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The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
The AbyssThe Abyss

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,836 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,836
Hads: 6,429
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 18.04%
Wants: 2,870
Gots: 3,488 | FT: 320
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout | 12.20% 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 (162) | 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: 1,836 | Hads: 6,429
Photo of scottyg354
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look is jet black with lingering brown head, and nice lacing. Smell is smokey, molasses, chocolate and cherry. Taste is big chocolate, smoke, vanilla, tannic and mild bourbon. Some light hops are present. Feel is smooth, low carbonation, nice finish. Overall another great beer. One of my favorites.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Black and opaque, with one-inch head. Head holds well. Very thick and mousse-like, with fast-rising bubbles.

S - Chocolate, coffee, plum, and raisin.

T - Mild alcohol taste, restrained hops, caramel, and prunes.

M - Mouth-coating with some carbonation, and a long finish.

O - Very tasty, with strong flavors that hold well. Great look, great smell.

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Photo of Rootscipio
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle drank 11/15/15

Wow just amazing stuff. Aged at room temp since purchase.The Nose is of oak and molasses and dark fruits. The taste is of black cherries molasses oak and vanilla. The mouth feel is full and sticky with a red wine like finish, with a slight alcohol heat. To sum it up this is a amazing beer that I plan on buying multiple bottles of every year from now on. So glad I have another I have been letting sit in the back of the fridge I will hang onto it for quite awhile longer just to see where this adventure goes. So far this is a cellar king.

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank this as part of The online tasting @jaywhitson out together
It is a 2014 bottle best after11/10/15

A: Pours beautifully, black and thick like used motor oil a finger worth of mocha foam sits on top.
S: figs an bourbon. Hints of coffee and chocolate as it warms
T: get some of that dog I smelt, but the taste of leather, tobacco and charred coffee dominate
MF: Cheery and lingering. Some sweetness hides in there
O: Not my favorite. The dominance of the charred coffee and Tobacco is a Little off putting for me. I get what they are doing but it isn't my cup of tea.

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Photo of TrojanRB
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

'14 Vintage drank during the online tasting 11/15/15

Poured from bomber into Simon Pearce tulip

Look: thick, oily black. 2 inch brown head, dissipated over a few minutes

Smell: sweetness of fruit. Plums. Coffee.

Taste: Raisins, bitterness of coffee on the finish. A bit of tobacco.

Feel: Not overly oily, leans more towards dry (as far as the style goes). Almost a tart finish

Overall: A year on it, has developed well. Would be excellent with a cigar.

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

'13 Vintage
Best after 08/16/14

a: thick, frothy dark mocha head which subsides quite quickly to a thin layer. Very dark in appearance but doesn't seem black but rather a dark, dark, dark mahogany
s: cherry & dark chocolate seem most prominent. As it warms very slight notes of vanilla start coming through.
t: black molasses & licorice come through strongly at the start. Heavy dark (slightly bitter) chocolate at the finish. Cherry is very modest & not as prominent as it is on the aroma. Not getting any oak/bourbon at all but do get some vinous aspects showing through.
m: medium carbonation. Seems spot on to me. Finishes a touch dry but not an issue in any way
o: First timing have The Abyss. Ideally I should have tried a bottle fresh for comparison's sake. This is a well crafted beer and there is quite a bit going on in this beer & mostly everything seems complementary. Hardly any oak or bourbon presence but given those were only 17% of the mix I'm not totally surprised. This bottle at this moment of time seems to be primarily dark chocolate and the bitterness associated with dark chocolate. Akin to eating an 88% dark chocolate bar is the best I can put it. Accents of the cherry bark & some vinous presence are there as well at a secondary level. In summary, glad I tried it and I think it's something all craft beer fans should try at least once. It's a great sipper

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Photo of darktronica
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 release sampled as part of the BA mass tasting. Pours the deepest brown one can imagine without calling it black, accompanied by a light dusting of cocoa-colored head that quickly flits to the edge of the glass.

The aroma has an outsize influence from the wine barrels and licorice, with strong vinous notes and bitter tannins leading an entourage of molasses, burnt caramel, cocoa, and dark roasted malts. I actually sniffed so deeply in the glass that I wet my nose. One bashful swipe of a napkin later, and I'm ready for a sip.

Here, the flavors have calmed down a bit from when I had this fresh a year ago. Anise and stone fruit, dipped in dark chocolate, are most prominent. There are plenty of accents from the oak barrels themselves, along with some spicy pepper and heat from the bourbon. The vanilla is pretty subdued at this point. The body is moderately full but thinner than some of its contemporaries in the licorice, vinous stout category such as Black Albert.

Outstanding, and what a great excuse to crack a bottle open.

