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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

5,117 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,117
Reviews: 1,658
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 2,583
Gots: 2,267 | FT: 163
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: 5,117 | Reviews: 1,658 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of photomike
4.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep dark brown with a huge, very dark head. Thick, dry, fluffy lacing coats the glass with strong retention. Couldn't look better.

Smell is surprisingly mild for a beer that is robust in every other aspect. What is present is impressive, though, with a nice balance between coffee, chocolate and licorice.

The flavor is full of bready chocolate malts, coffee and a licorice character that borders on the fruity. Not overly sweet, this drys on the finish. Delicious.

Full bodied with aggressive effervescence that causes a slight burning sensation. Creamy and oily.

The flavors in this are so dense, and with the richness in body, this beer is a definite sipper. The alcohol is well hidden and the sweetness is just at the right level.

An absolutely fantastic beer that lives up to every bit of the hype. Easily one of the best stouts I've had, the weight on smell here is the only thing keeping this from being one of my most highly rated beers. Get it.

photomike, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of PBoegel
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the good fortune of sampling a 2008 bottling during a recent trip to Seattle.

I am not going to be able to add much to the description of this beer that has not already been written.

I have enjoyed many Imperial Stouts, to date nothing has come close to this beer in the category, by a longshot.

I'd say I am just trying to be realistic in not giving it fives across the board, in that without having tried every RIS available I am trying to be fair. Still this is a world class and incredibly complex and delicious beer.

PBoegel, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah... so ends an era. *Sigh* This was the last bottle I drank from my Christmas gift to myself from '08. Sadly, I foresee dark times and lots of cheap beer in my future. And so it was that I opened this final bomber on 4/20/09 and shared it with my good friend John to celebrate all I once was and all I hope to someday be again. Into our glasses the brew was a used-motor-oil black color. The two-fingers of wood-brown head displayed excellent retention as a skim and collar that left sticky lacing throughout the sample. The aroma was complex, full of milk and dark chocolate, dry cocoa, roasted malt, dark fruit, alcohol and oak. Rich, sweet and very appealing. The flavors were also outstanding and highly complex. Starting with chocolate and toffee it then went into dark caramel, alcohol, sweet pipe tobacco, lots of oak and coffee. The balance between the sweet malty elements and the bitter hoppy notes was superb. As it warmed the chocolate continued to waft forth, encouraging us to dink more. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, the body full and the carbonation on-point for a RIS. A joy to drink and surprisingly gulp-able, this was one of the finest beers I had ever tasted and it deserves to be honored amongst the best in the world.

thekevlarkid, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of stawn
4.78/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a muddy brownish black into a snifter. Thick as paint.

S - Smells of molasses & alcohol.

T/M/D - Taste is unbelievably smooth for how it smells! Sweet, molasses, bitter at the very end and followed by a smokey flavor.

WOW! From start to finish there are SO many different flavors! They say licorice, but I don't catch that. Fuck, this Imperial Stout is everything everyone has raved about. Absolutely amazing beer.

Its smells so strong of alcohol and is completely hidden and very smooth. I could write something new every sip I take. If you can find this, its worth every cent!

stawn, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks go to wasatch for this particular bottle.

22oz bomber with black wax on top. 2007 vintage. poured into tulip. tasted in late april 2009.

opaque, midnight black. coffee brown head is big and foamy. fades to a constant thin layer, or at least thick wisps and ring. thin rings of lacing at first, then mostly just some big patchy splotches.

aroma: mild oak and vanilla, hint of something approaching chocolate, but maybe more carob and coffee. molassess and caramel malt. hint of figs and dates. bourbon is very mild, melding nicely. whiff of mash acidity.

taste: caramel and roasted malt, with oak, vanilla and mild bourbon again. coffee, faintly mocha, with earthy hop, giving a moderate to bold bitterness with touch of mash and coffee-like acidity. light, dried cherry fruitiness peeks in before a very coffee finish. maybe a touch of licorice?

medium body (a bit lighter than expected, perhaps?), lightly syrupy, with moderate astringency in the finish giving texture and body. mild carbonation helps assist in creamy perception.

nice

tai4ji2x, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured into my trusty New Belgium globe

Pours a big 3 finger dense head that looks like chocolate ice cream. Body is pitch black in color. Head retention and lacing are pretty good.

