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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,866 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,866
Reviews: 1,641
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,484
Gots: 2,207 | 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: 4,866 | Reviews: 1,641 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of South2NW
4.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage on tap at the Deschutes Brewpub in Portland.

Served in Deschutes Tulip glass.

A: dark as night. Very thin, dark tan head. Minimal lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, some dark fruit and a hint of oak/vanilla.

T: Superb. Complex. Immediate chocolate and roasty black coffee. Some slight heat from bourbon/oak, smooth finish.

M: Medium-light carbonation level, full body, yet very smooth. Good beer to warm you up.

O: Very well done beer. Complex flavors, yet not overwhelming or sloppy. Easy to drink. 11% alcohol to warm you up on a winter night...or day.

South2NW, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of SkiBum22
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep chocalety looking blackish brown. Rich khaki head. Completely opaque.

S - Chocolate, coffee, carmel, molasses, and a little smoke

T - Taste upfront is bitter roasted malts, a little bourbon and wood, and some molasses sweetness. Light licorice in the middle. Sweeter finish of molasses, raisin fruitiness and a hint of bourbon. Lingering roasted coffee bitterness.

M - Very thick and heavy. there's a good medium carbonation with a very crisp finish

O - This is the most complex stout that I have ever had. I would like to try one with some age on it.

SkiBum22, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of ironlung
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

I know I won't have anything new to add, but I can't miss the chance to finally write a review on this stout of stouts!
Looks black as the black-top pavement out in the driveway. Has a foamy tan dead that doesn't stay for long,but sure leaves a nice lace! Smell is just pure heaven, lots of everything sweet. I swear I can even make out some anise. Taste is so balanced. This year's seems less "hot" on the alcohol than I remember last year's being.

Overall: this stout is the nectar of the Russian czars. It just oozes all the goodness that you expect from the style. Its hard to go back once you stare into the abyss...other stouts just don't hold a candle!

ironlung, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of williamjbauer
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a pint glass.
Vintage Nov 2011 batch
Served Jan 21st 2012

A - Mean looking jet black in color with no light passing through the glass. Awesome 2 finger tan head with excellent head retention and good lacing. One of the best looking stouts out there.

S - Heavy molasses, raisin, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of licorice. Just a touch of alcohol could be smelled.

T - A backbone of roasted malt, chocolate, caramel. Extremely rich and full palate with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness, and just a bit more alcohol than I wanted as wasn't balanced by a minimal amount of hoppy flavor compared to the others. Just a minor critic given the awesomeness of this brew.

M - Very creamy and full body, moderate carbonation. Almost perfect.

O - Quite simple the best Imperial Stout and one of the best beers I have ever had. Enough said.

williamjbauer, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a pitch black body with a large thicket of mocha tan head. By the way thanks to SurlyDuff my old roomie Geoff, from Morgantown, WV for sending his local breweries finest in my direction. By the way Geoff's screen name has nothing to due with Surly Brewing Company I believe it's solely based on his love for The Simpsons, as a shout out to Duff Man. By the way the head dwindles slowly forming chunky sporadic bands of lacing around my chalice, very nice.

Aroma contains dark roasted malts including anise, dark chocolate more of a bittersweet baker's chocolate note. Warming vanilla and oak barrel aging effects flowing strong but with some finesse. I'm not crazy about the oak barrel aging frenzy that's going on in the craft beer movement at this time, however this blended version brings enough of those characteristics without overshadowing the actual beer. Deep alcohol with fruit undertones doing this bee much justice.

Flavors are great, much more complex and straight forward than the aroma was. Soothing alcohol burn weighs heavy among the waves of dark chocolate and mild sweetness provided by underlying plum and fig sweetness. Herbal hops barely play a role here with a touch of bitterness, charred oak and vanilla with a touch of whiskey blend beautifully into one massive American Imperial Stout. Some coffee hints here but nothing blatant a lot more dark chocolate from the dark roasted malt character than anything else.

Mouthfeel is full bodied carbonation is timid amongst the large bodied brew, but definitely ample enough to stand up to it. Textures of bitter chocolate leave a drying bitterness over the palate, charred oak makes it nearly smokey but nothing like a true Rauchbier. Solid through and throught definitely silky presence to the overall feel.

