Black Butte XXIII - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

762 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 762
Reviews: 315
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 152
Gots: 492 | 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:
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: 762 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yourefragile
3.35/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this a few times the past week. Initial reviews of this beer are collectively a little bonkers on this site. I guess the reputation of previous batches and Deschutes at large (ignoring the occasional recent quality issues) earn anything they put out an auto A.

Pours a dark mocha brown with a light tan head, mild lacing. Not much depth in the nose and I couldn't pick up any chile presence. Roast, chocolate, coffee and mild citrus, but no cohesion. Flavor is more of the same pattern but even sloppier. A little stronger oak/bourbon presence and the roast drops out in the finish allowing the orange to push through a little more with some additional barrel and chocolate sweetness. Not sure age can make this much better; not to say this is bad, just not very interesting.

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.

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Nearly black in color with dark brown edges. Brown, khaki head. More and more lacing left on the glass as it warms.

A divine aroma consisting of vanilla, bourbon, oak, orange peel, and chocolate. This is a whiskey/dessert lover's dream come true; good thing I'm both!

The flavor is just as divine. There is a lot of vanilla and bourbon, balanced nicely by an oakey woodiness and earthiness, along with some chocolate and just a bit of sweet orange in the background. It's one of those beers that makes you sit back, smile, and appreciate life and beer for all that they have to offer.

The mouthfeel is just a touch too thin. A bit thicker and heavier and this beer skyrockets to one of my favorites of all time. Though, in all honesty, it's really not deterring from my enjoyment of this beer.

Damn, fine beer.

Photo of IKR
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown. Appears black but when held up to the light you can see through the outer edges. Decent size beige head which dissipated slowly to a surface film. Nothing to change here for the style.

S: Coffee/roasted malt aromas, subtle bourbon notes with some oak presence from the barrel aging.

T: Subtle bourbon taste which integrates with the oak and dark roast notes. Slight orange notes are present with some subtle chocolate notes. Finish is dry with the roast notes and hops lingering. The roast notes seem to be more aggressive than I remember in the XXI. The weird thing is the barrel notes (bourbon and oak) and the slight orange taste are still present in the aftertaste after the roast and hop notes subside.

M: Good body with good carbonation.

O: Good beer which seems to be expected from Deschutes. It's been a while but I think I preferred the XXI. The beer's best qualities seem to appear at a slightly higher temperature than normal so I would recommend that anyone drinking this let it warm up before you pass judgement. I'm curious what aging will do for it as well.

.

Photo of mothman
3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large layer of tan khaki head. Pretty good retention leaving some lace rings. Color is a deep brown black.

Aroma: A ton of roast. Coffee and chocolate. A lot of malts. Some caramel. The orange shows. No oak or bourbon which really let me down. (as it warms, a touch of the barrels show).

Taste: Vanilla and some bourbon show nicely here. Some oak. A bit of booze. Roasted malts and chocolate. The orange is very subtle. Creamy. Caramel and coffee. Nice flavors.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a touch warming. Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends very dry and very roasted.

Overall, at first this beer was over roasted and as it warmed the bourbon showed more which was really nice. I liked the flavor, but the aftertaste wasn't enjoyable. A decent beer in the series.

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

On-tap @ Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood - served in a snifter. ABV listed as 11%

Opaque seal brown liquid topped by a fat finger of dense khaki cream. Rich soapy lacing and shimmering legs.

Regal roast malt, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and a soft char/fruit combo in the nose. Bourbon with an orange twist (sort of like an Old Fashioned) and hints of licorice root emerge as the beer warms.

Bourbon flavors are rich yet subtle (very smart to use a blend of barrel aged and non-barrel aged beer), and don't begin to overwhelm the base beer...rather the addition of tobacco, vanilla, charcoal, and burnt sugar elevate the distinctive roast malts to a new apex of flavor. The orange and roast poblano merge seamlessly into the esters and char. Finishes with a gentle complexity.

Velvety, somewhat creamy and well carbonated, but just a touch fusel, with the slow background burn of pasilla accentuating the heat from the alcohol.

A bit more complex than XXI perhaps, though at the sacrifice of a certain purity. The bottled version will likely age very well.

Photo of eclipse54
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Front Door during Boise Base Camp week, which nicely coincided with Deschutes' 23rd anniversary. As such, multiple venues were offering this well in advance of Boise's bottle shipment (which as of writing this, still hasn't arrived...*disappointed sigh*).

