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Black Butte Porter | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte PorterBlack Butte Porter
6,201 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,201 |  Reviews: 1,588
Photo of BeerAngel
3.31/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany and black with a very impressive head for a porter displaying a good 2 fingers of light tan foam that lingers. The smell is of burnt chocolate and a little hint of a phenolic aroma with not alot else going on. The taste is roasted malts, hints of chocolate, and a unique alkaline finish. This beer is a light bodied beer that finishes what would be dry but is diluted with a watery end.

Notes: Very thin and watery and just disappointing because the right flavors are there, but in weak fashion. One tongue down on this one. Cheers!

 557 characters

Photo of goindownsouth
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to weefisheads for this fine example of what all porters should be.

Presentation: 12 ounce bottle with the typically artistic Deschutes label. Yet again, the "best if used by" date is clearly indicated.

Appearance: Deep rich brown, if not black. The head was about an inch at the start, and faded away to a cunningly clingning lace.

Smell: Amazing notes of roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate run through my nose. Slight twinge of alcohol, and maybe some flowery hops in the background.

Taste: So incredibly smooth and light for something seemingly so rich-looking. The brew was strong in flavor, and offered hints of carmelization, which lets me believe this would go well with creme brulee.

Bottom Line: Fantastic. Without a doubt one of, if not the best porter on the market.

Zum wohl!

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Photo of BierReise
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle 5/28/04 Poured clear the color of Coca-Cola with not much of a head. Interesting aroma, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is medium to thin with average carbonation. Flavor has alot of chocolate in it giving it a YooHoo chocolate sweetness. Nice flavor. Wet finish. Overall very drinkable. Nothing complex, could drink a few of these.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The taste has a nice smoky flavor that I think would be difficult to tire of. Very subtle. I can almost wrap my tongue around the smoky hops. I was camping and this was all that the small convenience store in the local logging town had in stock that caught my eye. Glad it did because it was great while sitting around the campfire. Unfortunately, because I was camping I could not pour it out of the bottle because I had no glass with me.

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Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one at a cocktail party at a business meeting I was at in Portland, OR. That is one of the great things about Portland, even at semi-stuffy affairs, they serve you great beers.

Beer is a coco brown with a tan head and average lacing.

Smell is of roasted malt, hints of chocolate and perhaps a bit of fresh bread. Clear use of quality ingredients.

Taste is just a god as the smell. Roasted malt with some smoky undertones, was my initial impression. As I worked my way through the beer, the taste turned slightly sweet with just a hint of underlying hops.

Very creamy and easy to drink. I could see this as a very good session type beer.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pour produces a finger-thin tan head that lasts for a short while. Thin lacing left on the glass throughout. Body a deep mahogany, almost black away from the light. Nice and appropriate for the style.

Smell: Ah, now that’s porter. After a bit of coaxing, sweet, roasted malt comes through, with hints of caramel, coffee and smoke. There’s a faint bit of hops and/or fruit esters as well. Not complex, but quite pleasant.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Starts out rich and a bit sweet with a good roasted malt flavor, but bitterness comes through quickly. The mouthfeel thins out a bit more than I’d like, and the hops pop hard at the end with a big astringent finish.

Drinkability: Pretty good. It’s pretty light for a porter, and it has a good porter flavor. However, it finishes way too bitter for me, which makes it less appealing.

This is a good, and surprisingly affordable, porter; it represents the style well. I would have liked more body and less bitterness. Otherwise, good stuff.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The Black Butte Porter pours a dark, coffee like black with a root beer float cream head. The smell is that of rich chocolate mocha. The taste is very good. Taste has a rich cocoa bean type flavor. Tastes great in the mouth as chocolate sensations penetrate the tongue. Only big problem is drinking alot of these doesn't seem possible, very dark and thick. I couldn't drink more that 2 of these. Great after a meal.

