Huge Arker | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Huge ArkerHuge Arker

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.

Added by chinchill on 01-29-2014

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 339
Photo of 02maxima
4.89/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Beautiful, pitch black with a nice tan head on the pour. Recedes to a thin collar.

S - Bourbon, delicious! Slight hints of chocolate and malt.

T - Much like the nose this is a bourbon bomb. Some malt after the bourbon flavor.

M - Pretty light actually. Very slick and goes down easy.

O - This is how I hope my bourbon barrel aged beers taste. This is not a cheap beer but I will be buying several more to cellar. This beer compares very nicely to my favorite BBL aged beer, Allagash Black.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pitch black with a fluffy light tan colored head.

Smell: Sweet cherries and bourbon. Cherry pie with alcohol.

Taste: Creamy, cherries again, and bourbon.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very dark appearance with little head and just the right amount of carbonation. Very nice bourbon aroma. The taste is a very pleasant bourbon with a very smooth non-alcohol flavor. This beer should improve with a little aging

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Poured from a bomber into a tulip on 05.21.14.

A: 2 1/2 finger tan head. Midnight black with some red at the bottom.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, cream, brown sugar.

T: Bourbon, vanilla dominate. Caramel, brown sugar, woodiness, plum are subtle.

M: Creamy. Somewhat chewy.

O: The bottle could have used some cellaring because everything was so strong. The alcohol burn was definitely there, but it's hard to hide with such a high ABV. It's a big beer and it snuck up on me even though I sipped on it. It was a very good BB stout.

Rating: A

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really dark brown color with creamy, mocha head. Aroma is full-on bourbon, caramel, fudge and butterscotch. Taste follows with the fudge and caramel, chocolate cake, bourbon and a roasty bitter finish. Slightly boozy but it's not bothering at all. Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. A really well made bourbon barrel aged imperial stout which I think should get more attention.

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Photo of chrislikesbeer
4.61/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a fantastic beer. Great color, amazing nose, thick creamy head, complex flavors. Lots of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon up front. A smooth sweetness that's not too sweet. I actually drink this beer a lot so the only negative would be every now and then, I get a batch that tastes and smells a little more boozy than other batches. Other than that, fantastic beer that will warm your belly and brain.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: 22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance: Pitch black, no hint of ruby on the edges, beautiful creamy tan head with tiny bubbles floating on top, nice lacing down the sides, head diminishes after a few minutes.

Smell: Big bourbon smell upfront, no hint of roasted malt or coffee, not a huge bourbon smell like other bourbon barrel aged stouts I have tasted. You get some alcohol on the back end.

Taste: Big bourbon taste up front, then comes the alcohol on the back end, the bourbon dominates on the palate, some alcohol, some bitterness on the backend, no dark fruity flavors that I can notice.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation, not as heavy as I expected, thicker than your average stout but no as thick as other Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged stout I have tasted.

Overall: Awesome beer, I hope this is made year round, enjoyed it greatly. Just cracked a bottle with a year on it, still getting some bourbon but it has aged really well, a lot smoother aged than it is fresh. Looking to see what two years does to it.

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Photo of JamesBondGA
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
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 DrSpaceman
4.56/5  rDev +10.4%
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 seedyone
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Pitch black/brown in color. Thin head comprised of tiny bubble foam that leaves some sheet lacing. The aroma while chilled is pleasant though vague. Just the right amount of coffee flavor is carried over the toasty malt. No burn whatsoever. I'm learning to appreciate the folks at Anderson Valley more & more.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter. Bottle from Dave Silb.
Dark Black pour, light tan head. Fades to lacing.
Aroma is whiskey, dark chocolate, toast.
Taste is much of the same. Very tasty.

This is much better than the previous Anderson Valley Stout I'd had.


Bottle to shifter.

Now a year old.

Whiskey seems really strong.


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Photo of neenerzig
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
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!


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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - Black as night in the glass. Quickly dissipating head as anticipated.
Smell - Bourbon, alcohol, chocolate, roast, hints of smoke
Taste - Big bourbon/booze punch. Some dark chocolate, cocoa, milk chocolate, roasted malts, oaky
Feel - oily, silky but a tad thin. The 13.5% definitely lets you know its there.

Overall - A massive BA stout. Very enjoyable for me. Love Anderson Valleys barrel program. Underrated in my opinion.

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Photo of avalon07
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
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 Ozzylizard
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
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 DoctorZombies
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
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 daave1
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
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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Photo of biegaman
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
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 Darkbeerlvr
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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 matt_duthie
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
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 bubseymour
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark, glossy black, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells very bourbon-forward, with some smoke and chocolate.

The taste is similar. One of the more bourbon forward stouts I've had, this is huge and tasty. Some vanilla, and chocolate, a slight kiss of smokiness, and some good roasted malt flavors.

Thick bodied, quite viscous and sticky, but still very drinkable. Low carbonation.

This was very tasty, I was impressed.

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4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Let me first say that I haven't been overly impressed with Anderson Valley beers in the past. I will also say that I am a big fan of Wild Turkey for the price point, so I am going into this one optimistic and open minded.

My overly strong pour achieves three fingers of bubbly mocha brown head. Head turns very rocky as it slowly fades leaving crust like lace behind. Body is simple and sexy pure ink black.

Nose is like dessert with big sweet bourbon tones that are dominant. You get a ton of toffee, carmel and some chocolate as well. Delicious nose going on here.

With first sip I had to quickly check the label to make sure of the alcohol content. It is so smooth I thought there is no way that this is 13.5%. The bourbon is incredibly evident in the taste profile of this beer. You do perceive more of the alcohol heat as you continue to drink. There is some chocolate, fig, anise and black strap molasses all playing here in the flavor. This one definitely warms the belly.

Overall a solid Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. This one could use a couple of years in the cellar to round out to something much more complex and beautiful.

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Photo of fx20736
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought 2 bottles from Beers of the World, April 2014. Poured into a Chimay chalice, served at cellar temp.

appearance: Espresso black with an au lait head, creamy lacing.

smell: roast coffee char, a touch of molasses and a faint whiff of bourbon

taste: simple roast with a brown sugar and whiskey finish. There is some unmasked alcohol on the tail.

mouthfeel: creamy, slippery, smooth

overall: tasty, decent BA Stout but not a competitor to BCBS.

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Photo of Mikeszab
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks black as expected with big head and lacing.
Poured into a snifter from a 22.
Taste is strong bourbon mixed with malts and bitter chocolate.
Not heavy on carbonation or burn with a high abv.
A nice offering with the 6 month aged bourbon barrel but the undertones of the stout were not as good as others. Worth trying.

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Huge Arker from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
4.13 out of 5 based on 339 ratings.
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