Black Butte XXI | Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXIBlack Butte XXI
BA SCORE
4.39/5
580 Ratings
Black Butte XXIBlack Butte XXI
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
deschutesbrewery.com

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Released June 2009.

Similar recipe and strength to Black Butte XX (2008), "enhanced by adding some Theo's Chocolate cocoa nibs from Seattle, dry-hopping it with 100 pounds of Bellatazza's locally roasted coffee, and then aging a portion of it in Stranahan's Colorado whiskey barrels."

Added by squaremile on 07-03-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
377
Ratings:
580
pDev:
7.74%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
211
Gots:
142
Trade:
8
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 580 |  Reviews: 377
Photo of DefenCorps
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Given how much I love the Black Butte XX, it was obvious that I was going to grab a couple of these. Thanks, Joey!

A: In my snifter, this beer is black, but while pouring it, one notices that it isn't true black, just a very dark brown. A khaki colored head rises, receding to a disk leaving patchy foam. Very pretty.

S: Solid stuff here, coffee, burnt sugar and bourbon are most apparent, with chocolate (dark, bitter), vanilla and the fantastic base Black Butte porter. A little bit more bourbon and vanilla than I remember the XX being, the additional heat is welcome on this beautiful fall evening. The characteristics of the base porter - roasty without being burnt and coffee grounds - work very well with the bourbon and added coffee.

T: I have a hard time believing this beer is comprised of just 20% bourbon-aged beer, the characteristic is so much more noticeable! That said, it's not a bourbon bomb. The opening flavors of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, burnt caramel and vanilla are all moderate but excellently balanced.The coffee is fairly mellow in bitterness, reminding me of a watered-down espresso( in a good way), the chocolate, when mixed with the noticeable sweetness and vanilla, is like milk-shake like. The finish is moderately long, with a mix of bourbon, vanilla and coffee with a mild bitterness.

M: Medium in body with medium carbonation, this one's rather good on the palate. The complexity and balance of flavors keeps things interesting, and the finish is great too

D: This is going down way too easy. Another winner from Deschutes.

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I never managed to get this on draft so I had to crack open one of my bottles.

Pours a deep, dark, abysmal black. Thin tan head that quickly dissolves. Swirl of paper thin foam hangs out in the middle.

Immediate and pungent espresso bean kick in the aroma, shocking and almost overpowering. Slight vanilla and bourbon.

Great mouthfeel, creamy and silky. Nice even carbonation. Coffee everywhere, unbalanced and certainly far more pervasive than the XX Porter. Layers of milk & dark chocolate, lot of fresh ground coffee, vanilla. Bourbon is faint. Faintly hot, but very drinkable. A slight lingering bitterness.

I typically dislike coffee-centric beers, and wasn't expecting the coffee overload in this beer especially because the XX was so great. Why change a good thing?
However, disregarding my personal tastes this is a fantastic beer. Big ABV but not hot, well carbonated, the amazing mouthfeel, fantastic complexity and drinkability. Another home run from Deschutes.

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally! Grabbed a bottle from my great beer guys at Whole Foods

Poured a inky black body with a good fluffy caramel colored head with light retention and light lacing.

HUGE aroma's of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon create a spectacular olfactory experience of which I have never experienced from Deschutes.

Begins quite strong with bitter coffee notes hitting first, followed by a cascade of sweet chocolate punctuated by hints of bourbon, vanilla and molasses. It was smooth from start to finish, but I really look forward to having this beer with some age on it.

Mouthfeel is creamy and bold, but not cloying.

Drinkability is phenomenal. This would be a perfect winter brew because of the warming effect of the alcohol. Nonetheless, it was still a stellar brew that hid its alcohol superbly well. Cheers!

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Photo of aewinte1
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark brownish-black with no light transparency. Looks more like a stout than a porter. Nice 2" head from aggressive pour
S- Smell is awesome. Very sweet and complex. Roasted malt and chocolate come through strong with hints of coffee. Coffee is definitely masked by a super sweet chocolate smell.
T- Taste is somewhat similar to the smell. Starts off with somewhat intense sweetness Taste fades into sweet roasted malts and a lot of chocolate flavor. Ends with slight coffee bitterness, but hardly comparable to most coffee stouts. Flavor is great and nicely balanced. Has the coffee flavor that I love without masking the other flavors. Definitely a sweet beer (literally)
M- Carbonation isn't very high but there is just enough to feel balanced and not syrupy.
D- Drinkability is very good for a beer of this ABV. Alcohol is hardly noticeable as it is masked by the sweetness of the chocolate malt flavor and slight coffee bitterness.
Overall, another excellent offering from Deschutes. I will rank it as my second favorite beer from them as Abyss is a hard act to follow.

