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Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve) - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

114 Reviews
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Reviews: 114
Hads: 964
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 25.36%
Wants: 81
Gots: 429 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  11.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 07-02-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Malt Beverage brewed with dates, figs and cocoa nibs with 50% being aged in bourbon barrels and 12.5% with black currant added.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 114 | Hads: 964
Photo of hayesjw
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - midnight dark chocolate. poured into ten ounce goblet.

S - undecided due to temperature served. too cold in this case. slight spiced sugar candy.

T - malt forward. not roasted grain heavy. no burnt grain to begin taste. syrup and deep sugar flavors on the palate. finishing hops round out the burst of dark raison bread. good intensity.

M - warming alcohol with malty coating.

O - this midnight dark pour is a rare gem of an anniversary ale celebrating the brewery's twenty five years as enjoyed by Oregon's obsidian king seated in a red chair on a green lake near the Bend of mirror pond on a early winter morning.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a purple-black in color with almost no foam.

There’s an aroma of dark chocolate and Italian roast coffee, with a licorice backing and some boozy rum. Flavors are integrated, and the alcohol/heat doesn’t come across until well after this beer opens up. I found the body to be appropriately porter-esque, with more rum sweetness than bourbon whiskey on it. Terrific.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured to brandy snifter. Black Butte anniversary reserves are one of those beers I seek out year after year. XXV is no exception. Really doesn't sit in the porter category at 11.something abv, I'd call it an imperial stout, even if the name sake is a true porter.

Black as night. Pours with a tan head that quickly lays down to a film of bubbles... spot on for an imperial

Huge battery of flavors... current, fig, roasted malt, butter and toffee up front, oak and whiskey slip in as it warms. Not as boozy as a lot of other strong beers, incredibly complex. Every sip reveals a new layer as it warms. A haunting bitterness strives to balance an immense sweetness. It doesn't, but it does add another counterpoint.

Smell is oak, whiskey, and fruit, and a bit of breadiness.

Mouthfeel is heavy, slick and almost syrupy moderated by a lash of alcohol burn... totally out of bounds for a porter, on the mark for an imperial stout.

Overall: while nothing wrong with this beer right now, indeed it is oh so right, I'd love to see how the flavors meld with a year or two of aging

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Photo of mactrail
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a nice surprise on tap for the "Come taste the darkness" Fifth Anniversary of the Empire Ale House in Mt. Vernon, Washington. For four bucks the topped-off half pint, was there ever such a bargain?

To say this is big and boozy just scratches the surface. The layers of flavor are quite remarkable. Even the layers of darkness reveal more blackened and scorched sensations as you sip, carefully. Zingy, tangy, mouthfeel. A roast-a-rama of barley flavors. Browned and woody tastes plus some boozy splashes off the top shelf behind the bar.

The currant flavor is a little crazy with acidity, and at the same time there is some sweet berry syrup as in IHOP pancake ooze. But that is just a passing cloud, and then the Scotch whisky flavor takes over the waves of sweet malt. The slightest whiff of sourness even floats in. A stupendous giant beer and whatever they want for a bottle, it's probably worth it.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

The head is two fingers of what looks like cappuccino froth. The body's pretty near black.

It has an aroma of milk chocolate, bourbon, cherries, and currants or raisins (the two kind of smell the same). I think the figs are in there too. Smells kinda figgy. Outstandingly true to the listed ingredients.

Tastes like tart dark fruits and chocolate... milky chocolate. Think chocolate-dipped strawberries or cherries. There's a bit of a boozy bourbon burn in the finish, but I don't mind. In fact, I like it.

The feel is ultra-smooth and velvety.

An anniversary release that's definitely worth trying, I'd say.

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Photo of garuda
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Nearly black with a brown head that retains and laces very well. Ruby highlights around the edges, mostly clear.

Just the right amount of bourbon/barrel that I prefer. Hs a nice depth of dark fruit flavors with fig, plum, dark cherry, rounding off with some caramel/vanilla oak with booze on the finish. Long aftertaste with rich dark chocolate, slightly bitter feel.

M - Medium body, feels a little thin considering abv.

O - So glad I got to have this, a beer I've had my eye on for some time. Solid depth of flavors and just the right amount of barrel character for me. I'd absolutely get it again, but I expecting a little more considering how much I enjoy the standard Black Butte.

