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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

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5,508 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,508
Reviews: 1,730
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,604
Gots: 2,678 | FT: 202
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,508 | Reviews: 1,730 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 Bottle:

Not going to follow regular format for this one. I'll just say, for a beer this fresh or young, I've never ever had a Imperial Stout taste this balanced and smooth while holding such flavor complexity. As if it's already been cellared for a year in comparison to most all others of the style.

Most of this style are still pretty hot at this age and the drinkability, mouthfeel, carbonation, silky smoothness of the Abyss right now is spot on. True craftsmanship 2010 vintage.

The taste will easily warrant a 5 after 8 months or so. Chocolate dominates moreso than I remember from the last 2 years. Inbetween dark and milky chocolate. Liquorice, molasses, a wee bit of expresso and mild hints of bourbon swirl together on the palate and the mouthfeel is silky and damn near perfect. Mouthfeel will be PERFECT with age. A mild smokiness can also be detected as well as bits of Oak and Vanilla. Crafting all these characteristics together is 2nd to none. Less carbonated than past vintages but I felt 2009 (uninfected of course) to be just a tad bit overcarbonated.

Final Thoughts - This beer is damn near Stout perfection now. Again, it tastes like it already has aged some! 2008 BCS is the only other I'd argue drinking better right now although I understand they're not quite crafted the same way.
This 2010 vintage will be a measuring stick for all others with some good age on it I'd assume. Very impressed.

$11.99 - brewers and breweries take note.

Photo of bvarn
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Looking into this beer truly is like peering over the edge of an abyss. Absolute blackness. Dark tan head.

S: Espresso, licorice, vanilla, smokey

T: This is a delight to drink. I'm not a big fan of the licorice flavor, but that's me. That being said, I still found this to be an incredible beer.

M: Exceptional. Huge. I did not even notice the high ABV until I found myself tipsy off just one glass, then I checked the label and was surprised to see 11%. Masked beautifully by the flavors and full body.

D: Best beer I've had since the Oak Aged Yeti. Absolutely worth $10 for a 22oz bottle.

Photo of plfahey
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle (2010 vintage) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Jet black, totally opaque. Generous brown head stand with moderate retention and some lacing.

Aroma-Mmmm, roasty with dark, bittersweet chocolate and coffee notes. Some sour cherry notes, oak, and light vanilla aromas as well. Slight smoky bourbon. Complex, multi-faceted, and delicious.

Flavor-The first flavor I get is a sweet, tart oaky cherry flavor, which is prominent and muted at the same time (I don't really understand myself). This is then overtaken by rich, chocolate milkshake and roasted coffee. The roasted flavors grow in the finish. The tart and oaky flavors return in the finish to eventually be overtaken by roasted coffee and alcohol flavors, which carry far into the aftertaste. As it warms, bourbon and molasses flavors become more prominent.

Mouthfeel-Full, somewhat chewy body. Medium low carbonation. Feels silky smooth and somewhat mouthcoating. Finishes a little bit tart and with some substantial alcohol warmth, but is not astringent, and is not harsh or hot.

Definitely good, though with it this fresh, I can definitely see this one improving with age (It's even dated as "Best After 11/15/11", but I figured since I had 2 I'd try one now and one in a year or two). The flavors need a bit of time to integrate, the body could slim down a hair, and the alcohol, while not hot, could be a little smoother.

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

Split an uninfected 2009 bottle with my roommate in Austin. Got the bottle from Lucas Liquors in Lone Tree CO. You guys rock. Drank it from a Great Divide balloon glass.

I've never had a waxed bottle before. That was interesting and impressive. The label is comparatively simple, but the bottle is quite impressive. Helps out the score. The pour itself doesn't disappoint. Fluffy tan head. Leaves excellent lacing. A truly black beer... but still not the most ominous RIS I've seen. Excellent, but not perfect.

