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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,615 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,615
Reviews: 1,623
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,409
Gots: 2,141 | 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)
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Ratings: 4,615 | Reviews: 1,623 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LiquidCucumber


4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks from joshuacavett. Split with two friends.
Infamous 2009 batch.

A - Dark and foamy, pours with a thick head that looks similar to chocolate mousse going into the glass.

S - Roast and bourbon right up front, a little bit of dark fruit on the back.

T - Roasty bordering on smoky; slightly chalky and very woody. Bourbon galore, but not as overpowering as some. Some dates/raisins in there too. Little bit of soy sauce.

M - Smooth and creamy. Fairly dry and not at all cloying like some giant stouts can be.

D - I hope Deschutes distributes to Ohio soon... I want more of this. On KBS release day I feel this stout is superior.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 15:48:56 | More by LiquidCucumber
Photo of Nesued

South Carolina

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

2009 bottle of The Abyss. Picked up via a great trade.

Appearance - Poured a chocolate/almost midnight black color. A rich tan head formed as I poured. A nice meringue moonscape formed as the head receded. Little to see to comment on the carbonation as no light can penetrate. Lacing forms as the head resolves to a notable ring.

Smell - Sweet aroma, mixed with some espresso and dark chocolate notes. Some roasty qualities come through as well, as it warms a bit more. (I only had this in the fridge for about four hours total, so I think this is the prime tasting zone for it).

Taste - Chocolate, licorice some slight bourbon dryness as well greets your tongue as you pass it over your lips. So much to take in. Break it down. A coffee sweet entrance gives ground to a strong malty middle. The finish is hoppy, with the 11% ABV making its appearance as you close out this grateful sip.

Mouthfeel - What a creamy mouthfeel on this one. Lush, dense, crisp on your tongue as the hops clears way for the next sip.

Drinkability - wow. So inviting, so dense, so drinkable. All of the great qualities of a creamy stout with the depth of an aged offering. I didn't get the sense at all of a brett contamination that I've heard about (and may have experienced at a past tasting). This was well done. My personal preference would be to let your 2009s sit for another year or two to allow the hops to further round out this offering. An excellent sipper right now, sure to improve with more age. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 22:42:57 | More by Nesued
Photo of Pahn

New York

4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. 2010 vintage. Thanks to codewarrior for trading me this bottle.

Appearance: Free pour yields a frothy, one and a half inch head that dissipates steadily leaving a big ring of lacing. Pours black with red brown highlights. Leaves occasional large sweeps of lacing that travel slowly back down into the liquid on the beer's giant legs.

Smell: From the bottle: chocolate and coffee. From the glass: Chocolate cake, molasses, some surprisingly fresh and potent (and welcome) hops, a mild but already growing fig/date/ambiguous dark fruit note, some coffee beans.

There's a lot going on (and all of it good) at the start, but with time it just keeps getting better. This might be the best smelling beer I've ever experienced... the smell keeps developing, with vanilla sweetness coming up, then nuttiness, dark, bold coffee and chocolate notes, more lush, earthy hop aromas mixing with dark fruit, etc.

Smelling this beer is like holding an auction, where the bidder had you won over long ago but he just keeps throwing in more money for no reason. This beer is out of control; the complexity is endless, but every note is heavenly.

Taste: The first sip is coffee ice cream, some chocolate, and roasted malt. Moderate bitterness throughout. Great mix of coffee, chocolate, and roasted bitterness in the middle (with a hint of oak), leading to a coffee-with-cream sweetness in the finish. Chest warmth is the only indication of the 11% ABV here--there's no booziness whatsoever.

The flavor was good, perhaps even "exemplary of an imperial stout" at first, and I was ready to drop a 4.0 or 4.5 to praise this beer, like Founder's Breakfast Stout, for perfecting conventional flavors even though it hadn't blown my mind. Then, as with the smell, the flavor really opened up, and ventured deep into 5.0 territory. All kinds of new flavors prominently emerge; the various dark fruit notes from the smell, licorice, tobacco, vanilla, all carried along by that perfect amount of hop-and-roast bitterness (bottle says 65 IBUs, which is indicative of how it actually tastes). It's deep, refined, and insistently delicious.

