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: 3,319
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.31%
Wants: 475
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: 3,319
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark chocolate brown. Thick brown head that vanished into a stained white film with a thicker concetration towards the center. Lots of struggling lace. Would slowly slide into the glass but tries mightily to cling to the edge of the glass. Nose is full of toasted malts and oats with just some faint whisps of coffee.

Flavor is thick and mighty. Medium roast coffee wuickly followed with some dark chocolate. Carbonation kind of sparkles on the tongue. Slight hop-piney bitterness towards the end. Even reminds me just a bit of spearmint candy for some reason. Lots of burnt and toasted malts in hte flavor. Even a bit dry in the finish. Really nice slow sipping beer that I struggled to sip slowly. (716 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 mattcrill
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one.

Label states "best by 5/18/05"

Appearance: Pours inky black with a fluffy tan head. No light or visible carbonation in the body.

Smell: Roasted barley, cocoa powder, nuts, and a hint of licorice.

Taste: Oatmeal, grainy, a slight yeast tang, with the nuttiness and roasted barley amped up. The epitome of an American Stout in terms of the roasted profile. Hop presence is minimal as it should be.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full and a touch of creaminess.

Drinkability: This would be in my regular rotation if it were available. A nice example of the style. (624 characters)

Photo of bditty187
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


This is yet another beer I order from Liquid Solutions that was extremely foamy. Is this a coincidence? It is not like I opened this beer the second it arrived.

Black in hue, even when backlit only a tickle of dark ruby is added to the dense colored liquid; it is attractive and sinister but it was too be expected. The head was brunette colored; the pocked bubbles had great staying power. In this case, it is a damn shame because the head is over three fingers tall! I want to sniff and drink this beer! A manageable cap lasted the entire consumption; it was a half finger tall. The subsequent lacing was blotchy but widespread; there should have been more considering the head covered half my glass at one time! Overall the appearance is rewarding.

Finally, I can smell the beer. Yep. It is a stout. Lovely roasted coffee notes with an undercurrent of chocolate. Dry black malts, not so fruity, not so sweet either but there are hints of char. Simplistic nose… however, the aromas that come through are lovely. This is one of the best true American Stout I have smelled. No jazzy additions here, just good old fashion roasted malt. Sadly, the potency is very low; I would really like to be able to smell this beer more clearly. The bouquet is agreeable and inviting but it could have been more special.

The palate is slightly sour at times, oat sweetness, dried charred maltiness with some roasted toffee. Chocolate too, kisses of alcoholic candy are in the mix. I love the dryness, it isn’t too sweet and yet it is sweet enough. Chewy, relaxing, with a hint of alcohol in the finish. Clearly, this is a good stout. However I think Zonker’s Stout is light-years better but WY beers just don’t get that much play. That stout is Top 50 worthy. Is this stout over hyped? Maybe a little bit, according to my taste. Granted, this is not like Beano Cook saying Rick Mirer is going to win three Heisman trophies. No doubt this is a good beer; maybe I am nitpicking. Maybe I expected something much better then any American Stout I have had. It is frankly to straightforward. I like it… just not wowed.

Medium in body, moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel fits this beer well. I like the laziness; the aftertaste is extremely long. A big roasted residue camps out on my tongue. This makes me want to eat cheddar cheese or a charred steak.

Drinkable, it is. This beer has grown on me greatly. The first half of my glass just failed to wow me. The second half impresses me. I have to take this beer as a whole though. Some movies start slow but have a hell of a finish… this Stout falls into that category. It leaves me on a positive note but the first impression can’t escape my memories either. All in all, this is clearly a well-brewed beer. I like it. I purchased a couple bottles from Liquid Solutions. I am happy I finally got to try this stalwart of BA Top 100 beers. Worth a try. (2,913 characters)

