Anderson Valley Brewing Company Huge Arker – Russian Imperial Stout at 13.5% ABV

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Huge Arker Russian Imperial Stout at 13.5% ABV ($21.84 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours nearly solid black with only a hint of mahogany around the margins, one finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is bourbon, boozy dark fruit, candi sugar, vanilla, oak, faint dark chocolate. (9/10) Taste is strong sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, low carbonation and slightly syrupy, warming mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Well, it’s huge, I’ll give it that. But the hugeness derives from the aggressive alcohol burn and the strong, syrupy sweetness. I’m a bit surprised at the relative absence of stout character – yes, it’s dark, but the body actually tends to the light side, and there’s very little roast/coffee/chocolate character. What there is of that seems to be completely drowned out by the bourbon – and don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind bourbon, nor do I think this isn’t a good beer. It could just be a better one – especially for the truly ridiculous price. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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