The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,808 | Reviews: 1,635 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +7.3%
From 2008 'vintage' 22 oz bottle at Toronado SD into tulip. Shared with good friend, sir Chadillac.
A: Opaque black, thick and viscous as it comes out of the bottle, with a dark tan/ light brown head of about 1 finger, settling into a thin foam and lacing lightly.
S: Big wows here, with grains, malts, esters, nuts, chocolate and a whiff of anise.
T: Big, dark roasted coffee, chocolate, malt and some bitterness from those and from hops. Full of flavors but not boozy or out of balance.
M: Again, balanced and full without excess weight. Exceptionally smooth for such a big beer. Hides its 11% well. Picks up bitterness on the finish, which gives it some palate traction.
D: High marks, very drinkable. Bottle went pretty fast.
Overall, a superb brew. Deserves all the accolades it gets. This is the second time I've had the 2008, and it was outstanding again. Worth seeking out. Best stout period.
06-21-2009 19:22:54 | More by nectar14
4.97/5 rDev +10%
22oz bottle. 2008, split courtesy of Viggo - you're pretty much my beer hero now for every beer that I wished I had tried - you have it "sitting in your fridge".
Pours a viscous black, a finger of dark mocha head that subsides to pretty much nothing - par for a big stout.
Nose is smooth vanilla, roasting malts, milk chocolate.
Taste is ridiculously smooth. Wow, for the ABV this is so smooth and so delicious I could drink it all night. Smooth roasted malts, a good dose of molasses and licorice, just the right dash of woodiness, roasted malts that have the right amount of punch but not too much bitterness - just enough to make it deep and rich without being overwhelming.
Holy crap this beer is smooth and enticing, it could seduce me into just about anything. Thanks for the immense treat Eric, this made my move just so damn worth it.
06-21-2009 02:11:06 | More by ritzkiss
4.53/5 rDev +0.2%
This beer is as good as the hype about it. I've had it three times; all three in las vegas. It is amazingly dark, seductively thick and the taste is a perfect blend of hops, alcohol and roastiness. Not too hot and even good to accompany food. The bottle version is a little better than the tap but both are excellent.
06-20-2009 20:39:55 | More by david18
4.5/5 rDev -0.4%
2008 bottling, thanks to JessetheHutt!
Beautiful, viscous stout, just like the oughtta be.
An incredibly smooth nose that drove through my nostrils and into my brain. Delicious!
A kind mouthfeel with strong tastes of burnt coffee, molasses, black licorice, and even a little vanilla.
Absolutely wonderful and I would drink this smooth sucker every single day of the year but it did not completely knock my socks off. Fantastic nonethless.
06-10-2009 23:37:58 | More by TheViceBlog
4.6/5 rDev +1.8%
Poured into an unmarked belgian goblet at cellar temperature this beer has a pitch black color with a deep tan, frothy head.
The aromas are roasty and of dried fruit (figs, raisons, plums). There's plenty of deep roasted malt as well.
The flavors are rich and mildly sweet - more so than I would have expected. I really did enjoy the full and long flavors of this amazing stout.
The mouthfeel was thinner than I expected but great none-the-less. I think carbonation was perfect and the alcohol content made for the perfect consistency.
The drinkability was decent despite the 11% abv. I would drink this beer all day if given the chance (within reason of course). I will definately be searching this great beer out again.
06-06-2009 19:56:05 | More by PerzentRizen
4.63/5 rDev +2.4%
Appearance-Pours thick and deep black beer with a two finger, creamy tan head.
Smell- Coffee with a deep bitter and dark fruits, some wood barrel. Hints of sweet licorice and chocolate.
Taste-An early rush of strong espresso coffee is quickly overwhelmed by wood cask and dark fruits. Smooth for the style with some creamy yeast and a surprisingly mild aftertaste.
Mouthfeel- Big body and flavor without chunkiness of some barrel aged stouts.
Drinkability- Not sure how "drinkable" an 11% barrel aged stout can, but it is the smoothest I've had yet.
Great with a pipe or cigar.
06-05-2009 07:29:29 | More by olmatty
4.75/5 rDev +5.1%
Wow. A supreme RIS. Look is rich thick and lovely. Good head retention and lacing. 2007 bottling.
Smell is delight. Chocolate, roasted malt, burnt caramel, and dark fruits. Vanilla and cherries.
Taste is exceptional, superb. Smooth and rich with all of the nose and more. A bit more charcoal and burnt sugar. Definitely more coffee and yeasty pumpernickel. Vanilla and oakey rum. There is a tart cherry with more fruits and you can peel layer after layer like an onion and never exhaust the complexity of this brew. Feel is full and velvety. A mild creamy carbonaion and light syrup consistency.
Drinkaility is beyond the abv. You can put this one down like a Guiness but it hits hard folks so apply caution.
Thanks to my man hrking for this particular bottle. Thanks to WasTrinkenSie for my 2008 in the cellar.
06-01-2009 00:19:29 | More by scootny
3.7/5 rDev -18.1%
A- Solid black, no head. Brown ring around the edges. Lacing on the glass.
S- Strong alcohol present. Slight bourbon aroma.
