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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,275 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4275
Reviews: 1608
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 9.49%

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)
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Ratings: 4,275 | Reviews: 1,608 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pluto


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, allowed to warm for 1/2 hour from refrigerator.
Nifty wax sealed cap, indicates a candidate for some serious aging which I think this beer deserves.
Nose of cocoa, alcohol, roasted malt, slightly pungent.
Pours nearly black, subdued head, chocolate mlk colored head.
And finally the taste--chocolate, coffee, vanilla, yet dry with a slight bite of the oak. The thousand ways an imperial stout can err avoided. Astounding mouthfeel, the alcohol subdued in the mouth but warms the belly.
Astonishing. The sum is greater than the parts and this beer must be experienced. Bravo to Deschutes.
By the bottom of the bottle I am perfect.
Buy it now, it's an instant classic.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 06:54:39 | More by pluto
Photo of 1whiskey


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap first at at the Ash Street Saloon in Portland, proper review from on tap at Old Chicago in Beaverton, Or.

Black, opaque crude oil appearance with a dark chocolate head. Absolutely no light gets through this. Impressive.

Nose reveals a huge burst of baker's chocolate, robust coffee, vanilla and slight smoke. Alcohol comes through a little, but I have no complaints.

H-U-G-E maltiness and Kona coffee notes bulldoze your taste buds, followed by burnt sugar and caramel notes. After intitial tasting more subtle notes become noticable. Bourbon and vanilla (just enough to compliment and not get in the way) are evident, playing off the chocolate and coffee flavors to please anyone with a sweet tooth. Soon after, the brightness of citus hops begins to shine through, lending balance and Zinfandel-like spicyness to the equation. Fruit flavors, notably fig, start to become evident as this warms. Make no mistake, this is a BIG beer. But the way all of the flavors are so delicately interwoven is amazing.

Believe the hype, this is obscenely good.

Great creamy mouthfeel, with suprisingly active carbonation. This is not as heavy as you would imagine. Drinkabily is amazing....but make sure to sip this one. At 11% ABV and $4 a pint, it may be toooo drinkable.

Get it now....if you still can. This is the must try beer for the year, and the new standard by which all other Impy stouts will be measured against. Simply incredible.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2007 05:00:39 | More by 1whiskey
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at a slightly warm cellar temperature, sampled in celebration of getting my taxes done early this year. This looks absolutely incredible, with an epic burnt-sugar brown head, all creamy and dense and going nowhere fast. Cool reverse-cascade effect during the pour. The liquid itself blocks out any light source put to it -- black-hole type darkness here. Smells meaty and vinous at first. Then a bit of roasty char emerges, along with black plums, coconut, vanilla, caramel, Bing cherries, extremely mild citrusy hop notes, and just a promise of black liquorice. An amazing aroma, but the taste is mind-bogglingly complex: Big roasted black malt flavors, with dark cherries, prunes, fresh plums, raisins, all awash in just a hint of bourbon. Some char flavor sneaks in during the middle, along with vanilla notes and whispers of German chocolate cake. Black roasted finish lasts forever, it seems, with sharp vinous blackberry flavors interspersed among the panoply of burnt deliciousness and puckery oaky tannins. Alcohol flavor is noticeable, but melds expertly with bourbon accents. Slick, luxuriously silky mouthfeel. Not too heavy, but substantial all the same. The folks at Deschutes knew exactly how long to age this one before letting it out of the gate. This is something I could easily drink all night, every night if I could. Really, I couldn't ask for anything more in a Russian Imperial Stout. As close to perfection as I can imagine. I was lucky enough to get my order in to Liquid Solutions in time before these all sold out, but I wish I would have ordered more than three. At least it will be available again some time in 2008. You'd better believe I'm stocking up on this one at that time. Excellent, excellent beer. Seek out at all costs.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2007 01:29:48 | More by orfeu
Photo of lackenhauser


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First things first-I hate wax sealed bottles! What a pain in the butt.

