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RATINGS: 1410   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Beershine (5218) - The Sunshine State, Florida, USA - DEC 17, 2007
Pours totally opaque black-brown and thick. Not much head but leaves delightful lacing. Strong and rich, nuanced and alcoholic.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 10, 2007
GABF 2007, 2006 Vintage. Dark black, mostly transparent pour with a thick head of well sustaining tan foam. A distinct barrel character wafts from the beer, complimenting the roasted malt complexities nicely. Silky smooth coffee and dark bakerís chocolate blends with some doughy caramel, baked pretzel, and thick molasses. Thereís a really nice balance between all the different dimensions, creating an aroma that is aggressive, but at the same time prevents the roast, barrel, alcohol, etc. from dominating the nose. Medium full bodied, exquisitely soft, creamy mouthfeel. Both the appearance and mouthfeel of this beer are notably exceptional. Sweet chocolate nougat warms the tongue up front, before revealing some chewy caramel and a touch of star anise spice. A bourbony caramel warmth slowly starts to build along with some oak, joining the roast flavors in the creschendo toward a drying bitter roast finish. Long lasting, silky roast finish with a gentle warming alcohol. This was my favorite imperial stout (bourbon barrel or not) of the several I sampled at GABF.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ThomasE (5176) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - DEC 6, 2007
UPDATED: SEP 7, 2008 Pitch black colour with a brown head. Roasted, light coffee bitter aroma with notes of some chocolate and vanilla sweetness. Coffee bitter flavor with a vanilla and choclate sweetness. Roasted finish with a light alcohol sweet note. From a blind tasting 8-4-8-4-17

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
brewandbbq (269) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - DEC 5, 2007
Vintage 2006 Pours opaque black, with a brown, rocky head that reluctantly swells up to the surface. A good inch-plus of dense foam at the peak before decention. Thick webbing of lacework clings to the glass like brown cobwebs. Aromatics are loaded with rich chocolate, kona roast, and brownie batter. Slightly warming in the nose with a faint oaky dryness. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but not overly so. Incredibly smooth and silky. Intense chocolate and espresso on the pallet. Probably the most chocolate Iíve ever tasted in an RIS. Fudgy and decadent. Hopping is subdued and thereís no bitterness to speak of or citrusy resins. What follows through on each sip though, is such a well integrated beer. Everything seems so balanced for having such large flavor components. Melded. A faint bourbon note as well as some slight oak come through on the exhale. Finishes warming, chocolaty, and with a hint of viniosity. A terrific beer, but it could use some heavier blending with more of the barrels. A bit subdued in that aspect.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
elektronikfagtekniker (891) - kbh, DENMARK - NOV 28, 2007
bottle. it has a black color with a medium head. it is slightly sweet and also slightly smoked in aroma and taste. smooth and roasty. bit buttery.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
asteele8 (322) - Des Moines, Washington, USA - NOV 13, 2007
Bottle - 2006. Pours a very thick dark black color with a nice tan head on top. The head on this beer is extremely thick also which looks like a pile of sand on top of the beer, very detailed. Aroma is highly complex with chocolate, licorice, molasses, caramel, coffee, cherries, and smoke. Flavor is dark chocolate, licorice, earthiness very comparable to coffee from Sumatra, caramel and molasses. The oak and bourbon barrel presence is in the beer as well. A nice addition to the flavor profile it gives the beer a nice dry finish with vanilla hitting the tongue. On the palate this beer is full-bodied the oak and bourbon barrel profile is not overdone by any means and not the dominate flavor in the beer. An excellent beer!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - NOV 13, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 15, 2007 Thanks to Davecooks for sending me the bonus bottle about one year ago. Pours almost black and has a medium head. Aroma of deep roasted malts, licorice, molasses and dark fruit. The oak and bourbon come out mostly in the taste. Very dry, oak tinged finish. Extremely nice.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 10, 2007
Nearly no head at all, but a great, thick, oily black body. The aroma is impressive. Roasty and warm. Lots of cocoa and vanilla. And coffee and caramel. The aroma is very enticing. The flavor is much of the same, but Iím not quite so fond of the barrel aging taste in this beer. But I do find the oak pleasant in the finish. It keeps it a little drier and less sweet than many Imperial Stouts. Nice!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
notalush (4922) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 10, 2007
Since I didnít go to the NYC imperial stout tasting, I decided to have one of my own - 2006 bottle acquired in trade with beerbill (thanks!) - viscous, inky black beer, with a minimal ring of tan foam and some creamy froth floating on top - an almost spicy aroma greets the nose at first, followed by some vinous touches, , some hints of cocoa, a light doughy character, and very light oak - slick, creamy mouthfeel, with very little carbonation - a warming spice character settles in, and is complimented by a very mild alcohol warmth - fairly dry, not super sweet like many impys (reminds me quite a bit of Southamptonís impy in this respect) - vinous notes and dark fruit flavors - oak is present, but not powerful - notes of cocoa, espresso, leather, and a charred earthiness - lots of warm, peppery flavors, which is unusual, but welcome - sheís a nice one.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Brigadier (3030) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - NOV 8, 2007
Shared at miketdís tasting

I have been sitting on a bottle of this for a few months now. Since it was on a few peopleís want lists I went ahead and cracked it open. It was a solid imperial stout that I am glad to see making a return. Itís not quite in the class of the best of the best but it is not far off either. Iíd say it is on par with anything in the 95 to 99th percentile.

Aroma / Appearance - The midnight black body was almost as dark as it gets without being motor oil. A one finger muddy head was bordering on red. Sticky lacing left remnants of strata as I enjoyed my glass. Oak and vanilla were prominent in the nose along with expresso, brownies, smoke and black cherries. It wasnít the most complex imperial stout Iíve tried aroma wise but it was cohesive and enjoyable.

Flavor / Palate - Smoke, oak, vanilla and expresso formed a very nice set of complimentary flavors. For a barrel aged beer it was easy to drink. Thick malts coated the mouth without being suffocating. A nice cherry finish topped it off. All in all I would say that it was an excellent beer but just short of my personal Top 50.

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