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The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

1,887 Reviews
The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

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 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,887 | Ratings: 6,725
Photo of BenwayPHD
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a thick, mocha colored head. The nose is mild yet complex. Dried figs, currents, raisens, roasted coffee, booze, molasses. The flavor is very nice. Smokey, bitter, slightly hot from the booze. It really lacks in mouthfeel though, and that hurts the rating.

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Photo of Kraj30
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 drafts of 2015.. in the keg this didnt need to age.. pours a nice almost black with deep khaki.. nice nose... once it warms bourbon smell is even better... wow what a beer.. it was awesome having 3 at time.. but not next day.. awesome BBA stout

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Photo of Viaduck
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Reserve, 12.2%, with a best after 12/08/16 (I couldn't wait). Pours dark, very dark, almost black with head the color of chocolate & aroma of chocolate, alcohol, vanilla & malt & a hint of cherries. Chocolate is the dominant note with molasses & licorice & a lovely variety of flavors & finishes off with the 12.2 which initially was well hidden.an excellent brew!

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Photo of jphipps83
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 reserve into a snifter.

A - pitch black, thin dark brown head. Beautiful pour. S - complex. Bourbon, chocolate, oats. T - what I expected from the smell. Very full, not overpowering, very balanced to have such a high ABV. You know you're drinking booze, but it is so well done, you could be in trouble! M - warm, light carbonation.

Just an all-round fantastic beer. Worth the price tag, and I am looking forward to Dec of 2016 to age my second bottle to see how it develops.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014. Black gold. Such a wonderfully layered stout, with each advertised component coming through perfectly. Molasses then licorice hit first followed by cherry bark, oak, and wine. Smooth and no harshness despite its strength. Another outstanding offer from Deschutes. Cheers!

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, 11.1 abv.

Pours dark opaque as expected, with a couple fingers of mocha head. Impressive look with lively carb.

Smell: Roasted malt, red wine, graham cracker, bitter chocolate, subtle vanilla, coffee, dark fruit. Interesting and quite complex, nothing stands out immensely over the other elements.

Taste: Dark fruit with chocolate and wine up front leads into subtle vanilla and graham cracker. The finish is slightly dry from all of those barrels, with chocolate, dark fruit and red wine lingering until it rolls off of the tongue. There is a subtle bourbon undertone in the finish as well...but just a hint. Upon the first few sips, you may think that this is just a so-so beer, but once you dig in and realize the complexity that endures from the nose to the palate, it really impresses. A lot of different elements are so well integrated and nothing stands out to overpower the other...it's like drinking a fucking symphony. You can perhaps chalk it up to the aging in my case, but if you drank this blind you would never guess it was 11+%. Smoooth.

Mouthfeel: Velvety, full bodied, coats the tongue aggressively but doesn't render itself too viscous to impede you from drinking more than a sample. On the medium side of heavy, but so smooth.

Overall: Color me impressed. The red wine barrel and vanilla really integrate well with the roasted malt and chocolate elements of this. To a casual drinker, this may seem like a meh brew, but once you dig in and let it open up, you really discover what a well balanced masterpiece/classic this is.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged and poured in a Firestone Walker Proprietor's Series glass.

The beer pours a very nice looking light brown cocoa color that dissipates a bit more quickly than I would like but lingers around the inside of the glass. The beer itself is an opaque dark chocolate black with a slightly oily texture. It's a very good looking beer and imperial stout when compared to other stouts since it seems to have a slight wine texture due to the alcohol.

The smell is very good. There are good strong dark chocolate notes with nice barrel notes that complement the chocolate very well. The barrel consist of bourbon, the oak, and a light vanilla note. The vanilla tends to waft underneath the entire aroma and ameliorates the wood notes a bit while the bourbon adds a nice something extra to the chocolate notes. There is also a bit of a strong wine note in the smell. The wine note has a nice berry smell and a bit of an alcohol note that you normally find in an inexpensive pinot noir. It isn't mind blowing but it certainly adds something to the aroma quite a bit.

The taste is phenomenal. The taste is in many ways much better than smell and more complex without overburdening the drinker. The taste has a very strong chocolate note that forms the center of the experience with the other notes complementing it very well. The barrel notes are not as strong as they are in the smell but they add nice bit of sweetness and wood bitterness to the chocolate that is great. The Pinot Noir notes are much more subtle but give it a slight berry note with a perfect light amount of tannin to the taste. Overall, a great taste that has come as a result of all the different notes coming to work together.

The feel is very good. It's a heavy bodied beer with some light carbonation that adds a bit of texture to it. However, the more interesting thing to note is how smooth the beer is. Apparently, the aging process has given it a wine like smoothness that is fantastic and makes it easier to drink than it ought to be.

Overall, a fantastic beer and one that will probably only get better with age when properly stored. If you can get one, go for it; especially if it's been properly aged.

