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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,656 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,656
Reviews: 1,626
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,417
Gots: 2,147 | FT: 143
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,656 | Reviews: 1,626 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap @ Pizza Port Carlsbad. I was so excited when I saw this, and I can happily say that it lived up to all of my expectations. Midnight black pour with a thick, 1 cm tall brown head. Heavy aroma of burnt coffee, tobacco, chocolate, molasses, leather, wood, and just a little bourbon. Amazing taste. Lots of roasty malt, bitter coffee, baker's chocolate up front and throughout. A deep, rich oak taste accompanies the sweeter molasses and licorice flavors. A bittersweet finish with just a little caramel malt and hop bite. I could drown in this beer its so good.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2008 23:18:53 | More by magictrokini
Photo of johnd513
johnd513

Michigan

4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes to gford217 for this one!
The 2007 Reserve poured into my Duvel glass.
This beer pours jet black with a nice mocha color head that disappears quickly and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smells roasty with chocolate, espresso, raisins and rum. The taste follows the aroma and does not disappoint. This beer has many complexities and it seems like I discover another with each sip. Starts with a sort of citrus taste then Chocolate, coffee, rum, raisins and figs. The aftertaste is of strong coffee and has that lovely chewyness. The mouthfeel has medium to full body and is incredibly smooth and nicely carbonated. Drinkability is excellent considering the high abv. One of the best stouts in the world? Who cares, this is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 22:24:00 | More by johnd513
Photo of craytonic
craytonic

District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Reserve Bomber

Appearance: Pours jet black; good head and lacing.

Smell: Not as strong as I expected. Molasses, fudge chocolate, brown sugar.

Taste: Heavy malt, bitter chocolate, coffee/espresso, molasses, brown sugar, toffee. A little sweet. I get no bourbon or oak. This has none of the typical complexity I see, and like to see, in a RIS

Mouthfeel: Full, but not huge.

Drinkability: Not sure what the hype is, it is ok, nothing special besides rarity. A little heavy on the coffee/bitter for me and lacking in complexity.

NB: Why on earth do they only age a % of it in oak? Put the whole thing in the barrel!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 22:43:31 | More by craytonic
Photo of sweetbrew82
sweetbrew82

California

4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 version poured into an imperial pint glass: freshness date encoded in typical Deschutes fashion.

P: Pours jet black from the bottle while hardly showing any light aside from dark-maroon highlights that barely manage to sneak through. The liquid lays in the glass an ominous, completely opaque black color that threatens to kick your ass from the start! Mild pour produces a 2-fingered frothy, rocky, yet sturdy head that shows great retention for a stout packing an 11% ABV punch. Even when the foam does settle to form a halo on top and an island of bubbles in the middle, it leaves behind memories of its former self in the form of beautiful sticky lacing that literally blankets my glass. Wow! The golden standard for which RIS's are judged.

A: Bourbon-y alcohol dominates the nose, but doesn't choke the life out of the roasted chocolate malts, dark molasses, espresso, slight vanilla, and some oak tannins from the barrel that are quite pronounced. Aromatics are nice!

T: Oh, man! Hits the palate with a sweet, maple-flavored molasses taste that is accompanied by subtle tones of earthiness underneath, while chocolate, espresso, and vanilla accompany a hefty dash of black licorice. Meanwhile, the malt flavors continue to hold down the fort, while not letting the sweetness overtake this powerful regime at any point in time. Just when you think the sweet side may gain the upper-hand in the battle, the Bourbon-aged alcohol (while accompanied by an escort of roasted chocolate malts) slashes through the crowd of complex flavors to deliver the final death blow. The finish is quite dry, and really warms up the tongue, throat, and chest upon swallow. Phenomenal!

M: The Abyss is packing more heat than Plaxico Burress in this department (yet never shoots itself in the foot). It's very much a full-bodied brew that feels viscous on the palate, yet incredibly smooth and deceptively mellow in the mouth. Coats the palate and is exactly what I am looking for in an RIS of this magnitude. Perfection.

