The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,819 | Reviews: 1,637 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +10.6%
Here's the deal...this beer is perfect, in every way (like Mary Poppins).
Pour: Deep, dark black; entirely like the deepest voids in space with an espresso brown head that initially foams up to nearly 2-3 fingers. The head lasts until the last drop is gone...the legs swirl through the entirety of the beers life as well.
Nose: Dark chocolate, bitter coffee, dark, roasted Malta, licorice, hints of molasses, slight hops, oak, and well integrated soft shades of bourbon (vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut, and charred oak).
Taste: Exactly like the nose. The taste of this beer is entirely complex, but so very well integrated. Add in slight cherry notes as well as some darker fruits (slight raisin an fig). Perfect taste profile.
Mouthfeel: creamy, velvety smooth. This beer coats the mouth and tongue and never entirely disappears. Chewy but not viscous or overwhelming. Perfect.
Overall: Why don't I buy a case of this every year? I will this next year...this is my perfect beer. Deschutes, I love you.
01-29-2011 07:55:31 | More by waltersrj
4.45/5 rDev -1.5%
2010 Reserve. 11% ABV. Killed 10 months before it's best after date.
Poured into a Guinness pint glass, this is some seriously viscous stuff and I can already smell the sweet chocolate coffee notes from a foot away. Deep dark black/brown it looks like espresso being poured but with a thicker almost liqueur-like viscosity. Kahlua? Motor oil? Pours a beautiful glossy opaque midnight black pint with a chocolaty white/brown frothy head. The lacing is incredibly fine.
Nose is extremely rich with sweet chocolate malt. Only a hint of alcohol, there is some coffee and molasses in the background but mostly this smells like pure dense sweet chocolate fudge.
Bold on the attack, there is a lot going on on the palate. While the nose makes you expect this to be sweet and milky, the actual taste heads a different direction. Lots of alcohol, though it's balanced by the huge thick roasted malt flavors that caress your palate with near perfect soft velvety texture. Lots of bitterness, the licorice and coffee notes are powerful and the bourbon oak component is definitely there, though it's already better integrated than most bourbon barrel aged beers that can often seem overly boozy.
For all the bombast and complex flavors going on, the main impression is that this is incredibly drinkable and harmonious for such a big beer. You can really see how some cellaring should round off the licorice/oak/alcohol and make this even more smooth and sublime. Hard to imagine a better example of an Imperial Stout. Need to stop drinking this so fast...22oz @ 11% = TKO.
01-29-2011 06:00:53 | More by gpatt55
4.9/5 rDev +8.4%
Thanks to a friend in Salem, Oregon I have the opportunity to enjoy this world class beverage.
A - Popping the bottle cap reveals the inscription, "BRAVELY DONE". Poured into a snifter this beer has the look of motor oil. The blackest brew I've ever witnessed. The head is shy of an inch but has solid stamina, rich texture and creates an airy mound where the pour met the fill.
S - Anise, dark chocolate, rich and sweet worschestershire, and a hint of rootbeer.
T - Long roasted malts are the prevailing taste. They finish in an amazing array of tasty coffee flavors. The beginning has black licorice and semi-sweet chocolate. The middle and ending are chocolatey and roasty. I'm unaware as to how this beer's flavors can be improved.
M - Velvet and silky smooth in my mouth. It leaves a sweet stickiness on my lips everytime I take a sip.
~ There is a reason this brew is so sought after. Everything about it is amazing. A beer like this makes me want to move to Oregon just to have access. There is no Imperial Stout that I have encountered that is better.
01-29-2011 02:44:28 | More by cdkrenz
5/5 rDev +10.6%
I know I'm supposed to use the 5.0 rating rarely, but I reserve this for a rare beer that surpasses all in my opinion. And here is why:
This beer is pitch black. Riddick couldn't see through the glass even with his shine job. The head, which with perfect carbonation was an amazing dark chocolately brown.