Gorgeous, silky smooth black color. Nice cocoa colored head on top. Really a nice looking beer. Deep, deep aroma-roasted malt and licorice. Somewhat fruity and caramel like. Thick roasted flavor. Black currants and licorice. Oakey with some great vanilla notes. Faint coffeeness to it. Very mellow sweetness. Perfect mouthfeel-doesnt finish too dry. No trace of any alcohol @ 11%. Really a fine beer and very drinkable. Perfect in all regards. Wish I had a case.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 00:51:08 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of mynie


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a completley opaque, oil-thick black blackness that's like nothing at all, it's so goddamn black, and top of it there's this wonderful brown head.

Smells of perfectly balanced and mellowed RIS flavors. They all combine in these fuckers like a goddamn monkey house full of apes and chimps who spend all day swinging on vines and interbreeding and throwing their feces atop of anyone foolish enough to peer inside. Only this ain't feces, my man. This is tasty goodness.

Tastes like burnt chocolate, hot chocolate, milk chocolate, sweet barley malt, bitter barley malt, rich wholegrain bread, sour malt, lightly alcoholic yeast, that fizzy chocolate candy they used to sell at the dime store back when there were dime stores, vanilla beans, generic fruit, and an end of bitterdry west coast hops. In short, it tastes like everything a beer should taste like, all at once, all perfectly balanced.

Wow. Better than Dark Lord.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2007 06:05:02 | More by mynie
Photo of jakon


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 Reserve

The first thing I do when I pop the cap is put my nose down there and give it a deep whiff. Wow. Smells like chocolate cake infused with coffee and bourbon.

As I pour, I notice that the head gathers steam very quickly, and is easily the darkest shade of brown that I've ever seen sit atop a beer. Its viscosity is evident as you watch the bubbles form and settle. This beer is beautiful. All Imperial stouts are black, but this one just has that little extra something to it.

The aroma is remarkably similar to the Obsidian Stout. If I had to give somebody a quick, generalized description of the overall aroma, I'd say that it's a cross between Oak Aged Yeti and Obsidian Stout. There's just so much going on here. It's got the coffee presence of the best coffee stouts, tons of bakers chocolate, oak, bourbon, and that's all I'm able to identify at first.

The taste is just plain decadent. Pleasingly bitter, a touch of sweetness, and that oak/bourbon presence to make you really feel as though it's a special occasion. The alcohol itself is nearly imperceptible behind this abundance of competing flavors. As it warms, the coffee and chocolate take about a half step back and allow the oak and bourbon to really shine. With that, a hint of vanilla exposes itself in the aroma and then in the taste. The molasses really comes through in the lingering aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is milky. Not a lot of carbonation. This is a dessert beer for special occasions. Truly decadent and complex. I'm not sure I've ever come across a beer that held a more fitting moniker than The Abyss. The only thing I can imagine improving this beer is age. As a youngster, I really think it's perfect. My favorite Imperial stout to date.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 09:56:01 | More by jakon
Photo of illidurit


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty snifter. I can't think of anything to which to compare the blackness here that hasn't been used a thousand times already (ink, midnight, motor oil), so suffice it to say this beer is really really black. The head is a devilishly dark tan that forms slowly through the viscosity, peaking at 2 fingers' height. It gradually shrivels back down to a hazy cap, leaving spotted lacing along the way.

Aroma is deceptively sweet, a siren's song that tempts you to indulge yourself. Powdery cocoa and milk chocolate tickle the nose, with faint notes of licorice.

There's a lot to be said for the chocolate/coffee flavor dynamic of the RIS world, and there are lots of beers that manage greatness confined within that dynamic. But The Abyss is so much more. The chocolate emerges early on the palate and joins forces with the bittersweet bite of molasses. The licorice is fleeting but apparent, as the beer fades into a sublime roastiness. It's never too sweet and never too roasty. You'd never know that this beer is 11% abv but for the pleasant warmth in your chest.

The body is thick and luxurious, but this beer still finishes dry. Carbonation is spot-on for the style and facilitates the velvety smoothness.

Drinkability is immense for such a high gravity beer. The balance and synergy of the flavors make for a phenomenal brew. This beer deserves its hype and its rating.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 08:49:06 | More by illidurit
Photo of Tilley4


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to both revkibosh and tayner for sending these my way...

This may be the most beautiful stout I've ever seen...It literally glugs out into my Duvel tulip looking very foreboding with a midnight black appearance and slowly forms a thick creamy 3 inch head that is very dark and persistent....

