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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,106 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,106
Reviews: 1,655
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 2,582
Gots: 2,260 | FT: 161
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,106 | Reviews: 1,655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of busternuggz
4.13/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The infamous 2009 release. I didn't detect any sour notes though it was incredibly dry, may have been a "partially infected" bottle?
Poured from the bottle into medium sized (12 oz) tulip glasses & shared with a friend.
Deep brown-black color with a creamy 1/2" mocha head, settled down to a thin layer after a few minutes. Left some lacing.
Smells rich and inviting, with mostly a chocolate cake character, a little molasses as it warms.
The taste is incredibly dry, rich, and complex. Baking chocolate, dried coffee grounds, soil-like earthiness, some ash, oak, licorice root, a tiny bit of vanilla now and then. Molasses notes (without sweetness) come out more as it warms. A bit too hoppy at first, but it mellows out after a while. The aftertaste goes on for quite a while and bounces around through all of the flavors. Tasted its best near room temperature.
The texture is medium bodied but near room temp became thicker and a little syrupy, still finished dry though.
The super dryness and earth & ash notes take down the drinkability, it would have been hard to drink the bomber on my own.
A very interesting beer, it was not at all what I expected. I've had a couple of imperial stouts I would say I like better, but for its uniqueness and complexity this (possibly infected) Abyss certainly stands out.

busternuggz, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of Ynot2
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle of 2009 and was half expecting the sour smell. The smell did not hit me so I felt a little relief.

The pour into a small snifter was black with a finger of tan head.

The smell was a mix of licorice and Bourbon.

The taste settled down pretty quick and remained about the same after about five minutes of warming. More smoked coffee flavors than anything else. No burn to speak of.

Mouth is creamy and full.

An easy drinking stout.

Ynot2, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of Scotchboy
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review, 11/1/11, from notes. 22oz 2010 bottle, sampled 10/31/11 and split with a good friend.

A: Opaque and the darkest of browns, with a mocha colored head that looks like rich milk chocolate...small bubbles on the head and surprising staying power for a high abv BA beer.

S: Bourbon, hints of oak, lots of molasses and dark anise notes...epic amounts of dark roasted malts in the form of bittersweet chocolate and light whiffs of coffee.

T: A touch of boubon/booze gives way to epic amounts of darknesss...dark malts, dark chocolate, dark sweetness in the form of molasses and licorice...the roast qualities are assertive on the finish with coffee-like bitterness...just enough oak presence to make itself known and blend beautifully with the other flavors.

MF: Extremely creamy and silky, full mouthfeel with good viscosity and a light to medium dryness on the finish.

O: Almost exactly a year since this bottle was born, its near perfect. 11oz is plenty, as I would prefer a touch less booze, but its extremely drinkable and tasty right now.

Scotchboy, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of jwilly03
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a Nitro 2010 Abyss at the Bend Public House on December 1st...liquid bliss!
Rich and creamy from the first sip to the last, and what a great nose. Served in a snifter so all of those glorious aromas can gather in the bulb, hit your nose, and tell your brain that this is going to be a great experience! Very much a beer I will enjoy until the last keg blows! Cheers!!

jwilly03, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of Oldbagofbones
4.93/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not much more I can add other than that I just had a nitro tap at the Pearl brewpub. Hint of marmite on the nose and ovaltine on the palate as the silky elixir slithered down my throat. Sublime.

As much as others may suggest food pairings, resist the temptation and enjoy it on it's own. It deserves your full attention.

Oldbagofbones, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New serving type tick! Seriously though, nitro-Abyss '10 on tap at the Pearl brewpub in Portland was a thing of beauty. Having it side by side next to the tap version was an eye-opening experience. Huge thanks to ramnuts for hosting me and taking me around to try these awesome beers.

A: Pours, as does the regular version, a viscous-looking black with a menacing dark mocha head. The bubbles are fine, cascading up the glass as is characteristic of a good nitro pour. The retention is great, and the lively appearance is exquisite to behold.

