Black Butte Porter | Deschutes Brewery

1,544 Reviews
Black Butte PorterBlack Butte Porter

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Alc. by Vol.: 5.2%
IBUs: 30

192 calories per 12 oz serving

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2001

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Reviews: 1,544 | Ratings: 6,012
Photo of BlacklightBrewin
1.9/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours a dark black stoutish color.
But not thick, somewhat watery.. though not as light as a newcastle.

The aroma and initial taste is very earthy.
The after taste is crisp and dry.

Maybe I'll have to try it from the tap instead.

I've had multiple bottles of this and I'm really suprised that some people adore this beer so much.

I havent had a porter that i've enjoyed as much as Sierra Nevada's
I'd love for someone to reccomend a superb porter.. though i find it hard to trust peers that have an affinity for beers such as this.

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Photo of Chieftog
2.05/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

I don't know why I'm so far off from everyone else. I don't love porters, stouts and other thick dark beers ... well, I do LOVE Woot Stout but that's a different story. Either way, I don't crave them but will drink them and sometimes enjoy them. So I got a Deschutes sampler and really enjoyed each one until I got to this one ... it harkens back to the late nineties ... it was a late night of drinking crappy beer. Walking through my house in a slumber, avoiding sleeping bodies and incapacitated friends, I spot an abandoned soldier ... the beer left behind. With double, blurry vision, I reach for the beerverage I deserted, only to take a massive slug of half a warm beer, steeped in a friends dip/snuff - it tasted just like this beer. I'm sorry ... I love Deschutes but this one was not for me, clearly.

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Photo of ccrida
2.26/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, the Black Butte is a deep, dark, cola like garnet color with a big tan head that quickly faded to a small collar leaving slight lace. The aroma is very faint, sweet and malty. The flavor is similarly scant, sweet and toasted malt, coffee, and very slight finish of bittering hops. The mouthfeel was very thin and watery. In as much as this Porter was incredibly inoffensive and light bodied, it could be considered to be highly drinkable...however, there was nothing about Black Butte that made me want to have more then one.

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Photo of santoslhalper
2.31/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearence: Poured a simple dark ruby with an incredible fizzy foamy beige head.

Smell: There are vague smells of chocolate and toasted nuts, but honestly there's not a whole lot to sniff.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste consists of a really weird, almost moth ball flavored malts combined with an inappropriate hop bitterness at the end. There are no real strong, bold or even interesting quialities to the flavor. The mouthfeel is just a tiny bit creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: Dissapointing!! I loved their Obsidian Stout, but this one just wasn't for me. It just tasted incredibly bland and boring.

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Photo of SlyBanter
2.34/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Now i passed up a six pack of Lagunitas Sucks to try this and regret it. Upon pouring, it looked great, dark and thick, but weak lacing on the head. My first reaction to smelling it was "why does this smell like blue moon?" And then i tasted it, and it TASTED like blue moon. Okay, it tastes better than blue moon, but very similar. So why do they call it a porter when it smells and tastes like a generic wheat ale? Another example of dumbing down a style of beer simply for mass appeal. It's obvious. I was not happy that this beer tasted nothing like a porter, and the feel, even less like a porter. It doesn't stick in your mouth, the now all too common hints of coffee are not executed properly, and it's just common in taste. Had this beer been labeled as a wheat ale, i would give it a higher rating, because i do not respect this beer as a porter and believe that it should not be called one.

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Photo of PaminPA
2.34/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This was very disappointing. Got a 12 pack on recom of the staff at a cross between a Budweiser and a Guiness. Watered down.
Will avoid.

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Photo of jbertsch
2.45/5  rDev -41%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Finally got a chance to try this while in Las Vegas, (It was on tap at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the MGM) but walked away very disappointed. For all the hype I didn’t see how this porter was anything above mediocre at best…and I mean at best.

The aroma and flavor were quite boring. I only smelled a little nutty earthiness, and the taste was similar, with maybe faint notes of chocolate and molasses but overall quite tame and lifeless. I wish it was a little richer. What surprised me the most was its almost watery mouthfeel. This was a big letdown for me. I can’t imagine ever reaching for this one again, but a part of feels I should try it again just in case there was some funny business going on at the restaurant….my friend shared the same thoughts about it.

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Photo of ssam
2.5/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- its black as night. i must say i did a perfect pour but the head still was very small and went away very fast.

S- the smell is nothing special, very dark chocolaty with some hoppiness.

T- much too dark tasting for me. the dark chocolate bitterness is not redeemed by anything and the coffee is obtrusive

M- the mouthfeel is good but doesnt counter the taste in my opinion

D- i dont like this beer

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Photo of Fabric8r
2.51/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow, this was horrible on tap at our local Applebee's. I have had it in bottle and was much better. What happened? Usually bottle is not as good as tap. This beer tasted bland and I could not tell if there was any hops in it at all. Hmmm, bad batch? Too old? Too new? Didn't taste green just really bland.

