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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,277 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4277
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: 4,277 | Reviews: 1,608 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with Dave at the Brick Store Pub. Soapy head on dark chocolate colour. Yeast in a rich aroma, Bourbon is not as prominent as licorice, yeast, mollasses and chocolate. Taste is coffee,mostly. Roasting and charness and a bit of wood. Drying mouthfeel. Second bottle two months later, noticed soupy pea head of dark brown.And fuller body.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 06:24:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 reserve.

Pours an absolutely pitch black with a small 1 inch tan head that fades to a small film on the top of the beer. Spotty ring lacing around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, vanilla, licorice, and cinnamon. Absolutely delicious smelling. Tastes of dark roasted malt, bitter coffee, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Subtle hints of licorice and cinnamon on the finish. Very thick and creamy in the mouth. Drinkability is out of this world. A great beer to sit and sip on for a prolonged period of time. The ABV is well hidden in the taste but it sneaks up on you in the end. This is really a beer that you can only have one of at a time. Overall, a truly exceptional beer. I am glad I have a stockpile of these in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 05:33:16 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.8/5  rDev +6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 15:17:47 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.95/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage, 22oz bomber served at cellar temperature and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a hugely thick and evil looking jet black molasses looking sludge into my pint glass, hitting the bottom of the glass like a thud. Such a rich dark color, there was no chance at all of any light coming through this one at any point what so ever. A huge dark tan colored head rose up from the depths of this one reaching a height of easily three inches which never really did settle down to much, leaving a constant pillow of brown of top that at the most settled down to around an inch and a half. Very nice cascading of the foam when this was poured, almost like a nitro-tap pour, very full. The side glass lace was tremendous, leaving behind thick stringy webs of brown that coated the entire glass, and to be honest were still coating the glass the next morning when I woke up. This was one serious monster to be reckoned with, and I can see where its name came from, it looked like anything that fell into here was never coming back.

S - The aroma was spectacular, engaging, and simply full beyond expectations. The first thing I noticed was how sweet it was, tons of sugar here in the aroma, thick molasses like smells that really sweetened it up. Mixed in were the slightest hints of French roasted coffee and dark chocolate, really giving this that big dark aroma that you look for in the style. It never really did lighten up any, as even an hour into the bottle it was still evolving. No hint of any alcohol in here at all, which was insane to think about. It really had the aroma that was pegged as a dessert, so rich and full, and soo sweet. The only thing I could say was as it warmed it started to let off some more coffee notes along with a noticeable hint of vanilla that again confirmed how sweet it was.

T - I really do not even know where to start with this one. I had waited a long time to try it, and have read all the hype and was really hoping this would be as good as I wanted it to be, I have to be honest, it was better! I really have not had many things that were as good as this one was, I am not even half way through my review and I know the score here is going to be a perfect one, but enough of that. The first flavors I was picking up were rich caramel and molasses sugars that were layered upon a coffee like base. This gave it such a rich, complex and sugary profile that I was not even sure what was going on. As it warmed subtle notes of chocolate and licorice started to come though and blended in very well, keeping it sweet, but at the same time confirming its dark nature. Hints of vanilla were then layered on top of that, so complex, but at the same time, so simple and elegant. This was like the mother of RIS's for me. Towards the finish you could pick of trace flavors of oak in it that was evidence of its aging. The finish had a surprising amount of dry bitterness to it, that really caught me off guard being how sweet this was for the entire session, but this was nice really drawing it out and letting it bring you back in again for another round. In a word amazing.

M - This had to be the thickest, smoothest and creamiest beer I have ever had. I crave a good stout that has the consistency and feel of a chocolate shake, this almost one upped that, really setting a bar so high that I do not know if I can ever find something that can top it. The carbonation was superb, really putting a show and giving it that silky feel. There was no, none, not even a though of this being anything but a superb offering. Insane really how good this was.

D - I was waiting for this category to make mention of the fact of how good this was as a night time sipper. Now the bottle says 11%ABV, bit heck it could have been 5%. There was just no hint of it anywhere in here. Which is amazing if you thick about it. I sipped on this one for a good hour, and by the end it was probably close to room temperature and was just as good a when it came out of the cellar. This was just amazing. I really would love to be able to have this one on tap, in my house, once a night it is just that good.

