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Black Butte XXI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIBlack Butte XXI

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

551 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 551
Reviews: 374
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 7.74%
Wants: 214
Gots: 143 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Released June 2009.

Similar recipe and strength to Black Butte XX (2008), "enhanced by adding some Theo's Chocolate cocoa nibs from Seattle, dry-hopping it with 100 pounds of Bellatazza's locally roasted coffee, and then aging a portion of it in Stranahan's Colorado whiskey barrels."

(Beer added by: squaremile on 07-03-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 551 | Reviews: 374 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mroberts1204:
Photo of mroberts1204
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured froma 22oz wax-dipped bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

A - Pours very dark brown with amber and ruby highlights. Creamy khaki head recedes to a thin ring around the glass. 4.0

S - Strong coffee amd chocolate scnet with notes of toffee and vanilla in the background. 4.5

T - Sweet and bitter chocolate melds witht eh coffee seamlessly. The bourbon adds hints of vanilla while malty caramel lingers in the background. The coffee is in the forefront throughout but it is well integrated. There is a soft bitterness that begins midpalate and helps tame the sweetness. Very nice. 4.0

M - This beer goes down easy but has a chalkiness that is off putting. Moderate alcohol burn that warms as it goes down. Carbonation is moderate. 3.0

D - Despite the high ABV and huge flavors I don't think I would have trouble putting an entire bottle down. 4.5

Overall this is a fantastic beer but seems to be past its prime. Still amazing but I will be drinking the rest of my stash shortly.

mroberts1204, Jan 21, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

tectactoe, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of weatherdog
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into three tulip glasses at a recent tasting

It pours a deep pitch viscous black with a small mocha head.

The aroma is very roasty with some strong coffee and chocolate notes. The bourbon aging is evident with some subtle oak and bourbon smells but it isn't overpowering which I'm attributing to only having 20% of the beer aged in bourbon barrels. I'm actually enjoying how subtle the barrel aging is on this beer. It lets the porter character show itself without being overrun by overpowering bourbon flavors.

The taste mirrors a lot of the nose with a strong but not overdone roasted coffee flavors. The bourbon influence is present but restrained and my comments above about the barrel aging are the same I feel about the flavor. The taste is less exciting than the nose though with really only coffee and subtle oak aging notes. A good taste but neither complex or mind-blowing.

The mouthfeel is on the thin side and the alcohol can be felt. Drinkability was decent but I can see some more aging improving this beer.

weatherdog, May 03, 2010
Photo of Beaver13
3.28/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, best after 10/17/10 (oh well!). Pours a dark brown with a creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roasted chocolate, tar, black licorice, and coffee. A little too heavy on the black licorice and tar for me.

The flavor is sweet sugary lactic chocolate balanced by a big tarry roasted bitterness and black licorice with a little coffee. The finish has a good deal of bitterness. As it warms, the sweetness comes out and becomes a bit overwhelming. Also notes of bourbony dark fruits appear as well. It's very bold but not at all smooth - a bit too brash for me. The mouthfeel is fairly full with creamy carbonation.

Overall, it's a bit too harsh especially with the black licorice and tar and then the heavy sweetness. It would be interesting to try again after the best after date to see if it mellows out.

Beaver13, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

megamass, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at thirdeye11's birthday party.

Beer pours black wiht a tan head. The aroma is chocolate and roasted malt. For some reason, I also got a cayenne pepper aroma, even though no one else in the group was getting it. The flavor is chocolate, roasted malt and the same cayenne pepper I was getting in the aroma. There is also some some hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel.

Not sure what the cause of the cayenne was since it looks like others are not getting it. Maybe my palate and nose were playing tricks on me but it was predominant in both the flavor and aroma, and it actually went very well with the other flavors of the beer.

Mora2000, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

JohnnyBarman, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of KellerBrau
4/5  rDev -8.9%

KellerBrau, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of bsp77
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bomber into Snifter.

Appearance: Very dark chestnut brown with moderate tan head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Rich molasses, dark fruit, caramelized sugar and vanilla, with just hints of chocolate, coffee and oak.

Taste: Molasses, caramel, and heavily roasted malt core with nice layers of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and an overall oakiness. The chocolate becomes much more apparent as it warms. Fantastic complexity.

Feel: Ultra smooth, rich and creamy with low carbonation. Simply luxurious feel.

