1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,725 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,725
Reviews: 1,768
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 2,667
Gots: 2,937 | FT: 244
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)
View: Beers (155) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 5,725 | Reviews: 1,768
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried saving this one, but the anticipation got the best of me...

A - Pours jet black into my tulip glass with about one finger of tan head that dissipates slowly into a tan ring around the glass and displays nice lacing.

S - Lots of dark roasted malts, caramelized sugar, molasses, and coffee notes are primary. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon notes are secondary with just a touch of alcohol.

T - Surprisingly sweet, but not in an overwhelming or bad way. Roasted malts, more of a sweet chocolate than the bittersweet, espresso, molasses and anise are all present. As it mellows on the palate more of the vanilla and oak/bourbon notes come out along with a little heat.

M - Smooth and creamy, full bodied and really well balanced.

D - Very drinkable, and just an overall really great beer. I wish this was more readily available because it is something special. Hope I can get my hands on a few more to let age and see what else this brew can develop.

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

After years of label rejections, this beer finally made it into the Texas market! Like a proper strong stout, this stuff looks like the center of a black hole. Light struggles in vain to penetrate. Definitely one of the darkest beers I have had to date. About a fingers worth of dark khaki head tops things off. The head falls to a ring, and leaves plenty of lacing down the glass.

Onto the aroma. Abyss smells deep and dark. Plenty of dark roasted malts. Dark chocolate hits first. Underlying notes of dark roasted coffee strike next. Plenty of molasses comes through. Some light licorice notes as well. Some oak and alcohol spice rounds out the nose. Quite impressive, yet not over the top.

The taste is no less impressive. This is quite the sweet stout. Plenty of sweet chocolate syrup notes. Espresso notes abound as well. The molasses and licorice notes in the nose are much stronger on the palate. The alcohol provides a light pepperiness and warmth. The finish is quite sweet with a bit of warmth. Bourbon and oak linger on in the drawn out finish.

The abyss is as full bodied as they come. Smooth and velvety on the tongue. The carbonation just barely cuts through the denseness.

The long wait for this brew was beyond worth it. Of all the the ultra-hyped brews I have had, this one beyond lives up to said hype. Abyss is dangerously drinkable. The alcohol is smooth, just standing out enough to let you know this is a strong beer. I have drank many memorable beers over the year. This one though may be at the top of the list. Thank you Deschutes for creating this nectar of the gods.

Photo of Spider889
4.27/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by MbpBugeye, what an awesome beer to share. Thanks bud!

This was an amazing beer to pour - the black liquid inside the bottle poured in a smooth black velvet rope of oil. I was left with a very minimal dark coffee head. The head and lacing suffered since we were sharing this between 3 or 4 people.

The aroma is built upon layers of soft vanilla oakiness mixed with sweet chocolate brownies and very light bourbon heat and astringency. The barreling are interwoven exceptionally in this brew. Light roasted milk coffee adds additional depth and richness.

This is one of the smoothest drinking stouts I have ever crossed. Lots of nice espresso and dark roast coffee, but it's not burnt like some beers can taste. The malts are deep and luscious. Mild vanilla from the barrel mixes with sweet black chocolate and anise. I was actually hoping to get a lot more licorice flavor from this to be honest. Bourbon is present but very subdued - just enough to add richness to the brew.

Again, this is a very smooth beer. Light on carbonation, but that is only appropriate for a thick stout like this one. It wasn't hot at all for me despite the 11% abv.

I found The Abyss to be extremely drinkable, nay, craveable. It's one of the more deep and complex stouts out there. Is it the best American Imperial Stout on the market? Hard to say. But I think it is worthy of its praise and certainly worth seeking out.

Thanks again Seth, a real treat!

