Black Butte XXII | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXIIBlack Butte XXII

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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"

Added by msubulldog25 on 06-17-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 125
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
2.42/5  rDev -41.4%
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 mothman
2.69/5  rDev -34.9%
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 chumba526
3.03/5  rDev -26.6%
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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Photo of clearlydiluted
3.24/5  rDev -21.5%
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 deebo
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
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 kbeals
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Tried on tap at the Bend brewpub. Reviewed from notes. Served in a snifter, black with a mocha colored head. Good head retention and lacing.

S- Pretty complex, but not real pleasing on the nose. A mix of citrus, chocolate and peppers. I see the description says it was brewed with oranges, that explains it.

T- Good peppery bite to it mixed with chocolate flavors. Very different. This is only my second or third beer with peppers in it, and it doesn't really seem to work in this one. Perhaps it's still too young, it does still have quite a bit of booziness to it. I wouldn't mind revisiting this one in a couple years, but right now it's just not that impressive.

M- Good heavy body with little carbonation. Very smooth and velvety.

D- Taste and aroma don't really do it for me. Not a bad porter overall, but just a shadow of it's big brothers XXI and XX.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
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 largadeer
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chswimmer shared a growler of this one a while back. Thanks, Craig.

Opaque dark brown with two fingers of dark foam. The head retains solidly for a while before ultimately settling to a collar.

Big sweet orange and chocolate aroma. Further inspection brings out a hint of whiskey, rich roasted malts, licorice, just a trace of chili pepper. This smells nice, but the sweet orange aroma is excessive.

Very chocolatey on the tongue, bittersweet and darkly roasted. It's followed by orange juice sweetness, faint bourbon and black licorice. Medium to full body, fairly easy to drink at first until the orange flavor becomes a bit cloying. Bitter toasty finish with lingering orange and chocolate, only a faint heat from the chilies. Less orange and a little more pepper would have made this much better, but it's an enjoyable beer nonetheless.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler provided by Inflatablechair by the way of seanthornton152... Big appreciation to Sam and Sean. Reviewed from good notes... had this one a long while back.

Fairly thick dark tan head... nice lacing and cap atop a pretty black brew.

Nose shows everything expected but seems a bit of a letdown at least in my mind's nose when compared to it's 2 older brothers. Roasty with definite chocolate.. a bit spicy... roasted malts seems to be one of the biggest players knocking the needed cocoa and malty sweetness out of the top spot.

Flavor mirrors the nose... roasty ... not enough sweetness to help carry the chocolate up and forward... citrus zest is an odd man out toward the end of the sip... meh... all seems to sorta fall flat and certainly never meshes.

I really wanted to like this one, but it just isn't hitting on all cylinders.

Thanks again to Sam and Sean.... I never would have tried to score a growler (EXPENSIVE growler) of this one.. but you guys are cool cats.


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Photo of kbutler1
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
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 Halcyondays
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
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 badboyrsl84
3.76/5  rDev -9%
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 squaremile
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad I got a chance to try this since the bottles were destroyed. Pours a really nice black with an off-white head. Smell is subdued and some roastiness and difficult to translate malts, but as it warms much more of the orange peel emerges with a touch of alcohol. Flavor when cold was a bit disappointing and just the roasted flavors and some orange were present, as it warmed the mouthfeel really smoothed out and much more orange, lemon, and cocoa came through. However, this is a subtle beer, you have to search for these flavors, nothing knocking you over the head here. I wanted more of everything, and I didn't detect the chilis. I wore out from this after about 8oz. Good beer.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
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 tewaris
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
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 -5.6%
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 OBeerMeGreatOne
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
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 beertunes
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in tulip at the Bond Street Pub in Bend. The beer poured black with a tall, dark tan head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma started out with a strong roasted scent that smoothed out to a mellow, rich malt aroma. There was a certain spicy sharpness on the back. Over the tongue, the roasted malt dominated the front, with a chocolatey smoothness in the middle and just a hint of spicy hotness on the finish. There also notes of orange playing hide-n-seek throughout the glass.

The body was very good, full, smooth and rich. The beer coated the tongue nicely, yet wasn't overly sticky. Drinkability was also very good, smooth and easy, and the beer hid it's alcohol very well. There is a bit of pepper hotness on the finish, but it is very complimentary, not distracting.

Overall, a very good beer. Better than the BBXXI and the equal of BBXX. I hope Deschutes can see it's way clear to actually release this brew on a wider scale than they are currently planning on. A must try, even if you have to drive to Bend to get it.

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Photo of jrallen34
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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 boralyl
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub in the Pearl District.

