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: 3,322
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.31%
Wants: 476
Gots: 549 | 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: 3,322
Photo of ranger7
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up from Central Market on sale.
From the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a hazy dark brown-to-black brew. Tan head sticks to glass.

S - Roasted chocolate and coffee smell.

T - Chocolate front with coffee bean bitter finish.

M - Smooth and thin. Little carbonation that lessens quickly

Summary - Pretty nice stout. I've liked some other stuff from Deschutes, but this is definitely now one of my favorites of theirs. Typically, I will enjoy a stout if it refrains from pounding me with its roasted-ness. This one has just the right amount to be enjoyable. (575 characters)

Photo of da_beers
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful oil black with one and a half fingers of an awesome tan, bubbly head. This is what you want your stout to look like!

S - Deep dark, chocolaty, coffee - like a mocha. Has a syrupy smell to it. I get walnuts as well. Smells like walking into an old coffee shop with oaken walls.

T - Great taste. It hits with this great bitterness from the hops. It has this great nuttiness as well. Chocolate at the end, but very faint, as well as the coffee was bigger than the taste.

M - Has a sharpness from the bitterness. Medium bodied. Close to full bodied, but a touch lite. Has good drinkability and the lowish carbonation is spot on.

O - Was very excited for this one. My first form Deschutes. Nose was huge! Taste a little below that. I would recommend to anyone, especially those who love a less smooth stout. Spot on with the bitterness and hops! (858 characters)

Photo of Vickaroo
2.63/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark with a moderate foamy head
Smell: Molasses
Taste: I kept getting a taste that seemed familiar, but I couldn't figure it out until after I'd had this beer a few times. Then it hit me: Ashtray. A distinct taste that made me feel I'd poured an ashtray into my mouth.
Mouthfeel: Zesty
Overall: Ok, but the ashtray association was a little disconcerting. (367 characters)

Photo of The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into a pint glass. There was room left over. Dark as night, with a head that is not very big, per se, but does last for the entire session in somewhat of a cloudy manifestation, and gives way to a small amount of lacing.

S: Chocolate. Chocolate chocolate chocolate. Some espresso nudges its way in there, but it's a fairly one-dimensional smell, and I'm not complaining.

T: Unsweetened chocolate just explodes from the get-go, and gives way to a peppery, coffee-y finish. Many stouts are intrinsically sweet, and that's not an inherent problem, but this one is bitter going in, and bitter going down, and consequently there is a bite that doesn't normally exist in this family of beers. It accentuates the flavors, and in a beer not crafted with this level of expertise, that could be a death sentence. Here, it's anything but. Absolutely delicious.

M: Again, perfect. In addition to boosting the character of the taste, the bitterness also accentuates the carbonation, giving it a very spicy feel. It is also perhaps the driest beer I have ever had. A true sipper.

O: As I've alluded to, this is the gold standard of stouts as far as I'm concerned. I'm only out west for the summer, but I already know that I'm gonna grab a few sixers of these babies for when I'm back on the other side of the Mississippi. A spicy, strong entry to the stout canon. Altogether familiar and yet like nothing you've ever had before. A triumph. (1,439 characters)

Photo of avery412
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

{Gifted to a friend; gifted to me. Unsure when brewed, but likely >6mo. I drink stout/porter infrequently}

A: Dark mahogany with a thick head. big, uneven head of bubbles that spider-web the stein. Like peering into a warm abyss

S: Caramelized nuts and a hint of licorice.

T: Velvet chocolate. crisp. there as a dry bite on the aftertaste. Very pleasant overall, and beckons another sip

M: Crisp and cool, but perhaps a bit thin. not at all clingy, but there is a residual dryness of the tongue after the fact.

O: What a delight! this is a rich and thoughtful beer, worth a taste. Its the kind of stout you could easily make a session of. (648 characters)

Photo of DenverHopHead
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle dated best by 1/13/2014 into a snifter.
Appearance - black, with no light coming through. Some bubbles noticeable creeping up the side of the glass. Big, creamy caramel colored head that lasts until the end! Lacing covers the glass!
Smell - dark and creamy, espresso, chocolate, coffee bean; very impressive.
Taste - creamy espresso, dark chocolate bitterness, dark roasted coffee; fantastic!
Feel - medium body and a nice lasting bitterness from the hops, excellent!
Overall - just a well crafted brew and definitely my favorite thus far from Deschutes! (575 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out to a creamy beige head and deep ruby black color. Aroma is smoky, roasty, espresso-like with hints of vanilla and earthy hops. Flavor is roasted barley, toasted malts, vanilla esters and a balance of hop flavors and bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium heavy with creamy nitro goodness. Top notch stuff. Must have again. I was about to give up on stouts until Obsidian arrived at the table. (395 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

With the initial pour, Obsidian Stout has a huge, thick, frothy mocha head. It recedes over time but still retains a reasonable cap and leaves some nice lace down the sides. The beer itself is impressively dark with just a little bit of a dark cherry edge.

