The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

The AbyssThe Abyss
BA SCORE
96.4%
Liked This Beer
4.48 w/ 7,127 ratings
The AbyssThe Abyss
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
deschutesbrewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#127
Reviews:
1,969
Ratings:
7,127
Liked:
6,870
Avg:
4.48/5
pDev:
9.38%
Alströms:
4.13
 
 
Wants:
2,960
Gots:
3,902
Trade:
331
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,127 |  Reviews: 1,969
Photo of BlindPig
4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- About a 1/4" mocha head on a black body. Thin lacing that just doesn't cover the whole top.
S- Some really big coffee notes. Light roasted malts also come through. Very faint dry hop aroma in there too. The malts come off a bit dry in the aroma.
T- Really big coffee malt flavor. Some roasted malt comes through also. Leaves a pretty dry taste in the mouth. Also a nice size bitterness but not sure if it is a bitterness from the malts or from hops. Can't really taste any hops in it. Maybe a tad bit of some dry grass hops. Some light oak mixed in it too. Nothing that comes off big at all.
M- Medium to full body (more on full side) with low carbonation and kind of oily.
D- It is good. There is to much coffee malts in this for me. I prefer it with more chocolate and roasted malts. Is pretty tasty though.

 816 characters

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

Appearance: Deep brown, no light gets through at all, foamy coffee ice-cream colored head dissipates into a thin lacing with inviting bubbles.

Smell: Rich coffee, roasted malt sweetness, anise, a hint of bourbon alcohol, hops I can't detect in the smell.

Taste: Complex, a hint of citrus rind upfront, then a big round coffee and roasted malt flavor, an espresso acidity throughout, then a huge dose of aromatic hops in then nose, alcohol is not especially present in the flavor, dry in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and full bodied, near perfection for this style, lightly carbonated and easy to drink.

Drinkability: Well at 11% ABV, you must be cautious, but for this style it's very well crafted and drinkable, very complex, flavorful, and actually clean in the finish. Thumbs up.

 800 characters

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

Dense blackness, dark as you get...huge head, burnt tan, slowly crumbling, leaving lace...

Roasty, toasty aroma, chocolate and espresso, yes, and more...carob and raisins, dark rum, and molasses...ah! Dark and lovely!

Whoa! Once in the mouth, it's a delivery of rich, thick, deliciousness....whiskey-toned, a bit, mixed with dark chocolate...indulgent, decadent...full, but surprisingly smooth. Velvety...someone should paint a portrait of Elvis on this. Here comes the whiskey kick again...here comes the blackstrap...

I'm only halfway through the bottle, and I'm feeling mighty satisfied.
Do I wish I'd saved it for friends? Maybe, but I'm too content to worry about them now.

As the great Maple Syrup (David Cross on "Mr. Show") would say" "it's wonderfulrissimal!"

 782 characters

Photo of flexabull
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First off, many thanks to msbulldog25 & bm0095, two great Pacific NW BA's that each sent me a bottle of this. One for now... one for later...

Beer pours black as can be, it has a very nice tan head, that receded, but kept a decent size. Looks like stout should.

Aromas are intense and awesome. I can smell this one from several inches away from my nose. Smells are of dark roasted malts, coffee, and very dark chocolate.

Tastes are very full and rich. There is a touch of anise on the front, coffee, and some dark sugary sweetness. The finish ends nicely with a slight bitter chocolate flavor, some hoppiness, and a bit of an alcohol burn. The bitterness and the alcohol tastes aren't overwhelming, but they both really help balance this out. This is quite complex.

Mouthfeel on this is incredible. It is full bodied, thick, and incredibly well rounded.

Wow... drinkability? Heck yeah, it's a huge beer, but it's so interesting, and enjoyable, that I could drink this again with no problem.

Deschutes is an excellent brewery. And after tasting this one... easily one of the best when it comes to stouts.

 1,122 characters

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

22 oz Bomber. Tres Fancy. The aroma is rich roasted malt and chocolate with licorice, cocoa and a faintly dusty earhty aroma that could be oak. Decent smelling, but not mind blowing. The body is a stygian black that absorbs light and easily supports a two finger thick head that is both frothy and creamy looking and that doesn’t yield ground very redily, staying erect and ready long after my normal 5 minute sniffing routine.

