The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

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5,934 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,934
Reviews: 1,811
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,702
Gots: 3,100 | FT: 266
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 (154) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,934 | Reviews: 1,811
Photo of dabone
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 2013 bottle. Thick and dark black looking with a creamy tan head. Complex aroma of coffee and bourbon. Taste is a combination of chocolate and coffee with bourbon notes. Excellent texture, very thick but soft on the pallet. Excellent choice.

Photo of zaraspook
2.7/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Not bad. I would buy it again.

Photo of Beeeeeerman
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost unreal how good this really was. I was almost afraid to try it and just wow.

Photo of Austin32
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this really lived up to the hype for me. I was able to taste almost every individual flavor listed on the bottle with the exception of the licorice, which you could smell very easily. Probably the most complex imperial stout I have ever enjoyed.

Photo of MichialTanner1
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In 2010, I had bought a bottle of The Abyss that was apparently part of the 2009 batch that was determined to be infected. This is the first time since then that I have seen it on the shelf here in Central Texas, bought two 22 oz bombers for $16 each. Label says "best after 11/10/15". I'm going to drink one now and let the other stew until November, at which point I will revisit this review.

Served in a snifter, this one is black as coffee with a finger of head about the color of the label, a fitting foreshadowing of the name and the taste. A fine net of lacing stays at the top of the glass. The smell is coffee, tobacco, vanilla. Taste is consistent, but the molasses is fairly prominent along with that almost smoked woody flavor that you taste in a good BBQ brisket. As the name suggests, the flavors run deep and complex with something new to find with every sip. I am not detecting the red wine so much, but that may be flushed out with the suggested aging.

If this one gets better after 11/10/15, I need to return to the store where I found it and stock up. $16 now sounds cheap. Again, will update this in November (with much anxiety in the meanwhile) to see if one of the best I've ever had actually improves.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage, label says best after 11/11/15. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch frothy tan head that stayed around for a while. There's also a bunch of lacing. Aroma is great, the brew smells like molasses, red wine, oak, coffee, chocolate, burnt/charred malt, and a bit of vanilla. The taste is pretty good too, there's burnt/charred malt, coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice, red wine, oak, bourbon, and vanilla flavors. Lots of bittersweet goodness! Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and creamy with moderate carbonation. I've been waiting a while to try this, and I wasn't disappointed! I liked this brew a lot, it's going to be hard for me not to drink my other bottle before the "best after" date. I'll definitely buy this again the next time it's released. $14.99 a bomber.

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

Not much to say other than this is the best beer I have ever tasted and is damn near perfection.

Photo of BrownAleMale
2.84/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I thought the taste was terrible. Everyone says it needs lots of age. Had this on tap so maybe to fresh?

Photo of Gasc0igne
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Reserve. Consumed @5 months old.

A: cola pour, terrifying maw of darkness no colour on edges held to light, copper-brown large head, small bubbles, excellent lacing, settles to a light cap atop the beer, medium-long retention
S: heavy espresso front, sweet vanilla, heavily charred fruity wood, bit of bourbonesque liqour, charcoal, toasted marshmellows, roasty roasty malt!
T: burnt coffee, very bitter dark chocolate, bourbon sweetness for a brief moment before moving into a strong milk chocolate carries through to light tart fruit before finish, dry charred oak finish, a slight salty licorice throughout too,
M: medium-full bodied, satisfyingly coating, low-medium carbonation, feels thin to me, slightly ashy finish
O: consumed young, bitter as expected but nowhere near as much alcohol as expected, will revisit on enjoy after date

Photo of wakeuptothesun
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. I bought two bottles and really didn't think it was that great.

Photo of chrisjws
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage, drank in December 2014. Served in a snifter at approximately 50F.

A: Pitch black. Small amount of light at the edges. Half a finger of brown head. No alcohol legs seen.
S: Coffee, chocolate, toasted coconuts, vanilla, pipe tobacco, spicy rye, faint bourbon. Some red wine shines through after taking a couple whiffs. Awesome smelling beer.
T: Bold chocolate and coffee upfront. Bourbon in the aftertaste. A lot of the stuff in the nose comes through as well, a lot more subtle. Combines very nicely for a very enjoyable taste.
M: Coats the mouth. Big mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. Very rich beer. Goes down extremely smooth.
O: This was fresh, I can only imagine it'd get much better with age. Excellent example of a barrel aged stout.

Photo of MissSmisje
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: opaque black, zero light coming through a tulip glass, mocha head with great lacing. S: coffee, cocoa and some oak all very balanced and melded. T: roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, oak, all balanced, pleasant bitterness in the finish. F: excellent mouthfeel, thick but not oily.

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

2013 Abyss, with a best-after date of August 2014, enjoyed from a snifter today, 4.7.15

A: Rich, slightly viscous black with a billowing, frothy mocha head. Looks fantastic

S: Definitely a wine-forward nose: lots of red wine, oak, and wood shavings. Also some cocoa powder and a thick bitterness.

T: Dominated by bitter dark chocolate, red wine, charred oak, and a touch of bitter coffee. No bourbon character, which is not a surprise given the blend described on the label. Reminds me of Wineification, but with a bigger body, more bitterness, and more wood. Definitely on the woodier and heavily charred side.

M: Thick and creamy, with an extremely dry and quite bitter finish. Really enjoyed the contrast between the smooth mouthfeel and the very charry/bitter flavor profile.

O: This is an exceptionally well-done beer that I really appreciated, but still one that I didn't enjoy that much. I loved the way the pinot shines on the nose and is present in the flavor profile, but this beer is a bit woody and too charred for my preferences re. stouts. Nevertheless, I'd recommend that people pay attention to the best-after date: I had a bottle of this right after the 2013 came out, and it was just way too bitter too even drink. But the beer's improved a lot since then, and I can see this getting even better in another year.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Photo of Agriverbear
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow that is an awesome stout. On tap at Stanley's farmhouse pizza in Austin TX only get a 1/2 pint at a time.

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.

Photo of KariD
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Couldn't wait till the suggested try by date. Glad to have a few more bottles to enjoy the evolution of this epic ale.

Photo of trekbiker3000
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark, strong fully flavored stout.

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tried a three year vertical (12,13,14). Definitely was better with age, 14 was way too boozy. Complex favors, looking forward to trying it again.

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,934 ratings.