The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,774 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev -5.3%
Huge thanks to Johngalt and Bring for hooking it up, I'll be set on abyss for a while :)
A. Dark black with no head pour. I mean this thing is solid in color and form. Syrupy but not in an over the top fashion. Bravo Deschutes!!
S. Phenomenal, tons of coffee, vanilla caramel and sweet chocolate, with a sense of dryness. There is a lot of complexity in the nose, I like it.
T. Sweet bourbon, oak dryness, all smells mentioned above, bitter coffee all the way through al little rough on the mix of flavors but still great. Creamy and crunchy. I would categorize this along with Bell's Expedition Stout as being a bad boy of the style. Its not a smooth and user friendly drink. It kicks you in the mouth and really makes you dig deep into you palate to savor the greatness of this beer.
01-04-2009 05:43:42 | More by CoolJosh
5/5 rDev +10.6%
I love this beer. By far the best beer I've ever had. I had a bottle of The Abyss from 2007 that I let age a year in my basement. So here goes.
A - The look is pure darkness. There is absolutely ZERO and I mean ZERO light that came through the beer. The second you begin pouring this beer you know it will have you. The head is nice and dark. Definitely can tell this is a proper imperial stout.
S - Smells of chocolate, coffee, licorice and more.
T - An explosion of flavor that has such character that it makes you want to take another sip. Each sip is unique with the finding of new tastes in each one. Chocolate, roasted barley, coffee, licorice, heavenly goodness. I noticed the bourbon taste has subdued due to aging.
M - Love the mouthfeel on this beer. It is thick and delicious and definitely not watered down.
D - This beer is really not meant to be drunk quickly being rich with flavor and 11%. However, the explosion of flavor beckons you to drink again, and again, and again. I wish I had a keg of this beer.
01-02-2009 04:56:23 | More by EnigmaticDream
3.28/5 rDev -27.4%
Reviewed from notes from Early December 2008.
World Class...yeah...Not really. I really don't understand what all the hype is about. From our night of tasting, there were some many better expamples of Russian Imperial Stouts that we sampled.
A - Great example of a RIS. Black and thick syrup. Very nice.
S - Clean but really not much there.
T - Cream. Dark. Thick. Dark chocolate but no bitterness. Molassas. No alcohol present which is a definite plus but sort of bland on taste. Just average in my book. Single layered. No fuss. Plain and simple in my book.
M - Love the thickness. For this reason...a 5.
D - Ok if I could find this but can't. Also, at 11%, little high....just right though for a RIS. Would I drink again? Yes but I think a few more years of aging would do this beer wonders.
01-01-2009 20:41:58 | More by schellsbeer
4.75/5 rDev +5.1%
A- Poured into my New Belgium snifter, The Abyss pours deep black with a dense brown head that leaves thick layers of web-like lacing as it settles. A thin cap sits atop the beer for its duration.
S- Chocolate of both the milk and dark, bitter variety. Coffee, black licorice, molasses and a bit of oak char as well. The 11% ABV is pretty well-hidden.
T- Flavors of chocolate and roasted/burnt malts hit the palate first, followed by a substantial espresso bitterness on the warming and slightly boozy finish.
M- A silky-smooth texture with medium carbonation.
D- This is really drinkable for an 11% ABV beer. The high alcohol content provides a nice warming sensation after each deliciously smooth sip. Both the sweet and bitter flavors work extremely well together.
The best imperial stout that I've had thus far. I can't wait to see what a few years of age will do to this beer.
01-01-2009 06:38:28 | More by Tdizzle
4.47/5 rDev -1.1%
Big thanks to Finnman and gford for the bottles recieved from out Darkness trade. I dont know which one of you gave me this bottle, so I'll thank you both at the same time.
This is a 2007 bottle.
Poured from my wax dipped brown bomber, into an oversized brandy snifter.
Black in color, no transparency or glowing. 2 finger frothy, bubbly dark brown head. Receeding to a frothy cap of retention. Many globby bubbles sit atop the cap. Thin streaks of dark colored lace line my glass. Then slowly fall back into the beer. Leaving an inky streak on the glass walls.
