Black Butte XXIII | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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."

Added by jdense on 06-17-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 319 | Ratings: 783
Photo of Plinythechugger
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Beautifully dark and mysterious. A 1/4 in. head remains after the pour, with elegant lacing around the tulip. Nice carbonation.

N - Smells of coffee and roasted malts. A touch of raisons and dark fruit. A touch of heat (both alcohol wise and pepper wise), and a smidge of bourbon - outstanding.

M - Amazing! Layers of flavors, mixed with perfect carbonation make this beast seem tame.

O - Insane! This is bizarre but...I almost wish it was a bit more raw. One week after it was bottled and it's already approachable. This is the best Black Butte Anniversary Beer I have ever had.

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Photo of Stoicfc
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: at first look you would think of just a regular porter. But at a closer glance you see the orange and the other ingredients mix in the head making it colorfully complex.

S: The odor is devine. Takes you to paradise.You get ask the hints of every ingredient.

T: This is where it gets astonishing. The taste pushes you against your seat as if you're in a roller coster. Malts, bourbon, hops all in one perfect combination. Absolutely incredible.

F: Smooth combination perfectly with the odor. Nothing rough about this beer. It makes you want to caress it.

O: This is one of the greatest beers I've ever had and I've had many many beers. Complex yet simple and smooth. I will always remember this beer and tell others pig my experience.

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Photo of dwaz
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Robbrandes for sending this.

A - Pours a dark black with a reddish tint with small white head.

S - Pick up smells of sweet dark choclate and faint alcohol, stronger bourbon scent as it warms

T - Wow, what a treat! Rich, creamy and smooth sweet choclate with roasted malts. I don't really pick up any citrus from the orange, but the sweetness from the oranges seems to be mixing with the choclate masking any bold cirtus flavor. Slight, slight hint of chile on the back end along with roasted malts. No overwhelming alcohol from the bourbon, it is hidden really well and mellow.

M - Perfect for a porter, full with lots of carbonation. Maybe too much carbonation for some, but perfect for my taste.

O - Easily my favorite offering I've ever had from Deschutes, truley a world class beer. The flavors play off each other really well. I know aging this to the best by date will change the flavor profile of this beer somewhat, but I suggest drinking it now if you enjoy sweeter beers.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pitch black with 1/3 inch of tight, mocha head. Leaves sheets of lacing down the glass.

S-Pepper! Smells spicy. Potpurri, maybe some star anise? Surprisingly floral for such a roasty, rich beer. Plenty of rich chocolate and coffee bean.

T/M-Good lord. So mature and refined, considering how young it is. Roasty coffee bitterness, dark chocolate, peppery spice, just a hint of orange zest, but it's barely there. One of the few occasions when the description on the bottle is 100%accurate. Thick (but not too thick) with low/moderate carbonation.

O-I place the Black Butte Anniversary series among my favorite beers ever. This is no exception.

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Photo of youradhere
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had in a XX, XXII, XXIII vert. Pours darker than previous years, ample brown head; smell is slight coffee with a sharp citrus orange, and faint bourbon. Taste pops and is complex; coffee, bourbon, orange, tannic bitterness, dark chocolate. As is it warms the dark chocolate becomes more as does the orange, an odd fruitiness as well. The chilies are barely perceptible, the alcohol heat is there also. Mouthfeel is thicker than other years as well, while carbonation is medium.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into my snifter.

A pours a dark brown almost black color with a tan head and some lacing.

S amazing nose that is very complex. Its sweet with bourbon, vanilla, booze, chocolate, and a hint of orange. In terms of complexity it is up there with many great imperial stouts.

T the taste is equally as complex with a lot going on. First you get chocolate right up front. this is followed by some orange, bourbon and some spicy chillies on the finish. The ABV is super well hidden. You get a lingering chocolate taste in your mouth afterwards.

M Very smooth mouthfeel, yet thick and kind of syrupy.

Overall this is an amazing beer. It is complex with a lot going on that makes it satisfying to drink. I think it is mislabeled as an American porter as it is more like an imperial stout then a porter but either way it is amazing for the style. I'm glad I have another one to try in a year after the best after date, as this will be an epic beer.

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Photo of kcbearkat
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into a Deschutes snifter.

A: Very dark. Light barely penetrates the liquid. Two fingers of tan creamy head.

