Deschutes Brewing The Abyss Imperial Stout 2008

I was lucky enough to be brought a bottle of Deschutes Brewing They Abyss from 2008. Wow.

I could just end the review there. Wow. But, that’s not why you come to the site now, is it?

Chocolate, coffee, black licorice charred molasses are all up front on the nose. As it warmed in the glass, a slight hint of fig came through. The tiny bubbles open up the alcohol warmth. Originally labeled as 11%, we’re guessing it’s much closer to 13% after about four years in the cellar.

Needless to say, this pours a syrupy dark brown that I’d qualify as about 50w20 or so. Definitely passes the stout hole test with ease. Showing its age, the head didn’t stick around long, but the deep brown, tight bubbles carried the warm alcohol upward.

First tastes were muted. Thick and viscous, the chocolate and coffee dominated. The bitterness matched that of a cheap cup of coffee, but the sweetness from the molasses and oak barrel aging balanced that out nicely. It finishes very dry and nearly chalky in the back of the mouth. As it warms up, the alcohol dryness definitely emerges.

Here’s the deal. When you’re drinking a beer that’s more than a year old, it’s going to do some funky things. This is a funky beer, but in the best possible way. If you see this in the stores, pick up four bottles or so and enjoy one each year and see how it changes.


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