Flavor is somewhat low key with licorice, molasses, coffee, chocolate, fudge and piney hops making a massive play at subtlety, but not offering anything mega-fantastic as far as flavor concetration. It has a creamy chocolatepudding flavor/feel to it that is very enticing and lets you forget shortcomings. There is also a spicy note in the far finish that I assume is the oak. Other than that, and a mild dusty, earthy, woody feel also in the aftertaste, the oak is reserved. Overall It’s a hard beer not to like, but it isn’t too hard not to love.

 982 characters

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

22 oz. Bottle pored into a pint glass.

A: Black as the darkest night. A huge three fingered cinnamon brown head ever so slowly breaks down into a fluffy mountain range of bubbles. Lacing looks like squid tenticles crawling all over the glass.

S: Roasted coffee. Bitter cocoa. Dark fruit. Faint smoke and oak barrel. Warm bourbon.

T: Very complex. A deep roasted coffee is followed by dark bitter chocolate. A slight pine hop bite tingles the tongue. Thick malts, black strap molasses and licorice are followed by dark fruit and the ever so slight taste of smoke. Vanilla flavored bourbon barrel in the nose with a warming alcohol sensation.

M: Vicous and thick. Creamy smooth. Minimal carbonation. Dry earthy finish.

D:An incredible elixir. A very complex and deep brew that balances each flavor perfectly. The high ABV limits the amount per serving but the beer is delicious. I can't help but wonder what a year of aging would do for this brew. Highly recommended!

 980 characters

Photo of sponberg
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beast to open and gave me a cut under my fingernail in the process. Bastard. Worth the effort though - the usual opaque/brown head, with a really great aroma - roasty, slightly vanilla-bourbony, whiffs of coffeelike alcohol and toastiness.

This is such a cool-ass beer - initial roastiness, like heavily roasted coffee and dark, 75% plus cocoa, that opens up into a toffeeish, bourbony maltiness. THIS is how you use a bourbon barrel - no overly-vanilla-ish dominance, but a complimentary flavor to the other maltiness going on. There's a faint hop bitterness, but this beer's not about the hops. The finish just rules - roastiness, with hints of toffee, bourbon, whiffs of alcohol... beautiful. Great mouthfeel - chewy as hell. Could have several, fall down, go boom, be happy.

Many thanks to Duckboy for the bottle!!! :thumbup: :banned:

 854 characters

Photo of unklesyd
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After hearing the hype and waiting, I've got the opportunity to crack open this beverege. The wax seal takes a while to get undone. Kudos for intangible points: anticipation should be a variable in reviews... this one scores a 5.

Nice viscous pour with a thick, oily presence, dark tan head of slight stature. The weight of the beer in rolling it around the chalice presents well.

A slight bitter chocolate back in the nose, again present in the aftertaste. Very mild coffee undertones with some rum notes. Sweet and inviting.

Flavors are well balanced. The bitterness presents no hop characeristics, but rather shows its sweet side. I would describe it as cloying but for the speed of its release, as if a good whisky hotness had evaporated the aromas and esters as quickly.

Great brew and a great nightcap. Who is partying with this all night long? I'll be there with wax on my teeth!

 901 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mega beer karma out to thebungyo for sending this beer my way. This beer was ever so lightly chilled before serving. The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The body of the beer was blacker than black. I may have indeed stumbled into the abyss. The head was a short lived one and a half finger high with a burnt tan coloration. The head was quickly swallowed by the abyss and resolved into a ring of foam. The sides of my glass looked like an oil slick had run down my glass.

Smell: This beer is deeply roasted, toasted and chared espresso and dark semi sweet cocoa. The supporting aromas of anise, molasses, smoke, vanilla and bourbon waft about my glass.

Taste: This is a dam near perfect RIS. The beer is loaded up with roasted, toasted and chared flavors of espresso, dark malts, bakers chocolate, anise, molasses, a nipe of smoke, vanilla and a bourbonesque alcohol spiceyness. In short this beer is kick ass!

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is full bodied. The beers flavors are loaded with roasted, toasted and chared flavors. The flavor of the beer is long lasting. I found it very distressing how fast this beer disappeared from my glass. Must have more!

 1,201 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Batch sampled 1 Feb 08

A: 4.5 great lacing & head retention
S: 4.0
T: 4.5
MF:4.5
D: 5.0

Main Differences from last year's: Less Alcohol heat, but not enough to bump up my taste score. No discernible smokeyness this year. I also get some vanilla hints this year. Slightly better than last year. Still not cracking my top 5 for this style

06 Version:

Pours purplish/black with 3 fingers+ of rocky mocha colored head. Good lacing & fair head retention when you consider the style

S: Smokey malt (bacon & ham) up front. Coffee comes through as this warms

T: Smokey malt, chocolate, licorice & a little coffee up front. Coffee, warming alcohol, burned grain & molasses sink in as this works. Finishes dry, with coffee & baker's chocolate, plus a little alcohol burn & more than a hint of smokeyness.

