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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,966 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,966
Reviews: 1,644
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 2,528
Gots: 2,229 | FT: 155
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

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

Availability: Winter

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

65 IBU

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Abyss Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,966 | Reviews: 1,644 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beckje01
4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 07 aged 1 year:

A- Pitch black color with a brown head and nice lacing.

S- Some sweet chocolate nose a slight hint of some bitterness

T- A dry malt flavor with hints of chocolate and some burnt malt, while being a touch sweet at the start. A nice balance and complexity

M- Great thickness works very well.

D- Very drinkable and nice just not quite there with darkness or aged dark lord. I'm thinking a bit more time aging will help.

beckje01, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of slayer3604
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- WOW, this mother has a three finger head that refuses to settle down. strait up cement style bubbles that dont pop, crowning a fat voluptuous light-devoid body that makes my face headbutt walls.

S- Weed!?!? dark cocoa, molassas, and a gnarly dry atmosphere.

T- MORE WEED! im not a pot head, but some smells never leave your nose. Exceptionally complex, with room to mature. i like how the alcohol content was not as aparent in this beer. might be due to the GOOSE ISLAND BCS i just had, but man, this is a great beer.

M- Creamy goodness, lots of ample body to chew away at.

D- so rare, but i love it. simply amazing.

slayer3604, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of beertunes
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a bottle of the '07 Abyss poured into a very sturdy Rogue chalice. Pours black with a beautiful brown head that dissappates quickly. The aroma is bold and very upfront. It had the bourbon aroma from the barrels. I'm not a coffee drinker and with age the coffee flavors and aromas have really come forward, which is why this beer loses a few points with me. The mouthfeel is exceptional. Well rounded and fulfilling. This is very drinkable, caution is advised. You should drink this beer when you get the chance and let some age when you get the chance.

beertunes, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of bigbelcher
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a small tan head. Aroma was mostly alcohol driven. Light roast malt aromas mostly of a rich coffee like espresso. Flavor is very smooth. Just the right amount of malt to make it very drinkable without having to wait years for it to mellow out except for the high alcohol that leaves a warm burn on in your throat. Thinner than a lot of Imperial Stouts. Carbonation is just right. This is so easy to drink its unbelievable. A good beer but not as good as Big Skys Ivan the Terrible that is a somewhat the same type of beer.

bigbelcher, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle was thankfully shared of this at a tasting. I've been waiting for this one, too bad this was probably the 6+ RIS that day.

Pours black as night with a thin layer of chocolate head, good lacing throughout. The smell is pretty great; chocolate , slight oak, not much roastedness which I enjoy, and hints of vanilla. The taste is pretty damn well balanced, very similar to what I smelled. This is one of the first barrel aged RISs that I've had and I like what it's done for the overall flavor. The alcohol is nearly gone considering this was an 08'. Drinkability is high for this amazing beer.

xpimptastikx, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This might just be a perfect beer!!! The kind of gustatory experience that makes life worth living!

The smell is lovely (though maybe just a tiny bit hot of alcohol). It's beautifully dark brown from the bottle, almost black and completely opaque in the glass with a thin, dark chocolate head. The smell is roasty, smokey, with a definite molasses sweetness. There is no burnt taste--that's the one aspect of this style that I like least; so I'm happy that it is absent here. There is coffee and chocolate in both the nose and the palate. The flavor is sweet, but the mouthfeel is dry. Many brewers add candy sugar to try to achieve what this beer accomplishes, but it doesn't generally seem to work to me. There is no candy sweetness here; instead the sweetness seems to come from the molasses and natural grain sugar. Though the smell is a just bit hot, the alcohol is very well hidden in the taste--something I really like in a high alcohol beer. This beer is brewed with licorice and I notice it in the middle. The oak adds just a bit of spice to the finish. The malt profile is really full and constitutes the biggest part of the taste--the roasted malt is on point and really great. As for drinkability, I'm sharing this bomber with a life-long friend--we both wish we had (at least) another bottle. The friend I'm sharing the bottle with, says he thinks the bourbon barrel aging adds to the depth of the smokiness. I'm going to get another bottle (at least) tomorrow at Hi-Times. I LOVE THIS BEER!!

PhiloPsych, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007.

A - Sniftered. A brown head on top of an appropriately black body sits in front of beckoning "Drink me". Head retention is decent, lacing is present. Spot on.

