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Black Butte XXIII - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

728 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 728
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 152
Gots: 487 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

XXIII. So where to next? What's 2011's rich, imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges. Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn't it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.

55 IBU

Info from brewery: "475 barrels were produced. 275 were bottled and the remaining 200 were put into kegs."

(Beer added by: jdense on 06-17-2011)
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Ratings: 728 | Reviews: 314 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A real treat. Sweeter than expected with the addition of the bourbon, it was very drinkable. Thick black appearance, soapy lasting head retained about an inch. Very smooth mouthfeel, with well integrated chocolate and bourbon in the secondary. From trade.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 03:09:16 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

09-19-2012 23:47:56 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best after 6/15/12 but I can't wait that long.

Pours an opaque black with dark brown colors around the edges and a 1 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some citrus zest. Taste is dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, citrus zest, and some alcohol flavors. There is a somewhat assertive roasty and citrus zest bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer now but I think it needs more time to come into its full potential. The smells are somewhat muted but the taste is very good. I wish I could find one more of these to age until the best after date.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 04:03:09 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

11-24-2011 01:18:44 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this bottle online. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip at a recent tasting. Reviewed from tasting sheet notes.

Pours a very dark brown with a moderate light tan head and a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose carries some light orange zest and chocolate plus a fair amount of roast and some light coffee. Light almost chile-like character there. Flavor is so-so and not up to par with the XX and XXI versions, which is a big disappointment, as I had really been looking forward to this recipe when XXII was announced. Light orange and chocolate with heavy roast. Medium body and a dry finish. Very roasty. Nothing really melded in this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2011 19:52:32 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark pour here with a rich dark brown color that no light could penetrate. This was a monster looking porter I have to say with a menacing two inches of foam on the top of it that cascaded down the sides. The aroma was of light vanilla, lots of oak and woody notes, and hints of molasses and caramel. As it warmed some nice roasted notes start coming off of it. The flavor was as rich as the aroma with lots of sweet malts, hints of roasted notes and a nice bit of caramel and molasses. Light vanilla, not as much as I would have hoped for peaking through. A nice full bodied porter

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 02:02:53 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

11-15-2011 22:42:51 | More by nmann08
Photo of womencantsail


3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Richard for bringing this beer to share.

A: The pour is (not surprisingly) black in color with a finger of dark tan head.

S: As with all the previous iterations of this beer, the roast character is intense. Lots of dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. The orange peel comes through, which is sort of amazing given all of the intense aromas.

T: The orange peel flavor cuts through all the way and is sort of candied and sweet. Lots of chocolate, roast, and some coffee. A bit of ash as well as some light barrel characteristics.

M: Medium in body with a smooth, medium carbonation.

O: Much different than the previous versions, but still quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 03:45:27 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -6.8%

12-31-2011 17:34:19 | More by acurtis
Photo of kjkinsey


4/5  rDev -6.8%

12-02-2011 22:08:21 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of Texasfan549


4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

11-15-2011 03:21:37 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of spycow


4/5  rDev -6.8%

12-12-2011 16:05:37 | More by spycow
Photo of GRG1313


3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

07-16-2014 03:21:55 | More by GRG1313
Photo of TMoney2591


4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stemless wine snifter.

Thanks to TheFlern for this bottle!

Never thought I'd have the opportunity to try a third vintage of this. What a country! (Imagine that last bit spoken with a foreign-style rolled R...) Anyway, it pours a deep black-brown topped by a finger of dirty cream foam. The nose comprises oak, very light whiskey, roasted malts, and toasted cashews. The taste brings in more of the same, though with slightly more roast than before. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice brew as usual. 'Nuff said.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 01:09:10 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80


4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of bourbon, dark roasty chocolate, vanilla and a touch of orange.

T - Great blend of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, bourbon and burnt molasses. There are hints of oak and smokiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean finish.

O - This is fantastic. May have to get more before its gone.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 02:03:56 | More by zeff80
Photo of JAHMUR


4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

11-25-2011 20:15:17 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer


3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a pint glass. Dark brown body, not quite opaque. Pours with half an inch of off-white head that settles to a thin film pretty quickly.

Quite a bit of roast and tar on the nose, with a little caramel from the barrel. Bourbon comes through pretty well in the blend, while orange and chocolate are rather subtle. Pepper doesn't come through much at all. This leans much more toward roasted malt and bourbon than BBXII, despite being more or less the same recipe.

