamon-like spice and orange peel zest can make any 80 proof beverage that much more approachable and agreeable.

Oddly enough, however, bourbon can have the opposite effect when introduced to beer; it often throws velvety, bittersweet mocha flavours entirely out of balance, adding a brash, boozy bite while at it. But not always - Huge Arker is composed like a symphony and has the composure of a monk.

Wild Turkey barrels imparted French vanilla, dark caramel and toasty oak flavours without handcuffing them to any harsh notes of spent tobacco, burnt splinters or alcohol esters. They've extracted the good and excluded the bad. The bourbon is as mellow as The Dude himself and really ties this stout together.

Some bourbon-barrel beers are fire hazards - simply smelling the fumes can put your blood alcohol over the legal limit. With Huge Arker, however, I had to double-check the label - the 13.5% might hit your head but it bypasses the palate. There exists lower strength beers that are far more obnoxious.

Much of the reason behind this lies in its extremely creamy, satiny mouthfeel and the corresponding distraction of flavours: burnt marshmallow, cayenne-infused hot cocoa, black licorice, vanilla pod, and creme caramel custard. I'm not typically one for dessert but this is too good to pass up on.

I'm not impressed by the beer that shouts loudest - I want the one that can sing with soul and melody. Anderson Valley didn't out-muscle their barrel-aged counterparts, they went the way of tact and finesse. Whereas most bourbon ales are army hummers, Huge Arker is a pillowed horse-and-carriage ride.

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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 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 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 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 Parmesan
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks: Poured in a Left Hand Stout Glass. Pours a very dark opaque black. Head is light almost chocolate milk brown. Pours a decent head that doesn't last for two long, but nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Lots of bourbon in the nose, some toastiness/roastiness, some vanilla and a definite smell of some booze. No hop aroma.

Taste: Very strong taste of bourbon that at times seems to overpower some of the stout characteristics. Some roastiness and as it warms up hints of vanilla, with some toffee and caramel flavors. Quite a bit warming from the alcohol. No hop flavor.

Feel: Creamy mouthfell and pretty strong on the palate, with light carbonation.

Overall: A good bourbon barrel aged beer, but the bourbon does seem to overpower some of the other flavors and smells in the beer.

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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 PicoPapa
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a deep, dark brown color with over an inch of frothy tan head. Tons of lacing. Big boozey aroma with lots of raisins, earth, roasted malts, and figs. The taste is lots of Bourbon right off the bat. Tobacco, leather, roasted malts, dark fruits with a hint of chocolate at the back end. Some smoke. Notes of vanilla and toffee. A lot of different flavors going on here. Finishes with woody Bourbon and some caramel. One of the boozier BA stouts and I don't just mean ABV-wise. Heavy body with lots of carbonation. This one was pricey but after drinking it I feel justified in buying it. Overall, solid 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 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 cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Huge boozy bourbon barrel aged stout. The aroma is fantastic. This one needs some age on it in the taste department, too boozy when fresh. I'm looking forward to trying this with a little age on it.

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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 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 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!

Eric

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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 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 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 nickfl
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wow, the aroma is mild but there is a huge note of wild turkey bourbon in the flavor. Very distinctly wild turkey, which may or may not be a good thing but is nevertheless impressive. A little cola like overall, but the over the top ABV is relatively well disguised.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I purchased this at Brass Rail Deli, enjoyed chilled from the bomber in a glass.

The color is black with a tan head and tight bead. The smell has a strong bourbon aroma with light stout scent hints of wood with the wild turkey dominating. The feel is very woody with a slight boozy presence and light sweetness with strong tannic quality and mildly sweet middle with almost sweet/dry finish lasting on the palate with alcohol noticeable.

The feel leads to taste of bourbon in the flavor profile which almost seems like a shot dropped in a stout...not offensive but very dominant in the taste with wood and whiskey taking precedence to the base stout flvaor which also makes the stout seem thin and only a gentle caramel flavor is remaining after the swallow. Overall this is not bad, but not what I expect either good for a double digit barrel aged beer but not good if you are not a fan of whiskey flavor in your stout

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Photo of Segelstrom
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For a high ABV stout it just didn't have the richness and full body one comes to expect from this type beer. It is good but not great, expecially for the price.

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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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Huge Arker from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.