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Photo of Zorro
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Barely passable by light. Clear dark brown colored beer with a small brown head.

Smells strongly of coffee, quite a sharp scent. Chocolate and bourbon are very much milder scents here than the coffee. Besides the coffee, chocolate and whiskey the only other real scent is vanilla.

Starts out sweet with strong coffee and a hint of smoke. Kailua and cream sensation in the mouth. Quite warming in the chest but pleasantly so. Bourbon and vanilla never become much more than accent flavors in this beer. Coffee and bourbon beer describes this brew quite well.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly creamy and has a nice thick cream feel to it.

Tasty beer that is quite tame in flavor for the alcohol level. This one is all coffee and cream with a little whiskey.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Slips out a dark brown, near black body with an initially frothed, though thinning, tan-colored head.

Smell: Strong, greatly roasty nose with notes of fine espresso and less-than-fine instant coffee in the fore followed by a touch of dark chocolate fudge and molasses and lastly some bourbon-soaked oak wood.

Taste: Roasted dark malts heavily brushed with blackstrap molasses and fudge brownie batter. Moderate sweetness. Enter in a rip-roarin' jolt of chilled espresso that really dominates the taste at this stage. Piquant spicy oak character with some sips of quality, top-shelf bourbon. Bold, predominately roasty bitterness. Warming, roasty finishes with further tastes of dark chocolate and oak wood.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Packed with flavor but still a treat to sip and savor. Though I feel I'm in the minority here, I feel as though I preferred the XX with its slackened coffee character. That said, I still wholeheartedly recommended this one.

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Photo of BeerStine
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with light fluffy almond head. Smells sweet chocolate milk smell. Decent amount of alcohol smell too. Tatste is great. Dark charcoal taste with a sweet finish. Lots of matls here. Has an abnormally hoppy finish for a dark beer. Mouthfeel is farely light. Drinkablility is good.

Definitely a unique beer of its style. Lots more hops than most. Overall glad I got to try it.

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Photo of nickd717
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Butte XXI bottle from Ledger's in Berkeley. This should really be classified as an imperial porter on here, because it blows your standard porter out of the water.

A - Black in color with a nice lasting tan head.

S - Aroma is roast, chocolate, barrel notes, vanilla, and pepper.

T - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, earth, oak, and pepper. Nice and complex. Like a good RIS; this is way too intense to be called a regular porter.

M - Medium-full body, a little less full than what I'd expect from an RIS, which I guess is all that makes this seem like a porter to me. Smooth on the palate.

D - Well, it's intense if you call it a porter and is indeed a sipper, but still I'd rate the drinkability fairly high. Great beer, better than standard Black Butte which is no slouch itself.

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Photo of Aenema
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours black with a tan head and spotty lacing.
Smell - Cocoa power, some chocolate and coffee notes as well. Roasted malts.
Taste - Coffee grounds, dark chocolate; intense flavors that manage not to overwhelm each other.
Mouthfeel - Smooth, rich feel with a full body.
Drinkability - Rich and enjoyable, but filling. Alcohol is not an issue with this beer, but it is quite rich and filling.

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Photo of wertperch
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Respect beer. Respect this beer especially. Black Butte is one of my favourite porters, and this anniversary offering is a celebration not just for the brewery, but of porter itself.

I found it hard to fault this beer in any way, from the pour to the last drop. It was served at the Graduate bar in Davis, and I first sampled it a week ago, and simply had to go back for a pint. Well, actually, in a 12-ounce glass, but I'm not quibbling about that.

It's a dark beer, dark as night with all the promise of a coming dawn. There's coffee and burnt toast in a glorious nose, and there's a robust and fruity bitterness in every swallow, with raspberries and chocolate. With a little hop, but as you'd expect, it's not aggressive - more lurking in the background playing hide-and-seek with the tastebuds.

The main event is the dark, rich malts, and as I was drinking it, the theme from "Shaft" was playing on the jukebox. Appropriate, given the dark nature of this beer.