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Photo of SHerninko
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed @ TJ's -Kick the keg event

I have enjoyed the 23, 24 & now it's the 25!
A lovely sales Rep. greeted & spoke to me about Oregon and this special Butte.

It is similar to the other years and is excellent overall. The addition of licorice & anise combine to taped off the raison and plum sweetness. It is a nice balance and produces a very subtle sour note on the front of the tongue. As it warms the initial nose & sweet taste increases but so does the slight sour at the back of the tongue. It is not a negative (as I'm not a big sour fan) but just adds to the complexity. Still some smokiness from the base black butte lingers also.

Again for a "porter" this is a winner and a leader in the category.
Try it.
Ok now they are giving out Class of 88 smoked porter. TBC!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Lone Oak in Eagan. Seemed like a 12 oz pour for $7.50 at happy hour.
Good looking. Black and more black with a lighter tan head with relatively short stamina, but decent lacing.
Aroma that clearly exhibited the three primary characteristics of this drink - vanilla, bourbon and roast. Roast had almost a burnt quality at times, but not to excess.
Flavors nearly match aroma. Seems the vanilla may a bit heavy here, but there is more oak and the roast is balanced nicely. Little tributaries of hop flavors show with searching.
My favorite part of this is the good soft and creamy feel. That's a really plus.
Overall quite smooth without any excess in the fresh malt sharpness, which blends well and is quite nice. Quick shots of warmth in the gut and thin streams of alcohol in the flavor, which is enveloped quite nicely overall for such a big beer.
Glad I finally got a chance to try this one. I've been waiting for awhile.

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Photo of dar482
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark black color with a small khaki head.

The aroma has sweet chocolate along with a bit of the fruit of dark figs and raisins. Vanilla and oak comes through from the barrels as well.

The flavor follows with that sweetness that keeps going with those dark fruits along with bittersweet chocolate and coffee. There's a bit of vanilla in there too, but not too much bourbon barrel character, but it does help make the beer smooth, yet a bit boozy as well.

A quite delicious beer.

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Photo of oberon
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Iam drinking this during wich has to be the WORST officiated game in the history of BIG10 football. Pours a dark chocolate brown with a thick beige head atop.Aromas of sweet brown sugar and roasted nuts,a bit of chocolate and sweet alcohol is there as well.Smooth with sweet alcohol flavors wich lean in the direction of chocolate and boozy vanilla,some nuttiness and sweet dark fruit finish the flavor profile.I like this beer alot.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark. In the glass appears black but deep brown cola on the pour.

Smells quite sweet. Bourbony sweetness, chocolate sweetness. There's also a richness to it. Rich ddark fruits. A bit of tartness from the soured portion.

I like that they increased the barrel aged portion to 50 percent. But I could honestly do without the currants or at least a smaller portion.

Thinner mouthfeel than xxiv.

Nice beer but I think I prefer xxiv but a bit.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz black wax sealed bottle. Thanks once again to doktorzee for bringing this back for me. I remember having the XXIII a couple years ago while shutting down the patio in Bend, so I didn't get to read the underside of the cap - this one says 'Bravely done' - does that refer to opening this without getting any wax chips in the mix?

This beer pours a mostly solid black, with significant basal cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which leaves some decently macabre, roiling storm cloud lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of bittersweet chocolate, charred ash, complex dark fruit - cherry, plum, and yes, black currants - a bit of juicy fig, heavy caramel/toffee malt, vanilla, molasses, indistinct Yuletide spice, a soft whack over the olfactory senses of straight-up boozy Bourbon, and a dry weedy, burnt leaf hoppiness. The taste is again led-off by the chocolate, rendered here in its dry, powdery bakery form, followed closely by relatively subtle barrel notes - vanilla, wooden planks, and warming alcohol - treacle, mixed black fruit from hell - concentrated plum, currant, and cherry - a sidling ashiness, some soft roasted coffee notes, and a lilting Bourbon warmth.

The bubbles are just strong enough to support this groaning behemoth, the body a hefty medium-heavy weight, silky smooth, and tacitly creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, all that cocoa, dark fruit, and wood-abetted alcohol hardly capable of anything contrary.

