Black Butte XXVIII
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXVIIIBlack Butte XXVIII
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American Imperial Porter
4.28 | pDev: 6.31%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black Butte XXVIIIBlack Butte XXVIII
Notes: Every year, we celebrate our anniversary with an imperial, barrel-aged version of our flagship Black Butte Porter. Our brewers love to experiment and they always add some fun new ingredients to this beer like chilies, cranberries, figs and other such treats. This year, to celebrate 28 years of brewing, they’ve added the interesting mix of ingredients above for another multi-layered flavor experience.
Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 283 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mschrei
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, either I drank my first bottle of this and didn’t review it then for my new/old comparison, or I didn’t buy more than one. Either way, this one is very good with some age on it. It is 3 1/2 years old and extremely flavorful. Dark with tannish edges, minimal lacing. Smell is mostly barrel, some sweet notes of chocolate and vanilla, but I am reasonably sure there is no orange peel at this point. Taste is a nice mix of sweetness from the cocoa and vanilla and a very healthy presence of the barrels. The feel is probably the best part of the beer-a medium body with a strong boozy presence, very easy to drink with no oiliness or thickness. Warms up extremely well. This is a beer from them that I will buy every year, and this vintage is an exceptional reason why.

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mschrei from Illinois, Jan 26, 2020
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from can into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours a light golden color with a one finger head of white foam. The head has just a light level of retention, fading rather fast to leave a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is huge of a cucumber smell mixed with a little bit of grain and a little bit of an herbal smell.
Taste – While the nose showed a ton of cucumber but little mint, it showed a good sum of the two right at the start of the taste. There was also a light grainy taste upfront which grows slightly stronger as the taste advances. Along with the grain the cucumber also grows in intensity and with a little bit of an herbal and earthy taste that develops at the end, one is left with a rather crisp spa water taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly lighter side with a carbonation level that is quite high. For the mix of flavors and the style the feel is good and makes for a refreshing sipper.
Overall – A nice summer style brew. Nothing I would frequent on a high occasion, but quite good for a nice hot summer day!

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Waxed and capped bottle. Bottling date stamped on label is '06/13/16'.
Dark brown colored body with some reddish brown back lit highlights. One finger of tan head, which settles back to a thick cap. Leaves behind an assortment of lacing patterns.
Aroma of roasted malts, cocoa, and orange, with some bourbon barrel additions.
Taste of orange and cocoa mixing in with the roasted malts. Lighter note of vanilla. Not getting the peat, except for a brief touch at the end.
Medium mouth feel. Good carbonation.
Interesting brewing exercise with the orange and cocoa being prime players. Disappointed that the pear did not make more of an appearance, but the brewer's description claims more of a smoky finish than peat.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 PINT 6 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with a couple inches of tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

I smell dark chocolate, coffee, and chilies.

The taste is dark chocolate, coffee, and chilies. Some fruit comes out as it warms.

Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel

This is a good beer. I like it better than 26.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Solid black body, half a finger brown head.

Smell: See below.

Taste: Milk and dark chocolate, orange, bourbon, mild oak and peat, maybe a note of sherry.

Feel: Low carbonation, full body, medium alcohol presence. A hint of sweetness upfront, dry finish.

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Cthulhusquid from Washington, Jun 29, 2018
Photo of macrosmatic
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.

A: Very dark brown to black and opaque. A low level of visible carbonation and a thin tan head that fades to a ring of foam.

S: Dark chocolate, oak, and vanilla, all melded deep inside the bourbon. Some dark fruit, and roasted malts with just a hint of char. Mild citrus fruitiness as it warms. Nice aroma and, as usual with these, fairly complex.

T: Chocolate, bourbon, and oak. Sweet vanilla mixed with dry woody tannins. Heavily roasted malts, with a very mild smokiness. Mild dark fruit, and just a touch of fruit that I suspect is the orange but wouldn’t have called it otherwise. More bourbon heat at the swallow, with chocolate sweetness and dry baker’s chocolate as it fades.

M: A body that's nicely heavy for a porter but not crazy, with a thick mouthfeel. The alcohol is obvious but balanced as a part of the flavors. Fairly low level of carbonation sensation but appropriate for style.

O: Really tasty. It probably isn't my favorite of their anniversary series, but very good. Strikes a near perfect balance of barrel to all the other flavors. Well done.

