Darkest Hour - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkest HourDarkest Hour

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

286 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 286
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 79
Gots: 83 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 286 | Reviews: 55
Photo of Sails_Ambassador
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap batch #2 at Anchorage Brewing (poured by gabe!)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of Scobu
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #2 is legit. The whiskey shines threw. Had on tap at the brewery.

Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
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!

Photo of dar482
4.17/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of cvm4
4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of Tele
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of arvidkoval
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of rand
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of brureview
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of Alaska1
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great barrel aged stout. I got three bottles to age.

Photo of babaracas
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of Jeffo
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
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!

Photo of rudzud
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Outstanding

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Batch #1, bottled March 2013. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch and a half tan head that stuck around for a while. There's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted malt, red wine/grapes, whiskey, chocolate, and a bit of licorice. The brew tastes like roasted malt, chocolate, red wine, whiskey, dark fruit, licorice, molasses, caramel, and some coffee and wood. I think it's tasty! Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and chewy with moderate carbonation. The 13% ABV is well hidden. I liked this brew a lot, I think it's definitely worth trying. I know I'd like to get another bottle of this in the future, it's one of the better beers I've had recently. $17.99 a bottle.

Photo of artoolemomo
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours up a gorgeous block of head that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The head is a dark beige/mocha while the body is an opaque, dark chocolate black. The head is very slow to dissipate but shows some sheeting that extends from the head. Lacing ranges from sheeting to spots.

Nose- Lots of smoke such that it has aspects of burnt rubber and oil. Sounds bad but it actually works well with subsequent notes of chocolate and poignant roasted notes. Some hint of coffee but there is a slight acridity to it. The nose from the glass is milder and shows a bit of raisins that have a bit of prunes to them. Swirling shows mostly chocolate and cocoa.

Taste- Starts off with a defined fruitiness (mostly raisins, some cherry) that moves into a very complex flavor profile that moves from rich, dark chocolate to coffee to red grapes (very heavy Pinot Noir) to notes of rye whiskey. Heat is noticeable at the moment but I wouldn't exactly call it boozy. My first sip seems to suggest that this might needs more aging if I wanted to be more like the Belgian Yeti I had two days ago. Dry and ashy finish that also dries out the mouth a bit. Some clove that hangs around but is in no way obtrusive. Even a bit of inkiness but there is a very rich deep chocolate taste on the finish- think 70% or greater cacao dark chocolate. The Pinot Noir and whiskey elements have tons of presence and really mesh well together. At the moment, the entire flavor profile has great progression, great complexity, and great integration. There are clashes but they build the other notes rather than detract from them. Good amount of cocoa as well. Some leather and tobacco and pretty much everything I look for in a good stout. The Belgian characteristics may be muted but they do play enough of a part to distinguish this from a normal imperial stout. This is a brash, in your face beer and I wonder if this is the reason why it doesn't get rave reviews. Sure, 4.1 is a very good score but this could easily be in the top 250 in my opinion. Very good to almost great beer. I think it would be almost great with or without aging. I seems quite versatile.

Mouthfeel- Very heavy bodied while managing to be slight creamy and smooth with a touch of grittiness. It has a bit of zip to it. Very neat, dry finish that does give you a bit of cottonmouth.

Drinkability- By no means sessionable or even dangerous. The alcohol is noticeable and the notes of other alcohols make you pause. I enjoy that from a 13%, 17 dollar beer.

Overall- Why did I ever doubt Belgian Imperial Stouts? I'm 2 for 2 now. The ones I have encountered seem to have a bit of a Quad aspect (or maybe a Dubbel) while maintaining the basic foundation of an Imperial Stout. I have to say that I like that combination. I also must express great admiration for the meticulous nature of Gabe Fletcher's brewing. The process he undertakes must demand (or deserves) at least 17 bucks and if there were more hype around his beers, they would be much more. So on that note, this is beer is shit and don't ever drink anything by Anchorage. It might give you herpes. In fact, I guarantee it will give you herpes.

Photo of Joshpu
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(Batch # 1, 2013) Poured from the bottle to a snifter.

A: Poured nearly black in color with a reddish tinge and a one finger of light brown head.

S: I am primarily getting the smell of the aging from the (red) pinot noir barrels, a typical wine/tart smell. Also getting a toffee or molasses. The warmer it got the more I could detect the smell from the aging of the rye whiskey barrels.

T: It first starts off with the wine/tartness. In the middle I get a sweetness that hits, molasses, dark brown sugar. The end follows with a slight bitter coffee/black licorice. There is also the sweet rye whiskey bite on the aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied. Almost like an oily mouth feel to it. I don't taste the alcohol at all.

Overall I thought this was a great beer, very complex with a lot going on.

Photo of sweemzander
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing Matt!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced some tan froth. Minimal lacing.

(S)- A complex aroma. An ever so slight fruity tartness meets a spicy caramel dry barrel with subtle roasted qualities. Just the subtlest grape/raisin hint at the end from the pinot barrel.

(T)- A very complex stout. Faint hints at the fruity pinot barrel met with a great dry oaky spice from the rye barrel. Subtle underling caramel and roasted grains meets raisin and cocoa. A very striking take on a stout.

(M)- A great carbonation level meets a dynamic barrel aged stout. Great rye and caramel meets a superb subtle pinot barrel fruit component.

(O)- The combo of a pinot and rye whiskey barrel is really striking. An absolutely superb stout that used the blend of barrels expertly.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not just a stout – a high-gravity Belgian stout! Aged in pinot noir barrels! And rye whiskey barrels! And bottled-conditioned with wine yeast!

Holy shit!

Batch #1, bottled in March 2013 (seven months before the date of this tasting).

A: Shining black with a foamy, dark tan head two-fingers high. The bubbles shimmer with an oily light as they fall slowly to a barely-there layer of retention.

S: Heavy barrel notes with deep chocolate stand at the top of nose, a dark, woody, slightly boozy quality that’s accented by the spice of peppery pinot noir; notes of oxidation are prevalent, though, which places the nose under an unfortunate shadow of wet cardboard. An intriguing duo of buttery caramel and tart Belgian yeast ride the back of the nose out – uniquely sweet and sour.

T: For such a high-gravity beer, this palate is surprisingly balanced and incredibly drinkable. Immediately, a dense chocolate flavor with a roasted backdrop is subdued by the toasted coconut and graham cracker of barrel wood. Fruit flavor makes a noticeable statement on the palate soon after, with notes of wild berry and lemon rind from the Belgian yeast – beautifully matched against the darkness of the residual sugars. Finishes with an earthy sweetness like underripe blackberries: syrupy, but with a wild, leafy grass flavor.

M: This bottle was gone before I knew it – it’s enormously drinkable. “Chewy” is a good description, seeing as this milky brew has only a small amount of silky carbonation.

O: The weakest offering from Anchorage Brewing I’ve had to date, but the most intoxicatingly drinkable stout I’ve had in a while – it’s pretty easy to tell that Anchorage has its act together. Though it’s kind of hard to find the Belgian in this beer, I’ll admit I couldn’t help but keep sipping. Unique, drinkable, and satisfying: that seems to be Anchorage’s game.

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Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 286 ratings.