As the summer weather is beginning to break, the anticipation for "cold weather beers" heightens. If you're at all acquainted with West Coast offerings, I'm sure you're mindful of the infamous Reserve brew,The Abyss, from Bend Oregon'sÂ Â Deschutes Brewery. The Abyss is an inky, pitch black Imperial Stout brewed with molasses, licorice, and aged in oak casks & oak bourbon barrels - a perfect example of such "cold weather beers".Â
As you can see, the name translates well to this one. There is no way any sort of light could penetrate this bottomless brew. Upon pouring, the perfect level of carbonation kicks up a delicious, creamy khaki colored head that sticks around long enough to enjoy.
The instant you take your first sip, you know this beer is special. The multitude of flavors and complexities is almost confusing to your taste buds, but leaves you anxious for the next sip each time you set the glass down.
Even if you're not a fan of licorice, like myself, don't let that keep you away from this one. There is a hint of licorice, but it's mellowed dramatically by the perfect balance of sweet molasses, fitly bitter espresso-like flavors, and roasted malts. All of this fits the ideal flavor profile for an Imperial Stout.
Deschutes takes this to the next level with the barrel aging, rounding it all out with hints of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.Â At 11% ABV, this beer will warm you up in no time, although, it is a feat in itself to keep the alcohol flavors as concealed as they are, making this pretty easy to drink for such a big beer. The overall balance in this complex beer is the mark of aÂ truly talented brewer.
The 2010 Reserve marks the fifth release of this award winning, highly anticipated beer. We tasted this bottle within a year of it's release, but if you can resist the urge to crack it, this is one that definitely does well in the cellar.
Unfortunately, if you are anywhere East of the Mississippi River, this is one you will have to travel for. With no distribution on the East Coast, or even close for that matter, we were lucky enough to be gifted this bottle from a friend and for that we thank you because this is a MUST have brew.
If you are lucky enough to be within range of this brew, keep your eyes peeled for an early winter release and get your hands on this before it's all gone because this one lives up to the hype!