1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Black Butte XXIII - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

Educational use only; do not reuse.

766 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 766
Reviews: 315
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 150
Gots: 496 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jdense on 06-17-2011

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."
View: Beers (153) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 766 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dmsohyea
2.91/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber, served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown, some light penetration. 2 finger tan head, some retention.

S - Smell is dark malts, bourbon, brown sugars, orange zest, and some chocolate. Everything is muddled together.

T - Strong bourbon flavor with a chocolate backbone and a bit of orange on the finish. Again, completely muddled and not very tasty. With all these nice flavors I would have thought it would taste better. Maybe it needs time to mellow out.

M - Low carbonation and medium body. Pretty harsh from the bourbon. More hot than it should be at less than 11%.

O - Didn't like this one. Maybe after a year or two I'll come back and review it again.

Photo of n2185
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with two fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing

S: lots of semi-sweet chocolate with some roasted malts at first. Floral notes with some orange citrus aromas follow. Simple, but pleasing.

T: roasted malts and sweet chocolate at first with a touch of molasses. Some light orange citrus and slight chili flavors follow. The finish has a very slight burn from the chilis and alcohol.

M: thick body with low carb, this beer is thick and creamy with the chili giving a slight kick.

O: tasty beer. Somewhat sweet for my tastes, but I love the slight chili burn with citrus notes.

Photo of dirtylou
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

appearance: black waxed bottle - served in my de koninck chalice, dark cola-mahogany body, bubbly brown head with no retention

smell: chocolate malt, bourbon, orange zest, cocoa

taste: big roasty porter - charred malts, burnt espresso, bourbon and other booze, orange zest provides a sweetness that briefly cuts the bitterness. dark chocolate and a heavy roast leaves a strong bitterness. Spicy hot peppers also thrash the palate. I'm not sure how I feel about this - tasty but abrasive from a number of angles

mouthfeel: hot - both from booze and spice

overall: pretty good - might need some *gasp* time in the cellar

Photo of cavedave
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Four fingers of fantastic, fluffy light brown foam form a tophat on a black brew of epic opacity. Lace hugs the glass as the head slowly subsides but doesn't disappear.

Cherry and caramel front the aroma, with toffee, raisin, chocolate, floral hop, even a bit of coffee combining to make a bouquet of exceptional deliciosity.

The taste doesn't disappoint. It starts with alcohol spice and caramel, chocolate and herbal bitter, roasty goodness, cherry, floral, some tart yeast, and finally ends with the alcohol cresting alongside a wave of bitter hop and char that sends this taste to the moon. Killer flavors in complex, raw, and unabashed display here, well balanced but untamed, screamingly tasty, fine finish.

Despite the look this is tastefully low/med. carb. Highly viscous and full bodied it still drinks quite easy, though it is still young and not quite smooth. Super fine finish.

What can I say, except you need to get this if you can, drink one now, cellar the rest, and enjoy one of the finest Imperial Porters on the planet today and tomorrow.

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +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.

Photo of s1ckboy
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, not opaque. A bit of redness around the edges. Nice 1.5 finger tan head with small bubbles.

S - A bit of bourbon, chocolate and orange

T - Like the nose, a bit of bourgon, chocolate and a tad smokey. Couldn't pick up on the orange in the taste.

M - Medium to full. Creamy (<-gross), very smooth.

0 - Great beer. Glad I got 2 so I can try one after the "best after date".

Photo of badboyrsl84
3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thick ten head that smears the glass all the way down to a lacing around the beer

Smell - not a whole lot to get from the taster glass from this one. Some cocoa and coffee

Taste - tons of bitter chocolate that settles in to more of a semi sweet chocolate. Hints of hop bitterness and some tobacco. No alcohol bite or heat

Overall - very smooth and best enjoyed a little warmer than fridge temp.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split with my brother-in-law last night and enjoyed out on the porch in 50 degree weather. A big thanks to gkunkle for this great beer. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours into a pair of tulips with a dark viscosity. About a finger of dark mocha colored head is achieved that dissipates slowly leaving spotty lacing.

Smell – Heavy roast, bittersweet chocolate/cocoa, vanilla, and a hint of coffee. Cold the beer has very little more than that, but as it warms I can smell spices and orange peel.

