Obsidian Stout - Deschutes Brewery

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Obsidian StoutObsidian Stout

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1,020 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,020
Hads: 3,326
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.31%
Wants: 478
Gots: 551 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-07-2001

Alc. by Vol.: 6.4%
IBUs: 55

220 calories per 12 oz serving
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,020 | Hads: 3,326
Photo of russpowell
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick brown bubbly head that quickly drops off to a rather thin head and a little lacing. Thick black body with tiny beads of gas floating to the surface from beggining to end

Smell: Roasted grain and coffee aroma up front with alcohol and slight hints of vanilla

Taste: Rich maltiness and a grainy bitterness compete for attention at first, the an alcohol flavor. Dry with a hint of wood taste. Bitter finish on the tounge

Mouthfeel: Smooth,slick and perfectly carbonated

Good easy drinking stout (517 characters)

Photo of josiahschlender
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

For some reason I haven't gotten around to writing up this beer despite it being a staple at my house. My wife's favorite beer, I certainly can't complain!

I consistently get a great, long-lasting rocky head of an appealing brown. It leaves lots of sticky lace as the utter blackness that is Obsidian easily disappears from the glass.

Coffee, dark chocolate, dark roasted grains, earthy and citric hops all mingle pleasingly. Aromas are concentrated and intense, way ahead of the pack of most American stouts.

The dark malts and hops blend together nearing perfection, mirroring the aromas. It's a good, complex beer that lingers long and dry. I keep going back and forth, not sure if I wish the feel had just a little more to it. It's not watery, but certainly doesn't try to be an oatmeal stout.

I find this is a very versatile stout that goes well with food or holds its own alone. Here in Oregon it is ridiculously affordable and easy to find. All that together makes this one of the most drinkable brews around. Keep it up, Deschutes! (1,043 characters)

Photo of FreshHawk
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Very dark, opaque black color. Good sized, rocky, sticky, fluffy, creamy, cafe colored head. Very nice retention leaving a thick creamy lace.

S - Wonderful aroma full of chocolate (both mild and dark), coffee, roasted malt and an earthy tone. Chocolate and coffee are the strongest. Touches of citrus and grassy hops. Touches of hops provide a nice kick with the strong stout aroma.

T - Great mix of dark chocolate and coffee provide the strongest flavors. Nice bittersweet flavors. Slightly burnt/toasted dark malt that fits the bittersweet flavor profile. Earthy tones come out mid sip. Finishes with a nice citrus and slightly earthy and grassy hop kick. Very enjoyable beer.

M - Medium body with adequate carbonation. Smooth although not quite as full as I would want.

D - Very easy to drink. Balanced with great chocolate and coffee flavors and a nice hoppy taste showing up. Goes down easy, with a somewhat low ABV (for an American stout) and loads of flavors.

Notes: Best by 04/21/11. Very tasty stout that is incredibly easy to drink. Has a nice hop kick toward the finish that compliments the bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. Overall a joy to drink and a great price. (1,194 characters)

Photo of TheDeuce
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout....

Appearance - pitch black with a creamy tan head poured into the glass, jet black streaks through heavy lace. Appealing.

Smell - sweet malt with notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses and cookies, hops back up the profile.

Taste/Mouthfeel-luscious chocolate candy taste, with lots of malt and a roasted burnt character, spicy at the end. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, nice smoothness, more chocolate on the finish with a spicy sweetness.

Driakability-actually lighter than I expected, though this is a strong beer.

Overall-an excellent stout, nice flavors and sweetness, actually fairly light for a strong stout. While this may not be the heaviest stout it has all the character to match with the best. (738 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gulp...Smack, smack....aaaahh....and that's how a stout should taste! Though a lot of good stout's are out there, you rarely find a flawless one...until now. Has an expected black look with a fair head and retention, but don't they all? Where this stands apart begins with the aromas, which are rich with roasted, toastedness, and chocolatey goodness. Hop aromas stay low and only add an earty character. Tastes again, rich with roasted (coffee) malts, bittersweet chocolate, and a mild malt (caramel and vanilla) sweetness. Shares mild flavors with milk stouts (lactose) and oatmeal stouts (soft sweetness) and marshmellows. Hops really don't try to dominate the beer -- This is nice for an American Stout, but unusual. The texture is a velvety creaminess--just a little piece of heaven in a glass. Finishes a well textrued and blended sweet, smooth, and warming. Not dry or sweet, just nice. ....gulp, gulp, gulp ....a moment of sadness arrives (my glass is empty).
Thanks Clvand0. (984 characters)

Photo of arizcards
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of bottles at AJ's back in January for $1.39 each.

