Black Butte XX - Deschutes Brewery
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Ratings: 347 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -7.8%
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.
02-11-2013 05:31:01 | More by jegross2
4.15/5 rDev -4.4%
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
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.
11-10-2012 03:19:27 | More by angrybabboon
4.08/5 rDev -6%
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.
11-10-2012 03:14:51 | More by Goblinmunkey7
3.98/5 rDev -8.3%
Sour Fest 2012
Stone Brew Co.
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.
08-09-2012 20:20:25 | More by ehammond1
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
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.
07-23-2012 21:21:12 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
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!
07-23-2012 00:16:39 | More by Duff27
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
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.
04-29-2012 02:37:18 | More by zhanson88
4.13/5 rDev -4.8%
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.
04-23-2012 20:51:00 | More by Jeffo
4.83/5 rDev +11.3%
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!
03-11-2012 19:48:35 | More by Thehuntmaster
3.83/5 rDev -11.8%
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.
03-10-2012 20:12:09 | More by xnicknj
Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.