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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,986 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,986
Reviews: 1,645
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 2,532
Gots: 2,237 | FT: 155
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels.

65 IBU

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 - Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 - Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 - Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 - Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 - Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
2011 - Released November 2011 (approx 600 BBL)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,986 | Reviews: 1,645 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Descutes "The Abyss" 2009 vintage wax top

Appearance: A hard pour yeilds a large head with oily bubbles that are shining on like crazy diamonds. She is pitch black with garnetlike highlights. Yellowish brown head that provides some lacing along the glass.

Smell: Initial waves of Chocolate. Some mocha/coffee notes. Dirty, roasted malt. Smoke. The aroma is full of complexity. Alcohol comes though as it warms. Everything comes together and smells quite inviting.

Taste: Well hello there. Molasses are apparent right away as well as a strong roasted chocolate malt flavor. Wood/Oak flavors come out a bit. A slight earthyness on the back end, could be the hops. There are many levels of flavor. Some pine notes come through and a hint of spearmint. Vanilla and raw cocoa as it warms. Definately oaky and thats just fine. Lived up to hype/expectations.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with sizzling carbonation and some mild astringecy. Warming alcohol present early on in this endeavor but not overpowering. Roasted coffee finish and very smooth after some gentle swirling. Finish is drying.

Drinkability: While I would love to sip on this all day (and its been a solid hour) I would have to rate this as merely "good". Its strong flavors are wonderful but it is a big assed beer! Though short of perfection, this beer is a legend for a reason.

Stinkypuss, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of SShelly
4.43/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick and black with two inch dark head, an awesome looking stout.

Aroma is dark coffe, dark malt, some hot bourbon.

Flavor is burnt and dark, lots of roast almost gives it slight tart quality. Finishes a little light and fairly dry.

Had this a year ago and didn't review, wish I had, that bottle was leaps and bounds better than this one, will hold the bottle for a while and try this again.

SShelly, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of punkrkr27
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle thanks to DuffManSW. Black pour with a 1-finger, loose, tan head and nice lacing. The aroma is deep, bitter black coffee, licorice, strong dark chocolate and a hint of bourbon and alcohol. The flavor is intense bitter black coffee and pure dark chocolate followed by a touch of oak and vanilla and then a hot, alcoholic bourbon finish. The body is oily and full with moderate carbonation and a big alcohol bite on the end.

punkrkr27, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ok, bottle was tried in 2007, I didn't review one in '08 (good luck finding this in India), so when I saw this on tap at Vine Street Pub in Denver, I fainted. Then I ordered one.
But of course, black pour. Ruby tints on the edge after I drank about half. Not much head due to pour. Great lacing, a bit filmy

Slight boozey nose. But a lot going on. Chocolate instant, then anise and molasses. Coffee in there and dark unripe plum.

Boozey taste a bit. Taste follows aroma. A 'juicy' taste to it. Seems the chocolate is melted and coffee is fresh. Not too powerful, they blend well. Vanilla and caramel come in and say 'hi' then quickly leave. Very slight woodiness, too.

Warming, but not burning. Very easy drinking with enough booziness to remind you that if you drink it too fast you may fall...into the Abyss (oh, that's cheesy)

Mebuzzard, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of Crittervision
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Edit: adding notes from a recent tasting, but leaving my original scores from my 02-27-2009 review, which is further below.

2007 vintage consumed on 02-22-2010 (almost a year after the previous review):

appearance was much the same as i remember (nearly identical to black tuesday and marshal zhukovs as well), deep black with a creamy tan head that is just a touch lighter than black tuesday).

coffee roast and toast, and that same pretzelly smell from before.

taste is smoky, a bit acrid, big and roasty, underneath that is the stated molasses. ashy.

mouthfeel is big and milky. substantial, but a tad bit chalky, which may just be an effect of the ashiness in the taste.

drinkability could be a lot better (and has been much better in my experience with the 2008).

luckily this isnt the first time ive tasted the abyss. id be quite disappointed. this one still retained some good qualities (appearance and mouthfeel), but fell pretty short of matching what i remember the abyss to be. oh well! next beer...

