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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,784 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,784
Hads: 6,194
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 17.82%
Wants: 2,821
Gots: 3,267 | FT: 291
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 (161) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Abyss Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,784 | Hads: 6,194
Photo of bluejacket74
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage, label says best after 11/11/15. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch frothy tan head that stayed around for a while. There's also a bunch of lacing. Aroma is great, the brew smells like molasses, red wine, oak, coffee, chocolate, burnt/charred malt, and a bit of vanilla. The taste is pretty good too, there's burnt/charred malt, coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice, red wine, oak, bourbon, and vanilla flavors. Lots of bittersweet goodness! Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and creamy with moderate carbonation. I've been waiting a while to try this, and I wasn't disappointed! I liked this brew a lot, it's going to be hard for me not to drink my other bottle before the "best after" date. I'll definitely buy this again the next time it's released. $14.99 a bomber.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
4.14/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I thought the taste was terrible. Everyone says it needs lots of age. Had this on tap so maybe to fresh?

Rerate: Had one after the best after date and it is night and day improved.

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Photo of Gasc0igne
4.24/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Reserve. Consumed @5 months old.

A: cola pour, terrifying maw of darkness no colour on edges held to light, copper-brown large head, small bubbles, excellent lacing, settles to a light cap atop the beer, medium-long retention
S: heavy espresso front, sweet vanilla, heavily charred fruity wood, bit of bourbonesque liqour, charcoal, toasted marshmellows, roasty roasty malt!
T: burnt coffee, very bitter dark chocolate, bourbon sweetness for a brief moment before moving into a strong milk chocolate carries through to light tart fruit before finish, dry charred oak finish, a slight salty licorice throughout too,
M: medium-full bodied, satisfyingly coating, low-medium carbonation, feels thin to me, slightly ashy finish
O: consumed young, bitter as expected but nowhere near as much alcohol as expected, will revisit on enjoy after date

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Photo of chrisjws
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage, drank in December 2014. Served in a snifter at approximately 50F.

A: Pitch black. Small amount of light at the edges. Half a finger of brown head. No alcohol legs seen.
S: Coffee, chocolate, toasted coconuts, vanilla, pipe tobacco, spicy rye, faint bourbon. Some red wine shines through after taking a couple whiffs. Awesome smelling beer.
T: Bold chocolate and coffee upfront. Bourbon in the aftertaste. A lot of the stuff in the nose comes through as well, a lot more subtle. Combines very nicely for a very enjoyable taste.
M: Coats the mouth. Big mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. Very rich beer. Goes down extremely smooth.
O: This was fresh, I can only imagine it'd get much better with age. Excellent example of a barrel aged stout.

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.61/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: opaque black, zero light coming through a tulip glass, mocha head with great lacing. S: coffee, cocoa and some oak all very balanced and melded. T: roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, oak, all balanced, pleasant bitterness in the finish. F: excellent mouthfeel, thick but not oily.

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Abyss, with a best-after date of August 2014, enjoyed from a snifter today, 4.7.15

A: Rich, slightly viscous black with a billowing, frothy mocha head. Looks fantastic

S: Definitely a wine-forward nose: lots of red wine, oak, and wood shavings. Also some cocoa powder and a thick bitterness.

T: Dominated by bitter dark chocolate, red wine, charred oak, and a touch of bitter coffee. No bourbon character, which is not a surprise given the blend described on the label. Reminds me of Wineification, but with a bigger body, more bitterness, and more wood. Definitely on the woodier and heavily charred side.

M: Thick and creamy, with an extremely dry and quite bitter finish. Really enjoyed the contrast between the smooth mouthfeel and the very charry/bitter flavor profile.

O: This is an exceptionally well-done beer that I really appreciated, but still one that I didn't enjoy that much. I loved the way the pinot shines on the nose and is present in the flavor profile, but this beer is a bit woody and too charred for my preferences re. stouts. Nevertheless, I'd recommend that people pay attention to the best-after date: I had a bottle of this right after the 2013 came out, and it was just way too bitter too even drink. But the beer's improved a lot since then, and I can see this getting even better in another year.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - black as night with a great tan head and great lacing
Smell - sweet toasty smell
Taste - very similar to the smell but has a great balanace and some vanilla.
Feel - incredibly smooth with a full body
Overall - fantastic stout

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Photo of donnierickles
4.69/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just had a 2012 bottle the other day. Soooo good. Not too sweet. I could really taste the wine barrel aging, even through the bourbon barrel aging. There is a wonderful tobacco taste to it.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I took this review January 2015 with the 2014 vintage.

