Since the genesis of this website this writer has sought to avoid repeating himself. Despite best efforts this goal fails whenever we are asked to review beers like Deschutes’ The Abyss Imperial Stout.
Despite what many people believe, The Abyss is not the same beer every year. Unlike their regular line-up of beers like Black Butte Porter or Inversion India Pale Ale, The Abyss starts with a base recipe before they add a little something extra. Because of this, and despite our best efforts, this is one of the few beers from Deschutes that we HAVE to try, again and again.
A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.
As for the great "drink it now or let it age" debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure a year on.
Suggested Style Guidelines from the Brewery Association
Whether you try it on draft (starting November 15 at all three pub locations) or out of the bottle, The Abyss pours dark as pitch without a shred of light passing through it. Resting in the glass it’s evident this is a true protein drink, as a strong 2 inches of khaki-colored head forms on top. As the warms up further this strong cap of salt & pepper white disappears leaving behind a wreath of lace behind.
Taking that first inhale one is immediately greeted by the aroma of black licorice, before notes of aged dripped coffee, and dark fruits (cherries, raisins) round out the olfactory experience.
Sipping there is a definite presence of powdered cocoa, molasses, as well as that familiar black licorice. Further analysis reveals notes of ash or charcoal (and tobacco?) before finishing out again with dark fruits (raisins, cherries, etc.). Overall Deschutes Brewery’s The Abyss 2011 Imperial Stout provides a definite heavy weight as it coarses along the palate.
You Must Have This. Like previous years The Abyss asks you to enjoy one now but save another one, a year later. Consumed with smoked turkey, a sharp cheese & raisin salad, or with a slice of german chocolate cake; The Abyss is a welcome addition at any dinner table.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
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.
About the photo’s 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.