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The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

1,877 Reviews
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The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

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)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

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Reviews: 1,877 | Ratings: 6,663
Photo of Mauerhan
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

so after many months of waiting, a few tears, some convincing and a whole lotta bribes, my friend finally cracked open his bottle of the abyss that he has been aging since january.

an amazing pour. phenominal smell. the taste is an amazing ride from start to finish, although i believe that one thing that makes this beer so good is the lack of availability, it is still an amazing brew. gets even better as it reaches its optimal room temp.

i cant wait till the next release. do yourself a favor and pick up a few bottles.

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Photo of sevopie
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black... as it pours, you can see a little brown at the edges, but its very dark. Darkest head I have seen in a beer yet, dark cocoa colored. Laces sporadically, but well.

Smell - Dark chocolate cocoa, wood, light coffee.

Taste - Burnt wood is the first thing that I taste, followed again by dark chocolate cocoa. Coffee starts coming out a little more, as does the licorice at the very end.

Mouthfeel - HEAVY and chalky, perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - This one takes a minute to adjust to, but its fantastically chocolaty and rich. I don't know if this is as easily drinkable as some, but its smooth enough to sip effortlessly.

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Photo of corey0212
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Massive thanks to Monsone for including this in the Brews n' Books BIF!

Pours a sludgy midnight black into the glass, massive and dense mocha-colored head fades very slowly, leaves a healthy amount of lacing in the glass. Smell is like a charred campfire log, tons of scorched wood on the nose, spicy alcohol, molasses and extremely dark and bitter chocolate. Taste follows right along, but with some lighter/mellower milk chocolate flavors and a faint plum/dark fruit flavor. Moutfheel is incredible...thick and chewy, but silky, alcohol coats and warms the inside of the mouth, tons of lingering charred flavors, and a faint coffee aftertaste. Carbonation is completely spot-on for the style. This is an absolutely brilliant beer, and I'm so pleased I got the chance to try it.

Thanks again, Monsone!!!

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Photo of Cedromar
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, cheers to ATLBeerDog and gkatsoris, I don't know whose bottle I'm sipping on so my hat goes off to both of you.

What started of a deep black with 1 cm head quickly dissipated to a brooding black liquid with but a few black bubbles. This beer looks like a Daniel Plainview wet dream. A quick whiff triggers the flow of neurotransmitters back towards my brain telling me I'm smelling dark chocolate with hints of molasses, burnt coffee, and dark fruits. The first sip provides a lovely amount of chocolate with a syrup lightly drizzled over. It coats the mouth quite well and leaves me wanting more of it's creamy, but still chewy wonder. As it warms hints of bourbon, incredibly small hints mind you, come through. I could drink this for quite some time. It is definitely a sipper. I feel like this would be a beer served in the coldest portion of the afterlife and you would be surrounded by only the finest artists discussing each others work and mocking every beer snob that says this beer isn't rare enough for his palate.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber of the 2007 version. Drank from a pint glass. My gratitutde to jasinviso for sharing.

A: Big brown head settled into a layer of brown bubbles. Opaque black body. Nice cascading when first poured. An oily looking sheen left on the glass after each sip.

S: Plenty of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a milder coffee and oaky presence. Alcohol became more prevalent as the beer warmed.

T: Very well balanced. Loaded with roasted malt and sweet molasses and toffee flavors. Bitter chocolate and coffee notes balance out the sweetness. Just enough alcohol to let you know it's there, but never overwhelming.

M: Medium bodied. Very smoothe. A slight oiliness coats the mouth and tongue.

D: Awesome beer. One of the best. Very smoothe and easy drinking.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle. Cool wax dip and label. Right from the start, BOOM this brew is stellar. Dark rich smoke, oak, lavish and layered. But extremely balanced. I'm guessing the acidity and alc just marry up perfectly with the complexity and strength this brew posesses. Intensity but elegant. Could also age this brew for several years. A bit of sweet but almost dry. Oily cigar white smoke, deep and rich coco and coffee but still subtle. $14+ is what this retails for I guess? Worth every penny.

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Photo of mhewes
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A : Pours a motor oil black with a thin tan head that leaves just a touch of lacing behind

S : A real rich aroma of roasted malts. Hints of licorice, coffee, and oak

T : Strong coffee flavor with hints of bitter chocolate on the finish

M : Smooth, creamy, hints of alcohol

D : An excellent beer that is a sipper. One that I'd definitely want more of.