Smoky, chocolaty with a hint of the roast. When you put your nose into it and smell, it takes everything in you to hold back tipping the glass to experience your first pull
But when you do, you are immediately rewarded! This is the most complexly flavorful YET completely smooth stout there is. Hands down. I've had them all pretty much, as its been my favorite beer since my dad had it in baby bottles back in the day. I kid. But seriously, the chocolate lingers perfectly, the coffee is perfect.
It is a very heavy beer, but definitely not chewy. It wafts over the palate like a warm blanket but quickly recedes with the completion of the swallow. Deschhutes has always prided themselves on a perfect amount of carbonation, and this doesn't disappoint, as all the flavors bounce electrically all over the palate.
If I were a rich man, I'd by the rights to this beer and install it permanently in my house as a tap. It is a wonderfully delightful brew that will not disappoint.
01-26-2011 16:51:25 | More by deschutesGROWN
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Thanks again to the Bier Stein for stocking this awesome beer.
A: Black as oil. there is nothing more to describe about it but black. I mean dark black. Nice light brown head with nice lacing around the glass.
S: Chocolate, coffee, licorice, molasses, oatmeal, malt, hops, everything.... This stout smells great.
T: Best tasting stout I've ever had, and I've had many stouts before. Tasty dark chocolate and coffee blends nice.
M: Nice thick roasty stout. Creamy and goes down very nice. The abv. does this beer no justice. At 11% you can hardly taste the alcohol, which makes it that much better.
D: If I could afford it, I would drink this beer all day, everyday.
01-26-2011 09:14:19 | More by bradleyp
4.99/5 rDev +10.4%
Best stout I have ever had and one of the top beers if not THE top beer I have tried. Dark, rich, choc. taste with hints of other flavors. Simply put it is amazing if you can find it, get it. One of the few beers I found worthy of it's hype. I do not see how this can let anyone down unless you just do not like stouts.
01-26-2011 06:06:54 | More by zander4dawin
4/5 rDev -11.5%
OK, quickie here. Loved watching the State of the Union. Good job by The President.
This beer is also a good job. As you might guess from a heavyweight Imperial Stout, it's super inky black, much like the Abyss...A creamy finger of foam pulls itself from the depths and slinks back into the chasm, leaving but a wisp of its passing. Lacing is sticky and prominent. Painfully expensive beer, and it's 11% ABV. Nose is awesome. Lots of strong dark chocolate notes, some vanilla, and certainly some bourbon from the barrel aging. I also catch some alcohol. Pretty nice. Flavor is super roasty, very complex, very well meshed. Flavors complement each other. Lots of tang from the chocolate malt, a wonderful barrel aging component - perfectly in balance. Late middle and, especially, in the finish I get some alcohol, a lot in the finish. That's the only knowck on this beer. Motuhfell might be best I've ever had. A perfect melding of carbonation, chewiness and openness...It feels thick at first, but then it eases, and the carbonation allows it to fill your mouth without billowing. It's wonderful. A pretty damn good beer and worth the price, but a skohsh below the elite ales of the World.
What I like most: The wonderful mouthfeel.
What I like least: The strong alcohol presence in the flavor profile.
Verdict: Absent the noticeable alcohol, this would be elite. As it is, this is awesome and worth the price.
01-26-2011 03:28:34 | More by SolomonGrundy
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
2009 Bottle - Not Infected!
A - Pour is oil black with a dense looking, thick espresso-colored head. Great retention and sticky lacing.
S - Coffee, dark chocolate, higher alcohols and a hint of bourbon in the back.
T&M - Thick and somewhat syrupy with an oak-laced sweetness. Heavy coffee influence with dark chocolate, balanced a bit by the heat from the alcohol. Some earthy, ashy notes compliment the sweet, somewhat boozy finish.
D - Doesn't drink as heavy as it feels. In fact, it goes down surprisingly easy. An excellent Imp Stout.