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

I'm not sure this beer is a perfect 100 for everyone but it is for me. I drank the 2014 vintage. Dark as night, awesome cocoa colored head and impressive lacing for a big stout. The amount going on in the nose and taste of this beer is ridiculous. Smells like wine, oak, coffee, molasses, chocolate, bourbon, tart cherries and roasted malt sweetness. The flavor is a very well balanced version of the aromas. I notice the wine, oak and licorice more in the taste than in the nose and there is a very nice finish that tastes like tart cherries and bitter black licorice. This is a really superbly crafted beer that is a must have for any beer drinker.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a mocha colored head, head is full with lots of tiny bubbles, after five minutes, head was gone, reduced to a chocolate colored film, no carbonation streaming, looks thin.

A: Pinot noir barrels come through pretty strong, hint of bourbon, chocolate, picking up some tart cherry aromas, some roasted malts and coffee notes, lots of aromas, complex, nothing really jumps out besides the pinot noir barrels yet all these aromas are there.

T: Like the nose, pinot noir barrels are the dominating flavor, some bourbon, coffee and dark chocolate moderate bitterness in the middle, finishes with cherry, licorice, and molasses sweetness, wine barrel aftertaste, dry finish.

M: For an imperial stout, it’s a little thin, good amount of carbonation, dry coffee like finish.

O: First off, like the Dissident, nothing in The Abyss jumps out at me, however, it has a very complex aroma and taste, everything in The Abyss is subtle, maybe because it’s aged, I don’t know, but it’s very good and drinkable, a fireside lounge chair beer.

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

2010 version sampled 11/15/15 as part of the Abyss online tasting.
As black as the Abyss must be with no highlights that I can see. Small dense very dark head with tons of sticky spotty lacing.
Deep dark aroma too. Soft and smooth roast with a richness that moves every so closely to the soy sauce, without crossing and no distaste for me. Hints of the oak and bourbon but soft and blended.
For the lightness of the aroma (at a cooler temperature) there is a complexity and richness in the drink that is ever so nice. Really dries out with the lingering roast and still some hoppy bitterness, alcohol/bourbon lingering a good long time. Immediate richness just fills the tastebuds completely. Tasty roast, deep fruit, a tempered hoppy bitterness (still evident but I'm sure it was stronger before), but still a stream of grassy hop flavor, less of the soy sauce but still a hint, seems like the roast goes towards some nice coffee and a nice streak of sweetness that has a caramel but it's blended in with a little vanilla from the oak.
Nice full feel. Very soft and enough carbonation to create a nice fullness. Nearly exceptional feel.
Not sure why I hung onto this so long. I guess I never found the time. Aging seems to have had minimal impact except probably reducing the intensity. No off flavors from time. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black pour with a thin head that dissipates quickly but leaves a silky trace. Very sweet aroma, I picked up a lot of the molasses / burnt sugar mixed in with some rum raisin, dark chocolate & raspberry. The aroma is deceptive however. It is a little smokey upfront, definitely a burnt chocolate / dark coffee vibe, licorice is noticeable as well. The oak / wood opens up as the beer sits for a few minutes, adding another deep husky note to the brew, along with a little vanilla from the bourbon barrel (again with a palatable husky, robust note). In fact, the wine oak is really the lingering note on this, and it stays on your tongue for quite awhile. It is a very dense, thick stout with lots of flavor notes to consider, but it was a little far on the smokey wood side of things for my own personal taste. Still a must-try and one of the most interesting beers out there.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.77/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage bottle consumed at Toronado San Diego.

Ashy and smokey top notes. Very acrid and woody. Licorice. Dry chocolate. Molasses sweetness pulls through more as it warms. Warming boozy and vinous back end. Slick and syrupy feel with some mildly sharp seltzery carbonation.

I've enjoyed two separate vintages of Abyss in the past, but this one is a little harsh in all respects.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells like stone fruits and prunes
Looks pitch black, almost oily
Feel is oily and slick, creamy going down
Overall, Ive had a couple different vintages of this beer and it is solid, nothing crazy, certainly not bad. Great winter beer!

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Reserve
Poured into a snifter, beautiful black and deep as the name implies. One finger of cocoa colored head that resedes to a thin layer stubbornly clinging to the glass.

Scent is strong and predominantly woody. More subtle and pleasant overtones of anise, dark chocolate and molasses fill in to offer the nose a complex experience that keeps you sniffin more than sippin.

Taste is true to the nose, still very woody. The molasses really staples the beer to your tongue while there is a fine warming licorice flavor that carries it through the palette. If you try this beer, do yourself a favor and drink it real slow, the complexity of the flavor really shines as it comes to room temperature.

Mouthfeel has a surprising amount of carbonation for an aged beer. It's sticky and really clings to the tongue.

I was expecting a decent beer, and at the price point I was honestly ready to be disappointed, but was not. This is truly a great beer, worthy of a one time spurge if the budget makes it tough to pull off. I will purchase again, but will probably age a little longer.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage - split between two snifters

Color is black and opaque, with a thin khaki head. Lots of lacing. Smell is delicious - dark fruits, anise, coffee, cherry and cocoa. Taste is very similar to the nose - lots of dark fruit giving way to some nice bitterness from the hops and dark roasted malt. Body is full with mild carbonation - really coats the mouth with its richness. Overall, a great BA beer.

