Black Butte XXVI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

825 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 825
Reviews: 126
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 59
Gots: 512 | FT: 71
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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Ratings: 825 | Reviews: 126
Reviews by Celtics17:
Photo of Celtics17
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very smooth taste. Bourbon comes in with a nice spice. I get very little beery flavor. I even get a slight bubble gum flavor coming through. I think this beer will age well. This is a huge chocolate flavored porter. It gains a better character as the beer warms.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

In twenty-six years of playing with porter, imagination and creativity run amuck as elements of pomegranate and cranberry add tangy balance and curriosity to its imperial toasted taste.

Just off of black, its onyx austere is capped with a whipped mocha froth that sturdily holds onto the snifter during the patient session. With strong coffee, chocolate and burnt toast hovering above, the tangy berry-like scent is highlighted by the tingle of booze.

Its full and deeply penetrating taste is of wonderfully burnt sugars, leading with molasses, cocoa and latte. With earthen elements of coffee, soil, smoldering embers and burnt bread seeping into the mouth; the brilliant vibrancy of cranberry, pomegranate and seemingly cherry bounce off the tongue with its acidic balance.

Bittered with earthy coffee and campfire, a burnt pinecone taste pulls from the ash and achieves a slight semblance of dryness with spicy curracao liquor and spiced rum to finish and echoes of chocolate covered cherries to return in aftertaste.

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a 22 oz brown bomber with that distinctive black wax enclosing the neck and crown. In fact, I'm pretty sure my bottle got a double-dip of wax, as it was quite difficult to remove. Marked with a "best after" date of 6/16/15, but I'll be the judge of that myself, thank you very much. Poured into an 33 oz oversized snifter.

Appearance (4.5) - Pours a dark rich brown-black color that isn't quite as viscous or thick as I would have imagined. When held up to the light, there are hints of cola brown on the edges of the glass, but otherwise, it might as well be as black as the wax on the neck. Atop the body sits a healthy finger and a half head of brown sugar colored foam, frothy in consistency. Retention is moderate, hanging out for a bit before shrinking down to a thick film of bubbles across the surface of the liquid. Lacing is mostly nonexistent.

Smell (4.25) - Really nice aroma, although not quite as intoxicating as I was hoping. It could be a little richer, but at this point I'm nitpicking. The smells of dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate and licorice waft out of the glass at first blush, setting the table with the aromatic profiles that are often part of the base beer. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there is more going on here, with light fruit tartness from the cranberries and a slightly richer sweetness from the pomegranate molasses. There is also a vein of vanilla and boozy heat intertwined with the roasted and fruity aromas.

Taste (4.5) - Oh man, what contributed to points of interest in the aroma have become full on features in the taste. The added fruit elements work to kick up the notes of licorice and now seem to bring about the impression of fig and other dark fruits. The cranberry tartness that I detected in the aroma hasn't become a full-fledged tartness in the taste, but much to my enjoyment, it instead adds depth to the roasted notes of bitter chocolate and burnt toast, and blends quite well with the vanilla and oak from the barrel aging. The only complaint I have is that I expected to get a little more bourbon based on the heat I smelled, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a deftly subtle touch with the barrel.

Mouthfeel (4.0) - Here is really the only real issue I have with the beer. The body is moderate to full, when I would have hoped for a full body, especially given the limited barrel contribution to the blend. The carbonation is moderate and spot on, so really I just with there was a bit more meat to the texture.

Overall (4.5), this is another great entry in the Black Butte anniversary series. I'm having a hard time remembering my feelings for XXV when fresh, but this one is certainly close to it's equal. I love the fact that the pomegranate molasses provides a fruity sweetness that seems ideally suited to blend with the roasty flavors of the porter, while the cranberries provide just a bit of brightness as a complement. It was surprisingly easy to down an entire bottle of this myself during the course of a movie. I'll certainly be excited to see how this one drinks once it hits its prime in a year (if I can hold off on opening more between now and then).

Photo of maximum12
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%

Picked up a bottle because, well, the days of me grabbing all the Black Butte Anni bottles I could find are in the past...though I hope not. Not since the XXIII has one overwhelmed me with the happies. I'm hoping this one does, though the 'cranberries' on the label leaves me less hopeful. 22 oz. black-waxed bottle split with my wife.

