Obsidian Stout | Deschutes Brewery

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Obsidian StoutObsidian Stout
3,937 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:
Alc. by Vol.: 6.4%
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: 3,937 |  Reviews: 1,162
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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Photo of KoG
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Diffent color label, and only 6.4% ABV was the first thing I noticed.

A nice black-as-tar color with a light brown head that sticks to the side of the glass in chunks rather than lace and slowly crawl down after each sip.

Smell was well balenced, not too overpowering but still very powerfull. Full of roasted barley and malt with a bit of alcohol and possibly chocolate.

Taste... mmm, definately toasty. Not too bitter with just the right amount of bite and no alcohol flavor at all.

A little thin in the body but leaves a nice stickyness that makes up for it, very interesting. Keeps the tongue coated foar a bit and makes the taste linger lightly.

Drinkability is top notch, 'nuff said.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deschutes Obsidian has a flavor, a texture, and overall character that rolls across the palate like a red carpet. It is one of the most solid, reliable stouts a beer fan could hope for. Replete with a rounded flavor profile and notes of coffee and mocha, it is also artfully restrained. Obsidian never attempts to overwhelm the senses, merely to engage their more lavish sensibilities.

My pilgrimage to Bend to finally drink this nectar at the source was rewarded with a beer whose drinkability handily matched its reputation, and Obsidian has an enduring and laudable history. It’s been winning awards in national and international competitions for many years. But in my excruciatingly humble opinion, the biggest award of all is to win my personal favor. And frankly, I’ve been drinking this beer for years and it’s never let me down.

When served on nitro, the head is a compact light tan. I’ve never actually tried to float a dime on it, but I keep thinking it’s a distinct possibility; it’s that dense. The body is full, uncompromised, and black and tosses out a delicate roasty aroma.

The Deschutes Brewery Brew Pub could serve this a few degrees warmer to achieve full effect. I don’t usually mind waiting for a beer to reach ideal serving temperature, but Obsidian does command a bit of impatience. Once warmed, the aroma and flavor grow more thoroughly alive with just a splash of sherry in the nose and a broader complexity of roasted grains.

This is a very easy beer to hoist. Its refinement and genteel balance make it an ideal candidate to serve to friends among us who otherwise claim to be repelled by those more brazen and thunderous stouts whose taste profiles shun restraint. Obsidian is never so overpowering as to be offensive, while still every bit a world class pour. It remains one of the best overall non-specialty stouts in the west.

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Photo of Gump
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My label is tan, not blue.
I've heard that Obsidian Stout is very good, so I had my Dad bring some back from his visit to Seattle.
Carbonation is evident from the open.

Deep, rich, black pour with a dark head that overtakes the glass. It takes awhile for this one to settle down. Stiff dense head, like is was whipped into shape.

Coffee, maple syrup and moss-like earthy aromas. (Hey, this might make good breakfast beer:)

The dry bitterness is rounded out by a creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obsidian. The liquid is a black hole that allows a few stray photons to create weak, deep garnet highlights at the base of the pint glass. The head is impressive. Light chocolate brown in color, Bighuge in size and more stiff and sticky than most. It's more craggy than rocky as it falls and leaves a great deal of spackle-like lace on the inside of my glass.

There's plenty of roastedness in the nose, but this is no one trick pony. The heavily flambed black malt is leavened by semi-sweet chocolate and glorious hops. The beer does not let me down on the palate, not even close. Obsidian oozes black malt flavor that borders on charred astringency without quite getting there.

Chocolate appears to have faded a bit, but in its place is a pleasant smokiness and a citric hoppiness. Coffee notes emerge on a finish that is increasingly bitter and parched tongue dry. The body/mouthfeel is full and smooth with very little actual chewiness.

