Black Butte XXVI | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by dwagner003 on 06-05-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 1,076
Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.08/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of mynie
4.49/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -17%
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.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grading to style it's tough to think of other BA Imperial Porters as interesting as the BB series. And this is one of the more challenging and successful iterations. The cranberry / pomegranate sweet tartness in front of oak, vanilla, dry and powdery cocoa, a lingering malt bitterness combines in beautiful layers. The look is close to perfect only marred by some floating detritus. Mouthfeel is less creamy than whipped or steamed, akin to the body of a mocha, full but without the coating nature you'd expect of a stout or a less dry beer. Incredibly well done.

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Photo of Marius
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Pre-Borefts Ratebeer Tasting 2016. Pitch black with a tan head. Notes of cherries, sherry, cocoa, cognac. Medium to full bodied with a soft carbonation.

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Photo of philbe311
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - An active billowing pour yields approximately three fingers worth of lopsided light khaki colored froth with loads of big chunky bubble mixed in... Stellar retention... The color is dark brown reminiscent of molasses... Mostly dark, but some light leaks in around the edges... Loads of carbonation cling to the sides of the glass... A few quick carbonation streaks can be seen within... Gobs of gooey lacing cling to the sides of the glass...

S - A big inviting nose... Vanilla... Cocoa nibs... Dark fruits... Molasses... No two whiffs are the same as each reveals something slightly nuanced... Very pleasant and teetering on world class...

T - A subtle sweetness to start... Hot chocolate... Vanilla... Toffee... Molasses... Then a bit of a warming booziness midway through... A slightly surprising tartness on the finish as the cranberries emerge on the finish and continue to intensify... Unique, slightly challenging but rewarding...

F - Medium bodied, lush and exceedingly smooth to start... Slightly saliva inducing midway through before crescendoing with a subtle tartness and moderate dryness...

O - A very interesting beer... Not something I would drink with regularity, but definitely worth indulging... The appearance and aroma are exceptional... The flavor and mouthfeel bring this one back to earth a wee bit... This is what I expect in a high octane anniversary / birthday beer... A power base style with lots of creativity... Overall a pretty darn good brew but a bit less then the sum of its parts...

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Best AFTER 6/14/15"; drank 7/25/15 @ the Palace.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown/black appearance with lots of tan flotsam.

Small tan head; decent lace.

Aspirin, milk chocolate & faint raspberry notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel. Raspberry & aspirin flavors up front; an oaky finish. Decent but too medicinal.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Porter brewed with pomegranate molasses, partially aged in bourbon barrels, and blended with ale brewed with cocoa nibs and cranberries. Purchased in July of 2014, best after date of 6/16/15. Enjoyed on 11/29/16. Poured from a bottle into a MadTree snifter. The pour is dark, but not completely black. A little light gets through and a slightly rough pour produces 2 fingers of tan foam with average retention. Really nice nose on this with rich bourbon notes, toasted oak, vanilla, roasted malt, and a toffee, treacle, nutty aroma.

Full body with a flavor that is rich and oaky, but also a bit tart. Up front I get toffee, sarsaparilla, and some bittersweet chocolate. Right at mid-palate, this strong, tart berry flavor kicks in and permeates everything. It carries through the finish, which is rich and warm, but not at all boozy.

Overall, an interesting beer. Usually I object to strong fruit flavors when they show up in a rich or roasty barrel-aged beer. These seem to come from genuine fruit and not from oxidation so they don't disagree with my palate as much. Still, I would prefer to have the chocolate and toffee flavors dominate and to let the fruity tartness be a secondary player here. If the fruit were toned down a bit, I might like this beer much more than I do.

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Photo of blunderful
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Released June 2014; best after date 06/13/15; drank November 2016 at cellar temperature.

Look: Dark brown with bright red mahogany highlights and bright tan leather edges. Half finger of light tan head with loose bubbles that lingers for a while. Clear but had a lot of chocolaty sediment in the last pour of the bottle.
Smell: Tons of dark fruits and chocolates as soon as the dusty black wax cap was cracked off. Somewhat earthy, milk chocolate-covered plums and walnuts, a very light dank woodiness or inky, old book and leather aromas from oxidation which are fantastic. Lots of fruits and fudge with a little bit of tart cherry and cranberry, oak, and bourbon in the back.
Taste: Deep, complex dark fruits, milk and dark chocolates, and sticky, dried up bourbon. Light tartness like dried cherry and cranberry with some pomegranate coming through. Little bitterness and very light roast similar to a toasted bagel with jam more than coffee or hops. It reminds me of dipping all kinds of fruits into a pot of a dozen melted chocolates.
Feel: Smooth, soft, a touch of warmth, and carbonated just enough to keep it from feeling heavy or sticky if you choose to drink the entire bottle yourself in one sitting.

I think this is perfectly aged and excellent for the cold weather right now. This surpassed my hopes and aged better than expected at room temperature. More than another solid Deschutes beer, it is definitely outstanding.

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Photo of arizcards
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at TW Arrowhead on 8/3/2014 for $15.99. Best after 6/14/2015.

Beer poured dark brown with a very nice tan head with the initial pour.

Nose is dark fruit and cocoa, very nice.

Taste is roasted malts, tart cherries, bitter cranberries, and dark cocoa that all meld together very well.

Feel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this beer definitely improves with age. The first one last fall was lacking the melding of the flavors it is doing now. It is pretty tart if you are sensitive to that sensation.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch black with one finger of tan head.

S: cranberry, oak, chocolate.

T: cranberries, oak, chocolate, black malt and espresso.

F: medium to thick viscosity and good carbonation.

