Obsidian Stout | Deschutes Brewery

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Obsidian StoutObsidian Stout
3,951 Ratings
Obsidian StoutObsidian Stout

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep, robust and richly rewarding, this is beer to linger over. Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness.

IBUs: 55

220 calories per 12 oz serving

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-07-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,951 |  Reviews: 1,164
Photo of BDTyre
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow! BC brews very few stouts, but the rest of the "Cascadia" (read: American) region does a damn good job of their stouts. I picked this up "across the border" in Bellingham on a mad-dash-who-gives-a-damn beer spree. This is a strong, full stout that beats almost anything brewed in Canada (with a few exceptions).

This is what a stout should be: black, with a coffee-and-cream head. Black, like obsidian. When held up to the light, a faint bit of ruby shows through.

This smells like ovaltine and roasted malt. There is a definite malt smell on the nose as this excellent beer warms. I can taste coffee, chocolate, and burnt malts. There is a faint alcoholic sweetness that blends nicely with the "dark" flavours.

Overall, this is a very well done stout. The only detractor from drinkability is the abv, which at 6.4% is a bit high for a standard (i.e. non-Imperial) stout. Despite this, Deschutes has come up with an outstanding beer that I wish I could obtain easily.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black pour, not quite opaque, dense creamy tan head. Mostly sweet aroma (oatmeal stout like)with a decent roasty grip. Condensed molasses, coffee, soy sauce, vegetal oil and licorice notes. Very smooth palate, creamy, velvety texture is enhanced by the low carbonation. Slightly buttery tones. Well hopped in the finish with a bitterness that enlaces the coating roastiness. Above average thanks to an engaging mouthfeel, looks and almost feel like a nitro conditioned stout though the flavor is not influenced.

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Photo of OldSock
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 12 oz bottle with hop cones embossed onto it, obtained in a trade with Gueuzedude. In my snifter this stout is black with a thin tan head. The head falls to just a thin coating within a few minutes, but there is nice lacing.

Smell – Coffee and chocolate with some milk sweetness. It is a nice stout aroma, with just a hint of hops and alcohol.

Taste – Similar to the smell, coffee with a creamy sweetness that is really good. Very smooth flavor with just a hint of roasty bitterness in the aftertaste. Certainly not an overly complex flavor, but it is just really well done.

Mouthfeel – Full with medium-low carbonation. Just what a stout should be.

Drinkability & Notes – Easy to drink, because of the great flavor and perfect mouthfeel. In my experience this is one of the better American single stouts out there, I really wish this was available here on the East Coast.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had been wanting to try this, so when I saw it in a bar I ordered one. Served from a bottle, a little cool, but acceptable.

The appearance is like black tar. When held up to a light, nothing came through. Amazing stuff. Had a nice light brown, cream head that lasted quite long. Quite an eye catching beer and perfect for a stout.
Smell was like coffee/toffee. Some malt hints. Also a slight a rich, dark fruit [plums?].
The taste was very creamy. Very smooth. A bit of a bitter hop finish, but nicely controlled. Wonderful light toffee/dark chocolate flavor. Like drinking a rich, creamy ice cream.
Has a light carbonation. Much lighter on the palate than might be expected considering the appearance and ABV.
Overall, for a stout, this is very drinkable. Not a beer to be pounding all night, but to be slowly drank and enjoyed. I will definitely go out and get some of this to try at home. Wonderful.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that conveniently fell off the truck at the WBF last weekend in Durham. Pours a deep, dark, almost pitch black, with an inch or so of creamy dark tan head on top. Big aroma of rich roasted malt, espresso, prunes, a touch of phenol, and a faint whiff of brown sugar. Palate is lightly sweet up front, with the huge yet mellow maltiness and flavor of very dark chocolate taking over as it passes the tip of the tongue. Slightly roasty on the finish, with notes of dark fruit and just the slightest bit of hop bitterness at the end. Smooth, creamy body is like velvet. Slow-drinking, but immensely enjoyable. Reminds me of why Deschutes is one of my favorite breweries in the world.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up in Boulder, CO. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This deep brown beer appeared black when it was in the glass. Only some ruddy-brown highlights showed up around the edges when held up to the light. The brown head rose up to a nice two fingers and settled down at an average speed. A thin web of lace was left behind on the side of the glass.

