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: 785
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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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a very generous Colts9016

Dark, root beer brown black color with a large cascading head that sticks like glue. Foamy glue. Served at alcove by the stairs temp.

Smells like bourbon. Vanilla, cocoa and roast malt too but the bourbon really stands out and that's just fine by me.

Bourbon is again a main feature. Vanilla, cocoa and Gran Marnier highlights sticking through roast malt. Not exactly hot but really warm and giddy.

I would trade all the expired DFH, Green Flash, Unibroue and many other beers that rot on the shelves here to get Deschutes distribution in MA.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a super dark brown, pretty much black color with a medium sized khaki head that recedes to leave some super solid, sticky lacing.

Aromas begin with intense porter roasted maltiness. Dark chocolate to the extreme with emerging burnt caramel, espresso and cocoa powder. As it warms I get a little of the advertised orange peel but if I wasn't looking for it I would have missed it.

The tastes follow the nose with assertive dark chocolate, roasted espresso beans and cocoa powder. As it warms I get some caramelized maltiness and some oakiness which I wasn't getting in the nose. The orange which was minimal in the aroma is not exisitent here with the dark roasted malt flavors overpowering everything else. Pretty much straight up what an Imperial Porter should taste like.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is dry, roasty and lightly bitter, but not too much so.

Overall I say this may be sadly passed its prime if you are looking for the orange flavor to really pop. As a straight up Imperial porter, right now, it is amazingly solid and rivals any beer in this class but I was dissapointed that the orange flavor has all but vanished. I would recommend anyone who still has any of these to drink in the very near future.

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Photo of Dope
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle states "best after 6/15/12".

A: Pours an almost pitch black with a big dense medium brown head. Fades slowly with excellent head retention. Nice semi-solid walls of lacing everywhere.

S: Dark, bitter chocolate and lots of it. Citrusy. Touch of oaky vanilla and toffee. Hint of brown sugar.

T: Lots of bitter chocolate and oranges mixed together. Mildly oaky but get stronger towards the middle and into the finish. A little brown sugar mixes with some char in the middle but chocolate still dominates. Oaky in the finish with some spiciness that I can't quite place, almost adds some heat - like cinnamon maybe? Bitter, chalky baker's chocolate everywhere. Finally, some smoke, almost meaty, and bit of char in the lingering aftertaste.

M: Fairly heavy but smooth. Mildly chalky and drying in the aftertaste.

O: Certainly a very complex and big porter. Doesn't have as much contribution from the barrels as I would like, but it definitely adds some small notes of oak and bourbon in there regardless. Lots of bitter chocolate in this one with a fairly strong smokiness in the finish to boot. Pretty much has everything!

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
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 Murrhey
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at Hollingshead's Deli in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger width tan head. Sticky lacing, dark brown color.

S- Wine and dark fruits. Very earthy and dark smell. Roast and burnt smells with wine-y sort of booziness.

T- Earthy tones with grapes and dark fruits. Boozy and fruity.

M- Smooth and very dry.

O- Very well aged, tasty beer with booze and bitterness.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deschutes Black Butte XXIII is a delicious barrel-aged porter. The sweet malty notes and subtle dried fruit flavours are complemented, rather than overpowered by, the bourbon barrel flavours. Yummm!

A: Black colour and a 5 mm head that lasts pretty well. 4

S: Roasty, smokey malt with some subtle and pleasant bourbon aroma. Some chocolate in the finish. 5

T: Malty and reasonably sweet with hints of dried fruit. The bourbon flavours come through in the middle and are pleasant and not overpowering. There are some weak flavours of yeast autolysis. The finish is clean and woody. 4.5

M: Foamy and thick. 4.5

O: 4.5

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Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks for sharing Chris!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Some tan froth.

(S)- A nice dry oaky cinnamon-like raisin with some coca, and orange peel.

(T)- Slightly chalky, but with good raisin and cocoa with that subtle orange peel in the background. Decent oaky vanilla component at the finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A nice balance too. Not too rich or sweet, but a nice equal combination of both.

(O)- Another good entry in the Black Butte line. A good balance of flavors without being too intense.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Just cracked this bottle with a couple friends for a mid-week treat. Pours a deep dark brown with light edges. This isn't as dark as expected. A thin sheet of lace rests on top. The aroma is warming with mild bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate. The nose is the best part of this beer I think.

The body is too carbonated. I would think that some time spent in barrels, albeit just 1/4 of this beer, would have mellowed this out. On top of that the time since bottling should have smoothed it out, but is bubbly, bordering on harsh. Some of the "bigger" beers I've had recently have had this unpleasant characteristic, unfortunately. The flavor isn't as enjoyable as the XX or XXI. I realize the ingredients are different, but this one is my least favorite. Mild cocoa, light zesty tartness on the back end. Bourbon character is absent. There's some sweetness here, but it's fleeting.

