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RATINGS: 1432   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.2   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 68   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
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This special Reserve Series brew will only be offered December Ė February (limited distribution)
The Abyss: Stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. Itís dark. Itís deep. Itís mysterious. Aged in French Oak and Bourbon barrels, this special brew has immeasureable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. The flavor of molasses and licorice draw you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
DYCSoccer17 (3357) - Woodland, California, USA - FEB 2, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2011 22 ounce bottle. Late 2007 version. Leathery, ethanolic aroma initially. Kind of salty, too. I get some roasted choco malts and pine needles, but the aroma on this is pretty underwhelming to say the least. It is a gorgeous, opaque, black body with a large, brown, rocky, head that has plenty of stamina and lacing. Truly beautiful. Inky, oily mouthfeel to start, which becomes quite roasted, burnt, and coffee-like. A little chocolate and a little anise is also present. The oak aging just doesnít really make much of a presence in this beer. It does finish quite dry and bitter with some pine/grapefruit hops melded with some ethanolic booziness. Still kind of hot. I will be sure to re-rate this in a year or so.*********************2011 Bottle*************************This should be a new rating, seeing this beer has totally different ingredients than past beers. The aroma on this is very woody with tons of oak (not french oak). Thereís a light ashiness as well as mild roastiness. Some coffee and anise is barely detectable. Pours an opaque black body with a rather medium dissipating medium brown head. Wish there was better retention. Starts a little fruity in a way, like there might be some acidic cherries present, before this becomes super roasted and burnt in the middle. Unsweetened chocolate follows, and then there is some woody and ashy character. Not much on the anise. Warming, long, bitter finish. A brash beer, and this is quite unrefined. 7/4/6/3/13

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
douglas88 (6336) - Portland, Oregon, USA - FEB 1, 2008
UPDATED: APR 2, 2014 Bottle shared by footbalm. Pours a deep dark brown with a similarly brownish head. The aroma is really great; deep moss covered earth, smoke, coffee, and some sweet molasses. The taste is top notch, really complex and yet so damn smooth. As with many great beers this changes a ton with warming; first, a bitter chocolate flavor with dark fruits, vanilla, brown sugar, and smoke. Later with warming the fruit and roasted malts come to fore, so damn good. A bourbon taste for sure, along with a really great creamy body. The ABV is strong at first, then nonexistent. Wow! All it was hyped to be. Re-rate: at the 2010 Imperial Stout tasting Sam crack open the vertical, 2006-2009! 2006 was sublime, dark fruit, oily and powerful. 2007 might have stolen the show, just amazing; rich fruits, plums and figs, oily can nastiness that I love. My faith in the Abyss is 100%. 2008 and 09 are great, but waiting to peak. I had a whole fresh 2009 recently and didnít dig it as much, but after trying all vintages I know this beer is among the best, and it cellars great. Thanks a ton Sam! 2010 vintage from the Utah State Store on 3300S. Rich, huge dry cocoa, dark fruit, bourbon, woody. Awesome. 2011: rich bitter chocolate and hops. Very fruity and dry, more barrel noticed than usual. Heavy bitter chocolate. Not much of the oil and dark fruit that I love. Itís too fresh. Re-rate: had a 2010-2013 vertical at Belmont. The 2010 was the highlight, light oxidation way smoother and more dark fruit and ash. The newer versions were more muddled with anise, vanilla, spices and licorice especially. All were good. The 2013 was the worst. 2012 was better than 2011 and 2013. 2007, my precious. 7 years of age. Certainly oxidized. Huge dark fruit. The bourbon is way bigger than expected, it has lasted totally without fading away. Still, really great. Superb beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
pintsize (1042) - Austin, Texas, USA - FEB 1, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 19, 2008 1-27-08 bottle (2006 and 2007 tasted side by side) at a mini tasting.
Both the 06 and 07 were very similar in ratings for me. The 06 had more vanilla in the aroma and flavor slightly, but the 07 stood out a little more overall - although nothing too distinguishable.
Motor oil black pour with spotted tan lacing from a nice tan head. Aroma is that of a sweet chocolate vanilla with caramel in there too. Strong chocolate and vanilla flavor. Palate is dreamy - so creamy and perfect. The texture and finish are incredible. One of the best beers of the style Iíve had - without a doubt!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
KimJohansen (10350) - Frederiksberg C, DENMARK - FEB 1, 2008
Coutesy of Ungstrup. Pitch black with medium head. Sweet aroma with roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Sweet flavor with roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Good complexity and very well balanced. Lovely!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - JAN 31, 2008
UPDATED: FEB 23, 2008 22 oz bottle from BevMo: The darkest of browns with a generous dark mocha head: Aroma is roasty coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of smoke. Flavor starts rich dark chocolate followed by some strong coffee bitterness and a chocolaty, lightly dry bitter finish. Full body is creamy with moderate carbonation.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Zinister (1423) - Houston, Texas, USA - JAN 31, 2008
2007 version. Thanks to MaltOMeal for this beer. Poured at the 1/28 Houston tasting. Pour is dark as an abyss with a beautiful mocha head with nice lacing. Aroma is very earthy wood with a bit of cigar smoke. Taste is coffee with rich hops and molasses. Nice and creamy with a drying finish of bitter coffee and hops. Wonderful tasting, but this will only get better.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
theisti (3297) - Leawood, Kansas, USA - JAN 31, 2008
UPDATED: AUG 5, 2012 <<<RE-RATE 6/9/08>>>
2006 Reserve (Batch 1)
Bottle courtesy of after4ever. Pour is all black with great settling and a gorgeous dark tan head. Beautiful beer. Aroma of roasted malts, earthy tobacco and some sweetness - honey, perhaps, but really sticky honey. Taste is the roast, mostly, but some really interesting pine bitter hoppiness gets added to the mix. The honey sweetness from the nose is not present in the taste. Very smooth, very melded flavors. This was an effective amount of aging for this one. Nice beer, thanks for grabbing this one for me Tom. Rating unchanged from previous. (8,5,9,4,17 - 4.3)