22 oz brown bottle with a simple yet point taken label and artwork. Label color is fantastic with black wax coating the neck and cap. The artwork is Deschutes' abyss spreading the entire label. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

A - just like looking into the abyss. Rich black with the slightest hint of dark brown to black ruby corners. Chocolate colored head poured with size and settled into a ring of rich sticky lace.

S - a whiff of black coffee and rich tobacco up front. More like a whiff of a Cuban cigar type and sweet pipe tobacco. Vanilla sweetness from the bourbon barrel and an Oaked character in general. Cherry bark and pinot noir barrels give it a slight but welcomed fruitiness. Whiffs of chocolate, licorice, black strap molasses, and roasted malt make for one exceptional aroma.

T - wow.. talk about complex. Bourbon sweetness with vanilla bean and caramel. Black licorice, sticky sweet molasses, and an oakiness. Even the cherry bark and pinot noir barrel notes blend perfectly together and give a slight tart fruitiness to its big tobacco oaked backbone. Hints of black coffee and bittersweet chocolate add even more depth as this flavor warms bringing out more sweet bourbon vanilla notes.

M - full bodied and big. Complex from nose to mouth. Thick sticky texture coats every inch like drinking a meal. It's flavor and booziness blend together well as this warms. Thickness is spot on for the big flavor monster it is. Superb.

O - the 2014 Abyss has been the best one I've had. It is exceptional right out of the bottle and for me needs no aging at all. So many flavors and an aroma to die for. I'd love to find another bottle of this. Deschutes Abyss is a legend and the 2014 is the best they've ever created. An instant classic from a bottling that was already top shelf.

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

My longest beer love affair. I've been buying a couple bottles a year since 2011, and it's consistently been fantastic, both fresh and aged. The type of beer you can just sit there and smell for hours.

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl and the Pig & fiddle and from a 22 oz. bottle in a 14.75 porter/stout glass.
A: Brilliant pitch black, very thin head, tan foam cap, lacy.
S: Faint roast, cocoa, vanilla, molasses, some sherry, some faint bourbon, very complex and layered nose.
T: Starts with a big dose of roast, espresso, cocoa, and an initial malty sweetness that dries out buy the finish. Sherry and bourbon notes are bigger in aged versions.
M: Chewy, medium low carbonation and rich and dry.
O: When it is available, buy it. A big ballsy beer well suited for winter evenings before the fire.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deschutes Brewing 'The Abyss' @ 11.1% , 2012 vintage best after 11/01/13 , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $17 , that's been in the cellar for over 2 years
A-pour is a super dark cola brown from the bottle to a black in the glass with a big tan head leaving a streaky lace film along the snifter
S-oak bourbon barrel & oak wine barrel
T-very big tasting imperial stout , not so smooth on the original tasting , so much better with some time added
MF-ok carbonation , huge big body
Ov-this beer is so much better with some age on it , (spend , cellar , enjoy)
prost LampertLand

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

I made an account for this beer. I'm not going to review this traditionally, but I do have a story about this beer. Had a shitty day, and stopped by a gas station of all places and found this, sitting there among bottles of malt liquor and trash. I have no idea why, but the price was $4. It looked good and I didn't know what it was so I thought it was some kind of gimmick. Malt liquor that is packaged like the good stuff. It was literally in the middle of the malt liquor rack. I bought one and spent the next 3 weekends buying 2 for each day, savoring the living shit out of this amazing beer. How is this $4? How? This weekend, the gas station was out, so I headed to a couple places and actually looked this up. Oh, limited time batch... find it at another place EIGHTEEN DOLLARS. I saved about $84 because of that gas station. No idea what the owner was thinking, but I sure as hell appreciate it.

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Photo of Ian_B
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful hot chocolate-colored head with a body black as the abyss. Aroma is oaky and slightly acidic, with lots of smooth chocolate and some discreet notes of bourbon and wine. Taste begins like a wine-blended stout, moving through lots of oak and some quite noticeable wine before turning into very roasty chocolate finishing off a very long and lingering palate.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap, poured into a snifter.
Appearance - motor oil is darker, I suppose.
Smell - a blend of chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit and fudge.
Taste - the nose is more powerful, but the taste follows brilliantly!
Feel- bold and robust; smooth and easy to sip!
Overall - lives up to the hype; about as good of an imperial stout as you'll find!

