Black Butte XX | Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXBlack Butte XX
Liked This Beer
4.32 w/ 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 358 |  Reviews: 282
Photo of bosco7
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky black with a thick brown head. Very attractive.

The smell is heavenly. Chocolate, coffee, prune, cola, black pepper, cherry, nutmeg and a touch of orange rind in the nose. Wow.

Starts with lots of chocolate and some sweetness. Fruity flavors are apparent after the chocolate. Cherry and prune flavors are the most noticeable but there is some fig in there as well. Towards the finish there is a dry and roasty coffee flavor.

The mouthfeel is full of texture without being cloying or heavy. This quality makes it very easy to drink. This beer is a thing of beauty, I am so glad I made it back to the West Coast this year and stumbled upon this gem. Highly recommended.

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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 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 tpd975
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gillard

A: Pours a nice flat black hue with a big bold head. Good retention and spotty lace noted.

S: Aroma is light vanilla, light espresso, light chocolate, alchohol, and bourbon. The combination makes for a nice smelling brew.

T: Chocolate is on the forefront with some roasted, ashy character. Coffee leans toward the bitter side with a splash of milk chocolate. A slight alcohol burn comes thru in the finish.

M: Somewhat creamy with strong carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

D: As big and bold as a porter can get. Nice flavors and very enjoyable. I really liked it.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My 250th review:

a: maybe a shade short of black. a thin tan head.

s: prunes, figs, and sweet malt.

t: BIG, rich and complex. a big roasted malt opening with dark stone fruits dominating. then dark roast coffee, and finally a bitter chocolate finish. notes of vanilla and bourbon from the barrel aging.

m: full bodied and rich. feels like an imperial stout.

d: a sipper, no question. complex and rich. its a great beer now, but I can see this one laying down quite nicely. its a shame this was only brewed once.

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

22oz bomber half poured into Unibroue tulip glass. Thanks to kplynch for the tasting opp. Pours lighter black, definitely lighter than the abyss. 1 inch brown head that slowloy receeds to nice webing of lace.

Smells initially of vanilla, then slight coffee followed by strong toasted malts. Tastes not like coffee - would have expected this from the coco nibs - but more of great toasted malts, caramel and chocolate. Very slick, thick mouthfeel for a porter, but not too thick enough for a RIMP.

This beer is great and kinda blurs the line between RIMP and porter. Alcohol is hidden very well and sneaks up on you. Can drink this all night long...

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Photo of Trueant1
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer! Wish they could brew this one year round.

A great offwhite head. This porter is darker and thicker than the norm for this style.

Tastes is a dark chocolate malt with espresso beans ground up. Lots of booziness from the bourbon barrels. A hint of smoke.

This beer just blends together great...what ever they are doing, it is great. Malts,chocolates,hops, and bourboun blend amazingly!

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

Consumed 08/02/08.

Pours black into a tulip glass, making a three finger tan head that lasts for a while, slowly reducing to a sticky lacing.

The nose is greeted with sweet chocolate and cocoa, roasted malt and some alcohol. More like chocolate milk than anything else.

Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, leaving a coating behind that tastes and feels like chocolate milk.

Flavor is simple but tasty; chocolate milk. Sweet with a slight alcohol kick at the end. In other words, just like the aroma, except with the addition of a hint of mild, style-appropriate sourness, mild but substantial bitterness and maybe even some vanilla in there as well.

Certainly a substantial departure from most porters and quite tasty, but finishing off a whole bomber solo was almost too much for me. However, I persevered.

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Photo of bkilpatr
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 08/01/08. Bottle was dipped in black wax, matches the cool black label.

Pours a very dark brown-black color. About a finger of chocolaty brown head formed which receded somewhat quickly. Aromas of milk and dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and a hint of bourbon.

Taste starts with sweet milk chocolate and hints of caramel, vanilla, and oak. That's followed by a rush of bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Mixed in with all of this is a smooth bourbon flavor. A bit of sweetness from the bourbon aging but not too much. The alcohol is barely noticeable in the taste.

Feel is very smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Not too thin or too thick, just right. Drinkability is great. The alcohol (11%) is very well hidden and it's just so smooth.

