Black Butte XXVII
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXVIIBlack Butte XXVII
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Porter - Imperial
4.26 | pDev: 7.51%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black Butte XXVIIBlack Butte XXVII
Notes: Ale brewed with rose water with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with apricot puree, cocoa nibs, and pomegranate molasses.
Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 508 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jrallen34:
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34 from Illinois

3.18/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Dec 02, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of SerialTicker
SerialTicker from Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a week or so ago at the brewery in Bend while driving through to Seattle. No notes at the time, but I do remember very well that the brewery's description of the beer was wrong -- it had the description for XXVI. Oh well.

I'll just say this was a very nice beer, even if underwhelming for the simple fact that it didn't taste unique to me. What I loved so much about XXVI was that it had a phenomenal cranberry/pomegranate tartness and sweetness that made it stand out. This beer tastes fantastic for the specific style, but it doesn't offer anything particularly new. It's definitely barrel aged, but you can tell it's not intensely aged, as it accents more than anything. The alcohol is reasonably well hidden, but still definitely there. Nice creamy feel. The taste is "just" a really well done barrel aged imperial porter. Chocolate and coffee all over with a subtle smokiness to it.

I'm not sure exactly what this anny's edition was brewed with, but it doesn't "wow" me in the way that XXVI did. Regardless, a brilliant beer ... unsurprisingly.

Jul 08, 2015
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another year, another Black Butte anni brew. A series I used to love…back on track? Let me wax optimistic. 22 oz. black-waxed bomber split with my wife.

The pour, initiated by our youngest daughter, is butte black & painstakingly even between the two glasses. Very light on the nose even after twenty minute at room temp: am I going smell deaf? I haven’t been getting much off the beer surfaces lately. Mild roast, lipid sweetness. That’s it.

Black Butte XXVII doesn’t return the series to exalted heights, but it’s moving in a buoyant direction. There’s a goodly amount of bourbon up front, backed with a deep malt sweetness - hey Deschutes, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Mid-palate comes the unnecessary weird, but it’s throttled enough to keep it from ruining the beer: the rose is actually interesting, & the fruitishness light & vague, thank goodness. Roast & a light bitterness (chocolate?) but no actual chocolate flavors emerge. Possible molasses sighting, but it’s lost in the generalized sweetness. Nice & thick, & with zero ABV it’s very easy to sip. Going quickly.

Better than XXVI, this is tasty & slammable. For the first time in a couple of years I might actually go buy another to age intentionally, because I like where this is headed. Very good brew.

Nov 17, 2015
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best after: 7/20/16.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, dark fruit, spice, wood, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly tart dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, apricot, pomegranate, spice, char, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast and earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid aromas that are slightly better than the slightly tart flavors I a, getting from this one.

Serving type: bottle.

Nov 09, 2015
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.39/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

"Black Butte XXVII." 27th birthday reserve. Label identifies it as an imperial porter; review live below as such.

PACKAGING: Black wax-ed over black unbranded crown cap. Classy black and tan label design. Bomber format.

Best after: 7/20/16. 11.6% ABV.

Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption. Expectations are sky-high since I've really adored past beers in this series.

HEAD: ~1.5 inches wide. Khaki colour. Hints of creaminess. Decent complexion and consistency. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - easily 9+ minutes. Leaves consistent light lacing as it recedes. A bit airy for an imperial porter, but soft looking at least.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid black with no visible yeast - right on the money for the style.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a good overall appearance for an imperial porter, but offers no unique or special characteristics. A darker richer head would have suggested more of a dessert beer, and a shining complexion with golden hues would give it a better appearance overall (if we're nitpicking).

AROMA: Cream. Dark malts. A hint of faint cocoa - though that could easily be merely from chocolate malts.

Rose water? Perhaps some, if I strain to find it. Bourbon barrels? No. Apricot puree? No. Pomegranate? No. Molasses? No. Spices? No. I'm taken aback by its simplicity and shallowness; this is not the complex pungent aroma I've come to expect and hope for in Deschutes' birthday reserve beers.

