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Black Butte Porter - Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte PorterBlack Butte Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,642 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3642
Reviews: 1278
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.74%

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Alc. by Vol.: 5.2%
IBUs: 30

192 calories per 12 oz serving

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2001)
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Ratings: 3,642 | Reviews: 1,278 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BlacklightBrewin


1.9/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours a dark black stoutish color.
But not thick, somewhat watery.. though not as light as a newcastle.

The aroma and initial taste is very earthy.
The after taste is crisp and dry.

Maybe I'll have to try it from the tap instead.

I've had multiple bottles of this and I'm really suprised that some people adore this beer so much.

I havent had a porter that i've enjoyed as much as Sierra Nevada's
I'd love for someone to reccomend a superb porter.. though i find it hard to trust peers that have an affinity for beers such as this.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2006 07:49:35 | More by BlacklightBrewin
Photo of ccrida


2.25/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, the Black Butte is a deep, dark, cola like garnet color with a big tan head that quickly faded to a small collar leaving slight lace. The aroma is very faint, sweet and malty. The flavor is similarly scant, sweet and toasted malt, coffee, and very slight finish of bittering hops. The mouthfeel was very thin and watery. In as much as this Porter was incredibly inoffensive and light bodied, it could be considered to be highly drinkable...however, there was nothing about Black Butte that made me want to have more then one.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2007 05:22:36 | More by ccrida
Photo of santoslhalper


2.28/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearence: Poured a simple dark ruby with an incredible fizzy foamy beige head.

Smell: There are vague smells of chocolate and toasted nuts, but honestly there's not a whole lot to sniff.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste consists of a really weird, almost moth ball flavored malts combined with an inappropriate hop bitterness at the end. There are no real strong, bold or even interesting quialities to the flavor. The mouthfeel is just a tiny bit creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: Dissapointing!! I loved their Obsidian Stout, but this one just wasn't for me. It just tasted incredibly bland and boring.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2005 06:30:10 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of SlyBanter


2.33/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Now i passed up a six pack of Lagunitas Sucks to try this and regret it. Upon pouring, it looked great, dark and thick, but weak lacing on the head. My first reaction to smelling it was "why does this smell like blue moon?" And then i tasted it, and it TASTED like blue moon. Okay, it tastes better than blue moon, but very similar. So why do they call it a porter when it smells and tastes like a generic wheat ale? Another example of dumbing down a style of beer simply for mass appeal. It's obvious. I was not happy that this beer tasted nothing like a porter, and the feel, even less like a porter. It doesn't stick in your mouth, the now all too common hints of coffee are not executed properly, and it's just common in taste. Had this beer been labeled as a wheat ale, i would give it a higher rating, because i do not respect this beer as a porter and believe that it should not be called one.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 23:37:34 | More by SlyBanter
Photo of Fabric8r


2.45/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow, this was horrible on tap at our local Applebee's. I have had it in bottle and was much better. What happened? Usually bottle is not as good as tap. This beer tasted bland and I could not tell if there was any hops in it at all. Hmmm, bad batch? Too old? Too new? Didn't taste green just really bland.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2003 11:25:17 | More by Fabric8r
Photo of ssam


2.45/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- its black as night. i must say i did a perfect pour but the head still was very small and went away very fast.

S- the smell is nothing special, very dark chocolaty with some hoppiness.

T- much too dark tasting for me. the dark chocolate bitterness is not redeemed by anything and the coffee is obtrusive

M- the mouthfeel is good but doesnt counter the taste in my opinion

D- i dont like this beer

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2008 20:56:23 | More by ssam
Photo of jbertsch


2.45/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Finally got a chance to try this while in Las Vegas, (It was on tap at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the MGM) but walked away very disappointed. For all the hype I didn’t see how this porter was anything above mediocre at best…and I mean at best.

The aroma and flavor were quite boring. I only smelled a little nutty earthiness, and the taste was similar, with maybe faint notes of chocolate and molasses but overall quite tame and lifeless. I wish it was a little richer. What surprised me the most was its almost watery mouthfeel. This was a big letdown for me. I can’t imagine ever reaching for this one again, but a part of feels I should try it again just in case there was some funny business going on at the restaurant….my friend shared the same thoughts about it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2012 19:12:22 | More by jbertsch
Photo of beerman599


2.53/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer that does not taste like smells. i may have found a bad bottle but..... Appearance: Not much head and it disapered quickly.

Tasteslike it was old and possibly infected . Black Butte is known as a good porter but you would'nt now it from this sample i hope to try this again and have a better experience!

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2003 18:12:04 | More by beerman599
Photo of atomicbwax


2.6/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance - Very dark. A reddish hue when hend to the light. When poured properly into a glass a nice thick head forms.

