The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
Deschutes Brewery

The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
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Stout - American Imperial
4.41 | pDev: 6.58%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
Notes: To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Abyss we’ve bottled a 100% rye whiskey barrel-aged version for you to enjoy. This is a remarkably limited release so if you see it, grab a snifter on tap and a bottle (or two)!
Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 462 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent ebony with a sliver of caramel head. Not a lot head retention or lacing

S: Dark fruit and little whiskey & vanilla shows up once warm

T: Cherry, figs, tobacco, dark chocolate & vanilla with a little Whiskey bite. Some Rye shows up as this warms along with plenty of dark fruit & chocolate. Finishes with a nice Rye Whiskey bite, dryness & dark fruit & chocolate

MF: Thick at first, light carbonation, body lightens a little as this warms, a nice warming presence

One of the best takes on this beer I've had in 4-5 years or longer, ABV is so well hidden

Feb 28, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip
Bottled 2015
Best After 12/18/16

A- pours jet black in color with a one-finger creamy dark brown head that has great retention and leaves some lacing behind

S- chocolate, charred malt and anise on the nose up front, followed by black cherry, figs, dates and molasses. Undertones of leather, cinnamon, cherry pipe tobacco and just a hint of peppery rye, oak and vanilla to close it out

T- rich chocolate and charred malt up front are followed by sweet notes of black strap molasses, caramel, stewed figs and dark cherries. Mid-palate brings out notes of black licorice, as well as some peppery and spicy rye and oak. The finish gives rich chocolate and vanilla, as well as dark cherry. Lingers of spicy rye and barrel juice

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a silky, slightly warming finish

O- the rye barrel is subtle, but seems to work seamlessly with the base beer

Feb 27, 2021
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aleigator from Germany

4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a smaller, soon vanishing head, which leaves a small lacing behind.

Smells of molasses, burned oak, cinnamon and distilled rye. Has a caramel peak on the nose, balanced by leather and wood fire.

Has a full, smooth and creamy body, revealing a great complexity while maintaining its balance throughout.

Tastes of fresh brewed coffee, rock sugar and matured hops among an equally dry alcohol soaked oak barrel. Turns spicier, with molasses, cinnamon and char playing along with bitter chocolate and soothing whipped cream. Finishes with toffee accompanied vanilla, boozy praliné, toasted walnuts and a long going Bourbon glow, wrapped into spocy oak and bitter chocolate.

Fantastic, roasty, bitter and spicy stout with a lingering, taste defining barrel presence.

Jan 24, 2021
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fstone from California

4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a long time to try this. Unfortunately, the 5 years in the bottle did it no favors. Muted flavors with barely anything suggesting aging in a rye whiskey barrel.

Jan 05, 2021
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beergoot from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Jet black body topped with a gorgeous light tan head, thick and creamy. Milk chocolate and cocoa on the nose; dark roasted grains and a very faint suggestion of coffee. The taste starts off with a rich American imperial stout sweetness, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of bitterness, and the rye sneaking up towards the finish and lingering long afterwards; some oak barely perceptible. Heavy body; smooth and velvety; oily and chewy; dully sweet overall yet with some alcohol dryness adding counterpoint.

I've had this beer for a while (five years), and I'm guessing some of the rye notes have faded with age, yet the beer still drinks beautifully and still offers a suggestion of the rye barrel aging. Ah, better late than never...

Jul 20, 2020
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Scotchboy from Idaho

4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Phenomenal 22oz waxed bottle, 2015 vintage, split into glasses. Poured jet black, opaque and viscous with a dark mocha head that fades quickly. Impressive nose is strong but balanced, the booze is subdued though the barrel character is relatively strong. Rye whiskey is prominent, sprinkled with aromas of licorice and molasses and dark charred sweetness. More of the same on the palate, for 100% barrel aged this leans towards smooth and balanced while still being full-bodied and popping with intense dark stout flavors. One of my favorite Abyss offerings for sure, wish I has another bottle!

Jul 13, 2020
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 1 pint 6 fluid ounces on March 24, 2020. Brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark with vanilla added. Aged 12 months in rye whiskey barrels. Best after 12/18/16. ABV is 13.2%. Excellent.

Mar 24, 2020
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: 2015
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Appearance is dark brown with minimal, but present, head. On to more important aspects...

The main scent is dried dark fruit, mostly raisins and figs. Behind that is light coffee and a little spicy bourbon, which all together is really pleasant. Unfortunately, those later scents fade pretty quickly. Moderately sweet.

The initial taste is dark fruit, and then it's followed up by tons of coffee. A flash of black licorice sometimes comes through. Plenty of whisky accompanied by charred barrel. I can even catch a little rye spiciness, which I might have misclassified on the nose. Unfortunately, the coffee covers most of the nuance from the other flavors, which is doubly weird because the liquid has to warm up in my mouth for a few seconds for it to really hit.

