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Black Butte XXI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIBlack Butte XXI

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

374 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 374
Hads: 570
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 5.76%
Wants: 214
Gots: 144 | FT: 11
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: squaremile on 07-03-2009

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."
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Reviews: 374 | Hads: 570
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Isn't this what we call imperial porter? Thickish pouring and bodied black coffee liquer, rich and alcohol more or less hidden. Well integrated, the coffee and chocolate and roast.Bourbon in the secondary well managed and adding to the complexity. The richness is carried by the aroma. A great drink, and then a great nap. (322 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SamuelJackson45 for sending me this one!

Best after 10/17/10.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch dark tan head that settles to an oily film on the top of the beer. Thin rings and patterns of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, chocolate milk, and some wood notes. Taste is of dark, rich chocolate syrup up front with a roasted malt and coffee bean presence on the aftertaste. I am not getting any of the barrel flavors, just some wood notes in the smell. This beer is smooth and creamy while still maintaining a carbonated feel. Overall, this is a great beer with a nice balance of flavors but the smell is a bit lacking. This is still a stellar beer! (718 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black in color with a decent tan head that quickly disappates.

Nose is all big black coffee, espresso and dark chocolate.

Mouth feel is medium and may get creamy with some age.

Taste and flavors are as promised by the nose - big full coffee and dark chocolate with some sweet espresso and espresso bean character. This porter, for me, is much more of a stout and all coffee and espresso and dark chocolate character.

Age will absolutely integrate the flavors and likely give a more creamy, integrated mouthfeel to the beer. In fairness, the bottle says "best after 10/17/10." I couldn't wait. However, some bottle age will improve this one all around and my score will likely go up. Still, I could live with drinking this one with some regularity as it is. Nice effort. (783 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.87/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery in August 2009.

A: Dark black with an espresso-colored head and a tiny bit of lacing.

S: Lots of coffee going on here with a little bit of chocolate and some hops.

T: Lots of the same but a little too overpowering at this point--it definitely needs some age on it and I'll certainly do a re-review after some time has passed on it.

M: Fairly thick, but quite a bit too dry.

D: Pretty good, but the taste definitely needs some time to mellow. (468 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an obsidian color with a rather modest head that declines to a ringlet and archipelago; spotty lacing

Smell: Chocolate and more chocolate; underneath there are hints of licorice, dark fruit and bourbon/vanilla

Taste: Opens with a twinge of hopleaf and then the chocolate overwhelms, builing through mid-palate when the licorice and and citrusy hops are reintroduced; after the swallow, the dark fruit and licorice add depth with the vanilla/bourbon adding complexity in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very nice beer with a delightful chocolate taste that somehow falls slightly short of the standard I would expect for an anniversary ale - I might rate it higher in a different presentation (760 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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. More coffee-forward than the Black Butte XX, but still nicely balanced by dark malts and a touch of barrel.

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. (1,074 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Polished mahogany with glimmers of burnt orange and brass along the bottom edge. The upper third of the glass is filled with an impressive chunk of caramel mousse colored foam that belies the ABV and the (partial) barrel aging. A good bit of lace sticks as well.

Theo's chocolate cocoa nibs are appreciated in the nose. As is the influence from 20% of the beer having been aged in Stranahan Colorado Whiskey barrels. One hundred pounds of Bellatazza's roasted coffee... not so much. It's a complex aroma and a damn good one.

Black Butte XX did not get a big flavor score from me, but I haven't gone back to re-read the review and determine why. Probably a shortage of malt. Black Butte XXI is a delicious Imperial porter that, although it's probably pretty similar in construction, earns the larger score with relative ease.

It isn't a malt bomb, but it's still explosive in the flavor department. Each sip (okay, gulp) delivers torrents of bittersweet chocolate blended with coffee-with-cream, vanilla beans, caramelized sugar and toasted oak. Maybe even a hint of smoke (which is probably just my imagination). It turns out that aging only 20% was the right way to go.