The palate, much like the aroma, is pretty damn charred, bordering on burnt. Dark chocolate, sweet whiskey and faint orange zest follow the dark malt. I'd never have guessed there were peppers in here if I hadn't read it on the label, it's quite subtle. The body isn't overly big, but it's a rather intense beer due to the heavily charred malt flavor. Finishes pretty bitter and tannic, narrowly avoiding tasting harsh.

Pretty decent, but not nearly as good as the initial 2 Black Butte anniversary beers, and very different from last year's despite containing the same ingredients more or less.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 05:38:50 | More by largadeer
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A generous half-snifter at the Bend Brewpub - I couldn't help coming back to this place!

This beer appears a solid black, no light from the waning Bond Street patio sun able to poke through, with one finger of thick soapy beige head, which leaves some random, skewed lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of sour, bitter black fruit, cigarette ash, day-old coffee, dry chocolate, and subtle pepper oil. The taste is sweet roasted chocolate caramel malt, mild cold black coffee, some woody vanilla, soft citrus, and a subtle, growing vegetal heat. The carbonation is quite mellow, the body full and smooth. It finishes with a bit of hop/booze astringency and some semi-sweet chili-tinged dark chocolate.

Well, this is a whole lot of something, that's for sure. Nothing really stands out, especially the elevated ABV, but that's ok, the curious complexity is fine by me.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2011 21:17:04 | More by biboergosum
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


2.75/5  rDev -35.9%

11-14-2011 19:49:51 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice beer. Thicker coffee and malt tones than I would have expected. The liquid body on this one is not really all that thick. It's kind of hard for me not to compare this beer to other Black Buttes I have had. When doing that it seems to fall short. It's a nice beer, but I was hoping for a bit more body, character, and intensity.Still quite nice though.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 17:02:36 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of MasterSki


3.99/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by spycow. Thanks Chris! Served in a snifter.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to a thin collar and tiny specks of lace. Very dark brown body with some ruby-brown glints at the edges of the glass.

S - Interesting note of orange peel that differentiates this from other beers of the series. Plenty of dark chocolate, biscuit, coffee cake, light vanilla , and perhaps a bit of age showing. Not much in the way of alcohol, and fairly understated barrel-aging.

T - Taste has more dark fruit sweetness mingling with the dark chocolate, coffee, and biscuit flavors. The age has probably dialed up some of the fruitiness, but this has a bit of Baltic Porter vibe to it even though I'm certain it uses ale yeast. Barrel notes are faint, with the chocolate and biscuit combo dominating the palate. Not much orange peel in the taste either.

M - Medium body, with surprisingly active moderate carbonation. Chewy texture, and a lightly dry and oaky finish. Again, not much heat or booze to it.

D - A solid beer, but nothing mind-blowing. I have another bottle and I'm going to get to it pretty soon as I don't think further age is beneficial. I still think the XX is the best of the bunch though.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2013 01:41:01 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Kegatron


4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Deschutes Brewery & Public House (Bend, OR) on 9/1/11. Served in a balloon goblet.

Pours a straight black in the glass, topped with a finger of mocha head (which has some light burnt looking textures going on with it as well). This retains with a smooth and robust looking ½ finger of richness, which throws up a frothy cascade of lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass and leaves back some spotty lace and light brown oils. The aroma smells of bourbon, cocoa, oak, green citrus, vanilla, warm spice, and I’m definitely getting some of that as advertised orange zest as well. There is quite a robust fullness here to the nose, with flavors nicely melding with each other and the wood oak and citrus flavors adding an airiness to this that helps waft the flavors up the nostrils.

The taste is thick with chocolate, molasses, and vanilla sweetness, with the burnt and woody sharpness of the bourbon hanging on the edges. There is a flush of dark roast across the back of the profile, while the finish sees notes of zesty orange peel and some light lingering warmth from the chilies. The mouthfeel is full bodied and SHARP in the mouth, with a firm prickly creaminess that blows up and expands out in the mouth. The high ABV is nicely hid for the most part but it plus the warmth from the bourbon flavors does start to catch up with you after a bit.

Another Deschutes anniversary down, another well done anniversary reserve here that delivers. My only complaints with this were that the taste wasn’t as smooth and well integrated as the nose was and the body could have used a bit more chewiness to it. Other than that though, I really liked how the addition of the orange and chili flavors nicely supported the thick sweetness here and this was overall quite the robust and full flavored sipper. This was some really tasty stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

09-21-2011 16:56:43 | More by Kegatron
Photo of drabmuh


3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Dan. Thanks! At the time of this review #15 on the top American Porter list on beeradvocate.com. Beer is brown to black with a nice head of tan bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is odd, a little spicy? Chili peppers? Odd. Sweet, mild roast, some chocolate.

