Beer #168 2009 Deschutes The Abyss


2009 Deschutes The Abyss

Name: The Abyss

Style:  Imperial Stout

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery  website

Country: USA

Region:   Bend, Oregon

ABV: 11.0 % Abv

How served:  22 oz black waxed and capped bottle poured into The Bruery tulip.  

My Overall Opinion:  Amazing 

I paired this beer with: Game 5 of the Heat vs Sixers playoff game.

Tasted on:  Wednesday April 27th, 2011  

Notes:  This is a 2009 vintage.  There have been many claims that some of the 2009 bottles of The Abyss are infected, so I am holding my breath that this is not one of them.  I last tried this vintage in Dec 2009 when it was “fresh” and there were no signs of infection at that time.  However, this is a different bottle and has aged at least 16 months, which could have given any nasty bugs time to do their dirty work.

So here it goes.

As I removed the cap I heard a faint hiss.  So far no signs or scents of an infected brew.

 The beer poured a very dark deep brown to midnight black with a 2 finger dark tan head which dissipated by the time I was half way thru my glass and left a minimal lacing on the glass, so far no odd smells.  After taking a deep whiff from my glass I’m sure this in not infected as all I got from the nose was bourbon, chocolate, molasses, vanilla and some coffee.  The taste was like the nose,  I got bitter chocolate, molasses, mild bourbon notes and vanilla plus I was able to pick up some of the black licorice flavor which I love.  The beer had a medium to thick slick mouthfeel with a nice carbonation level.   The drinkability of this 11% abv brew was very good with minimal heat from the alcohol.  I’m glad I got a “good” bottle, now I have to hope my others are good too.  I’m looking forward to doing a vertical tasting in 2013, as I have the ’06, ’07, ’08 & ’09, now all I need is the ’10, ’11.,’12 & ’13!

On the Label:  Best after 11/1/10. The Abyss: Stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. It’s dark. It’s deep.  It’s mysterious.  This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich complex profile.  The flavor of this special brew draws you in further and further with each sip.  The Abyss beckons.  Enjoy the journey.

From their websiteStout   Alc. 11% | IBUs 65

A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.

As for the great “drink it now or let it age” debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure a year on.

Beer #167 Lost Abbey Avant Garde

Lost Abbey Avant Garde

Style:  Bière de Garde

Brewery: The Lost Abbey.  website

Country: USA

Region:   San Marcos, California

ABV: 7.0 % Abv

How served:  750 ml corked and caged bottle poured into a Augustijn Grand Cru tulip.  

My Overall Opinion:  Very Good. 

I paired this beer with:  Grilled apple wood smoked turkey.  Very nice pairing!

Tasted on:  Thursday April 21st, 2011  

Notes:  This is a 2008 vintage.

 This beer poured a hazy deep gold with a slight off white 2 finger fluffy head which left a minimal lacing on the glass. The smell was sweet and bready with some citrus.   The taste started off with some pepper spices and sweet with malt, caramel and apples, there was a mild bitterness in the finish and only a little bit funkiness to this brew. This beer had a medium mouthfeel and dry finish with a nice level of carbonation which massaged the tongue. The drinkability was very good and refreshing, as I find most Bière de Garde to be.  I would like to try this one again.

On the Label:  From the French word “Garde” meaning something worth keeping, this Farmhouse Style Ale is most delicious companion to a loaf of freshly baked bread from the oven.  Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother’s old orchard.  Relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon over the gardens.  We brewed Avant Garde for you, our friends and families.  Here’s to things worth guarding over.

 From their website:  At the Lost Abbey, we pride ourselves on producing beers of the highest quality and distinction. Avant Garde is our commitment to brewing beers to no particular style. Some might want to label this as a beer brewed in the Biere de Garde tradition of Northern France. We would prefer to say it was brewed in the Avant Garde style of beers that will reward all those who seek the not so ordinary. Deep gold in color with hints of biscuits, caramel and fresh baked bread, this beer is sure to delight the senses and palates of consumers everywhere. Available in 750ml bottles and on draft at select inspired locations.

