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Darkest Hour - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkest HourDarkest Hour

Educational use only; do not reuse.

60 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 60
Hads: 314
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 10.38%
Wants: 82
Gots: 88 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout | 13.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DucksFan16 on 06-02-2013

Ale brewed with Summit hops. Triple fermented: First with a Belgian yeast, second in Pinot Noir and rye whiskey barrels. And finally in the bottle with a wine yeast for natural carbonation.

40 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 314
Photo of mothman
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little bit of a gusher. Tan head. Motor oil black.

Belgian yeast provides a lot of carbonation. Lots of whiskey, oak, and dark fruits. Cherries and molasses. Roasted malts.

Full bodied. Thick.

Solid beer, maybe a touch to much carbonation and peat. Otherwise enjoyable.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this at the end of a LONG night of beer tasting with friends so I probably didn't fully appreciate it as much as I should.

Very sweet but smooth. Whiskey barrel shows through nicely. Very good beer but too sweet to make it a top notch barrel aged stout.

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Photo of BenGap
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very black with some brown head that quickly dissipates into a slick lacing that slides back into the glass. Smell has a nice roasted note with hints of whiskey and even some fruit and raisin hints. Taste has a nice maltiness with some lingering warming notes of alcohol and whiskey. The feel is smooth and creamy but not as thick as some big stouts. Overall good beer that drinks smooth for the abv. Smell is more complex than the following taste, but still very good.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip. Batch 1, bottled March 2013. Consumed 10/10/15.

A: Pours thick and black with just a few splashy bubbles for a head. Sits heavy and near flat in the glass. A very thin collar lasted the whole beer through.
S: Red wine and rye are surprisingly prominent on the nose and gives off an almost twany port-like character when mixed with the base stout notes of rich chocolate, caramel, and a touch of leather.
T: Extremely smooth and integrated flavors of chocolate, caramel, greasy oak, spicy rye, mellow vinous red wine, leather, butterscotch and tobacco. Very decadent, rich, and complex. All the flavor notes are layered together extremely well. This is one of the richest and most potent stouts I’ve had. Both barrels equally come through and add hints of red grapes and tannic red wine mixed with sweet whiskey and spicy rye. Tons of greasy, buttery, oak in the finish, powdery cocoa, sweet dark chocolate syrup, and a honey-like sweetness in the aftertaste. The red wine is almost berry-like at times. Fairly sweet overall.
M: Very thick and heavy body, chewy and rich mouthfeel, very low carbonation. The double digit alcohol overall is hidden very well, but there is still a slight warming presence and thickness to the body that lets you know it’s there.
O: Where is the hype for this one? Completely underrated as a beer. If this came in a little 33cl bottle for the same price, or if it was a two bottle only annual release, people would be going crazy for it. This is masterfully executed, along the same vein as a deal with the devil.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was poured into a snifter. Bottled December, 2014.
Consumed last night (August 14, 2015).
The appearance was a black color with a slim finger's worth of white to off white foamy head that dissipated within less than about forty seconds. Lacing was light and slid into the beer.
The smell started off with a slick cocoa and then lead into a some light roasty coffee tones and then light amounts of a vinous substance (somewhat a bitter citrusy sort of thing going on).
The taste was sweet through the combination of the cocoa and coffee and then bitter through the coffee and vinous qualities and then the roasty part comes back to slide in underneath, balances nicely.
The mouthfeel was slightly slick with a sharp tangy sweetness rolling over my tongue from the vinous qualities. It sits about medium bodied.
Overall, this was a pretty good Double Stout. The vinous qualities are still there, luckily, I have another bottle to age even longer.

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Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great look to start with! Not much head, but beautiful retention. Pours thick and viscous with an awesome dark look that entices me further. Smell is good, with a little bit of cherry and wine barrel notes. Woody and earthy, with chocolate and malty, candy sugar sweetness dominating. No sign of the 13%ABV. Taste is much the same, with chocolate malts controlling the beer. Alcohol is unbelievably well hidden. Finish is well done, with a lovely lingering sweetness that is very pleasing. Mouthfeel is well done, with the right amount of carbonation. Well done beer!

