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Black Butte XX | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXBlack Butte XX
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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 358 |  Reviews: 282
Photo of Overlord
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a burnished black with black edgings. Large white foam head.

Smells like chocolate, coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and chocolate.

Delicous flavor: more of a stout than a porter, to be honest. Cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and a big roasty background.

Despite the ABV, very drinkable.

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Photo of jamesm7485
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pour is pure pure black, almost more so than i remember abyss being.

The smell is much heavier on the coffee than the chocolate and the barrel aged smell isnt therwe

taste is heavy coffee up front and nice chocolate after

mouthfeel is not as smooth and more carbonated than i expected

despite the alcohol itsz very drinkable, im sad i only got three bottles

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pure, deep, dark black with a smallish head of slighly offwhite foam that melts to a very simple ring of white.

Aroma is totally coffee and chocolate...more coffee...to espresso...more chocolate to deep belgian and bittersweet.

Taste is sharply bitter chocolate with lots of coffee...not much else...just a slight alcohol warming...but I don't know if anything else is necessary. The coffee and chocolate notes are wonderfully balanced.

Mouthfeel is as smooth as an oatmeal stout...totally creamy and tongue coating without being cloying at all.

Aftertaste is a wonderful chocolate, coffee experience that, like that famous bunny rabbit, just keeps going and going.

No sense of the alcohol until after you have finished a half a glass then...whoa! It's in there.

Lovely stuff.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz wax-sealed bottle purchased at BevMo! in Cypress.

A- Poured into my New Belgium globe glass, this beer pours black with a slight reddish-brown tint when held up to light. The head is light brown in color and quickly settles to a thin layer, leaving only a few spots of lacing on the glass after each sip.

S- Rich aromas of coffee and cocoa are backed by fermented dark fruits with notes of bourbon and burnt oak. As the beer hits room temperature, some caramely sweetness emerges and the boozy bourbon aromas really break through.

T- The taste is much sweeter than I anticipated, with flavors of coffee and chocolate gradually subsiding into a mild espresso bitterness. The bourbon barrel ageing adds a nice woody flavor towards the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, and a bit syrupy with prickly carbonation.

D- The 11% ABV is very well-integrated into every aspect of this beer and I had no problem finishing a bomber of this by myself.

I'm not sure that this beer would greatly improve with age though, given that the taste is already rather sweet and the alcohol is very well-hidden.

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

Pours jet black with a half inch head of tan.
The thinnish head fell to a partial skim-coat within two minutes, leaving behing a few dots of lacework.

Aromatics are laced with dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, oak char, and light bourbon. Roasty, deep, and complex. The bourbon is subdued, but adds some great complexity and the vanilla is wonderfull.

Thickish bodied and extremely creamy. Almost like a nitro-pour.

Highly balanced on the pallet. Rich, bitter chocolate, dark roast coffee, oaky tannins, and vanilla-steeped bourbon.
Slightly acrid and heavily roasty.

Finishes with a hint of warming bourbon on the throat, some sweet caramel, and lingering chocolate, vanilla, and espresso.

Wowza, great beer. Very mature and smooth for a fresh bottle. The bourbon is a bit subdued, as is the case with The Abyss. It plays a supporting role as opposed to stealing the show.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour into my New Belgium globe goblet produces three-fingers of tightly beaded, browned, dark tan colored froth. The beer is opaque and black, though it does show a hint of a red tint if held up directly to the light. The aroma definitely has lots of chocolate to it as this is the first thing I notice as I am pouring it. Once I focus on the aroma though the chocolate takes more of a back seat to the roast aromatics and warm alcohol esters. The roast character smells distinctly of deeply roasted coffee; sharp, slightly acrid with a burnt, acidic edge and even a bit of char. Towards the end some toasted grain notes become noticeable, sort of like browned saltine crackers, but these notes are fairly soft. This has a fruitiness to it that is reminiscent of roasted prunes and blackened raisins.