Smell is big on roasted chocolate malt and some coffee. Hops and alcohol are faint in the background

Taste is a very good balance of malts and hops. First the burnt, roasted malt is tasted, then the earthy bitter hops come in. The alcohol is present but not too much and leaves a slight warming sensation down the back of my throat. The after taste is of smoke from the oak and malt and some bitterness from the hops. Very tasty and complex

Head gives a nice creaminess to the beer. Almost perfect amount of carbonation, livens up the body making it rich but not too heavy

Drink ability is good. Very flavorful and rich but still semi session able. I love stouts and this one is definitely one of the best. It kind of reminded me of Stone IRS but with the benefit of aging. Will need to pick up alot more of these when the new batch comes out in the fall

*Update- had a 2010 vintage on 06/02/14, flavors seem to have dulled noticeably

angelmonster, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of bhalter8
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2007 vintage to celebrate my actual birthday (thanks for the trade drseamus). I have had tastes, but have been looking forward to sitting down and enjoying this. Pours a dark/opaque black, no light getting through this one, and a solid 3 finger tan head. The aroma is a little more subdued than I had anticipated. Certainly a delicious smelling brew, with aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, and espresso coming through, but not as strong as some other imperial stouts I have had. The oak is even more subdued, maybe I served this a tad warm? The taste, however, was not subdued at all, a lovely compilation of all the flavors I enjoy in a good strong stout. A strong, sweet chocolate flavor up front, pairs nicely with the coffee flavor. These flavors mellow as you sip it, possibly due to the earthy oak flavor. Not sure where it comes from, but a nice tart bitterness kick comes through on the back end, in addition to a bourbony warmth. I still feel this could age longer, as I love when these stouts get even thicker in the mouthfeel. There is certainly an alcohol warmth that follows a few sips. Its hard to establish drinkability on such a big stout, but within its category, this is a pleasing stout to drink, and I thoroughly enjoyed sipping on it over the course of the evening. Looking forward to drinking more in the future for sure.

bhalter8, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of MrMonkey
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared an '08 vintage with the girlfriend not too long ago. Reviewed from notes.

Pours an opaque black with a thick and creamy two-finger mocha head that fades extremely slowly to a skim coat and sticky ring. A few wisps of lace left behind.

Smell is just amazing! Lots of rich chocolate, bourbon, oak, molasses, and a hint of anise.

Taste is toasty oak and chocolate up front, before some bourbon and espresso notes. Alcohol heats up a little towards the finish, but quickly subsides before some molasses and a rich, chocolaty finish.

Thick, creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel.

Drinkable and extremely enjoyable. A world class sipper for sure. Psyched to see how this one will develop over time.

MrMonkey, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of Steamhead
3.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One fine Saturday brunch found myself and an '08 Abyss in a gastronomical mood. So poaching a few local, free range eggs to accompany a Herve Mons camembert and sweet pepper relish on marble rye sandwich, I felt this was an ideal time to stare uninterrupted into the Abyss. Aggressively pouring the thick elixir into the St. Bernardus chalice...I like to wake up high gravity beers as much as possible...I notice the tremendous frothy carbonation that sits atop for almost the entire session. This really sets it apart from the other contenders in its class. It helps to lift taste from being just cloying and heavy. Aromatically, it fills the room. There is almost a mist that surrounds the glass of purely hedonistic levels of licorice, brown sugar, coffee, vanilla and chocolate. A slight amount of boozy heat, but nothing a few years asleep in the cellar wouldn't resolve. It amazing to think how five years or so ago that beers of these proportions did not exist. Lucky us! This is the part that I like best...one long, slow contemplative sip without distraction. This creation is full of point-counterpoints of sweet/bitter, heavy/light, not enough/too much. The licorice is slightly prominent. The anise in absinthe comes to mind. Dark Horizon, that delicious licorice bomb, comes to mind. I have had this and the '07 on many occasions before now, but this is the first time I have really appreciated this character. I have become so enamored with bourbon in beers that I almost feel like something is missing. Though I feel like this is complete. The good folks at Deschutes realized their ideal. I like it. I would like to have cases of it. Dark Lord it is not. There is a creamy, earthy nuttiness on the finish that I really enjoy, but becomes increasingly difficult to get past the licorice. The alcohol is more evident and that is to be expected. World class beer that needs some time.

