The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

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1,751 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,751
Hads: 5,987
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 4.44%
Wants: 2,727
Gots: 3,147 | FT: 275
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)
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,751 | Hads: 5,987
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - black as night with a great tan head and great lacing
Smell - sweet toasty smell
Taste - very similar to the smell but has a great balanace and some vanilla.
Feel - incredibly smooth with a full body
Overall - fantastic stout (232 characters)

Photo of donnierickles
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just had a 2012 bottle the other day. Soooo good. Not too sweet. I could really taste the wine barrel aging, even through the bourbon barrel aging. There is a wonderful tobacco taste to it. (189 characters)

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I took this review January 2015 with the 2014 vintage.

22 oz brown bottle with a simple yet point taken label and artwork. Label color is fantastic with black wax coating the neck and cap. The artwork is Deschutes' abyss spreading the entire label. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

A - just like looking into the abyss. Rich black with the slightest hint of dark brown to black ruby corners. Chocolate colored head poured with size and settled into a ring of rich sticky lace.

S - a whiff of black coffee and rich tobacco up front. More like a whiff of a Cuban cigar type and sweet pipe tobacco. Vanilla sweetness from the bourbon barrel and an Oaked character in general. Cherry bark and pinot noir barrels give it a slight but welcomed fruitiness. Whiffs of chocolate, licorice, black strap molasses, and roasted malt make for one exceptional aroma.

T - wow.. talk about complex. Bourbon sweetness with vanilla bean and caramel. Black licorice, sticky sweet molasses, and an oakiness. Even the cherry bark and pinot noir barrel notes blend perfectly together and give a slight tart fruitiness to its big tobacco oaked backbone. Hints of black coffee and bittersweet chocolate add even more depth as this flavor warms bringing out more sweet bourbon vanilla notes.

M - full bodied and big. Complex from nose to mouth. Thick sticky texture coats every inch like drinking a meal. It's flavor and booziness blend together well as this warms. Thickness is spot on for the big flavor monster it is. Superb.

O - the 2014 Abyss has been the best one I've had. It is exceptional right out of the bottle and for me needs no aging at all. So many flavors and an aroma to die for. I'd love to find another bottle of this. Deschutes Abyss is a legend and the 2014 is the best they've ever created. An instant classic from a bottling that was already top shelf. (1,859 characters)

Photo of dleigh
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My longest beer love affair. I've been buying a couple bottles a year since 2011, and it's consistently been fantastic, both fresh and aged. The type of beer you can just sit there and smell for hours. (201 characters)

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl and the Pig & fiddle and from a 22 oz. bottle in a 14.75 porter/stout glass.
A: Brilliant pitch black, very thin head, tan foam cap, lacy.
S: Faint roast, cocoa, vanilla, molasses, some sherry, some faint bourbon, very complex and layered nose.
T: Starts with a big dose of roast, espresso, cocoa, and an initial malty sweetness that dries out buy the finish. Sherry and bourbon notes are bigger in aged versions.
M: Chewy, medium low carbonation and rich and dry.
O: When it is available, buy it. A big ballsy beer well suited for winter evenings before the fire. (608 characters)

Photo of LampertLand
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deschutes Brewing 'The Abyss' @ 11.1% , 2012 vintage best after 11/01/13 , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $17 , that's been in the cellar for over 2 years
A-pour is a super dark cola brown from the bottle to a black in the glass with a big tan head leaving a streaky lace film along the snifter
S-oak bourbon barrel & oak wine barrel
T-very big tasting imperial stout , not so smooth on the original tasting , so much better with some time added
MF-ok carbonation , huge big body
Ov-this beer is so much better with some age on it , (spend , cellar , enjoy)
prost LampertLand (587 characters)

