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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,806 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,806
Reviews: 1,635
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,454
Gots: 2,183 | FT: 149
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels.

65 IBU

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 - Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 - Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 - Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 - Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 - Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
2011 - Released November 2011 (approx 600 BBL)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,806 | Reviews: 1,635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DIM


3.13/5  rDev -30.8%

a: This was a very thick looking black with no highlights. It poured with the darkest mocha colored head I've seen yet.

s: This was surprisingly mild overall, smelling of molasses, cocoa, licorice, alcohol, and some vanilla.

t: This started out as an amazingly complex and superb imperial stout. Every sip seemed to be different. To varying degrees at different times I tasted molasses, vanilla, chocolate, mild coffee, toasted grains, and oak. no two sips were the same and if it weren't for the finish this would absolutely live up to the hype for me. I'm not a fan of licorice so the strong licorice flavor at the end was a turn off for me. But the worst part was the mentholated rubbing alcohol at the very end. The feeling it left in it's wake reminded of how my mouth feels after an altoids. Not the flavor, just that sinus clearing "fresh" feeling.

m: The body and carbonation are both outstanding, but the mentholated dryness at the end left me cold.

d: I'm very glad I had help with this one, eleven ounces was about all I could take. If you like licorice you'll like this more than I did. Thanks to JohnGalt1 for the chance to try this one.

04-06-2008 14:47:21 | More by DIM
Photo of Norsebrew


4.03/5  rDev -10.8%

This beer has sure been getting a lot of hype lately around my neighborhood so I took the $10 plunge and bought a bomber of this beer.

A- Abyss black with a 1+ head and pretty good lacing. The brown head had an almost oily consistency with rainbow bubbles.
S-Dark roast malts with chocolate, carmel, and licorice.
T-Complex but balanced dark malts, molasess, chocolate, and licorice. Pretty good alcohol kick too.
M-heavy and chewy with good carbonation
D-I wasn't as impressed as some people I've talked to about this beer, but it is very good. I probably won't buy this again just because there are some really good similar beers in Colorado for similar or cheaper prices.

04-05-2008 22:13:53 | More by Norsebrew
Photo of Mudpuppet


4.4/5  rDev -2.7%

Thanks to drumrboy22 for the chance to try this.

A- Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter glass. Pours a pitch black with no head. Some very light lacing on top.

S- Smells a bit of strong alcohol. Definite coffee and chocolate from this beer. Nice not overpowering nose. I get some fruit in the nose too plum or something.

T- Starts with some dark fruit with a quick following of coffee grinds, molasses and chocolate. This beer is a bit alcholy but not overly so.

M- Nice thicker mouthfeel with good carbonation.

D- I like this beer a lot. Nice flavors but my only complaint is the alcoholy nature of this beer. Very very tasty though.

04-05-2008 01:49:49 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of bgramer


4.33/5  rDev -4.2%

Poured a midnight black into my glass - good tan creamy head with nice lacing. There's a smell of vanilla, coffee, molasses. It's very smooth and silky and the mouthfeel matches with the aroma as well.

It's qualities are impeccable in the RIS category. It deserves to be ranked with the best.

04-03-2008 23:01:37 | More by bgramer
Photo of ojclark


4.8/5  rDev +6.2%

Rich roasty aroma with some dark fruit notes from the malt and a whiff of alcohol.

Poured with a 1/4 inch later of rich cocoa-colored head. Head dissipated fairly quickly. Nice lacing.

The first sip revealed a huge flavor that practically exlpoded in the mouth. Strong roast malt flavors blended beautifully with dark malt flavors of plum and raisin, bitterness, and a definite (but not averwhelming) alcohol flavor. All these flavors persisted in the long-lasting aftertaste.

Medium-bodied. Rich mouthfeel. Slightly creamy despite not being a nitro tap. Long finish with nice alcohol warmth.

