Beer Review: Deschutes – The Abyss

Purchased at Kn’B Wine Cellars in Del Cerro. $14.99 / 22 oz bottle.

Reviewed on Jan 7th 2012, bottle with a best after date of Aug 4th, 2012.

Malt Beverage with Black Strap Mollasess, licorice and cherry bark and vanilla added. 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% in oak barrels, and 11% in oak wine barrels.

Apperance: Black as night, Absolutely no light entering nor exiting the darkness that is The Abyss. Head is of a tight creamy like consistency. Mocha, brown-like head, and one of the darkest I’ve found on a beer. Lacing is excellent, clinging to every corner of the glass as I swirl it to agitate and coax the aroma.

Smell: Is of smokey roasted malt. Definently of the “roasty/toasty” variety. Very chocolate covered espresso bean like with a bittering like roast quality. Oak is subtle yet noticeable. Not picking much of the licorice and vanilla. Cherry bark addition while not upfront is a likely contributing factor to the smokiness.

Taste: Excellent, well balanced for a fresh imperial stout like this one that is even drank before its best after date. Hops are neutral in flavor, but add a bitterness, and welcomed balancing aide. Licorice is more noticeable on the palate finishing with a spicy like quality. Subtle sweet chocolate hits you on the initial taste.

Mouthfeel: Spot on, just the right consitency bringing you this full bodied beer but without enough carbonation to lift the beer and not become a syrupy mess.

Overall: A true treat and one of the more sought after ales in this barrel aged stout category. It has all the stylistic elements you come to expect in an imperial stout but with added complexities of cherry bark and various oak barrel blending. An awesome beer to not only age, but also a great one fresh. As fresh, you get a lot more bitterness and roast notes. Buy this beer whenever possible because when its gone, its gone. Drink now. Age some for later and with enough patience you’ll be well rewarded with a world class beer. A+.


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