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

Was waiting for a beer for my 100th review. I think this qualifies. From the 2010 batch. Poured into my Ommegang goblet. A little less than a finger of sudsy medium brown head. Black body tinging towards cherry cola at the top. Pretty good lacing after a fairly quickly receding head. Some nice islands of head floating around in this dark sea. Roasted coffee, licorice, sweet malt, light chocolate, alcohol are all present on the nose. A little bit of oaked bourbon but not overpowering in any way. Tastes very licorice-like, vanilla from the barrels, toasty roasty coffee, pretty bitter finish, but in a burnt way, rather than a hop way. Mouthfeel is perfect. Heavy. Creamy. Just perfect. Finishes nice and dry. Dangerous drinkability for 11+. Outstanding.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 release. Hadn't had one of these yet, so we tried one fresh. Pours a tremendously jet black coloring, with a dark brown, foamy head that dissipates as you drink. The beer smells of coffee, molasses, and dark chocolate. The beer has initial flavors of coffee and malty alcohol. You absolutely taste the oak barrel and smokey characteristics, also. The alcohol is present and in front throughout experiencing this brew. The finish is a little harsh, and I can only imagine that it smooths out as it ages. Very low level sweet aftertaste, with tastes of caramel and molasses. I look forward to trying this one again in a year or so...

Photo of JamesMcPolin
1.33/5  rDev -70.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

In honor of finally getting my hands on a couple 2010 Abyss bombers, I'm cracking open an infamous 2009 release. I'm hoping and thinking it's not contaminated because I was aging two bottles. When I first heard from my buddy Jeff that they might be tainted I opened the other one a long time ago, just to see if mine were among the bunk ones. The other one still tasted excellent so here we go.

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A beautiful looking brew. Thick, black, plenty of head that looks like frothy hot chocolate. Mmmmm, delicious looking. Good head retention while waiting for it to warm just a bit. (the garage was a bit colder than proper serving temp)

Uh-oh. Nose seems way off, getting a slight metallic smell or something that shouldn't be there. Maybe im just trippin because I'm nervous.

Ahhh damn it, this sucks. It's totally infected. Man, a year's worth of aging wasted. I should have listened to everyone's advice on BA and drank them all the minute I knew this was even a possibility. Anyways, at least I have a 2010 Release to open and comfort me. I'll review the 2010 and hit re-review later but right now I'm mad at both myself and Deschutes quality control lab for wasting my time and precious money. This 2009 is an F - literally "avoid". For anyone else out there that still has one in the cellar, hurry and drink it now to at least catch a buzz for your thirteen bucks because I think it's only getting worse with age. Mine's already pretty tough to even drink.


Photo of shir0043
4.36/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow, what a beer. I've been looking forward to this for some time and it didn't disappoint.

Appearance is pitch black with a big three finger tan head. Smell is roasted dark chocolate with a slight hint of bourbon and oak.

Taste is stunning. Many complex flavors exploding out of this beer including roasted malt, oak, and dark chocolate. Bourbon is also present, teasing me to wish there was more but then again I'm glad there isn't otherwise it would be overpowering and would take away from the great RIS base.

But what makes this beer truly great is the smoothness ... and this is the 2010 version. I can't wait to put some age on this beer and try it again in the future.

This is now the standard which I hold all RIS.

Photo of Brez07
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage, opened at the recent SMBDC sour meeting. Not sour though! Was very relieved as the bottle I had was bad. Sampled about 5 oz

A: Pours dark with a 1 finger mocha head. Amber highlights through the beer. Some sticky lacing

S: Lots of chocolate and roasted malt. Just one whiff of this and I knew it was a good bottle. Some smoke makes it's way into the mix as well

T: Very much like the nose. Layers of chocolate and roasted malt are joined with a touch of vanilla to result in a silky smooth beer. There is a charred/smokey flavor hidden in the background. Also just a slight dark fruit/cherry flavor (could be the molasses)

M: Full bodied. Silky smooth beer. Nice roasted finish. Just perfect for an imperial stout

D: Off the top of my head, the best imperial stout I've ever had. The flavors combine well and create wonderful balance. I see why this is so highly regarded

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

Served on tap into a pint glass, this poured an opaque black color with a scant tan head that quickly dissipated leaving little or no lacing on the glass. The smell was faintly of toffee and chocolate. The taste was intense, with notes of toffee, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. Not much in the way of hops was tasted, but with all the other flavors they weren't missed. The mouthfeel is suitably rich. This is an intensely flavored high alcohol beer, so one is enough, especially when the bartender poured this into a pint glass. I'm not complaining. It was an excellent way to finish the evening. This is a very nice brew.

