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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 319 | Ratings: 785
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 rfbenavi80
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with 2 friends. Poured into a mini snifter.
Bottle Best after 6-15-12.

A- Pours what looks like pitch black in the glass with only small amounts of light brown highlights at the edges of the glass, with a small amount of deep mocha colored head that quickly goes away.

S- A very aromatic beer with hints of bourbon barrel, lot's of sweet chocolate, light roasted coffee, and dark fruits.

T- Rich, chocolaty bourbon. A small amount of smokiness. Very small "kick" from the chilies. Quite tasty.

M- Smooth easy drinker. Not overly heavy. Very little carbonation.

O- Happy Birthday Deschutes. Keep these good ones coming!

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Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a deep brown with red that gets through when held up to the light and half a finger of smooth creamy light tan head that doesn't last long.

Smell. Woody bourbon, sweet chocolate syrup and roasty malts, some hot peppers and just a little bit of tropical and citrus fruit juices.

Taste. Coaco powder, sweet bourbon, medium roasted malts, a little bit of orange rinds, fresh wood and booze with some bitterness from both hops and well roasted malts.

Mouthfeel. Full body, a bit sticky, lower carbonation.

Overall. I like this but it could probably use another year or two to mellow the booze a bit further. Very rich and a sipper for sure.

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Photo of draheim
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
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 wordemupg
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 15/6/12 bottle sent by the most generous Rutager cheers dude

A nearly jet black with a cola edge that went deeper then I expected, streams of tiny bubbles going up the side feed a dense finger of light brown foam that falls to a thick film and leaves several rings of lace

S Terry's chocolate orange comes too mind right away, mild smokey bourbon but I'd guess more then a 1/4 was BB aged , Nesquick chocolate syrup and woody vanilla mix up with black strap molasses, smells great with just some boozy heat preventing perfection

T bakers chocolate covered candied cherry on top of what I smell, a little char and burnt nuts, rich and tasty with again just booze preventing perfection

M thick...., a little syrupy and sticky with a very long strong aftertaste, soft carbonation seems too get the flavors to come out more and even waiting half an hour into the best after date the heat's still there

O a weird complexity works very well for this one, interesting orange chocolate and bourbon barrel notes are kicking ass with the rich thick brew

I waited half an hour into the best after date before I realized this was brewed in a different time zone, I'm upset I may have opened this half an hour before it was due. I somehow doubt it would've been mattered, great beer that kicked my ass and I let it, thanks again Rutager for the bottle

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Photo of natemort13
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet, nearly opaque, with a foamy tan head.

Nose is sweet milk chocolate, sweet bourbon, slight coffee.

Taste is caramel, with a nice long bourbon finish. The orange balances out any bourbon heat, but really the bourbon is well integrated. Yeah for only 25% bourbon barrels! More milk chocolate.

Mouthfeel is tingly from the alcohol, medium bodied with some oilyness.

Overall this is a very pleasant beer, on the milder side for a ba porter, but i likes it.

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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 AgentMunky
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass the Rose & Crown in Palo Alto. From notes. Reviewed 26(?) April 2012.

A: Black. Great head, mocha-colored, fades fast. Opaque.

S: Huge, bright fruit. Raspberries and sticky chocolate-covered cherries.

T/M: Delicious! Loads of fruit, yes, but deep-robust malt dominates. Flat and smooth, but it works. Coffee/roasted malt bitterness on the end and aftertaste.

O: A great beer that merits the highest accolades. Unusually full of blueberries. Highly recommended.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one. Mildly let down by the base Black Butte each time I tried it, here goes to see if a specialty works better for me.

The pour is dark black, sticky, not much carbonation or head. Cleaves to the glass.

Aromatically, man, this is a goulash of a beer. Orange. Dark Chocolate. Smoke. Bourbon. Nuts. Roast. Pretty much everything short of cat's ass. But it all comes together quite nicely to create an odd, citrus-led symphony.

Taste, reminds me of those weird Droste chocolate oranges I had in Europe when I was a kid. Upon further review I decided those things weren't very good. Not the case with Black Butte. Fruit beer, meet porter. Quite good.

Mouthfeel was nice and thick, and nearly uncarbonated, but also a little bit chalky.

Final verdict, damn good beer, one of the better and more daring porters I've ever had.

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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 Retail1LO
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a waxed bomber into a Founders CBS snifter. Pours jet black with a generous head of 3 fingers +, with a pour from 4-6" above the bottom of the snifter. Nose is soy heavy, with hints of cocoa and vanilla. The taste, especially as it warms, still has a decent soy presence, but the cocoa is definitely prominent, long with booze. I can't find the oranges anywhere. Disappointing, seeing as how I love those chocolate oranges. The mouthfeel is awesome for a porter. I do not like overly carbonated porters. This is smooth as silk. Reminiscent more of a stout than a porter with some decent heat. The oranges make their first presence known, but it's subtle. Overall, this is good beer. Would have again.

