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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: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/blog/2010/06/28/black-butte-xxii-cancelation/

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 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 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 mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
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 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 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 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 John_M
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Am so glad I was able to sample this beauty before heading back East to Baltimore tomorrow. Sampled at the brewpub today (at 11:30 in the morning, with everyone else in attendance drinking the same thing).

XXII pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, this porter is rather sensational, showing dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla and light licorise. I get more of the same on the palate, coupled with some interesting flavors of pepper, coffee grounds and considerable hoppy bitterness. At least for now, I felt the beer was dominated by the sweet licorise and significant hoppy bitterness, though I think that would subside and blend in with the rest of the flavor profile over time. Mouthfeel is full, with a long, bitter, licorise dominated finish. Drinkability is pretty good, though the obvious high alcohol, bitter finish and prominent sweet licorise detract just a bit from the beer's drinkability. Otherwise, the alcohol seems to be prety well integrated into the flavor profile.

Couple of thoughts. This is an impressive, sizeable imperial porter, one that is brimming with flavor. Frankly, I think a year or two of aging would do wonders for this beer, and so I think it a shame that none of this was bottled. Nevertheless, this is still a very impressive beer, and IMHO, quite different from the XX and XXI. Another solid effort from the folks at Deschutes.

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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 rodbeermunch
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
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 HuskyinPDX
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
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 Beerandraiderfan
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Black and to a lesser degree, brown pour. Wow, great tan head, retained for eternity. Not thick and viscous like many beers of this color, but not anywhere near thin either.

Aroma, everything possible to list: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, pepper, peppers, licorice, even hops and citrus.

Taste, whoa, every sip was different, faint tinge of spicy pepper, then vanilla, then hops and citrus again, chocolate and coffee, so lush and rich, hiding the alcohol throughout, no flavor dominating at any time, but being more than just a nuance. It coated my system. I wanted to steal the keg of it, knowing I would not be obtaining a bottle. Despite the claim that the chocolate got screwed up to prevent it in the bottle, it definitely came through on tap, for sure. Not super drinkable, because its not super obtainable. You gotta go to them, it won't be coming to you.

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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 kwjd
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After my flight landed in Portland, I do what any sane person would do - I headed straight to Deschutes. I was surprised to see this still on tap, but my new tradition has become having a Black Butte (insert number) as soon as humanly possible. Last year I arrived to Portland by train and had a Black Butte XXI within 10 minutes of the train getting in.

Pours pitch black with very thin tan head. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate and lots of spice. Spice is immediately felt on the sip, with the thickness soon cooling it down. Very nice. Quite bitter too. I liked the XXI better I think, but the XXII is a great beer. I had this a few more times over the next 2 days in Portland.

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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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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 WeisGuy
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Deschutes Public House in Portland

a - pours a deep dark brown color just short of pitch black, half-inch mocha head with light retention and lacing

s - dark chocolate, dark fruit, charred oak, light hints of the orange peel and some licorice, some boozy notes as well, I don't notice the chile

t - big semisweet chocolate flavor up front, plum and black cherry, dark roast coffee mixes with the chocolate and light orange peel on the midpalate, finish reveals a light oak barrel character with some vanilla and cream mixing with the dark chocolate and very light hints of the chile, well-balanced finish that's not very boozy at all, there is a brightness to the taste that I haven't noticed in the prior vintages

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, very creamy in the mouth, well-balanced finish, decent alcohol warming without tasting boozy

d - pretty good for a big 11% barrel-aged porter, the booze was fairly well hidden and the flavors were complex and interesting, not too harsh on the palate

I was pleasantly surprised by this after hearing about the issues with the batch. Not as impressive as the XXI, in my opinion, but very good beer nonetheless.

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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 Arbitrator
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure of trying this on tap at the Pearl brewpub location, thanks to ramnuts' chaffeuring me around. Thanks, Frank.

A: Pours a dark black with a light mocha head. None of that filmy curdled milk appearance that greeted us when we opened a growler a long time ago (not that that should make or break a beer, in my opinion).

