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Black Butte XX | Deschutes Brewery

279 Reviews
For Trade:
Black Butte XXBlack Butte XX

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Porter brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added with 20% aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by josiahschlender on 05-23-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 279 | Ratings: 355
Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First of all this is the XX version. Secondly, this is one of the weirdest beers I've ever had. Appearance is a short-lived brown head, no lace, and opaque brown black color. Aroma at first is dark ripe fruits, cocoa, coffee, lumber, leather, but soon that goes waaay bad - to a dirty public toilet! And that aroma kind of comes and goes, but it's nasty. And when I went to take my first sip, my god, that nasty aroma was going into my mouth!! That wasn't easy. After a bit the flavor gives way to the initial aroma qualities, plus whiskey, vanilla and a bit of tang and bitter. Body is so so as carbonation is on the flat side. Luckily the nastiness don't persist into the finish.

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Photo of F2brewers
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz. bomber poured into an oversize (25 oz.) crystal brandy snifter. Served at 50F

A: Black as tar. Even held up to direct light, only the faintest ruby red-tawny brown highlights show at the edges of this beer. Thick mocha brown head approximately 1" high is well carbonated with large bubbles. Rich, but dissipates quickly to a thin cover on the surface of the beer. Gentle swirling revives e head to about half height. Light lacing rings the glass.

S: Bourbon, chocolate and molasses dominate with notes of brewer's licorice, caramel, coffee and malt. Hints of residual hop bitterness underlie this aroma bomb.

T: Healthy doses of licorice and chocolate integrated with bourbon and vanialla from the barrel. Caramel edging towards the burnt sugar on creme brulee and some mild hop bitterness on the back end...surprising for a bottle nearly six years old. Although the flavors are well integrated, notes of soft alcoholic heat linger on the finish.

M: Still well carbonated, this has a surprisingly medium heavy body. It's rich, but not overly so. No residual slickness, this bee coates he palate ever so lightly for the style. Sweetness fades quickly to avoid a sense of cloying. Slight astringency keeps the tongue animated.

O: A ral style bender. The base Back Butte Porter is nearly unrecognizable, but then again, I think that was the goal. While I can't speak tp how this beer was fresh, it has aged well...no hints pf oxidation and a bounty of flavors that fans of Deschutes and barrel aged beers will love.

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Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing a vertical of Black Butte XX, Black Butte XXI, Black Butte XXIII and Black Butte XXIV from the Deschutes Brewery from Bend, Oregon to commemorate my 400th written review (per BeerAdvocate)! A major thanks and shout out to Edgar Chavez for making this vertical tasting possible. Each vintage of the Barrel Aged Black Butte release is a different formulation.

Black Butte XX is Deschutes' Black Butte porter brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added with 20% aged in bourbon barrel.

Black Butte XX Score: 90

2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 vintage bottles served side-by-side and enjoyed on 02/10/13 with a few friends.

Appearance: The appearance is strikingly similar on all vintages -- this brew is similar to a dark molasses in appearance/color. The XXIII pour is a little lighter, faintly orange-ish in color in comparison to the other three. Each vintage pours a thin layer of light mocha head that settles to a ring around the glass on all of them. Average lacing and retention using the worst glassware possible. 4/5

Smell: Fruity oxidation and chocolate. I get a faint smokey malt character in the nose that is similar to, but in lesser quantum than, the XXI vintage. 4/5

Taste: Fruity oxidation and chocolate. This vintage has the least amount of dark fruit presence. It is also the least complex vintage. Nonetheless, it drinks pleasantly. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Each of the vintages' mouthfeels are a little heavier than medium bodied, but far from full bodied (and not quite medium-full bodied either). Low carbonation as well. Each of the vintages has a real nice, drinkable balance (none is too sweet or acidic (well the XXI has a little acidity, but in a good way) or whatever). Oily slick feel on the tongue. Only the freshest vintage (XIV) has a little "alcohol heat" to it. 4/5

Overall: I feel like verticals are often "reserved" for rarer and bigger beers like Dark Lord and Bourbon County (Brand) Stout, or even barleywines dating back to the 90's (i.e., Bigfoot), but this was a really fun vertical to do. Nothing was really can't miss here, but nothing had "fallen off," and nothing here was undrinkable by any stretch of the imagination. My favorite vintage in the end was the XXI, but each vintage struck me in a unique way at different points in the vertical as it warmed up. Cold, the XX and XXIII were my favorite.