Beer is medium to light in body. It is mildly body with a mild chili flavor and some mild chocolate. It tastes fine but not as good as the XX or the XXI in my opinion. I think this is very similar to XXII but I don't know that for sure. I have another bottle and I will drink it one night. It was fine.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 14:09:57 | More by drabmuh
Photo of jlindros


4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can't wait to try this one, loved all the big beers from Deschutes so far, and the other Black Butte beers have been no change. This is their 23rd birthday beer so how better suited than to crack this on my 29th birthday. Thanks to two great traders for a crack at this, erric and aedeos, both from Reddit beertrade.

Pours a lighter fizzy head that just covers the pitch black beer underneath, a slightly darker colored head that fades semi quickly and leaves a slight lacing to remind me that it was there. The super dark beer underneath is fairly thick with decent legs, and and head disappears to minor bubbles floating on the top as typical with big boozy beers, but still not quite a thick as a beer as big as, oh, let's say Abyss.

Nose comes on just like Abyss but maybe tamed a bit. An awesomely wafting aroma lifts into my nostrils, teasing them with some bourbon but not overpowering bourbon, enough to let you know there was a barrel under there. The barrel oak and vanilla really strike hard, a dark oaky vanilla rounds everything to a nice dessert like pudding. The barrel doesn't get dusty or woody either, more like vanilla oak. Then chocolate, layers of chocolate bring baker's, a little bit of dark, cocoa nibs, and even a chocolate mouse like aroma. It's apparent that there is roast in there, but not burnt roast, just a touch enough to bring a hint of coffee and that aroma that wants to get to soy sauce like levels of roast but held on a leash and doesn't get there. Also a bit of caramel, and a bit of earthy slight spicy hops.

Taste is about as great as a big porter can be. Starting this time with the malts! Some roast but not a ton, a bit of a roasted malt, with some coffee, and syrupy dark roasty flavors again wants to pretend to be soy sauce level of roast and bitter briny flavors, but again just teeters on the edge and never goes over. Chocolate comes on with more waves, starting with a chalky cocoa powder, moving the opposite direction to a creamy baker's chocolate and mousse like, then even a hint of dark chocolate. Next again with vanilla, a nice oaky smoothness with a vanilla character, not quite vanilla bean, but enough from the oak. This also brings a light barrel but barely as it's mostly overpowered by the big bold heavy beer. Caramel comes through a bit as it warms behind all the big flavors, as well as a bit of bourbon but again not a big bourbony flavor, almost as if this barrel was used for Abyss before it was used for this (rhyming yay!). Booze finally finds its way in, bringing plenty of warmth and some tingle feeling, but even a slight alcohol flavor on the finish. It gets slightly syrupy but not too sweet which is why I think it doesn't get soy sauce heavy. bitterness is there throughout but brings some earthy and hint spicy hops. As it finishes the booze takes over at first, but then fades to the chocolate, a powdered cocoa flavor, with a bit more bourbon and vanilla oak, and a bit of roast.

Mouth is full bodied, rich, creamy, and luscious, slightly syrupy, good carbonation considering the size of the beer, and quite a bit of booze.

Overall just friggen delicious. The bourbon is more of a background flavor, the barrel brings quite a bit of vanilla but doesn't overpower either. The malts really take over, with waves of chocolate, some roast, caramel, etc, and gets slightly syrupy but not overly as the sweetness is quelled, but the booze kicks in a bit too much and kills any thought of drinkability that sprung up after the lack of sweetness or soy sauce. but still an awesome Birthday beer!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2012 21:59:00 | More by jlindros
Photo of Mora2000


4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very happy to see that we got this beer in Dallas.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a brown head. The aroma is full of chocolate and roasted malt. I also get a little bit of orange, but it is fairly faint. There is also some oak notes in the aroma.

The flavor is full of chocolate and roasted malt. I also get some bourbon and oak notes, as well as a little bit of maple and vanilla. There is a little bit of orange in the flavor as well.There is a little bit of hop bitterness in the flavor and the alcohol is very well hidden. This beer is extremely easy to drink.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A great beer that I assume will only get better with age.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 20:21:39 | More by Mora2000
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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 728 ratings.