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Photo of ASymon13
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a very very dark brown with some light passing through on the fringe. It also has a wonderful chocolate-brown head to it that recedes fairly quick and leaves no lacing. The aroma is wonderful. It is dark and roasty, yet with a sweet chocolaty undertone, along with a slight hint of anise. The alcohol is very well masked.

The roast is quite powerful on the taste and definitely is the most prevalent flavor, and it seems to give the beer a slight astringency. The sweet chocolate is still there though, preventing the roast from being overpowering. The alcohol isn't quite as well masked as the aroma indicated, and there is some decent hop bitterness throughout. It is definitely both balanced and flavorful. It has a medium-full body to it, but the carbonation is a bit low. Overall, I'm not sure if it quite lives up to its reputation, but is still an excellent beer.

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Photo of bbothen
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took it upon myself to open a bottle at 2:00 pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Must have been the new Mudhoney cd I'm listening to. Damn rock n roll influences me every time..

22oz wax dipped bottle, as you all know, poured into a La Trappe snifter. Sample size is about 8 ounces served slightly colder than cellar temp.

Pours a deep deep pitch black with a nice big bubby & fluffy coffee colored head.

Malted milk, roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, raisin, & date aromas. Yum.

Dark chocolate, smokiness, roasted flavors, vanilla, considerable hop presence, slight oak, dark fruits, slight booze, & a bitter coffee finish. licorice? Lots going on here. I could find things all night. I just might.

Smooth and creamy with mild carbonation & lingering taste of the above.

As far as barrel aged 11% stouts go the drinkability is off the charts. Easy drinking & yummy. Having said that you might want to share the bottle.

Well I liked this. Look forward to buying more of the next release. Between Obsidian, Abyss, Black Butte, & Black Butte XX, Deschutes is making some top shelf stouts & porters. Recognize.

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Photo of brewjones
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber Bottle - 2007 Reserve

Dark, really dark, thick looking. The head was wonderful: creamy, large, and dark tan. Looked like chocolate milk on top. Aromas of coffee roast and sweet chocolate. The first sip was hard to get to through the large head but once I got there, it was worth it. Sweetness up front followed by a roatiness and slight bitter to balance this full bodied beer. Just enough carbonation to make is easy to palate. All the hype of this beer is true. Definitely a good one! Easy to drink but watch out, 11% abv.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Thick, dark and rich-looking

S- It smells very sweet with molasses. Coffee and chocolate also come through.

T- Coffee and chocolate prevail with sweet subtle caramel notes. Some of the sweetness may be imparted from the alcohol.

M- Thick and syrupy with a slight alcohol warmth

D- Definately a beer to sip on

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Photo of mikeale
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in to my Dogfish Head snifter.

A. Pitch black, mocha head.

S. Coffee, licoric, cocoa...

T. Roasted malt, espresso, chocolate.

M. Creamy smooth, warming alcohol, roasty finish.

D. A sipper but drinkable.

This is one of my favorite beers.

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Photo of supermanjace
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


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

Herein a perfect example: The Abyss!

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of ohmybock
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle is vintage 2007. Just to set the record straight, I'm not a huge fan of imperial stouts, and I usually prefer ones that are flavored with espresso.

With that being said, the Abyss is definitely one of the better "regular" Impy Stouts I've tasted. It pours with a slight head that lingers until the finish. It smells of roasty/chocolate malt with coffee-ish notes. The flavor has similar characteristics, but with some dried, cocoa in there as well. It's not too sweet and is fairly balanced for the strength and style. The body isn't as heavy as I thought it might be considering the strength. Also, the barrel-aged character is well-hidden. More often than not, a barrel-aged beer tastes heavily of oak/bourbon/etc. Not so in this brew. It must be due to the fact (like the bottle says) that only 33% was aged in barrels. This is definitely the way I wish other brewers would incorporate their barrel aging. I liked this brew quite a lot so I can only imagine what other impy-stout-loving BA's might think of it. Recommended!

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cool in a 5 oz taster. Reviewed blind against DL, KtG, P. Mortel, Stone IRS, B. Albert, Ky BS, Ten Fidy.