A - The beer was poured into a tulip. It produced 2 fingers of light brown head with good retention and leaving some nice lacing. The beer is a very dark brownish-black, but not pitch black.

S - The nose contains chocolate, roasted malts, and hints of orange.

M - Medium to full in body with light carbonation. It's very smooth and somewhat creamy.

T - Toasted malts up front followed by chocolate infused with hints of orange. There is a slight alcohol presence in the finish, not near as much as I would have expected for a beer this big.

This was a delicious beer, it's a shame it couldn't be bottled. If you are in the Portland area, I'd highly recommend stopping by and checking this one out on tap, while it lasts.

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Photo of nickd717
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler thanks to Arbitrator I believe.

Looks nasty in the growler, but not bad at all in the glass. Near pitch black in color with a small tannish head that has average retention.

The smell is very interesting. Roasted malt, chocolate, anise, and orange peel.

Flavor is good as usual for the Black Butte series. Dark chocolate, coffee, hops, slightly tart orange peel (which I initially suspected was infection), and chili peppers, but not much chili heat.

Smooth on the mouthfeel with medium-full body and soft carbonation.

Solid stuff overall. Beat expectations. Still not sold on the claim that this wasn't infected, but I'll admit it's possible. This is great and flavorful for a porter, but at 11% ABV I put it more in the Imperial Porter/Stout category.

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Photo of littlesgtpepper
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Portland pub on 09/20/10 in a snifter. The brewpub's pamphlet said this beer with cocoa nibs and dark chocolate from Theo's Chocolate in Seattle. It also claims this year's special edition was infused with seville orange zest and pasilla negra chile peppers.

This beer is as black as my soul with a thin mocha head that disappears rather quickly. The lacing stuck around for a little bit but was gone halfway through the beer.

The smell is almost entirely espresso with some nice chocolate overlaying.

This beer is powerful! The flavor is full of espresso, bittersweet chocolate and straight up alcohol. The orange zest accents the aftertaste, but as for the chile peppers, I have no idea where they fall... The carbonation is light and smooth and the mouthfeel is very chewy. There is a nice hop backbone to this beer and rightfully doesn't play the starring role.

Overall, this beer is a true sipper and a delicious one at that. At 11%, this beer could definitely kick your butt with a nice elk burger in tow at the brewery. Very recommended!

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Photo of eclipse54
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
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 tjfinkle
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In Bend for a family vacation so had to stop by the brewpub for lunch today and check this one out since it is not going to be released in bottles.

Appearance-Very dark but not overly thick, some light off white-tannish head and some light carbonation

Smell-Mostly chocolate malts with some slight hints of coffee

Taste-Again, mostly flavors of chocolate, not as much bourbon flavor as I would have hoped but still quite good and really a bummer that this did not work in bottles

Mouth-Relatively thick, but not as thick as I remember XXI being, quite smooth so good mouthfeel overall

Drink-Very good beer, relatively easy to drink considering the 11% ABV, however still could not drink a ton of this stuff

I must say that it is disappointing that they will not be releasing any bottles of this because it is quite a good drink and I could see it improving with age if given a chance.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served (2x) to a .3l snifter, a bit above the fill line each time, at the Portland Pub.

A: What a great start - an Abyss-ian blackness topped with a full finger of sudsy mocha cream. Head drops to a fine sheen interrupted by clustered bubbles, a sticky film/lace hanging around as a slim ring. Look away and the lacing wanes then vanishes altogether.

S: Dark chocolate and a veiled soot, ripened fruit and sweeter booze. Sounds pretty great but really doesn't leap from the glass; it takes a deep inhalation to grasp this, yet it really doesn't entice as much as it should. Hard to call a 'disappointment', but aroma isn't the strong suit here...

T: ...but flavor is. Oh lord, how tasty; dark fudgy chocolate, brazen earthiness, blatant fruits (orange + fat blackberry and blueberry). Sweet coffee and a building darkness with enough sugar to offset a lurking tartness. Woody, syrupy, a glazed brown sugar ham crust - vanilla and oak notes, too. Opens as it warms, delicious.

M: Wonderful feel - creamy and smooth with a subtle warming. Not too heavy in the mouth, a tongue-numbing glow and stealthy cheek draw. Medium-full body, some sticky malts glue my lips together, if only a little...

D: Not too hot now, but I'll bet this could improve with a few more months of age. Oh, what a tragedy that bottles will never see the shelves (something to do with chunky, coagulating chocolate/butter fat ruining the appearance); this is as fine as any of the Reserve brews Deschutes has produced. I will have more...

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Black Butte XXII from Deschutes Brewery
4.13 out of 5 based on 125 ratings.
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