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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

4,977 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,977
Reviews: 1,644
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 9.53%
Wants: 2,529
Gots: 2,235 | 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: 4,977 | Reviews: 1,644 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of walows
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into New Belgium Globe.
A slightly vigorous pour, shows a lively beer with a this coffee brown head. settles to a thin cap. It pours very thick and very black. It looks amazing, I am so excited to drink this brew! I take a big whiff and a sweet clean roastiness, also hints of raisin and vanilla, and I get that anise. There is also a bit of oak in there. The taste is wonderful, nice clean roastiness, dark chocolate mixed with raisins. I had to look for the oak and bourbon, but it was there. And anise in the finish. The finish is clean, and you just can't wait to take another sip. What a wonderful beer, so much going on. The carbonation was perfect for this beer and the mouthfeel was silky smooth. Overall a great beer and I can't wait to drink more of this in the future!

walows, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of kunstdrache
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

*2009 vintage- poured into my Delirium Tremens Tulip

Pours a DEEP black- with lovely head that gets me all giddy.

Smell is awesome- just incredible, good notes of bourbon, molasses, Chocolate bits with some pangs of toffee.

First sip is just a wow moment- tastes of bourbon, coffee and chocolate blend to make for an incredibly tasty beer. That said- after the first few sips the hot/boozy goblin rears it's ugly head and sadly overpowers this beer. However- remember this is a 2009 vintage that they recommend you to age for another year- hell it says to open it on 11/10/10 on the bottle!

Drinkability- not now- but after a year it will be so smooth and blissful. Still the first few sips gave a great mouthfeel and felt thick.

This is an amazing beer which I think In my opinion is going to get better with age- I have 07, 08 and 09 bottles aging now and will update once I try one of the older vintages.

kunstdrache, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: very near black, with a beige head and sticky, lingering lacing. Go figure...

S: Mellow bourbon, bitter chocolate, molasses, toffee, roasted malt.

T: Splendid, smooth BA stout. Bourbon and sweetness are subtle, and everything is balanced to perfection. The licorice adds a very interesting component to the overall flavor. There is a certain dryness in the finish. Slight alcohol detectable, more so in vintages that have not benefited from time in the cellar. Mouth-watering and delicious!

M: Great carbonation and balance. Smooth going down, this beer really coats your palate. What a joy to sip.

D: I could drink this until I fell over. Someday I may attempt this!

Notes: An exceptional beer. A must try.

Huhzubendah, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage (I just couldn't wait!) into a snifter

A - Pours - no, slowly creeps - out of the bottle a solid, black black. NO amount of light even begins to escape through the edges of this black hole. Thick 2 finger dark coffee head that recedes oh so slowly.

S - Insane, just insane. There's so much going on here I'll do my best to describe it but I don't see how I can do it justice. Lots of sweet malt, Chocolate, Dark fruits, mocha, brown sugga, and molasses with strong alcohol notes dominate. No surprise on the alcohol, I imagine it'll quiet down with age.

T - Smokey, oaky, bourbon-ey sweet dark malts, with burnt coffee and molasses, dark cocoa nibs, some dark fruits (cherries?) and alcohol. A bit hot at this point, but I attribute that more to my impatience than any real flaw - these things aren't meant to be consumed fresh. Warms nicely

M - Very thick and chewy, lots of caloric energy in this bad boy. Coats the tongue fully.

D - My favorite RIS so far...but of course! Lives up to the hype, which is really saying something given all the hype baggage it carries.

NYCWheatFanSC, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of boogyman
4.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black color. Pours like motor oil. No light coming through this bad boy. Tan head is a good two fingers and really creamy looking. Bubbles stay around.

S- Chocolate, caramel and coffee dominate the nose. Quite an awesome smell. Little bit of dark fruityness in there but mostly just pungent roastyness and coffee.

T- Mmmm. So good. Roasty and coffee flavors are still prevalent as in the nose. A bitter aftertaste hits in the end which is nice. Not much boozyness going on here and alcohol is very well hidden.

M- Very smooth during all aspects of the sipping. The carbonation is just right. There is a very small amount of alcohol burn but nothing to dock anything for, it is very warming at the same time so it makes up for it with that.

D- I definitely enjoy drinking a bomber of this but probably not any more then that at one sitting. For one it is very thick and the ABV is pretty high at 11% Easily one of my favorite

boogyman, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of LevitatedEep
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 reserve from a 22 oz bomber.

A - Pitch black color, very nice pancake batter head and sexy lacing. Perfect.

S - Smells as good as it looks. I smells figs upfront with alcohol and sweet candy exploding in my nose.

