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Black Butte XXVI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Educational use only; do not reuse.

128 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 128
Hads: 883
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 59
Gots: 519 | FT: 76
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: 128 | Hads: 883
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. (885 characters)

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. (1,007 characters)

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 (752 characters)

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. (480 characters)

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. (517 characters)

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. (493 characters)

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. (456 characters)

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. (638 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into tulip. Bottle dated best after 6/13/15.

A: Pours dark brown almost black with two finger light tan head. Nice retention and leaves plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and light sour dark fruits.

T: Rich dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, and bourbon. Some faint tart dark fruits.

M: Full bodied with a creamy texture. Reminds me of the beer equivalent of a thick milkshake.

O: Excellent stout. Another winner from Deschutes. (509 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque, deep and rich brown color with a dusting of a light tan head that quickly fades.
The aroma is loaded with dark chocolate, dark fruit, pomegranate, fig and roasted coffee.
It's a layered and complex taste. Bitter dark chocolate up front with a little of the pomegranate showing through along with dark fruits and almost-burnt coffee. The finish is a long-lasting dark chocolate coating the tongue. A little bit of tartness hiding in there as well (the cranberry I assume).
The mouthfeel is medium and smooth.
Just straight up fabulous. (551 characters)

Photo of DavidHume
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very unique brew! It pours a deep brown, nearly black, with a khaki-red head which boasts exceptional retention. The aroma is very unique—vanilla, cranberries, chocolate, and dark fruits. The mouthfeel is just right, a mild tartness from the fruit balanced by a rich thickness. The taste is likewise excellent: chocolate mousse, vanilla, cocoa powder, and a hint of the cranberries, less prominent than in the aroma, but still there. Overall, an interesting and wholly worthwhile beverage. (493 characters)

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served @ 55deg F in Snifter

A - Dark brown body with small head that fades quickly to a porous lacing.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, sour fruit and a hint of smoke & bourbon.

T/F - Not sure how they get such a great mouth-feel, but that has to be one of the things that sets this beer above most of the rest. It just so happens to be very tasty too... with notes of chocolate, bourbon, cherry & cranberry rounding out the roasted porter.

O - Don't know why this is still sitting on the shelves, but glad it is so that I can get another 1 or 2. Another solid anniversary beer from Deschutes. Look forward to the 27th. Prost! (633 characters)

Photo of LouZ
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured black with two fingers of head from bomber into snifter. Some retention with ample lacing. Lots of sediment visible - due to the nibs? Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and oak. Taste starts with the bourbon presence and then you get that sugary molasses note leading into a tart finish. It's an interesting juxtaposition and balance of flavors. Feel is medium bodied with a slightly thicker touch at times. Overall, it's a good brew for its complexity but I'm not sure I'd want another. (498 characters)

Photo of Strix
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Good initial head that leaves a healthy amount of lace at the top, fading to nothing. Near-black with red-brown edges and some sediment.

Bourbon, molasses, vanilla, hint of raspberry in the nose.

Wood, bourbon, chocolate malt, cocoa, blackberries, slight pine/dark chocolate aftertaste. Complex. Delicious.

Tremendously smooth mouthfeel.

I'm a total sucker for beers like this. I've been looking for one of these since I heard about it and am really happy that Deschutes (including the occasional special bomber) are now available in my area. This was reminiscent for me of Rabid Duck, another smooth, dark-fruit laden boozer. Man, this was great. (651 characters)

Photo of do_ob
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle into a snifter. Pours dark brown and settles coal black in the glass. I started out with a gentle pour which wasn't yielding any kind of head, so I turned the bottle up a little and wound up with a 2 finger mound of super-sticky, mocha-colored foam. Pronounced bourbon on the nose with notes of cocoa, chocolate, cranberries, and molasses. Quite heavy in weight with a creamy, silky-smooth mouthfeel. Initially, there's a wave of sweet, bourbon-flavored chocolate with what seems like an impossibly perfect balance between roastiness and sweetness, and between booziness and flavor. Behind this wall of sticky choclatiness, there's an unrelenting sweet raspberry character that's just waiting on the bitterness to break so it can shine through. And it does, 'round about middleways. A huge surge of tart raspberry goodness comes forward, dominating a once boozy, cocoa-forward beverage. You think it's over? It's not. Immediately following a finish so smooth it could be compared to Miles Davis' Blue in Green, another bombardment of raspberries comes lurching out from behind the darkness, grabbing at you like..like that part in Resident Evil 2 for the original Playstation..you know, when you're running through the hallway in the police station - bottom corridor, outside the conference room. The wall is boarded up, and you go jogging reluctantly past, everything seems ok, and BAM! Dozens of zombie arms dart out from behind the boarded tomb, clawing at your flesh! Wanting more! Needing it! That's the raspberries on the finish of this beer. Following this attack, a nutty roastiness creeps into the scene, accompanied by vanilla and honey counterparts, leaving behind a final reprise of tart sweetness, sticky euphoria, and enough chocolate to give Willy Wonka diabetes.