Steamhead, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of nectar14
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 2008 'vintage' 22 oz bottle at Toronado SD into tulip. Shared with good friend, sir Chadillac.

A: Opaque black, thick and viscous as it comes out of the bottle, with a dark tan/ light brown head of about 1 finger, settling into a thin foam and lacing lightly.

S: Big wows here, with grains, malts, esters, nuts, chocolate and a whiff of anise.

T: Big, dark roasted coffee, chocolate, malt and some bitterness from those and from hops. Full of flavors but not boozy or out of balance.

M: Again, balanced and full without excess weight. Exceptionally smooth for such a big beer. Hides its 11% well. Picks up bitterness on the finish, which gives it some palate traction.

D: High marks, very drinkable. Bottle went pretty fast.

Overall, a superb brew. Deserves all the accolades it gets. This is the second time I've had the 2008, and it was outstanding again. Worth seeking out. Best stout period.

nectar14, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
4.97/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle. 2008, split courtesy of Viggo - you're pretty much my beer hero now for every beer that I wished I had tried - you have it "sitting in your fridge".

Pours a viscous black, a finger of dark mocha head that subsides to pretty much nothing - par for a big stout.

Nose is smooth vanilla, roasting malts, milk chocolate.

Taste is ridiculously smooth. Wow, for the ABV this is so smooth and so delicious I could drink it all night. Smooth roasted malts, a good dose of molasses and licorice, just the right dash of woodiness, roasted malts that have the right amount of punch but not too much bitterness - just enough to make it deep and rich without being overwhelming.

Holy crap this beer is smooth and enticing, it could seduce me into just about anything. Thanks for the immense treat Eric, this made my move just so damn worth it.

ritzkiss, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of david18
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is as good as the hype about it. I've had it three times; all three in las vegas. It is amazingly dark, seductively thick and the taste is a perfect blend of hops, alcohol and roastiness. Not too hot and even good to accompany food. The bottle version is a little better than the tap but both are excellent.

david18, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of TheViceBlog
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottling, thanks to JessetheHutt!

Beautiful, viscous stout, just like the oughtta be.

An incredibly smooth nose that drove through my nostrils and into my brain. Delicious!

A kind mouthfeel with strong tastes of burnt coffee, molasses, black licorice, and even a little vanilla.

Absolutely wonderful and I would drink this smooth sucker every single day of the year but it did not completely knock my socks off. Fantastic nonethless.

Aaron
www.theviceblog.com

TheViceBlog, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an unmarked belgian goblet at cellar temperature this beer has a pitch black color with a deep tan, frothy head.

The aromas are roasty and of dried fruit (figs, raisons, plums). There's plenty of deep roasted malt as well.

The flavors are rich and mildly sweet - more so than I would have expected. I really did enjoy the full and long flavors of this amazing stout.

The mouthfeel was thinner than I expected but great none-the-less. I think carbonation was perfect and the alcohol content made for the perfect consistency.

The drinkability was decent despite the 11% abv. I would drink this beer all day if given the chance (within reason of course). I will definately be searching this great beer out again.

PerzentRizen, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Abyss

Appearance-Pours thick and deep black beer with a two finger, creamy tan head.

Smell- Coffee with a deep bitter and dark fruits, some wood barrel. Hints of sweet licorice and chocolate.

Taste-An early rush of strong espresso coffee is quickly overwhelmed by wood cask and dark fruits. Smooth for the style with some creamy yeast and a surprisingly mild aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Big body and flavor without chunkiness of some barrel aged stouts.

Drinkability- Not sure how "drinkable" an 11% barrel aged stout can, but it is the smoothest I've had yet.

Great with a pipe or cigar.

olmatty, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of scootny
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. A supreme RIS. Look is rich thick and lovely. Good head retention and lacing. 2007 bottling.

Smell is delight. Chocolate, roasted malt, burnt caramel, and dark fruits. Vanilla and cherries.