An excellent porter from the folks at Deschutes. Highly recommended. Definitely try it if you can find it.

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Photo of tbeck
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick, heavy black with a good brown head. Smelled of coffee, with tones of chocolate and some alcohol. Very good aroma. Taste was like the aroma, mainly coffee with a slight bitterness. Excellent texture, chewy but very smooth and easy on the palate. It is a heavy beer that fills quickly, and it does have a bit of bite in the alcohol. Not quite a session beer, but very enjoyable.

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

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Pours a dark brownish black with a medium tan fairly creamy head that lasts quite a while. Liquid actually looks fairly thin which is good because just being an imperial it shouldn't be too much thicker than a normal porter

Smell is quite a bit of coffee but balanced with chocolate with restrained roasty character, though it is there just a bit. Again, very good as Deschutes didn't go overboard and make it super roasty and rich just because it's an "imperial" porter.

The taste is also very similar to a porter. The alcohol is hidden pretty well but is very warming on the stomach. No surprise here that it's mostly chocolate and a bit of coffee without really hardcore roasty flavors.

Mouthfeel is actually pretty thin. Probably not what you would expect for any 11% imperial beer, but it works great.

Congrats to Deschutes for beefing up the Black Butte porter and keeping it within the style.

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

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Opened right out of the fridge (45 degrees or so).

Pours a dark black with a good coffee/chocalte aroma to it. Taste goes similar with the smell. After taste is just as good as the drink itself. As others stated the 11% is not noticeable in this beer.

Definitely recommend it if you can find it. (Every store I went to I had to specifically ask for it from the back) so if you don't see it on the shelf it might not actually mean they don't have it.

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

I appreciated johnmichaelsen sharing this with me at the Lancaster County Brewer's meeting last night. Poured from the bomber slightly chilled into my tasting glass.

A - Dark as night w/ a small head, practically opaque and rich in appearance

S - Very dark malts, raisin, currant, cocoa and toffee

M - A smooth roastiness w/ dry undercurrents, fruit and sweetness w/ a dry alcohol feel as it finishes

T - A tasty Imperial Porter! So smooth for 11% a deep bittersweet cocoa taste w/ subtle coffee and nice creamy elments from the yeast. Some nuttiness in the flavor but very rich cocoa like a chocolate pound cake soaked in cocoa liquer comes to mind.

D - This is excellent and worth the taste. I am pleased to have been able to try the limited beer - Thanks John. It has some of the qualities of their excellent Black Butte porter, but amped way up and the alcohol really didn't hit me until late into the taste

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Photo of froghop
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a jet black with a small brown head, good lacing.

smell of cocoa, touch of coffee, licorice, and a touch of vanilla.

taste is sweet up front (didn't see that coming), bold, licorice, bitter-sweet chocolate, a touch of coffee, and somewhat smokey.

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Photo of flexabull
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up some bottles at the Billy Goat in Mt. Shasta.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin off white head.

Aromas are off dark bakers chocolate, some cream, sugars, and a bit of coffee.

Taste is dry, crisp, and with upfront dark bitter chocolates. Settles into creamy dark malt flavors, dark sugars, a bit cola like, and with a hint of coffee as well. Finish leaves an oak and booze bite, along with a hint of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very good. Nice full flavor, with a very long finish and excellent carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This is a very powerful and tasty porter. This is a beer that is well worth trying, and probably would be excellent with a year or so under it's belt.

Congrats on 20 years Deschutes!

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Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this excellent beer out of the bottle and on tap, and at least to me, the draft version is superior right now.

On tap at the Horse Brass the other day.

The beer pours a potent black color with very good head retention and lacing. The head dies down fairly quickly, but never entirely goes away. The beer looks impressive. On the nose I get the expected coffee/chocolate, but with a hint of licorise as well. The beer smells very nice, although I wouldn't call it complex. On the palate this beer is delicious. Everything seems to be in just the right preportion, with flavors of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. While it reminds me a bit of the Abyss, the flavors are not quite as intense, with everything dialed down just a bit. Nevertheless, this beer is just delicious on tap, and the soft, creamy smooth mouthfeel is incredible. Drinkability in this beer is flat out dangerous. There is nothing in it that would lead me to believe I was drinking an 11% abv. beer. As I drink my imperial pint of this beer, it just gets easier and easier to drink, the moderately sweet flavors blending together so smoothly...