Cost: $12.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle that can cost as much as $19.99.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Appearance: Yup, it's black - dark, with some dark brown around the edges - light brown head - impressive retention especially considering this beer's age - nice ring, nice dots of lacing

Smell: Very interesting - lots of chocolate, including chocolate malts, dark chocolate, and some milk chocolate - coffee, nicely roasty - rich caramel and molasses - some bourbon and wood, but not overwhelming - nicely balanced and rich

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, and some deep, sweet notes - dark chocolate, cocoa, and some milk chocolate - caramelized sugar, molasses, and caramel - coffee, roasty, very lightly burnt - some vanilla and bourbon - a nice use of whiskey, adds just a background flavor, does not dominate - wood - no hops remaining at this age

Mouthfeel: On the full side of medium, lightly oily, adequate carbonation, great to sip

Overall: Butts

Sorry, but this is something beyond a porter. It's so rich, chocolatey, and ridiculous. It's not mind-blowing, but it's a fantastic sipper. It's aged very well, and I'm glad I had a chance to try it.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to t0rino for the bottle. Split the bottle with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Incredibly dark brown. Pours nice and smooth with some light carbonation. Small tan head is loose and bubbly. Slightly creamy. Drops to a small spotty cap with some collar. Specks of lacing.

Smell: Loaded with chocolate. Cake and sweet fudge. Nice layers if bourbon bringing a smooth vanilla and oak to the front. So much vanilla and chocolate. Some old coffee. Roasted and sweet. Some oxidation adds some sherry notes. Cocoa, baker's chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips. Sweet bourbon. Licorice root

Taste: More oxidation than the nose indicates. Sherry and leather. Bitter baker's chocolate and coffee beans. Some nice vanilla sweetness. Roasted. Dark chocolate cake. Cocoa. Some oak and backing burnt edges. Sharp bite of alcohol. So much chocolate of any and all varieties. Fudge and cake batter. Bourbon, but it's well balanced in the back. Some acrid edges.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich. Body leans toward full. Minimum carbonation. Clean.

Overall: A monstrous porter.

Depth, complexity, and huge flavor. This is a burly porter with a ton of flavor. Fresh this must have been intense, aged it's a smooth sipper. Delightful.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2008)

Sour Fest 2012
Bottle Share
Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Thanks for the pour!

(Aged for 4 years)

Black and thick body, though without a lot of visible carbonation. A small dark brown head rises initially, but quickly fades away, leaving small dots of stick down the glass.

Mild though pleasant aroma of chocolate and some burnt sugars, along with mild licorice.

The flavor is incredibly smooth and well integrated, with mild roast and bittersweet chocolate making up the majority of the flavors, along with a bit of licorice.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Very nice, though I imagine this is quite mellow now compared to when it was fresh.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

review number 450!

HUGE thanks to duff27 for sharing this long time want with me! Thanks Chris!!!!

poured into tulip glass

reviewed from notes taken on 7/22/12 during a Black Butte Anniversary 3 year vertical. Beers participating are BBXX, BBXXI, and BBXXIII.

Appearance: Black body beer with a light to medium brown head. One solid finger of head from a hard pour that drops to thin cap. Swirling this beer really bring a large head back on the beer. Spotty lace. This dark beer looks awesome!

Smell: Cocoa, molasses, black licorice, and dark fruits. Smells like this beer has some moderate oxidation.

Taste: Black Licorice, molasses and oak notes start off this beer. Brown sugar adds some sweetness in the middle. You can get some oxidized flavors from this beer. Bitter coffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with lite end of moderate carbonation. Slight touch of booze thats mostly warming. This beer drink way below its 11% ABV. Super creamy mouthfeel. The carbonation is just thriving fantastically in this beer thats about 4 years old!

Overall: Wow. This beer is a testament to premium quality of deschutes beers. This beer is old and its still very tasty! The mouthfeel feel is out of this world! The BBXXI was my favorite beer of the 3 Black Butte anniversary beers; its in its prime right now, but the BBXX is not too far behind BBXXI.

