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 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 dragonWhale
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

STILL on tap at Deschutes' Portland Palace. Not sure if it's been on the whole time or if they just threw it back up for the Dissident release party, but hell yes.
Dark and saucy, a rich chocolatey color with a hanging crown of creamy foam.
This beer has changed a bit in just a few months. The chocolate intensity has faded, perhaps falling out of suspension to the bottom of the kegs. It's still there, lurking, but more in step with the orange and pepper heat. Quite a bit of creamy roast and a little vanilla and oak.
Still damn good, but I preferred it a few months back. Nonetheless, hopefully these kegs will stick around on draft for a long time to come and keep making appearances on into eternity. Would love to see how this beer continues to change.

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Photo of oregone
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Damn good. Overall impression beats the score.
Boozy in a good way and pours a deep black with brown head and meniscus. Bourbon and chocolate with coffee on the nose that follows through on the palate with the thick rich maltiness hinted by the aroma. Thick. Oily. Delicious. Somewhat spoiled by following Bourbon Fred the night before, though I'd be excited for bottles of this.

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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 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 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 Elimination
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The holy Grail of 2010 it seems ..

Look is a brilliant pitch black, thin but fought mocha head.

Smell is a semi sweet cocoa, chocolate strong in the nose, I see no wrong in this.

Taste sweet coffee bourbon mocha this is a remarkable taste I really can't put into words

Mouth is a semi thick murkiness perfect for the style

Drink is high I really don't see any problems with this, wish it was bottled

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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 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 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 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 hughesm4
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Deschutes in Portland poured into a snifter.
a-Poured a very dark, nearly black with a thin ring of light brown head.
s-Very, very sweet. A dominant chocolate smell with a hint of orange and roasted coffee.
t-Very strong chocolate with a slight hint of orange peels along with a very slight coffee bean taste. Very well balanced, delicious, and extremely sweet.
m/d-Very full taste that leaves your mouth coated with chocolate. It goes down rather smooth and I disappointed that they cancelled the bottled release.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Portland pub poured into a Deschutes snifter

appearance - dark, pours thick, tan head, good retention

smell - chocolate and oak nose, some sweetness

taste - big chocolate up front with orange rinds, followed by oak, alcohol

mouthfeel - thick and viscous, smooth, medium but sufficient carbonation

drinkability - complex and smooth, robust and flavorful, really sad this didn't make it to bottles but happy i was able to try it on-tap

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Photo of Shmeal
4.95/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this beer at the Portland location out of a snifter.

Appearance - extremely dark but a little lighter than Black Butte XXI iif I remember correctly. Not much of a head to speak of, more like a tiny ring of lacing that did not feel like dissipating.

Smell - Very friendly on the nose. I picked up orange, coffee, and dark chocolate.

Taste - Incredible! Easily one of my favorite beers, it's too bad that Deschutes destroyed all of the bottles that they were going to release. Instead of a coffee taste followed by orange, I got both notes at the same time, making me think of a Boresha instead of a mocha. On the finish you get a great wave of dark chocolate followed by the tiny burn of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Very good, but i would expect a beer like this to be a little heavier and viscous.

Drinkability - I could session this beer without any hesitation. Unfortunately, due to the 11% alcohol, this could get dangerous fast.

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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 hopsbreath
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at the brew pub with my wife for lunch today after walking around the Oregon Beer Fest for a while. With most of the more interesting offerings at the OBF already gone, it was a treat to enjoy this gem.

BBXXII arrived to our table in a pair of Deschutes snifters (I'm going to have to purchase a couple of those one of these days) with a thin wispy froth ring atop its dark brown body with cola tan edges. No lacing showed up throughout the drink.

Aroma was all about the alcohol. Sweet cherries and toasted almonds with a hint of milk chocolate lended themselves to the olfactory, but were mostly bullied by the alcohol. It was a sign of the treat to come.

Taste showed off the strong Ghana semi-sweet chocolate (with an emphasis on the sweet) that kept the beer from being bottled. Too bad because this was sure tasty. As hard as I tried I was unable to discern the chilies or orange peeled that was used but that could be because my palate just was incapable of doing so.

Mouthfeel was thin and lightly sticky. It really helped add to the drinkability of this 11% ABV beer and make it disappear fast.

It's a shame this wasn't bottled due to the visual appearance. After not much liking the BBXXI, I found this to be a big improvement for my taste. If the opportunity presents itself, get a hold of some of this while you still can. It probably won't be around for much longer.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 yuriruley
4.83/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Nice and dark with a good head and lacing. Looks awesome.

Smell - Smells like chocolate!

Taste - Nice roasted flavor and the chocolate is intense, I get a little of the orange, but I wasn't getting the chile. I mean I am sure it is in there I just wasn't picking it up.

Mouthfeel - Good body, nice and smooth. This stuff is pretty thick.

Drink - hardly noticed the 11%, could have drank a couple, but I wanted to try some other beers.

Definitely good, sad it won't be bottle. Would like to try this with some age on it, though I am sure they will have it at the pub again in a couple months.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had at the Portland pub.
A- Very black and no head. Thin ring of foam around the edge.

S- Excellent smell. Coffee, dark chocolate, dark roasted burnt malts yet they are mellow and smooth smelling, smells great. This just has a great aroma.

T- This beer is excellent! No issues here chocolate has a great taste mixing with the roasted malts. This is semi chocolate milk tasting, with a great vanilla chocolate taste. This is a solid brew that I wish I had more of, shame. Seems quite balanced and just sexy.

M- Thick and yet the little carbination helps. I'm glad to have a thicker porter, some porters are too thin.

D- Hell Yes! Just hook me up to the tap.

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