The aroma is totally full of roasted flavor. Some dark chocolate and smokey tobacco complement the malt nicely, with a small bitter hop presence as well.

Dark roasted malt really dominates the flavor. There are some notes of coffee, smoke, and dark unsweetened chocolate. A citrus hop kick comes in at the end, and there is a modestly bitter aftertaste.

There is a bitter and slightly acidic feel, like a strong cup of coffee. The carbonation is creamy with a little bite and ends up being a little bit on the light side of medium. There is a light acidity toward the end of the sip.

This is a solid stout all the way around. (930 characters)

Photo of BingCrosby7
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured jet black and viscous, with a light tan head that retained its carbonation rather well. Nice looking brew.

S - malt, cocoa, roasted light coffee, lightly charred oak. The alcohol was light on the nose.

T - Roasted malt and coffee on the initial taste; very similar to the smell; light on the alcohol, which was a good thing.

M - lightly carbonated and smooth on the palate.

O - This is a very well balanced beer for the most part. The malt and charred qualities sort of overtook the nuance, but the overall effect is still rather good. Great brew. (564 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA
From: Bine & Vine Bottle Shop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $1.99
Purchased: June 4, 2013
Consumed: June 11, 2013
Misc.: Best by Aug. 12, 2013

Poured a black tar color with 3-4 fingers of tan and light brown frothy head. Good amount of circular lacing along the sides of the glass. Good retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled chocolate, dark caramel, espresso and roasty malts. Seemed to be stronger than 6.4 percent, more like an RIS. Very good nose and had me looking forward to the taste.

Tasted similar to the nose, only better. Got rich chocolate, fudge, dark caramel, toffee, roasty malts, chocolate milk and chocolate malt.

Full-to-medium body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish.

A fantastic stout. I am only upset that it took this long for me to figure it out. (877 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours near black with only the brightest of lights penetrating the outer edges. Head is light cocoa in color, 2-3 fingers thick and excellent retention. An everpresent layer of bubbles across the surface. Resulting lace is thick and sticks to the glass with the best of them.

Smell - Primarily dark roasted malts; a chocolate and coffee, mocha combination.

Taste - Classic Deschutes cream and roasted coffee character. Milk chocolate. Sweetness off-set by the roasted malt depth that hits mid-taste, though not ideally. Leaves some earthy hop bitterness, with faint traces of citrus pith near and into the finish.

Moutfheel - Medium to full body, while the carbonation provides a good bite. Fairly creamy. Smooth. There's no doubt this is an American stout.

Overall - An excellent stout, though it's not too far off from their Black Butte in terms of flavor. This one's a little darker, but the basic flavor profile is there. A classic example in every sense of the way. If there's one gripe I have, and it's a small one, it's that the sweetness can get a touch cloying when drinking this beer too fast; a virtual catch 22, because this beer is so enjoyable, it's hard not to want to take drink after drink in quick succession. (1,244 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 dc87
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful. Near-opaque dark brown body with a thick, dark mocha head.

S - A lot of dark chocolate, some roasted malt, a little fruitiness. Straightforward, but enjoyable.

T - Deep and complex. Begins with a big delicious malt taste with sweet chocolate and dark fruit notes. This is followed by a surprising amount of hoppy bitterness. There are just a little more hops than I would have liked, it distracts from the other flavours. A lot of roasted malts in the aftertaste, almost burnt tasting, with some lingering bitterness. Very interesting.

M - Also great - nice and thick, with a nice amount of zest from the carbonation.

O - A complex and tasty stout. Would prefer a little less bitterness, but overall, very enjoyable. Will definitely drink again. (764 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours out black with light tan head.

The aroma has sweet roasted malt and chocolate, but it's not a huge aroma.

The flavor is huge roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate. There's also a hint of some dark fruit. There's a bittering finish as well.

The body on this is surprisingly light. This is one better stouts (non Imperial) I have had. The flavor is really spot on and really nice and roasty. The issue for me is the lighter body. I wish it was more creamy and luscious. (487 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle with best by date of 30 Sept. 2013.
Pour is black (obsidian) with only a hint of dark bown at the edges. Opaque, even in bright light. Creamy tan head has moderat retention and leaves bands of sticky lacing.
Aroma: sweet and dark roasted malts
Flavor: Sweet up front, mildly bitter by the finish. Loads of dark roasted grain flavor. With hints of dried plums, dark chocolate, and coffee. Very slight burnt toast component.
M: Full body; medium carbonation. Approaches 5.
O: A excellent, robust stout. (516 characters)

Photo of McStagger
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at dfw airport.