Taste is exceptional, superb. Smooth and rich with all of the nose and more. A bit more charcoal and burnt sugar. Definitely more coffee and yeasty pumpernickel. Vanilla and oakey rum. There is a tart cherry with more fruits and you can peel layer after layer like an onion and never exhaust the complexity of this brew. Feel is full and velvety. A mild creamy carbonaion and light syrup consistency.

Drinkaility is beyond the abv. You can put this one down like a Guiness but it hits hard folks so apply caution.

Thanks to my man hrking for this particular bottle. Thanks to WasTrinkenSie for my 2008 in the cellar.

scootny, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of Yesac
3.7/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Solid black, no head. Brown ring around the edges. Lacing on the glass.

S- Strong alcohol present. Slight bourbon aroma.

T- Strong alcohol tingling presence. Sweet and very bitter. Strong coffee and roasted malts. Not much flavor going on here, I'm not impressed.

M- The alcohol has a tingling sensation on the tongue.

D- Alcohol is to over bearing.

Yesac, May 30, 2009
Photo of Gtreid
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to RichBeer for this world class beer. Vintage 2008, 22 oz. bottle, poured into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip.

A: Pure black, just one hue lighter than used motor oil. One and a half fingers of wet sand colored head appears. The lace is incredible, thick and spidery. After about 5 min. in the glass, and many sips, the head is still 3/4 of an inch, outstanding!

A: Very complex. I get the usualls for the style: dark chocolate, molasses, some coffee, and roasted nuts. But some subtle vanilla, toffee, raisin, and cherry tones come through.

T: I finally get the oak and burbon barrels here. The slight burbon taste, IMHO, accentuates the vanilla and cherry flavors. I get the chocolate upfront, and the roasted coffee bean in the back. The hops take a back seat in this one, but none the less, the earthiness of the hop comes through and trys to give it some balance. As the Abyss warms the alcohol gives this a very nice heat.

M: Very heavy body. The low level of carbonation, and the oak and burbon barrel aging give this an extremely smooth mouthfeel.

D, and overall impression: Due to the high ABV, 11%, and the viscosity of the brew, I could not have many of these. But, probably one of the three best RIS I've had. I don't know if it is as complex as Dark Lord, but I definately think Abyss beats it in the taste department. Overall, this is a fantastic beer, and worth seeking out. Absolutely worthy of consideration for best beer in the world. Skal.

Gtreid, May 30, 2009
Photo of jsapunor
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release.

Poured like 10W-30 that was long overdue for an oil change into a tumbler with about two fingers of brown head. Lacing all the way down.

Smell of chocolate, coffee, licorice and alcohol.

Not much carbonation and a nice warm feeling.

Tastes like chocolate coffee and dark malt with lots of alcohol warmth. Some oak flavor also. One is enough for one day but one day is not enough.

This is a delicious stout that will only get better with age.

jsapunor, May 29, 2009
Photo of dukedevil0
4.43/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this '08 bottle in my very first trade from abecall98, thanks!

A: Pours a dark dark black with a ton of great looking darker shade of khaki head, almostr four fingers of it in my La Fin Du Monde tulip glass, lots of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells of slight roast, chocolate, some dark fruits, slightly alcoholic scent, and yes a little bit of licorice

T: The upfront flavor is amazing, but the finish leaves a little to be desired. I'm wondering if a little more age on this will smooth it out (as I've heard). I taste roastiness, bitter chocolate, slight vanilla and oak flavor, licorice towards the end, some licorice, but i doubt i'd know that if it weren't on the bottle! some alcohol tinge in the finish.

M: Really diggin the mouthfeel on this RIS. It defies my previous knowledge of beers by somehow being super creamy, yet thin AND low carbonation with lots of bubbles. Some warming sensation from the booze.

D: I won't lie and say this is the most drinkable RIS ever. The flavor is quite good, but the alcohol finish takes this down a bit. As I said before, with some age I think this beer would go from great to epic.

dukedevil0, May 27, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 UPDATE, original review text below. Original score was a 5/5/5/5/4.5. Not sure if my palate has changed or if this batch just has changed but it is WAAYYY different than I remember. The complexity in the nose was mostly gone, replaced by a strong coffee profile that was good but not really anything special. The taste was a big departure from what I remember...basically this vintage was just coffee, hops, and oak. Didn't catch any of the toffee, licorice, or chocolate that I talked about in my previous notes. Really, this beer just wasn't a stand out at all. The 2008 that I had was a couple months old and this one is fresh, but even a little maturing can't really explain the drastic differences in these two brews. I am going to drop my scores to reflect the changes. I'm not trying to say that this is suddenly a bad beer--because it is still really good, but the differences truly are astounding. I will open another bottle in 6-12 months and see if it has recaptured the magic of my original bottle.

