The Abyss
Deschutes Brewery

The AbyssThe Abyss
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #44
Ranked #161
4.5 | pDev: 9.33%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
The AbyssThe Abyss
Notes: A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.

As for the great “drink it now or let it age” debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure after a year or more in the cellar.
Reviews: 2,085 | Ratings: 7,527 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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backblast from Alaska

4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick tan head that dissipated quickly and some lacing.

Taste up front heavy malts, licorice and dark fruits with a hint of oak and char. Very smooth and creamy feel that coats your mouth and lingers well into the finish. A very nice offering.

Aug 23, 2021
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lots of licorice, herbal hops, roast. An old-school American imperial stout. Wet bourbon character, not a lot of barrel. good if you like something strong and bitter

Aug 22, 2021
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

2.98/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.75

22oz bottle, dripped in wax an' all that, 2018 release, almost 3 years old to the date (short by about 3 weeks). "Brewed with blackstrap molasses and licorice, cherry bark, vanilla bean, 50% is aged in bourbon, wine, and oak". Scored this bad-boy pre-aged from the best beer store in the state (shhhh... it was $6)

Pours up black, smelling boozy and woody. This is breakfast in my ****ed-up world, cheers! Extremely milk chocolate sweet but the sweetness is thankfully cut by the barrel and spirits. But still, molasses, raisin, mocha coffee dominate. It's drinkable, but HOT, even considering the 11.4%. Other 'competitors' cover up the alc more betterer, but maybe that's the point here. If you are a boozer, you may appreciate this aspect more; me, I'm a beer'er and this is too busy to be beer. I'm a purist in a weird way, and this just has too much going on. Perfectly drinkable, but why?

Aug 21, 2021
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Emichaelbray from Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has anyone ever said, “I cannot wait to drink this glass of what looks like boiled motor oil?” Well motor oil comes out of the container looking more like an IPA so that adjective (oily) never seemed correct. Dirty motor oil, I guess.
If my car ran on The Abyss I would do much more walking and biking.
It’s dark. Like an abyss! Wow, ironic!
It smells like cocoa malt candy joy. It smells like Jamaican Blue Mountain if it was half as good as they say.
The taste absolutely follows. It’s all been said before. Malty chocolate caramel licorice dark fruit heaven. It’s good! There’s some alcohol in that taste, however, more than most are willing to say.
You guys try that French toast version that’s around in 2021? Odd! Add cinnamon and maple to the above and you have it.
It’s good. As I have said here before, better does exist. BBA Darkness, for example. But Abyss is lovely!

Aug 05, 2021
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Crowler split with a friend. Picked up at Sabatinis in Exeter Pa a week ago

Looks decent enough in a large wine glass. Jet black body, small tan head doesn't last too long, hence not much lacing.

Faintly boozy aroma, almost RIS-like. A little molasses, faint smoke.

On tasting, the roast is pretty strong on this one. There are some dark fruit notes, and some warmth from the barrel. Light bourbon notes. Does feel smooth rolling around the tongue. Some molasses, and even faint soy.

Mouth between medium and full, finish a warm boozy roast.

Overall, not as good as I hoped, roast a bit much for this palate.

Jun 20, 2021
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 22 fl. oz. bomber, 2016 Reserve, bottled on 8th December 2016. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown to black in colour with a nice one finger brown head that had decent retention, while leaving lots of nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Dark malt, moderate roast, chocolate, sweet notes, licorice, molasses, bourbon, oak.

Taste: Light bitterness, roasted malts, dark chocolate, light char, sweet notes, brown sugar, licorice, molasses, oak and bourbon on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, full bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall: An excellent classic Imperial Stout with lots of great flavours and not too sweet. A wonderful and enjoyable sipper.

Jun 09, 2021
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blazerkor from Nevada

4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, that is a powerful smell. It's a combination of wood, cocoa, licorice and alcohol but mostly the cocoa wood.

OK the wood and dark chocolate come through first and then deep pungent bitterness. 

It's a full bodied stout.  There is carbonation but it barely cuts through the thickness. The alcohol is warming. It finishes dry and bitter.

It's fantastic. If you want an extremely powerful stout without a hint of whiskey, this couldn't be more perfect. It gets a 5.8 out of 6 not a perfect score because it's almost overpowering but still great.

May 09, 2021
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Eyedoc27 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 reserve. Im getting some bourbon and a moderate amount of bitterness which I’m attributing to the wine barrel. Feels experimental and I think it’s worth drinking at least once.

Apr 04, 2021
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Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single 12oz bottle $4.99
144 days old 2020 version
Smell of rich dark chocolate followed by bourbon then caramel
Dark black color
Heavy thick mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Taste of chocolate, black coffee, bourbon, alcohol burn as it goes down your throat. Fudge flavor comes out as it warms.
Overall a great beer. A little too heavy on the bourbon as it ends up overpowering the other flavors. Nice to sip on a cloudy rainy day like it is now.