Smell: Strong coffee right after the pour, but it subsided somewhat after awhile and was joined by other aromas. Roasted malts, sweet and dark chocolates, cream, hops, and light smoke all floated up out of the glass and smelled great. Hints of dark fruits gave the aroma a bit of an edge. As the beer really warmed, some alcohol started to come through.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth on the tip of the tongue, picking up a fuzzy, velvety feel as it moved back in the mouth.

Taste: Dark and bitter is the best way to describe this beer. Dark coffee, deeply roasted malts, and dark chocolate were the main flavors. A good dose of bitter hops rose up on the finish to add a little extra kick. Sweet cream and milk chocolate were present as well, but they only added just enough sweetness to counter the bitterness.

A nice, ballsy stout. Not rich and warm, but bold, brash, and cutting.

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Photo of xoqx
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The deep coffee colored brew pours to reveal an interesting 3 finger head: the sides were deep brown bubbles while the top was a creamy tan color.

Smell: You can tell you're in for a great malty-sweet treat with this one. There was almost a hint of grassiness too, which seems strange, but the aroma can only be described positively.

Taste: What a lovely, well-structured, full stout. Chocolate and toffee tastes abound throughout the dark malt body yet there are also great hops that really play on the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a full mouthfeel brew, as any stout should be.

Drinkability: I scored this a 3.5 only because I can’t keep drinking stout after stout. Yet I would consider it above average across all beers.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chocolately mocha powder aroma. Coffee dark. Smooth, although some cookie crumbs and coconut strings mouthfeel in there. Well roasted, bittersweet and neither leaning to coffee nor chocolate. Very nicely carbonated. A very good stout but I think somewhat overated. A drop behind the Bell's stouts.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a 4 color label. tan with a black oval in the center. within the oval is an illustration of a mountain, valley and a river running through black obsidian-like rock. 6.4% abv displayed along with a best by date of 11/24/05. the deschutes logo is on the neck label, and there is an explanation of the stout and what's behind the obsidian stout name.

appearance: very dark almost black with dark, dark brown highlights in a snifter glass. pours a nice rolling 2 inch dark tan head. laces very nicely.

smell: first sniff is alcohol, flowery hops, barley and some sweet chocolate. some coffee as well. very clean and hoppy for a stout. some fruit, maybe bananas after the beer warms.

taste: resiny coffee flavor. light dark chocolate and lightly bitter in the finish. there's a hint of caramel and dark fruits as the brew warms. lightly acidic. aftertaste is bitter mocha coffee.

mouthfeel: light to medium body, but a little lighter than i like. good carbonation and swallow. almost every sip finishes with a light resin on the tongue. i'm not a big fan of the french press mouthfeel.

drinkability: fairly drinkable and would make a decent session stout. alcohol is well masked. aftertaste keeps you drinking.

overall: not a bad stout. i have to thank waldowin for this brew in a trade. like i said before, this would make a decent session stout, but the mouthcoating resin may become anoying after a while. not overly complex, and i've had better, but you could do much worse. a recommended good try.

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Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/20/05- Purchased at Andronico's Market in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle. Poured into my Hangtown Brewery pint glass.

Appearance- Black as obsidian pour with a 1/2 inch dirty brown head and very light lace.

Smell- Very roasty smell with maybe a touch of dark chocolate. You really have to get your nose in there and take a few good whiffs to detect anything.

Taste- This bad boy is one of the darkest stouts I have ever tasted. Kinda like sucking on some charcoal without the lighter fluid flavoring. Kind of a woody taste as well. You get a really quick hit of sweetness and then it turns to a nice bitter and burnt flavor. A nice amount of smoke as well.

Mouthfeel- A bit overly carbonated for a stout, but not too bad. Not really the thickness of an upper notch stout as well.

