Black Butte XXXI
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXXIBlack Butte XXXI
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Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Porter - Imperial
4.12 | pDev: 6.8%
Dec 24, 2021
Jul 06, 2019
Black Butte XXXIBlack Butte XXXI
Notes: In Celebration of our 31st Anniversary, this year's imperial porter was inspired by Turkish Coffee and uses cold brew from our very own Scott Hughes of Third Rock Roasters.

52 IBU
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Photo of MacMalt
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by MacMalt from New Jersey

I received a bottle from @snaortheus in the NBS BIF #14. Poured into a pint glass. It pours a dark mahogany with some cola hues at the bottom of the glass, and a half finger of creamy, khaki-colored had and creamy lacing. On the nose there is roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, and a whiff of tobacco and char. Very nice! The taste features a nice balance of chocolate sweetness and bitter, earthy char and tobacco. There are also notes of vanilla and some dark fruit. The flavor is rich, complex, and thoroughly enjoyable. I really like the mouth feel: it's very thick and creamy for a Porter, with moderate carbonation, and the the 12.2% ABV is potent. Overall, I'm surprised Black Butte XXXI isn't rated more highly. It's delicious and has a killer mouth feel for the style. It's a one-off and I'm grateful for the chance to try it. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Dec 24, 2021
Photo of backblast
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by backblast from Alaska

Pour black with a thin tan head.

Tastes rich dark malts and coffee up front and dark fruit, treacle, dark chocolate, cardamom, barrel follow and lingers. Nicely done.

Dec 13, 2021
3.76 by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania on May 06, 2021
Photo of Proteus93
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Proteus93 from Virginia

Picked up a bottle of this along with a couple of 2018 bottles of the Abyss in Dec. 2020. Eager to see what some time has done for it.

A: Cola-dark with a sandy, bubbly head. Moderate retention, collaring the glass and leaving behind a nice seafoam sheet of head behind.

S: Roasted malts, notably strong on the coffee and there's no mistaking that there is chocolate brewed in rather than the scent being present as a result of the malts. There seems to be a hint of an anise scent in there, though that may be the way my nose is picking up on cardamom (which would be odd).

T: Tastes much like an iced mocha, though with more bitterness of dark chocolate or dark roast coffee. It appears to be strong influenced by Turkish coffee, so there's a part of me that is expecting to find some grounds in there.

M + O: The mouthfeel is actually a little thinner than I had expected, though it is still a full body--if that makes any sense. Soft carbonation, suitable for the style and alcohol content, finishing with a touch of warmth. This is a nice experience and a good brew--age has done it some good, though I would have been curious to have tasted it against a fresh offering.

Dec 27, 2020
Photo of Sludgeman
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Sludgeman from District of Columbia

T - Dark fruit, bourbon soaked cherries, coffee, dar chocolate, a bit of heat which seems to be spicy in nature.

S - coffee, mild sweetness

O - This beer has that milk stout/Mexican stout flora or to it, but it ends up being a bit too sweet. A very good beer. BTW, drink the entire bottle and the sweetness fades away

MF - heavy bodied, semi-dry finish. No alcohol burn. Smooth.

Nov 27, 2020
Photo of iannutter
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by iannutter from Korea (South)

Bottled 6/11/19 in Bend, OR, drank on 11/20/20 in Seoul, Korea! With a beer like this I think a little bit of age is a good thing.

At 12+%, I’d say this is a very drinkable brew. Love a Turkish coffee, and enjoy the heavy balances on either side of the fulcrum. A fun brew after a long week

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by bluejacket74 from Ohio

22 ounce wax capped bottle, bottled on 6/11/19. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch or so tan head that stayed around for a very long time. Good amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon and cardamom. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's the addition of some burnt/charred malt and dark bready flavors. All the flavors seem to mesh well together with no one flavor overpowering the others. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and smooth with a good amount of carbonation. A little boozy but not too much. I thought this was a pretty good imperial porter, definitely worth picking up! Didn't notice this available in my area until a week or so ago when I bought this bottle so I'd guess there's still some out there. $14.99 a bottle.