Smell - Rich, smoky, nutty, chocolatey. The aroma is quite pleasant overall.

Taste - Smoky and chocolatey. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Porters and this one tastes like most and I am not too impressed.

Mouthfeel - Full and smooth bodied. It feels anice and thick in the mouth. I like that.

Drinkability - As I mentioned before I am not a big fan of Porters so I do not find this terribly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2005 05:42:33 | More by atomicbwax
Photo of Trilogy31


2.73/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours brown with a dark ruby edge with no head when it was delivered to my table. Faint notes of roasted malts and coffee, with a sour smell. Taste was just not good and feel that either there was an issue with glassware or the beer was infexted as it was very lean and watery and had a sour finish. Wouldnt mind trying again but cant do anything outside of considering this beer average and based on reviews that is a shame.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2011 04:23:24 | More by Trilogy31
Photo of Retail1LO


2.75/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 32 oz. growler into a pint glass. Poured straight down the middle of the glass, beer gives about 3" of solid head. Pretty much downhill from there. The smell is nearly completely muted. Outside of carbonation and some malt, there's really nothing there. The taste to me is pretty bland. There's not a whole helluva lot going on here. Again, I don't detect too many distinct flavor profiles. Some hints of coffee, toasted malt. The mouthfeel is where this bottoms out. It's highly carbonated, and extremely astringent. There's absolutely no joy behind having this in your mouth. I'm wondering if Black Butte XXIII is anything like this. I hope to hell not.

Serving type: growler

09-10-2011 22:18:25 | More by Retail1LO
Photo of DUBinMIA


2.8/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a mug. Black color with almond almost white head. Little foam little lace.

Smell is of roasted malt. Some sweet malt smoke like almost but not quite. Slightly bland.

Sweet malt no real bitter hop flavor. Hint of smoke.

Medium body

Overall this was an ok porter… not terrific but not bad by any means. Give it a try once if it’s reasonable.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2011 03:00:07 | More by DUBinMIA
Photo of RedDiamond


2.85/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'll often pick up a six-pack of Black Butte for casual drinking around the house. I've known it to be a good product, plus it's available everywhere and is reasonably priced. But I only review beers served in house where they're brewed. For Deschutes this has meant annual migrations to Bend, though with their new outpost in Portland I won't need to cross the mountains as often.

In this case I drank Black Butte in Bend. I'd had more unfavorable experiences drinking on Bond Street than I could dismiss as isolated oversights and wanted to see if anything had changed since my last visit. I thought perhaps the favorable qualities of Black Butte Porter that I knew from the bottle might at last present themselves on draught at the source. Alas, this was not to be.

First, they serve Black Butte fiendishly cold. This isn't a problem, but requires some patience to overcome as the beer warms to a more accommodating serving temperature. Black Butte is deep mahogany and presents with a large islet of frothy tan head and a wide display of lace. The aroma, even after warming, lacks roast and suggests sanitation or yeast-funk issues.

I found Black Butte's taste lackluster and unchallenging but with a faint tail that nearly holds one's attention with some smoky decay. The malts are workable with notes of toffee-vanilla but not cleanly presented.

Ultimately there are dozens of porters in the great Northwest that entertain the senses with greater amplitude and zeal than this one, at least as it's served on draught where it's brewed.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2008 01:10:52 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of theowlsayshoe

South Dakota

2.9/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte porter
A – Very dark for a porter, made me think of the Don Hoe song “Tiny Bubbles”.
S – Like a malty Coke a Cola
T – Slightly bitter at first then very one toned like Guinness.
M - smooth, sticks to the sides of my mouth.
O – It’s so big and one toned I’m a little afraid of a stout from them being an imperial stout. It rings like a bell, one big strong note that slowly fades away and nothing else. I think it taste like a stout porter mix.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 07:59:31 | More by theowlsayshoe
Photo of ryrust5301


2.93/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance - A dark blackish brown, though not opaque. Faint glowing light could be seen around the edges, and when held up to light the darkness softened into a lighter shade. Very faint ring of off white foam circled the top. Looks a little light for a porter, but we'll see what shakes loose.

Smell - standard coffee smell seeps through, bitter chocolate adds a little sweetness. All in all, could stand to be a little stronger.

Taste & mouthfeel - Not as thick as I had hoped, and in a way a little bit runny. The feel is way to thin, and doesn't grab hold as it should anywhere in the mouth. Nice coffee note, though not very burnt or bitter enough. Chocolate helps sweeten it up a tad, but there's nothing too exciting here. Almost tastes watery.

