The Abyss
Deschutes Brewery

The AbyssThe Abyss
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #37
Ranked #154
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: 2,062 | Ratings: 7,471 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HopHippie
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
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Limazulu from Idaho

4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black as an Abyss. Brief tan head
S-Overwhelming (in a good way) with molasses, licorice, and dark cherries
T-Overwhelming (mostly in a good way... needed to be cellared longer). So much going on in here, with molasses and licorice fighting for dominance, plus dark fruits and bitter dark chocolates. Just sweet enough to avoid being cloying.
M-Full bodied, below average carbonation, soft but more oily than smooth. Some alcohol warming.
O-Complex as hell, needs to be cellared to become more cohesive. But outstanding

Jun 06, 2020
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EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 reserve. Poured moderately hard from a large bottle into a snifter glass, forming a couple fingers of brown head that soon faded to a heavy ring of lacing. Effectively black color. Smell is rich malt with some molasses. Taste follows the smell, delicious malt forward with a bit of roastiness and molasses following. As it warms, a bit of licorice comes out. Feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, a tad bit oily. Overall, really good stout that is just complex enough without going overboard.

May 31, 2020
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Ohknows from Nevada

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer looks like motor oil when you pour it!

I had the 2016 reserve, this is beer is smooth! I like the molasses and malty flavor. It’s not too strong, it’s the right balance. I will absolutely go buy another one and go out of my way to look for this beer.

Apr 25, 2020
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2019 Release:
L - Deep, opaque black with a large, smooth dark tan head that sticks around leaving behind a ton of lacing
S - Rich, bitter dark chocolate and roasted/toasted malt along with roasted coffee, some molasses as well
T - Follows the nose - rich, bitter dark chocolate up front and throughout along with roasted/toasted malt and coffee as well as some molasses, caramel, toffee, licorice. Some sweetness in there as well.
F - Full bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Smooth, rich, but delicate and soft
O - An incredible imperial stout. Nearly perfect.

Apr 11, 2020
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Pivopijak from Washington

4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottle into teku glass
Small bubbled, light brown colored head. Opaque, nearly black/brown appearance. Quite a lot of roasted barley and some blackstrap molasses on the nose. Very roasted flavor of heavily caramelized malt with a sharp touch added by some whisky and wine barrel aging. Medium heavy body with a bit of alcohol presence.

Apr 03, 2020
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Kentster from Canada

4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2019 vintage. My birthday beer.

Appearance is thick dark, dark brown with a lovely resilient head and beautiful foam that really clings the glass hard, foam is creamy and thick, like someone already dropped a scoop of ice cream inside. This beer looks beautiful in the glass and i can't wait to have a sip.

Smells like dark chocolate, liquorice, hints of bourbon. A deep complex nose.

I love molasses and black liquorice so i was very pleased to taste this lovely beer. It has very pleasing flavours of molasses, coffee and chocolate with a nice semi "hot" finish, bitter. Nice bourbon notes which i enjoy. No detection of the wine barrels, not so sure what to look for there.

Overall an absolutely delicious beer. Looks extremely pleasing, smells inviting and tastes deep. I am curious how this beer would age, guess i can pick up another bottle. This is my first taste of the abyss and won't be my last.

Mar 20, 2020
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Steve_Studnuts from Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. My reward for successfully completing Dry January.

Pours black with reddish hues around the edges. There's a much larger (and longer lasting) head than expected that leaves lacy rings down the side of the glass as it recedes. Smell is complex; big roasted coffee component with further notes of cocoa powder and oaky, boozy barrels. The wine barrel is there, too, just not as pronounced. Smells fantastic. Taste is all bittersweet chocolate up front followed by soft, complimentary bourbon. There's a mild metallic taste in there as well; probably oxidation. Finishes with a big hit of coffee that lingers and is eventually overtaken by something vaguely tart. That's your wine barrell, I reckon. Each sip is a unique ride, that's for sure. Mouthfeel is pretty spot-on; not too dense and very drinkable. Any thicker and this might have been something of a slog to finish. Overall, this probably isn't worth the price of admission, but it's an incredibly unique, complex and fun beer drinking experience. I'll be sipping what remains for a couple more hours, at least.