S: Unlike the tap version, the sweeter elements emerge here. I typically find nitro beers dull and muted, but here the aroma is still pungent. Strong emphasis on anise, dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, and a smattering of espresso.

T: As in the nose, the sweeter flavors take center stage. It's almost candy-like, with a concoction of dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, and anise. I seem to pick up marshmallow here, too. Espresso, vanilla and bourbon flit in and out, but the woodiness of the tap version is barely detectable. Near the top of its category.

M: Much smoother than the tap; the fine bubbles give it a creamy, velvety texture. They also suppress the astringency in the finish, seemingly enhancing the sweetness. Bu there is still enough hop presence to prevent it from becoming treacly. Can't criticize anything here, except that it has a mild heat to it.

D: Abyss was the beer that made me interested in craft. I've tried dozens, probably closer to a hundred, barrel-aged imperial stouts since then. I have a small nostalgic fondness for this one, but I feel it's justified given that Deschutes actually hit it out of the park on this one.

If I had to rank the beers in the flight, I'd say...

'10 nitro and '07 tap (tie)
'10 tap
'09 tap
'08 tap (it was still boozy for some reason)

Arbitrator, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Ginacow
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

OH MY!!!This is a great sippin' brew for the winter season. It is amazing this year and I would definitely put it on my list of THE beer to purchase for all of my friends and family this holiday season. It's a bit sweet, smokey, rich, thick and everything an imperial stout should be. Cheers!

Ginacow, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of cbarrett4
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The most perfectly crafted beer I have ever consumed (again)!

This review is for the 2010 release. Tasted with 2010 nitro, 2009, 2008, 2007 releases at the Portland Deschutes brewpub on December 1st, 2010 (Abyss release day!) Sadly they sold out of the limited number of 2007 and 2008 bottles within an hour!

2010 regular tap: showing very well, though youthful with a ton of astringency that will mellow with bottle age. This baby is heavy, rich, unctuous, and lively! The aromas and flavors definitely dwell on the dark and somewhat evil influence of dark, bitter chocolate with fruit notes from the licorice and hops. Tons of freshly ground espresso beans on the nose and palate. Also, there is a rich note of oak with grippy tannins on the palate. Sports a finish that goes on and on and on....

2010 nitro: same as above just slightly more texture and less astringency. Great for drinking now while the bottle and regular tap are a little intense. (Too bad it won't be around long!)

2009: tasted several times over the last year, and this was my latest taste. Still very young with emphasis still on rich tannins and hops. Needs 1 more year of cellaring!

2008: my personal favorite. This vintage is a little slutty ~ lots of rich chocolate on a polished and more subtle texture than the newer vintages. Cellaring has definitely made an improvement!

2007: if the '08 were an Oregon pinot, then '07 would be Burgundy. This vintage is smoky, velvety, yet subtle with more of the fruit and licorice notes present; also has a lot of espresso and some hints of toasty oak. My second favorite!

cbarrett4, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009--not infected!!!

All I have to say is whoa. Great stout here, and it realy distinguishes itself from the other big stouts.

Black as hell with thick creamy brown head. Nice lacing. Nose is a rich combination of chocolate, coffee, smoke, leather, and other dark malty notes. Flavor is huge, very complex. One of the big flavors that sets it apart is a distinct smokiness to it, which I like a lot. Some wood, dark roasted malts--coffee, chocolate--some dark fruit to it. It all plays together really nicely, definitely one of my all-time favorite stouts. Not cloyingly sweet like some others.

MF is good, thick, creamy, chewy. Maybe a hair lighter than some of the big hitters. Really a pretty easy drink (and super enjoyable). The smoke and roast to it balances out the sweetness in the malt nicely. This is what imperial stouts should be like.

LordAdmNelson, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Bomber poured into an Appalachian mini-pint.

A - Pours dark as night with a small brown head that dissipates to only a few patches of head and a ring around the outside of the glass, leaving only spotty lacing.

S - Rich coffee, molasses, licorice, and chocolate notes. As it warms more and more booze comes thru. No hints of infection in this one. I must have gotten lucky.

