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Black Butte XXVI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Educational use only; do not reuse.

145 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 945
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 25.06%
Wants: 60
Gots: 541 | FT: 74
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dwagner003 on 06-05-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our 26th anniversary Imperial Porter was aged in bourbon barrels (50% for 6 months) and dry spiced with Theo Chocolate's cocoa nibs, revealing hints of vanilla and chocolate. Pomegranate molasses and Oregon cranberries complement the robust flavor with a hint of fruit and just enough tart to make you smile.
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Reviews: 145 | Hads: 945
Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: I always love a big, heady pour when raise the bottle a foot above the chalice and this beer doesn't disappoint; a massive, foamy and rocky head tops the fudge colored liquid with bands of lacing arcing around the circumference

Smell: Chocolate and roast, with the cranberries and pomegranate molasses peeking through

Taste: Chocolate, caramel and roast forward, but those flavors are subsumed by the cranberry and pomegranate molasses flavors, brown sugar builds, underneath, but the tart flavors bring up the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not living in the Deschutes distribution area, I have tried this series sporadically through the years; I missed the XXV but was surprised (and disappointed) by the direction this beer has taken by adding tart fruit flavors; it is not a bad beer but was a big let-down from what I was expecting

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Photo of Chris_Huston
3.77/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This tastes more like the XXV, specifically with the pruney fruits flavors. Clear bourbon presence with those fruits, and a bit of cocoa will make it very interesting to some, and a little too weird for others. Nice creaminess; tartness is faint enough to be missed by many, but adds some complexity. This is actually a "double" or "imperial" porter, so the feel is more stout-like, so it's worth a try for drinkers who prefer a stout body to a porter. The flavor is not for me, but it hits its marks.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nearly pitch black color with a small cream colored head. Upon swirling in the glass the beer appears thick, with fingers of the brew clinging to the sides of the glass. The head fades slowly over time with a little bit of steaky lace left on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is huge of a sweeter chocolate and molasses with a moderately strong aroma of vanilla and some caramel. Along with these aromas comes hints of a darker fruit smell with some raisin, pomegranate, and plum being there. Along with these aromas comes come nice rich espresso smells as well as a very rich and warming bourbon smell. With a little bit of a licorice and some char a very dark, sweet, and warming smell invites one to try out the brew.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweeter chocolate flavor with a good showing of dark fruit of pomegranate and plum with a decent showing of molasses. Throughout the taste, there is a dark and roasty taste which remains rather strong throughout all while some char develops more in the middle, fading a bit toward the end while other tastes of a boozy bourbon and oak come to the tongue. The mix of fruit, roasty, sweet, and bourbon give the brew and almost port wine like character and leave one with a dark and roasty, but fruity and sweet warming taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side for such a potent brew of 10.8 % with a carbonation level that is rather low. Surprisingly, while the lighter thickness (for a 10.8 % brew) was not ideal for the dark porter flavors of the brew, the thinner body actually did very well for the pomegranate and red wine flavors of the brew and actually made for a surprisingly pleasant sipping but crisper and sweet taste overall.

Overall – Not surprisingly for an imperial porter, it was a rather sweet and warming brew. With that said however, it had some more red wine like characteristics with a dark fruitiness and a thinner, more crisp feel which gave it an easier and more approachable drinkability. Not sure if it’s worth the more hefty price tag of $15, but it was a fun one to try.

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Photo of morimech
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown color with a finger of dense head that held on forever. Lacing coats the glass. Smells like a customary robust stout with heavy chocolate, molasses, brown sugar notes with a little note of alcohol. But the flavor is a whole other scene. There is a lot going on. The base beer flavor is strong with dark bread, cocoa, raisins, brown sugar, and then there is a hint of bourbon, vanilla, and then the odd tartness in the finish from the cranberry. A little alcohol heat and flavor in the finish and aftertaste. Big, bold body with a gentle carbonation that allows the beer to coat the palate and linger. A very good beer but I think I would of preferred it without the cranberry and pomegranate fruitiness and tartness.

