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Highland Big Butte Smoked Porter - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Big Butte Smoked PorterHighland Big Butte Smoked Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

30 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 30
Hads: 34
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 5
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: atsprings on 09-19-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Hads: 34
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into several sample glasses. Thanks to Deuane for busting this one out.

Pours black, with a little bit of ruby coming out along the bottom, and a frothy 1/2 finger of creamy chocolate mocha head. This stays rich when swirled, leaving back some nice looking spotty swathes of lacing. The aroma is chocolate, roast, coffee, and light toffee coming out first, with some more subtle meaty smoke coming out behind it. Really nice evenness
here, between the roast, smoke, and sweet character, giving this a pleasant feel in the nose.

The taste has a silky sweet base of roasted chocolate and caramel sweetness to it. Crunchy coffee comes into play in the middle part, followed by the smoked malts that slink into the back part of the profile. Really well done finish on this, which sees that smokey meat character lingering along with coffee notes for a dry and roasty feel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with an extremely smooth and creamy feel to it. I can't actually believe that this is 7% ABV, as it handles like so much less than that. Very nice!

This is a very nicely done Smoked Porter of restraint, allowing the other flavors to really shine as well. Just a killer feel and drinkibility for the size on this to. I'd love to see this added as a fall seasonal every year.

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Photo of carolinahophead
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the winning recipe from the recent Homebrew contest in Asheville NC.
The appearance is a dark coffee color with a nice foam head when poured. Has a terrific smell of a expresso liquer and dark roasted malt. Exotic spices are present as well.The taste is very different from other porters as this is where the smoke comes through in a good way. Mouthfeel is light in body but full with noticeable acidity and bitterness. Be careful with this one; it's a great beer to age . Save for a hearty meal or an after dinner treat.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alex Buerckholtz's 2009 Highland Cup winning homebrew, courtesy of Highland Brewing:

I got to taste this one at the brewery during the 2009 Tasgall Ale rollout, and got a chance to meet both Homebrewer Alex and Highland's Brewmaster John, whose collective crewdogs and cooperative efforts combined to produce this fine German smoked malt and Fuggles-infused porter on a scale large enough to bring it to more than just a lucky few. Those guys were all so cool and the beer was so damned good that I just had to grab a few bottles on the way home.

The label tells the tale of how this beer came to be, sports a 7% ABV , and indicates that Big Butte will cellar nicely and improve over time. I have a few bottles I'm saving for sometime later, but the chilled 22-ounce bomber in front of me is not one of them. I select my Delirium tulip, and after letting the bottle temper a bit I pop the top.

Big Butte pours light-sucking mahogany-tinted garnet in color with a finger and a half of creamy pale beige foam atop. From the first hiss of the crown a persistent waft of pleasantly acrid smoke swirls around the brown bottle before also claiming the airspace above the wee drinking vessel. The cap of foam deflates into a sticky sheet and leaves a ragged film of lacing plastered onto the sidewalls of my glass.

The clean, dry, smoky aroma is laced with dark roasty notes, leaning first toward bittersweet chocolate before veering into the French-roasted realm of Juan Valdez. If I had to hold the smell-descriptor to two words, I'd call it, "Smoky Mocha". As the brew warms a bit, a cooling whiff of Bourbony vanilla caramels gains purchase. After much huffing, swirling, and eventually getting a shot of foam up the snoot, I arrive at the landmark conclusion that the brew smells pretty damn good the whole time you drink it, but snorting it... no.

The taste is richly dark and malty with a sprinkle of burning sugar , a dusting of herbal spice, and a pervasive edge of dryly tangy smoke. The flavors are so familiar... I'm thinking of my grandmother's inimitable homemade lard biscuits, a day old, split open, smeared with real butter and pan-toasted dark and crispy in an iron skillet before being smothered in savory chocolate gravy and plated with crisp fried hickory bacon. Mmm-mmm! An earthy-dry splash of cooled black coffee perfects the days-of-yore breakfast idea only moments before the persistent smokiness smacks against my internal smoke alarm, the detector shocking me back from my 20th Century revelry. [Granny! The biscuits are burning!] This is a great-tasting beer. And a little smoky, did I mention?

The drink is medium-fullish in body with a mild fluffing of fine carbonation that fits it just perfectly. An extremely easy drinker that I'm sure would go great with Western NC-style "barbecue". Outstanding.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sarah M. for the sample!

My first experience with a true rauchbier put me off any beer that has "smoked" in its name! I have learned that the American version of smoked beers doesn't bear any resemblance to that authentic German concoction, but I still fear that first taste.

Highland's Big Butte Smoked Porter pours a dark black with a decent, but short-lived, tan head. This was surprisingly leaner than most porters I've head; it just didn't pour as thick. Dark roasted malts and smoke are certainly discernible in the aroma, and a touch of sugary sweetness is carried along as well. The flavor is full of those roasted malts, along with a mildly smokey character that really makes itself known during the finish and aftertaste. There is a nice, mild sweet (nearly fruity) essence on the front and main body, and the slightly bitter, smokey, coffee-ish aftertaste is true delight.

This one's a bit thinner than many American porters I've sampled. That certainly makes it more "drinkable," however, the alcohol (at 7% ABV) may sneak up on you, so be careful!

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Photo of atsprings
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint glass a nice opaque black with a decent light tan head. Aroma is smoke with hints of chocolate and brown malt. The taste is a wonderful amount of smoke and bitter chocolate with hints of coffee, absolutely delicious. The beer is medium bodied and an enjoyable sipper. This one exceeded the high expectations I had for it, dare I say, the best beer I've had from Highland yet, PLEASE make this a regular release.

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Highland Big Butte Smoked Porter from Highland Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.