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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,855 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,855
Reviews: 1,638
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,481
Gots: 2,202 | FT: 155
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,855 | Reviews: 1,638 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whatthehull
5/5  rDev +10.6%


2011 offering (so stoked to try the one I am cellering in a few years)

a - beautiful deep silky black/dark brown, very nice half finger stick around almost brown head and some sticky legs and lacing

s - OH MAN! Smells, like a beautiful fall/winter day, Best coffee smell I have smelled in a stout hands down, milk and dark chocolate, terrior, oak, vanilla, chocolate dipped cherries, smooth hand crafted bourbon but not boozey, slight dark berries from the wine barrels, tobacco, anise, molasses, candy sugar, toasted to perfection malts, a slight grassy almost hop like smell, some peat or maybe just Oregon soil and some slight toffee

t - bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, oak, cherries, toffee, soil, awesome bitter sweet, licorice, tobacco, tons of sweet and toasty malts, hop pop in the mouth, molasses, black berries, hints of a well done red blend and an almost fresh sod note

m - full bodied, well done complexity, well balanced, low acidity and huge long finish

d - if you don't like this beer, you may want to stop drinking or maybe even breathing all together. I am a fan of stouts, but people who hate stouts I think would enjoy this. The aroma, and taste make this beer one of the most enjoyable and very drinkable for any level beer fan

Final thought - if you don't have one get one. $12, 11% abv and everything you are looking for in a wonderful beer. Deschutes, you continue amaze!

whatthehull, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of barnzy78
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

barnzy78, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of BeerBodisafa
5/5  rDev +10.6%

BeerBodisafa, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of psychotia
5/5  rDev +10.6%

psychotia, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of teddyarrowhead
5/5  rDev +10.6%

teddyarrowhead, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of caninedevotion
5/5  rDev +10.6%

caninedevotion, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of TheFlern
5/5  rDev +10.6%

TheFlern, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of honkduh
5/5  rDev +10.6%

honkduh, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of lcmir23
5/5  rDev +10.6%

lcmir23, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of stephens101
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%

2007 Vintage I obtained in a trade about three years ago. A bit hesitant to pop the cap, but here goes...

Splendid carbonation despite its age. The dark mocha head stands proud, but eventually yields, leaving a choppy ring of froth around the glass. Black through and through with no light penetration.

Aromatically complex with profound sweet and dark chocolate notes that fuse with dark cherries, black licorice, peat, and a profound barrel-aged smokiness that has A+ stamped all over it.

Flavor is precise with more sweet chocolates, cocoa nibs, roasted coffee beans and a nice smack of smokiness. As it warms a few plum and raisin notes appear, as well as the molasses (as noted on the label), adding new and welcomed elements to the palate.

The Abyss is not as hefty as one might think; lying somewhere between medium and heavy. Smooth as silk with that smoky edge that keeps everything interesting, and a near total lack of alcohol heat that is astonishing because of the 11% of ABV hidden inside.

A stylistically perfect, flavorful, highly drinkable, and no worse for the wear beer for the ages.

stephens101, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of PretzelCity
5/5  rDev +10.6%

PretzelCity, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of JayH
5/5  rDev +10.6%

JayH, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of blinx64
5/5  rDev +10.6%

blinx64, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of mikehblack
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%

2010 Bottle

A- Pours pitch black. Dark ruby-brown head recedes to a thin ring. Some lacing and alcohol cling to the glass.

S- Rich chocolate cake. Dark cherries and fresh roasted espresso. Slight bourbon barrel note of oak and vanilla.

T- Smooth chocolate covered cherries followed by coffee and sweet vanilla. Finishes with a toffee/roasty note that begs for another sip.

M- Wonderfully thick, coats the mouth like silky hot chocolate. Perfect carbonation, not too much. Goes down very smooth with hardly any alcohol noticeable.

O- What a perfect imperial stout. One year in the bottle has tamed the heat. It will be hard not to crack my one other bottle of this vintage.

mikehblack, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of wdeck9
5/5  rDev +10.6%

wdeck9, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of gtermi
5/5  rDev +10.6%

2011 Reserve

A: The Abyss pours a very dark black with a nice inch thick head, that quickly fades.

S: I am getting a good amount of roastedness and coffee. You can smell some bourbon and oak with a faint bit of toffee.

