The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

7,111 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: 7,111 |  Reviews: 1,968
Photo of monty79_1997
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DoctorEvil65
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Deschutes Brewery "The Abyss"
22 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "BOTTLED ON: 12/08/16" and sampled on 05/23/17
$21.99 @ Weis Market #231, Conshohocken, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's been quite a while since I first tasted The Abyss on tap at Toronado in San Diego back in September of 2008. I recall that I've had one bottle since, and unfortunately that review seems to have been lost, but the price has definitely kept me away. Well, that and the fact that I haven't seen it on tap, although I'm sure that would be really expensive as well. And looking at it in that way, maybe buying a full bottle just for myself is a better idea: it's just a dollar an ounce versus probably more at a bar, or not (?), but I can enjoy it peacefully and without interruption, comfortably in my own home for as long as I like ~ or as long as it lasts! I should also note that for my area the price that I got was good, I've seen it for $4 to $6 more at the specialty bottle shops. I'm looking at the label now and it lists quite a bit of ingredients and barrel aging, which I'm not sure existed in 2008. I don't know, I'm not sure, but I thought it was a little more straightforward back then. Anyway, it's completely opaque black in the glass beneath a short head of densely creamy brown froth. It appears to have excellent head retention but I'll check back in on that. The aroma expresses cocoa powder, caramel, coffee, and a soft ashen roastiness. The flavor is much fuller, adding in notes of red berries, red wine, earth & leaves, licorice, burnt sugar, and baker's chocolate. I can see from the few sips I've taken that it leaves some impressive lacing, and the head is still there, but thinner. Ah, there are some hops in the burp! They don't quite come through clearly in the mouth as they've got to fight through the dark malt. With another sip, as it warms and the head dwindles, I find Bourbon and oak, and a bit of moist chocolate cake in the aroma. Is that the vanilla coming through? As it opens up the flavor widens even further as well, showing notes of cherry, black currant, and molasses, and a heavier roastiness with a bit of dark malt acidity. There's a little bit of alcohol in play, although it's pretty clear in the finish, and along with a solid bitterness and oaky dryness it's really bone dry at the end. I can't tell if I like that or not, I mean it's not really sweet up front to begin with. Hmmm... the berry notes do linger nicely though. I wonder how much the wine barrels add to that. I still have a solid surface covering on it, which is pretty amazing. The label lists it at 11.1% ABV but I guess there's enough malt that it's holding up. It's not that carbonated. I guess it was a little higher at first, it's warmed a bit by now, but it's smooth with just a gently tingle across the palate. Medium-full in body I'd say, oily, and it airs up a bit to become fluffy as it warms on the tongue. So is it worth it? Well this last time around I decided to splurge and I also bought a bottle of Boulevard Rye on Rye Sazerac for $15 and a bottle of Brooklyn Cloaking Device for $23.99, so it's in-between the cost of those, and it's pretty good. It's better than a lot of other Imperial stouts, including some of my favorites, so I guess the answer is yes. Ahh haa, as an aside I've just remembered a good little laugh about my first encounter with The Abyss. While I was in Toronado a group of guys in suits came in to visit, and one of the older guys came over to me and asked what I was drinking, and what I'd had on tap that I'd recommend. I was drinking a Ballast Point beer at the moment which I told him was OK, but that I'd recommend the Abyss. That was, of course, not the response he was hoping for as he was the head guy from PALM at the moment, visiting the U.S. because they'd just released it on draft. He told me I had to try the Rodenbach and bought one for me, although I told him that I'd already had it, that I was a big fan, and even more fond of the Alexander which they didn't make anymore to which he responded "Oh, yes, the Alexander, everyone keeps asking for us to bring that back." At that point I told him that I would like to try the PALM but I guess it's one free beer per customer, and he shook my hand and gave me his card and told me to try it and he and his buddies walked out (they'd probably already settles up). Still, my most memorable moment of the day (apart from seeing Nick Cave around the corner as he was playing later that night) was the Abyss.

 4,515 characters

Photo of David55555
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of hopsonhopsonhops
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Academymike
3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Tbulling
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of dannkarlson
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

650ml bottle poured into a snifter. This one is 2015 vintage, drank May-2017.

Murky black in color with pretty thick dark tan head as an inviting showcase, the head retains itself with good retention before gradually collapsing to a long-lasting bubble sheet on the surface and leaving lots lacing patch and spot on the glass-side.