S - Smokey, chocolately, boozy. Miniscule hints of bourbon, a wine-like oakiness. The molasses is also very small, but there. I'm having a hard time finding the licorice in the nose. Complex, well-rounded. Not the absolute best RIS I've ever smelled, but definitely up there with the big boys.

T - Starts with a dry smokey note, that transforms in a huge chocolate flavor without being sweet. Random nuances come and go... coffee, molasses. Licorice and bourbon really aren't present. Finishes dry and bitter.

M - A nice, smooth carbonation with a big body. If it were a tad thicker it'd be a 5.

D - For a big ass, 11%, partially barrel-aged RIS, this thing is supreme in drinkability.

Notes: Oh man. I was expecting the usual RIS and this one is blowing me away. Part of me is bummed I waited this long to crack it, but the other part of me is happy I still have another bottle left.

Thanks to both Largadeer and Lothore for sending me bottles of this in my first 2 trades.

SaucyA, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of humanawho
4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - nice deep black color with and average head of dark cream/brown

S - strong vanilla aroma with a little roasty/chocolate coming through

T - strong sweet chocolate and roasty flavors, nice vanilla finish with a little oak coming through, very slight bitterness

M - nice and strong and thick

D - great balance and complexity

humanawho, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of westernseraph
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pour--Black at first but has mocha color head, very small amount that dissapates quickly

Smell--Smells more bitter to me than actual taste.

Taste--Carmel taste to me with a small amout of bitterness. It is very smooth and has not much aftertaste to me

I was a little disappointed with the beer overall. I had heard it was a good beer to have in a collection and the challange to find it was great--granted the drinkability is awesome and I would buy again if I had the chance it just wasn't as mind blowing as I was hoping for.

westernseraph, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of JasonA
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received quite a while ago via BIFIV via proninja. thanks bro

2007 Reserve

Solid 2 fingers of extra dark mocha. Oil slick black hole for light trying to pass through. Lacing, staying power

Port, baking chocolate. I dont get to smell molases often, but gosh there is something dark and sweet in it, it has to be it. Espresso? Boy is this full of different smells. It just smells warm

Coffee, some biscuit. Some sort of hops, almost overpowering of the dark malt.

Warming no bite. Hop character in the finish, stays with it. Roasted malt, not overpowering.

I want to say the hop something in there is a bit too much over the the roasted malt. I hate to give it only a 4, but with a RIS, I dont want that in the balance. It could also have something to do with the age, who knows.

I will certainly trade for again.

JasonA, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of ejquin
4.13/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black with semi-fluffy brown head that eventually fades to a 1/2 finger with good lacing.

S: lots of vanilla and dark chocolate. I get whiff of the licorice. It's milky and sweet as well with some booziness.

T?M: First thing that struck me was the mouthfeel. This stout just didn't have the creaminess of a Dark Lord or Darkness, two beers it's ranked right up there with. Still, don't get me wrong, it's plenty smooth with good carbonation though possibly the smallest smidge high.

Taste is very complex. Smooth and milky sweet at first, fades to anise and bitter dark chocolate. At this point a hop bite pushes through with some spice and ends in a long finish with the alcohol providing some sting. All the while there's a smoky hickory flavor going on in the background that gets more pronounced as you go along.

Ovr: this was the 2008. I bet it's be really great with a year on it, just to smooth it out a touch. There's a bit of harshness on the finish and it could probably benefit from resting. Very very nice, but I'm comparing this to the best stouts I've had this year, Dark Lord and Darkness, and I've have to put this behind both of them. Still worth seeking out, however.

ejquin, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap @ Pizza Port Carlsbad. I was so excited when I saw this, and I can happily say that it lived up to all of my expectations. Midnight black pour with a thick, 1 cm tall brown head. Heavy aroma of burnt coffee, tobacco, chocolate, molasses, leather, wood, and just a little bourbon. Amazing taste. Lots of roasty malt, bitter coffee, baker's chocolate up front and throughout. A deep, rich oak taste accompanies the sweeter molasses and licorice flavors. A bittersweet finish with just a little caramel malt and hop bite. I could drown in this beer its so good.

magictrokini, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of johnd513
4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes to gford217 for this one!
The 2007 Reserve poured into my Duvel glass.
This beer pours jet black with a nice mocha color head that disappears quickly and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smells roasty with chocolate, espresso, raisins and rum. The taste follows the aroma and does not disappoint. This beer has many complexities and it seems like I discover another with each sip. Starts with a sort of citrus taste then Chocolate, coffee, rum, raisins and figs. The aftertaste is of strong coffee and has that lovely chewyness. The mouthfeel has medium to full body and is incredibly smooth and nicely carbonated. Drinkability is excellent considering the high abv. One of the best stouts in the world? Who cares, this is a great beer.

johnd513, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of craytonic
3.53/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Reserve Bomber

Appearance: Pours jet black; good head and lacing.