I love this beer. (1,811 characters)

Photo of donteatpoop
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Every year Deschutes Brewery celebrates their anniversary with a variant on their popular Black Butte Porter. Black Butte XXVI is an imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels and dry spiced with cocoa nibs, giving off aromas and flavors of vanilla and chocolate. Sounds good, right? Wait, we’re not done yet. They added Pomegranate molasses and cranberries.

It sounds strange, but you really have to trust in the creative genius at work over there at Deschutes. Everything is balanced perfectly in a blend of fruit, tartness, vanilla, chocolate, and of course the dark roasted malts and light hop presence.

This beer pours an opaque chicory brown color with creamy tan head, the nose giving off chocolate notes and hints of fruit. The taste… Again, it’s a complex blend of ingredients that work in harmony and culminate in excellence. A nice creamy mouthfeel with a pleasant lingering aftertaste of vanilla from the bourbon barrel.

Just drink it with caution, this is a big beer weighing in at 10.8% ABV. (1,013 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Deschutes for their 27th Anniversary party. Cheers!

Pours a dark black body, one finger offwhite head, good retention, not much lacing. Smells primarily of bourbon and cocoa. Lots of cocoa. There is a lot of dark fruit here as well, though it is more apparent on the palate than in the nose. No tartness, along with oak and a mild bit of smoke. Flavour is impressive in this side by side; there is a definite fruity flavour that I really enjoyed; it's not intense or forward but it's hard to miss. Pomegranate and raspberries (though the description calls it cranberries), a nice mild jammy flavour is present along with the whiskey, oak barrel, a bit of vanilla and smoke. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lower carbonation. It does get to be a chore after the first 3-4 ounces. Overall, this has done well with a bit of time on it. Unique combination of fruit flavours made this a very interesting beer to try. (918 characters)

Photo of Austin32
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer gets big points for being very original. You can very clearly smell and taste each distinct flavor listed on the bottle, and they blend quite well. I opened this about a week past its best if opened after date....I would love to try one that aged another year beyond that to see what develops. My only criticism is it is on the sweet side for my personal taste. (371 characters)

Photo of emyers
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark brown color with a thin 1/2 finger beige head.

Smell: Very complex. Rich toffee, some cocoa, oak, vanilla. Cranberry is actually fairly prominent in the aroma but integrated extremely well into the other elements. Bourbon is pretty mild but present towards the end.

Taste: Cocoa takes the forefront here and cranberry steps in right after it giving it a nice tart flavor, but then is balanced out by roasted malt and toffee. Some bourbon and oak on the finish along with a final bite of cranberry and pomegranate. I'll admit I was pretty skeptical of the fruit in this at first, but the more I drink the more I like it - adds an extra layer of depth and stays very balanced throughout. No real alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel: Body is fairly light given the style, but extremely smooth and actually complements the tartness from the cranberries nicely. Low carbonation level, dry finish.

Overall: Unique, complex, delicious. I absolutely love what the cranberry/pomegranate component does to this beer. (1,079 characters)

Photo of Gaddabble
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Medium-large fizzy head after semi-hard pour into a wine glass. Tan head quickly dissipates to next-to-nothing. Dark brown on the pour, black in the glass.

S: Typical sweet, chocolate stout smell with addition of slightly tart cranberry/pomegranate. As it warms, molasses and bourbon come through much more strongly.

T: Follows the nose. Initially, the taste was a quick shot of chocolate followed by a quick shot of cranberry/pomegranate tartness. However, as it warmed, the flavors intensified substantially. Delicious molasses gained power upfront followed by a long, dry tart (but not overly so) finish.

F: Medium-thin. Tartness lingers for several seconds once beer warms.

O: Two important points about this beer. First, LET IT WARM to room or near room temperature. This transforms a mediocre beer into something stellar. It is reminiscent of a 6-12 month old Abyss but with less sweetness and much more tartness on the finish. Second, LET AGE to at least the recommended date. Why are there over 700 ratings prior to the recommended drink on date? I find it ridiculous that people would rate this beer prior to that date, especially if they provide a negative/mediocre review. A mediocre experience with a beer like this is likely as much due to drinking it prior to when the brewer intended as it is to the beer itself. Looking back at the negative reviews, the biggest complaint is that the cranberry is too overpowering and the beer is too tart. Well that is what is going to happen if you don't let it age to at least the recommended date! If you want to drink it prior or compare fresh to aged, by all means go for it! But be fair, and withhold the ratings! (1,699 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black Butte XXVI pours a black color with a big lacing tan head. There is a strong aroma with big hints of pomegranate and cranberries. The taste is fruity, big hints of pomegranate and finishes with a tartness from the cranberries. Overall its rather fruity, with hints of smoke. (283 characters)

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

Well gee, look at that, the 800th rating.

My third anniversary of not being perma-banned on BeerAdvocate is being recognized with this: Deschutes XXVI Anniversary Porter. Incidentally, it's also review number 742 for me, which also happens to be the address of The Simpsons. Alright, anyway, I'm hoping this beer doesn't suck. Not just because it's a milestone beer (sort of...?), but because a bomber was sixteen freakin' bucks. Bottle says drink after 6/13 and it's 6/18 -- hey, I followed the rules! Let's get crackin'...