Pour is dense black, low carb. Nose doesn't blow at all, rich with chocolate all over the dena. Otherwise, quiet quiet.

Black Butte XXVI doesn't restore the line to its glory, but doesn't Michael Buble' it either. Nice shot of roast, big chocolate notes, with the barrel coming on-line shortly after to add some drying vanilla lumber. Molasses & malty sweetness slips into the mid-palate, then what is - must be, though I can't quite experience taste via The Google, yet - pomegranate. Cranberries are a thankfully distant (& unwelcome) relative. Nice & thick, as always, & there appears to be a hole in my glass.

A very good beer that puts this series back on the right track. But, Deschutes? I've loved a lot of your beers over the years, like, Magic Johnson-level love. So I say this with all due respect: quit putting bloody fucking fruit in Black Butte. Pretty please?

Photo of mverity
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, rich chocolatey brown with similar colored head that faded almost immediately. No collar or wisps or lacing but good legs. Aroma is big on the chocolate, deeply roasted malt, molasses, and earthy from the barrels. Taste is chocolate up front, tart pomegranate and a deep wet earthy malt base. Great full body and clings the the sides of your mouth and tongue and very low carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Continues the trend of this beer getting sweeter each year (molasses, cocoa), and now they added cranberries. I appreciate the oak and vanilla notes from the Bourbon barrels, but wish it went back to the old coffee formula.

Photo of deebo
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gave this one a blanket 4 when tasted on tap right after release. Revisiting on tap and comparing to 25. The bourbon/alcohol is still pretty hot. Could use a little age but to take off the edge. Similar to last years version, notes of chocolate, sweet ripe fruits on top of a bit of vanilla and a fair amount of bourbon come together in this beer. Given the taste, I'm going to sit on my bottles for at least a year to let the booze subside a bit before cracking.

Photo of wattoclone
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black brown with moderate head which persists. Pleasant fruity, chocolate aroma. Taste is sweet chocolate with a fruity midrange followed by a roasted malt finish. Very complex and enjoyable. The high ABV was not evident but clearly puts this brew in the Imperial Porter style.

Photo of BenHesk12
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap in winter 2014! Strong chocolate aroma with an instant tart cranberry fruit and chocolate taste. Tart and then bourbon/chocolate flows in. Warming deep boozy finish and you are reminded that this is a >10% ABV brew. Mouth feel is chewy thick and sticky. Solid black brew with a moderate brown head. They went all out this year and in my opinion its a huge success!

Photo of MattyG85
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured from a 22 oz. waxed bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottle says best after 06/16/15.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a lot of rising bubbles. Solid two fingers of tan head which settle into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: A rich, roasty, and sweet dark malt forward aroma with big hints of chocolate, coffee, and fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront hints of dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, dark roast coffee, cream, burnt caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, and yeast. Barrel hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet hints of molasses. Some black licorice hints. Fruit hints of pomegranate and cranberry along with dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, fig, dates, and prune. Slight hints of citrus as well. Hops are pretty light. A really complex and good aroma.

Taste: Like its smells, a very rich, roasty, and sweet dark malt driven taste with a big presence of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with big upfront notes of dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, dark roast coffee beans, cream, toasted bread, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet taste of molasses and some anise black licorice. Big presence of fruit with some notes of cranberry, pomegranate, and slight citrus along with some dark fruit notes of fig, raisin, dates, dark cherry, and prune. Hops are very light. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very rich, slick, and creamy. Booze heat is fairly smooth considering the ABV.

Overall: Another great imperial version of one of the better Porters out there. Nicely complex and rich mix of dark malt, bourbon, and fruit notes.

Photo of musicbeer7
5/5  rDev +20.5%

The most amazing porter I've ever had would buyagain and again

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color, with a half of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Strong, nice, aromas of bready, roasted malt, chocolate and fruit, such as cranberry, pomegranate, cherries, brown sugar and caramel, a touch of oak and bourbon. Smells, rich, complex and delicious!

Taste: Wow! Delicious! Strong, earthy, rich, flavors of roasted malt up front, imparting notes of roasted, slightly smoky, freshly toasted bread, followed by lots of brown sugar-like sweetness, chocolate, caramel, hits of bourbon and oak. The beer finishes with strong, fruity, slightly sour notes of pomegranate and cranberry. So delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, smooth and creamy, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.8%, there is a pleasant, alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: What a spectacular beer! Rich, complex, malty, boozy, fruity, chocolaty, semi-sweet and semi-sour. Absolutely delicious!