MF: Rich, chewy & not much carbonation

Drinks okay, but alcohol burn & heft also make this a nightcap or fire side sipper. This one would pair well with some hunks of red meat & or chocolate. This a keeper for deschutes, more next year please!

 1,053 characters

Photo of sman262
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, one of the best stouts next to the dark lord and Kentucky Breakfast. Thanks to Matthew and msubulldog25 for each providing me with this exceptional brew.

A: Pitch black with a 2cm reddish auburn head that fades to the edges

S: Roasted barley and malt are dominated here with the wisp of cask.

T: Nice hoppy backbone with the perfect presence of alcohol, lingering after taste of the cask that holds for a good 30 seconds.

M: Very strong and robust, fills the corners of the mouth with the balanced flavor thanks to the cask of this brew.

D: Oh man this bottle is all mine and I am going to love every drop.

Great brew, so glad i got three of them lol.

 676 characters

Photo of Andbrew
3.67/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I will preface this by saying that without noticing the print on the label I picked this beer up on a recommendation from my cellarman. As a result I didn't notice the mention of licorice in the beer. Had I known this I would not have bought it as I despise licorice.

The Abyss poured a deathly black syrup with the darkest head I have seen in quite some time - a rich mahogany brown - which recedes quickly. Sticky sweet aroma of light hop, maple, molasses and roasted woods. Syrupy cannot be emphasized enough. The brew stuck to the side of the glass like molasses and coats your mouth accordingly.

Virtually no carbonation to this one, on first sip I didn't taste much at all and was pleasantly surprised at the mild almost dry flavor to the beer, yet it still had the dark feel and slight bitterness to it. A few more sips and more flavors came out, a woodsy taste and roasted flavor. Some flavor hit me right in the back of the soft palate and into my nose, making it tingle slightly, but it was indescribable.

Then, like a hammer blow to the face, it was licorice to overtake the finish. With each warming sip the licorice took over and enveloped the taste. The more you thought you were tasting it the stronger it got.

This beer is devastatingly complex with rich tones and more subtlety than a dark British comedy. Almost too much for my admittedly novice palate, however my aversion to licorice is profound and would not allow me to continue to drink this brew. Regardless, this is one of the better brews I have tasted in terms of brewing prowess and depth, so if you like or can handle the licorice flavor I suggest it highly.

 1,651 characters

Photo of unclejedi
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from my first Liquid Solutions order, this was well worth the wait and uncertainty, I feel lucky to have scored it this way!

Poured into a snifter, thick and black as night with a beautiful beige brown head that remains just long enough, leaving a sturdy beige ring and lacing around the glass. Smell is mocha, molasses and a hit of licorice.

Taste is just about perfect. I love bourbon barrel aged beers, even when they beat you over the head with the bourbon. But when they are balanced and only hint at the bourbon like this, I can't imagine they can get any better. The only other barrel aged beer I've had that does this so well is the Goose Island Imperial Brown. This seems to have every flavor that an imperial stout should, and they all take turns with my taste buds.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet but not syrupy, and the alcohol is well hidden, very little burn.

I could drink this all night, or at least til it put me out.

 954 characters

Photo of mcallister
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Midnight with a creamy and thick dark chocolate mocha head. Good retention and sticky lacing make there way down the glass.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love BA beers. There is a problem with many of them in the fact that the brewers over due the bourbon or oak aging and it overpowers the flavors of the beer itself. Just like wine it is meant to accent and add different characteristics than take the lead in flavor. (Okay off my rant). One smell of this brew and you can tell it is nearly a perfect length of barrel aging. Roasty chocolate aomas, with vanilla and black currant esters. Mollasses as well as the slightest bit of prune, are accented by the subtle oak aromas that seem to be nice and toasty.

This beer is big with anise in the mouth. Very roasty and a long finish that is very tannic and chewy. Dark chocolate very bitter, with vanilla bean, and mollasses. Smokey, toasty oak with very little sign of bourbon. Nicely balanced and largely complex. I think I would have rated a little higher if it weren't bone dry.

Mouth is dry, thick and chewy. Nice burn in the chest.

