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Black Butte XXIII - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

730 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 153
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: 730 | Reviews: 314 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MbpBugeye


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

Big thanks are in order to Boatshoes for this one! Shared with Ryan011235, split into two oversized snifters.

The beer doesn't look dark at all on the pour. Its a tan color that has been burnt down to a root beery brown. It pulls a magic trick and collects very dark. The result is a black-looking glass of beer. The head makes a strong effort to hang around and leaves spotty lacing.

Lots and lots of alcohol. Too much alcohol and harsh bourbon. This beer smells super young and perhaps I should have waited to open it. Below all of the harsh alcohol there is a riot of aromas, throwing stones, burning cop cars and dismissing law and order. Some aromas I can pick out are: barky, nutty notes of cocoa nibs, musty, earthy barrel notes, a sweet, hidden chocolate note, roasted chilies, toffee, bourbon, and cinnamon.

This beer really comes into it's own when it warms. Sweet bourbon is at the front, bringing an assertive alcohol presence that presides over the whole flavor experience. Along with the sweet notes of bourbon are sweet notes of rich, dark milk chocolate. Some cinnamon-raisin is there as an accent. The middle holds a juicy burst of citrus. Chili peppers are at the back end, but very subtle. I can almost always do with more chili notes, and this is a case where I'd like to see that feature pushed a little bit, but not much. The peppers remind me more of a roasted or dried red pepper like chipotles, this type of flavor works really well with the roastiness of this beer. There is an oaky, milky vanilla the carries some smoothness all throughout the flavor. There is a lot going on here, but it falls into place a lot better than in the aroma.

This beer is hot. Lots of booze that really needs to some restraint. The ever so faint pepper heat is welcome though. The body is really creamy and nice, I bet this one will be killer after the booze gets integrated a bit.

An interesting beer. It is certainly unique, but not a totally wowing beer like it should be. Also, where's the line between porter and stout?

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 22:48:16 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of DefenCorps


3.7/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received as an extra from Bardwashrind. Thank you, Andre. I happened to miss this on my recent trip to Portland, so I make up for it by drinking this out of my Bailey's snifter.

While it pours a dark brown, it sits black in color in my glass, with a dense, brown head with excellent retention and lacing. Deschutes has always made impressive looking beers and this is no exception. The nose is solid. Plenty of roast with a firm, roasted malt bitterness is immediately noticeable. This is tempered by a mild creaminess. The chili pepper character is pretty much absent on the nose. The only sense of spice that this beer gives off is the warmth and bite that the alcohol lends. As it warms up, an enjoyable chocolate and coffee character. Orange peel? Not so much. A mild citrus character? yes. All told - solid.

The palate is a wee bit of a mess. The flavors are great, but the balance and integration are lacking right now. Opening with a potent combination of roast and dark chocolate, there's some coffee present as well. The oranges do lend a mellow citrus character to the mid-palate. Far from juicy, there's but a mild citrus undercurrent. This is followed by a surprising alcohol heat, rather spicy, with a moderate bourbon note. The bourbon lingers on into the finish, leaving flavors of vanilla, roasted malt bitterness and a surprisingly potent tannin character. While there is no flavor of the chili peppers, or any heat, the upper back end of my palate does feel like there's a little capsaicin oil sticking on. Medium in body with creamy carbonation, this beer is pretty solid right now, but I think it will improve with a few months. A solid effort, one where I feel my scores are too high and too low at the same time.

