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The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

1,874 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 1,874 | Ratings: 6,659
Photo of wdberkley
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 Vintage, couldn't wait, had to give it a go.
Pours jet black, skinny dark brown head, light carbonation. Huge chocolate, malt, coffee, vanilla, and booze on the nose. Slight hint of licorice. Flavor profile follows suit, with barrel characteristics coming through. This is a heavy, viscous beer that's meant to be savored. Absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black color, with a small light brown (hell, I'd almost say orange) head. Few visible signs of carbonation, besides the occasional minimal rising bubble. The clear black color makes my glass look like a mirror when looking at it. When I hold the glass up and look straight at it, it looks identical to the way my computer screen looks when I've turned my computer off at night. It almost feels like it has no appearance at all, and that the innards of my essence is being reflected by a beer glass.

Smells of licorice, roasted coffee beans, wine, chocolate. Overall, a very full aroma.

The taste is definitely heavy on the roasted flavor, the coffee and chocolate complements each other nicely as neither dominates. I get quite a bit of plum, licorice, and notes of vanilla as well. This beer really does have a fascinating contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla, and the bitterness from the smoked flavor and licorice. Very rich flavor, with a large degree of nuance. Mouthfeel is full and satisfying.

I really really liked this beer, but I might have fallen in love with its appearance. This is a perfect looking beer, which makes the fact that it only tastes like a pretty damn good beer slightly disappointing. In either case, this is a very good stout.

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Photo of KingEdward
4.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 version, chocolate, oak, and vanilla. It is very dry, maybe due to the wine barrels. The mouthfeel is a little thin. First version of this i have tried and would like to see how the others stack up to this.

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Photo of gandres
4.96/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

From tap growler to wine glass
Appearance: very dark- almost pitch black but not when held against the light in a wine glass
Aroma: aroma oof Chocolate
Taste : Excellent
Mouth feel : Creamy
Overrall: excellent beer, one of the best, (i reallyy prefer stouts and porters

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured rich dark black with one inch tan head that had excellent retention and lacing. Scent was chocolate, roasted malt, dried fruit/raisin, with slight wine and oak... no bourbon notes. Flavor was heavily roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate, raisins, heavy on the oak and subtle wine. I didn't notice any bourbon heat. Personally, I didn't like how the wine added to the flavor and felt it could have benefitted from deeper bourbon notes. Overrall, incredibly complex and unique beer! 2015 version.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: almost black, just hints of brown as it pours from the bottle. Beautiful. Medium brown head, coarse lacing, decent persistence. Would rate higher if lacing were finer.

Smell: Malt, licorice, plum (?). Mild. Fine. Expected deeper smell after seeing the dense dark color.

Taste: malt, licorice, molasses. Sweet and bitter simultaneously. Holy crap, this is dense, intense stuff. Demands your full attention.

Feel: Rather rich, corresponding to the deep color and taste.

Overall: Nice, well integrated finish. Long, licorice. Moderately intense.

This is a really nice beer - more for a special occasion, the flavor is unusual - wouldn't fit in my regular rotation - but really nice.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Oh man... outstanding beer!

2014 reserve served on 2015 new years eve.

22 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Smells awesome... dark roasted caramel malts, chocolate, coffee and bourbon.

Taste... well, like an imperial stout should along with a bourbon explosion. This is without a doubt the strongest tasting bourbon aged beer I've had (and I've had about 30 variations of them).

If you don't like bourbon, you wont like this beer.

Fantastic beer, just a little expensive.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.26/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great stuff from Deschutes, but do they make anything not good?

Everything you want from a BBA Imperial Stout. Good coffee and chocolate notes complimented by a good amount of bourbon flavor.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Clear plastic juice glass
From: Barons Market in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $16.99
Purchased: Jan. 7, 2015
Consumed: Dec. 31, 2015
Misc.: Best after Nov. 11, 2015; 2014 vintage

Poured a pitch black color with two fingers of fizzy tan head. Below average spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Below average retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled boozy chocolate, roasted toffee, dark caramel, oaky vanilla, dark fruits, mainly purple grape, plum and black raspberry, dark wet cocoa, molasses, wintry spices, light licorice and faint roasty malts. (Smell - 4.50)

First taste reminded me of a slightly stronger Obsidian Stout or Black Butte Porter. Got roasted dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, dark fruits - black raspberry and purple grape - molasses, smoky fire, char wood, oaky vanilla and licorice. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

This was a very good imperial stout, but not as good as I hoped. Can’t get over how close it is to Obsidian Stout and Black Butter Porter. Would have it again though, but not for $16.99. (Overall - 4.25)

4.32 | 96 | A

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Photo of -Rick
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black/brown color with a big thick brown head that lasted for quits a bit. The smell is sweet, chocolate, red wine, some vanilla. Taste is of baking chocolate, red wine, sort of a charred wood hint to it. Thick and chewy, this is a big stout. Loved this beer. Vintage 2014. Would like to try an older one to compare.

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Photo of Premo88
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
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

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Photo of spacecake9
4.12/5  rDev -8%
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!

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Photo of Kjcobus
1.66/5  rDev -62.9%
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

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Photo of josephandbrown
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of smanson56
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of GoneARye
4.99/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.84/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

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Photo of zimm421
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of Radome
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

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Photo of rarigney
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,874 ratings.