2008 vintage reviewed on 02-27-2009:

i figured id make this my first review. now.
my memory is something funny so we will see how this goes.
beavers poured two super snifters and a tulip of this. for himself, sean, and i. i had one of the snifters. about half an inch of head, looked beautiful, a pillow of consistent medium-sized bubbles that disappeared about halfway through drinking, prompting some swirling towards the end.
so ill just throw this out there: im not totally in tune with all the wonderful tastes that i read and hear about, so maybe youll know some of the things im talking about -- that i dont exactly.
let it warm up a bit in the glass. smelled.
i smell something that reminds me of alcohol, but isnt an alcohol that im familiar with. something that hits far up in the nose, separate from any other scent im perceiving. cant place it. this was not a bourbon or whiskey alcohol though, to me. whiskey is my favorite spirit and i picked up none of it here.
i also pick up -- i would say -- 10% of the scent is pretzel. a salty doughy smell. just like pretzel.
no traditional alcohol taste.
a texture that makes me think of either thick milk or a light cream. half and half? i also get confused as to whether i taste this, feel this between my tongue and the roof of my mouth, or both. its very pleasurable. mmhmm!
the same amount of pretzel that i smelled comes through in the taste. i dont pick it up every sip, but when i do, it is pronounced.
brown sugar was also brought up. i agree it is there.
the typical dark fruits as well, although very much in the back of my mind, or perhaps actually not very present in the beer anyway. there are other new and unusual things to pay attention to and think about, that these dont really register.
the following aspect was a combined effort at extracting, and one i was hesitant to bring up to the company i was enjoying this with... about midway through, the beer warming slowly, i noticed a nursing home urine smell, and when drinking, a nursing home urine taste. not prominent, but certainly present. now this may sound kind of bad (which is why i at first wanted to wait til we were done drinking to talk about it), but i want to express: this wasnt a bad thing. we talked through it and came to the conclusion that it was not so much urine as it was the chemicals or solution used to sterilize it in places like nursing homes. and then finally, that it was the smell of a numbing agent used on the inside of your elbow before you get a shot. so that is that. again, this urine/sterile mixture is not bad, but not heaven. and it is there. slightly. but noticeably.
eleven percent -- imperceptible.
texture is super creamy and delectable. swallowing feels wrong, as this texture is quite perfect and silky. wheeee. so i would give mouthfeel a six actually.
so easy to drink.
brings up great memories of nursing home visits involving bingo, youth group people singing carols, and body parts sagging below the bottom of one persons normal, waist-length shirt.
what could be better?

Crittervision, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of digita7693
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A pitch black, as expected, with an excellent dark brown head with wonderful lacing

S very malty, roasted coffee, chocolate

T Im blown away, delicious bitter coffee taste (think a nice fresh espresso) with some cacao, very rich and creamy

D wonderful amount of carbonation in this, very smooth beer
simply delicious

notes: im a huge fan of stouts, but I often think the chocolate is overdone and hides some of the other flavors. this is not the case here. this is perfect, quite possibly my favorite imperial stout now!
Though Founders IS would be a very close second, would love to try them side by side

digita7693, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Mistofminn
4.78/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #500! My first milestone worth noting, and what better beer to review.

Got this bottle in a trade way back when with DeaconBluez. Thanks Chip a ton for this long time mega want!

2008 Vintage, one of my most looked forward to beers in a long long time.

Pours pitch black, absorbing all light cast into it much like a black whole. Thick like motor oil, leaving a nice brown film around the glass. Lighter head than I expected, sort of a dark khaki color. It has excellent retention and leaves very nice lacing.

This is roasty, chocolatey, sweet and bitter, fruity and rich. Incredibly complex and all the individual components work together to form one incredible smelling brew.

Rich and flavorful, with vanilla and bourbon, an earthyness, sweet and roasted malts, chocolate and toffee, dark fruits and so much more. Maybe the single most complex RIS I've ever had the pleasure of trying.

Thick and heavy bodied, rich and creamy. Everything a RIS should be and more. Drinkability is amazing considering the amount of flavor and alcohol. This is one to sip and savor, enjoy for the entirety of the drink, as it's a priveledge to drink it, not a right, and it's gone before you know it.