Aromatic intensity is merely average. Suggests a no-frills imperial porter that isn't barrel aged and has little to offer in terms of diversity of flavour. Still, as it comes to temperature, a hint of vanilla does peek out (probably from the bourbon barrels).

I don't find any roasted barley, coffee, oatmeal, milk sugar, etc.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Better than the aroma suggested, but still a bit lacking in terms of intricacy, subtlety, diversity of flavour, and depth. Its creaminess complements its almost silky smooth, wet, classic porter mouthfeel, which boasts an apt medium body - making this more drinkable than most full-bodied thick hefty stouts. It's not a meal in a glass. Well-carbonated, with a good overall presence on the palate and no bothersome oily, gushed, hot,. astringent, or harsh characteristics.

That lack of harshness may come at a price though; there's no roastiness here at all - either in terms of roasted barley, coffee, roast, et al. - and those who crave hints of burnt sugars, toastiness (especially of the oak barrel used for the bourbon), and/or ashen characteristics in their imperial porters may be disappointed.

But this is going for silky and sleek, not harsh and roasty. Still, it just doesn't bring the complexity to the table you'd expect given how it's marketed...the rose water is barely present, the bourbon barrel presence is severely disappointing (offering only a hint of faint vanilla, but no rich white oak, toastiness, rich barrel sugars, coconut, et al.), the pomegranate is hardly there (at least until it warms, when finally - thankfully - the hints of pomegranate tartness start to fill in the flavour profile with a bit of colour), I find no molasses, and what are they talking about when they say this evokes spices? There's a perceptible chocolate malt base with perhaps some wisps of cocoa nibs, but there's no rich chocolate presence and the beer's overall depth of flavour is extremely lacking. Apricot puree? I find none...nor are there any more style-appropriate dark fruits like plum, fig, or the like.

The base is uninspired and the bourbon's barely there (perhaps it's telling that Deschutes opted not to include the duration of barrel aging on the label). I guess that's better than clobbering the base with an overwhelming bourbon presence, or is it?

It's balanced, if only because there aren't many notes to keep in balance. The build is underwhelming. Flavour duration is average. Flavour intensity is wanting. I can't believe Deschutes is behind this.

OVERALL: The build isn't gestalt, but it's cohesive. There's no harmony of texture and taste, and neither is dialed in. It seems over time Deschutes is diluting their finest series...The Abyss is becoming progressively less barrel-aged, and the Black Butte series is declining. Let's go big or go home, Deschutes. Crank the bourbon barrel aging up to 100% (and age for at least 6 months), commit to your ingredients, and stick to the tried-and-true complexity that's worked for these limited releases for years. I'm critical only out of love for Deschutes; this is, intrinsically, a *pretty* good, drinkable brew...but it's a noticeable step down from previous years. And I can't help but notice that the price on beers in this series rises year-to-year.

If anything stands out, it's the pomegranate - surprisingly, more so than in last year's offering.

B- (3.39) / WORTHY

Dec 21, 2015
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

on tap at an asian restaurant in billings, montana. sort of an odd setting t see this on a short tap wall, but pretty cool nevertheless. they poured it into a pint glass, a heck of a dose! cool they keep mixing this one up, and i was surprised that the tartness of the cranberry last year was still there with apricots in their place. i dont think of tart with apricot, but there really still is that factor here, even a little unexplained acidity. the base beer is of course fantastic, hazy and medium dark brown, without a ton of head. it smells fruity, but i get the pomegranate molasses right off the bat, sweet and raw, with the dark chocolaty barley there as well. a little less depth to the flavor than i remember in years past, the apricots seem to be largely fermented out, making a stronger and even thinner boozier brew. faint traces are there, but this is not an apricot flavored beer. the bourbon presence is heavy too, i like the fruit elements uniting with the vanilla and char, its like a baked winter dessert. carbonation is virtually nonexistent, but it doesnt bother me in a beer like this. in the end, i dont think i like it as much as in years past, but its an impressive specimen just the same. i think walnuts would be a cool extra next year...

