Thursday, December 22, 2011


There are imperial stouts, and then there are imperial stouts. Then there’s DESCHUTES BREWING’s “THE ABYSS”, far and away the best big-ABV, big-taste stout I’ve ever had. I’ve been singing its praises every year, and for good reason. It never fails, it never tires, and every time I have it I’m reminded just what a blow-your-brains-out style this can be when done right. Mostly, it’s not – too harsh, too “cocoa”, too coffee, too boozy, too whatever. ABYSS nails it across the board on every dimension, and that’s why the thing seems to sell out so quickly, despite being produced in fairly decent numbers every year.

I set a personal record with my recent bottle of ABYSS 2010, too. I “laid it down” for an entire year! I’m normally too impatient to keep anything around for a year – I’m the polar opposite of the hoarder. I’m whatever you call someone who’s constantly throwing crap out, which is why I don’t have a record collection or a book collection of any note. This one I threw down my throat instead. ABYSS 2011 just came out, so I figured I could get going with this one. It’s a revelation. Oak, vanilla, light coffee taste and a stronger dose of dark but non-bitter chocolate. Creamy, with virtually no head at all. Many of these imperial big boys might have all these elements, but they just don’t come together like this. Like the chocolate might taste like a cocoa-dipped hop cone – rather than a goddamn stick of chocolate. Stick with the best folks, and get that 2011 ABYSS while you still can. 10/10.

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