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Black Butte XXVI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Educational use only; do not reuse.

132 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 910
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 59
Gots: 531 | 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: 132 | Hads: 910
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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.