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Beware the "Vintage" beer shelf

Discussion in 'US - Northwest' started by kscaldef, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. kscaldef

    kscaldef Advocate (690) Oregon Jun 11, 2010

    A couple things to beware that I saw today making the rounds:

    2009 Abyss - I'm not sure how any store can sell this in good conscience

    "2009" Supplication that was actually batch 007 (which the second-to-last batch, from 2011)

    2011 Abyss for $24/bottle. Ouch!

    Anyone seen any other examples of this sort of shenanigans?
    pkasten and boMD like this.
  2. davey101

    davey101 Initiate (0) Connecticut Apr 14, 2009

    What? 2009 Abyss is a bad thing!?! Gimme gimme!
  3. boMD

    boMD Savant (315) Oregon Feb 8, 2009


    If you are a fan of the infected Abyss you should go snag those up.

    Edit: NM... Just saw you are from CT.
  4. davey101

    davey101 Initiate (0) Connecticut Apr 14, 2009

    Ahhhh, it wasn't all infected right? Just a crap shoot?
  5. kscaldef

    kscaldef Advocate (690) Oregon Jun 11, 2010

    I'm fairly sure they weren't selling it at a discount.

    Which reminds me of another peeve: not putting the damn price on the bottle / shelf. Don't make me go ask the clerk what everything costs.
    Gobigvt7 and draheim like this.
  6. DimensionX

    DimensionX Savant (325) Oregon Oct 1, 2010

    haha I know where you've been shopping. I hate it, seems disingenuous.
  7. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    09's were infected?
  8. ^ welcome to ba, bro.
    jtmartino, Soonami and Knifestyles like this.
  9. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Thnx?
  10. I had 4 of these and none of them were infected.
    maltmaster420 and BrassHandles like this.
  11. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Hmm, that's odd.

    According to levitation it's common knowledge on BA that 09's are infected...

    What is a no0b like me to think.
  12. I followed many of these threads and believe there were many infected bottles. I opened and drank all of mine in fairly close succession because I was worried about infection. Fortunately, none of mine were. Unfortunately, I got freaked by the scare and drank these earlier than I would have otherwise.

    If BA levitation has stated that ALL of the 09s were infected, he is wrong.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  13. Mages64

    Mages64 Savant (380) Washington Sep 7, 2009

    The 09 was the Russian Roulette Imperial Stout edition.
    guajolote and Lazerlobe like this.
  14. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Thnx for the info, just wanted to clarify encase it came up in a future trade or, like kscaldef, i walked in a store and it was there.
  15. boMD

    boMD Savant (315) Oregon Feb 8, 2009

    Yes. '09 had infection issues. Deschutes bought back bottles if you chose to give them up.
  16. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,025) Washington Sep 18, 2010

    So '09 Abyss = '12 Berserker?
  17. Ha, ha. I have a '12 Berserker in my pantry and I'm not going to be scared off again. That baby is sitting right there until I'm damn good and ready to drink it.
    NWer and draheim like this.
  18. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,100) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    Agreed. I have a bottle left of the 2009 (plan to use it for an upcoming vertical), and would gladly buy more if I could find some (and the price wasn't outrageous). I've had roughly a dozen of the 09, and for about half of the ones I opened, I couldn't detect any infection at all. The rest seemed to have varying degrees of infection (only one was really, really bad IMHO - however, it made for an interesting converation piece at the tasting I brought it to). So of the ones I had that were lightly infected, I thought the infection gave some of the beers a pleasing, light sour cherry flavor. I actually thought it added an interesting, enjoyable element to the beer. The rest were drinkable, although the infection was a distraction and added nothing to the drinking experience.

    To get back to the OP, I still agree with him about the store selling bottles of the 09 without some sort of disclaimer. I have to believe they're aware the vintage has "issues," and I just think a reputable store would and should warn customers about the product they're about to buy.

    Hmmmm.... I wonder what "store" the OP could be referring to. Not too many places have a "vintage" beer shelf (I can think of only one place in fact), and that kind of pricing for a bottle of the 2011 Abyss, well... it immediately puts me in mind of just one place. :)
  19. kscaldef

    kscaldef Advocate (690) Oregon Jun 11, 2010

    The examples came from two stores actually. One has something of a reputation for somewhat questionable practices. The other I was rather surprised and disappointed by.

    (Also, this time of year, a number of shops in town are pulling out vintage bottles.)
  20. All the 09's I've had (5 total) were fine. I still have one left that I plan to drink on New Years eve so we will see if I can bat 100. I assume it will be since it is from the same case as the others.
  21. kscaldef

    kscaldef Advocate (690) Oregon Jun 11, 2010

    I thought my case was all good too, until I finally hit a mildly-infected one last year.