A: one finger nitro cream head. Stellar retention. Mocha colored head. Fork, opaque brown. Stellar lacing as well.

S: dark roasted malt slam. Darkened fruit, bitter chicory and liquid smoke.

T: alcohol heat is present o n the finish and accentuates the dark fruit. Still mainly a smoke / coffee monster. Long, bitter finish that is equal parts charred grain and hoppy deliciousness.

M: the best part of anything nitro related. Exceptionally creamy. Huge mouth feel.

O: not a stout to mess with. Big flavor and a welcome respite during my cross country travel. (592 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 12 oz brown bottle into a stein with a textured outer surface and an embossed "50 cl". Label is clearly marked with a 'best by' date of 9/16/13

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a finger of frothy caramel-tan head sitting atop a pitch-black body. Faintest element of walnut coloring around the edges where the light shines through a tiny bit. Foam dissipates after a few minutes, leaving silky lacing and a medium film of bubbles on top.

Smell - Dominated by roasted malts, with some hints of bittersweet chocolate and ground coffee coming through as well. Some phenolic characteristics.

Taste - Creamy semisweet chocolate, burnt sugar bitterness, and hints of french roast coffee and even some peanut brittle. Do I sense a kiss of earthy hoppiness on the finish? Parts of it remind me of Black Butte, but more robust.

Mouthfeel - Lively carbonation with a creaminess to it. Nice medium-to-heavy body and a clean finish.

I've had a fair number of beers in the overall "stout" umbrella, but not many of the standard American variety. I can only imagine this is the standard-bearer for the style, as it's quite tasty. (1,138 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from SeaOfShells (thanks man!). Best by 5/13/13 (whoops). Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours slightly darker than cola with one finger of thick, lingering tan head that leaves a fair bit of lace.

Smells of cocoa, dates and roasty malts.

Rich and roasty with flavors of bitter bakers cocoa, mild coffee, faint dark fruits and maybe a little molasses.

Creamy medium body with carbonation leaning a little too strong. Lingering bitter roasty cocoa finish.

This packs some pretty bold and complex flavors with a relatively low abv. I don't notice any adverse effects from consuming it "out of date". A fine job by Deschutes, I'd happily drink this again sometime. (687 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

For some particular reason, it's very difficult to find single bottles of these around here - although six packs are plentiful. Purchased at the Albany Taproom. Despite being a longtime fan of Deschutes, this is my first time trying this. Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottle says that this is best by "08/12/13."

Wow, is this an imperial stout or something? Dark as motor oil, complete with tons of carbonation that leave a lasting 3 fingers worth of a light mocha head. Bubbles are huge, as is the amount of lacing sticking towards the sides of the glass in a foamy, thickened manner. Not too viscous, however - although with the low ABV, that is to be expected. A ton of foam settles down slowly in a fluffy way, almost resemblant of a milkshake. Settles down to less of a ring. No light goes through this thing, so it's hard to see anything else going on. Nearly world class here, and I feel like plunging into its dark, murky depths.

Upon a first whiff, it definitely hits a little bit more closer to home in terms of being an American stout, but it's one full of surprises at least. At first, there's an immediate aroma of chocolate malts, almost in the sense of being closer to roasted cereal flakes than actual chocolate. Then, there's an aroma resembling oats, a little bit of toasted earthiness, as well as slight bitterness from the hops - then, suddenly it becomes replaced by a wonderful sweetness similar to chocolate fudge, complete with cream, vanilla, and brown sugar. The yeasty phenols are all out here in terms of delivering a robust, full bodied flavor, and it lingers on in the finish in an enjoyably intoxicating way. Not as complex as I expected it to be, but still very good.

As I expected, this is by no means a crazy, over the top stout, but rather an old-school American stout recipe that returns the style to form. There's a lot of the initial roasted barley flavor that invades the palate, but it is quickly replaced by a dark cocoa flavor, as well as slight hints of vanilla and chocolate syrup. Slightly nutty as well, and also surprisingly grassy at the finish. Very, very earthy stuff here. This is the equivalent of munching on fresh roasted barley, with only the zest from the hops and sweetness from the alcohol balancing things out. Unlike Black Butte, this seems to be more straightforward in terms of serving the chocolate and roasted malts. The bitterness at the finish lingers on, only in a semi-dry way, and also one that makes the mouth slightly salivate. This is also similar to munching on extremely dark chocolate, which is definitely a new sensation I haven't had in a standard American stout in a long time. Carbonation is lively. This thing is so thick it's almost chewy, but it goes down like a charm and never feels too heavy. Hearty but extremely balanced.

