Black Butte XXII
Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXIIBlack Butte XXII
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American Imperial Porter
4.28 | pDev: 11.92%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black Butte XXIIBlack Butte XXII
Notes: Released June 2010, Draft-only, after a problem with bottles detailed here:

Imperial "Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and natural flavors added, with 25% aged in Bourbon Barrels"
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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 125
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Puts together the black and brown formula in the appearance, brown slight edge, super thin head 1/6". Aroma was complex full of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, peppers even a small citrus edge.

This was pretty cool how the peppers and everything kind of took their turn. Each aroma/flavor was complimentary and not domineering. Great smooth mouthfeel, alcohol tamed, this is my fave anniversary BB edition yet, sucked about the bottles though.

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Photo of deebo
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at red cow. 3+ yrs old. Haven't tried before so no reference point for a fresh version.
A-Served in a teku glass with a finger of rocky sticky tan head. Looks black as hell.
S-aromas of sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, and a little vanilley bourbon.
T-sweet dark malts. Some back end bourbon bite. Not getting much of the fresh barrel wood/vanilla character.
M-not as thick as the previous 2 yrs of this anniversary porter. A tad cloying with just a bit of burn but the sweetness cuts it.
O-fun to try. Has gotten a bit cloying but still quite a bit of roasted malt character and some bourbon character.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
2.42/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap 2/7/13 at Beer Revolution

A: Pours a very dark brown with minimal light brown head. Recedes quickly.

S: Aroma is strong on this one. Yeasty and musty, not in a good way. The sweetness is apparent, mixed with some stale coffee. Chocolate and BA character struggle to make their presence known.

T: Overly sickly sweet, BA quality has faded quite a bit. Dark bitter chocolate notes, fig, and vanilla are also coming in.

M: Medium to full bodied, no carbonation which isn't surprising considering the BA and the age in general on this one.

O: Time was not kind to this beer. I just recently had XXIII on tap and it was wonderful. Aroma on this was off and not pleasant. Taste was overly sickly sweet (in a dark fruit way), that just lingered and over powered the rest of the beer.

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Photo of tewaris
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bryant Lake Bowl.

Dark with a light brown head that is persistent and leaves some lacing on the glass. Aroma is coffee, roast, some fruit and some... spice? Smells exotic.

Dark, fruity, roasty with a lingering flavorful bitterness at the end that is either derived from the roast or dark chocolate.

Very mellow with nothing standing out in particular. Excellent silky and creamy feel on the palate. This is not a barrel forward beer but it is good... not sure what they were aiming for but it drinks like a big porter (duh) minus the tartness. Also, it drinks way too smooth for its ABV.

4.5, 3, 4, 5, 4

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sort of a muddled black color with a tan head. Chocolate is the predominant aroma here with a decent roastiness, a hint of citrus, and some vanilla and whiskey in the background. The flavor is also heavy on the dark chocolate with a bit more roast and whiskey (and just booze in general). Some coffee, mild vanilla, and citrus notes, maybe a touch of the chile in there somewhere.

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Photo of theCoder
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this yesterday at a local bottle shop as a part of Deschutes Base Camp Week. They were pouring XXI, XXII and XXIII.

This is a review of XXII but being XXII and XXIII are basically identical according to the brewer who was at this tasting. I can confirm they are pretty close but obviously with the age on XXII it was a bit more mellow, however I didn't realize the bottle issues they noted beforehand and when I looked at it and tasted it I knew there was something off compared to XXIII and I talked to the brewer and he informed me of that. If you have them side by side you can notice it but if you do not you'll likely never know.

The bottle issues do NOT take away from this beer, wow it was wonderful.

Poured a very dark brown with a tiny chocolate colored head. The chocolate was there in the nose quite heavily with ever so slight bits of vanilla.

Taste was wonderful, it was like liquid dark chocolate with roasty caramely notes in the end. I didn't notice any of the peppers, and I tried oh boy did I try.