Overall the style is easily one of my favorites, and bounces back and forth with an IPA for the top really, and this was the best I have ever had. It was just perfect. The aroma was perfect, the taste, feel, appearance, everything I just could not think of anything that could improve here as it was the epitome of the style and I am so glad I waited so long to try this one as my palate has really evolved and allowed me to appreciate this one more fully. Could not think of a better selection for my 800th review. This was perfect and anyone who can get this and does not try it is a fool.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2008 11:12:02 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shocking that I have not yet reviewed the Abyss. This is a tick...review of the 2007 vintage generously shared by Jacob at the Bruery.

A: The pour is a viscous elixir, nearly black in color with a solid finger's worth of mocha head.

S: A wonderful combination of roasted malts, licorice, coffee, and sweet, creamy chocolate. A few notes of oak, vanilla, and maybe even dark molasses.

T: Lots and lots of chocolate and roasted malts up front. There is a subtle woody character that comes through nicely, along with a hint of bourbon, vanilla, and licorice. Wonderfully balanced between the sweet and roast/bitter flavors.

M: The body is silky, smooth, and creamy with a low-ish level of carbonation.

D: This is probably my favorite vintage of Abyss, and with good reason. So many great flavors and so easy to drink. It's really too bad this year's developed an infection.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2010 07:38:48 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with the firmest mocha head I have ever seen; sticks almost permanently and leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Charcoal, grapefruit, espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and molasses; a touch of oak, but less than I expected

Taste: Right from the start, the grapefruit citrus jumps out and tangoes with the traditional espresso and dark chocolate flavors that would be more expected in a RIS; once they settle in, the sweet and fruity, black currant flavors burst forward; after the swallow, there is a burst of alcohol, followed by a strong roasty element but the finish is pure grapefruit hops

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, almost viscous, with moderate carbonation; considerable warmth after the swallow

Drinkability: This is a great beer, with plenty of complexity and an unusual take on the style; it will be interesting to re-visit in a year, when the hops settle down (which I did, by the way, but the hops still made their presence felt while allowing the coffee and chocolate flavors to shine in their complexity)

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 21:30:21 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Bchung52077: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a huge dark brown color foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of vanilla, light smoke and huge black chocolate notes is pretty intense but well balance as well. Taste is a sublime mix between some black chocolate, some light smoke, molasses, some oak and bourbon. This is a very well balance mix with no flavour taking over and completely overshadowing the rest of the flavours. Body is full with engine oil consistency but with a creamy texture as well and good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not being a big fan of imperial stout usually I must admit that I was really impressed by the craftsmanship of this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2008 13:54:05 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Where many, and more "Russian" imperial stouts try to whelm the palate with complexity and variation in taste, Deschutes take a more somber, more "American" type of attitude when it comes to the style. Its classic American-ized taste makes in drier, less fruity and less spicy taste. Yet it makes the beer better? Here's why...

The pitch black concoction pours like 30 weight motor oil as it layers into the snifter. Seeming like the beer wouldn't develop a head, several more seconds are needed to appreciate the coffee-like creme that slowly forms on top of the stout. Not known for significant lace, the beer is caught somewhere between becoming a frothy, heady beer and a still, brandy-like appearance.

The nose melts the senses as the aroma of strong espresso, cocoa, and burnt toffee seduces the olfactory senses at every turn. Roasted walnut, light campfire, near-bourbon alcohols and savory sherry notes of aging come to live as the aromas search for complexity and the beer warms to release its pleasantries.

Flavors are even bolder as the beer builds and its power is felt- giving an intense espresso-rich, bitter chocolate early taste while bourbon-like vanilla melds into the caramel malt taste. The complexities are rich and varying and do offer only a glimpse into berry, plumb, and fig flavor, if only for a second. Walnut oils and coffee oils seem to give the beer its bitter balance even though we know they are hop-derived.