Now, some reviewers have mentioned an acridity, and that's not something I really pick out here. Either there's some bottle variation, or I'm enjoying the way the roasted malt character tastes on this pleasant summer evening.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 02:29:41 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of ktrillionaire


3.33/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to CoastieSimon for the share. The brew pours a thin black hue, with very modest head, looking like iced black coffee. The nose is that of a robust Porter, and offers very little of the sweet and delectable notes that I was expecting; it is all roast and a bit of alcohol. The flavor is, again, just roasty Porter with a big amount of herbal and grassy bitterness, with very little, if any, trace of the cocoa or barrel. This differs from previous versions in that it is so strongly hopped. I don't like the level of hoppiness, it is hugely distracting and subverts any nuance the beer would've had. Poisoned by hops. Also, the brew is a bit thin. Overall, a big step down from the level established by BBXX and BBXXI. A very disppointing brew, though it is certainly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2011 13:15:52 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of ChanChan


4.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22OZ bomber into a palm sized snifter!
Appearance: Cherry cola dark with a mocha half inch head. Lacing is decent with small bubbles that make the lacing somewhat sticky .

Aroma: Mostly chocolate, some oak, tons of vanilla and a hint of pasilla pepper! I do not detect any oranges in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to creamy mouthfeel.

Taste: The beer begins with a coffee note and follows with a ton of dark bakers chocolate, tons of vanilla and pleasant notes of bourbon. The finish is of chocolate and some pasilla chillis as well.

Overall: I had this beer with a New York Strip steak and it was a fantastic pairing!!! I then had some Oreo cookies and I realized that this beer is more a dessert beer than anything! This is the best chocolate taste I have experienced in a beer!! Better than a Yeti Chocolate, a young’s double chocolate stout and even better than a Rogue double chocolate stout too!! My favorite all time porter so far!!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 05:05:36 | More by ChanChan
Photo of matttttYCE


4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours with a wonderfully deep black color, a little dark brown around the edges when held to the light. Head produced was moderate, one finger high, creamy, with a light mocha color. Head dissipates some but not quickly. Hangs around for a while leaving some decent lacing on the glass.

Smell - Smell reminds me of Black Butte XXI at first. I guess that's all the Theo's chocolate nibs in there and sweeter/milk chocolate I get at first in the aroma. Moreover I get notes of dark roasted malt, light coffee, sweet fruity orange and orange zest, vanilla, light-medium Bourbon (not sure why I expected more than I got with only 25% of this aged in Bourbon barrels), some brown sugar, and maybe the slightest hint of chilies/peppers in the background there, but they're pretty hard to pick up on. Aroma is mostly dominated by chocolate but plenty of subtleties and nuances to make this one inviting, though not as much so as I found XXI to be.

Taste - At first sip, the taste I get is like a mix of lots of sweet and dark chocolate (but not too much), dark roasted malt, citrus/orange tang and sweetness, and light chili flavor (increases as this one warms) that meld together in an odd, but tasty sort of way. Chocolate, chili, and big roasted malts are the stars of this show. The chili only comes off as spicy around the finish and even then it's slight and pretty enjoyable and complementary to the chocolate and orange. Other flavors like the orange, Bourbon, vanilla, and coffee round out the supporting cast. Roasted malt, coffee notes, and orange flavor provide some of the bite/bitterness here. That combined with the heat on the finish and the alcohol (which I'm sure is there at 10.80%, I just don't perceive it as alcohol burn, only chili heat) leave a pretty lengthy taste in your mouth, but not a bad one.

Mouthfeel - Definitely thicker than most Porters but not quite as thick as an Imperial Stout. I'll go with full, rich body and luscious consistency to describe this one. Carbonation is almost spritzy, a little high in my opinion. Finish is lengthy but not everlasting.

Overall - This beer is one of the more interesting and complex brews I've been lucky enough to have. In my opinion, not as good as XXI, but then again, they weren't going for XXI. This is XXIII. 23 years. Here here and cheers to 23 more, and then some. Much more than some. Seems like these guys like to do it up real nice and make themselves something great for their birthday. Maybe we're seeing a pattern here as XX and XXI were similar recipes and XXII and XXIII were similar to each other. Can't imagine what kind of Imperial Porter is on the docket for XXIV, but whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be good and continue to push the envelope. I'd expect nothing less than that from Deschutes. I'll get back to ya in about a year to let you know how this one speaks to me as it approaches its first birthday. Should be interesting.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 03:54:19 | More by matttttYCE
Photo of Dlish


4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- dark, but not midnight black, definitely still brown with hints of tinted ruby red brown on the sides. Good head, and a nice brown khaki color to it.

