The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
Deschutes Brewery

The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
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American Imperial Stout
4.41 | pDev: 6.8%
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: 93 | Ratings: 452 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
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.

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Photo of Zythophile
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.

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Photo of papposilenus
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.

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Photo of dafla67
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.

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Photo of BurtStL6
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

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Photo of bbtkd
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.

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Photo of imstimpy
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.

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Photo of JLK7299
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!

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Photo of VeganUndead
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

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Photo of Slack
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.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
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.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
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!

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Photo of Futbolmanby
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

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Photo of Meyers1023
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
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.

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
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.

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Photo of Damian
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.

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Photo of Nhens0016
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
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!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one pours a dark deep black, with a slightly reddish brown head, and a small head.

Smells like nice and spicy rye whiskey, nicely charred and roasted malt, vanilla, licorice, and cookie dough.

Regular Abyss is quite nice, but this is even better. There's lots of roasty and chocolatey espresso, with roasted/charred malt, some light dark fruit, kind of cherry-like, barrel vanillin, and spicy rye whiskey. This is a super high quality barrel-aged stout- tastes amazing.

This is pretty thick bodied, and chewy, slightly grainy, with a good level of carbonation for the style, not too high.

This is an exemplary barrel-aged stout, it improves on an already stellar base beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Waiting for this for a while, shared with rudzud, best after 12/18/16, vintage 2015

Pours a nice mocha fluffy head but it fades quickly, nice legs, pitch black

Nose some cocoa, lots of cookie dough and dark chocolate, mild whiskey, a little toasted barrel, caramel fudge, maybe a touch spicy rye whisky but hard to tell, nutty, pretty light in general.

Taste big creamy lush dark malts, dark choc, creamy milk choc and cocoa, little licorice anise, little powdered cocoa, into vanilla barrel, creamy vanilla and little oak, lush choc shake, a touch of baking spice, touch dark fruits, faint smoke too, and bitter spicy hop.

Mouth is med to fuller bod but creamy, decent carb and no booze!

Overall decent but I expected a ton more.

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Photo of rudzud
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice oil black hue with a one finger mocha head that fades to leave thin wisps.

S - Aromas of nice chocolate, very little anise, the rye is super subtle. There are really nice characteristics just all super subtle.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, nice anise, there is good chocolate. Really light rye whiskey, really subtle barrel notes. Pleasant.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy, alcohol hidden well, though a bit thin.

O - Overall this was a rather underwhelming beer. I love abyss, but, the rye didn't really add anything to this. Quite shocked.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A brilliant, thick black beer with a dark brown head. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, rye, oak and vanilla. The taste is a balanced blend of those flavors found in the nose. Thick and sweet with a big hit of bitter dark chocolate with some vanilla and rye at the end which give way to some warming from the booze. This is an amazing beer.

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Photo of superspak
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best after 12/18/2016. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, spicy rye whiskey, toasted oak, dark bread, cherry, raisin, fig, date, smoke, light tobacco/leather, and roast/smoke/oaky earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and molasses/spice notes; with great strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, spicy rye whiskey, toasted oak, dark bread, cherry, raisin, fig, date, smoke, light tobacco/leather, and roast/smoke/oaky earthiness. Light-moderate roast/char bitterness and whiskey/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, spicy rye whiskey, toasted oak, dark bread, cherry, raisin, fig, date, and roast/smoke/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and molasses/spice flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and whiskey/oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from roast bitterness and whiskey/oak spiciness; increasing through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and very full body; with a smooth, rich, creamy/silky/velvety, and lightly sticky/chalky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is fairly well hidden; a small lingering warmth and mild barrel booziness after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged imperial stout! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and molasses/spice flavors; smooth and easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Just as impressive as the base beer; with an amazing balance of the rye barrels and a better mouthfeel. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A fine riff on The Abyss, more whiskey-forward than normal but nothing uncouth, no over-ashenness, still light hints of that unique Abyss cherrywood, some lingering light bitterness. Really nice.

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The Abyss (Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 452 ratings