Quite sweet tasting, with more fruit and less roast character than the aroma would have suggested. The fruitiness has notes of berries, raisins and figs that all have a charred note to them. The finish has notes of bitter, darkly roasted coffee and some light oak spiciness to it as well as some soft warming notes from the alcohol. While this is chewy and slightly viscous it definitely drinks lighter than its 11% alcohol; it almost has a lightness to it & I would have expected this to be a lot more thick and creamy. Sweet, roasted flavors of molasses and chocolate syrup move to bright, coffee notes in the middle and finally finishes with charred malt, a burnt acidity and a lingering roasted bitterness in the finish. The oak / bourbon notes are quite subtle / hidden; just noticed in the finish with the spicy bourbon-barrel notes accenting the warming alcohol notes a bit.

An interesting beer. The flavors and aromatics don't integrate and work as well together as they should, thought the individual components are pretty good. In the end it can be a bit too thin, a bit too acrid and a bit too bitter to be really good. Still a tasty tipple and certainly enjoyable.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lucky to come across a bottle of this and was eager to try as I had a 6'er of Black Butte in my fridge that I had been enjoying. This is a mssively dark beer. Lets just say I think the glass I drank it out of will be permanetly stained. Slightly thick, tan head. Not very much rentention and lacing if you ask me. Smell is of dark fruits, maybe some raisin, a bit of alcohol (almost rum like), and some coffee and caramel. Taste is virtually identitcal to smell. Strong coffee flavor, a rich chocolate syrup, and some burnt grain. Thick and slightly creamy feel to it with a definite alcohol burn as it goes down. While the alcohol is well masked, it was still a bit too much I thought. Overall I enjoyed the beer though I must admit I probably would have enjoyed this beer more on a cool winter's night (good thing I have another couple of bottles!).

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Photo of sfoley333
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle bought from Texas Liquor here in Carlsbad. Poured into a Duvel snifter a black almost bordering on blackbrown side but I'll give it black with a thick tan head( good lacing down the glass). Smell is very faint coffee but it picks up more with the beer as it warms, then a little chocolate and roasted malt essences. The bourbon aroma doesnt really come through strong but it you can still pick up a trace scent of charred oak. The taste is heavy on the chocolate side with a bitter dark chocolate flavor, a little shot of espresso, some vanilla, and a nice mellow but apparent alcohol feel. The mouthfeel while fullbody is a little on the lighter side of the fullbody profile. However this a porter were talking about and not a Russian Imperial stout. The carbonation is very mellow. This beer is smooth with an alcohol punch. The oak is not so foward but the flavors(more on the chocolate side) are great and IMO a great porter. However I know most will try to compare to either the abyss or some other BA imperial stout which it wasnt intended to be.

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Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This big porter from Deschutes pours a near black color and holds a creamy light mocha head. Some nice lacing along the glass.

The nose has a strong coffe presence backed by chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruits and faint bourbony alcohols.

The taste is similar. Lots of coffee, chocolate and roasty malts. Can't detect much of the bourbon. They should have aged more than 20 percent in the barrels, especially at $10 a bottle... Cheap ass brewers...

Nice full body with good carbonation. This is a tasty brew that goes down very well for an 11% porter.

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

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with some brown highlights when held up to the light. Head is medium tan with good retention, light lacing, love the label.

S: Get a lot of espresso notes on the first whiff, chocolate.

T: On first taste it made me think immediately of the Abyss. In my opinion, it's close, but not as good as its cousin. Huge amount of coffee, initial taste is similar to Speedway Stout though not as robust. The cacao beans find there way in there as a softer secondary flavour, with some sweet fermented black malt, but the coffee dominates the overall brew. Bourbon aging is evident, but much lighter than in the Abyss as a vanilla note mixed with the dark chocolate.

M: Very oily, medium to full-bodied, seems somewhat thin at times, but overall it is quite robust and powerful.