Smell: Not as strong as I expected. Molasses, fudge chocolate, brown sugar.

Taste: Heavy malt, bitter chocolate, coffee/espresso, molasses, brown sugar, toffee. A little sweet. I get no bourbon or oak. This has none of the typical complexity I see, and like to see, in a RIS

Mouthfeel: Full, but not huge.

Drinkability: Not sure what the hype is, it is ok, nothing special besides rarity. A little heavy on the coffee/bitter for me and lacking in complexity.

NB: Why on earth do they only age a % of it in oak? Put the whole thing in the barrel!!!

craytonic, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of sweetbrew82
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 version poured into an imperial pint glass: freshness date encoded in typical Deschutes fashion.

P: Pours jet black from the bottle while hardly showing any light aside from dark-maroon highlights that barely manage to sneak through. The liquid lays in the glass an ominous, completely opaque black color that threatens to kick your ass from the start! Mild pour produces a 2-fingered frothy, rocky, yet sturdy head that shows great retention for a stout packing an 11% ABV punch. Even when the foam does settle to form a halo on top and an island of bubbles in the middle, it leaves behind memories of its former self in the form of beautiful sticky lacing that literally blankets my glass. Wow! The golden standard for which RIS's are judged.

A: Bourbon-y alcohol dominates the nose, but doesn't choke the life out of the roasted chocolate malts, dark molasses, espresso, slight vanilla, and some oak tannins from the barrel that are quite pronounced. Aromatics are nice!

T: Oh, man! Hits the palate with a sweet, maple-flavored molasses taste that is accompanied by subtle tones of earthiness underneath, while chocolate, espresso, and vanilla accompany a hefty dash of black licorice. Meanwhile, the malt flavors continue to hold down the fort, while not letting the sweetness overtake this powerful regime at any point in time. Just when you think the sweet side may gain the upper-hand in the battle, the Bourbon-aged alcohol (while accompanied by an escort of roasted chocolate malts) slashes through the crowd of complex flavors to deliver the final death blow. The finish is quite dry, and really warms up the tongue, throat, and chest upon swallow. Phenomenal!

M: The Abyss is packing more heat than Plaxico Burress in this department (yet never shoots itself in the foot). It's very much a full-bodied brew that feels viscous on the palate, yet incredibly smooth and deceptively mellow in the mouth. Coats the palate and is exactly what I am looking for in an RIS of this magnitude. Perfection.

D: I would love nothing more than to have a couple more of these bottles to enjoy tonight. But unfortunately, the hefty (but more than worth it) price tag makes this impossible. I could drink The Abyss all night long, as it tastes so damn good. But, 2 bottles of this stuff would probably have the same effect as a perfectly-thrown right cross from Rampage Jackson...and I'd be napping on the job like the Iceman himself.

Notes: Honestly, I didn't think that The Abyss could ever live up to the hype that was built up by my fellow BA's. But I'll be damned! It sure in the hell did...and then some! I do think, however, that it would be out-of-this-world if it had a year or two on it. I think the alcohol would mellow out, and the rest of the flavors would become more pronounced. Having said that, this is absolutely fabulous! Although, I have heard that last years' release was better than this years'. If so, I would love to find out how it could top this. Best beer I've had the honor of drinking, no doubt about it!

Edit: This was my first (and only) perfect 5 review I've ever given out. However, after having had many more RIS's since then, I have adjusted the score accordingly.

sweetbrew82, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of RunDWP
4.05/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 version on tap at City Beer in San Francisco. Poured jet black with a thick foamy brown head. Some wispy lacing on the glass as I drank. Flavor of deep roasted malt with some bitter chocolate, almost like a bitter chocolate milkshake. Maybe a little coffee in there. Aroma was similar, with the chocolate a little more dominant. In my opinion, the roasting was maybe a little too aggressive, as this is a pretty bitter brew. Very thick and rich mouth feel, and surprisingly drinkable with all that alcohol.

RunDWP, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of popery
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition. Let me start out by saying that this is a phenomenal beer, and my scores were given some room to go up as the beer ages. Of any beer that I've ever had, this beer gives me the clearest picture of what it means to drink a beer too early. I can easily imagine the alcohol cooling and the flavors taking on a smoother blend. That said, it's still a really excellent stout right now.

