1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,661 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,661
Reviews: 1,626
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,420
Gots: 2,153 | FT: 143
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

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)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006)
View: Beers (139) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Abyss Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,661 | Reviews: 1,626 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BlakeMatt


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-26-2012 23:55:11 | More by BlakeMatt
Photo of NORM4


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-26-2012 02:46:35 | More by NORM4
Photo of raverjames


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-25-2012 20:52:41 | More by raverjames
Photo of beast464


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-25-2012 20:02:31 | More by beast464
Photo of VeggieNugget


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-25-2012 19:55:31 | More by VeggieNugget
Photo of DMc8ride


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-25-2012 19:49:19 | More by DMc8ride
Photo of sammo


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-25-2012 19:11:03 | More by sammo
Photo of Antonion10


4/5  rDev -11.5%

01-25-2012 19:02:41 | More by Antonion10
Photo of phisigben


4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle tasted in 2011

Pour black as used motor oil, with a nice dark fudge colored head about two finger width and it remains for a little while. The nose has settled on this one the chocolate is subtle along with coffee, oak/bourbon, and dark fruits. The flavors have mellowed and came together extremely well no one flavor comes right out all of them are subtle when this was fresh the chocolate and coffee were the first two flavors and the lingered on your palette. Now those flavors have settled and the oak/bourbon and roasted malt have came through more and more with age. The mouthfeel is wonder nice and creamy with good carbonation and has thinned a little with age. Over all this is one of the best aged beers that I have ever had.

I had four botles of this and every year I have cracked one sadly this was the last '08 but I would have to say every year this beer has gotten better and better with age. Now I am going to cry a little bit that I don't have any left in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 14:22:19 | More by phisigben
Photo of blinkypalerrmo


4/5  rDev -11.5%

01-24-2012 21:39:11 | More by blinkypalerrmo
Photo of dachp


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-24-2012 03:07:47 | More by dachp
Photo of seedsofchaos


3.98/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just received a batch of 2011 Abyss from a great trading partner: Johngalt1. We decided that we wanted to review a bottle of 2011 fresh and compare with fresh notes from last years. I had to mark this serving type as a 'can' as, for whatever reason, I can't review a different vintage with the same serving type.

Appearance aside, this really smells and tastes like a completely different beer. High SRM but not quite black. This really borders on coffee black than true black with plenty of ruby around the edges. Low, but evident carbonation, makes a small 1/4" head that quickly fades.

First impressions of the aroma are caught up in roast and chocolate malts. Very fudgey while chilled, more wine-like aromas come up as Abyss creeps towards room temperature. I smell delicate white wine and chardonnay. This has much more oak in the bouquet than the 2010 did. No fruity aromas like the previous year, a bit of fruit comes out in the flavor. Oaked white wine and baker's chocolate are centerstage in the flavor. Very simple on the tongue. Earthy hops. Smooth mouthfeel. Velvety.

All in all, this is still a fantastic beer but logic tells me that the recipe has changed... Can this even be the case? Oak and wine are much more prevalent whereas fruitiness is mostly absent. It'll be nice to do a vertical soon.

Serving type: can

01-24-2012 02:40:18 | More by seedsofchaos
Photo of Tmappin

British Columbia (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-23-2012 08:04:00 | More by Tmappin
Photo of jegross2


3.83/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery. This is universally hailed as one of the top imperial stouts made in America.
Score: 87

November 2011 vintage bottle -- best after 08/04/12 -- served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/22/12. I have three of these bottles so I'd figured I'd have one relatively fresh, one at the "best after" date, and one a year after that.

Appearance: Pours a completely opaque, pitch black color with two full fingers of foamy dark tan head that settles into a thin layer across the top of the glass. Amazing lacing -- as the head settles, it leaves a thick, sticky residue of foamy head on the side of the glass. 5/5

Smell: Creamy milk chocolate, roasted chocolate and coffee prominently featured. Roasted malts, light brown sugar, light cherry and some vanilla complement the coffee/chocolate aromas. There is a light anise (black licorice) aroma, mixed with hints of alcohol, in the background. If you swirl the beer, the creamy chocolate aromas exponentially increase. As it warms, more cherry notes come out in addition to a hint of dark berries towards the back end of the nose. 4/5

Taste: Creamy bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee upfront. Some dark licorice and "dark cherry" on the midpalate. Very light notes of dark berries towards the finish. Finish is quite coffee heavy. Not getting a whole lot of barrel characteristics, though there are hints of oak and vanilla at points as the beer layers. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, minimal carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. Finish is bitter and slightly acidic. 4/5

Overall: A solid, but nothing special imperial stout when drank relatively fresh. The bottle implores you to wait nearly a year after picking it up before drinking it, so it will be interesting to see how this one improves with age. Certainly an interesting beer to seek out, but I'd recommend aging this one rather than drinking it fresh. Not because I know how it'll age, but rather based on reputation. As it drinks fresh, it is not worth going out of your way to seek out.