T- Strong alcohol tingling presence. Sweet and very bitter. Strong coffee and roasted malts. Not much flavor going on here, I'm not impressed.
M- The alcohol has a tingling sensation on the tongue.
D- Alcohol is to over bearing.
05-30-2009 03:24:43 | More by Yesac
4.58/5 rDev +1.3%
Huge thanks to RichBeer for this world class beer. Vintage 2008, 22 oz. bottle, poured into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip.
A: Pure black, just one hue lighter than used motor oil. One and a half fingers of wet sand colored head appears. The lace is incredible, thick and spidery. After about 5 min. in the glass, and many sips, the head is still 3/4 of an inch, outstanding!
A: Very complex. I get the usualls for the style: dark chocolate, molasses, some coffee, and roasted nuts. But some subtle vanilla, toffee, raisin, and cherry tones come through.
T: I finally get the oak and burbon barrels here. The slight burbon taste, IMHO, accentuates the vanilla and cherry flavors. I get the chocolate upfront, and the roasted coffee bean in the back. The hops take a back seat in this one, but none the less, the earthiness of the hop comes through and trys to give it some balance. As the Abyss warms the alcohol gives this a very nice heat.
M: Very heavy body. The low level of carbonation, and the oak and burbon barrel aging give this an extremely smooth mouthfeel.
D, and overall impression: Due to the high ABV, 11%, and the viscosity of the brew, I could not have many of these. But, probably one of the three best RIS I've had. I don't know if it is as complex as Dark Lord, but I definately think Abyss beats it in the taste department. Overall, this is a fantastic beer, and worth seeking out. Absolutely worthy of consideration for best beer in the world. Skal.
05-30-2009 00:41:41 | More by Gtreid
4.6/5 rDev +1.8%
Poured like 10W-30 that was long overdue for an oil change into a tumbler with about two fingers of brown head. Lacing all the way down.
Smell of chocolate, coffee, licorice and alcohol.
Not much carbonation and a nice warm feeling.
Tastes like chocolate coffee and dark malt with lots of alcohol warmth. Some oak flavor also. One is enough for one day but one day is not enough.
This is a delicious stout that will only get better with age.
05-28-2009 23:17:51 | More by jsapunor
4.43/5 rDev -2%
Got this '08 bottle in my very first trade from abecall98, thanks!
A: Pours a dark dark black with a ton of great looking darker shade of khaki head, almostr four fingers of it in my La Fin Du Monde tulip glass, lots of lacing on the glass.
S: Smells of slight roast, chocolate, some dark fruits, slightly alcoholic scent, and yes a little bit of licorice
T: The upfront flavor is amazing, but the finish leaves a little to be desired. I'm wondering if a little more age on this will smooth it out (as I've heard). I taste roastiness, bitter chocolate, slight vanilla and oak flavor, licorice towards the end, some licorice, but i doubt i'd know that if it weren't on the bottle! some alcohol tinge in the finish.
M: Really diggin the mouthfeel on this RIS. It defies my previous knowledge of beers by somehow being super creamy, yet thin AND low carbonation with lots of bubbles. Some warming sensation from the booze.
D: I won't lie and say this is the most drinkable RIS ever. The flavor is quite good, but the alcohol finish takes this down a bit. As I said before, with some age I think this beer would go from great to epic.
05-27-2009 22:08:01 | More by dukedevil0
4/5 rDev -11.5%
2009 UPDATE, original review text below. Original score was a 5/5/5/5/4.5. Not sure if my palate has changed or if this batch just has changed but it is WAAYYY different than I remember. The complexity in the nose was mostly gone, replaced by a strong coffee profile that was good but not really anything special. The taste was a big departure from what I remember...basically this vintage was just coffee, hops, and oak. Didn't catch any of the toffee, licorice, or chocolate that I talked about in my previous notes. Really, this beer just wasn't a stand out at all. The 2008 that I had was a couple months old and this one is fresh, but even a little maturing can't really explain the drastic differences in these two brews. I am going to drop my scores to reflect the changes. I'm not trying to say that this is suddenly a bad beer--because it is still really good, but the differences truly are astounding. I will open another bottle in 6-12 months and see if it has recaptured the magic of my original bottle.
A--Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown head in my Dogfish Head signature glass. Lacing coats the whole glass like a paint job.
S--Chocolate, toffee, hops, oak, faint coffee and licorice. Big, bold, clean, fresh smelling stout. Definitely let this one sit for a bit, I had it too cold at first which really muted the nose.
T--Is this it? Is this the stout I have been looking for? Maybe....no doubt that this is absolutely amazing. Chocolate and oak are the two prominent flavors on my palate...there is a nice hop character to balance out the roastiness but don't get it twisted this is still a big and roasty. Just how I like it. And amazingly complex. Toffee, licorice, coffee, cream, faint dark fruits. One of the best tasting stouts I've ever had, period.
M--Full bodied, a bit of a carbonation sting. Coats the mouth a leaves a nice bitter aftertaste.
D--A sipper at 11% but so interesting it can't be put down for long.
05-22-2009 22:41:15 | More by alcstradamus
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
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,808 ratings.