What is the best year for Abyss?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by manjanai, Mar 9, 2013.

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  1. manjanai

    manjanai Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    I know some might say that 2008 was the best year for Abyss but 4 me it has to 2010,

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  2. kvgomps

    kvgomps Defender (655) Feb 10, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I've only had the 09, 10 and 12. Saving the 11 for a little while longer. While the 09 made me think, "that's it?", the 10 was amazing. I think the 12 will get there but right now just tastes like coffee to me. Good thing I have another dozen to gauge the change.
  3. corby112

    corby112 Poo-Bah (3,908) Nov 19, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I've only tried 07-10 so far and would rank them:

    09(have opened five bottles and all have been terribly infected). Should be doing a complete vertical sometime soon and I'm looking forward to seeing how the older vintages are holding up.
  4. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    '08 has proven to age the most gracefully thus far.
    '10 was the best out the gate.

    Science (my mouth) says the '10 may surpass the '08.

    I've said it before and I will stand behind this: '08 was great, they got confident and sloppy. '09 was all fucked up, they fessed up, manned up, and knocked it out the park with '10.
    corby112 likes this.
  5. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    I gave up on the three cases I bought of '09, and every goddamn bottle I send out as a "enjoy your scratchcard" extra in a trade apparently was not infected. Now I've got two bottles. After having had easily 30 different bottles and the infection is like autism: on a spectrum. Some are worse than others, and honestly I think the case is a good indicator; if one is fucked, they are all fucked. If one is decent, they are all likely decent.

    Best of luck with your tasting.
  6. manjanai

    manjanai Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    Do you think that the 12 will get better, their best brewer left after 2011 hence Abyss had changed somewhat, don't get me wrong I still like it but not love it like the 10and 11:slight_smile:
  7. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (618) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader


    I've had several vintages and just can't understand the hype of this beer. Its ok but not near as good as some people seem to think
    franklinn, Houston_E89 and GRG1313 like this.
  8. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,091) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    And I'll counter with it's better than what some people seem to think.
  9. klaybie

    klaybie Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2009 Illinois

    I liked the '09 the best just because it was a gamble. But that's just me.
  10. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (618) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Bitterbill likes this.
  11. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 New York

    I will go with ANY year !!!
  12. FUNKPhD

    FUNKPhD Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2010 Texas

    Personally, I thought Abyss2010 was one of the best beers I've ever had. Honestly, fresh King Henry was pretty close behind that.
  13. mocktm

    mocktm Devotee (437) Jan 3, 2011 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Did a '06-'12 vert a couple months ago. Consensus was '08 was the favorite followed by '11 I believe. Good times
  14. jp7161

    jp7161 Initiate (0) Dec 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Of the ones I've had 2010 was by far my favorite.
  15. kaseydad

    kaseydad Savant (934) Nov 23, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    Agree on the 2010....though it was 2+ years old when consumed.
  16. Pecan

    Pecan Devotee (421) Dec 20, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    '07 was my pick.
  17. JebediahScooter

    JebediahScooter Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2010 Vermont

    Did a 07-11 vertical last year, this was how it broke down for me:


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  18. GRG1313

    GRG1313 Poo-Bah (3,580) Jan 15, 2009 California
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm am SO with you! I have long gone on record....this is A VERY GOOD BEER. However, people seem to think that these beers ARE MADE TO AGE. Folks, this ain't Chateau LaFite Rothschild! Every, repeat....every...Abyss I've had within one year of bottling has been excellent. Every, again repeat...every, Abyss I've had with more than about 18 months age has just not been as good as fresher. And, with lots of age, most vintages are just plain bad in my opinion. Again, I love this beer! But I like it fresh, as when the brewer released it! I like drinking it and getting the experience that the brewer wanted me to have. Aging it? Fine; knock yourselves out. The only thing that happens to any further aged beer is that it generally ("generally") loses flavor and brightness.

    I try aged beer from my cellar almost every day. I am generally disappointed, although every now and then there's a nice surprise. I open various "vintages" of Abyss all the time and, indeed, I'm always surprised! Each bottle is always worse than anticipated and hoped.

    I love Abyss. I'll drink it when released and within about a year, a year and a half. Just my opinion.
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  19. mhenson42

    mhenson42 Zealot (535) Nov 20, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I've had every year but '08. '06 and '07 have been my favorites so far. I had the '06 last Dec. and the '07 in early 2010, so both bottles had been well aged.
  20. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,136) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I have had 2008 to present. I used to say 2010, but I think it's on a slow decline now. 2011 was pretty damn tasty when I had it recently.
  21. fortsambo

    fortsambo Initiate (132) Feb 14, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Though Abyss is not my forte (don't care for licorice), I would say '10 is the best that I have had out of '08-'12
  22. ncaudle

    ncaudle Defender (602) May 28, 2010 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I thought 06, 08 and 10 were our unanimous favorites, with 11, 12, 07 and 09 at the bottom?
    I know I immediately traded out my 11 and 12s for more 10s after that tasting. I just don't get the wine barrels used for those 2 vintages.
  23. mocktm

    mocktm Devotee (437) Jan 3, 2011 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I remember really liking the '11. Maybe I was in the minority on that one. '08 was awesome though!
  24. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (1,635) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Then why do they have a Best After date printed on each vintage, a year in the future?
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  25. GRG1313

    GRG1313 Poo-Bah (3,580) Jan 15, 2009 California
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I have a hard time believing that Deschutes needs the money and releases beers early. My conclusion is that it is a marketing technique to satisfy all of us that "collect" and "age." (Not criticizing here; I'm one of those although trying to change my ways a bit). I've spoken with several brewers at several places and they all have said the same thing - drink the beer when we release it - period. I'm just guessing that we all like seeing that "best after" date and, truth be known, it helps move beer for Deschutes. But, I'm guessing. My own personal opinion based on drinking fresh and waiting the year or so is that it's always been better, to me, fresher.

