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Obsidian Stout | Deschutes Brewery

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1,115 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,115 | Ratings: 3,761
Photo of punkrkr27
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with brown edges and a small, dense, tan head. The aroma has notes of rolled oats, with a mild balance of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and tobacco. The flavor is similar to the aroma. It's a bit sharp though with notes of dark chocolate and a bitter coffee finish. The body is a bit thin but creamy with lots of carbonation.

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Photo of nhindian
3.59/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle generously provided as an extra by yuriruley, thanks Nate!

A - The beer pours a solid black, all encapsulating with only slight chocolate highlights that arise when taking a sip. There is a 2-fingered head resting on top, with pretty good retention lasting several minutes. There is also some fantastic lacing on this beer with foam clinging constantly to every glass surface it touches.

S - The smell is interesting, as it almost gives the impression of smokey malts, like burning lava that the bottle so accurately describes. Something about it reminds me of a subtle version of some of the infected Short's beers I've had recently, but luckily more tame and not sour, just the burnt quality I guess. Otherwise its mostly sweet, with some subdued aromas of hours-old coffee and bittersweet chocolate. It also has a quality similar to cat piss as I can best describe...

T - As in the nose, the first thing I get in this taste is charred oats or something similarly smokey. It's not approaching rauchbier territory, but it does give a similar impression. What's cool is that it almost immediately transitions into a more sweeter taste and lends itself well to the chocolate that's more prominent here. Not getting a whole lot of coffee here. Finish is moderately long with a slightly bitter finish.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty damn smooth and leaves a nice feel in the mouth.

D - Drinkability is moderately high. A solid beer that incorporates a slight char quality nicely, but there's something amiss in the nose that I'm not completely comfortable with. As smell plays a big part in the taste, it detracted a bit from that as well.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Deep, deep, dark black pour. About a finger of tan colored foam doesn't hang around for very long, but sticks nicely.

Char and chocolate dominate the nose. The toasted coffee component takes the lead, but there's definitely some sweet chocolate underneath.

Very roasty, ashy flavor. Again, there's some sweet chocolate, but it disappears behind smoky roast. The flavor even starts to take on a meaty (bacon) flavor.

Medium-heavy body. Soft carbonation. Plush texture. Not the most drinkable beer. The immense roasted character makes it a challenge to drink at times. Astringent flavor is tough to handle at times. I hope to try this again, much closer to the source.

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Photo of Shippy
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost black with a big, creamy brown head. Smell is smoky with some coffee and chocolate notes. Flavor follows similarly with smoky and ashy flavors of dark chocolate and light coffee, with some sweetness throughout. Feel is creamy but light. Overall this is a solid representation of a stout. Very malty, a bit too smoky, and the flavors are a little bit more mellow than I was expecting. Still very good, just not excellent.

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Photo of msquared36
3.62/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer is nearly pitch black with mocha foam. The foam is darker than some beers.

Coffee and roasted malt scent. Noticing a slight metallic aroma as well.

Taste is much lighter than I was expecting from the appearance and smell. Roasted malt and caramel is certainly present, but there is a refreshing hop finish.

More carbonated and thinner than most top stouts. However, it works pretty well with the refreshing finish mentioned above.

This is a little on the weak side for a stout, especially one called Obsidian. Nevertheless, it's unique and drinkable.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.64/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a huge tan head on top that sticks around for a while. The aroma is of roasted malts, with stone fruit and coffee in the background.

Flavor of coffee, roasted malts, dark bread, and a subtle hop bitterness. The beer is full-bodied, but maybe only medium-bodied considering it's style. They made it very easy drinking without sacrificing too much flavor.

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Photo of lanamj
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle poured into a tulip.

A- The color lives up to the name, it pours a nice obsidian black with a thin tan head the dissipates into a light lacing around the glass. It does appear a little thin but still a wonderful color.

S- Roasted malts and chocolate dominate the nose. I also get some plum and coffee.

T- Roasted malts and coffee appear on the front end and molasses and bittering hops linger towards the end. Some chocolate and date throughout.

M- A little thin and overly carbonated. Not what i would want for the style but as it warms up it calms down some. I like the way this beer is easy going down though, but sometimes i prefer a challenge when it comes to stouts.

O- Being from Oregon i drank this beer a many times. Now that i got a hold of some years later when i have had the opportunity to try more complex stouts i would say it was a little disappointing. Although still a great beer just not as good as i remember.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark colour, slight brown up to the light but mostly black. Head is ochre, just noticeable whispy bubbles on a thin film. Lace is kind of scary and Mayan in its patterns on the glass, but quite nice.

Smell is decent, a bit weak though with mild dark coffee notes giving that slightly watered-down espresso character, but with pleasant hints of vanilla and slight coconut character. Touch of oak funk as well, and a mild cherry note peeps through at the back.

Taste is alright. Some milder-than-expected malt notes upfront, dark and kinda espresso-esque, with coffee beans and cocoa on the mid, slightly bitter with a touch of mint and a slight caramelly note to the malt. Yeah, a bit burnt towards the finish but swallowed by a thinness that really detracts from the burnt maltiness of the beer otherwise. Decent, but not wonderful.

