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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,505 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,505
Reviews: 1,728
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,608
Gots: 2,676 | FT: 202
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 (116) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,505 | Reviews: 1,728 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hopswap1
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of badboy7113
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of searsclone
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of FredT
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of BrownNut
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage drunk in December 2012, served starting at 60 degrees F in a tulip.

A - 4.5 - Black, with a thick, textured, lingering, tan head. Only with a Sam Smith's head could it score higher for me.

S - 4.0 - Dark chocolate, a little malty coffee. I thought I got something slightly vinous and then saw on the label that a small percentage of it is aged in wine barrels, so maybe that's it. Possibly some vanilla. Near the end of the glass, after a swirl, a nice, mild, milky coffee note really came out.

T - 4.25 - First impression is wood, more than desirable. Barely noticeable under that is unsweetened chocolate, kind of a powdery version of it, and some coffee. Later, as the head dissipates, the wood notes recede and the other flavors come forward, with the chocolate going a bit sweeter into dark chocolate territory, to make for a better balance. No booze is evident. The label mentions licorice and bourbon barrels but I don't get any of either (I get the wood from the barrels but no bourbon). I wonder if they'd have been more prominent when fresh. No idea what cherry bark, also mentioned on the label, tastes like - presumably wood. I don't taste the vanilla or wine either. Leaves me with a bitter char aftertaste, and later with that plus a sweet chocolate syrup note.

It's interesting how the experience changes from the top of the glass to the bottom, and not just due to changing temperature. Both of the glasses I poured from the bomber, over about 30 minutes, went through the same transition rather than a single transition spread across both glasses as it warmed.

M - 4.5 - North of medium bodied but not as heavy as some of its puddinglike peers. Smooth and creamy. A pleasure.

O - 4.25 - This is a well made and subtle stout with mature flavors. Very well done overall. I'd drink it again for sure but wouldn't chase it via trade again. I'm glad I tried it.

Photo of MikeEhrmantraut
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of StArnoldFan
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of fuzzcherry
3.25/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of acbe
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of zrab11
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of Hardcore
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of dmbsteve
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 batch poured from a bomber.
A- Pitch black with a finger of brown head. Slowly dissipates to a layer that sticks around for the ride.
S- With a full glass the roasted malt is dominant, but as the beer goes down the glass the bourbon barrel aroma kicks in strong.
T - taste is extremely complex with elements of roasted coffee, licorice, and chocolate being the predominant flavors. Each sip last for minutes and changes from sweet to bitter as it linger on the back of the tongue.
M - medium to full body. Drying finish. Each sip begs for the next but this beer is to be sipped and savored.
O - intensely flavorful and complex. I am aging another bottle and will compare tasting notes. I'm expecting it to only get better with age.

Photo of PaulUH
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of crnipeter
3.52/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The infamous 2009 vintage. Cascades murky reddish-brown to give birth to opaque very dark brown-to-black body topped by huge frothy deep-tan head with incredible retention.

Somewhat bland aroma exhibits unrefined sugar qualities,liquorice, bourbon yielding menthol nasal spray sensation, and a hint of bready malt. Tart notes reminiscent of dark fruit (plums and cherries) and red wine fuel my fears the bottle might be infected. I couldn't tell merely by sniffing that tartness comes from brettanomyces action as the dark fruit esters are commonly found in imperial stouts while vinous qualities are typical of well aged examples.

With the first sip comes release - I've got a non-infected bottle. Wild yeast infection is not a state, it's a continuous process so it should be badly reflected in the taste by now. Flavor that lacks the lactic sourness I feared of is dominated by liquorice, dark fruits, bourbon and chocolaty roasted malts adding some coffee-ish notes. Malt role and complexity is lesser than I hoped for, thought. Clean dry finish is followed by unobtrusive alcohol warmth. Flavors have mellowed in the course of aging so nothing really stands out.

Medium to full body is well attenuated, perhaps a bit thinned by aging. The carbonation is not exaggerated as might be deduced from the thick head. The effortlessly drinkable beer has silky texture and is airy and mouthfilling yet not overly so.

Overall, the Abyss is shallower than its advertised depth and considering the hype fails to impress. Not infected, just average.

Photo of Holland
4.11/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: beautiful right from the get go. Pour dark brown to black with a head that just takes over. It looks like more than half of the glass is foam. Weird things happen to set off the carbonation. Awesome looking!

S: smells like an imperial stout should with toasty good grains, seet malt, coffee and caramel and chocolate.

T: Taste is the same as the smell but also incorporates the barrel flavor. Delicious, but not mind blowing.

M: beautiful full body with heavyish carbonation and a smooth feeling even with the hefty carbonation.

O: tasted a 2010, 2011, and 2012 vertical tonight and was not impressed. This was somewhere between hunahpu's and stone IRS, but I had higher expectations due to the rating. Thought 2011 was the best vintage of the 3, and 2012 was no doubt not ready. In the future I will adhere to their best after dates.

Photo of Iowacraft
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of barbellsNbeers
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of dipaguy
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of outoffocus
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of sea1961
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Rau71
3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2012 vintage and I am hoping some age on this will mellow it out. There is some boozy hotness to this and some coffee. Very roasty malts are also present. Other than that this was a very underwhelming beer. I had big hopes for this but I don't think it is even in the same league as some of the other big stouts fresh. Since the bottle says best after next year I will revisit this review then to see how things have changed.

Photo of AleVana
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 bottle that had me searching all over hell's half acre for it. Took me several minutes to get through the wax, they take this beer seriously.

A: Pours a black motor oil with a fantastic mouth watering brown dark khaki 1.5 finger head. This beer really shines in the appearance, might be the best barrel aged stout I've seen.

S: Huge barrel notes, oak is prevalent. Chocolate and coffee notes as well. Not all that over powering, or air freshner beer that I like to call. I don't just want to sit and smell this the way I would with a FSW Anniversary, ST Backwater series, or a Victory at Sea.

T: Oh wow, this beer delivers. Thick chocolate, creamy, coffee notes, malty back bone. Sweet finish. Tons of chocolate on this one.

M: Smooth, full bodied, creamy and lasting sweetness.

O: Great beer, worth the hunt, worth the price, will buy again next season.

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,505 ratings.