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Photo of brewskis
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a two finger dark tan head.

Aroma is very fruit-forward, as the pomegranate and cranberry really stand out. Right behind that is bittersweet chocolate, carmel, roasted malt, slight vanilla, oak, and bourbon from the barrel.

Taste is dominated by the fruit up front. The cranberry and pomegranate are so prevalent that they are pretty much tart-like in taste. Balancing out this fruity, somewhat tart flavor is carmel sweetness, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, slight oak, slight vanilla, and slight bourbon later in the palate. Wish the barrel was more present, but this was only 50% barrel aged and has sat for a year.

Medium body, but wish it had more body to it being an imperial porter. Crisp, somewhat creamy, and a sticky finish.

Not bad. I think if this was 100% barrel aged, this could be so much better. The fruitiness and tartness is prevalent, but that more prominent barrel would have balanced and smoothed it out. Nevertheless, it is still a solid beer.

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Photo of SquallLionhart
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 10/28/15, into a porter/stout goblet.

L: Dark, with 'plenty' of sediment (which is settling at the bottom of my glass as I type... in a way, it's kind of off-putting, but in another way, it signifies that we're truly enjoying a 'craft' brew, not just some mass produced alcoholic beverage. )
S: Oh the smell, probably my favorite part of this one. Lots of chocolate and fruit. It's intoxicating.
T: Chocolate/cocoa is definitely on the front of this one, but the fruitiness/tartness of the cranberries quickly overpowers any other flavors present in this brew. I'm enjoying that, but I could see where it could be too much for some. It tastes pleasant to me, but I would say it smells better than it tastes. Never once did I pick up the bourbon flavor, though. I think the cranberry destroyed any bourbon flavoring that was there.
F: For a porter, this is pretty thick. It's closer to a stout. Moderate carbonation.
O: Very good porter. I was a bit disappointed that the bourbon didn't come through more, but the chocolate-fruitiness was quite excellent. I'd drink this again. I almost wish I had picked up more of this when I first got it. Looking forward to trying XXVII (next year, of course) !

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Photo of brandonwnw
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Black as night - Bueno Smell: Wonderful dried fruit and dark chocolate; Taste: The disappointment starts, flavor is sour and biting; too much Pom and not enough bourbon for my taste; Feel: Pretty smooth in spite of the sour bite; Overall: I expected a lot after tasting XXV, but this disappointed. If it tasted like it smells it would be fine, but not enough bourbon for my taste. I want to love this having spent lots of time drinking at BBR in my youth, but I can't.

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Photo of ljc973
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not sure if this beer was infected or not, but there was an unusual amount of settlement in the pour. That being said, this was an amazing beer. Beautiful tan head. Rich malty notes, a sweet berry taste, and subtle vanilla. Extremely smooth, full mouthfeel. There was a slightly "soured" quality, but the complexity of the beer covered it. The ABV is well hidden. This is worth seeking out.

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Photo of svenness
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best after 6/16/15, check

L: Very dark brown with red hue, tan-white head persists, some floating sediment in first pour
S: Fruity, chocolate, vanilla, acetate
T: Tart fruit, sweet, chocolate, bourbon, low bitterness
F: Medium-light body yet sticky-sweet, moderate carbonation
O: Tasty imperial porter, faint barrel characteristics, perhaps a bit out of balance

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Photo of don1481
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: So, so dark. Pours an off white head with a slightly reddish tinge to it that lingers and leaves a heavy lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: The pomegranate and cranberries dominate the nose here, with a hint of the cacao nibs.

Taste: More mellow than I expected. Definitely get the pomegranate, cranberries, and cacao. Not really getting any of the barrel aging. Which is fine.

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky.

Overall: Glad I have two more of these to age. I like it.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours black with little head. Smells of bourbon and drank fruit juices. It's a very sweet beer, mostly fruit juice sweetness. The bourbon isn't a major player, but it's there. Pretty solid, but nothing crazy.