This brew pours black as night with no allowance for light to pass thru. Pour finishes with a nice creamy three finger head. Nose is chocolaty coffee that keeps getting better the longer it warms. Taste is this wonderful blend of roasted chocolate coffee that finishes with a creamy dry hop. This brew has this perfect creamy mouthfeel leaving just the right amount of dryness in the end. Wow, what a great beer! Overall drinkability is almost exceptional. I view this as an Light Imperial Stout which makes it possible to enjoy several at one session without having to worry about being overcome by an exceptionally high ABV. (699 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle a pitch black with a large off white head of foam that dissipated slowly

The smell has a lot sweet roastiness to it with notes of chocolate and coffee.

The taste is also very roasty...nice balance between the sweetness from chocolate and coffee flavours and the hop bitterness. Makes for a very tasty yet smooth brew and there's no alcohol presence on the palate at all. Yum!

Bottom line: One of my favourite American Stouts out there. I highly recommend it! (491 characters)

Photo of dnichols
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a chilled tulip.

A: This is a robust stout...thick, deep, and black with a limited brown head that didn't last and left a barely noticeable lacing.

S: It has a aroma profile that does the appearance justice...deeply darkly toasted malts, bitter semi-sweet chocolate, and a burst of campfire coffee.

T: I am not a fan of stouts...exception granted to this one. It has a straight froward and rich flavor of dark roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, and fresh brewed black French roast coffee. It is creamy rich...like a chocolate latte and finished clean with little residual bitterness.

M: It has a medium to full body with a crisp clean finish.

D: If every stout tasted this good I would become a real fan. I love coffee and semi-sweet chocolate and this brew has those flavors in spades. It may be a bit to rich and filling for long sessions but I would like to try. (916 characters)

Photo of Kevin-Wieken
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Obsidian Stout
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon
---from bottle to pint glass---

This is a BLACK beer. Massive tan head with good retention. Great lacing

Dark roasty malts, oats, cocoa, coffee

Sweet roasted malt, dark bitter coffee, smoooth

Super silky, sweet and bitter go to war on your tongue.

SOLID! Good on all fronts. Definitely a go-to stout! (388 characters)

Photo of isualum12
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pure bliss....it's that simple

pours black with a carmel tone on the edge. darker creamer head then most which holds it's self up. The smell and flavor comes off the head to perfection.

Smells sweat with bourbon.

You can taste the bourbon on your tounge as soon as it hits it. There is some great spice in there as well.

I am really excited to try and pair this beer up with some great beer. (397 characters)

Photo of thesilverhand
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks, as I so often say, to Naerhu for this one.

Pours inky black, with a massive, light, frothy wet-sand brown head that looked just gorgeous. It fell over the next few minutes, leaving vast swaths of thick lace.

Mmm. Aromatic dark coffee, a touch of woodsmoke, and a sweet vinous hint of dark fruits. Very pleasant.

Interesting. A much drier, roastier (is that a word?) first impression than I expected. Plenty of charcoal, dark-roasted coffee, with a smooth, sweet base. Very nice. The finish is long -- ages long -- and dry, leaving my mouth pleasantly smoky and thirsting for more.

Silky smooth with perfect carbonation. Active and light, despite being a heavy beer.

Wow. Very, very nice. Intense and long-lasting aroma and flavour in a beautifully smooth and aesthetically beautiful beer. I recently read an article (Times of London I think) about Deus and the "new" upmarket beer segment, comparing high end beer to champagne. A wine expert, tasting Deus, said it was a great beer, but still "short," leading him to say that he couldn't see paying champagne prices for beer -- a taste that "disappears immediately." I can say without hesitation that the aforementioned "wine expert" has never tried Obsidian Stout. You should. And it won't set you back as much as a bottle of champagne, either. (1,318 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I poured this bottle into a snifter, a little bit colder than cellar temperature.