T - Dark chocolate, bitterness and sweetness dances on my tongue in a fight to see who is more dominant. Can tell this is a very strong one. Incredible.

M - Thick and creamy. One of my new favs.

D - Definately in your face and a sipper but I love the way it washes down, each sip getting me more tipsy. Gonna age a few of these forsher.

LevitatedEep, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Trueant1
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 reserve

A.
Pours black with a deep brown head that is thick and creamy. Awsome coating of the glass that propels this rating to a 5.

S. The smell is awsome to say the least. Creamy chocolate, alcohol , many various "dark" fruits, and dark toasted toast.
Many other "smells" come through with each whiff. Sweet malts dominate with various spiciness.

T. Burnt malts that consist of sweet dark chocolate flavors. A LONG LONG bitter/sweet aftertaste. Strong aloholic bourbon -like flavors. Mexican vanillas and wood flavors are everywhere with this 33% barrel aged brew.

Creamy and bitter are the waring factors. Bitter wins, but creamy comes in a close second. Sweet molassis right behind in third place. WWWAAAhooo!

M. THICK!!!!

D. A sipper. WIll age a few to see if the bitterness tames some.

Awsome. A sipper, a memorable brew. Will age two of these for at least a year to see what happens.
Undescribable brew,

Trueant1, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed several pours of this remarkable stuff from the confines of my home this past night....freaking awesome to have a ½ barrel of 08' at my disposal.

A: A black and viscous body that supported an immense dark mocha colored head and cobweb-like lacing. Couldn't imagine a better looking RIS than this stuff! The appearance invites the palate in way that few beers do.

S: Bourbon, molasses, dark fruit, vanilla, chocolate and wood are the main components of the smell. Perhaps some caramel and red fruit (cherry) qualities to the aroma as well, but in very minute amounts. The only knock on the beer is the evident soy sauce smell given off as the beer warms up/flattens.

T: A mix of cocoa-powder and dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, and black licorice sweetness. An added vanilla characteristic comes out towards middle palate, complementing the robust oak taste. The flavor does a great job of balancing both the sweet and roasty malts.

M: Super creamy (which makes it beyond a full-body beer), mild carbonation, and a chocolate chalky feel after a few moments. I've noticed fresher vintages of Abyss tend to have a thinner body, but seem to gain more and more as time goes on.

D: I don't know what else to say other than "WOW!" The flavor profile is exceptional and the alcohol is hidden extremely well. Really couldn't ask more out of a big beer like this.

Overall: A beer to cherish and savor; a must try on tap or out of a bottle. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of caskstrength
3.83/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Finally got my hands on this one. Fresh 2009 bottling.

First half of the bottle in a darkness tulip, second half in a Duvel tulip. Just to mix it up.

Appearance is great. Cool bottle, understated label. (as an aside, I really like Deschutes design theme for the reserve series.) Pour is exactly what you'd expect if you were designing a "dream stout." Perfect one finger mocha head. Good carbonation.

On to the smell. Bitter coffee, baker's chocolate, smoke, some molasses. Where's that bourbon? Pretty typical RIS on the nose to be honest, nothing that special.

Taste goes with that "pretty typical, nothing special" vibe. Coffee, smoke, some licorice/molasses, bitter chocolate, alcohol (strong alcohol).
Very bitter, especially on the aftertaste. And Bourbon....where art thou? Maybe some oak, but that's all I'm getting from the barrels.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Nothing more to say there. Drinkability limited by the bitter heat.

Well....Expectations probably too high. An above average stout, very good example of the style, but nothing to jump through hoops for.

Have a couple for the cellar, and this one needs some time it seems. Still, expected more from a fresh bottle.
----
Fresh 2010 bottle. Better than fresh 2009. Smoother. But needs more than 33% in the barrel to be top notch. Still too typical in the flavor department. Roasted malts with licorice and molasses, and little else.
Why is this rated so high?

caskstrength, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of callmescraps
3.65/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks local Whole Foods for finally hooking this one up. Not sure how I missed it last year, I was not about to repeat that mistake. After a mini-battle with the wax I was finally able to get it open.

Appearance - Black. Netherworldy. The absence of light. Two inches of mocha head dissipate leaving a nice ring and great lacing. It's a pretty looking beer.

Smell - Unsweetened chocolate. Burnt sugar. Maybe some toasted marshmallow. Definitely some oak and some smoke. Dark fruits, raisin, prune almost. Could practically smell it across the room when the bottle opened. Very nice.