Warming, as it usually does with great beer, delivers even more boldness and depth. A fair amount of sweetness is perfectly countered by a decent amount of bitterness to the tune of 55 IBUs. This seasonal offering isn't The Abyss (what is?), but it's incredible beer all the same.

This is one of those cases where my big beer mouthfeel preferences come into play. It's smooth enough, but it's lightly chewy rather than moderately chewy. Sorry, but a great score requires greatness.

Here's hoping that Deschutes continues to release Black Butte XX+ year after year after year. Changes are okay, but they had better be minor ones. It's best not to mess with something this good. (1,853 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown colored head of foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of chocolate and cocoa with roasted malt notes. There were mild toffee aromas.

T - It tasted of chocolate and black licorice. It had a peppery hop spice.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale that packs a warm alcohol punch.

D - Great beer. It is probably the best porter than I've ever had. (450 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thrilled to be able to try this one finally. I was a huge fan of the last edition so the chance to have it again was something I just had to jump at. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 09/01/2009.
 
Huge pour here and damn perfect I have to say. Dark as night with a huge tan head that crept up over the top of the glass after reaching a height of three inches. Settling down very slowly it left tons of lacing up and down the sides of the glass, thick, and coating, this one looked like a monster right off the bat. The aroma was equally as big, rich chocolate and bourbon notes slip seamlessly around a shell of molasses and baked brown sugar. Decadent and dessert like in every sense of the word and hard to envision this as anything other then a big stout. Very sip is like black gold. Rich full feel, and near perfect carbonation compliment everything so well. Chocolate and coffee notes lead the way with a rich boozy bourbon feel kicking at the back of the throat. Sweet molasses notes coming in next, just dissolving over the tongue and really pushing the envelope on the flavor. Touches of licorice and a moderately dry finish smooth it out very well, while nearly all the ABV is well masked behind huge flavor.
 
Overall just as I would have though, superb. This was a beast to work through but every sip seemed to get better then the one before it. I am very happy to have a couple of these to see what some time can put on them. (1,481 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had a couple of these over the past year or two, but decided to open one up today for the football games.

A: The pour is pretty much as black as you can get with a surprisingly large head that is tan in color (ends up dying down to a thin layer).

S: Smells of chocolate, bourbon, and roast for the most part. A lot of roasted malt, actually. There is some vanilla and oak, and surprisingly, some dark fruit notes of cherry and raisin. A fading, but still present, coffee aroma is there in the background.

T: The coffee is more noticeable on the palate for whatever reason. There is a very strong roasted malt flavor, slightly ashy, with quite a bit of bitter dark chocolate. Some vanilla and oak. A definite dark fruit character is noted here, too, and again seems to be cherry and raisin.

M: The boy is medium to full with a moderate carbonation level.

D: It's definitely a big beer so I don't know if I would drink the whole bottle by myself with any regularity, but this is a damn good beer. (1,004 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Slips out a dark brown, near black body with an initially frothed, though thinning, tan-colored head.

Smell: Strong, greatly roasty nose with notes of fine espresso and less-than-fine instant coffee in the fore followed by a touch of dark chocolate fudge and molasses and lastly some bourbon-soaked oak wood.

Taste: Roasted dark malts heavily brushed with blackstrap molasses and fudge brownie batter. Moderate sweetness. Enter in a rip-roarin' jolt of chilled espresso that really dominates the taste at this stage. Piquant spicy oak character with some sips of quality, top-shelf bourbon. Bold, predominately roasty bitterness. Warming, roasty finishes with further tastes of dark chocolate and oak wood.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Packed with flavor but still a treat to sip and savor. Though I feel I'm in the minority here, I feel as though I preferred the XX with its slackened coffee character. That said, I still wholeheartedly recommended this one. (1,030 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of tan head on top of an opaque black body with some ruby highlights showing through. The foam settles slowly and leaves a thick coating of lace on the glass.