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Photo of warnerry
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip

A - Pours nearly pitch black with almost two fingers of light brown head. Head has very good retention buut doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

S - A surprising amount of citrus and some bourbon. Bourbon smell is a bit too much of the hot alcohol variety, and not as much of the deep vanilla and oak, although those elements are present as well. Also quite a bit of cocoa, roasted malts, and a touch of milk chocolate.

T - Lots of chocolate initially, mostly bittersweet but with a bit of milk chocolate as well, with cocoa, roasted malt, and bourbon notes that contain a big barrel presence, quite oaky. Orange seems to be a subtle component all the way through the taste. Very nice.

M - Medium mouthfeel, not overly heavy. Pretty smooth if not exactly creamy, with a drying effect from the cocoa, roasted malt and oak. Oak taste lingers for awhile.

O - Very enjoyable. Maybe a touch too much oak, but overall nice flavor combination. Look forward to trying this one again down the road.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with a big 2 finger frothy tan foam that is just sitting on top crossing its arms and refusing to budge. There are signs of a to be glassful of sticky lacing. You first pick up the bourbon right before the cocoa creeps in and sweetens the deal. I can faintly pick up some of the orange and it all mixes together nicely. The flavor is nice, the chocolate and bourbon fight for dominance with an overall sweetness that could become a bit too much by the end. There seems to be a bit of a chalkiness to it and the bitterness from the chocolate i'm guessing detracts a bit from the overall impression. There is also a bit of an overroasted characteristic to it in my opinion.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got bottles of this in trades with chewy08rx and DaveHS a while back. Cheers gents. This particular bottle comes from Doopie's Garage of Happiness. Drunk it right before the XX.

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, fluffy, tan head with decent retention. Slightly crackly, noisy head as well. Transparent sienna brown body, almost black, with higher levels of carbonation. Head slowly fades to a wisp and clings to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp remains and leaves splotches of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Smells wonderful. Dark malts and chocolate notes on the nose, combining with some wonderful bourbon barrel notes. Vanilla and oak work well. Bold and very well balanced, with the barrel complementing the base beer nicely.

TASTE: Same story here. Dark malts and lots of nice chocolate flavors up front. Bourbon barrel with vanilla and oak, then some definite alcohol and orange notes show up at the swallow. Very interesting indeed. Bold aftertaste of dark malts, bourbon, chocolate and a touch of orange citrus linger on the palate. Some alcohol hangs around as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: This was a really enjoyable brew. The feel could have been a little bigger and the carbonation a little more restrained, but other than that, this was a top notch offering from a top notch brewery. Give it a go if you see it. Thanks again for the trades on this one gents, and cheers Doops for sharing. Recommended.

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

Bought a 22oz bottle of this from Texas Liquor in Carlsbad, CA for $15.99. Poured from the Black Waxed top & Grey/Black labeled bottle into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Has BEST AFTER: 6/15/12 on the side of the bottle.

Aroma- Huge fruit and especially orange aroma hits the nose hard. Strong and malt dominant like it should be. A nice roast and burnt malt aroma finishes this one off. VERY complexed!

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger, dark brown head that has average retention for the style. Has a deep brown colored body with quite a bit of depth (and opaque of course). Leaves light suds behind.

Flavor- Tons of bourbon and deep sweetness comes across as the main flavors. Fruit is only in the background and tough to find. Very complexed in here as well and finishes with a medium bitterness level.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Light Carbonation, Creamy, and has a perfect boozy finish. Not too much alcohol but more complexed with orange and bourbon included.

Overall Impression- I'm glad I waited almost half a year to enjoy this one! It definitely has became more complexed in the bottle. If there are bottles still around St. Louis, I'm going to be seeking to purchase more of this! Enjoy!

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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 stxSS07
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into a snifter

A- Pours a medium brown, but looks nearly black in the glass. Leaves excellent lacing and sticky alcohol legs. Great looking porter.

S- First whiffs are of dark baking chocolate, oaky barrel tannins, some bourbon in there as well, but not very smooth. A nice follow through of vanilla. Pick up a sort of weird earthy/citrus aroma as well...reluctant to call it off-putting.

T- Sweetness combined with roasted/barrel notes. A bit of vanilla, sweet sugary malt, slight taste of bourbon (mostly booze) and oak followed by a distinct orange flavor. I can also pick up some of those earthy pepper notes on the tail end of the finish along with some nice roasted flavors of chocolate and coffee. Heat from the peppers starts to creep up after a few sips.

M- Medium bodied with ample carbonation that allows the flavors to linger. I'd honestly like to see this a bit fuller bodied, but it's not bad by any means.

O- This is a strange beer for me. It has some really nice flavors along with some weird ones that don't really integrate all that well. I think that the orange and pepper additions muddle up what could be another absolutely fantastic anniversary brew from Deschutes. They come together in a way that just isn't all that appealing to my palate. Lose the fruit/peppers this year Deschutes!