Heavenly aromas of rich dark luxurious chocolate, sweet plump figs, gooey inviting blackstrap molasses, strong dark coffee, smooth luscious vanilla and rich red cherries greet me as I take my first smell of this brew...I'm overwhelmed by this brew...

The taste is just as good as it smells plus some... This is just stupid... Seriously, everything pales when compared to this... In my opinion, this is what KBS and other highly touted Imperial Stouts aspire to be...its just on a different level...

Deliciously creamy and rich, dark and smooth, robust and luxurious... Does that about describe the mouthfeel?

I could drink this until I passed out with no problem... Its ridiculous...do you get the general idea that I love this brew? 2 more bottles await me and I'm going to hold on to them for a while and see how they age....

This is my second Deschutes brew and they've both kicked my ass...

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2008 01:30:51 | More by Tilley4
Photo of supermanjace


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


When you think about the ingredients in craft brews, it is generally: malt, water, yeast and hops. Sure adjuncts come in from time to time, and you may get another amazing ingredient added, like Stone's 12th Anniversary's use of chocolate. But, at the end of the day, we're talking about a very small palate of ingredients. But ahh the array of things that those ingredients can do to your palate.

Herein a perfect example: The Abyss!

Dark as night, this pours like liquid chocolate. Thick and rich, it fills the snifter with something that looks so viscous, but is oh so smooth...

It smells of chocolate and licorice, roastey and toastey. It begs to be drunk, but you can't stop sniffing. Pass it along, person to person and invite them to revel in the joy you know you will receive upon first taste.

And then you sip... it fills the palate...chocolate and coffee immediately come through. You think about the ingredients and all you can see is the dark malts, how dark they must have been to produce this. And wow, it's balanced too. It's 11% but not cloying or sweet, not alcoholic or biting. The balance they achieved with the perfect amount of bittering and flavoring hops. There are no flaws in this.

My wife called it dessert in a glass. Not because it was sweet, but because it felt like a reward to drink. The snifter seems too small. For, while you can only sip this beer, you can not STOP sipping it. Each take brings you closer to the time when it will be gone, but beyond savoring it, you have no interest in taking your time.

Well done, Deschutes. You just make good beers. Mazeltov!

Serving type: on-tap

07-19-2008 21:38:37 | More by supermanjace
Photo of mikeale


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in to my Dogfish Head snifter.

A. Pitch black, mocha head.

S. Coffee, licoric, cocoa...

T. Roasted malt, espresso, chocolate.

M. Creamy smooth, warming alcohol, roasty finish.

D. A sipper but drinkable.

This is one of my favorite beers.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 02:19:51 | More by mikeale
Photo of jamesm7485


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just cracked open one of my cellar bottles from 07 enjoyed on october 3rd 08, it was a tad different, the coffee notes were much more pronounced oddly enough, simply divine even with just a year on it, perhaps not my favorite ris, that honor goes to kentucky breakfast stout however this is a very amazing beer im glad i stocked up on, im looking forward to the 08 and plan on buying alot more than i did of the 07

This is my first review and im just entering the beer snob scene so bear with me.

The beer lives up to its name with its pour, pure black with a reasonably decent head.

Smell was amazing with hints of licorice and chocolate

Beer was incredibly smooth and easy on the palette, very easy to drink as well.

Despite being a beer snob for only a few weeks now I can see why this beer gets the respect that it does

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2008 03:23:06 | More by jamesm7485
Photo of pokesbeerdude


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage. Picked up a single in Casper at Poplar Wine and Spirits. I have been waiting for quite some time to be in the perfect mood to enjoy what I have heard to be the definition of the style.

A: Poured a viscous oily, black. Absolutely no light penetrates this beer, no garnet highlights, no color, just blackness, it practically sucks the light out of the room. After a vigorous pour a brown, head emerges, about two and a half inches thick that reduces down to about half an inch. Excellent strata of lacing as it reduces. Beautiful.

S: So many beautiful things going on, brown sugar, chocolate, raisins, figs, booze, licorice, whiskey, this one has definitely been in oak barrels. Cinnamon. Smells like dark breads. So many things going on, very hard to place everything. Coffee. Even some bitter, piney hops way underneath all the other things. This is delicious.

