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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,805 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,805
Reviews: 1,635
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,454
Gots: 2,183 | FT: 149
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: 4,805 | Reviews: 1,635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jera1350


4.03/5  rDev -10.8%

Thanks to bosnreeb85 for this 09 bottle.

Pours a muddy brown with a fantastic brown head of tight fluff. Leave some lacing on the glass.

Chocolate, coffee, some oak, hint of bourbon and bit of vanilla and bourbon.

Lots of coffee up front which adds some bitterness. Not as complex as I was hoping for. Needs some time to reach its peak. Not as oaky and bourbony as I would have thought. Some hints of vanilla bean as well.

Carbonation is a bit harsh. Full bodied, but not as rich and thick as other top RIS's. Dry finishing.

Alcohol is well hidden, which makes this pretty easy to drink. Not overly rich and thick, but this really needs to age to reach its full potential. Wanted to try it fresh, but it's now apparent that it will be remarkably better with a year or more on it.

11-28-2009 22:40:20 | More by jera1350
Photo of Reaper16


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%

22oz. bomber served into a Gulden Draak tulip

This shit is Wesley Snipes-black. It is Charlie Murphy-black. There is nearly two fingers of tan head, which is fairly substantial for an imperial stout. The lacing is tight, and reminiscent of the black swirls in the symbiotic uniform of Carnage (Marvel Comics). Awesome.

Holy balls, this smells like a heath bar. With coffee put on it. There are loads of dark chocolate and delicious toffee aromas. This isn't, ostensibly, a coffee stout but there certainly is a heavy coffee element to this beer. There is a fruit character to the beer that tastes like a blend of black currant and yuzu, but this isn't by any means an overly fruity stout.

This beer tastes awesome. The nose carries over onto the tongue. Its so fruity if you hold it on the tip of your tongue. On the back end of the palate? Lots of roasted malt. The roast character is really special; its flavorful and bitter but simultaneously smooth as Hell. I have to note that the alcohol is noticeable. You don't taste it so much as you sense it; the fusels aren't tasted but rather expelled through your nose when you breath out. The aftertaste is exquisite -- the hops really work themselves into a drying, herbal, minty thing. The roast character sticks out amongst those hops and eventually it all melds into an ice cream/pudding like flavor until you refresh your palate with another sip.

The mouthfeel is pleasantly thick. It isn't so viscous as to completely coat the sides and roof of your mouth, but its going to be pretty chewy. Drinkability is nice if only because this beer is both full flavored (in every sense of the word) and smooth. The slight alcohol harshness prevents this from being scored even higher.

Nietzche had it right: stare long into the abyss and the abyss stares back at you. This beer will haunt you like Slenderman on your Marble Hornets video footage. I can't wait until I try this vintage a year from now.

11-28-2009 05:15:37 | More by Reaper16
Photo of Docer


4.05/5  rDev -10.4%

Had a fresh 2009 bottle because it sounded good.

- Nice not-so-dark black... could somewhat see a little through the edges... nice and brown. Somewhat thick light mocha colored head, down to a solid 1/8" constant layer on top. This puppy is alive and well, and was wanting to sit for a couple years.

- Nice sweet oats, vanilla, brown sugars.... wet grain... light bourbon, and oak.

- Smooth sailing even fresh, if not just a little too bitter.... great vanilla oak flavors with some fantastic grains and oats in taste. Overall pretty tasty... but not quite as good as I think it will be in the future.

- Somewhat thick but bubbly all the same... so not too bad... more med. bodied.... slightly dry, and chalky.

- Overall still a fantastic and unique stout.... and I know it will be better years down the road.

11-27-2009 16:18:00 | More by Docer
Photo of boatshoes


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%

2008 vintage provided to by JohnGalt1. A great beer from a great trader!

Appearance- Pours a usual shade of opaque black but with a nice finger and a half of brown head that builds up off of the body of the beer. Large and bubbly head with a fair amount of lacing left as I drink.

Smell- Lots going on here. Roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, burnt coffee, licorice, brown sugar, and just a touch of wood are the primary smells that I can detect. However, there is a lot happening and I doubt that I got it all.

