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: 178 | Ratings: 1,060
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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Photo of ajm5108
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch-black with creamy foam head. Good retention. Aroma is decadent, lots of dark chocolate, pomegranate & cranberry and lots of warm caramel & vanilla from the oak. Not much straight bourbon notes which is fine by me. The taste is interesting because it really does pull lots of the pomegranate juice, and mixed with top layers of burnt cocoa & bourbon it really goes for a sweet / savory combo. It lingers almost like a chocolate berry cake. Some of the bourbon heat and oak clash with sweetness a little, so it misses the mark ever so slightly, but it is still a very good beer. Also, it's a little thin for the kind stout it is.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear dark brown with two fingers of tan bubbly head that fell to a thin collar leaving spotty lacing. The nose starts with dark roasted malt, stone fruit, bourbon and some alcohol. The taste is roasted malt, char, deep sweet stone fruit, molasses, bourbon, some hot alcohol. Full, round, smooth, maybe a touch thin.

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured almost completely black with a bit of tan head that dissipated quickly. The smell is vanilla, barrel, and a little booze. The flavor follows suit as vanilla and chocolate interplay well to begin with the barrel smoothing out the booze flavor that hits at the end. The feel is almost syrupy with a bit of carbonation. This is an amazing imperial porter that I look for every year!

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a motor oil black with one finger creamy tan head. The head leaves tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark cherries, bitter dark chocolate and light bourbon.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Upfront is dark cholocate and cranberries. Roasted malts, light bourbon, and charred oak round out the flavor.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft smooth mouthfeel. Dry finish.

O - Full flavored and very drinkable. Solid brew.

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Photo of strohme2
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour leads to a big soapy head that seems to be lasting down the sides of the glass. Garnet red to medium brown color. Smells of unripe berries, chocolate and some woody notes. Initial taste reminds of me chocolate covered sweet cranberries. I get very little to no bourbon. I was expecting something different but I'm not disappointed. Starts of a non cloying dry chocolate and finishes with a minute tartness. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My bottle poured a brownish curdled mess on a black mildly carbonated beer. It was cellared at too cold a temp, but as a 26 anniversary, it wasn't aged that long and I expected it to hold together better. Guess not. Very disapointing appearance. Smelled of chocolate covered cheries, bittersweet chocolate, tangy dark pomegranate and rich raspberry. The flavor mirrored the red fruit nose but had a richer pomegranate fanciness and a roastier dark chocolate coffee richness with a milk chocolate creamy body. A mild dry cocoa powder finished both dry and sweet at the same time. With the creaminess. A mellow bourbon oakiness lingers heavy and wide on the palate albeit a little on the sweet chocolate syrup side. Overall, a bit disapointing with the appearance alone. It was the first impression and set the stage poorly . I liked the red fruit sweetness but felt it was on the aggressive side for my taste. I had hoped the red pomegranate and raspberry notes to be a mild accent with dark coffee malt being the foreground, but I felt it was sadly reversed here. It was good, full flavored and delicious, but fell short on the beer I built up in my head with high expectations.

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Photo of worstfisherman1
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fruity scent hits the nose immediately. First taste is over molasses giving way to mild fruit notes forcing your mouth to salivate as you enjoy it. Aftertaste is of smooth creamy bitterness like that of a latte. Your mouth continues to salivate well after your sip!

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,060 ratings.
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