Mouthfeel was silky smooth.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone with the opportunity to try it. It was fun to do a 3 year vertical to see how much it changed from the XXI to XXII and XXIII recipes.
In XXI you get a lot of coffee and chocolate on the nose and taste, XXII and XXIII the coffee is barely present and basically not at all in XXII.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2010)

Sour Fest 2012
Bottle Share
Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Thanks for the pour!

(Aged for 2 years)

A very dark, muddied brown, bordering on black with a very, very small brown head. There's not a lot of visible carbonation, and this leaves the glass oily with residue.

As expected, and as hoped, there's lots of chocolate aromas here along with just a hint of orange peel. The wood is minimal, as the chocolate and roast elements dominate. Nice, though not nearly barrel-forward as some others in the class.

The flavor, too, is very rich with chocolate, roast, and mild citrus notes, with only minimal barrel. Moderate bitterness and the alcohol is very well hidden. I could drink a lot of this stuff, and quickly.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Good, though I don't know how much the barrel influenced this beer.

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Photo of Tad
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had quite a tasting on 4-10 at Stiengarten LA, this on tap, as well as Black Butte XXIII(bottle), Abyss 2011, Stoic, and Chainbreaker White IPA.

I will have to agree on prior reviews of this, a top notch porter indeed. Toasted oak chocolate and a medium mouthfeel profile its well rounded flavor. Has been aged a bit although its my first taste of XXII, side by side a bit mellowed to XXIII. A must have.... if found or cellar'd..Cheers Deschutes!!

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Photo of jbakajust1
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured @ 16 Tons Union Cafe for Base Camp for Beer Fanatics into a Deschutes Tulip

A - Pours a deep, dark black w/ 2 finger brown head that fades slow to an oil slick and leaves legs and some lacing.

S - Smells of dark chocolate, sweet alcohol, vanilla, coconut, oak, bourbon, and cherries

T - Deep flavors of dark chocolate, light coffee, cherries, oak, vanilla, coconut, and tobacco.

M - Full body, sweet with a bitter finish that lingers.

O - Amazing beer. Oak character presents itself, but doesn't dominate, lots of chocolate, slight roastiness, and a bitter sweet finish. Very glad I was able to enjoy this.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Served at ABR. Pours a dark brown/black color with a light tan head. Rich aroma with lots of molasses, syrup, caramel, and dark chocolate. Medium mouthfeel. Dark fruit notes upfront with a building roasy quality to it. Some vanilla as well. Touch of booze notes as well. Overall not as good for me as some of the other BB vintages but still a pretty tasty brew.

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Photo of mothman
2.69/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Finally got a chance to try this one!

Pours a dark brown, kind of murky. A tan ring of head.

Aroma: A lot of chocolate and cocoa. A light roast. The orange peel shows a lot. A little caramel and vanilla. Hardly any oak shows.

Taste: All fruit. Huge orange flavor. It reminds me of the chocolate oranges. It is very sharp. No oak at all.

Mouthfeel: Too sharp. Creamy. Cloying. Medium bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this beer very much. I like the other versions a lot better. Way too much orange peel and not enough oak flavors. This wasn't for me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from an unnamed good friend, thank you bud

Huge dark beer here, black as night as it pours out. A big cascading brown head comes up and over the top and then settles down into a half inch layer that hung around for the entire rest of the session. The aroma was vanilla, huge vanilla beer and light cafe like coffee notes. Some hints of roasted malts, but vanilla in a beer like I have never come across before. Not terribly sweet and fake, this was like whiffing good vanilla ice cream. As I take the first sip, wow. This beer is suprising the crap out of me. First off where is my 11 percent? This is soo smooth I really got caught off guard by my second glass. The vanilla explosion followed through on the taste, rich and creamy with light and sweet coffee notes following through on them as well. Really tight flavor here, smooth with a long drawn out finish that was sweet, delicate and drying

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Photo of jrallen34
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle... dark brown, bordering black, light tan head leaves a finger of light tan head, good retention... awesome nose, tons of orange with a touch of chocolate, chocolate covered oranges... lots of chocolate but a touch light and devoid of taste, not bursting with the flavor I was hoping for... solid, but no xxi

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Photo of eclipse54
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was able to have multiple tastings of this during Boise Base Camp week. It happened to coincide with Deschutes' 23rd anniversary, and they were offering side-by-side tastings of the XXII and XXIII at several venues around town.