Taste- Here, lots of rich brown sugar, a healthy dose of roastiness, some burnt coffee, bitter chocolate, licorice, and a touch of astringent alcohol. Unfortunately for me, I am very sensitive to licorice flavors after somehow managing to chew on the branch of an anise plant as a child on a trip to Greece and nearly threw up afterwards as a result of the strength of the flavor. While that experience heightened the licorice flavors for me, I doubt they would be so overwhelming to the normal drinker. A complex RIS and very tasty.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Substantial mouthfeel, though I actually found the astringent alcohol to make the carbonation feel a touch aggressive. However, it is complex and surprisingly drinkable for an imperial stout.

Overall, a world class beverage and fairly widely available to boot. Get your hands on one, and Sproser, we'll have to share another vintage sometime under less clandestine circumstances!

11-27-2009 05:43:48 | More by boatshoes
Photo of jampics2


4.83/5  rDev +6.9%

On tap at Papago in Scotsdale. Wow did we luck out to get to try this on tap. I've had a bottle of the 2008 before, and I have a vertical in my cellar, but being from Cleveland it's so hard to open one of these without feeling the occasion does not warrant it. So, we were super psyched to get a nice snifter of this beauty from the tap.

Appearance is wonderful. Pitch black. Nice small ring of brown-ish foam lets us know it's alive ;)

Smell is great. Chocolatey malt, a hint of wood, and a great deep roast are wafted towards me.

Taste is absolutely incomparable. This is the smoothest and most pristine example of a complex wood-aged American Imperial Stout I've ever had. Starts off with a nice roast kick, then smooths out into vanilla and wood. I love the way the chocolatey taste and wood mingle with the roasted flavor. A hint of licorice makes this absolutely one of the most cohesive complex flavor profiles I've ever enjoyed. Could not be any better!

Mouth is spot-on. Not too creamy, but perfect carb and a nice visco.

Drinkability is fantastic. I helped my fiancee finish hers and could have had another couple. It was just that good.

I love this beer. No worries about falling into the abyss, take the plunge, it'll hold you in darkness just long enough to appreciate the light. A world class offering and something I will be ISO each year.

11-26-2009 20:16:37 | More by jampics2
Photo of ShrLSU


4.47/5  rDev -1.1%

2007 version poured into a snifter...

Pours a deep black with a nice tan head that recedes nicely into a halo. slight patchy lacing left on the edges.

The aroma is of roasted coffee, some toffee, bitter chocolate, some vanilla, and a light alcohol burn.

The taste is smoother than I imagined. It nice and roasty up front. It then recedes into a semi sweet vanilla and then a bitter coffee and toasted malt taste. A light alcohol burn and woodiness on the finish.

Very smooth and rich. Almost a bit chewy. Low carbonation but the perfect amount.

Overall this is everything I hoped it would be. A fantastic imperial stout that lives up to the billing.

11-26-2009 05:59:03 | More by ShrLSU
Photo of ryrust5301


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%

Long have I waited to try this one, as I have patiently sat on this for two years before cracking open my first 2007 vintage. You can't nail the appearance any more than this. Oil slick black color with a lively coco colored head adorning the top. Thick gobs of lace hold fast while an everpresent halo of foamy bubbles stays around for the ride. The nose is very deep with flavor. Chocolate and vanilla whaft around a bit, as does a bourbon coated hop scent. Lots of aromas at work here. Taste is good, but subtle. Very gentle vanilla kisses the tongue alond with a thin chocolate coating. The hop bitterness lends a hand to help balance things out from all the sweetness, and combines with a coffee presence. I think the age has helped knock the alcohol burn down a lot to where it's hardly even noticeable. Moutfeel is tremendously smooth, but is a little lighter than i'd like it to be. I little more chewy with a touch of stickiness would be nice. A wonderful beer to be sure, but is it the best imperial stout out there? No, I thought Dark Lord was a cut above.

11-26-2009 05:37:18 | More by ryrust5301
Photo of davod23


4.33/5  rDev -4.2%

2008 bottle, poured into my Bruery tulip.

Surprise, surprise! It's black! There's a very slight ring of auburn around the edge of the liquid when I hold it up to the light... but yeah, pretty much black. A tan head forms, but dissolves to nothing within a minute or two.