D: I would love nothing more than to have a couple more of these bottles to enjoy tonight. But unfortunately, the hefty (but more than worth it) price tag makes this impossible. I could drink The Abyss all night long, as it tastes so damn good. But, 2 bottles of this stuff would probably have the same effect as a perfectly-thrown right cross from Rampage Jackson...and I'd be napping on the job like the Iceman himself.

Notes: Honestly, I didn't think that The Abyss could ever live up to the hype that was built up by my fellow BA's. But I'll be damned! It sure in the hell did...and then some! I do think, however, that it would be out-of-this-world if it had a year or two on it. I think the alcohol would mellow out, and the rest of the flavors would become more pronounced. Having said that, this is absolutely fabulous! Although, I have heard that last years' release was better than this years'. If so, I would love to find out how it could top this. Best beer I've had the honor of drinking, no doubt about it!

Edit: This was my first (and only) perfect 5 review I've ever given out. However, after having had many more RIS's since then, I have adjusted the score accordingly.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 11:23:16 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of RunDWP
RunDWP

California

4.05/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 version on tap at City Beer in San Francisco. Poured jet black with a thick foamy brown head. Some wispy lacing on the glass as I drank. Flavor of deep roasted malt with some bitter chocolate, almost like a bitter chocolate milkshake. Maybe a little coffee in there. Aroma was similar, with the chocolate a little more dominant. In my opinion, the roasting was maybe a little too aggressive, as this is a pretty bitter brew. Very thick and rich mouth feel, and surprisingly drinkable with all that alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2008 03:11:34 | More by RunDWP
Photo of popery
popery

California

4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition. Let me start out by saying that this is a phenomenal beer, and my scores were given some room to go up as the beer ages. Of any beer that I've ever had, this beer gives me the clearest picture of what it means to drink a beer too early. I can easily imagine the alcohol cooling and the flavors taking on a smoother blend. That said, it's still a really excellent stout right now.

At any rate, the beer looks incredible. It pours a deep black with an intimidating head. It looks like a thick dark, dark roast coffee brewed superhumanly strong. It's an intimidating pour but looks quite appropriate in the snifter.

The beer smells phenomenally good. At first, it's thickly smoky, but this gives way readily to vast complexity. It's sweet with fiery alcohol and earthy with the subtlety of oak. I don't mean to sound stupid there, but I feel overwhelmed by this good of a RIS nose.

The taste has a lot of strong notes that are all battling it out. They're all quite good and I certainly enjoy the beer very much, but everything is not yet quite melded. There's strong alcohol, strong bourbon, strong smoke, strong wood, strong malt, good bitterness and good sweetness, but the battle almost burns the mouth.

This burn is a bit of a problem in the feel and the carbonation is a tad sharp but maybe just in relation to the flavor. It's not so much that the carbonation is strong, but that it burns the flavor in a bit uncomfortably. Alright, I'll be honest. I'm really searching for something to pick on and feel seemed like an easy category, the nerdy kid of the bunch. The feel is marvelous, but I'm probably going to far prefer it in a couple years.

The beer is, of course, highly drinkable. Its 11% abv tastes like smooth fire and the smoke grows and grows on you. It's a shame that I tried it so early. Now, I'm just going to be counting the days on the bottles in my cellar. Thank you, Deschutes, for this phenomenal beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2008 06:18:19 | More by popery
Photo of jdklks
jdklks

Nevada

5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours deep, dark black. I held it up to the brightest light in the house and nothing came through. Pours thick with a dark brown milk chocolate head that perfectly complements it's black body. fantastic smell. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. I also noticed the licorice for the first time tonight... this beer just keeps getting better!

the best part of the beer, is, of course, the flavor. An overwhelming sensation of as many flavors as could possibly be put in a single brew, the flavor lingers long after you drink, and each sip is like the first. Again, hints of chocolate, coffee (though not as much as expected from the smell), molasses and licorice. the after-taste is of roasted coffee beans, and tootsie-roll. The barrel aging is subtle, smooth, and awesome.

