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 MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
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 +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 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 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 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 PicoPapa
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
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 +4.1%
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 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 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 RickS95
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deeply black pour as you'd guess. There is some dark brown around the edge when held to a light, but you'd notice it otherwise. Thin tan head that doesn't retain very long...13.5% ABV will do that.

There's lot of dark malts and roasty notes in the nose, but I'm not getting a lot of bourbon. Faint oak notes, but I'm missing bourbon. Beer might be too cold to pick up everything.

In the first sip I found the bourbon. While it doesn't really taste 'boozy,' the warmth is there. Bittersweet chocolate, char, vanilla, caramel malts (there is clearly a Barleywine taste to it) all fight for top billing, but they work well together.

The feel is extreme and mostly hot. My tongue is already starting to lose sensation and my lips and throat are hot. There's a slight sweetness that's quickly destroyed by the warm boozy feel of this beast. Full bodied and then some. It's a fairly pleasant feel, just LOTS of it.

This is a good beer and I'm glad I got it. It's a sipper for sure and has a nice taste to it. Very manly, but it fits the style well.

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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 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 stevoj
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Bar Gernika. Warm whiskey notes at first sniff, dark brown sticky body. Taste also brings the wood barrel notes on top of a robust RIS. Plenty of heat follows.

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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 jmdrpi
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

served on draft

black in color with white head. good lacing. aroma is all bourbon, quite boozy. taste has a bit of roast, boozy. thicker, coats the mouth.

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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 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 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 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 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 n2185
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: lots of oak on the nose with roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: lots of oak here as well with roasted malts, burnt sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and a bit of char before a moderately boozy finish

M: thick body with moderate carbonation, this beer is surprisingly lively feeling for such a big beer.

O: I really enjoy this one. Most BBA beers this high in alcohol are so cloyingly sweet or boozy that they're tough to drink more than a few ounces of. This one avoids those qualities and becomes dangerously drinkable.

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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 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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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 Zach136
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black, thin collar.

Aroma: Coconut, vanilla oak. Roast/Chocolate flavors typical of stouts are actually pretty muted

Flavor: Heavy oak, solid levels of char and roast. Vanilla and bourbon flavors are moderate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, booze and oak seem to thin it ok.

Overall: It's OK, bigger fan of the Wild Turkey Barney Flats.

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