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Photo of MaillardRx
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Look- dark, hint of amber, some lacing, some white thin head

Smell- cherry, minimal malt, clean,

Taste- cherry, currant, sweet, clean and relatively crisp, some booze there, a bit of orange peel but doesn't present itself prominently to my palate

Feel- not much chew for a porter, crisp and light for how dark and involved it is

Overall- thoroughly enjoyable, aged extremely well

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged 2 years. Poured from a bottle.

The beer pours a decent creamy brownish tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer itself is a nice dark chocolate black that seems to have thin textured surface due to the barrel aging and the aging itself.

The smell is very good and doesn't seem to have suffered from the aging. The smell seems to have a stronger spiced scotch note along with a good woody follow-up and a very light bourbon that's really hard to detect without a little patience. There is a decent cocoa note and light vanilla note that pops out and a decent orange peel note in the smell's finish.

The taste is fantastic. The bourbon note comes out right in front but doesn't overwhelm the other notes and blends in well with them. The scotch is still there but it's a bit light and easily gets lost. The cocoa is also still present and the vanilla is done well. The orange is a bit stronger and lingers in the finish with a light alcohol finish.

The feel is good. It has a heavy body but a thin feel to it and is slick and slippery. The carbonation is a bit light but it's pretty fluffy and creamy.

Overall, it's pretty good beer even after aging it for a while. It seems the notes have mellowed out a bit and blended rather well while maintaining a distinct orange peel.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Portsmouth tulip.

Clear bistre/seal brown body with a low tan head; average retention, quick sandy lacing, vague legs.

Sweet somewhat boozy aroma with chocolate, vanilla, and smoke. Hints of specialty malt and grassy hops, but the adjuncts are to the front.

The finish is so strong with this beer that it's hard not to talk about it first - the low smokey/briny scotch notes combine majestically with the cocoa and vaguely bitter orange notes once the sugars have all faded from memory. Up front, there is an almost cloying wave of vanilla and complex malt along with burnt sugar and a touch of tobacco.

Creamy faintly tannic mouth-feel - warming but the alcohol is well integrated.

This is a wonderful dessert beer, but despite the move away from the excessive experimentation of some previous incarnations of the anniversary ales, I still prefer the unadorned base beer to this rendition. It rides the fine line between decadent and bloated.

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augustgarage from California, Feb 25, 2018
Photo of andy87
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really tasty. Had this a year and a half after it was brewed and it clearly aged well. Subtle chocolate and orange sweetness and goes down easy for how strong it is.

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andy87 from Ohio, Jan 01, 2018
Photo of Franziskaner
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black in color with no penetration to light. There's a quarter inch of creamy beige on top. Moderate lacing. The nose is very busy with sweet bourbon, orange peel, cocoa, and vanilla. I'm tasting that sweet bourbon with cocoa, vanilla, and orange peel. There's just a lot going on here and a lot to enjoy. Each sip and sniff is a bit different than the last as it warms up. The mouth is very rich, decadent, and warm with alcohol.

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Franziskaner from Missouri, Dec 02, 2017
Photo of jhavs
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber bottle poured into stemless wine glass.

Black, frothy tan head that settles slowly into thick tan collar.

Aroma is boozy, bitter cocoa.

Flavor is chocolate, bitter baking cocoa, scotch barrel is definitely noticeable, hint of vanilla once it warms, didn't notice any orange peel.

Soft carbonation that is proper for the style, a bit over medium body.

Lots of things going on, taste the scotch but can't tell if I get the bourbon or just the barrel and vanilla beans. Actually pretty smooth and easy to drink for a big brew.

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jhavs from New Hampshire, Nov 28, 2017
Photo of ManapuaMan
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My palate felt like I did in high school calculus - confused. Just never solved the equation this beer presented with its dual barrel aged blends, cacao nibs and orange. Each component flavor was noticeable in various spots but it never built a cohesive experience for me.

Looks great like you would expect from a Deschutes porter - thick black with a creamy mocha head that lingers.

Aroma was more scotch and candied orange than anything else. Smoky, bitter and a hint of zest.

Taste fluctuated across oak, char, smokey peat, bitter hops, roasted malt, light orange and hints of vanilla but, like I mentioned, it vascilated as opposed to congealed.