Feb 02, 2020
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branham1989 from Texas

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deschutes Brewing’s The Abyss 11.4 % ABV 86 IBU. This Imperial Stout pours a pitch black color with a dark khaki mocha colored head that dissipates rather quickly leaving tons of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of milk chocolate cocoa bourbon raisins prunes coffee chocolate covered raspberries with a hint of plums and vanilla. The flavor starts off with dried dark cherries covered in dark chocolate with sweet juicy plums adding an acidic note that leads into a red wine barrel flavor then on to tart blackberries leather and tobacco with a nice bitterness that gives way to a red wine tannin finish. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth with a medium amount of carbonation the finish is very long dry oak forward and bitter with the bitterness lingering for awhile. This is an absolutely amazing stout that lives up to the hype I highly recommend this beer I’d rate this a perfect ten if it was easier to get and more affordable. 9.5/10

Jan 02, 2020
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Hooded from Texas

4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 edition of Deschutes Abyss
Notes from 12/10/2019
On Tap at WhichCraft Tap Room in Austin Texas.
Look is black with a little brown foam. 4.25
Smell coffee, bourbon, caramel, chocolate, and some dark roasted coffee. 4.25
Taste is bourbon, coffee, more Bourbon, chocolate, and finishing with more coffee but astringent. 4.25
Feel is a bit below medium. The body is less than I would expect. 3.75
Overall it's very good but I'm not crazy about it. 4.25

Dec 14, 2019
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BierRunner from Ohio

4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

viscous mouth feel with a deep chocolate flavor, but, with a strong hops backbone that counteracts the sweetness and provides a very balanced flavor. Outstanding!

Nov 21, 2019
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StJamesGate from New York

4.19/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Jet with mocha foam; licorice + meat nose; anise, soy, jerky, roast, some wood, mellows into dark chocolate + cherry stones, ashy end; round + chewy.

4 4.25 4.25 4.25 4

Far too savoury - big hit of Bovril. My first Abyss (after years of chasing) so I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a lean, not-sweet RIS, but it’s showing signs of autolysis. Does get some chocolate, but something went wrong in the barrel.

Hoping fresher vintages are better.

Oct 25, 2019
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Mtn from Texas

4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage (best after 11/10/15).
A 5 y/o beer, Bomber into tulip.
As black as they get, with 1/8” light brown layer of foam.
Aroma is heavy on chocolate toffee and licorice.
Taste is very slight dark and mild coffee with a bit more barrel and whiskey note, and tons of milk chocolate, toffee, and licorice
MOuthfeel is right between KBS and BCBS, so we’ll call it perfect. Great balancing bitterness with a pleasantly present carbonation. Zero oxidation (must be the wax).
Just fantastic, not much else you can say. I’m sad it’s gone.

Sep 09, 2019
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TheGent from New Jersey

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

Look: Appears viscous pouring from the bottle. Pitch black in the glass, with a light brown, craggy, two finger head. The foam settles and leaves a lot of lace in its wake. As I drink down the beer a ton of lacing. Opaque and no visible carbonation.

Smell: Milk chocolate, cocoa, bourbon, raisin, prune, coffee, chocolate covered raspberry jelly rings, plum, chocolate berry cordial.

Taste: The tip of the tongue is sweet cherry,
dark chocolate, sweet and juicy plum with some acidity. These sweet and dark fruit notes yield mid palate to the wine barrel influence on the beer. Rich notes of tart blackberry, leather and tobacco. Bitter, toasty, woody and oak forward. The finish on this beer resembles red wine more than most other beers I’ve had.

Feel: Medium carbonation, thick and smooth. The finish is super long, dry, oak-forward and bitter. The bitterness lingers forever.

Overall: I’ve never had Abyss before. Therefore, never had this beer fresh, so I cannot comment on the aging process. But, I can state that this beer is clean and enjoyable with no off flavors. The red wine influence here is prominent, enjoyable and cutting edge. This beer actually finishes to me like red wine. It’s so enjoyable, unique and well done.

Sep 09, 2019
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mschrei from Illinois

4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I think I have had this beer many times, with many vintages. I have had them fresh, and I have had them aged. And for some reason, I have not reviewed it until today.

So I am rating a vintage bottled on 10/30/17. First pour was from a bottle that had been at room temperature for years and the second pour was after refrigerating for a half hour. I know, not much.

Appearance is a dark brown more than black, with a very frothy and creamy tan foam and lacing. Smell is wet boozy oak and bourbon barrels first, followed by dark fruit (wine grapes and raisins), then mildly sweet vanilla and molasses, and finished with a hint of cherry. The feel is sublime in an excellent way, easily the best thing about the beer. The almost light body and slightly dry finish gel extremely well with the heavy booze presence in a unique fashion. You just don’t expect what you get here.