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Photo of zacharius
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown with a beige head. Smell is of chocolate and caramel malt. Taste is malty with a chocolate hints and a gentle bitterness. Mouthfeel is average, could have used a bit more body. Drinkability is very good for the style. I would like to see a bit more aroma hops in this beer but overall it is good.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The head on this one is medium-sized, tan, dense, bubbly. Foamy. It leaves thick, sticky lacing. The beer itself is a dark, brown/black color. Holding it to the light shows dark red highlights. The nose is quite light, showing some chocolate. The beer starts off sweet and milky, with some tobacco hoppiness. A fruity, tangy middle leads to a tangy, bitter finish. It's hoppy, and a little smoky. It's a very good, fairly light-tasting, hoppy porter. Quite delicious.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany color with a small, dense and creamy tan head.
Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate and red fruit.
Wow! The flavor is much more complex than the smell. Great earthy roasted malt taste. Chocolate, red fruit and hints of coffee, caramel and a wisp of smoke. Nicely balanced with a spicy hop bitterness.
Medium bodied with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. Great drinkability.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The highlight of a recent business trip to the Bay Area was the long overdue opportunity to try my first Deschutes beer. Fortunately, it was Black Butte Porter on-tap. I ordered it in a big 20 oz glass and was wishing for more when it was gone. It poured wit a big creamy head. It's dark brown with a hint of garnet when held to the light. The smell has hints of roasted malt but chocolate sweetness is more noticeable. Chocolate flavors also dominate, with some nice roasty notes backing them. The mouthfeel is nice, but the drinkability is a real plus. If you're looking for a "session porter," look no further.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark and earthy with a small tan head and average lacing. Smells sweet and tangy with the slightest sulfur note way deep down. The taste is top notch, with PNW-style hoppy bitterness up front followed by a bittersweet chocolate and slight mollases finish. Chewy and substantial mouthfeel with mild carbonation. Drinkability is just fine here, though I usually pick something lighter for long sessions. Very, very good Porter.

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Photo of jtfest
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark -- almost opaque, with a small tan head. Sweet malty aroma with a hint of -- I don't know, maybe coffee or caramel? Big, rich flavor that is not at all bitter, but instead very smooth with a strong roasted taste. Full mouthfeel and a pleasant sweet aftertaste. Very easy to drink -- you could have a few of these without overpowering your palate.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bottle into a pint glass. A fine low light-tan head formed, leaving behind a fine blanketing lacing. The aromas were soft consisting of dry malts, hops, and perhaps some toffee. The taste was big, with prominent hops, coffee-toffee malts, roastiness, and a whole grain undertone. The porter flavors fall off leaving a very pleasant lingering hop flavor in the mouth. These are well developed and delicious flavors. The body was medium and smooth, as one would expect with a non-imperial style dark brew. This was a very drinkable and tasty porter, leaving me wanting another. Well done Deschutes! A Pacific Northwest staple.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with red highlights and a medium tan head. Roasted barley, chocolate and a small amount of hop bitterness are present in the aromas.
Taste of coffee and chocolate are dominant. Small hop bitterness in the middle and finishes with a verry smooth malt back end.
Highly drinkable and a really interesting balance between light bitterness and rich mat on the back end.
Really good.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown color, showing crimson edges, with an active, fizzy tan head, though quick to settle.
Aroma: smooth, creamy, with a whiff of bitter hops.
Taste: nice, gritty texture, but smooth thereafter. Little hop presence on the palate, but full malt, full body, and rich in cocoa, coffee flavor. Very sweet and fruity in the end, with ultimately excellent balance, and thoroughly accomplished drinkability.
Overall, an excellent, everyday, workhorse porter, with no overboard flavors, just smooth, tasty, thirst-quenching and solid. One I've enjoyed before and would happily employ again as a session ale, if I could.
Thanks to Gusler for the re-acquaintance.

 669 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle, this porter exhibited a slightly lighter hue than most other porters I've tried. It had a dark brown color with maroon highlights and a thin light tan head that didn't last very long and left only minimal, spotty lace.
The smell was mainly roasted caramel and chocolate malts with a light burnt edge and hints of cocoa. Just a touch of smokiness noted, also. The taste had a sweet chocolate flavor with a roasted coffee bean note and some good roasted grain flavor. The finish had some mild hops bitterness but the taste was never too acidic or acrid. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth, and dry.
Black Butte Porter is a real tasty offering from Deschutes. Has a great taste, good feel and the 5.5% ABV won't knock you on your can, limiting you to just one. This brew has sparked my interest in other beers by Deschutes, especially their Obsidian Stout.

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Photo of UncleFrank
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

REVISED. When I first reviewed this beer I thought someone poured me the stout, not the porter. As a porter this is very nice. Modified review follows.
A wonderful roasted aroma and grainy malt charecter is very pronounced. Hop aroma is not there at all.
The color is dark with a thin to no head. ( This also could be from my glass.) The taste has layers of roasted grains, a touch of alcohol quickly taken over by black malts and then finishes sweet like chocolate. The astringency of roasted and black is what bitters and balances the brew instead of hops. There is alot going on here.
A great porter that could use a bit more body. The flavor linguires and makes you desire another sip..

