The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,771 | Reviews: 1,632 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +7.3%
thanks again to brokenleadedcask for trading this one to me at DLD 09. 08 version
A- this one comes out of the bottle black as can be with a finger and a half of coffee colored head. the head lasts a long time and leaves a wall of lacing on the glass. cant ask for anything more from this style. perfect.
S- i immediately checked the bottle to make sure that only 1/3 of this was aged in bourbon casks. you can smell it and strong. vanilla, oak, and bourbon all come through and strong. loads of roasted malts in here as well as chocolate--mostly dark but milk as well (a slight sweetness). it smells strong, very strong. kind of a turn off but not a huge one. the excitement is building. some coffee/hops in here also. well done.
T- as in the nose, the tiny portion of this that was aged in bourbon barrels makes itself known. tons of wood, vanilla, and bourbon. lots of chocolate also, but not an overwhelming amount. and of course roasted malts. coffee/hops....it just doesnt quit. its potent tasting, somewhat dry, and extremely complex. exceeds expectations and deserves its unbelievably high ranking on this site.
M- full bodied and chewy. its thick, but not dark lord thick. i cant give a perfect rating for this style after ive tried dark lord. theres a warming from the alcohol as it goes down, but its not overly strong and adds to the experience. this is a serious beer and it demands respect.
D- this is possibly my new favorite beer. the sort of thing that i would save my beer money for weeks before it came out...if i could buy it where i lived. what a shame. thanks again to brokenleadedcask for this bottle, and to mba3243 for my 07 bottle thats still waiting. wow. check this one out, its going to be worth the trouble.
05-12-2009 04:26:46 | More by jwinship83
4.22/5 rDev -6.6%
2008 Vintage poured into DFH Snifter.
A - Pours black as black can be with a coffee/tan head which quickly vanishes leave tan bubbles around the edge of the glass. Nothing mind-blowing but looks good, nonetheless.
S - Right off the bat, I get roasted coffee/expresso beans mixed with dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol. I could go on smelling this one for days but I think it's time to move on.
T - Nice dark chocolate notes up front along with some coffee grounds of some sort with a slight oak-alcohol kick on the end which warms me up a bit. A really nice sweet milk chocolate aftertaste. As it warmed & opened up in my glass, the hint of alcohol almost disappeared, amazing.
M - Medium in body, not too thin, no too thick for this one. Very smooth & creamy with a dry finish.
D - A very nice example of a RIS that is worth of its top 10 rating. Better then Dark Lord? Personally, I don't think so.
05-08-2009 23:18:56 | More by Sean9689
4.63/5 rDev +2.4%
2008 vintage, 22 oz bomber thanks to Rhinos00 and Wetpaperbag. This is actually the one Rhinos00 sent me for bags's will be saved for a vertical one day. Thanks guys! This beer has been on my hit list for the longest time and it seems fitting for tonight. Hopefully it lives up to the hype and my expectations. Served up in my Terrapin snifter.
A: Well it pours what so many people often call that used motor oil pour. It had that thick consistency on the look with a nice semi-glossy black in color. Fitting name calling this the Abyss as far as appearance goes for sure. A pretty vigorous pour got me almost half a finger of ginger bread colored head. Sadly, said head did not stick around too long. Fizzled out to a thin ring and an oblong, bubbly elipse of a floater in the center. That ring does what it can to throw up some lace but the stick is not that great. All lace slowly oozes its way back down into the body. The culprit is probably the somewhat syrupy, clear film that easily sticks to the glass on each movement. I was expecting a bit more from this but I have to be realistic and give credit where credit is due. This is a fine looking RIS, but it has room for improvement for sure.