Like many of the great beers of the world, The Abyss continues to generously reveal more beautiful nuances throughout the bottle. This beer is a masterpiece, and deserves every bit of praise that it gets.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, very creamy, just enough carbonation. The bitterness aids the flavor by (among other things) keeping it from getting too rich, and it aids the feel by keeping things nice and lively.

Drinkability: With the effusive praise in the "Smell" and "Taste" sections, I think you can guess that I am not having any trouble consuming this beer, and would happily buy more.


I occasionally talk about my time "visiting the abyss" when I mention my self-destructive college/grad school antics, or general hatred. While I can see that one would want to drink enough of this (very strong) beer to go to the abyss, I would say that this Abyss is a much friendlier place. Sort of reminds me of the Kids in the Hall Simon Milligan sketches, in that The Abyss is less hellfire and more "here, let me shower you with gifts far beyond your expectations, and here's even more to boot."

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 03:07:01 | More by Pahn
Photo of silentjay


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

sharing this whale with my bro to celebrate his new employment. congrats, John!

pours black as night with a dark mocha head that forms a darker layer underneath. it takes a few minutes to recede, but leaves tons of lacing on the glass.

lots of chocolate and molasses, with some black licorice and dark roast coffee with a touch of vanilla and some piney hops coming through.

cacao powder, licorice, black strap molasses, good amount of piney hops, some wood, bourbon, good amount of alcohol heat.

very thick, with subtle carbonation that suits the flavor profile perfectly. plenty syrupy and sticky with a drying cocoa powder finish, but some sweetness lingering for a bit.

drinks well. very smooth and full-flavored with a nice alcohol kick, but no harshness. worth the hype? maybe. Wish I could have picked up a couple more of these for the basement.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 04:12:42 | More by silentjay
Photo of hopluva1


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 served at 55 degrees in a brandy snifter.

Pours a deep black with a two finger tan - light brown head that sticks around. It is text book in the glass. Aroma is strong roasted malt, sweet toffee, caramel and coffee. It tastes like nothing i have ever had, tons of flavors, mainly sweet coffee that finishes bitter oak. Very complex, I love it! Savor this one.

You get a few different aromas and flavors as it warms. I like it on the warmer side. My suggestion start at 55 degrees finish at 60.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 03:38:58 | More by hopluva1
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 reserve.

Pours an absolutely pitch black with a small 1 inch tan head that fades to a small film on the top of the beer. Spotty ring lacing around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, vanilla, licorice, and cinnamon. Absolutely delicious smelling. Tastes of dark roasted malt, bitter coffee, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Subtle hints of licorice and cinnamon on the finish. Very thick and creamy in the mouth. Drinkability is out of this world. A great beer to sit and sip on for a prolonged period of time. The ABV is well hidden in the taste but it sneaks up on you in the end. This is really a beer that you can only have one of at a time. Overall, a truly exceptional beer. I am glad I have a stockpile of these in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 05:33:16 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of JoEBoBpr


4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip from a 22oz nicely waxed bottle.
Vintage: 2010 Reserve

The inside of the cap says "Bravely Done".

A - Pours a near ink blot dark brown with a nice tan head that was about .5 inches and receded fairly quickly. It didn't seem as viscous as other Stouts of this caliber. The head has some nice tight bubbles that stick around after a nice swirl.

S - Aroma is delicious in this beer. Molasses, sweet caramel, nice raisin notes with some slight bready and oat notes. Good grain backbone on a strong beer. Slight roasted espresso notes as well as some mild dark chocolate and some sweet milk chocolate. There is some great woody and oak notes on the finish as well. Some boozy sweetness is also perceived. The licorice is slightly perceived but it doesn't dominate at all.

