You know, it just isn't December without a mention of the Abyss. Reviewing it is pointless—it's about as good of a beer you'll taste this year. The one and probably only surprise, actually, is how different the tap version is to the bottled one this year. It's quite a bit better on tap, though some aging will probably do the bottles some good.
Faithful readers might remember last year's «Abyssycle» where we charted out a theory on the lifespan of the Abyssi.
This year, after a lot of research and interviews, we can with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts prove once and for all that the theory was, indeed, correct. Takes a gander, if you so like, at our new-ish and improved-ish «Abyssycle».
The lifespan is relatively simple:
At release: The flavor is wonderfully deep and nuanced. It's one you can sit and taste for hours and still pick up on new hints of wonderfulness. The only real downfall is that it's somewhat thin.
Year one: How this happens we don't know, but this is the Abyss's weakest point in the lifespan. The thin mouthfeel persists, yet the flavor has kind of disappeared. Again, this is a mystery to us, and it certainly is scary to crack a bottle open and be hit with disappointment. Will its slide into mediocrity persist?
Year two: The answer is a resounding no. Two years in and the flavor is even deeper than what it was at release. The mouthfeel is that of tasty, tasty tar. It is likely one of the better beer experiences you'll ever have.
Year two and a few months: This is when things start to fade, ever so gradually. It's actually a bit of a disappointment to taste this about two and a half years in. Not that it goes bad, it just isn't what it used to be. It's better than what it was a year in, but a certain murkiness will make its presence.
Three years in: It's hard to say anything conclusive, but the '10 certainly lost a lot of its luster. That may change with the '11, but odds are slim from what we've been told.
In the end though, you do want to get some bottles of the '13 for both tasting and cellaring. Obviously. And you equally want to go out and try the Abyss on tap. You will be a richer person for it.