S: The aroma is nice for sure. Getting a nice woody presence coming out. Some nice oakiness in here mixing nicely with the roased malts. Lots of vanilla extract type smell coming out and this might be a bit of a negative. That strong vanilla smell mixed with the alcohol makes an almost chemical like aroma that could have ruined this if it wasn't for everything else going on in here. That strange sweetness that can only be licorice is coming out. A big presence of molasses is forcing its way through. Roasted coffee rounds it out with a slight bitterness and more roast to mingle with that oak. There is a slight fruitiness coming in on the backend and its difficult to put my finger on but it may just be rum soaked raisin. Lovely with just a slight negative in that chemical type smell. I have been going back and forth on whether to give this a 4 or 4.5. I think I will lean higher because the other aromas do make up for that one negative smell.
T: I am absolutely shocked and amazed that I didn't get any chocolate type aromas out of this when I get hit with a big time fudge presence on the first sip. I mean a serious, rich, milk chocolatey goodness. This works well because that is quickly chased by some deeply roasted, espresso coffee qualities that are complimented with a nutty type flavor (could it be hazelnut, my favorite?). Then you can taste that oaky character sliding in, mixing and bringing a touch of wood and vanilla in here. Sadly not getting much of the licorice in the flavor though. Molasses and brown sugar leave some sweetness behind. There is a touch of alcohol coming across that could absolutely use some age to thin out a bit. All in all, this works beautifully.
M: Full bodied with a really nice thickness and almost syrupy quality at times. This is thick. It sticks easily to the palate and it is chewy to keep in moving down the throat. It is as if you might need a second swallow for each sip. Still it remains silky in texture. Carbonation is light, as it should be, allowing this to be thick and a sipper. ABV is much lighter in presence as you would expect from an 11% brew. Aftertaste is all fudge and coffee. Those flavors are great and should be the ones that linger, leaving you wanting more.
D: I am not going to lie, this beer is dangerously close to being too sweet of a brew. But . . . it works incredibly. I have to constantly compose myself, keeping me from gulping and slurping. It is dangerously easy to pound. Flavors are great and so are the aromas. I am glad that you get some things in the aroma that you don't get in the taste and vice versa, but that shows this beer has more growing to do and has more hidden within. Leaves you optimistic to what this beer can offer with some time. That slight chemical smell is probably the only negative I can find, but I imagine with the alcohol fading, it too will with time. This is a fantastic brew and i look forward to aging the other I have. This can only get better.
05-07-2009 05:54:49 | More by everetends
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Although I could fill the page talking about the depths and magnitude of the beer, but I'll try to keep it short, as so much as already been said.
This is my 3rd time to try this, and is my favourite Imp Stout I've ever had. Not too much licorice. Wood is still very present (and contributes noticeable vanilla), but is not harsh. It's been in bottles now for about 5 months and is pretty damn drinkable for 11%, although there is a slight alcohol presence (warmth, taste). This is about as full flavored as it gets. Lots of dark chocolate. Not too sweet and I really like the addition of licorice here.
This is very thick and feels great. I did not hesitate to give Appearance, Taste, and Mouthfeel perfect ("exceptional") scores. This is truely an exceptional brew that I was tempted to give a full "5" across the board.
I don't think I'll have much trouble finishing the bomber, although it's prolly recommended to share with a good friend.
I'd love to try it at 1 and 1.5 years after bottling for super smoothness, without loosing too much roastiness and bitterness.
Musical accompaniment: Holy Fuck LP (A recommended pairing. I thought about breaking out some dark chocolate and licorice, but decided I wanted nothing but Abyss on my palate).
Not really any complaints here. If it were available here, I'd go for the case discount.
05-02-2009 05:09:46 | More by MEsquandoles
4.38/5 rDev -3.1%
2008 Vintage. Not sure spring or fall.
A= pours a viscous black with a small one finger head that is brown. The beer is pitch black with no light coming through at all not even the sides. Great lacing is left on the glass.
S= Smells of deep chocolate and licorice. Some coffee and wood is in it with a touch of vanilla.
T= Huge wood flavor up front. Deep vanilla flavor but that is swallowed by huge chocolate malt and licorice. The licorice is very deep and magnified by the wood flavor. A little boozy in the finish as well but that's mostly taken away by the extreme chocolate malt and licorice. My only critique is that it is extremely sweet.