2008 release

A--Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown head in my Dogfish Head signature glass. Lacing coats the whole glass like a paint job.

S--Chocolate, toffee, hops, oak, faint coffee and licorice. Big, bold, clean, fresh smelling stout. Definitely let this one sit for a bit, I had it too cold at first which really muted the nose.

T--Is this it? Is this the stout I have been looking for? Maybe....no doubt that this is absolutely amazing. Chocolate and oak are the two prominent flavors on my palate...there is a nice hop character to balance out the roastiness but don't get it twisted this is still a big and roasty. Just how I like it. And amazingly complex. Toffee, licorice, coffee, cream, faint dark fruits. One of the best tasting stouts I've ever had, period.

M--Full bodied, a bit of a carbonation sting. Coats the mouth a leaves a nice bitter aftertaste.

D--A sipper at 11% but so interesting it can't be put down for long.

alcstradamus, May 22, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thanks again to brokenleadedcask for trading this one to me at DLD 09. 08 version

A- this one comes out of the bottle black as can be with a finger and a half of coffee colored head. the head lasts a long time and leaves a wall of lacing on the glass. cant ask for anything more from this style. perfect.

S- i immediately checked the bottle to make sure that only 1/3 of this was aged in bourbon casks. you can smell it and strong. vanilla, oak, and bourbon all come through and strong. loads of roasted malts in here as well as chocolate--mostly dark but milk as well (a slight sweetness). it smells strong, very strong. kind of a turn off but not a huge one. the excitement is building. some coffee/hops in here also. well done.

T- as in the nose, the tiny portion of this that was aged in bourbon barrels makes itself known. tons of wood, vanilla, and bourbon. lots of chocolate also, but not an overwhelming amount. and of course roasted malts. coffee/hops....it just doesnt quit. its potent tasting, somewhat dry, and extremely complex. exceeds expectations and deserves its unbelievably high ranking on this site.

M- full bodied and chewy. its thick, but not dark lord thick. i cant give a perfect rating for this style after ive tried dark lord. theres a warming from the alcohol as it goes down, but its not overly strong and adds to the experience. this is a serious beer and it demands respect.

D- this is possibly my new favorite beer. the sort of thing that i would save my beer money for weeks before it came out...if i could buy it where i lived. what a shame. thanks again to brokenleadedcask for this bottle, and to mba3243 for my 07 bottle thats still waiting. wow. check this one out, its going to be worth the trouble.

jwinship83, May 12, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
4.22/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage poured into DFH Snifter.

A - Pours black as black can be with a coffee/tan head which quickly vanishes leave tan bubbles around the edge of the glass. Nothing mind-blowing but looks good, nonetheless.

S - Right off the bat, I get roasted coffee/expresso beans mixed with dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol. I could go on smelling this one for days but I think it's time to move on.

T - Nice dark chocolate notes up front along with some coffee grounds of some sort with a slight oak-alcohol kick on the end which warms me up a bit. A really nice sweet milk chocolate aftertaste. As it warmed & opened up in my glass, the hint of alcohol almost disappeared, amazing.

M - Medium in body, not too thin, no too thick for this one. Very smooth & creamy with a dry finish.

D - A very nice example of a RIS that is worth of its top 10 rating. Better then Dark Lord? Personally, I don't think so.

Sean9689, May 09, 2009
Photo of everetends
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

#400

2008 vintage, 22 oz bomber thanks to Rhinos00 and Wetpaperbag. This is actually the one Rhinos00 sent me for bags's will be saved for a vertical one day. Thanks guys! This beer has been on my hit list for the longest time and it seems fitting for tonight. Hopefully it lives up to the hype and my expectations. Served up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Well it pours what so many people often call that used motor oil pour. It had that thick consistency on the look with a nice semi-glossy black in color. Fitting name calling this the Abyss as far as appearance goes for sure. A pretty vigorous pour got me almost half a finger of ginger bread colored head. Sadly, said head did not stick around too long. Fizzled out to a thin ring and an oblong, bubbly elipse of a floater in the center. That ring does what it can to throw up some lace but the stick is not that great. All lace slowly oozes its way back down into the body. The culprit is probably the somewhat syrupy, clear film that easily sticks to the glass on each movement. I was expecting a bit more from this but I have to be realistic and give credit where credit is due. This is a fine looking RIS, but it has room for improvement for sure.

