Black Butte XX | Deschutes Brewery

282 Reviews
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:
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Reviews: 282 | Ratings: 358
Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 6/12/10 notes. Got to try this thanks to nimbleprop. Sampled again BB XXi.

a - Pours a black color with 1 inch of off white head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla. Very enjoyable and sweet.

t - Tastes of vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, and maybe dark fruit.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - This is a very good beer, but I preferred the BB XXi personally. Lots of sweet chocolate and vanilla and I would definitely try again.

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

Many, many thanks to csmiley for the bottle.

Black Butte XX pours a dark, mahogany brown color. It's not quite opaque, but it's close. Light reveals faint crimson highlights at the edges. A fluffy, mocha tan head covers the top. It rises to about a finger and a half before falling to a surface covering. Retention was a little short. No surprise given the abv. Lacing was sticky and relatively thick.

The nose is good, but isn't a stunner. It has a nice chocolate malt presence. Cocoa is readily apparent. Roasted coffee is noted, but is subtle. There's a little vanilla bean that works nicely. I'm not appreciating any bourbon. I was hopeful for some. Apparently, only 20% of this beer was aged in barrels. Maybe a little more next time? Alcohol is blended well and doesn't smell like 11%.

The flavor is a step above the nose. This is very good stuff. Chocolate malts provide a very solid, flavorful base. It's primarily bittersweet and cocoa flavored. Coffee is very strong in the mix. Much stronger than the nose suggested. As a coffee fan, I like that. Secondary flavors of vanilla, molasses, and pepper work their magic. Bourbon is more noticeable here, which helps. It's still not very strong, but I like its effect. Now that I've tasted it, 20% was the right call. Alcohol is more noticeable, but isn't warm or hot. Nicely done.

Black Butte XX has a light-medium body that's too thin. It feels a little more substantial with warming, but not a great deal. Carbonation is light, but it doesn't feel quite smooth. Drinkability is good. This is tasty beer that goes down way too easy for its size. A bomber? Not a problem.

Deschutes Brewing did a nice job with Black Butte XX. It's a very solid anniversary release. After nearly two years in the bottle, it's drinking might fine. I really enjoyed it. It's definitely a big, badass Porter. The only small complaint I have is that it needs more body. It's virtually crying out for it. Very impressive stuff otherwise. If you have a bottle, you should open it.

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

I received this bottle almost a year ago in a great trade with JohnGalt1 for an epic amount of Deschutes reserve series lineup. Thanks Toby!

Appearance- Pours opaque black out of the bottle with a half finger of brown head sitting on top. Solid looking levels of carbonation despite the aging and a mild amount of lacing left as I drink.

Smell- Some medium to dark roast, vanilla, and an interesting dark fruitiness as well. Wasn't quite expecting that but it lends a unique quality to the nose. Interested to see how it shows up on the palate.

Taste- First thing I notice about this isn't necessarily the usual flavor suspects but rather an interesting dark fruit and licorice quality which I wasn't quite expecting. Tastes almost of figs and anis, which I like. In addition to these flavors though were bitter dark chocolate, some vanilla and wood, and medium roast coffee. Finish was nice and smooth with no real evident alcohol or bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel was silky smooth, though it thinned out a touch as the beer warmed. Drinkability was amazing given the rich but not overwhelming flavors and silkiness of the beer itself.

Overall, really quite good. I like this even better than I remember liking the XXI fresh, which bodes well for the aging of that one as well.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer is dark brown, with a light brown head, about a finger of head, poor retention. Light lacing.

The aroma is on the lighter sides, malts present on the front, a ton of the cocoa nibs. The finish is very smooth with a vanilla oak.

The taste is nice and complex, starts off mildly sweet with light coffee then you get some bitter coffee, oak, bourbon, and vanilla on the finish.

This is very good. I like th xxi a little more, but this is tough to beat.

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

22oz bottle to wide mouthed glass. Opaque black body with small tan head. Head depletes quickly and leaves this lacing and halo. No carbonation visible.

Aroma is hearty - chasing me around the room - chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, blueberry muffins, baking dough.

Thick creamy mouthfeel. Chocolate flavors, plenty of roast flavors. Finish is all roast, lingering coffee & toast flavors. Something vinous about it. Dark chocolate bars. Delicious. Love the mouthfeel.