Aroma of black licorice, moist sweet chocolate cake, coffee, chocolate nib nuttieness, hints of spice, some grassy hay aroma almost like dryed straw.
Slick, creamy mouthfeel, with medium amounts of carbonation. A bit too much carbonation.
Its very sweet upfront, with a kind of gourmet creamy hot chocolate like sweet flavor. Becoming increasingly dark and bitter in the chocolate flavors. Increased nuttieness after the swallow with a long bitter dark chocolate linger. Dark roasted Coffee comes into play through this lingering period.
Some peppery spice through the swallow that quickly fades.
Alcahol warming throught its time in my mouth. Its not overkill, its just right.
This is a fantastic RIS and really has many layers of flavors that are noticeably occuring through the tasteing process. I love it for that.
Mouthfeel is a bit overcarbonated. This is a year old bottle, so I cant really be too judgemental, as its not fresh as intended by the brewer. To me though, the older the better.
So far though, Darkness is still my favorite RIS, but this is a fantastic brew.
I'm very much grateful to have been able to try it.
Thanks again Grant and Matt!
Poured from the bottle into an oversized snifter. Producing a little less then half an inch of head.
Leaving a ring around the collar. Black, no light penetration.
Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, cocoa nibs, lactose, smokey wood and a hint at coffee as well as brewers licorice.
Taste starts out chocolatey and sweet, mild, heating up and delivering a punch of rich and robust bitter grain flavors, blasting with a delayed response of massive bittering. roasted toasted wood, bitter bitter.
Mouthfeel is slick and not as creamy as I remember it being. Well carbonated. Good beer, but not as I recalled it.
12-30-2008 22:19:36 | More by Buebie
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
On draught at Freakin' Frog in Las Vegas. Pours black as night with a medium and foamy light brown head that has good retention. Rings of lacing on the glass. Big aroma of cocoa, roasted malt and bourbon. Rich body with bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and a bit of spice. Light smoke and bourbon in the background throughout. The finish is full and moderately bitter coffee and hops with a sharp alcohol aftertaste. Would probably benefit from aging a bit. Overall this is a very good Imperial Stout.
12-30-2008 18:34:37 | More by Dogbrick
4.22/5 rDev -6.6%
A- this beer is black as black, there is no light to be seen through this wonderful brew. Hard pour with a dark tan head that dissipates quickly.
S- Old coffee grounds, very roasty
T- Coffee, roasted malt and vanilla, with a slight oak detection
m- Thick but not BCS thick, however your mouth will be coated in flavors.
D- I have alot of these which is dangerous as I could drink a couple of these pretty easy in a good night, superior drinkability for the abv.
12-29-2008 02:03:52 | More by JWD
4.85/5 rDev +7.3%
Alright, didn't think I was going to make it but it's time to review beer number 400. And HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks go out to ThirstyHopHead for getting me not one, not two, but three of these beauties.
First thing I notice is how thick the wax on the bottle is lcaked on, no air is getting into this bottle. Thick and black, a dark bloody orange and muddy brown head that slides ever so slowly down the side of the glass after each sip. Not much lacing, I figure the hops in this beer are fighting an uphill battle against the ABV in order to get some sticky lacing going.
Yes it's hoppy but not that over the top craziness that so many west coast imperial stouts like to do. Rich chocolate, bourbon, oaky, vanilla, buttery brown sugar
Opens with a quick hop punch , vinous and slightly fruity, then moves quickly into a sugary, chocolate and boozy concoction, the closing is a punch to the tongue, after a quick flame out of alcoholic heat a massive coffee bomb is dropped in my taste buds, rich, super roasty and quite bitter. Next sip slight raisin, more chocolate more boozy heat and again with that charred coffee and chocolaty finish. Mouthfeel is not as coating as, say, Goose Island BCS, which is (for me) the bench mark of oily and thick mouthfeels, instead it is surprisingly dry with only a glimpse of greasy thickness. Take that back, this beer is thick but chewier than anything else, like eating a chocolate bar. There is a lot to be said about this beer and a whole hell of a lot going on in even in this rather young bottle. Licorice, molasses and almost a meaty, tobacco-like quality, honey, bourbon. I think this one gets a five for taste and feel, I am a huge fan of BCS but this one has more to offer than BCS does, tons of complexity, thick and viscous mouthfeel wins if for me, just some fantastic things going on here.