S - Notable chocolate malt and coffee. Fruity plum notes with caramel and some woody oak aroma.

T - Sweet, thick caramel malt up front with thick, bittersweet chocolate. Coffee appears in the middle with a dry bitterness and some nutty espresso notes. Finishes with some sweet, fruity alcohol notes and spicy pine hop flavor, as well as vanilla, black cherry, coffee and chocolate. Lingering chocolate covered coffee bean flavors with a hint of whiskey.

M - Thick, viscous body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish. Spicy alcohol that leaves some lingering warmth in the throat.

D - I am quite impressed that this beer manages to differentiate itself as a porter rather than an imperial stout with its emphasis on chocolate malt character over roast. Despite the chocolate nature of the malt, coffee dominates the overall flavor profile and it has quite a different, more espresso like character than that of roasted grain. The bourbon barrel aged portion seems to contribute relatively little to the overall impression of the beer, modifying the other flavors rather than standing out on its own. The label says best AFTER October 2010 (cute) and I am inclined to believe it. The alcohol is still a bit hot while the coffee and chocolate malt sweetness are bludgeoningly strong and lacking in subtlety; the flavors are bold, but seem like they could benefit from about a year to integrate. It is good now, but it probably does need some time to reach its peak. (1,653 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to JMBSH for this bottle!

After wrapping up our bottling session, we break into this heralded gem. It pours a straight black-brown topped by a finger of light-ish ecru foam. The nose comprises toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and roasted malts. Mike has ordered me to note here that he loves this smell. Yeah. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, coffee, whiskey, oak, toffee, and dark greens. The body is a stolid medium with a moderate carbonation. Overall, a very nice porter, but I feel the bourbon overwhelms the rest of the flavors (which I find odd, considering only 20% was aged in the barrels...). This, coupled with a surprisingly prickly carbonation held this back for me, but it was still enjoyable. (766 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black with no light coming through. One and a half finger thick creamy tan head.

Smell: I'm picking up a ton of roast. Sweet dark chocolate, bourbon, and mild vanilla.

Taste: Again, there is a lot of smokey roast. The coffee flavor is very mild. I'm also picking up dark chocolate, dark fruit, and bourbon. The alcohol doesn't overwhelm at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body, but definitely not as thick as I thought it would be. The carbonation is smooth and creamy and the finish is a bit slick.

Overall: This beer was a bit different than I thought it would be, but not in a bad way. The roast flavors dominated the sweetness. The flavors blend together well, and I really enjoyed the mild bourbon taste. I'd definitely have this one again. (804 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Held to the light, Black Butte XXI remains an almost completely opaque black brown. The exception is the ring of reddish chestnut directly beneath the fading head of creamy dark tan above it. It fades to a wide collar within a minute, to be sure, and only tiny specks and streaks of lacing are left behind.

In the nose it's deeply roasty, almost charred, and chocolatey.
it expresses dark chocolate, but there's also a good bit of sugar and cocoa that delivers creamier milk chocolate. Chocolate-covered espresso beans come to mind as well, as there is a bit of coffee. It reminded me of rich, oily Kenya that's been left in the pot just a touch too long, but still hasn't become burnt and oxidized (yet!).

The flavor is rich - MASSIVE even - and the initial burst of dark, almost burnt coffee bean quickly turns to dark chocolate, dusty dark cocoa, and then fruit. It builds on the palate quickly though, and things change. Where I first found bright reddish fruit in the first two or three sips, I then started to find fig and darker skinned fruits subsequently as the malt lingered in my mouth and the bitterness grew. Soon fudge-like notes emerged, and leafy hop notes appeared. I think it's really too rich and full and complex though to give a kind of play-by-play because it will probably assault everyone just a little bit differently. The bitterness, however, should remain the same. It's rock-solid, and when teamed with the roastiness it acts as a dense anchor that holds the sweeter chocolatey notes down. Additionally, the alcohol lends a bit of spiciness and warmth once you've passed the quarter glass mark. As for the Bourbon barrel again, well I don't really find any Bourbon flavor except in the finish, although I'm guessing it's responsible for at least a touch of the heat. And oak? Well there's a bit of woody dryness that lingers in the mouth. It actually helps to dry it, along with the heat and the bitterness and the roast.