Drinkability is effortless the glass will drain before your ready for it, it's easy to make it through a review without ever even stopping to take a note or complete a sentence. This brew kept my nose in the glass and my palate in touch with the contents of this awesome wax sealed bottled from the left coast. Another amazing experience I can carry with me in my beer journeys, thanks again Geoff!

WVbeergeek, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of mdaschaf
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes 1/22/11. Thanks to THECPJ for sharing this one!

A: Pours extremely dark black with a thick two finger mocha head. The foam lasts for a very long time leaving sheets of lacing behind on the glass.

S: Roasted malts, some coffee, and lots of dark chocolate. There is a little bit of molasses, licorice, and a touch of bourbon.

T: Very complex flavor profile here. A really nice combination of mocha, coffee, and chocolate dominate the flavor profile. There are also hints of wood and some roasted flavor as well.

M/D: Has a heavier/thicker mouthfeel, but drinks very smooth. Slightly dry. I did not get much heat from this bottle. Overall, easily one of my favorite Imperial Stouts to date. Can't wait to have this one again and will always be happy to have some in the cellar.

mdaschaf, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of beerfan99
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Release - Aged past the best by date.

A- Dark black in color and opaque. Nice thick brownish head which is retained after several minutes.

S- Strong licorice, molasses, and bourbon aromas. Chocolate smell plays a background role to the others.

T- Powerful flavors are balanced perfectly to create a very balanced and delicious brew.

M- Very smooth and thick, definitely a sipping beer.

O- An excellent beer that improves with age and is worth seeking out. Unfortunately, Deschutes does not distribute to my area, which makes tracking this one down a challenge, but it is well worth the effort.

beerfan99, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of prototypic
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Reserve

Thanks to JDV for the bottles he sent long, long ago. Much appreciated.

The Abyss is a very dark chocolate fudge color. It looks onyx and is opaque. There's not a hint of light getting through anywhere. It's topped with a dark mocha brown head that stands about two fingers tall. It's somewhat quick to recede, leaving sticky chunks of lace clinging to the glass. I suspect the abv may be just a little too high for it to stick around long.

The nose is very impressive. Chocolate malts are abundant. They have a sweet, chocolate fudge character. There's a healthy amount of molasses and a bit of a smoky scent. Black licorice is here to a small extent, but it's a very subtle, secondary component. The oak barrel aging imparts a very nice oak scent that adds a ton of character to the nose. I'm not appreciating any bourbon despite the label's indication that some portion was aged in oak bourbon barrels. There are some leafy and floral notes that I suspect are remnants of hops. Alcohol is mildly noticeable, but it doesn't smell strong. That's impressive. This is great smelling beer. It might even be a little better with some bourbon coming through.

The flavor profile is nothing short of amazing. It has an impeccable chocolate malt base. It's full of sweet chocolate fudge flavor. It does taste slightly smoky, but it's a subtle flavor. There's definitely a hoppy flavor that I'm amazed is still here after two years. I'm sure it's been tamed by time, but it still provides a bitter edge that is damn impressive. The oak barrel aging really gives it a wonderful oak or wood-chip flavor. It indeed adds a ton of character and complements the stout flavors perfectly. I'm still not getting much, if any, bourbon, but it's not sorely missed. It might add a little something. Definitely not much though. Molasses and black licorice are secondary, but play a nice role and add more complexity to the overall flavor. Alcohol never seems to be much of a factor. It's a little noticeable, but is never warm or strong. Wow. I'm really at a loss for describing how good this beer really is. It's stunning.

The Abyss has a full body that's smooth and creamy. It feels a little light initially, but becomes more substantial with warming. It's not quite viscous enough to be perfect, but it's damn good. Drinkability is extremely high for such a big beer. Yeah, it's a little strong, but it never feels like it. It goes down so smooth and easy. This bomber simply doesn't seem like enough. I want more.