Oct 01, 2020
Photo of erickc
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by erickc from Washington

Had on tap at Special Brews Lynnwood, WA

Jun 26, 2020
4.4 by spark3148857 from Ohio on Jun 15, 2020
4.27 by liquorpig from Massachusetts on Jun 13, 2020
Photo of REVZEB
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by REVZEB from Illinois

Jet black appearance with a tan cap. Turkish coffee huh? I guess I can smell that: dark roast coffee, cardamon pop, black pepper, dark chocolate and sweeter earth. Taste injects a tootsie roll like flavoring to the mix, and almost a floral bite to the roasted and chocolatey finish. It is odd but very well made. Feel is thick for a porter, has elevated roast and decent creaminess, overall somewhat chewy. Don't know if I need to have again, but it was good

Apr 21, 2020
Photo of stortore
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by stortore from Illinois

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 6/11/19, had 3/28/20.

Pours a dark brown, semi opaque, with a half inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of coffee, char, chocolate, malt, vanilla, oak, some bourbon, light cardamom. The flavor also starts with the coffee and more bourbon than the nose. Also, chocolate, vanilla, malt, light cardamom- more as it warms, some cocoa and caramel, light oak. Smooth, good medium to full body, well carbonated.

Really like this combination. The coffee is really good- and pretty dominant, the tempered cardamom is an excellent addition. My only complaint is that this could use a little more intensity in both the aroma and flavor. Still, very enjoyable.

Apr 15, 2020
4.62 by akopczyk from Ohio on Apr 11, 2020
4.59 by jason_nwx from Oregon on Apr 05, 2020
Photo of mschrei
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by mschrei from Illinois

Standard dark appearance, dark tannish edging, very quickly dissipating foam and lacing. First thing on the smell to notice is the spices that unfortunately overwhelm the coffe, chocolate, and malt notes. Taste is also spices first, but there’s more of a sweet chocolate, bitter coffee, and roasty malt presence with mild barrel undercurrent. Medium bodied, a hint of oiliness, not thin but not thick either, boozy presence. I’d like to let it warm and see how it develops, but it’s really too damn tasty with a well balanced flavor profile. I say this on every review of every edition of this beer: I always buy two-one to drink fresh and one to age. This may be one of the better ones fresh, and I look forward to having it aged.

Apr 04, 2020
4 by archero from Texas on Apr 04, 2020
3.99 by Dactrius from Wisconsin on Mar 01, 2020
4.25 by szmnnl99 from Michigan on Feb 23, 2020
Photo of hreb
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by hreb from Washington

Black Butte XXI. Bottled on 6/11/19, 22oz, capped with wax. Served in a curved glass. The darkest brown and surprisingly fizzy as I pour, to form a nice brown head that quickly falls. Even only lightly chilled the aroma doesn't offer much but a bit of oak and booze. But the flavor is something else. Cardamom, spice, vanilla, layers of roasted barley and dark grain flavors. Through the middle the vanilla bourbon flavor dominates, but the finish is surprisingly clean, and the moderate carbonation really helps to keep it light on the palate -- when it should be devastatingly heavy. There's a hint of unsweetened cacao but I don't detect coffee enough to mention, according to my palate. Less chocolate than I'd like.

Ridiculously drinkable. Spice completely masks any strong alcohol flavor, and there's zero burn. Very impressive.

Feb 17, 2020
3.68 by BKast409 from Virginia on Feb 14, 2020
Photo of dave_ackbar
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dave_ackbar from Hawaii

My buddy brought this over to the house for a night of beers.

Since it was in his car for the ride over it got to the perfect temperature for a porter before he got here.

Look is a nice dark chocolate brown with hints of Auburn.
Smell was a lot of chocolate and just a slight touch of the bourbon.
Taste was so damn good. Perfect porter taste with a perfect combo of all the ingredients listed.
Feel was exactly what you want from a porter.
Overall this is a total winner.

Feb 02, 2020
4.24 by Daniellobo from District of Columbia on Jan 25, 2020
4.44 by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina on Jan 19, 2020
Photo of Lingenbrau
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Lingenbrau from Oregon

Like all of the anticipated anniversary brews, XXXI pours nearly pitch black. It's obsidian body has no choice but to mirror it's surroundings, while an impressive khaki foam rests stubbornly above, smooth, frothy, and likely intentionally designed to mimic a freshly prepared local cafe's espresso.

As hoped for, the inclusion of cardamom is noticed immediately, to my pleasure. Hiding closely behind the comfort of that spice, a heavy hand of chocolate and advertised cold-brewed coffee shine brightly. Booze and barrel, though subtle, take an appropriate back seat.

While I can see this might not hit the popular taste bud vote, this seems custom tailored for me. A slight char accompanied by a bready malt, with cardamom generously applied simply screams homage to my favorite Danish treat. Chocolate powder and wood almost act as a perfect dressing, booze as side of Aquavit. All that's missing is the Lingonberry jam.