It's ultra-thick and weighted feel offers a creamy buffer, especially with its deeply embedded carbonation. Finishing very warm, lightly tangy, and thinned by alcohol, the its lingering finish satisfies the sweet tooth with dessert-like satisfaction.

Even without the high rate of complexity, the simple richness of Abyss lives up to its name- offering up a one-dimensional dialogue of roast and sweet while only glimpses of complexity decorate the periphery. But its such a succulent and delicious taste that those complexities are simply not needed.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2007 14:05:31 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Version. Thanks to azbucfan for setting me up with the bottle.

G: Poured into an oversized brandy snifter.

A: Pours motor oil black. The head is a caramel-color with a bit of a crimson streak and plenty of bubbles. Excellent lacing.

S: Plenty of dark espresso, ripening into a malty sweetness. I can definitely make out some of the brewer's licorice. Clear scent remains from the bourbon barrels, although I can only make out a bit of the oak.

T: In addition to everything from the nose, a bit of burnt chocolate, in addition to slightly-burnt coffee and roasted dark malt.

M: Incredibly creamy with low carbonation. Very full-bodied.

D: So smooth and complex; this is a good one to sip for quite a well. Nice addition to the great week I'm having celebrating my 25th birthday. So far, I've had Dark Lord and Pliny the Elder. We'll see how many top ten's I can fit into this week.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 00:38:07 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured with a thin dark tan head that died down, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of dark, roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of oak from the barrel aging.
T: The taste starts out with lots of flavors of roasted malts and is accompanied by complimentary notes of bourbon, cherries, dark fruits, molasses and oak flavors. The roasted malt flavors linger from start to finish. The cherries become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: As a mixture of blends, this beer is extremely well balanced and doesn't have any one dominant flavor. The taste is very complex.

Note: 2013 Reserve

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:15:05 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle.

Appearance: Pours a black body with a small, fizzy, short-lived dark tan head.

Smell: Aroma of dark roasted malts with notes of licorice, molasses, and a shot of alcohol. A good measure of oak in there without overdoing it, which is always nice to see.

Taste: Flavor loaded with roasted dark maltiness. Plenty of dark chocolate syrup, toasted marshmallows, and spicy anise. Relatively mild sweetness throughout. A taste of coffee that grows exponentially as it warms. Reasonable oaky presence. A strong, earthy bitterness helps balance the heavy malt. Tiny hints of bourbon. Chewy, earthy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Seriously, this is a fairly well-made imperial stout. Absolutely stupendous? Nah, but better than most.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2008 21:17:10 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saved the best for last,rang inthe new year with this bad boy.Poured into a snifter deep and dark but not quite opaque,just a tinge of deep ruby when held close to the light,a creamy and very sticky deep mocha colored head atop that nver really left.Deep mocha coffee and vanilla tinged oak in the nose,I also picked up some roasted nut and dark fruit.Bitter chocolate and molasses flavor really hit from the onset,as it warms licorice really comes thru as well.An awesome creamy feel to the beer really coats the mouth and it goes down with ease.What a great sipper,just so much flavor and a creamy feel made me wanna drink another 22oz!A beer more than worthy of its lofty status.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 14:30:00 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

2009 vintage. Finally decided to bust this outta the fridge so's VDubb86 and I could determine if infection had set in. It pours a bulletproof onyx topped by over a finger of tan foam. No over-fizzing, which bodes well. The nose comprises blackened pretzels, light charcoal, anise, brown sugar, leather, and tobacco. No real sour notes in my 'strils, which, again, bodes well. The taste holds notes of cocoa powder, dark chocolate wedges, bourbon, oak, leather, charcoal, blackened biscuits, and a very slight tart edge pricking the tongue in the back, the only real sign of what appears to be a minor infection. Boo. It doesn't really detract from the proceedings, thankfully, more like a stronger version of the famous Guinness sour. The body is on the lighter side of hefty, with a light moderate carbonation and a fizzily chewy feel (which confirms the minor infection). Overall, I was definitely underwhelmed with this. Sure, the infection could have influenced things, but it seemed much too minor to really affect the overall package too much. Beyond the tartness, it just wasn't as incredible a stout as many had led me to believe. Oh well, it was still much more than decent, and I'm glad I was able to try it.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2010 06:53:40 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dense blackness, dark as you get...huge head, burnt tan, slowly crumbling, leaving lace...