An absolute fantastic RIS, one of the best I've ever had. I don't think I could have chosen a better beer to have at 5pm on a Friday for my 500th review. This is truly a treat, and I look forward to seeing how my other bottle, a 2009, changes over time.

Mistofminn, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Abyss has a dark brown almost black in color with a dark brown brown head with little retention. The aroma is of roasted barley and rich coffee. This stout imparts an intense coffee flavor on your palette with minor hints of chocolate. There is very little carbonation which allows for the coffee flavors to really stand out. This is one of the few reserve series that Deschutes puts out that you can really taste the heat. There's not a lot of residual sugar to mask the 11% ABV so despite its looks, it rolls through the mouth with a light body feel. Overall though I think this is another great reserve beer from Deschutes and I can see myself drinking it whenever I have the option.

TheBeerCarl, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate black with a dark tan head.

Strong smell of Chocolate, roasted malts, tobacco, oak, residual sweetness, some licorice, and definitely some hop presence.

Taste of ashy sweet malt, milk chocolate, caramelized sugars, a tiny slightly astringent / tannic flavor from black patent as the tongue dries. Tobacco not tasted since Adam from HOTD. As she warmed vanilla definitely became more strongly spoken as with the nice oak character. The oak is not overdone, and I like that only a third of the beer was oaked as it lends itself to a more mellow oak flavor. The bourbon is almost masked entirely by the oak and dark malts, even though I love bourbon, this beer tastes much more mellow than many other bourbon barrel aged beers I have had lately. So much so that the bourbon aspect is nearly unnoticeable. Sprecher Scotch Style bourbon barrel and Brooklyn Black Ops come to mind in this category. This is a well put together Stout with nice balance.

alpinebryant, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of BS68280
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I acquired this beer from my first ever trade. Big thanks to Beerisheaven for this one and for a great experience that led to many more for me.

A: Poors black as the abyss (lame but i had to do it). About an inch of brown head that actually stayed around for a while. As I drink it there is nice retention and it is leaving traces of itself down my glass.

S: Savory roasted malts... coffee, chocolate. Soft oak and vanilla, there is a bit more going on I just can't figure it out. Dark sweet prunes or raisons also.

T: Amazing blend of so many things that combine so perfectly. A vanilla oakeyness (is that a word?) gives way to a sweet chocolate that then fades into a burnt bitter coffee taste. Another sip gives me a dark fruit liquorish taste. As the flavor left in my mouth is that of the dark fruits, burnt malts and tobacco.

M: Full bodied, just the right amount of carbonation for this beer. It is thick and creamy and coats the mouth for long after you have finished the sip. The only beer I've had that is more full bodied, creamy, and silky then this is 08 DL which i had last night.

D: 11%... I can tell a liar when I see one, there is no way this is true. There are the slightest hints of the alcohol but in no way are they harsh. I am going to finish this bottle with ease and struggle not to open an 07 and 09 to go along with this.

BS68280, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of cleverbeername
4.2/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

50* snifter, bottle

A natural beauty. Dark brown tan fingers, chewy brown black. nice carbonation, head sustains well

S malty, yeasty, sweet savory, dank cave. the dank smell is very enjoyable and unavoidable.

T intense and varied. Mid roast coffee, costco muffin studdle icing, artifical yeast taste. sweet hint of bourbon and oak. maybe maple and birch, reminded me of the life and limb, but just hints.

M mid heavy, but not overtly robust in feel. sip and think beer, quite thought provoking

D want.on.draft. yes, worth the price, would cellar one for a few years.

cleverbeername, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of hophead247
4.78/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black head with a dark brown head- really good looking stout. Aroma holds cocoa, vanilla, cream, oat, molasses, anise, and a bit of oak. Nothing too aggressive on the nose, but smells delicious. Flavor holds lots of burnt sugar, ash, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a definite milk or cream aspect to it. Alcohol, bourbon, and oak comes through at the finish as well. The burnt and charred flavor at the start is really delectable, and that same quality is what makes the finish and aftertaste so appealing. Palate is extremely smooth and immensely easy to drink for an 11% impy. Top notch imperial stout.

