Sunday, December 8, 2013

Deschutes Brewery - The Abyss 2013 Reserve

Worth taking the fall?
In the crazy, wacky world of craft beer fanaticism, the ugly specter of "hype" often rears it's ugly head. Certain beers get a lot of buzz, whether they deserve it or not. Example, you ask? Okay, how about Pliny the Elder? Russian River's double IPA is the stuff of hype legend. For a while, you couldn't find a bottle of the stuff anywhere, and when you did, the price was crazy high. Even at a ridiculously inflated sticker price, as soon as a few bottles hit the storeroom of your local bottle shop, they were snatched up immediately.

Some seasonal/annual craft beer releases get a lot of hype, too. One such brew is Deschutes Brewery's The Abyss. No doubt, it's a special beer. It's an Imperial Stout that is barrel-aged and brewed with special ingredients. Craft beer aficionados snatch up the wax-sealed bombers the minute they are released and subsequently squirrel them away in cellars to mellow and blossom with age. Of course, the stuff doesn't come cheap. I paid $16 of the 22 oz. bottle I'm drinking tonight. Is it worth it?

The beer poured into my tulip snifter a solid, pitch black color with a reddish mocha head. The head rose up to about a 1/2 inch high and quickly dissipated. A complete ring and some light webs of lace were left behind on the glass.

Aroma was sweet, dark molasses, chocolate, licorice and some underlying booze. Hints of dark fruit in the background. Over-ripe cherries, raisins and dates.

Taste gave a nice sock of bitter, dark chocolate and espresso right off the bat. Hints of licorice, vanilla and oak. Subtle booze, but not overpowering--and not at all hinting at the 11% ABV. No alcohol burn to the brew. Delicious.

Full mouthfeel with moderate to low carbonation. Creamy finish. The bitter cocoa and a solid, roasted malt flavor were left behind at the end.

I must say, this beer lived up to the hype. There is just a little bit of a harsh to the brew. I wish the bitterness had just a little bit less of a edge. Definitely a good pick to cellar for the holidays next year because I'm betting it will get better with some age on it. I'm giving The Abyss 2013 Reserve a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. The Wonder Beagle gave it a huge puddle of approval.

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