Creamy, thick and fairly smooth on the palate. Lingering smokiness from the scotch. Good beer, for sure, but missed the mark for me.

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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts, Nov 23, 2017
Photo of leaddog
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a jet cola black with two fingers of frothy tan head.

Smell - roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, cocoa nibs, hint of candied orange peel, hint of peaty malt.

Taste - Roasted malts followed by the vanilla. The bourbon and scotch (peated malt) come through next and the cocoa nib and hint of candied orange peel help to round out this bold brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Finishes smooth with no trace of alcohol warmth.

Overall - Another stellar birthday reserve from the folks at Deschutes. They never seem to disappoint with this series. I like the addition of the scotch and peated malt as it blends nicely with all the other elements of this brew.

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leaddog from Alberta (Canada), Oct 29, 2017
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a very dark brown with a one finger tan head. Good amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla & bourbon.

T - The taste follows the aroma with dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, bourbon with light orange peel in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - Another solid Black Butte anniversary addition.

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TreyIsWilson from Michigan, Oct 07, 2017
Photo of woemad
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

6oz pour as part of a double vertical between last year's and this year's version. Pretty sure I had this last year but didn't rate it.

Appeared unsurprising. Stygian blackness, tan head and good lace.

The bourbon and vanilla seem to dominate the nose. A tiny bit of scotch character seems present as well, but it might be my imagination.

Bourbon dominates the flavor, especially at first. I suspect this was pretty "hot" when fresh. It kinda still is. As it warms, there are glimpses of a scotch and of the sweet orange peel in the middle.

Creamy velvety mouthfeel. Not as full-bodied as one might expect for a big, boozy porter.

Pretty nice ba porter, good for a nightcap or a dessert beer. Not too bad for a late lunch, either (as a 6oz pour, anyway) .

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woemad from Washington, Sep 16, 2017
Photo of Everydayoff
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle poured into a pint glass. This has been further aged for 1 year.

Black and dark as night in color, it tops with thick soapy tan head that well retains itself with good retention before slowly subsiding to a long-lasting bubble patch on the surface and leaving plenty of lacing patch and spot here and there.

The aroma is so good with tons of creamy chocolate, cocoa, butterscotch, and sweet vanilla. Other than that, there comes citrusy and earthy spice from hop, mild bourbon notes of subtle whiskey and more vanilla, also big crisp and sweet orange peels from its addition. There is some smokiness but not that meaty beneath the other layers from the use of peated malt. Also a wide range of character can be picked up like toffee, brown sugar, dark bread, some caramel, and licorice.

It is quite complex through the palate sensation. Start off with sweet and sour orange peels, then it turns to big sweetness of creamy chocolate, cocoa, butterscotch, and sweet vanilla as well as some smokiness yet toffee, brown sugar, dark bread, some caramel, and licorice. Hop adds some crisp of citrus and earthy spice together with some bitterness while the barrel aging lends its notes of sweet yet spicy alcohol and vanilla. The bourbon booziness and orange peels characters are much bolder and pronounced when the beer starts to warm.

Medium to full body but it is not that sticky or syrupy with a rather light feeling, the mouthfeel is smooth while the overall feeling is well-rounded with a pleasantly dry finish. It is great to keep the body feeling light despite the intensity and substantial characters.

The 28th reserve is so far so good. Lots of sweet malt, cocoa and vanilla upfront while hop and orange peels add some crispness where its time in bourbon scotch barrel provides the depth of character in balance fashion and not too overwhelming with that spicy or boozy alcohol. In fact, it conceals the alcohol well for some time until when it is warm.

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Everydayoff from Thailand, Aug 18, 2017
Photo of Hyptochrons
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

drinking this one on its one year birthday. pours out a dark brown with a really nice tan head, good retention and some spots of lacing. on nose there is booze, spice, chocolate, light citric orange note. palate is absolutely insane - vanilla coated orange, sweet chocolate, marshmallowy sweetness, almost creating an orange creamsicle type thing. definite boozy spice to it, detectable scotch influence, leather, hint of caramel and smoke. mouthfeel is creamy af, and overall this is ridiculously smooth and complex, absolutely love it. very unique profile, good barrel influence, adjuncts show up in harmony, and the base is quality as well. wish I had more of this stuff!!