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

Dark brew, mocha head of good size and ok retention.

Wine, cherry, and oak on the nose, mingling with bourbon. Chocolate lurks tantalizingly behind.

Barrels are front and center on the palate, as well, although massive roasty notes of dark, bitter chocolate and coffee soon follow. The blend is definitely odd; it's almost a boozy chocolate covered cherry.

As it warms, much more dark cocoa comes out front and center, along with some aggressively bitter hops. Meanwhile, the barrel dominance settles into a smooth, relaxed stance.

Very long, hot finish, with lingering chocolate. Lively and full bodied.

2014 edition

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

2013 Vintage

A: Very dark brown with a light brown head
S: Oak, dark chocolate, roast, tobacco, licorice, black cherry, raisin
T: Dark chocolate, oak, bitter roast, licorice, espresso, light sweetness, milk chocolate
M: Medium creamy body but kind of dry
O: Super complex. Exceeds my expectations

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Photo of Griffin2
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a pitch black into a taster cup. Smells of chocolate and bourbon. Taste matches the smell with lots of chocolate and bourbon. It was a little boozy, but an awesome stout.

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

This review is of the 2014 vintage. I'll be honest about my bias up front: this is my favorite beer, period. Pours pitch black with a mocha head. Smell is complex, with hints of chocolate, licorice, coffee, and cherry. Taste is equally complex, with the coffee of the nose receding a bit as the cherry expands into a deeper, richer, dark fruit taste. Like many good, complex beers, the complexity only expands as the beer warms. Mouthfeel is thick and rich, like an imperial stout of this caliber should be. After trying the initial 4-5 ounces in isolation, I had the remainder paired with a dark chocolate-cardamom-cherry-ginger cake. This beer is a meal (with dessert) in itself, so no need to pair, but if so, it definitely matches complex, savory desserts well. Could not recommend more highly.

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Photo of KennyDorsch
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage....smell the cherry right off the bat..pours black with a thin head...taste....fantastic.......oaky,chocolatey goodness..bought 5 of these last year and am glad i did....a great barrel aged offering from Deschutes

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Photo of govlady
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle (best after 11/10/15): bought two and looking forward to trying it again around the holidays

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a head of lighter brown foam

Smell: smoky, bourbon

Taste: smell a lot of chocolate right off the back, with a hint of the bourbon coming through,

Mouthfeel: very smooth, medium bodied, not too thick, but not too thin

Overall: solid BA beer. im looking forward to trying it again after aging it for a year or so.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz pint on draft at River City Drafthouse, Louisville, KY

A: Deep, pitch black body; dark mocha head about a finger and a half thick when it arrives at the table; good head retention.

S: One can definitely tell this is a barrel-aged stout from the get go as the woody/oak presence announces itself up front; roasted notes in the vein of fresh ground coffee, breakfast toast; dark chocolate; dark fruits.

T: Palate is greeted with an initial dose of oak, which wraps around a strong, roasted bitterness akin to french press coffee; dark chocolate adds a moderating dose of sweetness before a flash of dark fruits (cherry, raisin) breaks through, adding a nice, vinous character; earthy, maybe even a touch of tobacco; the oak really opens up as the glass warms, and I start to detect faint hints of caramel and vanilla late on. Really enjoyable.

M: Creamy mouthfeel accentuates the complexities on the palate.

O: Fantastic. Great barrel aging qualities - oaky, toasty, dark chocolate and dark fruit, wine-like characteristics. A kiss of spiciness from the booze on the finish but the ABV is kept well in check. A wonderful package for all lovers of stouts and barrel-aged beers.

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Photo of jason3125
4.48/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer smells of drunken cherries and vanilla with notes of licorice and a wine barrel finish. Taste of toasted malts and wine barrel. Overall a great beer.

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Photo of chasisthedevil
3.94/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage - This was my first experience with Abyss, I had very high hopes and I still do. I have a fresh bottle I'm waiting a few more months on and will try soon. The 2011 vintage had very little in terms of complexity for me, smelled like coffee with very light licorice, tasted like liquid smoke. The biggest highlight was the look which was significantly better than any other part. Overall this was a letdown. I hope to revisit this review when I open the fresh bottle.

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

This is my first of two bottles from the 2014 vintage (best after 11/10/15):

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a thick head of tan foam.

Smell: Light smokey/roasted smell with the faintest trace of bourbon.

Taste: Smokey and roasted, prominent flavors of rich dark chocolate with the slightest hint of bourbon and licorice. Really just not sure how I feel about the balance of flavors

Mouthfeel: not too thick, but still very rich. An incredibly smooth beer

Overall: a complex beer that may need to be aged longer before I can enjoy it properly.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,836 ratings.