Obsidian Stout is dark as night. It very nearly IS obsidian. The head is a lovely light brown and about two fingers high. Nice lacing!

It smells like rich, dark, loamy soil that has been fertilized with coffee grounds and then rained on by chocolate milk. Fabulous.

The taste follows the smell exquisitely, with extra emphasis on the earthiness. From the moment it hits my tongue, to long into the finish, I am washed over by waves of alternating and undulating earth, coffee, and milk chocolate.

The mouthfeel hits the sweet spot big time. It has subdued carbonation that's gentle on the palate and allows the flavors to shine through beautifully. The viscosity has some stout substantiality while still being... how can I say this... manageable (though I LOVE really thick imperial stouts, too).

Well. I did NOT expect this from a non-imperial stout. It basically has the flavor of an imperial stout, sans the high ABV. If there are any lovers of imperial stouts out there who are skeptial of a regular stout's capacity to sufficiently satisfy their selachian and senual cravings for scrumptious stouts... YOU MUST TRY THIS NOW... or I will annihilate you with my aggravating alliterative abilities. The label on the neck of the bottle reads "Give in to the deep, dark spell as the layers unfold," and "Like the plot of some eerie mystery you can't put down." (Haha, I love it.) Anyway, the layers did unfold. I gave in. And I couldn't put it down... because this stout treated me to one HELL of a mind-blowingly pleasant experience. (1,622 characters)

Photo of Joe_Howard
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is a great stout! Pours an almost pitch black body, with a big frothy tan head. The smell is chocolatey and roasty. The taste is perfect balance of coffee flavors and dark chocolate and has a full creamy body. If you have a chance get it, you will not be disappointed. (273 characters)

Photo of veinless
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always been an old standby of mine, about time I reviewed it.

Pours inky black with complete opacity and a bustling three-finger head that is rocky, milky, and very light. Mahogany in color, it retains very well and leaves lace absolutely everywhere. Beautiful beer.

Roasted malt is slightly chocolately and has a touch of coffee, while a woodiness gives more complexity to the nose. Nuts and some dark fruit round it out. Really well balanced and engrossing aroma.

The taste is a phenomenal blend of roast malts, fruits and nuts, a charred finish, chocolate, and coffee. There is a bit of everything, and it's all at the right times. It starts lightly hoppy, with even a tiny bit of citrus being noticeable, but then moves to woody, nuttiness that is soft but firm. Dark fruit swoops in for a quick cameo, before a burnt, slightly bitter finish with lingering light coffee notes. Chocolate is drizzled on top from time to time adding its own flavor.

Mouthfeel is not thick or sticky, but rather a simple medium/full bodied blend of smoothness and slickness. The beer flows effortlessly and the dry finish is great. Perhaps could use a bit more weight, but it's fine as is. Drinkability is really outstanding for such a strongly flavored stout. Abv of only 6.4% is crazy for how much taste they managed to pack into this, and the dry finish is always an aid to keeping sips great the whole way through.

This is just an awesome beer, and I'd say its the perfect example of an American Stout. The fact that it's year-round and affordable is just a massive cherry on top. Living in an area where the Deschutes lineup is sold in every store is awesome. (1,653 characters)

Photo of RJLarse
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I saw this beer was rated outstanding on BA, I’m not a big fan of stout, but I had to give it a try. I picked up a six pack at a local supermarket.

This beer is dark brown to black in color, and all but opaque. Pours a rich thick three finger light-brown to dark-tan head. The head took me a bit by surprise on the pour, and spilled over the side of the glass. He head continued to build after the pour, and left a thick lacing on the side of the glass while drinking.

The smell is very robust. You can smell this beer in the room just by pouring it in a glass. It smells like fresh coffee brewing, the aroma is that strong. It is a rich and heady aroma. Very nice.

The taste is rich, and robust, smoky malts, coffee and dark chocolate flavors. There is a mild bitter finish, just to remind you that you are drinking a beer and not a latte, or chocolate malt. The aftertaste is delicate, lingers briefly and is also smoky, and smooth.