The Abyss is a certainly a special beer that deserves every single accolade that comes its way. One sip is all it takes to realize that. I recall having a fresh(er) bottle of this 2007 Reserve some time ago. No doubt it was damn good. But, I believe two years have really refined it. It is better today than I recall. I have no hesitation saying today that this is easily one of the top three beers I've experienced. It's simply that good. Find a bottle and stow it away for a couple of years. You won't be disappointed. If you happen to have a bottle of 2007 Reserve, it's drinking mighty fine right now. Perhaps you should open it.

prototypic, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of branimal9
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage, shared with my fellow Upstate BA'ers - 6/9/2010.

Pours a black hole of deep rich brown color, with milk chocolate, vanilla and a hint of raisin on the nose. Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, burnt sugar & cinnamon all make appearances in the taste. Oily & syrup-like in texture. Haven't tried any other vintages of this beer, but the 2007 seems to be doing quite well. Tasty!

branimal9, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of joemcgrath27
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage picked up by fluke in Whitefish Montana last February with my BA in crime andrenaline, he's since moved away but we're doing a team tasting over the web, STOKED
A - straight blackness, thumb of deep brown head that was not going anywhere, globs of lacing
S - very rich malt, chocolate and licorice with compliments of vanilla, and subtle woody aromas
T - BIG beer, a bold mix of roasty and sweet malt, dark chocolate with some candied cherry sweetness, mild hints of vanilla and licorice, finishes with a charred woody flavour, and the high octane keeps you warm and sweet, way too good!
M - syrupy thick with a full sticky feel, just a little dry from the alcohol
O - what can I say, its huge in all aspects, i could easily drink this all day and night at home, just hoping I can find a few more bottles on my next snowboard trip to Montana

joemcgrath27, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of tattooedtolley
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted this while in CA hanging with friends and visiting breweries. We had this before doing a Stone Impy Stout vertical.

The pour is black, super black. Beautiful brown head. The aroma is strong, coffee and chocolate notes, big roasted malt character. The taste is incredible and surprisingly refined, I assumed from the aggressive nose that this beer would be pretty rough on the palette, but its not. I really wish I had this available to me in VA, I'd buy a case to cellar and a case to drink. One of the very best impy stouts I've ever had.

tattooedtolley, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of angrybabboon
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for half of this beer

Note: 2009 vintage

Review adapted from notes taken 11/5/10

Appearance: Blacker than black, pours like oil but manages to form a remarkable brown head - the brown fluff sticks around, and it leaves behind a beautiful lace

Smell: Nearly as epic as they come - super burnt, charcoal... charred charcoal, if that even makes sense - leather, coffee beans, some sweetness, some hops

Taste: Harsh but delicious, deliciously complex - as the smell would suggest, tastes extremely burnt - burnt malts, roasted malts, char, chocolate, espresso, molasses, caramel - some spiciness beneath an extreme amount of bitterness - some wood and some bourbon, but they are insanely well-balanced with the rest of the flavors - very malty yet somehow not too sweet, which, in my opinion, should be the goal of every imperial stout

Mouthfeel: Very thick but not sludgy - extremely smooth, but comes off as slightly harsh because of all the burnt flavors - amazing nonetheless

Overall: Simply amazing fresh, and so much potential...

It's scary how good this beer is. If all of the harsh characteristics drop out after a year or two of aging, this will probably earn a permanent spot in my top 10 favorite beers of all time. It's so ridiculously good.

angrybabboon, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a deep Ebony colour witha two fingered tanned head that retains well

S - Chocolate, vanilla and some dark fruit, with a little molassis.

T - Massive flavours of expresso coffee, dark cocoa and stewed dark fruits. Sort of has an over riding vanilla flavour. The end is an expresso, toffee flavour that lingers real well.

M - Full body with minimum carbonation

O - A must try because of its fantastic balance.

eric5bellies, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage. Pours an opaque black color and does not let in any light whatsoever, not necessarily viscous though. Dark brown foam is fluffy and tight. Not overly great retention and leaves a smattering of lacing.

Nose is absolutely wonderful with baker's chocolate and cocoa leading the way. Hints of licorice come through and I am getting some vanilla and plums. Not overly fruity, which I like, and the hops seem like they have died off some in the past two years.