If I had to nominate a beer as a centrefold pinup, it would be this one today. It's rich, with a big flavour, great mouthfeel, one to savour as it rolls around releasing its malty wonders.

It's hard to say what would improve this one. The roast coffee bean could get tiresome after a while, but in the thirty minutes I was savouring it, it doesn't get in the way at all, and I bet I could have gone for seconds and still wondered at this midnight-dark, warm, absolutely delicious beer.

Will I go back for more? Oh yes, because in the words of the song, this is "the cat that won't cop out".

(Some of this review is cross-posted on my blog.)

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Photo of jrallen34
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice.

Bottle said not to drink until after 10/17/10 but I was out west and not going to bring this on the plane so I did what I had to do. Can't imagine what it would have been like a year from now, because now its great.

It pours a motor oil black with a medium tan chunky head and decent lacing.

The aroma is unique because I detect a burnt coffee smell, chocolate, and even a little cofee.

The tatse is great with what you'd expect of chocolate and coffee. These tastes were very light though so it was a nice surprise. It was a little oily on the mouth and appearance but I can forgive that. Very drinkable as well.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Isn't this what we call imperial porter? Thickish pouring and bodied black coffee liquer, rich and alcohol more or less hidden. Well integrated, the coffee and chocolate and roast.Bourbon in the secondary well managed and adding to the complexity. The richness is carried by the aroma. A great drink, and then a great nap.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Black, tan head. Looks luscious.
smell - wow. Afraid my nose isn't mature enough to do this justice. Great and complex. Malt, and roast coffee mixed with dark chocolate.
taste - The taste is what you'd expect from the wonderful smells. It threatens a bitter aftertaste but backs off nicely.
I have a feeling that I would rate this even higher after more reviews under my belt.

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Photo of Floydster
3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce black wax bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for around twelve dollars, poured into my Chimay goblet, color is almost completely black with some light at the top shining through, one inch soapy light brown head, some retention with lacing at the top of the glass, aroma consists of oak, very faint bourbon, coffee grounds, leather, smoky malts, brown sugar, roastiness, and dark cocoa, flavor starts off with roasted malts and dark chocolate battling out, more malt in the middle with a little whiskey twist, roasted in the finish with strong oak in the finish, dark chocolate lingers with a bit of dryness, warms up with a little sweeter malt but stays pretty dry and roasty throughout, oaky, roasty, dry, and slightly mouthfeel, carbonation was pretty strong, medium body, expected it to be fuller, taste lingers, smooth and not too full or heavy, alcohol is detectable but it is still young in the bottle, did not have much trouble getting through nine or ten ounces, I was excited to try this after enjoying the XX more recently than I did the first time when it was fresh, similar to that experience, I think I will enjoy this one more later on with some age under its belt, look forward to drinking again, recommended

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thrilled to be able to try this one finally. I was a huge fan of the last edition so the chance to have it again was something I just had to jump at. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 09/01/2009.
 
Huge pour here and damn perfect I have to say. Dark as night with a huge tan head that crept up over the top of the glass after reaching a height of three inches. Settling down very slowly it left tons of lacing up and down the sides of the glass, thick, and coating, this one looked like a monster right off the bat. The aroma was equally as big, rich chocolate and bourbon notes slip seamlessly around a shell of molasses and baked brown sugar. Decadent and dessert like in every sense of the word and hard to envision this as anything other then a big stout. Very sip is like black gold. Rich full feel, and near perfect carbonation compliment everything so well. Chocolate and coffee notes lead the way with a rich boozy bourbon feel kicking at the back of the throat. Sweet molasses notes coming in next, just dissolving over the tongue and really pushing the envelope on the flavor. Touches of licorice and a moderately dry finish smooth it out very well, while nearly all the ABV is well masked behind huge flavor.
 
Overall just as I would have though, superb. This was a beast to work through but every sip seemed to get better then the one before it. I am very happy to have a couple of these to see what some time can put on them.

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

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. I've really been looking forward to this one.

Appearance: midnight black with a thick, dark, slow-to-dissipate head, which leaves a nice lacing. Yum.

Smell: readily apparent roasted coffee and chocolate, with notes of caramel and wood. Not extremely pungent, but subtle and complex.

Taste: deep, sweet, chocolatey, bourboney. The chocolate comes on sweet but becomes bitter as I swallow, which is when the coffee really appears. It is quite intoxicating (sensually, that is).