Mar 29, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled, as Deschutes The Abyss Reserve 2009, kindly shared by gunnar. Pitch black colour, excellent brown head. Lovely and complex aroma of dark malts, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, liquorice and leather, also some oaky and vinous notes. The flavour has notes of heavily roasted malts, balanced by a suitable sweetness, coffee and liquorice, hints of sandalwood. Superb!

Mar 20, 2021
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled 11/4/20. Opened 2/18/21.
Pinky finger of a tan head, good retention, fades to a solid cap. Wispy lacing.
Black Imperial Stout all the way through, up and down.
Aromas and flavors of espresso, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, roasted malt char.
Full body, appropriate carbonation and a rich, smooth mouthfeel.
Lengthy, roasty, malty, and ultimately dry finish.

Feb 19, 2021
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beerookie from Ohio

2.5/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer should come with a satisfaction guarantee!

I have had Abyss that was worthy of a 5 and I have had Abyss that was an instant drain pour and Deschutes needs to either get it right or quit making it. The 2009 was infected, the 2014 was infected, I recently had a 2016 which was infected.

At the price, I won't take the chance any more.

Feb 03, 2021
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fountainofyouth from District of Columbia

4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a pint glass. 2019 vintage.

Appearance: Super dark brown while pouring. With aggressive pour, kicks up a huge light brown head. Body is basically solid black.

Smell: Port barrel, dark chocolate, smoke.

Taste: Wow. Very dark charred grain, burnt sugar, port wine, maybe some herbal hops or is that the licorice? Very big and dark beer.

Feel: Surprisingly not that heavy. Fairly clean and lightly carbonated except for a dry roasty finish.

Jan 20, 2021
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akaizer from Virginia

4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle dated 9/12/19 (served at 68 degree room temp).

L - A very dense 1" head of dark brown foam along with a sleek dark brown to black body. The look evokes staring into the abyss which seems on brand for this beer.

S - Notes of brown sugar, molasses, and alcohol are most obvious. Other sweet notes dance around as well.

T - Taste is quite sweet up front (more of the brown sugar) before transitioning towards alcohol flavors in the middle range (including bourbon notes) and ends with a more molasses/chocolate flavor.

F - Feel is heavy, heavy, heavy but at times almost creamy. The high ABV is also evident throughout and lingers well into the aftertaste.

O - The beer lives up to its name! Heavy, dark, and drinkable -- it will catch up to you quickly.

Jan 01, 2021
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Waxed bomber received Bif 12 from @pinz

2018 Reserve

Imperial stout brewed with Black strap molasses and licorice, dry spiced with cherry bark and vanilla bean , 50% aged in bourbon , wine and new Oregon all barrels

Poured into a snifter , two finger thick , creamy brown foam cap, very good retention , settles to a tick layer with very good lacings over black motor oil

Aroma of roast malts , bourbon, licorice, tobacco

Taste is roast malts, licorice, hint of oak , char ,

Smooth , creamy , semi dry finish

Great stout

Dec 24, 2020
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LeBron_James from Canada (ON)

4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2019 Reserve

The look is beautiful. Dark and opaque black with a tinted head.

Smells great. Cherry hit first followed by a kind of dark roast coffee. The chocolate tones are there but not as strong as the others. Some oak.

The taste is very good. Not too boozy but you can tell it’s bourbon aged. Was worried about the liquorice making it weird, but it didn’t do that at all. Overall taste is cherry, chocolate, malt, coffee. Surprisingly well balanced by the bourbon and chocolate. This stout is just sweet enough to taste quite good without being too sweet. I love it.

The feel is sort of light for an imperial stout. This is preference thing but, given the taste, the mouthfeel is a little odd. Still, it’s above average so don’t worry too much about that.

Overall this stout is world class. Not the best in the world, but definitely up there and I think it deserves the 99. Only downside for me was price. I ended up getting 2 bottles for $60 which is steep but eh whatever. I cellared this stout for a year before opening. I’ve heard the taste is too intense if opened right away, but a year of sitting had it end up perfect.

Dec 10, 2020
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pianoguy from Washington

4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 Oz bottle. Bottled 4/11/2020

Yeah it's less then a month old...but it being the year 2020 I've decide to sample some as well as cellar some. There are no guarantees these day...

Pours a solid black body with a tan head. Moderate retention. Several rings of lacing.

Wow there's a lot going on here ! Fresh cherry scent hit me at the pour but the overall scent is quite complex. There's a very roasted/burnt coffee thing throughout. As well as an oak scent (like a good cabernet sauvignon.) The cherries are still there as well as sweet and semi chocolate notes.

Taste follows but the booze comes out a little more. The cherries are still prominent but the roasted quality is a bit more toned down.

Full and velvety feel

Value/price point (does not effect score) At $18.79 for a 4 pack it's a little pricey but the complexity makes it hard to resist.

Pretty impressive. So much going on here... Perfect for sipping on a cold night.

Nov 24, 2020
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hoptheology from South Dakota

2.77/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

Tonight I am re-visiting The Abyss, a beer I wasn't too impressed with at my first and second whack. This one is a 2018, into a Tallgrass snifter.