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Photo of 303beer
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a dark thin coffee head. To me it has a sweet yeasty smell and notes of the barrel. You can not see through this beer even with a light behind it. Has to be one of the thickest beers I have had. You can taste the barrel without question.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: oil black with a thick pour.

Smell: chocolate, smoke, booze, and barrel.

Taste: heat, then very sweet, then barrel, then soy sauce, followed by a bizarre crab porridge finish.

Feel: thick and full

Overall: I am noticing a trend with many of Anchorage's barrel aged offerings, namely that they are far too expensive, given the quality. This beer would be fine at half the price.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.66/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch #2
Pours a viscous looking black with a dark tan head of less than a finger. Aroma is pretty standard from a BA stout. Whiskey notes, charred barrel, some milk chocolate, vanilla undertones and booze. Flavor consists of most of what the nose picked up with some dark fruit. Dry, roasty, and bitter on the back end. Low carbonation, which helps make for a creamier body despite it really not being that thick.

Overall, this is solid, but not all that inspiring. But look no further if you want an all around delicious BA stout with very few flaws.

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Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What a great stout. Had at Anchorage Brewing Co. Pours deep dark brown with lighter brown head. Smells of roasted malt, coconut and chocolate. Taste is the same as smell but with bourbon, vanilla, oak, and coffee in the finish. This is a sipper! As it warms the flavors come more to life especially the bourbon. ABC always does great!

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Photo of dar482
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer offers tons of red wine and intense grape flavor, balanced with roasted malt and chocolate. The beer then transitions to the rye whiskey and oak. Throughout, there is tons of pinot flavor.

The finish is slightly unsettling and possibly from the use of Belgian yeast.

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Photo of cvm4
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Batch #2, Bottled Dec. 2014

L - Pours very thick motor oil that eventually develops a brown one finger head.

S - The smell is insanely rich... Bourbon barrel, vanilla, roasted nuts and marshmallows. I could sniff from days.

T - A let down compared to the nose. It's a good mix of base beer & barrel notes. Lots of roasted malts, vanilla Bourbon, dark chocolate and a bit of coffee.

F - With a beer this big, I was expecting a chewy mouthful. That wasn't the case as it's medium bodied and low carbonation. Slightly watery, but the abv is very well hidden.

O - With a fuller body, I'd backup the truck for this.

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Photo of Tele
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 2
Serving Type: Bottle

A: 4 Pours pitch black, looking oily and thick as it hits the glass. The head is almost nonexistent, maybe a quarter of an inch and reddish brown.

S: 4.5 Smells a little tart and funky at first; seems very strange, but after a couple minutes more traditional stout aromas come forward. Lots of chocolate, vanilla, and marshmallow with coffee, raspberries, and blackberries in the background. Whiskey is rather mellow. Aside from the strange funk at first (that is just about completely gone after a few minutes), the aromas are actually really nice and interesting.

T: 4.25 A touch of sweetness up front with more of the berry elements from the nose. More coffee and chocolate show up with a bit of whiskey and vanilla following. The base beer comes through quite strongly (much more than the barrel) and has a very unique flavor; quite balanced between roasty and sweet. Whiskey starts to show up more as the beer warms. There’s a slight bitterness on the finish with more blueberry aftertaste.

M: 4 Rich and thick, but undercarbonated.

O: 4.25 Really nice beer and an interesting take of a barrel aged stout; unlike any other I’ve had. The berry flavors are very pleasant and reminds me a bit of 2014 Abyss.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle $19.99. Extremely dark black, good sized head, looks nice. Aroma was booze, whiskey, fruit, nice. Flavor is definitely more fruit and whiskey barrel, I didn't get a whole lot of chocolate nor coffee flavors that i sometimes get from imperial stouts. Overall pretty tasty and I am contemplating tracking down a second bottle.

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Photo of arvidkoval
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Pitch black body, very dark head.

