The Abyss 2009 Vintage Reserve by Deschutes Brewing is an 11% Imperial Stout brewed with Licorice and Molases with 33% aged in French oak and Bourbon Barrels. This version has been cellared for at least 3 years and now it is time to unleash it’s fury…of flavor ofcourse…I assume that the ABV is probably higher as it has risen over time. Like a 12 or 13% maybe higher.
====Upon getting the first aromatic notes of this ale I immediately thought of Madrugada Obscura a.k.a Dark Dawn from Jolly Pumpkin. The fragrance is like a funky sour wine mixed in with an imperial stout like Madrugada Obscura was but less sour. Although a sour Imperial Stout is pretty awesome. Lots of rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, grapes, molasses, licorice, milk chocolate, barley wine caramel, graham crackers, almonds and some other spicy aromas that are just nice but not sure I can name 😛 . What a challenge :D. The flavors are going all over the place. As I figured, just because it smells as good as Madrugada Obscura, doesn’t mean it taste like it. The flavors are much much more complex. We have sweetness of dark and milk chocolate, espresso and mocha, raisins, cherry and plums but still allowing some roasted and smokey notes from the coffee to develop. The sweetness bitters up into a earthy hops with notes of citrus and pine. Some tangy wine and oaky wood flavor follow and are complemented by the vanilla, bourbon, almond, coconut and caramel on the way out. The beer actually gets better in flavor as it warms up. This beer is crazy as the alcohol notes are still pushed back to let the flavors go through so it finishes smooth and dry which many may find nice as it may not be too overwhelming. Yes, even if it does have a lot to offer, the flavors don’t stay forever and the alcohol will have it’s wrath simply because you don’t really feel that it is there. It will creep into your soul O.O. The beer is definitely setup for you to keep exploring more and more. A rollercoaster of flavor in a bottle.
Crazy how one beer can do a lot in one. I have had several of the best beers in the world and to some that have exceeded my expectations usually fly because of their caramel or chocolate sweetness or just some crazy flavor that is so awesome and overwhelming. This one exceeds my expectations because you get a variety of many aspects of beer(bitter, sweet, sour, smokey, tangy, fruity and hoppy) and they are all balanced, delicious not too overwhelming. No wonder for people, this is once of the best Imperial stouts in the world and well, damn hard to find. It is definitely up there with the Founders KBS, Bourbon County Stout and others. Although Chocolate Rain is the major bad ass for me simply because it is pure chocolate in a bottle. But this definitely in great world class league and can still compete. As it warms ups it goes up to more chocolate covered raisins and vanilla flavors 😉