The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

7,102 Ratings
The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels.

65 IBU

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 - Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 - Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 - Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 - Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 - Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
2011 - Released November 2011 (approx 600 BBL)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,102 |  Reviews: 1,963
Photo of Woody1180
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mertzhb15
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of birderbeerer
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 release.

Dark, deep black beer with a dark brown head. Lasting lace. Tons of lace. Like ice, with each sip the lace builds upon itself. Beautiful looking beer.

Big and complex. Rich but mellow roast flavors. Exceptionally well done. Dominated by dark roast flavors but with no bitter or burnt flavor. A bit of earthy tones, even berries, and a malt sweetness with hints of caramel/chocolate sweetness comes through as it warms.

Rich, mellow, and big. I keep returning to that. Very easy to drink for a beer with such big flavors.

This beer stands out as exceptional beyond other remarkably well done stouts.

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Photo of jpowell4
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll tell you the problem with having a good beer bar with a secret tap on Abyss. They give it to you in a little 8 oz pour, out of the same keg cooler that hold a half dozen IPAs and ambers and the like, and is thus cold as Michigan in January. You cant wait to drink it, this nectar of delight and wonderment, but the chill is a black eye and that 8 oz just cant stand up to the time it takes to warm. You sit there, warming it in your hands and watching the girl in yellow play scrabble. She just misplayed the X, a loss of many points. I must occupy my time, and I cant drink the beer yet. Shit, its already half gone and its still cold.

Finaly it warms, and you get to lick the goddess in full glory. Sulfur runs down your throat, coats the sides of your tongue, and pushes with might at your good nature. Licorice and smoke and oak and dates and brimstone all show up to the party, your mouth feels like a dark metal show, all the devils are out to play. It dances, it cavorts, it delights. These are the good days, and we should all be glad for that last 2 oz sip of perfectly warmed abyss.

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Photo of bricarr74
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of SoCal_Matt
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Reserve with a best after date of 11/10/2015.

I kept forgetting about this beer in the back of my fridge, and I'm glad that I did. Now, I have never had it fresh so I have nothing to compare it to, but this beer really impressed me. Very complex and unique. Pours a very dark brown with just a bit of tan head. Lots of oak on the nose, as well as chocolate and a bit of red wine. Taste starts like a typical stout. Chocolate and coffee followed by some cherry notes, then you get hit with the Pinot barrels, and a touch of vanilla towards the end. Feel is just average, if not slightly thin for a BA stout. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer from Deschutes. I think this would be more highly regarded it wasn't so widely available, and dismissed by some because they can't sit on it for the appropriate amount of time.

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Photo of vinceclortho
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JBreits83
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cd34
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Vaylaus
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 bottle. Add me to list who've jumped the gun due to the infection scare.

A: Black as night, with a big thick tan head that covers more than half the glass at first pour. Going to have to take this in 1/4 increments.

S: Oh my. Out of the bottle, a slight sour smell emanates...once in the glass, a sour bourbon smell wafts out, along with the normal hints of licorice and molasses as advertised.

T: At first, the sourness shows itself with the "normal" Abyss flavors (rich chocolate, a hint of black licorice, a nice bourbon finish), like that guy who shows up at your party claiming to be someone's cousin. But as time goes on, and the beer warms up, he passes out and goes to sleep. Translation, it's still the same good beer at the moment when it warms up and airs out a touch.

M: Thick, smooth, decadent. Everything a stout should be here.

D: Lethally smooth, once the party crasher fades. No alcohol evident, just the smoothest big stout I've come across.

I fear for the other five in my cellar, but they will soldier on. Hopefully whatever infection exists, will remain a minor annoyance. Still a world-class stout from a world-class brewery.

Note: I opened a bottle 3 months ago upon purchase with no signs of infection. Only difference was a little more alcohol "heat". Scores balanced against both tastings.

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Photo of Erick_G
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Goatdavemac
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of garuda
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a thick mocha head that has excellent retention and lacing. Don't know how a stout could look better.

