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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,731 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,731
Reviews: 1,768
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,668
Gots: 2,940 | FT: 246
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: 5,731 | Reviews: 1,768
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you chugalug06 for the trade!

From a 22 oz. 2010 Reserve bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. Pours out dark, mostly all black with some slight brown around only the shallow edges. Picture the color of motor oil about 2/3 way though it's life, but obviously not the consistency. There is a dark brown head that gives some decent lacing. It actually continues, the liquid itself is very thick so there's a good amount of glass retention on each sip.

Smell is very good, it has a lot going on. It has the classic Russian Imperial Stout characteristics of fudgey dark chocolate malt tones and then some. The bottle indicates the beer is brewed with licorice and molasses, that is certainly picked up in the aroma. There isn't a strong, but slight hint of black coffee as well, not much but a slight bourbon hint. There is a slight hint of something a little funky fermentation that I can't quite put my finger on. All of the aromas blend together nicely, it's pretty good.

The flavor is outstanding and quite unique. Plenty of roasted malts here producing chocolate, coffee (maybe even espresso), molasses, vanilla, and maybe even some caramel flavors, there's certainly plenty of sweetness. Bourbon and some slight woody notes. Can't detect the licorice in the flavor as the smell. There is a slight tartness to it, almost like a sour cherry flavor. Like the smell it's all blended very well.

Mouthfeel is close to perfect. Full bodied and well balanced overall. Very smooth with a good carbonation level. Slight warmth from the alcohol. Very complex to the mouth with all the flavors but manages a slight bitter bite at the end which is very nice. Very drinkable, but it would be tough to polish off a bottle yourself, if you do, dont' expect to do a whole lot that night, it could take awhile, especially if you want to enjoy it properly. A very good beer. I'm glad I have another bottle to let sit for awhile. This beer certainly lives up to the hype, I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to try it.

Photo of SkunkWorks
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage, got in a trade from dpchuger and cellared since the release. Served in a Southampton IRS release day snifter.

Look: solid, black body with dark red highlights around the edge of the glass when held to the light. Thin, reddish brown head forms with good retention but not a whole lot in terms of lacing. Good looking stout.

Smell: rich aroma with a big brownie batter aroma, chocolatey, a bit of licorice, and a light bourbon barrel smell. Of all the barrel aged stouts I've had, this might be the best smelling. Exceptional.

Taste: follows the nose with roasted chocolate, a small bit of bourbon and oak, a slight tannic taste, some licorice and molasses with a bit of vanilla as well. A good level of complexity, nothing is overdone, and everything is done well. Very, very great.

Feel: a little on the thin side, but still medium-full, light alcohol presence, dry, and slightly astringently bitter. Moderate carbonation. I can't give it higher than a 4 though, because an 11% stout needs to have more body, but otherwise, quite good. Its a sipper because you want to savor this beer, the same way you would take your time eating a decadent slice of cake.

Overall: a really amazing stout, certainly worth all the hype. I'm glad that I received this in a trade and wish that Deschutes distributed to New York so I could buy this by the case. If you haven't had this yet, what are you waiting for? Cheers!

Photo of LtCracker20
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage. Poured into a Portsmouth Tulip.

A- Pours a deep and dark black body with an ever so slight reddish hue around the edges. Nice 2-finger coffee colored head that last for a while before falling to a pretty thick cap. Absolutely beautiful. Damn fine lacing all the way down.

S- Deep roasted chocolate, slight bourbon, vanilla oak, and licorice and molasses. None of the 11% abv.

T- WOW! Licorice and molasses finishes after the deep roasted chocolate and vanilla and sweet espresso. A very nice woody flavor.

MF- A full body, but just a tad bit thinner than expected. The flavors coat the palate amazingly and the flavors stick around for a long time. Nonetheless, very creamy and thick.

O- Overall, this was one hell of an amazing beer, one of the best, if not the best, I've ever had. Looking forward to seeing what some time does for it! I really can't believe how well they hide the ABV, it really plays no part in the aroma or the taste, beware!
---
2009 Vintage. A year and a half old. Crossing my fingers on this one...

A- 5- Pitch black with 3-fingers chocolate colored head with very good retention and lace.