    I think that there are a few other places that also do a "best after" date, although none are coming to mind. My comments would be the same. It's simply hard for me to believe that any beer placed in a bottle is going to get better after any significant amount of time (a year would be significant for beer in my view). I make this observation having tasted no less than 7,000 bottles about which I have notes.

    And, please remember, I'm just offering my opinion here and in the original post. There are clearly people who disagree with me and, of course, their opinion is just as valid as mine. (That's why it's called "an opinion.") I think it's because of all of our opinions that we're all having so much fun and one of the reasons we all continue to taste and post.

    However, to answer the question: I don't know.
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  26. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (1,635) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Fair enough, I'd actually be interested to hear what Deschutes has to say about it. In fact, if no one has heard from them an answer regarding this that they can share, I'll write to them.
  27. GRG1313

    GRG1313 Poo-Bah (3,580) Jan 15, 2009 California
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm going to bet (or, reasonably speculate, at least) that the response would be something like this, "We want to give our customers the opportunity and experience to taste the beer fresh out of the barrels, but we also believe that giving this beer some time integrates all of the individual componants to produce a more elegant, and for some, better experience."

    Wouldn't be a bad answer! (Isn't that sort of the reason we all age beers? Otherwise, other than the plain "bragging rights" of what we have in our cellars (not a bad thing, by the way, I love bragging rights!) and other than for "the experience" (for which I'm also guilty) why would we age?

    However, I'd welcome hearing what the Deschutes formal statement would be. I'm sure there must be somewhere on BA where this has been quoted. No?
  28. HuskyinPDX

    HuskyinPDX Poo-Bah (2,483) Jan 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    During the 2011 release Deschutes had a vertical of 08-11. The 08 was my favorite then 10. The 2011 Nitro was one of the best beers ever. I have a bottle of 07 to open sometime soon.
  29. kscaldef

    kscaldef Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    I thought 2010 was the only one they nitro'ed
  30. OMsweetOM

    OMsweetOM Aspirant (277) Feb 1, 2011 California

    In line with what GRG1313 said, (and despite everyone's tastes being different and opinions entirely subjective), there is likely a cap to the cellar time that lines up with the taste crescendo. It may be the Best After date, it may be a little different (and subject to how you store it). This is what I think makes it hard to compare each vintage. Yes, you can line them all up and taste side by side, but some will be newer while others are older and thus your're not comparing on the same scale (some have advantages/disadvantages). To truly compare (this would require the best memory evolution can provide), taste each year fresh, taste each 1 year later, 18 months later and 2 years later... so on if desired. Try to recall each vintage at each stage...

    As for the Best After date and speculation on fresh versus age or marketing/selling strategies, date stamp aside - nothing is stopping a consumer from drinking The Abyss fresh. I welcome it every year! The adventure is the cellar process and finding out what age does to each bottle (depending on when they're opened). Perhaps Deschutes nailed it on the head with their printed date, but don't let it coerce your own good judgement or preference. I agree with the date in that fresh bottles are great but a year or so later I personally believe they're magnificent.

    After a semi-vert in Dec (missing the '08), I and others agreed that 2010 stood out above the rest. Interesting that this was in the magic 1-2 year mark. ; )
  31. gator79

    gator79 Disciple (328) Nov 1, 2008 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I drank my last 07 one year ago and it was wonderful. I drank 2 08's last year and they were both very good but the 07 still comes out on top. 10 is drinking very good, I have 1 left and I'm going to hold on to it for another year or so.
  32. CasanovaCummins

    CasanovaCummins Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    Any but last year's!

    But I'm partial to the 2011.
  33. MADhombrewer

    MADhombrewer Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2008 Oregon

    I have had 08- 11 and 10 stands out to me. Haven't opened my 12. Been in the fridge since I bought it. Haven't had the cajones to go after it. Soon, though.
  34. OMsweetOM

    OMsweetOM Aspirant (277) Feb 1, 2011 California

    Anyone that wants to enhance their enjoyment of The Abyss (especially those conducting vertical tastings) should consider making these:
    If you need to enlarge the image, find the source here: http://pinterest.com/pin/322992604495193758/
  35. kvgomps

    kvgomps Defender (655) Feb 10, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Well, I would expect it to improve somewhat (even if only a little). But even if it doesn't it won't worsen - and I would still have a crate of awesome "coffee stout" that somehow cost me half as much as it would have in Portland.
  36. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    2010 easily for me. Wish I had moarrrrrrr.
  37. HuskyinPDX

    HuskyinPDX Poo-Bah (2,483) Jan 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Just did an 07 next to a 12 and the 07 was the hands down favorite of the two. FWIW.
  38. cfh64

    cfh64 Devotee (487) Aug 16, 2005 Texas
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I recently did a '07, '08, '10, and '11 vert. I much preferred the '08 over the others.
  39. Trevdawg

    Trevdawg Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2012 New Hampshire

  40. jake65

    jake65 Initiate (147) Nov 4, 2008 Idaho

    '09 at the brewpub was outstanding and my 'best' Abyss experience. I was lucky that none of the '09 bottles I purchased were infected either. '06 & '07 with 1-2 years age have been close runner-ups. '08 fresh on draft was also very fine.
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