Black Butte XXVI
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI
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Porter - Imperial
4.17 | pDev: 9.35%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI
Notes: Our 26th anniversary Imperial Porter was aged in bourbon barrels (50% for 6 months) and dry spiced with Theo Chocolate's cocoa nibs, revealing hints of vanilla and chocolate. Pomegranate molasses and Oregon cranberries complement the robust flavor with a hint of fruit and just enough tart to make you smile.
Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 1,130 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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dcscientist from Colorado

4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was a very creative take on their base porter, which itself is excellent. I'm not used to having fruit in my porters, but this kind of worked. I got the first hint of it up front, and after re-reading the label convinced myself that it was the pomegranate. I didn't really get the cranberry, but then again, maybe that's what I tasted up front anyway. You wouldn't have any idea this beer is 10.8%, so enjoy responsibly. I did.

Oct 27, 2020
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draheim from Washington

4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz (bottled 6/15/2015) into a tulip. Pours a medium brown w/ a thin collar of foam.

Aroma is nice roasty malt, chocolate, sweet fruits, and a hint of bourbon and vanilla.

Taste follows nose. Vinous, sour, and tangy pomegranate and cranberry up front, followed by bitter chocolate and dark malt. Nicely complex with layers of flavor.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick, medium bodied. Nice balance.

Overall a solid, complex porter, Deschutes keeps managing to reinvent this anniversary and keep it interesting.

Mar 22, 2020
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
Best after 6/14/15

A- pours black in color with a one-finger light khaki head that reduces to a thin film that sticks around for a while

S- dark chocolate and charred malt, burnt marshmallow, molasses, cranberries, vanilla, oaky bourbon

T- dark chocolate and marshmallow notes up front are followed by a subtle hit of tartness that adds notes of cranberries. Mid-palate gives sweet notes of molasses, vanilla cream, caramel and charred malt. The finish gives more tart fruity notes of cranberry and pomegranate, just a hint of bourbon barrel lingers with more chocolate notes

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a velvety, slightly warming finish

O- creamy chocolate mixes with just a hint of fruity tartness, one of my favorite BB variants

Mar 21, 2020
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Thin wax over cap. Best After Date is '06/14/05'.
Dark brown colored body, with some reddish brown back lit highlights. Light tan head, which sticks around. Leaves behind webs of lacing.
Aroma of roasted malts, with molasses, cocoa, and dark fruit (cranberry). Slight bourbon barrel and pomegranate.
Taste follows with roasted malts supported by molasses, cocoa and tangy cranberry. Very little bitterness.
Thicker mouth feel, and very smooth. Very good carbonation.
Beautiful body color and long lasting creamy, larger bubble head. Very easy to drink, and the added cranberry adds some twang to the experience.

Aug 01, 2019
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jmasher85 from Maryland

2.98/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cranberries broke it for me. I will almost never appreciate tart fruit in a stout and this doesn't change my mind. Contrasts too sharply with chocolatey malty richness. Almost reminds me of an infected Bourbon County Stout I had.

Apr 21, 2019
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured into a snifter to a black beer topepd by a dense and rocky finger and a half of light tan head which fades slowly and leaves decent lacing.
S: Smells of tart cranberries and chocolate with a little orange zest. dark roasted coffee and oak is found on the nose as well.
T: Taste is tart cranberries up front with chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, slight orange, oak and a hint of vanilla. Cranberries keep coming around which is interesting. On the swallow there's more cranberry, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, orange and oak.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium in body with a slightly silky and creamy feel. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is an interesting beer. It has some really nice flavors and complexity but it is a pretty large departure from what is often expected to come from an imperial porter. Well executed and this one aged pretty well. If this one comes back I wouldn't mind trying it fresh.

Apr 13, 2019
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bobv from Vermont

4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields a one and a half inch tan head over a black body with some lacing. Nose of chocolate, dark malt, and dark fruit. Taste mirrors nose nicely with the fruit (pomegranate, cranberry) on the finish. Nice feel and overall, this is a special porter and so glad for my patience cellar-wise. Cheers!

Feb 26, 2019
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buschbeer from Ohio

4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with a few inches of tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

The smell is chocolate with tart and dark fruit. It comes across to my untutored nose as plum and cherry.

The flavor is chocolate covered cherry. It has a pleasant tartness from the cranberry.

Medium bodied with medium mouthfeel

It is an easy drinker for almost 11%. I don't get much from the barrel. It is a tasty beer though.