S- 4.5- Whoo Hoo! Nice oakey vanilla, burnt bittersweet chocolate, molasses, anise. No abv present.

T-5- More of the smell and again, none of the abv present. Carefull with it.

MF-5- Very big and creamy.

O- 4.5- Very relieved to have a good bottle with no signs of any infection. A very good beer with 1.5 years on it. Have to put my other 2010 away for a while...

Photo of MikeyMikee
4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle drank in March '11. Review is from my notes.

Served at cellar Temp: 55'F

A- Opaque with a rich, dark brown head. Great retention, a really beautiful beer.

S- A little nutty, rich dark and milk chocolate and light mollasses. Dont smell much bourbon but I believe the bottle says 33% aged in barrels so maybe it will come out more in the taste.

T- Sweet licorice up front followed by sugars from molasses and carmel. Huge roasted malt backbone with chocolate and coffee-espresso being the center of attention. A little bit of sweetness also comes through from the bourbon I suppose.

M- This is where the beer falls apart for me. Overall the mouthfeel was a little thin. Theres a transient bitterness from the mild hops and alcohol which eventually just becomes heat from the alcohol. My main problem is the dryness that follows. It kept me going back for another sip just yso my mouth wouldnt dry out. Other than that it was perfectly carbonated.

O- Rich maltiness and sweet from the bourbon and licorice. A descent beer but I'm not sure if I would go out of my way for another. I have a few more in the cellar so perhaps I'll give it a few more months to see how it develops.

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deschutes Abyss

A: This looks like an Exxon valdez rampage. Pure black with shimmering darkness like the gulf of mexico. Huge khaki carbonation with sticky lacing. If you spill this on your clothes, just throw them out. No middle carbonation, at least not much that I can see.

S: There is a huge chocolate profile, not similar to most stouts, it registers sweeter more of a syrupy bitterness like those bags of syrup you add to soda machines but with a ton of awesome coffee balance. As a side note, I feel like Deschutes sometimes ends up with too much sugar attenuation and they defy the status quo here with this chocolate syrupy note that remains balanced.

T: Very sweet on the first taste that coats the bitter zones with an overwhelming hop presence that subsides into a tarpit of gooey coffee notes. The heat is there but the alcohol is overridden by almost distracting sweet notes. It is reminiscent of if you subjected a normal stout to a 120 min boil. It just feels like stout concentrate in a good way.

M: I can’t overstate this enough, it coats harder than a single guy at 1:45 a.m. at a club. Chocolate robitussin with teeth staining presence. It will linger with you, whether you want it to or not.

D: I don’t know what crazy cold conditions or type of Siberian misery that I would have to endure to put away several bottles of this away. Perhaps the people in Bend Oregon have a tough gulag life that I can’t comprehend from my Mediterranean climate throne but one 22 oz bottle of this is plenty, anyone who “wishes” for another bomber seems questionable, but understandable.

Narrative: “So this is how product liability lawsuits happen,” Warren Dolce thought as the maroon viscous liquid glugged out of the cocoa butter vat and all over the factory floor. “Of all the things to skimp on, I don’t think that the pressure control valve and the blow off valve were proper,” he reflected “at least not for the chocolate refining tank.” Thousands of wanting Cadburry eggs would remain wanting frosting yokes, in endosperm stasis. The chocolate crude gurgled up to his jaw line and Warren reflected, “perhaps the basement lock was not the way to cut costs either, here I am, 3 floors down, about to endure the prophetic Death By Chocolate, to be honest, I kinda always knew that it would end this way.” He exhaled into the mucilaginous depths watching the bubbles struggle to the surface. “A sweet death, to be sure, but who will finish my screen pl-”

Photo of perrymarcus
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bomber (22oz) served in a snifter.
2010 vintage with a "best after" date of 11/15/11. (eh, couldn't wait.)