OG 1.060   TG 1.008   7.0% ABV

Malts– Two Row, Honey Malt and Port Custom Toast (we make it ourselves in our Pizza Ovens).
Hops– German Brewer’s Gold, Strissespalt Spalt and Czech Saaz.
Yeast– House Lager strain with hybrid fermentation at ale temperature.

The Avant Garde Story

It’s yours now and although you’ve lived in the city your whole life, you remember fondly the weeks spent visiting grandma and grandpa. Somehow, they spent their whole life out here. No cable tv, no cell phones or even a microwave oven. To say they were old school would be an understatement.

But there is an allure to this place, closing your eyes, images from your childhood flood your memories. There was that day when you and grandma got up with the roosters and headed to the orchard to pick fresh apples for her famous apple pie. One summer, they bought you a pig and you named it Wilbur after your favorite new book. Still, the day grandpa taught you how to drive the tractor when you were only 12 is still as fresh as the hay you mowed that day.

Traffic, bills and rude neighbors seem like such a chore now. Maybe it’s time to cash in the 401K and retire to the country. A pair of pigs- Wilbur and his beautiful bride would need your attention. The orchard still makes great fruit and though you haven’t made jam in years, the process she taught you seems approachable.

An old family friend knocks at the door. He saw you drive up and wondered if you might like to sit and chat about the farm and your intentions. Two rocking chairs call your name from the porch that is seemingly fit for this occasion. He offers a beer from his home. The back of the label tell you everything you need to know about this place you have been contemplating.

From the French word “Garde” meaning something worth keeping, this Biere de Garde styled Farmhouse Ale is a most delicious companion to a loaf of freshly baked bread from the oven. Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother’s old orchard. Relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon over the gardens. We brewed Avant Garde for you, our friends and families. Here’s to things worth guarding over.

Beer #166 De Struise Cuvée Delphine

De Struise Cuvée Delphine

 Name: Cuvée Delphine

Style:  Russian Imperial Stout

Brewery: De Struise Brouwers.  website

Country: Belgium

Region:   Oostvleteren

ABV: 13.0 % Abv

How served:  330 ml capped bottle poured into a De Struise glass.  

My Overall Opinion:  Amazing

I paired this beer with:  After dinner drink, no food pairing is needed with this beer.

Tasted on:  Monday April 11th, 2011  

Notes:   This beer poured an almost pure black and opaque, with a thick 2 finger dark tan head on a very slow pour.  There was very little lacing left on my glass when I was done.  The smell was of chocolate, roasted malts/coffee, dark fruits and hints of the bourbon barrels this was aged in and oak.  The taste started off mildly sweet with cherries, roasted coffee, licorice and a bit of cocoa.  Near the finish I picked up mild bourbon flavors from the 4 Roses Barrels and ended mildly bitter.  This beer had a medium creamy mouthfeel with a moderate  level of carbonation.  The drinkability was very good especially since this is a 13% abv brew with the alcohol level not very noticeable.   This was extremely well balance as the bourbon was not over the top in this well blended brew.  I prefer this over the base beer Black Albert. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the Label:  Vintage 2009    Lot: BR26.230.610       Best Before 15 07 2015

Black Albert was used in a new barrel aging project.  More than a year ago, Carlo was able to get his hands on a stock of Four Roses Bourbon barrels, and we happily filled them up with Batch “0”.  This unique creation was originally to be named 4 Black Roses in honour of its heritage, but our friends in Kentucky strongly advised us not to do so!  What to do?  As the disowned offspring of Black Albert, the name Cuvée Delphine imposed itself.  Savouring the Belgian irony, we are most honoured to have the by Delphine Boël shining on this label.  You will not find this ale all over the globe.  There is no export program, but we will try to provide stock through our web shop and some specialty beer pubs.

 Art Work on the label is:  Blue Sky, Vicious Rumor.


Bon Beer Voyage and Special Guests Jason & Todd of  BeerAdvocate will be visiting De Struise Brouwers on one of our stops during our this October’s Amsterdam to Bruges Beercation Cruise.  

Beer #165 Avery Maharaja


Avery Maharaja


Name: Maharaja

Style:  Imperial IPA

Brewery: Avery Brewing Company.  website

Country: USA

Region:   Boulder, Colorado

ABV: 10.3 % Abv

How served: 22oz capped bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.  

