franksnbeans (265) - Columbus, Maryland, USA - NOV 6, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours an inpenetrable opaque black with a dark chocolate milk head that dies slow. Smells very complex. Chocolate, cherries, hops, roast, smoke, all make appearances on different sniffs. Taste does the same as the smell. Shows a different delicious flavor each sip. Dark chocolate shows up the most..mmm. This one meets the hype. Full in the mouth and a sipper indeed but complete bliss in each sip!
wetherel (1836) - Encinitas, California, USA - NOV 4, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle from Buckeyeboy on 8/30/07. Had at Loganís Oceanside beer tasting with AlohaC, and Hair, and Matt, and Ken, and Bill, and others. 2nd bottle Iíve found, but gave the other away for a Hommage. Pitch black color. small bubble head. Little carbonation. Excellent beer, but the Dark Lord I sampled tonight was better. Sweet. Nice chocolate aroma.
waolsen (1358) - Littleton, Colorado, USA - NOV 3, 2007
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
bottle. midnight black with great tan frothy head. dark fruits, chocolate and mild coffee with nice hoppiness in aroma. smooth mouth. delicious coffee, rich dark chocolate, roasted malts, mild sugars. nice hops and great balance. dark chocolate is amazing.
Rastacouere (6128) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 29, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pitch black pour mounted by a light, but compact tan head. To be noted first has to be the smooth chocolatey flavours that hit the nostrils first and leave the tongue the last. Also noteworthy is the actually balanced woodiness, barely hinting at bourbon, though devoid of smokiness. In mouth, a growing hop concern takes room, earthy and kinda piney, the whole of which pairs with the roast to make it rather dry. Classic, albeit much more impact than usual, Deschutesí cleanliness. I donít quite understand what puts it in the top 50, itís a full-bodied, well-brewed impy, so are hundreds of others.
auerbrau (3177) - Peace Dale, Rhode Island, USA - OCT 24, 2007
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: APR 20, 2012 22 Oz Bottle via tever. An initial blast of chocolate, cherries, cream and bourbon cake evaporates quickly. Nose deep in the glass, I can now only draw thin wisps of salted caramel, cocoa nibs, and coffee char. Nice, but fleeting and volatile. Ruby-corned pitch black, edged in a cappuccino cream rim, lacing beautifully. Flavor comes forth with an expected density and sweetness. Lots of those beautiful estery fruits playing against mature and sentient 88% noir chocolate, then a swift shot into coffee rung alcohols, bright and peppery. Lots of good earth, musky woods and mellowed creams. Barrel seems to play great mediator, tempering the growing hoppiness with the rather complex and dense malt character. Alcohol brightens the whole mood. Nice body, full, yet not sticky, or hot. Rather exemplary and well-showing for the style. Gaussian in nature, it would seem. Bright nuttiness fills the backdoor. Thereís some really unique, high up, floral spice notes that fill the humours early during the intake, then crescendoing quickly into a flourish of insipid vanilla character. A bit of oxidation in the heavy barrel char. Good use of the barrel, I would say, though. Hops, somewhat as expected for the region, although they tend a little worn out and on the celery side of things. Rather impressed with the level of carbonation this beer gives. Iím not sure whether it hurts nor helps. There might be some appreciated viscosity if the carbonation was less, but then less desirable feel might result. Round, deep and on point. Great, but not unique enough for me. Thanks Tom!
UpdateOriginally, I drank the first half of the beer and then recapped the bottle, planning to drink it later. Last night, (10/26/2007) I cracked it open and drank the rest. It was still awesome, so dense, rich, creamy, fruity, sharp, piquant and roasted. Just a full frontal assault of amazing flavor and feel. But, the real stunner came in a side by side with Bells Expedition Stout. A beer I revere so highly paled in comparison to the Abyss. There was flavor and hops, but no density, richness or depth, comparatively. I guess thatís what the barrel gives it, so you canít really fairly compare it with a non-barrel aged example of the style. I was numb, I didnít know how to handle this beer upsetting my benchmark. Thus I give it all the respect it deserves and a 4.3
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - OCT 24, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thick vicious pour thats incredible to watch unfold its heft into the chalice. Sits black and thick as newly wettened tar and caps the top with a roof of dark brown foam thatís thick, spongy, and lush. Inky glared stings of lace fling about after each sip.
Aroma is thick and oaky with a dark chocolate heft over a tang of rich molasses, cherry, fig, and the ever present oaky bourbon scent that helps add a bit a of wondefully fulfilling, nose whirling, heat. Trace of burnt coffee ensues with a nice addition to the profile.