S: Strong smell of bourbon, dark chocolate and carmalized malts. Oh and booze. Lots of booze.

T: This is very hot and needs to mellow out. Starts with a coca power taste, then bourbon, followed by vanilla and citrus on the finish.

M: Heavily carbonated, medium bodied.

Overall Deschutes has made another tasty brew for me to hold on to and try in years.

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Photo of quirkzoo
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 6/5/12...well I saw a lot of people say they preferred fresh so I cracked it open. Reviewed from notes.

Pours very inky black with a light tan head. Nose is Bourbon, licorice, cacao in that order. As it opens up I get a touch of citrus on the nose. Flavor is amazing. All the flavors above plus a touch of heat, each balanced and yet not competing with each other. I am very glad I opened this fresh as I have heard that some of the complexity gets muted with age. If there is still another bottle at the shop I will pick it up to age.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chocolate covered candied orange?

Pours a dark black with a huge, creamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves walls of thick lace.

The aroma is of cocoa, orange rind, black pepper, roasted malts, bourbon and woody notes.

The taste follows with some nutty notes in the background of dark chocolate, coffee, cream, orange rind, burnt caramel, molasis, black pepper, bourbon and oak. Hints of vanilla round things off with a great balance. Some earthy notes peek through as well.

Complex, rich, and creamy. Very smooth.

Awesome sipper of a stout.

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Photo of Mooch273
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach, CA poured into a 10 oz flute.

A: Beautiful finger of mocha-tan head that foreshadows a chocolatey coffee goodness. Body is nearly black with a brownish hue.

S: Chocolate and coffee roastiness strike immediately. Aroma intensifies as the luscious liquid comes to temperature. Inviting!

T: Sweet chocolate goodness with the bitterness of roasted coffee grounds is quite pleasing. Slight hint of orange zest, but otherwise not quite detectable unless you know what you're looking for. Strong dessert-like flavors mask any alcohol.

M: A smooth sipper with little carbonation. Definitely thicker than your typical porter, but not heavy. This has just the right viscosity to coat your tongue, providing a nice reminder of the previous sip.

Overall, this is one that I enjoyed so much that I had to order a second round. I look forward to revisiting this beauty after a year or two of aging. Well done Deschutes!

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Photo of Tilley4
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened this last night after enjoying the turkey and dressing all day...

Jet black with a tan head that becomes wispy a touch too soon... Coats the glass nicely though...

Unreal aromas of dark chocolate, bourbon, orange zest and this deep earhy quality that is working very nicely... There's a pungency to the orange zest and bourbon together that is just divine... Utterly world class aromas coming off of this one...

Wow... Truly a delicious blend of the chocolate, boozy bourbon, zingy orange zest blending together for a taste that is ridiculous... This is easily one of the most delicious beers I've ever had... The bottle mentions aging this but if I had another bottle, there's no way I could... Its too delicious as is... I'm not sure how it could get any tastier actually... Smooth and rich and satisfying all the way to the end...

A world class beer... Enough said... I need another bottle of this...

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Photo of ChanChan
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22OZ bomber into a palm sized snifter!
Appearance: Cherry cola dark with a mocha half inch head. Lacing is decent with small bubbles that make the lacing somewhat sticky .

Aroma: Mostly chocolate, some oak, tons of vanilla and a hint of pasilla pepper! I do not detect any oranges in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to creamy mouthfeel.

Taste: The beer begins with a coffee note and follows with a ton of dark bakers chocolate, tons of vanilla and pleasant notes of bourbon. The finish is of chocolate and some pasilla chillis as well.

Overall: I had this beer with a New York Strip steak and it was a fantastic pairing!!! I then had some Oreo cookies and I realized that this beer is more a dessert beer than anything! This is the best chocolate taste I have experienced in a beer!! Better than a Yeti Chocolate, a young’s double chocolate stout and even better than a Rogue double chocolate stout too!! My favorite all time porter so far!!!!