Photo of Vladimir_Lootin
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I made an account for this beer. I'm not going to review this traditionally, but I do have a story about this beer. Had a shitty day, and stopped by a gas station of all places and found this, sitting there among bottles of malt liquor and trash. I have no idea why, but the price was $4. It looked good and I didn't know what it was so I thought it was some kind of gimmick. Malt liquor that is packaged like the good stuff. It was literally in the middle of the malt liquor rack. I bought one and spent the next 3 weekends buying 2 for each day, savoring the living shit out of this amazing beer. How is this $4? How? This weekend, the gas station was out, so I headed to a couple places and actually looked this up. Oh, limited time batch... find it at another place EIGHTEEN DOLLARS. I saved about $84 because of that gas station. No idea what the owner was thinking, but I sure as hell appreciate it. (905 characters)

Photo of Ian_B
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful hot chocolate-colored head with a body black as the abyss. Aroma is oaky and slightly acidic, with lots of smooth chocolate and some discreet notes of bourbon and wine. Taste begins like a wine-blended stout, moving through lots of oak and some quite noticeable wine before turning into very roasty chocolate finishing off a very long and lingering palate. (368 characters)

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

On tap, poured into a snifter.
Appearance - motor oil is darker, I suppose.
Smell - a blend of chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit and fudge.
Taste - the nose is more powerful, but the taste follows brilliantly!
Feel- bold and robust; smooth and easy to sip!
Overall - lives up to the hype; about as good of an imperial stout as you'll find! (336 characters)

Photo of dertyd
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black wIth the smell of dark chocolate covered blueberries or cherries, the taste is very dark chocolate covered fruit with a nice lingering bitterness you can taste the wine and the oak in the end very very very great beer (233 characters)

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Phennomenal brew. Pours deep black with slightly tan head. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and vanila. Drinks very smooth and very complex due to combination of aging methods. (172 characters)

Photo of schmidtmattsays
3.49/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2014 vintage on tap at Hopleaf. Now I understand the reason for a "best after" date on the Abyss bottles- this is clearly way too fresh and hot. Liquid black liquorice - taxing to finish. (187 characters)

Photo of JonnyBoyy
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage

Smell: Vanilla, Oaky, Chocolate smell.
Taste: Strong bourbon taste up front.
Feel: Somewhat flat, a bit light for a BA beer
Overall: Being a big fan of BA beers I felt this beer was one of my top 5 BA beers. Only negative is the light mouth feel. I like a more thicker feel for BA beers. (303 characters)

Photo of bismarksays
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A couple notes on this rating that seems way out of whack. Style expectations is a big part. No discernible chocolate or coffee notes, lack of both malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Barrell aged? Other than mouthfeel to some extent, you would never know. No oak, no vanilla present at all. Burnt cherry wood is bursting and dominates the profile, leaving little to no room for anything other than molasses which creates a strange but not all unpleasant BBQ sauce. At the price of this beer, I wanted more than what maybe an amazing marinade for lamb or beef. (559 characters)

Photo of Bigdoc91
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a nice chocolaty colored head. Aroma comes off sour, most be the 11% of it aged in wine barrels.

Taste: Sour hits you first. Fruity/cherry components come through in the middle with a nice oak smoky (BBQ) flavor as it goes down your throat.

Outstanding beer. Wish I had another one. (293 characters)

Photo of bmeGT
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a chocolatey head that stuck around for the drink. The smell was fruity, boozy, very strong cherry scent. When you taste, you initially taste the cherry, then the bourbon. Just the right consistency for a imperial stout. One of the most complex brews I've had. (267 characters)

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at approximately 45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours pitch black like its namesake, and forms a fairly thick head of brown froth. Lacing is quite present.

Smell: The aroma primarily reminds me of red wine and dark chocolate, mingled together. There is a tart red grape and cherry presence, and I'd say around 80% - 85% cocoa dark chocolate.

Taste: At the opening, this beer follows the nose, a blast of pure slightly sour red wine with cherries and baker's chocolate. As it moves along, the flavors flow into a dark yeasty bread mingled with scorched toffee, with notes of vanilla along the edges. By the finish, the flavor profile is entirely black bread, earth, and oak. As the beer warms, the flavor transitions smooth out. The barrel notes, while present, do not overtake the entire beer, and the ABV lends just a pleasant touch of warmth.