S- Really good smell, rich amount of bourbon, sweet sherry, little bit of smoke, vanilla, cherry. There is good amount of toasted tobacco.

T- A lot of chocolate in the taste rather than the smell, really rich on the tobacco. There is a sweet roasted smoke flavor with a good amount of rich syrupy malts. There is a lot of alcohol burn, but overall its not as dark, a little lighter, than I thought. But damn good American porter strong ale!

M- syrupy but lots of burn, more than I would want.

O- This is a great beer, I'm a little sad I never bought this last year. This is a 13 buck beer but totally worth it, I am going to pick up a bottle or two more while it is still in stores. Deschutes never ever disappoints.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 02:34:11 | More by Dlish
Photo of 2xHops


4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer gave me a lot to think about, because there are a bunch of flavors coming through as you drink. I opened this bottle early because I bought this while on vacation to Oregon, and I wanted to share it with my brother in law.

I could taste the chocolate coming through, and it's one of the best part of the beer. I don't think I can drink any ordinary porters after having beer like this one. My tastebuds aren't advanced enough to taste the oranges that apparently has been incorporated into the recipe. I liked the taste because it felt more complex, hearty, and very interesting as opposed to more typical porters.

The beer really stays long on your tongue, and for this reason, I don't think anyone should chug this one down! The "aftertaste" really lingers, lingers, and lingers.

Overall, I would drink it again. In hindsight, I should have bought few bottles to bring back to Texas, because I would be interested in seeing how it tastes differently after it ages. I imagine by now, many places are running out of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2011 18:16:23 | More by 2xHops
Photo of DrinkThemAll


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

Poured from a wax sealed 22oz bomber into a pint glass...First experience with black butte...

A-Pours just about opaque black with minimal light preset or like a very dark cola with about half a finger tan head that dissipates to just a ring of foam, has some spotty lacing as well...

S-Bourbon right away with some roasted malts cocoa nibs or melted chocolate and molasses with vanilla...smells very sweet and complex...

T-Wow, just great...mad bourbon right away with very dark roasted malts some deep molasses and vanilla melted dark chocolate and a beautiful dry bitter finish...super complex and very good...bourbon does not over power at all but is very present and has a nice warming sensation followed by chocolate bitterness...

M-Wow i love this mouth...medium body with nice carbonation...sweet molasses and bourbon, dark roasted malts and dark fruits with a wonderful imperial IPA like bitterness and finish, very surprised and impressed here...

O-Damn good man, flavors are just spot on here for the style... nothing to overpowering but a strong beer,bourbon very present as i said earlier but rather smooth and enjoyable... everything is nice and balanced, love the bourbon and bitterness in this brew just damn good i think...

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 12:44:42 | More by DrinkThemAll
Photo of Douglas14


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Black Butte pours out a nice dark black color with a good amount of brown showing around the edges. The head is nice and tan colored but it doesn't have good retention. The aroma is sweet like candy with a lot of whiskey, malt, and vanilla. The taste is similar but there is such a noticeable black butte flavor and quality to it. It almost even has some Obsidian stout character to it. There is absolutely an incredible oak flavor...so well done in this beer. The mouthfeel is medium-full and both velvety and rough due to the carbonation.

Awesome barrel-aged beer. I'm glad it's nor 100% BA. The blending back on this is incredible. Very well done...I'm glad I have more bottles to store.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 06:06:36 | More by Douglas14
Photo of 20ozmonkey


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

Poured into an Old Guardian glass. When pouring this beer was a dark red with a little bit of transparency. When it's in the glass it's jet black with a small tan head.

Smells very chocolatey. At first I got a coffee smell, but smelling deeper I got pure chocolate. There's a fruitiness that comes out strong when the glass is swirled.