Appearance: Let me just say that, with this being my first wax capped bottle, I also sort of hope it's my last... while it's oddly satistfying in a way to chip away at the wax, it's a freakin' process. Anyway, after getting the wax scraped off and the cap pryed off, pouring it aggressively, I got a huge two finger head initially that went down pretty quickly to a quarter finger. The head is a creamy beige color, and there's a surprising bit of lacing there. The beer looks to be a somewhat transparent ruby black when held to light. Really a sexy looking beer. As you work your way through the bottle, you'll probably notice some pretty thick floaters finally falling into the glass -- ones so big it almost looks like, sure enough, pomegranate seeds. Anyway, I digress -- dat creamy head tho... (4.75/5)

Smell: Smells almost like an English barleywine to me. I get what really smells predominantly like caramel malts, strangely, with some oak barrel. There's a "tangy" sort of vibe on the aroma as well that probably comes from the pomegranate molasses. Despite being 50% barrel aged, this may as well be 100% barrel aged -- I definitely smell oaky, boozy barrely goodness. Really, this smells like it has much higher alcohol content than its 10.5ish%. Not only does it smell boozy, but it's as if I can feel a warmth tickling my nose hairs (appealing, right?). A pretty phenomenal nose on XXVI. (4.5/5)

Taste/feel: I know I'm in the minority but I find that this tastes distinctively barrel aged, although somewhat wine barrel aged because of that tangy pomegranate flavor -- really, really interesting. Oakiness, a little booziness and warmth, pomegranate... probably the most interesting imperial stout (er, porter) I've had. It's like eating some kind of boozy chocolate covered cherry and it's great. The chocolate flavor comes through mostly at the finish when the beer warms up. I thought this may be an overly sweet beer, but it's actually very, very well balanced -- yes, it's sweet, but the tartness and roast bitterness evens things out quite well. Honestly, the more I drink it, the more I almost get a port wine sort of vibe, and being a lover of port, it's no wonder that this beer is really just blowing my mind. The feel on this is what I'd expect from an imperial porter, as it's not super thick, which is a good thing anyway, because a heftier body may bring this beer into cloying territory. The carbonation is mild, prickly, and therefore, excellent. (4.5/5, 4.5/5)

World Class beer. I honestly didn't think it would taste *this* good, and was worried because people said the barrel character was virtually non-existent. True, as you drink it becomes less noticeable, but it's definitely there. This is one hell of a unique beer, and I'm sad to know I'll never have it again (and that I didn't buy two bottles). I'm also sad that I never got to experience the previous beers in the series. I can see why so many people dislike this beer, but am also confused by it -- it's very distinct, and doesn't have the "textbook" barrel aged stout/porter flavors. I love it for that. Anyway, I'm ecstatic to have been able to try this beer, and find it to be one of the very best beers I've ever had the pleasure to drink.



EDIT: As I've gotten further into the beer, I've noticed an ever-so-slight metallic flavor coming through on the finish of some sips. I'm keeping the rating of this beer the same, but it's something that's obviously a bit of an annoyance, and has had be considering dropping the rating down a tick. (4,084 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a Deschutes snifter

A: Pitch black, creamy mocha head, getting a lot of lacing, looks a little thin, lots of head retention, some light comes through.

A: Lots of cocoa, vanilla, slight bourbon, getting lots of dry cocoa, chocolate aromas, alcohol is well hidden for 10.2%.

T: Cocoa, lots of it, some bourbon, vanilla, slight cranberry tartness at the end, finishes strong with chocolate bitterness.

M: Medium mouthfeel, finishes dry.

O: As a chocolate lover, this beer is world class. Chocolate is very prevalent, but it's not a sweet chocolate, it's more like raw bitter sweet chocolate, there is not a whole lot of bourbon, cranberries or pomegranate molasses, but they complement the chocolate perfectly, I think this is a world class beer, too bad it was a one bottle limit, I would have bought two. (838 characters)

Photo of gshak
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

It is an amp-ed up imperial porter/stout with loads of fruitiness (read tartness). Chocolate, toast, roast in the initial sip give way to tart fruits. Some bitterness is noticed in the end as well. Overall, not quite as good a take as the previous anniversaries. Was worth a try, but no more. (292 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Best After: 6/13/2015

Appearance: pours a deep black, maybe hints at walnut a little bit. a two finger head or so of tan foam, that has good retention and leaves a frothy lacing behind. completely opaque and hazy. some sediment settles over time. 3.75/5

Smell: some fruity molasses to syrup. rich notes of toffee and chocolate, some bourbon soaked dark fruits. 3.5/4

Taste: opens up with a mix between artificial fruity syrup and a light maple syrup. huge amounts of sweetness come from the additions and some from the malts. toffee, chocolate and bourbon soaked prunes to cherries. 3/5

Mouthfeel: thick, slick and chewy. smooth and velvety. on the verge to slightly over of cloyingly sweet. 3.25/5

Overall: I think the fruit additions really don't lend this one to aging. there is too much fruitiness that comes through a bit too strong in the artificial realm. I love Deschutes bomber series but this one probably shouldn't have been aged as I liked it a bit more fresh. 3/5 (981 characters)

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.