Roasty, toasty aroma, chocolate and espresso, yes, and more...carob and raisins, dark rum, and molasses...ah! Dark and lovely!

Whoa! Once in the mouth, it's a delivery of rich, thick, deliciousness....whiskey-toned, a bit, mixed with dark chocolate...indulgent, decadent...full, but surprisingly smooth. Velvety...someone should paint a portrait of Elvis on this. Here comes the whiskey kick again...here comes the blackstrap...

I'm only halfway through the bottle, and I'm feeling mighty satisfied.
Do I wish I'd saved it for friends? Maybe, but I'm too content to worry about them now.

As the great Maple Syrup (David Cross on "Mr. Show") would say" "it's wonderfulrissimal!"

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 07:51:21 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of MasterSki


4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hybrid review. 2006 bottle shared by Sean, as well as 2011 sampled previously. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Half finger of tan foam settles to wisps, thin collar, and minimal lacework. There's a glass-coating brown film left behind. Body is pitch black.

S - Biscotti, roasted malts, char and light smoke, espresso, anise, hint of vanilla and oak, and a bit of milk chocolate sweetness. The 2006 vintage has some mild oxidation setting in, but it's still quite nice and very similar in character. The 2011 had a hint of alcohol, but nothing excessive.

T - The taste of the 2006 is significantly less sweet, with more char, espresso, light licorice, and perhaps a bit of dark chocolate in the finish. The 2011 oddly has more in the way of biscuit, caramel, and Coffee Crisp-esque sweetness. Not a ton of whiskey or barrel in either version. Alcohol is well-hidden, and there's nice flavor depth.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, silken texture, lower carbonation, and light residual stickiness. The 2006 version is a tad thin for the ABV, but otherwise it's quite nice. Mellow, with minimal alcohol presence.

D - I was pleasantly surprised a 6-year old stout held up this well. I prefer the sweeter flavors of the newer vintage but I suspect that's due to age and not a recipe difference. Unlike some other breweries, Deschutes appears to have done a really good job keeping the quality up even as the batch size has grown over the years. Not a beer I find myself craving, but always enjoyable and easy to drink - an Imperial Stout that appeals to a broad range of palates.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 16:44:23 | More by MasterSki
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2006 release acquired via trade from Slats so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short brown head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich roasted malts, black coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of coffee, milk chocolate, molasses, licorice and dark fruits. Then a hearty roasted malt character quickly follows. The hops presence is very mild but given the type of beer and the fact that it’s nearly 7 years-old the shock is that there’s any hops presence at all. There’s a good balance and very little hint of the 11.00% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very good big stout to drink for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2013 04:42:25 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Generously shared by Jay23, review from notes.

Purely opaque, obsidian black, glimmering in the light. Slow cascading tan foam, it's surface has a creamy texture. Puffy concentric rings of sticky lace hang on the walls of the glass.

Ashy tobacco, woody oak in the nose. Not much sweetness, it could use a little chocolate to balance. It would get a 4.25 if possible.

Big smoke presence, dry roasty malts, chocolate, licorice, and dry tobacco leaves hanging aloft in a Kentucky barn. Earthy char with very well integrated notes of oak. Not picking up huge amounts of bourbon, reflecting the partially bourbon-aged blending. This is most welcome, and lends itself well to an impossibly silky mouthfeel, without harsh spirits crowding in.

Feel is creamy and robust, without getting syrupy. Nice dry finish. 11% was completely hidden, this was a fantastic Imperial Stout, glad I had the chance to try it.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2008 03:22:36 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Batch sampled 1 Feb 08

A: 4.5 great lacing & head retention
S: 4.0
T: 4.5
D: 5.0

Main Differences from last year's: Less Alcohol heat, but not enough to bump up my taste score. No discernible smokeyness this year. I also get some vanilla hints this year. Slightly better than last year. Still not cracking my top 5 for this style

06 Version:

Pours purplish/black with 3 fingers+ of rocky mocha colored head. Good lacing & fair head retention when you consider the style

S: Smokey malt (bacon & ham) up front. Coffee comes through as this warms

T: Smokey malt, chocolate, licorice & a little coffee up front. Coffee, warming alcohol, burned grain & molasses sink in as this works. Finishes dry, with coffee & baker's chocolate, plus a little alcohol burn & more than a hint of smokeyness.