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Photo of Duff27
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a short dark tan head. Small collar, cap o foam. Spotty lacing left.

Chocolate alcohol, just faint bourbon.

Hint of vanilla, -bal is well intergrates (smooth). Chocolate! Slightly oxidized. Super easy drinking considering 11%abv.

Mid to lower carbonation but still adequate. Full mouthfeel.

Cannot believe the drinkability of XX. If I didn't know better I'd guess at an 8%abv. Thanks for the trade crushedvol!

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Photo of zhanson88
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a very dark brown color, not quite a pitch black. Some hints of ruby around the edges of the glass. About 1/2" of tan head forms that has pretty short retention, and okay lacing.

Smell: Smells very chocolatey. A lot of milk chocolate scents come through in this beer, as well as some black liquorice, oaky notes, and vanilla. Not surprisingly, any trace of bourbon in this is gone, pretty much just leaving the oakiness. After 4 years in the bottle, this seems to have held up pretty nicely. However, I do get a hint of what I would call oxidation in the smell, just a hint of something being off. Does not affect it much overall though.

Taste: Big flavors here. Milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, black liquorice all come through. Nice flavors, and very rich.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Mouthfeel is medium-full, leaning towards full, with a very appropriate level of carbonation. Almost a luscious mouthfeel. Overall, I'm extremely glad to have gotten to try this now-semi-rarity. This is a very solid beer, and worth the hype. The time to open it was probably 6 months to a year ago, but it hasn't lost much yet.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this from hotpipes many moons ago. Very happy to have had the chance to try this brew man. We drank this right after the XXIII, which was brewed in 2011. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Note: Brewed in 2008

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, fluffy, tan head with decent retention. Slightly crackly, noisy head as well. Transparent sienna brown body, almost black, with higher levels of carbonation. Head slowly fades to a wisp and clings to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp remains and leaves splotches of lacing down the glass. Virtually the same as the XXIII.

SMELL: Dark malts, chocolate notes and still some very nice coffee aromas there as well. Has held up nicely. Light bourbon and vanilla notes, but they are quite faint at this point. Still, very well integrated and smells enticing.

TASTE: Dark malts, roasted malts, chocolate, and lots of coffee through the middle into the finish. Great stuff, even after all this time. A big, bold and lingering aftertaste of roasted and chocolate malts, and lots of coffee bitterness on the palate. Light bourbon notes with some sweet vanilla cream linger as well, but the barrel is relatively mild and in the background. Still, at this point, it is very well balanced and flavorful.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: This beer has held up extremely well. Oddly enough, it is the bourbon barrel flavors that have perhaps started to fade at this point, but the coffee element is still holding up strong. Very glad to have had the chance to try this one, and it was fun to drink it alongside the XXIII as well. If you’re lucky enough to get a shot at this one, don’t turn it down. Thanks again for the shot at this hotpipes. Good stuff.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle 11,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.

I cannot thank futura123 enough for sending this bottle my way! Black Butte XX has been near at the top of my wants list for years and was one I thought I would never get the chance to try - thanks again man.

Appearance: Black Butte XX appears pitch black in the glass, with a strong back light revealing wide, deep crimson edges. A rough pour yields a large (much larger than I expected from a four year old bottle), creamy, mocha coloured head that lasts pretty well and even coats the glass in some patchy lace as it recedes.

Smell: Good Lord, this smells amazing! Rich, sweet dark chocolate, cocoa dusted chocolate mouse, cocoa flavoured butter icing, dark toffee, caramel, toasted marshmallow, sweet liqueur cherries, light coffee, light vanilla and a hint of bourbon are just some of the notes that come to mind on each sniff. As the beer approaches room temperature, light salty liquorice and a hint of smoke are also noted.

Taste: As the nose suggested, this is absolutely delicious! The initial flavour is of sweet dark chocolate, cocoa, dark toffee, sweet caramel, sweet dark fruits, liqueur cherries, light bourbon and vanilla. This fades into the most amazing, lightly bitter mochachino finish. As the beer warms, hints of salty liquorice are noted and a distinct oak character become apparent along side the mochachino notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This was the one department in which I expected the age of this bottle to be quite evident. Thankfully I could not have been more wrong!
The body is almost full and quite heavy with a moderate (read perfect) amount of soft carbonation.