The nose is big and complex. This seems to keep it's nose much longer than other beers I've tried. The base of the nose is chocolate. Big, bad chocolate. Underneath, it's not hard to detect the claimed licorice and molasses. Occasionally, the burbon barrels come through. There is also a bit of boozy heat. A great nose with unique lasting power.

The taste of the beer goes right along with the nose. Lots of standard RIS tastes, but with extra accents. The bourbon and oak might be a bit more hidden than I would like. My roommate didn't pick up on them until after I told him to look for them. The mouthfeel is almost too smooth for a RIS. I want a syurpy, coating feel sometimes! However, The carbonation isn't unwelcome and helps make this astoundingly drinkable. The booze is also highly present, but not unwelcome, either. A new sensation for me with beers.

An uninfected and aged 2009 Abyss is a very, very good beer. I would not mind having one of these to split every single night...

Photo of boomer31
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

A - Pours a viscous black with a deep brown head. Bubbles leave pretty quickly. Some stick on the glass

S - Roasty and chocolatey up front. Some oak and slight bourbon though very faint. A hint of alcohol as well.

T - Sweet dark malts, chocolate and roasty. Pretty sweet in the back, almost fruity sweet, maybe cherry. It actually clings to your tonuge. The more I drink the more the wood and oak come out. A very earthy bourbon, not over the top.

M - Nice low carb, very sticky and viscous.

D - A very easy beer to drink especially at 11%. Though this comes off very sweet at first the flavors are so nice and complex you keep looking for more.

A great beer for sure. Complex with the roast and chocolate blending with the wood and bourbon.

Photo of nataku00
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Previously reviewed 2009 Abyss that was on tap in fall of 2010, but was able to get a few bottles of 2010 release and this deserves another review.

A fresh 2010 bottle poured into a snifter. Beer is as black as a stout can be, with just a small amount of dark brown large bubbled head. Lots of alcohol clinging to the glass when swirled, and just a hint of carbonation bubble right at the edge of the glass every now and then.

Nose is nice complex, coffee, dark fruits, dark chocolate, slight bitterness from roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and licorice.

Drinking this before the suggested drink by date because of other comments about the 2010 release drinking very nicely right now and it doesn't disappoint. Alcohol presence is definitely there, but just a nice mixture of coffee, fruitiness, chocolate, and oak upfront. The finish is long and lush, bourbon presence definitely making its presence in vanilla, caramel, and chocolate staying on your tongue minutes after swallowing.

Full bodied and perfectly carbonated beer, rich and creamy but not overwhelming in its delivery of flavor. Lasting finish makes this a sip and savor, a beer to spend a long night with, to enjoy its complex and deep flavor. Need more bottles of the 2010 to hang onto and see how it develops over the years.

Photo of SteveO1231
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Release

Snagged a bottle in a beer trade a couple years ago, cellared it and decided that today was the day. 2008 Release. Pours jet black with a golden highlight shimmering at the top. The brew pours with a thick chocolate colored frothy head like a Wendy's Frosty, do I need a spoon? Aroma is beautiful, chocolate, espresso, marshmallow, caramelized sugars, a little oak and hint of citrus. This beer is thick as hell and velvety smooth. Like a milkshake! The first pour out of the bottle gives me a glass of beer with some serious legs but the head mellows when I pour the second half of the bottle. ABV is a bit numbing and the palate is slick. This beer is incredibly smooth and drinkable yet incredibly complex. It starts of sweet, chocolaty, full of licorice, molasses and roasted malts. As it warms and I continue to sip, more espresso, roasted flavors, hop bitterness, oak and alcohol come through. There is a really nice overlaying touch of bourbon in this beer but not enough to overpower the malt and hops, really balanced perfectly! The beer has maintained a nice roasty, bitter finish over the past three years. My palate is left incredibly numb and dry after each sip. I can't imagine what a fresh bottle must be like. This is really a great beer, delicious! I'd like to try more of Deschutes beers.