I think for beers this size drinkability has to boil down to how enjoyable a beer is to drink, not how easy and following this line of thinking this beer is an absolute joy to drink, so complex, so thick and rich. Each sip brings something new to the table its hard to imagine how anything could improve on this, but I suppose only time will tell. So glad that I have more than one of these. Easily lives up to the hype, absolutely wonderful beer.
12-29-2008 01:57:19 | More by bluemoonswoon
4.9/5 rDev +8.4%
Abyss is truly the best name they could have come up with for this thing. Black Hole is the only other thing that even comes close, because absolutely no light shines through this mother. Beautiful tan head as well. Smells like coffee and nuts and some whiskey notes with a little hop scent buried in the back. Huge licorice flavor with notes of chocolate, molasses and bourbon, very roasty as well. Beer doesn't get much more perfect than this one, I just wish they'd produce more every year!
12-28-2008 07:40:48 | More by Wackyfoot
4.55/5 rDev +0.7%
thanks to brewczar for this in a trade
2007 poured into a tulip.
A - Pours black with a half inch brown head that subsides to a thin whispy layer.
S - Sweet, roasted, and then bourbon and alcohol.
T - Blend of chocolate & coffee. Slightly bitter finish.
M - Smooth,creamy. Lightly carbonated.
D - Alcohol is fairly well hidden.
12-27-2008 23:06:17 | More by tedpeer
5/5 rDev +10.6%
2008 bottle - drinking it a month after the release. I've got a case of this and will be having a bottle hopefully every Christmas.
Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. Just outstanding in every possible way. Having his with some chocolate and tiramisu right now. One of the most complex tasting beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. The chocolate, coffee, licorice and bourbon are so well balanced with the 11% alcohol that I could drink 10 of these. Smell is like an open fire under your nose. Probably the most 'warm' beer I've ever had. There is so much going on here. I want more!!!!
12-27-2008 22:51:43 | More by prsguitarsr4me
4.68/5 rDev +3.5%
2008 Abyss in a 22oz wax-top bottle!
A: Black as can be - memory tells me that only the Stone 12th Anniversary brew pours darker. Small, lasting brown head that leaves plenty of lacing.
S: Fruit, roasted malts, coffee, licorice, chocolate...it's all there. Raisins, plums and espresso dominate the nostrils.
T: Each sip, each gulp brings out new highlights. To me the licorice and toasty malts stand out. The brilliance lies in the balance achieved by the dry, bitter finish to what initially is ever so sweet.
M: Like I imagine a lighter crude oi. Feels smooth and has just enough carbonation.
D: Began drinking this hours ago, and am now polishing it off. It is both the ideal winter aperitif and the perfect dessert. I was craving a stout all day and knew I had to pull another Abyss out of the cellar.
Every bit as delicious as I have been led to believe. It lives up to the hype and then some. Deschutes is the heavyweight champion of darker ales.
The "problem" with the Abyss is that it sets a new benchmark for imperial stouts. Or put another way, will I be able to age the remaining four bottles before the craving sets in?
12-27-2008 05:38:24 | More by johnnieoz
4.25/5 rDev -6%
Appearance- A careful pour into my goblet produces a solid 2 fingers of creamy, dark khaki head. The body is black. No light is sneaking through, not even when held up to it. Good lacing squirms down my glass, but doesn't completely cake it.
Smell- Roasted malt, dark drip coffee, milk chocolate, caramel, molasses, cookie dough, some vinous type sweetness, or maybe that's the licorice, a bit of heat, and a nice dose of floral hops. A pleasant smell that has good depth.
