Darkest Hour | Anchorage Brewing Company

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Darkest HourDarkest Hour

Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 321
Photo of bobhits
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What a great stout. Had at Anchorage Brewing Co. Pours deep dark brown with lighter brown head. Smells of roasted malt, coconut and chocolate. Taste is the same as smell but with bourbon, vanilla, oak, and coffee in the finish. This is a sipper! As it warms the flavors come more to life especially the bourbon. ABC always does great!

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Photo of Reswald
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

It poured opaque with a nice, persistent mocha colored head. The nose had lots of whisky and wood notes, mixed in with the roasted barley and malty sweetness - very rich and complex. On the tongue, it was more of the same, with a thick, chewy mouthfeel surrounding notes of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted coffee, oak, whisky, and wine, all in an intricate and complex dance across your taste buds. The finish is long and slow, with some alcohol heat at the end. This is a superb beer, one deserving of being savored in small glasses between a group of appreciative friends. When I tasted it for this review, I was drinking alone and feeling almost guilty for keeping it to myself. Seek it out at all costs.

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Photo of KevSal
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 2 quick review

Wow this is even better than batch 1. Lots of balance, and delicious at every sip. Damn near perfect score, and incredibly smooth for a 13% beer. Drank an entire 750 with ease.

This beer is something else, highly recommend

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml corked and caged silkscreened bottle into short stemmed tulip glass.

A: pitch black with the thinnest rich chocolate colored head. No lacing either.

S: sweet alcohol, chocolate, roasty malt, vanilla, slight tannin, brandy soaked raisins, and a hint of wood.

T: follows nose. Richer than it smells though. Opens sweet and just has waves subtle notes before it closes up with bitter chocolate.

M: high alcohol makes it thinner than expected. Good and smooth with just enough carb.

O: fan-fucking-tastic I hqve nothing to else to say.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Batch #1 - Brewed in March 2013.
Poured in to tulip.

A - Deep ink black with one finger of medium brown head that slowly receded to a thin layer.

S - Rich sweet caramel, molasses, chocolate and red wine notes come through initially, followed by toasted oak, whiskey and some spice. A beautiful nose.

T - A massively rich and bold flavour profile (without being cloying). Red wine, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and molasses flavours come through up front. The mid-palate adds toasted oak and whiskey flavours and the finish has a light spice presence along with the Belgian yeast profile. Truly decadent.

M - Full body. Thick and viscous. Light carbonation.

O - This was a truly unique and remarkable beer. The integration of the red wine and whiskey barrel aging along with the base beer was perfect. Perhaps a touch sweet, which kept it from getting a perfect score, but this was outstanding.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed as out of a brown 750 mL bottle marked with the information, Batch #1 March 2013. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip glass.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a frothy but fleeting mocha-tan head that slinks back into the liquid after a little while, leaving a rim of foam around the edges of the glass. Body is almost pitch black, but reveals highlights of garnet and pomegranate seed red when held in front of the light. An enchanting looking beer, though it could use some better head retention and lacing, but I suppose that's to be expected from a 13% BA imperial stout.

Smell - Very hot with boozy notes from the rye barrel-aged portion. Belgian yeast gives the typically roasty smell a floral depth, like nectar. Still, the elements of coffee and cacao are still present. I also get characteristics of rich, decadent port wine and dark fruits. Unfortunately, the booze is a little unbalanced for my taste, but it's an incredibly unique smelling brew. Almost like brandy.

Taste - Unbelievable. I'm not even sure where to start, the flavor is so deep and complex. Definite characteristics of pinot noir and grape must, some dark spiciness with a hint of oak from the rye barrels, and a pleasant sweetness of molasses and caramelized sugar. I love the fact that the wine elements are clearly present, but blend in nicely to the overall darker, sweeter elements from the stout to highlight darker fruits like figs, dates and currants. The acidity provides a good counterpoint to the heavier, more cloying components.

Mouthfeel - Thick and viscous, with a heavy body. Carbonation is moderate-to-heavy; in spite of the lack of retention, a gentle swirl coaxes out fizz and foaming pretty easily.

Overall - As a end-of-the-night sipper, this might be one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm sure it would be fabulous with a dessert, but it's also sufficient enough to be its own dessert. I will definitely have to make a point to get more bottles of this, partly because it's amazing, but also to age it and see how that wine yeast changes the characteristics of the beer over time. Anchorage continues to use its King Midas touch to crank out fantastic beers.

