Black Butte XX | Deschutes Brewery

358 Ratings
Black Butte XXBlack Butte XX

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Porter brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added with 20% aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by josiahschlender on 05-23-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 282 | Ratings: 358
Photo of zymrgy
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a brandy snifter this black beer looked and smelled like coffee with a nice full malt sweetness.

Good carbonation but not overly gassy.

Had a nice roasted malt sweetness reminiscent of coffeee but not astrigent or bitter.

Flavor was a nice malt sweetness with chocolate and some coffee notes but none of the coffee bitterness or astringency.

Full bodied with with a slight alcohol burn.

hop bitterness was evident but malt sweetness predominates.

Dangerous beer to drink. Drinks very smooth for the high alcohol content.

Really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of youradhere
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in a XX, XXI, and XXIII vert. Pours pitch black with amber edges; aroma is chocolate and tootsie rolls, beets. Tastes of subdued chocolate yet heavy on the tootsie roll, muted coffee, raisins. Mouthfeel still has grip, beginning to thin compared to the newer versions. Carbonation is medium, sweetness has mellowed.

Pours black with reddish mahogany edges, tan head about two fingers, falls to a nice cap of lacing. Smell is chocolate and coffee, raisins, licorice, and all sorts of goodness. Taste is coffee, chocolate, roast malt and char, slight soy, black coffee again. As it warms and my palate adjusts I pick up more chocolate, oak char, and licorice. Mouthfeel is on the light side, which is appropriate for a porter style. Carbonation is medium yet prickly, flavors coat the back of the mouth. Pretty drinkable for an imperial, Deschutes always comes through for me on their Reserve Series. Another win for this one!

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Photo of Dmann
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a killer brew! The pour was pitch black with a great 1/4 inch dark brown head. This is a very inviting beer in that the smell was full of dark chocolate and smokiness with a slight hint of alcohol in the background. Flavor was great, especially once the beer reached room temp. Dark chocolate and bitterness hit you right off the bat followed by a slight sweetness and dry aftertaste make you reach for that next sip very fast! Recommended for sure!

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Photo of jdklks
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aged a little over 7 months.

A- pours thick and very dark with about an inch and a half dark brown head that leaves a thin film on top.

S- smell is of coffee and vanilla, which makes it smell like sweet coffee. something a flavored coffee from starbucks might smell like.

T- vanilla and coffee, just as the smell suggested. a lingering chocolate bitterness at the end. a hint of whiskey also at the end. simply fantastic! the alcohol is noticeable but not overly so.

M- full-bodied. very, very smooth. easy on the palate.

D- i wish i had more of these. the lingering taste causes you to constantly be reaching for more. i could probably drink two more 22oz bottles of this in a night.

overall, im not a big fan of porters because, for the most part, they taste like watered-down stouts to me. this, however, is an exception... very full-flavored, and for all intents and purposes i would call it the abyss' little brother. simply fantastic. highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of dogboy
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brought a bottle back with me from a recent trip to Portland and having now had the pleasure of drinking it, I'm very glad I did.

I'm not a coffee drinker and was glad to find the coffee to be well hidden within this smooth and delicious brew. The smell was of chocolate and sweet malts. The taste backs this up, but with caramel and some slight hint of the barrel aging. Perfectly carbonated and went down way too easy for a beer of its (hidden) strength.

I desperately need more of this. The best US beer I've ever had.

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Photo of animortician
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Traded a Bottle of my Homebrew for a bottle of this...

A: Deep Dark No light could fight its way through even at the edge of my glass. Poured thick with a very very small about of chocolate brown head, that retreated quickly.

S: Spicy and Sweet. Stronger on the Coffee than the Chocolate.

T: Rich and Complex, Great mix of the dark Chocolate coming out heavier than the smell would lead you to believe. Wondering how much of the bourbon barrel aging affected the flavor. Being aged a couple of years would add some alcohol too. Wish I would have reviewed the bottle I drank off the shelf.

F: Not as thick as I was expecting. Wonderful feel though to round out all the intense flavor.

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Photo of TAREUA
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got talked into this by the local wine/beer buyer at Haggens. It was between seasons on The Abyss, and he said it was pretty special. I owe you one Gabrial. Pretty much forgot I even had it, but then broke it out on Saturday night near the end of a long session of tastings. Let's be clear, tasting followed by swallowings. A lesser beer could have gotten lost in all that preceded it, but not this beauty.

I'm not a fan of regular Black Butte, not bad, but not particularly interesting. This is a very different beast.