Another (like it's a bad thing) stellar birthday brew from this sexy, sexy brewery. With all the complexity and pedantry with the guest ingredients and their role in the brewing process, everything is just evened out in the wash - which is to say, a big fruit-tinged, chocolate-fronted strong-ass porter, thick enough to keep your car's engine from seizing up, yet clean enough to keep treating as the gift from the beverage gods that it is.

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Photo of lordofstarside
3.84/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber to a snifter, 15 mins out of the fridge to warm a little

Pours jet black with a finger of mocha colored foam, some brown and a little red hues in the meniscus of the glass. Mild carbonation, short retention, and nice lacing and legs. This thing looks pretty good

Smells of bourbon, oak, raisins, chocolate, cinnamon, molasses, vanilla, figs, cherries, dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. The cinnamon gives a nice spicy touch, everything comes together pretty well. Tremendously complex, the bourbon comes off a bit strong though. As it warms the fruits come across stronger

Taste is a lot different from the nose. Strong currant along with other dark fruits hit really strong and first. Bourbon, oak, raisin, cinnamon and chocolate come across once the initial fruit passes, finishes with a pretty strong taste of alcohol. These blend poorly, it's sort of over load on the palate, these will come together much better with age

Feel is hot and heavy. Thick body, dry boozy finish

Overall this needs to lie down for a while. Smell is great, taste and feel have a long way to go. Three more in the cellar, I'll be back after they sit for a year

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Photo of dirtylou
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber

Great Lakes chalice. A nice rainy day brew - big and bold as would be expected from the black butte anniversary series. The currants provide nice sweet berry notes on the nose - layers of smoke, licorice, a little barrel, peaty scotch, char, dark roasted malt. Nice and complex - like this much better than the previous few.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, Best After 6/11/14
Riedel tulip

A: Pours a deep brown color. Definitely some reddish hues around edges where you can see light through. Initially a good finger of medium tan head. Don't get a lot of lacing though.

S: Dark cherry. Dark fruit. Licorice. Dark chocolate. Slight vanilla from the barrel aged portion. Booze.

T: Dark chocolate. Licorice. You do get that tart cherry. Dark fruit.

M: Full bodied but thinner than I was expecting. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Brabander
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Long time ago that i drank something from Dechutes...did i ever drink a beer of them? Have to check it after this review.

Sunday night, time for this one to end the weekend. Poured in my Struise tasting glass this beer looks very nice. Deepdarkbrowm fluid with a very decent head. Good lacing after the head disappears.

Smell is nice although i can not point out the ingredients. Should be some bourbon but i could not detect it.

Taste is good with hardly the alchohol noticable. Fairly smooth and silky. The mouthfeel has some bitterness in the end.

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Photo of hardy008
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black, with a 1/2 " tan head, with good retention and lacing. the aroma has dates, figs, dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon. Very nice aroma.

This beer has a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness, with a little tartness. There are dates, figs, dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and tart fruit. I didn't detect the tart fruit in the aroma, and it is not real strong in the taste, but it is there just enough to be detect. The small amount of tart fruit is a nice addition.

Full bodied with light carbonation. Smooth, somewhat creamy, and easy to drink. Even though I can smell and taste the bourbon, the alcohol is not overly noticeable, especially for an 11.30 % abv beer. I am glad to have a few more bottles of this beer.

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Photo of draheim
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle (best after 6/10/2014) into a tulip. Pours a rich dark chocolate brown/almost black with a minimal khaki head.

Aroma is big chocolate and roasted malt with a very subtle twist of sour cherry. Maybe a bit of vanilla. Not getting a lot of straight bourbon on the nose.

Taste is rich, chocolatey and bitter, vaguely fruity. Dark currants and blackberries. The same sour cherry quality is evident, giving it a unique twist. Almost a dark cabernet quality too.Again the bourbon is not very pronounced. It's there' but subtle. I'm getting a little heat on the finish similar to Chocolate Yeti or BBXXIII, but I don't think there are any chili peppers or spices here.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied and thick. A rich dessert beer.

Overall a great addition to the Black Butte anniversary series. I'll be interested to see how my other five bottles develop over the next couple of years.

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Photo of mothman
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tan head. No lace. Snifter. Black in color.

Flavors are big on cocoa and vanilla. A decent dose of bourbon and oak flavors. Chocolate that is bitter. Light roast/coffee flavor. Caramel. Very malty.

Mouthfeel: rich with a little heat. Full bodied.