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

22oz bottle poured into tulip. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours as black as night in a cave. Beautiful inkiness to it that just seems different than any other beer. Half finger mocha brown head, similar hued lacing

S - Incredible smell. An assault that included perfectly roasted chocolate and coffee, an oaky vanilla, molasses, black licorice. Couldn't pick up anise but did pick up some old pipe tobacco.

M - Silky smooth, creamy and heavy as hell. A slight touch of heat from the bourbon but very minor.

D - The quintessential sipper. Absolutely perfectly balanced and a gem.

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

2010 Vintage. Poured from a 22oz. glass bottle into a pint glass.

A - Incredibly dark black -- so dark I can almost see the space-time bending around it. All joking aside, this is up there with the darkest beers I've ever seen. One finger of creamy, foamy tan head.
S - Surprisingly sweet, a lot of the molasses and hints of bourbon coming through. Not all that much of the roasted profile.
T - Sweet malt attacks the palate, quickly followed by cocoa and dark fruits, rounded out by a strong roasted coffee flavor near the finish. A bit dry on the finish, but quite pleasant.
M - Full-bodied and sticky, not quite at syrupy levels, but close. The alcohol warms the throat and stomach, but is more comfortable than may be expecting considering the high ABV.
D - This beer really was everything I expected it to be, and more. Despite the heaviness and high alcohol, this beer is pleasant on the senses and quite drinkable. A completely different beast than other American Imperial Stouts (e.g., Stone RIS or Old Rasputin), entirely in a category of its own.

Photo of herman77
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Review from notes 1/15

A: Dark black with a dark brown head that doesn't last too long. Decent lacing.

S: Lots of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, a bit of coffee, dark fruits, some oakiness and just a hint of bourbon. There is a bit of black licorice that I'm not too found of, other than that, it smells awesome and very complex.

T: Layers and layers of flavors. So much going on. It follows the nose pretty closely, but I do pick up more licorice that I'm not digging so much. First you pick up some semi sweet roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate and just a hint of bourbon. Next comes some woody flavors, more roasty malts and some of that licorice. Near the end the hops come forward to provide a nice change of pace to the flavors and provide a great balance. Nice long roasted and semi-sweet and bitter finish.

M: Fuller body. Low carbonation, smooth. A bit viscous.

D: Good drinkability. Its 11%, doesn't taste quite that high, but you know its high abv. Some age will do this one nicely. Will review again after the 11/15/11 best after date.

Photo of broken22
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ah Deschutes. This brewery is making some killer beers. I really love their stouts and the Abyss is no exception. I have had multiple bottles of this beer and even got lucky enough to have it on draft as well. This beer though seems to be just as good in the bottle. The bottle might even be a little better because the bottle's tip is dipped in a dark wax making it all that more alluring.

Now on with the review. Once you finally make it through the wax to pop this baby open and start pouring you can see and smell what all that effort was for. This beer is dark as in real dark. The head that forms is even dark and looks like a coffee with a lot of cream added. This is one of those beers that gets a nice cascade action happening in the head making another noteworthy attribute to an already cool beer. Now you must wait just a little longer the head that forms is not going to be leaving anytime soon. I know I know all that work of breaking though the wax then you pour it out and you still can't drink it. Its worth the wait and you can at least enjoy the aroma. This beer smells great. It has that alcoholic chocolate smell to it.

First sip! OK finally time to take that first sip and man is this thing good. The flavor is very complex and has a lot of character. So the initial flavor is kind of smoky with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. This beer tends to activate my entire mouth with the majority of the taste and feeling happening on the back of my tongue and back of my nose. The overall mouth feel is nice and thick. This beer is definitely a flavor changer. As you progress though the glass you start to loose some of the initial flavors and start picking up others.

So in conclusion I really really like this beer. This is one of those really neat beers that will just get better over time. If you get a 22 better pick up two of them. One to drink now and one to put in the dark to age. Yup says right on the label that this magical witches brew will sit just fine in the bottle for some aging. The Abyss is a great beer and if you like dark complex beers then this is the one for you. My local price here in San Diego is $13.99 for a 22oz bottle.