D: An interesting and tasty beer to say the least. I can see this beer being endlessly compared to the Abyss, but they are 2 different animals. Definitely worth delving into another bottle while it is available, I hope I'll find it on-tap. For its alcohol percentage and body it is quite drinkable, finished about half the bottle in 20 minutes, but I'll slow it down as I want this as a nightcap.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Really cool label but it says this was aged in bourbon barrels. I thought I read on their website they used Stranahan's whiskey barrels, whatever, let Kentuckians quibble over that. Black with red edges. Not nearly as viscous looking as the Abyss. It smells like an amped up black butte, roasted coffee but with an alcohol tinge that could be from the whiskey barrel but is more likely just the high abv of the brew. The alcohol kinda dominates the flavor for me at first, tingling the mouth. For the life of me I can't taste coffee, chocolate, or whiskey. Then it warms sufficiently and the coffee begins an assault. It is easy enough to drink and it might become more interesting in a couple months, who knows? Oddly, I think the regular black butte is a better porter than the XX and it actually packs more flavor if not more punch.


smells like coffee and whoppers. Tastes smooth but the coffee is a little much for me.

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Photo of gford217
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours dark, dark brown which looks black in the glass with ruby edges. The head is big and bubbly and leaves a few big bubbles along the top for a while leaving good lacing.

S: Smell is big sweet roasted malts up front with dark chocolate and espresso smells as well.

T: Coffee and chocolate tastes abound with the roasted sweet malts present throughout. There are dark fruits and licorice hints as well in the middle before a hint of hops and the coffee bring home a slightly bitter aftertaste. There is also a little bit of alcohol burn in the finish as well.

M: Mouthfeel is great on this one - super creamy with strong carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

D: Drinkability is a little low if you consider this an American porter, but it's pretty damn drinkable for a big imperial porter. I really like this brew.

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Photo of julian
2.78/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bought from Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA

Made a slight "tsss" as the cap was pried off.

A: midnight black, with garnet hues near the bottom edge if held up to light. moderate bubbly chocolately tan head that quickly shrinks

S: At first this has a dark fruity aroma like sweet cherries and is almost berry like in smell. during the opening and initial pour. Nose up to the glass however yields earthy aromas of roasted nuts, lots of coffee, molasses, toffee, dark chocolate. very very slight alcoholic presence. no wood or bourbon on the nose.

T&M: This is a thick, chewy beer. very noticeable alcoholic presence (even after 2 completely different beers already). Warms your throat/stomach. you can definitely tell this was aged in bourbon barrels as the warming bourbon taste comes through in full force. relatively high hop bitterness. Can't really taste any of the other smells that were experienced.

D: high ABV and booziness will limit how much one can drink of this. This is more of a sipping beer, and even at that it's quite alcoholic. Very bitter too.

I also have to agree with josiahschlender's statement that this warrants being in a category of "imperial porter". It does not fit into the standard american porter category given it's high bitterness and hop heavyness.

EDIT: This has been compared to The Abyss, but after having Abyss on tap just a few weeks ago, this tastes nothing like it. This is a harsh, bitter brew vs Abyss which is clearly more robust, complex and flavorful. 2 totally different beers IMO.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chocolate and coffee aromas up front. I don't get much bourbon on the nose. It pops up in the taste. Very well balanced considering age. Not boozy. On swallow, it has a taste very much like The Abyss....or at least some qualities. This is a nice beer.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this one ages. It is going to be difficult to actually let one age for more than 10 minutes.

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Photo of sevopie
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Almost black, hints of chocolate color, especially when held to the light. Pours a healthy sized brown head that dies somewhat quick.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, slight woody smell.

Taste - A little of everything. Chocolate, coffee again as well as a slight hop bitterness with some grain flavor. The woodiness is there as well with a tinge of vanilla and finishes with the slightest taste of bourbon.

Mouthfeel - One of the heaviest beers I have tasted on the tongue, and the carbonation is only mildly subdued. The combination brings things to the fore as they should be.

Drinkability - I could sip on this forever. Best porter I have ever had, hands down.