01-25-2011 02:58:05 | More by ZeroSignal
4.58/5 rDev +1.3%
poured almost jet black with a thin mocha head. dissipated quickly but left nice lacing. smells delicious. sweet with both vanilla and chocolate notes. didnt pick up any bourbon scents. tastes top notch. roasted chocolate with hint of fig and vanilla. slightly thicker mouthfeel sets this apart from some other top tier imperial stouts ive had. lives up to the hype. would like to have detected a touch of the bourbon flavor, but still the best imperial stout i have had from a bottle.
01-25-2011 02:40:12 | More by PhatAtUT
4.83/5 rDev +6.9%
Look- When I saw it poured it look like dark molasses falling into the glass with a deep dark brown head
Smell- Right off the bat you get with the scent of Vanilla, bourbon,alcohol, and wood. The aging of the beer comes through greatly in the smell, and it gives it that sweet vanilla smell that great aged bourbons get from the barrel-
Taste- Vanilla, bourbon, and alcohol.
Feel- Rich and thick
Drink- The alcohol really gets to you after you have finished a whole glass, but as you are drinking it, the sweet tastes of the beer, and that complex bourbon taste mask the high a.b.v on this bad boy.
Truly lives up to the hype. This is one of the most exceptional beers I have ever tasted in my life
01-24-2011 05:51:55 | More by 3HovsepiansBrews
4.43/5 rDev -2%
A- almost black ruby with a 2 finger head that faded slow and laced the glass like I've never seen before. Almost solid lacing!!!
S- sour plum and bitter dark chocolate
T- follows the nose, but with a smokey malt ending that hangs out for a while
M- so smooth and full. Light carbonation that seems to make the malt linger nicely
D- like a roasted bitter chocolate shake. So nice!
01-24-2011 04:10:27 | More by imagese
4.53/5 rDev +0.2%
2010 Vintage Reviewed In Early 2011:
Appearance: A perfectly impenetrable black inky body capped by a finger of tan head that fades slowly and leaves patchy lacing. The name is appropriate.
Aroma: A potent mix of espresso, 80%+ cacao dark chocolate, deep-roasted malt, sweet tobacco, citrusy hops, buttery caramel, rooty licorice, bourbon, and potent alcohol. This is going to be awesome.
Flavor: Up front, a charred malt blast with lots of notes of smoke, dark chocolate, dark coffee, and licorice. Towards the ends, two different elements come in to supplement the malt: bourbon whiskey and buttery caramel. There's nice alcohol throughout, but it doesn't seem like double-digit potency, even when warm. There's a hell of a lot going on here, but everything is balanced perfectly and the whole adds up to much more than the individual parts. Citrusy hops, charred malt, and buttery caramel in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, sticky, and slick with silky-smooth medium-light carbonation. A hint of burn from the alcohol, but this feels like it has much less alcohol content than it actually does.
Drinkability: For a beer with this much intense flavor and alcohol, this drinks criminally fast. Does Deschutes have a pact with the devil?
Verdict: This is an amazing Imperial Stout fresh; perhaps the best I've ever had. It's packed full of flavor, character, and booze but is somehow remarkably easily drinkable. As amazing as this is now, I cannot wait to see how this evolves over the next few years.
01-23-2011 23:16:58 | More by BeanBone
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Reviewed from Notes
Poured into Duvel Tulip
A: deep dark black opaque body, topped nicely by a two inch head of mocha colored foam, this is just absolutely gorgeous for a year old 11% impy, lots of sticky lacing
N: dark chocolate notes, molasses, black licorice, tinge of coffee....complex, but not overbearing
T: similar to the nose, but more so...the chocolate notes are overtaken by molasses, vanilla, the bourbon barrel aging and hops are also present in a subtle way that gives the sweetness of the other flavors good balance, the bourbon hangs in the background for me and is not predominant....the hop notes are amazing considering this has been sitting for a year....just a wonderfully balanced beer in all aspects....exceedingly complex, yet very palatable
M: a beast, full bodied and palate assaulting, this is everything you would hope an impy stout would be...touch of alcohol makes itself known in the finish
D: wish I had easy access/a case of this....one of my favorite imperial stouts that I can see myself seeking out again and again
Note: Rating from 2 different tastings
Thanks to BS68280 for my first experience with this delicious beer.