T - Lots of deep roasted flavors up front slowly giving way to hints of chocolate, coffee, and other dark, earthy, flavors. Finish is pretty hot from all the booze with a lingering roast. Flavors were pretty well balanced but the heat from the alcohol is a bit much after a few glasses. I enjoyed this one but not as much as I did when I had it on-tap during philly beer week.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Strong burn from the booze with a heavy roasted finish. It was a bit overwhelming after a few fills of my glass.

D - Fairly high. Opened this one last night. I figured if it was infected I would rather find out now rather than later. Luckily it was fine. I enjoyed this one a lot. It was still a little too hot for my liking but it was still very nice.

orangesol, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of daledeee
4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from a friend who brought this back from Oregon. It was the 2009 release. It says best AFTER Nov. 2010. Now I read about the 'infected" batches. So let's find out...

I poured this into my favorite glass and got a wonderful shiny black body as it poured and an equally opaque body with a rather robust tan head. It goes away gradually as I type but leaving lace as it goes. A good start.

The nose? Will this tell me anything. It is chocolate, malt and yes some bandaid.

Taste is...(drumroll) Very bitter at first with a dark coffee finish. Wow!!! This is a strong flavored beer. It is like double charcoal. I know that is a made up term, but I struggle for words here: charcoal, oak, bitter, malt, cocoa. The flavor remains in your mouth for a while. No need to hurry this one. Drinking this bomber by myself. The second glass is way better. More creamy mouth feel, flavor is changing for the better.

Mouth feel is similar to another I had recently. It feels like there might be some cocoa granules in the mix. Not all that carbonated and not as "thick" as some others. Alcohol is not bashful. All in all I don't think this is one of the infected ones which I felt were described as being a little sour. This beer is different than most stouts I have had. It is not as sweet, but then again this one has already been around awhile. I hear rumors that Deschutes may come to the Midwest. I would like to try another one. For me to wait a year after bottling to drink a beer is rare. I am not patient.

daledeee, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of bernardus1212
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

g> brandy snifter
L> thick black color with a dark brown head
S> rich chocolate with some spice: hop, clove, cinnamon
T> well balanced between the hop and chocolate, love it
MF> Soft almost no presence of the 11%
D> one bottle myself then maybe share another.

bernardus1212, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of Wisconsinality
1.58/5  rDev -65%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bomber poured into Delerium tulip.

2009 Vintage.

A- Pours a deep brown with a big two and a half finger mocha head. The head takes a while to die down and leaves some spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

S- My fears about this beer has come true. I have an infected Abyss. Smells like a wild stout. Some funkiness dominates the nose to go along with sour cherries, roasted malt and a little bit of milk chocolate.

T- Lots of infection, I mean funkiness. Sour cherries, a little smokiness and some chocolate notes. Nothing else is very apparent besides the tartness.

M- Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Dry on the finish but I am not sure if that was the way it was intended or due to the infection.

D- Pretty much a drain pour. I was hoping I would be one of the lucky ones but alas, I was not. Looking forward to trying to '10 though.

Wisconsinality, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of afksports
4/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to CooperEllis for sharing this bottle with me at a recent tasting and helping me knock #4 off August's Top100! We got lucky tasting a non-infected 2009 vintage bottle about a week before the "best after" date.

This baby is pitch black. And it's got the most incredible lacing and legs I've seen in a while. You could drink a glass of this, come back 20 minutes later, and you'd have another ounce in your glass. It's boozy though, and that comes through in the smell. But the licorice comes first and is followed by a mix of complex stuff that I'm not equipped to describe. I wrote down "anise" in my notes. That's gotta be there. Because it's sure in the taste. Almost too much. I'm in love with Good 'n' Plenty's, and probably will be for a while, but this one womped me with licorice.

That said, it's probably one of the most complex ones I've tasted in a while, and it took a half bottle to get any type of read on what my palate should expect. It's a full-bodied brew that's mainly a sipper. One on special occasions seems just about right.

afksports, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of Riccymon
3.75/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. I decided I'd waited long enough to see if InfectionGate was all it had been made out to be.