Taste- Bitter chocolate (I'm talking 90% cocoa type-bitter chocholate), espresso, roasted malts, and oak, take the lead with vinous and hop sweetness that tags along and finally assert themselves in the finish with the booziness of a strong wine. You can totally pick out the licorice and molasses used if your looking for it, and the same goes for the oak. I wish more vanilla would have been picked up from the bourbon barrels, but I suppose that's nitpicking. After the initial bitterness of the first few ounces wears on my tongue and mouth, the sweetness becomes more of the star and the chocolate smooths out. I also start to pick up more bourbon notes, but not the vanilla I was looking for. The nuances of this beer have been well documented, so I'll stop now and say that it is complex, and quite enjoyable; however, I feel like there is room for improvement.
MF- A full body is kept at bay by a medium level of carbonation. The bitterness is drying on the tongue and the roof of my mouth, and there's still plenty of beer left to do more damage. The heat crawls up your nose a little bit, but not as much as some beers at this abv.
Drinkability- I'll be putting down this whole bomber by myself, and I'm not complaining, but this is a complex, big beer that would satisfy me just as much in smaller portions. I doubt I'll crave another Impy stout once I'm through with this bomber, and I almost find that Abyss has me craving copious amounts of water along side it.
*Bonus Reino comments* I've had quite a few Abyss bottles, even some with age on them, but I just now got around to reviewing it. I've always loved it, but it's never been my favorite big stout. I feel like their are a couple better, and a couple that are just as good. Anyways, it's a great beer and kudos to Deschutes for not raising the price this year, and making it available to more people.
12-27-2008 05:25:46 | More by Reino
5/5 rDev +10.6%
A- Beautiful black color with a thin mocha colored head that quickly diminishes but has some nice lacing.
S- Molasses first hits my nose with a pleasant oak distinction. If you take it in deep enough you get this slight burn from the alcohol. I'm guessing that's the bourbon but it is very subtle. I also get a nice roasted/charred smell coming out of the oak. Now that its warmed some the bourbon comes out more but its still not overpowering like other BA stouts I've had.
M- Thick and creamy with a slight hop presence but just enough to remind you you're still drinking beer. A nice oiliness to coat your mouth for the aftermath.
T- Dark bitter chocolate and mocha sweetness with the underlying bourbon that gives it a slight burn going down. Very complex beer with a lot of stuff going on but still manages to stay balanced.
D- I could drink this all night. I know the 11% will catch up but if done in moderation it would be well worth it.
Overall I would have to say this is one of the finest crafted beers I've had. Definitely worth the hype! I wish more BA stouts could be so well put together.
12-26-2008 05:09:52 | More by drgonzo3705
4.2/5 rDev -7.1%
Pours a thick, black with a decent brown head that stays for the duration. No clarity. I was unable to pull a lot of aroma, some malt and subtle alcohol tones. The alcohol seemed to rule the aroma but not so in the taste. Taste was an excellent blend of coffee and chocolate and I was able to pull some hints of alcohol which is expected for an 11% beer. Excellent mouthfeel, good heavy body. I recommend trying this beer but it is heavy and packs a heavy punch. Taste wise and if enough was available I would drink this all day.
12-25-2008 02:31:47 | More by tbeck
4.97/5 rDev +10%
A - pours a ebony black with a one finger coffee colored head subsiding to a mat where you can not see where one bubble stops and the other begins. Leaves behind a beautiful lace rimming the glass.
S - The aroma starts off sweet then quickly moves to a roasted coffee intertwined with chocolate and licorice. Has a very strong stout presence with undertones of alcohol.
T - Perfection. At first. it's too much to bare. Very strong roasted malt flavor. Chocolate seems to protrude past the initial flavors quickly carrying an oak complexity. as it leaves the palette there is a warmth of alcohol finishing with the starting profile of roasted malts.
M - Very light for its Immense taste. Warms on the way down.
0 - Amazing. Am going to hold on to a few to see how they mature with time.
12-24-2008 20:24:01 | More by DwnTwnBwn
4.63/5 rDev +2.4%
A - Motor oil black with a huge dark brown foamy head. Thick sheets of lace cover the glass. Head fades to one finger layer.
S - Rich roasted malt aroma, primarily chocolate. Hints of roasted nut as well. A spicy hoppiness is present as well.
