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Black Butte XXIII - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

731 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 731
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 153
Gots: 489 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 731 | Reviews: 314 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerandcycling88


4.85/5  rDev +13.1%

Poured from a bomber into my snifter.

A pours a dark brown almost black color with a tan head and some lacing.

S amazing nose that is very complex. Its sweet with bourbon, vanilla, booze, chocolate, and a hint of orange. In terms of complexity it is up there with many great imperial stouts.

T the taste is equally as complex with a lot going on. First you get chocolate right up front. this is followed by some orange, bourbon and some spicy chillies on the finish. The ABV is super well hidden. You get a lingering chocolate taste in your mouth afterwards.

M Very smooth mouthfeel, yet thick and kind of syrupy.

Overall this is an amazing beer. It is complex with a lot going on that makes it satisfying to drink. I think it is mislabeled as an American porter as it is more like an imperial stout then a porter but either way it is amazing for the style. I'm glad I have another one to try in a year after the best after date, as this will be an epic beer.

07-06-2011 03:55:39 | More by beerandcycling88
Photo of Swillbur


4.53/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured from bomber into Chimay chalice. Second time trying, first time beer was to cold.

I start this beer by leaving it on counter until it warms up a bit from the fridge. After a pretty hard pour im left with a dark brown glass of nectar with little to no head and zero lacing. The aromas this beer gives off are really amazing after it becomes room temp. I get Chili, hot chocoalate, vanilla and some bourbon in the background. Smells fantastic. The taste is right there with the smells. Right away i get chocolate, bourbon, roasted malt, some orange, and the chili is there too. This is a smooth beer, the mouth feel and carbonation are both spot on. ABV is very well masked. The warmer this beer gets the better it tastes. Im glad i have two more to try later on down the road.

07-05-2011 09:44:34 | More by Swillbur
Photo of Chriscrundwell12


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a darkness snifter. Sharred with a fellow BA.

A- Pours very thin, really dark brown color, looks almost black after the pour, really nice carbonation, 2 finger beige head that dissipates quickly to a nice ring around the glass.
S-First impression of the aroma was really unique almost unusual in a weird way, the more I smelled it the more it grew on me, very light aroma, slight smokiness, hints of orange peels and chocolate.
T- The taste is phenomenal, roasted cocoa, coffee, nice smokiness, chocolate, molasses, orange zest, a lot better than aroma, alcohol is present but not overpowering, slight sweetness in the aftertaste, I crave more after every sip.
M- Medium/big mouth feel, nice carbonation, dry on the finish.
O- I have yet to have any of the previous Black Butte anniversary beers, but this one really impressed me. The taste to this beer was amazing; I enjoyed every sip, and only craved more once I was done. Will definitely be grabbing some more bottles to age.

07-04-2011 05:50:04 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Photo of snaotheus


4.43/5  rDev +3.3%

22oz bottle split up into a couple large snifters

Pours black and slick with no head. Smell is sweet and caramelly, roasty, almost syrupy. Taste is a bomb of chocolate and coffee with a little cough syrup cherry in there. Rich, thick, very tasty.

Mouthfeel is just perfect for a porter, slightly thick, dry, chalky feeling, not too sticky. Overall, this is a very good porter. Very good.

07-04-2011 03:16:29 | More by snaotheus
Photo of Sjdavis


4.68/5  rDev +9.1%

Into a Black Butte pint glass.

A- Obviously, very dark. Nearly black and opaque. A tilted glass and bright light reveals a gradient from the inside to outside of brown, red, orange and yellow. Full inch of attractive, tan-colored head, and fair bit of lacing.

S- Molasses, chocolate and coffee. Clear from the smell that this is rich.

T- Delivers on its aroma. Rich chocolate and coffee, sweet, transitioning to a note of orangey bitterness, then fading out. Chilis become noticeable only as it warms as a lingering heat in the back of the throat. Lovely.

D- Syrupy, but good carbonation, hops and chili heat balance out the thick sweetness pretty well. Alcohol well-hidden. That said, my wife and I had our hands full finishing the 22oz. Not one to break out after mowing the lawn.

07-04-2011 03:05:10 | More by Sjdavis
Photo of plfahey


3.7/5  rDev -13.8%

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Very dark brown/black with just a hint of red highlight when held to the light.Moderate stand of tan foam with decent retention.

Aroma-Smell is strong of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweet molasses, and a hint of fruit. Dark espresso roast has a sort of green pepper/ancho chili character to it, but is light. Hint of sweet oak/vanilla. There's a whiff of perfumy alcohol and some brownie batter chocolate which gives it a sort of chocolate liqueur smell.

