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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 358 |  Reviews: 282
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 Proteus93
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was enjoyed courtesy of friends Jeff & Kyrah @ Beer Run. Thanks!

A: A deep black pour with a nice, heavy and creamy head of pale tan. A nice note of stickiness.

S: A rich nuttiness... somewhere between cashew and peanut. A fine coffee roast, soft chocolate notes. Almost a touch of smokiness and vanilla bean. Fabulous.

T: Dark roast coffee, soft chocolate again, and more of that roasted nut which is particularly nice. A dark malt profile... heavily roasted and wonderful. This is perhaps one of the best porters I have tasted.

M: Not as thin as many porters... this is closer to a stout in body. Rich, heavy, creamy, with a slick and smooth finish.

D: A nice sipper, though it's tempting to swig it back it's so smooth and nice. The alcohol is hidden incredibly well and it could catch up. Excellent brew, and highly recomennded.

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Photo of grub
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

22oz bottle topped with black wax. sampled sept 13/08.

pours deep dark brown, not quite black, with a big fluffy light brown head. drops slowly and leaves a few spots of lace.

aroma is great. dark chocolate. coffee. light alcohol. toasted multi-grain bread. biscuit. light roast. bit of alcohol. light fruity character too. bit of vanilla. light smoke.

taste is great. dark chocolate. bit of milk chocolate. coffee. touch of alcohol. caramel. bit of toffee. big chewy malt - biscuit, multi-grain bread, cracker. light sweetness that intensifies as it warms. nice fruity character. hint of smoke. faint vanilla and oaky character. i really enjoy the extra character that the chocolate/coffee/barrel have added to this one.

mouthfeel is excellent. big and chewy body. medium-low carbonation level. silky smooth.

drinkability is great. good balance. i like the additions to the base porter that i know and love. this is like a glass of heaven, with the only real flaw being that as it warms a little more sweetness than i like shows through. looking forward to finding more of this!

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Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to largadeer for sending this my way for the MetalBIF!

Pours an inky black/dark brown, reddish hues, thin tan head forms, settles to a nice ring around the glass, good retentiion, nice lacing on the glass. Smell is chocolate, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, roast, coffee, alcohol, cocoa, dark fruits, very rich and nice. Taste is great too, bourbon, caramel, lots of dark fruit, cherries, wood, coffee, rich cocoa, vanilla, crazy rich flavour, nice roasty finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, very rich flavour smooth, alcohol is smooth and in check. I still like the Abyss better, but this is great stuff. Thanks Chris!

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Photo of Domingo
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is sort of like the Abyss' brother. It's somewhat similar, but nuanced in different ways.
It's as black as night, and pours a pretty layer of foam unless you pour it aggressively. That little layer laces rather well, though.
The flavor components in play are dark chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, vanilla, a hint of bourbon, and a little bit of molasses. There's actually a very dry finish from the NW hops and the bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. It's got a bit of warming alcohol, but I'd have never guessed it's 11%. That's a pretty nice feat although the character of the beer itself keeps it as a sipper.
The body on this isn't as thick as I would've guessed (a nice porter characteristic) so it was pretty easy to drink as a result.
I split a bottle with my wife and both of us went through it pretty quickly.
As usual, Deschutes comes up big with a huge dark monster. If you like the Abyss, you'll like this one.

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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 WeisGuy
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - pours pitch black with a one inch medium brown head, decent retention on the head and it's easy roused back up with a quick swirl, good lacing

s - heavily roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee dominate the nose, deep notes of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging along with some bourbon heat

t - toasty and sweet malt along with dark chocolate up front, mid-palate has more chocolate along with a pronounced coffee bitterness, good deal of oak and vanilla as well, the finish is quite bitter from the coffee but also has a significant bourbon component with some lingering oakiness and cocoa, a little hot but not bad for the abv

m - full-bodied for sure, low to moderate carbonation, pretty dry on the finish, some definite alcohol warming on the palate and in the throat

d - definitely an intense beer made for sipping, the dryness and heat on the finish limit drinkability, but the complexities keep me interested and taking sips

Another nice special release to add to Deschutes' already impressive roster of beers. This isn't on the level of The Abyss for me, but it's not too far behind. Well worth seeking out a bottle of this.