hophead247, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of khumbard
4.78/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes on 2 separate occasions: 12/26/09 and 1/15/10

2009 vintage
This was tasted after a KBS (my favorite stout).... I started off a little skeptical. However, this won me over as it warmed. Nose is complex for sure, goes along with the stellar taste. All of the flavors melt together into one indescribable taste. It's a combination of roasted malts, chocolate, licorice, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and an unknown smoky/spicy flavor. It also has a little bitter dark chocolate finish. This beer holds all the flavors so well. Abyss deserves the hype, and is one of the top stouts around.

khumbard, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: Super dark, light can't even escape it's grasp. Pours with the viscosity of dark matter in liquid form. I swirl it a bit, and see legs so long it would make Cheryl Tiegs blush. A small but very dark thick head rises on the pour and seems to sit there, enjoying the beverage on it's own.

N: Loaded with roast and chocolate. I think I could give it to a few bakers and they would be satisfied for years. The rich stout aroma it gives off also adds a nice touch.

T: Taste is just, ooohhh, ahhh! Super rich, creamy, thick, dark, delicious. Again tons of bakers chocolate and roast, but also adds some dark chocolate, a little milk chocolate, tobacco, coffee, toast, a slight booze, and that aged stout smooth flavor. I think Marlboro cigarettes would love this beer in their commercials. It's so thick and rich it just seems to fill the pours all over my mouth and lingers with the deliciousness. Semi sweet with some malty flavors as well.

M: Thicker than blood, which is in turn thicker than oil apparently. Very little carbonation, good for the style, but so thick I think I need to chew it before i swallow.

F: Looong lingering roast and chocolate finish, as it coats the mouth well. It's still semi sweet, with more bakers chocolate and milk chocolate at this point. It also has a bitter stout like earthy roasted char flavor.

Amazing stout, perhaps my favorite now. It's very good, hides the booze well, and is much more drinkable than Black Tuesday or Dark Lord.

jlindros, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of DmanGTR
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

2008 Vintage. This is it. One of the most fantastic RIS's ever. I am privileged to have acquired a good sample of this. Blackest of black, a black hole into which light is forever drawn in and spit out in the form of a tannish head that clings to the glass. The depths are endless and I am taken down into the rich, roasty, and vanilla aromas that swell around me. The chocolate and deep blackberry tones are abundant and mix well with the hints of licorice and bourbon. Rich and intense, sweet and powerful, this beer is certainly one to covet and savor. Such a treat.

DmanGTR, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of theghost3
4.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to drgonzo3705 for the 11/08 bottle of the Abyss. Cellared for about 1 year. I cracked it open in celebration after SB XLIV.

Pours a pitch black with a 2-finger cafe au lait head. Just a ring of retention remains. Minimal to moderate lacing.

The smell is strong of sweet, black forest chocolate cake along with caramel, molasses, earthy hops and there's a boozy quality too. The taste starts with sweet roasted malts but there's are strong flavors of molasses, dark chocolate, and coffee. There's an earthy & citrusy taste in the end. The creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel is balanced well with the carbonated, alcohol-warmed booze.

This is a drinkable stout. Completely lived up to it's top stout billing. The taste was a little more bitter than I like but the smell & flavors are so remarkably apparent that this can be overlooked. A bit strong in the ABV area to be sessionable. It pairs well with chocolate desserts.

theghost3, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of nickmooduh
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Alen for this one! First review, also!

09 Vintage Poured into a snifter.

Just so I can say to everyone. Good God was this wax the biggest pain in the ass I've ever experienced!

Appearance: Completely dark/basically black body (abyss, no?)
light carbonation that disappeared fairly quick but the lacing sticks fairly well.

Aroma: Roasted chococlate, coffee, almost a piney coffee is the best way I can put it.

Taste: very strong roasted chocolate/coffee flavor. Tastes like it smells! Little alcohol flavor backing it, but still enough to taste it. It's an awesome balance of flavor with the heavy 11%. Taste rests on your palette long enough to know you just had an excellent brew. Even though the alcohol is hidden very well, it still warms on it's way down.