Pours from the bottle a dark, opaque black with a good layer of brownish head. Subsequent pours don't yield as much head. On first pour, with the beer still a big on the chilled side, I fancy I pick up some sour cherry notes, the oft-described early indicator of Abyssfection. After the beer warms, however, I don't smell or taste any such off-flavors. Instead, the nose is on the boozy side, with a little oak aroma peeking through.

The Abyss is much more full in flavor than smell. Flavors are a touch smokey, but moreso the oak and black licorice flavors come through. I'm not finding the flavor all that complex. While the beer does impart a little warming, it doesn't taste all that hot. Mouthfeel are a little on the harsh side for me, and it's really the only place that bitterness comes through. Body is fairly full, as expected.

On the whole, Abyss was okay, as far as big stouts go. I've been sipping it for a few hours now, and it's definitely not a bomber I'd drink regularly.

Riccymon, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of hardy008
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Reserve. Best after 11/1/2010.

Pours dark black with a dark milk chocolate colored 3 finger head with great retention and lacing. The aroma has licorice, molasses, chocolate, espresso, oak and bourbon.

The beer tastes like the aroma, and is more intense than the aroma, which was a little lighter than expected. The licorice, molasses, chocolate, espresso, oak and bourbon flavors combine perfectly to make a nice sweet beer, with just a little bitterness for balance.

Medium to full bodied, creamy, smooth,with medium carbonation. This is a superb Imperial Stout. Not much heat for an 11.00% abv beer. Thankfully this is not an infected bottle. I will be sure to pick up the 2010 Reserve when it becomes available.

hardy008, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of BeerShirts
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Blackness is all I see, no light gets through this stuff, thin lace for a head that is a tan mocha color

S- Coffee, toffee, sweet chocolate, roasted malt,

T- Wow. it first hits with a sweet taste and then dies into a dry roasted malt taste. There is no real alcohol burn just a slight warmth that is a lot less then expected for such a strong beer

M- Thick and oily with very little to no carbonation

D- Great beer to start with at night or after a meal. You definitely need to share this bottle or you will be gone after you finish it all.

BeerShirts, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 version.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter and impenetrable abyss (sorry, couldn't resist) of black. Held up to a bare lightbulb and not light could poke through.

The aroma was licorice, molasses, vanilla, dried plums, burnt grain, dark chocolate, and firewood-roasted marshmallows. Complex and inviting.

The taste followed the nose perfectly but with the added bonus of espresso in the middle. I didn't get the aroma of coffee/espresso in the nose but it was there in the flavor. The taste gets considerably better as it warms and blends together. I didn't think it possible but the sweet vanilla (from the wood) grows stronger the warmer it gets.

Smooth, oh so smooth. Molten chocolate cake in a glass. I know there's alcohol in here but I can't taste it all.

This is what other Imperial stouts want to be when they grow up. I can only imagine how good this gets with age on it.

BuckeyeOne, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of Hoptoss
3.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had the 2009 version on three times this year, twice from bottle and once on tap.

Color of both the head and the beer were very dark. Barely any shine through.

Smell was moderatley strong, more so from the bottles than on the tap. Smelled of heavily roasted malts; coffee, and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel was lighter than expected, conversely there was a stronger taste of alcohol.

Taste: Same as smell, a hint of bitter chocolate, followed by dark coffee, then chocolate again. Alcohol present strong, but complimentary, not dominating.

Tap and Bottle Differences: Nothing much, except the tap had a lighter mouthfeel and stronger alcohol tones than from the bottle. Differences were minor.

Hoptoss, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of Phelps
3.95/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I wanted to open a special beer to celebrate my 23rd birthday, and this one's "best after" date of November 1 coincided nicely. This is the 2009 vintage, poured into my Bruery tulip.

A: abyssal, bottomless black. Void-like, the darkness of this beer sucks in all light. A fizzy one-finger head the color of cardboard rises up from the inky depths slowly and dissipates after a short time. A sticky, foamy ring lingers at the edges, surrounding some oily residue.

