The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

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The AbyssThe Abyss
BA SCORE
4.47/5
Outstanding
7,271 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:
#137
Reviews:
2,005
Ratings:
7,271
pDev:
9.4%
Bros Score:
4.13
 
 
Wants:
2,959
Gots:
3,943
Trade:
331
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,271 |  Reviews: 2,005
Photo of Kegatron
4.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber from the 2007 release. Split with fellow BA HopDerek. Thanks Derek!

This guy lives up to his moniker right off the bat, pouring an absolutely impenetrable pitch black. Probably the darkest Stout I've ever seen and I've seen em' pretty darn dark. The finger width of head is a nice crispy burnt dark tan color that beckons you to dive in and see how far down this Abyss goes. It retains into a beautiful full, creamy layer that leaves just thick swathes of lace down the glass. It's just a handsome looking beer and one that I could gaze into for hours on end. The aroma is a little more subdued than I would have originally thought. First notes are of sweet chocolate, espresso, some dark acrid fruit sourness, and roasted malts which are then followed by some of the barrel character, vanilla and a slight oakiness. There's a lot going on but that big bouquet just isn't quite there though.

The taste is full of big burnt bold flavors. Rich notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses sweetness, burnt dark fruits, licorice, charred roasted malt, some vanilla notes. I love the dry, lingering combo of burnt and hop bitterness and the overall way all that dark, roasted character is magnificently balanced by various notes of sweetness. The mouthfeel has a full and creamy feel that slides across the palette and down the throat. And that 11% ABV is so very, very well hidden. I think that any kind of alcohol presence just kind of retreats in the face of this guy's flavor profile.

This is a fantastic RIS, in its own way, and I'm glad that I've got a few extra bottles of this, as I'm sure it will age beautifully. Full, rich flavors and a fairly easy drinkibility for a beer its size, guarantees that this will be one Abyss you'll want to fall into again and again.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hello new favorite beer! (Well maybe not favorite... but it's in the conversation.)

Pitch black, like an abyss! Upon pour, there's a light tan head that disappears almost immediately.

The smell is roasted chocolate and a tinge of coffee. Not at all overpowering. In fact, I'm a little disappointed by that. OK, I'm over it now because...

It tastes really damn good. Chocolate, creamy goodness at the start. Since I'm writing this as I go... I'm still waiting for the bourbon to kick in. Right now, out of the bottle, this is comparable to Darkness off the tap... just not quite there.

People say this is a sipper... fuck that, I could pound this down. In fact, I'm doing my best to baby it since I only have this one... all thanks to someone's credit card declining. Thanks dude! You surely missed out on one of the best beers out there!

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Photo of scottoale
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at O'Brien's on tap, served in pint glasses. Ultra dark brown with a tint of red when light penetrated this thick ass brew. Light brown head of 1/2" that settled to a ring and left a bit of lace clinging to the glass. A fine looking Imperial Stout!

The smell is sweet with rich dark fruit, molassas, licorice, some roasty notes followed by an everlasting alcoholic fume. The nose became much more apparent as the chill wore off.

The larger than life flavor is full and rich, very sweet but never cloying. Very complex with licorice, plum, molassas, some chocolate and coffee with a very pronounced alcoholic punch, and a tasty one at that. Big and bold, this is a huge stout.

Smooth, syrupy mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. Dangerously drinkable if you like a big RIS...top notch stuff on tap, I'd like taste the bottled version to compare some day.

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Photo of DHGranstrand
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No question about it, this is simply the best beer in the stout category I have ever had and even better on tap! I just had the opportunity to taste this on tap at our local beer shoppe!

Exceptionaly dark pour, rich creamy head, intricate lace residue left on inside of glass, wonderful aroma/taste with cigar smoke, dark molasses, coffee and bitter chocolate at the forefront.

Just the most incredibly complex taste I have ever experienced. It is the best! This is my second review of the Abyss and I am very surprised that the tap brew is very different than the bottle. Very pronounced cigar smoke aroma/flavor at the forefront.

Very nice! I will enjoy the growler I purchased this coming weekend.