300th review.

pours your standard imperial stout-used motor oil black while yielding 3/4" of a thick, creamy, mocha toned head. retention is very respectable for the style, as is the lacing.

the nose is just delicious. big bold notes of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt with secondary elements of licorice and molasses, maybe a little bourbon. mouth-watering.

taste follows the aroma closely with lots of the aforementioned; a touch of vanilla i missed in the nose. and while there's a splash of booziness in the finish, otherwise the 11% ABV is well-hidden. to be sure, this is a tasty, decadent brew.

great mouthfeel, velvety with a medium-full body; average carbonation.

overall, well, i told myself i wouldn't be swayed by the hype but in the end? yeah this is a world class beer. no question.

Photo of jamescain
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into a Saint Arnold’s sniffer

Appearance: Black with a thick tan head…that’s the way an imperial stout should look like.

Aroma: This is the part that made me worry, there was the very distinct sour aroma emanating from the bottle. After it was poured I could detect other aromas, vanilla, licorice, coffee, chocolate, and the slight sour aroma, which was not overwhelming, but did add some character.

Taste: Incredibly complex, coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, oak, licorice. The sour aroma was barely provided any sour taste. The sourness from the infection was more like a stout aged on cherries, then one that was infected.

Mouthfeel: Thick and rich with medium carbonation. This one is a sipper for sure, yet there is no apparent alcohol.

Overall: Even though it was infected it was still very good. I can’t wait to break into one of me 2010 bottles and get to experience this one in all of its glory.

Photo of Ponsism
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It Pours very dark

The Aroma is all licorice.

Taste is less licorice than it's aroma suggests, but it's there, along with a smooth chocolate and light smokey flavor. The aftertaste is a slight licorice & chocolate.

I am disappointed with the thin body.

Photo of ChugginOil
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally have the chance and occasion to enjoy one of my 2010 Vintages. Up in the Northwoods WI for Memorial Day weekend.
Poured from a bomber into a Delirium snifter.

Pours a very deep, dark brown that is almost black. Less than a fingers worth of orange tinted mocha head dissipates quickly and leaves oily lacing with a few spots. The nose is chocolate, bourbon, and alcohol. All are quite bold in their expression. The taste has a great profile.

Thick licorice and chocolate flavors fill my palate and stick there. This stuff is thick. The bourbon characteristics are shining through just enough to add the flavors without masking the dessert like qualities. There is a molasses flavor melded into the mix the adds to the sweetness of The Abyss.

The flavors cling to my mouth and stay there thanks to the viscous, oily texture. Carbonation is surprisingly high for such a brew but pleasent nonetheless.

So glad to have finally tried this beast and cant wait to try an aged '10! Great flavors and aromas but a bit hot still. Not unbearably so but certainly present. Great beer that fills the belly.

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

This is my 100th review and I really wanted to pick something special to me for the occasion. 2010 vintage, poured a thick viscous black into my large tulip glass. As dark and light sucking as a beer can be. Nothing at the edges at all. Head is two fingers of luscious dark brown, dolloped yummyness!! Laces very well considering the 11% abv.

Smell is complete heaven. Dark roasted coffee and a bit of dark chocolate with a sweet molasses undertones. Tart smells of boysenberry jam. Alcohol is definitely present. The bourbon barrels show up here too. Unmatched in my opinion!!

Taste is dark, dark, dark roasted malt. My tongue and senses interpret these flavors as licorice, molasses, coffee and just a hint of chocolate. There is quite a bit of tart flavor also some bourbon notes. This should be the standard for all bourbon barrel aged Imperial Russian Stouts.

Mouth is what I wish every beer would be. Rich and luscious, syrupy and chewy. Carbonation is perfect for an Imperial Stout. I love this!!

This is not my first Abyss, I enjoyed '08 and '09 (pre infection) but never got around to reviewing them. So I think it's only fair that I review this over it's lifetime with me. This is the stout by which I measure all other Imperial Stouts. It's perfect!!!

Photo of Wadsey
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours so black that a bright light behind the glass is unable to penetrate its depths. Massive, tight tan head rises, sticks around for a few moments and then slowly recedes, leaving behind significant tan lacing. Effervescence? Who knows.

S: Smell is almost too subdued: licorice, roast/smoke malts and chocolate. If I dig, I come up with oak.

T: Sweet molasses and chocolate, then licorice, bitter chocolate and roast take hold and do not let go. Nothing fruity about this beer at this age. Strong bitterness, which is probably tapping down sweet malts and works really well with chocolatey malts. Finish is very bitter. A hint of smoke shows on the tail end. The barrel-aging/wood-aging is subtle but brings a note of oak wood that adds to The Abyss' overall complexity.