Taste – A bitter roast and chocolate flavor up front which is taken over by the sweeter orange peel taste mixed with the chili spice. While the beer is good, this is quite different than the other years (from what I can remember). Vanilla, slight ash, and oak.

Mouthfeel – Not as thick as I was expecting (or remembered from prior versions). Good carbonation.

Overall – I was a bit disappointed with this beer. XXI was one of my favorite beers and I was really looking forward to this one. This beer is by no means bad, just not what I was expecting. Wondering what some age will do to this.

Photo of boralyl
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with a pitch black color with a nice 1 inch tan head. It's got good retention and leaves some spotty lacing.

S - The aroma consists of chocolate, orange, and light bourbon notes. As it warms I get a little bit of vanilla.

M - Medium to full in body, a little lighter than expected, with adequate carbonation. It has a milky smooth creaminess.

T - Malt sweetness intertwined with chocolate hits the taste buds first. There is a little bit of orange zest followed by light vanilla and woody notes. Some bourbon shows up in the finish leaving a little heat.

A very well down imperial porter. It's a sipper for sure, would like to give it a try again with some age on it.

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

This pours solid black with an espresso crema head, some decent lace, and pretty viscous coming out of the bottle. On the nose there is vanilla and oak presence with molasses underneath. In the mouth the vanilla is still strong but there is a roasted malt character lingering below the molasses, a nice addition. I wish the oak had dried out the sweetness just a tad more, but this tastes pretty great. The body is big with a finish long on the molasses and just a hint of oak at the end.

Overall, this is a nice brew that I am going to have to get some more of before it disappears.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark black into my snifter with ruby hues when held up to the light with about two fingers of mocha head that has nice retention and pretty sticky lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts, bourbon, rich cocoa, sweet vanilla and a hint of orange citrus and spice.

T - Forefront tastes like orange dark chocolate and is balanced out by roasted malts, spicy chili notes are very noticeable and linger on the palate, bourbon and vanilla take a backseat on this one but still shine through in the end with the peppery notes and slight alcohol burn.

M - Smooth and creamy, medium/heavy in body and well balanced.

O - Another fantastic offering from Deschutes. Can't wait to try it with some age on it. Hopefully I can refrain from drinking what I have for some time!

Photo of Domingo
4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Midnight black with a white sheen that never fades. Highlights? Nope! It's super thick and no light is making it through.
The nose is sweet and rummy.
Sweet up front with a wave of flavors following. Roasty, but not overpowering. Vanilla, rum, a little coffee, and milk chocolate. No mistaking a bit of heat, but it isn't out of place. There's even a bit of the central European chocolate/orange candy in there.
A sipper, but a tasty one. This is always a good beer, year after year no matter the recipe.

Photo of CruisaC
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to azdback for this bottle as part of our trade.

22oz bottle poured into my Rodenbach snifter. Best after 6/15/12...oops.

pours fairly standard dark porter-ish. Not completely opaque, but akin to a cup of black coffee. Head is a little lighter than on might expect.

Whoa, the smell is the most unique part of the beer for me. I get pumpkin, toasted unsweetened coconut, coffee, some wood and booze. Different.

Taste backs off from being quite as unique. Some coffee, roasted malts, a little hot towards the end.

Mouthfeel on par with strong porters--a little on the thin side but good amount of carbonation.

Overall, solid, glad to have tried it.

Photo of Kegatron
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of depechemode1983
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours out almost pitch black in color. Head is dark tan and has excellent retention. Seeing a good amount of lacing evenly around the tulip.

S - Toasted malts, orange coupled with chocolate, hints of pineapple and grains, a bit of earthiness. Smells wonderful. Bourbon is very present as well. Getting some oak woodiness along with some alcohol in finish. Fantastic.

T - Toasted malt forward. Some light coffee and chocolate. Hints of orange give it a citrus bite. Pineapple and vanilla come in and tone it down with a bit of a sweetness. The finish is warm and comfortably alcoholic.

M - Very soft. Medium bordering full bodied. Carbonation is moderate and works great with the overall feel.

O - Simply amazing. I'm very impressed. Deschutes never disappoints.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a tulip.

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with a creamy whitish tan colored head. The head grows to over 2 fingers and is dense with assorted size bubbles. Great looking beer!