Yeah, a decent body as well, a bit thin but not overly so, holds its own.

A pretty decent stout, although I would happily take some more robust flavours in there and still drink a few. I may have been tainted by the extremely good imperial stout I had before this, but comparing it with even Sierra Nevada stout for example I enjoyed the latter a lot more.

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Photo of Etan
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Sent as an extra by Lokieman.

A: Pours a straight black with a huge beige head. Nice retention and great lacing.

S: Raw coffee, soapy yeast, piney hop, milk chocolate.

T: Slightly metallic roast, mild lactic coffee and chocolate, roast in the finish. Coffee and hop bitterness linger.

M: Creamy carbonation, relatively light-bodied.

O: Pretty good. A bit light-bodied, and the flavor's a bit light as well.

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Photo of MLegendre
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I had this served to me in pilsener glass (which I thought was an odd choice to serve a stout... and it was), at a wonderful resturaunt called The Rivers Edge and currently the only place where I live that serves this on tap...

A: Amazing. Completly jet black, no light penetration whatsoever. Thick tan head, at least an inch and a half that does not dissapear, it stays there for the entire duratation of the drink. I just recently found out that this was nitro-tapped and that is what gave the "cascade" head formation. It as amazing to look at and i found myself staring in awe at it for a long time before I started to actually drink it.

S: Chock full of that roasted barley and coffee-like smell I love about stouts.

T: Tasted great, but sadly it didn't taste as good as when I've had it before. The first mouthful was all head, but it tasted great. It was full of sweet roasted barley and malt. The rest of it tasted great, but the sweet roasted flavor that I love about this beer was more in the background than it usually is and the bitterness took over.

M: This was a huge disapointment for me. No matter what I'm drinking I like at least a little Carbonation in my beer and this had none (because of the nitro). It reminded me a bit of Guinness which I'm not a huge fan of.

D: Although I was dissapointed (I think it tastes better w/o the nitro) it still was a great beer and I orderered another as soon as I was finished with the first. The Next time I go to the store I'l pick up a sixpack and review this again.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a "Best by" date of 4/7/11. Much thanks to KevSal for sending this along. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Obsidian pours pitch black, with a massive, 3.5 finger foamy cap. The head is a bit light, closer to off white than tan or caramel. Retention is solid, and lacing is above average. There are rings of foam left around the glass from the head's semi-slow descent. There's a heavy general roast presence in the nose, along with some tobacco and a little bit of dark chocolate. The tobacco fades out, and dark chocolate steps up a bit in the front of my palate, a noticeable improvement. The hop bite mid sip is enough to be noticed, but only just, and gives way to a pleasant earthy finish. The mouthfeel is easily the highlight of this beer. Body is absolutely perfect, full and creamy without getting too big for for its britches and approaching imperial level viscosity. At the same time the carbonation is enough to thwart any syrupy sensation and let the hops peek through, while remaining true to the beer's malty nature. Obsidian Stout is a solid beer from Deschutes, but nothing earth shattering.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Best by 11/01/14.

Pours opaque black. The 1 inch tan head settles to a cap and thick ring on top that leaves thick shimmering curtains of lace.

The smell is mainly coffee grounds with a hint of dark chocolate.

The taste is of bitter black coffee up front with a bitter, almost herbal, hop finish.

The texture is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

All the components of a solid stout are here: notes of cocoa, coffee and roasted dark malt. All combined with a bitter hop finish. Good but, not great.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to largadeer for this want extra!

Best by date of 3/8/08 on the 12oz bottle

Pours a dark black color with a light tan large head, very fizzy looking, leaves some patchy lacing.

Smell is very roasted, malt controlled, some coffee aroma from the roasted aspects.

Taste is strongly roasted but also has some woody burnt aspect, all malt taste with some coffee-ness, assertive carbonation, smoothness is a bit rough but decent.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
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 iLovehops23
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice one finger head, sticks around for a little bit. Good lacing throughout the glass. Smells of rich chocolate malt and roasted malt. Somewhat of a coffee taste as well. Taste is somewhat bitter for a stout, bit by no means too bitter. Mouthfeel is very light for a stout, seems very thin, not a bad thing, just surprising. I do get hints of the coffee I smelled, and of course large quantities of the malts I mentioned. Decent carbonation, more than some stouts I've had. I taste the slightest hint of oats, this is by no means an oatmeal stout, but I get small hints of it. Drinkability is pretty high, only because it tastes pretty darn good! I wouldn't call this a "world class" beer, but it is very, very good.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Best before 5/7/13. So a little old but nothing to worry about with this style.

Appearance: Super dark brown (basically black) and opaque with a foamy two-finger tan head that is lacing nicely.

Aroma: Charred malt with a great milk chocolate and coffee presence. Quite milky/creamy.

Taste: Big kick of bitterness to start things off with a grassy hop character. The bitterness is intensified by the charred dark malt. Nice black coffee bitterness that can almost be harsh at times. The cream from the aroma comes through as a whisper in the background. This is definitely not a balanced stout, which is both good and bad. The palate is continually bombarded with robust dark malt and a lighter hoppy character. The finish is surprisingly smooth and the aftertaste leaves solid burnt chocolate and black coffee flavor. The robustness is right where it should be for a 6.4% ABV Stout.