As thick as expected in the mouthfeel! Smooth as silk. As if the flavor explosion isn't enough for your mouth to handle, this beer's thickness makes a statement. gentle on the palate, and very warming. perfectly carbonated. extremely drinkable. The most I've had in a single night was two 22oz bottles and I felt like I was going to explode (although I ate a huge meal before that which probably didn't help). It's the kind of beer that you look at when you only have one drink left and think to yourself, "I better savor this sip more than any other." Goes down easy and fills you up, leaving you wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 07:25:25 | More by jdklks
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11/29/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- First edition 2006 bottling. Poured into my Duvel tulip. 22oz bottle waxed.

Appearance- About as dark as you can get blackness. Dirty white, milk chocolate colored 3/4 inch head. Leaves sticky pacthes and trails of lace.

Smell- Nose is of mid range chocolate. Combo between dark and bittersweet. Some mild hops detected. Smells fairly sweet. Not really any coffe, but a light oaky nose is detected.

Taste- Super and I mean super deep dark bitter chocolate. We're talking 85% plus here. Lots of hops too. Hops are still strong and not muted at all as I was expecting. I was expecting a large sweetness which really didn't come to truition because of the bitter backlash of the chocolate. A very light barrel aged flavor. Sweetness is held in check until the very end of the bottle when it creeps into play.

Mouthfeel- Long lasting chocolate sticky bitter aftertate. Medium to lower carbonation level. Definite full mouthfeel.

Drinkability- I've had these bottles for two plus years, plus my other vinatges and finally tried one. Good...make that better than good...but not the greatness I was hoping for. Was thinking it would be a bit more thick and sweet. Guess I got spoiled by the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout I have been drinking recently. May get more sweet though as the years go on. Have heard the newer vinatges are sweeter. Still a solid two thumbs up.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 05:18:25 | More by GClarkage
Photo of Chelsea1905
Chelsea1905

Washington

4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer, right out of the bottle and poured dark with a slight offwhite and brown head that disappeared before the glass was half empty

Burnt sugar, chocolate, and malt

Great taste, caramel and smoke up front, followed by dark malt and alcohol, but not too much, after.

Little effervescent, but quite nice

Goes down very well, and not overly strong, but still not one I'd be having too many of!

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 03:33:34 | More by Chelsea1905
Photo of MisterClean
MisterClean

California

4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 on tap at the Owl Club in Roseville

A - Dark black pour, little head but sticks around. Leaves a slight amount of lacing.

S - Notes of rich chocolate, cocoa, light caramel, and plenty of anise.

T - Chocolate, coffee, grassy hops, anise, and a slight roasted bitterness from the black patent.

M - Very full bodied, slightly syrupy and sweet with a light lacing of bitterness.

D - Overall excellent beer. Do you see the word alcohol mentioned in here? Anywhere? That's the difference between this year's and last year's abyss. Fantastic beer!!

In fact I went to Nugget supermarket and grabbed a couple of bottles after I finished 2 pints. Couldn't believe they poured pints last night at the owl club.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2008 17:30:54 | More by MisterClean
Photo of PuckX
PuckX

Washington

4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review, and while I was going to wait until I had more experience drinking good beer before taking a stab at reviewing this but this one was so incredible I had to write down what I could. Previous to this my experience with stout had been Guinness. I apologize in advance for my lame noob review. :)

A: Poured into a large mug, very dark, and thick. Two inch brown head that stuck around awhile.

S: Chocolate, rich dark chocolate. Also the alcohol cleared the sinuses.

T: Dark chocolate flavor is real dominant, followed by the sweet mollases aftertaste, and alcohol warmth.

