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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,632 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,632
Reviews: 1,750
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,630
Gots: 2,829 | FT: 228
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: 5,632 | Reviews: 1,750 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blnktapes
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of cyrusthepup
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Swervine44
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of aliving1
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of vic21234
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
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 -11.1%

Photo of baconbourbon
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of jjcote
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of elephantrider
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Pencible
3.39/5  rDev -24.7%
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 +11.1%

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
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 -11.1%

Photo of asparkoflife
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of majaqua
5/5  rDev +11.1%
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%

Photo of ROBPIII
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of WertMaker
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of JoRado
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Beerlistman
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of bitterbeerguy
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew was my first perfect score.

Vintage 2010- served at about 48 degrees.

Abyss pours a dark-as-night color. There is not one sliver of light that gets through this beer. The head was impressive- about 1 inch of brown toasty marshmallow fluff head. Honestly one of the most beautiful beers I have ever seen.

Smell is so complex that you have to sniff time and time again to get them all- and I probably missed many. Some of the highlights are: anise, cherry, oak, chocolate, and coffee. Superb.

As for the taste. I will keep my comments limited, since I don't have three days to type this. Initial taste was a bourbon/vanilla flavor. I was impressed how each the flavors permeated so clearly with each sip. Then comes the cherry and licorice flavors. WOW. I enjoyed this with a stogie and man were they meant to be together. The smoothness of this beer is unmatched to date for me.

Keep some in your cellar for another year, drink some now, and buy 2011 for consumption next year!!!!


Photo of ForgottenBoy
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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%

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,632 ratings.