M= Chewy and smooth . Very dry finish.
D= Great beer. Not as amazing as I expected but still very very good beer. I'm impressed with the amount of flavor in it. The taste is a little hot though and the odor is a little low after hearing so much about how great the odor is. Very good beer though well deserving of praise but not as great as I have heard.
05-01-2009 01:08:28 | More by jjanega08
4.63/5 rDev +2.4%
2008 Version. Thanks to azbucfan for setting me up with the bottle.
G: Poured into an oversized brandy snifter.
A: Pours motor oil black. The head is a caramel-color with a bit of a crimson streak and plenty of bubbles. Excellent lacing.
S: Plenty of dark espresso, ripening into a malty sweetness. I can definitely make out some of the brewer's licorice. Clear scent remains from the bourbon barrels, although I can only make out a bit of the oak.
T: In addition to everything from the nose, a bit of burnt chocolate, in addition to slightly-burnt coffee and roasted dark malt.
M: Incredibly creamy with low carbonation. Very full-bodied.
D: So smooth and complex; this is a good one to sip for quite a well. Nice addition to the great week I'm having celebrating my 25th birthday. So far, I've had Dark Lord and Pliny the Elder. We'll see how many top ten's I can fit into this week.
04-28-2009 00:38:07 | More by Thorpe429
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Finally came across this thanks to a generous soul at the Brick Store in Atlanta - 2007 vintage.
Pours completely black with a one-finger brown head that slowly recedes into a thin pancake on top leaving decent lacing.
Smells of roasted malts and chocolate with faint hints of coffee and licorice.
Tastes phenomenal - everything is in balance. Roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors up front give way to mild licorice and milder oaked bourbon flavors. The ending is bitter, with the roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee all contributing. This beer does a great job of not going too far with either sweet or roasted flavors, instead staying right in the middle.
Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with soft carbonation that does just enough to make this go down smoothly.
Drinkability is great. Every sip seems to bring a new flavor and I finished my glass entirely too quickly. I could drink a lot of this.
Overall this lived up to the expectations. The Abyss is everything you could want in a big stout - definitely worth the hype.
04-27-2009 20:51:45 | More by glid02
4.5/5 rDev -0.4%
Thanks to abecall98 for the trade. 22oz Bottle marked 164 08 0840G .A Pitch black color body with a creamy two finger brown head that lasts a long time and leaves loads of sticky lacing. Aroma of roasted chocolate malt, with notes of charcoal, espresso, smoke,vanilla and molasses . Flavor is big and malty, roasted taste with espresso, cocoa, dark bitter chocolate, tar and loads of liquorice. Full body,light to medium carbonation with chewy mouthfeel. Fairly sweet. Lots of bitterness with cocoa and coffe, nicely balanced, Really powerful beer. Due to a lack of beer geeks in my area I had to drink the whole bomber myself. Excellent!
04-26-2009 20:26:18 | More by WakeandBake
4.55/5 rDev +0.7%
In honor of Dark Lord Day, I'll be enjoying my first bottle of Abyss. To hell with all you DLD folks.... ;)
Pours a thick opaque black. Even a light directly behind the glass can't coax a hint of color out of it. Head is a huge hands worth of milk chocolate froth. It falls slowly leaving sticky arches of lace.
Aroma is roasted, coffee, a bit of alcohol spiciness. Some sweet dark fruits, molasses in the back. I think there's a little oak here, but if the bottle didn't say it I wouldn't have picked it up...
Flavor starts darkly fruity, sweet. A hint of bitterness comes right before a strong coffee character. The oak is a bit more apparent here. A deep roasted note and solid bitterness own the finish but an alcoholic heat sneaks in as well.
This is a thick, perfectly smooth, chewy brew. Low carbonation in the mouth helps this silky feel.
I've get a little sick of all the RIS hype but this has put me in my place. This is a wonderful big, but still with some subtlties, brew. I have one I'm holding onto for a year... mmm.