S: lots of licorice, molasses, lactic dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanuts, lightly toasted bread, caramel and malted chocolate. Very nice.

T: this appears to be an uninfected bottle. HUZZAH! The barrel-aged characters are far more apparent here: oak, vanilla, a teeny bit of bourbon. The beer improves tremendously as it warms, as sweet plums emerge amidst light roast coffee, black licorice and toasty wheat bread. The deeper, acrid charred flavors march in slowly after the swallow and linger nicely between sips. There's a great balance of complex sweet and roasty flavors here, and every sip reveals new dimensions.

M: the body's just a shade under medium, soft and smooth. It's just a little thin for such a big stout. A medium, numbing carbonation caresses the tongue. The alcohol is pretty hefty at first, flaming the throat like heartburn on the way down, but this too improves as I work my way through the glass.

D: I've enjoyed the Abyss both fresh and aged now, and can say that it's a beer that definitely improves with time. The heat has died down and the flavors, though not quite as bright, are nicely melded. Not mind-blowing, but definitely enjoyable. Finished a whole bottle myself. Happy birthday to me!

Phelps, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of soze47
4.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm glad I caught the tail-end of this barrel at Red Bones NW Fest on 11/12/10.

Appearance: Very deep black (it almost looks brown a little around the edges) and makes my pint glass (yes, I had a full pint of this bad boy!) look like an opaque plastic cup. Very rich and thick brown frothy head that took quite a while to settle. It does have a somewhat red wine looking coloration on the edges of the glass as you drink it. Very deep and looks the part.

Aroma: Dark, bitter chocolate for sure, but definite hints of spices and subtle alcohol heat. Rich smelling.

Taste: The most unique aspect of this beer is the anise/licorice notes I get on top of the traditional dark chocolate. Creates a rich, almost spicy flavor that gets richer as the boozy heat opens up your taste bud. The more I drink of this pint, the more the smokey undertones come out. It isn't just a burnt flavor, which is there, but more of a BBQ/hickory flavor. Very layered flavor that develops as your drink.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Nice big and rich body, but not that filling. This one goes down very smooth considering the ABV and style. Having two of these in one night would be a great session. The linger on it is just right too. It allows flavors to develop throughout the glass, but doesn't overstay or overwhelm the palette.

Overall: I can understand the hype, not so much because this is one of the best beers I've ever had, but because it is unique for the style. The smokey, licorice taste goes well with the big chocolate and roasted malt that was expected. The body is also dangerously drinkable.

33 Beers Flavor Chart (5 high to 1 low):
Alcohol/Solvent: 3.5
Dark Fruit: 3
Citrus Fruit: 1
Hoppy (pine): 1.5
Floral: 1.5
Spicy: 3
Herbal: 2
Malty: 4
Toffee: 3.5
Burnt: 3.5
Sweet: 4
Sour: 1
Bitter: 3.5
Astringent: 1.5
Body: 4
Linger 4

soze47, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of kbanks13
4.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night on tap at Red Bones BBQ, surprised/relieved that this hadn't kicked yet.

16 oz pour into a pint glass instead of the 10.5 oz listed on the menu, fine with me! Poured opaque black, so black that I swear the lights got dimmer when it was poured because it could suck all the light out of a room. Caramel colored two-finger light head that had good retention for a RIS. This looked like you would expect a RIS to look like, but with a little added darkness in body and wood color in the head from the barrels. Smelled largely of vanilla, currents, chocolate and coffee. Faint earthy aromas mixed with a little booze. Tasted even better than it smelled. All of the same flavors from the nose, mostly vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Brown sugar was now noticeable along with decent floral hops to make it just bitter enough. The wood/earthy flavors pulled through a bit stronger than before, too. Bourbon in the way back, enough to compliment but not overpower. Felt thick and rich, very creamy and viscous. Coating and filmy. Low carbonation rounds out the body. Drinks incredibly easy for 11% and, thankfully, not overly boozy like I thought fresh '09 BCBS was. Maybe the year it sat mellowed it out some, but this beer was delicious and drank very well, regardless. I wanted to drink another glass because it tasted so nice and balanced but I didn't order one because I had my fill with the bigger serving size. I would love to have a bottle or two of this aging, but this is definitely one I would want to split with a friend.

