Black Butte XXVII | Deschutes Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Black Butte XXVIIBlack Butte XXVII
481 Ratings
Black Butte XXVIIBlack Butte XXVII

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ale brewed with rose water with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with apricot puree, cocoa nibs, and pomegranate molasses.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 481 |  Reviews: 118
Reviews by travolta:
Photo of travolta
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

More User Reviews:
Photo of maximum12
3.86/5  rDev -9%
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.

 1,293 characters

Photo of SerialTicker
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 1,055 characters

Photo of Pegasus
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.

 1,231 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

 920 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -20%
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

 4,911 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
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.

 1,399 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

 756 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
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...

 1,267 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NWer
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of freshflesh
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, black and more black with a tan head that fades fast.
The nose is toasty, fruity and loaded with dark chocolate.
Taste follows. Lots of dark chocolate and roast with nice undertones of stone fruit. Slightly tart and a touch boozy. Some vanilla and brown sugar as it warms.
Medium and smooth.

 304 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

Photo of Mikaveli
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of IrishGermanAmerican
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Franziskaner
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black in colored with a fingernail of beige resting on top. Heavy sediment can be found towards the end of this beer. Moderate lacing is present. The aroma is dark malt contrasting with tart pomegranate. The taste is dark malt and intense tartness from the pomegranate. Sweet bourbon is also making its presence known. The mouth is thick, chewy, and viscous.

 364 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of tan head that fades back into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A rich and roasty dark malt driven aroma with a scent of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with a scent of dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, coffee, biscuit, smoke, caramel, and yeast. Barrel hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet scent of burnt molasses. Fruit notes of apricot, pomegranate, plum, berries, raisin, cherry, fig, and prune. Subtle earthy hops. A really good complex aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints at, a rich and roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, coffee, smoke, biscuit, caramel, and yeast. Barrel notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, wood, and oak. Lots of fruit notes with some pomegranate, apricot, berries, raisin, fig, prune, and cherry. Sweet taste of burnt molasses. Light earthy hop bitterness. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, syrupy, and juicy. Some alcohol heat is noticeable but its fairly minimal.

Overall: Another great version of this annual brew. I gave it a few months of aging and its coming along very nicely. Good mix of roasty malt, fruit, and barrel flavors.

 1,414 characters

Photo of Mantooth
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on draft at the brewery. Pours dark black, off-white head with nice retention and minimal lacing. The nose is whiskey, oak ans cocoa and the taste follows the nose. Whiskey forward with some smoke and a lot of oak. This medium bodied brew hides the alcohol quite well. Damn good beer. Cheers!

 300 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Oak aged anniversary" on tap at the Deschutes brewpub in Bend.
Black body with a very good light tan head.
Moderate aroma of sweet malts and whisky barrels Mildly sweet.
Smooth, full body and lively carbonation.
Overall: disappointing yet better than the 28 Anniv. Butte with which it was paired.

 300 characters

Photo of Zonian1
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beer21
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Black Butte XXVII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 481 ratings