T & M - Not as viscous as expected. Starts off with some roasted coffee notes and some nice molasses sweetness. The licorice can be perceived a bit more on the palette. Good dark fruit sweetness as well. There is some nice bourbon notes and alcohol burn that balances out some of the roasted notes. There is very slight chocolate notes that seem to be downplayed by the boozy aspect. It is quite light for a double Stout and I attribute that to the barrel aging. There are some slight woody dry notes on the back end as well. Pretty well balanced stout with a good mix of roast, bourbon notes and molasses sweetness. The body is nice and full with great complexity. Solid offering and I can see why its so hyped.

D - It is delicious but it could be hard to drink more than one based on flavor intensity and ABV. Still great offer.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 23:16:29 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of Gunslinger711


4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Group tasting notes from 2-18-11
Poured out of a bottle.
Served in a goblet

A- Dark, thick, tan head, tan lacing.

S-To make the best comparison, it smells like a hotter version of Founder's Breakfast Stout with some licorice hints. You've got some malt, some coffee/espresso, and your licorice.

M- Light mouthfeel for a dark beer, not surprising at this point.

T- What deflated the hype for me and my tasting group is we had just drank Founder's Breakfast Stout. Keep in mind we took a break, cleansed the palate, came back and this happened. It tastes like a hotter version of Founder's Breakfast Stout with some licorice and bourbon hints in it. I was expecting something mind blowing and different from Breakfast Stout and it didn't deliver. Which isn't fair, it's a good beer.

Food- Again, no food, it stands on its own.

Overall- Glad I had at, but FBS is much easier to get and just as good if not better in it's own right.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 05:22:29 | More by Gunslinger711
Photo of ehammond1

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

On Tap (2009)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

(Aged for 1+ year)

A pitch black pour with a thin brown head. Gorgeous beer. Leaves lines of lacing down the glass. A thick and decadent looking stout.

A spectacular nose that centers around chocolate. Some roast coffee, some wood, but predominately chocolate. No alcohol in the nose. Wow!

A chocolate bomb! Some roasted coffee, molasses, a bit of tartness, a touch of warmth from the alcohol, but I come back to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Surprising and spectacular!

Rich and luscious mouthfeel. Superb.

A spectacular, easy drinking, well-balanced, nearly perfect stout. So delicious!

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2011 02:39:29 | More by ehammond1
Photo of tbern007


4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours completely black. I changed the oil in my truck and you couldn't tell the difference between the 2. Thick, brown head that lasts quite a while. Leaves a lot of lace.
S - lots to sift through in both the scent and the taste. Roast malt, oak, smoke, sweet, hop, earthy, coffee, chocolate.
T - the most appropriately named beer out there. 20 different flavors come through. Smoke, oak, bourbon, wood; chocolate, coffee, toffee, dark fruit, sweet molasses. There's so much to this beer that every sip is different.
M & D - fantastic balance of all of the above. Alcohol is not a prominent taste but you can feel that it's there. Awesome beer in every way.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 22:29:40 | More by tbern007
Photo of Nikkibrews13


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The Abyss pours black as hell. No seeing through this bad boy. the head is rich, roasty brown. It doesnt leave much of a lacing.

S: Tons of oak aroma are backed by the sweetness of molasses.

T: Sweet and oaky molasses come in first. its shortly followed by hints of licorice and malt complexity. the alcohol is very detectable.

M: Medium to thin mouthfeel. This beer is almost syrup like in the way it coats your mouth.

D: Very drinkable. Smooth and delicious.

The Abyss is a great Imperial Stout. It is a fantastic winter beer and a dream for beer geeks everywhere.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 06:17:40 | More by Nikkibrews13
Photo of webbcreative


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 reserve.

Poured dark black no light getting through here.

A=smells sweet, with big roast aroma, and a nice oak smell that is nit overdone. Maybe some vanilla as well.

T=is incredibly smooth first of all. This beer isn't ready for 8 more months!?!? Surely you jest!! First it's sweet, followed by a touch if oak and a hint if bourbon - I'm pleasantly surprised that neither is overdone, especially at this young age. I'm also picking up some coffee and chocolate, with vanilla also. I feel the warming from the alcohol, but I never would have guessed it was 11% abv.