 695 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release (2003)
Draught @ Papago
As it was “Deschutes Promo Night” at “Papago Brewery”, and even though I had some foot surgery scheduled the next day, there was just “No Way” I would pass up this “Great” opportunity to sample some of the best beers available in these here United States, and trust me I was not disappointed by the fine turn out and the great beer rep from Deschutes, just another class act from a “Classic American Brewery”.

Not your prototypical porter color, a beauteous blackberry color as it set in my “Papago Monk Club Goblet”, the head Bunyanesque in size, creamy in texture, the color a light tan and as the head ever so slowly dissipated, a thick and glutinous sheet of lace formed to meld with the goblet. Lots of malt and a fine hint of toasted grain in the crisp and fresh nose, a treat for this old schnozzle, start sweet, the top middling in its feel. Finish is benignly carbonated, the hops pleasing in their spiciness, dry aftertaste, and a real nice porter that is not overpowering, just plain “Good Drinking”!

 1,063 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Very dark, almost black body with a nice, big tan head that held nicely and laced the glass.

Smell – Big coffee starts off this nose followed by good toasted malt. There’s also some chocolate, cherries, maple, and molasses.

Taste – This is very smooth. The coffee and milk chocolate blend evenly to form a chocolate latte flavor. The milkiness is huge in this porter. There’s also a very interesting hop balance that makes this beer exceptionally smooth and refreshing.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied and very refreshing.

Drinkability – Is there such a thing as a porter session beer? If so, this is it.

Update – I decided to revisit some of the beers that I reviewed in 2003 for 2004 and included this since it is so easy to get around here.

I didn’t find as much complexity in this beer the second time around. And now, after having reviewed 50 or so Porters on the site this one seemed a bit thin and watery for my tastes. I changed some of the scores accordingly and, overall, this one lost 0.3 on its overall score.

 1,063 characters

Photo of alexgash
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another very good beer from Bend. Pours a dark cola amber with a dense tan head. Aromas aren't too big, but I can pick out coffee, bittersweet roasted malts, and dark chocolate powder. Taste starts with semi-sweet chocolate malts, followed abruptly by dry, bitter roastiness. Finish is bitter with traces of alcohol. This is a medium bodied beer with a creamy feel.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is not as dark as I prefer a porter, kind of amber, but still very nice brownish head. I'd also prefer a richer tasting beer. This beer is a little thin on mouthfeel and on dark malt flavor. Definately get some chocolate or black patent malt, but more chocolate would help me define it as a real porter.

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color, decent head, moderate lacing. Aroma was sweet, smokey, bready, with a bit of citrus (grapefruit?) and coffee in the background.

This beer got better as it warmed up, started out kind of thin and watery, but as it warmed up it took on a thicker creamier mouth feel with some sweet malt and roasted/burnt coffee flavors (why is it when drinking burnt coffee it's bad, but a burnt coffee flavor in a cigar or a beer is so good?) :-)
slight bitter finish

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours with a nice thick brown head. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, and some dark toffee perhaps. Very smooth tasting with a roast, chocolate malty thickness to it. Tastes lightly sweet with maybe a hint of hoppiness in the flavor. A very clear dark brown color when it is held up to the light, otherwise it is a deep brown, almost black color. A slight bit of acidity from both the carbonation and the dark malts is evident. This beer is definitely predominantly a chocolaty smooth one though.

 499 characters

Photo of Shaw
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Porter is a style I find hard to mess up. I think it's the most consistently good style of any beer. But there is a clear champion ...

Deschutes Black Butte Porter is the best porter I've had. It is nice and dark, letting just a bit of light through. A tan head and a slight coffee aroma are revealed upon pouring.

But it's the smooth-as-glass taste with just the perfect amounts of bittering from dark malts and hops that makes this beer so good. And it has a wonderful finish that doesn't leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

This beer is a rare treat for a Floridian: I bring a case back now and then from California on the plane.

I recently tried brewing a knockoff. My arrogance! While my porter came out well, it can't hold a candle to the original -- or its dark master, as Kramer would say.

Too bad Deschutes has a small distribution area in the West. This is a beer to spread the gospel about.

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Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 6,201 ratings
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