Black Mirror
Deschutes Brewery

Black MirrorBlack Mirror
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #29
Ranked #2,547
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: 25 | Ratings: 56 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jpd026:
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jpd026 from New York

4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Apr 25, 2019
More User Reviews:
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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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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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rarigney from Washington

4.81/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Apr 15, 2019
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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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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sep 09, 2019
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eawolff99 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Feb 19, 2021
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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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Dactrius from Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Jun 16, 2019
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paulish from New York

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jul 04, 2020
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a77cj7 from South Dakota

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

Jan 21, 2021
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ian_graf from Minnesota

4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sep 07, 2019
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Ristaccia from Nebraska

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aug 06, 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
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Jraburt from Oregon

4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Apr 27, 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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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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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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bpfrush from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jun 12, 2019
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Myrap7 from Tennessee

4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jun 12, 2019
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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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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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Bandi from New Jersey

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

May 31, 2020
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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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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
Black Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 56 ratings