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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 787 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A real treat. Sweeter than expected with the addition of the bourbon, it was very drinkable. Thick black appearance, soapy lasting head retained about an inch. Very smooth mouthfeel, with well integrated chocolate and bourbon in the secondary. From trade.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best after 6/15/12 but I can't wait that long.

Pours an opaque black with dark brown colors around the edges and a 1 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some citrus zest. Taste is dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, citrus zest, and some alcohol flavors. There is a somewhat assertive roasty and citrus zest bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer now but I think it needs more time to come into its full potential. The smells are somewhat muted but the taste is very good. I wish I could find one more of these to age until the best after date.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

a great many thanks to claystation to giving me this carefully aged bottle for my birthday last month, what a legend. we finally cracked it and wow, is this ever impressive! it pours a rich chocolate brown color, dark, but on the thinner side, with beautiful but fading mocha lacing. the nose is lots or roasty malt, bitter burnt barley, subtle whiskey notes, and a lot of oak and cocoa, really complex, but also super mellow, just chilled out and patient. the flavor profile is a lot like the nose, very delicately balanced, with the malts taking center stage like you want in a big porter, but with the barreled portion really contributing a lot. I almost get toasted coconut from it, plenty of oak, chalky sort of cocoa flavors, and a buttery soft feel that hides a very powerful alcohol content. I love all the chocolate without the sweetness, and the way the bourbon brings it all together but doesn't overpower the beer like so many do. im sure this bottle would get even better with more age, but I could not imagine a more velvety liquid with so much satisfaction at each sip. I would love to get other vintages of this and compare...

 1,142 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A generous half-snifter at the Bend Brewpub - I couldn't help coming back to this place!

This beer appears a solid black, no light from the waning Bond Street patio sun able to poke through, with one finger of thick soapy beige head, which leaves some random, skewed lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of sour, bitter black fruit, cigarette ash, day-old coffee, dry chocolate, and subtle pepper oil. The taste is sweet roasted chocolate caramel malt, mild cold black coffee, some woody vanilla, soft citrus, and a subtle, growing vegetal heat. The carbonation is quite mellow, the body full and smooth. It finishes with a bit of hop/booze astringency and some semi-sweet chili-tinged dark chocolate.

Well, this is a whole lot of something, that's for sure. Nothing really stands out, especially the elevated ABV, but that's ok, the curious complexity is fine by me.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown glass bottle with wax-covered pressure cap served into
De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Best after date is 6/15/12, but I can't wait that long. I'm very excited to try this as I've enjoyed everything I've had from Deschutes so far and this is my second favourite style.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger slightly tan colour head with great creaminess and lacing, excellent thickness, and amazing retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a dark solid black - obviously nontransparent. Very appealing for a porter. I'm excited.

Sm: Orange esters, caramel, chocolate, cream, nice bourbon tones, and maybe a bit of roast. A pretty strong aroma.

T: Heavy chocolate (I assume from the cocoa nibs), a bourbon undertone, no roast, no alcohol, orange peel (looking at the label, I should correct my assertion to orange zest), and a strong malted barley foundation. Quite remarkable and rich. I don't detect the spice they mention on the label. It's complex and flavorful. Well balanced as well.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Not too thick or too thin. I do wish it were creamier, but then we'd be getting more into stout territory. It gets the job done well.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV, which hardly comes through in the flavour. This will satisfy fans of the style. It is, however, a sipper, and is not sessionable by any stretch. I dig it, but I wouldn't buy it again unless it were on draught or available aged. I wouldn't pair this with food unless it were a strong bread. This would make a good choice to age.

 1,540 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of zeff80
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of bourbon, dark roasty chocolate, vanilla and a touch of orange.

T - Great blend of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, bourbon and burnt molasses. There are hints of oak and smokiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean finish.

O - This is fantastic. May have to get more before its gone.

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Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a pint glass. Dark brown body, not quite opaque. Pours with half an inch of off-white head that settles to a thin film pretty quickly.

Quite a bit of roast and tar on the nose, with a little caramel from the barrel. Bourbon comes through pretty well in the blend, while orange and chocolate are rather subtle. Pepper doesn't come through much at all. This leans much more toward roasted malt and bourbon than BBXII, despite being more or less the same recipe.

The palate, much like the aroma, is pretty damn charred, bordering on burnt. Dark chocolate, sweet whiskey and faint orange zest follow the dark malt. I'd never have guessed there were peppers in here if I hadn't read it on the label, it's quite subtle. The body isn't overly big, but it's a rather intense beer due to the heavily charred malt flavor. Finishes pretty bitter and tannic, narrowly avoiding tasting harsh.

Pretty decent, but not nearly as good as the initial 2 Black Butte anniversary beers, and very different from last year's despite containing the same ingredients more or less.

 1,070 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large layer of tan khaki head. Pretty good retention leaving some lace rings. Color is a deep brown black.

Aroma: A ton of roast. Coffee and chocolate. A lot of malts. Some caramel. The orange shows. No oak or bourbon which really let me down. (as it warms, a touch of the barrels show).