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Photo of ncvbc
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep and dark, rich tan head with surprisingly good retention. Smell is nice. Lots of malt sweetness and some roast. Chocolate, caramel, just a touch of roast in the smell. The flavor carries a bit more roast than the smell suggested. Big, rich, delicious coffee is added and provides some depth. Just a hint of the barrel aging shows up...not as big a presence as I imagined but I think this is a good thing. Mouthfeel isn't as full as I'd hoped. Just a tad thin but very slick going down. It's easy enough to drink and was a pleasure to try. Solid stuff, here.

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Photo of kmeves
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a small tan head. Aroma is medium sweet, smoky, roast, cocoa, malt and a weird musty basement smell. Flavor is smoky, alcohol, cocoa and light fruit. Finishes silky smooth with just a touch of alcohol. Medium-full body, smooth texture.

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Photo of edmedina
3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend tried this and said she hated it. I had a bottle and was planning to age it but after talking with her, I figured I'd give it a try. The pour is black. There is no other way to describe it. It has about 2 fingers worth of head there. Aroma gives a hint of what to expect in the glass. I pick up hints of coffee, malt and molasses. I also get a hint of vanilla. On first sip I wasn't sure exactly what I was tasting. I had to read the bottle. I do get the coffee and malt but not really the chocolate bean. I am not sure if they are referring to the a bitter/baker chocolate or not. I do get a bitter taste though. The after taste is where you do get a hint of that bourbon barrel. I am not exactly sure what my friend didn't like of this one. I found it pleasant but at the same time found that maybe it was trying to be too much. However, I do wish I had aged this for about a year or two. I wonder what it would have tasted like then.

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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 younger35
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Brought this beautiful brew back from Boise after I had my buddy pick me up two bombers. Had I known what this actually was (thought it was Black Butte aged on cherries), I would have had him grab me a case. Drank from my Ithaca tulip.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brownish black that turns dark red around the edges. Really nice dark tan half inch head that recedes fairly slowly leaving a spotty cap and thin collar with just a bit of lacing.
Smell- So the first thing that comes to mind after smelling this brew is, get this, strawberries. Full of deep dark fruits like I've never smelled in a Porter. Especially funny considering it's brewed with chocolate and coffee beans. The bourbon is semi muted but does lend a woody vanilla goodness that is very similar to the ABYSS. The chocolate and coffee are more noticeable as it warms and so is the alcohol.
Taste- The coffee is way more pronounced in the taste than the nose (thank you!). The chocolate is fairly nice as well with a semi bitter caramelness that is really nice and extremely roasted. Some semi smoky molasses and light bourbon alcohol add a bit of vanilla and woody goodness. Fairly sweet but not really to the point of being cloying. Like the nose it's really dark and fruity with a luscious red licorice finish.
Mouthfeel- Really the only weakness IMHO. It's a bit thin but has a very smooth creaminess stemming from the super light carbonation. A bit of warming on the finish as well.
Drinkability- I really enjoyed this tasty treat very much! I can't believe how much I get strawberries in the nose as weird as that sounds. The coffee is superb but I'm still not fully in love with chocolate nibs. They seem to add an unnecessary amount of bitterness. Now we just gotta convince Deschutes to come out with Obsidian XX. Genius!!!

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Photo of moose3285
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved this from largadeer in an LIF. Thanks a bunch Chris.

A - Pours pitch black with about a one finger tan head into my Dogfish Head snifter. Head fades pretty quickly to a ring. Very minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

S - Smells mainly of bitter chocolate and bourbon, also some black licorice. There's a bit of coffee in the nose but not nearly as much as I was hoping for. There's also a pretty strong alcohol aroma in the nose.

T - There's a bit more coffee in the taste but still not as much as I would have liked. Still a lot of bitter chocolate and some sweetness from the bourbon. The finish is somewhat bitter and dry with a significant alcohol presence.

M - The mouthfeel is perfect. Thick and creamy with the right about of carbonation.

D - I enjoyed this a lot, but the alcohol doesn't hide itself very well. Which I think limits the drinkability

A really enjoyable beer. My one complaint is that I was hoping for more coffee. I'm a huge fan of coffee beers and would have really liked this one to have a little bit more than it did.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My buddy opened up a bottle for me last night...and all I have to say about this beer is that its pure goodness in a bottle.

