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RATINGS: 1611   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.2/5   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 68   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
This special Reserve Series brew will only be offered December February (limited distribution)
The Abyss: Stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. Its dark. Its deep. Its 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 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ManvsCity (183) - Redmond, Washington, USA - MAY 29, 2008
Thick and black like the darkest of expresso shots. Amazing full mouth feel. Flavors of pure richness. Love the hints of molasses. Bourbon aroma is subtle. Got to find more of this one!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - MAY 27, 2008
Sampled at HotShotz Indy tasting May 24, 2008 - Batch #1 - Aroma is roasted dark malts, licorice and dusty cocoa powder. Pours black with a ring head and good lacing. Flavor is vanilla, molasses, chocolate, licorice and burnt malts. Palate is exceptionally smooth for 11%. Strong and powerful flavors that go down easy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
MartinT (9411) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 26, 2008
UPDATED: APR 5, 2009 My Bottom Line:
Roasting molasses, dark chocolate and licorice harmoniously converge onto resinous bittering hops for a lush Imperial Stout replete with flavor and knowledge.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A sheet of foam stands atop the darkest black.
-This is a lot more cohesive than the Stone Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout which we had right before.
-Roasted malts accompany the resinous hops in the finish and their combined bitterness succeeds in cutting through the malty sweetness.
-A well-levelled anise-y spiciness comes from the licorice and fits perfectly with the grain bill.
-The body is pleasantly full, not obese.
-There is some alcohol warmth in the back, but it does not bother at all.
-The barrel-aging job is subtle and is very efficient in the flavor profile.

Bottles; 2007 vintage.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
RomanW70 (296) - Providence, Rhode Island, USA - MAY 25, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 27, 2008 Huge thanks to Tertons for sharing this and to the new Providence Beer tasting group! Amazing beer. Pours dark black with a thick tan head. Aroma of toffee and molasses. Initial taste slides gently into a huge bitter finish. Bitterness comes in at exactly the right time. Great balance. Amazing flavors. One of the best beers Ive ever had. Exceeds the hype!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
polomagnifico (1202) - Saginaw, Michigan, USA - MAY 25, 2008
Huge thanks to BOLTZ7555 for this awesome brew!! Thanks Jason!! Bottle 2007 reserve. Aroma is insane! Notes of coffee, chocolate, smoke, wood, licorice, molasses, bourbon, dark dried fruit! Just incredible, I debated this one for a long time, but it really is worthy of "the" top rating, just perfect! Pours a very dark brown/amber and black hue. Appears black in the glass with an average to large sized, medium tan, frothy head that mostly diminished and left good lace. Flavor is just beautiful!! Smoke and oak, fritters and bitters! Nice and toasted with roast malt, coffee, chocolate, sweet dark dried fruits and bourbon, and finishes with some decent bitterness. Palate is oily soft and full bodied. Very well balanced and not over done with coffee like so many other top rated imp stouts. Just a treat from beginning to end. Alcohol is well masked for 11% ABV!! If you like coffee but not espresso, port but not sherry, and really enjoy the bite of a DIPA, then youll really love this brew. Just top notch and world class in every category.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DMRz (230) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 22, 2008
Robust thick black pour with a tall brown head. Aromas of vanilla coffee, bourbon, and a touch of smoke. Flavor is quite interesting, starting out with anise and bourbon and finishes with a more bitter chocolate/coffee. Flavor profile is unique and well balanced. The bitterness lingers on the palate, which is my only criticism of this otherwise terrific beer. Revision: After allowing this beer to warm up closer to room temperature, it becomes even smoother and the bitterness dissipates, giving way to more bourbon and anise on the finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
RCL (2030) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 22, 2008
Distinct molasses and oak aromas. The licorice comes through more in the flavor. Huge beer, but still not too much over the top. A little warming alcohol on the finish, along with the slightly astringent oak, but it remains quite drinkable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
sthlm (1283) - Duluth, Minnesota, USA - MAY 19, 2008
UPDATED: JAN 8, 2016 [Bottle 07, thanks a lot Guerde!] Pours black with a small dark tan head. Aroma is chocolate, oak (especially as it warms), some smoke and a good deal of anise. Taste is fairly sweet up front and then bitter in the finish--there is alcohol, roasted malt, chocolate and once again anise. Thick mouthfeel with a really nice long bitter (although it fades as it warms) and chocolate finish. A really, really nice imperial stout. Old rating: 7/4/9/5/18

Eight years later, and this seems pretty different. Really hot, and lots of anise and notes of Big Red chewing gum. Not great. Taste is also hot, with roasted malt and anise again. Pretty sweet and not much hop bitterness. Not a whole lot different than the aroma except the roasted malt is much more prominent. Great mouthfeel; thick and smooth and a long finish. A solid beer, but this pales in comparison to the great imperial stouts such as Expedition. Particularly when a bomber costs more than a six pack of Expy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 19, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 11, 2009 2007 Reserve - tasted early May ’08. Souvenier from Eugene, OR. Pours a pure opaque black with a drak brown rim and a fine, medium-thin chocolate brown head. Aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, a slight lactic character, sweet roasted malt, treacle, a hint of dark spice, and a subtle suggestion of anise, hops, a bourbon barrel--that’s just the aroma. On to the flavor... Bitter coffee, bitter chocolate, sweet molasses, and roasted malt that rises and then fades over a backdrop of subtle spice, licorice, and wonderful oxidized characteristics. A very deft hand with the malt balance here. Each element is well represented in a way that is complimentary to one another. Each flavor peaks at a different moment so that none is overpowered and each can be discerned both individually and together as a whole. The body is exquisitely balanced with the 11% alcohol present only in the structure and not in the aroma, flavor, or finish as any hashness. Only a slight warmth accompanies the roasted bitter finish. Everything is superbly integrated. This is one of the most balanced "extreme" beers I’ve ever tasted. The mouth feel is unbelieveably light despite the massive dark flavor profile. This is an amazingly drinkable, ponderous, meticulously crafted beer. Top marks!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
stegosaurus (1882) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 16, 2008
Bottle sampled with Mad_indian. Pours black with a good size beige head. Aroma of roast, oak, dark chocolate, light bourbon. The flavor is very smooth, chocolate, oak, slight bourbon, roast, and coffee. Excellent body, alcohol is well masked. Excellent brew.

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