Depending on which part of the bottle you're pouring from, the appearance seems to be drastically different. The first pour I had was right off the top of a freshly opened bottle and was filled with brown "floaties". These were the particles of undissolved chocolate that precluded the release of the bottles. Initially, I had appearance rated at a 1 in my notes, but subsequent pours from lower in the bottle looked absolutely gorgeous with no floaties to be seen. I assume that if you poured a whole bottle (or more realistically, half a bottle), then the appearance wouldn't be so bad. Therefore, I just gave it an average score. That said, here's the rest of a "normal" review.

It pours a murky brown color out of the bottle that becomes a deep black in the glass. About 3/4 inch tan head develops with good retention and a solid amount of sticky lacing. It smells of sweet sugar, chocolate, caramel, faint roasted malts, orange, and a little chili. The taste brings out a bit more of this chili flavor, though it is the orange and chocolate that really shine. Faint caramel, and an almost potato-like starch flavor finish it off. Mouth is smooth, rich, amply carbonated, and has a sticky, dry finish. Overall, a solid beer save for the odd appearance. I'm very pleased I was able to try this, and would recommend anyone make the effort to do so if possible.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from my Pub visit on 2.2.11. Not sure how I missed this one.

Served in a Deschutes Snifter

A - Dark deep brown with a thin tan head. Lingers for a moment, then fades to a thin film.

S - Chocolate and more chocolate, then some booze tones.

T - Again I am overpowered by the chocolate, then some cherry like flavors, coffee.

D - A slight creamy-like feeling in the mouth, then oily.

O - With this much chocolate taste, it makes it easy to see why they had issues with the bottles. I am glad I got to try it on tap.

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Photo of benclimbs
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours big and black with a huge head and tons of lacing

smell is clasic stout character with coffee and vanilla, not overwhelming but very good

taste is just ridiculous - so complex. a rich balance of coffee, dried cherries, tobacco, plums, bourbon and oak driven vanilla - drinkable but very very geared - everything you want in this kind of beer

feel is rich and thick.

overall this is an exceptionally good bourbon aged stout, far more drinkable than the black butte xxi - more my style.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at City Beer Store side by side with XXI. Poured a deep brown/black with a creamy coffee head. The lace held up better than the XXI (no surprise there).
The smell was lighter than expected. Coffee and oak were more noticeable than chocolate. Spicy booze heats up the middle, with an earthy finish.
The taste is similar. Noticeable differences are a bourbon flavor and some light cocoa. A little light in the mouth.
Not quite as good as the XXI. I've had multiple tastings of each, and though this was good, it wasn't an improvement on last years.

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Photo of gwguest
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at City Beer in SF. What a nice little surprise since the online draft list made no mention of this one. I have a Black Butte XXI at home, but haven't tried one yet. I have no real expectations in mind.

Opaque body with a rich dark brown foam. Foam is thin and gone quickly. Looks good for what it is, enticing, but a little more foam would have taken it up a notch for me.

The aroma is heavenly. Deep aromas of chocolate, hints of roast, sweet bourbon, vanilla, oak and toasty grains just sing together. This is one of those beers that I could just smell all day. I wish that I were some sort of Olympic calibre swimmer so that I could take deeper whiffs. Hopefully the taste follows suit.

The flavor is right in line with the aroma. It's a very intense flavor that leans a little more on the bourbon than the aroma, but this is quite the exercise in balanced flavors. The tinge of orange is a nice touch that keeps things fresh. I don't detect any other spices that are mentioned. To that, they are melded perfectly into the overall flavor of the beer.