Smell is of dark chocolate, roasted malt, black licorice, and a hint of a sweet smell... almost like pancake syrup... perhaps that's the molasses talking. It's nice. It could be amped up a bit, IMO, but it's nice.

Taste is very good. Rich chocolate and black licorice take center stage - although, unlike some beers (I'm looking at you, Ten Fidy) the licorice is not overbearing. It's well done here. It's a sweet brew, but not very sweet as compared to other imperial stouts. The barrel aging notes are minimal here. No evidence of heat whatsoever. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is good. It's not as thick and chewy as I would like, but it's close.

As imperial stouts go, this is very drinkable. I think the controlled sweetness goes a long way for this.

Very nice beer from Deschutes. As far as widely-available imperial stouts go, this is king. However, that said, I do not LOVE this beer. I like it a great deal, and would never shy away from drinking it... but it doesn't grab me the way it seems to grab others here. But, in any case, this is a very, very good beer.

11-25-2009 15:37:39 | More by davod23
Photo of muttyd


4.15/5  rDev -8.2%

2009 bottle.

Deep black pour with huge tan foamy head. Aroma of roasted malts, coffee, bourbon and vanilla.

Flavor is of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts. Very creamy and thick. Not sure what the licorice does to the beer, but the ingredients all combine to make one hell of a beer. Very creamy and thick. The alcohol in this 11% ABV is very well hidden and the beer is extremely drinkable.

Going to cellar a few to see what a year or two does to this beer.

11-25-2009 14:08:55 | More by muttyd
Photo of Trappissed


4.33/5  rDev -4.2%

2009 reserve

Definitely tasted the black licorice and molasses. Charred dark malts. A little coffee. Traces of bourbon and vanilla. Aside from the licorice, I'm also getting some sort of other spice or herb. Went down fairly easy for such a big beer. Mouthfeel was actually thinner than I was expecting.

Glad i finally got to try this, but somewhat let down. Then again, I'm not a huge fan of black licorice and I also had my hopes set pretty high, expecting one of the best beers of all time. I can still appreciate this beer though and understand why it has such a large following.

11-22-2009 08:28:55 | More by Trappissed
Photo of GarrisWH


4.47/5  rDev -1.1%

2009 vintage

A - Pours an opaque, pitch black with two fingers of creamy, dark tan head that slowly descends, leaving ample lacing behind. Nice retention.

S - A menage of roasted dark malts, chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruit, and bourbon. Ample hop bitterness in the aroma as well. There is a touch of alcohol on the nose, but it seems to be masked rather well. Great aroma overall.

T - Similar to the nose, with an array of flavors coming through. Rich, dark roasted malts complemented with some nice coffee flavors up front. Bittersweet chocolate, molasses, dark fruit flavors, a hint of bourbon, and a touch of spiciness(perhaps the licorice?) come through in the middle. A fairly strong hop bitterness lends some dryness and balance to the finish. Slight alcohol burn, but it is really well hidden overall. Great, complex flavor.

M - Medium-full body with light carbonation. Perhaps a bit light bodied for the style, but it is velvety smooth, and rich enough without being overly filling.

D - This brew is just delicious and very well done in every aspect. Great complexities and balance, and the 11% ABV is hidden very well. A treat, indeed.

11-22-2009 04:19:46 | More by GarrisWH
Photo of hansendc


5/5  rDev +10.6%

This is as good as they say. I've had the '08 on tap and the '09 on tap and in the bottle.

I confess; I'm not impartial. I waited in line the day they released this at the Portland pub. I'd only tasted it twice before ('06 bottle and '08 tap), but I knew I wanted more. Releasing it on a weekday at 2pm guaranteed that only the unemployed or those who value beer more than their job would be there (sorry boss).

I've been sampling other Imperial Stouts to calibrate my taste so I can give some context. I've had Storm King, Rogue's Russian Imperial, and Obovoid in the last week. This beer stands up and surpasses them all. It doesn't have the oakiness of Obovoid or the hops of Rogue's, but it does have the complete package.