 1,107 characters

Photo of loren01
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark black color, tan/black head (don't think I've ever seen a head this dark), good lacing down the glass
S: Chocolate, alcohol and molasses
T: Chocolatey, molasses, slight licorace flavor as well. Very complex taste.
M: Full bodied, thick creamy and rich, goes down very easily
D: I think I have a new favorite beer from Deschutes, this beer is awesome.

 371 characters

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

Ummmm...pours jet black with a tan head that lasts forever leaving a very sticky lacing for the entire drink.
Totally chocolate and coffee in the aromas with a rough tobacco odor which comes from the dark molasses. Sweet and delicious.
Flavors are totally chocolate, molasses (or tobacco) and coffees with some woodiness from the oak.
There is nothing to hide in this one.
Lucious....period.

 391 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this 22 oz. bottle, with it's rust-colored label and black wax seal, to a snifter. Took it from my cellar, then chilled in the fridge for about a half hour, so I'd estimate about 55F was the temperature at serving. Polished off the bottle over the course of 1 1/2 - 2 hours, so it was given plenty of time to warm and develop.

A: Pours like oil, a deep charcoal brown, almost impenetrable; amber and ruby at the fringes. Initially there's a creamy tan head, about the color of crushed black pepper. After the head subsides, flecks of lace are scattered above a thin film. When swirled, the color changes from brown to a rich, ruddy maroon and that creamy mocha head returns for an encore.

S: Lots of chocolate, coffee and smoky oak intermingled with the sweetness of molasses, syrup, raisins, cherries and vanilla. Each time the glass is agitated, those delicious smells come wafting up from the glass. Mmmmm....

T: The darkest and finest of bitter chocolate melded with a spicy roasted coffee. Oak barrel flavor with hints of vanilla permeates, warm and slightly boozy. There's also a sugary syrup melded with a tangy, smoky, almost leathery essence, like a slowly smoked brisket.

M: Thick, full mouthfeel. Huge body with a lingering bittersweet aftertaste - lasting 15+ minutes after the last sip. 11% alcohol is well concealed and balance is superb. Smooth from start to finish.

D: The ultimate sipper and a wonderfully crafted beer. Rich deep character & fine balance - definitely in the top echelon I've beers I've enjoyed. I recently had a pint on-tap at Concordia Ale House and found the tastes to be similar, though the chocolate/coffee character seemed more prevalent in the kegged version, while the tannic oak barrel/vanilla qualities were more forward in the bottled version. Either way, this beer comes very highly recommended - thanks to Deschutes for brewing this fine stout!

 1,913 characters

Photo of johnbonham1980
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This stuff is amazing. I've always liked Deschutes products and I think they're very quickly getting better. Recent discoveries are the Hop Trip and Cinder Cone Red, both exceptional. The Red gives Rogue's Red a run for its money and may even be better. There are obviously a lot of people who care a lot about beer at Deschutes.

22 oz. bottle, wax sealed... great simple design on the label. Warmed up a bit while I was getting all the wax off... definitely improves as it warms and flavors open up.

Poured into a pint glass with a nice dark head which laaasts, and is actually pleasant to drink on its own. Very creamy, leaves significant lacing.

Flavors seem to change a little as you drink it. Initially I noticed a ton of chocolate with a bit of coffee and a very nice hop bitterness, grassy in character. As it warmed up and after the first glass, the licorice started to come out a bit more. The oak/bourbon barrel aging is noticeable as well which surprises me a little considering how much is going on here. Great balance.

Awesome drinkability if a tad thinner than I'd expect, especially considering the alcohol. I could easily get into a ton of trouble with this one if someone else was doing the pouring...

I'll be buying several bottles of this next time I go beer shopping, I do believe. Bravo to Deschutes.

 1,336 characters

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

22 oz bottle, allowed to warm for 1/2 hour from refrigerator.
Nifty wax sealed cap, indicates a candidate for some serious aging which I think this beer deserves.
Nose of cocoa, alcohol, roasted malt, slightly pungent.
Pours nearly black, subdued head, chocolate mlk colored head.
And finally the taste--chocolate, coffee, vanilla, yet dry with a slight bite of the oak. The thousand ways an imperial stout can err avoided. Astounding mouthfeel, the alcohol subdued in the mouth but warms the belly.
Astonishing. The sum is greater than the parts and this beer must be experienced. Bravo to Deschutes.
By the bottom of the bottle I am perfect.
Buy it now, it's an instant classic.