Moderate weight and well integrated carbonation. Plenty of coffee in the aftertaste, with a little sweet raisin behind it. Alcohol is very well hidden for a thirteener.

Jan 06, 2019
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papposilenus from New Hampshire

4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22oz bottle, best after 12/18/16. Served in a tulip

Pours an impenetrable black with a scant finger of rich, whipped-chocolate foam which doesn't last but a minute. A nice creamy collar and a webbery of lacing. Held up to the afternoon sun, there is no hint of a highlight, not even a faint glow along the margins.

Smells a bit like sticky date pudding but stronger, more intense, and boozier. The barrel smell isn't at all harsh, it's sweet and smooth, like vanilla extract.

The taste is rich, deep and robust, like molasses but lighter and less bitter. Caramel, eggy vanilla custard, boiled dates and tarragon-like herb which I guess we're going to attribute to the licorice. Notes of powdered cocoa and cold coffee develop late in the sip. The rye whiskey character is present and welcome from start to finish and in no way dominates or overpowers.

Feel is unctuous, rich, thick and super-silky smooth with low-but-adequate carbonation.

Sweet frigging mercy, that was tasty! I tend to steer away from thickly sweet stouts because I dislike that syrupy taste and feel but this was only moderately sweet and, although it was dense, it never approached anything like syrupy.

Nov 14, 2018
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dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep dark. Aroma is quite sweet -- chocolate, vanilla & whiskey. Taste is a wonderful balance of the chocolate, vanilla & whiskey. Not over boozy. Medium body. Drank a 2015 bottle in 2018.

Oct 29, 2018
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BurtStL6 from Missouri

4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark as can be. No head. Super thick and sludgey like all Abysses. Very nice but not overly powerful rye finish. There is a slight cherry flavor with actually a lot of licorice

Oct 04, 2018
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deschutes The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged), 13.2% ABV, 86 IBU. Pours dark black and thick with a one finger brown head. Whisky sweetness and chocolate on the nose, taste follows plus strong vanilla, and surprisingly little bitterness given the IBU. Outstanding mouthfeel, overall outstanding.

Sep 24, 2017
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imstimpy from Texas

4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2015 aged in the beer fridge; enjoyed slighted warmed in a snifter glass.

This is a marked improvement over the standard Abyss. The Rye and vanilla are a welcome addition that adds complexity to the Abyss. The cherry, licorice, and the aforementioned rye and vanilla make for an enjoyable and surprising treat.

Aug 29, 2017
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this right now in beercation in Vermont with a few friends. What a perfect beer for a beautiful cool Vermont evening! Goes down easy and the whiskey is not overwhelming at all. Love!

Aug 18, 2017
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VeganUndead from Virginia

4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am a huge fan of abyss and the rye whiskey barrel definitely is a beneficial variant addition. The spice adds to the complexity, and while this one it is definitely a sipper, it is a fantastic offering

May 31, 2017
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Slack from Virginia

4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz

Pours a deep brown to black with a nice tan tinted head that settles to a semi circle. Nice lacing on a swirl.

Nose is a mix of dark fruit, oak, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, and a bit of anise.

Taste is rye whiskey, oak, molasses, vanilla, roasted malt, and minor anise and alcohol.

Mouthful is heavy and smooth with a bit of heat. Carbonation is low. Finish is semi dry.

Rye Whiskey barrel is really good. Drawback of not enough spice from the rye. Very enjoyable.

Mar 19, 2017
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a one finger tan head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, coconut and rye spiciness.

T - The taste is dark chocolate, espresso, roasted malts, dark cherries, coconut, vanilla and heavy rye whiskey notes in the finish.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft finish.

O - This is an awesome beer. The rye barrel adds a nice spiciness to an already great beer.

Mar 19, 2017
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am a huge fan of rye and rye whiskey. Having said that, as wonderful as this beer is, I'm not entirely sure that it is better than the original. Even after being aged for over a year, it was a little too hot on the alcohol. I know this is not much of a review, but let's just refer to my regular Abyss review and add more booze. Cheers!

Mar 06, 2017
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Futbolmanby from Michigan

4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: thick 1 inch creamy khaki head, black with a hint of mahogany.
Smell: big whiskey barrel nose fallowed by dried fruit, licorice and cocoa.
Taste: dried cherry, licorice, cocoa and finishes with a big malty presence... almost comes across too sweet.
Feel: medium body, light carbination, velvety smooth, light heat at the end.

Cellard for a year, served in a stout glass

Mar 02, 2017
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Meyers1023 from New York

4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The base beer for this is absolutely one of my favorite beers ever. This version while good is just not the original. They look the same, dark, almost completely black with a little brown head. The smell is almost all whiskey and barrel on this version. The flavor has a good amount of heat from the barrels but you get some vanilla, hints of coffee, and oak. Overall this is still a great stout but if i'm comparing it to the base beer it's just not as good. I get that the barrel age thing is all the hype and bigger flavors but I prefer tasting beer when I drink a beer.

