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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

555 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 555
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 7.74%
Wants: 213
Gots: 144 | 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: 555 | Reviews: 375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bulletrain76
3.28/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

bulletrain76, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
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!

alcstradamus, Aug 22, 2009
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.

rye726, Aug 22, 2009
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.

largadeer, Aug 19, 2009
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.

RustyDiamond, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

CrellMoset, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of juhl31
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
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

juhl31, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

SpdKilz, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

WhatsNewinBooze, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of Trappissed
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Trappissed, Aug 14, 2009
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.

Natural510, Aug 14, 2009
Photo of pants678
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doesn't pour a jet black like I thought it would. It's a very deep brown when you get some light to it. The head was a single finger and tan, more bubbles than I expected. There's a little caramel colored halo just under it; interesting.

Smells of coffee and hints of cocoa. The nose is distinct, thick for sure.

Tastes is much the same as the smell. Thick coffee with sharp hints of chocolate. On the back end the flavors become coarse, almost separated or powdered. It's exactly a complex brew so the nutty flavors are a welcome addition to break things up.

Again, more carbonation than I'd expect. I was expecting a Russian Imperial, a milkshake thick beverage, but that's not this. It's rich, but the carbonation is more than welcome. It's tough, but the flavors are precise enough to keep things interesting.

pants678, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of ChillMike
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost black super dark and sexy, with a nice dark tan head that leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

S: Chocolates, mulberry, caramel, nuts and nice toasted malts, oh man this is like the smell of heaven.

T: Bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some nice caramel and a hint of raisins. Very tasty and complex beer.

MF: Full bodied and very silky, low on carbonation but enough to make it tasty.

D:Very drinkable beer, tasty hides the alcohol quite well, goes down smoothly. Amazing love it.

ChillMike, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of MADhombrewer
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

9-26-11 : Drinking one now and I hate to say this but I think this has gone down a little. Lots of chocolate and still some alcohol to the taste. The aroma is great, but there is something missing that tied it all together when it was fresh. Thicker mouthfeel, but I don't know if that is a good thing. The coffee is gone and I think the hops that were there were a bigger presence than I thought. Those are gone as well.

A- Midnight black with a nice two finger tan head.

S- Coffee, vanilla, baking chocolate, with little smoke, beef jerky, and alcohol.

T- I can taste a lot of the baking chocolate right off the bat. The alcohol is definitely there also. The coffee flavor, vanilla, smoke round out this very good beer. i also detect a little black liquorice.

M- Mouthfeel is GREAT! stays with you for a long time. Very thick and sticky. Yum!

D- i am torn on this one. On one hand I could drink this beer all night, but on the other, at 11% i could only have two. If i stretched it I would love to have another.

This was poured into a snifter from a 22oz bottle. I must get more for my cellar since this will be fantastic in 6 months to a year.

MADhombrewer, Aug 10, 2009
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 Jmoore50
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazingly good beer. Maybe even a top beer ever for me. I like everything about this one.

The appearance pours a dark oily black, but not engine oil black. It is a slight tint lighter than motor oil. It has a beautiful black color with dark dark brown-amber edges. Pours aggressively with a one finger head. Awesome graphic design on the bottle.

The smell is exceptional. Most of the smells carry over to the taste so I will not go too far. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, dark malt, bourbon, all beautifully mature once the brew gets warmer.

The taste is awesome. I have never tried an Imperial Porter before but this is much like an Imperial Stout. There are so many complex tastes with this beer it just blows my mind. The first tastes are a dark porter with bourbon foundation. Just amazing. NO harsh tastes at all, flows oh so nicely. Great chocolate aftertaste that also comes with a vanilla light sweetness. Bounces all around the palate so nicely, so sweet and barely bitter. Once at room temperature a cocoa bitterness comes through that accompanies the hop bitterness very well. The hop bitterness is almost non existent, Bourbon and cocoa have their own bitterness that masks anything that does not belong. There is for sure a porter taste as well, it is in a dark malt and light hop characteristic. It is after the major tastes have gone, you can tell this is not a stout but a porter. A little lighter on the mouthfeel, incredibly easy drinkability.

