Friday, December 12, 2008

Deschutes The Abyss review

Deschutes The AbyssI was out holiday shopping after work and stopped by my local beer store to see what was new in the cooler. While looking through the single bottle section I happened to spy a new bottle from the Deschutes Brewery in Oregon that caught my eye. Knowing that I had the chance to try out a new imperial stout, I picked up a 22oz bottle of Deschutes The Abyss. This 2008 release had been talked about on other sites lately and I couldn't pass the chance to review it.

The Abyss is part of their Reserve series of beers and come in limited quantities. The bottle itself had the top sealed in black wax and makes it seem that much more mysterious. I believe Deschutes did the same thing with their Black Butte XX.

The Abyss is considered an imperial stout. This batch had about 33% of the contents aged in either French Oak barrels or Oak bourbon barrels to give it a bit more flavor and aroma. The beer is not to be taken lightly as it comes in at 11% ABV.

Appearance: After pealing off the wax from the cap, I opened it up and could immediately smell a distinctive stout aroma. The beer poured as black as I've seen any beer. You could not see anything through this beer. As the beer filled the glass an enormous brown head grew. For a few seconds I watched the foam give off a cascading effect where the bubbles seem to dance in waves. The foam seems to last a long time and the bubbles cling to the side of the pint glass to leave a nice brown lacing.

Aroma: This brew has a heavenly aroma! I can pick out sweet molasses, chocolate and caramel malts, some dark licorice and a slight whiff of alcohol. I can tell this brew was going to have a lot of flavor.

Taste: The taste was right on the money too. I picked up a lot of coffee and dark roasted malts. It was bitter and coated the tongue slightly and had just the right amount of sweetness from the molasses. The warming effect from this strong brew is almost immediate. Drink this one slowly and savor it.

Pairing Suggestion: I felt this brew could pair well with chocolate, so I went and grabbed a handful of holiday M&M's from the bowl in the living room and chewed a few with this stout. Wow! The chocolate complimented this beer perfectly. Try it next time you sample this beer.

Overall: The Abyss is worth every penny of the $11.99 per bottle. Some stores in my area are limiting customers to just 1 bottle of this and I can see why. It's available in Colorado in small quantities and you'd have to resist the temptation to stockpile this kind of beer. Being a high alcohol brew, this beer would age very well for several years.

This imperial stout ranks right up their with other imperials I've had during this last year. This one gets a big Thumbs Up from me and a grab it while you can recommendation.

Update (8/21/2009): I recently found another 2008 bottle of The Abyss at a local store and had to grab it. I'm currently cellaring this bottle for later review. This beer should age well. Looking forward to a holiday 2009 season opening. If any of you happen to spot one of these bottles still on the shelf - GRAB IT!

Related articles:
- Deschutes Black Butte XX review.
- Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale review.
- Left Hand Imperial Stout review.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.

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