Taste - Pretty bitter coffee. Some sweetness follows, the molasses comes through some. Lots of burnt coffee/chocolate on the finish. A hint of vanilla. Maybe some bourbon, but mostly just the booze. It's VERY hot right now.

Mouthfeel - A little on the thin side, but good carbonation so it's not a mess.

Drinkability - It's pretty damn hot. Very boozy, and with a tough bitter finish.

Huh. While RIS is not my favorite style, I've had many of the best (BT, Ten Fidy, Speedway, BCS, Stone IRS, Peche Mortel) and this one just isn't as good to me as many of those. Reminds me most of the Stone, which is really not my favorite. I'm honestly surprised it's this well regarded. However, I think it will improve with age and hopefully mellow out. Certainly a nice beer, but nothing I'm very excited about. I'd much prefer to crack on of the Ten Fidy's chilling in my fridge right now.

Honestly, if anything I'm being generous. This is such a highly regarded beer I have trouble understanding what I'm missing. If it weren't for the sterling reputation I might have been harsher.

callmescraps, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of ruberbox
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Black as T Woods eye when his wife found out the details.
S-Like a good steak after waiting forever at a high end restaurant
T-as good as water would taste in the desert
M-like chocolate cake
D-Can't. Stop. Drinking. Unbelievable.

This beer is seriously unbeatable, you can keep your Dark Lord.

ruberbox, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of umpquabrewer
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Klokke Roeland snifter.

A- Pours black and opaque with a one finger head that is the color of old leather. I LOVE the color!

S- Coffee, licorice, dark chocolate and hops.

T- Alcohol, bitter coffee, chocolate.

M- It's a lot lighter and cleaner than I expected. Nice carbonation.

D- It needs another year. Right now it's very good~ another year and it'll be amazing!

I waited all year for this and it was worth the wait!! I have two bottles left that I am cellaring. The first bottle I'll drink on the 2010 release next year and the other I'll try to save for five years- we'll see...

umpquabrewer, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 on Tap at Stone.

A - Dark Black with light tan head.

S - Smell of Chocolate, bourbon, and coffee. Thought it would be better.

T - Taste of chocolate, roasted coffee, bourbon, and finally vanilla.

M - The carbonation was very even and smooth.

D - Other than the 11% ABV I could drink this beer all night long.

My Dad like this beer and he didn't even like Speedway. Had 2 glasses just to make sure I liked it and at 4.35 who wouldn't.

SanDiegoBeerLove, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of gregmoscetti
4.78/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

review edited after having it on draft... first review was 09 abyss out of a fresh bottle... right!?

This stuff is exactly what an imperial stout should be. Beachwood BBQ's abyss night presented 07 08 09 and 10 abyss... I recently had 2011 abyss and yes, that's phenomenal too.

I could go on and on about its boozy rich chocolateyness and lovely smell but every and their mother has already. I just need to do right by the universe and acknowledge this juggernauts prowess, dissolving my earlier review of what we all know now has been just an off year in a spectacular pedigree.

gregmoscetti, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of LibraryTom
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Holy Crap.

It was my first reaction to this beer. Honestly, I think it's probably the most appropriate.

Poured into a 10 oz chalice, 2009 vintage.

It is truly the Abyss. The only light to get through is at the very edges of the glass where it still is a dense brown fading into intense black.

Nose is the, yet mellow. A bit nutty, and roasty, but not an overwhelming amount of nose.

The many fine layers of different chocolates and coffees blend with a mellow dark fruit character that is only really implied in the very center of the pallette and then fades back into the roastiness that is everpresent.

Dense and delightful, this beer is at once rich and light. Like a perfectly done flourless chocolate cake spiked generoussly with amaretto and espresso. And somehow, the entire 10 oz. pour went down fairly quickly.

Again, I must stress.

Holy Crap.

LibraryTom, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of itsopy
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly one of the best ever. The only downfall is it's seasonal. It really should be offered all year and in more locations.

The rich taste melts in your mouth like a good chocolate bar with a hint of coffee.

This beer can be enjoyed with any meal or just for pure beer drinking enjoyment. I like it in a frozen glass.

itsopy, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of abecall98
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this the other day on Tap at the Grad in Davis: 2009

A - Pitch Black, with a nice tan head. The carbonation is perfect and allows for head to develope with a simple swirl. The lacing head is beutiful and shows every sip.

S - Sweet Chocolate bourbon goodness. The first scent is rather sweet like opening a fresh chocolate bar. Following that is a bourbon vanilla bite, followed by a slight bitterness in the final wiff.