The bottled version wasn't nearly so impressive to me, but on draft right now this beer is just delicious. However, given its deceptive abv. and easy going flavor profile, I probably need to stay away. Another excellent beer from Deschutes.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this wax capped bottle yesterday at the Bier Stein in Eugene, OR.

Pours a deep black color, more like a stout than your average porter. Smells amazing, with hints of coffee and cocoa, lots of toasty malt goodness, and a nice bourbon oakey aroma. Taste has gobs of cocoa powder flavor, a faint malty sweetness, and just a bit of hop bit on the finish. Alcohol is noticeably present, but not overwhelmingly so. Mouthfeel is very smooth. A very flavorful porter, well worth a try. The slightly elevated abv makes this a kick in the pants, and denies me the desire to drink more than one of these, but would look forward to trying it again in the future.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is pretty bad ass porter with a soft side as the chocolate notes smooth out the dark malts and the barrel aging. Tastes like a barrel aged Beer Geek's Breakfast with lots of coffee and cocoa in the mix. The nose is amazing with hints of an expresso mixed with dark chocolate sitting in a bourbon barrel. I never had the Abyss but I have had other RIS or Impy Porters and this ranks up there with any of the ones I have tried.

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Photo of chimaychimaynot
3.61/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque black in my nonick pint glass (regrettably, my snifters are in storage), with a thick, creamy, beige head of foam.

Aroma has a strong oaky, whiskeyish aroma, with notes of dark chocolate and coffee playing second fiddle.

The taste mirrors the aroma: prominent bourbon barrel notes, alongside toasted coconut, chocolate truffle, and coffee (coffee has a faint oxidized note to it). Sweet through the middle, drying with a trace of spicy hop and generous alcohol warmth in the finish.

Full bodied, rich, fudgy, with a late alcohol warmth.

After the Abyss, I had high hopes for this beer, but I found the barrel-aged character overwhelming, masking any sublety that might lie beneath.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After prying off the wax seal, which was a bit of a pain, this 22 oz bottle opened with a satisfying hiss, and poured a jet black into the glass. Some beers are dark, this one was like a black hole. The head was large and creamy, and very long lasting, in fact so long I got impatient waiting for it to settle so I could check the lacing. But what appeared at the top of the glass looked good. The nose on this one is mostly of coffee and chocolate, with distinct hints of the barrels this sat in. The palate was simply divine, being rich and creamy. Flavors are dominated by the coffee and the alcohol is hidden very well. The finish is dry and bitter. A simply exceptional beer. I drank this at about 45 degrees, and think had it been ten degrees warmer it might have been even better.

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Photo of bleeng
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from Tops in Tempe. Pours dark black with a small white head. Nose of chocolate, dark malts, sweetness, alcohol. A bit hot, sticky, chocolate is subdued. This needs to settle and I'll let the other bottle sit for a while. This could be very good later on-not great, but very good.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.73/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good strong pour elicits an attractive brown head that raises up a couple inches, topping a super-dark brown that would qualify as black if not for the tiny amount of ruby highlighting when held to the light.

Plenty of chocolate, including the bitter and sweet sides, although I am more focused now on the estery alcohols and the roast of the malt. Plenty of coffee, including that acrid edge that plays more in the flavor than on the nose, and also some very dark fruits, like a dried, unsweetened fig (or a desweetened date).

More of these flavors hit the mouth in a fairly impressive mouthfeel, nice and full and creamy, with a lush, surprisingly smooth finish. Lots of dark fruit in the flavor, where the sugars can emerge more fruitfully, while the bitterness plays along nicely as well. The alcohol is of course mildly noticeable, but it has probably caught up on many people as quickly as it did me. Fortunately I was taking quick notes, because I actually fell asleep in a sub-optimal situation, both physically and socially.

I noticed on the bottle that it was partially aged in wood. I'm impressed with the restraint here; there's oftentimes far too much of the acrid oak flavor, and here that's not a big problem, although the oak does add a pleasant edge of complexity.