Taste is complex and varied, has a little bit of everything. Some wood, some fruit and some brandy-like alcohol notes. Malts are silky and chocolaty with even a little bit of toasty and nuttiness more typical of a porter...very nice. Hops are there and contribute a surprising amount of bittering on the finish. Very layered with the flavors continually unfolding on the tongue. Body is fairly medium for the style, but with as much flavor as this thing packs it has no impact on the mouthfeel whatsoever. There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this beer. It is an incredible beer, one of the best beers I have ever had and probably the best stout I have quaffed. A must try.

twiggamortis420, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this one through a trade with Tieman who send this one as an extra. What a score! Thank you, Dan.

Poured into a snifter

Pours pitch black with a little mocha color head. thereis some lacing visible.

Not a very bold nose. Little hop, chocolate, coffee the usual suspects.

The taste is where this one shines. A little smokey oak flavor with hints of chocolate and coffee. I love it. Hey... there is some liqourice in the end.

Nice mouthfeel with a medium amount of carbonation.

This is a fantastic stout, I tried the 2009 version, none infected after alrady having had a kazillion great bear at Brabanders (Thijs') house and didn'ttake notes. I should have Sek it drink it and age one if you can. This is a winner for sure. Thank you a bunch Dan.

doopiedoopiedoo, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at the black friday event at Capone's. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a half finger of tan head. There is some very nice lacing and a good amount of retention.

Smell: Cocoa and roast with mild coffee. Sweet smells of molasses and some dark fruit.

Taste: Unbelievably smooth. Roasty cocoa and coffee notes up front. Quite sweet, mild dark fruit notes. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This beer is just awesome! Lives up to the hype. Very smooth, sweet, and roasty. I will definitely have more in the future.

oline73, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of jkendrick
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown to black. Certainly no light shining through the glass. The head is as from a fine mocha, frothy and tan. It sticks around for a while leaving some lacing.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, espresso, molasses roasted malts and some dark fruits all well balanced with the oak. Very enticing! I can hardly keep myself from taking the first sip so I can jot down these notes.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied to thick in the mouth, but also velvety smooth. The carbonation is note perfect.

Taste: Roasted malts mix with the chocolate and espresso up front. There is slight bitterness that is well-balanced with some mild sweetness. The molasses and dark fruits settle in next, but through it all there is a nice subtle oakiness. Everything is there and identifiable but they blend to create a complexity that is difficult to describe. The alcohol is present, but not overpowering. In fact, this could be dangerous.

Overall impression: Wow! what an outstanding stout. The complexity is astounding, but the balance is really what stands out. You can taste everything but no one element dominates. One of - if not THE - best examples of the style!

jkendrick, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of PBoegel
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the good fortune of sampling a 2008 bottling during a recent trip to Seattle.

I am not going to be able to add much to the description of this beer that has not already been written.

I have enjoyed many Imperial Stouts, to date nothing has come close to this beer in the category, by a longshot.

I'd say I am just trying to be realistic in not giving it fives across the board, in that without having tried every RIS available I am trying to be fair. Still this is a world class and incredibly complex and delicious beer.

PBoegel, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of mikehblack
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Bottle

A- Pours pitch black. Dark ruby-brown head recedes to a thin ring. Some lacing and alcohol cling to the glass.

S- Rich chocolate cake. Dark cherries and fresh roasted espresso. Slight bourbon barrel note of oak and vanilla.

T- Smooth chocolate covered cherries followed by coffee and sweet vanilla. Finishes with a toffee/roasty note that begs for another sip.

M- Wonderfully thick, coats the mouth like silky hot chocolate. Perfect carbonation, not too much. Goes down very smooth with hardly any alcohol noticeable.

O- What a perfect imperial stout. One year in the bottle has tamed the heat. It will be hard not to crack my one other bottle of this vintage.

mikehblack, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of graveshifter666
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is my first review posting, so forgive me...
this imperial stout has got an exceptional aroma..
hints of vanilla come out... nice bitterness and a smokey flavor come together very well.. poured in the glass, you see a nice dark devilish look..topped witha nice head.. 11% abv... your thoughts?

graveshifter666, May 19, 2011
Photo of PhxHorn
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very very dark brown, no light coming through from the other side. Smells of coffee, malt, a bit of chocolate, but not a very strong smell. Tastes like a rich version of Obsidian, which was really what I was hoping for, as Obsidian is my favorite American Stout. Coffee, chocolate, burnt nuts and malt. A very nice balance of flavors. Overall, not as thick and intense as some other imperial stouts, but this isn't really a bad thing because it's a great combination of flavors. I don't really care for a sludge-like beer. Extremely drinkable for this style. A first rate beer.

