The Abyss | Deschutes Brewery

7,102 Ratings
The AbyssThe Abyss

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels.

65 IBU

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 - Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 - Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 - Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 - Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 - Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
2011 - Released November 2011 (approx 600 BBL)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,102 |  Reviews: 1,963
Photo of the_beerist
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

To celebrate National Beer day I decided to crack a 2007 Abyss. After a decade of cellaring I was worried about oxidation but glad it was covered in a thick wax coating. All I can say is this beer has not only held up, but can more than hold its own against the much hyped FO's and Assassins that it paved the way for. A lot of breweries claim their big Imp Stouts will age well but then fail to live up to expectations due to infections and oxidation issues. Anyone claiming the beer can be cellared should use wax (not foils...looking at you Firestone Walker Anniversary).

The currant/ molasses sweetness melds perfectly with the vanilla oak backbone. This is an old favorite that can still teach a thing or two to the new kids on the block. Excellent job Deschutes. Glad I still have one more 2007 that I look forward to drinking 5 years down the road.

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Photo of eyeenjoybeer
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a Founders tulip.

Appearance: The body is quite dark brown to black. Head is a medium brown that grows to 8 cm or so and then slowly subsides. Light brown lacing is left.

Smell: Dark malt and light wood blend with the faintest hint of licorice. This smells beautiful. A touch of vanilla sugar comes in and out of the aforementioned notes.

Taste: Well, it's delicious. The choco-malt starts and quickly turns into a deep but not burnt roastiness. This is balanced by the sweetness of the molasses and moves into a slight oakiness with a vanilla ghost. The last, long and slow-fading notes are the molasses. I am left with the most pleasant char. Damn, this is good.

Mouthfeel: Velvety as hell. It coats, lingers, and leaves just before it might be too much. The other beer this reminds me of in mouthfeel is Black Note - another knockout.

Overall, I think this beer deserves all the praise that it has been shown before this review. I love it. Truly a masterpiece.

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Photo of sunsjammer
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of James_McLeod
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Deuane
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 2007 vintage bottle shared January 2009. Thanks to BA-sholland saving me the trouble of opening one of mine!

A-Greasy, deep black with the most subtle hint of burnt sienna edgings. A thick deep tan head rises up, holds on strong until it reduces somewhat to a small cap. Head leaves nice streaky lacing.

S-Bold, intense and rich. A plethora of aromas swirl up from this one. Chocolate, espresso, bourbon, licorice, vanilla and a touch of spicy hops. This one is a joy to inhale.

T-If the aroma lacks at all it is made up in the flavour profile. The complexity on the palate is truly impressive. A coffee liquor mixed with dark roasted malt feeling kicks things off. Notes bourbon, vanilla, licorice, blackstrap molasses, turbinado and even a bit of prune and fig thrown in for good measure, WOW! This brew was a bit hot when I had it about a month after the release but now with a full year of maturity, well it is an outstanding brew for sure.

M-Medium-heavy body with a rich, luscious and viscous feel. Some oily slickness but this simply adds to the enjoyment level. The myriad of flavours last throughout.

D-Smooth, rich and oh so enjoyable. I would be hard pressed to find a widely released, read no special one-day event thing, RIS that was as complex, drinkable and enjoyable as this. Do yourself a favor and fall into the Abyss, you will be glad you did!

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Photo of staggerlee024
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a deep jet black with a mocha lacing.

S - Great stuff here. Roasted barley, chocolates, burnt sugar vanilla and a hint of bourbon.

T - Bitter roasted chocolate malts, vanilla oak and bourbon all play prominent roles here. The beer is intensely complex with all of the flavors playing nice with each other.

M - This is dangerously drinkable for 11% abv. It is thick and creamy but goes down oh so smooth.

O - An outstanding beer. One of the best that I have every had. Hands down.