Very complex, and all of the flavore are well integrated and not "in your face". Roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, bourbon... Then as it warms, vinous character comes out with some dark, dried fruits. Abv stays well hidden, the mouthfeel is full but maybe a touch lighter than I want.

Excellent beer, one of the best I've had overall so far.

 483 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2009)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

(Aged for 1+ year)

A pitch black pour with a thin brown head. Gorgeous beer. Leaves lines of lacing down the glass. A thick and decadent looking stout.

A spectacular nose that centers around chocolate. Some roast coffee, some wood, but predominately chocolate. No alcohol in the nose. Wow!

A chocolate bomb! Some roasted coffee, molasses, a bit of tartness, a touch of warmth from the alcohol, but I come back to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Surprising and spectacular!

Rich and luscious mouthfeel. Superb.

A spectacular, easy drinking, well-balanced, nearly perfect stout. So delicious!

 653 characters

Photo of rudylaw
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hello new favorite beer! (Well maybe not favorite... but it's in the conversation.)

Pitch black, like an abyss! Upon pour, there's a light tan head that disappears almost immediately.

The smell is roasted chocolate and a tinge of coffee. Not at all overpowering. In fact, I'm a little disappointed by that. OK, I'm over it now because...

It tastes really damn good. Chocolate, creamy goodness at the start. Since I'm writing this as I go... I'm still waiting for the bourbon to kick in. Right now, out of the bottle, this is comparable to Darkness off the tap... just not quite there.

People say this is a sipper... fuck that, I could pound this down. In fact, I'm doing my best to baby it since I only have this one... all thanks to someone's credit card declining. Thanks dude! You surely missed out on one of the best beers out there!

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Photo of ElGordo
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A highly anticipated release from an excellent Oregon brewery. My shop went through 30 cases in less than a week, if that's any measure. Presented in a 22oz bottle with a black wax seal.
Pours as dark as a black steer's tuckus on a moonless prairie night. Inky black body is topped by a good finger of deep, dark brown head. A very pretty beer. Aroma is heavy on the roasted malt, with complex notes of coffee, licorice, dark chocolate, and a good whiff of alcohol. Palate is ridiculously rich. A ton of roasted dark and chocolate malt is tempered by a flash of an almost milk chocolate sweetness up front. The full bitter roasty character emerges mid-palate, along with the presence of some fairly sharp bittering hops. Finish is more roasted malt with a bit of licorice. The mouthfeel is simply perfect - rich, creamy, and luxurious, like a less-sweet version of a Dove chocolate bar. For such a strong beer, the alcohol is hidden extremely well. Damn, I'm a fan of this beer. I guess I need to grab a few more bottles before it disappears for good.

 1,053 characters

Photo of Skull40
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

A - Black with very little head retention

S - Barrel char, licorice, chocolate, roasted malts

T - A full stout. Tastes included licorice, raisins, chocolate, alcohol, roasted malts, vanilla and char. None of the tastes were powerful or too overpowering of the others. They were all present and worked wonderfully in concert with one another.

M - Full and smooth, but not real thick.

O - This is a very nice beer. It tastes similar to some other great stouts that I've had with some age on them. I would love to try this one fresh sometime.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Brewforia. 12.99. Served in my $2 snifter from Goodwill. 2011 reserve. "Best after 8/4/12" but I just don't have that kind of patience to finally try this. 

Pours jet black with about 1 finger dense mocha head that quickly fades but leaves beautiful brown flecks of lacing. 

This smells outstanding! Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, oak, faint vanilla, some dark fruit and a hint of booze. This is one of those stouts that I can keep smelling and picking up different notes as it warms up. 

Wow. The taste delivers what the smell promised and then some. Bittersweet chocolate and burnt coffe flavors hit first while there's still a bit of a chill on the glass. Roasted malts, slight boubony booze and wood start creeping in. Molasses, leather, brown sugar and hints of vanilla all pop up to varying degrees as it heats up. Long bitter (semi hoppy) aftertaste with the 11% abv only sometimes peeking through the myriad flavors. 

A viscous thick mouthfeel without much carbonation at all. Leaves a slick coating on the tongue. This is almost exactly like an imperial stout should feel. 