T - like haeaven. The aroma, mouthfeel, and flavor combine to make this the ultimate drinking expirience. The first taste is sweet like freshly roasted cocoa, and then a roasty coffee like flavor follows. The sweetness in the vanilla like esters from the bourbon add to that, and finally, a slight bitter finish. This is no beer, this is an expirience.

M - This beer is perfectly carbed. The mouthfeel is full, creamy, and smooth. It hits your mouth, and feels as if it is expanding to hit every single flavor receptor in your mouth for a taste orgazm. The sticky finish leaves an aftertaste that is sweet, roasty, and delicous.

D - This beer, being 11% gets one last A+ in this category. I was able to down 3 pints of this bad boy that night. It just keeps calling you back for more. After one, you just don't want the Abyss expirience to end. Not filling, no nasty tasting offputs, combined with a flavor and aftertaste that makes you want to keep drinking it gives this beer a perfect 5.

This beer is my favorite Imperial Stout for a reason. It is something everybody should expirience.

abecall98, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried the '09 vintage to make a baseline review just to see how this might age.

A very careful pour lead to a huge head that fell slowly and laced judiciously. A nice layer of foam sits atop the liquid with a mousse like consistency. Color is deep dark black. Smells wonderful, candy, sugar, hops, roasted coffee, lots to smell. Taste is initially bitter and green, then flows back to a smooth creamy chocolate with bitter roasty notes at the back of the palate. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good as well. I'm taking this in pretty slow because it does taste big. No real hints of alcohol either.

merryjoulton, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of Rizow
4.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap the Trappist

A - A careful pour left less of a head than I was expecting. Lacing climbing all the way up to the rim of the 25cl glass. Dark brown and black.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, rich sugars.

T - Tastes of roasted everything, with a roasty bitterness framing all the other flavors and leaving a dominant bitter aftertaste. The bitterness, in fact, may at times dissuade me from this beer.

M - Incredibly creamy and smooth.

D - I'm not one to hold a high alcohol level against a beer; does one fault the birds for singing? Because then lighter beers would necessarily be rated higher in drinkability just because they're lighter, which misses much about the actual experience of drinking a beer. This is an eminently drinkable beer, even if the Abyss is indeed dark and dank.

One of the true greats, a masterpiece.

Rizow, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The last epic beer of the BA birthday bash. Shared with BeerFMAndy for our birthdays.

Poured into two imperial pint glasses the beer is black as coal with full three inches of creamy mocha head. This is the first beer I've witnessed to cascade like rain without the benefit of a nitro boost. This beer looks like what all RIS should look like. After a long wait the head settles enough for a thick coating of melted ice cream like lace to form around the edges.

The aroma is mind blowing. Super rich fudge cake,black coffee,roast malt, anise, molasses,camp fire and hints of bitter hops. It has a wonderful summertime grilled smokiness that takes me back to my childhood. Watching dad cook on the grill. This beer is an olfactory celebration.

The flavor is monsterous. It follows the nose very close. Bitter hops greet your tongue right out of the gate. Something I think will fade with age rather nicely. After the hop bite things go up fro there. Black coffee, chocolate ganash, burnt malt, dark toasted bread, anise, molasses, and a hint of dark fruit. The amalgamate of flavors seems to set up shop on your tongue and last forever after you finish your sip. So rich and complex. I now know what A RIS should taste like.

Full chewy and robust body. Like liquid fudge coffee cake.

Overall the top RIS I've ever had. The booze can come on strong after warming but I'm sure that will be taken care of with some age. I can't wait for a year to pass so I can crack open another bottle.

beerwolf77, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz wax-capped bomber bottle shared and poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint. 2009 Vintage, 11% ABV, Best After 11/1/2010 (I definitely wanted to try it fresh for a comparison).

Massive thanks to Beerwolf77 for sharing this for our shared birthday tastings!

A - A good, tall pour releases a massive four-and-a-half finger head that cascaded amazingly! Great retention to the dark tan head and huge lacing left all over the glass. The beer poured with a little bit of opacity showing its clarity and deep, dark brown color. In the glass however it's a different story. No highlights, no light shines through. The Abyss is a black hole.

S - Tons of oak on the nose with a great earthy, wood-filled nose. The molasses is delicious-smelling in the background and a bit of the black licorice is in there giving it a crazy flavor to it. Tons of roasted malt lingers everywhere with trailing scents of black coffee and unsweetened chocolate. A bit of the bourbon barrel booze comes out too but not a whole lot considering it's percent.