T - Light malt sweetness up front. Chocolate and roasted nuts. Some toffee as well providing the sweetness. Spicy bitterness mid-drink. Hints of bourbon throughout gives a light alcohol bite. Finishes bittersweet and the taste lingers long after the drink.
M - Full bodied but just a little thinner than expected. Very light carbonation gives a relatively flat and smooth feel.
D - Very easy drinking and the alcohol is hardly noticeable. Deceptively easy to put down.
12-24-2008 16:34:08 | More by ckeegan04
3.75/5 rDev -17%
Reviewed on 8/20/08. 2007 bottle courtesy of iowaherkeye. Pours black with the prettiest dark tan head that slowly subsides. Aroma of rich sweet malt, oatmeal, coffee, molasses, and just a touch of bourbon. Flavor of sweet molasses and sweet malt, smoked and charred malt with some woodsy notes. Thick mouthfeel with an alcohol burn in the finish. Just a little bourbon, which works well for me. This gets a little too sweet by the end and is a bit hard to drink. I liked it but would prefer better drinkability.
12-23-2008 18:53:29 | More by LilBeerDoctor
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
pours a jet black with a medium size brown head, excellent lacing.
smell of cocoa, coffee, molasses, touch of walnuts, some smoke, some caramel, and sour malt.
taste is creamy and thick, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, woody, black licorice, some walnuts, caramel, a little smokiness, and a touch of vanilla, excellent bitter ending that is just a touch on the dry side.
12-21-2008 23:06:24 | More by froghop
4.9/5 rDev +8.4%
2007 Vintage. Thanks go our to littlebreeze and mred137 for grabbing this for us a while ago. First real snow of the year=abyss.
A: Out of a brewing book. Black. This is what the tunnel you see when you die looks like. Poured like motor oil and left a finger of coffee colored head.
S: The mix of this massive stout and the oak really is something special. The roasted smell is not as big as I thought it would be. The chocolate is there but perhaps fading a little bit. Little bit of sweetness thrown in there for good measure as well.
T:Oh hell yes. Big blast of chocolate covered coffee beans. Damn is it good and intense. Then you get a hint of the barrel. The nose was mostly barrel but this is just an intense blast of chocolate. Almost feels like having cocoa powder ground into my tongue. Sweetness is there as well but it barely holds anything back. A touch of bitterness right before and into the finish.
m: Nice and full bodied. Really just great creamy mouthfeel.
D: Incredible. Glad I held off on this one for a while and saved it for a night like this. This is a damn fine beer. Big and bold while not hitting you with a hammer. THe barrel aging did something really nice for this beer. No hint of the ABV at all. World class.
12-20-2008 00:37:40 | More by aerozeppl
4.72/5 rDev +4.4%
Had this beer @ a stout tasting @ my house last night and it was a huge hit. The appearance is very nice jet black with a 2 fingered brown head and tons of lacing. The nose was one of the nicest noses I have ever smelled on a beer, hints of bourbon, some chocolate, some vanilla, tons of malt and hops. The taste of this beer was beautiful, hints of the bourbon barrels, vanilla, choclate and a large hop flavor for a stout. The mouthfeel was very nice and the carbonation level was very good as well. Exceptionally drinkable and I could only look forward to the next time I get to drink this beer.
12-19-2008 10:27:28 | More by Biggness
4.75/5 rDev +5.1%
Poored this brew into an oversize wine glass after purchasing from Fred G. Meyer, who had 22oz bombers for $8.99. Smoken!
Opaque midnight, that's the color and the head is about as dark brown as you can get when it come to foam. Head retention is modest at best which is about what is expected for this style. Nose is absolutely rich, roast, toasty and altogether quite complex and somewhat reminiscent of a really good port. Roasted malts have a coffee characteristic with some smokey and burnt tones floating about as well. Esters are subdued but play their part.
Flavor is quite deep and bit difficult to explain. I think that's a good thing! Initially it tastes fairly intense and the roasted, toasted, malty, estery, smokey, fruity, sweet and slightly sour flavors all come together. You're just gonna have to try it.
This is a full bodied, velvety beer that slides right down your gullet.
