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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,903 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,903
Reviews: 1,643
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,504
Gots: 2,218 | FT: 156
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,903 | Reviews: 1,643 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

--Friedrich Nietzsche

2006 Reserve. Obliterative black that threatens to suck all ambient light from the room. Okay, that's probably over the top, but the beer is aggressively dark. The molasses hued cap is one of the darkest I've seen and is a treat for the eyes. It's thick and rich and long lasting and does a great job blanketing the glass with sheets of finely bubbled lace. In a word: perfection.

The nose is very good without being an absolute stunner. It may be that my expectations were too high, but I expected something with more pungency and more complexity. I can appreciate chocolate fudge and blackstrap molasses. Where's the black licorice? Where's the bourbon? The label says 'aged in oak barrels', but it doesn't say whether or not those barrels previously held bourbon.

The Abyss is *definitely* deserving of the hype. What amazes me most is how it's such a gentle giant. It tastes as if this bottle has been aging for several years rather than barely one. The various flavors all get along beautifully together, as if they've had all the time in the world to get acquainted.

The alcohol delivers just enough warmth to let you know you're drinking a massive beer that needs to be respected. Completely declawing and defanging a beast like this one is never a good idea. In case you're wondering, the 2006 is drinking splendidly right now.

A huge amount of roasted malt (and assorted other ingredients) delivers flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, caramelized sugar, molasses, licorice and sugared vanilla bean. The depth and complexity is close to overwhelming at times. If you love RISs and have the opportunity to buy a case of The Abyss, do so. You won't regret it.

Sweetness edges right up to the 'too sweet' line, without putting a toe over. The key is a surprising amount of citric, sprucey, resionous hops. On second thought, given the region of the country in which these guys brew, I'm not a bit surprised. There's no doubt in my mind that the flavor deserves the ultimate score.

The mouthfeel is a veritable feast for the senses. Like almost every other attribute of this fantastically delicious ale, it finds that precise sweet spot between too much and too little. It's heavily silky and glassy smooth and... well, it's simply perfect.

I have gazed into The Abyss. I've also smelled it, tasted it and felt its creamy lusciousness. This is a Russian Imperial stout for the ages and is one of the finest beers that I've ever had the pleasure to imbibe. Believe the hype and buy all you can get your hands on. Bravissimo!

BuckeyeNation, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of Furlinator
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%

2013 vintage. Best after 08/16/14.

Pours opaque black. The 1/2 inch tan head fades to a thin cap on top and leaves faint spotty lace.

The smell is of spent coffee grounds, dark chocolate, vanilla, faint dark fruit and a hint of alcohol.

The taste is of bitter black coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla and faint black cherry.

The texture is heavy bodied and syrupy with low carbonation.

This is a very impressive coffee forward imperial stout. The taste improves as it approaches room temperature.

Furlinator, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Kevin R for this long time want, 2011 vintage. The abyss pours out like... an abyss. Seriously, it is black, oily, and inky as hell with a deep, deep tan head that froths up slowly like a crema on top of an overpriced espresso. Long lasting, as it slowly recedes but never fully goes away; truly a beautiful beer, and one of the darkest stouts I've seen.

Creamy and roasty coffee beans up front in the aroma. Very "nice" coffee, like the kind you get at one of those indie shops with the hipster, tattooed barista, none of that Meijer aisle 9 shit. Not as good as, say, Speedway, but still a nice coffee blend. There's an underlying sweetness, a la cream and sugar-y, with a bit of back-end mild smoke.

Roasted malts, cocoa, and black licorice make a small appearance; enough to be noticeable, but they really don't leave a lasting impression. I wanna say molasses is somewhere in there, too, but it could just be a conjugate of the overall sweetness and maybe I'm just reaching for some descriptors now. Abyss is coffee, all day; it smells good but isn't exactly that complex.

The flavor leads off like the aroma, like taking a sip of something that's been sitting on top of coffee beans for months. Oily, roasted coffee beans, again, followed up with a balancing sweetness that goes hand in hand with the creamy body of the beer. Abyss has a nice mouth feel; smooth and heavy with pretty damn good carbonation.