This beer was something of a paradox. For such a huge beer, it was incredibly balanced and drinkable. One of the very best imperial stouts I have ever tasted.

03-30-2008 21:53:44 | More by ojclark
Photo of DaveHS


4/5  rDev -11.5%

A- Thick and viscous. Thin, toffee-colored head.

S-Deep malty notes, nutty, with strong alcohol phenols.

T-Very mellow and soft for such a big beer. Chocolate, coffee, hazelnuts and burnt toast. Light notes of molasses.

M-Soft, creamy, and mouth-filling. Very well balanced.

D-Very drinkable. However, this beer is not all it claims to be. If you read the description on the bottom of the bottle, you will notice that it says "Stout brewed with Licorice and Molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels." I get no oak from this beer. Although I am sure the oak contributed to the smooth character and mouthfeel, there is no character from the wood itself. I don;t get any bourbon or licorice. A bit of a dissappointment. Tastes like a Grande Reserve version of the Old Rasputin. In terms of Russian Imperials, it's alright, but certainly not worth $12 a bottle.

03-28-2008 01:10:19 | More by DaveHS
Photo of dill


4.63/5  rDev +2.4%

poured on draught into a pint glass

A - black with thin mocha lacing.

S - dark chocolate, coffee, a bit of alcohol.

T - lots of coffee flavors.

M - creamy but a bit dry with light carbonation.

D - this is a great stout. i didn't notice the alcohol while drinking it at all.

03-27-2008 18:21:52 | More by dill
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -9.3%

This beer looks like used motor oil. Thick and black with a huge tan head. Bubbles form in the head to make the head look like peanut brittle. The smell is licorice and chocolate. I also got the smell of fresh split oak firewood. The taste is chocolate with a lot licorice. The abv shows a little. You almost need to chew this beer. It is very rich and filling. I could drink this beer again. Thanks to wcudwight for sharing.

03-27-2008 03:34:25 | More by Enola
Photo of hopsleeroy

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev -4.2%

Spent an evening with a 22 oz 2007 bottle watching John Cusak movie 1408. Good combo.
A-As black as expected by the name. Very minimal Brownish head. Very viscous and thick. Laced nicely while I darnk it.
S-Dark Chocolate, vanilla, boozy fruit scent as warms, Scent is becoming more complex as it warms.
T-Strong roast/coffe at first, sweet Dark cocoa/molasses, and hop bitterness. As it warms, a mild oak flavor and bourbon are more noticeable. Some fruit but very minimal.
M-Coats thoroughly but not as viscous as expceted mouth. A little more carbonation than expected.
D-Could drink these all night if the 11% ABV wasn't hiding in there. Alcohol is well hidden in the taste-not hot at all. And the beer improves as it warms making me want to drink more.

03-26-2008 20:34:49 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of bunnyhustle


4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

2007 vintage. Nice wax sealed bottle, I've been anticipating this for weeks. Pours jet black with two-finger mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Smell admittedly is a bit dull IMO. Smell of some chocolate, some coffee, some alcohol...typical RIS smells. Taste is great. Rich and dark. Some black licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, some oak...a true menagerie of flavor. Low carbonation and somewhat thick going down, not too thick though. Leaves a somewhat dry feeling. I was really suprised by how well the alcohol was hidden. This is a great beer and deserving of the hype.

On a side note this beer was drank in honor of my Grandpa, who just passed away. Grandpa used to like a beer or two (or three...) and I saw it fitting to open this and drink in his honor. I dont think he would have had it any other way. The world will miss ya Mr. Ed.

03-26-2008 01:26:40 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of number1bum


4.55/5  rDev +0.7%

Many thanks to younger35 and BeerTruth and for this 2007 vintage bomber.

Pours a deep black color, pretty much opaque, with a good inch plus of coffee colored head. Head is very creamy and retention is quite good, maintaining a nice lace and a good amount of stick.