Photo of bohemiandonut
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Haven't reviewed in a while. This annual seems worth it.

2010 Reserve.

If I hadn't had this beer before I would be worried about the immediate fumes of oak that hit the nose. Clearly this is a big part of the profile but even on the nose this bite is calmed a bit with milky chocolate and anise. Thus despite the grainy, boozey implications it's plain to see (and smell) that something deeper is about to happen here.

Visually this might be short of a feast, but it's definitely no joke to look at in the glass. Huge lacing from a layered, creamy head is there to stay. Not the thickest stout but bold and dark regardless.

Tastewise, as I've hinted, the flavors here (even in this fresh bottle) are nothing short of perfect balance. This is not a gimmick beer that whallops you with weasel dung espresso or the "vanillins" of an oak barrel. What I sense here is an expert craft with no aversion to the generalities of a much-attempted style. In the best of cases, this pragmatic approach reveals an archetype of flavor, a prototype of recipe. Abyss is one of these. Accessible, but perfectly executed.

It's hard to find a flaw with this beer on its own. Compared to other mega stouts it's admittedly not my favorite (see: Parabola, BCBS), which is perhaps due to its reserved sweetness in favor of earth and oak. Hope to try this aged some day. Good job, Deschutes.

Photo of pisomojado8
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a "best after" date of 11/15/11.

Pours a jet black, almost resembling motor oil. Super thick with a lacing of head, brown in color, that remains for the duration.

Smells of bourbon, licorice, spices, bakers chocolate.

Taste of bittersweet chocolate, coffee and licorice up front, with bourbon and raisin notes. Quite complex!

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Mouth and stomach is warmed by prevalent alcohol. Fantastic!

An ideal sippin' Imperial Stout -- one to savor. Even in its youthful state, it's amazing. I will have to find some to age. I very much enjoyed traveling into the Abyss. Hats off to you, Deschutes!

Photo of birchstick
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Review #500

A - pours a dark abyss-like black with a ½ finger chocolate-tan head

S - charred oak and molasses pop the most, with layers of vanilla and burnt malts hidden beneath. The sweet spiciness of the black licorice is also very prominent.

T - Huge flavor going on. Chocolate malts appear first on the palate. This fades to an oaky molasses that is shrouded in a cloud of coffee and burnt malt. A touch of vanilla fades to very bitter dark chocolates that dominate the finish with subtle hints of charred oak/smokiness and citrusy hops. The licorice makes itself known on the exhale, mixed with a some chocolaty coffee. Awesome stuff here -

M - a little watery and chewy on this medium bodied brew. Wait, this is 11%, you could have easily fooled me

D - Fantastic brew here. Very deep, dark, complex flavors on the nose and palate. This one easily ranks up there with the best of them. This beer seems to a very well balanced hybrid between a huge RIS (lots of chocolate and burnt coffee) and a huge BA RIS (molasses, charred oak, and vanilla), both sides competing on the palate, but neither winning the battle. Fantastic, can't wait to see what some age does this beauty.

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

Vintage 2009 23 ounce bomber wax and sealed poured into a snifter glass. Review #200

The Abyss pours a deep oil black color with a lot of viscosity to the pour. A nice tan to brown head sticks throughout. A very nice looking pour. Smells are dominated with coffee, chocolate and bourbon. Very nice smelling. The taste is somewhat hot with the bourbon and alcohol but still delicious. I think this needs another year to sit and to mellow out. Mouthfeel is thick and carbonated. Drinkability is misleading with this brew. It is a huge beer and the entire bomber is just too much for one person in a single session.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great beer, perhaps a little overhyped. I had a 2010 vintage, it tastes great but some age will do this some good.

Pours a thick black color with a great tan head that dies quickly leaving some lacing. Barely any light comes through this beer.

The smell is probably the best part, almost a 5 from me but not quite. A big aroma with tons of roast complimented by a little of the oak and licorice giving a nice sweetness and savory quality to the beer. A cool smokyness arises from this beer but is smoothed out by some vanilla notes and a sort of candied dark fruit.