It looks beatiful poured in a glass mug, and gives off a dreamy scent of sweet dark chocolate, coffee press, and wood. The mouthfeel, as befits a porter is thinner than most imperial stouts, which helps bring out the higher end flavors that can get lost in cough syrup thickness. The coffee flavor is out front, as is the chocolate, but it taste like very good coffee and chocolate; they aren't just there as place markers for your tongue. This is way high on the yummy factor. Flavors stack up, and come and go: chocolate, brew coffee, molasses/sorghum, pine pitch, oak and cedar. The scent and taste follow each other consistently. The finish is almost too long in a black licorice way. We broke that up twice with the trick of taking a bite of apple, which clears the palate and lets you experience this beauty with a fresh sip.

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Photo of stumac
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my buddy Onslow for this

this brew pours up a jet black color with an amazing chocolate head. the nose is bourbon, oak, chocolate, dark malts, nice. the taste is bourbon, chocolate, slight alcohol spice, chocolate malts. Such a full bodied beer this little bugger is!

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.87/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark brown/black with a nice size fluffy mocha colored head.

S: Wow. Nice and complex nose. Sweet cocoa, molasses, and chocolate. Really makes a nice bouquet!

T: Very nice tastes goin on as well. Chocolate and cocoa are what stands out the most. Slight molasses come out as well.

M: Awesome! Big full bodied and and fluffy. Slight hop character left in this brew.

D: Goddamn good for 11%! I have one more bottle that I will probably sit down and make sweet sweet love to for a few hours! Worth the price of admission!

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Photo of MisterClean
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Grad. Had some at the new Pub House in Portland too.

A - Dark black, little mocha head, which dissipates slowly.

S - Dark cherries, medium roast coffee, flowery hops, and slight alcohol in nose.

T - Dark cherries, medium roast coffee, flower hops, and no alcohol in flavor. That's a big plus.

M - Very well-balanced, hops do not dominate. Very warming too, but not from fusel.

D - At $3 a pint at the Grad, this beer will not last. Excellent. I love seeing brewers go after the high end of the market.

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Photo of opwog
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Currently playing: Kiss - Shout It Out Loud (Alive II)

Note: peel off the wax and find a special anniversary cap!

A: Poured flat for a few seconds and suddenly a nice 1/4 inch dark beige head appeared and subsided to a ring with beautiful isles.

S: Innitail pour: alchohol has cognac caracteristics under roasted coffee and cocoa. Later sniffs bring this much closer to something close to Gonzo Porter.
T: Chocolate, wood and roasted coffee. Alchohol at back of throat and some tart lingers on tongue.
M: Thin, sticky syrup. Body matches taste and strength perfectly.

D: Very similar to Gonzo Porter and just as drinkable.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle 11,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.

I cannot thank futura123 enough for sending this bottle my way! Black Butte XX has been near at the top of my wants list for years and was one I thought I would never get the chance to try - thanks again man.

Appearance: Black Butte XX appears pitch black in the glass, with a strong back light revealing wide, deep crimson edges. A rough pour yields a large (much larger than I expected from a four year old bottle), creamy, mocha coloured head that lasts pretty well and even coats the glass in some patchy lace as it recedes.

Smell: Good Lord, this smells amazing! Rich, sweet dark chocolate, cocoa dusted chocolate mouse, cocoa flavoured butter icing, dark toffee, caramel, toasted marshmallow, sweet liqueur cherries, light coffee, light vanilla and a hint of bourbon are just some of the notes that come to mind on each sniff. As the beer approaches room temperature, light salty liquorice and a hint of smoke are also noted.

Taste: As the nose suggested, this is absolutely delicious! The initial flavour is of sweet dark chocolate, cocoa, dark toffee, sweet caramel, sweet dark fruits, liqueur cherries, light bourbon and vanilla. This fades into the most amazing, lightly bitter mochachino finish. As the beer warms, hints of salty liquorice are noted and a distinct oak character become apparent along side the mochachino notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This was the one department in which I expected the age of this bottle to be quite evident. Thankfully I could not have been more wrong!
The body is almost full and quite heavy with a moderate (read perfect) amount of soft carbonation.

Overall: I cannot believe how well this beer has held up after almost four years in the bottle, if I did not know better I would not think it was more than 18 months old! I am certainly going to have to make an effort to get at least one bottle of each release!

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Photo of maximum12
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to largadeer for introducing me to my second Deschutes beer. After trying the Abyss, my expectations are high!

