Black Butte XXIII | Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII
Liked This Beer
4.29 w/ 787 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 787 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of SIEVS
1/5  rDev -76.7%

Photo of KevMo84
1.75/5  rDev -59.2%

Photo of bulldogg007
2/5  rDev -53.4%

Photo of ScrimshawFan
2.5/5  rDev -41.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of dmsohyea
2.91/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber, served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown, some light penetration. 2 finger tan head, some retention.

S - Smell is dark malts, bourbon, brown sugars, orange zest, and some chocolate. Everything is muddled together.

T - Strong bourbon flavor with a chocolate backbone and a bit of orange on the finish. Again, completely muddled and not very tasty. With all these nice flavors I would have thought it would taste better. Maybe it needs time to mellow out.

M - Low carbonation and medium body. Pretty harsh from the bourbon. More hot than it should be at less than 11%.

O - Didn't like this one. Maybe after a year or two I'll come back and review it again.

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Photo of nathanjohnson
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Photo of funkel81
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Photo of dheldman
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Photo of champ103
3.02/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a viscous and dark, nearly opaque black color. A very minimal and thin bubbly tan head forms, and recedes to nothing in a second. No lace is left.
S: Chocolate, vanilla, orange peal, and light roast. Plenty of whiskey/barrel aromas. Harsh alcohol.
T: Chocolate that intermingles with the orange peal. Lightly roasted. Lots of boozy whiskey. Not so much flavor from the barrel, more like harsh fusel alcohol one gets with a boozy bourbon. A very bitter finish, either from some hops or the orange peal added. I can not tell. Not well incorporated IMO.
M/D: A viscous body that is very low on carbonation. Almost to low. Very syrupy. Hard to drink. It took me a while to finish my half of the bottle. Not something I care to revisit in the near future.

Overall the whiskey alcohol is a little to harsh for my tastes. The orange peal is interesting, but seems more like an unbalanced, overly bitter and boozy Traquir Jacobite. I am hoping some time will mellow this out. Until then, this is not something I would recommend.

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
3.11/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light brown coloring with little to no head. The head that is there is light brown as well.

Smell: The first note is definitely heat and bourbon with subtle hints of chocolate and orange peel.

Taste: The XXIII tastes like a shot of bourbon with some smooth chocolate and very noticeable orange juice. The taste resembles more of a whiskey cocktail than a beer. The beer is still young so it might mature into something softer later but for now its pretty harsh.

Mouthfeel: Burns on the tongue and in the back of the mouth but the low carbonation allows for a smooth feel over the tongue almost cooling the burning sensation.

Overall: This beer is by far the most disappointing vintage of the Black Butte Anniversary series. I was a huge fan of XX and XXI and really liked XXII but this one is definitely a little too harsh for my tastes.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.18/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into cervoise.

A - Pours a dark brown to lighter black. Brown edging. Rusty brown head with minor lacing

S - Noticeably hoppy, pine, on the nose. I pick up some woodiness but little of the bourbon. Spicy chili notes and cinnamon/nutmeg

T - Dang, this is really spicy. Not from the spices but because of the chilis! The heat from the chilis really overpowers all of the other flavours. There is the roasty character of coffee but not much else. I barely pick up some orange zest and some minor spices.

M - Medium and thinning. Hot chilis!

O - I was a little disappointed with this one. The chilis are way too hot and mutes out all of the other flavours. The bottle says enjoy after 6/15/12 and I will revisit this one them and hopefully some of the other flavours will be able to come through.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.2/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pitch Black. With a very small head (poured by a delicate handed beertender.

S - A hint of booze, hint of cocoa.

T/M - Tastes of oak up front (I said OAK not bourbon, but does finish with a bourbon flavor. Finishes very chocolaty with a bitter end. Mouthfeel is heavy with an almost peppey quality. After finishes off bourbony.

Overall - A little too much actual cocoa nibs for my taste, it would be better if it was a chocolate flavor from toasted barley more so than an additive. Def worth a shot but will UPDATE this review when I taste it AFTER ITS "BEST AFTER" DATE.

PP (Price Point) - $10.99 for a 22oz Partially bourbon barrel aged beer that is 10.8% is well worth it to me.