Photo of bennetj17
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As it pours the head takes time to develop. It expands into only a small crust on top, the color of the foam being a very reddish brown/tan. It then dissipates pretty quickly also. The beer color is very dark black, not much light penetrates. The smell is amazingly smoky and burnt, with maybe a hint of chocolate. Taste is more smokiness, reminiscent of a campfire. Burnt coffee flavors are present also before the right amount of bitterness shines through at the finish. For a stout, it's not real thick, the carbonation is low but adequate. Suprisingly drinkable beer, maybe because its not too strong or chewy like some in its class. (637 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with a tall tan head that has nice retention and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. Just how a stout should look. The aroma is comprised of lots of chocolate notes with small hints of roasted malts and plenty of malty goodness. Promising. The flavor follows suit with the aroma. Lots of chocolate malty flavors along with some roasted notes. This beer is extremely smooth and creamy. Very very tasty beer. Nothing is offensive and everything blends well. (482 characters)

Photo of Bcant
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an extremely well balanced stout. It looks good too. Pours almost back with a medium brown head that lasted to the end, leaving a touch of lacing on the side of my pint glass on the way down. Smell is mostly of dark chocolate but is rather delicate, almost too slight, but still very nice. The taste starts with strong coca notes but seamlessly transitions through toasty malts to an excellent dry hop finish. The mouthfeel is very round, smooth, and chewy. The carbonation level is just right. This stout is very complex but not at all difficult to drink. None of the flavors are overpowering and with a very velvety mouthfeel the first pint begs a second. (665 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown to black color with a sparse coating of light tan head over top. Nose is nice and chocolatey sweet with a background of ashy roasted malt. Good balance between sweetness and roast in this one. Flavor is nice as well. Mostly chocolate in the start, with the roasty and light hoppy bitter on the finish giving a light coffee note to it. Bitter doesn't hang on too long, but stays around just long enough. Feel is velvety smooth and creamy but nice and thick with a minimal carbonation. This is an incredible stout. The beer is in very good harmony with itself. Flavor and aroma meld very well. I don't remember what I said about this before, but I am a big fan of what I just drank. (699 characters)

Photo of deBeers
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours blacker than black with a creamy expresso like head that reached a towering four fingers with my rigorous pour. Thank you gravity!

Bottle conditioned using the Krausening process and water from the Cascade mountains. I love everything about this beer from the location of the brewery to the production to the silky smooth taste of this stout. Name is very apt for this brew.

Silky, sensuously dark chocolate making this brew inviting and deliciously smooth. Roasted malts remind me of coffee. This was extremely enjoyable with some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. Carbonation was a perfect blend. Seek this out and lay a few down for a month or two!

Thanks Deshcutes and especially to Big Love for sending this my way! (736 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best Before Date December 2006, Sampled January 2006
Pours a deep black color and is topped by a three-finger thick, light brown colored head that slowly recedes in a large bubbled mass. The aroma is dominated by roasted notes; I get notes of deeply roasted espresso, acidic notes of cold black coffee, and some sweet dark chocolate aromatics up front. The aroma is quite nice.

The taste is sharp, with a burnt acidity to it up front. This is balanced by a soft creamy mouthfeel that starts in the middle and carries through almost to the end. The finish is dominated by roasted notes quite similar to the finish of an espresso; acidity and roasted / burnt notes. For all of the roast character it is quite smooth, it is lack that burnt-husk astringency that can be found in some stouts. Having said that, the roasted acidity here is a bit too much; there needs to be a bit more something (sweet malt would do it) to balance it out. Perhaps a bit of age would do the trick as well; I have a feeling this might mellow out over 6 months or so. (1,045 characters)

Photo of JohnfromDublin
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted this bottle on 21th December 05, label different to one on BA (All Deschute's brews relabelled in 2005.

Poured a murky rich black liquid with a dark tan decent head.
Smelled quite sweet, strong roasted malts.
Tasted fairly sharp though complex with coffee and really dark chocolate battling it out. Much sharper than Deschutes Black Butte.
Nice smooth mouthfeel help make this a real belter of a brew. This is a serious stout that I would reserve for a special occasion. (484 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 Naerhu
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Jet black body with a fluffy rich brown head.
S - A bit of sweet char and dark chocolate
T - Long lasting bitterness that starts off mildly and intensifies as the other layers of flavor melt away. Rich, rich malt slightly burnt chocolate and coffee maltyness.
M - What can I say? Bottle conditioned. Silky, naturally carbonated, yum. Smooth!!!
D - Great, easy drinking beer. (382 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours an opaque, ebony body that is as black as obsidian(of course). One finger head is cocoa brown in color, retains well, and leaves plenty of patchy lace.

