For those who follow the brewery from Bend otherwise known as Deschutes Brewery, last month was a busy one. December, featured one Bond Street Series Beer in the Hop Henge Experimental India Pale Ale but two (2) Reserve Series ales in The Dissident Oud Bruin and The Abyss Imperial Stout.
Of the three listed, so far we have only had the pleasure of discussing The Dissident Oud Bruin. But, it wasn't as if we didn't have the opportunity to try the Hop Henge Experimental IPA or The Abyss, in fact The Abyss is our topic in this write up.
According to the Brewers Association, of which Deschutes is a member of , the style guidelines for an Imperial Stout, are based on which country influences the brewer. According to the BA, an Imperial Stout brewed in the British-style is …
Dark copper to very dark brown, British-style imperial stouts typically have high alcohol content. The extremely rich malty flavor (often characterized as toffee-like or caramel-like) and aroma are balanced with medium hopping and high fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderate and balanced with sweet malt character. The bitterness may be higher in the darker versions. Roasted malt astringency is very low or absent. Bitterness should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma can be subtle to moderately hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent.
Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.080-1.100 (19.5-23 ºPlato) ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.020-1.030 (4-7.5 ºPlato) ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5-9.5% (7-12%) ● Bitterness (IBU) 45-65 ● Color SRM (EBC) 20-40 (40-80+ EBC)
But to those who brew a more American-style Imperial Stout, the Brewer’s Association suggests an Imp. Stout that is …
Black in color. American-style imperial stouts typically have a high alcohol content. Generally characterized as very robust. The extremely rich malty flavor and aroma are balanced with assertive hopping and fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderately high to very high and balanced with full sweet malt character . Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderately perceived but should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma is usually moderately-high to overwhelmingly hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent.
Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.080-1.100 (19.5-23 ºPlato) ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.020-1.030 (4-7.5 ºPlato) ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5-9.5% (7-12%) ● Bitterness (IBU) 50-80 ● Color SRM (EBC) 40+ (80+ EBC)
Deschutes The Abyss 2010 comes across more as a American-style Imperial Stout, which is evident when one breaks the wax seal, removes the bottle cap, and pours this dark ale that when closely examined next to the light, produces an opaque impression. As the beer rests in the glass an initial strong mocha foamy head forms on top, but dies relatively quickly, leaving only a wreath of lace around the exterior circumference of the glass.
As we swirl the glass and place the glass under our nose we pick up notes of roasted coffee, dark fruits which potentially are implied from the use of molasses, black licorice, but overall there is a roasted caramel impression that is left in our mind.
Taking our first sip we are initially greeted by burnt, roast, coffee as well as dark licorice, with a general sensation of fresh oak is extracted from our olfactory memory, before we detect molasses, some minor citrus and vanilla in the finish. Overall the weight that is felt on the tongue from this beer is medium to strong and there is a minor stickiness that goes along with the medium alcohol burn.
The Abyss has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors draw you in further and further with each sip. And at 11% alcohol by volume, you will want to slowly savor each and every ounce.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 marks the fourth release of this dark and mysterious imperial stout. Limited availability in wax-dipped 22-ounce bottles and on draft at a few select establishments.
“The Abyss was one of those beers I didn’t want to end. I was totally blown away - this is precious stuff.” Christian DeBenedetti, beer writer and Men’s Journal contributor
Ranked #4 on BeerAdvocate.com's Top Beers on Planet Earth!
You Should Buy This. The Abyss Imperial Stout is a great definition of the American-style. When contemplating what food would go well this beer, you should evaluate beef, buffalo, alligator, lamb, or even something smoked such as a savory pork loin. For the dairy lovers this would complement anything with a creamy texture (buttery?) such as Brie, Gouda, Havarti or Swiss. Finally, one could consider enjoying this on Valentines Day with some creamy chocolate truffles, chocolate cake, or maybe some Rocky Road.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.