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Photo of pkasten
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: jet black, torched motor oil.. no light escapes this monster. deep tan head with good lace

s: toasty, bourbon, vanilla, anise, no warmth to speak of, which I found surprising

t: big malt/molasses/anise up front, followed by soft red fruit notes, nice bourbon/oaky finish with just a hint of warmth in the aftertaste. this is the week of release. had it again on tap last week, and the bourbon/oak are much more prominent, masking the fruit a bit. reminded me a bit more of the 2006, which I had on tap a few weeks ago, where the bourbon and oak are really taking over and masking some of the nuance

m: not as heavy as expected. certainly a full body, smooth/rich feeling with nice carbonation, but not overly heavy on the palate.

d: what amazed me the most is how well this beer masks the high alcohol content. the bottles I have are a bit warmer, but certainly not hot. I suppose they could use a few more months to mellow out a bit. on draft the alcohol was pretty timid... just a bit of warmth in the finish, and no notable boozy aroma.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got a surprise shipment from Liquid Solutions today and couldn't resist ripping into one of the bottles I preordered months ago. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I got any at all.

All right about the beer:
2007 edition.
Pours a solid black with a huge tan head that subsided a bit, but lasted through the glass. Aroma gives up some chocolate, some oak, a sweet lactose type smell, some hops in the background. Really a lot going on here. Taste hits with some chocolate, some ash, there's some alcohol and an almost vinous and bitter character in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thick and a little gritty. Great complex stout, I can't wait to see how the other bottles develop.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep reddish brown when held up to the light in my Dogfish Head snifter. A thin outer ring of foam forms with a semi-vigorous pour. Kaki colored micro bubbles rise to the surface in the center of the glass due to the nucleation etching on the bottom of the glass. Lovely to look at.

Nose is dark belgian chocolate with notes of vanilla and oak. Slight molasses and muscavado sugar overtones. Bourbon is definitely noticeable as well as fresh green piney hops.

Taste is not as sweet as I expected, but not in a bad way. Alcohol is upfront as are caramel, expresso and bourbon flavors. Dry, slightly acrid (from the licorice perhaps) with a mild astringent untamed hop finish.

Mouthfeel is lush and slightly viscous.

Drinkability is good but will certainly get better with aging. In two years this could really round out and be a stellar brew. As it is now, I like several other big barrel aged imperials better.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

2007 vintage.

A: Pours an incredible looking "driveway seal coat" black. Lovely dark brown, espresso crema colored head that leaves a ton of sticky lace sheets.

S: Surprisingly hard to get a big bouquet from this one. Subtle hints of dark chocolate, blackened malt, smoky char, dark fruit, and cherry.

T: Bold flavors of bittersweet chocolate, bitter & spicy hops, licorice, dark fruit, espresso, milk chocolate covered cherry, brown sugar/molassas, vanilla, and a touch of alcohol.

M: Sweet, slick, and oily with a sudden spicy bittering during the middle lasting all the way through the finish and beyond. Sweet, creamy, spicy, and coating.

D: Incredible! Where did the alcohol go? This drinks like a beer with half the abv of this one. Incredibly complex. Thanks to Liquid Solutions for filling my order!

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. wax dipped bomber served in a brandy snifter. 2007 vintage. Thanks to session1979 for this one. Poured a deep black with tan head that faded quickly. A lot going on in the aroma. Vanilla, molasses, some charcoal. Massive body with a huge roasted malt flavor with coffee. There is a good amount of hop bitterness evident in the start. Incredibly long finish of roasted barley. Alcohol was not evident, very drinkable for the ABV. I didn't get much wood flavor, just the vanilla in aroma.

This one lives up to the hype.

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Photo of woemad
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber of the 2007 vintage (I never saw any 2006 bottles in my neck of the woods, but reviews indicate it did, indeed exist) purchased at Jim's Homebrew for $10.25. Is it me, or is the wax covered cap really annoying to get off? Yeah, Yeah it looks all fancy-like, but the point of beer is enjoyment, not "look, we're as fancy as wine" histrionics. Also seems like a lame attempt to capture the mystique of Dark Lord. Not only is it lame, it's also unneccessary - as any perusal of the forum will tell you, this beer has developed it's own mystique.