In a word: balance. There's some oak here, but it's subtle. It is, of course, hoppy, but it doesn't leave *any* harsh aftertaste like Rogue's (which I love, btw). It is a truly a Goldilocks beer. Not too thick, not too thin, not too hoppy, carbonated or oaky.

This is one of those beers that just brings a sense of calm to your entire body. If you've had a beer like this, you know what I'm talking about.

It does get better with time. I had the '08/'09 side-by-side flight at the Portland Pub and the difference was definitely noticeable. Not pronounced, but definitely there. Have some restraint and age this a year if you get more than a bottle.

I'm not sure there's a single beer in the world I'd rather have.

11-20-2009 06:27:06 | More by hansendc
Photo of hayesez


4.93/5  rDev +9.1%

This is certainly one of my favorite beers. Had all of the different years, but have enjoyed a 2009 last night and tonight - extremely impressive, especially considering they nearly doubled their production this year.

Poured into 12 ounce goblet

Pours as black as the name indicates. Two fingers of light brown head that dissipated in a few minutes leaving a sticky lace around my glass.

I absolutely love the smell of this beer...and i get different smells every time! The alcohol is masked well by the coffee, malts, dark fruits, and a tinge of coffee. There is a lot going on in this beer!

One of my all time favorites as far as taste goes...I made sure to pick up several the past few years. They mellow out to perfection over time, but even the 2009 tastes phenomenal. It's really difficult to describe as there is so much going on in this beer. there is an intial roasty sweet malty coffee flavor that gives way to a baker's chocolate. The beer finishes a couple of different times, leaving some bitter / licorice behind. I like this beer slightly chilled but always find it getting better and better the closer it gets to room temperature. The flavors just jump out at you!

The Abyss is just a little thinner than I'd expect from the style, but I love the way it coats the inside of my mouth.

Seriously, this is one of those beers that is tough to keep in the cellar. Truly a masterpiece. Well done Deschutes!

11-20-2009 04:25:43 | More by hayesez
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -3.1%

I poured from the 2009 vintage into a snifter. In typical Imperial stout fashion, the brew pours jet black with a thin tan head. The smell is amazing! There are deep chocolates, coffee, rum, dark fruit, the best smelling beer I have ever had. The flavor is more chocolate, coffee and a bit boozier. The licorice and molasse are also noted. The beer is a full bodied sipper. The carbonation is a bit higher than expected, which is not a bad thing. Overall this beer is well deserving of its praise.

11-19-2009 02:23:16 | More by bonkers
Photo of DrDogbeer


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

2009 Abyss poured gently into a Dogfish snifter at cellar temp. Pours smoothly and generates a thin dark tan head. Pitch black. Aromas of coffee, oak, booze dominate. Taste is similar with a light kick of hops and chocolate at the finish. Medium to full bodied, but not as creamy as I had hoped. Still very smooth, but does have that bite at the finish that leaves an alcohol tinge in the mouth. Wonderful beer (slightly more coffee and a kick than the other members of the "big 4")- right up there with Kate (more chocolate) and DL (more booze and a bit creamier) for me, just behind Darkness (just plain creamier and dessert like) yet I still have to do a vertical with my 08 and 07- just waiting for the right day!

11-19-2009 02:07:27 | More by DrDogbeer
Photo of BeerIsland


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

The 2009 Abyss was graciously brought back from Portland by Leslie to share with her husband Rob and me. She happened to luck onto the brewery on release day and watched with amazement as the line to drink and purchase went out the door and down the street. I really enjoyed the opportunity to drink this highly rated beer and was not disappointed. It's beautiful in the glass, as dark as it can get with a very brown head that lasted a while and laced the glass as it went. There's a big, full nose with a touch of alcohol in it. The mouthfeel was oddly light at first but more richness and complexity toward the finish. The flavor was full and well balanced with chocolate being the most noticable. A very lovely beer.

11-18-2009 16:52:43 | More by BeerIsland
Photo of saintwarrick

South Carolina

4.95/5  rDev +9.5%

2009 vintage
On my second glass of this brew, and it lives up to the reputation. This brew is a nearly opaque black with a foamy brown head, lacing the glass all the way down. Aroma is top notch, lots of dark chocolate, some light coffee. Very thick tasting brew, coats the tongue with a lot of bitter chocolate, cocoa and a slight hint of bourbon; not much in the licorice department but that's OK -- a little alcohol burn comes through at the end. It's a bit boozy, but nothing that alters the taste or chases you away.

