The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

BA SCORE
99
world-class
1,934 Reviews
The AbyssThe Abyss
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
deschutesbrewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,934
Ratings:
6,945
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
9.6%
 
 
Wants:
2,940
Gots:
3,832
For Trade:
334
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,934 | Ratings: 6,945
Photo of socon67
4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had a 2013 and 2014 vintage side by side. Both had a roasted malt flavor with a slick, rich body. The 2014 packed a bit more heat. I suspect another year would also mellow it. Just the standard-bearer for imp stouts for many years. A great beer.

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Photo of Riff
4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a thick, jet black color with about a finger of tan head. Smells of cherries, malts, molasses, hints of bourbon, oak, and a little red wine. Tastes follow with the nose primarily, certainly takes a little warming up to draw them out. Comes out to a complex brew, sweeter cherry and molasses flavors, oak, and a little red wine flavor towards the end. Dry finish and tends to linger a little on the tongue. This is an interesting brew, one that I find isn't quite for idlying drinking but more for sitting and enjoying, perhaps with a friend or two, but with a little more focus on the beer. Tasty, good stuff that holds up well to some more recent stouts.

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Photo of GreasyBuddha
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter and said "Oooouuhh, that's pretty"

Appearance: Dark with no light penetration, head is slightly red with a nice mingling lace.

Smell: Coco, toffee, cookie, vanilla.

Taste: Just like my all time favorite Collage 2, Deschutes nailed it! Every aspect of a good imperial is there so I won't get into that too much. Wine at the tip of the tounge. Pruney, dried rasins and cherries. Vanilla and toffee. Very smokey.

Texture: Slick and chewy. Lingers quite a bit.

Seems like Oregon is on top of the stout game. You Oregonians make me feel all warm n fuzzy inside hahaha. Deschutes, you folks haven't failed me. Cheers!

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours solid black with a rich leathery head and sticky lacing. Get very nice notes of oak, licorice, malt, smoke, and char. The taste is very very very good, this is just a sweet beer. The taste of the oak and blended barrels is so nice, I am getting a very full bodied stout but its not overwhelming at all. Tastes of malty smoke, whiskey/wine, licorice, and some dark chocolate. This beer is so nice, it evolves with each sip, I have to let it warm to see what flavors come from room temps. Very happy with this beer, just a great stout and what a beer should be.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.12/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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, and light cocoa.

Feel is roasty too, very dry.

Overall just way too metallic and one noted with the roast. No bueno.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 Reserve - bottle dated 12/08/16 into pint glass. Pours an inky, oily black with a very thin medium-brown head. Initial impression is dark chocolate, roasted malts, charred oak, molasses, dark fruits - and that was just the first sip! Mouthfeel is thick and smooth; carbonation is on the light side. The 11.1% ABV is quite well hidden. Finish is smooth and just slightly bitter. Things get even better as it warms.
I had no idea what to expect from this beer. I tried the Abyss Brandy Barrel Aged a couple of days ago and found it quite good, but Reserve is outstanding - a notch above. Very enjoyable. Good winter evening sipper, especially with a roaring fire in the fireplace.
I was only able to get a single bottle of Abyss - I wish I had a couple more to cellar.

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Photo of laketang
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 1 pint 6 oz bottle
dated 12-09-16

pours black and thick, dark tan head
good lacing as I consume
dark fruit and vanilla notes
gingersnap candy and licorice along
with chocolate notes
thick mouth coating
no noticeable alcohol
some tartness in finish

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Photo of Strawman286
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016, Pours black. It smells complex - blackstrap molasses, licorice, coffee, dried fruit. The flavor is just about perfect, the various components combining so that nothing stands out but it all works together. Not too heavy either. Very smooth and creamy.
When I tasted the 2015 a year ago, I thought "This is Stout perfection". I expected to be disappointed this time around but I was not. It is still Stout perfection.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a month past the Best After date. Thick, dark brown pour with decent head that lasts a bit.

