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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,500 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,500
Reviews: 1,727
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,610
Gots: 2,673 | FT: 203
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

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)
View: Beers (116) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,500 | Reviews: 1,727 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikereaser
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was reviewed blind as part of the Blind Beer BIF 4 courtesy of BA Phelps
2010 Abyss, consumed 3/5/11

Last bottle from Phelps and its looking like a good one.
Dug through the black wax that covers the top of this one and poured into a tulip glass. Appearance is pitch black with a good amount of tan foam that just seems to be hanging around as I type this. As I swirl it in my glass it leaves a nice oily lacing that falls down the side. Aroma is some nice chocolate, a bit of wood and brown sugar sweetness. Really nice taste, sweet chocolate and rich roasted malts, there is some vanilla in there as well as a bit of oakiness. Thick oily mouthfeel with light carbonation, this is very drinkable and quite tasty. I'm really curious to see what it is. I'm really bad at guessing beers and since this focuses more on local stuff, I probably didn't have it. so, lets see...
2010 Abyss
I was thinking this might be what it was, but for some reason I thought the bottle was a different shape. wow, this is tasting really good. For some reason I remember other years being hotter but this is really smooth and quite enjoyable. Big thanks for sending this one my way. Off to finish the bottle.

4/4/4.5/4/4

Photo of blammasterj
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours as dark as ink with a one finger dark brown head that looks like chocolate milk.

Smells first of toasty oak, mellow bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits, toasted bread, a little alcohol and roasted malts.

The taste is really strong on the molasses at the beginning, bringing in a nice thick thread of caramel and almost candy bar like mixture of chocolate, nuts and caramel. This only lasts a few seconds when the bourbon kicks down the door and ups the ante with a really potent woody booze. There are nice levels of chocolate, cocoa powder, prunes, chocolate covered raisins, and a nice alcohol finish. As it warms it opens up with a nice coffee roastiness, hot fudge, hazelnut and some sugary sweetness.

The mouthfeel is very velvety and thick with a pleasantly roasty finish that tickles the back of your tongue.

Overall this isn't the most revolutionary RIS I've had but it has to have one of the deepest flavor profiles and one of the most balanced stouts that is aged in bourbon. The bourbon is folded right into the mix and is perfect with the molasses, cocoa powder and toasty malts.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Been over a year since I've had this beer...Gonna finally get the chance to review it! Pours a thick, dark black which seems like engine oil. Very minimal brown head. Scent is chocolatey with some espresso and a hint of wood. Taste is FANTASTIC! First I get sweet chocolate and subtle bourbon flavors. Then I get some oak flavors with vanilla and a tiny bit of black licorice. Not nearly as much coffee/espresso as I was expecting, which isn't a bad thing considering the amazing flavors and complexity to this beer. There is a little bit of hop bitterness throughout. Mouthfeel is thick and rich...close to perfect. Drinkability is high as ABV is SCARY WELL HIDDEN! Awesome beer!

Photo of jayavery
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer: The Abyss, 2010 Reserve
Brewer: Deschutes Brewery
Company: Bend, Oregon
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.00%

Beer Advocate: Jay Avery
Rating: A

Recommend by my buddy @Craig Reyna, I was a bit apprehensive about trying this one because I'm a QUAD guy and not a fan of stouts. The nitro infused carbonation really puts me off and if I were to have a stout, I already have my go-to, North Coast's Old Rasputin. I do, however; have a Deschutes favorite and that's the Black Butte Porter.I've also been to Bend, Oregon twice in the last two years and now I'm kicking myself in the ass for not going to the Deschutes Brewery! Anyway, after I got this recommend from Craig I started doing some research and this happens to be a once a year brew, a seasonal winter brew as they call it in the beer world. I called all over the place and of course the response was ' ya, that came and went. ' Anyway, on my 7th call, the liquor store owner admitted that he'd set a an entire case aside for his own consumption and after a ton of haggling I convinced him to sell me 4 bottles. This stuff must have ADONIS D.N.A in it since he charged me $16 bucks a bottle, ***WINNING!*** Here is my review...

Presentation:
A 22 oz wax-dipped bomber that was meant for aging so instead of a freshness date, it's labeled; rather, with a "Best After" date of 11/15/2011. I guess it's a little early to be drinking this stuff but considering the amount of work it took to get my hands on this bottle, I'm not waiting until November to crack it open. So after about 10 minutes of cutting, peeling and cracking the wax dipped cover off, I'm finally able to break the seal and finally pour this highly anticipated brew into an oversized wine glass. It poured like the exxon valdez with a double espresso hazelnut head and generous but thin lacing. Underneath the cap read the words, "Bravely done". Now if that isn't a rock star quote from Mars I don't know what is...