Drinkability - This beer gets a very mediocre praise from me. Not what I had hoped for at all, and pretty disappointed. If I ever want a porter, i'm going to the gold standard. Anchor is the best porter you can ever pour into your awaiting pint glass.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2009 07:44:33 | More by ryrust5301
Photo of motleybrew

New York

2.95/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I know styles pretty well, especially of beers that I drink all the time. I am a porter hole. That is, i dump a lot of them down. This comes up adequate, but hardly interesting. it is so much to style that it has no character/personality whatsoever.

So... the appearance is a bland porter appearance... looking porterish.

The smell... lacks richness. A little yeasty and not so much interest beyond that.

taste told me there was no effort here to make a statement. hit the character, ok. make that hit interesting as an experience? no.

I didn't mind the feel... and I think the other negatives drew back my experience.

This isn't bad. no. It also isn't more than average. Outstanding is NOT hitting a style... it is achieving the style and making it seem interesting at the same time.

A good beer... there are much better.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2012 22:04:58 | More by motleybrew
Photo of lurpy1


3.03/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

That's all there is??? Really?

Pours an attractive deep brown with a nice thick head and good lacing.

Smell is an absolute head scratcher: There is none, or rather, there is very little. I'm not alone in thinking this - my 11-year old loves smelling the beers I'm trying and even he couldn't pick up much scent. Disappointing.

Likewise, taste was thin, very light notes of coffee and malt. But I wouldn't call it "subtle", I'd call it "weak". I'll acknowledge the taste came out a bit as it warmed, but only a bit. Still not what you'd call pronounced or even pleasantly nuanced.

I like porters/stouts and other Deschutes beers I've had passed muster, and this is one of the most beloved porters on the site, so my hopes were sky-high. Not sure what happened here. It wasn't unappealing, it just wasn't very impressive. Disappointing, but it's hard to imagine I'm right and everyone else is wrong. I plan on getting another bottle and seeing if it leaves a different impression.

UPDATED 9/12: Had another chance. Same verdict: Meh.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 00:30:39 | More by lurpy1
Photo of hopsleeroy

North Carolina

3.08/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a black but not opaque body with a minimal white head. Smell was very light with mild roast ash and some chocolate. Taste was a little underwhelming. That ash flavor tasted more like burnt coffee when drunk. Hops were not pronounced as to be expected with the style. The mouth feel was thin and watery. There was a certain acidic flavor to this one as it went down reminiscent of coffee at work that had sat out too long. This beer is very well crafted in that there is a good overall balance of flavor, a light crisp quality, and it lets some of the key flavors shine forward-I just wasn't a huge fan of those flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 10:05:48 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

3.08/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Says best by 2-12-11 so I must have it today!

Ohh the look is like a pour of cola...very bubbly, no head but a wisp of bubbles, a dark brown look. Looks very much like a seltzer or soda than a beer. Not great start.

S: Has a nice roasted character and a fudge notes, but also a metallic edge as well that kind of dominates any kind of complexity.

T: Has a very in the pocket roasty and fudgy porter taste. Not a lot of complexity to it either.

M: Very thin and bubbly. I do not enjoy the feel. Very overcarbonated.

D: High since it's very light and goes down easy. Hm, I dont see why people really dig this beer, it seems pretty average at best to me.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 01:21:05 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of Devi0us


3.08/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap last Friday on my last day in Hawaii at The Yardhouse.

A- Poured a dark brown but light does penetrate this brew. About a finger head that dissipated rather quickly. Hardly any lacing.

S- Smell of dark malts dominated but dark chocolate eased it's way through the dominance.

T- The taste was malts and chocolate. Kinda bland for me. 

M- This was medium bodied but felt light on the palate. It does however have a decent amount of carbonation for me, almost too much. 

O- I've seen this many times at the places I frequent when I purchase beer. This tasted average and I felt like I was cheated. Let's just say that it will stay on the shelves when I purchase more beer. 

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2011 20:27:51 | More by Devi0us
Photo of carpezytha


3.1/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in tulip

A: Deep ebony body with good head that reduces itself to a thin film.
S: Husks, nuts and smoky coffee.
T: A decent smoky malt with a slightly metallic (not unpleasantly so) finish. No hops evident. Some veg and stones there in the middle with earthy notes.
M: Not well carbonated but should not be overly so for this style.
D: I will come back to this but today I was not overly impressed. Anchor and others still make a much better daily drinking porter. There is just nothing about this that is that memorable is all.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 02:27:08 | More by carpezytha
Photo of spazaru


3.13/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What can I say? It's like porter 101. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Very smooth; I can drink one in about 2 minutes. Pours with a thin head, and has a medium to thin body, and a slightly burnt taste, but nothing off-putting. Maybe people who are scared of dark beer should start with this one, since there's nothing to offend here.