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

The Abyss is everything an Imperial Stout should be. Has a great aroma of chocolate, bourbon, malts, slight coffee etc. Creamy flavor with an outstanding amount of drinkability. The ABV is masked very well. I couldn't even tell how much alcohol was in this baby. I've had the 2009 and the 2010 is drinking much better in my opinion.

Photo of SawDog505
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the beer, I had hoped it would be. Perfect. I poured the 2010 22 oz bomber into my 16 oz snifter. Poured as black as it gets, with this amazing brown 3 inch sticky head. Lacing stays around awhile. The smell chocolate, coffee, hint of oak. Taste is like it smells, thick, but amazingly drinkable for 11%. Every sip was some how better then the previous. Having this beer in my hand for the start of 2011, will always be remembered. I'm glad my wife got me two.

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

Saved the best for last,rang inthe new year with this bad boy.Poured into a snifter deep and dark but not quite opaque,just a tinge of deep ruby when held close to the light,a creamy and very sticky deep mocha colored head atop that nver really left.Deep mocha coffee and vanilla tinged oak in the nose,I also picked up some roasted nut and dark fruit.Bitter chocolate and molasses flavor really hit from the onset,as it warms licorice really comes thru as well.An awesome creamy feel to the beer really coats the mouth and it goes down with ease.What a great sipper,just so much flavor and a creamy feel made me wanna drink another 22oz!A beer more than worthy of its lofty status.

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

Have some vintages of this beer, 08-10. Popped the 2010 this year while in Chandler, AZ. Wanted to try it fresh, for comparison later.

Poured from a wax sealed 22oz into a large snifter glass.

Pours like black, used motor oil, with a rusty copper head, rises a little less than an inch. Lasts for a bit, then fades to this creamy head that retains, and sticks to the glass a bit

Aromas are of chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon, smoked wood, and sweet espresso.

Flavor, much of the same, Chocolate, sweet roasted malt, Caramel, vanilla, smoked wood. Some heat, it's 11%, but for this fresh, it's incredibly complex, even this young.

The mouth feel is creamy, buttery, and a great sipper.

Was a great beer to ring in the new year with, and I am looking forward to trying the aged vintages soon.

What else can be said, you can get lost in this beer. Buy a warehouse, and start filling it with this beer.

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

Poured from 22 oz. black bottle to Oversized Wine glass. 2010 reserve with best after date of 11-15-11 on bottle. I should wait on it, but I've never had this beer before and can't wait that long to try it. $11.99 a bottle.

Appearance: Deep dark black with a large dark brown creamy head. Decent retention. Great lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee, molasses, dark fruit and chocolate notes in the nose. Slight woody aroma.

Taste: Starts sweet and ends with bitter chocolate/roasted coffee. Alcohol is barely noticeable, but it's there. Leaves a lasting roasted bitterness on the palate that is just heaven.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is smooth and full as full can be with a decent amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: High

I can definitely see why this beer would become better with age, and I can't wait to try it again down the road. An amazing Imperial Stout that truly lives up to it's reputation.

Photo of StayWhatYouAre2
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the beers included in the 2010 Christmas tasting with my brother (Mississipping) and our dad. Poured from a 2009 bottle--thankfully not infected--into a Bruery snifter.


Black as night. Head was a carmel tan/brown. Originally about one finger think that slowly dissipated into a thing ring with large bubble clusters.


Very strong bourbon scent with hints of caramel and chocolate. There was also a strong smoke smell, but overall not very dynamic and a little disappointing.


Not disappointing at all! Bourbon hits the palat first and is quickly followed by a smoky flavor. As it lingers in your mouth and hits the back of your throat the taste changes dramatically. First you begin to notice a chocolate flavor that is bold and stays with you for a long time. Then you begin to notice a licorice flavor and is finished by a toffee flavor that lingers for minutes. As it warms there is a strong coffee flavor that begins to show up more and more. It is very hidden at first, but will almost become overpowering if warm. The alcohol is very well masked and almost unnoticeable.


