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Black Butte Porter - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte PorterBlack Butte Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,690 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,690
Reviews: 1,350
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 343
Gots: 582 | FT: 13
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Butte Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,690 | Reviews: 1,350 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lurpy1
3.03/5  rDev -27.5%
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.

lurpy1, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of chugalug06
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice pourability. Great black color with straw foamy head. Awesome Tiers too.

S - Lots of deep chocolate and molasses. Some nice pine and coffee. There's a slight barf scented undertone...

T - Lots of big coffee! Some nice chocolate too. Wonderful caramel flavor gives deep flavor.

M - Perfect.

O - Definitely my only "real" go-to beer. Always awesome!

chugalug06, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of Tamarack22
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber 3.50
Best By Date: 7/23/2011

Appearance is dark brown with a deep red hue. Tan colored foam head rises quickly; subsides to a creamy head, lots of lacing. Smells of milk chocolate followed by a malty roasted aroma.

Taste is complex, flavors similar to the aromas. Noticeably smooth drinking, creamy. Good carbonation helps deliver a really clean but flavorful porter. Lots of chocolate/malt flavors, more sweet than bitter, with a nice roasted quality. Hop flavor is the least detectable but provides a good balance.

Overall this is a great porter. Black Butte has a lot of great qualities with none of them overwhelming. The balance and consistency of this beer is amazing. Very smooth and drinkable; it’s difficult to set the glass down.

Tamarack22, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of rwinzing
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer as an extra in a trade. Thanks to my many trading partners.

Poured a black almost stout color into my pier one snifter. Had a slight brown head gentle lacing on the side.

Smell is a bite smeet not overpowering. No hop presence which is expected being a porter.

Touch of the roast in th3 aroma as well

Taste very nice nto overpowering flavor nice roast flavor touch of sweetness in the backend

mouthfeel-bit light would like a fuller feel

overall and outstanding porter wish I could get more of easily

rwinzing, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Psydrith
4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Creamy tan head is light and pleasant but suffers from poor retention. Dark brown body with an amber hue showing when held up to the light.

S: In almost equal proportion it smells of milk, hops, cream and roasted malts with a slight leaning in favor of the milk and cream.

T: First sip is cream interspersed with bitter mildly grassy hops. As I continue to drink the milk and roasted malt flavors are evident as well with a hint of chocolate. The aftertaste tastes of hazelnut. (I must note that on paper and thinking about it I expected something of a coffee taste, but the taste is unique from that.) Not overly complex in flavors but it utilizes what it has perfectly, the whole IS greater than the sum of the parts on this one.

M: Creamy, smooth, and balanced mouthfeel. Not too light, not too heavy, just right for a porter.

D: Very drinkable, exceedingly smooth, and it masks the alcohol with ease. All of the flavors are tied together so well I can't see it offending any ones palette. Goes down like a draught nitro-beer (This is drinking it from a bottle.) Could easily be a session beer or an introductory to darker beer for those accustomed to lighter styles.

O: This is one of the best examples of a porter I've ever had. I would recommend it to everyone wholeheartedly; try it! It gives a pleasant drinking experience through and through. The only fault I could find was the poor head retention, but it excels so much in every other department that it's easy to forget(and this coming from someone who loves a deep head). What sets it apart from the rest is the perfect balance and smoothness that I can't reiterate enough.

Psydrith, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of matttttYCE
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I've done XX for my 20th review and XXI for my 21st, but alas, I don't think I'd ever get my hands on XXII, so I'm reviewing regular Black Butte Porter in it's place. Bottle date is Best By: 11/14/11. I'd say it's pretty fresh.

Appearance - Moderate pour rate into my Deschutes pint yeilds a high, 2 finger foamy head of very light tan color. Lace is pretty sticky and the head sticks around for longer than I expected. Color of the beer itself is a deep dark brown, mostly opaque, with a ruby tinge when held to the light. Looks good.

Smell - I can tell it's a porter right off the bat. Nice and light, creamyness and light sweetness to this one, with bitter and milk chocolate, roasted malts, and lighter coffee notes. A bit of brown sugar hiding in the back there too. Maybe even some very slight hints of vanilla. Other than that, mostly just a very inviting smelling porter.

Taste - Light and dry on the palate, with just the right mixture of ligher roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, a bit of coffee bite, some smooth milk chocolate, and I also get some subtler hints as well. Things like vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit, and some caramel. Really a very nice tasting porter. I can see why Deschutes has so much success with the imperial anniversary versions.

