The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

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5,859 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,859
Reviews: 1,797
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,693
Gots: 3,049 | FT: 260
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

Aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels.

65 IBU

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 - Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 - Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 - Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 - Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 - Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
2011 - Released November 2011 (approx 600 BBL)
View: Beers (156) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,859 | Reviews: 1,797
Photo of Chucker17
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite style of beer

Photo of Joey2timer
3.99/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a little to chalky for me

Photo of Droopy487
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I hate giving perfect scores. I really do. But, the look was great. What else do you want? The smell was of heaven. The taste was very nice. You can taste a lot going on. Very well thought out beer. Not boozy. Nice barrel notes. I's perfect for what it is. A+. If you don't like complex stouts then I guess you won't like it.

Photo of uvachief
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't drink a 2014 now. You'll be disappointed. Let it age for at least 3 years. NRTD..not ready to drink yet.

Photo of martyl1000
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

OMG, am I luck, or what? Never thought I'd ever cross paths with this legendary brew.

On tap at The Blue Moon for MCBW, which has been the best event of the week, by far, I might add. Good work, Blue Moon!

I'm having this next to KBS and Black Butte XXVI, and I have to say this is the best of the three. Man, wow! (I'm actually surprised by how less blown away I am by the KBS.)

And can I mention again what an insane lineup this is here at the Blue Moon, today?!

Photo of RStaff4
4.71/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle was between 6-7 months old.

Appearance: Completely dark, name describes this well.

Smell: This was a winner. Even after some months in the fridge, there was a good amount of bourbon on the nose. There was a sweetness from the vanilla as well.

Taste: Bourbon hits first, which is followed by dark chocolate and coffee. There was surprisingly no burn that followed from the bourbon. The vanilla comes through, but more on the nose, than taste. The big sweetness is from the molasses, which is very distinguished. At the end there was quite a lot of cherries. I felt as the beer warmed, I tasted this more.

Feel: very soft feel, for this abv I was surprised it wasn't more viscous.

Overall: With all hyped beers I like to keep an open mind, but this one lives up to the hype. Definitely one of the best in its class.

Photo of dmerr2123
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

5/7/2015 - had freshly tapped 2011. It is a fantastic beer and aged extremely well.

Photo of Moses_Malone
2.82/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Had 2014 version on draft. I don't understand this beer's popularity. It tasted like bitter teriyaki sauce. No barrel character either. I realize it is expressly stated that the beer sit a year before being consumed, but I'm not sure how much better 6 more months or even two more years can make this.

Photo of RAlmeida77
3.54/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Barely any barrel. Very bitter tasting. Maybe I needed to let it sit longer?

Photo of suckaj
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014, will update when i try again

Photo of martinimike82
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thick, molasses, vanilla, chocolate. Love it.

Photo of dabone
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 2013 bottle. Thick and dark black looking with a creamy tan head. Complex aroma of coffee and bourbon. Taste is a combination of chocolate and coffee with bourbon notes. Excellent texture, very thick but soft on the pallet. Excellent choice.

Photo of zaraspook
2.7/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Not bad. I would buy it again.

Photo of Beeeeeerman
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost unreal how good this really was. I was almost afraid to try it and just wow.

Photo of Austin32
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this really lived up to the hype for me. I was able to taste almost every individual flavor listed on the bottle with the exception of the licorice, which you could smell very easily. Probably the most complex imperial stout I have ever enjoyed.

Photo of MichialTanner1
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In 2010, I had bought a bottle of The Abyss that was apparently part of the 2009 batch that was determined to be infected. This is the first time since then that I have seen it on the shelf here in Central Texas, bought two 22 oz bombers for $16 each. Label says "best after 11/10/15". I'm going to drink one now and let the other stew until November, at which point I will revisit this review.

Served in a snifter, this one is black as coffee with a finger of head about the color of the label, a fitting foreshadowing of the name and the taste. A fine net of lacing stays at the top of the glass. The smell is coffee, tobacco, vanilla. Taste is consistent, but the molasses is fairly prominent along with that almost smoked woody flavor that you taste in a good BBQ brisket. As the name suggests, the flavors run deep and complex with something new to find with every sip. I am not detecting the red wine so much, but that may be flushed out with the suggested aging.

