Darkest Hour - Anchorage Brewing Company
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Ratings: 187 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Kuaff:
4.73/5 rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Woooaaahhh... woah. That's what I thought to myself when I saw the unfamiliar bottle with the beautiful owl on it, and also what I thought when I later took my first sip... at cellar temperature from a snifter. I have a lot to say about this one.
It's appearance is pretty darn dark, almost a totally opaque black. There's just a tiny bit of auburn transparency around the edges of the glass. I can see tiny bubbles against the wall of the glass, rising up to the head, which brings me to what I love most about this stout's appearance. The head is a two fingers-deep, mocha-colored mass of super-fine, dense and creamy foam that looks as smooth as silk. AND it has INCREDIBLE retention despite the 13% ABV and extensive barrel aging. It gets progressively smoother-looking over time until it actually resembles cream very closely.
The first thing I have to say about the smell is that it hits me with one of the best chocolate aromas I've ever been tempted with, either by a beer or dessert. This is the most crucial part of an imperial stout's smell for me, so I LOVE that about it. But there's more. Much more. Rich milk chocolate, raisins, vanilla, bourbon, whisky-soaked leather, and a bit of red wine all float up into my scent receptors.
As I taste this beer, I'm faithfully treated to everything the aroma promised. Sweet milk chocolate is in the taste, along with the bourbon and vanilla. A tart wine character from the pinot noir barrel aging is very noticeable and adds another enjoyable complexity, and Belgian yeast imparts the distinct, yeasty sweetness of Belgian strong dark ales. Early in the finish, I get the bitterness of coffee and dark chocolate to accompany an awesome roasty aftertaste that I'd describe as burnt leather. I think I pick up on a bit of the rye at very end of the extraordinarily long finish too.
Being 13% ABV, I feel I must describe in detail the effects of the alcohol. Its wrath is only felt AFTER it slides down my throat. Seductively subdued carbonation baits me into taking big sips, each one of which feels totally smooth and innocent on my palate... until I swallow and am given a hot lashing by the alcohol for daring to even THINK that this beer is as unrefined and "drinkable" as lesser beers. The pleasure was well worth paying the punishment.
The mouthfeel is sticky and fairly thick, like most excellent imperial stouts. It kind of has the same feel of wine.
What's so marvelous about this specimen is how it was created by use of such interesting, expiramental brewing techniques and treated with such an astonishing array of barrel aging... and that I can then distinguish and fully enjoy the unique qualities contributed by each technique. Darkest Hour is nothing less than a phenominal triumph of the imagination. And you BETTER set aside more than just ONE hour if you're confronting a bottle of this all alone... or you WILL experience your darkest hour.
Serving type: bottle
07-11-2013 03:39:29 | More by Kuaff
More User Reviews:
4.45/5 rDev +7.5%
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
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!
Serving type: bottle
07-09-2014 12:22:49 | More by Jeffo
3.71/5 rDev -10.4%
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.
Serving type: bottle
03-19-2014 01:53:48 | More by rudzud
Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.