Black Mirror
Deschutes Brewery

Black MirrorBlack Mirror
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #29
Ranked #2,613
4.33 | pDev: 7.16%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Black MirrorBlack Mirror
Notes: This American style black barleywine is deceptively unique with its dark color and full body. Direct to you from the barrel with aromas of coffee, chocolate, coconut, vanilla, whiskey, caramel and dried fruit. The roch malt character pleasantly surprises, brining a subtl sweetness to balance the oak in this monster of a beer.

45 IBU
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 55 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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laketang from Arizona

4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured rootbeer brown. Not much head retention.
Anise is upfront, plum and molasses.
Rich caramel, raisons and gingersnap cookie. Bitter.
Medium feel, little carbonation.
A tad too much Anise, but a great barleywine.

Jun 20, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Deschutes Roanoke

A- pours black in color with a one finger creamy light khaki head that has good retention and leaves some lacing behind

S- smells of coconut, chocolate, caramel, oaky bourbon and a hint of char

T- dark fruity notes of raisin, fig and date up front are followed by sweet malty notes of caramel, toffee, pipe tobacco and chocolate. The finish gives a big oak compliment with some bourbon, coconut and caramel on the linger

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a creamy, slightly warming finish

O- dark fruits, caramel and toffee with the perfect compliment of barrel, well done

May 26, 2021
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snaotheus from Washington

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle with black wax, served in a tulip. Bought it at the brewery last month. Bottled on 2019-02-18. I have been something of a Mirror Mirror fanboy in the past, so I'm pretty excited about this.

Pours very dark brown (but not opaque like a stout), moderate sized head that collapses to a mixed and moderately thick layer. Lots of very fine, very slow carbonation. Smell is boozy, oaky, roasted malts, something green. Coffee and anise if I try to block out the alcohol a little. Figs and dates are in there, too, if I think about barleywine.

Taste is along the same lines, but the alcohol is a little less abusive. I get more sweetness, like an oaky syrup, with a burnt sweetness too like burnt marshmallows. Dates and raisins come across.

Mouthfeel is medium or a bit lighter, something gives it a slightly watery impression. Overall, this is a very good beer.

Apr 24, 2021
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with barely a finger of light brown head. This isn't a super dense or dark looking brew like a 17% stout motor oil pour. It doesn't have quite the same gravity. It looks nice and you can tell its not quite a stout but it looks different than a normal barelywine.

Nose is mild bourbon and wood, vanilla, brown sugar/molasses, dark fruit(fig and plum mainly), mild smokiness, leather, tobacco. This thing is complex, expressive, and detailed. It takes several minutes to pick apart everything going on in here.

Taste takes it even further. Initial impact of bourbon and slight barrel tannic notes, then roasty and smoky malt. I get a hint of dark chocolate and coffee. I don't where chocolate and coffee came from, but it is most certainly there. Some dark fruit, slight notes of bitterness that remind me of tasting pure black strap molasses. This is all in the intro and mid palate. On the finish the coffee comes back and just lingers quietly. Subtle, not too bitter, enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied with medium carbonation. This is a nice consistency with some liveliness on the tongue. I'm used to bigger brews being extremely low in carbonation but this stands out.

Overall this is an absolute treat of a brew. Dense and complex in flavor. You can spend so much time simply musing upon and unraveling this one. So much character and depth. An absolute knockout from Deschutes.

Dec 13, 2020
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At Old Chicago. Bottled February 18th 2019.

Pours pitch black with a small tan head of foam.

Smell is malty, loads of whiskey, fruity, chocolate. So complex.

Taste is strong with the whiskey barrel, dark fruits, chocolate, malty with a slight lean towards the good oxidation.

Full bodied with perfect carbonation.

Wonderful brew!

Nov 25, 2020
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Zorro from California

3.59/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly light proof black colored beer with a small brown colored head

Smells of preserved fruit, raisins, prunes and cherries. Slight hint of menthol. Smell of fruit brandy. Smells a bit boozy with chocolate and coffee in the fumes.

Starts out sweet and savory with a sour fruit after taste. Boozy and slightly bitter. Berry taste but much milder than expected. Mostly it is boozy and mild.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall it is strong but mild tasting.