The mouth feel of this beer is smooth and to some extent delightfully syrupy. This is a very, very rich and robust beer, although not particularly heavy.

This is an outstanding dark stout and is very drinkable. I think it’s an excellent winter beer, but I understand Obsidian is available year round. It might not be very refreshing on a hot summer day, but a beer that tastes this good would be drinkable any time.

An excellent ale!

NOTE: The label has apparently been redesigned since the BA picture was posted. It might be worthy of an update? I think I like the new packaging better. (1,549 characters)

Photo of JTahoe
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown bottle with drink-by date.

A - Aptly named obsidian black with one finger rocky tan head settling down to a creamy cap. Sticky lacing clings to the glass in wild organic patterns.

S - Roasty and toasty grains.

T - A smooth mélange of melding and weaving flavors without any one dominating; deep roasted barley, perfectly bittering hops, caramelized sugar, baking chocolate, juicy fruit, rich malt, and as delicate a charred flavor as was ever created. There is a faint sweetness contrasted with a vivid and pleasing acidity.

M - Velvety and full, but without heaviness. Beguilingly effervescent. A nice spicy dryness develops in the finish.

D - Impressive and satisfying, this stout walks the fine line of subtle and flavorful just beautifully. (758 characters)

Photo of alexAK
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So gorgeously dark, this could be the king of stouts, I wish there was just a bit more head though. Aromas are fully present with a slight dryness.

The first thing I notice upon tasting is the incredible smoothness that manages to compliment the almost smoky dry character of the roasted barley which is easily balanced by the malt flavor. It lingers enough to dazzle my whole tongue.

More full than a guinness but not overdone, I could drink this all night. I'm so glad it's readily available in my area. (512 characters)

Photo of birdypowder
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A sharp crisp pssstt, and my obsidian stout is free. It pours an enormous tan, brown, rocky head composed of tiny bubbles. Creamy! Large bubbles are mixed in but soon break.

Dipping my nose in I get dark chocolate and caramel notes. A second whiff detects some piney and grassy aromas.

The color is BLACK. Especially the center of my beer glass which is totally opaque, nothing shines through the inky blackness. The edges reveal a dark maroon with sinister brown tones.

Tasting reveals slight caramel sweetness up front, assertive carbonation and a bakers chocolate bitter finish. Creamy and mouth coating.

I could only have one of these in a sitting but that is because it only takes one to be satisfied. (714 characters)

Photo of BeerWizard
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Went with an English pint glass on this one, as my first attempt in a goblet just didn't feel right. This stuff is black - can't see through it. That's after you get past the gigantic head it pours with, which still looks like melting ice cream even after five minutes or so.

Pretty easily discernable in the nose is chocolate and coffee, and then there is some caramel and also some kind of mineraly aroma beneath that. Very nice! Flavors are quite nice, heavy on the chocolate/coffee, and then maybe some herbal flavor. The alcohol is apparent, and as expected, has a thick, hardy mouthfeel with a long, spicy finish. Yum.

I like this one. I haven't been in the mood for stouts lately but I've been waiting for this one to make it to my local beer store and had to try it. I would get it again, but probably in the fall or winter. It's a pretty stout stout and would be perfect with some roast beef or even turkey. (918 characters)

Photo of MadScientist
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a long lasting head of compact, creamy bubbles. Leave a fair amount of fine lacing on the glass.

S: A good amount of chocolate, coffee and roast in the nose with some low burnt notes. There is a low citrus hops aroma.

T: Dark malt flavors dominate the flavor as well, again bring chocolate, some bitter coffees, roast and a bit of burnt bitterness to the party. There is a low caramel sweetness in the middle. There is a low caramel sweetness that gets dried out pretty quickly. There is a moderate hops bitterness teaming up with the roast bitterness making for a beer that is moderately bitter on balance. The finish is off dry with a lingering bitter aftertaste that shows some citrus hops flavors.

M: A medium full bodied beer with a moderate amount of creaminess and a medium-strong level of carbonation.

