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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,627 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,627
Reviews: 1,749
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,629
Gots: 2,820 | FT: 223
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 (153) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,627 | Reviews: 1,749 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Philousa
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this brew many times and this is the first time I've had a chance to review it. 2010 vintage aged in my own personal cellar.

This is really like staring into the abyss of night. No light escapes it, even against the light. There is a little head, densely packed in tiny bubbles around the glass. Lots of licorice and chocolate: milk and dark. Oak aroma is sweet and far from abrasive. Some vanilla notes accompany the smooth alcohol aroma. The flavor washes in slowly: licorice, lots of molasses richness, and slight alcohol burn to remind me of what I'm drinking. Some bakers chocolate and slight vanilla with a tinge of oak burn. Finish is super dry and body is full. This is a rich ass beer that is great for special occasions: like brewing a winter brown.

Photo of TLieu
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wax sealed bomber into standard pint. 2012 vintage, too damn greedy and impatient to wait for the best after date.

A: pours jet black not a photon gets through this brew. A milimeter of pretty dark head fell to a thick ring around the glass.

S: a bit of alcohol and lots of darkness. Sweet smelling. Hints of roasted grain. A bit of that molasses it is brewed with. Small hints of oak and that vanilla note you get from the oaking. Real rich smelling.

T: big roasted grain flavor, sweet at first then finishes off bitter. Not as balanced throughout as expected but in the end it is all there in the right proportions. Delicious. Also getting notes of licorice. Not as much oak as I would expect and not really any molasses. But it is quite good. Need to get a second bottle to save for the best after date.

M: thick and chewy, I almost grabbed a spoon for this stuff. Spot on!

O: wonderful. Like obsidian on steroids in all the best ways. Worth the $18 I paid for the bottle.

Photo of denver10
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting to try this. Not sure why I have been slow to getting around to it but better late than never. Hope it lives up to my expectations!

Pours black with a nice mocha head and good lacing.Big notes of chocolate, some roastiness, and a touch of some oak, Flavor was roasty with some licorice and sweeter chocolate at the get go, maybe even a little dark fruit, which then t transitions nicely into some dark, bitter chocolate with with some wonderful charred malt and the vanilla from the bark hiding out underneath. Honestly, I am not getting too much of the barrels in this, but that's okay, still delicious. A fuller, creamy mouthfeel. Some alcohol is noticeable in the finish, which is to be expected from such a high ABV and "fresh" beer. Overall, a wonderful, wonderful beer. I have a huge beer boner for their Red Chair and that remains #1 from Deschutes for me, but this is hands down #2.

Photo of thedopeyone07
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of CMML
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of TThurling
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Pinche_Oso
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Satan70
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of genitempo
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Cellared 2011. I had the 2011 Fresh and a 2010 Cellared 6-months.

A - Impressive bottling for an impressive recipe. Capped and waxed black, with trendy, yet elegant label design. (Not to forget the label paper used). Light not even attempt the slightest of penetration through this busty body. Unbelievable sap gold head with an outstanding density in lace.

S - Foremost, wood and wine hit the nose. As the beer thaws, molasses and roasted malts gain ground.

T - Just spectacular. Highly intricate and engineered to an art. The sugars are of wide-range, which pair nicely with that savory sylvan taste that remains steadfast. Resolves nicely, leaving an acrid finish, but in the best way possible. Spirits are merely accents to the true flavor.

MF - Soft, making its presence known. Nothing overbearing. Carbonation is permissible.

O - Best Imp Stout to date. A beer that should be enjoyed and discussed with fellow enthusiasts.

Photo of Rfunk
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just bought 2 of the 2012 reserve, decided to crack one for comparison.

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A- The beer poured with a very dark, blackish color and resulted in an initial 1/4 inch of mocha/coffee head that reduced to a very thin stout-like head. Lacing was thin and spotty.

S- The aroma was what got me. It started out with coffee, chocolate, and molasses, but was I the only one that picked up a hint of cherry at first? (Upon reading the bottle it all makes sense.)

T- Top notch. Roasty, full-bodied, with lots of chocolate/cocoa. A tad sweet, but I can't quite contribute that to the molasses. I don't get cherry or any other fruityness in the flavor. I also don't pick up any licorice. The vanilla and bourbon become apparent at the end of your sip.

MF- Very bubbly, thick and smooth. Leaves a nice little tingle on the tongue.