Oct 11, 2015
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Opaque dark Amber, with a small, dense light rocky tan head, which retains well. Thick, unbroken sheets of fine-beaded lacing adorn the glass walls. The head remains for a remarkably long time.

Aroma: Profound notes of fruit, particularly apricot, dominate the aroma, there is bitter coca, and molasses, as well. Lots of boozy alcohol, as well, and woody bourbon barrel notes, also. Perhaps there is a little vanilla, as well.

Taste: Opens with profound notes of bourbon-like booze and bitter cocoa, and molasses. Wood runs throughout the taste, as well as some vanilla. Biscuit malt is present from start to finish. Hints of apricot are present as well, but mostly overwhelmed by the more complex flavors of malt, bitter cocoa, and booze. Late in the taste, bitter cocoa and the bourbon-like notes peak. Finishes with a lingering barrell wood note.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, very full, remarkably soft, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Really just excellent, very, very over-the-top. Perfect for a holiday dinner.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twenty-ounce ounce brown glass bomber bottle, sealed with a pry-off crown, and melted black wax, served in a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Sensory glass.

Nov 21, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Creativity and refinement align once again for the beer that commemorates Deschutes' 27th birthday. Their porter of imperial strength, in this year's installment employs cocoa, apricot, pomegranate molasses and those unmistakable seasoned bourbon barrels.

As dark as night, perhaps a shade off of black, the espresso-stained pour is gentlemanly and ominous as a creamy whipped foam billows to the rim. With its toasty, roasty lead in, the scent is accented with robust succulence, tangy fruit and oak-soaked whisky. While flavors also start with a bold roast coffee bang, the underlayment of sweet and savory molasses, caramel and vanilla stabilizes the early palate.

Just off of the resolute char of stout, the fortified porter unfolds on the middle palate with bittersweet baker's chocolate, freshly ground dark-roast coffee and charred toast- all without the burnt character of stout. Yet, the supporting sweetness of molasses takes on a fruity weave of marmalade, red berry and seemingly cherry, blackberry and plum. Hints of licorice and peppercorn round out the balance as the taste turns to close.

Full, lush and strong in its texture profile, the beer carries an arid drinkablity that's aided by the powdery tannins of oak. But in finish, its the bourbon that fullfills lasting memories as its long, spicy and warming afterglow is laced with its own supple caramel, vanilla and nuttiness.

Oct 21, 2015
Photo of jwc215
jwc215 from Arizona

4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wax-sealed 22 oz. bottle (that was not easy to open) poured into snifter:

Pours very dark brown with a thin head that becomes a small bubbly island. Small spots of lacing stick.

The smell is of chocolate, molasses, oak/vanilla (not too strong). A touch of tart fruit.

The taste is of chocolate, mollasses, a touch of balancing earthy root. Not sure if I get the apricot puree, but I do get pomegranate - there is a tart fruitiness to it. Alcohol well-integrated. A subtle bourbon/oak blends in without overwhelming, but adding an additional layer of complexity.

It has a fairly robust, porter body. Smooth despite abv.

Overall, the complex aromas and flavors blend well. After I opened it I noticed it had a best after date of 7/20/16. I'll see if I can get another bottle to age it. As it is it's a mighty fine drink. A strong porter with fruit and bourbon characteristics mixing in. An interesting, unique sipper!

Sep 23, 2015
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, nearly opaque in the glass and a half finger brown head that dissipates to patches. Aroma of dark toasted malt, dark dried fruit, bourbon, milk chocolate and a hint of char. Flavor is rich chocolaty toasted malt, bourbon with a nice light fruit flavor developing mid taste that is hard to identify, but could be either or both of the pomegranate or apricot. Finishes with a slight apricot tartness and hop bitterness. Medium to heavy bodied with a nice creaminess; great mouth feel. A really nice barreled imperial porter with a great flavor progression from malt and bourbon dominated into lighter fruit that is well supported by the heavy malt. Bourbon is distinct, but does not dominate. A beer that kept inviting repeated tastes, but the well covered massive ABV forced this to be a slow sipping porter. Really nice. Perhaps one of my favorite of the series.

