The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

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5,338 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,338
Reviews: 1,694
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 2,591
Gots: 2,470 | FT: 193
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,338 | Reviews: 1,694 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yaccobe
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of davey101
4.28/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Reserve. 22 oz bomber into an over sized wine glass at cellar temperature.

A - Pitch black body. Dark brown 2 finger head. Tons of sticky lacing and crazy retention.

S - Lots of roasty and oak aromas. Tobacco, smoke, leather, licorice, chocolate and some vanilla. More savory than sweet. There is a certain aroma that is rather dominant but I can't put a name to it. Perhaps its the cheery wood?

T - Very complex stout. Chocolate and coffee notes followed by some licorice, vanilla, and heavy roast flavors. The oak aging is present as well. Nice medium mouth feel that supports these huge flavors. Alcohol is warming but pleasant.

O - I think I prefer sweet to roasty/savory, but this was a very delicious and complex beer. Glad I traded for this one. Great stuff!

Photo of troutfish23
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of brez8791
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of riverrunt421
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of blnktapes
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of cyrusthepup
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of Swervine44
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of aliving1
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of vic21234
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 reserve bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle says "best after 8/4/12. This is the only bottle I was able to get my hands on, and no way am I waiting till August.

A- Pure black, seeing absolutely nothing through this beer. Nice brown colored head forms upon pouring which coats the glass, and some lacing is evident on the sides of the glass.

S- Coffee, chocolate, maybe even some vanilla in there. The oakiness is apparent, as is a bit of an alcohol bite.

T- Lots going on with this. Starts off smooth, with hints of coffee. At the back of the taste the oak aging hits you, with a definite warming alcohol feeling. There's so many other things going on here that I can't really pinpoint on.

M- Heavy, a sipper for sure. High alcohol content was apparent for me.

The Abyss is unlike any beer I've had. I wish I could describe it but can't. I hope to trade for some more in the future.

Photo of theminutemen
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of baconbourbon
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of jjcote
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of elephantrider
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Pencible
3.38/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, reviewed December 2011.

A: This poured completely pitch black with thick tan head.
S: It smelled sour and tart - clearly part of the infected batch, which is a shame. There was still some chocolate and oak and coffee, with a little smoked salmon and alcohol.
T: It tasted like sour and tart oak, with dark chocolate and roasted coffee, and a little molasses and smoked salmon. It had a tart and bittersweet aftertaste that was a bit dirty.
M: It was oily with moderate carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: As part of the infected batch, this clearly isn't what it's supposed to smell or taste like, but I thought it would be interesting to review anyway. And it was still enjoyable enough to drink my glass...similar to Le Coq. It still looked great, and had great body, and there were definitely signs of this being a great stout under all the unintended sourness. Now I really want to try a good bottle of this legendary beer.

Photo of echrei
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.2/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a Swiss wine snifter. I don't know how I have made it this far without trying this beer. First beer of 2012, which barring unforeseen disaster will most likely be one of the best years of my life so far. Cheers!

Pours pure black- darker than used engine oil. When I hold his up to the bright sun there are no highlights revealed. I mean this is totally black. The pour produces two fingers of doughy dark brown compact head that coats the glass. Looks awesome!

The nose is one of the most complex of any dark beer I have smelled in quite some time. A touch of smoke overlays a duo of roasty malt and hops. A further hoppiness pairs with tannic notes of woody oak. A slight touch of vanilla is probably due to the added vanilla and not bourbon barrel (only 6% of the beer in this bottles ever saw the inside of one) but then who know? Maybe it was a young set of barrels.

Well this beer is complex. I guess I will start with the basic stout flavors, which are present in this beer but there is so much happening on top of them that I have to think about it to isolate them. Hops are here in plentiful quantities and they pair with the roast of the dark malts in the typical big stout fashion. The most prominent non-traditional stout flavor is a pronounced woodiness. It almost reminds me of roasted chicory, or an over-oaked stout stout I brewed once. Anyway, this flavor almost dominates, but doesn't eclipse everything else. I do taste both licorice and a tiny bit of vanilla, which are both tasty. So I wonder if that particular woody flavor is the cherry bark?

The mouthfeel is rather dry and viscous, but not as thick and chewy as something like Bourbon County Stout. I think it is quite good, and I imagine that it is exactly what the brewers at Deschutes intended. Carbonation feels fairly low.

Conclusion: As expected, this is an awesome beer. It has so much flavor that it is walking the line between complex and muddled. I like it quite a bit, but find myself straying back the the purist mindset of doing little to a beer save for aging it in oak. However, this beer is doing something awesome and should be tried by anybody who has an interest in American beer or big dark beers of any sort.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of asparkoflife
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of majaqua
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2011 poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Black black black. Pours quite viscous with about a finger of a mocha colored head. Beautiful stout.

Smell: Wow, there is so much going on here. Big notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Getting woody overtones from the barrel aging and hints of vanilla. A bit of alcohol on the back but hidden pretty well for its ABV.

Taste: What can I say.... Perfection. A perfect blend of chocolate and coffee. The woodiness shines through more on the taste with the vanilla becoming more apparent. Getting a hint of cherry as well. The aftertaste on this is just wonderful.

Overall: Excellent. World-class stuff here.

Photo of wtfuggles
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ROBPIII
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of WertMaker
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of JoRado
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Beerlistman
3/5  rDev -33.5%

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,338 ratings.