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Huge Arker | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

64 Reviews
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Huge ArkerHuge Arker

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 64 | Ratings: 305
Photo of zac16125
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates

A: Opaque black, huge light tan head, dissipates slowly and leaves tons of lacing. 4.75

S: Not a ton going on in the aroma: roasted malt, some tobacco/leather notes, subtle toasted coconut and charred oak notes from the barrel. Aroma is very nice, but its pretty subtle as a whole. 4

T: Fuller taste than the aroma implied. Heavy roast, heavy charred oak, decent amount of bitterness, fairly significant amount of bourbony booze, subtle toasted coconut. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied but could benefit from being thicker, carbonation a bit heavy for the style, ABV is definitely noticeable but its not hot. Drinkability is pretty good. 3.75

O: Very nice beer, significantly better than any of the other barrel aged Anderson Valley beers I’ve had. Perhaps a bit too boozy (and I actually am usually a fan of boozy beers), but still quite enjoyable. 4

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Photo of TheNerd
2.37/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Very perplexed by the (current) overall rating of 91. Looked beautiful. Head is nice and silky. Velvet clinging to the side of my glass. Sadly the flavor was really not there. So much alcohol on the pallet. It tastes like chocolate flavored toothpaste. The beer around the alcohol shows a lot of potential but all you get is a sharp flavor up the middle of your tongue (which also eliminates any opportunity for a good mouthful). Maybe if I cellared it for another few years the alcohol flavor would've mellowed out but it's been three years since bottling already so it could take a long time. At 13.5 abv I got a great happy buzz but I curled my tongue with every sip

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
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 superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter; no bottle dating, but is a recent release. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense and rocky tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, dark bread, raisin, plum, light smoke/char, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, dark bread, raisin, plum, light smoke/char, and roast/oak earthiness. Moderate roast/char bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, dark bread, dark fruit, smoke, char, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from roast bitter and oak spiciness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, moderately creamy/silky, and sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a light-moderate warmth and light barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged Russian imperial stout. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the huge ABV, even with the warming barrel notes. Really big on the barrel presence, but not overdone at all. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Kelly’s Liquors in San Jose, Calif.
Price: $14.49
Purchased: April 14, 2016
Consumed: May 14, 2016
Misc.: No BOD on bottle (estimated Nov. 2015)

Picked this up on a work trip to San Jose, Calif., on April 14. Slightly was fearing drinking it there, so now here we are. Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout? Yes. Malt beverage aged 6 months in Wild Turkey, Bourbon barrels? No. I have a hate-hate relationship with Wild Turkey from some high school stuff. Gave their Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout a 3.86 back on July 19, 2014 and hoping this one is better.

Poured a pitch black color with 2-to-3 fingers of frothy, tan head. Nice serene setting on the top. Above average sporadic spotty lacing. Excellent retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Surprisingly not as much Wild Turkey (or booziness) as I would have thought. Also got bourbon, toffee, caramel, chocolate, hints or crayon, cooking chocolate chips, oaky wood and a touch of coconut (wishful?). (Smell - 4.25)

Tasted just as good as the nose to me. Pleasantly surprised. Got warming in the body right away. Specifically got cooking chocolate chips (looking it up - semi-sweet Nestle Toll House morsels), bourbon, wood, mild vanilla, oak, sweet caramel, toffee, coconut (more than the nose), roasty nuts and chocolate. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.25)

This was just a really good beer. So much better than I thought it would be. Loved it. (Overall - 4.25)

4.25 | 95 | A

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Photo of bbtkd
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Huge Arker Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, 13.5% ABV, 88 IBU. Pours thick and dark with a huge head that sticks around, decent lacing. Nose is not real strong, fresh, slight alcohol. Taste is roasty, coffee bitterness, alcohol, and I pick up a bit of the wild turkey. Good mouthfeel. Overall, it is a bit too bitter and boozy for me. I would get it again if it were in smaller bottles, but not in a huge boozy bomber that is the equivalent of a normal 6-pack.

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Photo of seedyone
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
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 Tonyjenlasc
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
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 jakecattleco
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasting pour at Davis Beer Shoppe. Pours brownish black with ring of light tan head. Nose has some sweetness to it, not bourbon in your face like some BBA beers. Taste is barrel heavy with subtle sweetness. Mouthfeel on the thinner side, finishes a bit hot. Good, but I won't revisit.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.49/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | 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.


