Friday, January 29, 2016

Anderson Valley Huge Arker (review)

Beer Review #88

Some online beer critics have reviewed thousands of beers (One of my favorites: Greg's Beer Reviews).

This is only my 88th beer, but I'm not too "man" to admit that most have been only marginally different from the previous beer of the same style. That said, every once in awhile you crack open a beer that redefines what you thought was possible. As far as Imperial Stouts are concerned, Huge Arker seems to be, for me, just such a beer.

Not my first Anderson Valley beer (I had their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout before I started writing beer reviews), but certainly my first Anderson Valley beer review, for my 88th beer review I'm having a taste of Huge Arker Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, and it is exquisite.

At 13.5%ABV Huge Arker this is indeed a "huge" beer, but its not all booze.

"True to its Bootlegging moniker, “Huge Arker” is a massive force of nature that detonates on your tongue. After primary fermentation, the beer is aged in Wild Turkey® Bourbon barrels until it fully matures. The deep mahogany color is evocative of the opulence to follow. Dark luscious aromas of burnished oak mingle with candy sugar, bourbon and hearth-baked bread. The luxurious flavors redolent of honey and molasses are intertwined with the richness of dark chocolate and the ardent warmth of alcohol, underpinned with hints of coffee, vanilla and dark fruits."

I'm 33 years old, and not a huge whiskey drinker. I've had the standards - Wild Turkey , Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort  a few times, but its not a classification of alcoholic beverage I've pursued. I like beer. I like big strong, warming, filling "meals in a glass," so sipping a few ounces of throat burning whiskey was never very appealing to me. That said, I'm quickly developing a taste for beers aged in previously used oak barrels.

 Aging beers in whiskey barrels, sucking up the "devil's cut," is all the rage right now, and Huge Arker does not disappoint. After aging for 6 months in Wild Turkey barrels, Huge Arker is, as I said, exquisite.

Pour a glass of Wild Turkey, or your favorite American Bourbon Whiskey, toss in a couple of ice cubes, let it mature and dilute, and you'll start to have an idea of what the barrel contributes to Huge Arker. Relative to beer, the aroma is big on bourbon - which is to say coconut, vanilla, cream aromas pulled from the wood.

Taste is, again, coconut and vanilla, with licorice and cream developing later during the session.. There is bitterness, but its tough to place blame on any particular breed of hop. Expect some warmth also, as this is 13.5% beer. If I had the patients I'd grab up a second bottle to age...




Musical Pairing: Horns by Children of Bodom

Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
River Barge Brewing (Wyalusing)
Waverly Discount Beverage (Waverly)
Soprano's Italian Market (Waverly)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)

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