Jul 05, 2020
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$ 15.00 (Including tax)/bomber ($ 0.682/oz). Purchased 7/8/19 from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. On shelf at store. Reviewed 6/4/20.
Stamped on middle left edge of label “BOTTLED ON 02/18/19”. Stored at home at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Amber (SRM 13), clear.
Body – Deep brown (SRM 30), opaque. When held to direct light, same.
Head – Large (Maximum five cm, aggressive center pour), khaki, high density with a few rocks, average retention, diminishing to a seven to a three mm dense crown and a complete thin cap with a few rocks.
Lacing – None.
Aroma – 4.25 – Strong caramel malt with a bit of molasses, no hops, no yeastiness.
Flavor – 4.5 – Sweet strong caramel malt, no hops, no yeast. No alcohol (13% ABV, NOT marked on the label) taste or aroma. A moderate post-lingual warming does occur. Aftertaste is moderately sweet but lacks the distinct caramel taste. No diacetyl or dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 4 – Full, creamy, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4.5. WOW! An excellent barleywine! Marty has a few bottles of this lot still on the shelf, so back I go!

Jun 04, 2020
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metter98 from New York

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short light tan head that left lacing on the surfacre and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of whiskey from the barrel aging are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has lots of flavors of whiskey along with hints of chocolate and coconut.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with some warming from the alcohol.
O: The alcohol in this beer begins to creep up on you once it begins to warm up.

Serving type: bottle

May 31, 2020
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a small, tan head of foam. It smelled of molasses, roasted malt, toffee and booziness. Sweet toffee and caramel with strong roasted malt characteristics.

May 17, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 2/18/19, had 9/14/19.

Pours a dark cola color, mostly opaque, with a half inch quickly dissipating head and light foamy lacing. Aromas of malt, toffee, some chocolate, bourbon, oak, tobacco, char, some leather, light figs and prunes, light licorice. The bourbon barrels take charge of the flavor, then malt, toffee, dates, oak, prunes, chocolate, some tobacco, light leather, light licorice. Smooth, a solid medium body, well carbonated.

This one is right in my sweet spot. An excellent rendition of a black barleywine. Terrific aromas and flavors, great barrels that don’t overwhelm. Very enjoyable. Glad I have another bottle...

Mar 27, 2020
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent chestnut with a thumb+ of tan head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Tons of dark fruit, whisky barrel once warm

T: Figs, raisins, dark cherry, a little toffee & leafy hops up front with a a kiss of Whisky peatyness & a little barrel dryness up front. More whisky barrel, dark cherry, figs & leafy hops once warm, plus a little caramel. Finishes dry with oakyness, peat, figs & a little dark cherry & leafy hop

MF: Medium body, firm carbonation, was wanting more body

ABV is well hidden, lovely barrel aged take on the style

Feb 16, 2020
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beergoot from Colorado

4.04/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany body with a thick, creamy and sculpted head; layered rings of lacing step down the glass. Excellent roasted and charred grain scent; notes of dark chocolate and cocoa; low-key dark pitted fruit esters. Big malt backbone with some initial booziness; cocoa with a smidgen of vanilla. Heavy body; residual sugar heft yet feeling rather slick and oily; alcohol heat and warmth throughout.

This bottle was packaged 02/18/19. The beer delivers some nice depth and richness in flavor yet manages to seem a tad weak for its style. Still, one can't complain about the looks, especially with the head and lacing for such a high ABV brew, and the overall taste brings some decent complexity and depth to the picture. Overall, a delicious and well-brewed offering.

Nov 24, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Quite black and stouty for a barleywine, with a whispy espresso cream cap and upstanding ring on the glass. Some lace.

S: Booze. Molasses, toffee, and date sugars.

T: Follows the nose with some oak in there. Sweet. Not bad, but nearing cloying levels of sugar as this warms.

F: A thin syrup.

O: Not as complex as advertised. This is a fine stoutish barleywine, but pales in comparison to many better options. Like the Black Butte anniversary ales. Deschutes barrel-aging program is a touch polarizing. Some prefer their style and flavor profile. I'm in the other camp. It is a good beer - not a great beer IMO.

Oct 07, 2019
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deschutes! One of my first loves. Snapped up this 22 oz. bottle when it came into sight. Split with my wife.

The pour is very dark, like having a device to rewind and replay every memory. Smells like whiskey & what I’ve come to think of as barley, a distinct taint that comes with high ABV barleywines, plus oak & caramel. I like.