Aroma is subtle, with dark chocolate, espresso, smoked almonds, and a kiss of dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is creamy and nearly full bodied. Tingly carbonation works well here.

Taste has a dark roasted malt profile that is smooth and creamy. Carob, dark chocolate, creamed coffee, almond nuttiness, grainy figs, work well with a restrained PacNorthwest hop bitterness. Some burnt coffee bitterness comes on at the finish. Never overly bitter, which bumps up the drinkability.

Very well constructed, and pleasantly drinkable. Excellent for style, and no hint of the higher abv was noticed. Many thanks to waldowin for including this gem in our trade. (827 characters)

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 DESTRO
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

oh snaps. looks very nice, tight packed head on a deep black body. smells roasty, slightly smokey. little coffee, little alcohol. oh boy. taste? slightly sweet with a respectable hop hit. roasty and chocolaty. the slightest touch of black licorice, maybe its just me. alcohol pop on the swallow. silky smooth and delicious. insanely drinkable for being so powerful abv wise. awesome stuff. (389 characters)

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

Pours out jet-black with a finger or so of tan head that fades fairly slowly and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell is heavy with coffee, roasted malt, baker's chocolate, and rum-soaked dark fruits.

Flavor is huge roastiness cut nicely by the light bittersweet flavor of the chocolate and rounded out nicely with the espresso flavor that sneaks in towards the end. A slight sweet malt and dark fruit (plum and a little grape) are evident here, to lovely effects.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, very nice.

Overall: What a gift for a dear friend from Oregon to bring me. I really must get out to the Northwest to pick up some more of this at some point. (665 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another elusive PacNW beer falls into my clutches. Pours thick and black with a thick, tan rocky head that slowly dissipates into a chunky lace. Retains well, very nice. Tiny bubbles of carbonation are present, intermingling with brown yeast floaties. It's a microcosm of life. Ha.

Sweet buttermilk and chocolate are present in the nose, but not a burst of complexity there. Thankfully the flavor picks up all that the aroma is lacking. Begins with a sweet licorice thang goin on, melting into tangy butterscotch and dry bakers chocolate. Somewhat smoky in the finish with a lasting, partially acidic bitterness. Carbonation is mild yet fills the mouth with delightful smoothness. Delicious and extremely drinkable. Big ups to waldowin for the hookup. (755 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My second PNW brew from the folks at Red Bones...
Arrived in a standard pint glass a dark chocolate color with a full finger of creamy tan head...lacing quite thick and very attractive, making it difficult to consume...yeah right.
Aroma was a masterful blend of belgian chocolate, espresso and a subtle malt sweetness.
The taste was more of the same with a very robust character that simply blew me away for the style. If my first experience with a stout was this and not Guinness, I would have been converted a long time ago. Not dry at all in the finish and no smoked flavors going on...finished very clean with a caramel/vanilla blend...no alcohol to be found during the entire pint.
Thick mouthfeel for this offering...wish I could find this one in a bottle to compare.
Quite easy to throw back a couple of these, but it was filling due to it's texture, so wouldn't have any more beyond that...either way, a definite winner. (933 characters)

Photo of BDTyre
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow! BC brews very few stouts, but the rest of the "Cascadia" (read: American) region does a damn good job of their stouts. I picked this up "across the border" in Bellingham on a mad-dash-who-gives-a-damn beer spree. This is a strong, full stout that beats almost anything brewed in Canada (with a few exceptions).

This is what a stout should be: black, with a coffee-and-cream head. Black, like obsidian. When held up to the light, a faint bit of ruby shows through.

This smells like ovaltine and roasted malt. There is a definite malt smell on the nose as this excellent beer warms. I can taste coffee, chocolate, and burnt malts. There is a faint alcoholic sweetness that blends nicely with the "dark" flavours.