Jan 28, 2019
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.62/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

They’ve been sitting on this keg for 4 years, I am told, in the cooler. Not a fan of Black Butte Porter but this should be special. Here goes. Tastes sweet and the molasses kicks asses as usual. Very tasty. Great job Deschutes. On draft at pint night, Ron’s Corner Tavern 11/28/2018. Thanks, Jessie

Nov 29, 2018
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darktronica from Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Kept in cold storage. Very little oxidation evident, only a slight hint of cardboard on the early palate. Still pours as I remember it fresh, with a full finger of head on a dark brown but translucent body. The pomegranate molasses and cranberry are still also pretty evident, which was a pleasant surprise to me. The nibs and vanilla, less so. Not much barrel or bourbon character, either. All in all, though, still very nicely balanced after four years.

Nov 07, 2018
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robotic_being from Florida

4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 6/16/2015, drank on 11/4/2018. Well aged, very aromatic and tart fruit tasting of cocoa and molasses mixed with bourbon and notes of leather and tobacco. Delicious!

Nov 05, 2018
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TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Well aged bottle, “best after” some time in 2015 - think they are at XXX now. Dark brown/cola like pour with bit of reddish tinge, scant short lived tan head. Low to medium carbonation. Aroma is fantastic - dark chocolate, but mainly a vinious fruity dominance - cherry, chokecherry with hints of oak, vanilla. Taste is almost cherry cola like, milk chocolate, molasses, some red wine notes, verging on but not really tart - with a bit of underlying booziness. Mouthfeel almost slippery but moderately full with faintly tart to bitter finish. Delicious:

Sep 23, 2018
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polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured an oil slick black with very little, if any, head. Surprisingly, there was some minor lacing.

The highlight of this beer was the aroma. Molasses, cocoa, fruitiness and roasts. I found the molasses dominated.

The taste was very similar to the nose. I found the molasses dominated, then came in the fruit from the pomegranate. Coffee and cocoa on the mid palate and then a finish that saw a bitter from the blending of ingredients.

Feel was slick and full, with some low carbonation. The finish, as mentioned was bitter, but lasted for a nice while adding in the molasses.

Overall, a nice beer, but I wonder if it was past its prime a little. I wish it would have been a little more fresh.

Jun 24, 2018
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beergoot from Colorado

4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Coal black body; dense, creamy, light tan head. Chocolaty, pitted fruit aroma; mild vanilla. Intense milk chocolate and cocoa flavors; fruit-like, possibly cherries; some woody, boozy notes lurking deep below the surface. Heavy bodied; dense, lush, and velvety on the palate.

After about five years of screwball storage around the house and garages, this beer has aged very well. I have no idea what a fresher bottle might have tasted like, but this sample is killer. Deep, dark, complex and balanced with a fine, subtle alcohol kick and intensely layered malt, adjunct and barrel-aged goodness. It has been well worth the wait...

Dec 07, 2017
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spoony from Colorado

3.69/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bomber (best after June 14, 2015) to a snifter.

A-The beer pours with zero head; just a thin collar of tan-grey foam. Color is deep, murky, swampy brown...not quite black and opaque, but pretty close. It looks still and a bit thin.

S-The aroma is quite fruity. I sniff dried items, e.g., raisins and prunes, but the cranberry comes through most noticeably. Its like a craisin. There are also hints of cocoa, leather, and molasses, and maybe some wine-like grape scents. I am not picking up much in the way of barrel.

T-The taste tracks the smell. It is almost tart with cranberry flavor, some sour cherry notes too. I detect very little alcohol heat, which is impressive for a beer clocking in a nearly 11% ABV. Hints of cocoa and root beer. Some people may like the fruity notes, but it reminds me a bit of cough syrup.

M-The body is a bit watery with soft, almost non-existent carbonation. The finish is sticky and sweet.

O-This beer is certainly an interesting mix of flavors. The cranberry is quite distinct, but it did not really jive with my palate. Maybe I waited too long to drink it? Anyway, a good experiment, but not my favorite beer.

Oct 26, 2017
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BCurious from Australia

4.91/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In my view this a perfect beer. I can't see how it can be bettered. It's got such complexity, so much in the palette: it runs the gamut from malt to bitter, to fruit, to tart... Its warming with creamy mouthfeel. It makes all other imperials in its class (that I've tried) taste one dimensional in comparison.

Aug 24, 2017
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smbslt from Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cola brown with ruby highlights topped with a creamy Dutch Master's light brown head
S - Chocolate with a nuttiness
T - Grape soda to dry red wine finish - only hints bourbon coming thru to add to the complexity
F - Almost nitro smooth leading to a pleasant warming in the gut.
O - Oh to be 26 again.