The aroma is infused with mellow yet aggressive barrel-aged Imperial Stout character. It harmoniously discloses the notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted, dark bread, dough, and charred nut as a typical Stout aroma. There comes closely thereafter the depth of the other characters like molasses, licorice, vanilla, cherry, oaky, winy, woody, spicy alcohol, grape, and fruity zest.

It is nearly flawless through the palate sensation. Kicking off with fruity, grape-ish and winy notes, then comes the rich malty goodness of coffee, chocolate, roasted, dark bread, dough, and charred nut just exactly like the aroma. The addition of molasses, licorice, cherry, and vanilla making it more complex and tasty together with notes of barrel aging of spicy alcohol, woody, oaky, and winy taste, the end and aftertaste is lasting with roasted and BA character.

Full body with some bold touch and creamy smooth mouthfeel through the palate, the feeling is just right with suitable amount of crispness and moderate carbonation to carry all the things well. Finish is pleasantly dry.

“The Abyss”, it is big and bold yet hefty and intense. Anyway, it is also delicate yet very tasty through its sheer complexity but pretty easy to enjoy with and excellent for sipping. Everything is very well harmonized and categorized. It is truly a masterpiece.

 1,672 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Gingerbread is the start and as it warms up it gives way to a hint of black licorice and oak. It finishes on the back of your palette with a dark chocolate covered cherry exploding in your mouth. Delicious

 205 characters

Photo of Budlum
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jonnydrinker
4.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of Keffa
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mrosenfeld32
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tvenne
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Scooter131313
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This review is for the 2015 bottling of Deschutes Brewery The Abyss an American Double / Imperial Stout

It features a very robust ABV of 12.20% and a nicely balanced 65 IBU.

It's got a long head on the pour, a bit bitter on the first sip, but after letting it sit a few minutes it mellowed a bit with a rich mouthful of licorice, scotch, with a hint of dark chocolate followed by a long finish.

 397 characters

Photo of Thecalmdrinker
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mamaraza
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Gajo74
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Purchased a 22oz bottle from Tavour. I waited a long time to crack this baby open. Finally found a friend willing to share. Totally worth the wait!
Poured onto the glass I loved what I saw. Pours a viscous dark brown that looks jet black in the glass. A fantastic creamy foam mocha head rises up invitingly, it's enticing and a predictor of the richness in aroma and flavor that is to follow.
In the nose there is chocolate fudge sweetness. It is redolent of a rich and decadent dessert. Playing a supporting role is an aroma of roasted malt, coffee, oak and dark fruit, of which cherries will figure prominently in moments to come.
In the mouth there is just so much going on, it is that complex; even more so than the aroma. I'll start straight away with the mouthfeel, body and drinkability. It is fluffy, velvety, creamy and smooth. It fills the mouth like soft clouds, floating and weightless. Yet, the dichotomy of this is that the body is full, robust and sipper despite the fact that it's drinkability is dangerously high. Does this thing even have alcohol? I didn't notice it until 3/4 of the way through. Whoa!!
But this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how dynamic and complex this brew is. At the beginning, the elixir coats the mouth with rich chocolate fudge, dark caramel and creamy sweetness; a true dessert treat. Yet, there is so much more to it. The roasted malts and espresso tones add support. However, where this stout truly becomes special is with the woody, oak like, earthy, tree bark tones which add a nice bitterness. In addition, there is a moderate but bold serving of grassy hops that compliments things and adds a lingering aftertaste. The cherry on top-so to speak- is that the bark comes from a cherry tree; very apropos because there is a slight cherry tartness that that adds a light counterpoint to the full bodied chocolate darkness. Notes of licorice are present, as well as a bourbon, which incidentally sneaks up on you.
Wow! I feel that as I gain more experience in reviewing beer, I tend to be more critical and shed the superlatives of my earlier reviews. Yet, this might quite possibly be the best imperial stout I have ever had!

 2,187 characters

Photo of sd123
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of osubeav2003
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Luckydog91
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For a shelf beer, I'm impressed! Interesting mix of toast, wood bark, anise, red wine, and oak. Suppose I could use a bit more sweetness, but who couldn't, these days?!

 168 characters

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
4.48 out of 5 based on 7,111 ratings.
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