Appearance:
It pours like an Elixir or more accurately, like a 10w 30 motor-oil. I'm not talking synthetic but I'm talking about a serious bonafide thick and viscous friction free engine saver. Thicker than oyster sauce and an oily pitch black. I mean you can shine a high power surefire flashlight directly in front of this stuff and you're not getting a spec of light through it.

Smell:
An insane full roast coffee, smoky and woody with hints of chocolate dipped graham cracker. Only fools and trolls wouldn't want to take a sip of this amazing and aromatic cloud of chocolaty heaven!

Mouthfeel:
Velvety and THICK. Did I say THICK? What does that even mean?! I compare it to drinking a liquefied semi-sweet neslte chocolate chip infused red velvet cake without the frosting. Oh she's thick! If you're in the mood for a light beer then you need to turn around, take your ball and GO HOME! This is one of the heartiest beers I've ever had the pleasure of drinking, a pint of this and you're FULL, literally. ** WINNING! **

Drinkability:
The true definition of a sipper. This one must be laced with the infamous Tiger's Blood. It stands out to me as a special occasion type beer, something you'd want to share with another like-minded beer lover who can appreciate it's uniqueness. It's funny though cause it has an easier drinkability than my usual go-to stout, Mister OLD RASPUTIN, which was a welcome surprise. It's like a WIN inside of every moment!

Taste:
Better than the smell, you almost can't process it with the normal brain...boy am I impressed! It starts off Oaky and woody since it was 33% aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. That being said, it's only a 3rd aged in those barrels so the oak wasn't too corky and there was a touch of bourbon that shined through just enough to tell you that it was different from the rest. I also get a dark truffle baker's chocolate roasted malt finish. It's like walking into a Starbucks and ordering off of their secret menu and sipping a chocolate full roast coffee blend with a nutty alcoholic backbone and a cocoa finish. You're sitting in the coffee shop sipping on a secret brew and only you know about it and only you can appreciate its bitter black licorice personality as it envelopes itself into an almost Charlie sheen like rebelliousness!! I really can't fathom how awesome this brew is going to be after I finish aging it. I don't expect you to either. I opened this one up prematurely because I'm impatient and need immediate gratification but I am already truly amazed by the absolute posterboy for a warlock stout that presented itself here... I can't wait to grab the next one out of my cellar in 8-10 months when this beer hits its sweet spot! I just took my final sip while finishing up this 22 oz bomber by myself and look at me, I'm drunk.., DUH! Cause that's how I roll, I only have one speed, I have one gear.. " GO !! "

Photo of wchollif
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 poured into a tulip, BIF haul - Thorpe429

An aggressive pour generates 3 fingers of head that dissipates moderately fast. Little lacing but a small ring stays with this beer.

The smell is terrific, the best part of this beer for me. No sign of infection. Walnuts, vanilla, cooked sugar, not much bourbon influence.

Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected, this Abyss has a great nose and flavor, but seems lighter than the 2010.

Flavor is very good, but not as much bourbon as I had hoped. I get very little licorice, but the molasses is prevalent.

All in all a great dessert. One more 2009 in the cellar and I hope it performs as well.

Photo of Lunch
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've wait a long time to get my hand on a proper bottle of this guy. This was one of the beers that got me into trading and boy did the 2009 disappoint. I decided to refrain from reviewing until I was able to crack a bottle of this beer in its intended form and I'm glad I did.

Beer poured into my Deschutes snifter, because I can (...looking at you drabmuh). Thick black pour with a couple fingers of a frothy tan head.

Chocolate, roasted malt, oak and a hint of bourbon hit the nose and palate with a rich and thick feel. This is an incredible beer and if I could change anything it would adding a bit more of a bourbon presence but that is really nitpicking.

Photo of cyraxx
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is jet black with a thin cap of dark brown foam on top which leaves some of the best lacing I've ever seen. When it was first served to me it was a bit too cold, and the smell was a bit subdued - it actually smelled a lot like Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. Once it warmed up, however, there was an obscene amount of roast character with some oak in the background with some dark chocolate and coffee.

The flavor is a neck and neck battle between sweet and bitter. The bitterness is both in part from hops as well as from the ridiculous amount of roasted grains and the sweetness is just from the residual sugars left from fermentation - I don't get any caramel character. There is an oaky astringency that plays well with the tannins from the roasted malts and the finish tastes entirely of dark cocoa powder. A beer that is simply a tribute to the glory of dark malts...amazing.

