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The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss
7,159 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,159 |  Reviews: 1,974
Photo of beefsquatch
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of layinbrix
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of JohnG190
4.75/5  rDev +6%

2013. Pours pitch black with a thin brown head and decent lacing. Lots of chocolate and vanilla on the nose with notes of bourbon, oak, molasses and licorice. Like the aroma, chocolate and bourbon on the tongue with some roasted barley and licorice. Full bodied with very little carbonation. Finishes dry. A standout in the crowded BA Stout market!

 348 characters

Photo of PatB1987
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of loverofthecraft
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of TheBungyo
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's funny how little you hear of this beer. Usually with stouts this good the talk on this site is overwhelming. Not in this case. It's amusing because this is one of the few barrel aged beers that does it right in my opinion.

Body is like mud diluted with chocolate milk. Even the edges of the liquid are as black as a starless midnight. Head rises to a nice 1/2 inch of dark brown foam. It really looks fantastic. Lacing charts progress all the way down.

Nose is HUMONGOUS coffee with a spine of chocolate. There's the barest hint of vanilla in the nose but not so much as to give away the bourbon barrel aging to the unaware.

That same detraction is a plus as far as taste goes. Any bourbon barrel stout I've ever had has had far too much bourbon up front which obscures the stout flavors. Not here. The stout flavors rightfully take center stage whilst the bourbon flavors play the role of backup singers. And these singers are in perfect harmony. Up front is chocolate, coffee, molasses, and in the rear is a splash of bourbon, tying the flavors together like The Dude's rug did his living room. No one has ever done it this perfect before where barrel aging is concerned.

Mouth is rightfully creamy and full. I could drink a ton of this and would do so before ANY other barrel aged stout. No other barrel aged stout comes close. I'm sure a year from now once people catch on I'll get many requests for it. That seems to be the case with most Northwest brews!

 1,480 characters

Photo of rayjay
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe I've never reviewed this beer as it's one of my favorites. 2007 vintage, poured into a Deschutes stemmed snifter.

Great appearance with a solid 3 finger head from a vigorous pour, which is chocolate colored. Sticks to the glass.

Aroma of dusty baker's chocolate, dusty chocolate malt, and some isopropyl alcohol.

Rich flavors, more of the dusty chocolate. Firm but faded noble hop bitterness. Lots of maltose sweetness, finishing with an aromatic roasted bitterness like chocolately coffee. Some higher alcohols, a tiny bit hot, which I attribute to bourbon barrel aging.

Mouthfeel is creamy, sticky, and slightly chalky. It's nearly perfect for the style. Some of the smoothness of oatmeal and a bit of the drying tannins of the oak.

Drinkability is good for the style. It's a sipper that keeps you interested.

I admit I'm biased because I like the 2006 the best, and I didn't care for 07 or 08 nearly as much fresh. 07 has turned out to be much more to my liking, and it has a long way to go in the cellar before peaking. Cheers

 1,053 characters

Photo of BeanBone
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage Reviewed In Early 2011:

Appearance: A perfectly impenetrable black inky body capped by a finger of tan head that fades slowly and leaves patchy lacing. The name is appropriate.

Aroma: A potent mix of espresso, 80%+ cacao dark chocolate, deep-roasted malt, sweet tobacco, citrusy hops, buttery caramel, rooty licorice, bourbon, and potent alcohol. This is going to be awesome.

Flavor: Up front, a charred malt blast with lots of notes of smoke, dark chocolate, dark coffee, and licorice. Towards the ends, two different elements come in to supplement the malt: bourbon whiskey and buttery caramel. There's nice alcohol throughout, but it doesn't seem like double-digit potency, even when warm. There's a hell of a lot going on here, but everything is balanced perfectly and the whole adds up to much more than the individual parts. Citrusy hops, charred malt, and buttery caramel in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, sticky, and slick with silky-smooth medium-light carbonation. A hint of burn from the alcohol, but this feels like it has much less alcohol content than it actually does.

Drinkability: For a beer with this much intense flavor and alcohol, this drinks criminally fast. Does Deschutes have a pact with the devil?

Verdict: This is an amazing Imperial Stout fresh; perhaps the best I've ever had. It's packed full of flavor, character, and booze but is somehow remarkably easily drinkable. As amazing as this is now, I cannot wait to see how this evolves over the next few years.

 1,519 characters

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

This review is for a 2010 abyss which I aged at 50 degrees no fluctuation
poured from a 22oz bottle into a 3FFF glass
pour pretty dark very little head if any and no lacing
smell is damn right amazing this aged perfectly heavy chocolate, toffee
taste was upfront heavy chocolate and so smooth could drink this all day
on the back end i get some toffee and slight touch of anise but the chocolate is overwhelming
I definitely recommend putting some age on these in my opinion about 2-3 years in seem they are ripe and ready to go

 532 characters

Photo of HungarianCount
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the infamous 2009 batch.

Pours black with an awesome tan head with a beautiful cascade. This is an appropriately named beer. The Abyss, indeed.