T: Chocolatey, heavy coffee, very bitter, brown sugar, a lot of the smells are coming through in the taste, the hops are definitely a lot more present in the mouth than in the nose. Very citrusy in the hop department. Whiskey is in the taste as well, but a little more subdued than other whiskey aged beers. Very heavy on the dark chocolate malts. That really pops out all over the place. Aftertaste is off coffee and piney hops. The alcohol is quite subdued and hidden very well. This is absolutely fantastic and complex. The deepest beer I've ever enjoyed.

M: Thick, rich, and malty, like a milkshake. Very heavy, not a lot of boozey burn. This is a one of a kind. Absolutely right on with the style. A great thick beer.

D: As heavy, bitter, rich, boozey and dark as this may be. It goes down very very easy. I wouldn't drink many of them but I could. This is a very fantastic beer, and I have not been let down in any way. This is a truly spectacular beer. Right on with everything this style is for. Perfect. Truly perfect.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2008 23:23:35 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of jdklks


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours deep, dark black. I held it up to the brightest light in the house and nothing came through. Pours thick with a dark brown milk chocolate head that perfectly complements it's black body. fantastic smell. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. I also noticed the licorice for the first time tonight... this beer just keeps getting better!

the best part of the beer, is, of course, the flavor. An overwhelming sensation of as many flavors as could possibly be put in a single brew, the flavor lingers long after you drink, and each sip is like the first. Again, hints of chocolate, coffee (though not as much as expected from the smell), molasses and licorice. the after-taste is of roasted coffee beans, and tootsie-roll. The barrel aging is subtle, smooth, and awesome.

As thick as expected in the mouthfeel! Smooth as silk. As if the flavor explosion isn't enough for your mouth to handle, this beer's thickness makes a statement. gentle on the palate, and very warming. perfectly carbonated. extremely drinkable. The most I've had in a single night was two 22oz bottles and I felt like I was going to explode (although I ate a huge meal before that which probably didn't help). It's the kind of beer that you look at when you only have one drink left and think to yourself, "I better savor this sip more than any other." Goes down easy and fills you up, leaving you wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 07:25:25 | More by jdklks
Photo of drgonzo3705


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Beautiful black color with a thin mocha colored head that quickly diminishes but has some nice lacing.

S- Molasses first hits my nose with a pleasant oak distinction. If you take it in deep enough you get this slight burn from the alcohol. I'm guessing that's the bourbon but it is very subtle. I also get a nice roasted/charred smell coming out of the oak. Now that its warmed some the bourbon comes out more but its still not overpowering like other BA stouts I've had.

M- Thick and creamy with a slight hop presence but just enough to remind you you're still drinking beer. A nice oiliness to coat your mouth for the aftermath.

T- Dark bitter chocolate and mocha sweetness with the underlying bourbon that gives it a slight burn going down. Very complex beer with a lot of stuff going on but still manages to stay balanced.

D- I could drink this all night. I know the 11% will catch up but if done in moderation it would be well worth it.

Overall I would have to say this is one of the finest crafted beers I've had. Definitely worth the hype! I wish more BA stouts could be so well put together.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 05:09:52 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of prsguitarsr4me

New York

5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 bottle - drinking it a month after the release. I've got a case of this and will be having a bottle hopefully every Christmas.

Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. Just outstanding in every possible way. Having his with some chocolate and tiramisu right now. One of the most complex tasting beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. The chocolate, coffee, licorice and bourbon are so well balanced with the 11% alcohol that I could drink 10 of these. Smell is like an open fire under your nose. Probably the most 'warm' beer I've ever had. There is so much going on here. I want more!!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 22:51:43 | More by prsguitarsr4me
Photo of EnigmaticDream

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. By far the best beer I've ever had. I had a bottle of The Abyss from 2007 that I let age a year in my basement. So here goes.

A - The look is pure darkness. There is absolutely ZERO and I mean ZERO light that came through the beer. The second you begin pouring this beer you know it will have you. The head is nice and dark. Definitely can tell this is a proper imperial stout.

S - Smells of chocolate, coffee, licorice and more.

T - An explosion of flavor that has such character that it makes you want to take another sip. Each sip is unique with the finding of new tastes in each one. Chocolate, roasted barley, coffee, licorice, heavenly goodness. I noticed the bourbon taste has subdued due to aging.