04-26-2009 01:24:37 | More by goatgoat
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
My last beer before running the Boston marathon. I figured that if I'm going to run 26.2 miles, I mighnt as well have something tastey in my tummy.
Opaque black with a large, foamy, mud brown head. Sticky lace aplenty with thick foam retention.
Smells like molasses infused booze (in a good way) with an oaky bourban twang.
Tastes like milk chocolate, licorice, molasses, coffee (no coffee roast flavors, just coffee flavor), and mild dark fruit alcohol. Lingering oak aftertaste mixed with some chalky char. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.
Overall one of the best beers I've ever had. Has that hard to find comination of balanced complexity.
04-21-2009 16:29:43 | More by donkeyrunner
4.78/5 rDev +5.8%
Breaking out the reserves, beer is meant for drinking after all?
A: Opaque as the darkest black imaginable. Great 4 cm condensed caramel head. Lacing is impressive, like sliding black butter.
S: Sweet chocolate, molasses, licorice, dirt, leather.
T: A really intimidating beer by its looks, but a lot of taste melds together in great ways. Almost like drinking a giant mellow fudge that runs into licorice, who knows bourbon, who turns out is friend with sweet molasses. After taste gives hint to the oak barrels, rather nice and dry with a settling sweetness. ABV is only apparent with my warm gut. Hype worthy.
M: Smooth as silk, can almost chew on it. Perfect.
D: Honestly it would be impossible to keep drinking bottle after bottle, you really would fall into an abyss. A pure blackout, time travel, and forget what time you went to sleep. It deserves to be savored. I am excited to get my hands on a few more bottles of this brew.
04-21-2009 03:29:07 | More by MPLS
5/5 rDev +10.6%
Pours a deep dark black color, with a brown, chocolate colored head. when i swirl it around it coats the glass and makes it tinted like sunglasses. I could just sniff this stuff all night long! smells like bitter chocolate, espresso, dried dark fruit, with a slight alcohol aroma. The taste is unbelievable. smooth, roasty, malty goodness. very complex, without being overwhelming. chocolate, espresso, dried fruit, faint hint of licorice. mmm...
Velvety smooth mouthfeel. creamy, but not thick.
Wow...no complaints here. very complex without being overdone in any aspect. very drinkable, well hidden alcohol content. as close to perfection as i've ever had!
A big thank you to donkeyrunner for sharing this one with me.
04-20-2009 01:14:17 | More by duffextracold
4.9/5 rDev +8.4%
WOW. This beer truly lives up to the hype. Cracked a 2008 bottle, and wish I had a fridge full of them. Pours a near black, with a head that lasts the whole drink. The aroma is wonderful - some notes of espresso, and just faintly of bourbon. The taste is unreal. One thing I really appreciate is that it is not over-oaked, nor over bourboned. The alcohol is also very subtle. Perfectly balanced and carbonated, and the mouthfeel is very full bodied. I would say this is in my top 3 beers all-time, and one any stout drinker should actively seek out.
04-16-2009 22:08:05 | More by DousedInStout
4.43/5 rDev -2%
2007 into snifter
Pours black with Earthy brown head
Smells great..molasses coffee, bourbon
Alcohol is there but tasste great..molasses sneaking in there with coffee and licorice
Excellent mouthfeel..Smooooth as silk
Great beer that hits it right on. Cant wait to run a 06, 07, 08 Vertical
04-13-2009 21:08:54 | More by stonequarrywest
4.45/5 rDev -1.5%
2008 22oz bomber received in trade with Ghengis22 back in feb...waited till my mountain vacation to crack it open..
a-pitch black with a very nice 1/4 inch espresso head the faded quickly...no light penetration
s-chocolate, coffee, bourbon with hints of molasses, slight hop nose afterward
t-coffee, chocolate, bourbon with notes of molasses and anisse. big bourbon in the aftertaste...slight heat from the abv at the end
m-thick and viscous....almost perfect for a ris....slightly warming on the tongue from the alcohol...
d-one and done...i had one bottle..probably would not have wanted to have two in the same night...i do not think it would have been the same
overall a superb brew and my first abyss...luckily i have one more cellaring away for another appropriate time to consume...
