The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss
7,310 Ratings
The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate.

As for the great “drink it now or let it age” debate, we stand clearly on the fence. Distinct and delicious on release, the flavors meld and fuse into an entirely different pleasure after a year or more in the cellar.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,310 |  Reviews: 2,016
Photo of Darwood77
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lebriarjr
4.26/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of schoolboy
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had two bottles of this, the other having been drunk quite a while back. This one is enjoy after 11.11.2015 ("2014 Reserve"). It seems like February 2018 is long enough to wait.

It pours black with a reasonable head and consistent bubbles. The aroma is complex to a fault - roasty malts plus all the amazing barrel agedness that is this brew. The taste follows suit with deep roasty taste plus all kinds of tasty boozy undertones. The actual alcohol taste is balanced with all the other barrel aging all nicely mellowed together. It's sweet but not at all overly so. Plenty of bitterness still shines through. It definitely aged very well.

Highly recommended. I need to find some more to set aside for the future.

 718 characters

Photo of JuiceMan818
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a 2012 reserve bottle. This was really different and refreshing - there was a lot of port barrel and raisin/rum notes that blended with sweetness, coffee, caramel notes. The smoky element was there in spades, but in a good way. Really nice.

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Photo of kinmundy77
4.79/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dschamp
4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AmishLightning
4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(2016 reserve bottle... poured into a snifter, refilled once)

L: impenetrably black liquid, 2-finger high dark tan messy froth of foam... the head eventually recedes, leaving a strange, webbed, honey comb pattern of bubbles crusted against to one side, climbing up into craggy lacing in spots

S: predominant dark chocolate note, with alternating aromas of toasted almond, espresso, vanilla, barrel char, prune, deep-toasted hard cookie... bold vinous/perfumy booze... smells of dessert and medication - one of the more booming bouquets

T: semi-sweet dark cocoa, espresso, ember-like burnt caramelized sugars; quasi-bitter-herbal, liqueur-like booze... heavy, palate-coating roasty malt flavors in the finish... charcoal, dark coffee, cocoa nibs most prominent in aftertaste, while the sweetness dries out much, in its place a lingering bitter dark grape skin essence hangs... nutty/woody flavors gradually creep up in the aftertaste

F: has a refined dry, hard fade in finish at start... but after the liquid sits in the glass/bottle, its satiny plushness, fleecy caress emerges and it flows like a creamy stout liqueur... it stuns and soothes best at mid-50s temps, or higher (glass still cool to touch)

O: the variety of ingredients, agings, and adjuncts look enticing on the label, but in the end it drinks like a clashing blend of barrel-aged stouts - sanded, leathery woods and interwoven layers of sanded-down roasted malts... its flavor intensity is more than enough to coax me into buying another several bottles - one of the more distinctive, enthralling American strong stouts, but not quite as nuanced as some European stouts using less additives

 1,661 characters

Photo of lr300
4.64/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of avalon07
3.82/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown / black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a 3/4", khaki brown, creamy, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: An overly subtle aroma of roasted malt, bourbon, dark fruit, and a burnt quality.

T: Tasted of a moderate amount of bourbon (and its accompanying oak barrel), some mild dark chocolate notes, lactose, a bit of the burnt quality, dark fruit (plums, raisins), a lot of roasted malt, and a tinge of coffee. An uneven flavor, to be sure. Some of the elements are omnipresent (the char), while others are barely there (the chocolate).

F: A solid amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Definitely an uneven beer. Like a lot of Deschutes' offerings, this one is overrated. Not that it's bad, just wildly uneven.

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Photo of Samdaddy
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CFCforlife
3.92/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of reachrocks
2.59/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had a 2013 sitting around waiting for the right time. Decided I was tired of waiting so I would celebrate our once-in-a-generation snow, ice and sleet.

You know that girl you've always wanted to date? You finally get the date and here comes the first kiss...and it's going to be awesome.

Well, that's what drinking this was like. The buildup was great, anticipation fantastic, the pour was excellent. Dark, nice aroma, crema colored head. Could. Not. Wait. To. Drink. And then I realized my awesome dreamgirl that I was kissing had just smoked a pack of cigs and I got to taste them all, too.

There were parts of the flavor that were fine (I guess, the memories are kinda hazy now) but the overwhelming flavor was burnt campfire wood. If this was aged in bourbon barrels then those barrels must have been set on fire on the inside, the charcoal scraped off, those charcoal filings left in the barrel and the beer poured in and aged.

All I can say is I'm glad I hadn't waited to share this with friends. Based on the reviews maybe I got a bad bottle, maybe I'm just overly sensitive to 'charcoal' flavors, maybe when I licked my fireplace clean that afternoon some of the taste stayed with me. Who knows?

Anyway, I would give this another shot because the other reviews are soooo good. But the next time it won't be on my dime.

 1,333 characters

Photo of GRap
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Lahey
3.07/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got this on tap. Was looking forward to roasty cacao and chocolate flavors. Didn't realize it was fruity, but it has dark fruit flavors. I won't say it's a bad beer, because it's not. It's just not my cup of tea. If I had to do it over, I'd still try it just to see.

 268 characters

Photo of cakutscher4
3.71/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


Wanted this to be amazing, but was rather disappointed. Taste was a little harsh, and I might attribute that to the partial aging in wine barrels (I'll stick to bourbon). I feel like this was the taste that hit me the most, rather than any of the other flavors listed. Not a terrible beer, but probably wouldn't buy again given the price. Still have two bottles that I'll let sit for a year or two to see if it mellows out.

 429 characters

Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of WKyle
3.37/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

i finally got a bottle of this one, 2017. The look and smell were spectacular, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, oak. The initial taste was similar to the nose, molasses, raisins, dark chocolate and coffee. The finish was where I began to have problems, it was extremely bitter, stronger than 100% cocoa. It kind of tasted like black walnuts. Everything else regarding this beer was spot on but the aftertaste resulted in me pouring this one out.

 446 characters

Photo of snakeayes11
3.59/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of g00ey
3.55/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 2017 version. The look and feel were right and the alcohol was imperceptible but, in my opinion, the taste was too bitter and little harsh. A little more time in the bottle might smooth it out.

 203 characters

Photo of Watkinsmike83
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of TCOlson
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IMZep
4.19/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 7,310 ratings