Aged 2014 Vintage (2 years. Great Divide Barrel Aged Spieglau glass)
Same as the above but with a much lighter wood note and more prominent red wine note. The wine is definitely much more prominent than in a fresh bottle. The chocolate notes are even with the red and compliment very well; it's almost like eating dark chocolate immediately followed up by some red wine. The aging has definitely tamed this beer to be a lot more drinkable and confirms my theory that Deschutes beers need to be aged for quite a while.

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

On tap, pours jet black with a bit of dark brown head. Smell and taste both have tons of coffee, with other dark fruit/chocolate more in the background. Not getting much in the way of barrel. Feel is medium, which feels almost a little thin for the style. Still, a little bit of thick stickiness in the finish. Enough carbonation to give it a creamy feel. A really solid imperial stout.

Updated with a 2015 bottle, consumed before its time in May 2016 (bottle says best after 12/16). I liked the fresh beer I had on tap, but some age in the bottle really helps the complexity. Initial smell is more chocolate and vanilla, along with toffee, dark cherries and dark roasted coffee. Taste follows, with a coffee finish that's got a decent bitterness. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, though alcohol legs coat the glass. Feel is thicker than what I had on tap, and appropriate to the style. Great stuff.

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Photo of Mikeybricks
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First Official Review on here and figured not why not with a top 50 beer!

Glass ware: Snifter
Serving Temperature: Approximately 50-55 degrees

Blackstrap molasses in color as it pours. Little to no head as it settles. Jet black in appearance.

Light in smell aroma is smells slight of liquorice and vanilla

Upfront and in your face with each sip. Can maybe taste the oak wine barrels in the at the end?
Alcohol tasteis noticeable but very smooth. Carbonation gives very pleasant refreshing feeling after each sip

Definitely a chomper, but bitterness fads dramatically and lingers on the tong. Slick feel on the mouth

Would definitely recommend for a stout lover or fan. First time having this beer, was bought as a gift for me. I'm definitely gonna have to search for one to age a year as recommended on the bottle. I drank this one fresh. This one says best after 12/0816. So would be a great Christmas-eve or day beer.

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Photo of BarrelAgedForrest
4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

I am not really feeling the need to write up a full on review of this one as many have already said it before. This is the 2015 release. It was great but to early in my opinion to have drank it. I bribed the SO with allowing me to spend extra money on it this week if we could drink it. It was really really enjoyable, however I would like to see how it ages. Got a 4.5 in my book right now. A lot of spicey earthiness while also being sweet and fruity. I liked the balance but I want to see how it evolves.

O: Get one. Better yet get 2.

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

Very solid beer from start to finish. I stocked my fridge with as many as I could find. Very dark and super smooth. The flavor is amazing and it definitely lives up to the hype

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Photo of KillerJigger
3.71/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Was dissapointed in this one. Basically it seemed a bit thin and watered down. Lacking the flavor im used to in a big beer. Unless it was a bad bottle i will not revisit this again.

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Photo of wdberkley
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 Vintage, couldn't wait, had to give it a go.
Pours jet black, skinny dark brown head, light carbonation. Huge chocolate, malt, coffee, vanilla, and booze on the nose. Slight hint of licorice. Flavor profile follows suit, with barrel characteristics coming through. This is a heavy, viscous beer that's meant to be savored. Absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black color, with a small light brown (hell, I'd almost say orange) head. Few visible signs of carbonation, besides the occasional minimal rising bubble. The clear black color makes my glass look like a mirror when looking at it. When I hold the glass up and look straight at it, it looks identical to the way my computer screen looks when I've turned my computer off at night. It almost feels like it has no appearance at all, and that the innards of my essence is being reflected by a beer glass.

Smells of licorice, roasted coffee beans, wine, chocolate. Overall, a very full aroma.

The taste is definitely heavy on the roasted flavor, the coffee and chocolate complements each other nicely as neither dominates. I get quite a bit of plum, licorice, and notes of vanilla as well. This beer really does have a fascinating contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla, and the bitterness from the smoked flavor and licorice. Very rich flavor, with a large degree of nuance. Mouthfeel is full and satisfying.

I really really liked this beer, but I might have fallen in love with its appearance. This is a perfect looking beer, which makes the fact that it only tastes like a pretty damn good beer slightly disappointing. In either case, this is a very good stout.

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

2011 version, chocolate, oak, and vanilla. It is very dry, maybe due to the wine barrels. The mouthfeel is a little thin. First version of this i have tried and would like to see how the others stack up to this.

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Photo of gandres
4.96/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

From tap growler to wine glass
Appearance: very dark- almost pitch black but not when held against the light in a wine glass
Aroma: aroma oof Chocolate
Taste : Excellent
Mouth feel : Creamy
Overrall: excellent beer, one of the best, (i reallyy prefer stouts and porters

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured rich dark black with one inch tan head that had excellent retention and lacing. Scent was chocolate, roasted malt, dried fruit/raisin, with slight wine and oak... no bourbon notes. Flavor was heavily roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate, raisins, heavy on the oak and subtle wine. I didn't notice any bourbon heat. Personally, I didn't like how the wine added to the flavor and felt it could have benefitted from deeper bourbon notes. Overrall, incredibly complex and unique beer! 2015 version.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: almost black, just hints of brown as it pours from the bottle. Beautiful. Medium brown head, coarse lacing, decent persistence. Would rate higher if lacing were finer.