M: Big bodied with medium-light carbonation. Somewhat mouthcoating. Definitely warming. Powdery, semi-dry in the finish.

O: The Abyss is a much better beer than its smell would have me believe. Quite complex, and somewhat extreme, but still classic in its elements. An excellent American double stout.

Thank you to my many trading partners who contributed enough bottles to my cellar that I could drink this treat by myself on a rainy and chilly Saturday night in late May. Cheers!

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

I blew the wad on this one...the last of my reserve. Well all good things must come to an end. First and foremost, this is a really kick butt beer...one will do you. There is absence of light from this beer...black is back. Almost two finger foam, yes thick tan foam. Clingy lace, not without shape, but mostly in rings. Smell is to knock your socks off...Aromas of slightly charred barley sweet malt, cocoa, molasses, maple syrup, and coffee. Taste is enveloping, bombarded with flavors of chocolate, clover, French roast coffee, mint leaf, spices, malt, grapefruit, and pine nuts. Velvet smoothness as this brew passes over my tongue and back throat. Some coating, with aftertaste of coco and coffee. A little pricey for every day consumption, but great as a treat or for a special occasion.

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

2010 poured into snifter

A: black black black and the head is really dark I would say brown
Great lacing and head retention

S: Deep roast I am getting the licorice and molasses slight sweetness here drinks smooth. got some oaky notes in the background a fantastic smelling beer.

T: Taste follows the nose its got a deep roasty flavor with licorice and molasses perhaps getting a bit more oak then the smell. Striking stuff, great beer.

Overall: A fantastic imperial stout I can see why it gets such great ratings.

Photo of dvsbizzyb
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried a 2010 bottle on May 15 with two of my friends on our "Epic Beer Tasting Day". The line-up consisted of 2010 Darklord, Rare Bourbon County Stout, , 2011 Hanahpu, 2011 KBS, 2010 Abyss.

Appearance - Has a very dark pour with a rich creamy head, leaves a beautiful lace residue on inside of glass.

Smell - The aroma is very balanced and subtle with smells of cocoa, malt, vanilla , and oak. There was no distinct overpowering ingredients. Smells very sweet almost like butterscotch. Mmm butterscotch...

Taste - Starts with a very smooth bitter chocolate coffee flavor as it hides the alcohol very well. The more you taste the more complex the flavors get. Towards the end it started tasting like a espresso with a very rich caramel taste to it.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and creamy and leaves a nice feeling after sipping.

Overall - Very good beer and glad I was able to try this. It's very complex as it gives you different flavors after every sip.

Photo of graveshifter666
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is my first review posting, so forgive me...
this imperial stout has got an exceptional aroma..
hints of vanilla come out... nice bitterness and a smokey flavor come together very well.. poured in the glass, you see a nice dark devilish look..topped witha nice head.. 11% abv... your thoughts?

Photo of dbc5
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage in Duvel Tulip

Appearance: Pours viscous as hell. Not quite Bourbon County thick, but close. Motor oil black; absolutely no translucency. Nice chocolate colored, 1 finger head with a moderate pour. Head dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing follows the beer down the glass.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla initially; bourbon detectable in the background. Bourbon presence becomes more prominent as the beer warms.

Taste: Hits the tongue sweet with milk chocolate, licorice and vanilla. Coffee and bitter dark chocolate follow, giving the beer a pleasant, roasty finish. The combination of licorice and molasses imparted sweetness and noticeable roast character are quite unique. The barrel aging is most apparent initially as vanilla. Consistent with the aroma, bourbon becomes more detectable as the beer warms, although it still plays more of a backseat, complimentary role compared to other more bourbon forward barrel aged stouts. There is certainly a fair amount to comprehend in the flavor profile. This bottle is still relatively young and with time, everything will incorporate more cohesively.

Mouthfeel: The apparent thickness from the pour carries into the mouth. Again, not Bourbon County thick, but this is definitely among the more viscous stouts.