Pours a very dark reddish brown, compared to some RIS's it's far from black. Has a lovely dark tan head of persistent fine bubbles.

Very subtle nose with just a slight bit of roastiness and caramel aroma.

Great flavor, very complex with loads of low roasted malts and some caramel.

Stimulating hop bitterness, has a light mouthfeel in a good way. Slightly oily.

Drinkability is great. Very smooth and light, goes down easy.

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Photo of frazbri
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The Abyss 2007 Reserve poured black with a dense, chococate brown head two fingers tall. Lacing was excellent. Aroma started with a little smoke followed by cocoa, cola and vanilla. The initial flavor was Espresso. Bourbon, brandy and charcoal presented themselves afterward. Mouthfeel could be described as luxurious: a creamy full body with moderate carbonation levels.

The Abyss has earned its reputation. Deschutes delivers an impressive imperial stout. Special thanks to NitroGen for sending this to me. Cheers!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 22 oz. brown bottle with wax seal > Chimay goblet

Jet-black color, totally opaque, thick, syruppy pour with a one-finger deep, mocha brown crown, settles thick and creamy but with plenty of bubbles within. Dissipates slow but still looks pretty active. Very sticky lacing, hangs around.

The aroma is no doubt reminding me of chocolate brownies with fruit on the side. black berries, very deep fruity aroam rides just under the sweet, thick malt scent. Prunes, raisins, charcoal, fudge pops, rollo's, hearty grains and wet-earth rounds it out.

This is a highly sweet and chocolaty malt flavor that whacks the palate hard on the ass! chocolate-covered cherries, mocha-vanilla coffee, honey and caramel currents run together. Heavy, thick, bold feel with a balance achieved by herbal, dried herbs and a bitter, peppery hop. Dark fruit flavor's pop out later with black berries and cherries melding togather with the fudgy chocolate malt. A smokey wood and grains edge and heat that is agressive but not sharp pushes the attention away from sweet flavor's for a bit and adds complexity and depth. High grade complexity.

This is almost as full and heavy as it gets, only Bell's Expedition Stout is thicker in my estimation. almost chalky.

A big beast of a brew for sure.

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Photo of AltBock
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber bottle with black wax covering up the cap. This was their 2007 edition.

I decided to pour this bad boy into a Great lakes Christmas Ale Snifter. What came out of the bottle was thick black oily beer. It's another one of those dark oily beers that can be easily mistaken for crude oil. On top of this beer was a good 1/2 an inch in height mocha/dark tan colored head of foam. This head of foam had nice retention that left behind foamy mocha rings and a few mocah spots of lace here and there.

I was surprised to find out that the aroma was heavy on the roasted espresso beans. I would have guessed roasted malts or bourbon, but it instead went the roasted esprsso bean route. There wasn't all that much after the espresso beans. All my nose could find was dark roasted malts, a hint of dark chocolate, and some dark fruits hiding in the background. I guess it was hard for all the other aromas to break through the thick espresso bean wall.

While the aroma consisted heavly on the roasted esprsso beans, the taste went another way. This time the taste went the many different roasted flavor route. The esprsso beans were still there, but only in a small amount. The taste was heavly dark and roasted with dark roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, roasted espresso beans, a hint of black licorise, and ends with a touch of alcohol. I would have thought that since this was barrel aged, there would be some oak or bourbon in the taste, but I guess all the dark roasted flavors covered them up. Not only did the dark roasted flavors cover up the bourbon and oak, but it also controlled the amount of alcohol that decided to show up. Noting short of being a great dark roasted flavored beer!

It you couldn't tell already, this is clearly a full bodied beer. This full bodied beer featured a full flavored dark roasted aftertaste (no duh!) of dark roasted malts, roasted espresso beans, bitter dark chocolate, and a small touch of alcohol. Not too much alcohol where it would make this beer boozy, but just the right amount of alcohol. I should probablt thank the dark roasted flavors for that! No oak or bourbon in here either. That means that all the dark roasted flavors kicked out the oak and bourbon completely out of this beer.