M: Thick, and smooth. I read someone elses review that said this was thinner than previous years, since this is my first Abyss I have no basis to debate that. But this was thick in my book, ecspecially when I let it warm a bit. Nice slight carbonation, not too much, not too little. Went down real smooth.

D: I could drink this all night long, it is smooth, flavorfull, and enjoyable. The ABV is high so obviously I would be limited to probably 2 before passing out, but that is ok as I drank this real slow to enjoy the flavor anyways.

Docked a half point on drinkability due to the strong alcohol that will most likely smooth out with age (which is why I am aging some). This is by far the best beer I have ever drank. Now with my limited experience that may not be saying much, but I think other reviews of this beer pretty much say the same thing and I will definately get my hands on this whenever available.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 22:53:23 | More by PuckX
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours like motor oil. Nice pitch black with a dense dark brown head. Little lacing

S: Brown sugar, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee. Pretty complex.

T/M: Full bodied and creamy. Same as the smell. Sugary coffee and chocolate. Roasted malt. This is dessert in a glass. I let it warm up some and the flavors really come out. One flaw: there's a lingering bitterness that's a little out of place. Is that hop overload?

D: Very dense and mouth coating so don't know how much I could really put down. Availability is definitely up this year, so can't knock it on that.

Overall, a great RIS. I'd still prefer a Port Santa's Helper, or the Surly Darkness I had the other night, but this is damn good.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 04:52:57 | More by abfraser
Photo of robertjohnson
robertjohnson

Washington

4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I found this on tap at the Malt and Vine in Redmond, Wa. Served in a tulip glass. This was my first imperial stout, so it was like losing your virginity to the woman of your dreams...I have absolutely no basis for comparison but it was everything that I imagined (and more).

Aroma: Roasted malts and dark resinous fruits. Cocoa, coffee, prunes, raisins, with some alcohol present.

Appearance: Beautiful. A tar dark night with a leather-colored head that seemed to last forever. I think this is the first time I've ever noticed legs on a beer and I doubt it's owing entirely to the glass.

Flavor: Complex beyond belief. Bittersweet chocolate, tar, black licorice, coffee, with a lingering roasted and earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth. Mouth-coating. I paced myself and savored the beer to the point that by the end it had become a little syrupy.

Drinkability: Some folks say all day. I agree in that I would be a happy man if I smelled, saw and tasted this forever. At 11 ABV, however, I'd pass out before too long. It's a matter of the serving size being too big for the style. It's not the beer's fault, but I'm still comfortable in saying that it's not exceptionally drinkable. That said, I would have enjoyed the beer more in a smaller serving and an accordingly lower price.

Overall, an intense and complex beer that I found to be very very enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2008 01:57:05 | More by robertjohnson
Photo of mykie73
mykie73

Oregon

4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I tried this first time last year without knowing anything about it or RIS for that matter...it totally blew my mind..It still is my favorite of its kind and my favorite beer overall, even more than Westy.

A) Black as black can be, with good finger size head, beautifully moves back and forth in the sniffer: almost dancing.
S) The aroma is my favorite part of this beer perhaps. Explosion of flavor (cloves and vanilla especially) into my nostrils.
T) Sweet chocolate initially, and the flavor gradually turns to bitter chocolate surrounded with molasses, sassafras, licorice, figs, and cloves. At the end, the french oak and vanilla is present.
M) full but does not coat my mouth
D) Dangerously drinkable; can not not stop drinking this beer unless too appreciate its smell and look

This beer is a very holistic experience for me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2008 05:17:04 | More by mykie73
Photo of HatTrick
HatTrick

Washington

4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Side by side comparison of the 2007 and 2008 Abyss from a bottle.

A: Both are very dark like a good imperial stout. Both had a thick foamy head that reduced down and left a lot of lacing on the sides when drank.

