Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss. Imperial Stout brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and whole vanilla beans, 100% aged in brandy barrels for 12 months. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR. 13.3% ABV.
Complete blackness in the glass, with a tight ring of toasted brown foam on top.
In the nose: Chocolate, caramel, smoke, ash, anise. Roots and bark. Molasses, tobacco and leather. Dirty boots and coffee and soot. Campfire cocoa. Whoa.
In the mouth: Starts dark, rich, chocolatey and dense, and only gets muckier from there. Sweet, boozy, complex as heck. So many things lurking on the palate, getting it messy. Almost an overload. Alcohol hangs high in this one, though I don't get this distinct flavor of brandy in it. All the incredible flavors keep coming back, sip after glorious sip. Damn. That is to say, Day-yum. And, mmm, hmm.
Crazy indulgent, crazy delicious. Goes well beyond anything else. I'm gazing straight into that Abyss. It gazes back. We're cool.
To celebrate the 11th anniversary of The Abyss we’ve bottled a 100% Brandy barrel-aged version for you to enjoy. This is a remarkably limited release so if you see it, grab a snifter on tap and a bottle (or two)!
Released December 2016
I am glad that I grabbed it when I saw it, but not entirely if it was worth $30-some. Almost. The brandy character wasn't as commanding. Despite what the brewer said:
Warm, smooth, sweet dried fruit and vanilla complement a commanding Brandy character.