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Photo of beerman599
2.53/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer that does not taste like smells. i may have found a bad bottle but..... Appearance: Not much head and it disapered quickly.

Tasteslike it was old and possibly infected . Black Butte is known as a good porter but you would'nt now it from this sample i hope to try this again and have a better experience!

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Photo of atomicbwax
2.68/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance - Very dark. A reddish hue when hend to the light. When poured properly into a glass a nice thick head forms.

Smell - Rich, smoky, nutty, chocolatey. The aroma is quite pleasant overall.

Taste - Smoky and chocolatey. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Porters and this one tastes like most and I am not too impressed.

Mouthfeel - Full and smooth bodied. It feels anice and thick in the mouth. I like that.

Drinkability - As I mentioned before I am not a big fan of Porters so I do not find this terribly drinkable.

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Photo of cserrato02
2.69/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Great visual and herby aroma. Flavor seemed a little off. Somewhat bitter and it had small after taste of celery seed. It's nicely roasted, somewhat bitter but not over powering. The celery/earthy flavor note is somewhat to strong and not very pleasant.

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Photo of Retail1LO
2.74/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 32 oz. growler into a pint glass. Poured straight down the middle of the glass, beer gives about 3" of solid head. Pretty much downhill from there. The smell is nearly completely muted. Outside of carbonation and some malt, there's really nothing there. The taste to me is pretty bland. There's not a whole helluva lot going on here. Again, I don't detect too many distinct flavor profiles. Some hints of coffee, toasted malt. The mouthfeel is where this bottoms out. It's highly carbonated, and extremely astringent. There's absolutely no joy behind having this in your mouth. I'm wondering if Black Butte XXIII is anything like this. I hope to hell not.

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Photo of Trilogy31
2.75/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours brown with a dark ruby edge with no head when it was delivered to my table. Faint notes of roasted malts and coffee, with a sour smell. Taste was just not good and feel that either there was an issue with glassware or the beer was infexted as it was very lean and watery and had a sour finish. Wouldnt mind trying again but cant do anything outside of considering this beer average and based on reviews that is a shame.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
2.76/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a mug. Black color with almond almost white head. Little foam little lace.

Smell is of roasted malt. Some sweet malt smoke like almost but not quite. Slightly bland.

Sweet malt no real bitter hop flavor. Hint of smoke.

Medium body

Overall this was an ok porter… not terrific but not bad by any means. Give it a try once if it’s reasonable.

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Photo of RedDiamond
2.84/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'll often pick up a six-pack of Black Butte for casual drinking around the house. I've known it to be a good product, plus it's available everywhere and is reasonably priced. But I only review beers served in house where they're brewed. For Deschutes this has meant annual migrations to Bend, though with their new outpost in Portland I won't need to cross the mountains as often.

In this case I drank Black Butte in Bend. I'd had more unfavorable experiences drinking on Bond Street than I could dismiss as isolated oversights and wanted to see if anything had changed since my last visit. I thought perhaps the favorable qualities of Black Butte Porter that I knew from the bottle might at last present themselves on draught at the source. Alas, this was not to be.

First, they serve Black Butte fiendishly cold. This isn't a problem, but requires some patience to overcome as the beer warms to a more accommodating serving temperature. Black Butte is deep mahogany and presents with a large islet of frothy tan head and a wide display of lace. The aroma, even after warming, lacks roast and suggests sanitation or yeast-funk issues.

I found Black Butte's taste lackluster and unchallenging but with a faint tail that nearly holds one's attention with some smoky decay. The malts are workable with notes of toffee-vanilla but not cleanly presented.

Ultimately there are dozens of porters in the great Northwest that entertain the senses with greater amplitude and zeal than this one, at least as it's served on draught where it's brewed.

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Photo of motleybrew
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I know styles pretty well, especially of beers that I drink all the time. I am a porter hole. That is, i dump a lot of them down. This comes up adequate, but hardly interesting. it is so much to style that it has no character/personality whatsoever.

So... the appearance is a bland porter appearance... looking porterish.

The smell... lacks richness. A little yeasty and not so much interest beyond that.

taste told me there was no effort here to make a statement. hit the character, ok. make that hit interesting as an experience? no.

I didn't mind the feel... and I think the other negatives drew back my experience.

This isn't bad. no. It also isn't more than average. Outstanding is NOT hitting a style... it is achieving the style and making it seem interesting at the same time.

A good beer... there are much better.