At any rate, the beer looks incredible. It pours a deep black with an intimidating head. It looks like a thick dark, dark roast coffee brewed superhumanly strong. It's an intimidating pour but looks quite appropriate in the snifter.

The beer smells phenomenally good. At first, it's thickly smoky, but this gives way readily to vast complexity. It's sweet with fiery alcohol and earthy with the subtlety of oak. I don't mean to sound stupid there, but I feel overwhelmed by this good of a RIS nose.

The taste has a lot of strong notes that are all battling it out. They're all quite good and I certainly enjoy the beer very much, but everything is not yet quite melded. There's strong alcohol, strong bourbon, strong smoke, strong wood, strong malt, good bitterness and good sweetness, but the battle almost burns the mouth.

This burn is a bit of a problem in the feel and the carbonation is a tad sharp but maybe just in relation to the flavor. It's not so much that the carbonation is strong, but that it burns the flavor in a bit uncomfortably. Alright, I'll be honest. I'm really searching for something to pick on and feel seemed like an easy category, the nerdy kid of the bunch. The feel is marvelous, but I'm probably going to far prefer it in a couple years.

The beer is, of course, highly drinkable. Its 11% abv tastes like smooth fire and the smoke grows and grows on you. It's a shame that I tried it so early. Now, I'm just going to be counting the days on the bottles in my cellar. Thank you, Deschutes, for this phenomenal beer.

popery, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of jdklks
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours deep, dark black. I held it up to the brightest light in the house and nothing came through. Pours thick with a dark brown milk chocolate head that perfectly complements it's black body. fantastic smell. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. I also noticed the licorice for the first time tonight... this beer just keeps getting better!

the best part of the beer, is, of course, the flavor. An overwhelming sensation of as many flavors as could possibly be put in a single brew, the flavor lingers long after you drink, and each sip is like the first. Again, hints of chocolate, coffee (though not as much as expected from the smell), molasses and licorice. the after-taste is of roasted coffee beans, and tootsie-roll. The barrel aging is subtle, smooth, and awesome.

As thick as expected in the mouthfeel! Smooth as silk. As if the flavor explosion isn't enough for your mouth to handle, this beer's thickness makes a statement. gentle on the palate, and very warming. perfectly carbonated. extremely drinkable. The most I've had in a single night was two 22oz bottles and I felt like I was going to explode (although I ate a huge meal before that which probably didn't help). It's the kind of beer that you look at when you only have one drink left and think to yourself, "I better savor this sip more than any other." Goes down easy and fills you up, leaving you wanting more.

jdklks, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11/29/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- First edition 2006 bottling. Poured into my Duvel tulip. 22oz bottle waxed.

Appearance- About as dark as you can get blackness. Dirty white, milk chocolate colored 3/4 inch head. Leaves sticky pacthes and trails of lace.

Smell- Nose is of mid range chocolate. Combo between dark and bittersweet. Some mild hops detected. Smells fairly sweet. Not really any coffe, but a light oaky nose is detected.

Taste- Super and I mean super deep dark bitter chocolate. We're talking 85% plus here. Lots of hops too. Hops are still strong and not muted at all as I was expecting. I was expecting a large sweetness which really didn't come to truition because of the bitter backlash of the chocolate. A very light barrel aged flavor. Sweetness is held in check until the very end of the bottle when it creeps into play.

Mouthfeel- Long lasting chocolate sticky bitter aftertate. Medium to lower carbonation level. Definite full mouthfeel.

Drinkability- I've had these bottles for two plus years, plus my other vinatges and finally tried one. Good...make that better than good...but not the greatness I was hoping for. Was thinking it would be a bit more thick and sweet. Guess I got spoiled by the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout I have been drinking recently. May get more sweet though as the years go on. Have heard the newer vinatges are sweeter. Still a solid two thumbs up.

GClarkage, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of Chelsea1905
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer, right out of the bottle and poured dark with a slight offwhite and brown head that disappeared before the glass was half empty

Burnt sugar, chocolate, and malt

Great taste, caramel and smoke up front, followed by dark malt and alcohol, but not too much, after.

Little effervescent, but quite nice

Goes down very well, and not overly strong, but still not one I'd be having too many of!

Chelsea1905, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of MisterClean
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 on tap at the Owl Club in Roseville

A - Dark black pour, little head but sticks around. Leaves a slight amount of lacing.

S - Notes of rich chocolate, cocoa, light caramel, and plenty of anise.