Smell has chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt aromas, sweet but not too sweet, with some dark fruits in there and a bit of oakiness, as well. Really nice aroma; it has it all and it's in perfect balance.

Taste has all the malty goodness that the nose suggested. A low level of sweetness and the roasted malt gives it a nice balance, but is not too bitter. It's actually quite dry for a RIS. Some dark fruits again, but they're in the background. Really balanced flavor, and very tasty. There's just a touch of alcohol in there,and the slight burn mixes with a bit of an oaky flavor.

Mouthfeel is not as full bodied as I'd expect. It's a bit more than a medium body, but given the abv I think it could be a bit heftier. Still, quite soft and creamy on the palate.

This is really an exceptional beer. Very drinkable for a beer of its size. Glad I had the opportunity to try it!

03-26-2008 00:02:44 | More by number1bum
Photo of JDV


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Shared chadspivey's '06 alongside my '07 and found the two to be very similar but I thought the flavors popped a bit more in the fresher version actually, although they were nearly indistinguishable to me.

Pours black as night with a short lived nice tan head. Smells like chocolate cake, graham crackers, fresh baked chocolate cookies, and unique for an imperial stout, also with a hint of molasses. Taste is drying cocoa, roastiness, light cigar like tobacco-y flavors and char. Simply fantastic. Body is creamy but slightly drying at the same time. Perfect light to medium carbonation and the 11% is completely hidden to me. This easily lives up to the hype and is an amazing beer. Wow...

03-24-2008 21:47:55 | More by JDV
Photo of Bookseeb


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance is dark rich black with a thick and creamy caramel head. Smell of dark rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, strong coffee. Taste is a lot how it smells with a good hit of alchohol. Mouthfeel is medium - heavy and creamy. Ordered this at a local restuarant and ended up being the best order that evening.

03-19-2008 03:09:02 | More by Bookseeb
Photo of Scorpious


4.68/5  rDev +3.5%

Very nice flavor and aroma. Poured in to glass and allowed to warm for about twenty minutes. After the warm up session certainly noticed the bourbon and Pinot Noir characteristics start to develop more. I didn't however notice the Licorice flvor, but the beer might have still been too cold... Also has a mild caramel finish while still being rather pleasing on the palate..

03-18-2008 20:25:44 | More by Scorpious
Photo of peabody


4.83/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours out dark chocolate black with two fingers of brown suds. Lots of small bubbles in there too. Slight lacing.
Coffee caramel malt and lots of black chocolate and slight licorice/anise. When it does warm a bit, the oak aroma does come out.
Taste is expresso coffee, strong black with a malty sweet dark cherry finish. This is so good.
Aftertaste is where the hops and yeast come in. You can't taste the alcohol but there is a slight warmth at the end of the aftertaste.
Usually with heavy beers I am not quick to open up another, but with this one I wanted to keep on drinking this fine concoction all night long, or at least till I went to sleep.

03-17-2008 22:35:22 | More by peabody
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev -4.2%

Viggo was nice enough to share this one. thanks eric!

22oz bottle topped with black wax. 2007 vintage. sampled march 15/08.

pours inky black with a big dense dark brown head. drops very slowly and leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. alcohol. vanilla. bit of bourbon. dark and milk chocolate. bit of espresso. roast. light caramel. bit of smoke. light fruit. toasty. big bread and biscuit malt. bit of cracker.

taste is great. dark and baker's chocolate. bit of milk chocolate too. espresso. vanilla. bit of bourbon. big bread and biscuit malt. light alcohol. roasty. medium bitterness level. light caramel. touch of smoke. bit of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is good. well integrated medium-low carbonation level. nice big body. light astringency.

drinkability is good. nice balance. a little rough around the edges, but still good. i think this one would be great with a bit more time to allow it ot mellow and mesh together.

