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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,510 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,510
Reviews: 1,730
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,603
Gots: 2,682 | FT: 202
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 (116) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,510 | Reviews: 1,730 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MattyG85
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. 2011 Reserve bottle.

Appearance: Pours pretty much completely black with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Has a good two fingers of deep tan head that settles into a thin tan layer. Some pretty good lacing going on.

Smell: Really complex and interesting. Dark roasted caramel malts with good hints of chocolate, coffee, and anise. Has some molasses and vanilla. Also some hints of bourbon and oak with a subtle blend of dark fruits including dark cherries, plums, and figs.

Taste: Complex and very tasty. Big roasty caramel malts with some chocolate and coffee up front are followed by molasses, vanilla, and a bit of anise. Some hints of oak chips and bourbon. Also a pretty noticeable taste of sweet dark fruits with notes of dark cherries, fig, and plum. I'm also picking up a little bit of hop bitterness towards the finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Full thick body with a low to medium level of carbonation. Somewhat sticky. Very smooth for such a high abv.

Overall: An incredible imperial stout. Lots going on and it all comes together great. Great balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Photo of pigc
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ringing in the New Year with a 2011 Abyss. Best after 8/4/12. Oops, can't wait that long with a beer like this.

A - Pours black as night with a gorgeous light chocolate colored two finger head.

S - Licorice, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, plum, fig, bourbon.

T - Sweet molasses, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, fig, dates, coffee with slight drying bitterness in the finish.

M - Heavy, oily, viscious.

O - Wonderful beer to celebrate a wonderful 2011 and looking forward to a great 2012. This vintage is still quite young and am sure it will just get better with age.

Photo of morningthief
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of stbo101
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of bertram
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%

Photo of Beerdregs
4.71/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage poured from a bomber

A: Pours black as used motor oil with ample 2.5 to 3 finger head. As head dissipates beer is leaving amazing sponge cake like lacing down the edges of the glass.

S: First impression is soy sauce but can also pick up some burnt coffee like malt.

T: First hit with deep wood smoke flavor then the soy sauce with a dark chocolate finish.

M: The alcohol is hidden almost completely by these complex flavors but after a few sips I can feel the alc. warmth in tummy. Carbonation is medium. Finishes a bit oily on the tongue.

O: Wow! I love how the different flavors come to you in stages from the wood to the soy sauce then the chocolate. Reminds me of the gum that violet ate in willy wonka. The aging has really mellowed this beer out nicely. Top 3 imp. stout in my opinion.

Photo of lsmetana
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of kscaldef
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

5 year vertical, 2007-2011

All years are very dark, with short-lived moderate head ranging from tan to brown. My notes for each vintage:

07 - Rich and smooth, holding up really well. Strikes an excellent balance of chocolate, coffee, and licorice. Booziest of the group.

08 - Lots of roasty coffee, and the strongest licorice flavor of the group.

09 - This bottle was mildly infected which added an interesting tart cherry aspect. Not undrinkable in the way some people have described severely infected bottles. Some people at our tasting actually preferred this over all the others, although personally I'm not sure I'd want to drink a whole bottle of it.

10 - Chocolate dominates in this vintage, and this has the creamiest mouthfeel, although it's not quite as deliciously milk-chocolatey as I remember when it was just released. Paired really nicely with some aged gouda we had.

11 - Cacao. Similar to the '10, but thinner and drier, not as creamy.

My personal ranking of the vintages would be 07; 08,10(tied); 11. Leaving the 09 out since that will vary substantially on whether and how infected a given bottle is. (FWIW, a bottle I opened a month ago was completely un-infected.)

Photo of GatorBeer
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of cnthix
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of zaphodchak
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Deschutes pub in Portland, OR. I talked to the brewer; he mentioned that it was currently around 8 months old, and had been aged in bourbon barrels, pinot barrels, and Oregon oak.

Tan head, *black* body. Some lace.

Big malty nose, roasty, almost charred. More booze as it warms I'd still advise against letting it get too warm, but some bourbon emerges as it warms even more.

Malt, significant chocolate, and licorice hops towards the end. Balanced, but with a good bite. Age might tame this even more to my tastes, but that's a personal preference that will certainly vary. Think an old fashioned chocolate malt/shake with hops; it's darn good as is. A bit of maple as it warms more.

Bright feel for a stout, it accentuates flavor and kick, then descends into creaminess. Out of curiosity, I also tasted this on nitro, for comparison (since I didn't have a great first impression from the bottle). Nitro makes this way too creamy, like milk hit with a milk frother. Steals the taste. Don't do it on nitro.

Worth the hype. Chocolate, licorice, sweet, bitter, everything it ought to be.

Photo of brianlindman
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of hawkmage
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of DWolf
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of KellerBrau
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of bespin15
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of DCRA
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of LDemarais
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.11/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into DFH Signature glass. 2010 Vintage with a "Best After: 11/15/11" stamp. Let's go:

A: Pours a deep, viscous black. No light getting through. Mocha colored 1 finger head. Lacing is fairly attractive, seems sticky. Some great patterns sticking to the side of the glass as the beer progresses. More of a dark brown color near the edge of the glass, some light getting through.

N: I'm not getting a big nose here. Some real subtle notes of vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, some mild bourbon, and roasted malt. It really isn't prominent, I'm surprised.

T: The taste is 100% fine! Some mild bourbon on the front end, quickly overshadowed by a forceful wave of roasted malt and molasses. Sheets of licorice, caramel, vanilla, and oak follow. The bourbon really hits a nice warming note on the back of the tongue towards the end.

M: Very inviting. Viscous, but not cloying. Some sweetness, counteracted with bitter dark chocolate. Creamy texture.

D and O: Sooo, what does the 33% that is straight from the wood taste like is what I want to know? This is a tasty brew, 3rd bottle I have sampled, but never appreciated it until now. Thought it was a good moment for a formal review. Very well balanced, and I do enjoy the licorice for a bit of drying and bitterness.

Photo of sgent487
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of HopsHopenstein
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of spamages
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of ericfb18
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of dbellizzi
5/5  rDev +11.1%

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,510 ratings.