Dismiss Notice
Get FREE shipping on all US orders of $25 or more from the BeerAdvocate Store.

No promo code required. Offer valid through 4/30.

Ready to gear up? Start shopping →

The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

1,863 Reviews
For Trade:
The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

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)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,863 | Ratings: 6,615
Photo of Premo88
4.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz. bomber poured into "stout glass"
(2014 Reserve -- best after 11/10/15 printed on bottle, 11.1% ABV)

L: motor oil out of the bottle, very dark and thick, hard to tell if it's clear ... might be deepest darkest brown up to light; pushes up short head, only 1/2-inch tall, but super thick and super sticky, nice tan/light brown color; only a tiny bit of lacing, keeps a thin collar of brown foam

S: juicy dark fruits and red wine ... fruitcake ... some cherry ... a little oak wood, but the sweetness is supreme here, big vanilla really controlling the scene now with the dark fruits/red wine/cherry branching off that vanilla ... either I'm off or that's some of the sweetest oak you'll ever smell, almost like cedar, just flowery as can be ... wow ... suddenly all the bourbon hits, very sweet like a chocolate/vanilla swirl milkshake topped with bourbon

T: chocolate ... lots of chocolate with a burnt bitter finish, like chewing on roasted coffee beans; yes, very bitter, some licorice, lots of burnt wood, burnt oak, burnt hops (?) ... but with the big sweet taste of chocolate, the flavor is balancing well; some red wine/cherry/fruity flavor enveloped in the darker flavors; as it warms, the bitterness is subsiding and letting more sweetness in, even some of that vanilla that's in the aroma

F: relatively light for such a big brew, but it's well carbonated and filling ... perhaps a perfect midweight

O: a more bitter barrel-aged stout than many I've tried, but it's not to the detriment of anything ... there's a great chocolate backbone of flavor from which springs some fruity flavors (dark fruits and red wine), some of that bitterness and a bit of coffee/espresso to mix for a very pleasant sipper; the bourbon aroma is subtle, bourbon flavor even more so, but the way it mixes in with all that sweetness is nice.

without question a beer I will revisit ... maybe even another of these 2014 Reserves.

 1,928 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fin black. Thin tan head. Dark malt, chocolate. Hoppy imperial stout. Chocolate coming through. Boozy. Molasses. I likey. Mouthfeel thick and creamy.

 157 characters

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Pitch black with a foamy medium brown ½" head. Great appearance.

Smell - Dark malt, licorice, dark chocolate, sweet molasses

Taste - Slightly sweet, big on dark chocolate, hint of bitterness at the end. Seems to be very complex, but my poor palate can only distinguish the broad flavors.

Feel - Thick, creamy, slightly carbonated.

Overall - Very good imperial stout

 379 characters

Photo of spacecake9
4.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracked open a 2014 version.
A - Pours black with a 1/2 inch of beautiful tan head.
S - Aroma is awesome - sweet, a little coffee, dark chocolate and molasses.
T - The flavor is not nearly as complex as the aroma. A little sweet, a little charred, some dark chocolate and maybe a little vanilla.
M - Medium thick mouth feel, low carbonation.
O - This is a good stout but with all the hype that surrounds it I was hoping for a bit more. And I bought a 2015 this morning!

 470 characters

Photo of Kjcobus
1.66/5  rDev -63%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Really don't understand what the hype is about this one. The appearance is fine but it's really just getting high ratings because of hype. Even after resting for a year this one is bitter and dry. Overly oaky wood flavor but not in a sweet way. The flavors are far from balanced and leave an off taste one wouldn't expect from a stout. Blending is an art they clearly haven't mastered. Don't buy into the hype on this one folks. Not worth it

 442 characters

Photo of josephandbrown
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bomber pour of the 2014 reserve split between three people.

Abyss pours a pitch black with a beautiful, thick brown head that lingers. It has aromas of oak and wine and licorice, with a hint of chocolate or vanilla. A lot of the flavor notes are the same as the aroma. Though I'm not sure I can pick out every different type of oak used, the fact they varied it is evident in the nuance and subtlety of flavors. Abyss feels thick and creamy on the tongue, and has a surprisingly pleasant amount of carbonation.

Overall, a top notch stout from Deschutes.