03-17-2008 03:34:09 | More by grub
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +3.5%

Thanks to ncvbc for the beer.
Opaque in color. Large everlasting chocolate colored head. It's the darkest head I've ever seen. The head has more texture than a topo map of the Appalachian Mtn range.
Smells of licorice, chocolate, and bourbon.
The richest roasted malts that I've tasted yet make up the backbone of the flavor. Mixed in is sweet licorice, dark chocolate and a bourbon like bitterness. It's what I imagine a chocolate flavored bourbon would taste like.
Thick chewy mouthfeel.
Forget about the 11% abv, I could drink this all night long. It lives up to the hype. Please, someone send me another bottle.

03-16-2008 05:47:24 | More by wcudwight
Photo of brdc


4.4/5  rDev -2.7%

Large capped and waxed bottle, courtesy of wasatch. 2007.

Poured into a snifter, it is pitch black, with a big, foamy dark tan head, with great lacing and retention.
Aroma is rich and complex, from dark fruits including prunes and berries to coffee, molasses, dark chocolate and an abundance of roasted grains - the roasted smell here is the predominant note. There might be a faint oakiness, but I might also be looking to hard for it.
Full on the palate, as expected, it comes out with a strong roasted flavor, grainy, with some balancing fruity notes, but the dark chocolate, unsweetened coffee and overall assertive bitterness comes along and takes over the flavor. It is at times somewhat unbalanced towards bitterness, but still very impressive.
Alcohol is barely noticeable, if at all.
Very good, but perhaps not as good as a top 10. Incredibly worthwhile nonetheless; need to try this one aged a little longer to see how the bitterness evolves.

03-16-2008 05:30:35 | More by brdc
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Finally got around to cracking one of these open- good thing too, its starting to get quite warm here! Let me say right off that this beer is a good deal mellower than I expected from all the hype and reviews. I like it, but not as much as Kate, Ten Fidy, Bourbon County, Rasputins, and a number of others. Its a solid RIS, but its a bit overhyped. Pours inky black, but lacks a solid head and what is there isn't as powerfully dark as a Ten Fidy. In the aroma, you can certainly smell the molasses as well as some light coffee notes, some late chocolate, some fairly mellow licorice atouch of brandied dark fruit, and the slightest bit of vinous quality. It isn't as long as a Bourbon County nor as vinous and complex and fruity as Kate, and overall a bit lighter than expected, but still quite nice. The taste is also quite smooth. Not very vinous, but instead it leans toward the chocolatey with a bit of ash, more dark fruit, molasses and quite a bit of sweet licorice. Well integrated and quite delicious, but not quite as deeply flavored as Rasputins or Ten Fidy, and not quite as complex as Kate. Still, nice interplay of flavors. The mouthfeel is a bit on the viscous side, but surprisingly light in the mouth and not at all hot. As it warms a bit of bitter licorice on the end creeps in, but surprisingly, little roastiness beyond a deep char that is almost ashy. Drinks fairly well considering it doesn't blow the top of your head off like Bourbon County and is exceedingly smooth. Exceptionally good, but not the top of the heap.

03-16-2008 01:17:06 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of GoreStorm


4.7/5  rDev +4%

A - jet black, no lightening in color around the edges whatsoever, the head looks like caramel that you that i could dip popcorn in for caramel corn. good head retention, a handsome beer.

S - i didn't even have to raise the glass to my nose to get a strong wiff of sweet and roasty malt, on further inspection i smell coffee and chocolate as well.

T - starts off with a the roasted malt, then i get a some sweetness and chocolate and coffee flavors in the middle before a super long and balanced roasty and bitter finished. exceptional balance. he high ABV is masked very well.

M - a tad syrupy, but smooth and nice.

D - i would never turn one of these down, however, after a couple of rounds could become satiating due to the thickness....i should stop and say that the high alcohol would limit me...but in all seriousness i wouldn't think about it.