M= is a perfect medium to full, that is sticky and wonderful.

Overall this beer is bomb dot com. I wish I had bought more than 3 bottles now. Oh well, there is always next year!

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 02:53:15 | More by webbcreative
Photo of AlphaKevo


4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outta the bottle into a pint glass...

2007 reserve!

thanks a billion to ThomasHardy for hookin it up! :) no trade or anything, the man just gave me the beer!

A: Black as night! not much head, but a nice dark tan lace on top!

S: Its got a lot goin on, i dunno what to say! it just smells awesome. got a bit of soy sauce! but that happens to the best of 'em i bit of bourbon in there too!

T: so so so much taste! its just keeps changing and changing after you take a drink, it takes you on a little ride. nice malt flavors, maybe a hint of hops, a little coffee, little bourbon. its just excellent beer. go find one if you can! this 2007 is the bomb, so so so smooth!

M: Smooth as can be, creamy, heavy.

D: so drinkable, i'm flyin through this bottle!

its delicious go find one! and drink it!

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 00:53:44 | More by AlphaKevo
Photo of OldEngineOil


4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer that is strong and flavorful, but still balanced and not overwhelming. Would still go for an Old Rasputin over this despite the high rank of this beer, particularly on nitro. Although excellent, I don't know that the difficulty in finding this beer is justified as compared to some of its easier to acquire counterparts.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2011 05:51:53 | More by OldEngineOil
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2010 vintage. Poured from the bomber into a Trappist chalice.

A: True to its name - absolutely black with not a speck of light shining through. Head is almost nonexistent - half a finger of brown foam that dissipates in under a minute.

S: This is one of those beers you can smell from several feet away, and actually you can make out several different notes from a distance. Your olfactory glands explode when the beer is brought up close. Roasted malt and black coffee at first, then a bit of vanilla and a hint of anise and brown sugar. Mocha and progressively sweeter chocolate notes come into play, and there is a creamy flash there at the end before a woody and roasted character takes over everything again.

T: So so rich, at first bitter chocolate and some woody character with a bit of anise. Char and some smoke. Then milk chocolate and a hint of cream. Spices. Tobacco. Finishes bittersweet with a mocha character. W bit of a whisky finish in there as well. Very strong - dominates the palate and floods the senses. Excellent.

M: Super smooth and masks alcohol extremely well. Slight dryness toward the end, but leaves you wanting more.

D: Rich rich rich. Got through the bottle but need a big break afterwards. A slow sipper for sure, but I could see myself coming back to this again and again.

I want to see this with a bit of age on it. A top stout even without age. Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 05:28:34 | More by BucBasil
Photo of mikereaser


4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was reviewed blind as part of the Blind Beer BIF 4 courtesy of BA Phelps
2010 Abyss, consumed 3/5/11

Last bottle from Phelps and its looking like a good one.
Dug through the black wax that covers the top of this one and poured into a tulip glass. Appearance is pitch black with a good amount of tan foam that just seems to be hanging around as I type this. As I swirl it in my glass it leaves a nice oily lacing that falls down the side. Aroma is some nice chocolate, a bit of wood and brown sugar sweetness. Really nice taste, sweet chocolate and rich roasted malts, there is some vanilla in there as well as a bit of oakiness. Thick oily mouthfeel with light carbonation, this is very drinkable and quite tasty. I'm really curious to see what it is. I'm really bad at guessing beers and since this focuses more on local stuff, I probably didn't have it. so, lets see...
2010 Abyss
I was thinking this might be what it was, but for some reason I thought the bottle was a different shape. wow, this is tasting really good. For some reason I remember other years being hotter but this is really smooth and quite enjoyable. Big thanks for sending this one my way. Off to finish the bottle.


Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 05:09:58 | More by mikereaser
Photo of blammasterj


4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours as dark as ink with a one finger dark brown head that looks like chocolate milk.

Smells first of toasty oak, mellow bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits, toasted bread, a little alcohol and roasted malts.

