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: 72 | Ratings: 335
Photo of TheNerd
2.37/5  rDev -42.6%
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 Jeffo
3.27/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one on Buffalo a year back.

From a bomber into a snifter
Malt beverage aged 6 months in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Very clear dark brown pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, slightly creamy light tan head with very good retention. Transparent bistre brown body with no real carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full foamy cap and clings to the glass. A half splotchy wisp remains leaving a some traces of lacing down the glass. Well engineered head but the color is simply too weak for the style.

SMELL: Big nose with piles of wood and oak initially. Some toffee notes with milk chocolate and sweet cream under the woody aromas. Mostly oak, bourbon and alcohol run the show here.

TASTE: Lots of wood and bourbon up front. Very boozy too, with straight up bourbon, wood and toffee sweetness. A big, boozy swallow with more wood and bourbon, moving into a bold and lingering aftertaste of wood and oaky flavors, bourbon, alcohol, some sweet cream and milk chocolate. This is definitely alcoholic with lots of wood and spirit.

PALATE: Medium-fuller body and surprisingly creamy on the palate. Medium levels of carbonation, goes down fine with a good burn and finishes slightly sticky. Lots of alcohol and heat linger.

OVERALL: This is big for sure. It definitely drinks like a 14% beer and the booze and wood are certainly main actors in the show. This is very bourbon and oak heavy, with the underlying stout being rather weak in comparison. The overly light color for the style was a bit of a giveaway in that department. That said, the beer is decently engineered with a solid feel, so the overly woody and boozy flavors aren’t all that tough to swallow. Perhaps a less dominant barrel and a stronger stout base would help, but in the end, this is a decent effort and worth checking out if you enjoy big, bourbon barreled beers. Most certainly a better creation than their little Wild Turkey bourbon barrel stout. Recommended.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into BT glass.

A: Pours a dark cola, near black, with a couple fingers of very dense and soft looking creamy mocha colored head that took forever to fade into a lasting bubbly collar that left thick sheets of fuzzy lace down the glass.
S: Bourbon is rich and sweet but not overly volatile or boozy. I get notes of raisin, leather, chocolate and candied dates.
T: I get notes of raisins, leather, and chocolate that are quickly overshadowed by boozy and dominating notes of bourbon. The finish is particularly boozy that reminds me more of watered down whiskey than it does a barrel aged beer. I also get a lingering peat/char quality that sticks around long after the swallow, as well as flavors of toasted marshmallow throughout.
M: Thick and chewy mouthfeel, full and rich body, lightly sticky, with a ton bourbon that has a ton of lingering booze after each swallow. The carbonation is fluffy and thick.
O: This beer has a huge Wild Turkey presence. It’s not necessary hot, but the booze is very prominent to the point of distraction, and the finish is definitely rough.

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Photo of Segelstrom
3.67/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For a high ABV stout it just didn't have the richness and full body one comes to expect from this type beer. It is good but not great, expecially for the price.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Huge boozy bourbon barrel aged stout. The aroma is fantastic. This one needs some age on it in the taste department, too boozy when fresh. I'm looking forward to trying this with a little age on it.

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Photo of Figit
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure what to make of this beer. Came from the tap with a shout bubbly head that went away quickly with little lacing on the glass. I enjoyed the aroma, vanilla and bread. Flavor is vanilla and toffee and then wham, the alcohol takes over. Definitely true to the bourbon heritage, but it overpowered the beer. I'd like more coffee flavor in this to balance the booze. It started out nice, but is quickly losing it's best qualities. I'm glad I tried this one, but not one I'd buy again.