Photo of ms11781
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to duff247. 2010 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours as black as night with a small, foamy dark brown head. Head reduces to a thin light brown ring around the glass. Foamy wisps of lacing are left on the glass.

Very strong and complex aroma. Dark chocolate leads the way along with some wood. Definitely some oak and vanilla present. Black licorice shows up big time on the back end. Dark, roasted malts are here as well and blend nicely with the other scents. There is some bourbon and, while it seems to come on most just before the black licorice at the end, it can be picked up almost immediately and rides underneath the rest of the aromas.

The taste is just as complex as the nose. Really the only difference from the nose is that a huge dose of anise and a bit of molasses are thrown in the mix. Starts off slightly chocolaty with a decent wood presence before being completely taking over by a combination of black licorice and anise. Some molasses and roasted malt are present as well. The finish is bourbon and a good amount of oak, leaving a nice warmth to the back of the throat. The flavors blend together nicely but the black licorice and anise are what really stand out.

Surprisingly, the beer has a medium mouthfeel overall. A medium body with lighter carbonation allow it to be smooth, rich and creamy without being as heavy as it seems it would be. Pretty amazing that a beer of this size and complexity doesn't have to be dense and heavy.

Drinkability is excellent with this beer. Normally an 11% ABV bomber is a beer to split but it was halfway gone before I had let the full flavor profile run around and allow me to grasp it. The other half was just enjoyed slowly. Definitely a sipper that is probably best enjoyed on a cold winter night.

Photo of CaptainTripps
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 bottle poured into a Tulip.
Served at Cellar temp (around 53-55 degrees).

A: Pours a pitch black body (no light getting through this sucker.) Dark brown hues appear on the edges - looks like creamy milk chocolate. Came with a dark mocha head, about 2 fingers worth. Left an artwork amount lacing down the glass to the very last drop.

S: Wonderful blend of anise, mocha, dark chocolate (lots of dark chocolate), Vanilla and a vary vague amount of bourbon (but still there.) Also some trace amounts of oak and molasses. Roasted grains and malts present as well. A extremely good smelling beer that sucks you in. I would argue that you could not just smell this beer. One whif and you would be begging to taste it.

T: Improves upon the smell going from very seductive to down right criminaly awesome. The big components of the beer play in harmony giving your palate one heck of a showing. Licorice and dark chocolate dominate up front and linger onto the finish. The finish has a strong sense of mocha, molasses and faint bourbon. Vanila pretty faint in this beer, but still present. Has a nice roasted malt base that makes this beer a very hard one to put down.

M: Not as thick as you would expect from the pour. Medium bodied beer that coats the palate nicely. The carbonation is surpisngly very good in this beer (being a 2008 vintage). Alcohol is so well hidden, upon first sip, it drinks like a chocolatey milk shake.

D: The highest drinkablity score i can possibly give to this beer: Perfect. The beer is damn right perfect from inside out. Sometimes big russian imperial stouts can be to thick and hard to take all the way down. The Abyss, with its medium mouthfeel goes down smoothly; drinking this bottle down to the end goes by faster then you would think and hope.

Homerism aside, The Abyss is straight up a world class beer. It is widely available up and down the west coast. No stupid brewery only release in an attempt to make their beer more important then it really is. It is also quite amazing Deschutes can produce such a good beer with such a large scale production (350bbl on the 2008, up to 600bbl on the most recent batches). Fantastic beer from a fantastic brewery. My hats off to you Deschutes.

Photo of MADhombrewer
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pitch black with a dark brown head. Great lacing.

Smell- Dark chocolate and alcohol are the biggest things in the aroma. Vanilla, some hops and anise are also present in a smaller amount.

Taste- Dark chocolate, vanilla, anise and alcohol. In that order. It also tastes like a chocolate and brandy milk shake.

Mouthfeel- Thick, chewy, and surprisingly creamy at the same time. Very good.

Drinkability- This is a great beer to have on a blustery night (as this is). Even though it is 11% I am already thinking of another. But I won't because I want to save the others I have for these type of nights.

Because I opened this I will have to get another. Excellent beer! Thanks Deschutes!!