Full-bodied. Very smooth and lingers for hours. Not too thick, but coats the whole mouth which allows you to notice the changing of all the flavors. Very drying at the end.


A very slow drinker and definitely a sipper. Our bottle, split 3 ways, lasted between 45 minutes and an hour. The flavors keep you coming back for more and also make you want to take your time to enjoy the complexity of the beer.

Photo of uberkane
3.22/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 fresh

A: A dark black, viscous looking beer. Pours with an impressive, frothy mocha head that dissipates very slowly. Tons of lacing.

S: Light roasted malts. Notes of vanilla and hints of chocolate. Sweet burnt toast.

T: Big bitter coffee/espresso with dark chocolate. A little harsh. Vanilla and bourbons hints. Dark burnt sugar is occasionally apparent.

M: Thick, with some velvety carbonation.

D: The thickness and harsh flavors bring the drinkability down, but for all it's complexities it is pretty drinkable.

Notes: Honestly, I was a little disappointed with this beer. I'm a big fan of big stouts, so I expected to be a big fan of this beer. However, the flavors seemed a little harsh in the wrong places. I have another bottle, and will give this beer another chance after a year of aging.

Photo of axeman9182
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 2009 edition, thankfully uninfected and split with a friend. My half went into my Duvel tulip.

I swear the lights dimmed as I poured this beer, its darkness is that intense. Three inches of rich caramel foam cap the beer, and while lacing is good, the head fades away a bit quickly. Aside from the requisite slab of dark chocolate, the only other flavor to shine through in the nose is a faint, but distinct spiciness. It almost reminds me of a less intense version of the recent Stone IRS 10th Anniversary Greg Koch blend. There's a bit more to this beer though, as my tasting notes have the various flavors at play as (in order of intensity) dark chocolate, espresso, spice, and licorice. I can only guess the spiciness is from the hops, and it's remarkable that there is this much presence left this late in the ballgame. I'm pleased to see that licorice is deployed as an ancillary flavor, as I'm not a big fan of it in heavy doses. The mouthfeel is spot on, incredibly rich body without becoming syrupy, thanks to the support of a subdued but effective level of carbonation. I'm thrilled my first bottle of Abyss was devoid of infection, and while I hope the same is true of my other '09, it's probably a good idea to stock up on some '10, becasuee this is a hell of a beer.

Photo of depechemode1983
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle

A - Pitch black. There's no light shining through. Dark brown rocky head. There is a decent amount of lacing.

S - Smells a bit like worcestershire sauce at first. Dark roasted coffee notes coupled with caramel sweetness. The alcohol comes through towards the finish.

T - Sweet caramel and coffee upfront. There is a nice sweet nutty character in the middle of the taste. It then finishes with a molasses taste and a nice alcohol warmth.

M - Full bodied, smooth and silky. Carbonation is a little light. Still..it coates the palate gently and nicely.

D - I find it hard to stop sipping this beer. It's deliciously drinkable. With an ABV at 11% I would be drunk pretty fast if i had plenty of this.

Notes - I will cellar the other bottle for a couple of years and see what differences I see. Thank you gkunkle for the opportunity.

Photo of tewaris
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10 oz. of 2010 Reserve on tap at Stub & Herb's on 12/16/2010, served in a wide mouthed chalice like glass. Described by Deschutes as, "Stout brewed with licorice and and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels," and, "It's dark. It's deep. It's mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey."

Appearance 5/5
Poured pitch black with a tiny muddy hued bubbly head that dissipated soon into a thin collar and a mocha like thin sheet of foam on the surface, leaving some lacing behind. Couple of swirls coaxed a darker and bigger head, and some legs. Looks the part.

Aroma 4/5
Sweet chocolate and coffee notes in the smell. Roast. Bourbon. Lots of harmonious notes that were weak to begin with but got stronger as the beer warmed up and the glass got emptier. Quite complex aroma but closer to a Russian Imperial Stout in my opinion because the roast and coffee seem strongest and barrel character is subdued compared to other barrel aged American Imperial Stouts. Still, the oak-vanilla notes come forward later and meld well towards a unified goodness.