Black as a porter with an inital head that fades quickly to a litte ringworm around the edges. Smells f-ing great, with everything advertised on the bottle wafting up my hairy nostrils.

Tastes, oh my god. Wow. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt this frequently to drink this. Malty, with a perfect infusion of bourbon, not too much, not too little, with just the bare hint of cocoa a pinch of coffee in the back of the throat, & a little molasses. Holy shit. This is really flipping good.

Mouthfeel is rich & dark & earthy, with an explosion of yum.

I'm sorry Devil, but you've been bested. This is the best bourbon-aged beer I've had, the balance of the tastes is absolutely dead-on. I have a couple more in the cellar that I'm going to treasure. Anyone up to start a petition to make this a year-round venture, or at least a seasonal?

One of the best beers I've had to date.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is awesome! I was lucky enough to try this with TPatuto.

P: A jet black with a tan head on a very rough pour.

S: Oh sweet vanilla from bourbon. Not much of a porter there, but there.

T: The porter part of this beer is a little more present but still over powered by bourbon. But I love that so it's a 5 from me!

M&D are both great! It's an easy drinker with enough to keep you coming back. The bourbon is alot but not over the top.

A must try for bourbon beer lovers

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Photo of donaldchapman
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black, with a dark tan head. Good lacing.
S - Bourbon, chocolate, and coffee notes dominate slight malt sweetness followed by nice hop aroma.
t - Chocolate, bourbon, and slight coffee notes, backed by balanced bitterness, and a good malt sweetness.
M - good body and carbonation, balance beer nicely.

Very good beer, bourbon is present but not over the top, smooth and easy drinking.

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Photo of thethrone
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Malt & Vine in Redmond, WA

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Color is nearly black with great bubbly tan head, which fades to a light ring.

S - A lot of depth in the aroma. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit, smoke. Each time I brought my nose to the glass, a different characteristic would appear.

T - Tastes as in the nose, with a sweetness that gives way to a rich roasty flavor. The barrel aging is well balanced here, with the vanilla and oak flavors shining through without dominating.

M - Very smooth, well carbonated. Finishs dry, where the alcohol content peaks through, especially toward the bottom of the glass.

D - Very drinkable, despite its high alcohol level. I certainly hope Deschutes considers making this one again.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to dgb3 for the bottle. You are the man!

22oz bottle poured into a Deschutes Snifter glass.

A - Pours a deep dark brown with a half a finger dark tan head. It fades pretty quickly to the edges, but leaves rings of lacing on the glass.

S - Very chocolatey, bourbon, oak, and almost a dark cherry scent.

T - The chocolate hits you first, then some strong coffee, and a nice bourbon finish.

D - Nice carbonation and body. Smooth, with a slight burn at the finish.

O - So nice, I am glad I was able to finally try this one. It really is top notch.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Antilogic for sending this beer my way!... The beer was lightly chilled and served in an Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: The pour of the beer is blacker than black. The head was about a finger and the color of espresso foam. The head resolves into a light film on the beers surface.

Smell: Dark roasted espresso, dark bitter sweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, a boozey bourbon aroma.

Taste: The beers flavors are centralized around dark roasted, chared and burnt maltyness. Dark roasted espresso, bitter sweet chocolate, big time bourbon alcohol hotness. The bourbon hotness is actually desireable in the flavor. I cant think of a way for the flavor to be improved.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The beers body is full. The carbonation is low. The flavors last a really long time. The beer seems to be viscous and thick. This is what I was craving in a big porter. For some people this would be a sipping beer. Sadly the beer disappeared from glass rapidly.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to russpowell and JohnGalt1 for this brew. Pours a very nice thick black color, very nice carbonation, with a nice thick/creamy, tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is a big malt bomb, lots of chocolate/toffee/coffee, nice touch of hops, with some bourbon. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, big chocolate/toffee/coffee notes, nice touch of bourbon. Full body, the alcohol is hidden very well with this brew. Very drinkable, this is one tasty brew, a nice balance of ingredients. Thanks Russ and Toby.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up a year ago in CO and have cellared it since...
Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.
A: Pours an opaque dark plum/raisin color (you get a peek at the color as it pours into the glass) with a half inch dark tan head. Decent retention.
S: Raisiny yeast hits from a couple feet away...nice! Slightly reminiscent of a Belgian quad. Chocolate, roasted malt, wood, fig, and a hint of smoke and bourbony alcohol around the edges. Wow! This is one of the best smelling beers I have come across...phenomenal!
T: Chocolate and roasted malt hit first. Smokey bourbon alcohol next. Dark dried fruit (raisin, fig, etc.) fill in around the edges for the taste. The layers of complexity here are tremendous!
M: Surprisingly smooth. Hint of alcohol burn, but very mild. Soft and chewy. Lingers nicely on the palate.
D: It's a sipper, but you should take your time and enjoy this one. Extraordinarily drinkable especially for ABV. I am kicking myself for not picking up more of this...alas it was my only one. I was looking forward to this and my expectations were exceeded. If you come across this one, buy it and enjoy! Easily the best beer I've come across in the last year if not two.