Cold, the nose is sweet, malty, chocolatey, a hint of licorice. As it warms, the various oaky characters come out more, though distinguishing between the regular oak, wine oak, and bourbon oak is beyond me. Bourbon stands out the most, and I'm really not getting any wine.

Taste is much the same. A bit sweet with the malts and molasses. Oaky flavor and tannic body shine though, again, as it warms to room temperature. Slightly bitter finish resembles roasted malts and ashy oak.

In a world full of big, barrel-aged imperial stouts, I'm not sure this adds anything new. I'm excited to try the different variants that came out to compare them, but I won't bother seeking this out again if there are other similar options available. There's so many different elements and ingredients in here, but most of them don't allow themselves to be detected in any meaningful way. Molasses? Barely. Vanilla? Not really. Cherry bark? With 3 different kinds of oak in here, it's hard to believe there was even a point. Overall, well made, but over-engineered.

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Photo of Hiram_McDaniels
4.81/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged bottled poured to snifter. Great smell of the various family of barrels that contributed to it. Perfect dark roast notes as expected from a good stout.

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Photo of McBraniel
3.25/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2016 edition.
Look: Sure, it's dark, but it's not literally abyssal. It looks like every other high-end imperial stout.
Smell: Those oak barrels. And the pinot. No bourbon.
Taste: Everything in the nose repeats itself on the palate.
Feel: Nothing noteworthy. Wish it were thicker.
Overall: If you like oak, you may like this beer. Tastes like an experiment gone awry ($16.99 should be better than this). 22 ounces of disappointment poured into a tulip glass.

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Photo of philbe311
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A very special brew for my 1500th review... On my 40th Birthday...

L - Slightly more than two fingers worth of tightly packed dark brown froth with a few medium sized bubbles mixed in... A slow but actively receding lop sided head that leaves bits of whipped lacing clinging to the sides of the glass... Over very solid and respectable retention... Once receded, there is a lopsided veil of lacing and thin to moderate collar... The Abyss is a very proper names in terms of color as this one is black ink through and through, perhaps with some aubergine notes when back lit... Sheets of lacing cling to the glass after each and every sip... World class appearance...

S - A big robust nose with lots to take in upon first whiff... The first thing to really cut through is the black strap molasses which is sweet and inviting... Next come a mix of sweet milk chocolate and brownie batter... Hints of soy sauce and licorice are next... These all sit atop vinous wine and oaky notes... Dark fruits... Jelly beans... Some faint roasted malts as well... A complex nose with oodles of depth and character... Exceptional...

T - The palate is ever bit as interesting as the aroma would suggest... All of the expected stout characters are present... Dark chocolate... Molasses... Soy sauce... Licorice... Brownie batter... Picking notes of the virgin oak... The tannin notes from the wine barrels really sines through on the finish and adds a ton of depth and richness... Never detected much of the bourbon barrels, but that's okay... This one a marvelous as is...

F - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth... Slightly seek... Starts lush... Slightly chewy... Finishes with a surprising dryness... A bit of a roll coaster ride that takes several sips to get accustomed to.. Overall each sip is an experience... The words I'm left with after several sips is delicate and charming... Again, world class...

O - Oh boy, this one was worth the close the decade wait... I finally acquire this one (2014 reserve) and have let it sit for a few years... Truly exceptional and world class in all facets... This one is worth all of the hype and then some... I'm forever fascinated by Deschutes "big beers," all of which live up to and exceed expectations...

With that I bid beer reviewing farewell... I may add scores from time to time, but my life as a detailed reviewer is coming to a close... Cheers to everyone and I'm glad I went out in style with this one... Remember - Great minds drink alike...

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Photo of Just-the-sip
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L= Oil black. You can't see through it hence the name. Yeah, I'm a nerd like that and held it to a light. Slight cappuccino head but dissolved pretty quickly.

S= All my fav things. Bit of coffee, chocolate, licorice, maple, molasses. I just love smelling this beer. Quite the aroma and gets better if it starts to room temp.

T= Paird this with a pork chop marinated with a pear balsamic and side of sautéed asparagus. I highly suggest! Definitely brought out all the flavor of this beer. Easy to drink with a meal and not filling as you would think. The beer gets better as you let it warm up. Not sure if I'd drink it without being in the fridge but definitely gets more full as it sets out.