Overall: Overall an extremely enjoyable and somewhat unique beer drinking experience. There is a lot going on with this one and to be fair, this bottle has not yet reached the brewers "best after" date. With a bit more time, I anticipate the flavors integrating somewhat and creating a more refined final product. However, this should not be read to indicate the flavor profile lacks in some way. This is a delicious and extremely enjoyable beer drinking experience. I am glad I cracked one at this stage to appreciate how complex it truly is, but also glad I have another to taste at a stage when that complexity has reached its peak.

Photo of Devi0us
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this as part of our Blind Epic Beer Tasting Event and it took 4th place overall. We were all surprised by the outcome. Heading into the tasting, this was all of our favorite brew. List included 2010 Darklord, Rare Bourbon County Stout, 2011 KBS, 2011 Hunahpu, 2010 Abyss.

A- Pours like the black of night with a finger tan head that disappears slowly into the depths of the Abyss. Left some very nice lacing on the glass. Very thick with decent carbonation. 

S- Chocolate malt, dried fruit, espresso. Can't get enough of this smell.

T- Taste was exceptional and got better as it warmed up. Sweet roasted malt taste with a touch of molasses and vanilla as it warmed up. Alcohol was undetectable and very well hidden.

M- Mouthfeel is smooth and thick. Decent amount of carbonation. 

O- Overall, even thought it scored so low, this is still on of my favorite beers that I've tasted. I believe the beer becomes more balanced and complex as it warms up. I have several bottles in my cellar and can't wait to see what a year or two does to this special brew.

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

2010 Vintage
served into snifter at cellar temp.

Color: Dark brown to almost a solid black. A dime thin tan head that leaves behind some medium lacing. This beer also has a good amount of carbonation.

Nose: A plethora of smells attack the nose. Charred wood and sweet vanilla penetrate first followed by a mild scent of Bourbon. Maple syrup is also present and it is balanced well with the robust black coffee in this beer.

Palate: Full bodied beer with a robust presence. A big beer with plenty texture and complex flavor. Molasses makes an appearance as does licorice(black). the alcohol is well masked in this beer making this beer very drinkable.

Finish: Long and bold. It finishes with waves of different flavors. bourbon first followed by molasses and coffee, and then the vanilla soothes everything making this beer epic and majestic.

couple more years on this and this might be the best in the line of abyss

Photo of portia99
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewing with a 2008 bottle poured into a New Belgium globe - part of a blind 8 RIS tasting.

A - Pours somewhat clear with a dark brown/almost black color and a nice mocha head of about a half finger high and leaving behind a bit of lacing on the glass.

S - Milk chocolate, molasses, dark chocolates. Creamy smooth aroma.

T - Way more bitter than it smells. Hoppy, very roasty, a bit rough...dark chocolate and a barely noticeable boozy aspect.

M - Medium/full bodied with a light/medium carbonation. Creamy, bitterness is a bit on the harsh side...no real warmth.

O - Smells amazing, flavors are good, but didn't hold up to the aroma for me completely. Very bitter and a bit harsh overall, but still quite good. Finished in the middle of the pack for our tasting.

22oz bottle (2009 version) shared with nonstick. Received in trade with barrydotcom. Thanks Barry! Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a deep pitch black, totally opaque. Small head of tan, dissipates quickly - leaves behind a thin, tan collar.

S - Sweet, a touch of bourbon, some alcohol. Some burnt and dark roasted malts. Some coolness in the nose from licorice. A touch of smoke and a bit of molasses as it starts to warm a bit.

T - Very roasty and just a touch of smokiness in the flavor, just a hint of bourbon. Licorice, burnt malt, coffee. A touch boozy...

M - Medium bodied, and medium to low carbonation. Has a nice, silky feel. A bit oily on the tongue...pretty nice

D - Not a quick drinker, but oh, so good! Excellent RIS...highly recommended. Glad to have another bottle or two of this. think I'll age one to see how this is in another year.

Photo of bobhits
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A top 20 beer with over 1k reviews and available off the shelf in many areas? This has already built up HUGE anticipation with me!

Deep and dark with a tall chocolate milk head. Amazingly dark given that this isn’t motor oil. Liquorish and bourbon mix to create this sweet vanilla note with a slight oak finish. This is almost candy bourbon with a dark chocolate vs say a bourbon ball with milk chocolate.