Flavor-Rich and coffeelike, with that same green pepper edge up front. Some dark chocolate is present as well, with an overall german chocolate cake feel to it. Still some of that green pepper coffee flavor. Alcohol is definitely a bit harsh/hot-this one could use some age to be sure, probably a year or two at the least. Finish has notes of orange, but mostly dark chocolate and the heat from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Overly hot from the alcohol.

Though my score certainly doesn't show it, this has the makings of an incredible beer. It's too young right now (as evidenced by the best after 6/15/12 date on the bottle). The alcohol is hot, and the flavors haven't fully integrated yet. Don't get me wrong, its still a decent beer, but this one will improve greatly with some time.

07-03-2011 04:37:34 | More by plfahey
Photo of DarthKostrizer


4/5  rDev -6.8%

On tap at Steingarten

Look: Pitch black with brown rings around the edges and 1/4 head with little retention and lace

Smell: Licorice, coffee, chocolate, and bourbon

Taste: The taste follows suit to the smell. Upfront is a bit of the bourbon sting maybe from being so fresh. Then you get hints of chocolate and roasted malt with hints of coffee and licorice

Mouthfeel: Full bodied lightly carbonated and moderately warm from the alcohol

Overall: Nice anniversary beer but not the best porter I have ever had but its definitely worth drinking and aging I would age this for about 6 months and try it again.

07-02-2011 19:50:29 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of Retsinis


3.93/5  rDev -8.4%

Had this on tap at Blue Palms, served in a snifter.

A: The beer is pitch black in color, with a half inch of creamy off white head that settled to just a light film and ring of bubbles in the glass. Slight lacing.

S: I pick up scents of brown sugar, chocolate, mild chilies, roasted malt. Can't detect the allusive orange peel.

T: Cocoa initially up front, followed by medium roasted malt, touch of brown sugar, chilies, then some bitterness and a mild acidity on the finish (in the throat) similar to a feeling of when you swallow orange juice.

M: Medium mouth, mild creaminess, but finishes slightly dry, I'm guessing as a result of both the chilies, and from the alcohol (though the abv is well masked imo)

O: Good, but lacked the complexity I was hoping for. Good balance, perhaps too good, that nothing overpowered anything. Maybe it’s that I've had too many face melt DIPA's and bourbon barrel aged RIS that I’m expecting more than I should with this anniversary Porter.

07-02-2011 04:58:57 | More by Retsinis
Photo of TheDudeRules


3.5/5  rDev -18.4%

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

Pours a dark brown, not black. Almost two fingers worth of tan mocha head. Lacing remains. Smells of slight hops and predominately green apple. Taste is hop forward. Green apple follows. Slight chili pepper bite.Some bakers chocolate intertwined in there. Rather thin in the mouth.

This is missing something. I would like it to be chewier. Get me a spoon so to speak. It's not awful but not great. This is better suited as a four pack than a one off. Let the hype pass.

07-02-2011 03:50:28 | More by TheDudeRules
Photo of kevanb


4.2/5  rDev -2.1%

Just grabbed a bottle of this at a local beer shop. Comes in a large Pint 6oz bottle with really annoying wax all over it, hardest to remove from any bottle I've had.

A: Black brown at first glance, orange hints up to the light. Very cloudy, can't even get a glimpse through it, as expected. Nice lacing, decent head, nice caramel color with fair retention. Looks pretty standard for a porter with that subtle orange note, very enticing.

S: Bourbon right off. Sweet smelling though, burnt sugar comes to mind. Orange citrus is there which is a nice addition. Coffee aromas there with some darker fruits that are typical of the style, but much more in the backdrop giving way to the more unique featured ingredients.

T: Bourbon. Less coffee than expected, nice amount of orange, reminds me a bit of a chocolate covered orange treat. More bourbon flavors as it goes down. Very strong flavors here, nice and complex.

M: Harsh in the mouth. Leaves a stronger bitter feeling than most of this style, perhaps its the bourbon barrels kicking in. I'm left a bit cottonmouthed though, which is kinda weird.

O: Really really good porter. Very strong bourbon notes, reminds me of the Goose Island Bourbon County, but with a wider variety of flavors and a bit smoother. Very enjoyable brew, worth checking out if you can grab it on draft or in a bottle.


07-02-2011 03:40:05 | More by kevanb
Photo of Mebuzzard


3.45/5  rDev -19.6%

This beer pours black with dark brown/garnet borders. A bit of a soapy head, off brown color with minimal lacing as it drank. The top 1 inch is crusted, but nothing else

Aroma is boozy dabbled chocolate and wet coffee beans. Roasty and some citrus.

