Black Butte XXIII | Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII
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Reviews: 320 | Ratings: 791

American Imperial Porter | 10.80% ABV

Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Notes: This beer is retired; no longer brewed. XXIII. So where to next? What's 2011's rich, imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges. Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn't it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.

55 IBU

Info from brewery: "475 barrels were produced. 275 were bottled and the remaining 200 were put into kegs."
Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII
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Reviews: 320 | Ratings: 791
Reviews by CapitalGains:
Photo of CapitalGains
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured and tasted 6/17/2011 at the Deschutes Downtown PDX Pub
12 oz. Deschutes snifter glass, on-tap

A: Deep brown/black body with almost no transparency, thin dark tan head, minimal lacing

S: Predominantly cocoa and roastiness, perhaps a hint of cookie dough, a little bourbon initially that becomes more apparent as the beer warms, faint hops and tangerines

T: Dark chocolate and cocoa, squeezed oranges (slight), small amount of chile heat, roasted malts; very consistent taste throughout

M: Fairly heavy, chewy, borderline creamy, almost no carbonation

O: Great beer with interesting characteristics that work well in unison. Dangerously easy to drink with the near 11% ABV being well-hidden. I picked up six bottles of this so I'm curious to see how it is with some age on it. The smell was a bit tough for me to pick out but otherwise it's a very well done beer. I'm glad this year's vintage made it into bottles after last year's debacle.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of gdhawley
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of ShanePB
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle generously opened by mdaschaf during our mini-tasting at his place. Served after Black Butte XXI. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Deep dark brown almost black sitting in the glass. A nice fluffy, creamy looking tan head sits atop and takes its time to dissipate. Still, a nice retention cap is left the entire way with lots of sticky lace around the glass. Killer looking beer.

S: Very citrusy up front, orange and lemon peels, citrus oils and a faint fleshy note. The porter base comes through with the dark roasted malts, a bit of caramel and nuts. Back end has just a touch of wood but the citrus notes come full circle.

T: Like the nose, citrusy notes are dominant - orange oils and bitter flesh. A charred malt, touch of smoke and sweet caramel is in the middle. The back end brings a nice rich bitter dark chocolate taste that transitions well into the finish. Really no linger of anything, it's a very sharp cut.

M: Bubbly, medium-bodied and smooth all over the mouth. The citrus notes give it a hint of dryness but it doesn't last for long at all.

Considering this hasn't hit its labeled "Best After" date, this could still be a bit premature; however, it is still drinking nicely. The citrus elements were welcomed yet unexpected, something I seem to be gathering from these Black Butte beers. I would love to see how this develops in another year or so. Thanks again for the share, Matt!

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Photo of mportnoy
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of PDXHops
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. Near black with a fat and dense cap of dark tan head. More legs than lace, but the retention is very impressive.

Robustly roasty nose with the orange zest and cocoa nibs announcing their presence right away. Rich roasty malt profile with an increasing chocolate presence as it warms. Subtle notes of bourbon and chiles (the subtlety being of particular importance for that potentially overpowering ingredient). Pleasantly warming booze ushers in flavors of singed wood, molasses, bittersweet chocolate and orange. Loads of buttery caramel in the smooth and lengthy finish. As usual for the Reserve Series, a cellarworthy gem of a beer that’s already plenty smooth for enjoyment right now.

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Photo of ScrimshawFan
2.5/5  rDev -41.9%

Photo of stogirelli
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of zeledonia
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle says best after 15 June 2012. Never seen a "best after" date before. Does that mean it was bottled 15 June 2011? Not sure.

Pours dark dark coffee brown, almost black but not quite, with a fluffy medium tan head. Great head retention and excellent lacing.

Smells absolutely delicious. A mixture of typical portery dark roasted malts and chocolate, with a little bit of chili pepper. Slightly boozy, but surprisingly little for a big ABV bourboned beer.

Taste is fantastic. Again, very dark roasted malts with equal parts chocolate and chilies, a touch of orange and a hint of whiskey. Lots of different flavors going on, but they feel somewhat compartmentalized, like the beer needs some time to smooth out and let the differences blend into each other. Has some bitterness late, which persists through the finish. Very complex, surprisingly little booze.

Mouthfeel is... wow. Medium-heavy with medium-low carbonation (which I think suits the beer quite well). But it has this creaminess, with a milky/foamy coating feeling that is just amazing. Finish slowly fades away.

This is delicious. Lots going on, fantastic mouthfeel. I'll be socking a bottle or three away in the cellar. The beer is great as it is, but I think a bit of age will only improve it, allowing the rough edges to smooth out.

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Photo of Namaste108
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of Brewski
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of silentjay
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of dcloeren
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bomber with my boy JR

Poured a deep black with 2.5 fingers of foamy dark khaki head. Slowly receded. Left some pretty good but spotty lacing

Strong roasted malt notes dominate the aroma along with dark chocolate and coffee. Great vanilla notes mixed in along with some orange peel which I thought was very well done and amazing at that. Possibly a very faint hint of peppers, but that might just be my head messing with me after reading the bottle.