Quite possibly one of the best standard stouts on the West Coast... Deschutes pretty much goes to the basics and still creates a fascinating and flavorful product in the process. It's dry, earthy, very much on the barley side, but also has a touch of sweetness, chocolate, and hoppiness that really keeps everything balanced. It does this all without being too heavy. I do enjoy Black Butte more for it's extra hop and more complex malt profile, but this is definitely an excellent beer. I really want to try this on nitro-tap. In a way, a great ode to Irish dry stouts with a West Coast twist! (3,424 characters)

Photo of lighthabit
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

really not much to say. this was one of my first craft brews, and it is the (very affordable) standard to which i compare other stouts. others might has more complexity to work with, but this is such a solid and easy to drink stout with an incredible price . . . how can you go wrong?. flashlight shows just the faintest deep garnet red near the bottom. thick, dryish head dies down to thin layer, i'd like to see just a bit more lacing though. chocolate, coffee, malt and barley are all here. if your friends are thinking of checking out crafts, this would be a great way to begin.

update 7/19 - note to self - when chilled more that usual, picks up a smokiness i hadn't see before . . . but it mostly goes away as it warms and the obsidian comes to life (756 characters)

Photo of mattmeiske12
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bottle of this at Mari's Six Pack & More in Reading, PA.

Appearance - Thick, dark brown in color. I didn't get much head retention though.

Aroma - Smelled very nice... lots of coffee/expresso, some chocolate.

Taste - This almost reminded me of an irish dry stout. It's not quite what I was expecting, but none the less it was very smooth and chocolatey.

Mouthfeel - Very silky, light on the palate. I didn't like that it thinned off at the end, would've enjoyed some coffee or chocolate.

Overall - This is a very "session-able" stout, something I could keep drinking all day and not get sick of. This was also the first time I've had Deschutes here in PA and I'll keep looking for more. (704 characters)

Photo of WissBrauSean
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I poured this beer from the bottle at about 60 degrees F and it is clear and black just like obsidian but with some brown showing through and the head is a full finger thick and creamy brown and leaves another cool outline of a mountain peak on my glass as lacing! I totally should take a picture of that, but I am too lazy.

The aroma is definitely of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, some yeast and very little earthy hops. Both sweet and bitter. A nice combo.

It tastes even better than it smells with sweet roasted malt taking the lead then the creamy chocolate malts come into play with some hints of vanilla cream and then followed by the bitterness of the roasted malts and the earthy hops. Finally it finishes dry with hint of black pepper and mild alcohol. This beer is so well balanced and the dry finish lures you to the next sip!

The mouthfeel is creamy full and dry with light to moderate carbonation to play on your tongue. The finish is dry and bitter but pleasingly so.

Overall, this has to be one of the best stouts EVER! It's definitely NOT a crossover beer and if you don't like dry and bitter beers you may not like this one, but keep in mind that this is an excellent beer all around and you might be missing out if you think that it may be too bitter for you. You may actually like it! I love it! 5 out of 5! (1,328 characters)

Photo of mooseo
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Black as night with a small dark tan head.

S - A light, but pleasing aroma of milk chocolate, black coffee, and roasted malt.

T - Roasted burnt malt, coffee, and sweet chocolate throughout. A light hop bitterness comes through and brings balance. Finishes bitter-sweet with roasted grain and caramel. There is a strong coffee/roast aftertaste.

M - Exceptionally smooth and creamy. Wow, this is definitely the best part of the beer for me. Medium-full body, mild carbonation, slightly dry finish.

O - A very impressive, memorable stout. The flavor profile is balanced and is a text book example of what a stout should be. But the mouthfeel - it's incredible. (691 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter, served at 52 degrees.

Appearance - dark, dark brown. Thick mocha head has great retention.

Aroma - dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted barley

Taste - a dry bitterness gives way to a slight dark chocolate sweetness and finishes dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation.

Overall - a world class stout. (352 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. best before 09-30-13.

A: pours really really dark brown. head is a coffee hued brown. frothy. very frothy. head has great retention

S: a lot of bitter dark chocolate. a decent amount of espresso. this thing really does walk a fine line between bitterness and sweetness, with bitterness taking the edge. not getting much hop aroma, but I could care less. this thing is all about fantastic dark aromas.

T: similar to the nose, a dry bitterness starts off the flavor. very similar to dark chocolate. more bitterness in the middle. a little bit of dark coffee, but this body is very close to dark chocolate. finish is, you guessed it, bitter.

M: subtle and creamy. this think on nitro would be tits. medium bodied.

D: a very well-made American stout. lots of dark aroma, however a bit one-note on the flavor end. not that it is a bad flavor so you are not gonna catch a lot flack from me. if you like stouts, definitely check this brew out. (958 characters)

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