01-23-2011 15:22:53 | More by modernartblues
4.08/5 rDev -9.7%
2009 reserve....not infected! Thanks to injuredreserve for the share!
Black as night, big mocha colored head, that stuck around for a minute and left a bit of lace. Alcohol feel were kickin'.
Aroma was sweet, slightly bourbon-y, with licorice, chocolate and coffee.
Taste was oaky, with hints of coffee, anise, chocolate and molasses.
Thick, chewy, syrupy. No carbonation. Linger was inevitable. Coats like a mink fur scarf.
Not hard to drink...but the abv forces you to use judgement.
Definitely deserves it's place as an elite brew!
01-23-2011 05:20:23 | More by EgadBananas
4.5/5 rDev -0.4%
I have had this numerous times on tap and in the bottle. Just had the 2010 version on tap tonight and am finally reviewing it (fitting for my 400th review). I was going to review this last week from my single '09 bottle I had left, but sadly, it was massively infected.
Appearance - Given in a generic tulip with over three fingers of tan mocha head. I let it sit for about five minutes before I even attempt to take a sip. The head is still half there...dissipating extremely slowly leaving chunky lacing on the sides of the glass. The beer is a massive dark color...no light penetrating. One of the better looking beers out there.
Smell - Chocolate, licorice, roasted malt, not as much "char" as prior years thankfully, coffee, oak, vanilla, and molasses. Smells delicious.
Taste - Similar to the aroma. Loads of bittersweet chocolate up front with a rather heavy licorice flavor. Roasted malts and coffee, slight citrus hops, in the middle. A nice oak and smokey taste comes in later on and ends with vanilla and molasses notes. This beer IS delicious.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, chewy and thick, lower carbonation.
Drinkability - I feel this years is a decent amount more drinkable than last years. This, while it does have alcohol warmth, does not show much heat while drinking. I'm glad I have four more of these in my cellar and hope they don't become "infected" as my '09 did. Cheers!
01-23-2011 03:47:42 | More by SpdKilz
4.9/5 rDev +8.4%
This may be a good example of why one should not post a review immediately after drinking the brew in question, but I couldn't resist. It's a one pint bottle. This is a great beer, like drinking a delicious bread. I paid about $13 for one bottle of this stuff, it was well worth it. Like the label says, it is a wonderful stout with licorice and molasses flavors. The 33% aged in oak barrels really comes through and makes for a unique brew. The 11% ABV doesn't even seem apparent since it's so easy on the palette. I wish it were cheaper and more available... but like one reviewer said "it's dangerously easy" to drink.
01-23-2011 02:13:32 | More by Genji
4.47/5 rDev -1.1%
Reviewed from notes: 1/22/2011
A: chocolate, dark/sweet malts, and a hint of booziness
Ap: dark brown to black with a 1 finger mocha colored head, nice lacing
B/T: mild carbonation, smooth, slight thickness to it, but well balanced
Af: chocolate, you can tell the ABV is there, sweet malts, lingers fairly well
O: delicious and definitely dangerously drinkable despites the high ABV
01-23-2011 01:12:58 | More by THECPJ
4.35/5 rDev -3.8%
Darkest brown ranges the edges of this black stout; mocha head is super-sticky in the bar's goblet. For such a strong abv, this one has some great lace. Nose is a muted chocolate-fest: fudge, molassess, vanillin, hinting toward bourbon. Fainter than I remember the bottle, but still hitting some high notes.
The flavor is so strong and complex, while remaining perfectly smooth. Very drinkable, despite the massive amounts of roasted barley, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla-bourbon. Somewhat boozy, but generally well hidden. Sweet and full without losing character or tipping into cloying and sticky. Hops help here; the citrus is pretty apparent even through the maltiness.
I've had The Abyss in bottles many, many times - almost every time I see it, I clean out the store. Sorry...finding it on tap is a huge treat. Papago Brewing.