I will have to try a “fresh” 18 for way of comparison soon. And, of course, buy another to age.

Jul 13, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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

22oz bottle. Waxed and capped bottle. 2014 vintage. Best after date of '11/10/15'.
Black colored body, with a thin brown back lit edge. Two fingers of tan head, which settles down in a few minutes. Leaves spots of lacing on the glass.
Aroma of rich dark roasted malts, with dark molasses, black licorice, and barrel touches.
Taste emphasizes the molasses and licorice, and ends with a chocolate note. There are small nuances of cherry and vanilla. Dry at the end.
Medium plus mouth feel, with a smooth texture. Good carbonation in presentation, but not so much in feel.
This beer has aged into a real blend of the dark flavors as dominant. The higher ABV% provides that vapors that sit above the body, but do not burn. These vapors result in clearer nasal passages. Quite easy to drink, and because the end is so dry, the urge is to take another sip (or medium quaff). Barrel expression is minimal, but I do get a touch of the oak wine barrel. Bitterness is less than medium, and is a little surprising considering the dense dark smells and flavors.

Jun 26, 2019
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DEZ01301960 from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I have tried several different vintages, only the 12 month 100% Barrel aged versions were any good. Deschutes needs to step up. I still see bottles of Abyss on the shelves.

May 31, 2019
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

The abyss pours a black color, small lacong tan head. Aroma is rich, dry oak. Flavor is dry very rich, hi ts of nature and lictorice. Great heavy thick body. Overall great beer very flavorfull.

May 04, 2019
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Abyss 2015 Reserve

Pours thick and dark, nearly impervious to light. Thin mocha head recedes quickly. Aroma opens up nicely as it sits. Lots of dark chocolate, loads of anise, tons of molasses. Just smells so dense and rich. Flavor is very intense: the anise dominates but there is still a big showing of chocolate, dark molasses, bitter espresso, ample barrel presence. Fairly thick feel. Overall this is a fantastic BA imperial Stout. I bought 6 of these in 2016 and so far it has aged beautifully. Highly recommended.

4.5 rating

May 02, 2019
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clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a motor oil black with minimal tan head that left lace spots. Aroma has minimal booziness with a mix of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, hints of vanilla and dark cherry (which I assume is the licorice (black cherry licorice?)). The beer has an oaky smoothness with a mix of chocolate and cherry/licorice like sweetness, balanced by a roasted coffee edge and a note of booze.

Apr 30, 2019
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jt_thomas18 from Ohio

3.82/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2018 vintage had on 4/18/19

The heavenly aroma just doesn't translate over to the taste, which is barely there even when its just a little below room temperature. Molasses, a hint of bourbon and then dark chocolate hit the palate in quick succession, then fade into a tannic mouthfeel after a minute or two between sips. While brewed with the ingredients for a stellar BA imperial stout, this one comes up a bit short.

Apr 18, 2019
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HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Review/rating logged about two months after having it.

Had this at about 3 years old, with a number of other imperial stouts. Although it was a great imperial stout, considering the price, I was disappointed.

Apr 06, 2019
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safaricook from Netherlands

4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

pitch black, fine beige foam
chocolate, booze, licorice
booze, chocolate, licorice, coffee
fine gently carbonation, substantial burn from the Bourbon
Certainly a top Bourbon Barrel aged stout. However, it is not overly expressive and leans more towards coffee and licorice than chocolate which I would prefer

Mar 09, 2019
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Falcon91Wolvrn03 from California

4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beer that I haven't previously reviewed because I never it liked as much as the score indicates I should (it's got a strange bitterness to me). This time, I aged it and opened a 2014 bottle in 2019, and though it's slightly better, it still has an odd bitterness for me.

Appearance – Pours a nice black color with a surprisingly thick chocolate colored head (surprising due to the aging on this bottle). Slightly larger than normal sized bubbles in the head that stick to the walls of the glass. A nice looking beer!

Smell – Malt, molasses, licorice, cherry bark, oak, and red wine. A very light hint of bourbon and vanilla.

Taste – Somewhat bitter. Tastes of malt, oak, and wine. Maybe just a hint of bourbon.

Mouthfeel – A nice creamy stout, though it has a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability – For me, this is just an ok stout. I personally find their Obsidian Stout much better.

Feb 10, 2019
The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 7471 ratings