I appreciate their ingenuity, but this one fell short for me. Stick to coffee, vanilla, cocoa, and bourbon - that combo was a sure winner in my book.

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Photo of brotherloco
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber stored in the cellar for a year. Best after 6/15/12. Served in a tulip.

Pours super dark brown, almost black. A vigorous pour forms over a finger of tan foam. Settles to a small ring. Moderate amounts of lacing left in glass.

Aroma has a surprising amount of floral hops along with a solid chocolate presence, some roasted coffee, tingly spices. Chocolate is dry, dusty, and dark.

Flavor is mildly sweet and spicy. Chili's don't seem to have faded. Chocolate and roasted coffee malt form a solid foundation for bright floral hop flavors. Just a touch of orange citrus, but not as strong as the chili spice. Finish gets a touch chalky and metallic, which I don't like, but it's subtle. Not getting much barrel presence, except perhaps some oaky dryness that contributes to the finish. I can't say I taste the alcohol either, but it might also be contributing to the odd finish.

Fairly full bodied with a medium level of carbonation. A little thick, but that's expected.

Pretty much 4's across the board.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by caSSino during BRoss242’s send-off party before he moves! Will miss you man! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured dark brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, sweet alcohol, wood, and vanilla. The flavor was of sweet malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, and wood. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. There was a really nice balance going on here with this one that really kept my palate happy throughout the glass. The notes of vanilla and dark chocolate mixed together in this one was definitely the highlight for me in both the aroma and flavor. If you have not gotten the chance to try this one before, you definitely need to do so.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice beer. Thicker coffee and malt tones than I would have expected. The liquid body on this one is not really all that thick. It's kind of hard for me not to compare this beer to other Black Buttes I have had. When doing that it seems to fall short. It's a nice beer, but I was hoping for a bit more body, character, and intensity.Still quite nice though.

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Photo of Treebs
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz waxed bottle served in a FW tulip. Best after date of 6/15/12.

A: Pours a dark black color with a nice and thick, light tan head forming on the pour. Solid retention for the head and it leaves some splotchy lace on the way down as it recededs to a thick ring.

S: Nice dark fruit flavors mixes with some sweet chocolate and mild oak. There is a restrained boozy back that plays nicely with the other flavors in the nose.

T: Oaky with some smooth booze. Dark chocolate bitterness, milk chocolate sweetness and some light orange pith. Chocolate covered raisin add another layer of sweetness with a roasted malt finish.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level, smooth and creamy with a sweet finish.

O: I enjoyed the base beer considerably less than this, but with the addition of the mild citrus and barrel aging it was really elevated. Would like to try again.

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Photo of mfavoino
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Side by side with Black Butte.

Appearance: Rich dark brown with an off white head that retained fairly well.

Smell: A bit of chocolate with some roasty malts. Orange is noticeable too.

Taste: Roasted chocolate malts mix together with a natural orange flavor. Barrel isn't super prominent, but I did get some wood flavor that added more depth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slick and easy to drink.

Overall: Very distinct from the normal Black Butte with lots more flavor.

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Photo of mltobin
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with a few friends. It pours a dark brown color with one finger of a tan head. The nose contains toffee, chocolate and dark fruit. Sipping on this offering from Deschutes and I taste roasted malts, coffee, more chocoalte, mmm, this is a tasty beer. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, a good amount of alcohol in the finish. But all in all this a very nice beer to take your time with and enjoy its` different characteristics.

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Photo of tewaris
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Happy Gnome.

Looks dark but not remarkable. Might also have to do with shitty glassware at one of the town's best beer bars. Something is wrong in the aroma and I suspect it has nothing to do with the beer... I have had this odd note (bandaid? cleaning supplies? medicinal?) from beers at the Gnome before. Once you get past that, sweet chocolate comes next.

Slightly sweet taste, very chocolaty, perhaps some pepper at the back, some tartness, general richness. Not bad at all.

Good mouthfeel although the carbonation could be lower (and serving temperature higher!).

I need to visit this again.

3.5, 3, 4, 4, 4

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Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice anniversary brew that opened up and revealed considerably more depth as it sat and warmed. Black body, a few fingers of tan head that settle slowly; decent lacing.

Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, faint orange, anise, boozy Bourbon and a hint of vanilla.

Complex and layered flavors emerge: roasty, almost charred malt and burnt sugar; subtle orange; bittersweet chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. Lesser notes of anise and espresso; moderate sweetness, drying finish.

Medium-full bodied, medium carbonation that was just ever so slight fizzier than I’d have liked. I guess with a little more fullness of body this would really be an imperial stout. Still, a pretty decent mouthfeel.

As I said before, I liked this one quite a bit and it really developed in the glass.

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Photo of Duff27
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a short head that stays around forever! Splotchy lacing. Looks great.

Smelling a lot of roasty chocolate.

Ahhhh yeah! Detecting the oranges, very similar to citrus hops but without the bitterness. The pepper aspect may be perfect for a beer of this makeup. Wow.

