Black Butte XX - Deschutes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 346 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
2.68/5 rDev -38.2%
Bought from Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA
Made a slight "tsss" as the cap was pried off.
A: midnight black, with garnet hues near the bottom edge if held up to light. moderate bubbly chocolately tan head that quickly shrinks
S: At first this has a dark fruity aroma like sweet cherries and is almost berry like in smell. during the opening and initial pour. Nose up to the glass however yields earthy aromas of roasted nuts, lots of coffee, molasses, toffee, dark chocolate. very very slight alcoholic presence. no wood or bourbon on the nose.
T&M: This is a thick, chewy beer. very noticeable alcoholic presence (even after 2 completely different beers already). Warms your throat/stomach. you can definitely tell this was aged in bourbon barrels as the warming bourbon taste comes through in full force. relatively high hop bitterness. Can't really taste any of the other smells that were experienced.
D: high ABV and booziness will limit how much one can drink of this. This is more of a sipping beer, and even at that it's quite alcoholic. Very bitter too.
I also have to agree with josiahschlender's statement that this warrants being in a category of "imperial porter". It does not fit into the standard american porter category given it's high bitterness and hop heavyness.
EDIT: This has been compared to The Abyss, but after having Abyss on tap just a few weeks ago, this tastes nothing like it. This is a harsh, bitter brew vs Abyss which is clearly more robust, complex and flavorful. 2 totally different beers IMO.
07-11-2008 06:19:02 | More by julian
4.6/5 rDev +6%
Chocolate and coffee aromas up front. I don't get much bourbon on the nose. It pops up in the taste. Very well balanced considering age. Not boozy. On swallow, it has a taste very much like The Abyss....or at least some qualities. This is a nice beer.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this one ages. It is going to be difficult to actually let one age for more than 10 minutes.
07-11-2008 04:19:35 | More by LittleBreeze
4.53/5 rDev +4.4%
Appearance - Almost black, hints of chocolate color, especially when held to the light. Pours a healthy sized brown head that dies somewhat quick.
Smell - Chocolate, coffee, slight woody smell.
Taste - A little of everything. Chocolate, coffee again as well as a slight hop bitterness with some grain flavor. The woodiness is there as well with a tinge of vanilla and finishes with the slightest taste of bourbon.
Mouthfeel - One of the heaviest beers I have tasted on the tongue, and the carbonation is only mildly subdued. The combination brings things to the fore as they should be.
Drinkability - I could sip on this forever. Best porter I have ever had, hands down.
07-10-2008 04:38:50 | More by sevopie
3.13/5 rDev -27.9%
Pours dark brown out of the bottle, and appears black in the glass. Light tan foam, quickly fades into a collar, not bottle conditioned. Aroma lacks finesse and complexity, mainly dominated by heavily roasted malts, blackened fruits and alcohol. Nose lacks coffee and chocolate notes, as well as any type of barrel contribution. Still, at least it has an aroma. Flavor also lacks grace, but it does have a lot of flavor. Pretty crude and overly roasty, overly burnt. Bitter coffee notes and more blackened fruits. Doesn't finish well either. I also don't understand Deschutes theory of barrel aging. Aging 20% of the beer in a barrel is not sufficient. In fact, it's basically pointness. There are no hints of whiskey barrel in the beer at all, in the nose or flavor. It's also not bottle conditioned. Maybe it will age decently, but for now, it's not a beer I enjoy.
07-09-2008 02:00:47 | More by Crosling
3.88/5 rDev -10.6%
Pours a deep dark brown, with very little tan head that leaves zero lacing. Smells of coffee, chocolate, molasses, tobacco, and tastes of all the above, just not that strongly. Maybe I'm unfairly comparing this to Alesmith's Decadence Imperial Porter that came out recently, but this doesn't quite measure up. As a matter of fact, it tastes like Abyss, but watered down. Nothing really unique about it. A good porter, but not all that special.
07-08-2008 16:53:21 | More by PhxHorn
4.55/5 rDev +4.8%
So, yeah, you can tell I like it.
A: Thick, viscous, with a short (1/2) inch amber head that quickly settled. But hey, it sees some cask.
S: Triple mocha anyone? All coffee, chocolate vanilla, with some earthy notes (moss?).
T: Coffee and chocolate immediately. Some Bourbon notes pop in, though surprisingly, the booziness is subdued. You get some strong vanillin on the finish and some woodsy tinge. Very complex and complete.
M: For all that flavor and weight, very gentle on the palate, which helps with the appreciation of the complexity, as well as the...
D: I wish I could drink these all night. Certainly goes down easy and makes for an enjoyable drink, but two would be sufficient for a few hours. Need to work on tolerance. Damn.
07-08-2008 01:03:19 | More by oregone
4.53/5 rDev +4.4%
Big time thanks to JohnGalt1 for this one. He sent me two bottles, count 'em two!, for the Fight Club BIF.
22 oz wax sealed bottle pored into an imperial pint glass. A thick and dense mocha colored head only stands about a finger's width from a hard pour. Gradually it recedes to almost nothing. Not that surprising for a barrel aged beer. Body color is a dense black.
Smell is a rich collection of dark smells. Roasted coffee, dark cocoa, and charred wood. Taste is equally dark added with the whiskey heat that gives it some spice.
Mouthfeel is thick and slick. Very chewy and filling. What an over all treat. I'm going to keep that second bottle in my cellar to see how it does in a year.
07-06-2008 04:19:07 | More by bort11
4.3/5 rDev -0.9%
22 oz bottle, picked up at City Beer in San Francisco.
Drank some last night in bed, left it on my nightstand, and now drinking the remainder that I left sitting out overnight. It's actually better after sitting out all night, as it has warmed up a bit. The lesson: don't drink this beer too cold. Cellar temperature at the coldest, and room temperature is probably just fine.