PhxHorn, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of n0rc41
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer from bevmo in sacramento. Poured from a 22oz bottle 2009 reserve into a goblet style glass.

A= Shows a dark dark color almost black, deep dark brown. Great head of deep mahogany(sp). great color and head.

S= Smells like black licorice and wood. heavily roasted coffee. reminds me of winter.

T= Taste shows you that it is aged in oak barrels as does the smell. Dark roasted malts of coffee and bourbon. Very enticing and you cant help but want more.

M= It feels like a burnt coffee bourbon wonderland on your palate. feels great

D= sipping and paring with some fine cheese or whatever you prefer is best I think. Drinking straight without food may have some stomach issues for some.

Overall it an outstanding beer, one of the best's I cant wait for another one. dark color, rich deep malts and mahogany flavors and taste. Coffee and oak barrel bourbon tastes..perfect. You can tell there has been a great deal of effort and time has gone into this beer. Its just what I love a great beer! outstanding. I want to find one a few years older or save one for a few years and try it then. I could only imagine how it gets better with age.

n0rc41, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of BevMoPatrick1
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was able to enjoy the '07 right next to an '08. Pours an amazingly dark jet black. smells full bodied, with large hints of cocoa and coffee. The '07 has mellowed out quite nicely, the '08 needs some time, but was still deliocious. This beer coats your pallet and stays with you all the way. A sipper but not a sipper like Goose Island. Get some of this and put it away for a few years and you won't be dissapointed.

BevMoPatrick1, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of scifan
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big shouts to stubone for this in a recent trade. It's been staring at me all week and I can't resist her siren's song anymore she must be had tonight.
I chose my chimay goblet for this masterpiece of brewing. She pours pitch black with a nice thickness to it. A lovely head forms but then quickly fades away leaving its traces along the glass.
I could smell this thing as soon as I opened her. Big roasted barley aromas, dark chocolate, coffee, and hints of vanilla here and there.
She starts off kind of sweet, and chocolatey, then gets washed away by the bitterness of the roasted barley. As she warms a bit I'm beginning to notice the licorice and some of vanilla. The alcohol is starting to come through also.
Very smooth and creamy and too easy to drink for the abv.

scifan, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of ms11781
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to duff247. 2010 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours as black as night with a small, foamy dark brown head. Head reduces to a thin light brown ring around the glass. Foamy wisps of lacing are left on the glass.

Very strong and complex aroma. Dark chocolate leads the way along with some wood. Definitely some oak and vanilla present. Black licorice shows up big time on the back end. Dark, roasted malts are here as well and blend nicely with the other scents. There is some bourbon and, while it seems to come on most just before the black licorice at the end, it can be picked up almost immediately and rides underneath the rest of the aromas.

The taste is just as complex as the nose. Really the only difference from the nose is that a huge dose of anise and a bit of molasses are thrown in the mix. Starts off slightly chocolaty with a decent wood presence before being completely taking over by a combination of black licorice and anise. Some molasses and roasted malt are present as well. The finish is bourbon and a good amount of oak, leaving a nice warmth to the back of the throat. The flavors blend together nicely but the black licorice and anise are what really stand out.

Surprisingly, the beer has a medium mouthfeel overall. A medium body with lighter carbonation allow it to be smooth, rich and creamy without being as heavy as it seems it would be. Pretty amazing that a beer of this size and complexity doesn't have to be dense and heavy.

Drinkability is excellent with this beer. Normally an 11% ABV bomber is a beer to split but it was halfway gone before I had let the full flavor profile run around and allow me to grasp it. The other half was just enjoyed slowly. Definitely a sipper that is probably best enjoyed on a cold winter night.

ms11781, Mar 03, 2011
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,866 ratings.