Mouthfeel: medium to medium-thick body with little carbonation. Perfect to coat the mouth with this heady, complex but not over-the-top flavor profile.

Drinkability: would be wonderful, but I cannot go around slamming 11% beers. Still, it is a lovely beer which could probably get me into trouble.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with reddish highlights. A nice 2 finger fluffy/creamy brown head. Beautiful.

Aroma of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste is again the dark chocolate and coffee. Also some woody flavors, dark malts and some sweet vanilla. Hops does make an appearance. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very dry and cleansing.

Ocverall, a wonderful brew. Very drinkable despite the ABV. Delicious.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bottle topped with black wax over the cap.

Served cool in a chalice, this beer has a very dark brown color but light does shine through on the pour. It has creamy off-white head that doesn't reach towering heights but lingers nicely.

Great aroma of roasted malts, bourbon, and vanilla. Some chocolate and coffee with a bit of red pepper spice.

The taste it outstanding in with huge flavors of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The initial sweetness of the malts turns to strong bitter cocoa powder and dark roast coffee. It finishes with a peaty, smokey, bourbon flavor that has a hint of brown sugar to mellow it all out.

Mouthfeel is huge in body with a thick and creamy tongue-coating sensation. The alcohol is fairly well hidden for the size of this beer but the warming gives it away after a few sips.

It seems like exactly what the brewers were trying for on this one when you read the online description. Big and roasty with coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. All of these flavors come forward without fighting for outright supremacy. Excellent... I'm looking forward to having one a year from now!

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Photo of magictrokini
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes, yes, I know it says not to drink this for another year, but that's why I bought more than one. Pours jet black with a thick, foamy brown head that stays there. Fat lacing on the glass that doesn't wash out with each swig. Heavy molasses, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and whiskey-oak nose. Expected vanilla and toffee compliments with the barrelling. Viscous moithfeel, hearty, and a long, bitter finish. Beautiful chocolate and molasses taste. Some chocolate-chip cookie malt flavor with the bold bourdon backing. Very happy there was none of that espresso/black coffee component as it would have overpowered the subtle simplicty of this beer. Sometimes less is more. Can't wait to hit this again in a year.

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Photo of digitalbullet
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Apperance: jet black brew with a light tan head. Man have I been waiting for to taste this.
Smell: bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon with some dark chocolate thrown in.
Taste: sweet bourbon with dark chocolate. Yum! Can taste the alchohol a bit, but not too bad. Lingering coffee notes in the background.
Mouthfeel: slick, coats the tongue. Light carbonation.
Drinkability: Oh so dangerous. Will sneak up on you if you aren't careful. Awesome brew overall

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Photo of boatshoes
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber courtesy of Dyan in a recent trade, thanks! Managed to get ahold of a couple other bottles as well, so I thought I'd try one fresh before aging the others.

Appearance- Pours the usual deep, opaque black I'm used to for the style. About of half finger of brown head that dies fairly quickly to a thin layer over the surface of the beer. Lots of lacing as I drink as well.

Smell- Mmm, lots of burnt coffee and roasted malt. A touch of bitter chocolate and vanilla as well. Each smell comes out pretty prominently for me into a nice nose.

Taste- Lots of roasted malt with less burnt coffee than in the nose, but still present. Vanilla and bourbon even stronger in the taste, though the chocolate is less present. Some alcohol burn on the way down. All the flavors are excellent, and I expect they would meld and round out even better with some aging. Will have to do another review in a year or so.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel a bit disappointingly thin, but still somewhat chewy. However, it doesn't kill the drinkability, which remains quite good for a heavy beer. I expect the mouthfeel might round out with more time as well.

Overall, quite tasty fresh, and I image will be much better with some age. Get ahold of some of these if you can, they're quite a treat!

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Photo of abfraser
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Back on the wagon.

A: Poured into a tulip glass. As dark as dark can be. There isn't much head on the pour but after it settles a bit a nice light brown cap.

S: Wonderful vanilla, sweet, bourbon-y dark chocolate. Pretty hefty roasted coffee aromas. Dark roasted malts in the background.

T/M: Delicious. Roasted, sweet malts hit first giving way to great dark chocolate flavor. The coffee is less pronounced than on the nose, which I like (like my coffee flavors to be more background than star). Lips are sticky from the high sugar content. Despite its intensity and richness, this one doesn't weigh on the palate at all.