The taste is really strong on the molasses at the beginning, bringing in a nice thick thread of caramel and almost candy bar like mixture of chocolate, nuts and caramel. This only lasts a few seconds when the bourbon kicks down the door and ups the ante with a really potent woody booze. There are nice levels of chocolate, cocoa powder, prunes, chocolate covered raisins, and a nice alcohol finish. As it warms it opens up with a nice coffee roastiness, hot fudge, hazelnut and some sugary sweetness.

The mouthfeel is very velvety and thick with a pleasantly roasty finish that tickles the back of your tongue.

Overall this isn't the most revolutionary RIS I've had but it has to have one of the deepest flavor profiles and one of the most balanced stouts that is aged in bourbon. The bourbon is folded right into the mix and is perfect with the molasses, cocoa powder and toasty malts.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 19:17:44 | More by blammasterj
Photo of DovaliHops


4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Been over a year since I've had this beer...Gonna finally get the chance to review it! Pours a thick, dark black which seems like engine oil. Very minimal brown head. Scent is chocolatey with some espresso and a hint of wood. Taste is FANTASTIC! First I get sweet chocolate and subtle bourbon flavors. Then I get some oak flavors with vanilla and a tiny bit of black licorice. Not nearly as much coffee/espresso as I was expecting, which isn't a bad thing considering the amazing flavors and complexity to this beer. There is a little bit of hop bitterness throughout. Mouthfeel is thick and rich...close to perfect. Drinkability is high as ABV is SCARY WELL HIDDEN! Awesome beer!

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 08:06:21 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of jayavery


4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer: The Abyss, 2010 Reserve
Brewer: Deschutes Brewery
Company: Bend, Oregon
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.00%

Beer Advocate: Jay Avery
Rating: A

Recommend by my buddy @Craig Reyna, I was a bit apprehensive about trying this one because I'm a QUAD guy and not a fan of stouts. The nitro infused carbonation really puts me off and if I were to have a stout, I already have my go-to, North Coast's Old Rasputin. I do, however; have a Deschutes favorite and that's the Black Butte Porter.I've also been to Bend, Oregon twice in the last two years and now I'm kicking myself in the ass for not going to the Deschutes Brewery! Anyway, after I got this recommend from Craig I started doing some research and this happens to be a once a year brew, a seasonal winter brew as they call it in the beer world. I called all over the place and of course the response was ' ya, that came and went. ' Anyway, on my 7th call, the liquor store owner admitted that he'd set a an entire case aside for his own consumption and after a ton of haggling I convinced him to sell me 4 bottles. This stuff must have ADONIS D.N.A in it since he charged me $16 bucks a bottle, ***WINNING!*** Here is my review...

A 22 oz wax-dipped bomber that was meant for aging so instead of a freshness date, it's labeled; rather, with a "Best After" date of 11/15/2011. I guess it's a little early to be drinking this stuff but considering the amount of work it took to get my hands on this bottle, I'm not waiting until November to crack it open. So after about 10 minutes of cutting, peeling and cracking the wax dipped cover off, I'm finally able to break the seal and finally pour this highly anticipated brew into an oversized wine glass. It poured like the exxon valdez with a double espresso hazelnut head and generous but thin lacing. Underneath the cap read the words, "Bravely done". Now if that isn't a rock star quote from Mars I don't know what is...

It pours like an Elixir or more accurately, like a 10w 30 motor-oil. I'm not talking synthetic but I'm talking about a serious bonafide thick and viscous friction free engine saver. Thicker than oyster sauce and an oily pitch black. I mean you can shine a high power surefire flashlight directly in front of this stuff and you're not getting a spec of light through it.

An insane full roast coffee, smoky and woody with hints of chocolate dipped graham cracker. Only fools and trolls wouldn't want to take a sip of this amazing and aromatic cloud of chocolaty heaven!