Mouthfeel - Nice and light but not too thin and watery. Consistency is light and silky, carbonation is light-medium, body is the lighter side of American Porters, and the finish is very smooth and a bit dry but nice.

Overall - Overall a very nice porter. The first time I had this I was actually pretty blown away. At the time I had not been much into dark beers at all and it was really a wake up call that there were so many other, different things out there that I might enjoy besides Pale Ales and IPAs, etc. Maybe I'm partial because Black Butte Porter brings back fond memories of good friends and simpler times. Maybe I'm partial to beers from the PNW, my future home. Maybe I'm partial because I love XXI so much. Maybe Black Butte Porter is just a very good example of the style, up there with the likes of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald. You be the judge.

matttttYCE, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of 2BDChicago
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Bear fur brownish black. Neat and full, tan, small bubble foam of brief endurance.

S: Soft milk chocolate with distinct sweet grapefruit overlayed on the back. Digging deeper maybe some type of dark sugars and faint coffee. All parts blend well in a inviting melange of fruit and sweets.

T: Not very sweet, but some variations of the nose fruit scents. Definately some roasty malts emerge is a supremely reserved manner. Soft and low medium mouthfeel. Moderate levels of carbonation, in no way a fizzy beer.

O: Not as big as I thought this beer would be, and I mean that is a positive way. First, very sessionable, ok more likely on a fall/winter night. But the porter/stout fan will find that this beer will do rather nicely. The levels of dryness, malt sweet, and roastiness are in well porportioned balance. At the same time brewer manages to inject a WC skew that keeps it real and interesting. Very nice job.

Note: This brewer date stamps, this bottle was best by 10/3/11.

2BDChicago, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of WillCarrera
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark, coffee brown with some reddish mahogany edges. Produces a finger of creamy light khaki head that becomes a persistent film. Nice lacing. If the head on this beer had been just a bit thicker this would have been a 5.

S- Lots of dark roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee.

T- Super, super malty with huge roasted malts, a bit of slightly acidic coffee, chocolate. Balanced by some floral hops in the background. Has a nice roasted, semi-dry finish.

M- Medium bodied, medium carbonation and a very smooth, creamy feel.

O- A great porter, very tasty and drinkable and a great representative of the style. This is the perfect beer to give to that friend who is scared of dark beers. Another solid offering from Deschutes.

WillCarrera, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: 1/2" mocha coloured head that leaves a nice lacing over extremely dark brown / cola coloured liquid.

S: Licorice, coffee, and malt.

T: Coffee, malt, and yeast. Leaves a nice aftertaste.

M: Thin viscosity with a low level of carbonation. This particular pint did not have the same mouth feel as I remember, when I tried this beer in Portland.

O: Very drinkable, but I wasn't impressed with the mouth feel of this particular pint.

DaftCaskBC, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of Satchboogie
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (best by 9/19/11) poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours dark brown, almost black, dark though I can see through the tapered bottom a bit. Finger and half of light mocha brown head that slowly dissipates leaving a bit of ring lacing.

S: Very dark and robust roasted malts, dark chocolate, a little espresso, hint of vanilla.

T: Dark roasted malts on the verge of char (not in a bad way) and a little floral hops are up front with bitter dark chocolate and molasses coming in the middle. There are hints of vanilla coming through in the middle to finish. By the finish it's very creamy and smooth and leaves an aftertaste of roasted barley with a hint of molasses and slight bitterness.

M: Medium to slightly light bodied, moderate carbonation. Above average smoothness and creaminess.

O: A solid porter that hits the style marks perfectly. The smoothness and creaminess are a must in Porters for me and this delivers. A cut above most with a decent level of complexity and overall "it works" in the flavor profile. I'd definitely drink this if it were available to me, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily worth trading for (which I did, but as an extra might make more sense).

Satchboogie, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of kflorence
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Importing an old rating from my ratebeer account.