T - Chocolate, coffee, grassy hops, anise, and a slight roasted bitterness from the black patent.

M - Very full bodied, slightly syrupy and sweet with a light lacing of bitterness.

D - Overall excellent beer. Do you see the word alcohol mentioned in here? Anywhere? That's the difference between this year's and last year's abyss. Fantastic beer!!

In fact I went to Nugget supermarket and grabbed a couple of bottles after I finished 2 pints. Couldn't believe they poured pints last night at the owl club.

MisterClean, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of PuckX
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review, and while I was going to wait until I had more experience drinking good beer before taking a stab at reviewing this but this one was so incredible I had to write down what I could. Previous to this my experience with stout had been Guinness. I apologize in advance for my lame noob review. :)

A: Poured into a large mug, very dark, and thick. Two inch brown head that stuck around awhile.

S: Chocolate, rich dark chocolate. Also the alcohol cleared the sinuses.

T: Dark chocolate flavor is real dominant, followed by the sweet mollases aftertaste, and alcohol warmth.

M: Thick, and smooth. I read someone elses review that said this was thinner than previous years, since this is my first Abyss I have no basis to debate that. But this was thick in my book, ecspecially when I let it warm a bit. Nice slight carbonation, not too much, not too little. Went down real smooth.

D: I could drink this all night long, it is smooth, flavorfull, and enjoyable. The ABV is high so obviously I would be limited to probably 2 before passing out, but that is ok as I drank this real slow to enjoy the flavor anyways.

Docked a half point on drinkability due to the strong alcohol that will most likely smooth out with age (which is why I am aging some). This is by far the best beer I have ever drank. Now with my limited experience that may not be saying much, but I think other reviews of this beer pretty much say the same thing and I will definately get my hands on this whenever available.

PuckX, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of abfraser
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours like motor oil. Nice pitch black with a dense dark brown head. Little lacing

S: Brown sugar, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee. Pretty complex.

T/M: Full bodied and creamy. Same as the smell. Sugary coffee and chocolate. Roasted malt. This is dessert in a glass. I let it warm up some and the flavors really come out. One flaw: there's a lingering bitterness that's a little out of place. Is that hop overload?

D: Very dense and mouth coating so don't know how much I could really put down. Availability is definitely up this year, so can't knock it on that.

Overall, a great RIS. I'd still prefer a Port Santa's Helper, or the Surly Darkness I had the other night, but this is damn good.

abfraser, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of robertjohnson
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I found this on tap at the Malt and Vine in Redmond, Wa. Served in a tulip glass. This was my first imperial stout, so it was like losing your virginity to the woman of your dreams...I have absolutely no basis for comparison but it was everything that I imagined (and more).

Aroma: Roasted malts and dark resinous fruits. Cocoa, coffee, prunes, raisins, with some alcohol present.

Appearance: Beautiful. A tar dark night with a leather-colored head that seemed to last forever. I think this is the first time I've ever noticed legs on a beer and I doubt it's owing entirely to the glass.

Flavor: Complex beyond belief. Bittersweet chocolate, tar, black licorice, coffee, with a lingering roasted and earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth. Mouth-coating. I paced myself and savored the beer to the point that by the end it had become a little syrupy.

Drinkability: Some folks say all day. I agree in that I would be a happy man if I smelled, saw and tasted this forever. At 11 ABV, however, I'd pass out before too long. It's a matter of the serving size being too big for the style. It's not the beer's fault, but I'm still comfortable in saying that it's not exceptionally drinkable. That said, I would have enjoyed the beer more in a smaller serving and an accordingly lower price.

Overall, an intense and complex beer that I found to be very very enjoyable.

robertjohnson, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of mykie73
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I tried this first time last year without knowing anything about it or RIS for that matter...it totally blew my mind..It still is my favorite of its kind and my favorite beer overall, even more than Westy.

A) Black as black can be, with good finger size head, beautifully moves back and forth in the sniffer: almost dancing.
S) The aroma is my favorite part of this beer perhaps. Explosion of flavor (cloves and vanilla especially) into my nostrils.
T) Sweet chocolate initially, and the flavor gradually turns to bitter chocolate surrounded with molasses, sassafras, licorice, figs, and cloves. At the end, the french oak and vanilla is present.
M) full but does not coat my mouth
D) Dangerously drinkable; can not not stop drinking this beer unless too appreciate its smell and look

This beer is a very holistic experience for me.

mykie73, Nov 25, 2008
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 4,966 ratings.