Overall, this is a very well done stout. The only detractor from drinkability is the abv, which at 6.4% is a bit high for a standard (i.e. non-Imperial) stout. Despite this, Deschutes has come up with an outstanding beer that I wish I could obtain easily. (980 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black pour, not quite opaque, dense creamy tan head. Mostly sweet aroma (oatmeal stout like)with a decent roasty grip. Condensed molasses, coffee, soy sauce, vegetal oil and licorice notes. Very smooth palate, creamy, velvety texture is enhanced by the low carbonation. Slightly buttery tones. Well hopped in the finish with a bitterness that enlaces the coating roastiness. Above average thanks to an engaging mouthfeel, looks and almost feel like a nitro conditioned stout though the flavor is not influenced. (518 characters)

Photo of OldSock
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 12 oz bottle with hop cones embossed onto it, obtained in a trade with Gueuzedude. In my snifter this stout is black with a thin tan head. The head falls to just a thin coating within a few minutes, but there is nice lacing.

Smell – Coffee and chocolate with some milk sweetness. It is a nice stout aroma, with just a hint of hops and alcohol.

Taste – Similar to the smell, coffee with a creamy sweetness that is really good. Very smooth flavor with just a hint of roasty bitterness in the aftertaste. Certainly not an overly complex flavor, but it is just really well done.

Mouthfeel – Full with medium-low carbonation. Just what a stout should be.

Drinkability & Notes – Easy to drink, because of the great flavor and perfect mouthfeel. In my experience this is one of the better American single stouts out there, I really wish this was available here on the East Coast. (903 characters)

Photo of atigerlife
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had been wanting to try this, so when I saw it in a bar I ordered one. Served from a bottle, a little cool, but acceptable.

The appearance is like black tar. When held up to a light, nothing came through. Amazing stuff. Had a nice light brown, cream head that lasted quite long. Quite an eye catching beer and perfect for a stout.
Smell was like coffee/toffee. Some malt hints. Also a slight a rich, dark fruit [plums?].
The taste was very creamy. Very smooth. A bit of a bitter hop finish, but nicely controlled. Wonderful light toffee/dark chocolate flavor. Like drinking a rich, creamy ice cream.
Has a light carbonation. Much lighter on the palate than might be expected considering the appearance and ABV.
Overall, for a stout, this is very drinkable. Not a beer to be pounding all night, but to be slowly drank and enjoyed. I will definitely go out and get some of this to try at home. Wonderful. (909 characters)

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

From a bottle that conveniently fell off the truck at the WBF last weekend in Durham. Pours a deep, dark, almost pitch black, with an inch or so of creamy dark tan head on top. Big aroma of rich roasted malt, espresso, prunes, a touch of phenol, and a faint whiff of brown sugar. Palate is lightly sweet up front, with the huge yet mellow maltiness and flavor of very dark chocolate taking over as it passes the tip of the tongue. Slightly roasty on the finish, with notes of dark fruit and just the slightest bit of hop bitterness at the end. Smooth, creamy body is like velvet. Slow-drinking, but immensely enjoyable. Reminds me of why Deschutes is one of my favorite breweries in the world. (693 characters)

Photo of Quaffer
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up in Boulder, CO. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This deep brown beer appeared black when it was in the glass. Only some ruddy-brown highlights showed up around the edges when held up to the light. The brown head rose up to a nice two fingers and settled down at an average speed. A thin web of lace was left behind on the side of the glass.

Smell: Strong coffee right after the pour, but it subsided somewhat after awhile and was joined by other aromas. Roasted malts, sweet and dark chocolates, cream, hops, and light smoke all floated up out of the glass and smelled great. Hints of dark fruits gave the aroma a bit of an edge. As the beer really warmed, some alcohol started to come through.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth on the tip of the tongue, picking up a fuzzy, velvety feel as it moved back in the mouth.

Taste: Dark and bitter is the best way to describe this beer. Dark coffee, deeply roasted malts, and dark chocolate were the main flavors. A good dose of bitter hops rose up on the finish to add a little extra kick. Sweet cream and milk chocolate were present as well, but they only added just enough sweetness to counter the bitterness.

A nice, ballsy stout. Not rich and warm, but bold, brash, and cutting. (1,277 characters)

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