The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

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5,936 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,936
Reviews: 1,811
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,702
Gots: 3,101 | FT: 267
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 (152) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,936 | Reviews: 1,811
Photo of tbeck
4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, black with a decent brown head that stays for the duration. No clarity. I was unable to pull a lot of aroma, some malt and subtle alcohol tones. The alcohol seemed to rule the aroma but not so in the taste. Taste was an excellent blend of coffee and chocolate and I was able to pull some hints of alcohol which is expected for an 11% beer. Excellent mouthfeel, good heavy body. I recommend trying this beer but it is heavy and packs a heavy punch. Taste wise and if enough was available I would drink this all day.

Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - pours a ebony black with a one finger coffee colored head subsiding to a mat where you can not see where one bubble stops and the other begins. Leaves behind a beautiful lace rimming the glass.

S - The aroma starts off sweet then quickly moves to a roasted coffee intertwined with chocolate and licorice. Has a very strong stout presence with undertones of alcohol.

T - Perfection. At first. it's too much to bare. Very strong roasted malt flavor. Chocolate seems to protrude past the initial flavors quickly carrying an oak complexity. as it leaves the palette there is a warmth of alcohol finishing with the starting profile of roasted malts.

M - Very light for its Immense taste. Warms on the way down.

0 - Amazing. Am going to hold on to a few to see how they mature with time.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Motor oil black with a huge dark brown foamy head. Thick sheets of lace cover the glass. Head fades to one finger layer.

S - Rich roasted malt aroma, primarily chocolate. Hints of roasted nut as well. A spicy hoppiness is present as well.

T - Light malt sweetness up front. Chocolate and roasted nuts. Some toffee as well providing the sweetness. Spicy bitterness mid-drink. Hints of bourbon throughout gives a light alcohol bite. Finishes bittersweet and the taste lingers long after the drink.

M - Full bodied but just a little thinner than expected. Very light carbonation gives a relatively flat and smooth feel.

D - Very easy drinking and the alcohol is hardly noticeable. Deceptively easy to put down.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.76/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 8/20/08. 2007 bottle courtesy of iowaherkeye. Pours black with the prettiest dark tan head that slowly subsides. Aroma of rich sweet malt, oatmeal, coffee, molasses, and just a touch of bourbon. Flavor of sweet molasses and sweet malt, smoked and charred malt with some woodsy notes. Thick mouthfeel with an alcohol burn in the finish. Just a little bourbon, which works well for me. This gets a little too sweet by the end and is a bit hard to drink. I liked it but would prefer better drinkability.
8/5/8/3/15 (3.9/5)

Photo of froghop
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a jet black with a medium size brown head, excellent lacing.

smell of cocoa, coffee, molasses, touch of walnuts, some smoke, some caramel, and sour malt.

taste is creamy and thick, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, woody, black licorice, some walnuts, caramel, a little smokiness, and a touch of vanilla, excellent bitter ending that is just a touch on the dry side.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage. Thanks go our to littlebreeze and mred137 for grabbing this for us a while ago. First real snow of the year=abyss.

A: Out of a brewing book. Black. This is what the tunnel you see when you die looks like. Poured like motor oil and left a finger of coffee colored head.

S: The mix of this massive stout and the oak really is something special. The roasted smell is not as big as I thought it would be. The chocolate is there but perhaps fading a little bit. Little bit of sweetness thrown in there for good measure as well.

T:Oh hell yes. Big blast of chocolate covered coffee beans. Damn is it good and intense. Then you get a hint of the barrel. The nose was mostly barrel but this is just an intense blast of chocolate. Almost feels like having cocoa powder ground into my tongue. Sweetness is there as well but it barely holds anything back. A touch of bitterness right before and into the finish.

m: Nice and full bodied. Really just great creamy mouthfeel.

D: Incredible. Glad I held off on this one for a while and saved it for a night like this. This is a damn fine beer. Big and bold while not hitting you with a hammer. THe barrel aging did something really nice for this beer. No hint of the ABV at all. World class.

Photo of Biggness
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer @ a stout tasting @ my house last night and it was a huge hit. The appearance is very nice jet black with a 2 fingered brown head and tons of lacing. The nose was one of the nicest noses I have ever smelled on a beer, hints of bourbon, some chocolate, some vanilla, tons of malt and hops. The taste of this beer was beautiful, hints of the bourbon barrels, vanilla, choclate and a large hop flavor for a stout. The mouthfeel was very nice and the carbonation level was very good as well. Exceptionally drinkable and I could only look forward to the next time I get to drink this beer.

