Deschutes The Abyss (2014) : Brewed in Bend, OR at a strength of 11.1% abv with 86 IBUs, this beer is made with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark and vanilla while being blended with carefully aged Abyss from oak bourbon barrels (6%), new Oregon oak barrels (11%) and pinot noir wine barrels (11%). Needless to say, this is a beer that is very complex product which is aptly priced at around $22 a bottle in local private stores. Be sure to check if there are any left in stock as it was released in Nov 2014 so it’s probably a bit hard to find now.
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a very dark brown colour with no visible carbonation with one finger of dark tan foam. The aroma is pungent and complicated featuring prune, tobacco, roasted grains, soot, plum, black currant, booze, oak and cherry. I spent more time smelling this beer than I care to admit; the aroma was so enticing I found myself sniffing it over and over again as I waited for it to warm to proper drinking temperature!
Flavour: Initially there was a lot of toasted oak and cherry bark flavour, which was quite intense and almost sour, however the well toasted bread and caramels appear soon after to balance out the beginning of the beer. In the middle, The Abyss showcased some sweet molasses, prunes and more caramel, which really awakened my palate to let it dive into the dry sooty finish that left me both equally satisfied and pining for another sip of this tantalizing beer.
Overall Impression: Already quite delightful, this beer with be phenomenal in a few years as the flavours continue to blend. The brewery lists an enjoy after date of Nov 2015, but I wanted to have this for my 500th Untappd check-in – yes I was very late to the Untappd game so I am only at 500 unique check-ins.
Rating: I give it an awesome rating of 9/10, it is very complex and enjoyable as I found that it took my taste buds for a wild ride that was both exciting and balanced. The flow of the flavours wasn’t overwhelming at any given point but each could be pinpointed with ease which is always a great sign of how talented the brewers are who made the beer.
Food Pairing: A strong pungent Stilton would stand up to this nicely, however I would enjoy this on its own as there’s already a lot going on there and you don’t want to mask any of the delightful flavours in this beer.
Everything you ever wanted to know about this beer is featured in this interview of founder Gary Fish (and staff) who talks about the origin of the idea, the ingredients and the process they use to make it.