Boozy taste. This must be cellared for a time to calm this down. It's roastiness is thin and chocolate fleeting. Some orange zest is present at first, very briefly, then is drowned with cocoa and coffee beans. This beer is hot, which thins it out in the end.

07-01-2011 07:29:14 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Azurescens


4.3/5  rDev +0.2%

22oz wax dipped bottle with best after date 6/15/12, poured into Hair of the Dog tulip, reviewed on 6/30/11.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with fluffy light brown head that leaves nice lacing around glass.

S: Lots of orange up front followed by dark malt and chocolate, hints of alcohol with oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrels. Lots of alcohol comes out as it warms up to remind you of the high alcohol content.

T: Starts out sweet with orange, dark malt and chocolate. Some faint alcohol and hints of oak and vanilla. Finishes with hints of chilies that give more of a warming tingle than really add much flavor.

M: Really smooth medium-full body with moderate carbonation, the chilies leave a warming sensation and a unique tingle after each sip.

O: Really unique and delicious creation. The blend of barrel aged beer with the orange, cocoa and chili additions really add a unique character to this beer without any of them overpowering each other. The 10.8% ABV is ridiculously well hidden which makes this dangerously drinkable.

07-01-2011 04:22:57 | More by Azurescens
Photo of herman77


4.6/5  rDev +7.2%

A: Pretty much black with a light tan fluffy head. Really good retention. Awesome lacing.

S: Roasted malts, lots of chocolate (more fudge like), some bourbon and oak notes. You get some floral and citrus notes as well as a hint of spice from the chillies. Just a hint of booze. Smells amazing.

T: Maltiness galore, rich roasted malt and lots of rich chocolate flavor. Coffee. A bit of citrus and orange that is slightly sweet. You pick up some spice from the chilies and some hops in the backend. A mild booziness all the way through, but comes a little more pronounced in the finish. This is very complex, a wide range of tastes to explore.

M: Full body, pretty thick. Still has a nice amount of carbonation to scrub up the palate after each sip.

O: An amazing beer. I love the normal black butte, but this takes it to a whole knew level! Great drinkability despite the booziness in the finish. I need to pick up another one or two of these to sit on for awhile.

07-01-2011 00:31:41 | More by herman77
Photo of DaveHS


4.93/5  rDev +14.9%

A- Pitch black with 1/3 inch of tight, mocha head. Leaves sheets of lacing down the glass.

S-Pepper! Smells spicy. Potpurri, maybe some star anise? Surprisingly floral for such a roasty, rich beer. Plenty of rich chocolate and coffee bean.

T/M-Good lord. So mature and refined, considering how young it is. Roasty coffee bitterness, dark chocolate, peppery spice, just a hint of orange zest, but it's barely there. One of the few occasions when the description on the bottle is 100%accurate. Thick (but not too thick) with low/moderate carbonation.

O-I place the Black Butte Anniversary series among my favorite beers ever. This is no exception.

06-30-2011 05:03:04 | More by DaveHS
Photo of grittybrews


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%

Opened 06/2011. Tasting only a few days after a Black Butte XXI that I'd been cellaring. It's been quite the week!

Poured a deep cola brown into a tulip with two fingers of light mocha head. Subtle, sweet aroma of vanilla, molasses, milk chocolate, and coffee with just a hint of pepper.

Moderate carbonation and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel without being too thick and syrupy. Woody vanilla up front followed by molasses and lingering dark chocolate. A brief kick of chili pepper on the finish mingles well with the slight boozy warmth.

A lot of really tasty and balanced flavors going on here, and despite the punch this brew packs it's not overly sweet or heavy. The orange is subtle enough that I didn't even pick up on it (maybe somewhere in the middle there?), but the chili is at just the right level and all the other bourbon-aged notes are spot on.

UPDATE: Opened 07/2014. Aroma is a little more mellow, and mouthfeel is a touch more syrupy. Bourbon and molasses is quite prominent, cocoa sweetness is subtle, orange is still too mild to pick out, and the chili still mingles with the booze for a very warm, lingering finish.

06-30-2011 03:34:46 | More by grittybrews
Photo of nataku00


4.35/5  rDev +1.4%

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. At room temperature, beer pours a pitch black, with a finger of tan colored creamy head. Some light lacing and lots of alcohol legs when you swirl the glass, eventually dissipating to a decent collar and a thin creamy layer of head. A few bubbles ascending slowly at the edge of the glass.