Taste: Vanilla and some bourbon show nicely here. Some oak. A bit of booze. Roasted malts and chocolate. The orange is very subtle. Creamy. Caramel and coffee. Nice flavors.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a touch warming. Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends very dry and very roasted.

Overall, at first this beer was over roasted and as it warmed the bourbon showed more which was really nice. I liked the flavor, but the aftertaste wasn't enjoyable. A decent beer in the series.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
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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Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can't wait to try this one, loved all the big beers from Deschutes so far, and the other Black Butte beers have been no change. This is their 23rd birthday beer so how better suited than to crack this on my 29th birthday. Thanks to two great traders for a crack at this, erric and aedeos, both from Reddit beertrade.

Pours a lighter fizzy head that just covers the pitch black beer underneath, a slightly darker colored head that fades semi quickly and leaves a slight lacing to remind me that it was there. The super dark beer underneath is fairly thick with decent legs, and and head disappears to minor bubbles floating on the top as typical with big boozy beers, but still not quite a thick as a beer as big as, oh, let's say Abyss.

Nose comes on just like Abyss but maybe tamed a bit. An awesomely wafting aroma lifts into my nostrils, teasing them with some bourbon but not overpowering bourbon, enough to let you know there was a barrel under there. The barrel oak and vanilla really strike hard, a dark oaky vanilla rounds everything to a nice dessert like pudding. The barrel doesn't get dusty or woody either, more like vanilla oak. Then chocolate, layers of chocolate bring baker's, a little bit of dark, cocoa nibs, and even a chocolate mouse like aroma. It's apparent that there is roast in there, but not burnt roast, just a touch enough to bring a hint of coffee and that aroma that wants to get to soy sauce like levels of roast but held on a leash and doesn't get there. Also a bit of caramel, and a bit of earthy slight spicy hops.

Taste is about as great as a big porter can be. Starting this time with the malts! Some roast but not a ton, a bit of a roasted malt, with some coffee, and syrupy dark roasty flavors again wants to pretend to be soy sauce level of roast and bitter briny flavors, but again just teeters on the edge and never goes over. Chocolate comes on with more waves, starting with a chalky cocoa powder, moving the opposite direction to a creamy baker's chocolate and mousse like, then even a hint of dark chocolate. Next again with vanilla, a nice oaky smoothness with a vanilla character, not quite vanilla bean, but enough from the oak. This also brings a light barrel but barely as it's mostly overpowered by the big bold heavy beer. Caramel comes through a bit as it warms behind all the big flavors, as well as a bit of bourbon but again not a big bourbony flavor, almost as if this barrel was used for Abyss before it was used for this (rhyming yay!). Booze finally finds its way in, bringing plenty of warmth and some tingle feeling, but even a slight alcohol flavor on the finish. It gets slightly syrupy but not too sweet which is why I think it doesn't get soy sauce heavy. bitterness is there throughout but brings some earthy and hint spicy hops. As it finishes the booze takes over at first, but then fades to the chocolate, a powdered cocoa flavor, with a bit more bourbon and vanilla oak, and a bit of roast.

Mouth is full bodied, rich, creamy, and luscious, slightly syrupy, good carbonation considering the size of the beer, and quite a bit of booze.

Overall just friggen delicious. The bourbon is more of a background flavor, the barrel brings quite a bit of vanilla but doesn't overpower either. The malts really take over, with waves of chocolate, some roast, caramel, etc, and gets slightly syrupy but not overly as the sweetness is quelled, but the booze kicks in a bit too much and kills any thought of drinkability that sprung up after the lack of sweetness or soy sauce. but still an awesome Birthday beer!

 3,576 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Kegatron
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Deschutes Brewery & Public House (Bend, OR) on 9/1/11. Served in a balloon goblet.

Pours a straight black in the glass, topped with a finger of mocha head (which has some light burnt looking textures going on with it as well). This retains with a smooth and robust looking ½ finger of richness, which throws up a frothy cascade of lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass and leaves back some spotty lace and light brown oils. The aroma smells of bourbon, cocoa, oak, green citrus, vanilla, warm spice, and I’m definitely getting some of that as advertised orange zest as well. There is quite a robust fullness here to the nose, with flavors nicely melding with each other and the wood oak and citrus flavors adding an airiness to this that helps waft the flavors up the nostrils.

The taste is thick with chocolate, molasses, and vanilla sweetness, with the burnt and woody sharpness of the bourbon hanging on the edges. There is a flush of dark roast across the back of the profile, while the finish sees notes of zesty orange peel and some light lingering warmth from the chilies. The mouthfeel is full bodied and SHARP in the mouth, with a firm prickly creaminess that blows up and expands out in the mouth. The high ABV is nicely hid for the most part but it plus the warmth from the bourbon flavors does start to catch up with you after a bit.

Another Deschutes anniversary down, another well done anniversary reserve here that delivers. My only complaints with this were that the taste wasn’t as smooth and well integrated as the nose was and the body could have used a bit more chewiness to it. Other than that though, I really liked how the addition of the orange and chili flavors nicely supported the thick sweetness here and this was overall quite the robust and full flavored sipper. This was some really tasty stuff.

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
4.2 out of 5 based on 787 ratings.
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