Poured this into a Duvel snifter. Was a super dark, almost black shade of brown, and looked damn viscous as it left the bottle. Initially no head, but within about five seconds a good 1 1/2 inches of dark mocha colored foam exploded upwards from the motor oil-like liquid and took about three minutes to drop back down. Not a bad display of head retention for an 11% beer. Sheets of tan lace recede down the sides of the glass, leaving a spotty lace behind.

Initially, the most dominant scent was a black licorice scent that reminded me of when I cook with fennel seeds. Soon, a dark brown sugary maltiness was also detectable, along with a woodsy booziness. This smells like it's potent, which is no surprise.

Smoky like a good, robust cigar, roasty like a dark roast coffee, with a sharp, citrusy hoppiness cutting through the dark, roasty murk. There are also dark chocolate and cocoa notes, along with a bourbon-like boozy flavor which I can only assume comes from the bourbon casks used for a portion of the aging. The finish is both molasses-y sweet and bone-dry. This is the most complex tasting stout I've had in a long while.

Viscous, oily mouthfeel, and very full-bodied, just as I'd expect for a beer like this.

It's been a contentious subject, but I, for one, believe it lives up to it's hype in terms of flavor. I'd love to have access to Dark Lord, and have for some time, but now I also would like to do a head to head comparison between it and the Abyss. Drinkability is outstanding as a nightcap, which, at the end of my workweek, I'm using it as. If Deschutes would brew this in a larger quantity, I'd be very happy, indeed.

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Photo of pwoods
4.01/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber, purchased from Liquid Solutions, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours solid black with good viscosity. 1 finger of head forms with a bit of a cascading effect. The head is deep mocha and has good retention. Very good lacing throughout.

S: Strong, bitter coffee notes are mostly dominant. A nice alcohol presence glides throughout but doesn't get in the way. Maybe a bit of chicory in the coffee? A nice sweetness throughout that has a buttery depth to it.

T/M: Wow, the hops are so bitter! Maybe just a bit too much when tagged along with the bitter coffee and bitter German chocolate notes. The chocolate is a bit on the powdery cocoa side. Alcohol is quite present and adds more than a warming to say the least. Burnt malts keep everything dry but a bit chalky. Body is full and carbonation seems controlled. Where's the barrel?

D: This is definitely a sipper and the 1 bomber will be more than enough. I'd love to try this with down the road to see if it mellows.

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Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A wax-capped 650 mL bottle of the 2007 reserve from a recent trade with racerx.

A: After using a knife to remove the wax (damned the wax coated offerings!), the stout opened with a hiss. A pour revealed a three plus finger head, thick and bubbly with a tan color. The stout is dark, nothing but blackness in the glass.

S: The nose is bitterly acrid, burnt and over the top with touches of bread pudding sweetness. There is little in the way of balance.

T: The stout kicks you in the teeth with its hoppiness. Not quite a DIPA but lots of citrus bite to cut through the roasted elements. As the hops fade, a nice round of bitter, burnt, scorched even, taste. Lots of flavor emerges (but where was it in the nose?), keeping the palate reasonably happy. A vinous alcohol bite lingers throughout the beer, warming as it goes down.

M: The beer is harsh and biting, lots going on but I think that the beer needs several years to mellow out.

D: At 11%, this beer doesn't pull any punches. I am not sold on Abyss in a fresh state; I think that several years in my cellar will really calm this beast down.

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Photo of emerge077
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Generously shared by Jay23, review from notes.

Purely opaque, obsidian black, glimmering in the light. Slow cascading tan foam, it's surface has a creamy texture. Puffy concentric rings of sticky lace hang on the walls of the glass.

Ashy tobacco, woody oak in the nose. Not much sweetness, it could use a little chocolate to balance. It would get a 4.25 if possible.

Big smoke presence, dry roasty malts, chocolate, licorice, and dry tobacco leaves hanging aloft in a Kentucky barn. Earthy char with very well integrated notes of oak. Not picking up huge amounts of bourbon, reflecting the partially bourbon-aged blending. This is most welcome, and lends itself well to an impossibly silky mouthfeel, without harsh spirits crowding in.

Feel is creamy and robust, without getting syrupy. Nice dry finish. 11% was completely hidden, this was a fantastic Imperial Stout, glad I had the chance to try it.