Obsidian Stout is a classic. Amazing appearance, flavor to spare, malt and hops enough for all-comers and a body big enough to suit me; no easy task. I do believe this is Deschutes best beer.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black, black and black. Definitely smooth in character, although its mouthfeel is similar to an imperial stout. And yet there's no real alcohol burn, either. Incredibly roasty body under one of the darkest brown heads I've seen in a beer. Probably just one will do ya.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout. Pours a crude black with ruby hints, the off white mocha head is delicious to the eye and mind, coating will lace the glass. The smell is of strong roasted coffee notes, a sweetness of milk and cookies pleases the taste. Milk chocolate froth head really melts the mouth, the coffee taste is light but noticable, very rich and smooth. This is good and for about 5.99 a six pack this is probably the best stout, and you can find it at the local Safeway, awesome.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brownish black which no light can be seen through. A nice thick creamy offwhite head appears and leaves a nice lace around the entire glass. Aromas are dominated by roasted malts, with a little chocolate and burnt aromas also present. There is also a slight nutty character and some sweet molasses in the air as well. Initially this beer has a very robust malt profile. The roasted flavors just scream out at you initially with nice chocolate, smokey, and sweet coffee like flavors. There is a nice creamy texture to this beer and some oat like flavors make their way into the middle of the taste. This beer is also very thick and almost chewy in the body. Just a delicious feeling on the pallate. This beer finishes bittersweet, with a slight bitterness from the hops but an almost molasses sweetness that fights back and forth to make this beer just incredible. Overall this beer just has it all, great body, great flavor (including a wonderful aftertaste) and is quite drinkable. I must find a way to get my hands on more of this brew!

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Photo of ybnorml
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obsidian is a good description of the color, so black that no light passes thu. Has a little bit of a dark tan head. The aroma is a heady mix of chocolate and coffee with a little licorice in the background. A good solid roasted malt flavor with a bit of chocolate on the tip of your tongue and a rush of coffee along both sides of the tongue. The roasted malt makes it self at home at the back of your throat on the finish.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Milky chocolate brown head floating on top of total blackness. I stuck a cop-sized Maglite behind the pint and nothing. Smell is pretty mild with a hint of roasted coffee beans and malt.

Taste is rich and chewy and very much roasted malt and a bit of semi-sweet chocolate flavor. Not much hop flavor but the malts aren't too heavy either. Smooth finish with bitter coffee aftertaste, goes down really easy though, especially good on a cold windy day. Somewhat one-dimensional, but a great dimension I wish I could visit more often.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorites that I finally tracked down in Reno. Pours velvety black with a glint of reddish-amber light at the bottom of the glass. A handsome, two-finger cocao brown head that leaves smudges of lace graces the top. The aroma features big toasted barley notes with the underlying Deschutes-level dose of Cascade hops. Chocolate, chicory and toasted rye also come to mind. The taste is something to behold and it makes this one of the finest tasting stouts around. Big chocolate flavors lay the foundation, with a sweet, almost fruity middle before a pretty dry, bitter and toasty finish. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but not so much so that it precludes warm-weather drinking. Drinkability is fantastic. They don't come much better than this.

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Photo of ark57
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an opaque black with a light brown head. There is a lot of roasted character in the aroma (coffee and chocolate) and virtually no hops. The body is full and smooth with some sweet cream and coffee and slight chocolate. Burnt malt in the finish with a slight grassy/hay hop taste. It is a good drinking stout, but there is nothing that jumps out at me.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Much thanks to weefisheads for this 12 ounce bottle sample. I love Deschutes labels...

Appearance: Pitch black. Blacker than black, with a surprisingly lighter-colured, yet somewhat more viscous head than I thought.

Smell: Coffee. Good strong black coffee, with heavy doses of roasted malts balancing things out.

Flavor: Surprisingly sweet. Very malty, and almost chewy-so. Rich coffee flavor...espresso, to be sure.

Bottom Line: A fantastic brew. I don't think I have had an Imerial stout, to date, but if I would, I would think this stout would compare rather favorably. I would think this could be considered a big stout. One of my favorites, hands down.

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

Thanks to alexgash for this one. Pours a you guessed it obsidian black/very dark brown with a dark head that you could eat with a spoon. Smell is raisin, rum, cocoa, and some hops. Full bodied mouthfeel. Taste is dominated by thick malts with a distinct and prominent mineral flavor, makes me think of river water. Lingering bitter chocolate and roasted flavor finish off this high quality stout.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obsidian sits in the glass a used oil black color with a firm pinky high head of light brown hue, turns a bit crusty as it fades and leaves a very thin skim on top and thin whispy sheets of lace stick.
Aroma has a soft bakers chocolate and a good load of dry coffee thats well rounded and quite roasty, nearly burnt. Taste is quite roasty as well, burntish dark malts, slight coffee tone, slight bittering, all gaining a bit more in the finish which is nice. Finish builds with an overall burntness with touches of coffee and bitterness, turning dry and fading off slowly leaving more bittering coffee notes and later still, some chocolate. Nice finisher. Feel is just past medium body, nearly full with a solid carbonation and pretty strong with its drying efforts where burntness and coffee sensations really take hold. A solid stout, not what I'd call a super drinker with more then I like for burntness and coffee drying, but very nice to let settle and sip.
Thanks to xlperro for the bottle!

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Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 3,937 ratings