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RATINGS: 1426   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 17/20
vyvvy (4133) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - DEC 29, 2007
More kudos to the STL crew for sharing this hard to find stout. Pours very dark brown with an orange / tan head. The aroma has rich fluffy mild chocolate, vanilla, oak and lots of dark malt ~ very sweet and rich. Medium / full rich creamy body with some wonderfully soft carbonation. The flavors starts with dark malt with a little roastiness, vanilla, oak and a mix of milk & dark chocolate. It is all very smooth tasting. The finish has some spice added to the malty character. Thumbs up for this tasty imperial stout.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cletus (6354) - Connecticut, USA - DEC 28, 2007
2006 Bomber. Pours dark brown and lively with a thin light brown head. Smells of vanilla, licorice, chocolate, molasses, touches of coffee, pepper, hints of citrus, some dark fruit. The nose on this beer is amazing. I could probably smell this one for hours and pick up on different subtleties every time. Tastes of chocolate, some coffee, some bitterness. Very well behaved compared to other imperial stouts in this ABV range. Flavor does not quite live up to the expectations set forth by the aroma but is still very layered with a nice touch of dark fruit as the beer warms. Mouthfeel is oily and some traces of oak reveal themselves as the glass warms up and I approach the end. Lasting taste of molasses.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Naven (1000) - Poway, California, USA - DEC 26, 2007
Bomber. 2006. Shared with my bro on Xmas eve. Dark, dark, dark pour. Aroma of licorice, brown sugar, molasses and malt. This is malty, syrupy and down right rich. Although the base beer is very good, I tasted virtually no oak, which was kind of dissapointing. As it stands, itís a decent enough Imperial Stout. This is a style thatís beginning to bore me a bit.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
CapFlu (4612) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 25, 2007
(750ml bottle) Sampled at Oakes 2007 Christmas party. Brown head with an opaque body. Nose of roasted malt, molasses and soya sauce. Very rich coffee grounds and a minor cocoa backing. Some chocolate powder in the finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
porterhouse (1581) - Boothbay, Maine, USA - DEC 22, 2007
(22 oz. bottle (2006) via trade with <A HREF=http://www.ratebeer.com/ViewUser.asp?UserID=9 target=blank>BeerandBlues2, thanks Brad!) Pours very, very dark brown with about one finger of brown head that recedes to a thin covering. Aroma of wood, bourbon, coffee, chocolate and slight plum or grape. Mouthfeel smooth, heavy, soothing. Feels quite dry on back end. Light rings of lacing melt away quickly. Flavor is mostly coffee and chocolate with faint burnt molasses. Some bourbon notes. Lightly woody taste. A little hot and this was felt in nasal passages. A little sweeter than alot of Imp Stouts Iíve tried. A very nice beer but not one that blew me away - I wasnít quite overwhelmed with complexity in the aroma or taste but I enjoyed it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
madsberg (10458) - SÝborg, DENMARK - DEC 19, 2007
Bottled. Thx. to Ughsmash for this gem. Pitch black coloured. Dark brown dense head. Lasting. Sweetness, liqourice, vanilla, chocolate and coffee in the aroma. Flavour is quite bitter. Chocolate, liqourice, coffee and cocoa again. Vanilla spice and light sweetness. incredible smooth and balanced. Full bodied. Has a nice chocolate and cocoa end, with light roasty notes. Fantastic. Has light bourbon notes. Wow. Would want more.

   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.

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