I got one word, intense.
12-19-2008 00:31:33 | More by SickBrew
4.88/5 rDev +8%
'07 vintage, review Dec '08, review from tasting notes:
People who complain that ratings are based on hype are going to hate this one. I don't care. This was a damn fine beer and well deserving of the hype.
Thick, spent motor oil pour. Black with dark brown highlights on the edges. Dark tan head - falls quick
Smell: Light booziness at first but then blended well with dark chocolate, vanilla, oak and coffee
Flavor: Dark chocolate, dark fruit, burnt caramel, vanilla, oaky, buttery, light hop oil finish.
MF: Thick, viscous, oily, creamy and slick, light carbonation tingle
Alcohol is very present in the nose but surprising light on the tongue - well masked boozines. So goddamn tasty, who cares. Best of the night.
Recently revisited this one with some friends, this time an '08. Absolutely fantastic. Not aged as long as my first sampling (the '07 was about a year old) but this tasted every bit as good. Oakiness was much stronger on the fresher bottle, a little more bourbon could be noted. What a great beer. Scores the same.
12-16-2008 22:49:25 | More by KeefD
4.72/5 rDev +4.4%
2008 release bottle poured into a 12oz snifter - shared with my wife. This is one classy bottle - with the simple but strong label and the elegant hand-waxed cap. This would make an excellent gift.
Pouts jet black with a nice gray-tan head which dissipates over about 45 seconds, leaving behind a dirty layer on top with some pockets of soapy bubbles. When tilted, there's a thin caramel brown layer, which quickly turns into the jet black pool.
The aroma has strong roasted notes. You can appreciate the barrel in the aroma as well - a nice rich smooth aroma. There is quite a bit of coffee in there too. Invites me to take the first sip. A gentle shake, brings the coffee out even more as well as some new aromas. Something I can't name here - smells almost like overripe bananas... but that's not it.
The flavor is immensely complex. Bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. There is a trace of bourbon, and definite tannin and oak. There's a little chalkiness - not only to the mouthfeel, but to the taste as well. That faint "overripe banana" is there as well. And the tiniest amount of sourness. The finish is bitter, but the malt carries through to the end as well. It's a bit hot, but not boozy. Over the course of the bottle, the chocolate builds quite a bit.
The mouthfeel is incredibly thick and a bit chalky. It coats the mouth completely. The bubbles are tiny and plentiful.
Drinkability is pretty high on this since it's so tasty and the alcohol is well hidden.
This is an incredible imperial stout and it's obvious this one will hold up to cellering. Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 for taste.
12-15-2008 03:23:19 | More by jpiper
4.15/5 rDev -8.2%
This ain't no kid's beer. Anyone who likes this style of beer, will love this one.
After removing the black wax from the bottle (nice touch by the way, it makes it seem more mysterious and causes your anticipation level to build) I poured this dark brown to the point of almost being black brew into a chalice. A thin light brown head forms and remains, leaving a slippery looking brown film along the sides of the glass. Good looking but not outstanding.
Now the aroma comes into play. Yes there's that roasted coffee smell, along with licorice, molasses and only a hint of dark chocolate and alcohol. Very intriguing and nice.
Time to put it in my mouth for a taste. Again, the coffee is there. Now, I'm of the opinion that if I wanted to taste coffee, I'd drink ... a coffee. Never liked it in my beer, but this really wasn't too over the top. Next up was the dark chocolate. It featured more in the taste than in the smell, and it balanced out the coffee nicely. The molasses was there as it warmed, but I lost sight of the licorice that appeared in the smell. The alcohol was still there, but only lurking in the background.
The mouthfeel was excellent. Certainly on the thicker end of the scale. Smooth and silky in the mouth and going down the throat.
Well what can be said that already hasn't been mentioned? Once again, if you like this style of beer, and especially the taste of coffee in your beer, this is probably as good as it gets. For the price ($9.99 for a 22 oz bottle) it's quite a bargain. All in all this is a very well done beer from the folks at Deschutes. One of the best beers in the world? That's up to you to decide.
12-14-2008 23:47:22 | More by JBogan
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,774 ratings.