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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,716 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,716
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,660
Gots: 2,932 | FT: 243
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,716 | Reviews: 1,766
Photo of mikehblack
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Bottle

A- Pours pitch black. Dark ruby-brown head recedes to a thin ring. Some lacing and alcohol cling to the glass.

S- Rich chocolate cake. Dark cherries and fresh roasted espresso. Slight bourbon barrel note of oak and vanilla.

T- Smooth chocolate covered cherries followed by coffee and sweet vanilla. Finishes with a toffee/roasty note that begs for another sip.

M- Wonderfully thick, coats the mouth like silky hot chocolate. Perfect carbonation, not too much. Goes down very smooth with hardly any alcohol noticeable.

O- What a perfect imperial stout. One year in the bottle has tamed the heat. It will be hard not to crack my one other bottle of this vintage.

Photo of wdeck9
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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

2011 Reserve

A: The Abyss pours a very dark black with a nice inch thick head, that quickly fades.

S: I am getting a good amount of roastedness and coffee. You can smell some bourbon and oak with a faint bit of toffee.

T: Where to start. This is like Willy Wonka made this beer and there are a million different flavors popping up. I am getting a nice coffee flavor and some type of wine sweetness. It gives you a nice warm feeling and has a nice alcohol flavor. I am also getting some chocolate and some vanilla.

M: The Abyss is exceptionally smooth. It has a tiny bit of carbonation, but its absolutely perfect.

O: I hate to give a beer all 5's, but this is a beer that deserves it. I was so excited to get this and it didnt let me down. I have never had a beer so amazing in my life. The tastes are so complex and its just so much to wrap my head around. Just perfect.

Photo of coldriver
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of CardShark
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of BeardedRiker
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My friend and I had two Deschutes beers. I had the Black Butte XXI, at the time we drank the beers it was one year and 364 days old, and my friend had the 2010 Abyss, it being 366 days old. We expected the drinking event would be superb. Little did we know it would blow our socks off.

This is a beautifully dark beer. What did Nietzsche say? "When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Well, with this beer, you just get sucked into it like a black hole. It's the blackest of black. When you hold it up to a light it is as if the light cannot compete. Ok, maybe I'm just saying BS here, but the point is this beer is midnight, charcoal black. The head forms relatively slowly and looks like a mocha foam, yet creamy.

If you spend half an hour just smelling this then I wouldn't blame you. Every inhalation of The Abyss is like you're inhaling for the first time, it is so complex. You literally cannot get enough. The smell has a warmth to it like smelling wine. It's definitely boozy but not overpowering at all, thanks to the rich chocolate and roasted coffee smells. The bottle says the beer is brewed with molasses and it definitely has a sort of burnt sugar aroma. Dark fruits are in there too with a distinct oakiness. Smell it, smell it again, and then keep on smelling. Every whiff will satisfy.

How does The Abyss taste? Oh my, I don't know if it could be properly put into words. Dark roasted coffee, delicious chocolate, satisfying sweetness, dark fruits like raisin and prunes, and some good, warming booziness. Every single flavor was exceptional. It was like a cascade of sweet, roasted awesomeness where the depth of flavor seemed to never end. There's some obvious booziness from the 11% ABV but even with it that high the amount of flavor keeps it completely satisfactory. Sometimes imperial stouts have so much flavor that you feel like you can't drink much of it. In the case of The Abyss such is not the case. With a beer as great as this the bombardment of rich flavor is too satisfying to stray from. There's also a bourbon-ish bite at the end that adds more complexity. I don't know if I've ever given a beer a 5 out of 5 on anything but I'm content with giving The Abyss a perfect score when it comes to taste.

Like I said when explaining the taste of The Abyss, many times I feel as I can't drink too much of an imperial stout, no matter how much I like the style, because they're so flavorful, so boozy, and so heavy. Well, The Abyss, while being a heavy beer, doesn't feel like it. It's not thin at all. It's just perfect. Creamy, smooth, a bit sticky from the sweetness, and insanely drinkable for how much flavor it has.

When I was drinking The Abyss I knew it was a great beer but it wasn't until after I drank it that I realized just how flippin' good it was. I actually got a bit...depressed because I knew I wouldn't drink another beer as good for a long time. The next time I see this on the shelf I'll definitely be purchasing it and aging it. I can only imagine how it tastes when aged longer. Great beer.

Photo of PostVinyl
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of LaCoursiere
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of dgian13
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of strangefate
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of doughanson78
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

A: Pitch black. One and a half finger darker mocha head with awesome retention and lacing. Very beautiful beer.

S: Big molasses. Huge roasted malts. Chocolate, coffee. Light anise. Very light bourbon. Light ashy oakiness. Alcohol becomes slightly present as it warms.

T: Chocolate and molasses upfront. Coffee and milk, along with oak, some light bourbon and wine qualities. Light anise in the middle and finish. Slight cherry tartness once it warms.

M: Full bodied, but not thick. Creamy, slick, and slightly dry. Medium carbonation.

O: Very good indeed. Could use age to better blend the flavors. Is still good fresh.

Photo of MalaMi
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of antoines15
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-2010 vintage

Pours black in color, with a rich creamy mocha color head of foam.

Earthy in the nose upfront with a touch of sweetness that reminds me of beet sugar and candied yams. The licorice and molasses seem melted together on the nose giving the beer a nice dark brown sugar, almost rich pancake syrup like smell, with a chocolate fudge quality. As the beer warms it begins to develop aromas of roasted malt, bourbon and vanilla, with a slight booziness.

Low to almost no carbonation. Very soft and velvety on the the palate. Light to medium in body, almost to the point of being thin in the mouthfeel, making it dangerously easy to drink. Pretty amazing really. The 11% Abv is so well integrated it's undetectable. The barrel aging and addition of molasses, licorice are all perfectly in balance for me. Which is the standout of this beer, with all that's going on in Abyss it drinks so smoothly.
Has that earthy aspect in the taste, with the faint beet sugar and candied yams feel from the nose. Lots of fudge and milk chocolate flavors going on. Not too much licorice though. The molasses seems more evident with some good caramel notes mixed in. Bourbon and vanilla flavors appear more on the palate as the beer warms. It finishes with a roasted malt, somewhat bitter and dark fudge feel.
The mouthfeel on this beer was amazing for me almost to the point of being refreshing for a Double Imperial Stout.

Photo of chiefs58dt
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of nopucophop
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of redblacks75
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Beertracker
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of ncmussell
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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

On tap @ Elliott Bay Pizza and Pub

A- Black as night - as true to form as it could be.

S- Smells of coffee, bourbon, chocolate - everything you would expect from the style.

I'm going to just stop this review. This brew is fantastic! I have had multiple vintages on tap...this is one of the most excessible. Very drinkable - just like the others...I'm sure it will age nicely. Seek out, rob and or pilage for a bottle.

Photo of LockeSD
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of placlair
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of bob727
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Mielbeer
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,716 ratings.