O: Outstanding aroma and flavor having all of the dark malt notes of chocolate, coffee and a a touch of burnt bitterness along with some hops bitterness. It's fairly dry with and smooth. It's pretty evident why the beer has earned so many awards. (1,075 characters)

Photo of UncleFrank
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a thick oil black with a brown head. The head lasts and lasts. The aroma is high with roasted notes and sweet malts roasted over burnt wood. There is a bit of coffee aroma as well. Very interesting.
The body is thick and chewy, leaving the insides of my cheeks covered with a slick malty taste that mingles with the roasted grains on the middle of my tongue. A touch of sweet chocolate is evident and is followed by a flavor of dark grain bread, like a rye or pumpernickel. I’m not saying that’s what it is, but reminds me of that. Like a new coffee flavor. Very complex.
The finish is slightly bitter without being overly astringent. The re is no hop or alcohol taste at all and yet this beer weighs in at over 6 percent.
Wow, this could be my new favorite Stout. Complex, tasty, and a limited supply in this area make me want to savor this beer. Enjoy! (874 characters)

Photo of mayerale
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a glass from a 12oz bottle.

Deschutes doesn't normally disappoint, and the Obsidian Stout is no exception.

A: It pours a deep brown, with a think tan head. The head on my beer actually disappeared rather quickly, but at the initial pour it was fantastic looking.

S: Definitely get the roasted smell initially, but there is a subtle sweetness that cuts through it after the first hit.

T: There are a lot of flavors with this beer. It begins with the roasted barely right toward the tip of the tongue right off the bat. As with the smell, there is a sweetness of fruit that comes right on the heels of the initial bitterness. As the thick stout moves to the back of your tongue, you are definitely left with a coffee/espresso taste. It is a complex taste that will stay in your mouth for quite a while, with a clear roasted essence lingering.

M: As you would expect with a stout, it has a thick feel to it. It is very smooth.

O: This is a fantastic beer. It is highly complex and offers a lot, from a beautiful appearance, to a lot of different flavors from bitter, to sweet, to roasted coffee. This is one of the better stouts that I have had, and I definitely recommend it. (1,193 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Black with a beautiful thick tan head that last a long time, with great lacing.

Smell – Chocolate, roasted malt, smokiness, along with some coffee and molasses.

Taste – The taste has the same description as the smell - nice, albeit a little weak at 6.4%abv.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, creamy, good mouthfeel for a stout, though I'd prefer just a little more alcohol.

Drinkability – This is a very drinkable beer. My wife drank my entire bottle as I was trying to review it, and I had to pour another for myself. Goes down really easy. I agree with the Bros - I rate this higher than The Abyss. (625 characters)

Photo of JasonA
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oil slick black. Ample finger plus of thick mocha head. Ridiculous lacing. This head isnt going anywhere.

Sweet roasted malt. Raisin, rum, maybe chocolate, maybe espresso. Some ABV.

Dry black patent malt. Deep roasted malt. Dryness, buscuit.

Little dry, almost too much dry, something missing, though not horrible. Just a little unbalanced. Maybe a tab more malt to go with dryness.

I would love more of these. There is something in the dry finish though I could use a bit more malt with, but certainly not much of a detractor. This is more than likely the best American Stout out there. So close to being perfect. (627 characters)

Photo of GimmeAles
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Three fingers of khaki foam billows over an ebony body in the Imperial Pint glass. No light escapes the contents. Head recedes, but maintains a solid 2-cm sheet to seal the glass and a mini-cascade is seen with every sip. Good smattering of lace left down the glass

Blackened malts, Italian Roast coffee, grill-blackened plums make up the nose. Solid and rich.

Tastes are of charred grains, dark-rye crust and fine dark chocolate. Dried, vine fruits make an appearance and round out the palate with a pleasant sweetness. Very nice. Definitely more going on here than a grain-forward Dry Stout, yet not quite Imperial in overall stature.

Building on this theme, Mouthfeel is pleasantly viscous yet quaffable. Awesome drinkability - two bottles (or pints) are almost a given with this beer. My favorite ‘everday’ stout and quite a bargain at just over a buck a bottle. (877 characters)

Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 1,020 ratings.