The mouthfeel is amazing as well as the drinkability. Once I first tried it I could not pull it away from my mouth. Just so many interesting flavors that all swirl around your mouth ever so gently. It is so sweet, but also comes with some robust flavor. The bourbon is strong but velvety smooth. The drinkability is insane, if I could buy more I would buy many more. This is maybe my new favorite beer.

Highly highly recommended.

J

Jmoore50, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of mcallister
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color with a thick tan head with great retention considering the ABV. A nice layer of sticky lace envelops the tulip and lasts the length of the party.

Dark chocolate, vanilla, hints of wood bourbon, dark fruits, thick malty goodness, hints of red currants. Nothing mind shattering though.

Nice roasty malted flavors, chocolate, caramel, slight bourbon and wood, black fruit, some red fruits, alcohol shows nicely but not offensive. Nice burn with some acidity to boot. Very nice.

mcallister, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of jdklks
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours deep black with semi-transparent amber edges, and a light brown head. lighter than expected or desired. however, it is a porter, not an RIS, and it looks damn good in that regard. this beer is heavenly for the nostrils: rivals the most complex smelling RISs. roasted coffee beans, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, etc.

flavor is strong coffee up front (breakfast stout style in terms of coffee, but much more complex overall). chocolate accompanies the coffee throughout, and the hops are very prevalent, adding their own bitter flare to the already bitter coffee. toffee, caramel, and tootsie roll. the bourbon gets along well with the other flavors, but remains in the background, which makes me wish they had aged 100% of the beer in barrels. aftertaste is of ROASTED coffee beans, and GOOD coffee beans at that, which definitely keeps you reaching for more.

The beer is silky smooth, but slightly over-carbonated and lighter than desired, but both of these, while taking away from the mouthfeel, contribute heavily to the superb drinkability.

Though already an elite brew, This sleeping giant will awaken to all of its glory in 1-2 years, and will be a true pleasure to drink at that time. my other 7 will be hanging out in the cellar for awhile.

jdklks, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of popery
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big and sweet with a pleasant bourbon character and a touch of oak. The beer pours surprisingly light. I mean it's still a deep, dark brown, but the head is light mocha/khaki and hints of light begin to highlight the edges once the liquid level goes down. The smell is porter ash, chocolate and sweet coffee with just a hint of bourbon. There's more bourbon in the flavor, but it's still just pleasant and mild relative to some big bad bourbon barrel stouts. Deschutes Reserve Series seems to be all about complexity, elegance and quality and doesn't hit you over the head with bourbon or oak. Those flavors still exist in this beer, but the marriage of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate is the star. This beer actually tastes of dark chocolate, unlike most chocolate-added beers, and the coffee is similarly restrained. Right now, I would argue that this beer is drinking on the hot side. Deschutes Reserve all seem to be excellent candidates for the cellar. At any rate, the mouthfeel is still quite nice, creamy and biting. As an imperial porter, I find this beer quite drinkable. Perhaps, it's less about the style and more that Deschutes has preserved the likable, friendly character of the normal Black Butte, despite the increase in size and barrel aging. This beer is a real treat. I would recommend buying a few and sticking them in a dark, cool spot for a year or two.

popery, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep impenetrable black with a nice tan head that retains pretty well and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is full of chocolate and some roasted malt. A twinge of coffee makes its presence known but certainly doesn't dominate or overcome other flavors. Almost a tootsie rollish aroma.

Taste is pretty similar to the smell. Chocolatey, roasted malt, coffee presence. Still pretty hot, seems hotter than last years, but for the most part it is pretty damn similar. Some vanilla and minimal wood. Maybe a touch more coffee here, but still really not a dominant aspect of the profile.

Mouthfeel is quite nice here. A good solid viscosity lends good body to a big thick flavorful brew.

Drinkability, at this time, is good but struggles a bit. This beer is still pretty hot. I realize this is a partly barrel aged brew, but still seems like it is hotter fresh than last years was.

Overall this is really pretty damn similar to last years offering. A fine imperial porter, and one that certainly has an interesting cast of ingredients. I see some real promise in this when it gets some more age on it (as the original seems to be aging well), and loses some of that heat. Again though, certainly a good beer, and great example of the style. Glad to see deschutes cranking out some more good ones in the reserve series.