Photo of SickBrew
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poored this brew into an oversize wine glass after purchasing from Fred G. Meyer, who had 22oz bombers for $8.99. Smoken!

Opaque midnight, that's the color and the head is about as dark brown as you can get when it come to foam. Head retention is modest at best which is about what is expected for this style. Nose is absolutely rich, roast, toasty and altogether quite complex and somewhat reminiscent of a really good port. Roasted malts have a coffee characteristic with some smokey and burnt tones floating about as well. Esters are subdued but play their part.

Flavor is quite deep and bit difficult to explain. I think that's a good thing! Initially it tastes fairly intense and the roasted, toasted, malty, estery, smokey, fruity, sweet and slightly sour flavors all come together. You're just gonna have to try it.

This is a full bodied, velvety beer that slides right down your gullet.

I got one word, intense.


Photo of KeefD
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'07 vintage, review Dec '08, review from tasting notes:

People who complain that ratings are based on hype are going to hate this one. I don't care. This was a damn fine beer and well deserving of the hype.

Thick, spent motor oil pour. Black with dark brown highlights on the edges. Dark tan head - falls quick

Smell: Light booziness at first but then blended well with dark chocolate, vanilla, oak and coffee

Flavor: Dark chocolate, dark fruit, burnt caramel, vanilla, oaky, buttery, light hop oil finish.

MF: Thick, viscous, oily, creamy and slick, light carbonation tingle

Alcohol is very present in the nose but surprising light on the tongue - well masked boozines. So goddamn tasty, who cares. Best of the night.



Recently revisited this one with some friends, this time an '08. Absolutely fantastic. Not aged as long as my first sampling (the '07 was about a year old) but this tasted every bit as good. Oakiness was much stronger on the fresher bottle, a little more bourbon could be noted. What a great beer. Scores the same.

Photo of jpiper
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 release bottle poured into a 12oz snifter - shared with my wife. This is one classy bottle - with the simple but strong label and the elegant hand-waxed cap. This would make an excellent gift.

Pouts jet black with a nice gray-tan head which dissipates over about 45 seconds, leaving behind a dirty layer on top with some pockets of soapy bubbles. When tilted, there's a thin caramel brown layer, which quickly turns into the jet black pool.

The aroma has strong roasted notes. You can appreciate the barrel in the aroma as well - a nice rich smooth aroma. There is quite a bit of coffee in there too. Invites me to take the first sip. A gentle shake, brings the coffee out even more as well as some new aromas. Something I can't name here - smells almost like overripe bananas... but that's not it.

The flavor is immensely complex. Bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. There is a trace of bourbon, and definite tannin and oak. There's a little chalkiness - not only to the mouthfeel, but to the taste as well. That faint "overripe banana" is there as well. And the tiniest amount of sourness. The finish is bitter, but the malt carries through to the end as well. It's a bit hot, but not boozy. Over the course of the bottle, the chocolate builds quite a bit.

The mouthfeel is incredibly thick and a bit chalky. It coats the mouth completely. The bubbles are tiny and plentiful.

Drinkability is pretty high on this since it's so tasty and the alcohol is well hidden.

This is an incredible imperial stout and it's obvious this one will hold up to cellering. Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 for taste.

Photo of JBogan
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ain't no kid's beer. Anyone who likes this style of beer, will love this one.

After removing the black wax from the bottle (nice touch by the way, it makes it seem more mysterious and causes your anticipation level to build) I poured this dark brown to the point of almost being black brew into a chalice. A thin light brown head forms and remains, leaving a slippery looking brown film along the sides of the glass. Good looking but not outstanding.

Now the aroma comes into play. Yes there's that roasted coffee smell, along with licorice, molasses and only a hint of dark chocolate and alcohol. Very intriguing and nice.

Time to put it in my mouth for a taste. Again, the coffee is there. Now, I'm of the opinion that if I wanted to taste coffee, I'd drink ... a coffee. Never liked it in my beer, but this really wasn't too over the top. Next up was the dark chocolate. It featured more in the taste than in the smell, and it balanced out the coffee nicely. The molasses was there as it warmed, but I lost sight of the licorice that appeared in the smell. The alcohol was still there, but only lurking in the background.

The mouthfeel was excellent. Certainly on the thicker end of the scale. Smooth and silky in the mouth and going down the throat.

Well what can be said that already hasn't been mentioned? Once again, if you like this style of beer, and especially the taste of coffee in your beer, this is probably as good as it gets. For the price ($9.99 for a 22 oz bottle) it's quite a bargain. All in all this is a very well done beer from the folks at Deschutes. One of the best beers in the world? That's up to you to decide.

Photo of Greggy
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Motor oil consistency of black. Low lacing.