I've waxed fairly romantically about the XX, but in the end I'm not going to be it's biggest admirer. Interesting, complex, in your face to be sure, but somehow a little bit thin..not necessarily in terms of mouthfeel, but just in general. A little time might do this one some good, but at 8.99$ a bomber, I might never find out.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to this one. Not an easy one to find but I called around and managed to get one. Expectations are high since Abyss was awesome and there's been a lot of buzz. I only mention this because I think it can influence the ratings, including my own.

Wax dipped 22oz. bottle opens with a small hiss. Without accurate control over the fridge, I tried to get this around 50 degrees but my house is much warmer.

Pours jet black with lots of head. Only the very edges let any light through. Fair head retention but excellent lacing left behind.

Aroma is mostly roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol but a little bit of chocolate and bourbon comes through.

The taste has initial sweetness up front that reminds me of the darkest chocolate. This is soon followed by strong bitterness and alcohol. There's certainly some roasted coffee and just a hint of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with just the right level of carbonation. The slight burn at the end is just a reminder of how potent the XX really is.

The more it warms, the more coffee comes out, to the point where I feel only coffee lovers would really enjoy this beer. Luckily I am and I do.

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Photo of joe1510
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

I was lucky enough to get this treat in a recent trade with msbulldog25, thanks again Brian. Deschutes giant porter, Black Butte XX pours midnight black without letting a hint of light shine through. This is one of those beers that actually swallow up the light around the glass. A standard pour raised a mocha head two fingers before it settled to a thick cap of frothiness. Mild patchwork lacing is left down the glass after each drink.

Cocoa hits right up front and never truly fades. Each healthy swirl brings the dark roast coffee to the front. Bittersweet coffee combines with tangy anise to create a strong licorice aroma toward the back. While I really like the aroma of this beer I do have one complaint. As this beer warms up the roastiness does come forward a bit more. The adjuncts seem to take over the aroma without letting the beer itself come through. It is very tastefully done though, nothing is huge and in your face. All the aspects seem nicely balanced in the aroma.

The flavor shows much of the same characteristics as the aroma. This beer shows much more of the porter characteristics then I thought I would get when I stuck my nose in the glass. The roastiness and anise are what jump out right away. These two aspects lead through the entire drink. The cocoa nibs, bittersweet chocolate, and dark roast coffee all come through as accompaniments, the coffee being the mildest of the three. I'm not getting much bourbon or oak in the flavor, I would have loved to see some come through. This is a big beer and there is an alcohol heat on the finish along with green hops.

I thoroughly enjoy the mouthfeel of this giant porter. The body leans toward the lighter side of heavy and shows a little stick on the back of the throat. The solid hopping, roastiness, and coffee add a nice touch of bitterness. I'm surprised at the smoothness and lighter then expected body from an 11% beer.

This is a big beer with a lot of robust flavor. The alcohol hinders the drinkability a little but this bomber is a joy to sip away. As a matter of fact, for a beer this big with such deep flavor, this goes down surprisingly easy. It will warm you up without a doubt.

Black Butte XX is a high quality beer that seems to be a little rough around the edges. I'm under the impression this will smooth out and become an excellent sipper with a couple months under its belt. Deschutes has a very tasteful way of doing their barrel aging and adjunct additions. I'm very impressed with the way this and The Abyss was done in those regards. The beer is the showcase instead of the adjuncts, which is just the way it should be. Thanks again for the treat Brian!

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Photo of Reidrover
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful looking ale.Pitch black with a lovelly thick creamy dark tan head. Very handsome.' Strong toasted malts aroma, backed by esspresso coffee and dark chocolate (70%) tones, small attractive hint of alcohol. Quite sweet but delicious flavours, here in the flavour department the cream is added to the coffee and gettng some accents of dark semi-dried fruits. This is like a good Christmas pudding covered in a rich cream and rum sauce eaten with some excellent coffee. Very nice. Wonderous palate..smooth and silky..creamy even, the alcohol complimenst ,rather than hurts. A great beer, though I believe a winter release around Xmas would be wonderful.

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Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 95.3% out of 100 with 358 ratings
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