I actually like this better than The Abyss that some people rave about, but maybe that just means I like porters better than stouts.
One last comment: the wax seal is cool looking, but I actually find it fairly annoying to have to deal with when you're desperate to crack open your new acquisition and start imbibing.
07-04-2008 16:21:39 | More by watchnerd
4.7/5 rDev +8.3%
22 from the Coop from Friday I think.. Paid about $10... enjoyed immensely tonight from my new Boulevard Smokestack goblet.
1" mocha colored head... Brew is very very dark brown... very close to black.. only sorta looks brown when held next to a light and some little light reflects back ... head drops quick but thick creamy lacing sticks and sticks.
Aroma is an intoxicating mix of cocoa.. and coffee with just enough oak and whiskey to make me want to stick my nose in it... roasty... mmmm.... vanilla appears as it warms.
Smooth waves of melted bittersweet chocolate spiked with coffee beans is my initial impression... velvety bourbon with background of cherries.. Is there such a thing as "Chocolate Covered Bourbon Soaked Cherries"? If not, there should be. The mix between the bakers' chocolate and coffee is very good right now... The oakey whiskey and vanilla sorta stand out .. but mainly on the front side of the palate... but I really can't complain right now.. it is very balanced .. with every sip, I am getting one of the main components.. but with the next, a different one.
Mouthfeel is like liquid velvet.. sooo smooth. Big but not heavy.. full but not too much. Drinkability is dangerous.. I wanted to have one more beer after SAS left tonight.. but I didn't want it to be a forgettable brew.... this one isn't. Wow.
Overall.... Despite some minor prevalent whiskey and coffee right now.. this brew shows surprising multidimensional complexity for such a young bottle.. it will age for a looong time to come... now I just need some serious cash or a beer fairy to hit me with a couple cases before they are gone for good.
Such a sipper.... It is getting really late... I just realized I have half a bottle left.... It's going to be a great night.
07-04-2008 08:49:38 | More by JohnGalt1
4.72/5 rDev +8.8%
Pours near black with light brown head. Brandy snifter seems to retain the head well, and this beer comes across as very aromatic.
Nose is an expected coffee, roasty malts, & sweet bourbon. Chocolate & caramel are present as well.
Palate is big roasty malts, cocoa, a modest bourbon influence, and a lingering caramel taste.
I'm a big fan of the original black butte porter and some of its essence is detectable here, but altogether this really is a new beer.
07-04-2008 05:22:45 | More by yemenmocha
4.45/5 rDev +2.5%
Service Temperature, 55 degrees farenheit. Service Glassware 12 ounce tulip.
Got this the first day it showed up.
This beer pours dark like the overcast shadow that is cast outside. Dark with a density that lacks clarity. The head pours strong initially but eventually gives way, allow the recession of the dark khaki head. A carpet of lace is left behind that soon fades away.
The nose on this is interesting in that it inherits some oak and bourbon like notes, before allowing the mocha with a touch of vanilla come forward along with the familiar roastedness.
Taste can only be described as slight smoke, mixed in with vanilla, molasses, mild coffee, and some chocolate. Hop bitterness leans almost citrus and earthy with a dance of alcohol in every swallow.
Mouthfeel, start out medium but finishes smooth coating every part of the tongue.
Overall this beer is shockingly good and going to look great when the summer gives ways to the winters chill. Ice Cream anyone?
07-04-2008 04:06:37 | More by mnapier
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
22 oz brown bottle with black wax. 11% abv
Pours pitch black into my tulip glass with a cocoa colored head that falls pretty quick to a wispy floating coating with a small ring. It left a decent amount of lacing behind.
The smell is of oak, bourbon, coffee, vanilla, and some roasted nutty flavor. It is very nice that the coffee isnt overpowering the rest of the flavors in the nose as most coffee beers seem to.
Taste is, well, good. I love black butte porter anyway, and this is certainly an amped up version of that beer. If you try really hard you can find the base beer in here, and added to it I get some oakiness and vanilla with some warm bourbon, and I get my morning cup of not too strong coffee, and a smooth, velvet, creamy piece of chocolate. It is like i spiked my cup of morning joe with some chocolate creamer with a splash of whiskey. All the flavors are balanced quite nicely.
The mouthfeel on this one is nice. It is smooth and creamy, and full but not heavy. This is the one place you see it is a porter and not a stout. It is by no means watery, just not as heavy and oily as a RIS would be, making it easier to drink.
This one is off the charts drinkable for an 11% beer. I feel the alcohol going down just a little, slight warming is all, no burn. The smooth, creamy texture more than make up for it, and with no one flavor overpowering the other, but instead blending nicely together, it becomes as easy to drink as your morning coffee. I think with about 6 months of aging this one will be exceptional, which seems to bode well for it being released in June/July.
I am kicking myself for not buying more of this when it was available. Now the hunt begins :)
07-03-2008 22:09:23 | More by tayner
4.03/5 rDev -7.1%
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.
07-03-2008 02:22:41 | More by Murchmac
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
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.
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...
07-02-2008 05:09:15 | More by msubulldog25
4.75/5 rDev +9.4%
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!
07-02-2008 05:05:18 | More by Wetpaperbag
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
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.
07-02-2008 03:03:01 | More by largadeer
4.15/5 rDev -4.4%
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.
06-30-2008 17:46:37 | More by ccrida
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
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!!
06-30-2008 01:23:14 | More by SurlyDuff
3.9/5 rDev -10.1%
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
06-29-2008 04:18:54 | More by bitterthebetter
4.63/5 rDev +6.7%
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.
06-27-2008 07:01:04 | More by jakon
3.98/5 rDev -8.3%
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.
05-23-2008 19:40:50 | More by josiahschlender
Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 346 ratings.