MF: Rich, chewy & not much carbonation

Drinks okay, but alcohol burn & heft also make this a nightcap or fire side sipper. This one would pair well with some hunks of red meat & or chocolate. This a keeper for deschutes, more next year please!

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 05:02:19 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh


4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage, poured into a tulip. Beer is dark black and appears thick. Carbonation is mild. Beer is completely opaque even at the corners. Forms a thick and aggressive dark brown head that falls away relatively quickly leaving a lot of lacing on the glass. The resultant head is thin and diffuse and eventually breaks. A visage of the original head hung out in the middle of the glass for the duration of the beer.

The aroma is complex. There is a lot of sweetness, brightness, some alcohol, a lot of roast, malt and coffee, almost a syrup but not cloying aroma as well. There is a hint of anise in there as well.

Beer is medium to full bodied. Late roast taste followed by a strong aftertaste of bitterness and roasted malt. Definitely some espresso character. I was expecting a little bit of bourbon but got none. I did however get some warmth from the alcohol in the front of the mouth along with considerable gravity and sweetness. Overall its a good beer. Its not my favorite imperial stout but it is really good. Drinkability is good and mouthfeel is good too. I would be interested to see how this beer changes over time.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2010 17:31:11 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


4.83/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to try this twice in three days in mid-December, the first time a 2007 and the second time a 2009. I am scoring the 2009 but will also include a review of the 2007.

2009 bottle provided by Exiled.
Pours black with a brown head. The aroma is smokey oak with some roasted malt. The flavor is strong chocolate with some vanilla and licorice. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Tried this with Ghiradelli cocoa with a caramel center and it was amazing.

2007 bottle provided by Cavie.
A: 4.5 S: 4.5 T: 4.5 M: 4.5 D: 4.5
Aroma was more coffee and chocolate than in the 2009 vintage. The roasted malt and slight smoke were absent. The flavor was more of a milk chocolate with some vanilla. Overall, I think the 2009 was a little bit better but the 2007 was still a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 22:26:16 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color. It looked thick like oil. It had a small, light brown, foamy head that left some thin lace on the glass.

S - It smelled surprisingly fruity, like a Belgian ale. Also, sweet chocolate notes with hints of licorice.

T - It tasted of tons of chocolate and sweet caramel. Some licorice and coffee flavors emerge, too, along with the fruity flavors.

M - It was smooth and very soft. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a great RIS and quite drinkable despite the high ABV. Really a great brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2009 01:38:14 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros


4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: Super dark, light can't even escape it's grasp. Pours with the viscosity of dark matter in liquid form. I swirl it a bit, and see legs so long it would make Cheryl Tiegs blush. A small but very dark thick head rises on the pour and seems to sit there, enjoying the beverage on it's own.

N: Loaded with roast and chocolate. I think I could give it to a few bakers and they would be satisfied for years. The rich stout aroma it gives off also adds a nice touch.

T: Taste is just, ooohhh, ahhh! Super rich, creamy, thick, dark, delicious. Again tons of bakers chocolate and roast, but also adds some dark chocolate, a little milk chocolate, tobacco, coffee, toast, a slight booze, and that aged stout smooth flavor. I think Marlboro cigarettes would love this beer in their commercials. It's so thick and rich it just seems to fill the pours all over my mouth and lingers with the deliciousness. Semi sweet with some malty flavors as well.

M: Thicker than blood, which is in turn thicker than oil apparently. Very little carbonation, good for the style, but so thick I think I need to chew it before i swallow.

F: Looong lingering roast and chocolate finish, as it coats the mouth well. It's still semi sweet, with more bakers chocolate and milk chocolate at this point. It also has a bitter stout like earthy roasted char flavor.