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Photo of dertyd
4.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black wIth the smell of dark chocolate covered blueberries or cherries, the taste is very dark chocolate covered fruit with a nice lingering bitterness you can taste the wine and the oak in the end very very very great beer

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Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Phennomenal brew. Pours deep black with slightly tan head. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and vanila. Drinks very smooth and very complex due to combination of aging methods.

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Photo of schmidtmattsays
3.49/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2014 vintage on tap at Hopleaf. Now I understand the reason for a "best after" date on the Abyss bottles- this is clearly way too fresh and hot. Liquid black liquorice - taxing to finish.

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Photo of JonnyBoyy
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage

Smell: Vanilla, Oaky, Chocolate smell.
Taste: Strong bourbon taste up front.
Feel: Somewhat flat, a bit light for a BA beer
Overall: Being a big fan of BA beers I felt this beer was one of my top 5 BA beers. Only negative is the light mouth feel. I like a more thicker feel for BA beers.

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Photo of bismarksays
3.5/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A couple notes on this rating that seems way out of whack. Style expectations is a big part. No discernible chocolate or coffee notes, lack of both malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Barrell aged? Other than mouthfeel to some extent, you would never know. No oak, no vanilla present at all. Burnt cherry wood is bursting and dominates the profile, leaving little to no room for anything other than molasses which creates a strange but not all unpleasant BBQ sauce. At the price of this beer, I wanted more than what maybe an amazing marinade for lamb or beef.

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Photo of Bigdoc91
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a nice chocolaty colored head. Aroma comes off sour, most be the 11% of it aged in wine barrels.

Taste: Sour hits you first. Fruity/cherry components come through in the middle with a nice oak smoky (BBQ) flavor as it goes down your throat.

Outstanding beer. Wish I had another one.

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

Poured a chocolatey head that stuck around for the drink. The smell was fruity, boozy, very strong cherry scent. When you taste, you initially taste the cherry, then the bourbon. Just the right consistency for a imperial stout. One of the most complex brews I've had.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at approximately 45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours pitch black like its namesake, and forms a fairly thick head of brown froth. Lacing is quite present.

Smell: The aroma primarily reminds me of red wine and dark chocolate, mingled together. There is a tart red grape and cherry presence, and I'd say around 80% - 85% cocoa dark chocolate.

Taste: At the opening, this beer follows the nose, a blast of pure slightly sour red wine with cherries and baker's chocolate. As it moves along, the flavors flow into a dark yeasty bread mingled with scorched toffee, with notes of vanilla along the edges. By the finish, the flavor profile is entirely black bread, earth, and oak. As the beer warms, the flavor transitions smooth out. The barrel notes, while present, do not overtake the entire beer, and the ABV lends just a pleasant touch of warmth.

Mouthfeel: Full and fairly creamy, though a bit thinner than one would expect for a stout this black.

Overall: Quite a good stout, showcasing both complexity and intensity of flavor. I'm glad I happened upon a bottle of it sitting on the shelf at a local shop as I breezed in for some birthday shopping.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.04/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter.

2014 version. Pours black, getting a lot of molasses and roasts in the aroma, not much barrel at all. Same thing in the flavor. It's a good beer but for the price it really needs to have the bourbon barrel more assertive. I don't know maybe a year of age changes this thing totally. Still a great imperial stout but I do feel I have to knock it down a bit for being at least a portion barrel aged but not giving me any in the flavor or aroma.

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Photo of SierraFlight
4.57/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle shared during #bottlecherwednesday at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. Poured into a tulip. This beer is black, black, black - opaque and unyielding. A two-finger brown head forms before collapsing to a film and leaves patches of lace in the process. More lace rings are deposited on the glass during the session. The aroma is as advertised, but deliciously so - roasted malt, unsweetened chocolate, molasses, oak, anise, coffee, and barrel notes of vanilla and bourbon. Taste opens up with roasted malt sweetness, molasses, coffee, anise, and vanilla. Some bitterness creeps through on the finish featuring oak, coffee grounds, a little citrus hop bite, keeping the surge of sweetness from washing out everything else. Only trace alcohol flavors come through, surprisingly. Quite full bodied, thick, creamy, silky slick texture, soft carbonation, drying and warming on the finish. Delicious.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,784 ratings.