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Photo of whatthehull
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A - Dark black, 1/4 finger tan head and some sticky lacing

S - Beautiful bouquet, citrus hops, tons of chocolate, very nice coffee, vanilla, molasses, some dark ripe fruits, soil, American oak, sweet bourbon, roasted/sweet malts, anise and awesomeness

T - anise, chocolate, vanilla, molasses, coffee, ripe dark fruits, bourbon, wood, earth, soil, tons of malts, nice citrus, floral hop and more sugary goodness

M - full bodied, well balanced, medium acidity, great complexity and long sweet/bitter finish

D/O - So tasty, refreshing, crisp, awesome and just all around a great drinking and well made porter. Best I have had to date

Final thoughts - 11% abv and $11 a pop. Well done deschutes!

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle at Deschutes Portland. Bought 6 to go. Tasted with consistent results.

Poured a deep brown, mahogany hue with black undertones. Very lovely oatmeal hued head dissipates leaving a good amount of lace. Decent carbonation.

Aromatically this is about as good as it gets. Massive explosion of chocolate, coffee, spice, and gobs of black cherry, currants, cassis, and smoke.

On the palate you really get the peppers working with the orange. It's a nice contrast. It really reminds me of the Green and Black dark chocolate infused with orange peel. Really good, bitter, dark chocolate, toast, raisins, is this really a porter?

Texture is perfect. Not too blowsy like a trumped up imperial stout, instead the alcohol works into the body well with a nice streak of acidity to cut the texture up into enjoyable pieces. Really good grip, insanely long finish. I think my first response was "hummmanaaahhh".

Impeccable balance and texture make this a winner. This is the best vintage black butte I have tasted in recent years. Masterful!

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Photo of rudzud
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared at a private tasting. Bottle nice and fresh from May.

A - Great murky brown porter pour with a super creamy head with great retention. wow.

S - super strong roasted malts and coffee notes. Big, big chocolate and a hint of spice.

T - Delicious porter here. the big ABV isnt tasted at all, instead more big roasts, chocolate, and coffee. Stuff is hands down delicious, and with a slight spice on the finish.

M - Again, exceptional. Smooth, creamy, wonderful.

O - What isnt to love about this porter. Stuff is a must buy whenever it is on the shelf. Wish I could buy a case of this as it is simply amazing.

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Photo of
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a-pours a inky deep black with an off white head. Head remains capping off the beer.

s-let the bottle warm for 20 mins before opening, I got smacked by the chocolate and rosted notes right away. There is some hint of orange that comes in and out of the nose for me.

t-taste amazing. Has the chocolate right up front with a lot of roasted malts in the profile. Then the coffee, and bourbon come to the front. The oranges are very much in the background, but as it warms it becomes more pronounced. The chilies are only there on the finish, it adds a little heat (not like Chocolate Yeti with cayanne pepper, but it's in there). There is a beautiful chocolate finish. The hops bring some good balance into the mix.

m-dang good. The carbonation is nice, brings out a lot of the flavors. This porter is right on the line with a stout, IMHO.

o-I cannot wait to see what this beer does in my cellar. This beer had a lot going on with it now, and is tight. I think this is the best of this series that I have had. Well done.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Cracked open a bottle of this on 12 Jul 12. This was really, REALLY nice! A nice nutty, caramelly, smoky, chocolotty, bourbon flavored porter....a great depth of flavor and tastes....and if you like porters, you will love this beer. It has a lot of characteristics of a good stout, without the thickness and heaviness of a stout. I am a huge fan of Deschutes beers and my first try of this beer definitely did not disappoint! Mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing. Not a bad thing at all to say about this awesome beer!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I just enjoyed this on tap at the PDX pub and picked up a couple bottles for later.

Served in a Deschutes Snifter.

A - Pours a dark brown, about as close to black as possible with a thin tan head that lingers a bit and then moves to the edges, but never fully leaves.

S - Roasted malts, some coffee, and chocolate.

T - This is where XXXIII is different than the past anniversary versions to me. The flavors are more orange zest, chile, but no heat, and some chocolate. No booze at all.

D - A bit thicker also here, but it was welcome. Good Carbonation as well.

O - Not the first style I go for on a Warm Portland day, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. I am still undecided if it is better or not than past versions, but it is quite good.

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Photo of Sjdavis
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Into a Black Butte pint glass.

A- Obviously, very dark. Nearly black and opaque. A tilted glass and bright light reveals a gradient from the inside to outside of brown, red, orange and yellow. Full inch of attractive, tan-colored head, and fair bit of lacing.