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Photo of DucksFan16
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchorage Brewing Company Darkest Hour - Belgian Style Imperial Stout, aged in French oak pinot noir and rye whiskey barrels.

Pours very dark. I had to purposely pour this one harder than normal to get a nice head going, resulting in one that was nice and medium brownish. The head fades quickly, but that is to be expected with the extensive barrel aging that this beer has gone though.

I get more of the french oak coming through in the aroma, with the whiskey more in the background. But they mix quite nicely. I want to smell this a while longer before I take my first sip.

The taste is extremely rich. Once again, I get a lot more of the french oak barrel flavors than I do with the whiskey. To be honest, the aroma and taste of this one slightly reminds me of Bar Fly. I believe that Gabe was still the head brewer at Midnight Sun when Bar Fly was brewed. Bar Fly was aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, while this one was aged in Pinot Noir barrels, but it's hard for me to not notice a slight resemblance between the two.

Overall, this is a rock-solid brew. I was very excited to try this one from the first time I heard about it's development, which was probably a year ago already. The wait was worth it.

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Photo of schwemjw
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Motor oil black with a dark tan foamy head. big alcohol legs.

S: Teriyaki sauce with dark bitter chocolate. Strong oak presence with vanilla and green peppers. spicy. molasses and condensed milk. thick fig and raisin with a sharp tannic red wine.

T: Sweet chocolate and belgian yeast up front. a funk mix of dates, figs raisins and molasses. Sweet plum and fresh vanilla. bitter yet smooth with a toffee and red wine finish. bits of caramelized sugar play at the edges of your tongue with some linger burnt spice.

M: Smooth and creamy. very full but not too heavy. long dark fruit and spice finish.

O: Wow i am very impressed here. so complex. cant taste the abv AT ALL. /95

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Photo of scottfrie
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip. Batch 1, bottled March 2013. Consumed 10/10/15.

A: Pours thick and black with just a few splashy bubbles for a head. Sits heavy and near flat in the glass. A very thin collar lasted the whole beer through.
S: Red wine and rye are surprisingly prominent on the nose and gives off an almost twany port-like character when mixed with the base stout notes of rich chocolate, caramel, and a touch of leather.
T: Extremely smooth and integrated flavors of chocolate, caramel, greasy oak, spicy rye, mellow vinous red wine, leather, butterscotch and tobacco. Very decadent, rich, and complex. All the flavor notes are layered together extremely well. This is one of the richest and most potent stouts I’ve had. Both barrels equally come through and add hints of red grapes and tannic red wine mixed with sweet whiskey and spicy rye. Tons of greasy, buttery, oak in the finish, powdery cocoa, sweet dark chocolate syrup, and a honey-like sweetness in the aftertaste. The red wine is almost berry-like at times. Fairly sweet overall.
M: Very thick and heavy body, chewy and rich mouthfeel, very low carbonation. The double digit alcohol overall is hidden very well, but there is still a slight warming presence and thickness to the body that lets you know it’s there.
O: Where is the hype for this one? Completely underrated as a beer. If this came in a little 33cl bottle for the same price, or if it was a two bottle only annual release, people would be going crazy for it. This is masterfully executed, along the same vein as a deal with the devil.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, appearing in color and consistency like well used 40-weight, with a thin brown head with good retention and lacing. Rich aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, bourbon with hints of vanilla and dark dried fruit. Flavor is bourbon soaked dark toasted malt, dark dried fruit, especially dates and figs, vanilla, oak, fabulous. There is a hint of fresh dark fruit, and that is the only hint of the wine barrel ageing I detect. Good medium to heavy bodied, appropriate for the full flavors. A little bit light on carbonation, but the thickness largely makes up for that. A really nicely made barrel aged stout. I'm generally not a big fan of wine barrel aged ales or stout, finding the vinous flavors clashing with the dark malt. Not in this case. The bourbon is the dominant barrel flavor and the fruit from the wine barrels is just light enough to add interest and complexity. Arrived on the market and lasted about 3 nanoseconds, so glad I managed to get a bottle of this. Anchorage does a great job, although many of their ales are styles I'm not fond of; wild yeast and sours. This, in one of my favorite styles, is better than I could hope for. Really full flavored and balanced. Delicious.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Batch #1, bottled March 2013. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch and a half tan head that stuck around for a while. There's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted malt, red wine/grapes, whiskey, chocolate, and a bit of licorice. The brew tastes like roasted malt, chocolate, red wine, whiskey, dark fruit, licorice, molasses, caramel, and some coffee and wood. I think it's tasty! Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and chewy with moderate carbonation. The 13% ABV is well hidden. I liked this brew a lot, I think it's definitely worth trying. I know I'd like to get another bottle of this in the future, it's one of the better beers I've had recently. $17.99 a bottle.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing Matt!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced some tan froth. Minimal lacing.