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Photo of mentor
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle provided for a friend as a gift on the birth of my second child. Consumed the next evening, thanks Hank! Pours a thin layer of caramel brown head over a pitch liquid. Some brown edgings when held to light. Smells coffee, fuggles hops, caramel chocolate, some alcohol, must be over 8%. Mild cream and a dash of whiskey.

Tastes richly of coffee and sweet chocolate. Nuggat. Some sour from black patent and noticeable clean alcohol sting. Syrupy sweet, like a shot of clean alcohol in Nestle Qwik chocolate syrup. Mild drying oak and a grassy chocolate aftertaste. Hops are surprisingly present as a grassy bitter after all this time. Thick body and strong carbonation (which is a distraction). Pretty good overall.

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

Received this a while back from JohnGalt1 in a trade. Been looking forward to this one, and it didn't disappoint...

A- Black, black and more black. Vigorous pour yields little head, what is there is light brown in color and dissipates quickly. A bit of lacing, but not much. Wasn't really expecting great head or lacing on this one. In the beginning, I can see tiny brown bubbles rising up the sides of it.

S- Phenomenal! Coffee, oak, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits. So complex and balanced. The plethora of smells in this is great. As it warms the booziness comes out slightly, but I think it has mellowed out quite a bit.

T- Much like the smell. A great balance between roasted and sweet flavors filled with vanilla and chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. One of the best tasting beers I've ever had. Still a slight hint of booziness in it, but nothing dramatic.

M- Velvety smooth, even a bit slick. A bit of carbonation along with a heavy body. Delicious!

D- Each sip left me wanting more, the beer was well balanced and made it an easy sipper. Wish I ahd another one of these to age for a bit longer even.

Thanks again, Toby! You are a true Beer Advocate and excellent trader.

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

This beer is so solid. Huge sticky head to delight the eyes and delicious, fruity, roasted grains in the nose. Coffee and chocolate in copious amounts. The bourbon is flowing as a husky undercurrent. Taste is warm and rich. The alcohol is in the front of the taste but so well blended into the overall profile that it just melts away into a bourbon barrel. Light notes of vanilla and oak. The chocolate and coffee are in perfect balance and flow into the grains...Leaving lots of roasted grains and a light caramel sweetness. Hops are mild and clean. Light fusel alcohol and bourbon with mocha and charcoal. Feel is just incredible. A light syrup with enough carbonation to feel like a lager and flow though the mouth like a much lighter beer. It walks the line of bigger than an Imperial Lager but significantly lighter than a Baltic porter or a RIS. This stuff drinks like a regular porter with the only giveaway being the stickiness of the high OG. Wow! A great beer

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Photo of jampics2
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally opened one of these. I was lucky enough to trade for a couple bottles at Dark Lord day last year - I think this was from Brad (ajsdad) - thanks!

I had the XXI out in Arizona and loved it. But this was an entirely different beer, his older, more sophisticated and smooth brother.

This is a very nice looking beer. Poured into a tasting glass and shared with family at my Mom's birthday party! Mocah head is the crown atop this black royal example of American craft beer. Looks fantastic - I actually spent a while just staring with anticipation.

Smell was amazing. Bourbon, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, wood.

Taste was better than I could have hoped. This is an exceptional beer and is drinking well right now. I think another year and all the alcohol hotness will be gone, but it's quite smooth. An incredible chocolate/coffee/molasses base has a perfectly balanced amount of bourbon and wood ontop of it. Well done!

Mouthfeel is great - perfect carb, really sparkles across the tongue.

On a curve, I have to give this a 4. It had so many dimensions I thought it was more of a slow, reflective beer. I loved this and I think in another year it will be in its prime.

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Photo of Rbald42
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra from Russpowell...a big thanks Russ!

A- Thick, dark, and black. Leaves a nice thin head which quickly dissipates.

S- dark chocolate, hints of roasted coffee, and booze.

T- I got a thick chocolate flavor up front, with hints of caramel and dark fruit. I could definitely taste the alcohol on the back end.

M- thick and creamy - a very tasty brew . The more it warmed up, the more enjoyable it became.