Mouthfeel: Full and fairly creamy, though a bit thinner than one would expect for a stout this black.

Overall: Quite a good stout, showcasing both complexity and intensity of flavor. I'm glad I happened upon a bottle of it sitting on the shelf at a local shop as I breezed in for some birthday shopping. (1,185 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter.

2014 version. Pours black, getting a lot of molasses and roasts in the aroma, not much barrel at all. Same thing in the flavor. It's a good beer but for the price it really needs to have the bourbon barrel more assertive. I don't know maybe a year of age changes this thing totally. Still a great imperial stout but I do feel I have to knock it down a bit for being at least a portion barrel aged but not giving me any in the flavor or aroma. (472 characters)

Photo of SierraFlight
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle shared during #bottlecherwednesday at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. Poured into a tulip. This beer is black, black, black - opaque and unyielding. A two-finger brown head forms before collapsing to a film and leaves patches of lace in the process. More lace rings are deposited on the glass during the session. The aroma is as advertised, but deliciously so - roasted malt, unsweetened chocolate, molasses, oak, anise, coffee, and barrel notes of vanilla and bourbon. Taste opens up with roasted malt sweetness, molasses, coffee, anise, and vanilla. Some bitterness creeps through on the finish featuring oak, coffee grounds, a little citrus hop bite, keeping the surge of sweetness from washing out everything else. Only trace alcohol flavors come through, surprisingly. Quite full bodied, thick, creamy, silky slick texture, soft carbonation, drying and warming on the finish. Delicious. (900 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
3.87/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Pours jet black with a big tan frothy head that retains nicely. Smell has a slightly woody aroma with loads of charred malt, licorice, and hints of Star anise, cocoa and coffee. Taste follows the nose with loads of charred malt forward with a somewhat harsh bitterness intensified by a dry oaky almost tannic mid section. More oak, hints of vanilla, coaco, coffee and a dominating inteste bitterness in the finish. Medium to heavy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a dry bitter finish. Nice complexity but it could definitely use some time to balance out. (567 characters)

Photo of mikedogg195
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is very difficult. I had a vintage fight 2010-2014. The 2011 and 2012 was best. If you are to rate this, i suggest letting it age at LEAST two years. (157 characters)

Photo of ryanmextorf
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aging my second bottle of this one. Hopefully it'll meld these flavors a little better and the wine barrel won't be so over powering. Still a very enjoyable brew but I can't wait to see what a year does to this beer! (216 characters)

Photo of abuswell84
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely the best beer I've ever had. Incredibly smooth for the ABV and not overpowering on the bourbon taste. Can definitely taste the molasses and is just oh god amazing. (176 characters)

Photo of BB1313
3.73/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage. Pours black with basically no light getting through; fluffy khaki head that leaves great retention and decent lacing. The aromas are chocolate forward with hints of oak. Tons of cherry and dark fruits. The wine barrels are present. The bourbon barrels, not so much. The flavors seem pretty complex and have alot going on. Lots of milk chocolate with subtle hints of vanilla. More cherry. There's a very subtle tartness going on. Very earthy. Tons of wood/oak characteristics. Tons of molasses. It's on the sweeter side, but it's not cloying. There's hints of dark chocolate and black coffee that gives this one a subtle bitterness that cuts down on some of the sweetness. It finishes with lots of BBQ smoke, probably coming from the cherry bark. Mouthfeel is nice. It's full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth and fluffy. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed. It's not hot or boozy. Dangerously drinkable.

This is a nice stout. I like it, but I'm not blown away by it. I am blown away by how smooth this is at 11% though. It's a complex brew. I feel the oak wine barrels dominate. The bourbon is subtle. (1,125 characters)

Photo of TheDudeAbides14
4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this soon after purchase. Should have aged it at least a year, but was eager to try it as it was my first time getting ahold of it. Fantastic beer, but could have used the aging. Very toasty and malty. Light undertones of sweetness, molasses and tartness. Slightly bitter. Nice alcohol undertones. VERY satisfying. (320 characters)

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 1,751 ratings.