(S)- A complex aroma. An ever so slight fruity tartness meets a spicy caramel dry barrel with subtle roasted qualities. Just the subtlest grape/raisin hint at the end from the pinot barrel.

(T)- A very complex stout. Faint hints at the fruity pinot barrel met with a great dry oaky spice from the rye barrel. Subtle underling caramel and roasted grains meets raisin and cocoa. A very striking take on a stout.

(M)- A great carbonation level meets a dynamic barrel aged stout. Great rye and caramel meets a superb subtle pinot barrel fruit component.

(O)- The combo of a pinot and rye whiskey barrel is really striking. An absolutely superb stout that used the blend of barrels expertly.

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Photo of dbc5
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle poured into 10 ounce Kentucky Bourbon Stout snifter.

A: Pours a jet black with a nice mocha colored head. Head slowly recedes, leaving a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. No lacing, but there are some alcohol legs left after each swirl. Good looking beer, particularly for a stout of this size.

S: Really interesting nose. There are some classic stout aromas, chocolate being the most prevalent, as well as some light roast. A fair barrel presence is also apparent and comes out even more as the beer warms. When really digging, you can pick up some of the rye whiskey as well. This is an incredibly complex nose.

T: There is a ton going on in this beer. The rye whiskey wasn't particularly present in the nose, but the flavors come through on the palate, although they are not "hot." There is a significant flavor of sweet chocolate and also a lot of dark fruits. The finish is tart dark fruits, lingering chocolate, and a bit of rye whiskey. This beer has a ton to chew on and think about. I am digging it.

M: Moderate to full bodied. Oily and sticky as it leaves the palate. Fairly low carbonation.

O: I am thoroughly impressed by this beer. This beer is incredibly complex and makes for a memorable drinking experience.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from cparles a while back. Cheers!

From a 750 corked and caged bottle into a snifter
Batch #1
March 2013
40 IBU

APPEARANCE: A relatively opaque pour yields a two finger, slightly thinner looking, fizzy, mocha head with decent retention. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a thick, foam cap and eventually to a half wisp and ring. A ring with slight wisp remain but leave no real lacing down the glass. Good looking body but mediocre head.

SMELL: Red wine initially, with whisky, oak, vanilla, caramel and butterscotch aromas on the nose. Some dark chocolate in there as well, with touches of tartness from the wine barrels. Big, bold and complex. Really nice.

TASTE: Whisky, oak, vanilla, with some nice wine and port flavors up front. Big finish with lots of red wine, oak, vanilla, whisky and chocolate bitterness lingering on the palate. Toffee and some sweet caramel go with the red wine and oak. Flavorful and complex with a big, lingering finish. Really nice.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Really good feel here. A touch of heat lingers. Excellent.

OVERALL: This is really, really good. The wine and whisky work really well together, and the feel and look are top notch as well. A better head would help in the overall experience, but that is a minor critique. Well balanced, bold, flavorful, full bodied and extremely complex. Worth pondering on a cold winter's night. Excellent beer that I'm very happy to have been able to try. Thanks again cparles!

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Photo of stx00lax
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Kevin! As always, you the man!

A- pours a lively dark brown/black. Translucent rim to dark core. Minimal head, but obvious carb and good lacing.

S- vinous oak, dark fruits, light smoke, a bit of roast and bourbon. Belgian yeast.

T- much like the nose, my nostalgia sensor immediately triggers bar fly. These are fairly similar beers with bar fly being a little more roasty with a bigger body.

M- on the thinner side of 13% stouts. The bourbon heat becomes prominent as the beer warms. The oak gives it a dryer feel.

