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Black Butte XXI - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIBlack Butte XXI

Educational use only; do not reuse.

569 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 569
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 7.74%
Wants: 210
Gots: 146 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 569 | Reviews: 375
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Black, tan head. Looks luscious.
smell - wow. Afraid my nose isn't mature enough to do this justice. Great and complex. Malt, and roast coffee mixed with dark chocolate.
taste - The taste is what you'd expect from the wonderful smells. It threatens a bitter aftertaste but backs off nicely.
I have a feeling that I would rate this even higher after more reviews under my belt.

Photo of Floydster
3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce black wax bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for around twelve dollars, poured into my Chimay goblet, color is almost completely black with some light at the top shining through, one inch soapy light brown head, some retention with lacing at the top of the glass, aroma consists of oak, very faint bourbon, coffee grounds, leather, smoky malts, brown sugar, roastiness, and dark cocoa, flavor starts off with roasted malts and dark chocolate battling out, more malt in the middle with a little whiskey twist, roasted in the finish with strong oak in the finish, dark chocolate lingers with a bit of dryness, warms up with a little sweeter malt but stays pretty dry and roasty throughout, oaky, roasty, dry, and slightly mouthfeel, carbonation was pretty strong, medium body, expected it to be fuller, taste lingers, smooth and not too full or heavy, alcohol is detectable but it is still young in the bottle, did not have much trouble getting through nine or ten ounces, I was excited to try this after enjoying the XX more recently than I did the first time when it was fresh, similar to that experience, I think I will enjoy this one more later on with some age under its belt, look forward to drinking again, recommended

Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. I've really been looking forward to this one.

Appearance: midnight black with a thick, dark, slow-to-dissipate head, which leaves a nice lacing. Yum.

Smell: readily apparent roasted coffee and chocolate, with notes of caramel and wood. Not extremely pungent, but subtle and complex.

Taste: deep, sweet, chocolatey, bourboney. The chocolate comes on sweet but becomes bitter as I swallow, which is when the coffee really appears. It is quite intoxicating (sensually, that is).

Mouthfeel: medium to medium-thick body with little carbonation. Perfect to coat the mouth with this heady, complex but not over-the-top flavor profile.

Drinkability: would be wonderful, but I cannot go around slamming 11% beers. Still, it is a lovely beer which could probably get me into trouble.

Photo of atigerlife
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with reddish highlights. A nice 2 finger fluffy/creamy brown head. Beautiful.

Aroma of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste is again the dark chocolate and coffee. Also some woody flavors, dark malts and some sweet vanilla. Hops does make an appearance. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very dry and cleansing.

Ocverall, a wonderful brew. Very drinkable despite the ABV. Delicious.

Photo of GilGarp
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

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.

Photo of digitalbullet
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Apperance: jet black brew with a light tan head. Man have I been waiting for to taste this.
Smell: bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon with some dark chocolate thrown in.
Taste: sweet bourbon with dark chocolate. Yum! Can taste the alchohol a bit, but not too bad. Lingering coffee notes in the background.
Mouthfeel: slick, coats the tongue. Light carbonation.
Drinkability: Oh so dangerous. Will sneak up on you if you aren't careful. Awesome brew overall

Photo of boatshoes
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
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!

Photo of abfraser
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Back on the wagon.

A: Poured into a tulip glass. As dark as dark can be. There isn't much head on the pour but after it settles a bit a nice light brown cap.

S: Wonderful vanilla, sweet, bourbon-y dark chocolate. Pretty hefty roasted coffee aromas. Dark roasted malts in the background.

T/M: Delicious. Roasted, sweet malts hit first giving way to great dark chocolate flavor. The coffee is less pronounced than on the nose, which I like (like my coffee flavors to be more background than star). Lips are sticky from the high sugar content. Despite its intensity and richness, this one doesn't weigh on the palate at all.

D: Hides it's alcohol unbelievably well. Not heavy at all on the palate, which is truly remarkable for a beer like this.

Special cheers to Deschutes for finding a way to make a beer this utterly delicious and sell it in bombers for less than $0.50 an ounce. Buy several if you can--this stuff will surely age well too if any of Deschutes' other specialty beers are any indication.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. into a pint glass

P: Almost completely opaque aside from the slightest of rosy-brown slivers of light on the edges. 3 fingers worth of tan foam on top that is thick, and more frothy than it is creamy. Shows good retention as it slowly sinks to a thin cap on top. This is darker than some RIS's I've had!