Taste is immaculately woven with dark chocolate and a smoothly thick, lush body tranfused with all sorts of vanilla, molasses, coffee, and bourbon oakyness. A very well balanced and heavy treat. The chocolate is tenderly bittered with the heat and quite dark in its efforts. Anything and everything dark from the cocoa bean has been placed in every inch of its flavor. Spiced with a touch of peppery hops, coffee, and a terrific, if not down right perfect notion of bourbon hints wavered all throughout the chocolatey body.
This is some pretty thick stuff, noticed in the pour, felt on the palate, and rendered in the gut. Smooth and velvety, thick, lush, and firm with a great creamy sense of chocolate and cream. Nice feathery spiced finish that stays creamy and enduced within a deep, darl chocolatey depth thats quite incredible to behold. It really makes a solid impression.
A supurb stout!! Wonderfully thick, chocolatey, and lasting with a great impression of a well made brew. Deschutes has themselves a big time winner with this one! Wow!
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - OCT 23, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Served on the warm side of cool. The beer pours with a frothy, easily three-finger thick, creamed, chocolate brown colored head that sits atop an opaque, pitch black colored brew. Aromas of oak and concentrated, burnt malt waft to my nose as I pour this brew. The first draught of the aroma yield ample roast malt character that makes me think of dark-roasted espresso beans, chocolate malt ball candies, burnt caramel and a huge, toasted malt character that is coupled with an Łber-nutty aromatic note. The aroma is quite rich and expressive, the roast malt character clearly dominates. It is interesting that I was able to smell the oak as I was pouring, but it gets mostly buried under all of the dark malt aromatics when going in for a more dedicated smelling of the aroma. Having said that the aroma does yield some subtle oak aromatics, including a touch of spicy wood, some soft butterscotch and a hint of a woody backdrop.
Creamy feeling up front, yet somehow still fairly drinkable & light. After the first sip has left my mouth, the finish at first is roast malt dominated then moves to a spicy oak character, but then a sweet, burnt fruit character becomes noticeable and then it seems to start over again. This has a very long finish and it seems to move between roast grain notes, light oak character and a rich, concentrated fruitiness. Quite interesting, and I havenít even taken a second sip yet. Sweet tasting up front, obviously contributed by an ample malt character (burnt caramel notes); the sweetness accentuates a bright (though clearly roasted), concentrated, fruit character that runs throughout this beer. It also accentuates a deep, dark chocolate character that melds quite well with the silky texture. The burnt fruit notes remind me of raisins, prunes and, especially towards the finish, of cherries. The oak is really not noticeable until just before the finish where it shows up as a spicy oak character. It might contribute some soft vanilla notes & perhaps a touch of butterscotch, but these notes really serve to accentuated the malt character rather than really jump out on their own.
Serving this beer so warm (about 65įF / 18įC) has really muted the oak contribution, as the last time I had this it was much more noticeable. Even when cooler it is still on the subtle side though, which is really what I want in a beer made with oak; add a bit more to the complexity without over doing it is the only way to go. The proof that this is a very well made stout is that despite the over the top roast character, there is very little harsh acidity contributed by all of the roasted grains. Definitely not the thickest and richest Imperial Stout out there, but still this is quite satiating and I really like how the various flavor components of this brew balance each other out. This is simply quite delicious; lots of sweet malt & fruit notes to stand up to the over the top roast character, plus a subtle backdrop of oak to kick the complexity up another notch.
pantanap (3357) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - OCT 22, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: APR 8, 2008 bottle....appearance: deep black w/ thin tan head.....aroma: abundance of chocolate with coffee playing a backup role....taste: chocolate reared by bitter roasted coffee beans. mouthfeel was pretty thin and had little carbonation. slight bitterness in the finish as well. did not have much of a bourbon presence at all......this fell short of my expecations that i had for it.
2007 vintage shared by matt at the very tail end of P4.....looked great. extremely chalky and dry finish with little show from the oak and boubon barrel.
iím downgrading my score by a notch.
BrianK (200) - Livingston, New Jersey, USA - OCT 21, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I felt that this beer has a sort of hype that it falls a little short of. Definately a big beer. Definate presence of oakiness. I enjoyed the initial flavor more than the finish which would be this beers downfall in my opinion.
crizay (1050) - Brook Park, Ohio, USA - OCT 9, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks MikeTD. Pitch black pour, small brown head. Aroma is coffee, oats, chocolate. Mouthfeel is thick, chewy and lots of carbonation. Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, a caaramel sweetness touch also. Tons of straight dark chocolate the whole time, coffee riding along, some smoke and roastiness. Great thick mouthfeel with a creaminess to it and tons of flavor. Hop bitterness is there with fresh leafy hops.