 555 characters

Photo of smanson56
4.24/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle marked 2014 Reserve and enjoy after 11/10/2015. This beer poured a dark black color into my snifter glass. The nose holds some dark fruit overtones mixed with some aroma from the aging process.
The taste is from the wine barrel side of this beer IMO a certain bitterness imparted from this side of the aging and also some of the dark fruits shine through. The mouthfeel is smooth and even towards the thick side but most enjoyable. Another great stout I'm glad to have had the chance to enjoy.

 515 characters

Photo of GoneARye
4.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015 bottle. Pours a deep, thick black with a brown head. Smell is of roast and char, sweet malt and maybe a hint of licorice. Taste explodes with dark complexity. Tobacco and leather join the perfectly roasted malt sweetness. As the beer falls to the side of my tongue vanilla fills my senses. A faint but appropriate amount of bourbon rounds out the finish, but never overpowers the rest of this experience. Mouth feel is thick and viscous, with a light carbonation, and slick residue after the swallow. This is a beer to be savored, and is truly remarkable to see in verticals. 2015 is one of the better ones have had so far.

 630 characters

Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is all of the best attributes of a barrel aged beer. One of the best, with some of the best age worthiness of any beer I've tasted outside of a really great sour. I will always love, and buy, this beer.

 207 characters

Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage.

Look: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Jet black body, 1 finger brown head.

Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee, dark and red fruits, notes of vanilla, wood, and spices.

Taste: Dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, molasses, a lot of spice, and notes of dark fruits.

Feel: Full body, medium-low carbonation. Slight coffee bitterness at end, and a warming boozy quality.

 370 characters

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

22 oz. bottle, 2014 vintage, best after date 11/10/2015. Was holding this down for over a year, and finally cracked it on Christmas Eve.

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale mini snifter.

A - Viscous jet black pour. Less than a finger of dark tan head. Lots of good thin sticky lacing.

S - An interesting and unique aroma. The molasses & licorice are very present. Notes of tart cherry juice and wood / barrel aging melds together. Subtle vanilla and wine tannins are also there.

T - Warming alcohol, molasses / licorice spicing, notes of roast / char. Has a bit of hot, almost peppery sort of spice present, but perhaps it is just the booze heat. The subtle wine / grapes become more pronounced as the beer warms toward room temperature.

M - Feel is smooth, thick, creamy, heavy. Alcohol afterburn is still present.

Overall, unique & interesting, but probably not something I would actively seek out every year. Worth the try, but I will probably pass on it in the future.

Deschutes The Abyss -----4/5.

 1,018 characters

Photo of zimm421
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 release. Pours a solid black with a thick light brown head. The nose is dark fruit, chocolate, oak and roasted malts. The first taste offers loads of complexities with fruit, oak, chocolate, and licorice coming through. The bourbon and wine aren't overly obvious, but peak through in each sip. The mouthfeel is extremely thick and is just what I'm looking for. Overall, it's good, but I think my other bottle is going to sit for a few more years.

 451 characters

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with creamy dark tan, almost brown head; cap retreated quickly leaving thick spotty lace. Sweet smelling roasted caramel malt. Caramel malt and toffee flavors. Moderate carbonation and rich, full mouthfeel. Overall outstanding, the alcohol is warming but not overly boozy.

 283 characters

Photo of Radome
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Reserve tasted 18 Dec 15.

L - Deepest brown color with no light getting through. Dark brown, creamy head and lace.

S - Wonderful aroma of boozy coffee liquor and bourbon barrels.

T - Coffee stout, chocolate, earthy hops. Huge punch of bitterness. Bourbon, oak in the finish.

F - Heavy body but velvety smooth mouthfeel and carbonation. Strong alcohol burn, but not out of line with the other strong flavors and sensations.

O - A massive, boozy, oaky bomb, but oh so tasty!

 488 characters

Photo of rarigney
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Reserve consumed on Dec 13, 2015. Very dark black with a dark tan head. First taste is of alcohol, but not overpowering, and quickly changes to more complex flavor of fruits, chocolate, and malt.

 200 characters

Photo of DsntMatter
4.09/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 variant. Pours a dark viscous black color with a slight brown head which dissipates quickly. Initial nose is large amount of tanin masked quickly by bourbon notes. Taste is complex and ever changing from bourbon to chocolate and finishes with a dark grain flavor. Overall a good stout which was worth a try, but the wine tanins play too much of an over powering factor. Going to age another '14 for a year to see how this changes.