Photo of LittleDon
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Reserve found at Whole Foods in Phoenix (Paradise Valley). Jet black with a dense tan head, good retention, and fair amount of lace. Aroma has elements of chocolate, molasses, and a hint of smoke. A bit hard on the carbonation up front. Plenty of residual sugar and the alcohol is definitely there, but lots of other interesting stuff going on. The molasses is certainly noticeable in the acidity and slight smokiness. Good amount of bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Licorice in the middle with oak and a bit of acidity. Bittersweet back end with a bit of tang.

I was pretty surprised to find this, as it was there and gone in my home town (Austin).

Photo of tmcelvain
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage 01.28.2011 from notes:

This is one brown-eyed girl, with a dark, almost chocolaty, head. A sweet smelling beer, with just a little hint of spice and chocolate.
My first impression is a woody taste with a hint of smoke. The body of the flavor is anise, licorice, and molasses. There is a hint of alcohol burn as you start to take in the slight bourbon and oak flavors.
This is fairly light and carbonated for an Imperial Stout, and a bit high on the burn factor. I downgraded both the mouthfeel and the drinkability for this lightness and slight burn. Overall a very good beer that I am anxious to try again as it ages.

Photo of emagana
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured a 2010 vintage in a tulip glass.
Dark as night with half a finger of brown head.
Aroma of dark expreso with hints of licorice. earthy notes of mushrooms and roasted coffee. very pleasent and inviting.
i had to let it cool down a bit.
Starts off strong with expresso dark chocolate notes. Smokey flavors follow with the hint of licorice. Sweet lingering after taste with some bitter roundness.
this beer is awsome. not to cloying or tin with pleanty of complex flavoring. no alcohol burn. this one is drinking great now. cant wait to try it a few years from now.

Photo of lnashsig
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to taste this. I got this as an extra! A 2009 2 yr aged bottle of Abyss!

After I managed to get the wax seal off of the bottle, I popped the top- instantly had a tart molasses bubble rise to the top of the bottle. It popped, giving me a tart scent of dark molasses. Poured into my Dfh snifter, pours a pitch black color, with a little tan head. Smell- lightly sour and tart molasses, licqourice, and chocolate. Taste- coffee, liquorice, and molasses, with a dark chocolate finish. This is an amazing beer experience. Lives up to the hype.

Photo of russwbeck
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage. Shared with nhindian on 2/28/11 as the second of our Deschutes night!

A: Opaque, black pour with a one finger tan head. Head really goes away fast, but laces a bit.

S: Black licorice, bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, and I'm sure something else. A lot going on here. Interested to move to the taste.

T: Decent amount of black licorice, didn't know what it was at first, chocolate coming through as well. Ending is mostly coffee. Bourbon taste comes throughout, and sticks on the palate a bit. Dry finish.

MF: Heavy, but not the heaviest I've had. Nice and creamy.

D: The black licorice becomes a bit much, but the bourbon isn't overpowering.

2011 Vintage. Enjoyed on 12/26/12. After the "best after" date of 8/4/12. This review will be represented in the official score, as it's when the brewer intended it to be drank.

A: The beer pours out motor oil black with a big mocha head. The head is as creamy as it gets, lasts forever, and laces beautifully on its way down. Pretty much the definition of a good stout. 4.5

S: The aroma is of black licorice, as the previous vintage I had was, but this is nicely blended with chocolate, roast, bourbon and oak. The molasses is apparent, but not really cherry or vanilla. The oak and booze combine forces to combat the licorice, and they're actually doing a good job. The chocolate and roast are nice and robust. I'm looking forward to the taste. 4.5

T: The licorice is only a small part of the taste thankfully. The chocolate and molasses provide a base for what is to come. Which includes a nice blend of booze, bourbon, and more subtle dark fruit notes of red wine. The barrels really punch you in the face with seemingly new flavors every time. I just wish bourbon played more of a role, as this vintage seems to be more focused on oak (which I don't like as much personally). I have to say that this is better after the "best after" date, go figure. 4.5

MF: The body is nice and thick, right at syrupy, with a lower than average amount of carbonation. The roast and oak just stick around on the palate forever and make you want to drink some more. The ABV will creep up on you if you don't watch it. 4.5

O: This really blew me away compared to what I thought of it last time. The barrels really come together in a good way and build off of a big, sweet base. Now I understand why it's so highly regarded and I'll be sure to wait until after the "best after" date from now on. 4

Photo of kruthar
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sittin in deschutes brewery enjoyingmy cajun mac and cheese my eyes lit up when I saw my pretty waitress crack a bottle of 2010 abyss.

I came in hesitant. Knowing that once upon a time a 2009 abyss was about an inch away from being winced at.