Pours a really lovely thick and creamy dark black with a creamy cap of 1 finger, receding to a thick bubbly ring with bubbles on top. Sparse lacing graces the sides.

Aroma is huge and welcoming. A lot of chocolate with a lot of musty oak barrel. Some hints of port wine, cinnamon, raspberry, and molasses.

Flavor is exactly like I remember it - an overhopped disgusting mess. Piney-bitter to start, then graduates to grassy-bitter, with heavy ethanol and some undertones of roasted malt, oats, and molasses. The "undertones" part is important, because they are completely overshadowed by grass and pine. This is the grassiest "stout" I've ever had in my life. I get a little bit of caramel peeking through too but it's so faint compared to the bitterness. More grass and pine on the finish. Tastes like a QB sack.

Feel is resiny, oily, creamy, and very hot.

How this gets a 99 is beyond me. This is a fucking awful beer. Palate exhaustion after the 3rd sip. An F-, would never ever visit again. I mean, there's a couple redeeming qualities like the look and aroma, but when it falls apart on the tongue, what am I supposed to do? This bomber is going straight to the drain, R.I.P.

1st Review, Feb. 18, 2017
Very nice black pour with a tight creamy head.

Aroma of cedar, vanilla, cherries, and chocolate. Slight metal aroma.

Flavor is all roast. Burnt/roast malts, coffee, blood, copper, grass, pine, and light cocoa.

Feel is roasty too, very dry.

Overall awful. Way too metallic. No bueno.

4.5 / 3.75 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 3.25 = 3.27

Aug 21, 2020
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle, pours as black and opaque with a frothy two finger khaki head. Aromas of sweet malts and caramel. Tastes are a complex mix. It's roasted malt-forward with sharp licorice mellowed by creamy chocolate and molasses. Other reviewers mention "coffee" and "hops" flavors, but I can't find either of those. Overall, this is a world-class beer; I had to double-check that it was brewed in Oregan.

Aug 01, 2020
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NCSapiens from Indiana

4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

What’s not to like? Striking black color with impressive amount of chocolate-milk-color foam with large bubbles that really makes the look. Incredibly rich and complex flavor profile—chocolate, malt, molasses, anise, coffee, hops. I appreciate a beer this good that isn’t overly sweet or bourbon flavored. World class for sure.

Jul 29, 2020
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AshBlackstone from Florida

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This barrel aged imperial stout, is rich, smooth, medium-full bodied.

Cherry, licorice, maple, coffee notes throughout.

Just tried it last week for the first time here in Florida. Had six 22 oz bottles shipped to me. I am not disappointed.

Jul 28, 2020
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trevormajor from Ohio

4.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

7/17/2020 - Dark and rich, dry and roasty. Procured the 2016 Reserve edition in a 22 oz bomber. Poured into a snifter, the head dissipated quickly. Really hits my sweet spot with the dryness and roasted flavor.

1/27/21 - 12 oz bottle, born on 11/4/20, poured into a snifter at 52 degrees F:
L - dark mahogany with a hazelnut head that left a ring around the edges of the glass
S - malt, molasses, coffee
T - flavors of malt and molasses and coffee that intensify as you taste and swallow the beer, very nice
F - medium thick mouthfeel with medium minimal carbonation, nice; a bit less carbonation would be perfect
O - a great beer, really vibrant flavor that intensifies as it lingers in your mouth

Jul 18, 2020
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bubseymour from Maryland

4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

4 year old aged (2016). Appearance is amazing with a nice brown head and lacing. Aroma as well. Chocolate, coffee. Taste is a little bitter and more coffee centric, even for a 4 year old, it’s quite bitter and overly toasty. It’s good, but I guess I’m hooked on the pastries.

Jul 12, 2020
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HopHippie from Wisconsin

4.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled: 9/15/18 (2018 reserve)
Opened: 6/26/20

L: Pitch black with a large tan head, very good lacing.
S: Very strong licorice, cherry, maple syrup sweetness, molasses.
T: Coffee, cherry, chocolate, nice bourbon notes.
F: Very thick, full body, below average carbonation, strong warm alcohol feel.
O: A fantastic aged stout, you can taste the love and thought that was put into this. Haven't had a batch that wasn't over 1 and a half years old so I can't really tell about the aging but this is incredibly smooth and well rounded mature flavor notes. would recommend getting an older batch if this is from the aging.

Jun 27, 2020
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dunkel_weizen from Oregon

4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

9 month old bottle poured into a beer mug. The color is abyssal opaque black, motor oil pour, with a slick mouthfeel. Good dark brown head with awesome retention and lacing. The nose is heavy in molasses and maple syrup notes. The taste is heavy sticky molasses with strong bourbon and paky charred flavors, roasted wood, coffee, and a nice clean licorice finish. Its like drinking a liquid chocolate cake, if anything.

This is an exceptional barrel aged stout, among the best I have had.

Jun 07, 2020
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 7527 ratings