D- I wished I had someone to split this with, as finishing the entire bottle was a bit difficult. Definitely a filling beer.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a little thinner, yet darker than expected, beautiful regardless. Very little carbonation, although this one has been aged.

Smell, you can tell this was soaked in some kind of alcohol. This one was bourbon, but I really couldn't differentiate it from something else, other than to know it made the beer real strong aromawise.

Taste, very complex, the bourbon is more apparent in the taste as opposed to aroma, and along with it, hints of chocolate, coffee, maybe even a little tobacco toffee ish ness.

Mouthfeel is excellent, you want to sip this beer and let it sit. Drinkability, take it slow.

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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 mjl21
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 11%. Bottle has been cellared for approximately 16 months.

A-Pours a dark brown with a half finger sandy head that dissolves quickly to a somwhat small, but frothy ring. Lots of lacing is left in between sips.

S-Coffee is by far the predominant smell early on. As it warms nuances of dark chocolate come out. Fruity esters and coconut also come out. Oak becomes more pronounced towards the end.

T-Like the nose, coffee is definitely strong at the start. It has some acidity that reminds me of both acidic coffee and citrus. The oak and vanilla from the 20% -bal aged beer comes through in the back. There is some nice warming booze as it goes down. Chocolate flavors come out after it has warmed for a few minutes. The aftertatse is a combination of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. I found the last few sips to have the least amount of coffee and were also the sweetest.

M-A little too light in the body for me. It has a nice light and smooth level of carbonation.

D-It is extremely well blended and the high abv is only slightly noticeable.

The last time I had this beer was when it was released in the summer of 2008. This bottle is tasting great right now. The flavors are coming together nicely and I see this one not going downhill for awhile.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got to love Stranahan's! Pours a dark jet black color with no clarity. A darker brown hue around the edges, but just with a swirl you can tell this is pretty viscous. A darker tan head with good retention and lacing through the tasting.

The nose is somewhat limited. Soft malt notes with noticeable roast and some black patent aromas. Mostly astringent with hints of chocolate. Some hints of tropical fruit and other esters, but limited. Some limited alcohol notes as well. The malt is balanced well with a whiskey nose that is very distinct from the beer/alcohol.

The taste is more representative. A big chewy flavor with a nice blend of roast, chocolate and astringent notes. Some kettle flavors as well. Really didn't get any coffee note but ok. The whiskey backs off compared to the nose but is still easy to pick out. The oaky flavors really back off, but some vanilla and pepper notes are there. A very nice yeast finish with a detectable alcohol note that isn't in your face. A light earthy finish with a subtle floral hop on the back end.

A full flavor with a great chewy feel. Would have liked more astringent roast overall, as there is more of a oatmeal feel. Also the whiskey is just detectable. Would like more in the nose and taste. Overall a good big beer but maybe just a bit over hyped.

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Photo of mikey711
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a tasting with fbm115

A: Black with brown light escaping through the edges of the glass while in the light. The head is minimal and does not retain well.

S: Roasted coffee flavors to start but not as sweet as the XXI. Some fruitiness like plums or figs are also detectable. Almost no boubron until it warms up.

T: Roasted flavors to start that provide a bit of bitterness that is balance by some dark fruit esters. A mild amount of coffee and bitter chocolate. Mild bourbon flavor and a bit more of the oak/woodiness is detectable and enjoyable.

M: Incredibly creamy leaving a nice coating around the mouth that tingles slightly. No booziness. Just silky smooth.

D: Easy sipper and only gets better as it warms

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Photo of Redwood21
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

JohnGalt1 thanks for this beer! been a long time coming

A: The head is lacking but the nice deep mahogany brown color is mind bending

S: the aroma is creamy and delicious with almost a milky

T: the taste is layered and complex with oak and vanilla mixed with a creamy and non bitter cocoa finish. there is a milktose undertone that is really good

this beer surprised me, its incredibly;y good

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Photo of brdc
3.23/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Large capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Nice looking, pitch black or very close, fluffy two finger head, caramel colored.
Aroma is bourbon like, burnt coffee beans, caramel.
Medium bodied, perhaps a bit heavier than that, it starts and ends too acrid, with excessively burnt notes. As the beer warms up, and you add the bottom of the bottle, some sweet caramel notes improve the beer somewhat, but the acrid notes are still there. Decent at best.

