The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

7,087 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: 7,087 |  Reviews: 1,962
Photo of genitempo
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Cellared 2011. I had the 2011 Fresh and a 2010 Cellared 6-months.

A - Impressive bottling for an impressive recipe. Capped and waxed black, with trendy, yet elegant label design. (Not to forget the label paper used). Light not even attempt the slightest of penetration through this busty body. Unbelievable sap gold head with an outstanding density in lace.

S - Foremost, wood and wine hit the nose. As the beer thaws, molasses and roasted malts gain ground.

T - Just spectacular. Highly intricate and engineered to an art. The sugars are of wide-range, which pair nicely with that savory sylvan taste that remains steadfast. Resolves nicely, leaving an acrid finish, but in the best way possible. Spirits are merely accents to the true flavor.

MF - Soft, making its presence known. Nothing overbearing. Carbonation is permissible.

O - Best Imp Stout to date. A beer that should be enjoyed and discussed with fellow enthusiasts.

 937 characters

Photo of Rfunk
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just bought 2 of the 2012 reserve, decided to crack one for comparison.

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A- The beer poured with a very dark, blackish color and resulted in an initial 1/4 inch of mocha/coffee head that reduced to a very thin stout-like head. Lacing was thin and spotty.

S- The aroma was what got me. It started out with coffee, chocolate, and molasses, but was I the only one that picked up a hint of cherry at first? (Upon reading the bottle it all makes sense.)

T- Top notch. Roasty, full-bodied, with lots of chocolate/cocoa. A tad sweet, but I can't quite contribute that to the molasses. I don't get cherry or any other fruityness in the flavor. I also don't pick up any licorice. The vanilla and bourbon become apparent at the end of your sip.

MF- Very bubbly, thick and smooth. Leaves a nice little tingle on the tongue.

O- Loved it. The combination of the aromas and the taste seal the deal on this one. A must try! I will write another next year after I crack the bottle in my cellar.

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Photo of SourinQns
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of arash1000
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of ambruns1979
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of CJS
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A Very Dark, opaque, Sludgy, muddy, black waters. Cappuccino colored lacey head. Nice thick film coating on a glass swirl presenting a full body on this beer. Leaves a coating that stands.

S Intense with dark berries muddled in dark chocolate, licorice, various nuts. Slight boozy and woody aromas, piney florals.

T Coffee and dark chocolate first. figs and black currant. Woody presence. The Boozy smell is not too apparent. A variety of flavors that flow through this beer.

M Thick and nothing to complain about with the flavors that follow it.

O Very intense smelling and tasting beer. Would most likely taste a lot better with age. Has a tightness to it that needs to be smoothed out. But def a repeat. Nice big body stout indeed.

 739 characters

Photo of Hugonaut13
3/5  rDev -33%

Photo of stouts4me
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of harrymel
3.55/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2012, Best after 01NOV13

From the bottle: "brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels"

Near black ale with a sheet of tan foam that creeps up the sides. Smells of oak, too much oak, smoke, some licorice, some molasses and a bit of hops (never had this experience in this beer previously). A resiny, bitter character on the nose. Flavor is alcohol, oak, bitter, licorice, toasted malts. I really, really want this to be better, but this is simply the worst iteration I've had. Full bodied with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. I am concerned the prestigious heritage of this beer is faltering. While this is far from the best vintage, this is still a nice beer, and I'm happy to have a couple cases in the cellar, I probably wouldn't have done that had I known about the deviation.

Vintage 2011, Best by 04AUG12
4/4/4.5/4.5/4- 4.28 on 29NOV11
A: pours a dark, dark ale with nearly two fingers of really dark chocolate foam. This falls to a thick sheet of the same only dissipating once the beer sits for nearly an hour. Cobweb lace when foam present.
S: The bourbon barrel is present (surprising given the low percentage aged), some more oak, molasses, vanilla (subtle). The wood is quite strong when cold, as it warms the cocoa, coffee, molasses and bourbon come through much better.
T: The beer is roasted! Lots of toasty oats, oak, cocoa, bourbon, vanilla. Super refined tannins. Good bitterness to it. The vanilla is there alongside american oak. Black coffee and bittersweet chocolate.
M: Burly body with lower carb. Nice, long, sticky finish with semi dry resonance.
O: This beer is good, but I don't know how many I will be picking up this year for the cellar. I've found through some recent tastings, that I may prefer this beer fresh. All the better! Makes me long for it in the off-season!

 1,946 characters

Photo of Beerzort
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of giants24
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of HKUSPC40
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of 3146Tony
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Beerlover
3.64/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

2012 reserve ( probably the only one dumb and impatient enough to not wait for the "best after date" on the side of the bottle, but i do have a 2nd bottle, wish i had a third now thoe) also didn't realize it said best after november 1st 2013! i thought it said 2012, oh well im a huge fan of Deschutes and r.i.s. and this is the first time i got my hands on this - had to call 22 liquor stores and bottle shop to find this, thanks byerlys!

appearance is great, was expecting a little more thickness in the head but i did pour it rather slowly, has a great medium khaki brown color, 3/4 inch and creamy looking sitting atop some very enticingly black brew.

aromas: whats not to smell in this beer, roasted/burnt malt, strong black coffee, oakiness, some burnt sugars and light note of fruit, fruit aroma very faint, and booziness

taste: this is another beast of a beer, sip with caution, appreciation and respect! everything that you smell in the nose comes out in the taste of this one, lacking in molasses, its there but masked, i was really looking forward to the molasses in this one, also the vanilla is not there too much either. but very malty and oakey with fair undertones of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. This is one to try if you like the style and can find it, probably better to wait for the date on the bottle before drinking as well.