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Photo of BongRattlingBass
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Butt crack black... Dark as night

Smell: Berries, vanilla, smokey notes from the bourbon, cocoa bean, oak, agave syrup.

Taste: Chocolate covered cherries, subtle bittersweet chocolate, nice bourbon presence but the tart sweetness from the berries kills the burn trying to balance it out. I'm getting that agave syrup in the taste. The chocolate is welcoming and not overkill.

Feel: This is a mess. A fucking watery saliva settling puddle in my mouth. Disappointing. At least it ain't syrupy.

Overall: A decent porter. At times it tastes like a watered down imperial porter. I enjoy the chocolate but the berries spoils the bourbon. I take it back. The berries compliment the bourbon in a lazy sipping kind of way.

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Photo of BNLTandem
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: NASTY! Not one bit of light is passing through this. Awesome. Dark murky brown. Like it or don't. I do.

Smell: chocolate raisin think chunky candy bar.

Taste: like the smell. Fruit. Chocolate. Not sure I get cranberry but bitter chocolate covered cherry. Might be my mood, but very happy with this.

Feel: Thick Rich and long lasting. A little more astringent than chewy, but still very satisfying.

Overall a fun beer, probably not consistent with any style, but awesome with these siracha covered tater tots

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Photo of joeseppy
2.82/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky brown. Specks of sediment giving the impression I'm looking at seedy fig jam through the tumbler. Aroma is a sourish-what more to say. Yup, taste is sour. Reminds me of Brewery Vivant when they "created" Tart Side of the Moon. Not concentrating much on the feel when a stout is sour. Overall, too much sediment and sour. XXV was spectacular and limited to locate. Funny how XXVI was found all over the place especially at local supermarkets. This one is a dud.

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Photo of stortore
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours very dark and opaque, medium head, good amount of foamy cling. Smell brings roasted malts, coffee, molasses, vanilla, chocolate, a little oak. Taste continues to lead with the malt, with chocolate, coffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, some bourbon and oak. Can't identify the pomegranate or cranberry, but there is a bit of fruitiness and sourness. Smooth, solid body, good level of carbonation.

Good beer, well blended and flavorful. I have to admit that I expected XXV and this to be better, probably unfairly, but it's still certainly worth a purchase.

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Photo of lochraneg
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Great color and head upon pouring
Smell: Fruit aromas, cocoa
Taste: Fruit is overwhelming. Ruined any other flavor in the beer
Feel: Good body and the flavor lingers
Overall: Wouldn't seek out again. Too much fruit flavor

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best after 6/13/2015. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, molasses, cranberry, raisin, pomegranate, plum, cherry, fig, licorice, leather, tobacco, vanilla, oak, light bourbon/smoke, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, dark fruit, and light-moderate bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, molasses, cranberry, raisin, pomegranate, plum, cherry, fig, licorice, leather, tobacco, vanilla, oak, light bourbon/smoke, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness, oak spiciness, and slight fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, molasses, cranberry, raisin, pomegranate, plum, cherry, fig, licorice, leather, tobacco, vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, dark fruit, and light-moderate bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel/fruit balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged blended imperial porter style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, dark fruits, and light-moderate bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. This has a lot of old ale qualities to it, balanced with moderate porter flavors. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of jlindros
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to rudzud for sharing.

Nice creamy thick dense 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice lacing darker color head, pitch black beer.

Nose tons of fudge and cocoa, caramel, fluffy nougat, nice vanilla barrel, candy bourbon, little candy bar and vanilla ice cream, nice fudgey cocoa, when you nose it right you get a touch of chocolate covered cranberry.

Taste brings nice dark chocolate, little fudgey cocoa with flight nougat, caramel, creamy milk chocolate, nice vanilla ice cream, candy bar notes. Then fruity flavors, craisin, candied cranberry tangy fruity, little bitter acrid note, mild bourbon, no alcohol. Finish tangy, little bitterness no booze, milk chocolate ave craisin lingering.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, creamy, crescent carb, no booze.

Overall quite nice, wish the bourbon was a bit more on the taste but cranberry was a lot more than I thought.