Overall: I cannot believe how well this beer has held up after almost four years in the bottle, if I did not know better I would not think it was more than 18 months old! I am certainly going to have to make an effort to get at least one bottle of each release!

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Photo of xnicknj
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into snifter - thanks to claspada

Pours a deep black color with some lighter brown tones. The head is pretty much just a flash, dissipating into a little cloudy of film and a few spots of lacing.

Roasty and warm in the nose with some chocolate sweetness. This feels noticeably duller than the XXI and XXIII, which we opened alongside this. Still some nice vanilla and boozy oak though.

The experience was somewhat similar to the nose, as the beer begins roasty and warm with plenty of malt character. The heat has died out almost completely, leaving dark chocolate and bready caramel. Some vanilla and whiskey with a faint notion of coffee beans. Finishes a little warm and roasty on the tongue.

Medium body, decent carbonation, a little listless on the tongue but still fairly creamy and slick. This drank pretty well despite the age but I think it might be fair to say this one's past its prime.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a wispy head. Nose is a pretty richly integrated dark roast and barrel, not overly sugary or fruity, perhaps a touch of umami. Mouth is pretty dry at first, a sharp barrel quality with some dark fruits and anise swirls in. Very nice flavor profile. Body is thin and highly carbonated. First comparison is Birth of Tragedy. This blows away the other Black Butte I've had, can't remember which one.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle obtained in a trade with JohnGalt1 a few years ago.

Pours out a deep, impenetrable black with a light brown head.

Aroma-wise, charred malt is most apparent along with some woody bourbon and slight smokeyness. I believe that soy sauce as a descriptor is overused, but in this case, it’s very fitting. As it really opens up, the bourbon and alcohol combination gives off sort of a minty aroma.

Flavor is heavy on sweet molasses with a prominent smokeyness, bitter coffee and a bit of chocolate. Bourbon is still noticeable and mouth drying tannins are very apparent in the finish, which includes a slight alcoholic bite. Contrary to expectations based on the label, the bourbon barrel aging is much more apparent than cocoa nibs.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with soft, slow carbonation.

A good beer that’s maintained plenty of complexity over its 4+ years. But not as good as the XIII, in my opinion. The high level of char and bitterness clashed a bit too much with the sweetness for me. Could possibly have been much better when the cocoa was still present. Still glad to have the chance to compare to the more recent versions. Thanks again Toby!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to dgb3 for the bottle. You are the man!

22oz bottle poured into a Deschutes Snifter glass.

A - Pours a deep dark brown with a half a finger dark tan head. It fades pretty quickly to the edges, but leaves rings of lacing on the glass.

S - Very chocolatey, bourbon, oak, and almost a dark cherry scent.

T - The chocolate hits you first, then some strong coffee, and a nice bourbon finish.

D - Nice carbonation and body. Smooth, with a slight burn at the finish.

O - So nice, I am glad I was able to finally try this one. It really is top notch.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into NB snifter. Thanks a ton for sending me this bottle, kingkong!

A: Pours a very very dark brown, almost black, with raisin highlights. A very thin head surfaced then receded into a lasting collar that left spotty lace down the glass.
S: The nose is full of spicy bourbon and vanilla followed by rich dark chocolate and sweet caramel. Not as vibrant as I imagine it once was, but this smells like its aged gracefully.
T: Woodier than the nose suggested, very roasted. Not super sweet at this point. I get flavors of coco nibs, caramel, vanilla and coffee. The coffee is all but faded at this point but it still adds a subtle depth to the flavor. Bourbon brings up the finish and is still lightly warm and lingering. Spice barrel notes come through in the aftertaste as well.
M: Slick and a bit thin on the mouthfeel front. The body is medium-full though and goes down clean.
O: This beer isn’t getting any better but it’s still extremely drinkable. Thanks again for hooking it up Patrick.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split w/ bbb099 and scottfrie. THANKS!!!

A: The suspense builds, starting with the epic bottle cap. Pours an inky near-black with absolutely no head. Looks flat, but absolutely no light comes through.

S: Chocolate, bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and malt. The malt comes across as a bit subdued, but its very smooth and well-rounded. Only a hint of the booze that had to have been there three years ago. No trace of hops left whatsoever.