S: The aroma is nice for sure. Getting a nice woody presence coming out. Some nice oakiness in here mixing nicely with the roased malts. Lots of vanilla extract type smell coming out and this might be a bit of a negative. That strong vanilla smell mixed with the alcohol makes an almost chemical like aroma that could have ruined this if it wasn't for everything else going on in here. That strange sweetness that can only be licorice is coming out. A big presence of molasses is forcing its way through. Roasted coffee rounds it out with a slight bitterness and more roast to mingle with that oak. There is a slight fruitiness coming in on the backend and its difficult to put my finger on but it may just be rum soaked raisin. Lovely with just a slight negative in that chemical type smell. I have been going back and forth on whether to give this a 4 or 4.5. I think I will lean higher because the other aromas do make up for that one negative smell.

T: I am absolutely shocked and amazed that I didn't get any chocolate type aromas out of this when I get hit with a big time fudge presence on the first sip. I mean a serious, rich, milk chocolatey goodness. This works well because that is quickly chased by some deeply roasted, espresso coffee qualities that are complimented with a nutty type flavor (could it be hazelnut, my favorite?). Then you can taste that oaky character sliding in, mixing and bringing a touch of wood and vanilla in here. Sadly not getting much of the licorice in the flavor though. Molasses and brown sugar leave some sweetness behind. There is a touch of alcohol coming across that could absolutely use some age to thin out a bit. All in all, this works beautifully.

M: Full bodied with a really nice thickness and almost syrupy quality at times. This is thick. It sticks easily to the palate and it is chewy to keep in moving down the throat. It is as if you might need a second swallow for each sip. Still it remains silky in texture. Carbonation is light, as it should be, allowing this to be thick and a sipper. ABV is much lighter in presence as you would expect from an 11% brew. Aftertaste is all fudge and coffee. Those flavors are great and should be the ones that linger, leaving you wanting more.

D: I am not going to lie, this beer is dangerously close to being too sweet of a brew. But . . . it works incredibly. I have to constantly compose myself, keeping me from gulping and slurping. It is dangerously easy to pound. Flavors are great and so are the aromas. I am glad that you get some things in the aroma that you don't get in the taste and vice versa, but that shows this beer has more growing to do and has more hidden within. Leaves you optimistic to what this beer can offer with some time. That slight chemical smell is probably the only negative I can find, but I imagine with the alcohol fading, it too will with time. This is a fantastic brew and i look forward to aging the other I have. This can only get better.

everetends, May 07, 2009
Photo of MEsquandoles
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Although I could fill the page talking about the depths and magnitude of the beer, but I'll try to keep it short, as so much as already been said.

This is my 3rd time to try this, and is my favourite Imp Stout I've ever had. Not too much licorice. Wood is still very present (and contributes noticeable vanilla), but is not harsh. It's been in bottles now for about 5 months and is pretty damn drinkable for 11%, although there is a slight alcohol presence (warmth, taste). This is about as full flavored as it gets. Lots of dark chocolate. Not too sweet and I really like the addition of licorice here.

This is very thick and feels great. I did not hesitate to give Appearance, Taste, and Mouthfeel perfect ("exceptional") scores. This is truely an exceptional brew that I was tempted to give a full "5" across the board.

I don't think I'll have much trouble finishing the bomber, although it's prolly recommended to share with a good friend.

I'd love to try it at 1 and 1.5 years after bottling for super smoothness, without loosing too much roastiness and bitterness.

Musical accompaniment: Holy Fuck LP (A recommended pairing. I thought about breaking out some dark chocolate and licorice, but decided I wanted nothing but Abyss on my palate).

Not really any complaints here. If it were available here, I'd go for the case discount.

MEsquandoles, May 02, 2009
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,117 ratings.