Velvety and THICK. Did I say THICK? What does that even mean?! I compare it to drinking a liquefied semi-sweet neslte chocolate chip infused red velvet cake without the frosting. Oh she's thick! If you're in the mood for a light beer then you need to turn around, take your ball and GO HOME! This is one of the heartiest beers I've ever had the pleasure of drinking, a pint of this and you're FULL, literally. ** WINNING! **

The true definition of a sipper. This one must be laced with the infamous Tiger's Blood. It stands out to me as a special occasion type beer, something you'd want to share with another like-minded beer lover who can appreciate it's uniqueness. It's funny though cause it has an easier drinkability than my usual go-to stout, Mister OLD RASPUTIN, which was a welcome surprise. It's like a WIN inside of every moment!

Better than the smell, you almost can't process it with the normal brain...boy am I impressed! It starts off Oaky and woody since it was 33% aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. That being said, it's only a 3rd aged in those barrels so the oak wasn't too corky and there was a touch of bourbon that shined through just enough to tell you that it was different from the rest. I also get a dark truffle baker's chocolate roasted malt finish. It's like walking into a Starbucks and ordering off of their secret menu and sipping a chocolate full roast coffee blend with a nutty alcoholic backbone and a cocoa finish. You're sitting in the coffee shop sipping on a secret brew and only you know about it and only you can appreciate its bitter black licorice personality as it envelopes itself into an almost Charlie sheen like rebelliousness!! I really can't fathom how awesome this brew is going to be after I finish aging it. I don't expect you to either. I opened this one up prematurely because I'm impatient and need immediate gratification but I am already truly amazed by the absolute posterboy for a warlock stout that presented itself here... I can't wait to grab the next one out of my cellar in 8-10 months when this beer hits its sweet spot! I just took my final sip while finishing up this 22 oz bomber by myself and look at me, I'm drunk.., DUH! Cause that's how I roll, I only have one speed, I have one gear.. " GO !! "

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 06:40:04 | More by jayavery
Photo of wchollif

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 poured into a tulip, BIF haul - Thorpe429

An aggressive pour generates 3 fingers of head that dissipates moderately fast. Little lacing but a small ring stays with this beer.

The smell is terrific, the best part of this beer for me. No sign of infection. Walnuts, vanilla, cooked sugar, not much bourbon influence.

Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected, this Abyss has a great nose and flavor, but seems lighter than the 2010.

Flavor is very good, but not as much bourbon as I had hoped. I get very little licorice, but the molasses is prevalent.

All in all a great dessert. One more 2009 in the cellar and I hope it performs as well.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 02:15:16 | More by wchollif
Photo of Lunch


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

I've wait a long time to get my hand on a proper bottle of this guy. This was one of the beers that got me into trading and boy did the 2009 disappoint. I decided to refrain from reviewing until I was able to crack a bottle of this beer in its intended form and I'm glad I did.

Beer poured into my Deschutes snifter, because I can (...looking at you drabmuh). Thick black pour with a couple fingers of a frothy tan head.

Chocolate, roasted malt, oak and a hint of bourbon hit the nose and palate with a rich and thick feel. This is an incredible beer and if I could change anything it would adding a bit more of a bourbon presence but that is really nitpicking.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 20:36:54 | More by Lunch
Photo of cyraxx


4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is jet black with a thin cap of dark brown foam on top which leaves some of the best lacing I've ever seen. When it was first served to me it was a bit too cold, and the smell was a bit subdued - it actually smelled a lot like Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. Once it warmed up, however, there was an obscene amount of roast character with some oak in the background with some dark chocolate and coffee.

The flavor is a neck and neck battle between sweet and bitter. The bitterness is both in part from hops as well as from the ridiculous amount of roasted grains and the sweetness is just from the residual sugars left from fermentation - I don't get any caramel character. There is an oaky astringency that plays well with the tannins from the roasted malts and the finish tastes entirely of dark cocoa powder. A beer that is simply a tribute to the glory of dark malts...amazing.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2011 20:12:51 | More by cyraxx
Photo of ms11781


4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to duff247. 2010 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours as black as night with a small, foamy dark brown head. Head reduces to a thin light brown ring around the glass. Foamy wisps of lacing are left on the glass.