Taste 4.5/5
Perhaps it was the cold serving temperature, or the fact that the style itself is very wide, or perhaps it's not as good as the respect it commands, but the first sip was thin and underwhelming. But things got better with temperature bringing forward a bourbon like sweetness, bright coffee like acidity that could be lacto derived, and a superb finish that's massive on roast, medium-dry, with a very long aftertaste that is full of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel 4.5/5
Again strongly dependent on temperature, the beer felt thin and overcarbonated at first but got rich and silky later.

Drinkability 4.5/5
A very good tasting and smooth drinking beer that matches well to its alcohol content too. Not my favorite interpretation of the style but a very well done brew.

Photo of kwjd
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

700th review! Had a bottle of this as a dessert at Bar Crudo in San Francisco. This was a 2009 bottle and I do remember reading something about infections in this, but no issues here. Pours pitch black with thin brown head. Nice lacing. The beer just looks really thick. Smell is wonderfully complex for an imperial stout - roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oak. Quite a sweet flavour, with some bitterness in there. Thick, smooth mouthfeel. One of the best stouts I've ever had.

Photo of bs870621345
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a couple bottles from my dad from CA.

Pours a deep dark black color with a half inch of tan head. Nice lacing and alcohol feet down the glass.

Smells of licorice and coffee. Nice molasses and caramel mixed in. Alcohol is well hidden.

Taste follows smell. Heavy duty coffee/dark chocolate bitterness. Molasses is mixed in nicely.

Mouthfeel is heavy but the carbonation is a little light.

Drinkability is high. Very inviting and little alcohol burn.

Believe the hype, this is a fantastic beer. I bet this gets amazing in a year, not sure if I'm willing to risk my second bottle to infection.

Photo of domtronzero
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at O'Brien's in SD.

A - Very dark brown, nearly black and nearly opaque in the glass. Small, long lasting, dense, mocha-colored head. Tons of lacing left all the way down the glass.

S - Dark roasted burnt chocolaty malts, caramel, vanilla, oak and a touch of boozy alcohol. Very inviting.

F/M - Rich dark bitter chocolate, sweet malts, roasted burnt malts, vanilla, oak, slight perfumy alcohol. This is balanced very well, despite its young age. Moderately high bitterness with a rather dry finish. Medium full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering vanilla chocolate flavor.

D - This beer is remarkably drinkable, especially for such a huge stout. Big, full flavored, dry and enjoyable, this is one of the best offerings of Abyss in years.

Photo of Clamwacker
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First I have to note that this is uncellared, the "best by" date is 11/15/11 -- I have one in the cellar waiting for that but I got two bottles for Christmas and I could not wait, I've been trying to find this brew everywhere.

The best thing about this beer is everything! The only thing I can fault it on is the appearance - I made sure to clean my glassware especially well but the lacing and head just weren't quite as impressive as I had hoped.

Even still, the it poured pitch black with a hint of dark brown showing at the edge if you hold it in front of very bright light. The head wasn't terribly thick or frothy, but it is a gorgeous lighter color, not very red which is what I usually see on imperial stouts.

It smells like espresso first and foremost, with bready malt and molasses in the background.

The espresso and chocolate are in the front of the palette upon tasting. Many big stouts have used espresso and chocolate well -- the only thing I can say is that this one does it perfectly. The hop balance is incredible, there is only the slightest taste of the 11% alcohol, and it is quickly forgotten with another wave of espresso and chocolate flavor.