AKBelgianBeast, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of peabody
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks the part. Pours out very black /no light penetrates this one. One finger of brown suds with lots of lacing.
Can't smell the alcohol but I get a fruity mess of raisin fig and dark black cherry and some coffee.
Taste is coffee and bitter dark chocolate. There is a fruity character here too. Some heavy bourbon flavors coming in toward the end.
This is good, the mouthfeel is sticky and bittersweet.
Drinkability might suffer with the 11% but hey, this is very good. Olfabrikken is just as good as this but in a different way. Glad I had the chance to get this one.

peabody, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from LiquorMax in Loveland CO online for $11.49 a bottle. Best after Oct 17, 2010. Is Deschutes the only brewer doing this? Listing a best after date?

This pours not quite a pitch black as I can see some red hues at the bottom of my NB goblet. It has about a 1" head of tannish foam and plenty of sticky lacing.(served straight from fridge)

Still being cold, I don't get the full effect of aroma that I'm used to when I serve a beer nearer to room temp but...I'm definitely smelling some big notes of coffee and dark chocolate. When it warms up, I'll update.

The taste is full flavoured with big roasted coffee but bigger heaps of chocolate, both sweet and bitter, and definitely a taste that only bourbon barrel aging can bring to a brew. I...love...it. This is ready to drink right now and I can only guess at how good it will be by the best after date. I think the Mirror Mirror isn't as good out of the gate as this one.(it also has a best after date)

The medium mouthfeel is really on the edge of being full but works superbly. The carbonation falls just short of medium for me and I like where it's at. Oh and the head shrinks quickly to a fine broken layer but the lacing does not want to give up.

Drinkability? At 11%abv, this is a big, bad boy but I can't honestly say that it shows up in the taste at all and the warming after the swallow is minimal. Combined with the great taste and mouthfeel, that adds up to great drinkability for me, folks. This is another superb effort from Deschutes. I only wish that Casper was able to get some. Oh well. I got some anyway, didn't I? ;^)

Btw, the smell during the warming up didn't intensify that much except for the bourbon influence. Still, not a bad smelling brew; the taste more than makes up for the lack of aroma to my nose.

Bitterbill, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black with a smallish tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lace on the glass. Aromas of milk chocolate, bitter chocolate, coffee, and a bit of alcohol. This tastes a lot better than it smells, and it doesn't smell half bad. The taste is a luscious thick chocolatey affair with coffee over tones. A touch of heat in the middle, a vanilla bourbon then a lingering roast and bourbon finish. A touch on the sweet side, but certainly enjoyable. Thick viscous body and feel, light carbonation. I really enjoyed this one. I was underwhelmed with the aroma, but loved the taste and texture. I'll revisit this in a year or so and compare notes. Great stuff!

johnnnniee, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of beertunes
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured black with about 1/2 inch of thick, deep tan head that had very good retention and lacing.

The aromas were very roasty, with the dominant flavor being coffee, too much so for my tastes. The strong coffee flavor overpowered the other tastes, so much so that the chocolate couldn't be detected and the bourbon and oak flavors were just slightly noticed on the finish. The beer is still slightly hot, which will fade with time.

The body was thick, smooth and full. This is very drinkable for such a big beer but the coffee flavors hurt the overall flavor profile. A wonderful beer, perhaps not as impressive as the BB XX, but certainly worth the effort to seek out.

beertunes, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of czechsaaz
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Lots of roasty malt aroma and fruity yeast. I get coffee and plums and then a tiny hint of bittering hops.

Deeep black with a small thick layer of light brown head. Head is really long lasting (there was a little bit of foam left in the empty glass) that leaves a ton of lacing.

Flavor is really roasty but there's a solid amount of sweet base malt. Here's where the chocolate comes in. There's some bittering hops but the malt/chocolate/roast is the big flavor. I'm not picking up much barrel aging effects but I do get a lot of fermentation esters. Some spicy notes and lots of fruit.

This sucker is thick. It kind of coats the mouth and lingers. There is just a hint of alcohol warmth which is impressive that it hides the 11%

Nice big sipper. Very complex and delicious.

czechsaaz, Jul 31, 2009
Black Butte XXI from Deschutes Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.