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Photo of FFreak
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage shared with me by my friends on my daughter's birthday. Poured into Fiddlehead teku glasses. Pours a typical stout-black with less than a finger of cappuccino-brown head that persists and leaves some tracing. The smell is totally unique, combining licorice and black cherry with dark roasted malt and red wine. The taste is similar to the aroma, but with additional layers of complexity - dark roasty malt, black cherry, big-chewy red wine, licorice, molasses - an incredible array of complimentary flavors. The mouth feel is just about perfect - thick and oily, but not as thick and sweet as some of the big stouts out there, adequate carbonation - definitely a sipper, but not cloying. Overall, this is a wonderfully complex stout, almost on par with a fine wine.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Completely inky black with a one-finger brown head. Decent lacing.

S - Very powerful blast of bourbon, vanilla, charred wood, molasses and chocolate. Smells inviting and complex.

T - Follows the nose well with chocolate being even more prevalent; hints of prune and date as well. Oak detectable in the mid-palate. Espresso bean notes throughout. Nice smoky finish. All flavors deep, robust, and complex. Delicious.

M - Lighter side of medium bodied; medium carbonation. Very slick and slightly oily on the tongue. Honestly, a bit of flaw here and I really wanted it to be bigger and chewier to match the awesome flavor profile.

O - A delicious and robust stout that lives up to the hype. Had a fresh bottle last year and lots of hot bourbon in the taste; aging this beer has benefited it immensely. Worth the price!

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Photo of bman13
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very nicely done, Deschutes. Now, I am drinking a 2014 made last November, so I can't fully assess what this beer is supposed to taste like in a year and so on. But it is still extremely good and more than pleasant to drink. I'm not getting much smell on the nose yet, but the taste is phenomenal, after just 3 short months. Tastes as it should as described on the label (molasses, chocolate,bit of licorice, some vanilla) and it's awesome. An unbelievable clean finish, with literally no aftertaste but a kiss of Bittersweet chocolate cookies. I just can't wait for how this one tastes in another year or more

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Photo of bcsteve89
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of hophead247
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black head with a dark brown head- really good looking stout. Aroma holds cocoa, vanilla, cream, oat, molasses, anise, and a bit of oak. Nothing too aggressive on the nose, but smells delicious. Flavor holds lots of burnt sugar, ash, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a definite milk or cream aspect to it. Alcohol, bourbon, and oak comes through at the finish as well. The burnt and charred flavor at the start is really delectable, and that same quality is what makes the finish and aftertaste so appealing. Palate is extremely smooth and immensely easy to drink for an 11% impy. Top notch imperial stout.

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Photo of sholland119
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the City Tap House, 6/13/10.

A-Pours deep brown, almost black, trailing to ruby brown with a pooling mocha head and good sticky lacing.

S-Caramel, dark chocolate, rum soaked dark fruit and some mild alcohol. In a word, awesome.

T-Really as good as this style gets. Complex, rich flavors. Roasted coffee and sweet chocolate and caramel, with a hint of tobacco and molasses. Finishes with a moderate amount of warming alcohol.

M-Medium to heavy bodied with good carbonation. surprisingly light on the tongue.

D-Not sure what vintage this was but boy was this smooth! Much more pleasant and easy to drink than fresh bottles I have had.. One of the best beers of Philly Beer Week!


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Photo of cfitterer
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of TK5150
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This score is for the 2008. My 2010 notes are below, and the rating for that vintage as of now would probably be around a 4.5 - 4.55.

Originally posted on: 2-21-09

2008 bottle. Have had this one on four separate occasions already, so I am re-rating.

A- Pours black with a pleasantly small brown head.

S- Smell is mostly coffee, chocolate, some dark malts, vanilla/oak, brown sugar and alcohol.

T- It starts off very nicely with a lot of coffee, roasted malts, creamy chocolate, and some licorice and hops. Ends with dark malty bitterness. There is some heat in this beer, but it is calming down with age.

M- Decent mouthfeel, barely full bodied. Goes down without any issues.

D- Drinkability is slightly hurt down the line due to the heat.

Overall its clear that this is a great beer, and is certainly getting much better with age. Glad I have one left in the cellar.

Edit: 2010 edition review on 1-13-11

A- Pours black with a small solid brown head. Large bubbles mingle with small, tightly knit bubbles. Nice lacing left on the glass from this beer as well.

S- Right off the bat I get licorice, molasses, sweet brown sugar, and maybe way off in the distance hints of the bourbon barrel.