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Photo of Mikeszab
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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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Photo of VashonGuy
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm a big fan of bourbon barrel aged impy stouts, but I found this one a bit disappointing. It's got the bourbon, but the overall complexity of the underlying stout itself isn't up to the better beers of this type. And the booze at 13.5% ABV is too strong, especially when the flavor of the stout doesn't match the booze. It's still fun to drink, of course, but there are better BBA stouts out there.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley's Huge Arker, imperial stout aged for 6 months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels. 13.5% ABV.

A: Almost three fingers of chocolate milk brown head. Black in the glass. Dark brown in the dimple, with a toffee brown edge. Slight, yet permanent, sheeting. Spotty, emaciated lacing.

S: Nice Bourbon aroma. Dark toffee, rich semi-sweet chocolate, light char, subtle cooked grain (like barley "oatmeal"). Light oak.

T/MF: Char is much more forward on the tongue; has a slightly sweet edge. More dark toffee, about balanced with the char. Very dark chocolate. Very slight fig and licorice notes.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy dark brown with a finger of fluffy, khaki head.

S: Roasted, sweet malts up front with some fruity, light coffee that hits before the bourbon aromas of vanilla and light marshmallow come in for the finish.

T: Bourbon presence takes over the flavor much more than the aroma. Vanilla, marshmallow and slight caramel all present along with some booziness that begs attention.

M: In general feel is slightly light for the ABV and style, especially when compared to world class. However it is not at all inappropriate or disappointing.

O: For the availability, price and lack of hype around this brew it is pretty sneaky and underrated. Good value and worth a look.

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Photo of Zorro
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near black colored beer with a momentary thin brown head.

Smells fruity with lots of grape and berry. Scents of vanilla and caramel. Scent of whiskey and chocolate. Sent of Kahlua liquor.

Starts out sweet and a little bitter. Lots of chocolate and caramel. Fruit flavor and the taste of berries. Taste of coconut. Abundant warming in the chest and no alcohol tasted. Bitterness level is moderate. Bitter chocolate after taste.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall a good heavy beer. But it isn't quite Bourbon County Stout level.

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Photo of biegaman
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
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 DrSpaceman
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
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 MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into snifter. The color is virtually black with a thin but creamy light tan head and lacing. The smell features malt, molasses, caramel, coffee, and some dark fruit. The bourbon is also prevalent. The taste is bourbon forward with raisin, plum, caramel, malt, and more bourbon, with some sweet vanilla at the finish. It's also quite oaky. It has a nice creamy body. This is one potent stout with a strong alcohol burn. It is most definitely a sipper. Plan on sharing the bomber because there's really too much booze. I'm a fan of big, barrel-aged stouts and this one doesn't disappoint. The flavors are rich and complex. I just wish it were a little smoother. This stout would be better at 10% ABV than the 13.5%.

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
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 avalon07
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Parmesan
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks: Poured in a Left Hand Stout Glass. Pours a very dark opaque black. Head is light almost chocolate milk brown. Pours a decent head that doesn't last for two long, but nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Lots of bourbon in the nose, some toastiness/roastiness, some vanilla and a definite smell of some booze. No hop aroma.

Taste: Very strong taste of bourbon that at times seems to overpower some of the stout characteristics. Some roastiness and as it warms up hints of vanilla, with some toffee and caramel flavors. Quite a bit warming from the alcohol. No hop flavor.

Feel: Creamy mouthfell and pretty strong on the palate, with light carbonation.

Overall: A good bourbon barrel aged beer, but the bourbon does seem to overpower some of the other flavors and smells in the beer.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
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 PicoPapa
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a deep, dark brown color with over an inch of frothy tan head. Tons of lacing. Big boozey aroma with lots of raisins, earth, roasted malts, and figs. The taste is lots of Bourbon right off the bat. Tobacco, leather, roasted malts, dark fruits with a hint of chocolate at the back end. Some smoke. Notes of vanilla and toffee. A lot of different flavors going on here. Finishes with woody Bourbon and some caramel. One of the boozier BA stouts and I don't just mean ABV-wise. Heavy body with lots of carbonation. This one was pricey but after drinking it I feel justified in buying it. Overall, solid beer.

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Photo of Darkbeerlvr
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
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 DoctorZombies
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
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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Huge Arker from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.
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