Darkest Hour | Anchorage Brewing Company

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93
outstanding
63 Reviews
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Darkest HourDarkest Hour
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States
anchoragebrewingcompany.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

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

Added by DucksFan16 on 06-02-2013

BEER STATS
Reviews:
63
Ratings:
325
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
10.12%
 
 
Wants:
94
Gots:
84
For Trade:
12
User Reviews
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 325
Reviews by VelvetExtract:
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Pours thick and inky black. Tan head grows as I pour. It slowly dwindles away after a few moments. Fairly stingy with its lacing.

S-Aroma is pretty heavy. It just slowly rolls out of the glass like a fog. Standard Imperial Stout aromatics are all there. Chocolate and roast. The rye whiskey comes on strong as well. I'm not getting too much in terms of wine notes; there is a dark fruitiness but if ant tell if that's actually from the wine barrels.

T-Powerful flavor. Luscious fudge and medium roast coffee. Heavy on the chocolate. The rye whiskey barrel is again, quite strong. It goes very well with the beer's base. The Pinot barrels do deliver a bit of red fruitiness but that's not as strong as the dark, Belgian fruitiness that is also there.

M-Big bodied Thick and creamy. Definitely hot. It's inviting and enticing and I had to slow myself down because this is a high gravity brew.

O/D-A rich, complicated beer. A tasty sipper with a lot to decipher flavor-wise. An expensive bottle. Anchorage is a killer brewery. I was very happy to give this one a whirl. Might want to split this bad boy because it'll knock your ass out.

 1,139 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of HattedClassic
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 2. Poured in Churchkey.

Beer pours a brown as in actual brown head. Beer is pitch black like oil. It's beautiful. Nice sheen on it.

Smell is delicious. Strong cocoa and whiskey notes mixed with light vanilla and sweet dark chocolate is indulgent.

Taste is fantastic. Stronger whiskey but not overpowering. Mixes well with chocolate resemble brownie. Light vanilla.

Very heavy body. Syrupy. Heaven. Effervescent carbonation. One heck of a body.

Get it. Give all your money.

 491 characters

Photo of rand
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From 750 mL bottle to snifter

One of the more deeply rich brews I've come across. A gentle poor yields perhaps the most viscous complexions possible in a beer - if it wasn't for the healthy head and carbonation I'd guess it was crude oil.

Other aspects are remarkable as well. The nose carries notes of chocolate and anise and oak - as expected in a big stout - but they're joined by suggestions of port wine and soy sauce. On the palate, a creamy, velvety mouthfeel highlights notes of chocolate and vanilla and sweet bread, coating every corner of your mouth. Oak and hop resin dry things out toward the back of the sip, along with the unique tones found in the bouquet. Booze and chocolatey sweetness usher in the finish, which is long, limgering and tastey.

I heard this was good, but this easily surpassed my expectations.

 839 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Paccamacca for the extra!

poured into Tulip glass.

Appearance: light to medium black bodied beer with 2 fingers of frothy medium tan head. Spotty lace on the glass. Head drops down to a thin ring around the glass.

Smell: Lots of chocolate, oak, rye and red wine notes are very noticable and pleasant.

Taste: Milk chocolate and lots of it. Rye and red wine notes with wet oak. Light notes of dark fruits. Hint of earthy hop that blends effortlessly with all the other flavors in this beer. Fantastic balance and complexity. This is the thing that I love about Anchorage beers is that they are so balanced even though there is sooo much going on with the layers and layers of complexity found in this beer!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden. Its still a sipper too.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer more than I expected. I havent had an Anchorage beer that wasnt awesome yet to date. Recommended.

 958 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I worry about Belgian stouts and the friction that's caused by the highly roast character and the acidic puckering that, in tandem accelerates each flavor and throws them both way out of balance. But because its "Anchorage" at the helm, I've got to feel confident that they'll pull it off well. Right?

Upon the pour, the ale foregoes its exuberant Belgian character and sides mightily with traditional Imperial Stout. Its rich black body slowly releases a creamy and delicately frothy mocha foam that dissolves back into the glass, but a gentle swirl rejuvenates its dense frothy character. Light on lace, the ale shows how it struggles with its immense body beneath.

Sour on the nose, the scent of tart cherries, burnt fruit, grape must all lead the way. A slow rise of chocolate, toast, and coffee eventually support the sour tinge but remains in the backdrop of aroma.