T- Licorice, barbecue smokiness, molasses, coffee, American citrusy hops (oranges, grapefruit), and a hint of slight burn from the heat and barrel action at the finish. Much better out of the gates than previous years.

M- Lower end of full bodied. As always, my only quip about this beer is it should be a little bit thicker to make it a pure masterpiece. Definitely thicker than 2009, though.

D- Excellent drinkability as always. I hate to finish off each bottle.

Overall, this seems to be a great vintage. Each vintage has been different, but this may be the most cohesive vintage fresh, compared to other years. My favorite vintage is 2008, but hopefully this one can rival it down the road since I have 2 more bottles of this in the cellar and only one more bottle of the 2008.

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Photo of lapbplayr
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap the only place outside of Oregon, or at least that was what I was told. See a review of the Fricking Frog in Las Vegas for more info. This beer was amazing! It reminded me of the first time I drank a stout and felt amazed. The appearance is a blck dark beer with a dark brown sugar colored head. The smell was deceiving, but extremely malty. I say deceiving because it was served to me a bit too cold, so the aromas have not woke up. The taste is strong, strong and more strong. It is truely an experience in that it is strange how great it feels in your mouth. There is heat from the high alcohol, but balance of the malt, and very little bittering from hops, but none is needed. It is like a warm blanket that has been soaked in sugar and coffee is wrapped around your tongue. Is is necessary to say this is heavy? The drinkability is great because all you need is one.

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Photo of darthhamby
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have two bottles of the Deschutes Abyss 2012. One I am trying now, the other I will age for a year. It's an Imperial Stout that is aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. 11% ABV, and it's about 48°F.

Right off the bat, you pick up on the vanilla and bourbons notes with a little bit of dark chocolate and roasted malt lingering on the finish. Full body, almost syrupy, like molasses. I do think I pick up on a faint whisper of anise. A lot of depth comes out and completes the finish with a espresso taste, but I swear it has some personality like wine with the oaky characteristics and some dark fruits.

The carbonation is low, which you expect with an Imperial Stout. She's balanced and has a velvety, smooth finish. 65 IBU's make this a world class Imperial Stout in my opinion.

This would go great with a freshly grounded beef burger with grilled onions and swiss cheese. Can't wait to taste it in a year.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I feel the enjoy after date is necessary with this one, although the fresh draft version is pretty phenomenal! Great stout.

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Photo of Lillie1128
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is for The Abyss 2010

A - Pours a deep espresso with a small mocha head

S - Smells like maple laced with bourbon

T - Strong, deep licorice taste tinged with bourbon, along with some maple and caramel

M - Heavy bodied, thick n' tasty

D - Pretty low. This one's for sipping.

This definitely lived up to the hype for me. It was so delicious! Thanks to Sweetwillyrolbar for this one!

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Photo of Brez07
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage, opened at the recent SMBDC sour meeting. Not sour though! Was very relieved as the bottle I had was bad. Sampled about 5 oz

A: Pours dark with a 1 finger mocha head. Amber highlights through the beer. Some sticky lacing

S: Lots of chocolate and roasted malt. Just one whiff of this and I knew it was a good bottle. Some smoke makes it's way into the mix as well

T: Very much like the nose. Layers of chocolate and roasted malt are joined with a touch of vanilla to result in a silky smooth beer. There is a charred/smokey flavor hidden in the background. Also just a slight dark fruit/cherry flavor (could be the molasses)

M: Full bodied. Silky smooth beer. Nice roasted finish. Just perfect for an imperial stout

D: Off the top of my head, the best imperial stout I've ever had. The flavors combine well and create wonderful balance. I see why this is so highly regarded

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Photo of ricke49
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Drank from 22 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass. One of 9 bottles purchased this past winter….couldn’t wait any longer!

Drank outside on a cool sunny day….Dark as can be – being held to the sun itself revealed no light whatsoever passing through. Pours an oily blackness with a thick foamy long-lasting head that leaves a very sticky lacing.

Roasted coffee aroma and taste with some woody flavors as well as molasses and a hint of licorice. Very creamy with a silky, smooth. mouthfeel.