01-22-2011 18:31:40 | More by BretSikkink
4.63/5 rDev +2.4%
200th review on BA
bottle to snifter
A big THANKS to poonamibaxter for the hookup on this one!!!
App- This was devoid of color, a vaccum if you will. No light passed through my glass. A pencil thin head that was a nice dark brown and fizzled quickly.
Smell- There is a lot going on in this glass. You start with some mild malt, then move to the big boozy, oaky vanilla notes. It's rounded out with some soft chocolate.
Taste- One big heavy ass stout. I love it. It's so complex on so many levels. A different taste bud erupts on each sip. The mouth awakens while drinking this one.
Mouth- It's full bodied of course with a low carb and thick mouth feel. A meal in itself. The flavors play nicely and just keep evolving on your palate.
Drink- This was good when I had it at the OC fair in a plastic cup before I knew what Abyss was. In a snifter out of a sealed bottle. So much better.
01-22-2011 04:17:07 | More by FosterJM
4.6/5 rDev +1.8%
Apperance: Pitch black no transparency at all. Head poured modest and dissipated with no signs or return. I aggitate in hops of stirring up some more of the beautiful mocha head but with little luck. Good lacing when the head is there.
Smell: I honestly thought I screwed up opening this 2010 early. I have a bunch and I'm aging some and will report back when I open the aged ones, but this smelled too boozy and I was thinking I just wasted $10 before I tasted anything. Anyways, lots of booze. The bourbon is in the front, some bitter chocolate, licorice, a very subtle bit of coffee, and even less vanilla. This is a malt centric smell, again generally overpowered by alcohol. After tasting I went back and appreciated the smell more knowing I wasn't choking this down just because it was so expensive. The bourbon is the main culprit and I suspect after some time this will mellow and just get better.
Taste: Ok so I was so happy this tasted to good. It's rich. So rich. I'm getting the same stuff as I smelled with the bourbon and alcohol way more in the back where they belong. The malts are up front with just enough hops to keep things somewhat balance without really making too much of a statement. There is a rich sweetness here. Not overpowering or obnoxious. Just beautiful.
Mouthfeel: A little thinner than I would like. It's wonderfully viscous sticking to my tongue, teeth and anything I spill it onto. Carbonation is adequate, and the alcohol isn't terribly spicy even though it is not aged.
Drinkability: I took a couple of hours to finish this bomber, and I took my time on purpose because the 11% definitely lets you know. I'd say for stouts this is very drinkable just because it is so good. I thought it was expensive when I bought 6, but after tasting how good it is, I'm going to pick up some more for aging. This beer lives up to the hype. Try it if you can.
01-22-2011 04:06:19 | More by websherpa
4.72/5 rDev +4.4%
Tried saving this one, but the anticipation got the best of me...
A - Pours jet black into my tulip glass with about one finger of tan head that dissipates slowly into a tan ring around the glass and displays nice lacing.
S - Lots of dark roasted malts, caramelized sugar, molasses, and coffee notes are primary. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon notes are secondary with just a touch of alcohol.
T - Surprisingly sweet, but not in an overwhelming or bad way. Roasted malts, more of a sweet chocolate than the bittersweet, espresso, molasses and anise are all present. As it mellows on the palate more of the vanilla and oak/bourbon notes come out along with a little heat.
M - Smooth and creamy, full bodied and really well balanced.
D - Very drinkable, and just an overall really great beer. I wish this was more readily available because it is something special. Hope I can get my hands on a few more to let age and see what else this brew can develop.
01-21-2011 04:38:28 | More by StoneBrewFanatic
4.85/5 rDev +7.3%
After years of label rejections, this beer finally made it into the Texas market! Like a proper strong stout, this stuff looks like the center of a black hole. Light struggles in vain to penetrate. Definitely one of the darkest beers I have had to date. About a fingers worth of dark khaki head tops things off. The head falls to a ring, and leaves plenty of lacing down the glass.