Recommendation: Age this one. It does not live up to its hype -- at least not when drank fresh.

Pairings: Steak.

Cost: $14.99

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 04:26:43 | More by jegross2
Photo of dlello2


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-23-2012 02:31:26 | More by dlello2
Photo of djaeon


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-22-2012 21:58:24 | More by djaeon
Photo of Florida9


4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'09, '10, and '11

A: Black viscous liquid. Forms a decent sized dark brown head that has poor retention and leaves little lacing. The '09 and '10 appear to be flat. The '11 has the best retention of the bunch, leaving a thin surface coating of head on the beer.

S: The '09 smells of roasted malts with a slight vinous or green apple quality. However, for being infected, the taste is not off putting or unappealing. Just different. The '10 is full of roasted malts and chocolate with some mild vanilla notes. The '11 is full on roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, and a bit of char. The aroma of the '11 is much more aggressive and pronounced.

T: The '09 has a mild sourness to it, much like cheap coffee, but the dark malts and chocolate dominate. The '10 has none of the coffee sourness, but has stronger coffee flavors. Chocolate, cocoa, roasted malts and roasted coffee. Again, the '11 is the most aggressive of the bunch with a strong dry cocoa quality and lots and lots of roasted malts.

M: Meduim to heavy bodied with a mild bitterness and a creamy finish.

O: A very good Imperial Stout. '09 wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be - only slightly off, but really still quite drinkable. The '10 was the best of the bunch while the '11 needs to sit for a while to let the rough edges smooth out.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 18:59:36 | More by Florida9
Photo of dbossman


4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2011:

A: Black with a huge, dark brown head--amazing retention and lacing is amazing; this beer looks absolutely perfect

S: So much molasses, dark fruits, anise, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, subtle vanilla and wood peak through too; there is so much going on here but it works so well together: complex and beautiful aromas

T: Rich coffee and chocolate up front and the roasted malts linger with subtle molasses and anise and dark fruits like raisins and plums linger underneath; some subtle lingering alcohol notes but man is this creamy and awesome

F: So thick and viscous and creamy

O: I love this beer; this is what every big stout should strive to be

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 05:26:28 | More by dbossman
Photo of freduardo


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-22-2012 05:21:49 | More by freduardo
Photo of warnerry


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Reserve into a tulip

A - Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown head. Head has decent retention but leaves only spotty lacing.

S - Big aroma of chocolate, with some roasrlted malts, anise, molasses and faint vanilla. Very faint char character.

T - Creamy bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruits, roasted malts and char. Also, nice bourbon notes, with vanilla and a touch of alcohol heat. Finish is quite roasty, leaving lingering earthy bitterness. Very nice.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel, but not at all heavy. Some creaminess. Finish is dry, with some tannins and roasted malt bitterness.

O - Really enjoyable imperial stout. None of the sweetness that can ruin the style, but not overly bitter either. Great flavor profile, nice mouthfeel. Wish I had more of this.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 02:30:49 | More by warnerry
Photo of poppyjohn


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-21-2012 21:14:59 | More by poppyjohn
Photo of paxchristi


5/5  rDev +10.6%

01-21-2012 17:30:58 | More by paxchristi
Photo of schlimenhaumer

New York

4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the waxed pressure cap bottle into an Orval goblet at altitude in Denver. A big thanks to kojevergas for this one!

A: One-finger tan head. Jet black. Nice lacing. Exactly what you’d expect an imperial stout to look like.

S: In the best way, this is like every imperial stout I’ve had to date in one glass. Coffee, chocolate, licorice, oak, bourbon, molasses. Smells delicious.

T: Everything from the nose comes through here, and no single flavor dominates. Very well balanced. The alcohol really doesn’t come through at all here.

M: Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Just right for an imperial stout.

D: This one has finesse that most other imperial stouts lack. A great balance of big flavors and subtlety. If you can find this one, you shouldn’t hesitate to pick it up, especially considering the moderate price.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 16:54:20 | More by schlimenhaumer
Photo of crashoveride


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

01-21-2012 16:07:53 | More by crashoveride
Photo of Alpar


4/5  rDev -11.5%

01-21-2012 15:49:52 | More by Alpar
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,661 ratings.