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

taste- smooth, medium-long finish, bourbon shows last

color- deep reddish-brown

clarity- clear

smell- roasted aroma, meat, slightly estery, vague chocolate notes

body- medium, clean, good bite in finish

appearance- textbook, clean

overall impression- good, wanted more body, alcoholic, cold weather sipper, consider aging for six months

notes- this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008. wax enclosure, 11% abv, brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added with 20% aged in bourbon barrels

glassware: tulip

serving temp.- 55.0 degrees

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Photo of riored4v
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 10/6/09

Poured into a DFH Tulip glass. Appearance was 1 finger, tan head that fades quickly to a thin layering over the beer. Decent lacing. Pitch black body.

Smell had raisins, chocolate, hints of bourbon. Nice coffee roastiness with a mellow malt sweetness. Smelled great.

Taste had plenty of roasted malts. Good amount of chocolate w/ hints of raisin. Slight burnt/bitter flavors followed with some good hints of the bourbon barrel. Fairly mellow coffee flavors overall. In general, the blend of flavors lended a great complexity with a mellow sweetness and a mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel was slick with a fairly crisp finish. Medium body backed with a medium carbonation.

Drinkability is surprisingly good. There is a mild hint of the 11%, but not like one would expect.. therefor it's still very drinkable.

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Photo of far333
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish black with a half inch head of light brown froth that settles down slowly leaving spikey legs and ringlets of raise up the edges of the glass.

Inviting aroma of espresso and bitter chocolate, some roasty malt and molasses.

Big and full flavor of sharp espresso and dark chocolate, cocoa and smoke, some licorice and darkly toasted marshmallow. Rich coffee bean and root beer flavor lingers.

Even mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, tending toward slick but full and tingly finish. Very tasty and drinkable beer, so strong yet so smooth. Thanks to Sparky27 for sharing.

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Photo of srroos
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a brandy snifter. Opaque black with one finger of brown head, which quickly fades to a thin cap. Smell is super sweet: mostly chocolate and a little coffee. Taste is again mainly chocolate, caramel, vanilla, with a bitter black coffee finish. Full bodied and highly carbonated. Very smooth and easy drinking for so much alcohol.

After a year, this is an excellent, well rounded brew. Definitely try this if you can!

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

Had this on tap at The moon and sixpence on Sept 11 2009. Poured into a 10oz snifter.

A- Black with a little brown around the edges. Small head that goes away quickly.

S- Baking chocolate, coffee, some smoke and pepper with alcohol rounding out the aroma.

T- A lot of the same in the taste as was in the smell. The alcohol comes thru more as it warms up.

M- Good mouthfeel. A little thicker than a normal strength porter but not as much as a stout. It coats your mouth, but doesn't stick around.

D- Drinkability is good, but it is a sipper. Even after a year it sneaks up on you. I did have one and then split another with my girlfriend.

I was excited to have this again after some time has been on it. Very good. I wish I had some bottles squirreled away.

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Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a robust mocha head; great retention and lace

Smell: Complex aromatics, with milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla and caramel

Taste: Dark fruit and chocolate are big, up front but by mid-palate, the hops release a balancing fruity bitterness; after a bit of a swirl on the palate, the dark fruit, coffee and chocolate flavors push it back; after the swallow, the hint of whiskey appears to soften the other flavors; lingering aftertaste of milk chocolate and caramel

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: This is one complex brew which touches all the angles of dark beer richness; highly recommended

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Photo of Onenote81
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally was able to hunt down this bottle thanks the JohnGalt1. Huge thanks, Toby! I've been waiting for this one for awhile. I cellared it for a few months more.

Poured into my snifter. Pours a deep viscous black with no head at all. Just a thin tan ring around the edge. No sticky lacing present. This smells wonderful. Big vanilla notes mixed with gingerbread, bourbon, slight cocoa beans, and roasted coffee. This is very fragrant.

The mouth on this is very creamy and smooth. This is like silk. It just coats the mouth. Dang. This is what I want my big porters to feel like. The alcohol has definitely worn off a bit, but I'm still feelin' it. Huge chocolate presence right off, but it fades to a boozy vanilla sweetness. This is freaking excellent. Roasty, chocolatey goodness. This is probably the best porter I've ever had.

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