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

22oz waxed and capped bottle at fridge temp poured into a darkness snifter. best after 6/15/12.

pours out pretty much opaque black, the slightest bit of rubiness noticable when held up to the light. a little less than one fingers worth of tight tan colored head. average retention, faded to a ring within a few minutes. only slight lacing from a swirl of the glass and a bit of legs as well.

a nice somewhat light bourbony alcohol first noticable on the nose. the more it warms a nice smokey chile pepper aroma comes out and just a hint of citrus. behind all that is a base sweet toasted, roasted slight chocolately, caramely malt. the aroma does seem a bit subdued compared to when i had this fresh when it was just released.

a very nice taste, all the flavors are in balance with one another. lots of sweet toasted malt, caramel, and a little deep roasted malt, definatly reminiscent of the regular black butte only doubled. a bit of smoke, vanilla, a bit of oaky bourbon. a little chile pepper, with just the slightest bit of spice. more spice comes out as it warms. also a nice dark chocolate flavor.

sticky feel, medium to heavy in body. lightly carbonated.

a very nice, complex beer. i notice something different on each sip, yet all the flavors mingle together so nicely. will be interesting to see what further aging will do.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours out a coal black body with just the slightest hint of crimson at it's edges with two fingers of dense,light mocha foam that left sticky rings of lacing.

S-Vanilla and baked sugar,reminiscent of creme brulee,initially with caramel,bittersweet chocolate,quality,strong coffee with cream and a touch of citrus.

T-Slightly sweetened chocolate,vanilla,toast,bitter coffee,bourbon,burnt sugar and charred malts.

M-Slightly unbalanced but only slightly.Good roastiness with a medium/full body that showed moderate bitterness and a nice barrel influence.

O-Very nice.Couldn't be happier to have Deschutes in Missouri.

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

660ml bottle 10,8% ABV.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
Best After 06/15/2012

I have been sitting on this beer since August 2011, waiting for the best after date to arrive, however after tasting BBXX last week and being thoroughly impressed, I couldn't wait any longer and decided to crack it open.

Appearance: Black Butte XXIII looks pitch black in the glass, however a strong back light reveals it to in fact be an ultra deep shade of ruby. A rough pour yields a large, slow forming, creamy, tan coloured head that displays pretty good retention for the ABV. and leaves some beautiful lace as it recedes.

Smell: The first sniff had a surprisingly large citrus character and was almost reminiscent of a black IPA! I would assume that these citric notes result from the combination of the orange peel and whatever hops are remaining after a year in the bottle. Further inspection of the nose yields more typical imperial porter notes with sweet chocolate, cocoa, toasted marshmallow, condensed milk laced chocolate sauce, dark toffee, light vanilla and hints of bourbon. Warming yields a light alcohol presence as well as notes of dark fruit (liqueur cherries stand out) and light molasses.

Taste: The initial flavour consists of sweet chocolate, light cocoa, lightly roasted malt, dark toffee and a touch oak; this fades into a citrus character and a light, but distinct coffee note. Warming yields sweeter notes with light dark fruits, more toffee, condensed milk laced chocolate sauce, vanilla and a touch of molasses. The finish is lingering with a hint of coffee and moderate bitterness. The Pasilla Negra chillies are periodically noted through a light warmth and tingling sensation in the mouth, however if I had not known there were chillies in the beer, I may have simply attributed this to the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full (or just under) bodied, with a medium level of smooth carbonation. The carbonation was initially a little high for my taste, however it mellowed out perfectly and the second half of the glass seemed almost perfect!

Overall: While I really enjoyed Black Butte XXXIII it just doesn't seem to be in the same league as XX. I may have to get another bottle or two and see how they are at the three and four year old marks!

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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 VncentLIFE
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks greid!

Nice dark brown with mahogany hues. Caramel frothy head.

Big notes of chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Strong oak presence as well. More dark chocolate comes through. Bit of roasted malt in there as well.

Definitely a robust porter buried in there. Strong roasted malt presence backed by powdered chocolate. Tastes slightly dry. The oak comes through alot more than other bourbon flavors. Its a woody flavor that pervades the other flavors.

Dry robust porter flavors linger as well as a subtle sweetness from the chocolate.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Streets of London on J in Sacramento, as part of their Dechutes night.

Appearance - Pours a dark, near black cola brown. The head settles to a thin, sticky lace.

Smell - Faint bitter chocolate aromas, and that's about all I'm picking up.

Taste - Tastes like it's namesake, only all intricate notes and layers have been muted in favor of a dominant alcohol profile.

Mouthfeel - Good body. Solid carbonation. Fairly creamy.

Overall - Bigger is not always better, and that's certainly the case with Black Butte XXIII. It's not bad, but I'd much rather be drinking a regular Black Butte right now. The alcohol in this just runs everything else over.

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Photo of birchstick
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours black in color with a decent head that settles to form a nice rim around the top of the beer

S - nose is sweet vanilla, chocolaty, bourbon with a hint of citrus orange

T - starts off with the chocolate flavors that move into a really nice vanilla flavor, which gets washed aside by some bitter bakers chocolate and cocoa nibs. Hanging over the mid to end of the palate is a subtle hint of orange zest, which delivers how the bottle said it would. Ends with a touch of spicy bourbon on the finish. Nice!

M - creamy and full mouth, good stuff

D - I really enjoyed this beer a lot. My first time having one of the Black Butte anniversary series and makes me very curious about the others out there. I wish I had another bottle - recommended!

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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!

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