 688 characters

Photo of Svejk
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I dreaded drinking this beer. I had been to multiple stores just to find it, and I had a feeling there was no way it would live up to my expectations. I also had a fear that if it was great, I wouldn't be able to find another bottle. To make matters worse, my wife and I had friends visiting from the East coast, and the idea came to us that it would be great to try this beer that was so hard to find. I could just see the four of us sitting around sipping snifters of "the pride of the NW" that tasted like skunky motor oil.

I popped the cap - actually, I broke the cap. That wax probably helps with long term storage, but it doesn't make opening any easier. I poured four samples (not equal samples, but samples nonetheless) and passed them around.

I took a sniff, and my first fears of a skunkfest were laid to rest. I took a sip and was amazed at not only the depth of flavor, but the mouthfeel. It was silky smooth. I knew that it was aged in bourbon barrels and was 11% ABV, so I expected a much harsher experience. This beer was absolutely delicious. Even my wife who is much more of an IPA drinker finished her sample.

I'm horrible at describing flavors, so I won't even try. I will say this - sometimes stouts have a harsh burnt/roasted flavor, this beer doesn't have that. It has a balance of sweetness, bitterness and "roastiness" that makes you want to lick your glass when you're done.

My quest now continues for another bottle.

 1,456 characters

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 leedorham
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I served this beer at just below room-temp on the suggestion of the guy who sold it to me. It comes in a bomber with a brown label and a black-wax-dipped cap.

The second I popped the top of I could smell roasted, chocolaty, malty, hoppyness. Strong chocolaty character and good hop aroma. Strong head. After the pour it looked like there was a butterscotch milkshake sitting on top of a snifter of coffee. Head dissipates slowly.

The taste is very much of roasted malts and hop flavor. I think the hop bitterness combined with the molasses flavors is what is giving the impression of unsweetened chocolate. There is a slight spiciness and a some vanilla in the background. Each sip seems to be a journey of flavors.

The alcohol is very much in the background of flavors. The beer warms the belly less than I would expect for 11%. This is another fine offering from one of my favorite breweries. I find myself sipping in moderation to stretch the duration of the flavor experience.

 990 characters

Photo of ElGordo
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A highly anticipated release from an excellent Oregon brewery. My shop went through 30 cases in less than a week, if that's any measure. Presented in a 22oz bottle with a black wax seal.
Pours as dark as a black steer's tuckus on a moonless prairie night. Inky black body is topped by a good finger of deep, dark brown head. A very pretty beer. Aroma is heavy on the roasted malt, with complex notes of coffee, licorice, dark chocolate, and a good whiff of alcohol. Palate is ridiculously rich. A ton of roasted dark and chocolate malt is tempered by a flash of an almost milk chocolate sweetness up front. The full bitter roasty character emerges mid-palate, along with the presence of some fairly sharp bittering hops. Finish is more roasted malt with a bit of licorice. The mouthfeel is simply perfect - rich, creamy, and luxurious, like a less-sweet version of a Dove chocolate bar. For such a strong beer, the alcohol is hidden extremely well. Damn, I'm a fan of this beer. I guess I need to grab a few more bottles before it disappears for good.

 1,053 characters

Photo of inflatablechair
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is beautiful -- agressive pour in a tall glass yields an espresso crema-colored head that expands fairly quickly to the top of the glass, then settles into a slow descent, ending up hovering about an 1/8th inch above the Abyss.

Smells of coffee and chocolate, as well as some hops -- everything you would expect from a strong stout.

Taste is intensely bitter and intensely sweet. To carelessly combine those two tastes into one compound word can only result in understatement. There's also some very subtle oakiness; maybe I'm just imagining it because I read the label, though.

Mouthfeel combines with the taste to fool you into thinking you are drinking the darkest-chocolate milkshake in existence. Very smooth, but not without carbonation, which is a good thing.

This beer is so rich, I don't think i can finish another one, but I'm going to try. I should probably try another Bell's Expedition Stout before saying this, but what the hell -- this is the best imperial stout I've ever had.

 1,008 characters

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

I am incredibly impressed by this lovely brew. 22oz wax topped bottle. Pours with a fluffy tan head that falls back into the black goodness below. Smells throw out the typical stout roasts and coffee as well as the obvious bourbon nose. For an imperial stout that's been hanging in barrels this one is easy to drink.

I can't help but wonder how this will taste in 6+ months. This is one for aging and enjoying in sips.

 420 characters

The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 96.4% out of 100 with 7,127 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.