Oct 07, 2015
Photo of cd34
cd34 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Mar 02, 2019
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle, into Odell Teku.

Rose Water, huh. And apricot nibs, and pomegranate molasses. What are these things?

Pours a medium nut brown which forms a darker brown to black in the Teku and has a 2 finger khaki head that recedes to 1. Lace is really nice and plentiful.

I can smell apricot and molasses, licorice, yes a little pomegranate seed, hot caramel, and some general peppery spiciness. It is intriguing.

Flavor brings the flower pot water first and loudest, followed by some tart and nearly sour apricot, slight pomegranate seed, dry cocoa, pineapple, caramel, fennel, and a bit of grassy hop. Further sips yield more tart apricot puree.

Feel is medium bodied, slightly roasty, slick, and build in heat on the palate. Drying finish.

Overall, a bizarre piece of brew here. Tart apricots, plant water, pomegranate seeds, and dry cocoa. I don't think I'd revisit it again, but they really did throw the kitchen sink into this one. After about 1/3 of the bottle, I'm saying "no more".

Price paid : $8.99 (clearance) / 22 oz bottle
Would buy again : Nah

Aug 03, 2020
Photo of bnes09
bnes09 from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark chocolate color. Light head with weak retention.

Dark roasted aroma that suggests chocolate and fruit.

Light roast coffee. Semi sweet chocolate. Hint of apricot. Earthy, herbal hop. Minimal, if any, bourbon flavor.

Full bodied, light carbonation, sticky feel.

I feel the fruit flavors may have diminished slightly in a year. Still very good.

Jul 20, 2016
Photo of SinjaminBentek
SinjaminBentek from Nebraska

5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oct 26, 2015
Photo of NWer
NWer from Washington

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 18, 2015
Photo of SitkaSteve
SitkaSteve from Idaho

4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Because of ABV, I opted out of a pint glass for once, yeah well, this was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a black color with a slim finger's worth of tan head. Light lacing arrives in a fairly thick stringy content.
The smell starts off with a subtle plums, figs, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, light vanilla, light coffee and some molasses.
The taste was mainly sweet with light bitter tones coming from the coffee. Makes a decent effort to balance, but it mainly stays sweet. There's a semi-sticky sweet fruity aftertaste that leads into a wet finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sessionability about it. Carbonation seemed to smooth out nicely with the dark fruits and the molasses working their way over my tongue.
Overall, can we just call this an Imperial Porter and say it's a damn nice one!

Nov 06, 2015
Photo of oldvines
oldvines from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 24, 2016
Photo of Kevinpitts
Kevinpitts from Illinois

4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 13, 2015
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nov 11, 2015
Photo of TreeBear
TreeBear from Oregon

4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 12, 2015
Photo of KAP1356
KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mar 21, 2016
Photo of pjvie
pjvie from Oregon

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 15, 2015
Photo of MichialTanner1
MichialTanner1 from Texas

4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 05, 2015
Photo of BcOneSeven
BcOneSeven from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jan 23, 2016
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Opaque dark brown body topped with a very dense and creamy light tan head. Excellent aroma combing elements of dark grains and dark, pitted fruits; slightly sweet and little boozy; cherries and figs; cocoa. The taste bursts with notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, sweet pitted fruit, and some well-hidden alcohol. Heavy body; thick and chewy; big residual sugar sludginess; some boozy warmth.

I have no idea what rose water is or what it supposedly contributes to this beer, but all else considered, this is one fine aged ale. There is a lot to experience here. Great depth and complexity exists here, and one need only let the beer open and develop to discover its dark secrets. This bottle label claims this beer is best after 7/20/16, and I have no reason to doubt this. For a 4+ year-old beer, this one is a beauty!

Nov 24, 2019
Black Butte XXVII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 508 ratings