Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

1,885 Reviews
For Trade:
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

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,885 | Ratings: 6,703
Photo of LloydDobler
3.71/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 Reserve best after 8/16/14

I hear that this is better with time, and the bottle even promotes a drink after date. Very dark and attractive pour. The brown head stands tall for minutes. The nose is leading to a lot of bitter malt. Taste is pretty harsh, even with some time in the bottle. The molasses and anise are not the greatest compliment to this stout. Astringent, dirty penny and tobacco taste. Bitter chocolate comes across fairly nice. Velvety smooth.

 465 characters

Photo of do_ob
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

'15 Reserve bottle into a snifter. Pours a very dark brown, nearly black and settles completely opaque in the glass. Blacker than Al Sharpton's shoe polish. Topped off with about a finger and a half of bubbly, mocha-colored foam. Wonerful nose, wow. Roasted malt, sweet caramel, dark chocolate, molasses, warm whiskey, burnt leather, oak, dried figs, and dark fruit. Really complex and full - one of the best smelling beers I've encountered. Reminds me of BBB if it were more choclatey and smokey.
The taste is right on par with the aroma. Loads of charred, roasted malt, smokey, oaky whiskey, bitter dark chocolate, figs, juicy dark fruit, caramel, sticky molasses..the list goes on. This beer tastes like anything and everything you'd want in an imperial stout. Some folks are saying this is boozy, some say it's too sharp - nah. Mine says "best by 12/08/16", and right now it's tasting just right. There's a definite alcohol presence in the taste, but it isn't profound nor is it overpowering. I've tasted much worse in the likes of lesser ABV beers. This is hitting the sweet spot right now for sure.
In terms of the mouthfeel, yeah..it's a bit thin. But honestly, as tasty as this beast is, it really doesn't matter much. And that's not something I've ever said before. I'm usually a stickler on the mouthfeel, especially when it comes to big stouts. But this one, somehow..I just can't knock it too much. I'm honestly glad it's not overly syrupy and chewy. If that were the case, it'd be on the level of BORIS or something similar (which was a great beer, but just a lot to take in if you know what I mean).

Frankly, I'm glad I didn't wait to drink this. I was planning to save this for my birthday in February 2017, but an extraordinarily shitty week made me crack this on a Friday night. And so it was meant to be. I don't know how the score will round out, but this may be the most satisfying imperial stout I've laid lips to yet.

 1,941 characters

Photo of Tommo
3.66/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014, drank in 2016. I mean, i get that people love this, but it sucks for the price. Acrid is teh first thing i think of. Dark, BLACK malt, with mild bourbon flavor. Overall pretty thin, and just harsh, the barrel does little to alleviate this situation. Bitter, unforgiving, not smooth at all

 294 characters

Photo of Zoomslowik
4.09/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Very dark brown/black pour. Thin, dark tan head. Spotty lacing.

S- Raisin with a little vanilla, hint of bourbon.

T- Bourbon and roasted malt. Booze and oak on the finish. Now and then I get a little dark chocolate.

F- Smooth, but not as heavy as I would have guessed.

O- Solid stout, but not one of my favorites. That said, it's also easier to find than many of them, so it's a nice option.

 402 characters

Photo of Dusten2015
4.61/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great beer that i'm glad to have experienced.

L: dark brown, almost black.

S: So many flavors hit my nostrils, vanilla, bourbon, red wine, raisins, booze.

T: Fantastic, i think it was great, tasted almost as exactly as it smelled. the wine barrels made it take a turn i was kind of surprised about, it wasnt as pleasant as i thought it could have been, but it made it unique and i still enjoyed it.

F: a bit lacking in this department i thought, was smooth but felt a tiny bit thin as compared to most of this style

O: Very good beer that i'm glad to experience, though i'm not sure i'd chase this down again, i'd gladly drink it.

 636 characters

Photo of EMV
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. 2015 edition.

L: Pours an inky black... entirely opaque with 2 fingers of brownish head. Sticky lacing all over my glass.

S: Roast and char... dark fruits, oak and vanilla.... booze.

T/F: Sweet charred malts and dark fruits.. fig and plum in the foreground. A little tartness from the wine barrels... booze and vanilla from the bourbon barrels... notes of chocolate. Complexity abounds. This is the '15 so it's still pretty 'hot'. Very warming and awesome at cellar temperature.

