Aging Abyss/Butte Res

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by LeedsZimbabwe, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. LeedsZimbabwe

    LeedsZimbabwe Initiate (102) Nov 23, 2014 New York

    I’ve not had too many Deschutes, but have come across some Abyss (+variants) and butte reserve recently. Wondering if there’s anyone out there with experience aging these. Both good to cellar? One better than the other?
  2. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,857) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Trader

    I've had far greater luck with BB than Abyss. Find that at about 3 years the Abyss falls off for my preferences. About 6 months ago completed a 6 year vertical, and most that participated felt similarly. Can't speak to the Abyss adjuncts, though I'm still sitting on 1 Rye yet.

    Haven't noticed the same degree with BB. And Black Butte^3 was spectacular during the eclipse last summer...only wish smoke hadnt forced us to John Day Fossil Beds, as the original plan was to drink it on Black Butte during totality. My $0.02 FWIW.
    vurt and LeedsZimbabwe like this.
  3. LeedsZimbabwe

    LeedsZimbabwe Initiate (102) Nov 23, 2014 New York

    Great story and advice. Appreciate the input my friend!
    jakecattleco likes this.
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,604) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    I've got Abyss of various ages going back to the first release. They hold up well for 3-4 years, but after that they're going downhill. I've got a few of the Black Butte Anniversary brews, and because the recipe changes every year, it's hard to make a blanket statement, but they're generally good for that same 3-4 year window.
  5. Robomunky

    Robomunky Initiate (184) May 14, 2015 Washington

    I usually sit on BBs for 2-3 years and Abyss for 3-4. 3 years seems peak but I had a 4yo once that was just incredible.
  6. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (839) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon

    Sitting on either for 1-3 years will yield pretty reliably good results, after that it’s more variable but 2006-2007 Abyss can still taste damn good and I think BBXV still has legs.
    beertunes likes this.
  7. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,894) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota

    Some reviews for you to ponder. A quick search of the Cellaring forum will give you more info on aging Abyss that you probably care to read:

    The Abyss was one of the first beers I ever cellared, starting with the 2007 years back. For my tastes it is a very good beer fresh, dialed up to excellent or stellar (depending on the vintage) after 2-3 years.

    I've never had an Abyss that's "fallen apart" personally, & we've sampled them up to 8-9 years old. Most recently I had a 2012 last week that was excellent. For my tastes, this beer has some long legs!
    sharpski likes this.
  8. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,220) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon

    To my mind, this touches upon the difficulty in responding to the OP as it pertains to the Abyss. The beer really seems to vary significantly from vintage to vintage, which can make aging/cellaring the beer problematic. Years that I felt were really great years for Abyss (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 for example), I thought the beer aged well and improved significantly with 2 or 3 years of aging. On the other hand, I think it was in 2011 or so that Deschutes started experimenting with wine barrel aging as part of their barrel aging program, to add some complexity to the beer. While they certainly succeeded in making the flavor profile more complex (there's a noticeable wine/sour component to those beers I think), overall I know I did not find them more enjoyable to drink.

    To give you an idea of what I'm talking about... I was able to try the 2011 Abyss on draft last week, a beer I've had many times in the past and still have bottles of at home. I was not a big fan of this beer when Deschutes released it, but was hopeful that over time it would develop into something special (as many previous vintages of Abyss had). I'm now convinced that's just not going to happen with this beer. While the beer wasn't anywhere close to falling apart and had clearly developed and evolved since the release, it still wasn't a particularly enjoyable beer to drink (though I did like it better than I had when Deschutes first released it).

    My point being I guess... while the Abyss is certainly ageable, and typically does improve somewhat (or a lot) with extra time in the bottle/keg, if you're not a big fan of a particular vintage when it's young, my guess is that additional aging probably isn't going to change that impression.
  9. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,894) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota

    And that's the whole point of aging: beer ages differently for different people's palates. The 2012 I had I didn't care for relatively fresh because of the stupid cherry bark, but last week, I found that it was gone, & I enjoyed it a lot more.

    Which means I didn't enjoy it young, but enjoyed it a lot more now, because what I didn't like faded out of the beer.
    vurt and NWer like this.
  10. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (1,911) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Premium Trader

    For what it's worth, 2013 is tasting MUCH better now than it did a couple of years ago. I bought 8 of them when it came out, and I've been sampling them each year. This is all my opinion, of course!