S- Big oaky/bourbon, buttery chocolate, molasses/caramel.

T- Starts out with a nice oakiness, some nice dark chocolates and bits of coffee. The finish is equally enjoyable.

M- Buttery, smooth, low carbonation.

D- This was a very nice and drinkable stout but it, in my opinion, didn't live up to what I though it would be. I'll definitely have it again though, given the opportunity.

Photo of marcpal
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I can finally check this one off of my to-do list. I was able to find this one on the shelves in San Francisco and I brought this big ol bottle in my suitcase back and broke into it very quickly.

Not sure it quite lived up to its hype but I surely see the quality poking through. Just not the perfection that I had heard about.
Bottle Graphics: 7/10.

A: Poured into a dogfish snifter. Pitch black body with a minor head and lacing that started out strong but unravelled like pulling down curtains. Wow, that was interesting and enticing.

S: Coffee, minor bitterness, and raw alcohol. Smoky wood, licorice- overall extremely complex nose. I like the aroma better because it had a lower delivery of licorice that become reduntant in the taste.

T: Licorice, borderline overkill on the licorice. To balance the licorice and nib flavors, the bitter spin was not enough to cover its end of the bargain. With the hazelnut coffee flavor, the sweetness seems very organic and pure. The alcohol is absent on one swallow, overbearding on the next. I like that. The smoked flavors that leave me daydreaming of fire roasted marshmallows are the shining star in the taste of this bottle.

M: Chewy as all hell, delivers in spades here. I thought I was going to have to break out a knife and fork from the complex texture. The look shows carbonation, but the coating mouthfeel doesn't let it through.

D: This is a strong beer that packs something of a wallop but compared to the other that are the top and well regarded, this one doesn't stand up as tightly. Again, it is well above average but just not world class in my opinion. The 22oz was just the right amount as it really let its character out on different sips, primarily from the warming.

Photo of antilogic
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had it on tap tonight @ beachwood BBQ and tried it in bottle ('08") last week. Liked it more on tap for sure. More of the oak and barrel potion comes out.

Dark like the night with a minimal coffee tan head. Smooth, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Incredibly tasty with a fantastic aroma that draws you in. Only downside is trying to finish more than one pint. Abyss is a big beer but I'll gladly drink it again any day.

Photo of Irie
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 bottle. A little early but I couldn't wait anymore.

Pours an evil black that seems to actually suck light in. The dark head looks like chocolate peanut butter with serious lacing. Smells like sweet licorice and dark chocolate.

And the taste... oh the taste... Incredibly smooth with the slightest carbonation. The flavor really opens up after it's on it's way down. The balance is f'ing perfect. I can't even begin to describe the flavors. It's too many and too unique for me to have any idea.

Drinkability... hmm... What do you rate something that would be the one thing you take to a desert island?

Photo of BevMoPatrick1
4.7/5  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.

Photo of Meandmymonkey
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle. Pours a pitch black with an excellent dark tan retaining head. Smells like syrupy espresso and dark chocolate with some woody undertones. Tastes of bitter chocolate, molasses, and subtly hoppy. Velvety smooth and thick. Coats your mouth with delicious flavor. Roast finish. This beer is hard to put into words as you just want to forget everything while drinking it because you may be in stout heaven. Deschutes never ceases to amaze.

Photo of opwog
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now listening to: Dead Can Dance - Mother Tongue

Thanks to Beechwood for brining this in!

A-Black or the darkest brown that the eye can not differentiate, with a drak tan (or light brown) firm, full head.
S- Chocolate all over the place! A little bit of hops if you spend enough time drawing out the aroma.
T-Powder cocoa, wood, coffee and the usual suspects.
M-slightly chalky (powedered cocoa), rich and deep, thick, thick, thick
D-It is wonderful, but one 10 ounce glass is about all that I can handle at a time (three times, so far). This is definitely a last beer of the evening. I had my second pint at a happy hour and I was done as soon as I finished. It was 7:00 and I couldn't even think about following it up with anything else or even a second.

Photo of Magpie14
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have read a lot of fuss over this beer and was very eager to try it out!

A: clouded black color, viscous-like consistency with deep red and bourbon hues when held up to the light. Lace was sporadic in the snifter and hung on for dear life amidst my few swishes. Head started of deep brown color and dissipated quickly. Looks banging in the glass

S: robust malts, dark and sweet overall with brown sugar/molasses rounding out the sweet. Subtle alcohol notes in the mix as well. I was rather surprised to find the smell somewhat subdued

T: huge robust malts with hints of roasted coffee and chocolate. Wow! this beer is large and in charge. After a few sips I could pick up a light roasted coconut sweetness, dash of vanilla bean, and burnt caramel candies...what heavy hitter! I must say a very complex brew! Illustrious!