Nose is sweet orange, orange peel, hot chili that tingles my nostrils, and really dominate the aroma of this freshly released bottle. Some sweet milk chocolate, roasted malt and burnt sugar come through as well as some alcohol.

Lots of chocolate on the tongue, then sweet orange and roasted malt. Sweetness balanced by some bitterness from the orange peel and the ample roasted malt. A little heat in the throat from the chili, light but it's there. Pretty interesting.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, with a bit of tingly carbonation to keep the tongue engaged. Alcohol and chili warmth in the throat helps to keep the sips small so that you don't overwhelm yourself.

06-30-2011 03:12:56 | More by nataku00
Photo of zeledonia


4.53/5  rDev +5.6%

Bottle says best after 15 June 2012. Never seen a "best after" date before. Does that mean it was bottled 15 June 2011? Not sure.

Pours dark dark coffee brown, almost black but not quite, with a fluffy medium tan head. Great head retention and excellent lacing.

Smells absolutely delicious. A mixture of typical portery dark roasted malts and chocolate, with a little bit of chili pepper. Slightly boozy, but surprisingly little for a big ABV bourboned beer.

Taste is fantastic. Again, very dark roasted malts with equal parts chocolate and chilies, a touch of orange and a hint of whiskey. Lots of different flavors going on, but they feel somewhat compartmentalized, like the beer needs some time to smooth out and let the differences blend into each other. Has some bitterness late, which persists through the finish. Very complex, surprisingly little booze.

Mouthfeel is... wow. Medium-heavy with medium-low carbonation (which I think suits the beer quite well). But it has this creaminess, with a milky/foamy coating feeling that is just amazing. Finish slowly fades away.

This is delicious. Lots going on, fantastic mouthfeel. I'll be socking a bottle or three away in the cellar. The beer is great as it is, but I think a bit of age will only improve it, allowing the rough edges to smooth out.

06-29-2011 04:56:10 | More by zeledonia
Photo of maximum12


4.2/5  rDev -2.1%

Although I'm sure they don't think so, I find it amusing that this was available in Minnesota on 7/24/11, while some in California are still waiting for it. Not mocking my West Coast friends, just happy us folks in flyover country aren't last on the list for once! Thanks to my lovely wife, who didn't have to be asked twice to run along & pick up bottles for us.

Pours porter black, like in the name. I pick up the glass expecting some good anniversary Black Butte goodness & get slugged with a whole new level of yum - holy crap. This is one of those beers I could sniff for an hour & be happy. Malts gone wild, rip-rap of bourbon, hint of chili, chocolate. Which doesn't do it justice. Every nuance has been measured out to the precise nano-ounce to bring out maximum odor pleasure. A perfect beginning.

The taste of Black Butte XXIII can't possibly live up to that loveliness - right? And it doesn't. The chiles come on a sliver strong for my liking & really masks some of the subtle curves that are present in the smell, but difficult to tease out from under the chile warmth. The building blocks of chocolate, deep malts, bourbon, & orange can be located with effort, but you need a menu. Not that it isn't good, it's very good, but the ingredients are a bit out of whack. Thicker than I recall the previous members of the series.

Well, this is already an excellent beer. I do believe, however, that this is going to be a killer in 6-12 months once the chile dies off a bit & the complexities come out from beneath the heat. Looking forward to testing out that theory.

06-29-2011 02:54:01 | More by maximum12
Photo of doughanson78


4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark, not pitch black though. One finger mocha colored head. Decent retention and good lacing.

S: Very big and deep dark chocolate aroma. Light coffee, orange, chili, and roastiness. Very nice well balanced smell.

T: Big dark chocolate. Not to sweet though. Coffee notes. The orange and chili becomes more pronounced as it warms up. The chili is prominent in the flavor but never becomes spicy. Almost no alcohol in the taste. One of the better beers I've had.

M: Medium to full bodied. Light to medium carbonation. Slight creaminess. Goes down very smooth.

O: The best porter I've ever had. Their regular brew is most excellent, and this blows it away. Have been scared of beers with chili but now going to give them a shot. Love it!!!

06-29-2011 02:18:14 | More by doughanson78
Photo of boomer31


3.83/5  rDev -10.7%

Sure missed last year's beer and was excited to hear about this one.

A - Pours black with brown edges when held to the light. A nice tan head lingers for a few minutes and a nice lacing on the glass. Quite beautiful

S - When I popped the top I got an initial whiff of chilles. I get more of that along with a hint of roast.

