Thursday, August 11, 2011
Deschutes Brewery - The Abyss
I'll admit it, I was a little apprehensive going into this tasting. I had been craving for more of The Abyss ever since I tried it for the first time over a year ago. But something in me was worried that it wouldn't be as good the second time around. And I didn't know if I wanted to mess with the greatest memory I have of drinking a beer. Absolutely everything about the Abyss the first time around blew me away. Was it really possible for a beer to do that twice? Unfortunately not.
I opened a bottle of 2010 Abyss last week with Beau and another coworker who had never tried the beer before. Beau tried it on tap for the first time a few weeks back while he was in Portland and wasn't impressed, so I was determined to blow his mind with the bottled version. After battling with the wax seal for a little too long, we opened the bottle and poured. A viscous-looking mass poured out and brought up a one finger light brown head. The color of the head was different than I remembered, but other than that, things were still going well. Then I took a whiff and it smelled like a different beer.
This time around, I picked up a lot of oak right away- a smell I don't remember encountering at all before. Behind the oak were some rich aromas of raisin, dark chocolate, vanilla, burnt brown sugar and leather. Some of these were familiar smells, some were not. The smell was fantastic and had incredible depth, but it didn't quite move me like the first time around.
The taste was a bit thinner than the 2009 version, but had some great flavors of molasses and dark chocolate upfront, followed by a heavy roasted flavor, some smoke, a bit of bourbon and wet earth. The finish is slightly roasted and acidic. Overall, it was still a fantastic beer, but I was a little let down. Maybe it's a product of me trying so many beers in the past year that it's gotten very difficult to impress me. Or maybe this bottle just needed some more time to age (luckily I have one more tucked away for later). Either way, The Abyss is still my favorite beer, although now I wonder if it's grip on first place has been loosened a bit. I guess it's true that you can only fall in love for the first time once and, Abyss, you'll always be my first.
Final Grade: A+
Top 100 Beers Tasted: 25