Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery, 6.4% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)


  • Style: (dryish) Stout
  • Taste: Dryish bitter roasted coffee fruity barley malt lingering roast bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / Burnaby
  • How much: $3.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours ultra dark brown without a head but temporary surfacing bubbles, thin ringed retention, barely visible singular micro streams.

Nose: toffee malt, sweet cocoa, chocolate truffle. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: off-dry crisp, roasty malt impression

Mid-palate: background controlled acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), coffee fruity overtones, medium dry roasted barley malt

Finish: long-lingering medium bitter dry woody roast, roasted exhale

Summary: Lots of lengthy roasted malts with a just enough sweetness and acidity to balance it out. Medium bodied, low creaminess. Smooth drinkability.

Black Butte Porter – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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Black Butte Porter – Deschutes Brewery, 5.2% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-right label:

“An opening volley, this pioneering dark ale signaled Deschutes’ renegade intentions. Its creamy mouthfeel, complex layers, hop edge and chocolate finish personify passion-forward brewing.”

  • Style: Porter
  • Taste: Light roast caramel malt coffee chocolate smooth start-to-finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: Pours dark cola brown with barely any head, a thin layer of micro retention, lots of medium-speed streams.

Nose: roast caramel malts. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming roast

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, micro fizzy, (MAIN) light roast coffee, molasses, malt, chocolate

Finish: burpy, light roast malt exhale, malty finish.

Summary: The difference between a porter and a stout? This exemplifies it for me right here. Crisp and lighter bodied without the heaviness, cleaner malt flavours, and straighter light roast delivery with a soft finish. Other online sources may tell you otherwise, but this distinction rings true for me at least.

The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.1% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front label:

“The Abyss: malt beverage brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine 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 further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.”

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  • Style: (bourbon, oak, wine) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Evolving with temperature roast malt chocolate raspberry alcoholic soy sauce vanilla woody
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn (Bby, Hastings)
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., February 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, annually
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way, it’s a trip

Visual: 2014 edition, black wax sealed. Pours coffee black with a very small head, petri dish lacing, SUPER-fine bubbles.

Nose: roasted dark malts, cherry wood, wet red wine barrels. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: very slick-oily mouthfeel, subdued alcohol

Mid-palate: light sourness, (MAIN) brown sugar, thick malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, woody, raspberry ->transition-> (lvl-7)-sweetness+malt

Finish: soy sauce, licorice, roasted-burnt bitter exhale, light burpy, cascading alcohol buzz, sweet-light bitter chocolate malt finish.

Summary: A beer with impact, both in taste and alcoholic bite. Layers upon layers of flavour, every year is exceptional. Notice the changes in flavours as the temperature decreases; less malt and more fruity characteristics emerge.

Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery, 5.3% ABV – 22oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

  • Style: Amber Ale
  • Taste: caramel barley malt soft bitter hopped
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 22oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours copper reddish brown with a small creamy head, well sticky lacing, a very thin layer of micro retention, several slow singular streams.

Nose: sweet honey/barley malts, mild hoppy backdrop. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp-sweet-hopped balance

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, fizzy-tingly, (MAIN) barley malt, soft-prominent hopped bitterness, caramel, subtle roast.

Finish: lingering bitter hops, light caramel-bitter hopped finish.

Summary: A crisp, semi-malty, semi-sweet but hop-dominant beer. Very drinkable with a meal or alone, although a bit tiring on the palate.

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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  • My Rating: A-

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.3% ABV – 650ml.,(Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

Dates, figs and chocolate. Black currants, barrel-aged in bourbon casks. The result is an Imperial Porter with a tart berry and chocolate aroma with luscious layers of dried fruit, oak and vanilla. A fitting tribute to the 25th Anniversary of our flagship beer.”

  • Style: (flavoured) Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Sour malt date/fig cocoa coffee currant
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off) – 650ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Now in their 25th edition with every year a little different and a bit more special. Pours ultra dark brown with virtually no head, a super thin layer of retention, lots of micro streams scattered throughout.

Nose: super malty with some cocoa. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sour-sweet deep maltiness

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) fig/date fruitiness, malts, cocoa, black currant depth, coffee, bourbon booziness

Finish: coffee bitterness, alcohol detection, malty bittersweet finish.

Summary: Extremely well-bodied and drinkable, albiet very heavy malty. Having tried the 23rd version, I like that one better. This one is a bit more deep and sour whereas that one was citrus-chocolate spicy. Check out that review here.

Conflux Series No.1 – Deschutes & Hair of the Dog Collaboration (Bend, Oregon, USA)

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  • My Rating: C

Conflux Series No.1 – Deschutes & Hair of the Dog Collaboration, 11.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

“Deschutes Brewery and Hair of the Dog Brewing join forces to weave The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam into an artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy. Damn. Beer is fun!

Conflux No. 1 – Malt beverage aged in distilled spirit and wine oak barrels.

  • Style: (barrel-aged) American Strong Ale
  • Taste: Red wine sweet/acidic brown sugar malt beer
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not quite

Visual: Pours cloudy pale beer bottle brown with almost no head, thin ringed retention, several very slow streams.

Nose: Soy sauced malts with some fishiness. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: dense tangy-sour malts

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-dense sweetness, medium sour/tangy, (MAIN) sweet malts, brown sugar/candi sugar, mild soy sauce, red wine grapiness + acidity

Finish: oaked malts, soft bitter sweet malted hopped finish.

Summary: Hmm.. normally I love barrel-aged beers but I’m not quite sold on this one. The acidity/sourness doesn’t quite balance out nicely with the brown sugar malts. I must say the high ABV is well hidden though. Brewdog does a better job with their similar style Abstrakt AB:10 (A).

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon, USA)

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  • My Rating: B

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 6.0% ABV –1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

“This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: hoppy/creamy -> toffee malt/pine/tangerine -> grapefruit hoppy bitter/caramel malt bittersweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours translucent bright copper brown, small foamy head, thin layer of retention, sticky lacing, several slow streams, suspended sediment.

Nose: grapefruit hops, toffee malt. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: incoming bittersweet hops, creamy texture

Mid-palate: (5)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, pine, tangerine

Finish: deep semi-sweet grapefruit bitter hops, clean caramel malt finish.

Summary:  The freshness of the hops reminds me of a less boozier version of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. Great drinkability and body. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)