Drinkability- A very easy drinking stout. If you like your stouts dark, grab one of these.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black with a light brown head. Medium intense malted chocolate - nutty smell. Medium bodied and softly carbonated with a smooth mouthfeel. Taste is a strong, nicely bittersweet chocolate malt flavor. Finishes with a tasty hop burp.
A very tasty stout here.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It is real nice that at least in the PNW that beer can bought at any grocery store for a good price for a six pack. I compare this to St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout as a high quality stout that is available easily. The beer had all the roasty notes coupled with chocolate esters but I had one small quible and that is the slightly abupt bitter finish. Other than that this is a great stout that provides great value.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Ebony black just like it's namesake obsidian. Head is dark brown, dense and about 1/4 inch high. It's a shame that the head settles down to a thin layer, then reduces to a thin ring at mid-glass, then disappears completely.

Roasted malts and coffee are in the forefront of the aroma. Sweetness (perhaps dried fruit?) lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Roasted malts up front. Slightly sweet and slightly bitter. Excellent balance. Mild burnt tones appear at the finish. The acidic aftertaste lingers for quite awhile, but isn't overly bitter. This is an exceptionally smooth stout. As this warms, the aftertaste becomes drier.

This is a very well rounded stout. Somewhat sweet, somewhat bitter... aftertaste sticks around and has some bite to it without being overly bitter. Just about everything you could ask for in a stout except the disappearance of the head. Another excellent brew from Deschutes.

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Photo of chrisms86
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost solid black (when held up to a light some brown shines through) with a fine layer of lasting head. Smells of alcoholic chocolate. Mouthfeel is very thick with just a slight tingle of carbonation, with a slight sweetness to complement the chocolate, coffee, and malt.

A fantastic stout. Recommended without a meal, as the chocolate and coffee flavors tend to be more dessert-oriented and aren't the best at complimenting food. A great after dinner beer.

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Photo of goschool
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours about as close to black as possible with a reddish-tan head. The mouthfeel is chewy and the carbonation level is noticeable, nice and not too high. The flavors are remarkably complex- roasted malts, coffee and chocolate followed by a bitter hoppy finish. Obsidian is a top-notch stout.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a beautiful cocoa-brown head. The head dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a fair amount of sticky lacing on the inside of the glass...

The smell is inviting - the caramel and dark chocolate notes are pretty obvious with no real hops to speak of...

Taste is very rewarding. The primary notes are chocolate and caramel with no real coffee, smoke or 'burnt' taste to be found. It's rather reminiscent of some of my favorite milk stouts but there's no real sweetness to be found, only the illusion. The beer has a very dry finish without being bitter.

While it's a medium to heavy bodied brew, it clears the palate nicely and doesn't leave an oily aftertaste. Carbonation is medium to low but that's all that's needed to make the stout seem complete.

This is a very drinkable stout and I'm surprised to see the ABV so high (BA reports 6.70%, Deschutes website says 6.40%) This tastes like one of those pleasant 4%-5% stouts; there's no hint at all that it's hiding a higher than normal alcohol kick. Perhaps that's the source of the 'hint of sweetness' but whatever the case, it's quite a tasty brew.

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Photo of arizcards
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original Review 4-9-2005 - 4.55
Picked up a couple of bottles at AJ's back in January for $1.39 each.

This brew pours black as night with no allowance for light to pass thru. Pour finishes with a nice creamy three finger head - 4.5. Nose is chocolaty coffee that keeps getting better the longer it warms - 4.5. Taste is this wonderful blend of roasted chocolate coffee that finishes with a creamy dry hop - 4.5. This brew has this perfect creamy mouthfeel leaving just the right amount of dryness in the end - 5.0. Wow, what a great beer! Overall drinkability is almost exceptional - 4.5. I view this as an Light Imperial Stout which makes it possible to enjoy several at one session without having to worry about being overcome by an exceptionally high ABV.

Revisiting 11 years later 6-26-2016:
Picked up a sixer from TW Arrowhead for $8.99.
Beer poured black with that same gorgeous head - 4.5.
Nose has hints of espresso in the roasted malt - 4.25.
Taste is roasted malts, espresso, chocolate blended nicely with a decent amount of hoping - 4.25.
Feel is thinner than when first sampled...guess 11 years of imperial stouts change the palette's perspective - 4.0
Overall still a solid beer, very expressive for the 6.4 abv. Get it fresh if you see it!