The smell was overwelmingly chocolatey and believe it or not had no trace of bottle contaminatgion or sour infestation. I'm excited.

The look is fantastic dark and thick with tan head. A quick swirl gives slightly watery lacing.

The taste is a swirling blend of dark chocolate slow roastyness and a hint of burnt. The bourban comes through a tlittle which is ine for me.

I had the black butte 22 earlier and this years abyss is definitley smoother by far.

Overall a far from disappointing experience with a fantastic dark beer.

Photo of nhindian
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split with russwbeck and poured into a large snifter. Bottle generously provided as an extra by jamdugan, thanks a ton Jim!

2010 vintage.

A - An aptly named beer, this beer certainly does its best impression of an abyss, although it does yield to some bark colored highlights around the edges. A creamy, 1.5-fingered head, light tan in appearance sits gently on top. Retention is moderate, but when its gone it leaves very thick bubbles behind. Lacing is generous and thin, and overall very nice.

S - The aroma on this beer is a nice hybrid between the base beer, barrel, and black licorice. It's sweet malts bring a nice chocolately smell, while the barrel adds some nice oak and vanilla notes. The most interesting smell in this beer is the strong black licorice presence. It dominates the back end of the smell and is certainly unique, despite me not having a huge affinity towards licorice to begin with.

T - The taste just absolutely takes the smell to a new level. The mats here are so bold that it almost brings a smoky quality, perhaps some espresso roast, which lingers far into the finish. Afterwards the chocolates come through, but are more subtle caught between the mats and black licorice. Speaking of, the licorice steals the stage of the mid-taste onwards. Perhaps a slight hop bitterness arises, but the licorice dominates the end of the taste. Alcohol is extremely well hidden, I would never assume this was 11%.

M - The mouthfeel is much lighter than I would've expected from a beer of the gravity. It's medium to medium-light with moderately low carbonation, and leaves a nice coating on the palate.

D - Drinkability is high. The flavors are bold, rich, and unique, and the alcohol is dangerously hidden. This beer is definitely worth the praise, and I wish I had easier access to this!

Photo of legalpete19340
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a rich black color, not sure how, but it was rich black. A good amount of sudsy head developed and stuck around while drinking.

S: Lots of molasses and wood. I get a nice smokiness too. There is the slightest spice coming through, maybe the licorice?

T: Dark roasted malt, molasses, dark roasted malt, smokiness and dark roasted malt. There is a woodiness to the background that has hints of caramel but very subtle. I even get a bit of grassy or herbal hop notes in the mid swig. Somewhere near the end is the slightest bit of burnt coffee. This is not a sweet beer and not a smoke beer. It is a dark roasty angel sent from beer heaven.

M: Velvety with the right amount of carbonation and a little syrupy.

D: This is an Imperial that can be sipped for hours. Very smooth.

This is an incredible Imperial Stout, nearly a perfect one for me. Dark, roasty, smooth and with interesting balance of flavors. The score says it all.

Photo of chilly460
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a solid dark black out of the bottle into the glass. Thick milk chocolate colored head grew as the beer sat for a minute, this is one nice looking beer. This beer sticks to the side of the glass with a light film, it lets you know you're about to drink something serious.

S - I got plenty of coffee and roasted malts immediately. There is an interesting background of wood smoke, and definitely earthy woodiness to it as well. Some licorice, and small amount of vanilla as well. It's solid for sure, but nothing jumps out as too prevalant.

T - There's so much going on here, it's hard to identify. First prevalent taste was a subtle coffee tone that switched to some nice roasted malts. Not over the top on bitterness which is great for me. Plenty of the bourbon tones, and midrange of vanilla flavor. Not as sweet as other big barrel aged RIS, but that's not a bad thing. Some sips bring in chocolate covered cherries. Nice surprise was earthy hops at the finish, nice to have that balance in this style. Final point on the agenda was a definite warm alcohol burn as it goes down the hatch, this is like a nice brandy.

M - What is there to say, it's pure delicious motor oil, low carbonation, silky smooth. Right on point for a huge RIS.

D - To be honest, I have a rough time calling any big RIS "highly drinkable" so I rate to the style. This mule of a beer is as good as any of this breed as far as balance and ability to enjoy, but I feel that one maybe two is max for anyone that isn't used to drinking Scotch served neat on a hot day.

Photo of Foxtrot
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was pretty apprehensive about opening my 2009 vintage of The Abyss. I would be pretty angry that I sat on this beer for close to a year and a half with the possibility of infection. Only one way to find out. Cold weather, and rain made this beer all the more welcoming.