M - Love the mouthfeel on this beer. It is thick and delicious and definitely not watered down.

D - This beer is really not meant to be drunk quickly being rich with flavor and 11%. However, the explosion of flavor beckons you to drink again, and again, and again. I wish I had a keg of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 04:56:23 | More by EnigmaticDream
Photo of erikm25


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: 2008. Whether for numerology, the occult, or mysticism I had to make this review number 111. Poured like motor oil and molasses with blackened chestnut coffee highlights. That is still giving it credit since it is darker than any description can do it justice. It's doom metal in a bottle. Perfectly formed powdered chocolate brown head with subtle amber tints. Sheets of lacing sticking down the glass. This destroys any sense of the holidays with its blackened and blasphemous colors.

S: Scents are enticing. Dark fruits with slight hints of vanilla and coconut. Milk chocolate with roasted nuts, ginger, and a slight pine hops. Brown sugar coupled with cocoa crispness. Oaked grapefruit toasted with a sweet candies. Tempered ripe orange peel like hops. A bit of bourbon. The smell is sludge greatness like an Eyehategod or Grief album. But despite the ABV the alcohol is low key. Overall, a very massive nose with lots of complex aromas.

T: Both on tap and from the bottle I found the tastes to be pure and delicious perfection. Coffee and chocolate hit the tongue immediately and you know from the start this is going to plow every sense. Plums with a stout caramel richness. Malted and toffee roasted sweetness balanced against a sharp fruit tartness. Red wines and red cherries with a silky baked fudge finish. Black licorice with grapefruit spine. There are some slight darkened citrus hops in the backdrop but overall this is as blackened and charred as it looks. Alcohol is present and adds kick to each taste along with the spices.

M: Full body with a rich and creamy texturing. Silky and massive. Might as well be a solid since it ends up being so chewy.

D: Tried this from the bottle on Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Also, had a couple snifters on tap at Collins in Seattle. Quite frankly I could not get enough of this beer. With or without food this is an absolute treat and an absolute recommendation. If the 1974 movie Black Christmas had to be summarized into a beer then here it is. Don't go in the attic unless you're ready to be wrapped in plastic. This goes well with loud music or loving company. "Drugs; sex; every sort of filth. And you hate the police, don't you?"

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2009 04:45:22 | More by erikm25
Photo of coldmeat23


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
Review #200

This one pours a nice, deep, black. Just like it should be, with a name like The Abyss. Medium hard pour produces a two-finger head of dark cappucino colored foam. Retention is great and the lacing is excellent. Fully formed, solid and very sticky.

Nice. Big dark roasted barley maltiness. The oak comes through nicely, mixing with a hint of alcohol, giving a hint of bourbon-like qualities. Nice hint of dark molasses. Good dark coffee notes blend with hints of dark chocolate, bringing me back to cappucino comparisons. Light vanilla notes.

Huge presence of dark roasted malts. Big dark coffee profile. Nice vanilla sweetness, along with molasses, bringing balance. Nice presence of oak. A light touch of smokiness. Very mild notes of dark fruitiness. Hops are in there, but extremely well balanced with the rich maltiness.
Man, this tastes wonderful.

This is exceptionally smooth and creamy. Like silk across your pallette. The low level of carbonation sereves this brew very well.

Despite how big, thick and rich this one is, it is very drinkable. The beautiful level of balance make this one so enjoyable and easy to consume. The 11%ABV is so well blended into the mix, as to be hardly noticable. Just a slight warming effect.
This is exceptional.

Believe the hype!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 18:09:12 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of Pehlman


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful jet black pour with a nice dark-tan head. Lacing is decent with scattered spots stuck to glass.

S - Smells amazing! Wonderful sweet woody bourbon aroma with hints of brown sugar and molases.

T - First thing that hits you is a burnt oak punch which fades into a sweeter, smoother flavor that sticks to your mouth. Perfection!

M - A perfect amount of carbonation IMO. The finish leaves a warm, thin coating on your tougue that keeps the flavor with you between sips.