A: The best word to describe the color of this beer would be "Darkness". It had an okay 1-finger tan head along with lacing that stuck to wall of my snifter.

S: Overwhelming (in a good way) coffee aroma with hints of cocoa.

T: Pure and simple...probably the best tasting porter I have had. Again, rich coffee and chocolate characteritics with obvious aging in bourbon barrels. A nice light to medium bitter finish.

M: Heavy-medium thickness with light carbonation. Rested in the palate for quite some time.

D: Easy to drink; wish I could have had a whole bomber to myself.

Overall: Exceptional beer. If you like this, I highly recommend trying Alesmith's Decadence when it comes out. Both are about on the same level as each other, but this one probably edges it out.

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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 paco1029384756
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to OlieIPA for the bottle.

Pours very dark brown color with a small, short lasting head and a creamy ring of lacing, thinning out after a while.

Scent of coffee, chocolate malts, prunes, sugars, oak, and more roasted malts.

Taste of chocolate and roasted malts hit initially, coffee flavor blends in shortly after and lingers with roasted malts. Prunes and raisins come in with a strong oak and bourbon taste. Some alcohol, but it is not very noticeable. With some warmth a stronger oak and bourbon flavor come out.

Mouthfeel is heavy, full and voluptuous.

Drinkability is surprisingly high with the strength of this beer.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruddy turbid black with a brownish espresso foam that lasts and leaves good sheets and lacing. Aromas of coffee, cark chocolate, and deeply roasted malt, with a nice vanilla and oak hint to it as well. Taste is boozy up front with big bourbon and oak, it than mellows out with green hop, biscuit malt, chewy chocolate and coffee grinds. Mouthfeel is medium thick, but not over the top. Drinkability is very good for such a big beer. This totally just beats the abyss into a bloody pulp!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

This pours a very dark brown with reddish hues and a 1 finger head of tan foam. Pretty good head retention and there's some good lacing.

The smell has notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and cherries. I like!

The taste starts with a big roasted coffee bitterness with some chocolate and vanilla tones and a pretty ample cherry presence; I can taste some of the oak/bourbon but it, I think, is "floating" more in the background and doesn't gobble up every other flavour like in some brews.

Close to full bodied, it's medium carbonated and it finishes with a nice blast of cherry tartness and coffee bitterness. And yeah, the alcohol is there but it's not all that intrusive. This is a very good sipper and I'm glad I got to try it as none showed up in Casper unlike The Abyss. They should have made more! ;^)

Thanks again, Russ!

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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 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 barleywinebrewer
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

72 reviews as of this writing. Thanks to Tayner for the chance to try this neat beer. I find myself continuing to be intrigued by brewery anniversary beers. This one works for me as it's a porter amped up on chocolate and vanilla without loosing that roasted porter bite. starts off lighter than the abv indicates but leaves you warm and happy by the end.

quite the beer to mark 20 years. worth trying if you get a chance.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours dark dark black with tan head. aroma of chocolate, truffles, coffee, slight hint of alcohol. taste is fantastic and deep, rich. chocolate gives way to coffee, toffee and hints of oak and leather. you need to try this, second only to abyss from this brewery in my opinion, and not by much.

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Photo of grandq
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from memory last night (er, this morn), forgot to take notes.

Pours pretty much pitch black with a fluffy khaki head. Smell didn't make any major impressions - coffee, chocolaty malt heavy, a tiny bit of prune common to imp porters - nothing standout but good. The taste is where its at, a bit of muted dark fruit wrapped in chocolate, followed by a flood of coffee - just the right amount. To compare it has the pleasing bitterness of Speedway but the restraint and lack of astringency of Gorilla Warfare (though not quite its earthiness, that sets that one over the top for me). A dash of vanilla in there with a fair alcoholic presence warming the finish. There's a kiss of bourbon in that burn, but not as evident as in most barrel aged brews (i know this one's blended w/ non oaked, makes the difference). Mouthfeel is creamy without feeling oppresively thick on a summer's night. Impressively drinkable for the style, of course a sipper, but the slow pace of drinking leads to some slightly cloying sweetness at warmer temps. Overall, worthy of the pantheon of great coffee beers, another winner from Deschutes.

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