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Photo of theowlsayshoe
2.94/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte porter
A – Very dark for a porter, made me think of the Don Hoe song “Tiny Bubbles”.
S – Like a malty Coke a Cola
T – Slightly bitter at first then very one toned like Guinness.
M - smooth, sticks to the sides of my mouth.
O – It’s so big and one toned I’m a little afraid of a stout from them being an imperial stout. It rings like a bell, one big strong note that slowly fades away and nothing else. I think it taste like a stout porter mix.

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Photo of ryrust5301
2.97/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance - A dark blackish brown, though not opaque. Faint glowing light could be seen around the edges, and when held up to light the darkness softened into a lighter shade. Very faint ring of off white foam circled the top. Looks a little light for a porter, but we'll see what shakes loose.

Smell - standard coffee smell seeps through, bitter chocolate adds a little sweetness. All in all, could stand to be a little stronger.

Taste & mouthfeel - Not as thick as I had hoped, and in a way a little bit runny. The feel is way to thin, and doesn't grab hold as it should anywhere in the mouth. Nice coffee note, though not very burnt or bitter enough. Chocolate helps sweeten it up a tad, but there's nothing too exciting here. Almost tastes watery.

Drinkability - This beer gets a very mediocre praise from me. Not what I had hoped for at all, and pretty disappointed. If I ever want a porter, i'm going to the gold standard. Anchor is the best porter you can ever pour into your awaiting pint glass.

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Photo of Steve_Studnuts
3.01/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3


Thus, I review:

Looks swell enough upon initial pour, all dark and frothy and inviting. Head retention is minimal, if that matters to you. Smells of coffee & copper. Tastes of weak coffee & raisin & well, copper. It's awful metallic. Somewhat thin & watery, too. There are much better brews in this style - Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, for example.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.02/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

That's all there is??? Really?

Pours an attractive deep brown with a nice thick head and good lacing.

Smell is an absolute head scratcher: There is none, or rather, there is very little. I'm not alone in thinking this - my 11-year old loves smelling the beers I'm trying and even he couldn't pick up much scent. Disappointing.

Likewise, taste was thin, very light notes of coffee and malt. But I wouldn't call it "subtle", I'd call it "weak". I'll acknowledge the taste came out a bit as it warmed, but only a bit. Still not what you'd call pronounced or even pleasantly nuanced.

I like porters/stouts and other Deschutes beers I've had passed muster, and this is one of the most beloved porters on the site, so my hopes were sky-high. Not sure what happened here. It wasn't unappealing, it just wasn't very impressive. Disappointing, but it's hard to imagine I'm right and everyone else is wrong. I plan on getting another bottle and seeing if it leaves a different impression.

UPDATED 9/12: Had another chance. Same verdict: Meh.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.07/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Says best by 2-12-11 so I must have it today!

Ohh the look is like a pour of cola...very bubbly, no head but a wisp of bubbles, a dark brown look. Looks very much like a seltzer or soda than a beer. Not great start.

S: Has a nice roasted character and a fudge notes, but also a metallic edge as well that kind of dominates any kind of complexity.

T: Has a very in the pocket roasty and fudgy porter taste. Not a lot of complexity to it either.

M: Very thin and bubbly. I do not enjoy the feel. Very overcarbonated.

D: High since it's very light and goes down easy. Hm, I dont see why people really dig this beer, it seems pretty average at best to me.

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a black but not opaque body with a minimal white head. Smell was very light with mild roast ash and some chocolate. Taste was a little underwhelming. That ash flavor tasted more like burnt coffee when drunk. Hops were not pronounced as to be expected with the style. The mouth feel was thin and watery. There was a certain acidic flavor to this one as it went down reminiscent of coffee at work that had sat out too long. This beer is very well crafted in that there is a good overall balance of flavor, a light crisp quality, and it lets some of the key flavors shine forward-I just wasn't a huge fan of those flavors.

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Photo of Devi0us
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap last Friday on my last day in Hawaii at The Yardhouse.

A- Poured a dark brown but light does penetrate this brew. About a finger head that dissipated rather quickly. Hardly any lacing.

S- Smell of dark malts dominated but dark chocolate eased it's way through the dominance.

T- The taste was malts and chocolate. Kinda bland for me. 

M- This was medium bodied but felt light on the palate. It does however have a decent amount of carbonation for me, almost too much. 

O- I've seen this many times at the places I frequent when I purchase beer. This tasted average and I felt like I was cheated. Let's just say that it will stay on the shelves when I purchase more beer. 

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Photo of spazaru
3.13/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What can I say? It's like porter 101. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Very smooth; I can drink one in about 2 minutes. Pours with a thin head, and has a medium to thin body, and a slightly burnt taste, but nothing off-putting. Maybe people who are scared of dark beer should start with this one, since there's nothing to offend here.

Pretty decent, but with so many exceptional porters available, why bother?

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Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery
4.15 out of 5 based on 6,012 ratings.
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