D - I could drink this beer every day! I get sad when I take my last sip from the glass. I dont want it to end.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 05:11:45 | More by Pehlman
Photo of Beernoisseur


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There are times in one's life where you realize that you are in the presence of greatness. These moments are fleeting, and seem to come at the most unexpected of times. Such was the case with this beer. I walked into Marcellar's in Idaho Falls, Idaho (of all places) and they had this on nitro tap. If God drinks beer, he's got this on tap. I'm stoked to be the first reviewer to have had it on nitro.

Everything about this beer is sublime. I would give it straight tens, if that were an option. It was absolutely beautiful in the Chimay goblet. The nitro gave it a totally smooth, 3/4 inch cappuccino head, but the beer itself was straight espresso beneath. "The Abyss" is a truly the perfect name for the appearance.

The nose was subtle but sophisticated. Coffee, toffee, toasted nuts, and vanilla were all present. Not overwhelming, but very very pleasant.

The flavor was absolutely savory- the zenith of what this style should represent. Dark roasted coffee, toffee, toasted marshmallows, and sweet vanilla all surround very delicate herbals. The malt and the sweetness comes out strong (not too strong) in the beginning, but there's a powerful hop presence through the middle, and an especially bitter kick on the finish. This is everything you could ever expect from a beer, and more.

I could imagine that this beer, in and unto itself, would have incredible body and mouthfeel. The nitro tap, however, is like adding an exponent to the feel of this sensory extravaganza. Absolutely amazing.

Assuming I had enough of a supply, I could happily drink myself into oblivion with this utterly superb brew. Nitro is the way to go here.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-29-2009 00:16:46 | More by Beernoisseur
Photo of DRGinLBC


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Once you crack the wax seal.... it's the REAL DEAL!

A: As you pour this exceptional brew into a glass... the color is a dark, espresso like, thick and almost buttery texture. A pinky worth of head tops the glass, the lacing lathers the sides in a sort of sticky presence. The appearance is that of a Black and Tan.

S: The aroma of this exquisite beer is that of coffee beans, brown sugar and figs. The aroma captures your senses and takes you on a flight of utter appeal.

T: As soon as this beer touches your tongue, your taste buds are on orgasmic overload, with the molasses taste savoring every part of your mouth and covering it to the utmost perfection.

M: Your mouth will salivate to the smell .... leaving you craving more of the smooth, warm, creamy feeling of buttery goodness.

D: If you are anything like me and you don't like desserts; this will change your mind. Abyss is dessert in a cup; a high class beer and as you drink the better it gets. I highly suggest you try this.

Thank you Candace and Nick for partaking in this review with me.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2009 05:46:43 | More by DRGinLBC
Photo of duffextracold


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark black color, with a brown, chocolate colored head. when i swirl it around it coats the glass and makes it tinted like sunglasses. I could just sniff this stuff all night long! smells like bitter chocolate, espresso, dried dark fruit, with a slight alcohol aroma. The taste is unbelievable. smooth, roasty, malty goodness. very complex, without being overwhelming. chocolate, espresso, dried fruit, faint hint of licorice. mmm...
Velvety smooth mouthfeel. creamy, but not thick.
Wow...no complaints here. very complex without being overdone in any aspect. very drinkable, well hidden alcohol content. as close to perfection as i've ever had!

A big thank you to donkeyrunner for sharing this one with me.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2009 01:14:17 | More by duffextracold
Photo of thekevlarkid


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah... so ends an era. *Sigh* This was the last bottle I drank from my Christmas gift to myself from '08. Sadly, I foresee dark times and lots of cheap beer in my future. And so it was that I opened this final bomber on 4/20/09 and shared it with my good friend John to celebrate all I once was and all I hope to someday be again. Into our glasses the brew was a used-motor-oil black color. The two-fingers of wood-brown head displayed excellent retention as a skim and collar that left sticky lacing throughout the sample. The aroma was complex, full of milk and dark chocolate, dry cocoa, roasted malt, dark fruit, alcohol and oak. Rich, sweet and very appealing. The flavors were also outstanding and highly complex. Starting with chocolate and toffee it then went into dark caramel, alcohol, sweet pipe tobacco, lots of oak and coffee. The balance between the sweet malty elements and the bitter hoppy notes was superb. As it warmed the chocolate continued to waft forth, encouraging us to dink more. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, the body full and the carbonation on-point for a RIS. A joy to drink and surprisingly gulp-able, this was one of the finest beers I had ever tasted and it deserves to be honored amongst the best in the world.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2009 22:09:18 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of Arceo


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers of all. If you haven't had the chance to try this, do so if you can.