S: The '08 had a strong olive smell, underneath that was a bit of cloves, coffee, Chardonnay white wine, and something slightly like molasses. The '07 had a much more mild scent; coffee, vanilla, oak, and malts.

T: Tasted the '07 first: strong high quality coffee taste with a bit of brown sugar, also of chocolate, and vanilla. Had mild notes of molasses and syrup. The '08 tasted like a more bitter coffee, vanilla, cloves, chocolate and maybe a touch of banana.

M: The '07 was thick, almost chewy, very full-bodied. Went down incredibly smooth. The '08 was a lot lighter, not near as thick. Was still smooth.

D: Both were great to drink. Overall I think the '07 was better. Aging definetly improves the taste, mellows the stronger flavors yet enriches the more subtle notes. But both were a pleasure to drink regardless of the age.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2008 03:04:37 | More by HatTrick
Photo of PatronWizard
PatronWizard

California

4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11/21/08 marks my five year anniversary and what better way to drown my sorrows, er, celebrate this joyous occasion than by cracking a very-hard-to-replace bottle from the cellar. I told the misses to pick anything we haven't tried. She passes up our recently acquired Darkness, Dark Lork, and Firestone 11 and says "the Abyss." I have an '06 and an '07 and I've never even tasted Abyss before. WTF? So here we go at 53 degrees with an '06 Abyss oh hell yeah.

How dark do you think the Abyss is? I'm looking right at it and I can't say. It's dark. Sumbitch is dark black. Incredible head of dark tan mush. Monumental retention. An absolutely gorgeous beer. I've been waiting for something to give a 5 for appearance and I've found it. Hate to do it, but I don't have a choice. Enough staring, let's move on to sniffing.

I get raisins, figs, dark dark chocolate, and cocoa. Does it need anything else? Powerful and pleasant scent.

Taste is remarkably similar to the nose but in reverse order. I get the cocoa first, then the chocolate and dark fruits.

Of course it tastes good, but what shines here is the silkiness. Smoothest beer ever!!!

Alcohol is .... well, where the hell is it? I feel it a little but sure don't taste it. I know it's there because I'm in a great fucking mood. Just offered to help the brother-in-law move a couch. In 20 minutes.

Did the deed and came back to one more glass of this marvelous monster. It was a little too strong for the missus, so, like the knight in shining fucking armor that I am, I courageously drank her share. Fair trade since I did all the cooking today.

Overall: an awesome brew

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 23:21:20 | More by PatronWizard
Photo of CHSLBrew
CHSLBrew

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle of the 2007 into a stemless wine glass.

A-Poured with a thin, but very dense, dark brown head, which reduced relatively quickly to a ring of bubbles around the glass. This beer is black, black, with a little more black, allowing no light through. When swirled, it shows some viscosity on the side of the glass.

S-Some very clear raisin and plummy dried fruit estery aromas. Some additional malt sweetness, but most of the malt aromas are roasty. A bit of alcohol aroma is able to cut through.

T-The dominant flavors are heavily roasted malts and raisins. Some other estery flavors also have a chance to come through. There seemed to be some hints of chocolatey sweetness on the edges of my tongue. A smooth alcoholic flavor eases its way in with a prominent warmth.

M-Full, thick bodied beer; medium-high viscosity, as described under appearance. Some graininess, but this is not offensive. This big beer gives me some very nice warmth in my belly.

D-This one is quality! Very enjoyable.