O- this is an awesome stout. Currently I think it's underrated. It doesn't have the vanilla/coconut/bourbon qualities that most American ba stouts have, but rather the complex flavor profiles of both Belgian and American stouts combined. Ready to drink fresh

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Photo of rand
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL (batch 1, March 2013) into a tulip. Pours a deep chocolatey brownish black w/ not much head, no lacing. Just some nice boozy legs on the inside of the glass.

Aroma is big chewy molasses, caramel, and vanilla. Dark, smoky, roasty malts, dry bittersweet chocolate, whisky, oak.

Taste is rich and decadent, complex. Dark bitter chocolate, molasses, toffee, vanilla, and a touch of coconut. Rich pipe smoke and bourbon. A numbing alcohol presence lingers on the palate, making my gums tingle. Just a hint of dry, fruity pinot noir from the barrel that's almost more port-like, which grows more prominent as it warms. The dry oak manages to temper the powerful high-gravity sweetness to give this beer a really nice balance that keeps it palatable over the long haul.

Mouthfeel is thick and slick, oily. Just right.

Overall, this is just what the doctor ordered. A big, unrepentant imperial stout with tons of complexity, flavor and body. I am loving this beer right now.

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Photo of macher0
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip

A: Poured black with a slight amber head that retreats to a fine bubble rim. Slight hints of purple on the edges when swirled. Very viscous.

S: Roasted malts, grapes, wine, bourbon, oak. Some sweetness. Some hops. Complex.

T: A little sweet and a little bitter, very complex. Lots going on here. Strong dark roasted malts. Notes of grapes, oak tannins, bourbon soaked oak, dry red wine, cranberries, and hops. Some vanilla and toffee. Strong booze.

M: A little harsh. Low carbonation. Full bodied. The barrel ageing leaves a aftertaste that is a combination of wine and whiskey.

O: A must try. This is a very complex stout that picks up a lot from it's different ageing mechanisms. It's a work of art, but I had to pace myself as it did not go down quite as smooth as other stouts. The booze is very prevalent and adds to the harshness. But this is a delicious ale. I shared the second bottle with others, some of whom are more wine fans than beer, and they loved it.

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Photo of brureview
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured an opaque coffee color in a snifter with a 1/2 finger head.
One of most opaque beers I have seen.

Lots of Onion in the aroma. It's a characteristic that carries to the taste.
Very different for a IS. Chocolate, coffee, oak and wine in the aroma.

MF-a good but not over-dominant alcoholic finish. I can taste chocolate on the tip if my tongue.

Taste: the most unusual IS I have tasted: onion, chocolate, coffee, oak, wine sour, and more.
Highly complex and worthy of tasting at different temps for aroma and taste.
I found that the colder temp brings out more chocolate, and the warmer temp brings out onion.

A lot of thought went into the recipe. Not sure if Summit hops are used in other IS. The hop, along with Brett, and the aging in whiskey and rye barrels bring out the distinct profile of this beer.

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Photo of Brenden
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of BenGap
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've a bottle of Batch # 1, which was bottled in March of 2013, aging in my cellar for 3 years. Since old man winter decided to rear its ugly head here in Cleveland again today in full force after having had fucked off tor the vast majority of the time this winter season, I decided it was appropriate to craft this beer open. Even though this is 13% ABV and Ohio has a legal cap on 12% ABV for beers being sold in the state, this snuck its way onto shelves at a few stores here in the Cleveland area somehow when this beer was originally released. Poured out of a 25.4 oz. bottle into my snifter glass, this beer pours a very dark brown/black color that has no interest in letting in any light at all. Upon pouring this beer into the glass, foam/head wise this beer has a big gray cluster swirl of a film layer foam in the middle of the surface of the beer along with a thick ran ring lining the inside of the glass. Not much lacing, but some. Aromas of toasted caramel malts and some chocolate are present along with a hint of rye along with red wine notes as well of course. The taste is pretty much the same, with some caramel malt sweet notes that give way to some chocolate hints followed by rye whiskey notes and certainly some undertones of oaky red wine along with bits of butterscotch and tobacco as well. One of the most complex flavor profiles I've ever had before in an imperial stout beer. Has a slightly syrupy, chewy, smooth, just ever so slightly prickly, full bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. The 13% ABV subtly creeps up on you as you tame more and more sips of this very intricate beer. Very damn amazing!


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Darkest Hour from Anchorage Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 321 ratings.
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