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Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.25/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of ellswrth
3.25/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of anteater
3.25/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of axeman9182
3.31/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber that was a very generous extra from dc55110. It was allowed to warm some before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Black Butte XXIII pours a solid black, with a monstrous, frothy caramel colored head. It tops out at more than four fingers of foam. Head retention and lacing are both very good, but I'd have liked to have seen a little more from at least one of those to give the beer a 5 for appearance. I bring my nose towards the glass, and a bunch of different aromas hit me; most, but not all working well together. There are notes of chocolate and molasses, the two of those contrasted by a bit of heat from the chili peppers. That all meshes together fine, but there's also a citrusy orange peel component that doesn't fit in, and just sticks out like a sore thumb. The flavor again has those same great suggestions of chocolate and molasses, with just a hint of spice, only to be ruined by the orange peel. It almost tastes candied, like it has a sugary edge to it, and is more prominent than in the aroma. The body is not as rich and full as I might have imagined, but it has a very nice creamy quality to it. The carbonation is definitely lacking though, the beer occasionally teeters across the line into having a syrupy quality. I had Black Butte XXI a few months ago and loved it, so my expectations may have been unfairly heightened. Also, XXIII is fairly fresh and almost a year out from its "best after" date, but I wanted to try it fresh, while this year's addditions (orange and chilies) are fresh. There's a good beer lurking somewhere in Black Butte XXIII, but it's overpowered by the inclusion of orange peel in the brew. This one will probably be a bit better with some age

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.32/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to CoastieSimon for the share. The brew pours a thin black hue, with very modest head, looking like iced black coffee. The nose is that of a robust Porter, and offers very little of the sweet and delectable notes that I was expecting; it is all roast and a bit of alcohol. The flavor is, again, just roasty Porter with a big amount of herbal and grassy bitterness, with very little, if any, trace of the cocoa or barrel. This differs from previous versions in that it is so strongly hopped. I don't like the level of hoppiness, it is hugely distracting and subverts any nuance the beer would've had. Poisoned by hops. Also, the brew is a bit thin. Overall, a big step down from the level established by BBXX and BBXXI. A very disppointing brew, though it is certainly drinkable.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.38/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 ml bottle. Pours a dark brown that is cola colored at the edges when held up to the light. Small tan head has decent retention and lacing. Aroma is big dark chocolate, some orange peel, some light floral hops, as well as some light alcohol that becomes more prominent as it warms up. I don't really detect the bourbon or peppers. The taste is big dark, bitter chocolate, then a bit of orange and floral hops. Finish is again dark, bitter chocolate with a bit of alcohol, although less than is present in the nose. A slight alcohol head is present, but a pepper heat seems to persist after the alcohol is gone. Medium-light bodied and relatively low carbonation. Similar to the others in the series, I find that the bitter chocolate tends to dominate all the other flavors making it a bit one dimensional and not as enjoyable as it could be. I also think that this beer probably will not improve much with age since the hops and orange will probably fade somewhat making it even more one-dimensional.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.38/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this a few times the past week. Initial reviews of this beer are collectively a little bonkers on this site. I guess the reputation of previous batches and Deschutes at large (ignoring the occasional recent quality issues) earn anything they put out an auto A.

Pours a dark mocha brown with a light tan head, mild lacing. Not much depth in the nose and I couldn't pick up any chile presence. Roast, chocolate, coffee and mild citrus, but no cohesion. Flavor is more of the same pattern but even sloppier. A little stronger oak/bourbon presence and the roast drops out in the finish allowing the orange to push through a little more with some additional barrel and chocolate sweetness. Not sure age can make this much better; not to say this is bad, just not very interesting.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.45/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours black with dark brown/garnet borders. A bit of a soapy head, off brown color with minimal lacing as it drank. The top 1 inch is crusted, but nothing else

Aroma is boozy dabbled chocolate and wet coffee beans. Roasty and some citrus.

Boozy taste. This must be cellared for a time to calm this down. It's roastiness is thin and chocolate fleeting. Some orange zest is present at first, very briefly, then is drowned with cocoa and coffee beans. This beer is hot, which thins it out in the end.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.45/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a somewhat thin jet black, thin layer of head, minimal retention

S: nose starts with heavy bourbon and oak, plenty of vanilla and booze, notes of molasses in the middle, chocolate is somewhat subdued compares to its non BA counterpart

T: hot bourbon up front, raw oak, seems a bit green...perhaps a little age could balance things out a bit, some vanilla comes through on the finish

MF: kind of thin for its size, medium carbonation

O: this beer isn't bad but not all that impressive, seems like it could benefit from a little more time.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this bottle online. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip at a recent tasting. Reviewed from tasting sheet notes.

Pours a very dark brown with a moderate light tan head and a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose carries some light orange zest and chocolate plus a fair amount of roast and some light coffee. Light almost chile-like character there. Flavor is so-so and not up to par with the XX and XXI versions, which is a big disappointment, as I had really been looking forward to this recipe when XXII was announced. Light orange and chocolate with heavy roast. Medium body and a dry finish. Very roasty. Nothing really melded in this one.

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 91.9% out of 100 with 787 ratings
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