Smell: Malt, licorice, plum (?). Mild. Fine. Expected deeper smell after seeing the dense dark color.

Taste: malt, licorice, molasses. Sweet and bitter simultaneously. Holy crap, this is dense, intense stuff. Demands your full attention.

Feel: Rather rich, corresponding to the deep color and taste.

Overall: Nice, well integrated finish. Long, licorice. Moderately intense.

This is a really nice beer - more for a special occasion, the flavor is unusual - wouldn't fit in my regular rotation - but really nice.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Oh man... outstanding beer!

2014 reserve served on 2015 new years eve.

22 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Smells awesome... dark roasted caramel malts, chocolate, coffee and bourbon.

Taste... well, like an imperial stout should along with a bourbon explosion. This is without a doubt the strongest tasting bourbon aged beer I've had (and I've had about 30 variations of them).

If you don't like bourbon, you wont like this beer.

Fantastic beer, just a little expensive.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.26/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great stuff from Deschutes, but do they make anything not good?

Everything you want from a BBA Imperial Stout. Good coffee and chocolate notes complimented by a good amount of bourbon flavor.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Clear plastic juice glass
From: Barons Market in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $16.99
Purchased: Jan. 7, 2015
Consumed: Dec. 31, 2015
Misc.: Best after Nov. 11, 2015; 2014 vintage

Poured a pitch black color with two fingers of fizzy tan head. Below average spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Below average retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled boozy chocolate, roasted toffee, dark caramel, oaky vanilla, dark fruits, mainly purple grape, plum and black raspberry, dark wet cocoa, molasses, wintry spices, light licorice and faint roasty malts. (Smell - 4.50)

First taste reminded me of a slightly stronger Obsidian Stout or Black Butte Porter. Got roasted dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, dark fruits - black raspberry and purple grape - molasses, smoky fire, char wood, oaky vanilla and licorice. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

This was a very good imperial stout, but not as good as I hoped. Can’t get over how close it is to Obsidian Stout and Black Butter Porter. Would have it again though, but not for $16.99. (Overall - 4.25)

4.32 | 96 | A

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

Pours a dark black/brown color with a big thick brown head that lasted for quits a bit. The smell is sweet, chocolate, red wine, some vanilla. Taste is of baking chocolate, red wine, sort of a charred wood hint to it. Thick and chewy, this is a big stout. Loved this beer. Vintage 2014. Would like to try an older one to compare.

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Photo of Premo88
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz. bomber poured into "stout glass"
(2014 Reserve -- best after 11/10/15 printed on bottle, 11.1% ABV)

L: motor oil out of the bottle, very dark and thick, hard to tell if it's clear ... might be deepest darkest brown up to light; pushes up short head, only 1/2-inch tall, but super thick and super sticky, nice tan/light brown color; only a tiny bit of lacing, keeps a thin collar of brown foam

S: juicy dark fruits and red wine ... fruitcake ... some cherry ... a little oak wood, but the sweetness is supreme here, big vanilla really controlling the scene now with the dark fruits/red wine/cherry branching off that vanilla ... either I'm off or that's some of the sweetest oak you'll ever smell, almost like cedar, just flowery as can be ... wow ... suddenly all the bourbon hits, very sweet like a chocolate/vanilla swirl milkshake topped with bourbon

T: chocolate ... lots of chocolate with a burnt bitter finish, like chewing on roasted coffee beans; yes, very bitter, some licorice, lots of burnt wood, burnt oak, burnt hops (?) ... but with the big sweet taste of chocolate, the flavor is balancing well; some red wine/cherry/fruity flavor enveloped in the darker flavors; as it warms, the bitterness is subsiding and letting more sweetness in, even some of that vanilla that's in the aroma

F: relatively light for such a big brew, but it's well carbonated and filling ... perhaps a perfect midweight

O: a more bitter barrel-aged stout than many I've tried, but it's not to the detriment of anything ... there's a great chocolate backbone of flavor from which springs some fruity flavors (dark fruits and red wine), some of that bitterness and a bit of coffee/espresso to mix for a very pleasant sipper; the bourbon aroma is subtle, bourbon flavor even more so, but the way it mixes in with all that sweetness is nice.

without question a beer I will revisit ... maybe even another of these 2014 Reserves.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fin black. Thin tan head. Dark malt, chocolate. Hoppy imperial stout. Chocolate coming through. Boozy. Molasses. I likey. Mouthfeel thick and creamy.

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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

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,887 ratings.
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