Pours very dark brown and smells heavily of roasted malts and molasses. The flavor is heavily dominated by roasted malts, but the beer also offers some complexity with notes of chocolate, molasses, nuts, fruit (prune?) and nice balance of hops in the finish. This is actually a very nice beer; even though it’s dark, it’s fairly light bodied and very drinkable. A very nice example of a well-balanced porter, perhaps slightly on the malted side, but I enjoy that.

kflorence, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of angelogarcia3
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very good porter. Medium dark color and thin dark head with aromas of roasted malts. Flavors of dark chocolate, bittersweet, and full bodied mouthfeel. It also went well with Kobe beef burger with blue cheese we had at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

angelogarcia3, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of vkv822
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours dark brown, near black with a foamy light tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

The aroma is cocoa and lightly roasty malts. Delicious aroma!

The taste is fairly roasty upfront, with hints of cocoa in the backing.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with fairly active carbonation.

A fairly decent beer, though I probably won't seek it out again.

vkv822, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of Rutager
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a near black with just a little red-brown light getting through. Finger of tan head.

Smell. Toasty grains, earthy hops, a little chocolate and roasted nuts. Nice.

Taste. Roasty grains, a little caramel and chocolate, some grassy hops.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body, on the lighter side for the style. Medium, slightly prickly carbonation.

Overall. Easy drinking porter. Great stuff from a reliable brewery.

Rutager, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of bayougutter
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by date of 11-14-11
Poured a dark, watery mohogany with a inch and half almost white head. The head lasted for quite a while. Nice looking brew.

smell: A little muted but I get roasted malts, toffee, a little dark fruits with a little coffee thrown in. Good aroma just a little muted.

taste: A bit of burnt malts, then the dark fruits followed by a hint of chocolate. Finished with a slight coffee bitterness. Nice crisp dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice crisp dry finish as a porter should.

Overall: A solid beer from a solid brewery. I enjoy a good porter every now and then, and enjoyed this one.

bayougutter, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ThoreauLikeAGirl for the excellent extra!

a - cracked the bottle open and filled my CCB snifter. poured a watery black with a thin off-white head that vanished quick.

s - big roasted malt taste. some chocolate malts as well. burnt malts.

t - again, big burnt roasted malt. somewhat one dimensional, but most porters are. some chocolate undertones...burnt malts is the dominant flavor.

m - sharp and watery, just like a porter aught to be. crisp.

o - overall solid porter, nothing earth shattering, but again, deschutes continues to impress with good beers across the board.

cosmicevan, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lucky 13, in San Francisco.

Black Butte Porter is indeed black, but not resolutely so; brown edges and even little bits of ruby can be seen, provided you can figure out the requisite angles. Its head is spongy and tan and leaves thick layered bands of lacing, dressing the glass up like a turban.

You won't find rich espresso or decadent chocolate notes in this porter as you do in many other American examples. Not in the nose anyway. From the smell of things, this porter is better suited to a hearty main than a sweet dessert. While more robust than most traditional old-world offerings, it exemplifies their mild roastiness and has grainy and nutty supports.

Black Butte has the ideal burnt grain flavour for a porter; there's plenty of roasted malt but it's not so smoky and heavy so as to be confused with a stout. As it warms, the malts start to taste less 'black' and more 'brown', slightly nuttier although a severing hop character smothers any sweetness and makes for an abruptly dry and definite finish.

The smoky flavour stops just short of coffee territory; the roasty bitterness of artisan dark chocolate I could entertain, but it's not quite powerful or ashy enough to mimic coffee. There's a complete lack of acrid or harsh flavours to the roast. The hop flavours are tremendously appreciated but their bitterness is moderate, efficient enough to cut into the finish.

In another era, dark and roasty beers like this would have been the norm. While it's unfortunate that porters aren't quite as commonplace nowadays, I doubt the beers then were anywhere near as clean and gratifying as the beers we have now. I bet if someone from that period had a taste of Black Butte their head would spin. It's an exceptionally nice porter.

biegaman, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of Dope
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A very dark brown pour with a nice khaki head. Great lacing and a little retention.

S: Mmmm, rich roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. Maybe a little earth smell in there too.

T: Taste follows the smell. Very, very, VERY smooth, creamy and silky. Chocolate, coffee and roasted malt with a little vanilla perhaps? Smoothness cannot be understated. No evidence of smoke which is nice.

M: Pretty light (as you would expect) but the creaminess gives the impression of a thicker beer. Almost no bitterness to speak of.

O: Stunning porter. As far as I'm concerned this is the benchmark for a nice lightweight and smooth porter. This is easy top 3 - I would put it up there with Founder's Porter.