Overall, wow. This is a beer that really moves my needle, and few do that these days. It's sad that this never made it to the bottle. It's a fantastic beer that has all the right levels and depth of flavor without being messy. I love it. There are few beers that I would choose over it.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Beer Revolution. Pours a very dark brown with a two finger tan head that has very good retention and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. The aroma is huge dark chocolate with a lot of alcohol as well. A little bit of bourbon comes through also as well as a little bit of the chillies. I really don't get any of the orange though. All the other aromas definitely take a back seat to the chocolate and alcohol though. The initial taste is strong with dark chocolate, then going into some vanilla and bourbon. The taste of alcohol is strong throughout. The finish is strong, bitter dark chocolate. Again taste is dominate by chocolate and alcohol. Medium body. Slick, oily mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Not a bad beer, but certainly not great. Seems like a beer that would definitely improve with time. It's too bad that there are no bottles to see how this would develop.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with no head at all

Smell - get some hint of dark chocolate and a little alcohol

Taste - i wasn't blown away since this is a special released, it has a distinct deschutes taste and almost tastes a little like the abyss in the beginning. It has some chocolate a little licorice and a nice hint of alcohol. As it got warmer the chocolate and alcohol became more prominent making it more enjoyable.

Its didn't blow me away but it was pretty solid.

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Photo of kruthar
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sittin in the deschutes brewery havin dinner with good ffriends and enjoyng a few pints of beer.

The black butte in my mind isa masterful combination of roasted porter and fruit notes. The first scent was not oranges like the menu said bu a little bit of a citrusy apple. It surprised me for sure. After the sip the tongue gets a pretty tingling of deep dark choclate and hints of black coffee. The swallow is the best part of the experience more chocolate with a roasty undertone and hints of dried fruit.

The black butte goes down super smooth almost like downing a cold glass of roasted light chocolate milk. All things being said tis beer goes down smooth and continues to do so all the way through the bottom of the glass. Drinkability is excellent.

Next is some fresh abyss out of the bottle...

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Photo of gregbechtel21
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Thick Khaki Colored Head with tight bubbles, dissipated quicker than I prefer. Beautiful black color, saw nothing but reflection in glass.

Smell: Chocolate, tons of it. Orange peel, vanilla, oak wood, no chile pepper that I could tell. one of the best beer aromas I've ever encountered.

Taste: Brewed with Theo's chocolate from Seattle. Everything in the aroma translated perfectly. Very balanced for the style.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but not too heavy. Perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability: Incredibly drinkable for the style. The 11% is dangerously well hidden.

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Photo of clearlydiluted
3.24/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the PDX Deschutes Brewpub in a 12oz tulip

a: dark as night with 1 finger head of tan foam and nice lacing

s: dark roasty notes, chocolate, hints of licorice

t: taste mostly of chocolate, dry in the finish, as it warms up you get spicy notes of the orange and maybe a hint of the peppers, it's earthy and, according to my notes, "woody" in the finish.

m: smooth, medium-heavy body with light carbonation

d: pretty one dimensional in the chocolate note with little else there.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a mild white head, light lace.

S: Mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate, malt, bit chalky.

T: Chocolate dominates, the sweetness is akin to an imperial oatmeal stout. Some moderate notes of vanilla which makes it quite distinct from its predecessors. Good flavour, but not as robust as the XX and XXI.

M: Medium-bodied, soft carbonation, creamy, chalky.

D: Nice beer, but not up to the level of the previous incarnations for me, but worth a try.

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Photo of chumba526
3.03/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appears black with a small dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

It smells of caramel, coffee, grassy hops, toffee, chocolate and vanilla. There is also a mild bitter like smell to the beer as well.

It tastes of caramel, coffee, nutty malts, vanilla, mild dry chocolate, and toffee. It finishes with a caramel sweetness that is balanced with a small amount of bitterness. The caramel aftertaste is a little rough. The caramel flavor overpowers the other flavors. This does not have that good of a balance to it.

The carbonation is moderate low.

The drinkability is ok but it is to rich to drink more than one glass. Also the strong rough caramel flavor damages the drinkability.

Overall a bit of a disappointing beer. I don't know if the beer was old or what. Do not get me wrong the beer was not bad but it was very flawed. I suppose that it is around average for the style.

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Black Butte XXII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 125 ratings