The taste mostly follows the smell but here I get a little espresso and little more spicy licorice. Some lactose sugar is there as well, burnt dark fruit, alcohol heat that is off put a little by the oak and sweetness, and a bittersweet finish showing the hops still somewhat making an impression on this beer. Very Good, but not a 5.

Nice creamy feel that is sort of thrown off a little by the alcohol heat. Though the heat isn't bad, I can see why the label says not the drink the beer until after November 15th of this year. I look forward to trying it then!

Drinkability is still quite good cause it's a tasty brew, and I could still have probably taken down a bomber, though I had help from friends this time. I may come back and throw in another rating next November when I'm 'supposed' to drink this.

Photo of veinless
4.36/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, no light shows through whatsoever, looks for real like crude oil.

Unbelievable depth in this beer, with a new flavor coming out every few moments. Coffee, chocolate, alcohol rum raisin taste a little bit (probably molasses along with something else).

Great feel on palate, can taste one small sip for a long time. Thanks deschutes for making so much more of this in recent batches.

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

The Abyss 2009, bottled version, courtesy of fellow BA'er johnmichaelsen. Big shout-out to him for making it possible for me to enjoy this rare treat- THANKS, John!!!

Appearance: Bottle comes waxed, hard to crack, open and pop. Served in a Sierra snifter, pours a very thick oil-like product, very viscous, completely black with some auburn tones. Specially at the end, it pours like liquid chocolate. I imagine the Gulf of Mexico drenched in The Abyss after Deepwater Horizon. A perfect one-finger head appears after pouring, of a brownish-coffee color, characteristic of an Imperial Stout. This head does not last long and promptly recedes into a thin rim around the glass. Lacing is very notable but not spectacular for the style.

Smell: All of the main ingredients are on display on the complex and rich nose. That licorice, the oak and the wood, some vanilla, the bourbon. This, the bourbon, appears to me as overtly strong, bringing the nose to a certain one-dimensionality (despite the overall complexity). I swear I'm back in Bourbon County, Kentucky! Some dairy as well, chocolate and hot booze.

Taste: Follows nose very closely. Liquorice, vanilla, oak. Then the bourbon and the booze. Roastiness and some burnt sugars, acompanied by very dark, bitter chocolate. At the end of the sip, I feel like I have licked some vinous, extra-strength wooden casks.

Mouthfeel: Very hot all around. It burns! Chewy, heavy. Super carbonated. Full body and flavor. Finishes extra dry and bitter. Not too pleasant.

Drinkability: Very hard. A sipper from beginning to end. It is overtly boozy from the start, and it never quiets down. The bourbon burns, not so pleasant. I wonder if fresh is more rounded? Or maybe even older, two or three years instead of one...

As it is, this is something I'm glad I got to try but cannot say is my favorite Imperial Stout. It lacks balance, in my opinion. What I had was a total "bourbon bomb".

Photo of Dansrc51
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Living close to so many breweries has its advantages...but also its disadvantages. It's easy to get overwhelmed with such a fantastic array of beers, accessible as they are. The result is that when you try a really incredible beer, like the Abyss, you have to remain objective. After several years of production (limited release) I have bottle conditioned (over a year) and have had it on draft. The quality is always perfect, never changing except on bottle conditioning, but that only improves the character, mouthfeel and taste. I rated this beer highly, because as my liver can attest, it has had some competition and remains a highlight of the cold winter months here year after year. The aroma is incredible, and the taste washes over your mouth, saturating it completely with dark molasses and oak. I love this beer.

Photo of birderbeerer
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 release.

Dark, deep black beer with a dark brown head. Lasting lace. Tons of lace. Like ice, with each sip the lace builds upon itself. Beautiful looking beer.

Big and complex. Rich but mellow roast flavors. Exceptionally well done. Dominated by dark roast flavors but with no bitter or burnt flavor. A bit of earthy tones, even berries, and a malt sweetness with hints of caramel/chocolate sweetness comes through as it warms.

Rich, mellow, and big. I keep returning to that. Very easy to drink for a beer with such big flavors.

This beer stands out as exceptional beyond other remarkably well done stouts.

