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Black Butte XX - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXBlack Butte XX

Educational use only; do not reuse.

279 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 279
Hads: 355
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 233
Gots: 33 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: josiahschlender on 05-23-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Porter brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added with 20% aged in bourbon barrels.
View: Beers (161) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Butte XX Alström Bros
Reviews: 279 | Hads: 355
Photo of Murchmac
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at City Beer store.

Pours a motor oil dark as night black. Like a little Tar Pit in your glass. Some lacing, tan head, not much of it.

Smelled Molasses, some whiskey, alcohol up in here, dark malts, and choc-coffee as if count chocula brewed a coffee.

Taste some vanilla in there, dont know why, bourbon, coffee, cocoa, alcohol, and some earthy hops. Cant believe how complex this is for a porter.

Aftertaste, this is a tad carbonated right now, not bad though...mostly smooth and creamy like Issac Hayes voice.

You need to go all Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb on this and stick it in a hole for a year. It will only get better with time.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is THE first pour from a new keg at Bailey's Taproom, a 10 oz. glassful. Also tried this as a 4 oz. sample at Deschutes Brewpub in Portland.

The recipe includes Bella Tazza coffee and Theo's cocoa nibs; aged in Stranahan's whiskey barrels.
IBIs: 60
ABV: 11.0%

A: Dark, dark, DARK! Near-blackness capped with a thin cinnamon-orange head, sudsy and clingy at the edges. Bubbles stick to the glass in little clusters, head dies to a wispy swirl of film.

S: As it warms, a pleasant chocolate-y fruit (raspberries, blackberries) emerges. Some cocoa and cafe au lait, both resemble 'fudge brownie'. Didn't get much coffee or barrel wood aroma, even after 10-15 minutes warming.

T: Stellar flavor - huge coffee bean flavor, dense bittersweet chocolate and a pleasing oak-y whiskey, replete with vanilla and toffee. Deeper pit fruits meld beautifully with the dark malt roasts.

M: Velvety and luscious mouthfeel. Smooth carbonation, thick and coating texture. Just a little boozy warmth shows, though that's not unexpected from this big 11% brew.

D: A delicious brew, rich and complex. Sure, there's some alcohol presence felt throughout, but it doesn't hinder drinkability as much as it could. Here's a barrel-aged beer that doesn't explicitly taste like 'barrel'. Quite the complement to the ubiquitous Black Butte Porter; a well-done special brew that celebrates Deschutes' 20th Anniversary perfectly.

This is far more than an 'American Porter' and deserves it's own category: is it a 'strong ale'? a 'double/imperial porter'? Whatever the XX is, it's very good now; hoping it will become transcendent with a few months...

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Bottle is a nice black with silver writing. Black wax cap very dark and edgy looking. The beer is a very dark ebony brown, almost jet black. Very little tan head, very thin.

S- The Bourbon smell is very present, Coffee is also there in the background. The roasted malts are also very fragrant. Chocolate and vanilla is there, but very faint.

T- Wow, a very complex beer where to start? Perhaps with a second taste. The bourbon taste is, pow, right there at first, then the coffee comes next followed by what almost feels like liquid chocolate. I love the chocolate taste in this beer, it balances the bitterness of the coffee. I think this beer is great now I bet it will be even better aged for a few months and for the years to come.

M- Very thick and oily feeling, the bitterness of the coffee does dry the palate out just a touch.

D- Wow great beer to drink. It comes out in summer so this is a very unique release to have at such a time. I think it is superb!

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

Appearance: This beer pours pitch black into my snifter. Absolutely no highlights here, it's just black. The mocha-colored head leaves little lace as it descends, eventually settling into a quarter-inch cap.

Smell: Even though this is a blend with only 20% aged in bourbon barrels, that signature caramel and vanilla bourbon aroma is the first thing I noticed. Wow, this is nice. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and a hint of alcohol follow. Everything is in perfect balance here, and the coffee thankfully doesn't totally dominate the aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel: The whole bourbon barrel coffee beer thing has been done before, and quite well, so I was interested to see how this one would stack up. I'm happy to say that it stacks up quite well, though that doesn't surprise me coming from Deschutes. Balance is where this beer truly excels - the coffee, chocolate and bourbon flavors all have equal presence. Alcohol is noticeable here, more so than it was with The Abyss when that first came out, though I think this will mellow with age. Semi-sweet initially, the finish brings out more of the coffee flavor along with an ample hop bitterness. This is already drinking very well for such a big beer, but I think with another few months in the bottle it will improve even more.

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Photo of ccrida
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draught at the PDX pub, served in a big snifter, Black Butte XX is pitch black, with no head, a small tan collar with big bubbles that left no lace.