Overall, an enjoyable porter. These are just about as good as they get. Finish is a bit dry, but that's about it.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch brown that lets a trace of light through as the offwhite minimal head leaves ample lacing on the glass. The aromas are sweet and malty with just a hint of tartness. Sweetness continues as the brew hits the tongue and just before it gets overwhelming, the black currants kick in to provide balance. As this full-bodied porter coats the palate, the figs and dates blend well with said currant and hops.
This XXV is indeed awesome. As much as I love the licorice & molasses of the Abyss, the addition of black currants brings Black Butte Reserve to nearly the same class. Kudos!

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Photo of bennett_loves_good_beer
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours pitch back with a 3 finger thick tan head that you can watch slowly form. No light getting through this bad boy. Thickfrothy head dissipates slowly and sticks like crazy to the glass.

Smell: Chocolate ice cream, berries, bourbon, boozy. Yumm!

Taste: Blackberries, chocolate, slight hint of bourbon. Oak and vanilla flavors also make their way through. Wow just a delicious and complex brew.

Mothfeel: Great thick, full bodied mouthfeel with carbonation trying to fight through the thickness. Allows for the drink to pass smoothly through your mouth and to try and taste all the complexities.

Overall, this is the best porter/stout that I have ever had. Simply delicious.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tumbler.

After his brother didn't come through for us earlier, I snagged a bottle of this for the gathering before VDubb's wedding. 'Twas only fitting. It pours a dark black-brown topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises coffee, roasted malts, and a touch of char. The taste brings in more of the same, with the coffee and roast really leading the way and showing the world how cooperation is done. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a thick-ish feel, and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a solid, tasty beer, in the vein of former vintages, but somehow this one just seems kinda plain in comparison. I can't put my finger on it, but it just doesn't seem as "transcendent" as in the past. Still really good, though...

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.51/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a brown 22 oz bottle with a wax-dipped neck and cap. Instead of a bottling date or the usual "best by" date, XXV boasts a "best AFTER" date of 06/10/14, so I guess it's good I have a second bottle to drink at the appropriate time. Poured into a small Belgian-style tylip glass.

Appearance - Strong pour yields just under a finger of faded cocoa powder colored foam that is silky and dissipates rather quickly, leaving a slick rim of foam around the edges of the glass with spotty lace on the surface of the liquid. Body is pitch black with perhaps a twinge of dark brown or almost purple.

Smell - Dominated by dark fruits like black currant, black plum and even some pinot noir components. Underlying the fruitiness is the element of raw cacao and ground espresso bitterness.

Taste - The dark fruits are again present--now with some anise--as well as the bittersweet characteristics from the chocolate, but now the bourbon barrel aspect takes a huge role, providing a good amount of heat and booziness to the beverage. If it makes sense, it has a sort of "young" taste to it, like the various flavor profiles haven't been able to grow into a better blended drink.

Mouthfeel - Slightly viscous, with body on the heavy side of medium and low carbonation. Slightly sweet finish.

Overall, a tasty and complex beer. I think I prefer this type of high alcohol porter/stout better aged in wine barrels than whiskey barrels, but I'm definitely looking forward to giving this one another try in a year or so.

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Photo of vic21234
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz waxed bomber poured into a snifter. "Best after" of 6/11/14. Bought one for now, one for later.

A- Pours a dark brown, borderline black with a half finger of khaki head which dissipates to froth along the sides. Some nice lacing is also apparent.

S- Dark fruits on the smell along with the tingle of bourbon.

T- Dark fruits and licorice seem to dominate the taste for me. Oak and bourbon round out each sip.

M- Medium bodied, drinks rather hot right now.

Well done, but I think I like XXIV a little better.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.64/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2013 new release. I recently had a XXIV with a yr on it. Pours into a snifter.

A: Pours a nice dark brown with a 1.5 finger dark khaki brown head. Head dissipates quickly.

S: Not much barrel, figs and other dark fruits with a chocolatey under tone.

T: figs, raisins, chocolate and a slight nuttyness to it.

M: Thinner than you want in a BA Imperial stout, syrupy and not very satisfying. Step down for XXIV I think.

O: Meh, an ok beer, though I'm pretty disappointed in this just having XXIV recently. Thin and syrupy, I'm hoping it will improve with time. Also almost no barrel on this one, which I think it's sorely missing. Rare miss for Deschutes at this stage.

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Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve) from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.