S: This was where the differences from the growler really became apparent. The growler was very orange-forward. This, two months later, is not very aromatic at all. What I do get is a whiff of chocolate.

T: Much more balanced than I recall the growler being. It's chocolate forward now, with just a hint of orange pulp, and that's really because I know it's there and I'm looking for it. The chilis in the beer are much the same way; they lend a spicy bite to it, but you wouldn't know they were chilis unless you had some foreknowledge. Same goes for the bourbon. There is a mild, leafy / green hoppiness present. I think some might find that a drawback, but I think that's a mark of how balanced this beer is becoming. The individual elements are there, and they add a lot to the beer, but they don't dominate or demand attention. I like that. This beer is a good sum of its parts.

M: It's medium viscosity. Not thick and sludgy. Carbonation is just right; it drinks well.

D: Either this is coming along nicely, or it doesn't drink well out of a growler; but I found this tastier than my previous experience with the beer. I recommend it.

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Photo of vkv822
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

- Had at Deschutes Public House in PDX.
- from notes.

The beer arrived in a snifter with a thin tan head and black body.

It has a very nice chocolate and very lightly roasted malt aroma with very pleasant orange notes towards the end.
The taste follows the aroma well with roasty and bitter chocolate notes upfront, and backed by light citric orange notes. The addition of chili peppers is a very enjoyable and well executed compliment to the finish. There is also a slight booziness.
It has a very smooth and creamy medium body that doesn't become overly thick with subtle yet pleasant carbonation.
This was an incredibly drinkable and well done beer. I really wish this was able to be bottled as I would love to have more regular access to this from my own fridge.

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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 jdense
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Deschutes Public House Bend OR 7.14.2010, poured into snifter.

Dark brown almost opaque body, no visible carbonation due to dark hue. Minimal amount of head, more light brown than tan, ultra quick dissipation for the little head there was, resulting in a very thin ring around parameter of glass. Nose is one big frickin chocolate hit, bitter, I pick up a bit of the orange zest as it warms, minimal hop note, more floral than bitter in the nose. Taste features bittersweet chocolate up front, the chiles are a bit more pronounced than the orange but both are very subtle and subsumed by the chocolate profile. Very complex taste. Mouthfeel is smooth, not too sticky despite sweetness, not too much effervescence. Incredibly drinkable, you'd never guess this was a 10+% ABV beer. It's incredibly sad that the bottling of this beer went south, IMO this is better than XXI (or XX for that matter). This is an very very tasty beer. Worth going to the Public House in Bend or PDX to enjoy. Very highly recommended.

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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 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 cavedave
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

oregonskibum gets huge thanks for this superb sipper.

The nice, cloudy dark chestnut look of this begs the question what could possibly have been wrong with the bottles? Not a beauty winner, but... A merest skim of light brown foam rides the thick brew.

The nose what can I say? It is a rich composite, full of chocolate, coffee, dark ripe fruits, rounded of by a luscious bitter, not quite citrus, not quite herbal, slight tart yeasty notes really send this bouquet to the moon. My saliva glands are squirting convulsively as I inhale.

The taste doesn't disappoint. Words fail here. The flavors of the nose... forget it, can't break it down. This beer is fucking art. The balance in the front of the sip transitions through an epic blessing of wonderful flavors that form such a perfect amalgam, then transition through another range of equally fine flavors, that this review will now lapse into something less than clinical, more purely subjective. This beer is a rhapsody of complexity, balance, composure, all contained in so superbly crafted a brew that were these words to equal their art, they would need the composition skills of a Shakespeare. Beyond delicious.

Mouthfeel is thick bodied, full in the mouth, drinks like a much lighter beer, very low carb (but it had a long, hot trip) stays so clean on the palate there is virtually no diminution of flavor between sips, and an epic finish that walks the line between juicy and dry.

Drinkability is completely off the scale. Were I too have an unlimited supply of this epic brew I am certain the county coroner at some point would be interested to know.

Impression: That's it, I'm moving to Oregon, somewhere between Bend and Eugene. Get this if you can, one of the best.

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