Wow, very well-crafted brew, takes its place with Brooklyn BCS and Ted Fidy as my favorite RIS's.

11-18-2009 02:50:32 | More by saintwarrick
Photo of sprucetip


4.7/5  rDev +4%

2008 vintage, from notes. Pours black, thick-ish chocolaty head with some retention, and very thin, spotty lacing. Glorious. SMELL molasses, alcoholic esters, black patent, licorice, coffee, some sweetness. Nose is nice, but not exceptional, or even bold. TASTE licorice, molasses, roasted grains, coffee, bitter chocolate, some malty sweetness underneath. Woody notes add complexity and roasty & hoppy bitterness rise briefly before the clean finish. Wicked smooth, complex and balanced. Something close to perfect. FEEL mild carbonation, luxurious rich texture with high viscosity. Full, smooth, long lingering pleasant sensation. OVERALL sure it's big and designed to be a sipper. But when something is as delicious as this, the sips come at short intervals. One of my all time favorites.

11-16-2009 21:41:25 | More by sprucetip
Photo of mikey711

New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +0.2%

This is the 08 vintage.

A: Black as black can be. only a mild amount of mocha colored head, that did not retain very well. Only a touch of lace is present.

S: Very nice roastiness, with some coffee that is held up by a a nice wood and vanilla note. Some of the bourbon comes out as well and provides a tough more sweetness.

T: Very nice chocolate note to start. The chocolate is both sweet and bitter. The wood is noticeable and provides some vanilla and bourbon flavor. It has a bit of breadiness/ chocolate chip cookie sweetness.

M: Super creamy, smooth, and full bodied with out being overwhelmingly heavy, cloyingly sweet, or chalky. Also, there is no booziness present at all.

D: Very easy to sip on for a long period of time. The best part is how like this feels despite being such a big beer.

11-16-2009 00:50:31 | More by mikey711
Photo of BDJake


4.47/5  rDev -1.1%

Bought a bottle stating: best before 11/1/2010, but I refused to wait on this one:

A- black, no hints of other colors whatsoever. Dark brown head that left lacing at every sip.

S- coffee notes, with some of the licorice and bourbon slapping you in the face with a bit of unsweetened cocoa

T- coffee and licorice up front, with the dark chocolate and bourbon notes immediately following- very much like the smell, just enough hoppiness to balance out the dark malts and also tasting the alcohol in this beast of a stout

M- decent carbonation, hiding the alcohol rather well, but still very chewy

D- exceptionally well for the strength of this one, understandably burly yet smooth

It isn't perfect, but it really hits the spot, and I will very likely buy one to cellar and sample in the future.

11-14-2009 07:20:59 | More by BDJake
Photo of Genghis22


4.68/5  rDev +3.5%

Best After 11/1/2010 on the bottle.

I've had several vintages of The Abyss, but this is first bottle I've sat down to review. Here we go!

A - Pours a deathly dark black. This isn't just a clever name folks. Zero light gets through, no highlights at the edge of the glass when held up to the light, this thing is BLACK. Big, brown head, with amazing lacing.

S - Everything a RIS should be. Big malty, smokey flavors. A decent amount of oak. Bits of sweetness and coffee. Smells awesome.

T - Strong. Lot of alcohol. This one needs some age. Yee Haw! Big coffee flavors. Roasted malt, smoke oak, vanilla, cocoa, alcohol, and just when you can't handle any more, the hops hit you and balance it out. The flavors have not harmonized yet, that is for sure, but each one is there, and delicious. This will only improve over time. The aftertaste is bitter sweet, like a good cup of coffee, with more touches of oak. (This would be a "5" if I sat on it for a year.)

M - Excellent. Full body. Thick, chewy and amazing. Moderate carbonation, which works very well with a beer this big. The finish is crisp and dry. The alcohol dries the tongue nicely.

D - Whoa! While this beer is easily in my top 3 all time, it is one and done. The flavors are amazing. The mouthfeel is perfect. It's just too much to have more than one at a time. The only way I'd crack more than one bottle of this, is if I was doing a vertical with some friends (which I plan to do next year). Fantastic beer, but really, one is all you need.