Smell: mostly getting the dark chocolates / cocoa / coffee notes that is imparted by the roasted dark malts. Does have a hint of peppers from the nose as well.

Taste: similiar to the nose. Moderately roasty and bitter coffee and dark chocolates. Some vanilla that imparts a mild sweetness to the beer, but its very short lived. A hint of the peppers and you even get a little heat from them as well. I taste some citrus, its like a bitter orange. You also get some boozey taste in the finish, that is what holding me back from giving this beer a 4.5 score in the taste category. The booze gives a wierd aftertaste that I am not a big fan of, but its still a minor factor of the overall picture. Its still a tasty beer. Interesting complexity in this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium heavy bodied beer for a porter. Carbonation is moderate and for the most part its right one for this beer. The beer drinks smooth and creamy. Got some spice from the peppers and really mild burn from the booze.

Overall: Another solid beer from Deschutes. Age will do this beer well. I look forward trying this in a year or longer. Its almost like Hanahapu, but a porter. So maybe u could call it Hanahpu lite? (joke) Keep up the good work Deschutes... you make me want to move to Bend, Oregon and drink your beer all day long at the brew pub.

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

Poured into a sniffer.

Appearance: Dark black with subtle red hues on the side with a light mocha colored head about a finger thick that fades into a thin lacing.

Aroma: Roasted notes, bourbon, vanilla, a touch of citrus, oak, and chocolate.

Taste: Basically the same thing as in the aroma but without the citrus and an alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation, there is a noticeable boozy finish.

Overall: Very good beer, complex, and still drinkable, more time would benefit this one.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 picked up from the COOP over the weekend... Poured into my Delerium snifter... 1" dark brown head dies pretty quickly.. spotty lacing... the brew is the expected black.

Nose is rich with dark malts and something that I guess is cocoa... vegetal chili I think.. and then with a little citrus zest on the finish..

The flavor is a bit better than I was expecting... dry dark chocolate with a lite orange peel essence... The chili essence grows and never really establishes on the palate, instead it is a nice component throughout ... dark malts and some cocoa add nice complexities.. the wood only really shows on the finish as a minor vanilla note.. but the chili burn is still there...

Enjoy this one over an hour or more.... don't sell it short... There is alot of stuff going on that doesn't show quickly ...

I've had this one a few times now with my Boise peeps, but this is the first bottle where I can sit and sip. Pretty surprising.. This is gonna be an ager... I want to sip and sample in a few years..


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

A: Deep, black color; no light comes through. Poured a creamy khaki head with good retention to a tight skim. Laced the glass in broken sheets.

S: Chocolate and coffee. Bourbon and wet wood in the background. Bourbon intensifies as the beer warms. Strong alcohol aroma.

T: Big chocolate flavor. Bitter coffee. Bourbon more prominent as the beer warmed. Rich and creamy. Finish is plenty warm and dry.

M: Medium body (especially for a porter). Low carbonation. Smooth and creamy. Lots of rich lingering coffee, chocolate and bourbon flavors.

O: Lots of chocolate and coffee character. Boozy to go along with the bourbon though for 10.8 it wasn't too overbearing.

Photo of Stoicfc
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: at first look you would think of just a regular porter. But at a closer glance you see the orange and the other ingredients mix in the head making it colorfully complex.

S: The odor is devine. Takes you to paradise.You get ask the hints of every ingredient.

T: This is where it gets astonishing. The taste pushes you against your seat as if you're in a roller coster. Malts, bourbon, hops all in one perfect combination. Absolutely incredible.

F: Smooth combination perfectly with the odor. Nothing rough about this beer. It makes you want to caress it.

O: This is one of the greatest beers I've ever had and I've had many many beers. Complex yet simple and smooth. I will always remember this beer and tell others pig my experience.

Photo of lanamj
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber with Habmike thanks Booch!! Poured into to two tulips.

A- Nice black color with nice thick khaki head that slowly dissipated into a minimal lace. It appears nice and thick for a porter.

S- Nice chocolate and cream smell. A faint bourbon smell that increases to a moderate presence as it warms up. I get some of the citrus and chili.

T- Lots of chocolate and malt. Has a nice creamy flavor/feel to it. I do get a lot of the orange and chili in the form of a little tart, peppery flavor throughout. The bourbon at first is hidden, like the smell, but as it reaches room temp it reveals its self nicely.