04-12-2009 23:26:07 | More by stoutfiend27
4.55/5 rDev +0.7%
22-oz bomber poured into tulips. Thanks to colts9016 for this bottle.
A = Poured thick and extremely dark but not quite black. Formed a beautiful foam head with decent retention that was milk chocolate with orange highlights in color.
S & T = Sharp smells of treacle mixed with molasses, flavors track the smells. Lots of bitterness at the tip of the tongue that doesn't really let go until midway through the finish, but there are lots of complex flavors going on around that and some are very sweet like molasses and candied prunes, quite well balanced given how strong both the sweetness and the bitterness are, neither really overwhelms the other.
M = Heavy body, luscious feel and great mouthcoating, only marking it down slightly because between the carbonation and the alcohol it burns my tongue just a little too much to be a perfect mouthfeel.
D = Definitely is good enough that I cannot think of other similar stouts I would want to drink first. It is powerful though, so though an enjoyable experience, it is not something that just goes down without thinking about it.
04-12-2009 17:33:54 | More by Traquairlover
4.43/5 rDev -2%
Pours very dark brown - almost black that is somewhat opaque. Beautiful thick lacing paints the glass. Smells of alcohol, tobacco, and burnt malts support the nose. First sip is bittersweet with dark fruits, tobacco, licorice, vanilla, and oak all present and accounted for. World Class.
04-11-2009 03:01:49 | More by ATLbeerDog
5/5 rDev +10.6%
Once you crack the wax seal.... it's the REAL DEAL!
A: As you pour this exceptional brew into a glass... the color is a dark, espresso like, thick and almost buttery texture. A pinky worth of head tops the glass, the lacing lathers the sides in a sort of sticky presence. The appearance is that of a Black and Tan.
S: The aroma of this exquisite beer is that of coffee beans, brown sugar and figs. The aroma captures your senses and takes you on a flight of utter appeal.
T: As soon as this beer touches your tongue, your taste buds are on orgasmic overload, with the molasses taste savoring every part of your mouth and covering it to the utmost perfection.
M: Your mouth will salivate to the smell .... leaving you craving more of the smooth, warm, creamy feeling of buttery goodness.
D: If you are anything like me and you don't like desserts; this will change your mind. Abyss is dessert in a cup; a high class beer and as you drink the better it gets. I highly suggest you try this.
Thank you Candace and Nick for partaking in this review with me.
04-10-2009 05:46:43 | More by DRGinLBC
4.47/5 rDev -1.1%
What an outstanding experience. Sipped the whole 22 oz bottle outside by my fire pit as the sun went down. A couple of hours very well spent.
Pours a dark, dense used motor oil black with a dark tan head. Head retention is great for an 11% ABV Beer. This beer could be used for a stout commercial, beautiful appearance in my pint glass. Thick tan lacing down the glass as well.
Smell was the only part of this beer that was not outstanding. Smell was mild and malty, more of a hint of alcohol than in the taste and a little vanilla. Taste was great. Complex, dark fruits, malt sweetness, vanilla, coffe and a little bitter at the end, probably the licorice more than strong hops. Mouthfeel was the best part of the experience, thick, rich, smooth (probably the molasses).
All of the flavors blended seamlessly and the alcohol was very well hidden. Drinkability was very good as well. A slow sipper, not because of the alcohol or richness, it was just that each sip was such a satisfying experience that it would have been counter-productive to rush the experience. One of the best beers I ever had.
04-05-2009 03:03:37 | More by JayQue
5/5 rDev +10.6%
There are times in one's life where you realize that you are in the presence of greatness. These moments are fleeting, and seem to come at the most unexpected of times. Such was the case with this beer. I walked into Marcellar's in Idaho Falls, Idaho (of all places) and they had this on nitro tap. If God drinks beer, he's got this on tap. I'm stoked to be the first reviewer to have had it on nitro.