It's a massive beer, but it's also well-fermented out. The mouthfeel delivers a full body, and it's oily-slick and just slightly creamy until you let it warm to become foamy, and then BAM, it simply explodes in a big puff of froth!

As to drinkability, it's obviously too big and densely flavorful to offer repeat servings, but one is enough as it's so massive (it puts most Imperial Russian Stouts to shame). So then what about its desirability as a sipping beer? Well, it is a bit harsh and blocky. It's not round. It's more like Bourbon with its fiery edge. And I'll just go with that. If you enjoy sipping whiskey, you'll certainly enjoy sipping this.

Unique. Complex. Rich. Worth seeking out! (2,654 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany with a finger of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity to this; above average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & oakyness, plus vanilla notes, once warm, a touch of sherry as well, beautiful nose to this

T: Coffee, burnt grain, dark fruit (raisins & dark cherry) & dark chocolate. Dark chocolate, plums, oaky vanilla, coffee & a touch of booze as this warms; plus dryness. Finishes dry, boozey, oaky & with some mocha, dryness drags this down a bit for me

MF: Medium bodied, oily, low carbonation, pretty darn rich

Drinks pretty easy for the abv, just enough coffee for me. I think I liked XX more, but this would be an awesome 2nd choice. Can't wait for XXII! (681 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from Nanoslug. Thanks dude! Served in a Tripel Karmeliet tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that settles to a thick collar and partial cap. Body is black, with a glint of brown at the fringes of the glass.

S - Licorice nibs, earthy whiskey, dark chocolate, some faded coffee, roasted malts, molasses in the periphery. There's an interesting note that is reminiscent of chili-infused stouts I've had. Surprisingly low sweetness.

T - Taste is more smooth out, with hefty dark breads, cocoa, and roasted grains. The whiskey character is very earthy. The flavor is a little sweeter, but this is still on the savory side.

M - Definitely medium bodied, with some active carbonation that thankfully isn't harsh. Finishes mouth-coating and sticky.

D - This is pretty good, although I remember it being better back at the Toronado party. It's too bad the XXII wasn't released in bottles, as I could really go from some fresh bottles of this one. (958 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black Butte XXI, Deschutes, Bend, OR

Deep, beautiful blackness, fizzy, cocoa-tan head, gone quick.

Aroma: rich black malts, black pepper, charcoal and anise, with the bourbon aromatics rising up to the fore.

Tasting it, surprising smooth and easy down the gullet, with traces trickling down the throat. Bittersweet espresso mingles with dark chocolate, vanilla and oak underneath. Richness grows as the bottle diminishes. Richer, warmer, deeper, the chocolate and coffee roaring, ...wonderful stuff. Loving it.

Full flavor, deep bodied, long, luxurious finish, definitely drinkable, and utterly lovely. (608 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark black color with one finger of brown head and light carbonation evident.

s - First smell was definitely chocolate and cocoa, and then got some coffee, roasted malts, and vanilla. Small hints of oak and alcohol.

t - Tastes of bittersweet chocolate as well as some sweet chocolate. Followed up with roasted malts, some coffee, and some vanilla. Not getting any alcohol which surprised me.

m - Smooth and creamy, full bodied and medium carbonation.

d - I thought this was an amazing porter. I loved the chocolatte and vanilla smell and taste and couldn't believe it was 11% ABV. Can't wait to have this again. (677 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I brought this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. Bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours ink black with a nice one finger tall tan head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving light rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla, and some dulled coffee. Of all the flavors the malt really dominates with the others in more of a supporting role. Pretty good.