Onto the aroma. Abyss smells deep and dark. Plenty of dark roasted malts. Dark chocolate hits first. Underlying notes of dark roasted coffee strike next. Plenty of molasses comes through. Some light licorice notes as well. Some oak and alcohol spice rounds out the nose. Quite impressive, yet not over the top.
The taste is no less impressive. This is quite the sweet stout. Plenty of sweet chocolate syrup notes. Espresso notes abound as well. The molasses and licorice notes in the nose are much stronger on the palate. The alcohol provides a light pepperiness and warmth. The finish is quite sweet with a bit of warmth. Bourbon and oak linger on in the drawn out finish.
The abyss is as full bodied as they come. Smooth and velvety on the tongue. The carbonation just barely cuts through the denseness.
The long wait for this brew was beyond worth it. Of all the the ultra-hyped brews I have had, this one beyond lives up to said hype. Abyss is dangerously drinkable. The alcohol is smooth, just standing out enough to let you know this is a strong beer. I have drank many memorable beers over the year. This one though may be at the top of the list. Thank you Deschutes for creating this nectar of the gods.
01-21-2011 03:14:52 | More by Sweasty
4.25/5 rDev -6%
Bottle shared by MbpBugeye, what an awesome beer to share. Thanks bud!
This was an amazing beer to pour - the black liquid inside the bottle poured in a smooth black velvet rope of oil. I was left with a very minimal dark coffee head. The head and lacing suffered since we were sharing this between 3 or 4 people.
The aroma is built upon layers of soft vanilla oakiness mixed with sweet chocolate brownies and very light bourbon heat and astringency. The barreling are interwoven exceptionally in this brew. Light roasted milk coffee adds additional depth and richness.
This is one of the smoothest drinking stouts I have ever crossed. Lots of nice espresso and dark roast coffee, but it's not burnt like some beers can taste. The malts are deep and luscious. Mild vanilla from the barrel mixes with sweet black chocolate and anise. I was actually hoping to get a lot more licorice flavor from this to be honest. Bourbon is present but very subdued - just enough to add richness to the brew.
Again, this is a very smooth beer. Light on carbonation, but that is only appropriate for a thick stout like this one. It wasn't hot at all for me despite the 11% abv.
I found The Abyss to be extremely drinkable, nay, craveable. It's one of the more deep and complex stouts out there. Is it the best American Imperial Stout on the market? Hard to say. But I think it is worthy of its praise and certainly worth seeking out.
Thanks again Seth, a real treat!
01-20-2011 20:59:02 | More by Spider889
4.45/5 rDev -1.5%
Was waiting for a beer for my 100th review. I think this qualifies. From the 2010 batch. Poured into my Ommegang goblet. A little less than a finger of sudsy medium brown head. Black body tinging towards cherry cola at the top. Pretty good lacing after a fairly quickly receding head. Some nice islands of head floating around in this dark sea. Roasted coffee, licorice, sweet malt, light chocolate, alcohol are all present on the nose. A little bit of oaked bourbon but not overpowering in any way. Tastes very licorice-like, vanilla from the barrels, toasty roasty coffee, pretty bitter finish, but in a burnt way, rather than a hop way. Mouthfeel is perfect. Heavy. Creamy. Just perfect. Finishes nice and dry. Dangerous drinkability for 11+. Outstanding.
01-20-2011 05:58:16 | More by WestValleyIPA
4.34/5 rDev -4%
2010 release. Hadn't had one of these yet, so we tried one fresh. Pours a tremendously jet black coloring, with a dark brown, foamy head that dissipates as you drink. The beer smells of coffee, molasses, and dark chocolate. The beer has initial flavors of coffee and malty alcohol. You absolutely taste the oak barrel and smokey characteristics, also. The alcohol is present and in front throughout experiencing this brew. The finish is a little harsh, and I can only imagine that it smooths out as it ages. Very low level sweet aftertaste, with tastes of caramel and molasses. I look forward to trying this one again in a year or so...
01-20-2011 05:25:06 | More by GarthDanielson
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,819 ratings.