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Photo of bbb099
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks scotfrie for this one! Reviewed on 12/16/2011

A - Almost completely black color with wispy and web-like mocha-colored head.

S - Substantial amount of roasted cocoa aroma accompanied by some coffee.

T - Roasted cocoa comes in first followed by some bourbon booziness. A little coffee taste and molasses come through.

M - A little flat, which was expected. Full bodied and relatively creamy, viscous.

O - Probably the best porter I have ever had. Great look, aroma and taste with the addition of high alcohol content.

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Photo of fjl77
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a 5.5 ounce snifter

Solid all the way through. Nice surprise thrown into the end of a sampling that was heavy in imperial stouts. This beer stood out to me above all the rest in the lineup. Roasty, chocolate, very well balanced and extremely smooth. Super glad I was able to sample this goodness.

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Photo of alexgash
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber dipped in black wax.

Pours a dark maple syrup brown with deep amber edges. Two fingers of thick, frothy, cocoa-brown head. Great lacing and retention. Nose features big aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa beans, vanilla, burnt toffee, smoky peat, stewed fruits, a hint of bourbon, and mocha-coffee roasted bitterness. Very nice.

Roasted malt and herbal hop bitterness start out. Coffee and dark chocolate follow soon after and lead quickly into rich, rummy bread pudding and sweet dark fruits. Notes of plums, Concord grapes, and fresh dates. Also picking up some vanilla, oak, a little bourbon, more roasted barley, licorice, tobacco, and a little smokiness. Roasted coffee and herbal hop bitterness come on in the finish. Warming, but not too boozy. This is an intense, rich, very well-made beer. Full-bodied with a thick, chewy feel. A sipper, and a wonderful one at that! Congratulations on 20 years Deschutes!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up some of this from Liquid Solutions on the first release. I was thrilled to try it and have managed to have more then a couple since. Twenty two ounce bottle, served at cellar temperature and poured into a snifter.

THe pour was wonderful, deep, rich, and deep dark black notes were the rule of the day here. Tan head, maybe two inches crept up the side and deposited loads of side glass lace and a good touch of film across the top.

The aroma was just heavenly. Rich notes of espresso, mocca, burnt malts and bourbon, everything but the kitchen sink on this one. Lots of sweet molasses like notes all over the place. Huge flavor here, really just absolutly top notch. Started warm, with a touch of hotness that quickly faded into the body with a huge note of molasses and bourbon. Tons of coffee in here, a dark, frech roast like coffee taste, really just blowing it up here. Lots of vanilla and cocoa hints as it warmed up, really pushing the envelope here. Huge feel on this one, rich, thick, and full with a great carbonation profile. THis was a great sipper, would love to have one of these as a nightcap any night of the week.

Overall wow, this was really top notch and really up there with the Abyss for sure. I would dive into this one any day and so should you really.

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Photo of biergut
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received two of these in trade (one as an extra!) from msubulldog25; nice guy, great trader.

A - Jet black with a medium-brown head. Started with a light pour until I noticed the head was lacking, so I hard poured until it picked up. Ended up with a nice head but still only about 1 cm. When it comes to beer, patience is not one my virtues. I wanted to wait until it "warmed" up a little, but this beer wouldn't let me. (Okay, so I took a few drinks, but I did sit on it for a while after that.)

S - Cold, burnt coffee? After warming up, it smelled more like burnt dark chocolate. This was too overwhelming to smell anything else.

T - Liquid bliss. Lucious. Roasty. Bourbon starts to appear as it gets warmer. Speaking of warmer, my chest is feeling warmer. Must be the 11% ABV.

M - While forcing myself to let the beer warm up, notes of chocolate coated my tongue and lasted for more than a few minutes. I also burped once and the resultant smell was actually tolerable!

D - This is one fantastic beer! It is essential to let this beer get closer to room temperature before drinking. Once it hits that, I can sip this beer all night long. Now only if I had a few bottles so I could do that!

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Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
4.32 out of 5 based on 358 ratings.
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