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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts, Jul 14, 2017
Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead 7-23-16 for $15.99. Bottled on 6-13-16 and stored in the wine cooler since purchase.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice tan head that is hanging on with my sips.

Nose is hints of dark cocoa, scotch, and leather.

Taste is an awesome melding of flavors. First sip definitely got the scotch and a touch of bourbon. Subsequent sips find dark cocoa, vanilla, leather, scotch, and a touch of fruit - maybe orange. Eclectic combo that comes together very well!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall i can't get over the flavor of this edition. it is one of those beers that can be hit and miss but if you like subtle barrel and flavors in your beer then definitely get this one!

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arizcards from Arizona, Jul 04, 2017
Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. Bottled 6/13/16. The body is black, with a finger brown head. Aromas consist of dark chocolate, vanilla, candied orange, smoked malt, and caramel. Flavors are the same. The beer is somewhat sweet. The feel smooth, with a medium body and low carbonation.

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Ninjakillzu from Washington, Jun 24, 2017
Photo of mjpolzin
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had an earlier vintage of this beer and really liked it but with this one I was not as impressed. It just didn't taste or smell as full or complex as I had hoped. It was only a little over a year old so with most Deshutes big beers, it should have just been coming into it's prime. I got a smokiness from the scotch which was pleasant. And then a little tanginess presumably from the orange but not much else.

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mjpolzin from Wisconsin, Jun 18, 2017
Photo of stortore
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 6/13/16, had 1/13/17.

Pours a mostly opaque, deep brown, with a short, quickly dissipating head and a little spotty lacing. The smell is scotch, malt, bourbon, butterscotch- the good kind, molasses, raisins, figs, licorice, toffee, light cherries and vanilla, a little smoke. Smells terrific. The taste is similar- malt, scotch, bourbon, figs, oak, vanilla, cocoa, dates, raisins, molasses, some caramel, some orange peel bitterness on the finish, light smoke and licorice. Smooth, great fuller body, well carbonated.

A wonderful blend for this edition, a great touch with the double barrels. The cocoa and vanilla are fairly subtle overall, but they do contribute, as does the peated malt. Love this one every year.

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stortore from Illinois, Jun 12, 2017
Photo of Riff
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color with a minimal light tan head that fades to a small ring about the glass and some lacing. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and a hint of peat. Tastes of dark fruits, vanilla, milk chocolate, hint of smoke, mildly sweet. Definite note of alcohol to this one, not overpowering but lets you know to take your time with this beer. Full body, creamy. Tasty without a doubt. Digging what Deschutes is doing with scotch barrels, it adds an interesting layer and they seem to really know how to use it to accent flavors.

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Riff from Virginia, Jun 04, 2017
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

another delightful iteration of this classic beer, i look forward to it each year, and in some ways, i wish it wasnt so subtle, but on the other hand, i think its neat that each year they play with the barrels and he additives in such a way as to keep the base beer the prominent element, and ll these extras and treatments as minor enhancements. i expected a little more intensity from the peat malt and the scotch barrels, but like the scotch barrel abyss they released, its just a faint smoke note, a wet earthy layer sandwiched among a ton of other dark malt flavors, and really an accent flavor at best for me in this, although it does develop a lot more as the beer warms up. some sweetness to this that i did not expect from the bourbon, i get the vanilla and the wood in the flavor ahead of the smoke and scotch elements, and there is a bitter cocoa element here too that really ties it all together. it tastes really mature to me, really patiently done, and fancy. its so hard to pick a favorite of these, but i cant imagine such a thing being done any better than this. killer beer just full of little wrinkles and ebbs and flows. i loved it, but i could also see a really heavy scotch barrel edition of this that would be mind blowing as well...

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Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hard pour produces 50% beige foam and 50% fudge liquid; streaks of lacing line the chalice

Smell: Chocolate fudge cake, roasty tones and vanilla with hints of orange peel; the barrel elements are elusive but I pick up a peaty Scotch tone

Taste: Roast, chocolate and vanilla, up front, with the orange peel making an entrance; surprisingly bitter, through the middle; after the swallow, the barrel element emerges, but it is rather muddled - more Scotch than Bourbon but neither is pronounced

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: A decent beer, but it should be so much more, particularly given the double barrel element

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Apr 30, 2017
Black Butte XXVIII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 283 ratings