11-14-2009 06:00:55 | More by Genghis22
Photo of DNA


4.28/5  rDev -5.3%

Poured at room temperature into a snifter. This beer is aptly named, there is no light penetrating this stuff. The appearance is silky dark, thick, and rich. Just looking at it I can already anticipate the flavors and mouthfeel. The barrel aging shines through in the aroma. Very delicate but noticeable leathery smell. Very pleasant and warming. The taste starts out chocolatey but the alcohol quickly punches through in the finish. Some licorice but that's more in the aroma than the taste. Very complex flavor that probably changes with age. I'll have to save a bottle for a few months and compare. This beer is pretty darn thick. Definitely a sipper.

11-14-2009 01:32:06 | More by DNA
Photo of velosuds


5/5  rDev +10.6%

Edit 3/25/2011 from the 2010 edition.

The 2010 The Abyss is aging extremely well. Best after 11/15/11 according to the label, which is still over 6 months away and this is the very best imperial stout I have ever had. It may be the best beer I have had. I rated the un-infected 2009 very high (4.78 as adjusted for the new weighting), but this is perfection for style IMO. I can't imagine a better imperial stout.

The aroma is intensely fragrant. I think Deschutes should develop and market a men's cologne under this trademark. I would wear it gladly. Aroma is a wonderful array of bourbon, vanilla, anise, chocolate and caramel covered graham crackers - yes smores. Awesome for a beer.

Of course it looks absolutely beautiful, for spacious skies, for dark amber waves of barley grain - I get carried away. And very easily on this dark journey that genuinely sheds light. Most mysterious. Has the characteristic Deschutes two finger head and generous lace. Dark as a moonless night. It is the antithesis of the white color spectrum. Truly gorgeous. Finer than any masterpiece in a dusty museum.

Taste is from the nether regions. Deschutes' brewers may be soothsayers, wizards, magicians, or angels, in addition to great cyclocross racers. There is the bourbon from the barrel aging, but there is also a complex sensation of dark chocolate, carmelized brown sugar, molasses, licorice, vanilla bean, and cherries. I love this craft: it is truly amazing what barley, hops, water, and yeast can produce at the hands of the skilled artisan brewer.

Mouthfeel is perfect.

Overall, this may be my favorite beer. It is a great imperial stout. At $12 to $13 a bomber, it is a better value than anything fermented from grapes. At 11% ABV it is a magnificent dark barleywine. Hats off Deschutes. Do you have something even more marvelous in the works called The Stoic? I am ready to submit to the natural law of the brewer.

Only The Abyss, and Pliny the Elder, are beers I have gone out of my way to obtain. Recently, I stopped at every beer store from Portland to Salem in search of this great Abyss that seemingly mysteriously vanished from the shelves early this summer. I found a jackpot in Corvallis, Oregon and bought nearly a case to get me through the winter.

Highest commendations Deschutes.

"The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey."

- From the label.

2009 Reserve. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Best after 11/1/2010. Couldn't wait. I was already drawn in.

A-Pours a midnight black. Very dark. No light gets through the Abyss. A two finger, creamy tan head with great retention and heavy lacing ensues. A gorgeous craft beer.

S-Deep, dark chocolate covered caramel, licorice, old fashioned molasses, and bourbon. Aroma was wonderfully intense and prominent. Very nice.

T-Caramel and roasted malts with tantalizing tastes of dark chocolate, carmelized brown sugar, espresso, molasses, licorice and vanilla bean. I would love to try an ice cream with these combined flavors. The depth and complexity is amazing, and a credit to the brew master's skills. Taste definitely improves as it warms. I imagine this will also improve as it ages.

M-Robust, but very smooth with medium to full body. Warming due to the alcohol.

D-This is a great beer. Best enjoyed by sipping. The rich, complex flavor profile drew me deeper into the Abyss with each sip. I definitely enjoyed the journey, and enjoyed sharing it with my son.