Cracked one of these open while camping at about 9 months after release, so it had some age on it.

A. Dense dark and opaque. I can't see any light through this even at the edges. Brown medium head that stays there for a minute, then settles to a thin film that never leaves. Lacing is present.

S. Wow , just wow. Dark chocolate, bourbon, cant wait to taste it.

T. Chocolate and caramel at first, then some mild bitter flavor for just a second, sweet toffee , maybe some coffee, more flavors then i can think of really, each sip of this I can pick out different ones until its gone. Yummy beer, almost like candy really, its that sweet and tasty.

D. Cant detect the alcohol in this at all , its very hidden, but it does have a kick, so cant drink a whole lot of it, but for the % its so damn smooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2009 09:54:14 | More by Arceo
Photo of velosuds


5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Edit 3/25/2011 from the 2010 edition.

The 2010 The Abyss is aging extremely well. Best after 11/15/11 according to the label, which is still over 6 months away and this is the very best imperial stout I have ever had. It may be the best beer I have had. I rated the un-infected 2009 very high (4.78 as adjusted for the new weighting), but this is perfection for style IMO. I can't imagine a better imperial stout.

The aroma is intensely fragrant. I think Deschutes should develop and market a men's cologne under this trademark. I would wear it gladly. Aroma is a wonderful array of bourbon, vanilla, anise, chocolate and caramel covered graham crackers - yes smores. Awesome for a beer.

Of course it looks absolutely beautiful, for spacious skies, for dark amber waves of barley grain - I get carried away. And very easily on this dark journey that genuinely sheds light. Most mysterious. Has the characteristic Deschutes two finger head and generous lace. Dark as a moonless night. It is the antithesis of the white color spectrum. Truly gorgeous. Finer than any masterpiece in a dusty museum.

Taste is from the nether regions. Deschutes' brewers may be soothsayers, wizards, magicians, or angels, in addition to great cyclocross racers. There is the bourbon from the barrel aging, but there is also a complex sensation of dark chocolate, carmelized brown sugar, molasses, licorice, vanilla bean, and cherries. I love this craft: it is truly amazing what barley, hops, water, and yeast can produce at the hands of the skilled artisan brewer.

Mouthfeel is perfect.

Overall, this may be my favorite beer. It is a great imperial stout. At $12 to $13 a bomber, it is a better value than anything fermented from grapes. At 11% ABV it is a magnificent dark barleywine. Hats off Deschutes. Do you have something even more marvelous in the works called The Stoic? I am ready to submit to the natural law of the brewer.

Only The Abyss, and Pliny the Elder, are beers I have gone out of my way to obtain. Recently, I stopped at every beer store from Portland to Salem in search of this great Abyss that seemingly mysteriously vanished from the shelves early this summer. I found a jackpot in Corvallis, Oregon and bought nearly a case to get me through the winter.

Highest commendations Deschutes.

"The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey."

- From the label.

2009 Reserve. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Best after 11/1/2010. Couldn't wait. I was already drawn in.

A-Pours a midnight black. Very dark. No light gets through the Abyss. A two finger, creamy tan head with great retention and heavy lacing ensues. A gorgeous craft beer.

S-Deep, dark chocolate covered caramel, licorice, old fashioned molasses, and bourbon. Aroma was wonderfully intense and prominent. Very nice.

T-Caramel and roasted malts with tantalizing tastes of dark chocolate, carmelized brown sugar, espresso, molasses, licorice and vanilla bean. I would love to try an ice cream with these combined flavors. The depth and complexity is amazing, and a credit to the brew master's skills. Taste definitely improves as it warms. I imagine this will also improve as it ages.

M-Robust, but very smooth with medium to full body. Warming due to the alcohol.

D-This is a great beer. Best enjoyed by sipping. The rich, complex flavor profile drew me deeper into the Abyss with each sip. I definitely enjoyed the journey, and enjoyed sharing it with my son.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 06:32:01 | More by velosuds
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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,275 ratings.