The high abv is nearly completely masked. A great imperial stout and another very nice offering from Deschutes.

UPDATE 2/1/2013: remarkably my spouse was cleaning out a garage pantry last week and came across a bottle of 2006. I drank 1/3 of it this afternoon. It was remarkable. Slightly subdued flavors but insanely increased smoothness. If you have any 2006 still in cellar, don't fear it's possible demise; it is criminally smooth and a still great experience.

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Photo of mcsauter82
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours opaque black with some oil-coloured rimming. The yellowish head settles after a minute or so.

The wall of aroma is the real kicker here - I'd like it consolidated into a black candle to be lit at my funeral. All at once, cigars swirl around dense brioche, molasses, vanilla, oak, booze-soaked raisins, earth, chocolate, and dark caramel. The taste follows the nose, albeit in Willy Wonka-esque layers. The bourbon gives way to chocolate, then to yeasty bread, burnt sugar, coffee and vanilla bean; then comes spice, cherries, wine, and a crisp, hoppy finish that rounds off the decadence. I can't pick up on some of the advertised licorice notes, and I would prefer a bigger hit from the barrels, but the complexity on display is astounding all the same, and always begs another sip.

Mouthfeel is smooth and not too thick, striking what I suppose is a necessary balance between the variety of flavours on display. Carbonation props up the fruitiness, but may occasionally mask some of the smoother notes. That's a nitpick, really - who's having the last tipple?

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Photo of Swongler
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a God-tier dark beer. Just absolutely fantastic. Picked up 5 bottles of the 2013, opened 1 to enjoy now. Poured into a Bordeaux glass.

A - Dark as dark beers get. Almost doesn't let any light through when held up to a bright lamp. Head is a little under a finger, poured into a very wide glass - light milk-chocolate in color.

S - Roasted coffee beans, a sweet fruity-ness to the smell, typical stout smells as well, a little bit of irish cream from the bourbon barrel.

T - Good god this is tasty (fresh and with age). Chocolate, coffee, a little bit of tree bark/earthy notes, flavors of the different barrels: bourbon (very light - almost like Bailey's), oak, wine (also subtle), french vanilla covered in chocolate syrup. Opened another bottle with about 4-5 months age, and the flavors are roughly the same. More chocolate notes come out with age as the light coffee starts to disappear.

M - Like liquid silk running over your tongue. Almost no bite to this beer. Alcohol content weighs it down a bit, but not too heavy, just a perfect dark beer mouthfeel.

O - Easily one of my favorite beers of all time and one I will look for every year it comes out. I also look forward to putting a year or two of aging on a couple bottles. If I find any more, I will definitely be snatching it up.

Updated on 4/22 to add notes to appearance and taste and age.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to taste this. I got this as an extra! A 2009 2 yr aged bottle of Abyss!

After I managed to get the wax seal off of the bottle, I popped the top- instantly had a tart molasses bubble rise to the top of the bottle. It popped, giving me a tart scent of dark molasses. Poured into my Dfh snifter, pours a pitch black color, with a little tan head. Smell- lightly sour and tart molasses, licqourice, and chocolate. Taste- coffee, liquorice, and molasses, with a dark chocolate finish. This is an amazing beer experience. Lives up to the hype.

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Photo of nbree00
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All must bow before the impenetrable darkness that is "The Abyss". This beer has had a great deal of hype in my circle, and yet some how managed to exceed all my expectations. I had a friend say that it was the best stout ever brewed and after trying it I can honestly say he's not far off.

This beer pours like crude motor oil, about as dark and thick as it gets. I was surprised by the brownish head that reached higher in height then the beer in the glass, amazing, as some stouts seem to be low in carbonation not this one! Maybe the wax has a role in not letting any air escape although its a bitch to cut off.

The taste is simply divine, dark espresso and bitter chocolate flavors mix with a hint of the oak barrels. This being an imperial stout and having such a high ABV, I was surprised that I really didn't taste any sweetness and hardly noticed that I was quited sauced after just one glass. This beer is really a symphony of its complexities, and I myself will from this day forward refer to it as the best stout ever brewed and you should to!

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The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery
4.48 out of 5 based on 7,102 ratings.
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