Black Mirror harks back to the glory days In Oregon. The barrel use is exquisite: whiskey & oak suffuse the mouth & bathe it in reflected glory. The other ingredients play off the barrel like Buttercup off the Man in Black: brown sugar, toffee, refined alcohol, iron nails (in a good way, like they were just pulled out of a wicked faerie), coconut, leathery vanilla. Hazelnut? So much going on here, my tiny little reptile brain is having trouble encompassing it all. Sticky. I could have taken the bomber solo, & regretted it tomorrow. But what is life without regrets? Boring. It’s boring.

A master class in barrel aging in a bottle. Excellent brew.

Aug 25, 2019
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep dark brown with a thin tan cap. Minimal lacing but has decent legging when swirled. Aroma is dark fruit, raisins, caramel and bourbon. Flavor follows the nose nicely, chocolate, vanilla, fruit, caramel and bourbon meld beautifully. Feel is on the thicker side of medium bodied. Overall a fabulous beer. The lack of anything but a hint of hops in the finish make me feel like this might be better listed as an English barleywine.

Aug 01, 2019
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a black ipa. That is, it looks like thin fizzy blackish pepsi with heavily carbonated bubbly head. Not very enticing for a barleywine tbh.

Smell is hoppy for an English barleywine. Strangely, I'm also cued to think of a mildly hoppy black ipa by the aroma.

Taste is HEAVY HEAVY alcohol. It does however actually taste like an English barleywine. Figgy, fruity, toffee, raisins, plums etc. The above tastey flavors are in very poor ratio to the ethanol taste though. I'm not one to be put off by a boozy beer but this tastes like an eis-barleywine with some vodka on top.

Feel initially tasted thin but that may have been because I felt like I was drinking vodka. As it warms it gets a little fuller.

Overall this is a pretty big letdown. I actually pulled this one from the fridge a few times to drink but ended up putting it back to save for a more appreciated occasion. Unfortunately it turned out to be more jungle juice than barleywine.

Jul 02, 2019
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Original Review
Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead on 4-29-19 for $15.99. Bottled on 2-18-19; consumed on 5-31-19.
Beer poured black with a really nice tan head that has some really good hang time-4.25
Nose wonderful, catching dark fruits, leather, a touch of vanilla, and some bourbon-4.5.
Taste follows the nose with an initial blast of dark fruit booze followed by sips that detect some leather and vanilla. Finish is surprisingly balanced despite the low abv factor as the barrel does a nice job-4.5.
Mouthfeel is full and viscous, near perfection-4.75!
Overall a really awesome beer that did not really appear on my radar until carousing the Total Wine web site. You are always getting a quality beer with the Deschutes Reserve series...just make sure you are down with the style as this guy is a monster-4.5 (4.53 overall)!

2nd review 5-15-20 - aged in my wine fridge since purchase.
Still pouring a nice head-4.25.
Nose comes across as a fresh dose of dark fruits, very nice-4.25.
Taste is a large malt base with dark fruit dominating and vanilla and bourbon are slightly in the background. Finishes well balanced as the hopping has held up well-4.25
Mouthfeel has thinned out to be medium bodied yet still very smooth-4.25
Overall still a terrific tasting beer but it has lost the barrel affects over the last year. Drink now!-4.25

May 31, 2019
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from wax coated bottle from 2/18/19 with abv of 13% into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a deep cola color with a tiny fizzy head of off white foam. The head fades super fast, leaving just a tiny trace of foam on the surface of the brew.

Smell – Wow!! This aroma is big and boozy. The smell is massive of some dark fruit smells of raisin, plum, and cherry along with some big boozy bourbon like aromas. Along with these smells comes a good deal of a chocolate and molasses smell as well as some roasted malt and a little bit of smoke and char. With a hint of vanilla and a little bit of leather and oak one is greeted with an overall very dark, boozey, and robust aroma.

Taste – The taste is massive of a sweet molasses and chocolate flavor with a decently warming bourbon flavor right from the start of the taste. Some big dark fruit flavors of raisin, plum, and cherry, while lighter upfront, grow more and more intense as the flavor advances. Along with the fruit gaining in intensity, so too do some of the more roasty and toasty flavors of the brew with some char and smoke coming more toward the end of the taste. Toward the end there is even more sweetness that comes to the tongue, being of more molasses and dark fruit as well as some caramel and brown sugar sweetness as well. The booziness also grows in intensity and leaves on with a sweet, dark, and rather boozy but enjoyable taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel of the brew is interesting. When it first hits your tongue it feels a little light in body for a brew of 13% abv. But as it sits on the tongue and all the big sweet, dark and boozy flavors really unfold the feel seems to grow as well matching the tastes quite nicely. The lower carbonation and the transitioning feel are great for this robust taste and make for a nice slow sipper to be enjoyed.

