Slowly sipping the remaining portion of Descheutes The Abyss. A Russian Imperial Stout that is on the edge of extreme. Pours a midnight coal black with a medium brown, thick creamy head. Aroma is strong with burnt roast coffee, bitter chocolate, heavy cream and hints of floral hops. The coffee dominates as the beer reaches room temperature.
For an 11% ABV beer, the alcohol is a ninja that slowly creeps up and then attacks with a vengeance halfway through the second glass. The flavor matches that of the aroma, heavy on burnt espresso and chocolate, with hints of cream. Bitterness is a product of the roast grains, hop bitterness is in the background. As the beer warms the bitter espresso dominates, with hints of vanilla sweetness. This beer is thick, oily and very quickly numbing.
While fully within the style guidelines, I personally would like to see more sweetness associated with this beer to balance out the roasty burnt flavors. I have another bottle and will probably acquire some more to see how a year of aging affects the end product.
While I'll probably go to hell for saying this, I don't necessarily think this beer is anymore worthy of it's price than a more common RIS like Old Rasputin. It's a great beer, but nothing uniquely spectacular makes it stand out from anything unless you factor in the awesome bottle with the thick black wax around the neck. While I would never turn this beer down, If I happened to miss a release I would not be devestated either.
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