O: A fantastic Imperial Stout from Deschutes, and they've really pushed the envelope as to what can be accomplished with the blending of different barrel aged beers and what comes together is greater than the sum of their parts. Delicious and glad I snagged 2 more to cellar. Can't wait to see how they age.

 848 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

The Abyss is a solid sipping beer. Definitely not sessionable. It poured an opaque black with tan head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent is a cacaphony of roast, chocolate, bourbon and dark fruit. The taste follows the scent quite nicely but the dark fruit is more of a cab flare. The Mouthfeel is fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's a must try.

 370 characters

Photo of XBeerBellyT
3.57/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Disappointing beer. It was much more thin than I would expect from a barrel aged beer. Very strong tobacco oaky like bitter taste came through that overpowered the taste, maybe from licorice taste as well. Very tart as well because the wine barrels, wasn't a fan of it. Had a tough time finishing this one and was expecting a lot from this beer as well

 352 characters

Photo of stratusjeans
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage, stored away from light in ~55 degree beer fridge since purchase Nov. '14.
L: 4.75 S: 4.25 T: 4 M: 4.25 O: 4

Look: This was great. Very dark with burnt caramel head. Can't complain here.

Smell: A lot going on here and a decent balance. Smells bright on top of the dark malts.

Taste: This is the biggest disappointment. For only being 20% barrel aged (11% bourbon, 6% oak, 11% pinot noir) oak came through very strong, almost as much as Oak Aged Yeti (from memory, didn't try side by side). Molasses is noticeable and perhaps the licorice adds to the oak affect (licorice admittedly not something I like) I took my time sipping this beer and the subtle notes were more noticeable as it warmed. Found some cherry and a tartness from the pinot. More balance would make this so much better.

Mouthfeel: Second disappointment. SImply lighter than I expected. Again, it's only 20% barrel aged, but lighter still than Ten Fidy or Founders Imperial Stout. Maybe the name Abyss causes me to expect more.

Overall: 2014 was my first Abyss and I'm not overwhelmed. All that said, I'm excited for the 2015 vintage (50% BA, 21% bourbon, 8% oak, 21% wine) and the 2015 Abyss Rye. What I tasted today will be fantastic with Rye and I will update my reviews accordingly.

Disappointed is the best way to describe it.

 1,334 characters

Photo of Scott17taylor
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starts out with chocolate and roast, mid palate the barrel character from both the whiskey and wine come into play and actually blend nicely. Finishes back with roastiness, but as it warms the barrel character becomes more pronounced and weakens the finish. Definitely a great beer but it could use more barrel character, will be seeking out both the rye whiskey and cognac versions of this, and would love to see a double barrel version. I loved this beer and think it'll be even better with age.

 497 characters

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

The abyss '14, consumed on 12.03.16

Pours a pitch black color with a surprisingly big, spongy head.

Does smell of an earth entangled grape ripeness, which does not turn sour by any means as for a balancing, subtle integrated oak quality. A fantastic, multilayered chocolate aroma slowly evolves from scorched malts, leading to a restrained, yet enjoyable Bourbon spiciness, adding to the chocolate richness of the nose. A flowery wood bark note completes the utmost originally and well composed aromas, which get pleasantly dominated by the wine barrel and matured hops.

Drinks with a world class mouthfeel to it, due to a huge amount of whipped cream, effectivly blending into soothing chocolate. While its carbonation is certainly on the lower end, it is still able to add a subtle, bubbly refreshment during the finish.

Tastes of chocolate dipped cherries, evolving to an even fruitier stage in which juicy, matured grapes become visible, which get wrapped up by a pungent blend of burned malts and bitter chocolate. A divine creaminess caresses the tongue while oak, licorice and burned wood bark get recognizable, tied together by a subtle wine tartness, which also produces a nice sweeter quality, enhanced by caramel and rock sugar. Cocoa nibs and matured, grassy hops provide a surprisingly aggressive hop punch during the finish, immediately soothed by the rich creaminess, while molasses, oak and milk chocolate are able to cut through.