Overall – Big, robust, boozy, dark, and ohh so very tasty and big. This is one very enjoyable and delicious brew. While I enjoyed this one young I have another to age and can’t wait to see how it develops over time.

May 20, 2019
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Greywulfken from New York

4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is an epic barleywine - like, King Henry-level... Super-dark brown but clear pour ends up close to obsidian in the glass, with dark brown translucent edges... On the nose and palate, boozy raisin, toffee, plum, fig, dark caramel, dates, and vanilla... Herbal notes of tobacco and leather... Medium-full-bodied, a little sticky, nice shellac; juicier impressions of citrusy fruits spark up and keep this relatively clean-drinking and dangerously drinkable... An excellent beer...

2-Row, "Special Roast," C60, wheat, C150, and Midnight wheat malts; Millennium, East Kent Goldings, Chinook, and Centennial hops; aged in bourbon barrels for 11 months...

May 19, 2019
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a quarter finger dark khaki head with great retention and nice lacing; actually builds a little for a while. Aroma of dark toasted malt, fresh and dried plums, oaky vanilla, whiskey, milk chocolate. Flavor follows, with dark toasted and caramel malt, dried plums, dates, raisins, oaky vanilla, cocoa and whiskey; light hop bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. This hybrid of stout and barleywine leans towards the latter, but has clear toasted malt character. This is really more of an American strong ale profile, similar to a blended strong ale from one of the masters. No mention of blending here and quite impressive similarity to a blended strong ale for a straight brewed and aged ale. I lean towards the English style of barleywines, but this is really very nice and the light touch of hops is perfect. Black Mirror is a bit different than anything else out there. I think they knocked it out of the park on this one. Fortunate enough to find two bottles, so one to age a bit.

Apr 29, 2019
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Toriless from Washington

4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What would happen if you took Black Butte (reserve series) malts and used Mirror Mirror hops and let is sit it barrels for 11 months?? With luck and skill you would get Black Mirror which has the richness mix of carmelization and hops of Mirror Mirror with the intense malts of an aged Black Butte. If you like yellow beer might want stay away but it you like Dragon's Milk, Mirror Mirror and BB XXX (lets skip the BB XXIX disaster) you might want to try some but quickly so you can go back and get more. PS - Costco just got some but expect to to be gone REAL QUICK. I got several.

Apr 15, 2019
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siskiyoucellar from Oregon

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Oh boy, oh boy! A huge new black barleywine from Deschutes. I always loved Mirror Mirror and have been hoping for its return - and here it is, in a brand new incarnation that pushes some new characters while keeping all the best features of the original. It’s very nice looking, burnt toffee-toned and crystal clear with a dense, dark color that turns opaque at the center. Toffee shows up strongly in the nose too, though not at all burnt. Powerful whiskey, heady vanilla and a zingy little trace of lemon round it out. The taste would take pages and pages to fully describe, as one would expect from any beer from Deschutes with a waxed seal. Molasses, leather, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, whiskey heat, hazelnut richness, dark truffle sweetness and much, much more. The feel is just a touch light and fuzzy for my taste, but it does a good job of keeping the intense flavor from ruling the universe. I am incredibly excited to see what this one will be like after a few years in the dark!

Apr 12, 2019
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JayWhitson from Montana

4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Listed as an American Black Barleywine but reminds me more of a Imperial Black IPA. Big flavors of black licorice, anise, Bourbon, brown sugar and pine. Subtle notes of chocolate, smoke, oak, vanilla and toffee. A tad thin but extremely good. Time will do wonders.

Apr 04, 2019
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DefenCorps from Oregon

4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Orenco Taphouse.

A very dark brown with a dense brown head with decent retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose is super fragrant with massive citrus notes, an almost fresh orange zest and juice character. Moderate dark caramel, red wine, brown sugar, mild burnt sugar, candy and toffee. Bourbon is present as mild heat and a little vanilla. The palate opens sweet and fruity with the orange notes complementing the large sugary notes with brown sugar, toffee, honey, mild cake batter, red wine, mild bourbon and vanilla. Medium full in body and softly carbonated, flavors of brown sugar, toffee and red wine dark fruit linger on in the finish. Bitterness that's moderately citrus like and moderately burnt sugar like lingers. Mildly boozy but appropriately so. Good stuff!

Mar 18, 2019
Black Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 55 ratings