Drinkability: Just a great beer. Very complex and easy to sip. A chocolate lover's dream. Sad I will never get to have XXII out here in Minnesota.

bsp77, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of magictrokini
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes, yes, I know it says not to drink this for another year, but that's why I bought more than one. Pours jet black with a thick, foamy brown head that stays there. Fat lacing on the glass that doesn't wash out with each swig. Heavy molasses, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and whiskey-oak nose. Expected vanilla and toffee compliments with the barrelling. Viscous moithfeel, hearty, and a long, bitter finish. Beautiful chocolate and molasses taste. Some chocolate-chip cookie malt flavor with the bold bourdon backing. Very happy there was none of that espresso/black coffee component as it would have overpowered the subtle simplicty of this beer. Sometimes less is more. Can't wait to hit this again in a year.

magictrokini, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of kingcrowing
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours a nice dark black, With a small light brown head. Nose is coffee, chocolate and sweet malt.

Taste is nice and smooth and creamy with a very strong mocha flavor to it. It's very rich and a bit sweet. Really easy drinking for the abv.

kingcrowing, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of jamesm7485
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Still sitting on 5 bottles of xx but from my memory this pours a shade lighter with some burgundy color in it. I initially served mine a tad too cold but as it warmed up the head retained much better. It smells like when i used to work in a coffee shop my freshman year of college and we roasted our own beans every sunday. Heavy espresso tones and some chocolate in the taste, very slight bourbon taste as well. Very smooth not as much as abyss but different beers. Very drinkable presuming you enjoy coffee despite its abv

jamesm7485, Jul 15, 2009
Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

bpfrush, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

K&B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

Black, oily, thick, and rich. Extremely thin brown head which dissipates almost immediately. Low carbonation.

Not much aroma immediately, but more and more arrive as the beer warms: milk chocolate, caramel, and sea salt.

Taste is smooth and easy: chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes. The alcohol is almost lost, especially considering the beer is 11% ABV. I would never know.

Velvet and smooth mouthfeel.

I could drink this all night, glass after glass, which is shocking at it's ABV.

ehammond1, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of boatshoes
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber courtesy of Dyan in a recent trade, thanks! Managed to get ahold of a couple other bottles as well, so I thought I'd try one fresh before aging the others.

Appearance- Pours the usual deep, opaque black I'm used to for the style. About of half finger of brown head that dies fairly quickly to a thin layer over the surface of the beer. Lots of lacing as I drink as well.

Smell- Mmm, lots of burnt coffee and roasted malt. A touch of bitter chocolate and vanilla as well. Each smell comes out pretty prominently for me into a nice nose.

Taste- Lots of roasted malt with less burnt coffee than in the nose, but still present. Vanilla and bourbon even stronger in the taste, though the chocolate is less present. Some alcohol burn on the way down. All the flavors are excellent, and I expect they would meld and round out even better with some aging. Will have to do another review in a year or so.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel a bit disappointingly thin, but still somewhat chewy. However, it doesn't kill the drinkability, which remains quite good for a heavy beer. I expect the mouthfeel might round out with more time as well.

Overall, quite tasty fresh, and I image will be much better with some age. Get ahold of some of these if you can, they're quite a treat!

boatshoes, Aug 26, 2009
Photo of ohmybock
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had the pleasure of being out again in the PDX area recently and had sooo many great beers. One of the ones that stood out was BB XXI. Honestly, I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this new BB special brew. I had the BB XX last year and loved it, but for some reason I just didn't expect as much from this year's special BB release. Thankfully, I found the BB XXI to be a wonderful brew. It has an inviting aroma of boozy, slight vanilla-y/caramelly malts. The aroma is good, but it's not like it's the best thing I've ever smelled in a beer. The taste, however, is really good. For those that don't like too much chocolate, coffee, or barrel-aged character in their brew, than this is for you. I'm usually not a fan of in-your-face barrel/oak/bourbon/etc brews. Thankfully, the barrel character in this brew is very subtle. This taste of this beer is amazing in its balance. I get a bit of the boozy/barrel-character up front, followed quickly by some authentic chocolate, and just a touch of coffee. Honestly, the palate seems kind of thin for a brew of its strength. This is very good right now, but I think it's still way too young at this point. I bet it will be phenomenal in a year or more. Heck, don't take my word for it. The bottles say best *after* 10/17/2010. By then I imagine the booziness will have died down, there will be a better integration of all the flavors, and there will probably be a richer/drier chocolate character. Argh...I wish I had a beer cellar where I could age a case of BBXXI for the next year along with some Abyss 09.

ohmybock, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of HoppySeb
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

HoppySeb, May 16, 2014
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.6/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour, very slick, tan head. Aroma was chocolate, whiskey.

