Deschutes Brewery

The Abyss 2018 Reserve

Our Rating

98

/100
RateBeer Rating
BeerGraph's proprietary measure of a beer's quality, or Beers Above Replacement (BAR), has been converted from a scale of -5-20 to 0-100.

100

out of 100
Availability:-
IBUSRMOGABV
Serving:-
68-11.2
Beer stats from RateBeer
Beer stats from RateBeer
category-iconBeer Reviews

Deschutes Dives Back Into the Abyss With Its 2018 Reserve

April 18, 2019

By Jerard Fagerberg, April 18, 2019

For its barrel-aged imperial The Abyss, Deschutes turned to a cornucopia of specialty ingredients. Blackstrap molasses, vanilla bean, cherry bark, and something called “brewer’s licorice” all end up in this lauded annual, which remains a must-buy for beer collectors across the nation. Now that the 2018 reserve is on the shelf, it’s time to stop and consider what the latest edition of The Abyss adds to the beer’s legacy. After 14 years, can this illustrious monster of a beer still deliver a challenge?

Appearance

You’d expect a beer named The Abyss to pour an inky black, but this beer’s appearance exceeds even those expectations. The Abyss is liquid charcoal. At room temperature, a brownie-colored colony of big, loose bubbles forms over the top, adding some dimension to an otherwise blacked-out body.

Aroma

The adjuncts come alive in the nose. The licorice erupts in a rocket of star anise. The cherry bark comes over the top with the sweet essence of sapling wood. Then, there’s all the Kentucky bourbon fragrances from the barrel. The aroma of a beer is supposed to invite you in. In the Abyss’s case, it absolutely sucks you into your first sip.

A decade and a half of perfection has not deterred Deschutes from putting out provocative editions of The Abyss year after year. It’s a beer that earns its legendary status with every bottling.”

Flavor

The Abyss is so-named for its unfathomable depth. You get hot booze, bitter candy, kilned malt, and floral vanilla. Though the licorice adds a syrupy quality to the body, it’s not overbearingly thick, going down cleanly every sip. One beguiling note is a subtle leathery quality. For something with so much hidden character, it’s one turn that’s unexpected in the wrong way.

Overall

A decade and a half of perfection has not deterred Deschutes from putting out provocative editions of The Abyss year after year. It’s a beer that earns its legendary status with every bottling. The 2018 Reserve has one mild flaw, but don’t let that deter you from grabbing an armful of bottles for your fridge and cellar.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
Related Articles

Sierra Nevada’s Sierraveza Is Good, But It Won’t Replace Your Summer Lager

Sierra Nevada’s Sierraveza is a good beer. It’s probably even good on the beach, but pretty much all beers hold up in that setting.

Odd Side Shamone Is Extravagance in a Can, and That’s OK

Shamone manages to bring together the best parts of a New England-style IPA and kettle sour in single can.

How One Brewer’s Illness Inspired a New Age of Non-Alcoholic Beer

Bauhaus Brew Labs' Matt Schwandt had to give up drinking alcohol due to acute pancreatitis, but that didn't mean he had to give up beer.

Loading...