Photo of samtrillo
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours like a vanilla coke. Tan attractive head with a gooey bit of a lacing.

Smells of bourbon and dark red fruit (pomegranate and cranberry, duh). Dark chocolate and coffee notes abound.

The bourbon is much more pronounced in the nose than the taste! The sweet red fruit flavors of the pomegranate and cranberry overpower this brew in my opinion. Was expecting them to compliment the coffee-mocha-vanilla-bourbon flavors rather than be at the forefront. Honestly they could have been there in the same intensity just minus the sweetness. It tastes like a cranberry %60 Cocoa bar, which isn't a bad thing at all. But for my personal taste I would want it more leaning towards %80 Cocoa and coffee flavors.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Butte 26 on tap at Anodyne in Albuquerque, NM, July 2014.

A- pitch black liquid with a minimal head but good lace and retention. 4

S- licorice, oak barrels, dark malt, sweet malt, caramel, bourbon 4

T- bourbony, hint of berries, booze, caramel, vanilla. More chocolatey as it warms. 4

M- more booze than I'd like, thinner body than I'd expect, probably due to the booze, but it smooths out with some warmth. 4

Overall, this beer seems a bit under matured. I imagine with some age the booze will dissipate and it will drink more smoothly. I'm curious to see how the berry-flavors develop and what becomes of the chocolate that is somewhat faint now. 4

Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz, black wax sealed bottle. Every Repeal Day, it is my tradition (in its 8th iteration, now) to pick the biggest, baddest American-made brew from my 'cellar' to review. This year, it's a bit of a conundrum, as this particular brew definitely qualifies as such, but it's before the so-called 'best after' date on the label. Screw that, I've had this burning a hole on my beer shelf since watching the opening World Cup matches, when the good doktorzee bequeathed it to me - so thanks again, man!

This beer pours a very, very dark opaque brown hue, with subtle basal cola highlights, and two chubby fingers of puffy, rocky, and rather creamy tan head, which leaves some attractive cobwebbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of toasted bready caramel malt, testy Bourbon barrel notes - acrid wood staves, boozy vanilla, gritty caramel, and spicy rye grain - blackstrap molasses, a sharp dark berry fruitiness (ok, I just heard Denis Leary's rant about cranberries in beer), wet ash, black coffee, bitter cocoa, and a sort of further free-range alcohol. The taste is again more or less led off by that edgy barrel character - grainy wood, dry vanilla and caramel, and a neutered rye spirit spice - with some lightly-sugared mocha, surprisingly prominent cranberry tartness (I'm forty, as well, but don't care), a thin brown sugar simulacrum, grainy pale and toffee malts, dry black licorice, and a mildly perfumed baying booziness.

The bubbles are fairly understated in their timid fizzy and frothy tendencies, the body an adequate medium weight, with the barrel astringency cutting through it all, including the otherwise, I'm sure, heady smoothness. It finishes barely off-dry, the stereo caramel notes under siege by the persistent wood, cranberry, and thankfully restrained alcohol essences.

I'm a little surprised - I was expecting something a whole lot sweeter, the malt and Bourbon calling the shots, but instead we get a complex (already!) array of dark sugary elements, one duly countered by wood, acerbic berry, and bristling alcohol alike. No biggie, as this makes things more interesting, letting everything lay it all on the table, nowhere to hide, as such. I can't say that this is really all that easy to drink, but it's easier than it should be, if that makes any sense, and is probably leagues better than what poured freely upon repeal of the 18th Amendment.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours near black with ruby brown highlights where light can penetrate. Served in 10oz glass w/ half finger head. Leaves a nice coat of lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell - Hot on the nose, with chocolate and cocoa notes backing a whiskey-like aroma. Backing notes of dark berries.

Taste- Follows the nose. Chocolate, berry and citrus with plenty of alcohol flavor in the mix. Finishes much the same, with milk chocolate backed by notes of orange and light alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel - Close to full in body with low carbonation, delivering a somewhat syrupy feel. Goes down decent enough with a drying alcohol finish.