Everything about this beer is sublime. I would give it straight tens, if that were an option. It was absolutely beautiful in the Chimay goblet. The nitro gave it a totally smooth, 3/4 inch cappuccino head, but the beer itself was straight espresso beneath. "The Abyss" is a truly the perfect name for the appearance.
The nose was subtle but sophisticated. Coffee, toffee, toasted nuts, and vanilla were all present. Not overwhelming, but very very pleasant.
The flavor was absolutely savory- the zenith of what this style should represent. Dark roasted coffee, toffee, toasted marshmallows, and sweet vanilla all surround very delicate herbals. The malt and the sweetness comes out strong (not too strong) in the beginning, but there's a powerful hop presence through the middle, and an especially bitter kick on the finish. This is everything you could ever expect from a beer, and more.
I could imagine that this beer, in and unto itself, would have incredible body and mouthfeel. The nitro tap, however, is like adding an exponent to the feel of this sensory extravaganza. Absolutely amazing.
Assuming I had enough of a supply, I could happily drink myself into oblivion with this utterly superb brew. Nitro is the way to go here.
03-29-2009 00:16:46 | More by Beernoisseur
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Thanks to BigEbeer for this!!
It poured jet black, huge tan head for a beer of this magnitude. I get sweet roasted malts and coffee in the nose. The taste made me have to sit down, I cant describe the details. Very smooth/creamy and drinkable for the strength. This is the first very hyped beer that I've had that has actually lived up to it.
I'm pretty sure this is what Jesus would drink.
03-28-2009 04:47:41 | More by solargoat
5/5 rDev +10.6%
A - Beautiful jet black pour with a nice dark-tan head. Lacing is decent with scattered spots stuck to glass.
S - Smells amazing! Wonderful sweet woody bourbon aroma with hints of brown sugar and molases.
T - First thing that hits you is a burnt oak punch which fades into a sweeter, smoother flavor that sticks to your mouth. Perfection!
M - A perfect amount of carbonation IMO. The finish leaves a warm, thin coating on your tougue that keeps the flavor with you between sips.
D - I could drink this beer every day! I get sad when I take my last sip from the glass. I dont want it to end.
03-23-2009 05:11:45 | More by Pehlman
4.68/5 rDev +3.5%
Received this in a trade with sry23, thanks Scott!!
Shared this 2008 vintage with two non-BA friends at a homebrew session
A- Nice and dark with a lighter orange brown halo around the edges. Good size head and decent lacing
S- I got notes of oak, alcohol, nicely roasted malts and touches of the molasses
T- Very complex flavors going on here, I can see how it would age well and the booze would calm. Again with the oak and some bourbon
M- Thick and viscous the way it should be
D- Yes! If it was easier to get, I could drink this once a week but I was glad to have help with the bomber, couldn't/wouldn't drink one by myself
03-23-2009 01:41:36 | More by brokenleadedcask
4.65/5 rDev +2.9%
A - Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Pours superchonky dark brown, almost black but not quite, with a cocoa brown head.
S - Dark bittersweet chocolate, anise (hur hur), piquant black coffee, roasted malt.
T - Really unique flavor for a RIS. A lot of flavors collide up front; bittersweet chocolate, chocolate syrup, coffee beans, oaky bourbon vanilla essence, licorice, molasses.
M - Thick, viscous, full bodied, with a light, creamy, velvety feel. As I drink it, brown foam traces cling down the glass, one on top of the other, like a fat girl's neckrings.
03-21-2009 02:08:24 | More by HeyItsChili
4.97/5 rDev +10%
Have had this sitting in my cellar for at least a year and it was worth it. The appearance of the beer was jet black, like most RIS. The aroma was had sweet undertones of chocolate and coffee, AMAZING. The taste was even better, with a mouthfeel that saturated all of the taste receptors in the mouth and made "jump with joy". Although the beer is 11% ABV, the drinkability of this beer is very good and I could easily have one of these a day.
03-17-2009 23:43:59 | More by HopHead1982
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,771 ratings.