O- Loved it. The combination of the aromas and the taste seal the deal on this one. A must try! I will write another next year after I crack the bottle in my cellar.

Photo of SourinQns
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of arash1000
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of ambruns1979
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of CJS
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A Very Dark, opaque, Sludgy, muddy, black waters. Cappuccino colored lacey head. Nice thick film coating on a glass swirl presenting a full body on this beer. Leaves a coating that stands.

S Intense with dark berries muddled in dark chocolate, licorice, various nuts. Slight boozy and woody aromas, piney florals.

T Coffee and dark chocolate first. figs and black currant. Woody presence. The Boozy smell is not too apparent. A variety of flavors that flow through this beer.

M Thick and nothing to complain about with the flavors that follow it.

O Very intense smelling and tasting beer. Would most likely taste a lot better with age. Has a tightness to it that needs to be smoothed out. But def a repeat. Nice big body stout indeed.

Photo of Hugonaut13
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of stouts4me
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of harrymel
3.55/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2012, Best after 01NOV13

From the bottle: "brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels"

Near black ale with a sheet of tan foam that creeps up the sides. Smells of oak, too much oak, smoke, some licorice, some molasses and a bit of hops (never had this experience in this beer previously). A resiny, bitter character on the nose. Flavor is alcohol, oak, bitter, licorice, toasted malts. I really, really want this to be better, but this is simply the worst iteration I've had. Full bodied with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. I am concerned the prestigious heritage of this beer is faltering. While this is far from the best vintage, this is still a nice beer, and I'm happy to have a couple cases in the cellar, I probably wouldn't have done that had I known about the deviation.

Vintage 2011, Best by 04AUG12
4/4/4.5/4.5/4- 4.28 on 29NOV11
A: pours a dark, dark ale with nearly two fingers of really dark chocolate foam. This falls to a thick sheet of the same only dissipating once the beer sits for nearly an hour. Cobweb lace when foam present.
S: The bourbon barrel is present (surprising given the low percentage aged), some more oak, molasses, vanilla (subtle). The wood is quite strong when cold, as it warms the cocoa, coffee, molasses and bourbon come through much better.
T: The beer is roasted! Lots of toasty oats, oak, cocoa, bourbon, vanilla. Super refined tannins. Good bitterness to it. The vanilla is there alongside american oak. Black coffee and bittersweet chocolate.
M: Burly body with lower carb. Nice, long, sticky finish with semi dry resonance.
O: This beer is good, but I don't know how many I will be picking up this year for the cellar. I've found through some recent tastings, that I may prefer this beer fresh. All the better! Makes me long for it in the off-season!

Photo of Beerzort
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of giants24
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of HKUSPC40
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of 3146Tony
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Beerlover
3.64/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

2012 reserve ( probably the only one dumb and impatient enough to not wait for the "best after date" on the side of the bottle, but i do have a 2nd bottle, wish i had a third now thoe) also didn't realize it said best after november 1st 2013! i thought it said 2012, oh well im a huge fan of Deschutes and r.i.s. and this is the first time i got my hands on this - had to call 22 liquor stores and bottle shop to find this, thanks byerlys!

appearance is great, was expecting a little more thickness in the head but i did pour it rather slowly, has a great medium khaki brown color, 3/4 inch and creamy looking sitting atop some very enticingly black brew.

aromas: whats not to smell in this beer, roasted/burnt malt, strong black coffee, oakiness, some burnt sugars and light note of fruit, fruit aroma very faint, and booziness

taste: this is another beast of a beer, sip with caution, appreciation and respect! everything that you smell in the nose comes out in the taste of this one, lacking in molasses, its there but masked, i was really looking forward to the molasses in this one, also the vanilla is not there too much either. but very malty and oakey with fair undertones of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. This is one to try if you like the style and can find it, probably better to wait for the date on the bottle before drinking as well.

ROUND 2: Drank second 2012 bottle on April 20th 2014, having aged it for a year and a half. Overall: This is a good stout but in my opinion since having the first bottle I've tried many more r.i.s. that are much better, cheaper and much, much easier to find. this one is not worth the price and effort it takes to hunt it down, if you can find one randomly sitting on a shelf for around 15 bucks or cheaper and you've never had it, I'd say go for it just to have the experience but I wouldn't run through hoops to get this one again, nor would I recommend doing so.

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,627 ratings.