A: Damn! This smells as if I just stuck my face into a bucket of fresh, exotic coffee beans. It's pretty bold & boisterous, with an in-your-face intensity that you rarely get from an American Porter. Besides the coffee, there's a sizable helping of chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, and some vague citric hops in there as well. Pretty enticing, to say the least!

T: Just as the nose would suggest, coffee rules the roost with fresh flavors of exotic coffee beans that taste great! Creamy chocolate is done nicely as it teams up the (blackstrap?) molasses to compliment the coffee. Citric hops are noticeable and impart a much needed bitterness to try and balance things out. But make no mistake about it, this is a sweet malt-bomb! The more exploration I do into this beer, I seem to get some vague notes of dark fruits like figs/dates as well. Finishes with lots of burnt sugar, vanilla, and a little charred oak. Bourbony alcohol is noticeable, but stays impressively well-hidden for being so fresh. It does warm you up a bit upon swallow, though.

M: As for the mouthfeel, Black Butte XXI is not as full as expected. It's a full notch below being full-bodied, but it is silky smooth, impressively vicious, and has a nice amount of creaminess underneath. The only thing that would keep you from thinking this was an Imperial Stout is the absence of that chewy, meatiness that you would expect from a beer this light-obliteratingly dark.

Notes: Admittedly, I'm an absolute sucker for coffee beers. I fucking love 'em! So, of course, I thought this was a really well-made beer that satisfied every lofty expectation that I had of it. I wasn't quite blown away like I was with Speedway Stout, but was extremely impressed, nonetheless. I thought it would be much hotter considering how fresh it is, but the booze was really masked nicely. It would be interesting to see how this develops over time, as I think some age would mellow the coffee and booze, allowing the profile to be a little more harmonious. If you don't like coffee in your beers, stay far, far away from this one. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!

Photo of jminsc76
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a St. Bernardus tulip, and exhibits an impenetrable black body. Couldn't derive too much head due to the nature of the glass and the fact that agitating it would slosh beer all over the counter; however, some nice thick brownish legs as I tilt.

Aromas include rich molasses, a little cocoa, and even some raspberry. It's not intense, and the molasses definitely dominates, but it's pleasantly effective.

The flavors are where the heart of this beer is, and includes sweet chocolate and bitter coffee on the front end with espresso beans on the end. This really hits the entire palate from start to finish with a range of flavors. If someone told me this was an Imperial Stout I wouldn't be hard pressed to disagree.

Mouthfeel is heavy, slightly viscous, and even a little sticky on the mouth. Almost chewy, the density is so thick.

While this is very drinkable, as it exhibits very little heat with a lot of flavors, there is an overwhelming intensity to it that only warrants one drink per sitting. I'm betting that as it ages a little this intensity will subside and Black Butte XXI could rank with Deschutes' Abyss as among the finest of the porter/stout family.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Jupiter in Berkeley. Pours pitch black with a tall tan head that leaves behind excellent lacing as it fades. Smells big- malty, roasty, yeasty, and chocolatey with some light ash aroma as well. Not very hot, which is nice considering how young this is. Tastes a bit strong, but still not super hot, with big roasty flavors, fair amounts of ash- seems to be a house style for their stronger, darker beers- bitter chocolate, huge malt flavors that edge toward black strap molasses, and yeasty and bready notes. It almost finishes like pain au chocolat, with just a touch of ash. Rich and full in the mouth, but smooth and with the ash notes relieving the light sweetness. Still pretty big and intense, this is a pleasure to drink now but will smooth out a bit with time as well.

Photo of bulletrain76
3.26/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, XXI. I really hope that this one smooths out with a little age. Super dark brown with a beige head. The aroma has a green vegetal coffee note with some sticky caramelized sugars and some darker roasted grain. There is is some light wood and chocolate as well, but the coffee seems to be dominating that aroma in a less than stellar fashion. Bitter coffee, alcohol, and sticky-sweet malt in the flavor. Reasonably well balanced between the three, but a bit messy. The body is sticky, yet not a rich as I was hoping for how big this is. It seems like I am picking out a lot of fault in this, but it is still a pleasant drink, though nothing amazing. I'm definitely letting my other bottle age at least a year to hopefully clear up that vegetal coffee and alcohol.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black in color with a nice finger and a half of head that leaves lacing down the entire wall of the glass.

Smell is huge, rich chocolate brownie batter. A bit of freshly roasted coffee beans, some citrus and floral hop varieties. Holy cow, this chocolate scent is wonderful.