Medium-full mouthfeel, good carbonation.

I know the the BA ratings on the XX, XXI, and XXIII but after having all of them in one sitting this one may be my favorite. Omnom. Lucky for anyone who stocked up on this one. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some good lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, cocoa, orange, some coffee, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, molasses, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some molasses and orange flavor. Through the middle, the cocoa comes through with some vanilla, oak, and Bourbon, with a bit of coffee and dark fruit. The finish is a mix of cocoa, dark fruit, molasses, orange, vanilla, oak, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice Imperial Porter with a good balance of flavors and a nice touch with the orange flavor.

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Photo of billab914
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured black in color with a frothy tan head barely covering the top. Nice retention and lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has some really interesting flavors to it. I get a mix of orange chocolate and bitter sweet baking chocolate. I'm getting a bit of a hot pepper spice to it that I'm really liking. The barrel flavors are pretty light, but noticeable.

In the taste, the cocoa nibs are the most prominent flavor. They give it a milk chocolaty flavor at first, but quickly turn into more of a bitter-sweet baking chocolate towards the finish. The orange citrus is noticeable as well and really mixes with the chocolate well. There is a little bit of a like spice in the finish as well that I'm really liking. I get a little more of the barrel aging as it warms, it's not as bold as I'd like but it's very complimenting none the less.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being moderate for the style. Overall, it was a really good beer. I loved that it had a bit of a uniqueness with the orange and pepper spice to it. I'd love a little more barrel flavor to it though. It had a lot of additions and competing flavors, but they came together very well. Very enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of arizcards
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up 2 bombers from the Arrowhead Total Wine in early July 2011 for $11.99 each. Best after 6-15-12.

Beer poured dark brown with a decent tan head on the initial pour that disapated quickly.

Nose initially was molasses. Cocoa and light bourbon appear later.

Taste is cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, chilies, and citrus bitterness are crafted in nicely. Alcohol warming with the initial sip.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, satisfying, and pretty smooth.

Overall a well crafted beer, definitely nice to experience!

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Photo of alexgash
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle. Best after 6/15/12.

Dark mahogany. Garnet edges. Two fingers of whipped, thick, light khaki head. Great lacing. Licorice, cocoa nibs, vanilla, oak, milk chocolate, a little bourbon, and roasted coffee.

Coffee bitterness up front. Dark chocolate. Quickly becomes sweeter, with milk chocolate, candied dark fruits, scorched sugar, and molasses. Notes of vanilla, oak, and a little bourbon toward the finish. Sweet, but not cloying finish with lingering coffee/roasted barley bitterness. Full-bodied, thick chewy feel. Delicious dessert beer and a sweet sipper.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass for some reason. Big thanks to SteveFinny for this.

4.0 A: Black color. Two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is pretty good given the ABV and a moderate amount of lacing is left.

5.0 S: This smells a fuck ton like molasses. Lots of caramel as well. After those come the cocoa nibs with the orange being surprisingly strong. Thick, richly malty with a good bit of roast. Just a touch of leathery bourbon, but the oak itself is probably stronger. The nose on this is absolutely huge, complex, and enticing.

4.5 T: Huge amounts of molasses, caramel, and chocolate. Strong roast, lot's of malty sweetness, a touch of astringency from the barrels I suppose. The orange fits in better than I would have guessed, but I probably would be happier without it. The bourbon is light, but present and offers an earthy leather.

4.0 M: Heavier body. Good moderate carbonation. Creamy, but could be a bit more so.

4.5 D: Excellent beer that I'm happy to have tried.

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Photo of Pahn
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Split 3 ways. Huge thanks to BA csano for including this beer as an extra in a recent trade!

Appearance: Free pour yields a small, offwhite head. Pours black / dark brown. Occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: As soon as I put the glass to my nose, I got very excited. Serious toffee aroma, with grains, American oak, and some orange highlights. Not ultimately very complex, but outrageously good.

Taste: Same as the smell, but deeper and better. Goes on a long time, starting with tons of toffee and pale malt up front, vanilla oak in the middle, with some roasted malt coming out in the finish. Smooth, delicious barrel aged porter.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Smooth, though occasionally has a slight wateriness (doesn't bother me).

Overall: I love this beer. I could drink this kind of thing every day. These rich toffee and pale malt notes match perfectly with the oak barrel influence. A real homerun of a beer.

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

Black and a frothy brown head with great retention. Roasted malts, cocoa, and herbal aromas. Balanced molasses, sweet chocolate and pepper finish with citrus notes and herbal linger. Strong alcohol warming. Smooth, silky feel.

Best after:6/15/12 opened 6/16/12
Well, I waited a whole day after. It could probably use some more time because it is a little hot but it doesn’t distract too much but it is a little overwhelming. It’s really a great beer that could definitely age for a while.
It certainly makes me wonder if the tap I had was a year old, I swear it said XIII...

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
4.2 out of 5 based on 785 ratings.
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