The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged)
Deschutes Brewery

The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged)
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Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Stout - American Imperial
4.32 | pDev: 7.87%
Yesterday at 07:50 PM
Nov 10, 2015
The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged)
Notes: For those of you who adore The Abyss and look forward to its release each year, we have a special treat for you. The Abyss Cognac! This remarkably rare release is 100% aged in its barrels. The incredibly old Cognac barrels are from France, and according to Barrelmaster, Jake Harper, impart an interesting sour-like characteristic to The Abyss and is just around 12% ABV.

Since The Abyss rested calmly in these barrels for a year, this version will be quite strong and boozy and take flavor from what was in the barrel prior to this beer. Look for dried fruit, wood, and a roasty finish in the Cognac version.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
4.18 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana on Yesterday at 07:50 PM
Photo of zonker17
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by zonker17 from Texas

Color and head consistent with other variants. Taste not holding up with time. Cognac hints subtly on nose, a bit more on taste. Oxidation present more than expected.

Dec 08, 2021
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by SpeedwayJim from New York

2015 vintage. Waxed and capped bomber into a Founders snifter.

Dark mocha head with thick, oily legs that really hug the sides of the glass. Pitch black color. Nose is anise, molasses, tobacco, and oak. I get hints of smoke, roasted malt, and slightly tart soy sauce also. Super aromatic and rich. Beer opens oak, straw, slightly tart chocolate, and marajuana. Sweet soy sauce, chocolate, molasses, and salty caramel in the middle. Roasted malt, tobacco, and wet wood at the finish. Almost peaty. Fantastic complexity. Body is full with low carbonation. Smooth and oily on the palate and goes down dense and sticky. Long, lingering aftertaste.

Very good but one of the lesser variants of this beer to be sure.

Jun 24, 2021
4.42 by cd34 from Illinois on Apr 12, 2021
4.5 by shigg85 from Japan on Apr 11, 2021
3.54 by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania on Apr 02, 2021
4.29 by shelby415 from Oregon on Mar 01, 2021
4.34 by ncherf from Washington on Feb 14, 2021
4.47 by arini10 from Oregon on Oct 30, 2020
4.35 by Birdlegs from Washington on Sep 23, 2020
Photo of mntlover
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by mntlover from Tennessee

Pours black no real head or much lace from soft poor. Aroma is loads roasted malts, cognac, wood dark fruits. Good and boozy with fruits. Tastes is spot on to the nose, big nice stout, dark fruits, woody and cognac boozy notes. Finish lingering coffee, boozy, woodsy, and some hops to mellow or all the malt. Mouthfeel full big bodied brew. Overall about what you can expect from the Abyss line. Very nice, very tasty.

Jun 11, 2020
Photo of Scotchboy
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Scotchboy from Idaho

2015 bottling that my brother has been hanging on to for some time. Split into pint glasses.

Honestly one of the DARKEST pours I've witnessed; impressively opaque used-motor-oil body with an equally-impressively-dark brown head. Smoky booze and dark fruit/grape/cognac aromas pour out of the glass. The full, sticky-viscous body opens up the palate with flavors of oak and spices, rich dark fruits and espresso. Absolutely NO boozy burn at this age...REALLY nice, I enjoyed this one more than I had expected to.

May 26, 2020
4.27 by Sound_Explorer from Washington on Mar 01, 2020
Photo of GoBearsWalter34
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

Circa 2015.
Pours black with a creamy, tan head.
Sweet, malty and bakers chocolate smell. Big Barrell notes.
Taste follows nose. Conagc Barrell puts off bitterness. Sweet stout taste. Very complex. Great roast ones and port wine.
Worth the wait.

Feb 02, 2020
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by LiquidAmber from Washington

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a nearly pitch black, appearing opaque black in the glass with a half finger light brown head with good retention and nice solid lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt with light char, cognac, light cherry and vanilla, cocoa and oak. Flavor is dark toasted malt with light to moderate char, dark fruit and cherry, cognac, charred wood, light chocolate and coffee. Finishes with charry wood and dark fruit with a slight astringency. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. Another bottle that spent more time in my cellar than I planned, don’t know why I never reviewed this; I'm drinking most of my cellared stouts in a couple of years or so, as I'm not a fan of the effects of long cellaring on this style. This one, though, has held up very nicely. As often is the case, I regret that I did not taste it fresh to compare, but probably a little hotter. The heat is tamed now and the malt and barrel effects seem mellowed. This has more wood character than I remember from other Abyss variants, and it fits the malt well. The dark fruit from the Cognac really melds with the light cherry notes and with the dark fruit already in the malt. There is a slight astringency in the finish, but the taste stays rich and interesting throughout. Possibly one my favorite variants so far. I hope we see it again.

Jan 29, 2020
4.44 by RMW66 from Australia on Jan 08, 2020
4.35 by Sparky44 from Illinois on Oct 13, 2019
Photo of Zythophile
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Zythophile from District of Columbia

Bottle Date: 2015
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Color is dark brown with minimal color at the edges. Fair amount of fine carbonation, medium chocolate head, and very little lacing.

The first smell that comes to mind is a spiced liquor. So, there's a ton of cognac influence. Dark chocolate, black licorice, and rum. Nutty, too. It's pretty strong, too.

In the taste, lots of raisins, shading toward prunes. There's also a ton of charred barrel. True to the liquor on the nose, it's there in the taste. The few tastes are not subtle at all, but the cognac plus charred wood combination doesn't go together as well as I'd hoped.

Weight is heavy, even for the type. Aftertaste is mostly charred wood, but there's some dried dark fruit back there. Carbonation is nicely integrated. Alcohol, as already mentioned, isn't as hidden as it can be, but it's not overwhelming.