I didn't chill this very much -- I popped it in the fridge for maybe 30 minutes before I couldn't wait any longer (not helping my cellared bottle's chances any), but this kind of beer doesn't want to be ice cold anyway. The mouthfeel is great. It sits heavy on the tongue and is mildly carbonated, with pure darkness for the lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability is incredible. At 11% I thought this was something I would have taken a very long time with. I found myself holding it with both hands to let it warm up so I could experience the full range. I want to go pour the rest of the bottle into the glass already. While still chilled, it is at once refreshing and exhilarating, and once warmed it is creamy and lingering.

I don't get many opportunities to try beers are in BA's top 5, my last was Alesmith's Speedway Stout, and I put this right up there with that old chestnut. Beautiful!

Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black body, mocha head. I raised a pretty crazy head out of it. Stong smell of molasses, sweet malt, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. A little heat from the alcohol.

Taste is fairly sweet with more molasses and finishing with a coffee like bitterness. Licorice numbs the tongue a little. Maybe the tiniest bit of bourbon. The beer is pretty sweet so it's hard to tell. Not extremely viscous but feels a little chewy. Sugar coats my mouth.

Very delicious and probably my favorite vintage of Abyss so far.

Photo of zhanson88
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version.

Appearance: The Abyss looks very black on the pour. It looks fairly viscous, but I have seen other barrel aged stouts that have poured out thicker. About a finger of dark mocha head forms. Retention is very nice, and some great fine lacing remains clinging to the edges of the glass.

Smell: Bitter dark chocolate, licorice, dark fruits and light espresso form the base of this beer. Underlying is vanilla and a light hint of oak and barrel character.

Taste: Bitter dark chocolate, espresso, and dark fruits (plum and fig) are the most prevalent aspects of this beer up front. Vanilla, oakiness and bourbon character follow. The finish is mostly chocolate and coffee with light barrel character. Overall very good, with my only complaint being the lightness of the bourbon barrel presence.

Mouthfeel/Overall: I would call this beer between medium and full bodied, and probably leaning towards medium. Light for my taste. Carbonation is very low though, still leading to a pretty creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a very good imperial stout. Nice job by Deschutes offering a barrel aged stout that is great and readily available. My only complaint is the relative lack of barrel characteristics.

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

2008 Vintage, served for the family on Christmas, one of the most memorable beers I've had

A: This motor oil....Abyss pours pitch black with a dark brown, almost purple, color head. Retention is really good for the ABV, but not amazing for the style

S: Molasses, caramel, toffee, lactose, TONS of fruit (dates, figs, apples)...really impossible to summarize, and anything I say won't do it justice.

T: Whoa...like double rainbow shit! So complex...sweet, charred, smokey, nutty, woody (oaky), fruity, just wow. Absolutely tons of molasses. If you are reading this review for a reference, do yourself a favor and post an ISO thread instead.

MF/D: Perfectly viscous, creamy, velvety, super smooth. Carbonation is spot on, finish is lactose/awesomeness.

Notes: Truly remarkable. I really enjoyed this beer, and looking forward to acquiring another. Not over-hyped in my mind, and if you think so, I'll give you my address so you can ship it to me

As far as complexity...this is comparable to KBS for sure, but they are just too different from each other to compare in terms of which is better.

Photo of jdense
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, 2010 vintage, enjoyed with neighborhood beer buddy Christmas Eve 2010, paired with stout infused brownies and vanilla ice cream.

1 1/2 finger brown head, medium dissipation with decent lacing. Deep brown almost black body, no visible carbonation due to ultra dark hue. Let the beer warm before serving to enjoy the licorice, molasses, brown sugar, some caramel and roast, hop aroma on the floral side, tres complex. Taste mirrors nose, not a big hop blast. Mouthfeel, surprisingly was a bit thin for the style, good carbonation. We didn't have any trouble finishing the bottle. This was a really young bottle, will update review upon opening one of the (hopefully not infected) 2009 bottles I have in the cellar. Other than the thinnish mouthfeel, this was one fine beer.

EDIT- I've had several 2009 vintages and none were infected. A bit on the flat side, but similar profile as 2010, though not as complex as 2007 vintage.

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,508 ratings.