Dope, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of dcook11
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick mocha head with the beer itself being nearly pitch black but with tinges of red. The head quickly fades and minimal lacing is present. The smell is of caramel, chocolate, malt, a touch of hops...smells like sees candy. The taste is sweet with chocolate and carmel predominant with just a kiss of hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Overall a fantastic porter.

dcook11, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of eat
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thin-ish looking dark brown body with a wispy cream-coloued cover of head. Little bits of lacing.

Nose of earthy roasted malt, dusty cocoa, dark caramel, slightly piny hops, toasted almonds, minerals.

Given the appearance and aroma, I wasn't expecting the flavour to be quite this nice. On the watery side maybe, but mostly in the manner which helps separate a porter from a stout. Light flavours of roast malt, earthy hops, distinctive minerals and drying cocoa balanced with just the right touch of caramel sweetness.

The light carbonation is perfect but the feel is a little on the thin side for my liking.

A light, highly-drinkable and well-balanced porter. The combination of light flavour and moderately drying finish keeps you sipping. Not necessarily interesting or complex, just very well made. One of the more drinkable dark beers I've had; a six pack of this would be no problem to finish off in an evening.

eat, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-black with a nice tan head and lots of lacing

S-smells like creamy coffee beans with some slight hops aroma. medium strength

T-comes in with a very smooth taste of coffee. the tastes aren't strong but are of great quality. its a taste one can get addicted to. has a great matching after-taste. i like this a lot.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a creamy finish

O-wow this went down almost too quickly. this is such an easy drinking porter. i honestly thought it got better as i drank it. i could consume many more.

AdamBear, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of inlimbo77
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into DFH signature glass. Thanks to eclipse54 for this one!

A: pours a deep dark brown/black/reddish color, nice one finger light tan head, tiny little bubbles, great carbonation off the bottom of the glass, nice lacing

S: beautiful roasted malt character, rich espresso, dark chocolate but not the level of say a stout, no hops present on nose but it's to be expected

T: mild on the front of the tongue, nice roasted bitterness towards the back that sticks with you for a while, really easy drinking beer, doesn't destroy you by any means, you get a little of the coffee characteristics, in the middle of the tongue, carbonation really helps to clear the palate

M: light bodied to medium (surprisingly), there is some mouth coat but isn't a really full bodied stout we are dealing with here or anything

O: another solid brew from Deschutes, I don't think that they make BAD beer, awesome stuff!

inlimbo77, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of marqoid
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an awesome regular release.
Enormous amounts of chocolate, smoke, and roasted malts. Mild hop bitterness and thick mouthfeel. Very easy to drink for such a thick beer, it is thick but not heavy. This is one of the craft beers that I use to convert both wine and bud drinkers.

marqoid, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of JayAre46
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap at the flying saucer htown from notes, Deep brown 1 finger of good head with solid retention, caramel malt dominates the nose with some roasted characters, subtle chocolate brownie, not much of any hops, coffee flavors are present, medium body that is creamy and smooth which goes down easy without much carbonation. good brew definitely get it again and recommend for an easy porter.

JayAre46, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I acquired this beer through an outstanding trade with taturbo.

This is a dark beer, but not the darkest porter I've ever seen. There is light brown around the beer's edges. A thin tan head lasted mere seconds before haloing around the glass's edge. There was lacing at first, but the majority didn't stick.

Wow, potent chocolate sweetness. Also there are deep notes of black coffee, caramelized sugars, and vanilla to compliment the overwhelming chocolate. There is little ethanol and I wouldn't I expect there to be with such a modest abv of 5.2%.

The taste didn't follow through to match it's pungent aroma as I had hoped. Also, the beer didn't have the full, rich body I had desired. However, pungent flavors of malted barely with a touch of acid dryness in the aftertaste does make they beer drinkable.

I do like the balance this beer offers, light, almost watery, and very drinkable. It's a definition classic recipe for an american porter. Unfortunately, I enjoy a rich, creamy porter (even if it's not on nitro it can still be creamy!). Although the beer smelled sweet, it did not taste sweet. In fact the beer was quite bitter.
I would say this beer is light in body with very light carbonation.

I was expecting more from this beer given its A- overall and A+ by the Bros. I was expecting a porter that was world class. This beer was good, but still fell short of my expectations. There were no stand out qualities that set this beer apart from others I've had. Things I enjoyed were the dry finish and the relatively low abv.

ThePorterSorter, Jul 01, 2011
Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 4,690 ratings.