But to taste, the flavors erupt! Stout everywhere- the fudgey chocolates, smooth espresso, walnut, and overall robust roast taste is balanced superbly with burnt caramel and toffee. -and that's just the start. Upon these firm dessert-like underpinnings spring the savory notes of sherry wine, savory near-balsamic notes, a meaty element and some light salt to bring the flavor to live. Vinous acidity plays on the finish with pino noir and oak spices for a semi-clean closure of earth and rum.

Full bodied, yet nowhere near the level that's expected from a 13% beer. The malts hide its strength well and without over-sweetening the beer. The wine and whisky heat never exaggerate the tone- the smooth warmth weaves into the ale like fine tawny port wines will.

Darkest Hour turned into darkest minutes for the few who shared this bottle. Its simply irresistible to leave the glass alone for much time at all as those savory and robust notes strike the perfect balance and invites a return to the glass much quicker than at 13% beer should.

 1,917 characters

Photo of Kuaff
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 2,921 characters

Photo of unclekeith
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 3 (Whisky) into a Teku - released yesterday

L: Pitch black - any light is consumed by the beer, 1 finger brown head (maybe darkest head I have ever seen), leaving minimal lacing/collar
A: Chocolate, whisky, vanilla, and alcohol heat
T: Follows the nose, but leaves an aftertaste of strong whiskey and oak
F: Full bodied, low carbonation
O: A great beer, however, the whiskey comes on a bit too strong for me

There was an 80% price jump versus the previous batch which was released about 2 years ago - the prior price point was a bargain which spoiled me; the new price stings but Darkest Hour is still worth revisiting.

 627 characters

Photo of bobhits
4.94/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

 1,671 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SuqMadique
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of cjn40277
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sabitu
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of EastBay_Nick
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of williamjbauer
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber at RBWG-2014 in Asheville.

Deep dark red-brown with a decent head.

Boozy with prunes, dark bread, raisins. Excellent sweet/bitter balance.

Full body with perfect carbonation.

Lasting aftertaste with dark roasted grains eventually coming to the fore.

Outstanding

 273 characters

Photo of Schlafly33
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brenden
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown and almost fudgy in appearance, this thick brew looks the part of a big stout. It grows a khaki-colored head about a finger in height. Retention is on the better side of moderate, as is a mingling of patching and spotting.
Stout characteristics make themselves known in the aroma, more than the Belgian yeast. Otherwise it's got a great balance of tart and sour, Michigan cherry style, with a light sweetness both fruity and almost creamy in nature. Rye whiskey and Pinot, seemingly experimental and potentially disastrous, marry impressively well, and I'm loving the dry/sweet interplay. Roast and light cocoa notes mingle well, as does a sort of toastiness, making this a complete, balanced, and well-rounded beer full of depth and flavor. The taste adds an excellently well-toned acidity/vinegar element and brings the unity of malts, sourness, tartness and sweetness into accord exceptionally well. There's little notice of this beer's huge ABV, but it sure does warm nicely.
Stout big and rich, this full-bodied beauty is thick and creamy. Dryness from the rye whiskey, wine and the oak they're in balances out the overall feel. Creamy smooth and warm, this is a seemingly winter-appropriate bee that I'd drink any time, as it's also somehow refreshing, likely due to the light acidity.

 1,307 characters

Photo of iong516
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Sammy
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of BenGap
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very black with some brown head that quickly dissipates into a slick lacing that slides back into the glass. Smell has a nice roasted note with hints of whiskey and even some fruit and raisin hints. Taste has a nice maltiness with some lingering warming notes of alcohol and whiskey. The feel is smooth and creamy but not as thick as some big stouts. Overall good beer that drinks smooth for the abv. Smell is more complex than the following taste, but still very good.

 475 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of hooliganlife
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

pours thick black, little head at first but builds through the pour

whiskey, sweet soft whiskey with a faint hint of dark fruit, maybe cherry

pretty complex taste. whiskey is subtle and through out layering in with red cherry and dark chocolate that has been soaked in sugar.

thick, coats your mouth with a subtle carbonation to add that extra oomph

this is brilliant for being fresh. no need to age.

 405 characters

Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.25/5  rDev 0%

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Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 325 ratings.
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