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

Might as well make review #1200 something special! Picked up some of this at Bargainica in Bellingham, $8.49 per bottle.

Pours a super opaque black, some red in the edges, huge thick light brown head forms, leaves behind some nice lace spots, good retention, forms a solid layer. Smell is very nice, bourbon, toffee, light smoke, chocolate, big roast, charred wood and oak, burnt raisins, alcohol, big in all ways. Taste is similar, lots of charred wood, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate roast, coffee, smoke, caramelized fruit, licorice, molasses and piney bitterness in the finish, super balanced. Mouthfeel is full bodied, viscous, low carbonation, warmth, pretty damn drinkable for such a big stout. Reminded me a little of Darkness. Lives up to the hype!

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Photo of Floydster
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle covered in black wax purchased from Holiday Wine Cellar for eleven dollars, 2007 vintage, drank tonight during Lost and while playing some video games, took me over two hours to get through the whole bottle, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter

A-One of the darkest beers I have ever seen, not a glimmer of light through the glass, gives new defintion to black, 1 1/4 inch mocha colored head, nice retention for about five minutes, sticky lacing for the first hour or so

S-Bourbon notes, chocolate, both milk and dark, faint coffee until it warmed and got more intense, lots of oak, several different sweet aromas I could not figure out, big vanilla presence as well, hoppiness, roasted malt, burned sugar

T-Started off with a lot hoppiness for this style of beer and a big roasted malt flavor with some chocolate, charcoal is definitely in the finish, could not taste the bourbon until later it was nice and spicy when it came to the surface, also some black licorice tastes later on, very nicely balanced with lots of burned malt and sugar to go along with a favorable level of bitterness, beer had it all, went from being dry, sweet, chewy, boozy, hot, and ended with a subtle coffee flavor, very enjoyable taste for the entire drinking experience

M-Dry and crisp at the beginning, sweet and spicy once it warmed, bourbon really burned the tongue towards the end, thickest body imaginable other than Dark Lord, great level of carbonation that did not have too much, taste lingered for up to five minutes at a time

D-Could drink a couple bombers but would need to spread it out over several hours, alcohol is hidden great until it is past room temperature, stuff is heavy otherwise would have been perfect, smooth and goes down extremely easy for a stout of this caliber

Never tracked down a bottle last year and barely gome some this time around, thank goodness I stopped there after the Stone Winter Storm, one of the best Russian imperial stouts I have ever tasted, right up there with Kate the Great, Darkness, and almost as good as Dark Lord in my opinion, just another reason to love Deschutes, I bet the 2006 version is drinking wonderfully right now, will definitely be drinking again soon, probably buying a case next year, cannot recommend this one enough

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Photo of ojiikun
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited about trying this one which, of all places, I found at the local grocery alongside the so-so selection of local brews. Better yet, Deschutes is my go-to favourite for great local NorthWest beers that don't break the bank.

Presentation is a great half-fourty bottle with a wax-dipped top hiding a standard cap. Pops with some vigour to present: the blackest beer I've ever seen. Has some thin head that is also quite dark, like extra dark chocolate milk. No telling if this is clear or cloudy, the light just stops when it hits the glass.

Smell is pleasingly oaky - no messing around with subtleties here. Past a nice clean and slightly smoky wood is lots of sweet dutch cocoa and even some hops! You'd think that under all that dark malt and wood esther that the hops would be muddy, but they're downright floral.

Body is far lighter than the hue and nose would suggest. Like chocolate whipped cream, almost. The hopping becomes salty and less spicy, the bourbon opens up without being boozey at all. Malt profile is dark, nearly burnt, but there's something in there balancing it out so it's not ashey. A bit of caramel hides in the corners. If there is any anise in this as the label claims, there's only the faintest hints of it right after the swallow before the hops open up.

The real marvel of this beer is the feel of it on the tongue. At this strength and this colour and this malt profile, you flat out expect it to be like motor oil - but it isn't. The carbonation matches the weight perfectly so that it's like merengue on the palate. Odder still is that it only coats the lips and throat with a fine layer that fades quickly. No cloy, no sticky, no lasting bitterness.