03-14-2008 22:41:40 | More by GoreStorm
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Many thanks to RoBotGod for this one. I opened this one in celebration of my two kids acceptance into private school. I'd better enjoy the finer brews before the tuition starts. ;)

Poured from a bottle a deep black-black with a thin mocha colored head.

Aroma of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and charcoal.

Tastes of rich dark coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, licorise, and molasses. Slightly bitter finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden in this beauty.

Rich mouthfeel, smooth and creamy, and lightly carbonated.

This beer kicks all kinds of ass. Highly recommended.

03-14-2008 21:54:34 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of mrkrispy


4.03/5  rDev -10.8%

I got a few bottles of the Abyss but oddly hadn't gotten around to trying one. I was thrilled to see it on draft at a local pizza/beer place.

Poured jet black with a caramel brown head. Head was retained thru several drinks.

Hints of roasted malt and chocolate with a very slight taste of coffee. Almost no alcohol taste, but definitely felt it by the end of the glass. Incredible balance.

I enjoyed the Abyss but wasn't overwhelmed by the flavor. I am more impressed with the covering of the alcohol burn, however I rarely choose a beer by its ABV. I am more curious if the taste is affected by the draft serving vs. the bottle, so I will have to crack open a bottle of mine.

03-12-2008 23:48:09 | More by mrkrispy
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Deschutes- The Abyss

Huge THANKS to Pwood for this 1!!

A- Jet black, thick viscosity and a solid creamy and decent lacing head.
S- Deep dark chocolate with huge doses of burnt wood and vanilla coming through.
T- Sweet creamy chocolate with coffee beans. An equal measure of oak, black licorice, molasses, vanilla, and heavy cream really round off this one.
M- Sweet and slightly smokey up front but finishing off silky smooth and a small alc. bite in the throat.

Overall- Creamy smooth and delicious. Definitely worth the hype!

03-12-2008 23:27:03 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of RickSawyer


4.95/5  rDev +9.5%

This is about as close to perfect I have had.... Split a bomber with my younger brother in from law school, pretty sure it changed his whole perspective on life.

Pours about black as possible. Not completely opaque, some amber corners make way when held against bright light. Milk chocolate, buck hide leather head composed of tiny bubbles. Trace lacing leaves behind tiny footprints on the glass. Nose is rich, slightly peppery dark chocolates, espresso, hints of prunes and raspberry leathers. Taste is huge. Sweet and roasty, dark chocolate, hints of sweet raspberry syrup, mild dark coffee, some leathery undertones and a hint of oak and a touch of alcohol heat that warms the throat. Dropping a point on the mouthfeel is similar to looking at the Mona Lisa and saying, "I would have curved the smile up here." Really, its great, but everyone is a critic right? Just a touch to watery for me. I would prefer a little bit more creamy. Regardless, coats the mouth and lets you taste this fantastic RIS for minutes after each sip. 11% is hidden extremely well. You can argue that The Abyss is so good that you loose words to describe its greatness, or that the 11% creeps up so amazingly that you don't even feel it until you can't put together coherent words.


03-11-2008 15:45:41 | More by RickSawyer
Photo of MarkSCCOT

South Carolina

4.9/5  rDev +8.4%

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber gotten at Liquidsolutions into an oversized wineglass.

A. Dark black with just the hint of red tint at the edges. Large frothy mocha colored head with outstanding lacing.

S. This is a complicated yet pleasing brew. Licorice, mollases, dark rum, expresso. The smells keep coming! This is a brew to sink your nose into.

T. As complicated as it smells. The expresso and mollases seem to dominate, but the other tastes are evident throughout.

M. Very creamy finish. The alcohol is well hidden.

D. I would like to give this a 5, but the abv and the great lengths I had to take to obtain this beer limit this rating.

I am not a big fan of RIS's, but this is a brew that definitely deserves it's hype. Next year I will be buying a few extra to cellar away.

03-08-2008 12:05:03 | More by MarkSCCOT
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,806 ratings.