S- Boozey, dark malts, whiskey. Kinda sweet.

T- Alcohol, bittersweet chocolate, oak, whiskey, wine, some dark fruits, slight bitterness in there.

F- Thick body, good carbonation, smooth with a warming feeling from the alcohol.

O- Decent imperial stout, but the barrel flavors were too much.

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Photo of rand
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From 750 mL bottle to snifter

One of the more deeply rich brews I've come across. A gentle poor yields perhaps the most viscous complexions possible in a beer - if it wasn't for the healthy head and carbonation I'd guess it was crude oil.

Other aspects are remarkable as well. The nose carries notes of chocolate and anise and oak - as expected in a big stout - but they're joined by suggestions of port wine and soy sauce. On the palate, a creamy, velvety mouthfeel highlights notes of chocolate and vanilla and sweet bread, coating every corner of your mouth. Oak and hop resin dry things out toward the back of the sip, along with the unique tones found in the bouquet. Booze and chocolatey sweetness usher in the finish, which is long, limgering and tastey.

I heard this was good, but this easily surpassed my expectations.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

pours thick black, little head at first but builds through the pour

whiskey, sweet soft whiskey with a faint hint of dark fruit, maybe cherry

pretty complex taste. whiskey is subtle and through out layering in with red cherry and dark chocolate that has been soaked in sugar.

thick, coats your mouth with a subtle carbonation to add that extra oomph

this is brilliant for being fresh. no need to age.

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Photo of brureview
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured an opaque coffee color in a snifter with a 1/2 finger head.
One of most opaque beers I have seen.

Lots of Onion in the aroma. It's a characteristic that carries to the taste.
Very different for a IS. Chocolate, coffee, oak and wine in the aroma.

MF-a good but not over-dominant alcoholic finish. I can taste chocolate on the tip if my tongue.

Taste: the most unusual IS I have tasted: onion, chocolate, coffee, oak, wine sour, and more.
Highly complex and worthy of tasting at different temps for aroma and taste.
I found that the colder temp brings out more chocolate, and the warmer temp brings out onion.

A lot of thought went into the recipe. Not sure if Summit hops are used in other IS. The hop, along with Brett, and the aging in whiskey and rye barrels bring out the distinct profile of this beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, appearing in color and consistency like well used 40-weight, with a thin brown head with good retention and lacing. Rich aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, bourbon with hints of vanilla and dark dried fruit. Flavor is bourbon soaked dark toasted malt, dark dried fruit, especially dates and figs, vanilla, oak, fabulous. There is a hint of fresh dark fruit, and that is the only hint of the wine barrel ageing I detect. Good medium to heavy bodied, appropriate for the full flavors. A little bit light on carbonation, but the thickness largely makes up for that. A really nicely made barrel aged stout. I'm generally not a big fan of wine barrel aged ales or stout, finding the vinous flavors clashing with the dark malt. Not in this case. The bourbon is the dominant barrel flavor and the fruit from the wine barrels is just light enough to add interest and complexity. Arrived on the market and lasted about 3 nanoseconds, so glad I managed to get a bottle of this. Anchorage does a great job, although many of their ales are styles I'm not fond of; wild yeast and sours. This, in one of my favorite styles, is better than I could hope for. Really full flavored and balanced. Delicious.

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

Mar 2013 bottling. Pours a hazy very dark brown, thin fizzy brown head is gone in an instant. We have leggy glass staining -- not nearly Zhukovian, but nice. Smell: boozed date bread, prune, molasses. Tannic pop that still doesn't begin to cut thru sweetness of malt, whisky, fruit. Taste: overripe plum, dates, caramel, cola, dark chocolate; sip starts with a lot of sweet that's eventually balanced by the end of the sip by growing booze, grapeskin, and earthiness. Full body, languid feel. Sticky, mildly earthy finish that eventually dries out. Plenty of 13% barrel aged stouts out there that are just big and sweet; this one offers much more, a real treat.