Very tasty. Chocolate and spice are the primary flavors. There is a persistent zing from the chilies while the chocolate hangs around for the aftertaste. The beer has a sweetness to it, but it doesn't make the beer thick and heavy like an imperial stout. The beer is medium bodied with a fairly low amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a damn good beer. It's easier to drink than a lot of the big, thick imperial stouts than are normally released as a special release. I'm glad I have a few more bottles stored away to drink after it's "best after" date in a year.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 23:56:05 | More by 20ozmonkey
Photo of Rizalini


4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wax covered bomber into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours a very deep mahogany, letting just a little light shine thru this one. A minimal 1 finger head floats around, leaving a nice inital ring.

S - Has a nice warm dark fruit aroma, along with some brown sugar, or molasses. There's a lot going on in the nose that changes as the beer warms>(more chocolate aromas the warmer). Definately bigger smells than your best average porter.

T/M - There's the bourbon! A very nice warming bourbon, chocolate masterpiece. Alcohol is present, but not overpowering. Heavier than a porter, more like a stout mouthfeel. Great semi-sweet chocolate aftertaste.

O - This drinks way more like a real good stout as opposed to a porter. Aging one to see if it will mellow out with time. Great porter either way. Deschutes, you never cease to amaze me!

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 04:26:26 | More by Rizalini
Photo of billshmeinke


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Beer Belly in a Bruery tulip.

Pours pitch black with a thin pale beige head that dies down to a ring of foam. Nice lacing and foam.

Orange peel, dark chocolate, faint coffee grounds, toffee, some bourbon, a bit of alcohol. Orange peel/zest is most prominent.

First up chocolate and hints of smoke, even a touch of leathery tobacco. Then oranges dipped in dark chocolate plus some whiskey, oak, and vanilla notes. Finishing with smoke/ash, almost peat-y, accompanied with a touch of chipotle-esque/peppery spice.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, but not particularly heavy/thick. Alcohol is vaguely perceptible and adds just the slightest warming sensation.

Pretty rad overall. I really hope I didn't miss the boat on picking up bottles of this.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2011 05:46:23 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of TheBeerCarl


3.1/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light brown coloring with little to no head. The head that is there is light brown as well.

Smell: The first note is definitely heat and bourbon with subtle hints of chocolate and orange peel.

Taste: The XXIII tastes like a shot of bourbon with some smooth chocolate and very noticeable orange juice. The taste resembles more of a whiskey cocktail than a beer. The beer is still young so it might mature into something softer later but for now its pretty harsh.

Mouthfeel: Burns on the tongue and in the back of the mouth but the low carbonation allows for a smooth feel over the tongue almost cooling the burning sensation.

Overall: This beer is by far the most disappointing vintage of the Black Butte Anniversary series. I was a huge fan of XX and XXI and really liked XXII but this one is definitely a little too harsh for my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 01:23:03 | More by TheBeerCarl
Photo of inlimbo77


4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz waxed bomber bottle poured into Deschutes snifter. Best after date: 6/15/12. Special thanks to eclipse54 for the brew and the glass! Big comeups.

A: Pretty pitch black. About 1/4 finger mocha head. Some alcohol feet and lacing. The head stays around a while. Some reddish hues around edges.

S: Coffee, deep dark chocolate, sweetness from oranges, some bourbon.

T: Deep chocolate, roasted malts, coffee bitterness, you get some bourbon burn in the throat. It has a nice long finish. There is a little sweetness from something in there (oranges maybe?).

M: Full bodied brew. Big mouth coating and finish

O: This is a really awesome beer, but stands to be better with time. Most certainly....can't wait to see how my others do with some age on them.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 17:02:07 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of LaneMeyer


4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A- Pours a deep, deep brown, 1/2 finger of light tan head.

S- Cocoa nibs, figs, strawberries, vanilla.