Dark chocolate dominates along with robust roasted malt and coffee. The orange flavor really holds its own all the way throughout each sip, almost candied tasting. Vanilla, woody characteristics and some very smooth bourbon make up the end of the sip and it is amazing! This beer is mother fucking delicious.

Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The heat from the bourbon is slightly numbing but it is very welcomed. Each sip coats the mouth and sticks with you until you put a new coat on it.

Overall, this beer was simply amazing. Glad that I stumbled upon 3 bottles. If I saw it on shelves again I would push down old women, kick children and basically prison shank anyone who got in between me and the bottles. Cant wait to have another once it gets cold outside.

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Photo of JohnnieQuest
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. From notes long ago.

A: Pours a black body with a finger of dark tan bubbles.

S: Very, very chocolatey, with a roasted coffee supporting aroma. Good, but a bit simple, especially given the complexity of the ingredients involved in this beer. The orange peel was suppressed on the nose.

T: As in the nose, this is very chocolate-dominated. The barrels are overwhelmed by the sweet (but not cloying) beer. Some orange peel on the back end, but not much; I was hoping it would be stronger, the way it was in BB XXII. This missed that balance I have come to appreciate from Deschutes. It's hardly a bad beer, but it simply isn't upper-tier.

M: Medium-bodied, but the finish was lingering and a bit sticky. You could argue that that is expected for a barrel-aged beer like this, but I recall previous vintages not being so oily.

O: I remember thinking, after trying this, that I should really dial back on the Deschutes Reserve beers, to the point where I didn't even seek out BB XXIV this year. I found XXIII tough to finish.

 1,060 characters

Photo of draheim
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, thanks to quirkzoo and beertunes for helping me choose this beer to review for my first anniversary of reviewing. Cheers!

22oz (best after 6/15/2012) into a snifter. Pours a deep dark brown with reddish edges. A 1-finger head settles slowly to a nice wispy film.

Aroma is dark cocoa up front - like rich chocolate truffles. A hint of bourbon and oak shine through, along with some unidentifiable fruity notes. Rich and nutty on the swirl.

Taste is a rich, complex blend of bitter, chocolatey, vaguely tangy. Still has a spicy kick from the chillies. I think I taste the orange too, a vague tangy acidity, but can't be 100% sure. Really interesting mix of intense flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth, coating but not thick or chewy, medium-bodied. Leaves a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.

Overall this is an interesting, complex take on a porter. It almost has kind of a Mexican mole twist that I like, but I couldn't drink this every day. Definitely has some flavor intensity.

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Photo of TorsHammer
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of sammo
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of emaciated
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mnphish
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a tulip.

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with a creamy whitish tan colored head. The head grows to over 2 fingers and is dense with assorted size bubbles. Great looking beer!

Smell: mostly getting the dark chocolates / cocoa / coffee notes that is imparted by the roasted dark malts. Does have a hint of peppers from the nose as well.

Taste: similiar to the nose. Moderately roasty and bitter coffee and dark chocolates. Some vanilla that imparts a mild sweetness to the beer, but its very short lived. A hint of the peppers and you even get a little heat from them as well. I taste some citrus, its like a bitter orange. You also get some boozey taste in the finish, that is what holding me back from giving this beer a 4.5 score in the taste category. The booze gives a wierd aftertaste that I am not a big fan of, but its still a minor factor of the overall picture. Its still a tasty beer. Interesting complexity in this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium heavy bodied beer for a porter. Carbonation is moderate and for the most part its right one for this beer. The beer drinks smooth and creamy. Got some spice from the peppers and really mild burn from the booze.

Overall: Another solid beer from Deschutes. Age will do this beer well. I look forward trying this in a year or longer. Its almost like Hanahapu, but a porter. So maybe u could call it Hanahpu lite? (joke) Keep up the good work Deschutes... you make me want to move to Bend, Oregon and drink your beer all day long at the brew pub.

 1,514 characters

Photo of damngoode
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of vcoggins
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of plfahey
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Very dark brown/black with just a hint of red highlight when held to the light.Moderate stand of tan foam with decent retention.

Aroma-Smell is strong of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweet molasses, and a hint of fruit. Dark espresso roast has a sort of green pepper/ancho chili character to it, but is light. Hint of sweet oak/vanilla. There's a whiff of perfumy alcohol and some brownie batter chocolate which gives it a sort of chocolate liqueur smell.

Flavor-Rich and coffeelike, with that same green pepper edge up front. Some dark chocolate is present as well, with an overall german chocolate cake feel to it. Still some of that green pepper coffee flavor. Alcohol is definitely a bit harsh/hot-this one could use some age to be sure, probably a year or two at the least. Finish has notes of orange, but mostly dark chocolate and the heat from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Overly hot from the alcohol.

Though my score certainly doesn't show it, this has the makings of an incredible beer. It's too young right now (as evidenced by the best after 6/15/12 date on the bottle). The alcohol is hot, and the flavors haven't fully integrated yet. Don't get me wrong, its still a decent beer, but this one will improve greatly with some time.

 1,339 characters

Photo of anteater
3.25/5  rDev -24.4%

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 791 ratings