Black Butte XXVIII
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXVIIIBlack Butte XXVIII
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Porter - Imperial
4.28 | pDev: 6.07%
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.

Cocoa, vanilla, peated malt, and sweet orange peel. 50% barrel aged bourbon and scotch barrels. The result is our 28th Anniversary imperial porter with bright orange and vanilla aroma, layers of toasty chocolate and and a warm smokey finish
Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 291 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EMV
EMV from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wax-topped bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Dark, dark brown pour... nearly black with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Nice ring of lacing.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind, and bourbon. Vanilla and sweets.

T.F: Semi-sweet up front. Bourbon and vanilla... dark fruit. Plum and fig. Roast and caramel. Chocolate, orange, and the barest whiff of smoke. Complex... black cherry and peat. Medium bodied... smooth and warming.

O: An outstanding barrel-aged porter. Still fantastic after several years in the cellar... complex with loads of fruit, chocolate, and booze. Loved this one.

Jun 17, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours black in color with a one-finger creamy khaki head that reduces to a ring and thin film on top

S- chocolate and smoky peat lead the aroma, followed by notes of orange peel, vanilla, raisins, figs, smoked meat, charred wood, cherry and a hint of bourbon

T- sweet chocolate and subtle smoke open up, followed by notes of vanilla cream and cocoa powder. Mid-palate gives dark fruit notes of black cherry, raisin and fig. The finish gives another wave of subtle peat that adds some smoke notes that gives campfire smoke and smoked meat. Lingers of light peat smoke, bourbon and chocolate

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns into a creamy finish

O- the subtle smoked peat addition works very well with this one, very good

Apr 25, 2021
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense and rocky finger of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with some lacing.
S: Smells of orange peel, vanilla, dark chocolate, charred wood, and some barrel notes
T: Taste is charred wood and smoke up front with some orange peel and vanilla, nice chocolate coming in along with a hint of coffee and more oak. Slightly tannic at times with the peat surprisingly absent. On the swallow there's a nice piney hop note, more barrel, orange peel, vanilla, chocolate, and smokey charred wood.
M: This beer has a body which is smooth and on the heavier side of medium. Carbonation is soft but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish due to the ABV.
O: Overall this is another well executed anniversary beer from Deschutes. Really nice flavors and complexity that was executed very well. It's held up very well to time as well as this one has been kicking around for almost five years now.

Apr 09, 2021
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beergoot from Colorado

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black body; thick, creamy, khaki hued, long-lasting head; laddered rings of foam step down the sides of the glass. Some wisps of beechwood smokiness and ash; faint notes of roasted grain; even fainter notes of bitter chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate in the taste; subtle smoke; very subdued vanilla; whisky booziness starts slow and mild and strongly builds through each sip; an interesting, sublime sweetness in the background; low-key bitterness; the faintest note of orange. Heavy body; dense and oily; coats the palate with dull notes of sweetness and bitterness.

The orange notes have (perhaps) faded some after 4.5 years, but the beer itself has aged well. I like the subtle smokiness. It nicely complements the alcohol and rich chocolaty character that predominates with this beer. The beer is well-rounded, has nice depth and complexity, and certainly satisfies.

Oct 23, 2020
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mschrei from Illinois

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.

Jan 26, 2020
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

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!

Aug 23, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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 peat did not make more of an appearance, but the brewer's description claims more of a smoky finish than peat.

Aug 08, 2019
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buschbeer from Ohio

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.

Jan 31, 2019
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Cthulhusquid from Washington

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.

Jun 29, 2018
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macrosmatic from Florida

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.

Jun 18, 2018
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MaillardRx from Kansas

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

Apr 22, 2018
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HattedClassic from Virginia

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.

Apr 11, 2018
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augustgarage from California

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.

Feb 25, 2018
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andy87 from Ohio

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.

Jan 01, 2018
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Franziskaner from Missouri

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.

Dec 02, 2017
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jhavs from New York

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.

Nov 28, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

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.

Nov 23, 2017
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leaddog from Canada (AB)

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.

Oct 29, 2017
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

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.

Oct 07, 2017
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woemad from Washington

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) .

Sep 16, 2017
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Everydayoff from Thailand

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.

Aug 18, 2017
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

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!!

Jul 14, 2017
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arizcards from North Carolina

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!

Jul 04, 2017
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Ninjakillzu from Washington

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.

Jun 24, 2017
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mjpolzin from Wisconsin

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.

Jun 18, 2017
Black Butte XXVIII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 291 ratings