I'm glad to have finally tried this legend. The Abyss has rightfully earned a place as one of the finest, most complex stouts that I've tried. I wish I'd bought more than 3, seeing as shipping was a killer. I look forward to trying those other 2 once that "best after" date has long past. 

 1,431 characters

Photo of UtisTheLaw
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of surly1987
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a truly amazing beer. i had the 2010 reserve the day we received it in mn and loved it. i grabbed a second bottle to mature for a few months and decided to pop it open on my girlfriends birthday. i had had an obsidian at my local watering hole prior just so i had a refernence of comparison...unintentioanlly another deschutes product. the abyss is next to perfect. the carbonation is magnificant. the aroma is so rich yet far from overwhelming. the taste boasts rich coffee...sugar...and molasses. poured into a pint glass it was dark, rich yet the head, though minimal, was ideal...a dark carmel lacing was left in color on the glass...perfect. A+/A beer.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A bomber of the 2010 vintage poured into a CBS Snifter.

A: Pitch-black with a quarter inch mocha head that dissipates quickly.

S: An aggressive sweet and oak-y scent rushes to the nose. Licorice helps drive the sweetness upfront, with more subtle roasty notes in the back alongside the oak. A little of the chocolate you'd expect from a big stout also.

T: A sweet stout, but not overwhelmingly so. The licorice is very noticeable, but I enjoy it here. Some roasted malts in the back, with a little sweet chocolate as well. The finish is of sweet malts and licorice. There is a small amount of oak underlying the stout that you can taste throughout. However, if I didn't know The Abyss was partly oak-aged, I don't think I would be able to pick it out. I think it would fade in to the sweetness.

M: Medium-light bodied with low carbonation. This is perfect--supremely drinkable.

O: This is a nice beer. It's a sweet one and the licorice plays a more central role than I expected, but it works. A great beer and one I look forward to having again in the future!

 1,064 characters

Photo of natemort13
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Reserve

Beautiful opaque black viscous pour yields a reasonable mocha head that dissipates into a splotchy puddle with a nice ring.

Nose is deep roasted malts with a hint of sweetness. Definitely get the molasses. Some brown sugar, a bit of leather, cappuccino, milk chocolate.

Taste is supremely roasted malts, black licorice, leather, tobacco, dark chocolate, dark cherry, espresso. Super complex. Layers and layers of flavors. Finish is quite dry and has me reaching for more.

Mouthfeel is excellent, velvety and full.

Overall this is an excellent imperial stout. Glad I got a second to cellar.

 608 characters

Photo of titosupertramp
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared 2011 Vintage with father-in-law on Christmas Day.

A: Dark as they come..completely opaque. Finger or so of frothy mocha head...lots of spotty lacing and thick film.

S: This has a pretty sweet smell. Chocolate, licorice, roasted malts. Hard to put my finger on it, but this has a very savory smell.

T: Not as sweet as the smell...more balanced. Nice roasted flavors with chocolate, licorice, light vanilla, oak...just a little bit of bite from the alcohol.

M: Incredibly thick, chewy and rich. Perfect.

O: This beer certainly deserves the hype and is nearly perfect. Having had the 09 and 10 vintages last week at a tasting, I'd say this falls between the two...2010 being the best. Excellent beer that I look forward to having again.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from russpowell via trade. Thanks for the opportunity. Black "wax" sealing material.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/8" dark brown head above the totally opaque dark brown/black brew. Head is quickly morphed in a swirly skim or small bubbles, with moderate amounts of leggy lace. Aroma is deep rich dark malts, chocolate and coffee, with vinous fruit character over lurking alcohol wisps. Taste mirrors, with the hearty malt sweetness allowing some fruitiness to peek through in the middle, and then alcohol just eases into play at the close. Mouthfeel is creamy and almost evaporates off the tongue in the back of the mouth, and drinkability is only slowed down by the glimpses of acrid coffee in the aftertaste. Looking forward to these with some age on them.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
4.48 out of 5 based on 7,102 ratings.
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