The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged) | Deschutes Brewery

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The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged)
194 Ratings
The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged)The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged)

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The most multifaceted liquid truffle ever fashioned. Dark cherries brined in light peat smoke and popped into the heart of a prune. Then drizzled with toffee and flamed caramel, crusted with white and green peppers, and dipped in honey infused molasses. This beautiful construction is then delicately coated with rich dark chocolate and finished with a luxurious coating of milk chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder and gold flakes. Served on a chard shard of oak with three sultanas and pieces of vanilla suffused marzipan.

Added by WCKDVBZ on 12-10-2016

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of zeff80
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of booze, peat, smoke, chocolate and toffee. Sweet maltiness with chocolate and toffee. Smoky and peaty, too.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
3.8/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pouring this beer dated 12/09/16 from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass this beer pours out chocolate in color with highlights running throughout until formed in the glass. It formed a half pinky width of caramel colored crown that didn't want to stick around too long and chose rather to just form a ring around the glass. (4)
The smell is burnt bitter chocolate mixing with earthy wood, molasses and dark fruit all backed by a somewhat smokey background. (4)
The taste comes in with an earthy soil like presence before turning to that bitter, burnt chocolate. Wood, dark fruit & molasses all still present as well and the smoke finishes it off. (3.75)
The mouthfeel is, I would guess, past it's prime, because it is rather flat with no carbonation bounce. Other than that, it's slightly smoky, earthy and dry. (3.5)
Overall, this was my least favorite out of the variants I had of the Abyss, but that does have some to do with the carbonation levels of it. I always enjoy that bitter, burnt chocolate in the Abyss and liked how this one had a slightly smokey presence tangling with it. While I would definitely drink this again, it wouldn't be anything I would search out in the future. (3.75)

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Photo of colts9016
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I peeled the wax off the bottle and cracked the cork a mist of beer wafted from the bottle. The beer is 50 degrees and served in a tulip glass. The beer is a dark ale with a strong odor of Scotch. The pour of the beer produced a one finger head with fair retention. The head dissipated quickly leaving no head on the glass. The beer has the appearance of a high alcohol content probably past 10 percent. The head is velvety and airy and has a dark brown color. The color of the beer of the beer is SRM 36 a dark brown nearly coal black. The head did leave a velvety ring around the glass.

The initial aroma of the beer is this earthy musty aroma mixed with the sea. Additional aromas in the beer are anise, soy sauce, wood, vanilla, dark roasted malts, toffee, chocolate, grassy, medium roasted coffee, char, burnt sugar, Maillard reaction, and herbal.

The initial flavor in beer is earthy, wood, and dark chocolate. Additional flavors in the beer are anise, soy sauce, smoke, char, burnt sugar, molasses, toffee, grassy, herbal, coffee, vanilla, dark roasted malt, and alcohol.

The mouthfeel of the beer is dry, musty, and coating.

The body of the beer is full, medium carbonation, and a full finish.

The beer is dark stout aged in a barrel. Found out it is a scotch barrel. The flavors align with peat and smoke. The beer is thick and coating. The balance in the beer is close to equal. The harmony in the beer is a skosh off kilter for me. The beer has this roughness like a cowboy. A rugged beer but dangerously tasty.

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Photo of Dharmelink
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GreenMind
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CraftFan5
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Photo of BurtStL6
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark as night

Slight very tan head

Super smooth

Better than the Brandy variation

I was super lucky to have purchased this 2016 variation from a liquor store in KC who occasionally brings out cellared beers

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Photo of Gaddabble
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For my 4,000th review, I pulled out this two year old aged Abyss variant. The Abyss was one of my very early omg beers, at the time it tasted like the best thing I had ever tried; I gave it a 5. I've got a few more favored stouts now, but The Abyss and its variants are an annual never-miss for me. This Scotch Barreled one is particularly anticipated and a natural for a significant review.
Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to a ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma of deep dark toasted malt, molasses, cocoa, unidentifiable dark dried fruit, oak a little oxidation and a hint of scotch smokiness. Flavor follows, with rich dark toasted malt, dark molasses, dates, cocoa, oak, a hint of cherry and mild smokiness. Finishes with a little more light tart cherry and Scotch revealed. Lingering molasses and dark malt. Nice medium bodied with moderate creaminess and good carbonation despite the nearly still pour. Alcohol wonderfully covered, very warming but no booziness. This has the wonderful, classic Abyss malt body that has been a siren call for many years. Sadly, the Scotch influence is very light. It is present and pleasant, but I'm a big Scotch fan and would have enjoyed a very assertive Scotch smokiness. But that's a minor quibble, because the base Abyss is great and a bit of smokiness fits in with the other rich flavors very well. It has aged very nicely and is quite smooth in its second year. There is a dilemma in choosing a beer for a significantly numbered review like this one: I've already reviewed so many of the available fine and anticipated beers. Fortunately, the barrel aged stouts present a never ending number of variants and hopefully there will be another fine one, many years from now, for my 5,000th review.

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Photo of Soneast
3.99/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffo
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from rutger this past summer. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Abyss aged 100% in brandy barrels

APPEARANCE: Opaque black pour yields a three finger, thicker looking, creamy dark tan head with excellent retention. Black body and no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full cap. A splotchy wisp remains leaving lots of lacing down the glass as it empties. Good looking.