ROUND 2: Drank second 2012 bottle on April 20th 2014, having aged it for a year and a half. Overall: This is a good stout but in my opinion since having the first bottle I've tried many more r.i.s. that are much better, cheaper and much, much easier to find. this one is not worth the price and effort it takes to hunt it down, if you can find one randomly sitting on a shelf for around 15 bucks or cheaper and you've never had it, I'd say go for it just to have the experience but I wouldn't run through hoops to get this one again, nor would I recommend doing so.

 1,921 characters

Photo of claspada
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Bottle (2 of 2 I purchased 2 years ago; I had one last year around the same time and it wasn't infected then and this one also was not, count me in the small minority that got good bottles).

Pours a viscous nearly black color with a solid medium size bubbly mocha head that recedes to leave some spotty lacing on the glass.

Aromas begin with dark espresso, that transitions into a malty sweetness. Then you get some minimal sweet milk chocolate and larger quantity of dark chalky bakers chocolate. The oak, licorice and molasses are all subdued at this point but still emerge more and more as it warms but takes a backseat to the espresso and dark cocoa.

The tastes follow the nose to a tea which is equally as magnificent. Roasted coffee beans and dark liquid chocolate are the initial flavors. Then you get some hints of sweet vanilla and a little milk chocolate. No distinct oak, licorice or molasses flavors but I assume they are adding to the dryness and lingering bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is on the extremely heavy side of medium, not quite heavy with medium-low carbonation. Finish is roasty and dry yet not overwhelmingly so.

Overall this is a beer that is meant to age in my opinion. I have sampled freshed bottled that are too acrid, roasty and biting because of the licorice, dark roasted malts, oak, etc but really develops into a masterpiece after 3-4 years. They have that best after date for a reason on these bottles folks, you would think the brewery would know best...

 1,507 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
3.96/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After all the hype, wait and hunting, I finally found it and it was/is worth every bit of praise!
Served from deuce-deuce into snifter after having been in my backpack for 30 minutes, so was not frosty but not room temp either.
I can't add anything that hasn't been said already but for posterity sake, it's a deep dark IS that is rich and complex, loads of chocolate and coffee and was like heaven.
I essentially killed it on my own over an hour and a half (with the wife trying a few sips) and it got better with each passing minute as it warmed up.
By far the top 2 beers if ever had and probably #1.
Glad I stocked up while I could and have a supplier who can send to me from PDX, because this is amazing!

 711 characters

Photo of tuckerlikesbeer
4.75/5  rDev +6%

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

It’s easy to see why this stout is so highly regarded; it’s balanced, delicious, and extremely drinkable for such a massive style. The pour is black as night with a finger of tan head that has solid retention and lacing. The body is lovely, full, smooth, and creamy, with moderate carbonation, really just enough to give it some life but still retain its sticky full figured feel.

The nose greets you with prominent fudgy chocolate; bourbon and oak and roastiness follow; the flavor balances the fudginess with good whiskey character, moderate roast, molasses, mild anise; oak and a restrained but clearly present tannic aspect. Lots of sweetness; nicely chewy; alcohol present but not overwhelming.

This 2011 bottle was loaded with depth and well balanced and most importantly, tremendously tasty.

 805 characters

Photo of BTHU
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of nrs207
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version poured into a couple of Hill Farmstead glasses.

A - Thick, black, small tan head. Looks like a big stout, no complaints.

S - My least favorite part. I'm not a huge fan of licorice, and the licorice and other aromas just didn't play well for me. I was slightly let down until I tasted it.

T - The flavors really come together far better than the aroma. The molasses and licorice play off the roasted malt and some coffee and a mix between milk and dark chocolate. A light barrel note, but seeing that it's 33% barrel aged that makes sense. It really came together quite well, with no alcohol presence either.

M - As good as I could ask. Nice and velvety, smooth, full bodied. No alcohol presence. Great mouthfeel.

O - I'm glad I tried this with 2 years on it. I'm not sure how it is fresh, but 2 years definitely couldn't have hurt it. Unfortunately I only had one bottle I got recently.

 904 characters

Photo of todisht
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of BrassHandles
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of eagles22
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of IPA1978
4.03/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 release.
A. completely opaque, black and slightly thick. Carmel color head that disapates with good sticky lacing.

S. Smokey coffee, woody, sweet cocoa and toffee.

T. I cant believe this is 11% abv, the boozyness is hiden well amongst all these flavors, roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, figs or raisins, smokey, earthy woodiness, slight bourbon, sweet but ends with a bunt dry dark chocolate taste and feel. A bit allover the place.

M. Light carbonation, velvety, viscous. Coats you mouth in layers of flavor.

O. A good beer, get it while you can. I will cellar one and review again.

 593 characters

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
4.48 out of 5 based on 7,087 ratings.
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