Photo of TK5150
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This score is for the 2008. My 2010 notes are below, and the rating for that vintage as of now would probably be around a 4.5 - 4.55.

Originally posted on: 2-21-09

2008 bottle. Have had this one on four separate occasions already, so I am re-rating.

A- Pours black with a pleasantly small brown head.

S- Smell is mostly coffee, chocolate, some dark malts, vanilla/oak, brown sugar and alcohol.

T- It starts off very nicely with a lot of coffee, roasted malts, creamy chocolate, and some licorice and hops. Ends with dark malty bitterness. There is some heat in this beer, but it is calming down with age.

M- Decent mouthfeel, barely full bodied. Goes down without any issues.

D- Drinkability is slightly hurt down the line due to the heat.

Overall its clear that this is a great beer, and is certainly getting much better with age. Glad I have one left in the cellar.

Edit: 2010 edition review on 1-13-11

A- Pours black with a small solid brown head. Large bubbles mingle with small, tightly knit bubbles. Nice lacing left on the glass from this beer as well.

S- Right off the bat I get licorice, molasses, sweet brown sugar, and maybe way off in the distance hints of the bourbon barrel.

T- Licorice, barbecue smokiness, molasses, coffee, American citrusy hops (oranges, grapefruit), and a hint of slight burn from the heat and barrel action at the finish. Much better out of the gates than previous years.

M- Lower end of full bodied. As always, my only quip about this beer is it should be a little bit thicker to make it a pure masterpiece. Definitely thicker than 2009, though.

D- Excellent drinkability as always. I hate to finish off each bottle.

Overall, this seems to be a great vintage. Each vintage has been different, but this may be the most cohesive vintage fresh, compared to other years. My favorite vintage is 2008, but hopefully this one can rival it down the road since I have 2 more bottles of this in the cellar and only one more bottle of the 2008.

Photo of corby112
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes:

2007 vintage. Pours pitch black and almost completely opaque with only faint mahogany edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy mocha head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with chinks of soapy lacing.

Slightly smokey, roasted malt aroma with lots of luscious, silky chocolate as well as some licorice, subtle oak, vanilla, coffee bean, toast and toffee.

Chewy medium body with an incredibly luscious, silky chocolate malt flavor. Hints of mocha, toast, oatmeal, mocha and toffee as well as some caramel and sweet alcohol. Slightly creamy presence mid-palate makes this beer incredibly smooth and extremely quaffable. Slight bitterness up front is countered by the chocolate malt as well as the oak, bourbon and vanilla notes. The ABV is excellently masked making it dangerously drinkable. Also, the barrel aging adds to the complexity and balance of the beer and instead of it being a complete bourbon bomb it results in an incredibly complex, flavorful and well balanced, amazing beer.

Photo of mrandypandy
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz waxed bottle (2010 vintage) brought to me by a co-worker from Denver. Many thanks to "Long-Toes" for hooking me up with a few bottles!

Note: This review is ONLY for the 2010. I've had the 2009 recently as well, yet didn't find it fair to actually rate the 2009 as it was infected and just horrible. If you're reading this, stay away from the 2009!

A- Nice. Pours jet black with a decent mocha head. Initial head dies down but still remains and leaves awesome lacing.
S- Again, nice. Light roasted malt with a touch of oak and bourbon.
T- Complexity. Roasted and chocolate malts, dry oak, and a touch of bourbon.
M- My wife summed it up best after taking a sip: "silky". Incredibly smooth and creamy with a medium/full body. Don't know how you could make this any better.
D- For an imperial stout this big, it's incredibly high. The rich, diverse flavors and smooth mouthfeel keep me coming back.

Overall - OK, like I stated earlier this review is for a FRESH bottle of the 2010, and it is well deserving of it's lofty praises/rating. Complex flavors, amazingly silky smooth mouthfeel, I could go on and on. I honestly don't see how this will get any better with aging, since it's already fantastic. Go ahead and enjoy it now.
However, the 2009 (infected or not) was a complete trainwreck right out of the gate. Bad barrels, infected, whatever the excuse is, the '09 sucked something awful. Avoid that year like the plague...

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 5,725 ratings.