11-13-2009 06:32:01 | More by velosuds
Photo of vtfan77


4.58/5  rDev +1.3%

I haven't reviewed anything in nearly forever. The list of reasons for this is long and distinguished (like my johnson) and, as such, shall not be written here. I will, however, write a review for the Abyss, a beer that I have been keeping around for about a year for various reasons, most of which are some variation of "I was waiting for a special occasion" or "I was too lazy to cut through all the wax on the bottle." Tonight, being neither a special occasion nor a night on which I'm feeling particularly productive, is, nevertheless, the right night for reviewing this beer. So, without further ado...

A- Black as the very night, which is a bit of a misleading description, as the night is not actually entirely black. Neither, though, is this beer, so it's quite appropriate, actually. The dark liquid is topped by a fantastic brown head that is, in fact, so fantastic that I briefly lost my breath upon viewing it.

S- Thankfully I found my breath in time to inhale the aroma of the beer, which was quite nice both because the aroma was excellent and because I didn't die from lack of oxygen to the brain. Dark chocolate, espresso, burnt toast, buttery vanilla, and a hint of whiskey are all present in the aroma. Although that doesn't really do the aroma justice, as it is much more pleasant than I would expect something consisting only of dark chocolate, espresso, burnt toast, buttery vanilla, and whiskey to be.

T- I take a sip, and I hear an angel cry. Or it may be a baby on the TV, I'm not sure. I turn the TV off and take another sip. Nothing. I guess it was the TV. Anyway, the taste is much like the smell, only instead of smelling it, I can actually taste it, which is better. The dark chocolate taste predominates but it is complemented by a wonderful burnt edge. The whiskey flavor is not immediately apparent but it comes through in the form of a richness that doesn't exist in most stouts. That's what this beer's flavor has over most other beers in its class: complexity. Although my palate is not nearly refined enough to pick out all the subtleties in the taste, I can certainly appreciate this beer's depth of flavor. The finish is moderately bitter with an aftertaste of burnt paper... which, somehow, is a good thing here.

M- Extremely smooth, extremely rich, not really extremely thick but thick enough, and extremely good. To the extreme.

D- Well, I wouldn't normally want to drink an entire bomber of an 11% ABV imperial stout in one sitting, but I want to drink this one. I suppose that's a plus. As far as imperial stouts go, this one is superb in the drinkability department.

I had a Stone IRS, which at one time was one of my absolute favorite beers, last night to see how it would compare with the Abyss. The Abyss beat the life out of it, resuscitated it with a defibrillator, and beat the life out of it again. Now, you might look at the scores I've given these beers in my reviews and ask why this score isn't higher and the Stone score lower. I'll reply by saying, "look, isn't that Garrett Oliver?" and running away. Then, after I think of something to say, I'll come back and tell you it's because I reviewed the Stone IRS a long time ago and my palate and/ or the beer has changed in that period of time. So there. Anyway, if you've been reading this "review" (which we'll call it for the sake of brevity) and wondering if I'd ever get to a point, then wonder no more, because here it is: this is a good beer. If you can get some, I would recommend that you do so at your convenience. Thank you.

11-10-2009 05:41:43 | More by vtfan77
Photo of jrallen34


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

2007 Release drank from the bottle into a chalice for my 250th review.

It pours a motor oil black with a very dark tan head. It stays pitch black even in the light. The head rises about 1 finger and stays there for about a minute. Tht lacing is light and watery, little small raindrops clining to the glass.

The aroma is very strong. As I write the review I start to get whiffs of yuminess from about 2 feet away. I really like this smell because unlike most stouts its biggest note isn't coffee. The coffee is there but very subtle so it allows other things to come to the front. I get a lot of sweet cherry, vanilla, bourbon, a smidge of alcohol and a little oak. A very nice combination all the way around.

The taste is a little of a let down from the aroma because its not as complex, balanced or as sweet as the aroma. Don't get me wrong it is very good, just a little below the high expectations of the aroma. The main taste is coffee from start to finish with a little bitterness, and alcohol at the end. There is also a little vanilla and oak.

The beer itself is full bodied and heavy, and its very long lasting on the palate.

The beer is pretty drinkable for its abv, but comes up a little short of some other stouts.

11-10-2009 01:08:58 | More by jrallen34
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,805 ratings.