Mouth Feel: nice carbonation on the pallate. really feels nice to feel. a little bubbly, but still extremely smooth.

Drinkability: Really great sipper. Respect this beer. Had this by myself but would have loved to have shared with a friend. Knew this immediately after the first sip. Overall an amazing brew. Easy drinking so long as you know how to handle it.

nickmooduh, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll tell you the problem with having a good beer bar with a secret tap on Abyss. They give it to you in a little 8 oz pour, out of the same keg cooler that hold a half dozen IPAs and ambers and the like, and is thus cold as Michigan in January. You cant wait to drink it, this nectar of delight and wonderment, but the chill is a black eye and that 8 oz just cant stand up to the time it takes to warm. You sit there, warming it in your hands and watching the girl in yellow play scrabble. She just misplayed the X, a loss of many points. I must occupy my time, and I cant drink the beer yet. Shit, its already half gone and its still cold.

Finaly it warms, and you get to lick the goddess in full glory. Sulfur runs down your throat, coats the sides of your tongue, and pushes with might at your good nature. Licorice and smoke and oak and dates and brimstone all show up to the party, your mouth feels like a dark metal show, all the devils are out to play. It dances, it cavorts, it delights. These are the good days, and we should all be glad for that last 2 oz sip of perfectly warmed abyss.

olympuszymurgus, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage. Pours an opaque black color and does not let in any light whatsoever, not necessarily viscous though. Dark brown foam is fluffy and tight. Not overly great retention and leaves a smattering of lacing.

Nose is absolutely wonderful with baker's chocolate and cocoa leading the way. Hints of licorice come through and I am getting some vanilla and plums. Not overly fruity, which I like, and the hops seem like they have died off some in the past two years.

Taste is complex and varied, has a little bit of everything. Some wood, some fruit and some brandy-like alcohol notes. Malts are silky and chocolaty with even a little bit of toasty and nuttiness more typical of a porter...very nice. Hops are there and contribute a surprising amount of bittering on the finish. Very layered with the flavors continually unfolding on the tongue. Body is fairly medium for the style, but with as much flavor as this thing packs it has no impact on the mouthfeel whatsoever. There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this beer. It is an incredible beer, one of the best beers I have ever had and probably the best stout I have quaffed. A must try.

twiggamortis420, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of cavedave
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage. Thanks to BOLTZ7555 for his extreme generosity and beer advocacy that allowed me to enjoy this mind expanding brew!

This dark brujo of a stout languidly enters the chalice and fills it with a raw crude-looking beauty of a stout topped by a light brown head of fine foam that reduces to lively and bubbly amoebae, and a persistent ring. Oily lacicles are spread like tendrils along the route of the pour. Nice.

Were I too have all the fine and rare stouts I have been able to taste this past year in front of me for comparison, I think the aroma of this one would not stand out. It is a full aroma, with the advertised licorice, also coffee notes, dark chocolate notes, deep roasted barley notes, and a sweet yeasty smell. All of these are rounded by a gentle bitter, hints of earth and alcohol, that turn this bouquet into a complexly aromatic perfume of stout beauty. Still, I have smelled some real beauties lately, and this one is not the best of them.

The taste. On the AB bottle it says, "...you are not worthy". I have that feeling here and now, about The Abyss. I feel unworthy to review this. Unquestionably the finest stout I've tasted, perhaps the finest beer. It is near to perfection. I've let it warm from cellar temp. to near room temp. and am nearing the end of the bottle. It is so full flavored, so perfectly balanced, it is a matter of what it is not, as well as what it is. The molasses in it has melted into the mix, the licorice is just a whisp of flavor, the oak not strong, more a backdrop, the burnt and toasty notes just below the surface of the sip, dark chocolate not overpowering, a touch of tart from the yeast, a bit of spicy alcohol, and a delicious earthy bitter note that comes in at the end of the most delicious finish of any stout I've been privileged to enjoy. This does it poor justice, it is more luscious than my words can express. Unquestionably the best stout of my life. Abyss gets better with age? That's scary.

Mouthfeel is incredibly light, almost like it was on nitro, tastefully carb.'d, very clean cling from a very big beer, and a just right looong finish. I hope to drink a more drinkable impy than this, doubt I will.

