Caskalefan (168) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Pours opaque black with a billowy tan head. The nose is coffee, chocolate liqueuer, licorice, vanilla, chestmut, and bourbon.
The flavor is almost as complex as the aroma with the bourbon, and merlot being more muted than I expected, but not in a "they’re almost undetectable" sort of way. Rather, those flavors serve as underpinnings (in an almost catalystic manner) that bring out the intensity of the more obvious esters like bitter chocolate, roast coffee, vanilla, licorice, toffee, chestnut, salt, and almost a smoky bacon quality.
At first I thought the body was a tad thin to support such a dynamic flavor profile, but then I realized that if it were thicker, it would make the flavor almost too mouth coating and intense to be as drinkable as it is.
I agree with the other reviewers who think this beer will be an aging marvel, but for me it is already an absolutely ideal imperial stout, which I find even more rounded and complex than Speedway, and even more remarkable for achieving its decidedly coffeeish flavor component without the actual addition of that ingredient.
The finish is incredibly long, and the balance is wondrous for such a big brew. Wow!
kenb (1102) - Oregon, USA - JAN 7, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 23, 2009 22 oz bottle via Liquid Solutions. Chilled in the back of the car all day at 48f then in the freezer for 30 minutes. Serving at approx 45f. Pours a thick midnight black motor oil. Nose is subtle, some mild chocolate, vanilla and nuts. I typically hate oak aged beers so do not expect much. Let’s try it. Oh frak frak triple frakkin hey!!!!!!!! I am speechless after the first drink. let’s try another..ok...Taste is incredible and complex. Starts with a semi-sweet chocolate, then a bit of vanilla, some espresso and ends with a wicked dry roasted malt finish. Some oak notes as well but they are complementary and not overwhelming. Lots of bitter cocoa in the aftertaste. Some citrus hops in the finish as well but they are subdued as they should be (and so often are overpowering in a West Coast Imp stout....i hate grapefruit in stouts and am so glad this one does not have that) No hint of the alcohol. This is a shockingly incredible world class Imp stout...i am absolutely speechless as i did not expect this.
**********1/27/2008-rerate**orig rating was 2006 bottle and 10/5/9/5/19*****************
22 oz bottle via Liquid Sol. She pours a thicky yummy looking midnight opaque black with a large tan head. Nose is subtle oak, cocoa, vanilla, and a bit of roastiness...absolutely divine aromas. Think chocolate cheesecake with almonds on top and a bit of rum, baked on great grandma’s old woodstove! Mmmmm tastes just like that but with pure cacao. I wonder if most people know the joys of pure cacao, without manmade processed crap that is added to chocolate like milk, sugar....in any case, this reminds me of my 85% lindemans cacao bar dipped in some coffee that i roasted at full city +...anyways this is good..but needs a mix of 50/50 i think instead of only 33% oak.....whatever..it is all good.
10/23/2009-6:45 pm PAC time RERATE- orig was 10/5/10/4/19--22 oz bottle, stored in cellar for for almost 3 years now! Pours black black, did i mention black? yes B-L-A-C-K, friday night black! Nose is total divine luscious full city + espresso and cream. MMM and it actually tastes BETTER than it smells. Which is rare in my experience for an Impy. Taste is CACAO (chocolate), fresh roasted coffee, chocolate, prunes, chocolate, coffee and a touch of anise, then more choc/coffee. If you like chocolate and fresh coffee, this is the ATOM bomb! Damn, this is the best Imp i have ever tasted and has really come into it’s own. THis from someone who normally hates aged beers, and the oxidation/port/sherry flavors associated with aging. THis has NONE of those. Body is full. Carbonation is medium. It does not get ANY better, and i wish i had more than one bottle left in my cellar. Perhaps the 07’s will age this well. One can only hope! illidurit (2347) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAR 5, 2008
Poured into my trusty snifter. I can’t think of anything to which to compare the blackness here that hasn’t been used a thousand times already (ink, midnight, motor oil), so suffice it to say this beer is really really black. The head is a devilishly dark tan that forms slowly through the viscosity, peaking at 2 fingers’ height. It gradually shrivels back down to a hazy cap, leaving spotted lacing along the way.
Aroma is deceptively sweet, a siren’s song that tempts you to indulge yourself. Powdery cocoa and milk chocolate tickle the nose, with faint notes of licorice.
There’s a lot to be said for the chocolate/coffee flavor dynamic of the RIS world, and there are lots of beers that manage greatness confined within that dynamic. But The Abyss is so much more. The chocolate emerges early on the palate and joins forces with the bittersweet bite of molasses. The licorice is fleeting but apparent, as the beer fades into a sublime roastiness. It’s never too sweet and never too roasty. You’d never know that this beer is 11% abv but for the pleasant warmth in your chest.
The body is thick and luxurious, but this beer still finishes dry. Carbonation is spot-on for the style and facilitates the velvety smoothness.
Drinkability is immense for such a high gravity beer. The balance and synergy of the flavors make for a phenomenal brew. This beer deserves its hype and its rating. GreatLibations (1854) - Last Supper, Arizona, USA - MAR 5, 2008
2007: I bought this off of bockyhorseThis is a very robust version of this style. Pouring next to black and thick as jerry curl. It throws off a decent head and reduces slowly leaving behind a nice spattered canopy. Strong aromas of heavily roasted malts and a very distinct nutty waffer which gives it a nice unique quality. Full nectar with good carbonation producing an almost creamy texture. I already feel a Trump coming on. First off this brew lacks the Bourbon essenceI’m looking for. It’s mightily roasted shoving charcoal down my throat like a starved locomotive. Only mildly sweet with a defined hop component to help balance this monstrocity. It’s quite complex with heavy doses of leather, iodine, cocoa, barn blanket, copper kettle. The finish is long and bittered well. The high abv is undetected. Another classic to make it’s way to AZ. Overall: It’s a classic but I am dissapointed about the lack of Bourbon flavor. I’ll have to Trump this one. Senormac (16) - Springfield, Oregon, USA - MAR 5, 2008
mmmmmm......beer !! This is the stout lovers stout! Even the bottle is cool with its wax sealed cap and deep brown lable. Has a nice aroma of warm eathy things. Creamy, vanilla, ....hints of deep dark things as yet undiscovered. Pours very dark even to the edge of the glass. Black....with nice moderate tan head. Flavor is completely inoffensive.....warm, deep, dark, actually un-bitter. Palates warm and creamy.......I can’t think of a mark against this one. Finishes very nice and makes you want another taste. Strong !!! Overall a fantastic and pleasant experiance !!
AcctError2896 (1077) - Pennsylvania, USA - APR 7, 2008
This is the best imperial stout that I have ever tried. This beer is legendary. Just unbelievable! 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 you’ll really love this brew. Just top notch and world class in every category. bigeastie (2) - , Washington, USA - SEP 21, 2008 does not count
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem& the greatest beer ever made... each and every year it gets better and better
I found this beer on Ebay! tturner (111) - , Washington, USA - DEC 29, 2008
UPDATED: NOV 16, 2009 anise, coffee, bittersweet chocolate a touch of molasses. needs considerable warming to open up.
update: let this cellar for a year. Great balance, new complexity, subtle smokiness.
After a year of aging, I can no longer see anyway to improve this beer.
maximusrex (5) - USA - OCT 14, 2009 does not count
A fantasitc dark beer. So many different flavors that keep changing as the beer ages. Get a couple bottles and open through out the year.