Big thanks to Donnie2112 to sharing this bottle. There's no way I could have possibly polished off an entire bottle all by myself without taking a nap in the middle of drinking this thick dark brew. It's a great barrel aged dark roasted beer without any of the oak or bourbon flavors. It would have been nice to find a little bit of those 2 flavors, but this taste really didn't need them all that much because there were plenty of dark roasted flavors to take their place. Thanks again Donnie2112 for sharing this kick ass beer!

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks as good as an RIS can, black with plenty of brown head and lace.

lusciously rich and rummy, just a bit of chocolate on the nose, some coffee too

starts off sweet, rolls into a toasty flavor. the overall flavor is somewhere between chocolate and coffee. But I taste more coffee then chocolate. Style wise call this a mocha stout

mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and heavy in body, finishes much cleaner then I normally expect from a RIS. Nice!

as far as this style goes it's definately drinkable I could keep drinking this stuff. I had it on tap at Uber Tavern in Seattle and found this to have a much more chocolate then coffee profile. That said I'm not gonna give it a perfect in drinkability because I don't think I could drink more then two of these.

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Photo of hero27
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Wasatch hooked me up with a bottle of this highly sought brew, thanks again!

Pours an ominous, charcoal black..a thick, tan head rests on top and slowly recedes to leave streams of lacing in it's wake.
Aroma of slow-roasted coffee & dark Bavarian chocolate malt.
Flavor consists of a delicious combination of sweet molasses, burnt caramel, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, licorice, and a touch of dark fruits.
Creamy texture rests upon a full body and allows this drink to dish out all the flavors to each individual tastebud.. succulent.
A standout Imperial stout for sure, and certainly one worth tracking down.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a chocolate brown head. In the aroma, oaky, roasty malt, and somewhat oatmeal sweetness. In the taste, same as the aroma, oaky, roasty malt and oatmeal sweetness. A mainly smooth big body mouthfeel, and a small dryness and oaky aftertaste. A big beer, hides the alcohol quite well, nice oak presence, a fantastic impreial stout.

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Photo of lapbplayr
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap the only place outside of Oregon, or at least that was what I was told. See a review of the Fricking Frog in Las Vegas for more info. This beer was amazing! It reminded me of the first time I drank a stout and felt amazed. The appearance is a blck dark beer with a dark brown sugar colored head. The smell was deceiving, but extremely malty. I say deceiving because it was served to me a bit too cold, so the aromas have not woke up. The taste is strong, strong and more strong. It is truely an experience in that it is strange how great it feels in your mouth. There is heat from the high alcohol, but balance of the malt, and very little bittering from hops, but none is needed. It is like a warm blanket that has been soaked in sugar and coffee is wrapped around your tongue. Is is necessary to say this is heavy? The drinkability is great because all you need is one.

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Photo of arizcards
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 2007 bomber at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA in early March for $8.89.

Beer poured black as night with a very nice brown head. Nose is sweet mocha, coffee, and those wonderful northwest hops. Taste is perfection, a fusion of mocha, coffee, chocolate, hints of black licorice and molasses. It is well balanced as everything blends nicely into a coffee hop finish. Mouthfeel is perfection as well, a full bodied beer that is the ultimate in creamy smoothness. Drinkability is perfection as well. The alcohol makes a small appearance in the belly upon the first sip but other than that it is not noticeable. I always wondered if a bigger badder version of Obsidian Stout would be a perfect beer given how good that is. I am here to tell you it is pretty darn close! Must try for the Imperial Stout fan!

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed and reviewed as part of cburian's RIS showdown. Thanks for the chance to try some great brews!

Oily, jet black body. Dark tan head.

Light coffee nose with dark fruits.

Intense dark fruitiness. Noticeable alcohol, with rich coffee maltiness. Bitter chocolate.

Coating oily mouthfeel.

A wonderful brew. Each sip is complex and interesting.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- deep brown when poured and light can sneak through, black in glass, 2 fingers worth of deep tan foam with great retention

S-coffee, burnt and roasted malts, molasses, bitter dark chocolate

T- highly roasted malts, hints of burnt malts, licorice and molasses, dark chocolate, rich chocolate, brownie like flavors from time to time, buttery flavor surrounds all flavors

M- full and sticky at times, smooth and coats palatte, some heat toward finish

D- complexity of flavor would live up to hype alone, but this brew also happens to a looker and smells great. All around a phenomenal brew. Get it if u can

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,877 ratings.