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Photo of Crosling
3.15/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown out of the bottle, and appears black in the glass. Light tan foam, quickly fades into a collar, not bottle conditioned. Aroma lacks finesse and complexity, mainly dominated by heavily roasted malts, blackened fruits and alcohol. Nose lacks coffee and chocolate notes, as well as any type of barrel contribution. Still, at least it has an aroma. Flavor also lacks grace, but it does have a lot of flavor. Pretty crude and overly roasty, overly burnt. Bitter coffee notes and more blackened fruits. Doesn't finish well either. I also don't understand Deschutes theory of barrel aging. Aging 20% of the beer in a barrel is not sufficient. In fact, it's basically pointness. There are no hints of whiskey barrel in the beer at all, in the nose or flavor. It's also not bottle conditioned. Maybe it will age decently, but for now, it's not a beer I enjoy.

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Photo of PhxHorn
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown, with very little tan head that leaves zero lacing. Smells of coffee, chocolate, molasses, tobacco, and tastes of all the above, just not that strongly. Maybe I'm unfairly comparing this to Alesmith's Decadence Imperial Porter that came out recently, but this doesn't quite measure up. As a matter of fact, it tastes like Abyss, but watered down. Nothing really unique about it. A good porter, but not all that special.

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Photo of oregone
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So, yeah, you can tell I like it.
A: Thick, viscous, with a short (1/2) inch amber head that quickly settled. But hey, it sees some cask.
S: Triple mocha anyone? All coffee, chocolate vanilla, with some earthy notes (moss?).
T: Coffee and chocolate immediately. Some Bourbon notes pop in, though surprisingly, the booziness is subdued. You get some strong vanillin on the finish and some woodsy tinge. Very complex and complete.
M: For all that flavor and weight, very gentle on the palate, which helps with the appreciation of the complexity, as well as the...
D: I wish I could drink these all night. Certainly goes down easy and makes for an enjoyable drink, but two would be sufficient for a few hours. Need to work on tolerance. Damn.

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Photo of bort11
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big time thanks to JohnGalt1 for this one. He sent me two bottles, count 'em two!, for the Fight Club BIF.

22 oz wax sealed bottle pored into an imperial pint glass. A thick and dense mocha colored head only stands about a finger's width from a hard pour. Gradually it recedes to almost nothing. Not that surprising for a barrel aged beer. Body color is a dense black.

Smell is a rich collection of dark smells. Roasted coffee, dark cocoa, and charred wood. Taste is equally dark added with the whiskey heat that gives it some spice.

Mouthfeel is thick and slick. Very chewy and filling. What an over all treat. I'm going to keep that second bottle in my cellar to see how it does in a year.

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

22 oz bottle, picked up at City Beer in San Francisco.

Drank some last night in bed, left it on my nightstand, and now drinking the remainder that I left sitting out overnight. It's actually better after sitting out all night, as it has warmed up a bit. The lesson: don't drink this beer too cold. Cellar temperature at the coldest, and room temperature is probably just fine.

I actually like this better than The Abyss that some people rave about, but maybe that just means I like porters better than stouts.

One last comment: the wax seal is cool looking, but I actually find it fairly annoying to have to deal with when you're desperate to crack open your new acquisition and start imbibing.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 from the Coop from Friday I think.. Paid about $10... enjoyed immensely tonight from my new Boulevard Smokestack goblet.

1" mocha colored head... Brew is very very dark brown... very close to black.. only sorta looks brown when held next to a light and some little light reflects back ... head drops quick but thick creamy lacing sticks and sticks.

Aroma is an intoxicating mix of cocoa.. and coffee with just enough oak and whiskey to make me want to stick my nose in it... roasty... mmmm.... vanilla appears as it warms.

Smooth waves of melted bittersweet chocolate spiked with coffee beans is my initial impression... velvety bourbon with background of cherries.. Is there such a thing as "Chocolate Covered Bourbon Soaked Cherries"? If not, there should be. The mix between the bakers' chocolate and coffee is very good right now... The oakey whiskey and vanilla sorta stand out .. but mainly on the front side of the palate... but I really can't complain right now.. it is very balanced .. with every sip, I am getting one of the main components.. but with the next, a different one.

