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Darkest Hour - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkest HourDarkest Hour

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

203 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 203
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 60
Gots: 40 | FT: 8
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:
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 added by: lakersfan16 on 06-02-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 203 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of YeastBreeder
5/5  rDev +20.5%

YeastBreeder, Jul 10, 2013
Photo of La_Moustachio
5/5  rDev +20.5%

La_Moustachio, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of gelasin
5/5  rDev +20.5%

gelasin, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of bobhits
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I think it's offical folks. Anchorage is now one of the 5 best brewers in America. These guys are just out of this world.

Pours opaque black with bubbles rising from the bottom to produce a thin but dark head. Thick body with legs for days when swirled in the glass. Lovely.

A distinct acid aroma comes off the glass, perhaps some cherry nature to it. This is followed by sugary malts with an almost perfect blend of espresso and molasses seeming to become milder and more toffee or caramel like. There's definitely a belgian yeast character giving complex aromas but so well blending no one comes out.

Sour fruits perfectly blended into a toffee, coffee, caramel, milk chocolate, and dark fruited explosion. I can't even put this one to words folks. They throw everything you can imagine from a stout and a belgian at me and then added in whiskey barrels that give off distinctive vanilla and oak and then wine barrels giving new levels of fruit flavors I've never had in a stout. This might be "darkest Hour" but it seems in the darkest to also be simply the best hour. If only I could control myself and sip this for a full hour.

Creamy and thick yet not overly thick to where it's a struggle to drink. The perfect creamy mouth feel of this is amazing beyond words. A light bit of alcohol perhaps the only flaw this beer has it just barely noticed.

I'm truly at a loss here. This is simply one of the best beers I've ever had in my entire life. It is beyond words. It is beyond what I can explain in a review. This is up there with bourbon county stout. Pay day, I think I'm buying every bottle I can find and if I have to drive 3 hours, so be it. Unbelievable.

bobhits, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of Reswald
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

It poured opaque with a nice, persistent mocha colored head. The nose had lots of whisky and wood notes, mixed in with the roasted barley and malty sweetness - very rich and complex. On the tongue, it was more of the same, with a thick, chewy mouthfeel surrounding notes of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted coffee, oak, whisky, and wine, all in an intricate and complex dance across your taste buds. The finish is long and slow, with some alcohol heat at the end. This is a superb beer, one deserving of being savored in small glasses between a group of appreciative friends. When I tasted it for this review, I was drinking alone and feeling almost guilty for keeping it to myself. Seek it out at all costs.

Reswald, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.76/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml corked and caged silkscreened bottle into short stemmed tulip glass.

A: pitch black with the thinnest rich chocolate colored head. No lacing either.

S: sweet alcohol, chocolate, roasty malt, vanilla, slight tannin, brandy soaked raisins, and a hint of wood.

T: follows nose. Richer than it smells though. Opens sweet and just has waves subtle notes before it closes up with bitter chocolate.

M: high alcohol makes it thinner than expected. Good and smooth with just enough carb.

O: fan-fucking-tastic I hqve nothing to else to say.

N3rdM3t4l, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of cjgator3
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

cjgator3, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of rjp217
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

rjp217, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of itracy63
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

itracy63, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Batch #1 - Brewed in March 2013.
Poured in to tulip.

A - Deep ink black with one finger of medium brown head that slowly receded to a thin layer.

S - Rich sweet caramel, molasses, chocolate and red wine notes come through initially, followed by toasted oak, whiskey and some spice. A beautiful nose.

T - A massively rich and bold flavour profile (without being cloying). Red wine, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and molasses flavours come through up front. The mid-palate adds toasted oak and whiskey flavours and the finish has a light spice presence along with the Belgian yeast profile. Truly decadent.

M - Full body. Thick and viscous. Light carbonation.

O - This was a truly unique and remarkable beer. The integration of the red wine and whiskey barrel aging along with the base beer was perfect. Perhaps a touch sweet, which kept it from getting a perfect score, but this was outstanding.