Amazing stout, perhaps my favorite now. It's very good, hides the booze well, and is much more drinkable than Black Tuesday or Dark Lord.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2010 02:35:49 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on the warm side of cool. The beer pours with a frothy, easily three-finger thick, creamed, chocolate brown colored head that sits atop an opaque, pitch black colored brew. Aromas of oak and concentrated, burnt malt waft to my nose as I pour this brew. The first draught of the aroma yield ample roast malt character that makes me think of dark-roasted espresso beans, chocolate malt ball candies, burnt caramel and a huge, toasted malt character that is coupled with an über-nutty aromatic note. The aroma is quite rich and expressive, the roast malt character clearly dominates. It is interesting that I was able to smell the oak as I was pouring, but it gets mostly buried under all of the dark malt aromatics when going in for a more dedicated smelling of the aroma. Having said that the aroma does yield some subtle oak aromatics, including a touch of spicy wood, some soft butterscotch and a hint of a woody backdrop.

Creamy feeling up front, yet somehow still fairly drinkable & light. After the first sip has left my mouth, the finish at first is roast malt dominated then moves to a spicy oak character, but then a sweet, burnt fruit character becomes noticeable and then it seems to start over again. This has a very long finish and it seems to move between roast grain notes, light oak character and a rich, concentrated fruitiness. Quite interesting, and I haven't even taken a second sip yet. Sweet tasting up front, obviously contributed by an ample malt character (burnt caramel notes); the sweetness accentuates a bright (though clearly roasted), concentrated, fruit character that runs throughout this beer. It also accentuates a deep, dark chocolate character that melds quite well with the silky texture. The burnt fruit notes remind me of raisins, prunes and, especially towards the finish, of cherries. The oak is really not noticeable until just before the finish where it shows up as a spicy oak character. It might contribute some soft vanilla notes & perhaps a touch of butterscotch, but these notes really serve to accentuated the malt character rather than really jump out on their own.

Serving this beer so warm (about 65°F / 18°C) has really muted the oak contribution, as the last time I had this it was much more noticeable. Even when cooler it is still on the subtle side though, which is really what I want in a beer made with oak; add a bit more to the complexity without over doing it is the only way to go. The proof that this is a very well made stout is that despite the over the top roast character, there is very little harsh acidity contributed by all of the roasted grains. Definitely not the thickest and richest Imperial Stout out there, but still this is quite satiating and I really like how the various flavor components of this brew balance each other out. This is simply quite delicious; lots of sweet malt & fruit notes to stand up to the over the top roast character, plus a subtle backdrop of oak to kick the complexity up another notch.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2007 04:49:37 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010: This poured out as a deep jet black oily looking brew, it forms a nice even sized brown head on top. The lacing is scattered and and has a light amount of retention. The smell of this beer is loaded with dark malts and some herbal notes. In the mix there is also a good amount of barrel aged aromas coming off of this one as well. The taste was really nice, sweet bourbon-like notes with some fresh oak in there too, there is also plenty of smoked and chocolate flavors in there. The mouthfeel is thick and oily, very smooth and highly drinkable. Overall I was hoping to get more of the Licorice flavors from it but regardless it's a killer brew. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2012 00:34:10 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


4.78/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade!

2007 Reserve - aged in oak barrels:
Poured into a snifter -

Pours black with a tan head that slowly settles to a thin patch and some bubbles. Very good retention for abv/style. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of licorice, chocolate, coffee, toffee, with some dark fruitiness. A bit smoky. Complex is an understatement.

The taste is all that the aroma promised and more. Huge amount of complexities that come together exceptionally well. Chocolate, coffee, rooty, licorice, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, oak - complex, tasty, malty sweet yet balanced with enough roastiness and a touch of subtle citric/piney/resiny hops. A well-rounded, delicious brew.

Full-bodied, yet creamy and smooth with just enough stickiness to give it a very long finish.

Gimme more...a beer-lover's delight...and a work of art. This one certainly deserves the hype that surrounds it!

Thanks again John!

Thanks to Bitterbill for sending three more bottle of this wonderful stuff!

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2008 03:12:15 | More by jwc215
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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
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