M: smooth as silk, touch of dryness that is left from a slight grain-like, warming alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is top notch

D: I did not taste any liquorice (as it states), but in any event a great friggen beer. Man, I have been looking for this in the bottle everywhere and can not get a hold of it. I can see why! great, great stuff! This is how the beer gods reward us, with beer of this caliber! I also must admit that I was just getting over a 24-hour flu bug and my senses were not 100%. I debated about ordering this guy as I might lack the true palate of flavors, in any event I could not say no!

Photo of beckje01
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 07 aged 1 year:

A- Pitch black color with a brown head and nice lacing.

S- Some sweet chocolate nose a slight hint of some bitterness

T- A dry malt flavor with hints of chocolate and some burnt malt, while being a touch sweet at the start. A nice balance and complexity

M- Great thickness works very well.

D- Very drinkable and nice just not quite there with darkness or aged dark lord. I'm thinking a bit more time aging will help.

Photo of slayer3604
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- WOW, this mother has a three finger head that refuses to settle down. strait up cement style bubbles that dont pop, crowning a fat voluptuous light-devoid body that makes my face headbutt walls.

S- Weed!?!? dark cocoa, molassas, and a gnarly dry atmosphere.

T- MORE WEED! im not a pot head, but some smells never leave your nose. Exceptionally complex, with room to mature. i like how the alcohol content was not as aparent in this beer. might be due to the GOOSE ISLAND BCS i just had, but man, this is a great beer.

M- Creamy goodness, lots of ample body to chew away at.

D- so rare, but i love it. simply amazing.

Photo of beertunes
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a bottle of the '07 Abyss poured into a very sturdy Rogue chalice. Pours black with a beautiful brown head that dissappates quickly. The aroma is bold and very upfront. It had the bourbon aroma from the barrels. I'm not a coffee drinker and with age the coffee flavors and aromas have really come forward, which is why this beer loses a few points with me. The mouthfeel is exceptional. Well rounded and fulfilling. This is very drinkable, caution is advised. You should drink this beer when you get the chance and let some age when you get the chance.

Photo of bigbelcher
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a small tan head. Aroma was mostly alcohol driven. Light roast malt aromas mostly of a rich coffee like espresso. Flavor is very smooth. Just the right amount of malt to make it very drinkable without having to wait years for it to mellow out except for the high alcohol that leaves a warm burn on in your throat. Thinner than a lot of Imperial Stouts. Carbonation is just right. This is so easy to drink its unbelievable. A good beer but not as good as Big Skys Ivan the Terrible that is a somewhat the same type of beer.

Photo of xpimptastikx
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle was thankfully shared of this at a tasting. I've been waiting for this one, too bad this was probably the 6+ RIS that day.

Pours black as night with a thin layer of chocolate head, good lacing throughout. The smell is pretty great; chocolate , slight oak, not much roastedness which I enjoy, and hints of vanilla. The taste is pretty damn well balanced, very similar to what I smelled. This is one of the first barrel aged RISs that I've had and I like what it's done for the overall flavor. The alcohol is nearly gone considering this was an 08'. Drinkability is high for this amazing beer.

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This might just be a perfect beer!!! The kind of gustatory experience that makes life worth living!

The smell is lovely (though maybe just a tiny bit hot of alcohol). It's beautifully dark brown from the bottle, almost black and completely opaque in the glass with a thin, dark chocolate head. The smell is roasty, smokey, with a definite molasses sweetness. There is no burnt taste--that's the one aspect of this style that I like least; so I'm happy that it is absent here. There is coffee and chocolate in both the nose and the palate. The flavor is sweet, but the mouthfeel is dry. Many brewers add candy sugar to try to achieve what this beer accomplishes, but it doesn't generally seem to work to me. There is no candy sweetness here; instead the sweetness seems to come from the molasses and natural grain sugar. Though the smell is a just bit hot, the alcohol is very well hidden in the taste--something I really like in a high alcohol beer. This beer is brewed with licorice and I notice it in the middle. The oak adds just a bit of spice to the finish. The malt profile is really full and constitutes the biggest part of the taste--the roasted malt is on point and really great. As for drinkability, I'm sharing this bomber with a life-long friend--we both wish we had (at least) another bottle. The friend I'm sharing the bottle with, says he thinks the bourbon barrel aging adds to the depth of the smokiness. I'm going to get another bottle (at least) tomorrow at Hi-Times. I LOVE THIS BEER!!

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,936 ratings.