Mouthfeel: Just under medium in body with a tad too much carbonation. Average drinkability but probably too much harsh malt bitterness to session.

Final Thoughts: Not my favorite of the style, but a good Stout for those looking for robust dark malt flavor. Would I drink it again? Sure, nitro-tap would probably be worth seeking out.

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Photo of ranger7
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up from Central Market on sale.
From the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a hazy dark brown-to-black brew. Tan head sticks to glass.

S - Roasted chocolate and coffee smell.

T - Chocolate front with coffee bean bitter finish.

M - Smooth and thin. Little carbonation that lessens quickly

Summary - Pretty nice stout. I've liked some other stuff from Deschutes, but this is definitely now one of my favorites of theirs. Typically, I will enjoy a stout if it refrains from pounding me with its roasted-ness. This one has just the right amount to be enjoyable.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz glass into pint glass. Opaque black pour along with a dark brown head atop that cakes a bit, laces decently and stays fairly large. Aromas are roasty and creamy, strange, almost sweetened lactose in there. Moving into roast and creamy silky chocolate, coffee, soda bread, and toast. Some caramel, toffee. Rich roast and sweetness. Initial is medium bodied, perhaps a bit fuller as some roasty malts come to the forefront, burnt coffee grounds, some caramel, toffee, dark cocoa and some more burnt roasty grains. Moves into sweet toffee and caramel, to temper the roast. A touch dry finish, moving into lingering roast and silky sweet malts of cocoa, toffee, and milky chocolate. A bit too sweet even though it is fairly balanced and full, just not complex enough for me.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
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 theowlsayshoe
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
A – Dark as night, huge perfect head.
S – Sweet, fig like.
T – Strong tingle on your tongue that opens up to a stouty push then a bitter bomb goes off and stretches back down the center of your tongue.
M – The perfect head is thick but the beer has a much thinner feel. It has an amazing contrast.
O – Great lacing but a little bitter for me with an unpleasant after taste. I appreciate that it is a challenge for my palate.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into tulip.

A- Nice bark body, mild brown sugar head that isn't very large. Fizzes out quickly but leaves nice lacing.

S-Big dark fruit note. Some bitter chocolate. Molasses for sure.

T- Follows the nose. Fruity, chocolate, some coffee. A bit of a tartness in the finish. Dark chocolate. Pretty solid. Bit of a hop bite shines through after a few sips. Bump for that. I like hoppy stouts.

M- Good body, a bit thinner than I was expecting but works with the flavors. Decent carbonation, could have done with a bit more to help move it across the tongue.

D- Fairly high, I'd buy it if I had access to it. Not a knockout but no slouch.. another solid Deschutes beer.

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Photo of corby112
3.71/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a large frothy mocha head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with rings and large chunks of soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee bean and burnt toast. Slightly acrid smelling but the sweeter notes still come through in the nose.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry, bitter burnt malt flavor that lingers throughout into a lingering bone dry finish. Very roasted with a dominating burnt toast/espresso bean presence that overpowers the faint sweetness that lies underneath. Kind of smokey with hints of oatmeal, cocoa and toffee.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark, very dark, black dark. With a small foam head that doesn't last long tan in color, and sits around the edge of the glass.

Smells dark, like chocolate, maybe roasted chocolate.

Tastes of a dark chocolate with a bitterness in the likes of coffee int he aftertaste. Slight "bite" to it.

Nice mild carbonation making it smooth to drink.

Overall, quality stout, and I don't care much for stouts. Adding this to the list of the few that I like.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a jet black color with a thick, creamy chocolate colored head of 1.5 fingers. Retention is pretty good and the head leaves nice lacing as it recedes. Inviting.

S - Sweet cream, bold roasted barley and surprisingly spicy. Subtle coffee notes, though I don't find any chocolate even when I search. Moderate in strength.

T - A creamy open smooths the abrasive nature of the deep roasted malt. The malt is the main focus. Light plum and caramel bleed through the lightly bitter finish. Very, very well balanced. It's far from complex, but the quality of the ingredients speak volumes. Slightly boozy on the finish.

M - Strangely light and coarse, though it's got an awesome dry finish. I wish it were thicker and much more creamy. Probably the most glaring fault.

D - Another great offering from Deschutes. I don't think they can make a bad beer (or really an average one for that matter). High quality and incredibly approachable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Oxford Suites hotel in Portland. Really dark stuff. It's a Guiness black color, but a very different kind of brew. Some beige foam in the pint shaker. Spritzy mouthfeel. Some blackened grain flavors along with the warm, roasted malt. The sweet malt a thoroughly mellow base with the charred barley providing a pleasant balance.

This seems like a pedestrian dark beer at first sip, but it grows on you. Extremely drinkable with a lot of fat malty flavors. I'll have to get a six of the bottles. This seems like a flavorful, easy to drink brew to have around.

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Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
4.21 out of 5 based on 3,761 ratings.
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