T: Chocolate dominates, as the coffee is mild and the bourbon has faded a bit. The booze that didn't come through with the nose hits pretty good here. Smooth, delicious, but as scottfrie says "you can taste the age". This beer has likely sat for a little bit too long, but that's only a minor complaint.

M: Thick and chewy, but not quite as CRAZY thick as I was initially expecting. After thinking about it though, it fits the style well. Definitely not flat as the carb is pretty solid.

O: Deschutes shits gold. I approve. I would have loved to have this beer a year ago, but I'm so thankful to have it now. I approve whole-heartedly.

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Photo of bbb099
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks scotfrie for this one! Reviewed on 12/16/2011

A - Almost completely black color with wispy and web-like mocha-colored head.

S - Substantial amount of roasted cocoa aroma accompanied by some coffee.

T - Roasted cocoa comes in first followed by some bourbon booziness. A little coffee taste and molasses come through.

M - A little flat, which was expected. Full bodied and relatively creamy, viscous.

O - Probably the best porter I have ever had. Great look, aroma and taste with the addition of high alcohol content.

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Photo of animortician
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Traded a Bottle of my Homebrew for a bottle of this...

A: Deep Dark No light could fight its way through even at the edge of my glass. Poured thick with a very very small about of chocolate brown head, that retreated quickly.

S: Spicy and Sweet. Stronger on the Coffee than the Chocolate.

T: Rich and Complex, Great mix of the dark Chocolate coming out heavier than the smell would lead you to believe. Wondering how much of the bourbon barrel aging affected the flavor. Being aged a couple of years would add some alcohol too. Wish I would have reviewed the bottle I drank off the shelf.

F: Not as thick as I was expecting. Wonderful feel though to round out all the intense flavor.

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Photo of fjl77
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a 5.5 ounce snifter

Solid all the way through. Nice surprise thrown into the end of a sampling that was heavy in imperial stouts. This beer stood out to me above all the rest in the lineup. Roasty, chocolate, very well balanced and extremely smooth. Super glad I was able to sample this goodness.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

670th Review on BA
Bottle to Flute

App- Nearly the color of the label with a tiny bit of head on it. Bubbles line the edges of the glass.

Smell- Still retained it's roasty note but at the same time kept a bit of heat from the bourbon barrels. Not overly boozy. Smells very smooth.

Taste- Taste follows the nose where this was super smooth with a chocolate roast and a little tinge of the barrels. For an older bottle, just super tasty with a nice chocolate/coffee profile taking over.

Mouth- Smooth, rich, creamy, medium bodied and a paired low carbonation level.

Drink- Well it all started with XXI and I dont know how I missed XXII but XXIII was amazing on tap and this well the big XX was a monster and just very tastefully done and not overbearing. I would love to sit in a corner alone with another bottle.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black color beer with a hefty brown head that had some good retention and some surprising lacing.

S - Lots of toasted and roasted malts coming on this one. Chocolate and caramel with a little bit of citrus hops on the end, although you really have to look for it.

T - Reminds me more of a stout than anything else. Impressive chocolate and roast, with some nice coffee and fine caramel. Very smooth with a nice bit of hops at the end.

M - Smooth, creamy, full bodied, appropriate carbonation.

O - Really a fantastic beer. Great balance and taste, would love to drink this all the time.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fist off, thank you so very, very much to kevinv for sending this to me as an extra in our recent trade! This has been my top want since I had the pleasure of trying XXI on tap at a local bar for a Deschutes event a while back. Kevin you are awesome and I don't think I could thank you enough!

Alright so on this 14th night of July I'll be reviewing Black Butte XX for my 20th review and a little bit of celebration of a year on BeerAdvocate since by BA time it's technically already the 15th. What the hell. XXI will be tomorrow for my 21st review and a little compare and contrast. Cheers!

Appearance - Poured into my Deschutes balloon glass (that I got with a pour of XXI at the event I went to), this one manages to muster up a little more than a figer high, foamy, light cocoa powder brown colored head. The head dissapates pretty quickly as expected thanks to the high ABV and the barrel aging, but leaves some moderate, sticky lacing around the glass. Still, a nice ring and a thin film of bubbles stick around for a while. Wonderfully murky black color with hardly even the slightest hint of brown around the edges. No, this ones dark as night.