My Overall Opinion:  Very Good 

I paired this beer with:  Snyder’s of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing pretzel pieces.   This was a very interesting & a very good pairing.

Tasted on:  Tuesday April 6th, 2011  

Notes:   This beer poured a deep amber color with a thick off white 2 finger head which left a minimal lacing on the glass.  This beer had a very pleasant nose; mostly fruity/floral hoppy notes hitting me 1st then some piney hoppy notes in the background.  The taste started off sweet with sweetness from the malt then a quick rush of citrusy hops hitting my taste buds with grapefruit rind the primary taste, then a milder piney hop taste in the end.  The mouthfeel was of a medium body with a nice refreshing finish and a nice level of carbonation.  The drinkability was good, the alcohol level was very apparent as you drank this beer making you slow down as you enjoyed this beer.  As far as Imperial IPA go, this is a very good representation of the style, but there are other which are much better.  However given the price point of this brew, this is an awesome bargain and should be on your list of top Imperial IPA’s to try and try again year after year.

On the Label:  Maharaja is derived from the Sanskrit  mahat, – “great” and rajan – “king”. Much like its namesake, this Imperial IPA is regal, intense, fierce and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority with a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent, along with an insane quantity of malted barley, fashioning a royal scarlet hue and an exquisite malt essence. Welcome to his kingdom!

Brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, hops and yeast.


From their Website:  

The Avery Dictators Series was born of an inexorable need to trek further into the depths flavor: all three of the Dictators represent an exploration of beer flavor through the medium of traditional ingredients. How far can you stretch the boundaries of what beer can be using only water, malted barley, hops and yeast? The Czar, The Kaiser and The Maharaja are our answers to that question. Intrigued? Avery Brewers invite you to search out all three and further your own understanding. 

Beer Style:

Imperial India Pale Ale
Hop Variety: Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 120L, victory
OG: 1.090   ABV: 10.24%   IBUs: 102
Color: Dark Amber
Availability: Seasonally produced from March through August. 22oz. bombers, 1/6BBL and 1/2BBL kegs.
Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, – “great” and rajan – “king”. Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence.

Be aware that The Maharaja is a limited release only available for the summer. Welcome to his kingdom!

Food Pairing: Try The Maharaja with some Shrimp Cocktail and you’ll find that the intense, “grapefruity” hop aroma is a perfect compliment.

Beer #164 Ballast Point Sea Monster


Ballast Point Sea Monster


Name: Sea Monster

Style:  Imperial Stout

Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company.  website

Country: USA

Region:   San Diego, California

ABV: 10.0 % Abv

How served: 22oz capped bottle poured into a De Struise Brouwers glass.  

My Overall Opinion:  Amazing

I paired this beer with:  Nothing today.   I had this as an after dinner drink.

Tasted on:  Monday April 4th, 2011  

Note:  This beer has been sitting in my cellar for well over a year.  Most of the bitterness from the hops in this beer has disappeared and the coffee notes have mellowed a bit.  In my opinion I liked this brew aged better than fresh.  As a result I upgraded my Overall Opinion from a Very Good to an Amazing because of the aging. 

This beer poured a near black with a fluffy 2 finger tan head which hung around until I was half way finished with my glass and left a minimal lacing on the glass.  The nose was all coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.  The taste initial tasted reminded me of a Kahlua and Cream as the rich thick sweetness of this oatmeal stout and the coffee hit me first.  Then the chocolate kicked in and this beer morphed into a delicious mocha drink, delicious! This beer had a medium to think creamy mouthfeel which was silky on the tongue.    This beer is a great as an after dinner drink and the 10% abv was very well hidden.  Like most beer of this style make sure you don’t drink it too cold.  Let this warm up to 50-55 degrees before you drink this and you will not be disappointed.  I’m looking forward to having this one again!

On the Label:  From the deep dark depths of our Brewmaster’s imagination comes this rich and monstrous oatmeal stout.  Our Sea Monster embodies all that the true dark beer aficionado will appreciate; roasted coffee notes, with hints of bittersweet chocolate and currant flavors all brought together by a perfect hop balance.

 Don’t fear the Monster!

Our Robust Series gives all beer lovers an opportunity to try our most rare beers, previously available only on draft at select tap houses.  Enjoy!

Get the Point!

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