Overall - Good, but not 'blow your socks' off amazing. Reminiscent of those sweet chocolate liqueur candies that somehow end up in stockings come Christmas; the Gran Marnier flavor comes to mind. A bit hot for my tastes as is, but it should age nicely; thankfully I found this on tap so I can save my bottle for a year or two.

Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

This poured a black with a small tan head and lingering lacing.

The smell up front is coco and cranberries with some hints of vanilla and bourbon.

There's a lot going on in the flavors of this beer..and in a good way. You get chocolate and pomegranate up front followed by hints of sweet vanilla and bourbon and tart cranberries at the end. Alcohol is well hidden. It was different but I really enjoyed it.

The mouth feel is med-full bodied. silky smooth with medium carbonation.

This beer has a great balance of tartness and sweetness to balance this out. Really enjoyed this great robust imperial porter by this great brewery.

Photo of spacecake9
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Picked up this bomber today and could not wait to taste it.

A - Pours dark with a nice head that quickly settles down down.

S - Wonderful aroma that is typical of top-notch porters but the little bit of sweetness suggests that it's not a typical porter.

T- Now you know this is not your typical porter! This has a real complex flavor, there's a lot going on here. The bourbon barrel aging does not overwhelm this beer. Yes to the vanilla and chocolate notes. And the finish has a mild fruity feel that you don't get with your usual porter.

M - Very much what I expect from a porter, not too heavy or chewy.

O - I really enjoyed the complexity of this beer. This is an excellent sipping beer where you are rewarded for going slow and allowing all the flavors to play out in your mouth. Sorry but this is not a beer for newbies. Anyone who likes porters and stouts should give this a try.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body, but not inky dark. Big khaki head. Chunky collar. Lots of lacing and surface wisps.

Smell - Roasted malt. Kinda woody with a bit of bourbon. Fruity in back. Dark fruits like the cranberry described.

Taste - Much more bourbony. Woody too. Oak permeates. Bitter black malts builds into the back end before a distinct fruitiness. Works well.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Not as heavy as I expected.

Overall - The fruit seemed subtle at first but definitely got stronger as it warmed. It's an interesting addition, but doesn't help a beer that could use some richness.

Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a ebony hued scarlet with 2 fingers of tan head. Stellar head retention & lacing

S: Plums, raisins, spicy pepper, cinnamon & whiffs of booze & prune

T: Prunes, cayenne pepper, woody dryness, leafy hops, cinnamon & vanilla up front. Molasses, woody hops, a bit of Bourbon, cocoa, leafy hops, & figs as this warms. Finishes dry, with a little Bourbon, figs, & molasess

MF: A touch light in body with a bit too much carbonation. Carbonation smooth out once warm, body stays a bit wet

Let this warm up, even coming off of ale temps, this didn't flatter this beer so much. Very nice, but not as good a past iterations. Not a huge fan of cranberries, so maybe that's it? I'm sure it will age great

Photo of Austin32
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown, thin appearance with active carbonation. Tons of floaters.

Great smell. Berries, woody, lots of cocoa. Earthy.

Chocolatey and slight tartness. Oaky, vanilla. Licorice.

Thin with high carbonation. Sticky.

Great smell and taste. The downside is the unsightly appearance and thin prickly body.

Photo of KYGunner
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%

The nose is exceptionally chocolatey with dry and milk chocolates. Hints of the barrel present light coconut and a sweet vanilla. Caramel, toffee and chocolate malts also hit the nose with a light fruit.

The flavor is chocolate forward with a milk chocolate Hershey's Kiss quality. The barrel blends in a coconut flavor, some vanilla and a bourbon esque taste. All the while there's a tangy fruit center, much like a chocolate covered strawberry. This is dessert in a bottle!

Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce wax capped bottle, label says best after 06/13/15. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch tan head that stuck around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like bittersweet and milk chocolate, molasses, burnt/charred malt, berries and vanilla. The taste is nice too! It tastes like bittersweet and milk chocolate, molasses, pomegranate, cranberry, burnt/charred malt, vanilla, and a bit of licorice and coffee. There's a good mix of bitter, sweet, and tart flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and coating with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think it's an interesting (and tasty) brew, I'm glad I had this tonight. Now I'm just not sure if I can wait until June or after to drink my other bottle!

Photo of Catracho5
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 825 ratings.