Smell - The smell of this one is quite nice. Lots of big, bold roasted malt coming at you, plenty of smooth coffee notes and milk and sweet chocolate. There's very light, very suble straight bourbon notes, but I am getting plenty of vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut and maybe some faint woodsy oak smell on the back, but it's light. Very nice melding of aromas and I also get a hint of leather to go along with those aromas the bourbon barrel undoubtedly imparted. I would've preferred more of a % aged in Bourbon barrels for this, but that's just my personal preference. Otherwise, this beer smells quite wonderful.

Taste - After some lengthy buildup and anticipation, not only from opening the bottle (which took me surprisingly long with all that damn wax), but also with typing out all of the previous verbage, XX really delivers a flavorful punch on the first sip and definitely lives up to my expectations. Cocoa nibs and dark chocolate galore, roasted malts a plenty, coffee notes abound, caramel and vanilla and sweetness provid an allure, notes of bourbon and oak dance along my tastebuds, dark fruit notes and hints of toasted coconut entice my palate even further. A slight hint of booziness lingers at the back of the throat. Have I painted you a beautiful mental picture? Are you salavating yet? Just a wonderfully smooth combination of flavors that I quite enjoy.

Mouthfeel - Consistency if of a silky smooth nature, carbonation is light/creamy, body is not quite full but moderately so (drinks wonderfully for an imperial, high ABV porter), and the finish is moderate but not lingering. Nicely done I should say.

Overall - Hmm, where do I start? Well, there was a surprising amount of coffee aroma and flavor still left after about 3 years, so I guess that's a testament to how much coffee they added. This beer really is fantastic. Others might not be as enamored with it as I am, but that's a matter of personal tastes. To be fair, I think this beer has hit its peak and is on its way down. It was still quite good and could easily handle more time aging, but I think the flavors really are at a peak now (if they weren't when it was fresh, but I didn't have the luxury). Whatever your opinion, enjoy. It's a finely crafted brew. Cheers Deschutes! Here's to 20 more years!

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Photo of claspada
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks once again to HimerMan for providing me the best beers I have ever had in my life.
Pours deep deep dark brown with good carbonation and nice brown 1 1/2 finger head in my snifter.
The aromas begin with heavy roast, almost smells meaty like a piece of pork that has been cooked in a smoker all day. I hate smoke beers so lets hope the smoke ends here on the nose. As it warms I get more of the dark roasted malts; mainly coffee and dark bitter cocoa. Hops are obviously not a factor here after 3 years.
The tastes begin with a boat ton of roasted malts. Dark chocolate and burnt coffee beans highlight the initial flavors. Probably the most roasted dark grain flavor I have ever had in a beer. As it warms the dark fruity flavors emerge thankfully balancing out the previously almost unpalatable burnt flavors. This is quite enjoyable now, I obviously should have known better and left this to open up to let the flavors truly emerge.
The mouthfeel is full and sticky; the flavors stick to your palate and linger into the finish. Carbonation is quite nice and quite appropriate for the style.
Overall I enjoyed this beer a lot, but surprisingly not as much as the version from a year after which I sampled a few months back. The coffee is much more prevalent is this version and I preferred the dark fruit flavors of the XXI. Still quite good, especially the fact that I could not even come close to detecting the 11% ABV, I'll probably feel it tomorrow though...

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Photo of youradhere
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in a XX, XXI, and XXIII vert. Pours pitch black with amber edges; aroma is chocolate and tootsie rolls, beets. Tastes of subdued chocolate yet heavy on the tootsie roll, muted coffee, raisins. Mouthfeel still has grip, beginning to thin compared to the newer versions. Carbonation is medium, sweetness has mellowed.

Pours black with reddish mahogany edges, tan head about two fingers, falls to a nice cap of lacing. Smell is chocolate and coffee, raisins, licorice, and all sorts of goodness. Taste is coffee, chocolate, roast malt and char, slight soy, black coffee again. As it warms and my palate adjusts I pick up more chocolate, oak char, and licorice. Mouthfeel is on the light side, which is appropriate for a porter style. Carbonation is medium yet prickly, flavors coat the back of the mouth. Pretty drinkable for an imperial, Deschutes always comes through for me on their Reserve Series. Another win for this one!

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Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.