Pretty decent, but with so many exceptional porters available, why bother?

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 21:38:03 | More by spazaru
Photo of Jeffo


3.15/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mom and Dad brought this one over from their last trip south. Thanks guys.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: A transparent brown pour makes a one finger, medium-thinner looking, tan head that’s quite noisy. Head fades down to a nice wisp. Dark brown body with medium-higher levels of carbonation evident. A ring and some splotchy lacing remain, leaving some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Dark malts, some dark chocolate and smoky, roasted malts. Decent strength.

TASTE: Dark malts, caramel, and some smoky, roasted flavors. A touch of bitter chocolate in there as well. Mild yet lingering aftertaste of dark and sweet caramel malt with a touch of hop bitterness after the swallow. A little mild on the finish, but enjoyable enough. Livened up as it sat as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation for the style. Quite creamy smooth, goes down smooth and finishes dry on the palate. Good feel.

OVERALL: Gets a lot of praise in the porter category, but doesn’t stand out in the style. Perfectly average porter. Needs a little more flavor to make it worthwhile. Perhaps another bottle down the road will make me change my mind, but for now, not one I’ll need to seek out. Thanks again guys.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 12:43:30 | More by Jeffo
Photo of Goliath


3.18/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown and opaque with some red hues. A thin tan head forms on top. Decent retention and no lacing.

Aroma is ok. Nothing outstanding, but a bit of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is ok. Some coffee and chocolate, kind of earthy. Just not much going on.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, seemingly watery. Ample carbonation though.

Drinkability is moderate. Decent flavors, easy to session. Just seems pretty average to me. I can't believe this has such high ratings.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2008 00:57:28 | More by Goliath
Photo of Khazadum


3.18/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thank you greatly to an individual who recently left Dallas, TX! He was kind enough to net me a bunch of Deschutes before venturing back north to my welcoming clutches. I really shouldn't have poured this into my snifter, but I'm a sucker for it! 12 ounces right in with a normal pour. Reviewed live and for my pleasure.

Hmm. A strong black body ( ruby edges and chocolate hues at times )with 3/4 finger worth of head that quickly dissipated. In fact, I had less than a minutes time to enjoy it before it flitted off into my apartment leaving me with a thread-like collar of pitiful bubbles. The thinnest island of bubbles struggles to survive in the center against the oppression of the world, only fueled by the gentle carbonation from the glasses base. Nothing amazing, nothing really good about it.

Very aromatic! Whoo doggy.. this guy was hitting my nose the second I started pouring with strong notes of carmels and malt. The smoky nature I was expecting is not the star actor tonight. In the grand musical directed by Deschutes, it would appear the star role was given to a positively delicious new gal. Her sweet nature brings a smile to my face as I discover she also has a darker side.

Her history is at first sweet.. delicious... tantalizing.. but quickly I notice she has secrets that lie in murky waters. There is this smokiness she won't let me through. The candies I at first notice have become attenuated, leaving me with a smoldering campfire.

Flavor Profile
I have been misled and deceived. There are no trays of caramels for me to taste here, or exciting new flavors. My tongue is surrounded on all sides by that stereotypical char. Burnt grains, charred wood, and smoked water all coalesce into what I expected... but leaves me wanting more. A few times I noticed bananas, but that is probably my imagination.

There is no alcohol nature to this brew, as to be expected for 5%, and the finish is distracting. Its an aftertaste that if I don't remedy with another sip, I am forced to fix by scraping my tongue with shag carpet. I want to pull my tongue out and trade for someone who has recently burned out all their taste buds to limit how strong it builds. To describe it simply, it is like drinking for 6 hours straight, falling asleep with my mouth stuffed with pillow, not brushing my teeth for an hour after I get up, and licking my incisors. Spot on. Other than that, the beer tastes alright.

Oral Sensations
The body is thankfully not clingy. If I had to taste that finish any longer at times, I may have drain poured this bad boy. I feel that the lack of presence is a gift rather than a problem. Little carbonation causes the minute amount of tingling upon my lips and soft palate. Not much to note here.

Sure, I'll drink this again to give it another chance. Would I recommend this for anyone? Probably not... maybe if I wanted to scare someone off of craft beer I would.

Its pretty easy to enjoy if you can avoid the finish with exact sipping intervals. Hell, if I was a quick drinker I might not have even noticed it. Its nice an low alcohol, so it wasn't a chore due to alcohol, but some other aspects certainly made me feel like I was 10 all over again.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2010 00:19:00 | More by Khazadum
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Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 3,642 ratings.