Pours a very dark brown that appears black in the Deschutes Tulip is was served in. A great 1.5 inch khaki head rests on top with significant retention; ample sticky retention is left in its wake. Smells greatly of chocolate, some piney hops, a unique orange/chili blend, caramel, and some other faint herbs. Tastes of rich chocolate, smoky/roasted malts, some grassy hops, faint caramel, and a more prominent chili/orange mixture. The mouthfeel is very smooth with near perfect carbonation levels; slightly dry finish. Overall, an excellent porter.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a nice dark inky color with some slight brown edges. There is a large 2 inch dense and creamy tan head. Yum. Looks delicious. Not as viscous as I imagined.

S - Roasty grain, toasty bread, even some rye bread notes. There i some nice bitter chocolate notes as well as some nice strong chocolate sweetness. There is some slight roasty coffee notes as well. Very malty.

T & M - Starts off with some delicious dark bitter chocolate and some nice milk chocolate sweetness. There is some nice coffee and roasted malt notes that give the beer a nice sticky and burnt flavor all over the palette and the mouth. There is some citrus notes that coat the palette and the gums as well. Very interesting. There is some slight grassy hop notes on the back end and there is some slight alcoholic heat that is very pleasant. There are some woody notes and mild vanilla int eh middle portion. There is some nice coffee and some brown sugar notes as well in the finish. This incarnation of the beer is quite delicious. I haven't had any other versions but this is great. Mouthfeel is creamy and very full, delicious carbonation as well.

O - This beer is delicious. Quite a strong porter that is full off flavor but not too overwhelming.

Photo of ExplosivoSR
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice black, with a finger of mocha head that doesn't stick around too long. Some lacing to be found.

S - Lots of chocolate that play well with the bourbon. Orange peel, oak, licorice and slight chile also present.

T - Lots of bourbon and oak up front, which gives way to a huge cocoa flavor that sticks around for quit some time. Chile shows up at the back of the throat. Bourbon warms the belly. A sipper for sure.

T - Medium body and chewy.

O - A very good barrel aged porter.

Photo of emmasdad
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this one up in Fort Collins while staying overnight. Peeled of the wax this evening and poured some into a snifter. After setting the bottle down and tossing the wax scrapings in the trash, I turned to picked up my glass and noticed the bottle gushing. I poured more into the glass stopping the waste.

Poured a rich black color with a big brown head. Aromas of whiskey, dark chocolate, char, light orange and roasted malt. On the palate, this one was full bodied, with flavors of dark chocolate, orange zest, dark chocolate, roasted malt and char.

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.

Photo of mudbug
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Diving into this one before the best after date out of curiosity and a visit from another beer aficionado.
From the waxed cap (which I could do without BTW) bomber into two standard pint glasses gets a very dark brown body with a half inch tan head, lots of lacing.
Aroma of dark chocolate, astringent hops and coffee, a hint of bourbon too, very stout like.
Taste is a little bitter upfront followed by a huge chocolate sweetness, a solid roasted malt backbone,some orange zest, the chilies are there only as a hint of earthiness I can detect no heat at all.
Medium mouthfeel, I think thats correct for a porter, any thicker and this would be a stout (maybe it already is)
Will revisit this again after the best date.
Edit, another tasting, Taste is over the top, This beer kicks most stouts to the curb. For the style, who cares?

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

A: pours out a dark brown with a 1 finger brown head. as it falls it leaves lacing down the glass.

S: i get roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, burnt sugar, vanilla, and caramel. there is also a good chili aroma, and tart orange peel. a bit of alcohol that tingles the nose a bit.

T: there is definitely chocolate in the flavor. roasted malt, coffee, and orange. i get a bit of chili in there. its starts out somewhat sweet, and then finishes bitter. the bitterness reminds me of dark chocolate or roasted/burnt malt. i get a somewhat medicinal flavor as well, which i think is a bit from the alcohol and the roasted flavors.

M: medium body with a good amount of carb. it is smooth.

O: this is a good beer, and I can't wait to see what happens in another year.

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

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan!

The beer is dark brown, with 1/4" of light tan head and some random lacing left on the glass.

The aroma brings roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, and oddly enough, a spicy flavor I was not expecting. Zesty citrus and/ or chiles?

The flavor consists of dark chocolates, roast, and an orange peel flavor that was not present in Black Butte XX or XXI. Similar to a dark chocolate candy bar with orange or orange peel. While this is interesting, I definitely prefer the previous anniversary editions from Deschutes.

Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Decent feel.

Overall, I much prefer the Black Butte XX and XXI to this year's offering.

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

I was able to "step up my game" and find two of these bottles at Ramirez Liquor in East LA (on my birthday!)
Had to have one the next day, and have one more waiting for the best after date on the bottle.

Drank out of a snifter, temperature outside was about 83 degrees..which I assume that my beer was around 70 once I started drinking it.

Impressions:
It does not look like a porter, looked through the bottom of the glass and up, noticed an amber, bourbonish color, little carbonation, little head. I recall that XXI was much darker than this beer.

Smells of coffee, chocolate, whisky, and sugar. A nice wooodsy smell too.

The taste was a bit strong at first, can tell that the complex flavors need more time to mellow and even out (will be close to a 5 once it smooths out. And by complex I mean the hint of pepper, the chocolate, the coffee...it's all there..the bourbon too...just needs time to meld better.

Mouthfeel...again, needs to smooth out a little more. Had a liquor kick at the end that I wasn't expecting. The XXI was as smooth a beer as I could have tasted.

Overall: I am expecting that this one will age better than XXI since there is a wider range of flavors at work in this bottle. But again, XXI was a great beer!

I mentioned to my bro in law that the beer is more like a barleywine rather than a porter...had a barleywine characteristic to it.
Another great effort by Deschutes!

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

Dark brown, ruby edge to it, small tan head, what head there is, leaves a sticky smattering of lace all around the glass. Aroma was nice and mild, coffee, slight amount of bourbon, chocolate was the biggest.

Amazing ability to cover up the alcohol, 25% barrel aged was the perfect ratio, massive chocolate and cocao, even the orange and peppers are noticeable without searching for them. This really tastes just like the XXII that didn't make it into bottling. Love the warmth coming from the peppers instead of the alcohol. Isn't massive viscosity wise, a little thicker than the regular BB, but not up there with Abyss or whatnot.

A little vanilla and oak in the mouthfeel as well. The great things about these is the way you can pick things up without having to 'look' for them in the beer. Complex, but without weird shit for the sake of being weird, every aspect of it seems to meld well with the others. Light notes of coffee and bitterness, like the regular BB.

Solid beer all the way around. I wonder what will happen to the orange and pasilla peppers with age?

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkest of brown colors, kind of thin looking with a lovely head of tan foam that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells sweet and lightly roasty. Some chocolate notes as well.

Taste is mainly of dark chocolate with some complimenting orange peel/orange liquor. Some roasted malt with just a hint of chile flavor, but no heat whatsoever. Can't pick up any of the bourbon at all. I would sum up the taste as a Mayan Gold chocolate bar from Green and Black's. Dark chocolate and light orange.

Very smooth and soft on the palate. I would call this about medium bodied.

A nice overall beer, however for the price, I could really do without it again. It's not as big and interesting as I would expect an anniversary beer like this to be. Maybe just too many ingredients and they cancel each other out? Still a very enjoyable and drinkable beer that is worth trying once for sure.

Photo of jsapunor
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a couple of fingers of head on a body so dark the summer sun can't penetrate it. After a glance at the label I expect to smell the chocolate and it's there hiding in the roasty malt. The oak is present too and more so as the beer warms.

The taste is a surprise. The advertised cocoa, orange and oak are all there but the heat at the finish was unexpected. Checking the fine print on the side of the bottle and I see that they threw in some pasilla chilis for good measure. It all works. Combine the taste with a nice, thick mouthfeel for a porter and you have a brew that's delightful.

The label said I should hold off until June 2012. I couldn't wait and I'm glad I didn't. Excellent!

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.

Photo of alexhahn82
3.23/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pitch Black. With a very small head (poured by a delicate handed beertender.

S - A hint of booze, hint of cocoa.

T/M - Tastes of oak up front (I said OAK not bourbon, but does finish with a bourbon flavor. Finishes very chocolaty with a bitter end. Mouthfeel is heavy with an almost peppey quality. After finishes off bourbony.

Overall - A little too much actual cocoa nibs for my taste, it would be better if it was a chocolate flavor from toasted barley more so than an additive. Def worth a shot but will UPDATE this review when I taste it AFTER ITS "BEST AFTER" DATE.

PP (Price Point) - $10.99 for a 22oz Partially bourbon barrel aged beer that is 10.8% is well worth it to me.