T: Where to start. This is like Willy Wonka made this beer and there are a million different flavors popping up. I am getting a nice coffee flavor and some type of wine sweetness. It gives you a nice warm feeling and has a nice alcohol flavor. I am also getting some chocolate and some vanilla.

M: The Abyss is exceptionally smooth. It has a tiny bit of carbonation, but its absolutely perfect.

O: I hate to give a beer all 5's, but this is a beer that deserves it. I was so excited to get this and it didnt let me down. I have never had a beer so amazing in my life. The tastes are so complex and its just so much to wrap my head around. Just perfect.

gtermi, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of coldriver
5/5  rDev +10.6%

coldriver, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of CardShark
5/5  rDev +10.6%

CardShark, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of BeardedRiker
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%

My friend and I had two Deschutes beers. I had the Black Butte XXI, at the time we drank the beers it was one year and 364 days old, and my friend had the 2010 Abyss, it being 366 days old. We expected the drinking event would be superb. Little did we know it would blow our socks off.

This is a beautifully dark beer. What did Nietzsche say? "When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Well, with this beer, you just get sucked into it like a black hole. It's the blackest of black. When you hold it up to a light it is as if the light cannot compete. Ok, maybe I'm just saying BS here, but the point is this beer is midnight, charcoal black. The head forms relatively slowly and looks like a mocha foam, yet creamy.

If you spend half an hour just smelling this then I wouldn't blame you. Every inhalation of The Abyss is like you're inhaling for the first time, it is so complex. You literally cannot get enough. The smell has a warmth to it like smelling wine. It's definitely boozy but not overpowering at all, thanks to the rich chocolate and roasted coffee smells. The bottle says the beer is brewed with molasses and it definitely has a sort of burnt sugar aroma. Dark fruits are in there too with a distinct oakiness. Smell it, smell it again, and then keep on smelling. Every whiff will satisfy.

How does The Abyss taste? Oh my, I don't know if it could be properly put into words. Dark roasted coffee, delicious chocolate, satisfying sweetness, dark fruits like raisin and prunes, and some good, warming booziness. Every single flavor was exceptional. It was like a cascade of sweet, roasted awesomeness where the depth of flavor seemed to never end. There's some obvious booziness from the 11% ABV but even with it that high the amount of flavor keeps it completely satisfactory. Sometimes imperial stouts have so much flavor that you feel like you can't drink much of it. In the case of The Abyss such is not the case. With a beer as great as this the bombardment of rich flavor is too satisfying to stray from. There's also a bourbon-ish bite at the end that adds more complexity. I don't know if I've ever given a beer a 5 out of 5 on anything but I'm content with giving The Abyss a perfect score when it comes to taste.

Like I said when explaining the taste of The Abyss, many times I feel as I can't drink too much of an imperial stout, no matter how much I like the style, because they're so flavorful, so boozy, and so heavy. Well, The Abyss, while being a heavy beer, doesn't feel like it. It's not thin at all. It's just perfect. Creamy, smooth, a bit sticky from the sweetness, and insanely drinkable for how much flavor it has.

When I was drinking The Abyss I knew it was a great beer but it wasn't until after I drank it that I realized just how flippin' good it was. I actually got a bit...depressed because I knew I wouldn't drink another beer as good for a long time. The next time I see this on the shelf I'll definitely be purchasing it and aging it. I can only imagine how it tastes when aged longer. Great beer.

BeardedRiker, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of PostVinyl
3/5  rDev -33.6%

PostVinyl, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of LaCoursiere
5/5  rDev +10.6%

LaCoursiere, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of dgian13
5/5  rDev +10.6%

dgian13, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of strangefate
5/5  rDev +10.6%

strangefate, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

A: Pitch black. One and a half finger darker mocha head with awesome retention and lacing. Very beautiful beer.

S: Big molasses. Huge roasted malts. Chocolate, coffee. Light anise. Very light bourbon. Light ashy oakiness. Alcohol becomes slightly present as it warms.

T: Chocolate and molasses upfront. Coffee and milk, along with oak, some light bourbon and wine qualities. Light anise in the middle and finish. Slight cherry tartness once it warms.

M: Full bodied, but not thick. Creamy, slick, and slightly dry. Medium carbonation.

O: Very good indeed. Could use age to better blend the flavors. Is still good fresh.

doughanson78, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of MalaMi
5/5  rDev +10.6%

MalaMi, Nov 22, 2011
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,855 ratings.