Smells like licorice up front followed by smoke, bacon, oak, Bourbon, and some sweetness. I could curl up inside the empty bottle and take a nap.

Taste follows the nose. Licorice up front, smoke, oak, figs, and maple. This is one of the most complex beers I've ever had.

The feel is slightly lighter than I would like for the style. Still creamy, though.

This is an insanely drinkable beer. Lots of depth of flavor. I declare this bottle uninfected.

 603 characters

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2010 bottle shared with my fiance over dinner. Great bottle that pours black with a deep tan head and a bit of stickyness around the sides. I believe wine people call this legs. My nose detects smokeyness brought on by the molasses (I believe), licorics and anise, chocolate roasted notes, and a hint of vanilla and cherry. The flavor is in harmony between deep roasty flavors like chocolate, coffee, and toffee and popping flavors like anise, vanilla, oak and fruity and even some grapey tastes. Thick, luscious, and smooth mouthfeel. The alcohol content in this beer is well hidden, but even at that this is a beer to share.

 637 characters

Photo of PugsandBeer
4.04/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of astronautjones
4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Pitch black with a foamy medium brown ½" head. Great appearance.

Smell - Dark malt, licorice, dark chocolate, sweet molasses

Taste - Slightly sweet, big on dark chocolate, hint of bitterness at the end. Seems to be very complex, but my poor palate can only distinguish the broad flavors.

Feel - Thick, creamy, slightly carbonated.

Overall - Very good imperial stout

 379 characters

Photo of BrewerB
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW! travisd13 - Thank you sir for not 1 but 3 bottles of 2007 Abyss! Cheers, sir.

A - Poured into my New Belgium glass. Thick, frothy lacing left behind as this extremely dark brown, nearly black beer is swirled in my glass. Wonderful head retention for such a high ABV beer. Thin, light tan foam. Dangerous viscosity.

S - Very complex nose includes alcohol, plum, and sweet milk chocolate. Also present is a licorice aroma. Low hints of charcoal. Earthy. Slightly burnt.

T - More of the milk chocolate carrying through into the taste. Slight charcoal. Hop flavor is certainly present and in great balance. Hard to detect specific hops but the bitterness is rather high and in great proportion to the intense maltiness. There's this creamy taste, too. Burnt. Very dry finish. Toasty.

M - Silky smooth, very full bodied. Moderate level of carbonation borders on moderate low.

D - Taking time to enjoy this brew, the 11% certainly sneaks up on you. Deschutes has done a great job masking the force behind one hell of a malt backbone and a silky, creamy mouthfeel. For this style of beer, the drinkability is damn near perfect.

 1,135 characters

Photo of kk73
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Good after 11/1/13 bomber poured in to a snifter

A - nice dark midnight look with hints of brown; mocha looking 1/8th of an inch head; some bubbles and retention in there

S - chocolate covered cherries; oak char; burnt sugar; some dark grapes or grape juice; that molasses flavor

T - coffee; dark chocolate; subtle cherry; burnt oak; bitter hops; roasted caramel and chocolate malts; that grape/vinous flavor; nuanced vanilla

M - surprisingly really smooth; a little bitter with the coffee notes; heavy bodied but still smooth; pleasantly light carbonation

O - I realize I've opened this beer prematurely, but I'm sitting on half a case of 2012s and need to know what this beer drinks like; it's damn good, complex, sweet, bitter, roasty, all of the above wo being overly so in any vein; somehow it's really even-keeled given all the complexity. The oak-wine elements are perfectly sweet.

 895 characters

Photo of ac22rush
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Bjlynch83
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

2007 bottle, served in a big wine glass 59 F/ 15 C.

Completely black, thick dark tan head that stops shrinking at a quarter inch, finely textured sticky lace.

Robust smell of dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee, an impression of Oreo cookies, and milder notes of smooth molasses/ rum, purple grape, vanilla, and hints of citrus and floral hops. Cohesive and very nice.

The taste is even more powerful than the smell. Penetrating dark roast that builds in intensity, with citrus hop flavor and bitterness. Sweet caramelized sugar and toffee, well balanced by roast and hop bitterness. Like the smell, an impression of Oreos. Molasses and a bit of alcohol suggest rum. Very long finish mainly of bittersweet dark coffee.

Smooth and silky, with some slick oiliness. Quite drinkable.

Great beer, I enjoyed this.

 815 characters

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

22oz bottle poured into tulip. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours as black as night in a cave. Beautiful inkiness to it that just seems different than any other beer. Half finger mocha brown head, similar hued lacing

S - Incredible smell. An assault that included perfectly roasted chocolate and coffee, an oaky vanilla, molasses, black licorice. Couldn't pick up anise but did pick up some old pipe tobacco.

M - Silky smooth, creamy and heavy as hell. A slight touch of heat from the bourbon but very minor.

D - The quintessential sipper. Absolutely perfectly balanced and a gem.

 574 characters

Photo of cofeeguru
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of SteveTheBrit
4/5  rDev -10.7%

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 7,159 ratings
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