The coffee comes out far more in the flavor than it did on the nose, and it is a very nice variety of coffee as well. The brownie batter isn't as present as I hoped it would be--which sucks, but I guess this beer should be judged on what it has rather than what it doesn't have. And what it has is still pretty damn good. There is some cocoa powder and a pretty large floral hop profile to back up the coffee.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and a bit creamy with only a smidgen too much carbonation

At first I couldn't stop chugging this, but once it warmed up a bit and the hops started to show I had to slow down due to the the bitterness. Still, very drinkable for 11%. Deschutes recommends letting this mature for a year before drinking, so I will be curious to see how it tastes with some age on it. I would actually like the hops to die down a bit and the chocolate to come out more...I guess we'll see!

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Similar to the XX. Pours near black with shades of dark brown and a silky tan head. Nose has espresso, roasty malts, molasses, whiskey, vanilla, oak, piney hops and cocoa. Taste has bitter coffee, chocolate and hops that are well balanced by ripe fruits, sweet alcohols, vanilla and bourbon. Creamy body is well carbonated. Will age nicely.

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Photo of RustyDiamond
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Brooklyn snifter. Poured very slowly, as this lovely tan bubbly head rises to the surface. Very foamy with somewhat of a mound in the middle of the glass. Never seen that before.

Sweetness on the aroma- chocolate & vanilla. Green, minty hop

Where to begin on the taste...sweet vanilla slamming into bitter coffee into cocoa nibs with a splatter of green chewy hops. Underneath this is where the dry bitter coffee comes in. Pretty green tasting overall...good but green.

Silky mouthfeel of green hops & bourbon. Dry, coffee bitterness with a tad of astringency. Nicely carbonated.

Lingering sweet vanilla, which is a nice treat after the bitter barrage of coffee. Once the vanilla dies, my cheeks are left with a dry bourbon oaky spackle.

Pretty damn easy to drink and should age very interestingly.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Liquid Solutions, poured in to a 22 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep, transparent brown, an opaque inky black once it collects itself in the snifter, capped by a finger of moderately tanned head. The retention on it really isn't too fantastic - likely a result of the combination of coffee bean oils and alcohol retardation - but it does leave a nice amount of thin, ethereal dust atop the oily surface, a thin but persistent collar of lace, and a few erratic eruptions and blobs of lace that are relatively sticky.

Aroma: A very subtle, mellow, subdued aroma, soft and gentle, and one that only emerges a little more easily as it warms. Sweet, earthy, liqueur-like coffee notes dominate, though this is augmented by woody barrel notes, mild, earthy bourbon, incredibly faint cocoa nibs, and a slew of other soft, far-off toasted malts.

Taste: A dynamic and relatively complex taste. First, a note: they say that XXI has more of a "coffee component" to it than did XX, and I have to agree. There's a very strong, earthy coffee undercurrent to XXI that comes across as both liqueur-like and steeped-like in different places. Regardless, it adds an interesting, fresh dynamic to this brew that's augmented by ...

The hops, which is the other element of this brew that I don't really remember (from XX, that is). This one is full of a spicy, moderately bitter, slightly green and leafy hop presence that intermingles well with the earthy coffee note mentioned above. It leaves a significant tingle, and a bit of a persistent burn. That's not a bad thing, really, as it does a lot to cover what I think might otherwise come across as an alcohol burn (hard to avoid at 11%).

The remainder of this brew is as I remember. In one word, that is, delicious. In several more words, I would describe it as follows: not too sweet, and rather dry really, particularly with the quenching, bittering hops, and characterized by molasses, dark toffee, and toast; with a subtle, underlying, bittersweet and authentic cocoa presence; a bourbon presence that's particularly noticeable in the finish and adds a nice, spicy burn, precisely what you'd expect from this percentage of barrel aging; an oak contribution that comes across as 95% woody and ever-so-slightly vanilla-y; as well as the aforementioned two standouts. All in all, it's a stellar package, balanced, running the gamut while simultaneously presenting a unique and quaffable balance.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, even, crisp, milky, spicy ... most adjectives would seem to apply to this beer, actually. A fair amount of carbonation - which had gone largely if not entirely unnoticed earlier because of the opacity of this brew - beefs up a body whose thickness is already moderately cut by the addition of a slick, oily note, resulting in what is initially a creamy and smooth body and ultimately a big, even, crisp body as the effervescence frees itself. Not sure what could make this much better, particularly as it warms, removing any semblance of unevenness.