Wow, this is certainly one of the most complex beers I've ever had, which may be due to its rich chocolate maltiness, which only gets carefully accentuated by the different barrels instead of getting dominated by them. This allows to unfold a decadent, rich creaminess, shining for its very silk mouthfeel, which finds it antagonist in dry, scorched earthen malts.

 1,817 characters

Photo of lanciloti
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap, thick and chewy. Ton of chocolate & molasses, one of the sweetest I've had. Bigger than I expected, needs a barrel though. Burnt marshmallow also shows up as it warms.

 175 characters

Photo of Mongrel
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nose grows in depth and intensity as the beer warms - there's smoke, cherry, chocolate and even some acetic acidity.

Palate is much the same and there's way more to the flavor profile than what initially comes across. Peat, cherry, burnt sugar, faintly tart red wine notes and plenty of chocolate. A lingering bitterness reminiscent of espresso and black licorice.

 365 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a beautiful black with a two finger tan head. The head recedes quickly leaving some nice soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, black cherries, and roasted malts.

T - The flavor starts with chocolate, black cherries, and vanilla. The bourbon is very subtle and adds a light sweetness. The finish has heavy roasted malts and oak.

M - Heavy bodied with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Dry finish.

O - Wow, there is so much going on in this beer. The flavors work so well together. Highly recommended.

 542 characters

Photo of Jslay013
3.82/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

'15 on tap. Very boozy, black licorice, dark cocoa. Definitely better with some age on it, but I think 2+ years is needed to really mellow the burn. Not even close to elite tier for me, but better than average.

 213 characters

Photo of matt_duthie
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Reserve.
A: Black as can be. Sustained cap of khaki foam, sticky lacing.
S: The molasses/cherry/vanilla combined to form a surprisingly sweet and candy-like aroma initially, which then gave way to the roasty wine/bourbon-influenced stout. Smells properly good.
T: Not as intense as the bottle claims, but not far off. Finish is heavy on oak and wine barrel, pretty dry but with a delightful lingering taste. More sweetness and the slightest hint of bourbon up front, followed by the cherry/vanilla/fruit in the middle, before the oak really takes over again. Pretty darned good.
F: Prickly but just enough carbonation. Can be sort of abrasive if you don't swallow soon enough. Bordering on thick, slightly creamy, the right viscosity for a stout like this.
O: Solid. Brought home from a work trip to Iowa, saw it all over the place there and only took the one bottle home. Turns out it didn't last on shelves in MI, maybe next year I'll get a couple and let one rest for a while. Definitely approve.

 1,018 characters

Photo of Parmesan
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Motor oil black with a frothy tan head that sticks around for a while and some sticky lacing on the glass.

S: Lots of booze here, it overpowers most of the other elements, hints of cherry and roast.

T: A nice toasty malt, with cherry and chocolate on top. The booze is there but not as noticeable as it was in the nose. Hints of wood and peat. Very complex and great taste.

F: Low carbonation, creamy smooth with a very full body.

O: A little boozy but overall a fantastic beer.

 486 characters

Photo of Biggtriksta
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2011 version of this a couple of days ago. This is a BIG beer! Boozy, chocolaty, frothy yet silky smooth. This will certainly warm you up on a cold winter's day.

 169 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a super dark, nearly pitch black color with a two finger head of brown colored thick foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, slowly fading over time to rings of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is huge of a roasted malt smell mixed with a big showing of coffee and caramel with other notes of vanilla and chocolate being rather strong as well. Along with the these super robust aromas, comes smells of char and smoke as well as a good showing of dark fruits of raisin and prune. A bit of a boozy bourbon aroma is there as well, overall producing a smell that is very dark and roasty with a big showing of a warmingly sweet smell.

Taste – The taste begins as the nose would suggest with a massive dark roasted malt flavor and a good showing of coffee. There is a huge rich milk chocolate sweetness upfront which is accompanied by other sweet flavors of molasses and brown sugar. As the taste advances the roasted malt waivers ever so slightly, but with the coffee, is still the overall dominant taste of the brew. With the lightening of the roastiness (which is sorta odd to write as it is still super robust in dark flavors) comes a little bit of a raisin taste as well as a decent showing of vanilla; both of which join the other sweet and chocolate flavors quite nicely. As one may expect for a 12.2 % brew, there is a bit of a bourbon boozy taste that develops later in the tongue, which creates a nice warming feel. Flavors of char and a woody hop develop at the very end, combining with the alcohol, roasty, and sweet nicely to create rich, dark, and warming taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The beer is thick and creamy with a very low level of carbonation level. The feel is nearly perfect for the big mix of dark, sweet and boozy flavors of the brew, coating the tongue and bathing it in all the grandiose tastes of the brew.