T - Flavors are quite similar to the nose with some more coffee coming thru. The malt is a little less prevalent allowing the rest of the rich roasty flavors to come thru. A nice vanilla/oak sweetness comes thru as it warms up to room temperature. Very nice stuff.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice full feel with a mix of dark roast and dulled sweetness in the finish.

D - Very good. I am not sure I could drink a few of these bad boys but I really enjoyed this one. Wish I had a few more of these for down the road. (997 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wasatch for this!

Pours dark brown with a head that doesn't stay (not that I expected it to...)

The smell is delightful, to say the least! Cocoa/chocolate, coffee, bourbon and licorice. The robust aroma is so strong that it stays in bottle long after the drink is gone.

The taste is of cocoa/chocolate, coffee, licorice. The bourbon is not strong, but certainly present, adding another layer of complexity while keeping everything in balance. A raisin-like fruitiness lingers in the back, adding even more depth. A complex, delicious brew! It has a sweetness with a slightly roasty, dark fruity, hint of bourbon, finish.

It hits full-bodied for a porter - without going into "stout" territory. Flavor hangs on in a long finish.

Very smooth, with high abv more than reasonably well-covered. A wonderful dessert porter! (833 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint. Beer is black and forms a thin brown head that is broken and diffuse and falls away to the edges of the glass leaving only minimal lacing on the glass. Carbonation appears to be low.

Slight chocolate in the nose. Roast and coffee followed by a little sweetness. Perhaps a hint of alcohol in the nose.

Beer is medium bodied and has a nice sweetness that is carried throughout the palate. The carbonation is good in the mouth. There is significant bitterness at the back end that I suppose is from the coffee. While I can taste coffee, it is not what I would describe as the dominant flavor. There is a lot of roast, especially for a porter, in the back of the mouth. Overall drinkability is good and mouthfeel is fine. I enjoyed this beer, not sure I would try it again. Its a little hot but it may mellow out if aged. (862 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Toronado

Served in a goblet with hardly any tan head. Color is a deep brown, pretty much black.

Aroma: Some oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Big roasted malt feel. Slight caramel and chocolate with coffee notes.

Taste: A lot of bourbon with the oak and vanilla. Brings some head with it. Lots of nut flavors and grassy hops. It is a nice porter and really great for the style.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy with a slight bit of heat. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends malty, roasted, and dry.

Overall, I wasn't too amazed by this beer until I remember that it is a porter. I really wish more porters tasted like this. I have a bottle and I am going to age it and I can only imagine it getting better. (736 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (851 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle generously opened by mdaschaf during our mini-tasting at his place. Poured into a snifter glass.

A: Deep dark brown, bordering on being completely black except for the hues around the top edges. Creamy, tan looking head that stuck around for a decent amount of time and left a nice cap. Minor lacing on the walls.

S: Tons of black pepper emerging from the glass, wow that is completely unexpected and quite a unique note to have so overpowering. Chocolate, slight coffee notes and some dark malts come in midway. Towards the end of the aroma is a faint sweet toffee note, but it's hard to break through this strong peppery aroma. Strange but quite nice.

T: Again, more black pepper comes through big up front. The chocolate and dark malts break in mid-palate, along with some caramel undertones. The back end and finish brings in more of the peppery flavor, ground coffee beans and just the faintest little bitter hop note. Certainly one of the most unique beers I've tasted in terms of flavors.

M: Quite bubbly, well carbonated and medium-bodied. Not very full or robust, but it's still a rich and smooth beer. The pepper leaves a bit of a dryness.

My first of any of the Black Buttes and this was certainly a very unique beer. The peppery nature of the beer was nice, but I feel like it sort of overwhelmed the entire nose and taste. Still, a great beer I'm very happy I was able to try side-by-side with the XXIII. Thanks again Matt! (1,457 characters)

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Black Butte XXI from Deschutes Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 374 ratings.