Light oak notes open this one up. A bit cool still to go into detail. Liquorish and bourbon mix to create this sweet vanilla note with a slight oak finish. This is almost candy bourbon with a dark chocolate vs say a bourbon ball with milk chocolate.

I see why people age this beer, the barrel blending gives off very overt layers of flavors that will blend wonderfully and a touch of alcohol that will mellow. Opens with a dark malt chocolate like profile. The flavor then goes to wet odd hop liquorish flavor that isn’t ideal. Finally the beer switches to a nice oaked bourbon aged beer. Warming up this no longer has the distinct beginning middle and finish. I’d never thought about liquorish and bourbon going together but I like this combo. BTW what does 33% brewed in oak and oak bourbon barrels? Is that 1/3 of this beer was in half oak and half bourbon barrels? Or do they use oak sometimes and bourbon barrels (which are oak) other times? This beer needs a bit more something to balance the molasses and licorice sweetness, and this blend of bourbon doesn’t add enough of that oak and woody note to finish it.

Certainly a dense beer, but of the imperial stouts I’d say this is medium or medium high density. More carbonation than average here works well.

I have a hard time seeing this as a top 20 beer. It is truly wonderful and I am amazingly thankful that I was able to get this in a trade but I think this beer’s ranking it a touch higher. That said everyone should have this beer at least once given the reasonable price. Now noticing the best after date and wondering how I missed that. Well I suppose I need another bottle, anyone? Overall a bit too sweet imo and that won't be helped with age. That said some blending of flavors could dramatically improve things.

Photo of dwaz
3.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle

A - Pours thick black into glass with small head

S - Boozy bourbon and malts, no detectable sweetness

T - Unbalanced, very noiticebale bourbon flavor dominates with some licorice and oak

M - Good carbonation and thickness

O - too much boozy flavor, probably needs to age more to acheive better balance

Photo of ThoreauLikeAGirl
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friends from New York for bringing this bottle down with them on a visit (users shutyourface and satorirotas)

2009 bottle, poured into a snifter... with an immediate sigh of relief that it was not an infected bottle.

poured a dark thick black - like motor oil. black as night. black as death. black as an... abyss?
had a bit of a brown creamy head that stayed around for a bit.

the smell was of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. the kind of chocolate you get at specialty shops that are 95% dark. some bourbon in the backgrounds.

the taste mimic'd the smell: dark chocolate and coffee. roasty. oaky. thick. left an enjoyable aftertaste that stuck around. a bit of alcohol warmth - seemed very mellow probably from being a 2 year old bottle. still definitely a sipping beer.

overall, a very enjoyable beer. would like to try some of the other vintages to compare.

Photo of trodersark
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle, poured into a tulip.

Pours a rich dark brownish black with a nice finger thick head. Smells of malt and black licorice goodness. Tastes like a smokey, excellent stout with the right amount of malt and black licorice, nothing too overpowering. Mouthfeel is great. Effervescent enough to encourage tasting all the tiny component of Abyss on your front and back palate. Drinkability is exceptional. Overall good beer.

Photo of surly1987
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a truly amazing beer. i had the 2010 reserve the day we received it in mn and loved it. i grabbed a second bottle to mature for a few months and decided to pop it open on my girlfriends birthday. i had had an obsidian at my local watering hole prior just so i had a refernence of comparison...unintentioanlly another deschutes product. the abyss is next to perfect. the carbonation is magnificant. the aroma is so rich yet far from overwhelming. the taste boasts rich coffee...sugar...and molasses. poured into a pint glass it was dark, rich yet the head, though minimal, was ideal...a dark carmel lacing was left in color on the glass...perfect. A+/A beer.

Photo of jradams76
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage from Bottle

A: Dark black pour with little or no head.

S: Chocolate, Molasses, and a hint of bourbon aroma

T: Nice smooth stout! Chocolate and hint a bourbon with some vanilla. Hides the alcohol well.

M: Full body... smooth all the way.

O: Overall a great full bodied solid beer. Great to get two and drink one and cellar to see how it changes.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,731 ratings.