kbanks13, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of Douglas88
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by footbalm. Pours a deep dark brown with a similarly brownish head. The aroma is really great; deep moss covered earth, smoke, coffee, and some sweet molasses. The taste is top notch, really complex and yet so damn smooth. As with many great beers this changes a ton with warming; first, a bitter chocolate flavor with dark fruits, vanilla, brown sugar, and smoke. Later with warming the fruit and roasted malts come to fore, so damn good. A bourbon taste for sure, along with a really great creamy body. The ABV is strong at first, then nonexistent. Wow! All it was hyped to be. Re-rate: at the 2010 Imperial Stout tasting Sam crack open the vertical, 2006-2009! 2006 was sublime, dark fruit, oily and powerful. 2007 might have stolen the show, just amazing; rich fruits, plums and figs, oily can nastiness that I love. My faith in the Abyss is 100%. 2008 and 09 are great, but waiting to peak. I had a whole fresh 2009 recently and didn't dig it as much, but after trying all vintages I know this beer is among the best, and it cellars great. Thanks a ton Sam!

Douglas88, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of cbutova
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very awesome of Chico to share this one last night... we were both skeptical of infection so I brought along a BA IST just in case (which was infected). Not even close to infected, very awesome since he had to trade across the country for this one.

A- Black as the night sky with a gigantic foamy, dark tan head. The retention on this one rivals any Stout that I can think of. A ton of thick lace coats the entire glass.

S- Very impressive, complex and not overly aggressive. Tons of dark roast malt and a huge blast of oak. The slight bourbon, vanilla backdrop makes this special. Molasses, licorice and a bit of alcohol round out a world class aroma.

T- A lot going on, all of which is superbly balanced. Oak is the one thing I would call very heavy here but it goes so well with the roast malt, molasses, tasteful bourbon, vanilla and licorice (which works quite well). Sweetness is here but in a good way. Slight raisin later on in a flavor with masterfully hidden alcohol.

MF- Thick, oily body with lower end smooth carbonation, very smooth. Slightly warm and some roasty cocoa bitterness feeling. Somewhat creamy.

DB- The first truly world class beer I have had since Pannepot. I found this to be a perfect blend of over the top Bourbon-aged beers like KBS and a regular RIS. The barrel aging is used perfectly and I now realize why this beer has always been in the top 5. Superb balance of a wide array of Stout flavors!

cbutova, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
4.95/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage - not infected!
It was tempting to open this before the 'best after' date (11/1/10) after the flood of infection reports, I am very glad I waited. Received in a trade from rmjavanut and shared with cbutova.

Black as..sigh..the abyss. Huge puffy, bubbly brown head retains excellently leaving good lacing.

Extremely potent scent of chocolate, licorice, roasted malt, slight bourbon.

The taste can only be described as 'win'...loads of caramel, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and espresso are up front. Oak and bourbon appears mid-palate. Hints of dark fruit, smoke and high quality spirits are more noticeable over time. It is sweet and rich, but incredibly well-balanced and complex, gets better with every sip.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and oily, reminds me of Kate the Great. It's impressive but I would've liked to see a bit more heftiness, a very minor complaint. The alcohol is there, but hidden for 11%, and is only another layer to an already huge beer.

Amazingly towering in it's complexities. Just about every flavor I could want in an imperial stout is not only here, but balanced to perfection. Definitely a beer I will seek out multiple bottles of in the future.

**Note - also was honored to try the 2007 vintage, a little over 4 years in the bottle. Definitely mellowed out on the bourbon but holding up great. Lots of flavor, smooth, alcohol well-hidden. Awesome beer.

Chico1985, Nov 08, 2010
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,106 ratings.