Sunday, June 27, 2010

362. Deschutes The Abyss 2009 Reserve

More fancy stuff for the final week, and more from Deschutes. Ah, Deschutes. So near and dear. And being that this is lucky number 7 from Deschutes, what a way to round things out, no? Our last six include Black Butte Porter XXI, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Hop Trip, Inversion, and Red Chair IPA.

Described on the front label as a “stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels,” The Abyss pours a rich thick espresso brown with a creamy tan head that reduces to a thin persistent covering; when swirled, it leaves legs on the glass and raises more of the creamy tan head. The nose is roasted malt with a dash of an herbal licorice aroma in the background (as opposed to an anise-based licorice aroma). Flavors open with rich molasses and chocolate sweetness, and move into roasted malt and dark coffee creaminess in the middle coupled with low levels of bitterness before finishing with a touch of vanilla and a light bourbon based alcohol presence mixed with a bit of tannic oak, roasted and burnt malt flavors, and chocolate. Abyss has a heavy body that is lightly vinous, creamy, and chewy, although lighter on the palate and cleaner than either Dark Lord or Serpent Stout. There is some warming from the alcohol, but no hotness or bite; the carbonation is light to medium, and mixes well with the oak to round the beer across the profile. An excellent beer that is drinkable now, Abyss should (hopefully) continue to develop with age. Abyss is the best of the last three; it has the wider and more complex range of flavors than Serpent Stout, and it comes together more coherently than Dark Lord. Lots more o’ the yummy—go Deschutes!

From the bottle: “It’s dark. It’s deep. It’s mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.”

From the Deschutes website: “The Abyss has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors draw you in further and further with each sip. And at 11% alcohol by volume, you will want to slowly savor each and every ounce. Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 marks the fourth release of this dark and mysterious imperial stout. Limited availability in wax-dipped 22-ounce bottles and on draft at a few select establishments.”

ABV: 11.0%
IBU: 65
Best After: 11/1/2010

Elli’s parents, who were visiting, were less impressed than we were with this beer.


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