If this one gets better after 11/10/15, I need to return to the store where I found it and stock up. $16 now sounds cheap. Again, will update this in November (with much anxiety in the meanwhile) to see if one of the best I've ever had actually improves.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage, label says best after 11/11/15. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch frothy tan head that stayed around for a while. There's also a bunch of lacing. Aroma is great, the brew smells like molasses, red wine, oak, coffee, chocolate, burnt/charred malt, and a bit of vanilla. The taste is pretty good too, there's burnt/charred malt, coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice, red wine, oak, bourbon, and vanilla flavors. Lots of bittersweet goodness! Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and creamy with moderate carbonation. I've been waiting a while to try this, and I wasn't disappointed! I liked this brew a lot, it's going to be hard for me not to drink my other bottle before the "best after" date. I'll definitely buy this again the next time it's released. $14.99 a bomber.

Photo of JoeBond
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Not much to say other than this is the best beer I have ever tasted and is damn near perfection.

Photo of BrownAleMale
2.84/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I thought the taste was terrible. Everyone says it needs lots of age. Had this on tap so maybe to fresh?

Photo of Gasc0igne
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Reserve. Consumed @5 months old.

A: cola pour, terrifying maw of darkness no colour on edges held to light, copper-brown large head, small bubbles, excellent lacing, settles to a light cap atop the beer, medium-long retention
S: heavy espresso front, sweet vanilla, heavily charred fruity wood, bit of bourbonesque liqour, charcoal, toasted marshmellows, roasty roasty malt!
T: burnt coffee, very bitter dark chocolate, bourbon sweetness for a brief moment before moving into a strong milk chocolate carries through to light tart fruit before finish, dry charred oak finish, a slight salty licorice throughout too,
M: medium-full bodied, satisfyingly coating, low-medium carbonation, feels thin to me, slightly ashy finish
O: consumed young, bitter as expected but nowhere near as much alcohol as expected, will revisit on enjoy after date

Photo of wakeuptothesun
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. I bought two bottles and really didn't think it was that great.

Photo of chrisjws
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage, drank in December 2014. Served in a snifter at approximately 50F.

A: Pitch black. Small amount of light at the edges. Half a finger of brown head. No alcohol legs seen.
S: Coffee, chocolate, toasted coconuts, vanilla, pipe tobacco, spicy rye, faint bourbon. Some red wine shines through after taking a couple whiffs. Awesome smelling beer.
T: Bold chocolate and coffee upfront. Bourbon in the aftertaste. A lot of the stuff in the nose comes through as well, a lot more subtle. Combines very nicely for a very enjoyable taste.
M: Coats the mouth. Big mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. Very rich beer. Goes down extremely smooth.
O: This was fresh, I can only imagine it'd get much better with age. Excellent example of a barrel aged stout.

Photo of MissSmisje
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: opaque black, zero light coming through a tulip glass, mocha head with great lacing. S: coffee, cocoa and some oak all very balanced and melded. T: roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, oak, all balanced, pleasant bitterness in the finish. F: excellent mouthfeel, thick but not oily.

Photo of blankenhoney
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Abyss, with a best-after date of August 2014, enjoyed from a snifter today, 4.7.15

A: Rich, slightly viscous black with a billowing, frothy mocha head. Looks fantastic

S: Definitely a wine-forward nose: lots of red wine, oak, and wood shavings. Also some cocoa powder and a thick bitterness.

T: Dominated by bitter dark chocolate, red wine, charred oak, and a touch of bitter coffee. No bourbon character, which is not a surprise given the blend described on the label. Reminds me of Wineification, but with a bigger body, more bitterness, and more wood. Definitely on the woodier and heavily charred side.

M: Thick and creamy, with an extremely dry and quite bitter finish. Really enjoyed the contrast between the smooth mouthfeel and the very charry/bitter flavor profile.

O: This is an exceptionally well-done beer that I really appreciated, but still one that I didn't enjoy that much. I loved the way the pinot shines on the nose and is present in the flavor profile, but this beer is a bit woody and too charred for my preferences re. stouts. Nevertheless, I'd recommend that people pay attention to the best-after date: I had a bottle of this right after the 2013 came out, and it was just way too bitter too even drink. But the beer's improved a lot since then, and I can see this getting even better in another year.

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - black as night with a great tan head and great lacing
Smell - sweet toasty smell
Taste - very similar to the smell but has a great balanace and some vanilla.
Feel - incredibly smooth with a full body
Overall - fantastic stout

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,859 ratings.