T - Lots of roasted malts that blacken out your tongue like a thick ink. A ton of coffee that lingers through the long finish gives it a dry bitterness. The molasses is more robust in the flavor and the licorice stays at that hint-level; not too present. A lot of the oak woodiness with nutty flavors comes through too. The oak bourbon barrel flavor with the alcohol is mild for how strong the beer is. Its a brooding, complex beer with abounding flavor but it definitely would be better with age.

M - Completely full-bodied and robust with a bold flavor and a smooth, creamy feel. Soft and delicious, the finish becomes very dry and bitter from the high level of roasted malts. It's got a cold black coffee finish.

D - Lots of oak bourbon barrel and alcohol flavors that slowly become cloying really lower the drinkability to me. It's an absolutely fantastic beer but it's undoubtedly something to have infrequently and with age as it suggests. I'm very happy I was able to try it as fresh as I did so I have grounds to compare aged Abyss.

Thanks a million to Todd for sharing this black hole of a beer with me!

BeerFMAndy, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of ocelot2500
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a tight light brown head. Loads of lacing on the glass.

Smells of espresso, molasses, chocolate, with some bourbon like notes.

Tastes of the big roasted malt upfront characterized by bitter coffee and dark chocolate followed by an oak note. Plenty going on here. There is also the molasses sweetness that comes out. Some alcohol warmth comes through as well to make this a bit more of a sipper.

The mouthfeel is full and creamy, but not quite syrupy or chewy.

ocelot2500, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of jera1350
4.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bosnreeb85 for this 09 bottle.

Pours a muddy brown with a fantastic brown head of tight fluff. Leave some lacing on the glass.

Chocolate, coffee, some oak, hint of bourbon and bit of vanilla and bourbon.

Lots of coffee up front which adds some bitterness. Not as complex as I was hoping for. Needs some time to reach its peak. Not as oaky and bourbony as I would have thought. Some hints of vanilla bean as well.

Carbonation is a bit harsh. Full bodied, but not as rich and thick as other top RIS's. Dry finishing.

Alcohol is well hidden, which makes this pretty easy to drink. Not overly rich and thick, but this really needs to age to reach its full potential. Wanted to try it fresh, but it's now apparent that it will be remarkably better with a year or more on it.

jera1350, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Reaper16
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a Gulden Draak tulip

This shit is Wesley Snipes-black. It is Charlie Murphy-black. There is nearly two fingers of tan head, which is fairly substantial for an imperial stout. The lacing is tight, and reminiscent of the black swirls in the symbiotic uniform of Carnage (Marvel Comics). Awesome.

Holy balls, this smells like a heath bar. With coffee put on it. There are loads of dark chocolate and delicious toffee aromas. This isn't, ostensibly, a coffee stout but there certainly is a heavy coffee element to this beer. There is a fruit character to the beer that tastes like a blend of black currant and yuzu, but this isn't by any means an overly fruity stout.

This beer tastes awesome. The nose carries over onto the tongue. Its so fruity if you hold it on the tip of your tongue. On the back end of the palate? Lots of roasted malt. The roast character is really special; its flavorful and bitter but simultaneously smooth as Hell. I have to note that the alcohol is noticeable. You don't taste it so much as you sense it; the fusels aren't tasted but rather expelled through your nose when you breath out. The aftertaste is exquisite -- the hops really work themselves into a drying, herbal, minty thing. The roast character sticks out amongst those hops and eventually it all melds into an ice cream/pudding like flavor until you refresh your palate with another sip.

The mouthfeel is pleasantly thick. It isn't so viscous as to completely coat the sides and roof of your mouth, but its going to be pretty chewy. Drinkability is nice if only because this beer is both full flavored (in every sense of the word) and smooth. The slight alcohol harshness prevents this from being scored even higher.

Nietzche had it right: stare long into the abyss and the abyss stares back at you. This beer will haunt you like Slenderman on your Marble Hornets video footage. I can't wait until I try this vintage a year from now.

Reaper16, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Docer
4.05/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a fresh 2009 bottle because it sounded good.

- Nice not-so-dark black... could somewhat see a little through the edges... nice and brown. Somewhat thick light mocha colored head, down to a solid 1/8" constant layer on top. This puppy is alive and well, and was wanting to sit for a couple years.

- Nice sweet oats, vanilla, brown sugars.... wet grain... light bourbon, and oak.

- Smooth sailing even fresh, if not just a little too bitter.... great vanilla oak flavors with some fantastic grains and oats in taste. Overall pretty tasty... but not quite as good as I think it will be in the future.

- Somewhat thick but bubbly all the same... so not too bad... more med. bodied.... slightly dry, and chalky.

- Overall still a fantastic and unique stout.... and I know it will be better years down the road.

Docer, Nov 27, 2009
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,977 ratings.