Got a strange aftertaste reininiscient of dog food from one of the two bottles I've had. I dunno, still have one left, but massive bottle variation seems to be my experience here.

Coffee flavor may be responsible, it tasted like it had disappeared or mutated from previous pours of this. Thought the alcohol was too pronounced. Bitter. Needs more cocao, chocolate, less whiskey.

I'll come back and adjust this one after having the 3rd bottle, but at this point, this one is so far below XX and XXII.

Beerandraiderfan, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeremy - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of moderately roasted malts with large amounts of dark chocolate, vanilla, and hints of coconut.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not as robust. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of dark and lighter chocolate flavors. Slight amounts of vanilla come into play midway through the sip, fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was expecting more than I got from this beer, but to be fair I was expecting a lot. A bit more body would go a long way. Still, a very good beer that's well worth a shot.

glid02, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of kevwcamp
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

kevwcamp, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -8.9%

acurtis, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of watermelonman
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wanted another bottle of XX but I settled for this. Once open, I realize that nothing about this bottle is settling.

This poured to a dark, near black color with hints of mahogany and minimal head. Lace is next to nothing. It looks decent, but the awesome comes with the taste and smell.

Light enough in body to stay drinkable, the cocoa and coffee oozes from this beer in large quantity. The finish brings vanilla that grows more significant as the finish lingers. Barely enough residual sugar to remind me of dark fruits, while a blended boozy hot serves to remind one of the content without getting in the way.

Fantastic.

watermelonman, May 24, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Thanks to Paul for this bottle.

A: Pours a very deep brown, practically black with a small mocha colored head with decent retention and spotty lacing.

S: A surprising amount of pepper comes through, probably the best pepper aroma I have experienced in a beer before. In with the pepper is a good bit of chocolate and darker malt.

T: The peppers come through again here, but a little lighter. It melds with chocolate and a little roasty malt very nicely. There is a little bit of toffee and caramel near the end, and then the finish brings back a bit of spice.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Easy drinking, and rather smooth.

O: A pleasant surprise. Really enjoyed this beer, my favorite of any beer I have had with peppers being that prominent. Would be interested to see how it drinks in a year or two.

mdaschaf, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of GilGarp
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bottle topped with black wax over the cap.

Served cool in a chalice, this beer has a very dark brown color but light does shine through on the pour. It has creamy off-white head that doesn't reach towering heights but lingers nicely.

Great aroma of roasted malts, bourbon, and vanilla. Some chocolate and coffee with a bit of red pepper spice.

The taste it outstanding in with huge flavors of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The initial sweetness of the malts turns to strong bitter cocoa powder and dark roast coffee. It finishes with a peaty, smokey, bourbon flavor that has a hint of brown sugar to mellow it all out.

Mouthfeel is huge in body with a thick and creamy tongue-coating sensation. The alcohol is fairly well hidden for the size of this beer but the warming gives it away after a few sips.

It seems like exactly what the brewers were trying for on this one when you read the online description. Big and roasty with coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. All of these flavors come forward without fighting for outright supremacy. Excellent... I'm looking forward to having one a year from now!

GilGarp, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of Stigs
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, acquired via a trade with fellow BA'er JohnGalt1...served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - about a solid fingers worth of dark tan/cappuccino colored foam dwindles quickly to a very thin layer and ring around the glass. the beer is almost pitch black.

S - stale french roasted coffee, tons of oak and wood, cinnamon, earthy hops, vanilla, chocolate...could go on and on. beautiful and complex, robust yet subtle...treat for the nose.

T - dark roasted malts along with bourbon that comes out of nowhere right off the bat...dark roasted coffee kicks in along with some lighter malts, caramel, brown sugar, finishes with some deep earthy hops. oakyness comes out more and more as it warms.

M - thick and creamy, subtle carbonation...is there alcohol in here? wonderfully hidden and sneaky. drinks like a high end RIS.

D - so much going on here, all around. almost perfect texture for a big porter...definitely the biggest one I've ever had. have a couple more of these on the way, love to see how it is with a bit of age on it. outstanding beer.

Stigs, Feb 06, 2010
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Black Butte XXI from Deschutes Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 551 ratings.