Thanks to my brother Lofgrep for sharing this with me.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 17:54:39 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of dalion037
dalion037

California

4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's what you would expect of a RIS but I was not as impressed as so many others who have rated this stout. It is a good stout and does taste good but I would prefer drinking a Stone RIS instead. In all fairness this might age well and taste better next year.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 03:38:32 | More by dalion037
Photo of Flyer
Flyer

Wisconsin

4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This may be the imperial stout I've been waiting for. (Too bad I have to fly almost 2,000 miles to get another bottle!) As black as its namesake with a rich chocolate aroma. Creamy, dense caramel-colored head, and the creaminess carries over into the first sip right through the last. The flavor is a perfect blend of all the qualities you want in an imperial stout (though most that try to blend these come up a little off): smokey chocolate, raisins, molasses, a faint though unmistakable vinous undercurrent, and some boozy oak. Just sweet enough up front, just dry enough on the finish, with a slight, pleasant alcohol burn. Reminiscent of Leinenkugel's Big Eddy RIS, though more intense, and with a better, dryer finish. I'll be back in the Bay area in two weeks -- let's hope the shelves aren't empty!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 23:09:39 | More by Flyer
Photo of gyllstromk
gyllstromk

Belgium

4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I split a bottle of the 2008 and had a snifter of 2007 from the tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco.

The appearance is a characteristic, opaque black, with a fairly dark and thin head and excellent lacing.

The smell is delicious and complex. I get a thick, alcoholic vapor that almost feels like Vicks on a deep inhalation. It's far too complex to fully describe; chocolate and dark fruits are apparent, with some smoke here, some vanilla there.

Taste is excellent. The 2008 had more of a kick of sweetness after swallowing, while the 2007 was smooth throughout. I'm not sure which I liked more, but you should consider aging a bottle (or 10) in the cellar. Vanilla is more apparent, as is a molasses sweetness, with coffee showing up here and there, and I get very faint notes of mint and coconut. The complexity in taste is even more difficult to pin down than the smell; every sip is something new, as the rising temperature, swirls of the glass, and my changing attitude each seemed to reveal a new facet of its profile. A wonderful beer to taste, but a sheer frustration for a reviewer.

This a delicious beer that you don't want to hurry through. I found every sip to be worthy of new examination. The bottle I split was enough to feel the alcohol.

I've stocked my cellar and hope they last through Spring.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2008 22:46:58 | More by gyllstromk
Photo of bifrostguard
bifrostguard

California

4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Note: 2008 Bottle

A - The glass mimics the event horizon of a black hole. Tall deep tan head that dissipates surprisingly quickly. A good amount of lacing. Almost like cappuccino or hot chocolate. Frothy.

S - Roasted Malts, Licorice, Chocolate and Coffee. There is very little sign of that burnt aroma that characterizes so many imperial stouts.

T - More bitter and fresh tasting than expected (a pleasant surprise). The alcohol is integrated well in the overall flavor of the beer. Dare I say that I was wanting something with a little more heat? Roasted malts are standing tall, with licorice and coffee battling it out for the remaining space on the taste buds. A wood taste is present but only mildly so. This is one tasty beverage.

M - This is probably the smoothest, silkiest, and pleasant mouthfeels I have had. I didn't really know what the term "silky" meant when describing consistency until I had this beer. I gave this a perfect as it is the best I have had, but a little more carbonation would make this off the charts in my opinion.

D - A little heavy for a long night, but 11% keeps the volume consumed in check so that it doesn't become much of an issue.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 06:29:43 | More by bifrostguard
Photo of 100floods
100floods

California

4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am reviewing the 2007 Vintage with the eager anticipation of getting the 2008 batch in my grasp.

Poured into a tulip glass. Pours ink black with a dark tan head. Heavy malt/chocolate and lesser alcohol aromas. Overall it's very sweet smelling. Nothing harsh.

Nice middle-full body. Super roasted malt flavors, even in the little sips. You're really experiencing the malt first and the alcohol second. The licorice aspect kind of has a dry feel at first, but when you take a breath, you can taste it's sweetness, a very subtle difference from the alcohol. After letting it breath the sweeter attributes start to dominate. Everything as advertised is definitely there. This is a complex beer. It's hard to focus on one flavor at a time, but it's all there.