I don't know what to say; I'm totally bowled over by this beer. Whether you're a fan of Deschutes or not, if you like hop-forward NorthWest micros, this is one to get. And if you find it for the same trivial price that I did, for the love of god, grab a half dozen.

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

thanks to johngalt1 and rayjay for hooking me up with this beer

a-- dark- black guiness like bubbles - head fades slowly leaving chunks strewn behind in it's retreat

s -- coffee/hops/ hot coco mix and dark choclate

t-- oak on the back - light hints if anise expresso molasses chocolate WOW this is good beer -- hops support but do not take over the profile --

m-- light carbonation smooth, light residual sweetness

d-- out standing beer - If I could ge a keg of this I would drink it every day ful bdy but not over the top, if it's possible this is a well balanced extreme beer

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. 11% ABV. Pitch black with a good looking mocha head. Head trickles down after a few minutes.

Roasty aroma, with a bit of smoke in the background. Hints of chocolate, and a burnt sugar character.

Very roasty flavor. Again, some smoke and oaky character comes out. A bit of dark, bittersweet chocolate. Not a lot of sweetness. Oak character is subtle.

Full body with lower carbonation. Nice smoke character going on. Nice.

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

I have let this one age for one year since the trade with bennetj17.

Crawls out of the bottle with monsterous black legs like ink from a fountain pen. Head is rocky fat milk chocolate colored bubbles standing at three inches. Slowly fading head seems to last forever leaving some lace. Nose has roasted chocolate beans, smokey malt and zesty alchol notes that penatrate the senses. With first sip you get a rush of creamy chocolate icing like tones. The taste buds are flooded with sweet syrupy tones of esspresso, chocolate sauce, caco and toffee like malts. Twords the end of the palate you get a unique mixed balance of sweet zesty dark fruit skins and coffee bitterness which is rather dry. Drinkability of this one is very nice but the slight bitter bite on the back of the tongue is the only real low point of this beer for me. A great stout though, truely.

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Photo of drumrboy22
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Great Divide Yeti glass. Beer was black with a small, dark tan head. Heavy lacing around the edge of the glass.

Aroma was heavy malt, chocolate, molasses and strong coffee.

Taste was heavy coffee, chocolate, and light oak. Also had a faint licorice presence. Very tasty, warming beer. Still a bit hot and could probably mellow out with some aging, but an incredible beer.

Mouthfeel was thick and chewy. Finish was long and fairly bitter. Let this one warm up to truly enjoy all the flavors hiding in it.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.66/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to largadeer for the sample.

Pours a 1 1/2 finger head with an excellent retention. It is near black in color.

Smell is of mint and strong chocolate malt with hints of mint and lirocirce. The smell is a little weak though.

This beer is overly boozy. It balances out as the beer warms a little, but it is still a problem for me. It's hard to make flavors distinguishable. I taste licorice and undertones of mint with some chocolate malts and a little roasted characteristic to balance. Caramel sweetness comes out as the beer warms too. Raisin undertones come out as well as the beer warms.

Creamy/thick mouthfeel is nice, but the astringency of the alcohol detracts from the mouthfeel somewhat.

Decent beer. The astrigency of the alcohol detracts slightly from the drinkability but is more of a bothersome on mouthfeel and taste.

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured semi-aggressively into a wine glass. This results were a oil black sludge with a beautiful dark brown head! LOVE IT! The smell is what you would expect. A sweet, syrup, smell with hints of bourbon. This beer is complex. The taste is bold with a creamy mouth. I can taste the alcohol which I think actually compliments this beer. I think its best to age this brew for a last 6 months to a year. I think at that time it will be phenomenal! The drinkability is a little low for me because this brew isn't for the weak. It will put hair on our beer geek chests.

Overall, this beer is magnificent! I think with a little age this beauty will be an exceptional brew!

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Photo of bassmantin
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for a sample of this one.

Pours a dark brown with a moderate thick brown head. Smell is sweet. Excellent flavor, very subtle and complex. I can taste the cask aging. And is that licorice I taste? Yes, according to the bottle. The hops are also quite impressive, definitely apparent but certainly not overpowering.

This is a very unique stout. I've never tasted some of these flavors in a beer before.