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Photo of mabermud
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Chunky light mocha head with multi-sized bubbles. Dark brown body. The lacing is very clingy and does a good job covering the sides of the glass.
Smell: Molasses and medium-dark roasted sweet malts. Then vanilla, some chocolate, and some dark to tangy fruit. Bourbon barrel is almost indiscernible, but it is there.
Taste: Sweet and tart. Good...bad...maybe a little bit of both if you were expecting something different. This has more tartness than I prefer in a porter. It is not really tartness, it is pomegranate and cranberries. I guess I am not used to the taste, but I am enjoying this beer. This smells better than it tastes. If they cut back on the pomegranate and cranberry, it would be much better.
Feel: I am hung up on the pomegranate/cranberry, but the mouth feel is not disappointing.

Overall - Too much cranberry and too much pomegranate...this needs a better balance. The cranberries and pomegranate overwhelm.

I will say this opens up, in a good way, as it warms.

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Photo of rudzud
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark brown almost black hue with a fat mocha head that fades slowly to leave thin sudsy wisps, great legs.

S - Aromas of chocolate covered cranberry, fudge, bourbon, brownie batter, vanilla ice cream, not much alcohol. Super fudgy chocolate.

T - Taste is lots of sweet, tart cranberries. Lots of chocolate and fudge brownie. Nice light bourbon and light vinilla oak. The chocolate is pretty powerful, as is the brownie. I can't get over how much cranberry is in this beer. Holy cow!

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy, alcohol hidden excellent.

O - Overall this beer was super chocolate heavy with loads of cranberry. Tart chocolate is awesome, wow!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of snaotheus
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle split between a pair of large snifters. "Best after" 06/16/15. Alcohol by volume 10.8%.

Pours murky black/brown with little or no head. Very little carbonation. Smell is bourbon, roast, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, licorice...blackness.

Taste is much lighter than the aroma. Cherry sweetness, but still lots of roasty blackness. Surprisingly not much bourbon.

Motuhfeel is silky smooth, but a little too still. Overall, good, but not mind blowing at all.

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Photo of pagriley
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L - pours a murky deep brown with clouds of darker swirls. Settles almost black in the glass with a 1 inch pale mocha head
S - Sweet dark malt with acidic fruit overtones. not getting any barrel at all
T - Some chocolate, but more a powdery cocoa, not creamy at all. A slight astringency from the roast. Again not much barrel, and a tart fruit finish
F - Good heft and body. A touch lighter than I expected but still good

Overall an interesting beer, but not wowed, and certainly not worth the wait or the price.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a thick and motor oil like black, but in direct light it takes on a noticeable cherry red hue. A thin layer of khaki foam sits on top.

Very sweet pomegranate and dark fruit aroma, chocolate, and earthy undertones.

This leans heavy on sweetness. Sticky sweet pomegranate takes front stage, followed up by vanilla, oak, and earthy bitterness, but the sticky sweetness lingers.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, sticky, way too sweet.

Overall, this could have been so much better.

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Photo of JefferyLaGrow
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a little bit light, and with slightly reddish hue. Good carbonation, and the head is a cappuccino color that sticks to the sides of the glass. The nose is just incredible. Lots of aroma. You can smell all of the pomegranate and cranberry. You get whiffs of molasses, and there is a hint of bourbon barrel vanilla. The taste is an explosion of oak, fruit, and chocolate. It tastes like a box of chocolate covered fruit. It is superb.

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Photo of akrz47
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At this point you should be noticing the reviews from the last month, as that's the recommended drink-by date. And notice how high they are. That's why I logged on to rate this.

Deschutes must really know what they're talking about. Fresh, this beer kinda sucked. Just unbalanced, tart, cloying, slightly boozy, just...not good. One year later, and *bam*! This is freakin' great! All those unbalanced flavors melded perfectly. I looooove this. The pomegranates just mix with the chocolate to make a thick dessert. I expect this will get even better over time, as the tartness mellows and creates more decadence. Can't wait.

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.