SMELL: Good stuff. Peated scotch, earthy notes, leather, dark chocolate, vanilla cream and some woody undertones. Lots going on and plenty forthcoming.

TASTE: Peated scotch, leather and earthy notes with some woody flavors up front. Booze and peated scotch at the swallow. Bold and lingering finish of peat, scotch, wood, chocolate, sweet cream and caramel flavors with some earth and leather character to balance it out. Great.

PALATE: Medium-fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy and slick on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn and finishes quite sticky on the palate. A touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Excellent stuff. This is even better than the brandy version, which was a treat itself. Usually scotch barrels don’t do it for me as much as other types, but this one is more-or-less done to perfection. The barrels are definitely there and there’s plenty of earthy peat character, but it’s really well balanced and the beefy base beer is still part of the show. Really good and well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the style. Thanks again rutger! Cheers!

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rkarimi
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


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Photo of stortore
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 12/9/16, had 12/2/17.

Pours near black, opaque and thick looking, with a half inch quickly dissipating head of darker foam and some soapy lacing. Aromas of malt, scotch, cocoa, oak, toffee, raisins, some vanilla and figs, prunes, some peat, a little licorice, light tobacco. The taste is similar, but less fruit- malt, scotch, oak, chocolate, molasses, caramel, cocoa, some peat- especially in the aftertaste, some tobacco, light coffee. Smooth, a very good full body, well carbonated.

Great aroma, very good flavor, well developed in both areas. The scotch barrels are the star, peaty, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of GarbageMan10
3.94/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Lingenbrau
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

When you think of the most intense possible stout appearance, The Abyss should be up there. Scotch Barrel Aged Abyss fits right in its predecessors mould, pouring pitch black and sludgy right out if the bottle. It looks dense and completely empty yet clean. The darkest tan foam head sits on top for moments before receding into a fine creamy ring around the glass, and rivers of film across the surface.

This version is exceptionally boozey, even after over a year residing in its bottle. Booze, toasted oak, and chocolate are complimented only by an unrecognizable roasted dark fruit. However, as it warms, a subtle amount of dark roast coffee is able to penetrate the scotch boozey depths from below.

Each sip is more intense than the last. Burnt brown sugar, molasses, and heavily toasted white bread are most recognizable. Baker's chocolate then nutmeg and cinnamon follow along with an almost mild Chile like taste and spice. Sweet and smokey oak take the stage along with a slap of alcohol for the final bow.

The feel, in one word... Intense. About as intense as it gets. Slick, rich, full, and oily, followed by tingly, spicy, woody, and boozey, and finally dry and roasty. My lips feel like they are plastered in sticky syrup, and it almost hurts to separate them for another sip.

I have had a few Abyss variants now, but still feel the original reigns king. This might be the close second. It is so intense, and perhaps a little too boozey, but it's wonderful nonetheless. First time I haven't shared a bottle, and first time I'm saving the rest for tomorrow. Cheers.

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Photo of stratusjeans
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KShophead
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nunya
3.99/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sjrider
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours solid black with tan head and moderate lacing. Nose is lots of roasty malt ,charred wood, peaty whiskey,vanilla and cocoa.Taste follows nose with more barrel influence. Viscous and chewy. Nicely done.

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Photo of Duffman79
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beergoot
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark depths within the body; topped with a decent thick and creamy light brown head. Heady, rich smell of dark roasted, charred grains; some whisky suggestion; cocoa and vanilla. Luscious flavors of bitter chocolate with some Scotch whisky. Heavy body; thick and chewy.

A rich and flavorful beer; continuing the reliable flavor profile of the Abyss' base beer with a fine sliver of Scotch whisky taste and heat.

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Photo of aleigator
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours entirely black with a medium sized, dark brown head, which leaves back a thick layer of lacing. After swirling the beer, it reveals an oily, bubbly viscosity as an initial sign of its heavy body.

Offers a truly remarkable nose, which inherits an almost meaty characteristic, resulting from copious amounts of peaty smoke. Then there is the abyss typical blend of slightly spicy molasses and bitter chocolate, which get enhanced by a roasty maltiness and lots of char from the barrel. This peaks with a sudden appearance of honey, which gets highlighted and then swallowed by the barrel. This smells superb.

Mouthfeel is fuller, soft and creamy with a silk texture to it, finding a challenging antagonist in the extremely long lasting barrel, providing the tongue with a mixture of char, smoke and alcohol dryness.

Tastes sweeter than expected, with an early interplay between earthy toffee and sugary caramel, topped off by an untamed blend of tobacco and licorice. From this, the barrel arises in a truly uncompromising fashion, adding more earth, moldy wood, burned oak and salty campfire to the flavors. Once the barrel hits the tastebuds, it won‘t leave em till the finish, while creating a wonderful flavor intensity, underlined by skandinavian licorice.

Wow, I love the extravagantly impression of warming char in this. Usually Scotch barrel beers tend to suffer from an unpleasant tar characteristic which alters or overpowers the base beer. Thats not the case in here. In fact, the opposite happens, once heat, smoke, tobacco and licorice go hand in hand, a wonderful complexity unfolds perfectly balanced on the palate.

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The Abyss (Scotch Barrel-Aged) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 194 ratings