Highly recommended. One of the best stouts I've ever had.

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Photo of PhxHorn
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very very dark brown, no light coming through from the other side. Smells of coffee, malt, a bit of chocolate, but not a very strong smell. Tastes like a rich version of Obsidian, which was really what I was hoping for, as Obsidian is my favorite American Stout. Coffee, chocolate, burnt nuts and malt. A very nice balance of flavors. Overall, not as thick and intense as some other imperial stouts, but this isn't really a bad thing because it's a great combination of flavors. I don't really care for a sludge-like beer. Extremely drinkable for this style. A first rate beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage, 22oz bomber served at cellar temperature and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a hugely thick and evil looking jet black molasses looking sludge into my pint glass, hitting the bottom of the glass like a thud. Such a rich dark color, there was no chance at all of any light coming through this one at any point what so ever. A huge dark tan colored head rose up from the depths of this one reaching a height of easily three inches which never really did settle down to much, leaving a constant pillow of brown of top that at the most settled down to around an inch and a half. Very nice cascading of the foam when this was poured, almost like a nitro-tap pour, very full. The side glass lace was tremendous, leaving behind thick stringy webs of brown that coated the entire glass, and to be honest were still coating the glass the next morning when I woke up. This was one serious monster to be reckoned with, and I can see where its name came from, it looked like anything that fell into here was never coming back.

S - The aroma was spectacular, engaging, and simply full beyond expectations. The first thing I noticed was how sweet it was, tons of sugar here in the aroma, thick molasses like smells that really sweetened it up. Mixed in were the slightest hints of French roasted coffee and dark chocolate, really giving this that big dark aroma that you look for in the style. It never really did lighten up any, as even an hour into the bottle it was still evolving. No hint of any alcohol in here at all, which was insane to think about. It really had the aroma that was pegged as a dessert, so rich and full, and soo sweet. The only thing I could say was as it warmed it started to let off some more coffee notes along with a noticeable hint of vanilla that again confirmed how sweet it was.

T - I really do not even know where to start with this one. I had waited a long time to try it, and have read all the hype and was really hoping this would be as good as I wanted it to be, I have to be honest, it was better! I really have not had many things that were as good as this one was, I am not even half way through my review and I know the score here is going to be a perfect one, but enough of that. The first flavors I was picking up were rich caramel and molasses sugars that were layered upon a coffee like base. This gave it such a rich, complex and sugary profile that I was not even sure what was going on. As it warmed subtle notes of chocolate and licorice started to come though and blended in very well, keeping it sweet, but at the same time confirming its dark nature. Hints of vanilla were then layered on top of that, so complex, but at the same time, so simple and elegant. This was like the mother of RIS's for me. Towards the finish you could pick of trace flavors of oak in it that was evidence of its aging. The finish had a surprising amount of dry bitterness to it, that really caught me off guard being how sweet this was for the entire session, but this was nice really drawing it out and letting it bring you back in again for another round. In a word amazing.

M - This had to be the thickest, smoothest and creamiest beer I have ever had. I crave a good stout that has the consistency and feel of a chocolate shake, this almost one upped that, really setting a bar so high that I do not know if I can ever find something that can top it. The carbonation was superb, really putting a show and giving it that silky feel. There was no, none, not even a though of this being anything but a superb offering. Insane really how good this was.

D - I was waiting for this category to make mention of the fact of how good this was as a night time sipper. Now the bottle says 11%ABV, bit heck it could have been 5%. There was just no hint of it anywhere in here. Which is amazing if you thick about it. I sipped on this one for a good hour, and by the end it was probably close to room temperature and was just as good a when it came out of the cellar. This was just amazing. I really would love to be able to have this one on tap, in my house, once a night it is just that good.

Overall the style is easily one of my favorites, and bounces back and forth with an IPA for the top really, and this was the best I have ever had. It was just perfect. The aroma was perfect, the taste, feel, appearance, everything I just could not think of anything that could improve here as it was the epitome of the style and I am so glad I waited so long to try this one as my palate has really evolved and allowed me to appreciate this one more fully. Could not think of a better selection for my 800th review. This was perfect and anyone who can get this and does not try it is a fool.

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 7,271 ratings