T - The chilles are present though not hot. More roast in the back but the chilles linger and really dominate. I get some dryness from the oak but again lots of chille.

M - A nice rich full mouthfeel which surprises me as it looks much thinner. Nice carbonation

O - It looks great and has fantastic mouthfeel, I just wish more of the barrel character came out or even more of the citrus...just a bit one sided.

06-28-2011 00:10:39 | More by boomer31
Photo of jethrodium


3.35/5  rDev -21.9%

650 ml bottle. Pours a dark brown that is cola colored at the edges when held up to the light. Small tan head has decent retention and lacing. Aroma is big dark chocolate, some orange peel, some light floral hops, as well as some light alcohol that becomes more prominent as it warms up. I don't really detect the bourbon or peppers. The taste is big dark, bitter chocolate, then a bit of orange and floral hops. Finish is again dark, bitter chocolate with a bit of alcohol, although less than is present in the nose. A slight alcohol head is present, but a pepper heat seems to persist after the alcohol is gone. Medium-light bodied and relatively low carbonation. Similar to the others in the series, I find that the bitter chocolate tends to dominate all the other flavors making it a bit one dimensional and not as enjoyable as it could be. I also think that this beer probably will not improve much with age since the hops and orange will probably fade somewhat making it even more one-dimensional.

06-27-2011 22:34:03 | More by jethrodium
Photo of beertunes


4.47/5  rDev +4.2%

Served a very slightly translucent black with about 1/4 inch of of medium tan head that had very good retention and moderate lacing.

The aromas featured deep, rich malts with solid chocolate notes and just the right amount of roast to add some sharpness. OMG, the flavors! Everything I said about the scents, amplified by a solid percentage. Lots of roasted malts up front, followed by a nice chocolate taste that helps to even things out. A wee bit of a coffee is at the middle back and there's a sharp, tangy finish.

The body is solidly full, without being at all heavy. Smooth, even, crisp and well rounded. Drinkability is dangerously excellent, I had to pry myself away after 2 pints. Overall, an excellent beer. A must grab as soon as you see it.

06-27-2011 03:50:56 | More by beertunes
Photo of youradhere


4.9/5  rDev +14.2%

Had in a XX, XXII, XXIII vert. Pours darker than previous years, ample brown head; smell is slight coffee with a sharp citrus orange, and faint bourbon. Taste pops and is complex; coffee, bourbon, orange, tannic bitterness, dark chocolate. As is it warms the dark chocolate becomes more as does the orange, an odd fruitiness as well. The chilies are barely perceptible, the alcohol heat is there also. Mouthfeel is thicker than other years as well, while carbonation is medium.

06-27-2011 03:08:24 | More by youradhere
Photo of Plinythechugger


5/5  rDev +16.6%

A - Beautifully dark and mysterious. A 1/4 in. head remains after the pour, with elegant lacing around the tulip. Nice carbonation.

N - Smells of coffee and roasted malts. A touch of raisons and dark fruit. A touch of heat (both alcohol wise and pepper wise), and a smidge of bourbon - outstanding.

M - Amazing! Layers of flavors, mixed with perfect carbonation make this beast seem tame.

O - Insane! This is bizarre but...I almost wish it was a bit more raw. One week after it was bottled and it's already approachable. This is the best Black Butte Anniversary Beer I have ever had.

06-25-2011 03:55:51 | More by Plinythechugger
Photo of bsp77


4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Review #600

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter. Best AFTER June 15, 2012, so I assume it was bottled on June 15, 2011.

Appearance: Dark mahogany that appears near black when the glass is full. Frothy tan head and pretty good lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt aroma of chocolate, coffee and molasses. Light citrus and a mild chili pepper spiciness. Oh yeah, and a huge blast of booze.

Taste: Cocoa driven roasted malts with accents of coffee, molasses and a light fruitiness. Some nice oak characteristics as well. Finishes with orange (which provides a nice crispness), spicy hops and a lingering, but mild and nuanced, chili pepper taste and burn.

Feel: Full-bodied with low carbonation and a very smooth body. The beer is a little too hot right now (bottled a little over a week ago), and the chilies may be adding to that impression. I like the light chili pepper burn on the finish, versus my experience with Great Divide Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti where the cayenne was a major distraction for me.

Overall: Just fantastic. A notch below Black Butte XXI at this point, but I had that beer with a year on it. I would not be surprised if I like this one a little better after a year, as this may have more complexity. Cheers to retrying in one year!

06-24-2011 23:51:37 | More by bsp77
Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 731 ratings.