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Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL (batch 1, March 2013) into a tulip. Pours a deep chocolatey brownish black w/ not much head, no lacing. Just some nice boozy legs on the inside of the glass.

Aroma is big chewy molasses, caramel, and vanilla. Dark, smoky, roasty malts, dry bittersweet chocolate, whisky, oak.

Taste is rich and decadent, complex. Dark bitter chocolate, molasses, toffee, vanilla, and a touch of coconut. Rich pipe smoke and bourbon. A numbing alcohol presence lingers on the palate, making my gums tingle. Just a hint of dry, fruity pinot noir from the barrel that's almost more port-like, which grows more prominent as it warms. The dry oak manages to temper the powerful high-gravity sweetness to give this beer a really nice balance that keeps it palatable over the long haul.

Mouthfeel is thick and slick, oily. Just right.

Overall, this is just what the doctor ordered. A big, unrepentant imperial stout with tons of complexity, flavor and body. I am loving this beer right now.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from cparles a while back. Cheers!

From a 750 corked and caged bottle into a snifter
Batch #1
March 2013
40 IBU

APPEARANCE: A relatively opaque pour yields a two finger, slightly thinner looking, fizzy, mocha head with decent retention. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a thick, foam cap and eventually to a half wisp and ring. A ring with slight wisp remain but leave no real lacing down the glass. Good looking body but mediocre head.

SMELL: Red wine initially, with whisky, oak, vanilla, caramel and butterscotch aromas on the nose. Some dark chocolate in there as well, with touches of tartness from the wine barrels. Big, bold and complex. Really nice.

TASTE: Whisky, oak, vanilla, with some nice wine and port flavors up front. Big finish with lots of red wine, oak, vanilla, whisky and chocolate bitterness lingering on the palate. Toffee and some sweet caramel go with the red wine and oak. Flavorful and complex with a big, lingering finish. Really nice.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Really good feel here. A touch of heat lingers. Excellent.

OVERALL: This is really, really good. The wine and whisky work really well together, and the feel and look are top notch as well. A better head would help in the overall experience, but that is a minor critique. Well balanced, bold, flavorful, full bodied and extremely complex. Worth pondering on a cold winter's night. Excellent beer that I'm very happy to have been able to try. Thanks again cparles!

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Photo of rudzud
3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Kyle for sharing.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice dark black hue with some thin mocha head.

S - Aromas of dark chocolate, dark fruits, malt bomb.

T - Taste is more of a quad than anything. Nice chocolate, strong malts, strong dark fruits, slightly cloy.

M - Mouthfeel is rather heavy, rather cloy.

O - Overall this beer was alright, not really a stout and super malty.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber at RBWG-2014 in Asheville.

Deep dark red-brown with a decent head.

Boozy with prunes, dark bread, raisins. Excellent sweet/bitter balance.

Full body with perfect carbonation.

Lasting aftertaste with dark roasted grains eventually coming to the fore.


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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Pours thick and inky black. Tan head grows as I pour. It slowly dwindles away after a few moments. Fairly stingy with its lacing.

S-Aroma is pretty heavy. It just slowly rolls out of the glass like a fog. Standard Imperial Stout aromatics are all there. Chocolate and roast. The rye whiskey comes on strong as well. I'm not getting too much in terms of wine notes; there is a dark fruitiness but if ant tell if that's actually from the wine barrels.

T-Powerful flavor. Luscious fudge and medium roast coffee. Heavy on the chocolate. The rye whiskey barrel is again, quite strong. It goes very well with the beer's base. The Pinot barrels do deliver a bit of red fruitiness but that's not as strong as the dark, Belgian fruitiness that is also there.

M-Big bodied Thick and creamy. Definitely hot. It's inviting and enticing and I had to slow myself down because this is a high gravity brew.

O/D-A rich, complicated beer. A tasty sipper with a lot to decipher flavor-wise. An expensive bottle. Anchorage is a killer brewery. I was very happy to give this one a whirl. Might want to split this bad boy because it'll knock your ass out.

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Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.