I'm glad I held on to this for a year. I'll probably wait even longer with this year's batch.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 05:17:38 | More by 100floods
Photo of rhinos00
rhinos00

Colorado

4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First and foremost, thank you Toby (JohnGalt1) for giving me the opportunity to try this amazing beer for my 50th review.

2007 vintage poured into a snifter.

A- Jet black. Nice finger sized tan head formed and dissipated quickly. Some lace work stuck to the glass as the beer was consumed.

S- The aroma only gets better as it warms up. Very distinct smell of chocolate, roasted malts, and molasses.

T- Complex as all hell. Initially the chocolate and molasses dance on the tongue delivering a delicious flavor. This is capped off by distinct oak flavored, malt bitterness. Again this is a complex beer, even after a year. Really have to try this one for yourself.

M- Thick and viscous. Very smooth and coats the tongue nicely. Just perfect.

D- Highly drinkable given the viscosity and the 11% abv. Drink this slowly and enjoy it for all it's worth.

Toby, thanks again! This was truly a great experience. The complexity this beer offered was amazing. I sipped this beer so slow and tried to drag it out all night solely for the reason that it was the only bottle I had. This beer really makes me want to move out to the Northwest. Can someone send me more, please?

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 05:31:22 | More by rhinos00
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release served cellar temp.

Wax is cool but I sure hate trying to get it off the bottle.

This beer pours thick and black. No brown around the edges, just plain black. Nice thick tan head on top settles to about an inch and lingers nicely with lacing left behind. A very nice looking stout.

Aroma was there as soon as I popped the cap. There's certainly oak and red wine comes through too. Chocolate and roasted malts. Nice sweetness overall.

The flavor is super intense. It starts slightly sweet, some carmel, some dark chocolate. Then it hits hard with roasty bitterness that totally fills the mouth. Dark roasted coffee, dark bitter chocolate, and dark malts all at play here. Cherries, figs, and other dark fruits that make it wonder if a Belgian imperial stout might taste something like this.

It's super strong and the alcohol is only slightly hidden. The mouthfeel is good for the style in that it's smooth yet robust. I love the way it coats my mouth and throat in a wonderfully warming way.

Drinkability is great for something this big.

Overall a great Russian imperial stout. I can't wait to try the 2008.

---

2008 reserve

Poured into a highball glass, it has inky black color and a thin layer of light brown head. The head lingers briefly before settling but leaves a nice rim of lace around the glass.

Aroma has lots of vanilla and oak with roasted malt and hops in equal abundance.

Flavor is excellent, possibly better than the 2007. The dark malts are big but they aren't the center of attention as I remember. The hops seem fresher and more flavorful. The oak is certainly more noticeable. Malts contribute dark roast coffee, caramel, and dark chocolate while the oak aging gives it vanilla and possibly cherries.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy but bitterness (both from hops and malts) and the burn of 11% all come through.

Drinkability is excellent for the style and considering the strength of this awesome beer.

Overall very impressive and ceratinly worthy of its place on BA's top 10.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2008 00:55:16 | More by GilGarp
Photo of deltatauhobbit
deltatauhobbit

Maine

4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to all of those who traded me The Abyss (Hoppiness, largadeer, and flexabull from the UGLY Duckling BIF), finally decided to crack into a bottle after some months of having them in my possession for my 400th review.

2007 Reserve aged in Oak barrels.

Pours into my snifter dark and viscous, black with no light being able to penetrate, a large amount of tan head that fades slowly with some decent lacing on the glass.

Smell is mostly roasted malt, slight coffee aroma, very mild chocolate presence, some alcoholic heat even after almost a year.

Taste is a hit against the mouth, strong coffee-ish bitterness right up front and melds into a decent sweetness, prickly carbonation, the licorice is very evident (not much a fan of that though, but that's personal taste).

Certainly glad I've got the chance to try this beer and glad I got a couple more to age and see how it develops, I think maybe another year will do wonders.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 20:16:41 | More by deltatauhobbit
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,656 ratings.