T- Kind of a woody taste upfront, alcohol is very prominent, finishes with a bitter cacao taste and orange peel flavor. Could definitely use some aging.

M- Alcohol needs some subduing. Feels a bit watery with a sort of bite to it.

O- I like this beer but I'm definitely gonna age the next one I try. Seems like it needs to mellow.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 04:56:24 | More by LaneMeyer
Photo of PeprSprYoFace


4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep black with a nice thin light tan head. Nice lacing.

Aroma is the worst part but not bad. Lots of roast but smells kinda hot and green. Bit of bitter chocolate.

Taste is great. Nice roastyness but a nice caramel sweetness. Bit hot but not bad. Nice chocolate taste too.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth with a bitterness in the finish. Nice medium carb.

Overall awesome as usual. Gunna have to open my XX soon. I hear it's peaked.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 06:43:21 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of MBrausen


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A. Beautiful night black color with a nice tan head. About 1 pinky thick head with good retention. Fades to a nice white ring. Good lacing on the glass.

S. Strong sent of caramel malts, dark chocolate and oak. Nothing over powering. A mild sent to the beer.

T. Loads of dark chocolate come out right away. The hops fade in next with a little bitterness, followed by a smoky tart flavor. There seems to be a hint of blackberry mixed in.

M. A coarse feel, that isn't overly aggressive. A dry finish, but not so much that it is overbearing or dominating. A heavy flavor that has to be sipped slowly, but thick feel.

O. And overall pleasing feel to the beer. There is a heavy smoke flavor, with a lot of dark chocolate. This could be too much for a lot of people. I find the taste to be great, but it's not something I could be knocking back at the bar all day. This beer takes some time to drink. But it is something tasty.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 04:01:19 | More by MBrausen
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

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

Thanks to augustgarage, had the hankerin' for a big beer, I think this'll do just fine. 22oz into large tulip.

A- Big tan sandy brown head on a dark brown body. Beer has nice color in the pour, very dark in the glass. Head settles to 1cm like an oatmeal cookie.

T- Lots of bitters, molasses, and pipe tobacco. Really rich chocolately malt. Intense dark chocolate. Bourbon is moderately heavy on the tongue. Lots of directions, but it all works.

M- Thick, heavy, decadent. ABV is here, but it's in-check.

O- Great flippin' beer. I'll have to seek out another. The orange flavor, although fleeting, is sublime. Really well put-together. Cheers to deschutes and augustgarage for the chance to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 02:08:29 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of

4.72/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a-pours a inky deep black with an off white head. Head remains capping off the beer.

s-let the bottle warm for 20 mins before opening, I got smacked by the chocolate and rosted notes right away. There is some hint of orange that comes in and out of the nose for me.

t-taste amazing. Has the chocolate right up front with a lot of roasted malts in the profile. Then the coffee, and bourbon come to the front. The oranges are very much in the background, but as it warms it becomes more pronounced. The chilies are only there on the finish, it adds a little heat (not like Chocolate Yeti with cayanne pepper, but it's in there). There is a beautiful chocolate finish. The hops bring some good balance into the mix.

m-dang good. The carbonation is nice, brings out a lot of the flavors. This porter is right on the line with a stout, IMHO.

o-I cannot wait to see what this beer does in my cellar. This beer had a lot going on with it now, and is tight. I think this is the best of this series that I have had. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 02:20:54 | More by
Photo of Bitterbill


4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best after June 15, 2012.

It pours a pitch black with a 2 finger head of tan foam. The lacing looks to be typical Deschutes quality..plenty of it.

I took this straight out of the fridge so the aroma is on the weak side. Definite notes of dark chocolate and some bourbon. As it warms up, I'll make mention of anything else I can pick up.

Initial taste is very heavy on the dark chocolate or cocoa, as per the label. Also per the label, 25% aged in bourbon barrels and what comes through the taste is on the light side. That's some pretty accurate info Deschutes gives in their description so definitely no surprises. I salute them...