F= Not thick and full as you'd might expect. Very drinkable. I'd prefer it just a little more syrupy if I were to use it as a dessert beer which it very well could be if it felt more filling.

Overall= Can't get enough of it honestly. I stumbled upon it in my own. 2015 bottle. My local place had about 6 of them left over...so I bought them all without hesitation. A little pricey considering Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is stronger and a few fillers cheaper but this fills the void of not being able to get that beer as often as I could when I lived in Chicago. Definitely on my look out list for next year! Well done Deschutes!

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Photo of Jboardwine
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I waied over a year to drink & it delivered. I was able to sense most flavors from beginning to end. While not exactly my cup of tea I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage, best after 12/8/16 - Pours black as a starless night - pitch black. World class head volume, retention and lacing. For a barrel aged beer, the head characteristics are uber world class.

World class complex nose of chocolate, light char, molasses, dark fruit (plum, raisin, currant), anise and hints of vanilla. Bourbon is present but not overwhelming nor subtle - just the right balance to influence.

Heavy medium body that is smooth but falls just short of creamy, which is not surprising for 12.2% ABV. Carbonation is light yet yields a nice somewhat prickly finish. Carbonation / body balance is outstanding, considering barrel aging.

The flavor profile is world class but many flavors are not as pronounced as in the nose. It begins with a notes of roast and char which flow into a nice oak accent coupled with anise. The middle is where this beer hits its stride. A rich semi-sweet burst of dark chocolate yields to molasses producing a sweet base. Over the base, dark fruit emerges (mostly plum and currant) that slowly allows light vanilla notes to surface. Once the vanilla arrives, a bit of astringent alcohol becomes uncovered along with a bit of heat. Surprisingly, sweet chocolate takes center stage as the alcoholic burn intensifies and flows through the finish. I strongly suggest that you step into The Abyss - often!

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Photo of DallasK
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled December 2016. Been wanting to try this for awhile. Pitch black with a dark tan head that quickly fades to wispy ring. Smells of strong bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and cherries. Wow, thats smooth. Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, long coffee and vanilla finish. Wine barrel flavors come into play in the aftertaste as well. Where did the abv go? Silky mouthfeel with little to no carbonation. Amazing beer.

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Photo of makromaniak
4.61/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

bottle 2013---very roasted malty, licorice, molassessoy, sweet bourbon, wood, chocolate, and a dash of dark fruit and vanilla leading to a very dry long lasting coffee and hoppy finish. Very smooth...very nice.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.88/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage. "Best after 11/11/15"; drank 3/27/16 @ the Yarchives.

Midnight black appearance.

A violent pour yielded a huge dark khaki head; a thick curtain of lace.

Black licorice, fresh earth & plum notes in the nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Black licorice & plum flavors up front; fresh earth & a faint metallic note on the finish. Bitter bakers chocolate notes emerged as this warmed. Punishing & not very rewarding. Tread lighly.

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.61/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A wax-sealed bottle of 2015 Reserve. Bottle states "Best after 12/8/16" so we waited a month to make sure. Ink - black, thIck, viscous pour with light head and lacing. Upon pouring, aroma of the blackstrap molasses comes right across the table. Taste is rich and complex. The bitterness unique to the blackstrap comes out right in front of the roasted malts and then the brewer's licorice finish. How they apportion such strongly flavored ingredients, I have no clue...but Deschutes seems to have mastered the art. Sip it slowly and enjoy the experience.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage
22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black in color with a dark brown creamy head that has good retention before settling into a ring

S- aroma opens with dark chocolate and espresso, followed by toasted dark bread, sweet molasses, licorice & caramel. Barrel notes bring some earthy wood with an emphasis on the red wine barrel, that adds elements of dark berries and vinous red wine. Char and raisin close it out

T- opens up with charred roasted malt, along with chocolate and a bit of espresso, followed by notes of dark cherry, licorice & molasses. Woody oak, followed by some vinous dark grape notes. Finishes with dark fruit and charred malt

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that turns into a silky smooth finish, abv hidden well

O- most of the elements are identifiable throughout, but I can't help but think that this one may actually improve with age. Will revisit in a year or so

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Photo of patre_tim
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Looks pitch black with 2 fingers of deep, rich milk chocolate head. The head is 2 toned with milk chocolate, and a cappuccino foam swirled in.