Jul 16, 2017
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Riff from Virginia

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with about a half finger of light tan head. Smells of chocolate, dark fruit, bourbon, and molasses. Tastes of dark fruit, raisins and cranberries specifically, hints of bourbon, chocolate towards the finish. Drinks easily, certainly doesn't feel like it's ABV. Interesting beer, fruity but solid. Certainly worth having tried.

May 28, 2017
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mwilbur from Minnesota

4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter. Best after 6/16/15.
A: Pours a super dark brown hue with 1 inch dark mocha head with excellent retention. No light emerges with backlighting. Nice lacing.
S: Dark dried fruit (fig and raisin), brown sugar, molasses, dark caramel malt, and cranberry with hints of sweet bourbon and dark honey. Lots of different types of sweetness.
T: Cranberry and pomegranate hit first, closely followed by molasses, brown sugar, fig, raisin, mild sweet bourbon, vanilla, and a hint of cacao.
M: Medium body...drinks much lighter than ABV. Velvety feel. Fruity and darker sweetness. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate.
D: Another solid addition to one of my favorite ongoing series! I liked how the cranberry and pomegranate worked with the rest of the brew. Definitely an interesting take on it!

May 02, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black opaque pour with a medium toffee colored, thick, creamy lacing.

S - Cocoa, cranberry/raspberry, delicate vanilla, light bourbon,

T - Cocoa, cranberry, bourbon, oak, vanilla, light cranberry acidic character.

M - Big medium body, silky smooth, viscous.

O - This aged well. Unique. Not everyone's gig. I like it.

Mar 24, 2017
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Beersnake1 from California

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2014, tasted in 2017. Poured from fridge temp to tulip. Looks jet black with good carbonation. About an inch of head. Smell is currants, sweet, vanilla, walnuts, and some barrel. Taste is way different than the nose. Getting tons of dark fruits on the taste. Blackberries and currants are dominant. Almost no barrel on the taste. Very sweet, and a bit of bitterness on the end. Very fruit-forward. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but overall suitable for the style. Nice beer.

Mar 18, 2017
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mynie from Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this one for a while, obviously. But I'm moving soon and I got to get my cellar drunked down, so away we go...

Pours very black, damn near opaque, with a wispy and retentive little head.

Nose is of raisins, RIS red wine nodes, very dark chocolate, and sharp pomegranate. It's a unique combination, reminiscent of those very expensive chocolate-covered fruit candies they sell in the organic section of the grocery store.

Tastes very fruit-heavy, with sticky russian imperial nodes lingering on the finish. Starts with sharp and sweet pomegranate, moves into a middle that's more bitter and chocolatey but still quite fruity, and finishes like a sharply alcoholic stout.

The body's a wee bit thin for the size, but that's my only complaint. I got no idea how much this costs on the secondary market, but if you can find a bottle for a reasonable price I'd definitely give it a shot.

Feb 19, 2017
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tbryan5 from Louisiana

4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I thought this beer was good and not great. A little thin and left me wanting more barrel chracter but I definitely picked up on the chocolate, pomegranate molasses, and cranberries.

Jan 25, 2017
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DesMoinesMike from Iowa

4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought at the PDX brewpub and drank 6 months later so this beer saw 3 years. Outer space black. The aroma was perplexing with the fruit and barrel age components. The taste was mindboggling. Cranberry & pomegranate tartness with the vanilla & cocoa sweetness then the whiskey make for an explosion of flavor that essentially forced mw to like it due to the aggressiveness I felt intimidated to say less. don't drink flat, save it for a steak marinade if that happens.

Jan 23, 2017
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.42/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Well here is exhibit U in the trial against Deschutes dummying up their beers and charging more every year for them.

Appearance is the usual stuff, equal parts brown and black, lighter brown head, 1/2". No problems. Aroma starts to reveal the usual problems for Deschutes lately: a penchant for DFH/BA absurdity in terms of adjuncts: this time its pomegranate and cranberries, but you never know when they're gonna throw cherry bark, currants or whatever in a beer, much less cut the actual bourbon barrel aging lower and lower so they can dump cheaper easier to produce blends into the wild each year at a $1-2 tick upwards.

Instead of a lush chocolate and bourbon experience, here you get tart stuff like pomegranate and cranberry. Makes me think part of this was perhaps infected and they pastuerized it and put this stuff in it to cover up the revealing notes. Or maybe they just wanted to make one of the worst BB anniversaries ever, I dunno. If the idea of a bitter kinda acrid tart porter sounds better than chocolate, oak and bourbon than pick this up.

Otherwise, if you're a fan of the normal BB anniversary stuff, you'll prolly find this is disappointing.

Jan 23, 2017
Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 1130 ratings