O: overall a complex and tasty big porter.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into tulip. Best after date 6/14/15.

A: Pours a dark cola brown, near black, with a couple fingers of dense dark brown head that slowly faded into a thick bubbly collar and fuzzy film. Streaks and spots of sticky lace were left down the glass.
S: I get notes of caramel, chocolate, bourbon, leather and toffee right off the bat, followed by sweet hints of molasses and a touch of booze. There is a sweet quality to the nose that is slightly fruity, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it pomegranate or cranberry if the label didn’t describe these ingredients. There is a subtle kiss of red berry preserves though.
T: Syrupy fruit sweetness is more noticeable in the taste along with the cocoa nibs. I get notes of bourbon, caramel, slight vanilla, chocolate, and slight toffee. Sweet pomegranate molasses and cranberry poke through in the finish, with just a touch of cherry skin, candied dates, and leather.
M: Thick body, chewy and dense carbonation, full, fluffy, sweet and sticky mouthfeel. Bourbon and booze are noticeable but there is no heat to the mouth. No tartness; slight bitter touch.
O: Sweeter than previously years, but if the thought of pomegranate syrup and cranberry scares you, those flavors themselves do not stand out to me. Still, if sweet imperial porters/stouts are your thing, this will be right up your alley.

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Photo of bnes09
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Roasted malt and berry aroma. Mild roasted malt, strong acidic cranberry and pomegranate. Subtle bourbon. Licorice. Mild cocoa. Full bodied. Solid bubbles. Unique but not the best combination of flavors imo. Still tasty.

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

Tried this bomber on my Dad and step Mom's 27th Wedding Anniversary. Absolutely outstanding full flavor porter. This is one of those porters that will age extremely well.

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Photo of beer-fan-1
4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

To me this is the best I've had in 55 years. My personal tastes have evolved from German lagers and pilsners (stationed there 40 years ago) to craft beers since moving to Washington 22 years ago and it has moved to dark ales, stouts, and porters. This beer classifies as a stout, fruit/vegetable, and bourbon barrel aged beer all in one and I can taste all of the subtleness in it. Definite chocolate finish. To date the best beer I've ever had!

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Photo of youradhere
4.99/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A little too much head and carb for an impy porter, very great overall. Pours mahogany with amber hues, ample khaki head with rivulets of co2 bubbles cascading up the glass. Smells of toffee chocolate, brandy, molasses. Tastes of bitter chocolate, initial pinch of choco roast bitterness punches first, supported by a full sweet malt backbone that somehow finishes off dry. Mouthfeel is dry yet juicy, I never feel parched with this as I would others that are classified "dry". Goes great with rice crispie treats.

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Photo of leaddog
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark jet black with garnet highlights and two fingers of foamy tan head.

Smell - Bourbon barrel aromas, cocoa nibs, pomegranate, cranberries, vanilla, roasted malts, earthy hops, molasses.

Taste - Tart flavours upfront from the pomegranate and cranberries, then switches to the rich flavours from the bourbon, cocoa nibs, and malts.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full bodied with light-moderate carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant tartness and stickiness.

Overall - You can't go wrong with any of Deschutes' Black Butte birthday reserve releases. This one really stands out with the pomegranate molasses and local cranberries. I appreciate that the bourbon barrel flavours are present, but not overbearing. A harmonious blend.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. This barrel aged imperial porter inherits a really interesting character from the cranberries in my opinion. The smooth, slightly sweet roastiness of the porter is cut by some tartness from the cranberries in a unique combination.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Neighbor had a Black Butte XXVI in the cellar. It poured an opaque black with ecru head that left some lace. The scent had dark fruit. The taste had dark fruit and chocolate. The Mouthfeel was medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's really good.

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Photo of Selz202
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This bottle had a best after of 5/31/15

Pours a rich black a little lighter than I expected with toasty head, pretty good retention and strong lacing.

On the nose strong tart fruit and chocolate. Surprisingly not much barrel notes. Something else I cant quite describe, possibly the molasses.

Taste still has a good amount of tartness up front and on the back end its a little malt and a small amount of barrel that balances a little bit of bitter. Small amount of heat on the very end, not much though.

Mouthfeel is balanced medium, not creamy and not thin. Pretty smooth for a beer of this nature.

I cracked one of these open on xmas so have now had 26 fresh, 1 year old and 1.5 years old. I do not see much advancement from the 1 year mark, I was hoping to get more barrel note out and a little more balance to the tartness. Overall a good beer I look forward to drinking the other 2 I have.

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Photo of stevoj
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beauty from Deschutes. Black and rich, oily with an airy beige head. Dried fruit aroma, taste is molasses and more dried fruit. A little brandy on the finish.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours near jet black, thin khaki head recedes to a thin cap/ring with some lacing.

Nose is aged roasty malts with bright fruits - ripe cherry huge. Big on the molasses note, but it says that on the label so might be leading me.

Flavor is fantastic - the cherry and pomegranate are there for sure. But the roasted malt backbone is huge and intact. Vanilla, bourbon, oak, char/smoke, and bright cherries. Residual sweetness, molasses definitely comes through. But so incredibly well rounded. Just a beautiful flavor profile here that really works for me.

Feel is on point - cab level is perfect. Full but not too viscous. Definitely not thin but zero syrupy aspect, generally hate if it's syrupy.

Edit: as this warmed it became a bit more fruity and sweeter than I like. It was a bit upsetting to the stomach for some reason (felt like a higher level of acidity than I'm used to?) so i dropped it a couple notches on taste, feel, and overall.

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,076 ratings.
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