Smells of vanilla, dark chocolate, hints of black liquorice and molasses. Notes of pipe tobacco smokiness, tar, and bourbon barrels as well. Chocolatey and sweet, smells delicious.

On the tongue, Big vanilla beans, bourbon barrels, dark chocolate, caramel, sweet like chocolate milk, absolutely delicious.

Feels thick but foamy, like hot chocolate with whipped cream.

This was the 2015 release, drank on January 6th, 2016. I got it online, drinking it in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Awesome brew. Couldn't find in while in the US, so I was stoked to find it in Asia. Amazingly thick, dense feel, with super taste and smell.

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Photo of tigg924
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Whale caught. Best after 12-8-16. Pours opaque, dark black in color, with 1/4 inch head. Taste is so multi-layered char, dark cherry, currant, baker's chocolate, black licorice, and plenty of oak. Full bodied, nice combination of roastiness, char, and oaky sweetness, with medium low carbonation. About as complex an American stout as I have had. Just a beautiful and delicious beer.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 reserve bottle. Extreme dark brown pour. Sitting in my glass it looks like chocolate cake with mocha frosting. Aroma can be smelled across the room. Burnt brown sugars and cocoa. Taste is the same. An exceptional dark sweetened cocoa bar. Black licorice root and toasted vanilla bean. Burnt sugars and a roasty grain and malt. Medium body and sugars lay tacky on the lips. Only drawback for me is that it's more bitter than I care for but overall a notch above the norm.

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Photo of rypkr
3.81/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2015 bomber. Best AFTER date is 12-8-16. Guess I'm about a week early Deschutes.

A - poured into a snifter. Thin, jet black, coca-cola looking. Little head. Very thick however on the side of the glass with very dispersed lacing. It clings to the side of the snifter like wet paint and just doesn't all run back down. It looks very sticky.

S - burnt sugar and molasses. Dark fruit and cherries. Smoke of burnt wet wood. Sweet cream/vanilla. Red wine. Minimal alcohol.

T - Wow. Incredible amount going on. I honestly can't even describe it after the first sip it's so complex. It tasted charred, but not burnt. Tons of light roast malt and chocolate flavor. Mild fruitiness. Faint vanilla and oak. The flavors are extremely strong and I'm finding my palate overcome between sips and it hard to recognize new flavors. If it has a flaw it's for being overly roasty and hard to discern the many other nuances underneath the charred flavor.

M - Great here. Not the fudgiest BA beer I've had but it's definitely not thin. Very creamy and chewy. Definitely filling. Overall far above average mouthfeel.

O - Very impressed. $22/bomber impressed I'm not sure. I'd probably buy one a year at that cost but if it were in the $15 range I'd scoop it up without hesitation.

Edit - dropped taste and overall from 4.5 to 4.25 due to the beer becoming overwhelming with roast flavor and less enjoyable towards the finish. A 12oz would have been perfect but a bomber of this is difficult and nothing but burnt sugar and char after a while. I honestly considered drain pouring at 60% and drinking something else instead but the cost of the bottle has me sticking it out.

Edit. Tried one fresher on 2-12-17 (bottled December 2016). I don't get it. I really hate this. It's overwhelmingly burnt and charred. Dropped taste and overall to 3.5 from 4.25 each.

I'll try this one more time, but that won't be until I cellar one for 3+ years to hopefully mute some of this bitter roast and maybe I'll understand the regard for this beer.

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Photo of fireazzi
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 2015 Abyss. Dark black look to this one. Charred bourbon and oak come off strong. Almost a licorice taste to it for me. Very strong but not as boozy as I thought it would be.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
4.48 out of 5 based on 6,945 ratings.
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