Drinkability: So this is a pretty good beer. I can see I gave the XX a substantially similar (though ever so slightly lower) score, and they're substantially similar enough to merit this, really. This beer is complex, though - given that it's made of enough constituent parts to merit such a complexity - it's real strength is in its balance, with every individual component contributing just enough of its own character to create a true medley of flavors and aromas. The 11% can be found in the bourbon heat and hidden behind the hop bitterness, but it's genuinely far more well-hidden than I'd imagine from a brew of this strength. That being said, it's definitely still here, and I can feel it after two-thirds of the bottle. It's a good feeling though, one I'd be happy to feel again, and one I'd recommend others try and feel, as well.

Photo of juhl31
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the first of a long line of black butte xxi cellaring. see you in about a year

-blaaack. can catch some dark brown of reflection of the bottom of the glass. nice cappuccino head . some small carb lines and solid lacing

-coffee, chocolate, some whiskey. pretty damn nice

-the beer really transitions very awesomelike. whiskey up front, then a nice coffee taste in the middle, and then the chocolate really opens up and paints the mouth at the end. also has a good dark chocolate aftertaste

-some carb tongue, but pretty light though considering the style and abv.

-i really enjoyed this beer. black butte is real good as is, and this just really takes it to the next level

Photo of SpdKilz
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Fathers Office Culvers City

Appearance - When given to me by the bartender it looks extremely dark and has about a finger worth of mocha colored head that gives way to great lacing. Looks very appealing as my final beer of the night.

Smell - Heavenly - a feel like there is a bit of everything good in the nose I am getting from this beer. Vanilla, oaky, coffee and on the forefront chocolate! I was very impressed at how complex the smell was. Boy was I in a treat for how it actually tastes!

Taste - Very similar to the nose. As it touches my taste buds they register a bitter coffee taste with lingering chocolate, oak, molasses, and vanilla. This is a very delightful brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium body - not as heavy as I would have assumed which actually was a pleasant surprise. Moderate carbonation, again, a bit more than I would have thought/expected from this drink but in both instances dramatically add positively to the character of the drink.

Drinkability - Surprisingly so! They hid the alcohol very well in here. What a great way to end an enjoyable evening with the fiancée. I have a bottle of this stored away and can't wait to break it open during Christmas. I'm going to try to get my hands on another now after having this.

Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.51/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On June 27, 2009 the Deschutes Brewery of Bend, OR turned 21 years old and to commemorated this achievement they released a limited batch of Black Butte XXI. This is a doubled up, barrel aged version of the popular Black Butte Porter. This imperial porter is loaded with hops and malts, a healthy amount of coffee, cocoa nibs and is barrel aged in used bourbon barrels. It pours black as night with roasty aromas with hints of almonds, dried berries and chocolate. The palate is loaded with hops, strong notes of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and red berries. The flavors are all very complex, however they meld together to create a wonderful drinking experience. Unlike many cocoa porters this beer doesn't come across sweet, in fact it is just the opposite providing a nicely well balance bitterness that incorporates the cocoa instead of it being the defining feature.

Photo of Trappissed
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What an amazing smell. Tons of chocolate and coffee, with some great bourbon notes. The alcohol burns the nostrils slightly. The taste is very close to the smell actually. Just what I would expect. Only difference might be that I taste a little more of that bourbon than anticipated, but definitely not overdoing it.

Still, very rich and complex. A bit of a burnt/roasted aftertaste that a porter typically gives off. The coffee outweighs the chocolate here for me. However, the overall taste seems perfectly balanced. Mouthfeel is a tad syrupy and thick. Drinkability suffers a little bit whenever you have something this rich and decadent. All in all, a fantastic beer that I should really consider picking up a few more to cellar.

Photo of Natural510
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown-black with creamy head. Foam dissipates and there is a lacing which lasts only for a few minutes.
Scent is quite strong, and apparent long before raising the glass to the nose. Roasted malt with a sweet, rich chocolate quality and notes of dark fruit.
Flavor is also of sweet cocoa, accompanied by dark cherries and plum...much like a box of chocolate-covered fruit. Slightly winey and alcoholic, yet a very smooth sipper going down. Alot going on with this brew while maintaining its balance and composure.
Rich, heavy, smooth in the mouth, and full-bodied as one would expect.
Imperial porter? Well it certainly blows away most imperial stouts I've had. A rich, enjoyable sipper which would be ideal during the winter months, or after a big meal.

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Black Butte XXI from Deschutes Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 569 ratings.