Overall – This is a very nicely crafted imperial stout. While slightly on the sweeter side all the other attributes of the brew match the sweeter and rich flavors very well. Even while sweet, it not necessarily so, and was still drinkable (in a very slow sipping way) unlike some other imperial stouts of similar strength. Overall I was rather impressed by this brew.

 2,347 characters

Photo of stortore
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter, 2014 edition, best after 11/10/15.

Pours a deep, opaque brown, nearly black. Thick looking, not much head with some oily cling. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, molasses, a little oak, licorice as it starts to warm, a little coffee. No bourbon presence noticed, maybe a hint of cherry from the pinot barrels. Taste also leads with roasted malts, chocolate, more molasses and coffee than the nose, vanilla, raisins, oak. The bourbon barrel is kind of an undertone, very subtle, the pinot adds a little bit of a fruity character. Some bitterness hits midway through the back end. Great flavor. Smooth, fairly creamy, well carbonated, a tongue coater. Great body, although lighter than typical for an RIS.

Excellent beer, complex and well blended with lots of flavor. I found the barrel aging to be very subtle in both aroma and taste- but contributing, and I'm shocked that some reviews call it a bourbon bomb. In any event, bomb or hand grenade, it's a great beer, and one you should try if you can.

 1,057 characters

Photo of imstimpy
3.14/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2014 Reserve, best after date of 11/10/15.

It pours with a thick tan foam that slowly dissipates to a rather fascinating residue of bubbles and cascades across the surface. The body is quite dark brown, nearly black.

The smell is quite subtle: molasses and malt. Nothing much here, honestly.

The taste, however, is eat your heart out roasty! I suppose I pick up a very slight cherry and perhaps the vanilla, and maybe the wood, but it all takes a back seat to the roast. It tastes more like an hot oatmeal stout. As it warms the roasted malt balances out nicely.

Good feel. Thick, but without coating the tongue too long and lingering.

Overall, I don't find the Abyss as complex as the label suggests. The smell is too subtle and the taste is too one-dimensional. It is good though, and I intend to finish the bottle.

 822 characters

Photo of TasterTester
4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I love stouts, so when my friend went to Oregon, I asked her to see if she could find a bottle or two of this.... and she came through!

Look - it was very dark, thick black, just like I expected, with a dark brown head. Beautiful pour.

Smell - bourbon, chocolate, malt and licorice.

Taste - malty with chocolate and licorice notes. Some vanilla, and a bit of coffee.

Feel - viscous, heavy, velvety feel.

Overall - this was a delicious beer. I love Imperial Stouts and this one did not disappoint. Very well balanced beer for 12% alcohol, and the flavor wasn't overwhelmingly alcohol. Well done Deschutes! "I'll be bock."

 629 characters

Photo of Trevor11
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Although the best after date was 12/8/16, I opened up the bottle 10 months early. The Abyss is blacker than black (completely opaque) nice carbonation with a significant tan head in a snifter. Extremely rich, lots of dark chocolate and cherries that come at the endnotes. It's interesting how only half is the beer is barrel aged; I feel that the oak wine barrels (21%) come through the most. Next time I will have to try to be more patient and heed Deschutes' consumption date advice.

 485 characters

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a thick, mocha colored head. The nose is mild yet complex. Dried figs, currents, raisens, roasted coffee, booze, molasses. The flavor is very nice. Smokey, bitter, slightly hot from the booze. It really lacks in mouthfeel though, and that hurts the rating.

 281 characters

Photo of Kraj30
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 drafts of 2015.. in the keg this didnt need to age.. pours a nice almost black with deep khaki.. nice nose... once it warms bourbon smell is even better... wow what a beer.. it was awesome having 3 at time.. but not next day.. awesome BBA stout

 246 characters

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,885 ratings.