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a rich black with a giant light brown head that leaves sheets of lacing.

Smell: The smell has an odd watery quality to it that I don't know how to describe. A tiny bit of roast notes are there as well.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Wow did the smell fool me with this one! This is one of the most lucious and smooth stouts I've ever had. The flavor is reach and creamy, and full of chocolate and espresso notes. Delicious!! Really this is a killer tasting beer. The mouthfeel is full and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: While it does have some distinct porter characters, this is still one of the more enjoyable brews I've had. The west coast really proved themselves with this solid and delicious beer. This is really killer stuff here.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a towering tan head that slowly fades. The aroma is great. It has a rich, dry black malt scent with a roasted element that is very aromatic. The taste is good. It has a very earthy black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes smooth and rich. It is a bit dry and creamy. This is a very flavorful stout. It is uncompromising with the use of black malts; very nice. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good stout. It has excellent black malt flavor and a smooth finish; a good drinker.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah! After having this one in Corvallis, Oregon I was convinced the cask conditioned pint was far superior to the bottle version. It tasted fuller bodied and creamy smooth and had a pleasant chocolatety aroma as well as a nice deep roasted barley aroma that was not burnt or harsh smelling. It was so easy to drink this one down in big gulps almost like a chocolate milkshake in a cool sort of way. Only black as a Bend, Oregon night!
Don't pass this one up if you see it on cask, even if you did not care for it that much out of the bottle. It's worth it!

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Photo of isubsmith
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Would you believe.... very dark black and opaque? Poured into a pint glass. 1/2" to 5/8" of tan head quickly settled down to traces which stuck around to the bottom of the glass.

Nose: Typical of a stout - Roasted barley, hints of coffee.

Taste: Follows from the nose pretty well - roasted barley, some coffee notes. Bitter chocolate. Smoother than expected. Very creamy mouthfeel. Slight hops finish to round it out.

A very drinkable, balanced beer. Definately recommended.

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Photo of fretlessman71
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours - you guessed it - black as obsidian, with a taupe colored reasonably tight head that lasts to the bottom of the glass. Strong roasted aroma very characteristic of a stout - kind of like an original Guinness, but somehow even more so. There's a pleasant sharpness in the flavor, yet it's irresistably smooth... you'd never know there was 6+% ABV in this beer. Bitter chocolate, espresso flavors are very strong - why, oh why can't Starbucks make a shot that tastes this good? Mouthfeel is almost oily, but in a good way... not too carbonated, not too flat feeling. This one goes down just as smoooth as you could want - there aren't enough o's in "smooth" to describe it!

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Photo of alexAK
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So gorgeously dark, this could be the king of stouts, I wish there was just a bit more head though. Aromas are fully present with a slight dryness.

The first thing I notice upon tasting is the incredible smoothness that manages to compliment the almost smoky dry character of the roasted barley which is easily balanced by the malt flavor. It lingers enough to dazzle my whole tongue.

More full than a guinness but not overdone, I could drink this all night. I'm so glad it's readily available in my area.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherry wood with light red edges and a nice cap of light tan/khaki foam. The head lasts for a long time and leaves interesting lacing patterns on my chalice. This is a nice looking brew. The aroma is all roasted malts, chocolate, slightly vinous, almost sour, and quite intense. The taste is a lovely blend of the afforementioned roasted black malts, coffee, dark chocolate, herbal hops, and more. Aftertaste is long, lingering, and full of bitter chocolate, and roasty malt notes. Mouthfeel is thick and coating. Almost too much, if you ask me. Drinkability is quite nice, despite this brews notes faults. A heavily roasted stout that borders on the imperial side of things. An interesting American interperatation that I would love to try again.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Like everyone else I must say it is "obsidian black". Really really black, with a light tan head that is very frothy.

Aroma is of candied whopper malt balls with espresso bean candle notes. (those coffee armoa candles, coffee with vanilla waxy smells).

Simply huge roasted malt flavors. Warm, roasty, and the finish goes on and on. Some hops thrown in the mix but you're fixated on the roasted malt, of course.

Surprisingly drinkable for a richly flavoured beer - a characteristic among other beers from the fine brewers at Deschutes.

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Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 3,951 ratings