D: Hides it's alcohol unbelievably well. Not heavy at all on the palate, which is truly remarkable for a beer like this.

Special cheers to Deschutes for finding a way to make a beer this utterly delicious and sell it in bombers for less than $0.50 an ounce. Buy several if you can--this stuff will surely age well too if any of Deschutes' other specialty beers are any indication.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. into a pint glass

P: Almost completely opaque aside from the slightest of rosy-brown slivers of light on the edges. 3 fingers worth of tan foam on top that is thick, and more frothy than it is creamy. Shows good retention as it slowly sinks to a thin cap on top. This is darker than some RIS's I've had!

A: Damn! This smells as if I just stuck my face into a bucket of fresh, exotic coffee beans. It's pretty bold & boisterous, with an in-your-face intensity that you rarely get from an American Porter. Besides the coffee, there's a sizable helping of chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, and some vague citric hops in there as well. Pretty enticing, to say the least!

T: Just as the nose would suggest, coffee rules the roost with fresh flavors of exotic coffee beans that taste great! Creamy chocolate is done nicely as it teams up the (blackstrap?) molasses to compliment the coffee. Citric hops are noticeable and impart a much needed bitterness to try and balance things out. But make no mistake about it, this is a sweet malt-bomb! The more exploration I do into this beer, I seem to get some vague notes of dark fruits like figs/dates as well. Finishes with lots of burnt sugar, vanilla, and a little charred oak. Bourbony alcohol is noticeable, but stays impressively well-hidden for being so fresh. It does warm you up a bit upon swallow, though.

M: As for the mouthfeel, Black Butte XXI is not as full as expected. It's a full notch below being full-bodied, but it is silky smooth, impressively vicious, and has a nice amount of creaminess underneath. The only thing that would keep you from thinking this was an Imperial Stout is the absence of that chewy, meatiness that you would expect from a beer this light-obliteratingly dark.

Notes: Admittedly, I'm an absolute sucker for coffee beers. I fucking love 'em! So, of course, I thought this was a really well-made beer that satisfied every lofty expectation that I had of it. I wasn't quite blown away like I was with Speedway Stout, but was extremely impressed, nonetheless. I thought it would be much hotter considering how fresh it is, but the booze was really masked nicely. It would be interesting to see how this develops over time, as I think some age would mellow the coffee and booze, allowing the profile to be a little more harmonious. If you don't like coffee in your beers, stay far, far away from this one. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!

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Photo of jminsc76
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a St. Bernardus tulip, and exhibits an impenetrable black body. Couldn't derive too much head due to the nature of the glass and the fact that agitating it would slosh beer all over the counter; however, some nice thick brownish legs as I tilt.

Aromas include rich molasses, a little cocoa, and even some raspberry. It's not intense, and the molasses definitely dominates, but it's pleasantly effective.

The flavors are where the heart of this beer is, and includes sweet chocolate and bitter coffee on the front end with espresso beans on the end. This really hits the entire palate from start to finish with a range of flavors. If someone told me this was an Imperial Stout I wouldn't be hard pressed to disagree.

Mouthfeel is heavy, slightly viscous, and even a little sticky on the mouth. Almost chewy, the density is so thick.

While this is very drinkable, as it exhibits very little heat with a lot of flavors, there is an overwhelming intensity to it that only warrants one drink per sitting. I'm betting that as it ages a little this intensity will subside and Black Butte XXI could rank with Deschutes' Abyss as among the finest of the porter/stout family.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Jupiter in Berkeley. Pours pitch black with a tall tan head that leaves behind excellent lacing as it fades. Smells big- malty, roasty, yeasty, and chocolatey with some light ash aroma as well. Not very hot, which is nice considering how young this is. Tastes a bit strong, but still not super hot, with big roasty flavors, fair amounts of ash- seems to be a house style for their stronger, darker beers- bitter chocolate, huge malt flavors that edge toward black strap molasses, and yeasty and bready notes. It almost finishes like pain au chocolat, with just a touch of ash. Rich and full in the mouth, but smooth and with the ash notes relieving the light sweetness. Still pretty big and intense, this is a pleasure to drink now but will smooth out a bit with time as well.

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Black Butte XXI from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 580 ratings
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