Smell is very rich, like a big baltic porter, heavy on the crystal, but with noticeable traces of the coffee and cocoa, as well as plenty of booze, which hints at the scotch barrels some of this was aged in.

Taste was good, a huge flavor explosion of bakers chocolate and espresso which gives it a bitter, roasted note. Not at all hot, as I feared, the booze is well hidden save for the aroma, thick and rich, but more enjoyable to me then The Abyss for sure.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, with a heavy viscosity but not to heavy in the belly, very smooth.

Drinkability is good, much better at this young age then I expected, but the coffee and cocoa can still use some time to round out and mellow. The dangerously well hidden ABV and satisfying full flavor make this a recipe for overindulgence, but I had about half of it left when my food came (quickly after I ordered it), and it was too hefty to wash down my food in a satisfying manner. Save as a before or after sipper for sure, would probably pair well with a maduro.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at the public house in Bend, as well as their 20th anniversary party at the brewery itself (the latter in sample portion, but cant beat free!).

Super black body, with a tan head.

Aroma is roasty malt. Bitter coffee, and tobacco.

The first thing I noticed in the taste is coffee, strong and bitter. After a few sips, it turned into tobacco leaf and some sweeter espresso and chocolate twangs. Bourbon and woodiness is introduced from the oak aging. A nice complex porter, in every fashion. This is an Imperial Porter, by every sense of the word. BA needs an Impy Porter classification!!

The abv is hidden surprisingly well. I would guess it around 8.5-10 at the max.

Smoother as it goes, but this one is a slooow sipper, and if you value your sobriety, then take it easy!!

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Photo of bitterthebetter
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep opaque black with slight tan head and slight brownish undertones with ruby highlights

nice heady aroma of roasted malt, slight chocolate, coffee, and a mocha?

really smooth upfront with dry roasted malt followed by sublte chocolate and a more espresso like flavor. bourbon notes became stronger with time and warmth. chocolate is really smooth and never too sweet or sugary

about medium to full bodied with slight dryness upfront, counter balanced by the chocolate. the alcohol is not really noticeable already in its young age. silky and slightly creamy

a really smooth porter than shows no signs of its youth. definetly will improve immensely with time as more chocolate and coffee should balance out better. I would also imagine the bourbon notes to get a bit stronger as well, but in 6 months or more, it'll be so smooth it will be dangerous

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Photo of jakon
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle

This beer pours coffee black with a khaki colored head. The aroma brings roasted coffee beans, sweet cocoa, toasted malts, alcohol, oak, bourbon, crayon, and a distinct, piny hoppiness.

The taste is sweet at first but finishes dry. Big on the coffee and chocolate flavors. The whiskey barrel fits in perfectly and gives the beer a special feel to it. The hops come through on the finish and mostly provide bitterness to counterbalance the light sweetness. Don't really notice the alcohol much until halfway through the glass.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, drinkability is off the charts considering style. Tough to keep from going back for another sip every few seconds.

Overall, this is yet another outstanding offering from Deschutes' reserve series.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.99/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to see this on tap at the new Deschutes brewpub in Portland! I'd been hearing some buzz about it, and after the buzz about the Abyss, I must admit, I was coming in with some high expectations. The official Deschutes newsletter says the brewers used Bellatazza coffee, Theo's cocoa nibs and Stranahan's whiskey barrels.

Poured into a large snifter, kind of a skimpy amount. Yeah, it's only $3.50, but I saw another guy who got almost twice as much in his glass. No head to speak of, but that might be the pour. Lighter in color than I thought it would be, as well. Dark brown, but lots of light coming in around the edges. If anything, it looks lighter to me than regular Black Butte. Maybe that's the big snifter, too. I've had a couple other "imperial porters" that were much darker, that looked like stouts to me.

Smell is very good. Lots of whiskey, alcohol and oak, roasty malts, a little bit of earthy hops. Very aromatic, much sharper and more alcoholic than the standard Black Butte.

Taste is big and intense, and dominated by the alcohol. I definitely notice coffee, dark roasted malt, cocoa, earthy hops and vanilla but the whiskey is a little overpowering at this point. I was also expecting closer to the original BB flavor, but this is a completely different beer.

Mouthfeel is slick, smooth, but a little thin. The heat from the alcohol detracted some too. Sure, 11% ABV is high, but I've had plenty of beers in that range that masked it better. I think I would have liked to see a smoother, better balanced and thicker Black Butte. I've heard the price point will be the same as the Abyss, which definitely affects my drinkability score. Deschutes is one of my favorite breweries, so I'll definitely still give this a second shot, but my first impression is somewhat disappointed.

On a side note, are there enough imperial porters to warrant adding it as a style? This definitely doesn't fit in the typical American Porter style, but I didn't feel like it fit in the Baltic Porter or Russian Imperial Stout styles either.

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