M- Very nice and smooth. It feels like an imperial milk porter as its so smooth and velvety. The tart lingers and makes my mouth water.

O- Great beer and nicely approached. I would love to age one and see how it develops. I feel the ingredients work well for the style and its mouthfeel is so smooth. The tart is rather present with a fresh bottle and i feel over time the bourbon will be more present, thus making it more of what i would want out of a beer like this.

Photo of Brew33
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black Butte XXIII received via trade with Azureoval (Thanks Josh).

This beer pours jet black with a 2 finger, milk chocolate head. The aroma is incredibly rich. Definitely not a stout and the aroma reveals an Imperial Porter malt bill. Very slight bourbon aroma. No trace of the orange peel or chilies.

The flavor is about what I would expect. Bold malt flavor, roasty as hell. Cocoa plays a big role in the flavor, more so than in the aroma. This beer is much more complex than the aroma led me to believe. As it warms, the cocoa and barrel take center stage. Oaky and tannic. The chiles are integrated PERFECTLY. They provide no real flavor but a nice bit of tingle post swallow in the back of the mouth. A unique and welcomed addition.

The mouthfeel was thinner than I would have liked and I would have liked a little less carbonation. A heavier mouthfeel would have been welcomed.

Overall, this is a good but not great beer. I'd gladly drink it again but I would have liked the aforementioned changes in mouthfeel as well as a little more barrel character. Overall a nice beer and as is usually the case a very subtle but flavorful beer from Deschutes.

Photo of Beejay
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

23rd Birthday Reserve.

A: Pours a deep brown color. Very deep black in the glass, with just the smallest hint of deep brown at the edge when held tot he light. A thick fluffy chocolate head is on top.

S: Cocoa comes out right away. Notes of vanilla, orange, and flour bread. A small hint of wood amidst the chocolate.

T: Thick syrupy chocolate goodness. Hints of vanilla, oak and orange peel, the finish has a bit of a tannic, or bitter hit which feels just a bit out of place for me, but overall very nice. There is a touch of booze in the finish and a molasses taste.

M: Thick but the higher amount of carbonation seems to lift it slightly. There is certainly a syrupy feel to it, almost a touch oily as it goes down.

O: Very good, but not excellent. Delicious for sure but the finish keeps it from being amazing. I would almost like to see a touch more of the chocolate, orange, and bourbon barrel in the flavor and aroma.

Photo of champ103
3.02/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a viscous and dark, nearly opaque black color. A very minimal and thin bubbly tan head forms, and recedes to nothing in a second. No lace is left.
S: Chocolate, vanilla, orange peal, and light roast. Plenty of whiskey/barrel aromas. Harsh alcohol.
T: Chocolate that intermingles with the orange peal. Lightly roasted. Lots of boozy whiskey. Not so much flavor from the barrel, more like harsh fusel alcohol one gets with a boozy bourbon. A very bitter finish, either from some hops or the orange peal added. I can not tell. Not well incorporated IMO.
M/D: A viscous body that is very low on carbonation. Almost to low. Very syrupy. Hard to drink. It took me a while to finish my half of the bottle. Not something I care to revisit in the near future.

Overall the whiskey alcohol is a little to harsh for my tastes. The orange peal is interesting, but seems more like an unbalanced, overly bitter and boozy Traquir Jacobite. I am hoping some time will mellow this out. Until then, this is not something I would recommend.

Photo of Adrianized
4.02/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with some traces of coffee brown.  Small khaki head that leaves only a film and foamy bubbles clinging to the edges.

On the nose I get citrus hops, but something more akin to the black IPA style.  I also get some musky wood, faint licorice, burnt brown sugar, and a touch of smoke.

This is really smooth.  Upfront I get dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, and wood.  A nice touch of bourbon in the middle.  There's a spice I can't identify.  I think I'm getting orange zest in the background, but that might just be the label convincing me.  Finishes with a licorice and cocoa bitterness.  Between sips I also get a warming chile... Think of those artisan dark chocolate & chile bars.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of full, but there's a really nice subtle, almost effervescent carbonation.

Overall this is an excellent porter with a lot going on, yet incredibly smooth and easy drinking.  I would recommend it.

Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.