Some sweeter notes are now coming out as the beer slowly warms. I'd say they come from a bit of fruitiness and a minor portion for the sweeter aspect of the chocolate. Nice. I do get a bit of alcohol but it isn't overwhelming at all.

The mouthfeel, well, is superb! Such a creamy texture with just the right amount of carbonation. Very tasty, very easy to drink, despite the hefty abv, I give this a firm thumbs up and I look forward to trying it again on or after the best after date.

Btw, the smell didn't improve all that much during the warming up but it's decent.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 23:50:57 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of illidurit


3.7/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a pint glass. Black color with a slow-rising cocoa head that puffs up and leaves some nice lacing. Aroma displays milk chocolate and vanilla with very little roasted character. Clearly a porter, not a stout. Flavor displays a slightly boozy chocolate note, like a bourbon cordial, along with plenty of candied orange and dark caramel. Pretty sweet overall but not egregiously so. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky but again it's not bad. This beer could use a little fine-tuning but I enjoyed it well enough.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 07:33:50 | More by illidurit
Photo of Phelps


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

Poured into a snifter, Black Butte XXIII looks uncomplicated -- a flat, inky ebony topped with dense khaki froth -- but layers of complexity lie beneath. The first whiff finds espresso, burnt toast and smoky brisket from charred malt; the next curacao, lent by zest from the peels of Spanish Seville oranges. A quarter of the final blend has spent time in bourbon barrels, and the aroma makes this apparent with notes of wood-fired oak and whiskey.

Bittersweet dark chocolate and cocoa powder permeate XXIII's flavor, provided by cocoa nibs from Theo Chocolate in Seattle. Allow the beer to warm and the sweet stuff emerges: vanilla, caramel, mocha. The finish is a tea composed of smoked oak and dried orange peel, and a bitter char lingers between sips.

XXIII's wild side materializes in the form of a burly 10.8 percent ABV and added Pasilla Negro chiles. The heat of the peppers complement the burn of the alcohol, setting the mouth aglow as you sip the velvet-smooth brew.

The brewery suggests opening this bottle a year from now, which you should do. You should also pick up a second bottle to drink today. And a third for tomorrow. And a fourth for your birthday. When you pop the bottle and enjoy the best porter you'll have all year, you'll be glad for the excess.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 22:43:56 | More by Phelps
Photo of russwbeck


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Decently dark brown pour with a wispy light brown head. The retention isn't great, but the lacing is.

S: Deep roasted malts, dark chocolate, hints of bourbon, and some orange and other spices mixed in. Smell seems a bit disjointed, but complex and wonderful.

T: The flavor really develops well, but you can certainly tell some time would mellow these flavors out and really make this a phenomenal beer. The chocolate comes first, in a big hit roasted malts, coffee, and bourbon all come at you at once. It cools down about with the orange, and finishes with a dryness from the chilies and roastiness. The flavor is extremely complex.

MF: Dark, heavy, carbonated well. Only hints of booze here and there.

O: Great beer that will become truly amazing with age. Need to get my hands on another.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2011 09:52:25 | More by russwbeck
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured dark brown, near black with a nice tan cap and bubbles

S: Pretty straightforward: Roasted malts, coffee, a bit of wood and chocolate

T: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, a very light orange peel, a very minimal bit of pepper and wood. The booze is pretty disguised.

M: Big body, good carbonation

O: Very solid overall

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2011 22:44:40 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of John_M


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

On tap at the Horse Brass the other night.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and decent lacing. The nose is attractive, as I get considerable coffee, licorice, dark chocolate and light vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but is a bit more intense. The dark chocolate and licorice seem to dominate, but increasingly, I started to pick up some heat from the chilis in the finish. It's a very nice touch and an interesting flavor component to this well made beer. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a soft, almost creamy, long and drawn out finish.

Another winner from the folks at Deschutes.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2011 16:45:45 | More by John_M
Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.