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Photo of russpowell
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Pours a turbid ebony with a thumb of tan head. Great lacing & head retention, never
really drops bright ( as far as this style can ). Stays effervescent (4.5)

S: Figs, faint booze, Bourbon gets stronger once warm (3.5)

T: Raisins, booze, dryness, Bourbon & figs up front. Some caramel & vanilla mix in with figgyness
once warm, a little molasses, some jammyness too almost makes me think Boulevard BBQ. Finishes
boozey with some woody notes, more figs (3.75)

MF: Medium body at best, slight carbonation, very warming, slick (3.5)

Huge beer, proceed with caution. Tasty enough, just needed more Stout aspects to make me
really happy. Well worth a go though (3.75)

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Photo of VashonGuy
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
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 beergoot
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nearly opaque dark brown with a lasting, thick, rich, creamy head. Spicy, bourbon nose; sharp fig and cherry; blackberries. Biting hit of booziness; soothing caramel base. Heavy body; somewhat raspy on the palate; mostly dry finish.

A beautiful mess. It's got a very strong bourbon flavor and heat with the malt base being somewhat secondary. There are intricate strings of varied and interesting scents yet they seem somewhat subdued in nature. Still, though the balance may be somewhat off-kilter, there are satisfying touches of flavor depth and complexity. Yes, the booze kind of dominates, but on a cold, snowy winter night, this beer is still a welcome tool to hold back the winter blues...

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Photo of bbtkd
3.86/5  rDev -6.5%
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 Slatetank
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I purchased this at Brass Rail Deli, enjoyed chilled from the bomber in a glass.

The color is black with a tan head and tight bead. The smell has a strong bourbon aroma with light stout scent hints of wood with the wild turkey dominating. The feel is very woody with a slight boozy presence and light sweetness with strong tannic quality and mildly sweet middle with almost sweet/dry finish lasting on the palate with alcohol noticeable.

The feel leads to taste of bourbon in the flavor profile which almost seems like a shot dropped in a stout...not offensive but very dominant in the taste with wood and whiskey taking precedence to the base stout flvaor which also makes the stout seem thin and only a gentle caramel flavor is remaining after the swallow. Overall this is not bad, but not what I expect either good for a double digit barrel aged beer but not good if you are not a fan of whiskey flavor in your stout

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I've been holding this bottle down for a couple months now, and I decided now was the time to try it. My second bourbon barrel aged stout from Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark woodsy brown color; opaque black in the glass. A finger and a half of creamy khaki mocha head. Nice scattered spotty lacing. Looks pretty nice.

S - The smell is good, but not great for the style especially. Some fudgey chocolate / cookie dough, mild vanilla, mild caramel / toffee, and lots of alcohol fumes. Pretty nice, but I was expecting a little more.

T - Taste follows the nose - some fudgey chocolate / cookie dough / vanilla, mild caramel / toffee presence, and lots of boozey Wild Turkey bourbon heat. Some mild dark fruit presence noticeable as the beer warms.

M - The feel is smooth and creamy. Sticky, bitter, roasty, and dry. Medium-full bodied with good adequate carbonation.

Overall, it's a nice beer, but not quite as amazing as some of the other bourbon barrel aged stouts I've had. The booze character is high with this one, leaving lots of residual heat behind.

Anderson Valley Huge Arker ---4/5.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Pours dark brown with an off white head.

S. Bourbon, malt, sweet and heat. There's a touch of pine but mainly boozy and roasted.

T. Bourbon and wood flavor lasting with a strong malt note. A bit hot. Perhaps a touch oxidized with a chocolate yet dark soy like note. Oak, char, booze. Toasty, roasted, barreled and bourbon soaked.

F. Full bodied, smooth and creamy. Only slightly dry and roasted in the finish.

O. Lovely beer but she's big.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 grudgingly picked up at the COOP for $14... It is as much as $21 at other places around town. Shared tonight with a work buddy.. Dark tan 1" head.. Nice retention.. Decent lacing.. Dark malt and brownie batter on the nose... The flavor shows better bourbon barrel character with plenty of dark malt and vanilla.. Good body, but not huge, well made without needing time to rest in the bottle.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Yard House in Northridge, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, wood, and huge bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but super bourbon forward, especially in the taste.

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Photo of barczar
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep brown black, lingering head. Cocoa dominates aroma, slightly sweet, with hints of vanilla and bourbon countering coffee and roast malt. Flavor reveals a very roasty and coffee finish, but the chocolate sweetness counters the bitter finish nicely. There's a hint of cherry adding complexity. A little hot, but very enjoyable. Roast is a little more overpowering than I'd like. Reminiscent of a milkshake at times

 416 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
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 Parmesan
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
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 mothman
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a tan head. Leaves a lot of lace. Color is pretty much black.