Pours deepest inky black. Its like looking into a black pool of liquid chocolate. Abundance of foam created a soft 2 finger head of considerable retention, followed by sticky lacing that rims the glass, and settles on top of this dark elixir. Foam is a very dark mocha, perhaps one of the darkest I've come across thus far.

Aroma abounds with big notes of bourbon, molasses, roast, slightly earthy, chocolate and black licorice goodness. Some light astringency, but I don't get any sour notes that would indicate a infection. That makes me feel loads better. The hops give it a nice earthy tone, as mentioned earlier, and plays very well with the black licorice and oak barrel aging. Come to think of it, this just might be my first barrel aged beer.

All indicators point to this not being a infected bottle, and it sure didn't have infection. This is diabolical malt bomb of the highest echelon. Chocolate, and molasses are the first out the gate as they caress the taste buds. Mid palate is caramel, light toffee, some nice earthy roasted flavors with just a very slight hint of astringency, followed in short order by bourbon and black licorice. Ah yes, that black licorice. It lasts long after the sip.

Mouthfeel is the cream of the crop. Think milkshake with a small side of carbonation. Nice, thick, and chewy. Almost have to have a spoon with this.

The aging in this beer has really toned down the alcohol burn to the point of none existent. I can see myself having a snifter of this anytime of year, rain or shine, it's that damn good. Not to mention that the barrel aging has really combined all the flavor's and nuances of this otherwise, incredibly made, and well crafted beer. Cheers!

Photo of blackandwhitemax
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured darker than any beer I've seen before. The foam lasted extremely long. The beer tasted much sweeter than I expected it to for being so strong. Plenty of coffee and sweet molasses. With out a doubt, worth the trip to the Deschutes Brewery.

Photo of Luk13
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle thanks to Glouglouburp. Dark black pour, with no head. Aroma of licorice, black berries, coffee, hops are gone, but you can tell they were definately there. What is left is a nice balance of fruitiness/herbalness from the berries and anise. Taste is rich coffee roastiness with herbal licorice notes, light barrel aging flavors - just a hint of booze on the finale, bitter finish. Palate is a bit flat, but full flavored and creamy.

Photo of Brad007
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received in a trade with a fellow BA. I'm privileged to try this example, which is currently #5 on BA's Top 100.

2010 Vintage

Pours a color that's blacker than black with a nice brown head into my glass. Can't top this.

Bourbon, oak, dark fruit, coffee and licorice aromas stimulate the olfactory gland. I haven't met many stouts with such a variation in aromas.

A delicate balance of oak and bourbon greet the palate upfront, followed by bursts of licorice, coffee and cream. I can't describe just how good it tastes.

Mouthfeel is full of a mix of what I can only describe as Oaked Creamy Licorice infused with mocha and cocoa. Wow, that actually sounds good to me. I think I'll trademark it.

There's a reason why this is a favorite among BeerAdvocates: It's tickles your palate and blows your mind.

Photo of ChanChan
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2009 Bottle.
Served in a snifter glass.
Appearance: Thick viscous with an ample mocha colored head. The head on this beer is fluffy with tiny as well as large bubbles.
Smell: The aroma in this beer is of coffee chocolate, hops, bourbon, and licorice. It also has a significant alcohol aroma.
Taste: This beer has a medium body mouth-feel; it gives off a distinct warming alcohol feel in the throat and belly! Compared to other stouts this beer is dry. The taste like the smell is of faint chocolate, lots of coffee and licorice as well as a mild taste of bourbon.
Final thoughts: With the ever-growing number of Imperial stouts available I think this is one that definitely stands out. I'm not saying it is the best out there but in a blind taste of Imperial stouts I am sure I can easily pick this one out. The combination of bourbon aging and licorice are what make this stout stand out. If you are not impressed by the first sip wait till the last third of the bottle and you will grow to appreciate this beer, if not you will at least get a good buzz!!

Photo of notchucknorris
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: About as dark as anything I've ever seen. Huge mocha colored head. Looks-wise, tough to beat.

S: The smells coming off this one change every few seconds. I love it. Persimmon, dark chocolate, plum, coffee and a bit of a charcoal smell. Pretty much the everlasting gobstopper of smells.

T: Full, smooth, complex and sweet. A lot of dark chocolate and coffee along with some dark fruit. Hides the alcohol well, but there's a nice warming sensation as you drink this. Without a doubt, the best beer I've ever had.

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,500 ratings.