Very strong and complex aroma. Dark chocolate leads the way along with some wood. Definitely some oak and vanilla present. Black licorice shows up big time on the back end. Dark, roasted malts are here as well and blend nicely with the other scents. There is some bourbon and, while it seems to come on most just before the black licorice at the end, it can be picked up almost immediately and rides underneath the rest of the aromas.

The taste is just as complex as the nose. Really the only difference from the nose is that a huge dose of anise and a bit of molasses are thrown in the mix. Starts off slightly chocolaty with a decent wood presence before being completely taking over by a combination of black licorice and anise. Some molasses and roasted malt are present as well. The finish is bourbon and a good amount of oak, leaving a nice warmth to the back of the throat. The flavors blend together nicely but the black licorice and anise are what really stand out.

Surprisingly, the beer has a medium mouthfeel overall. A medium body with lighter carbonation allow it to be smooth, rich and creamy without being as heavy as it seems it would be. Pretty amazing that a beer of this size and complexity doesn't have to be dense and heavy.

Drinkability is excellent with this beer. Normally an 11% ABV bomber is a beer to split but it was halfway gone before I had let the full flavor profile run around and allow me to grasp it. The other half was just enjoyed slowly. Definitely a sipper that is probably best enjoyed on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 06:16:05 | More by ms11781
Photo of CaptainTripps


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 bottle poured into a Tulip.
Served at Cellar temp (around 53-55 degrees).

A: Pours a pitch black body (no light getting through this sucker.) Dark brown hues appear on the edges - looks like creamy milk chocolate. Came with a dark mocha head, about 2 fingers worth. Left an artwork amount lacing down the glass to the very last drop.

S: Wonderful blend of anise, mocha, dark chocolate (lots of dark chocolate), Vanilla and a vary vague amount of bourbon (but still there.) Also some trace amounts of oak and molasses. Roasted grains and malts present as well. A extremely good smelling beer that sucks you in. I would argue that you could not just smell this beer. One whif and you would be begging to taste it.

T: Improves upon the smell going from very seductive to down right criminaly awesome. The big components of the beer play in harmony giving your palate one heck of a showing. Licorice and dark chocolate dominate up front and linger onto the finish. The finish has a strong sense of mocha, molasses and faint bourbon. Vanila pretty faint in this beer, but still present. Has a nice roasted malt base that makes this beer a very hard one to put down.

M: Not as thick as you would expect from the pour. Medium bodied beer that coats the palate nicely. The carbonation is surpisngly very good in this beer (being a 2008 vintage). Alcohol is so well hidden, upon first sip, it drinks like a chocolatey milk shake.

D: The highest drinkablity score i can possibly give to this beer: Perfect. The beer is damn right perfect from inside out. Sometimes big russian imperial stouts can be to thick and hard to take all the way down. The Abyss, with its medium mouthfeel goes down smoothly; drinking this bottle down to the end goes by faster then you would think and hope.

Homerism aside, The Abyss is straight up a world class beer. It is widely available up and down the west coast. No stupid brewery only release in an attempt to make their beer more important then it really is. It is also quite amazing Deschutes can produce such a good beer with such a large scale production (350bbl on the 2008, up to 600bbl on the most recent batches). Fantastic beer from a fantastic brewery. My hats off to you Deschutes.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 13:58:05 | More by CaptainTripps
Photo of MADhombrewer


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

2010 vintage poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pitch black with a dark brown head. Great lacing.

Smell- Dark chocolate and alcohol are the biggest things in the aroma. Vanilla, some hops and anise are also present in a smaller amount.

Taste- Dark chocolate, vanilla, anise and alcohol. In that order. It also tastes like a chocolate and brandy milk shake.

Mouthfeel- Thick, chewy, and surprisingly creamy at the same time. Very good.

Drinkability- This is a great beer to have on a blustery night (as this is). Even though it is 11% I am already thinking of another. But I won't because I want to save the others I have for these type of nights.

Because I opened this I will have to get another. Excellent beer! Thanks Deschutes!!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 03:40:03 | More by MADhombrewer
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,615 ratings.