May 01, 2019
Photo of siskiyoucellar
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by siskiyoucellar from Oregon

This bottle has been in my cellar for 37 months, so please take that into account in the review. The appearance of all variants of Abyss more or less defines the bar for all serious stouts. Midnight black suffused with the dark red light of a volcanic caldera and just a perfect halo of clean color in the meniscus. The aroma then begins the core experience. Powerfully boozy yet perfectly balanced, it brings in notes of cocoa and a hint of cinnamon. And then the taste. It more than follows the aroma, it opens a huge new world of flavor that includes rich dried fruit, edges of the cognac barrels, vanilla beans and more dusty dry cocoa. The feel has probably suffered a bit from the aging; it’s still nicely carbonated,but just a wee bit thin. Still, the incredible blending of all the flavors mentioned and many more makes three years of patience well worth it. All Abyss’s age extremely well and this one is above average.

Mar 29, 2019
3.88 by kingjohnh from New Mexico on Mar 28, 2019
4 by dshansen1184 from Washington on Jan 18, 2019
4.54 by Beerasaurus from Virginia on Jan 13, 2019
Photo of draheim
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by draheim from Washington

22oz (best after 12/16/2016) into a tulip. Pours and oily black with a thin collar of mocha foam and a spiral galaxy of tiny bubbles settling across the inky surface.

Aroma is rich and deep, earthy. Molasses, roasted malt, licorice, brown sugar, and booze. Vanilla and coconut. Bitter dark chocolate.

Taste follows nose--rich and complex. Toasted coconut, vanilla, dark chocolate, graham cracker, cognac. So much deliciousness going on here.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily--heavy, lingering. Right for this style and high octane of beer.

Overall a really tasty treat. A sipper of a dessert beer that I'll savor tonight.

Jan 13, 2019
4.66 by jason_nwx from Oregon on Dec 10, 2018
4.01 by Hop_God from California on Oct 10, 2018
3.37 by LloydDobler from Indiana on Sep 26, 2018
4.41 by szmnnl99 from Michigan on Sep 03, 2018
4 by durlta from Iowa on Aug 19, 2018
Photo of dafla67
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

pours very dark; aroma is wonderfully sweet with chocolate, molasses and the cognac; the taste is a perfect blend of the smells; feel is creamy. love to see this return

Jul 13, 2018
4.35 by Kurmaraja from California on Jun 23, 2018
4.73 by TylerJ from Iowa on May 27, 2018
4.31 by stratusjeans from Washington on Mar 05, 2018
Photo of deebo
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75
by deebo from Michigan

A-Bottle poured into a Deschutes teku glass, a thin finger of a deep, dark brown head atop an abyss of darkness.
S-Delicious and complex aromas, bakers chocolate, molasses. Some real nice barrel notes, dark fruits, wood, boozy.
T-The big, dark malts and molasses pop first. An interesting viney note with rum raisin notes. The aroma is a bit better than the taste.
M-Has a lingering finish which is a touch boozy and sticky. Not the heavy mouthfeel that most RIS have.
O-A very interesting version of the Abyss. The cognac definitely leaves it's mark. A sipper and meant for sharing. This should hold up very well to aging and I think I'll let my remaining bottle age at least a couple more years.

Feb 04, 2018
4.25 by Hopstout from Minnesota on Jan 13, 2018
Photo of beergoot
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by beergoot from Colorado

Opaque black body with a thick, tan colored head. Roasted, charred grain aroma with a mild wine background. Outstanding deep roasted grain flavor with notes of cocoa and bitter chocolate; a fine blend of cognac is in the mix; very little boozy quality. Heavy bodied; lush and velvety; somewhat dry despite all the heavy grain presence.

What a fine, fine barrel-aged imperial stout. Deeply complex throughout the drinking experience with deft balance of the malts, ABV, and barrel-aging characteristics. This beer has aged well over the past two years. It probably would have aged over several more, but sometimes, you just need to treat yourself. What a treat!

Dec 03, 2017
3.79 by StArnoldFan from Texas on Nov 26, 2017
Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

Pours very dark brown, almost black with a thin dark tan head of small bubbles that leave wonderful lacing on the glass. The aroma is decadent dark chocolate, dark fruits and cognac. Wonderful flavor follows the nose. Nice thick feel and overall a fantastic beer that I wish now I'd tried harder to find more than one bottle.

Nov 08, 2017
4.33 by Gtwreck45 from Missouri on Nov 08, 2017
4.5 by tvenne from Minnesota on Nov 06, 2017
Photo of aleigator
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by aleigator from Germany

Pours oil black with a big and stable darkbrown head.

Smell is quite unique, the cognac barrel definitely shines, due to a fruity, wooden and boozy melange. This gets met by earthen and roasty malt flavors, together with bakers chocolate, spicy molasses and prunes. Leaves me with a vivid impression on the nose, which at the same time, doesn‘t conceal its huge and decadent body.

Has a velvet taste, with just a light carbonation peak to it, showcasing the bigger body of the beer in a great, throughout well balanced fashion.

Tastes of booze bathed raisins, old orange peel, a whiff of salted caramel and soothing toffee, playfully coating the uprising alcohol bite. Whipped cream gets enriched by licorice and wood bark, while the raisins turn younger, adding a subtle tartness to the rich chocolate foundation of the beer. Finishes with a dry bite coming from both the cognac as well as from matured hops, which blend into the decadent, sweeter chocolate flavors of the beer, which still do remind me of a oak accompanied brandy praline.

Sweet and fruity, chocolate and grapes - this takes you onto a unique and very tasty journey, tasting unlike any other stout out there. The barrel does its magic, while the characteristics of the base beer work incredibly well with it, creating a throughout satisfying beer.

Oct 31, 2017
The Abyss (Cognac Barrel-Aged) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 271 ratings