TheSevenDuffs, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of ystazi
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

ystazi, Sep 27, 2013
Photo of csustar001
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

csustar001, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of patrick802
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

patrick802, May 12, 2014
Photo of SuperCutePanda
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

SuperCutePanda, Aug 23, 2013
Photo of madnismo
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

madnismo, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of hipboy221
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

hipboy221, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of ScottP
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

ScottP, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of unclekeith
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

unclekeith, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of RyanTheLion13
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

RyanTheLion13, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of Paccamacca
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Paccamacca, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of Kuaff
4.73/5  rDev +14%
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.

Kuaff, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of LambicPentameter
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed as out of a brown 750 mL bottle marked with the information, Batch #1 March 2013. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip glass.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a frothy but fleeting mocha-tan head that slinks back into the liquid after a little while, leaving a rim of foam around the edges of the glass. Body is almost pitch black, but reveals highlights of garnet and pomegranate seed red when held in front of the light. An enchanting looking beer, though it could use some better head retention and lacing, but I suppose that's to be expected from a 13% BA imperial stout.

Smell - Very hot with boozy notes from the rye barrel-aged portion. Belgian yeast gives the typically roasty smell a floral depth, like nectar. Still, the elements of coffee and cacao are still present. I also get characteristics of rich, decadent port wine and dark fruits. Unfortunately, the booze is a little unbalanced for my taste, but it's an incredibly unique smelling brew. Almost like brandy.

Taste - Unbelievable. I'm not even sure where to start, the flavor is so deep and complex. Definite characteristics of pinot noir and grape must, some dark spiciness with a hint of oak from the rye barrels, and a pleasant sweetness of molasses and caramelized sugar. I love the fact that the wine elements are clearly present, but blend in nicely to the overall darker, sweeter elements from the stout to highlight darker fruits like figs, dates and currants. The acidity provides a good counterpoint to the heavier, more cloying components.

Mouthfeel - Thick and viscous, with a heavy body. Carbonation is moderate-to-heavy; in spite of the lack of retention, a gentle swirl coaxes out fizz and foaming pretty easily.

Overall - As a end-of-the-night sipper, this might be one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm sure it would be fabulous with a dessert, but it's also sufficient enough to be its own dessert. I will definitely have to make a point to get more bottles of this, partly because it's amazing, but also to age it and see how that wine yeast changes the characteristics of the beer over time. Anchorage continues to use its King Midas touch to crank out fantastic beers.

LambicPentameter, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of lakersfan16
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchorage Brewing Company Darkest Hour - Belgian Style Imperial Stout, aged in French oak pinot noir and rye whiskey barrels.

Pours very dark. I had to purposely pour this one harder than normal to get a nice head going, resulting in one that was nice and medium brownish. The head fades quickly, but that is to be expected with the extensive barrel aging that this beer has gone though.

I get more of the french oak coming through in the aroma, with the whiskey more in the background. But they mix quite nicely. I want to smell this a while longer before I take my first sip.

The taste is extremely rich. Once again, I get a lot more of the french oak barrel flavors than I do with the whiskey. To be honest, the aroma and taste of this one slightly reminds me of Bar Fly. I believe that Gabe was still the head brewer at Midnight Sun when Bar Fly was brewed. Bar Fly was aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, while this one was aged in Pinot Noir barrels, but it's hard for me to not notice a slight resemblance between the two.

Overall, this is a rock-solid brew. I was very excited to try this one from the first time I heard about it's development, which was probably a year ago already. The wait was worth it.

lakersfan16, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of schwemjw
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Motor oil black with a dark tan foamy head. big alcohol legs.

S: Teriyaki sauce with dark bitter chocolate. Strong oak presence with vanilla and green peppers. spicy. molasses and condensed milk. thick fig and raisin with a sharp tannic red wine.

T: Sweet chocolate and belgian yeast up front. a funk mix of dates, figs raisins and molasses. Sweet plum and fresh vanilla. bitter yet smooth with a toffee and red wine finish. bits of caramelized sugar play at the edges of your tongue with some linger burnt spice.

M: Smooth and creamy. very full but not too heavy. long dark fruit and spice finish.

O: Wow i am very impressed here. so complex. cant taste the abv AT ALL. /95

schwemjw, Sep 06, 2013
Photo of FranzBC
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%

FranzBC, Aug 20, 2014
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Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.