S- Molasses, chocolate and coffee. Clear from the smell that this is rich.

T- Delivers on its aroma. Rich chocolate and coffee, sweet, transitioning to a note of orangey bitterness, then fading out. Chilis become noticeable only as it warms as a lingering heat in the back of the throat. Lovely.

D- Syrupy, but good carbonation, hops and chili heat balance out the thick sweetness pretty well. Alcohol well-hidden. That said, my wife and I had our hands full finishing the 22oz. Not one to break out after mowing the lawn.

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Photo of zander4dawin
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Appears jack black and opaque upon first glance. Light reveals a dark rich brown. A tightly knit peral white head appears and dissipates to the edges of the glass.
Smell - Coca, vanilla, oak, grape jelly
Taste - Intense coca taste and roasted malts. Oak, vanilla, and cinnamon notes in the back ground. This is definitely a hot beer that will only get better with age.
Mouthfeel - Full bodied and enjoyable.

Overall - A fantastic sipper with great full flavored dark beer characteristics and delightful bourbon qualities to round it out perfectly.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from 7/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a very deep red brown amber, appearing black. One finger dark tan head and lacing. Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate coffee. Starts with roasted malt, bitter chocolate, coffee. Mild orange detectable in the middle, finishes bitter chocolate and hops, smoky, chili asserts itself. Nice balance, creamy body. Very nicely done.

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Photo of actone2001
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - pitch back, nice tan/brown head on pour.

S - Nice dark fruit, chocolate aroma. Molasses, roasted malt.

T - dark fruit, cocoa, coffee, tad of citrus, roast, and enough oak to make an appearance, but not overpower. Great balance across the palate, and maybe a tiny hint of the chili as it warms. The nice sweetness fades into a nice hop bitterness. I get a little more vanilla as it warms.

M - Velvety smooth, prickly carbonation, both of which bring out the best in this porter.

O - One of my favorite beers (period!). Rich and complex, yet smooth and drinkable. Wow, this beer only gets better as it warms. I've had it fresh, and now with age, either way it's a fantastic example of what a porter can be.

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Photo of mudbug
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Diving into this one before the best after date out of curiosity and a visit from another beer aficionado.
From the waxed cap (which I could do without BTW) bomber into two standard pint glasses gets a very dark brown body with a half inch tan head, lots of lacing.
Aroma of dark chocolate, astringent hops and coffee, a hint of bourbon too, very stout like.
Taste is a little bitter upfront followed by a huge chocolate sweetness, a solid roasted malt backbone,some orange zest, the chilies are there only as a hint of earthiness I can detect no heat at all.
Medium mouthfeel, I think thats correct for a porter, any thicker and this would be a stout (maybe it already is)
Will revisit this again after the best date.
Edit, another tasting, Taste is over the top, This beer kicks most stouts to the curb. For the style, who cares?

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Photo of herman77
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pretty much black with a light tan fluffy head. Really good retention. Awesome lacing.

S: Roasted malts, lots of chocolate (more fudge like), some bourbon and oak notes. You get some floral and citrus notes as well as a hint of spice from the chillies. Just a hint of booze. Smells amazing.

T: Maltiness galore, rich roasted malt and lots of rich chocolate flavor. Coffee. A bit of citrus and orange that is slightly sweet. You pick up some spice from the chilies and some hops in the backend. A mild booziness all the way through, but comes a little more pronounced in the finish. This is very complex, a wide range of tastes to explore.

M: Full body, pretty thick. Still has a nice amount of carbonation to scrub up the palate after each sip.

O: An amazing beer. I love the normal black butte, but this takes it to a whole knew level! Great drinkability despite the booziness in the finish. I need to pick up another one or two of these to sit on for awhile.

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Photo of CJS
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A Pours slightly thick. Medium brown tone with a nice lacy cream colored head.

S Sweet brown sugar, toffee, caramel candy, Deep caramelized sugar scent, peeled citrus, spice, and toasted wood and nuts. Earthy.

T Dark Chocolate oranges up front with spices. Licorice root. NIce woody tones from aging. Herbal hoppy bitterness works well in this one. Lots of nutty flavors.

M Bitter and sweet characters counter balance each other and a citrus tartness fights its way in as well.

O Getting even better as it warms up. Could use another.

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
4.2 out of 5 based on 783 ratings.
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