Flavors: nothing out of the ordinary here. A heavy dose of whiskey. Some oak and vanilla with molasses. Roasted malts with hints of coffee. Lots of chocolate and caramel. Finishes with a huge dose of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: smooth, hot, and creamy. Full bodied.

Overall, a solid ba stout, but a bit too hot. Still, very enjoyable.

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Photo of nickfl
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wow, the aroma is mild but there is a huge note of wild turkey bourbon in the flavor. Very distinctly wild turkey, which may or may not be a good thing but is nevertheless impressive. A little cola like overall, but the over the top ABV is relatively well disguised.

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
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 biboergosum
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, and a little dear a shelf tag for my impression thus far of barrel-aged expressions from this brewery. So it remains to be seen what particular sort of 'huge arker' (bomb) this one will be. Onwards, then.

This beer pours a solid tinted black, with strong cola basal highlights, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and rocky tan head, which leaves some random splatters of dried soapy lace around the glass as it easily abates.

It smells of gritty bittersweet chocolate, well-roasted caramel malt, wet brown bread, besotted wood, cheap rye whiskey, weak black licorice, muddled black fruit, a bit of raw vanilla, and a musty hoppiness. The taste is heady medium baker's cocoa, caramel/toffee malt, doughy bread, mixed vanilla/licorice confection, rather intact boozy Bourbon (wood, spicy grain, alcohol, mostly), mild earthy dark fruit, say prunes and raisins, and a subtle leafy, weedy hop dryness.

The carbonation is quite soft and hard to discern at times, but it does the job, the body a wavering medium weight for the style, a tad oily, but generally smooth, with a certain boozy creaminess arising as things warm. It finishes well off-dry, the chocolate and nicely subdued caramel still holding court, with that shot o' Wild Turkey finally having found the good sense to mix 'n mingle.

Well, this is quite the improvement over the 'regular' BBA Wild Turkey offering - here, the demon whiskey wood mostly contributes well-rendered Kentucky rotgut flavour to the underlying RIS, and none of the mouthfeel-thinning experience endemic in this one's little brother. Tasty, huge (the English word), and yet fairly balanced, as the 27-proof alcohol is evident, sure, but not nearly as hot as many sub-10 percenters in the same bracket. So, more of a bomb with a slowly hissing fuse, the end result merely pleasantly sinful fireworks.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deeply black but radiant onyx meets the eye as it is capped with a thickly dense, light brown foam.

The aroma is soft but it reveals a lot of the bourbon. Mostly vanilla, oak, wood with a bit of coffee.

I allowed this to warm for about 30 minutes and it helped to bring out flavor an temper the booziness that I had read about. The bourbon flavor is creamy and sweet with vanilla. I can taste soft tones of oak and wood along with a softer backbone of cocoa.

This is 13 pct and I actually felt none of it, albeit I warmed it to promote this fact. Instead, I feel a smooth thickness and a decent fullness.

Very enjoyable but softer than I expected.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Yardhouse, eight ounce pour was $6.75. Completely black, decent head at first. Smell is nice, mild bourbon notes and a hint of chocolate. Surprising. Flavor had more chocolate, roasted malts, sweetness, mild bourbon barrel. This was actually a lot better than I thought it would be, I might need to grab a bottle if I see one.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge Arker? What's an Arker? In any case, it arrived in a stemmed glassed. Black all the way through, especially in the dim lighting of the establishment. A centimeter or two of dense foam topped it off. The aroma is deep and rich with strong elements of bourbon, along with coffee, vanilla. On the palate the bourbon moves to forefront showing off its oak and vanilla notes. The dark malt does penetrate into the profile with the usual coffee and chocolate accents. Smooth but strong, one eight ounce glass is sufficient for a causal night out. The bourbon is the main player here, more so than in any beer I've tried.

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Huge Arker from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
4.13 out of 5 based on 335 ratings.
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