Roasted beans and roasted malt keeps pounding the flavor profile. Maybe a little bit of licorice here and some molasses there. But it's not layered quite like I was expecting. And I've made it through nearly the entire glass with basically no mention of barrel. Seriously - I know it's only 33% barrel-aged or whatever, but it does not show up in this beer, at all. Perhaps that's why the complexity suffers.

Here's my problem with Abyss. It's a great stout, really. If I could go pick this off the shelf anytime for about 8-9$ a bomber, I gladly would. I just don't see why people go bat-shit nuts over this beer. I don't understand the 4.55 cumulative average (at this time of rating) for this beer. It's good, but c'mon people, it's not *that* good, and I certainly would never go through the hassle of trading just to get it. When it starts seeing year-round distro, then maybe I'll buy some more.

tectactoe, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of BigFrostyMug
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%

BigFrostyMug, Yesterday at 10:58 PM
Photo of Huskies94
3.8/5  rDev -15.9%

Huskies94, Yesterday at 05:42 PM
Photo of nickbman
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

nickbman, Yesterday at 04:43 PM
Photo of grat
5/5  rDev +10.6%

2007 vintage. Deep dark malty goodness. I bought a case of it in 2008 and cellared it since then. Initially was overpoweringly strong almost off putting the medicinal alcohol over shadowing even the heavy malt flavors. Around 2010 it came into its own. Mellowed out and smoothed out the finish to silk. Sampled one or two every year after and it just gets better and better. Down side, there is only one left. Ok, I should have put down 2 cases. However there is still the 2009 and 2010. Will there be more? Oh please! A masterful brew. Will it return soon… Oh please!!

grat, Yesterday at 02:57 AM
Photo of masilva48
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%

masilva48, Tuesday at 11:01 PM
Photo of KVNBGRY
4/5  rDev -11.5%

KVNBGRY, Tuesday at 02:54 PM
Photo of jonesa711
4.36/5  rDev -3.5%

jonesa711, Tuesday at 12:27 AM
Photo of BuckeyeFaninMI
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

2013 version. Delish

BuckeyeFaninMI, Monday at 03:20 PM
Photo of Creosote
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Creosote, Monday at 12:21 AM
Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Lare453, Sunday at 09:08 PM
Photo of frank438
5/5  rDev +10.6%

frank438, Sunday at 05:01 AM
Photo of MOVERTON1284
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%

MOVERTON1284, Sunday at 04:00 AM
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and syrupy as any beer that I have seen. Pure black in the glass with a one finger head. The head is thick and creamy in texture and chocolatey in color. Lacing is tremendous due to the thickness of the head.

S- Huge dark and burnt malts hit the nose right up front. Sweet and dark licorice and chocolate scents follow up the dark malts. Towards the end of the smell the licorice sweetness really ramps up and is the dominant lingering scent.

T- Starts off with a bang of dark malts that are primarily burnt in flavor. The licorice is prominent behind the malts, providing a dark sweetness. Just a touch of barrel character is detectable underneath all of the aforementioned flavors. Just the slightest touch of red wine fruitiness is detectable before the malts take over again and give you the lingering flavor.

M- Thick and smooth as hell on the whole. Very low carbonation and an alcohol content that is largely hidden by the dark malts.

Overall a wonderfully dark and complex beer. Smooth and easy drinking as imperial stouts come, this one could really sneak up on you, but it is totally worth it.

boilermakerbrew, Sunday at 12:23 AM
Photo of elliott1184
3.96/5  rDev -12.4%

elliott1184, Saturday at 08:11 PM
Photo of oddlandf
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%

oddlandf, Saturday at 05:23 PM
Photo of jeremiahoden
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

jeremiahoden, Saturday at 08:41 AM
Photo of Domvan
4.7/5  rDev +4%

Domvan, Saturday at 03:43 AM
Photo of mr_monch
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

mr_monch, Friday at 11:26 PM
Photo of Ditkastache
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%

Ditkastache, Friday at 07:39 PM
Photo of StephRai
4.25/5  rDev -6%

StephRai, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of Ewmalina
4.52/5  rDev 0%

Ewmalina, Sep 25, 2014
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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,903 ratings.