 435 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 2014 vintage into a tulip at 60 degrees. Pours a rich black color with mocha-tinted head and nice lacing. Pretty beer. Smell is chocolate, oak, molasses, booze, licorice, and bit of soy. Taste is molasses, oak, tannin, smoke, dark fruit, slight licorice. First few sips were all smoke, things got more "complex" as it warmed further and my palate adjusted. Mouth is nice and chewy; you can tell its 11% in the feel if not the taste.

I'm mixed on this beer. TBH, I had hoped for more given the hype. Its nice and complex, but I'd also have to say that the smoke and tannin dominate for me and those aren't the things I was looking for. I'll sit on my second bottle for a few more years (right?) and see what happens. I'd also try it again given the year-to-year variance. But IMO, there are quite a few imperial stouts--especially after a year of cellaring--that surpass this for the money.

 897 characters

Photo of ragnar3
3.67/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage poured into a tulip on 12/4. Too much wine tannin and licorice for me in this one, however I may revisit a bottle aged 2-3 years to see if it becomes more integrated.

 179 characters

Photo of LastMalkieri
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a mammoth beer -- absolutely terrific. Pitch black color that you can't see through. Velvety smooth. The taste was perfect -- definitely the right amount of barrel aging and bourbon. 2014 Reserve aged until December 3rd.

 229 characters

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.75/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2014 edition. Now a year old and past it's best after date.

L: black with a huge thick mocha frothy head. Looks fantastic
S: dark fruits and mild alcohol
T: dates, figs....dark fruits. Too many fruits. Alcohol. Lack of barrel flavors. Very disappointing
F: thin, but the flavors do stick around well after the drink.
O: what a bummer, had high hopes and this vastly missed the mark.

 388 characters

Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2007 Bottle
*This review is based on fresh Abyss, but the review below is specific to 2007, in order to inform everyone how the beer is still drinking

A: Faint chocolate, malt aromas, followed by very light wood.

A: Deep brown color, hazy although somewhat clear with a very thin head.

T: Faint chocolate with complex, rich malt character, light wood with a slight soy sauce note. The beer has a light bitterness on the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with light carbonation.

O: The 2007 is definitely on the tail-end of drinkability, but still tasty enough to drink! The beer has lost a lot of its deep chocolate notes, but the malts have developed a complex character that’s complimented by the faint oak. Unfortunately, the beer has slight autolysis and has picked up a bit of a soy sauce note.

 804 characters

Photo of madelfonatree
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 11/11/2014 and enjoyed 12/1/2015 in a MadTree tulip/snifter.

Look - Dark brown with a half finger of khaki head. It settled to a ring very quickly after slowly developing. Lacing is blotchy.

Smell - Chocolate. Tobacco. Bourbon. Vanilla. Licorice. Chocolate. Fruit.

Taste - Drink it cold and it tastes almost like a barely wine. Let it warm and it is apparent it is a stout. Follows the nose. This is so complex.

Feel - Finishes dry. No alcohol burn. Medium carbonation. Chewy feel.

Overall - There are good barley wines, good sweet stouts, and good dry stouts. This is all of those. It is complex and worth the wait. I hope I pick up a 2015 in late 2016 like I did the 2014.

 690 characters

Photo of mawelge
4.06/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Perhaps it was not fair to drink this a say after a BCBS, but so be it. I was, sadly, not blown away.

I was so thrilled to find the 2014 on tap during Black Friday shopping.

This is perhaps the darkest Stout I have ever poured with a beautiful caramel head and lovely lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is nice--boozy and lots of coffee in the nose. The mouthfeel was much thinner than expected. Too much hot alcohol and bitter coffee on the palette. All the pieces you would expect from a big Stout we're present, but out of balance.

 549 characters

Photo of von_kaiser
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2014. Prefer aged over fresh. Fantastic brew worth the hype. Pleased to have tried and look forward to doing a vertical. Rich, chewy, strong chocolate nose with a ton of barrel complexity. A must have for all and fairly easy to obtain. Can't wait to see what 2015 produces. Cheers!

 296 characters

Photo of Ninjakillzu
3.92/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Had on tap at Pint Defiance in a tulip. Pitch black body, no head.

S: Dark chocolate and cocoa, booziness, vanilla, some faint licorice.

T: Heavy dark chocolate, coffee, peanut butter, booziness, and vanilla throughout. There is some tartness as well.

M: Heavy bodied, smooth and somewhat sticky. There is an alcoholic bite at the end. It became a bit tedious to finish the glass.

 387 characters

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,863 ratings.