<<<ORIGINAL RATING 1/31/08>>>

2007 Reserve (Batch 2)
22 oz bottle shared by MaltOMeal, 8th bottle sampled at the 1/28 Houston tasting. Pour is solid black, with a 1/2 inch khaki head. Aroma of oak woodiness and some charred / burning maltiness. Taste is big coffee roastiness initially, transitioning to some licorice, finishing in a crisp bright hoppiness. Some heat in the finish. Despite the young age, and apparent heat in the finish this is a very refined and well put together beer. the flavors swirled nicely as this warmed, and had a really deep complexity. Huge thanks for sharing this one Bill, I thought it was a toss up between this and the 2008 Big Foot for beer of the night. (8,5,9,4,17 - 4.3) I will use this rating.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
lb4lb (2555) - Austin, Texas, USA - JAN 31, 2008
UPDATED: APR 17, 2014 Shared a friend?s ?06 alongside my ?07 and found the two to be very similar but I thought the flavors popped a bit more in the fresher version actually, although they were nearly indistinguishable.
Pours black as night with a short lived nice tan head. Smells like chocolate cake, graham crackers, fresh baked chocolate cookies, and unique for an imperial stout, also with a hint of molasses. Taste is drying cocoa, roastiness, light cigar like tobacco-y flavors and char. Simply fantastic. Body is creamy but slightly drying at the same time. Perfect light to medium carbonation and the 11% is completely hidden to me. This easily lives up to the hype and is an amazing beer. Wow...

On rerate I donít get the Graham cracker smell at all that I loved, on tap in this 2012 vintage in 2014 , or the complexity I loved from the 08 bottles I bought tons of. It still is good but it was missing a lot of the ashy, licorice, graham and cigar like nuances that made it so unique and one of my all time favorites. Still very tasty, and a nice dark chocolate like, roasty/burnt, and rich bodied beer that Iíd gladly revisit when I get the chance.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Theis (13801) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - JAN 31, 2008
Bottle (Thanks Jens) at PlanB. Black - brown head. Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, chokolate, burned, sweetness, oak, high sticky sweetness. Lovely.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
thooper41 (548) - BELGIUM - JAN 30, 2008
UPDATED: FEB 9, 2008 22oz bottle: pours used motor oil black with a tan head that doesnt go away. aroma is rosted malty and hints of yeast. flavor hits you with a pretty hard roasted flavor then then the rest comes throguh the licorice comes throguh pretty well and its got a decent amoount of hops more then i have had in a stout but not bad at all. very solid beer. didnt taste any of the oak not to say it didnt change the beer just couldnt pick up the flavor. this is a very fine beer with a ton of time put into it and it shows. i poured all 22oz into one mug and sipping through it and till the very end the head is still there. i just cant see how people are talking this beer down. THIS IS THE STOUT OF ALL STOUTS!

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