Mouthfeel is like liquid velvet.. sooo smooth. Big but not heavy.. full but not too much. Drinkability is dangerous.. I wanted to have one more beer after SAS left tonight.. but I didn't want it to be a forgettable brew.... this one isn't. Wow.

Overall.... Despite some minor prevalent whiskey and coffee right now.. this brew shows surprising multidimensional complexity for such a young bottle.. it will age for a looong time to come... now I just need some serious cash or a beer fairy to hit me with a couple cases before they are gone for good.

Such a sipper.... It is getting really late... I just realized I have half a bottle left.... It's going to be a great night.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with light brown head. Brandy snifter seems to retain the head well, and this beer comes across as very aromatic.

Nose is an expected coffee, roasty malts, & sweet bourbon. Chocolate & caramel are present as well.

Palate is big roasty malts, cocoa, a modest bourbon influence, and a lingering caramel taste.

I'm a big fan of the original black butte porter and some of its essence is detectable here, but altogether this really is a new beer.

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Photo of mnapier
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Service Temperature, 55 degrees farenheit. Service Glassware 12 ounce tulip.

Got this the first day it showed up.

This beer pours dark like the overcast shadow that is cast outside. Dark with a density that lacks clarity. The head pours strong initially but eventually gives way, allow the recession of the dark khaki head. A carpet of lace is left behind that soon fades away.

The nose on this is interesting in that it inherits some oak and bourbon like notes, before allowing the mocha with a touch of vanilla come forward along with the familiar roastedness.

Taste can only be described as slight smoke, mixed in with vanilla, molasses, mild coffee, and some chocolate. Hop bitterness leans almost citrus and earthy with a dance of alcohol in every swallow.

Mouthfeel, start out medium but finishes smooth coating every part of the tongue.

Overall this beer is shockingly good and going to look great when the summer gives ways to the winters chill. Ice Cream anyone?


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

22 oz brown bottle with black wax. 11% abv

Pours pitch black into my tulip glass with a cocoa colored head that falls pretty quick to a wispy floating coating with a small ring. It left a decent amount of lacing behind.

The smell is of oak, bourbon, coffee, vanilla, and some roasted nutty flavor. It is very nice that the coffee isnt overpowering the rest of the flavors in the nose as most coffee beers seem to.

Taste is, well, good. I love black butte porter anyway, and this is certainly an amped up version of that beer. If you try really hard you can find the base beer in here, and added to it I get some oakiness and vanilla with some warm bourbon, and I get my morning cup of not too strong coffee, and a smooth, velvet, creamy piece of chocolate. It is like i spiked my cup of morning joe with some chocolate creamer with a splash of whiskey. All the flavors are balanced quite nicely.

The mouthfeel on this one is nice. It is smooth and creamy, and full but not heavy. This is the one place you see it is a porter and not a stout. It is by no means watery, just not as heavy and oily as a RIS would be, making it easier to drink.

This one is off the charts drinkable for an 11% beer. I feel the alcohol going down just a little, slight warming is all, no burn. The smooth, creamy texture more than make up for it, and with no one flavor overpowering the other, but instead blending nicely together, it becomes as easy to drink as your morning coffee. I think with about 6 months of aging this one will be exceptional, which seems to bode well for it being released in June/July.

I am kicking myself for not buying more of this when it was available. Now the hunt begins :)

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Photo of Murchmac
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at City Beer store.

Pours a motor oil dark as night black. Like a little Tar Pit in your glass. Some lacing, tan head, not much of it.

Smelled Molasses, some whiskey, alcohol up in here, dark malts, and choc-coffee as if count chocula brewed a coffee.

Taste some vanilla in there, dont know why, bourbon, coffee, cocoa, alcohol, and some earthy hops. Cant believe how complex this is for a porter.

Aftertaste, this is a tad carbonated right now, not bad though...mostly smooth and creamy like Issac Hayes voice.

You need to go all Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb on this and stick it in a hole for a year. It will only get better with time.

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Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 358 ratings
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