Feb 20, 2017
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One year old properly cellared bottle, poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin light brown head that dissipates to a thin ring around the glass with slight lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, rye whiskey, licorice and light cherry notes. Flavor is dark toasted malt with a hint of char, grassy hops, rye whiskey, licorice, light cherry, chocolate and vanilla. Finishes with mild char and light hop bitterness, lingering rye whiskey. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A nice version of Abyss, the rye whiskey is a bit forward, but well enough integrated. The rye and light cherry tartness cut through the the malts, lightening the usual chocolatey maltiness of the base beer. Although this is nicely done and flavorful, I think I prefer the original Abyss a little better; the mildly tart flavors do not appeal to me as much in stouts as in other styles. Flavors deepened and improved with warming and drinking. Nice to try variants of one of my first "wow" beers, and still an exemplary stout.

Feb 02, 2017
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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always enjoyed the Abyss, but this rye barrel aged version takes it to another level. One of the most balanced adjunct stouts I have ever had. The rye barrel adds a nice spiciness. So good.

Jan 24, 2017
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint 6 fluid ounces bronze waxed dipped bottle purchased at Deschutes Brewery & Public House, Portland, OR
2015 remarkably limited release
Best after: 12/18/16
Served in a snifter

Oily, pitch black appearance. The liquid was topped by an inch-tall, super tight and frothy, mocha colored crown that faded to a bubbly cap. Bit of spotty lacing along the glass. The head eventually transitioned into a thick, lasting collar.

The nose was surprisingly subtle initially. Roasty with notes of licorice and cocoa. A dry, powdery yeastiness was detectible. Somewhat boozy. Pretty straightforward. The aroma turned sweeter with time. Brown sugar was noticeable. Charred raisins also appeared.

Boozy notes came through big time in the flavor profile. This beer was definitely quite hot. Loads of roast. Hint of char as well. Moderately sweet. Subtle brown sugar and raisin notes. Some dark fruits too. A bit port-like. Whiskey notes hit hard on the finish and lingered long after the swallow. Some sweetness came forth as the beer warmed. The brown sugar and raisin notes intensified.

Slick, smooth, frothy mouthfeel. Medium-full for the style. The liquid contained a fine, subtle effervescence.

Of the three Abyss variations my friends and I opened together (the original Abyss and the Cognac and whiskey barrel-aged variants), this was definitely my least favorite of the trio. The whiskey was really sharp and wound up overshadowing many of the nuances of the base beer.

Jan 22, 2017
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Nhens0016 from Louisiana

4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I saved this beer to enjoy after the "best after" date of 12/18/16. So... this beer is very very good. It has a strong whiskey taste that has hints of the cherry wood. I don't get any licorice, but the sweetness of the molasses and vanilla is noted. It has a nice texture that isn't too syrup, which I appreciate. Overall, I really enjoy this beer. The price is a little deterent, but overall I would buy this again.

Jan 15, 2017
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from rutger and vanlingleipa a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Imperial stout brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark with vanilla added
Aged in Rye Whisky barrels for 12 months
2015 Remarkably Limited Release
Best After 18 December 2016

APPEARANCE: Opaque black pour yields a three finger, thicker looking, creamy dark tan head with great retention. Pitch black body with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full, creamy cap and clings to the sides of the glass. Slight wisp and ring remain leaving decent lacing down the glass. Good looking, like all of these Abyss are.

SMELL: Fantastic nose of oak, vanilla, sweet cream, dark chocolate and fudge brownies on the nose. Really nice, with some definite whisky character as well. A touch of molasses too. Really nice, and the whisky is a little less forward than the cognac was. Comes across more as a sweet vanilla cream and fudgy chocolate character. Fantastic.

TASTE: Oak, whisky, sweet cream, vanilla and coconut up front. Really decadent. Some wood and alcohol at the swallow with more sweet creamy flavors. A big and lingering finish of all the good stuff, including oak, whisky, sweet vanilla, milk and dark chocolate, bigger chocolate fudge and some roasted coffee flavors. A bit of alcohol as well, but the flavor is wonderful here.

PALATE: Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, weighty, goes down fine and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. Some minor heat lingers, but not nearly as much as you might expect for the ABV. This is just as solid as the cognac version.

OVERALL: Awesome. Just great. More evidence that they should just 100% BA the whole batch, charge extra money and be done with it. The regular Abyss is great as it is, but this is outstanding. The barrel flavors work great here without ever getting overly boozy or harsh, while still remaining restrained enough to let the hefty base stout play a major role. The combination is a sweet, vanilla, chocolate fudgy wonderland. Loved it, and perhaps enjoyed this version just a touch more than the cognac edition, as the spirit flavor was a little less present here. Regardless, both were outstanding, and I hope to see Deschutes take the plunge and just 100% BA the entire lot. All barrels are welcome too. I’m game. Thanks again guys!

Jan 13, 2017
The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 462 ratings