Drinkability is of the "best to have medical attention nearby" variety. Way, way too drinkable.

Impression: Never felt like this before about a beer. I know I am going to cry when the last of these four bottles is empty. Best stout I have ever tasted.

cavedave, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of hops1337
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 09 bottle. Poured into a duvel tulip. Almost solid black unless held up to a bright lite and then u can see some brown around the edges. Massive black coffee flavors with some wood notes and molasses in the background. A little harsh on the alcohol but im told this lessens with a little age. Smell is faintly chocolaty coffee and hoppy mix but i get isopropyl alcohol more than anything else. One awesome stout. I cant wait to try some older versions.

hops1337, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of ATGHomebrewer
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep almost black. Some light penetrates the edges when held up. Thick creamy brown head.

S: smells of sweet raisins licorice and suprisingly a little bit of funk maybe.

T: starts sweet malty. Licorice and oak in the middle. Finishes with burnt malt and more oak that I didn't find in the smell. Just a little bit of bourbon as well. Very nice.

M: not motor oil thick but has serious substance. Good amount of carbonation.

D: I could drink this all day.

ATGHomebrewer, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of StoutMaster77
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried 07-09 at the awesome New Years Tasting, review from notes. All three had these characteristics but 07 and 09 were the most similar in taste so my review is based more on these
A: deep dark brown/black
S: smoky, roasted malt, dark choc
T: smoky oak, dark chocolate, smoke is the most notable
M: full-bodied, less carbonation than ORF but more than Dark Lord
D: This is definitely hotter than ORF, but not as hot as say rabid duck or BCS, this is a delicious brew and feel like I could easily have a couple of these

StoutMaster77, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 batch poured into a Hopmonk Tulip snifter.

A: A 1" thick, dark cocoa brown head rises from an aggressive pour, then slowly recedes to some swirls of lacing. Pretty much jet black with some garnet highlights at the edges.

S: I'm drinking this a bit too cold, but there is a faint hop aroma mixed with bourbon and chocolate milk. As is warms up more chocolate, some faint licorice and dates. Also some roasted nuts, a bit of charred malt, oak barrel, smoke and cocoa. This is an incredibly complex beer.

T: Pretty delicious. A chocolate milkshake with some faint hops mixed with licorice in the background. This doesn't seem as nuanced as the '07 but way more drinkable fresh.

M/D: Very thick and creamy with perfect carbonation. This is quite drinkable for an 11% abv imperial stout.

O: It seems that this years version, the hops were more muted than last years, and more specifically the bitterness, which is a big improvement. Although I wished that there was a bit more barrel aroma and taste - that would have added even more depth. This will be great to age and see how it tastes in 1-2 years.

JoeySchlitz, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of wagenvolks
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black-waxed 2007 bomber into a tasting glass. Thanks to MiguelMandingo for the share!

Finally got around to reviewing The Abyss after having it at several local tastings. Pours with an absolutely gorgeous, cascading head whose color was likely the inspiration for "Brown" when Crayola decided to include it in their crayon boxes. This stuff is serious eye-candy, as coffee-mocha bubbles cling to the sides of the glass and slowly retreat into the dark, inky Abyss below. Not perfectly opaque, as some ruby hints creep in at the edges, but who cares...there's a puddle of drool already. That puddle becomes a small lake upon each whiff of this magical elixer. Dark chocolates mingle with black licorice, gingerbread, and chocolate chip cookie dough, while earthy hops add a subtle spiciness to the aroma.

Rich, dark chocolate fudge and sweet molasses coat the palate alongside a life-affirming hoppiness that, even after 2+ years, still gives Abyss a huge bitter kick that resonates with foresty, earthy goodness. Hints of charred wood and espresso in the background. The body is creamy, but a bite of booze and hops on the finish keeps the sippage slow. Abyss is why Deschutes is one of, if not THE, top breweries doing it today. Home run, slam dunk, touch down--all of the above...I need more.

[Edit: Fresh 2010--aroma still very solid, not quite as phenomenal as I remember though, dropped to 4.5]

wagenvolks, Jan 28, 2010
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,986 ratings.