Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beer # 161 - The Abyss 2009 & 2008 Deschutes Brewery, Bend Oregon

This month marked the arrival of Deschutes' Reserve imperial stout. It is a limited release, so don't delay to give it a try. At 11% & 65 IBU's, it packs a punch, as well it should. At their Portland Brew House location, they offer samples of the 2008 release as well. Let's travel back in time, then return to the present release. Come follow me into the Abyss!

The Abyss - 2008
It pours opaque with a light-tawny head.

The aroma holds strong alcohol tones and malt with mild sweetness.

The full body delivers a robust roast malt flavor. The intense flavors seem surprisingly balanced. Biscuit, hop freshness and licorice all unfold on the tongue. Molasses also makes an appearance and lasts through the full finish.

The aftertaste holds the roast malt and molasses sticky on the palate, but is very smooth and gets smoother as you drink.

The Abyss 2009
It pours opaque with a dark tawny head.

The aroma is malt with sweetness. The roast tones are there, as well but a little lighter than expected. Lighter, it seems, than the 2008.

The full body presents BIG malt packed with licorice, roast, oak and bitter chocolate tones. There is a lot there and it evolves as it is enjoyed. It holds a dominating presence over the palate. These flavors last through the finish where the licorice and roast tones take it to the aftertaste.

It finishes relatively clean for such a big sticky thick beer. A hop freshness arrives late and helps the palate from being too dominated. Malt roast and sticky molasses linger on the palate delivering a robust dominating presence without being overly sticky and coating the taste buds. It has more alcohol presence and gets more complex as you drink it.

The Abyss does not hold back. There are many flavors hiding in it's opaque mysteriousness. As it evolves over enjoying, you'll only know the true virtues of the beer when you reach the bottom of the Abyss!


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