Overall

Photo of HopHead84
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7/8/2011

Thanks to Matt for opening the bottle. Snifter.

A: Looks black in the dim light of The Abbey. Large frothy light brown head.

S: Cocoa and dark chocolate with light oak notes. Moderately roasted malt with a pronounced chili influence. Faint bourbon and lightly nutty. Smells balanced and quite nice.

T: Chili and a slight spiciness with oak and faint bourbon. The chili flavor isn't as good in the flavor. A bit of astringency. Robust dark chocolate. Low earthy bitterness and some heat in the finish.

M: Full body with upper moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is chewy, sticky, smooth.

Overall: Pretty good. I wish they'd have kept the original XX recipe.

Photo of jjanega08
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best After 6/15/12

A= Pours a nice dark black color with a tight brown head on it that holds some nice retention and pretty decent lacing. Pretty much what I expect.

S= The same majesty I remember. Nice oak wood and roasty tastiness. Chocolate and maybe some vanilla from the wood. Not nearly as much bourbon as I remember in the nose however.

T= The taste is more like I remember with the bourbon. Nice oak bourbon and some vanilla. Good dark chocolate flavor comes through. A tasty roasty malt flavor.

M= This is really smooth and thick. Better than I remember with the previous batches.

O= Another winner. Keep them coming guys. I'll be buying many many more to come.

Photo of harrymel
3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Well, I'm no Seville or Pasilla expert, but I know what Chilis and Oranges taste like, so hopefully that qualifies me to taste this....

A: Pours a dark, nearly black ale with a single finger of latte head which falls over a couple minutes to a thick sheet of the same. Rings of lacing. Clarity cannot be assessed.

S: Chocolate and roasted malts make the introduction. Quickly followed up by some coffee notes, chili sharpness and some alcohol burn. Getting only the slightest hint of orange citric nose here - it's sweet in nature. The bourbon barrels are second fiddle here, but evident and actually meld with the chili's well. Really complex, primary issue is in the prominence of the alcohol, and the subtlety of the orange, but nonetheless really nice.

T: Toasty, bitter and alcoholic. The alcohol is a bit a fuego at this point. The orange is more evident, but I think is what tastes bitter at this point as well. The beer has plenty of cocoa here, and it is dry and borders on a coffee-esque profile. The chili is nearly gone at this point for me - some of the vegetal flavors remain, but no heat (except from the ETOH). Bourbon is sweet and adds a hint of vanilla flavor. I don't believe the flavor is where it could be - I do believe this will get better with time in the bottle.

M: A bit thin for the profile and adjuncts. The beer is medium in body, and rolls over the tongue quickly with low to prickly carbonation. The finish is watering, but I wish it was more viscous so as to allow me to 'chew' on the resonance.

O: The beer has a ton of potential, I'm uncertain the oranges were necessary, and the chili choice may have been too passive for the bold flavors of the beer itself. However, the bourbon is well played here, and the beer is of high quality. I believe the "best after" date on this bottle is something to heed seriously. Although I'm an advocate for releasing beer when it's ready to be had, I can also respect a beer that says: best after, indicating to me a review will be merited a year from now to see how well they predicted the progress. In the meantime, this is a great beer, with room for growth; if it grows much further, this will develop a profile reminiscent of Hunahpu's (albeit different, the nose is similar, but a little less intense).

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.63/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured thin, very dark brown in the pour, black in the glass. Tan head that is clingy and frothy with great lacing.

S- The usual suspects, chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malts, that are very mellow. The chili and orange are there in a subtle way.

T- Sweet taste, with the chocolate being there up front. The chili is there too, almost a bit too much though. This has more bitterness then I would have thought, a bitterness that just doesn't seem to want to go away. There is a strange complexity here, but it just tastes funny. I had last year's recipe and this is supposed to be the same exact one, but with different chocolate. I think last years was better with the funky chocolate.

M- I would have liked a thicker brew. I know this is a porter so it is thinner, but I think the sweetness would play better in a thicker beer.

O- This one is a bit of a miss for me, which is sad because this has been a beer I've looked forward to every year since it was first released. Perhaps I'm missing something on this beer.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep opaque sable with a decent light tan head. Barleywine-like aroma has nutty and molasses tones. Smoky flavor is more like a barleywine than a porter and has nutty and molasses hints - overall very tasty. Texture is smooth and fizzy, very pleasing.

Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 762 ratings.