The texture is silky smooth, rich, and decadent. Wonderfully spiced, dessert like without being too sweet. It's full, but still very drinkable. The 12.2% abv is criminally undetectable. An interesting tug-of-war is undeniable as sips are easy to return to, but practice of patience and self control is well rewarded.

This very well may be my favorite of the Anniversary Black Buttes to date. Biased as that may be, that's what beer is all about, right? Freedom, experimentation, expression. Well this one captures it all with familiarity and individuality, hand in hand. I will definitely be securing more XXXI for the future.


Jan 12, 2020
Photo of snaotheus
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by snaotheus from Washington

22oz bottle in a sampler. Dark brown, big head, carbonation. Smells like spice wars. So much cinnamon. Taste is spices and chocolate sweetness. Maybe mole. Overall, not bad. Not my favorite.

Dec 30, 2019
Photo of mkh012
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by mkh012 from Colorado

Bottled 6 months ago.

Pours near-black with a finger of tan head.

The nose is cinnamon, ginger, cherry, fig, chocolate, and wood.

The taste is coffee, chocolate, cherry cola, and gingerbread cookie. Mild boozy bourbon.

The mouthfeel is medium. Well-balanced and reasonably accessible for the ABV.

Overall, very nice. A warming spiced porter.

Dec 28, 2019
4.12 by Zanico from Ohio on Dec 25, 2019
4.14 by rkarimi from Colorado on Dec 21, 2019
3.75 by bpfrush from Wisconsin on Dec 14, 2019
Photo of BBThunderbolt
3.26/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

Waxed 22oz bottle poured into 14oz teku. Poured a solid black color with 1/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and lacing.

Coffee dominated the nose, completely covering up the base beer. Some bourbon did show through though.

Same on the tongue, all coffee at first, with bourbon following, bare hints of chocolate, and some beer.

The body was nicely full without being heavy, smooth, and had medium-dry finish.

Drinkability is gonna vary widely, depending on the level of amore for the Devils Brew. I hate it, and thought there was way too much in this beer.

Overall, the brewery probably hit their target, too bad the target wasn't worth hitting.

I've liked most of the releases in this series, and look forward to it every year. This one was one-and-done for me.

Dec 07, 2019
Photo of puck1225
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by puck1225 from Texas

Helped me prepare for Thanksgiving!

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Dark brown color with nice initial head and decent lacing. Strong dark brown chocolate smell and taste. Coffee and warm spice flavors. Nicely smokey. Very nice beer!

Nov 28, 2019
4.16 by Gemini6 from Michigan on Nov 25, 2019
4.04 by sparx1100 from Minnesota on Nov 23, 2019
3.98 by jakecattleco from California on Nov 09, 2019
Photo of ilikebeer03
4.49/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by ilikebeer03 from Texas

Pours a dark brown / black with a nice light cinnamon head with good retention
Nose is cold brew coffee, upfront, follows by chocolate, soft bourbon, cardamom at the end
Taste follows. Coffee and cardamom upfront, followed by a delicious wave of chocolate and soft, oaky bourbon and vanilla. Cardamom reappears I’m the finish. Excellent beer.

Nov 02, 2019
4.21 by JamesStreet from Louisiana on Oct 20, 2019
4.09 by MykeJ from Minnesota on Oct 19, 2019
Photo of arizcards
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by arizcards from North Carolina

Picked up a bomber from the Craft Beer Hop Stop 8-16-19 for $16.99. Bottled on 6-11-19; consumed on 10-17-19.

Beer poured black with a very nice off white head with the original pour.

Nose is coffee with a good dose of ginger along with a touch of roasted malts in the background.

Taste is light roasted malts, coffee with ginger, and chocolate. Bourbon heat is noticed in the background but plays a secondary role in the flavor influence. Finish is well balanced.

Mouthfeel is large bodied and very smooth and extremely satisfying!

Overall a nice twist on the Anniversary brew. The Turkish coffee twist is different but a good different!

Oct 17, 2019
4 by cherche from Washington on Sep 28, 2019
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
by oberon from North Carolina

Pours a deep dark chocolate brown with a garnet tinge,a thinner beige head atop.A mix of chocolate,raisin,and dark roast coffee wich is really assertive in the nose.Flavors of a dark roast coffee infused tootsie roll with a bit of molasses in the back end,sweet but not cloying.Top notch,would like a bit of a fuller feel but the flavor profile was great.

Sep 13, 2019
Black Butte XXXI from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 55 ratings