    But, my point was that stores shouldn't be selling the 2009 without making it very clear to customers that there are known problems with that vintage. And then you have a big debate about where to price it... I imagine they are applying a "vintage markup" just like all the other vintage beers, which seems wrong, unless they will refund you if you get a bad one.
  22. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Johnmichaelsen stated a mildly infected bottle had a light sour cherry taste. What does a seriously infected one taste like?
  23. boMD

    boMD Savant (315) Oregon Feb 8, 2009


    This. A disclaimer is necessary and the price should be around what the original retail value was. Doesn't make sense to be up-charged for something that could be/likely is defected.
  24. PDXHops

    PDXHops Savant (475) South Carolina Nov 19, 2008

    The sourness is so intense as to overwhelm the flavors of roast, chocolate, coffee, etc.
  25. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,100) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member

    The bad bottle I had, it seemed as if there was some cherry, light vinegar and an underlying strong, sour bitterness. The infection flavor was pretty forward, and seemed to really drown out and alter the normal chocolate, coffee, vanilla and licorice I get in most bottles. After tasting that bottle, I understood why some Abyss customers were so angry with their purchase, and why they drainpoured the contents as soon as they tasted it.
  26. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I c, i guess that is what i was really asking. Is it so bad that you would drain pour? I recently had an infected batch of Autumn Maple and though it was infected it still tasted pretty good (mostly sour apple), just not what it was intended to taste like.
  27. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,025) Washington Sep 18, 2010

    Sounds a lot like the bottle of Hellshire II I had (review here). As it warmed it got worse to the point that I drainpoured the last third or so. Returned my second bottle to Whole Foods Westlake, the beer guy recently told me he still has that one in the back.
  28. 09 abyss = Hellshire II = 2012 berserker. You forgot one.
  29. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,025) Washington Sep 18, 2010

    Nope. As far as I know, all Hellshire IIs were infected.
  30. Every 09 abyss I've ever tasted has been infected. I don't believe there were any good bottles, just liars who say they got good ones. :p
    BuckeyeOne likes this.
  31. Sarlacc83

    Sarlacc83 Advocate (620) Oregon Mar 2, 2008

    My last 2009 Abyss was a wretched mess. Ghastly foaming head and a glaring metallic/cherry flavor.

    Also, I a month or so back, I returned my Hellshire IIs to Oakshire and picked up their 6th anniversary barleywine. So it wasn't all bad for me, there.
  32. oregonskibum

    oregonskibum Savant (430) Oregon Mar 14, 2009

    Are you also saying that the brewers and QA department at Deschutes are also wrong? Sorry, but all 2009 Abyss bottles were technically infected. Deschutes purchased back several bottles from locals prior to publically announcing the infection for testing. They also tested their own supply and barrels, eventually locating the source of the infection (a wine barrel). Since the beer is blended prior to bottling, the infection was techncially introduced into all bottles, although not all bottles tested had an infection. But there was no batch to batch variation as any bottle could technically be infected.

    In practice, the amount of contamination will vary from bottle to bottle with some people getting lucky. Storage conditions will also play more of a role. So bottle variation is to be expected. I've opened 6-8 bottles of 2009 and every single one had signs of infection, some very minor, others quite strong.

    If you have bottles that you don't want to consume, contact the brewery. They came forward once the infection was confirmed in the lab and offered to fully reimburse you for the retail price ($12) of any bottle of 2009 Abyss. Not sure that they'll still give you $12 cash for your bottle, but who knows. Deschutes was very upfront about this beer's problem and went out of their way to make things right. Props to them.
    lurchingbeast likes this.
  33. I've personally drank and traded from 2 cases worth of '09, and not a single bottle was infected that I tried, nor any of my trading partners. I don't think you can say "technically" they were all infected, since they in fact, were not all infected. I'm guessing alcohol killed my '09 'technical' bacteria. Or maybe the chance they didn't blend every single barrel with every other barrel.
    CA_Infidel2o9 likes this.
  34. oregonskibum

    oregonskibum Savant (430) Oregon Mar 14, 2009

    Just telling you what a rep from the brewery told me. There were not multiple blends of Abyss. In the public announcement from Deschutes, they state that there was variation in the level of infection and some bottles had no measurable measure of infection. But the threat exists in all of them. Obviously, you have been insanely lucky. I'm batting .000 with 2009 Abyss, as are many others. I would suggest buying a lottery ticket.
  35. Kelton

    Kelton Aficionado (140) Oregon Sep 17, 2010

    Hey Kevin,

    Yeah I saw the $24 bottles of 2011 Abyss too. Usually it's a $5ish per year bottle mark up at various beer stores around town, but it jumped to $10 this last year apparently. Meh well. I also saw $24 bottles of Oregon Trail Bourbon Barrel Porter No. 5 (2010) at the same joint.
  36. honkduh

    honkduh Savant (315) Oregon Jun 2, 2011

    For the low price of $199.00 you can have a vertical 07-12 of The Abyss.
  37. NWer

    NWer Advocate (660) Washington Mar 10, 2009

    I've had '09 Abyss a few times and it was phenomenal. I'd take my chances if given the chance to grab one of these puppies.
    beertunes likes this.
  38. So you're contending they blended everything together, all I dunno, 1 million ounces . . . and in what vessel?
    I fully agree they blend, but I don't think that every drop of every barrel was blended with every drop from every other barrel . . .

    But I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first or last time.
    Gobigvt7 likes this.
  39. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Either way, there are infected bottles out there mages64 said it best when he called this brew the russian roullete imperial stout. It's up to the individual to decide if it's worth it or not. Depending on the price, i'd probably give it a shot.
  40. oregonskibum

    oregonskibum Savant (430) Oregon Mar 14, 2009

    They have several 1,300 bbl vessels for fermentation and conditioning today. I don't know how that relates to ounces, but that's enough to cover Abyss. Of course, that's after a major expansion last year and I don't know what their max capacity was in 2009.

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