Black Butte XXIII | Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte XXIIIBlack Butte XXIII
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 787 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inviting shade of midnight, with a big roasty aroma. Very pronounced. I get all sorts of dark roast coffee and dark cacao on the taste, but also a bit of an alcoholic booze bite that’s noticeable but not unwanted. There’s no way I could finish one of these on my own and follow it up with another beer—how did I do that in the past. Glad I could share this one, thanks guys.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
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 mtstatebeer
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

20 oz bottle. Pours a completely opaque, dark brown color with a creamy light brown head, good lacing. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, and orange. Flavor is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, orange, lots of spiciness, wood, pepper, and a nice touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is full, warming, bitter, dry, and long lasting. Rock solid beer.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this thru a trade with youradhere. Cheers dude!

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown color with a thick off-white head that leaves good lacing.

S- The bourbon is noticeable in the nose although not dominating. Some nice roasted malt aromas and the oranges shine through better than I was expecting.

T- Big rush of alcohol initially with a very roasted charred malt finish. Deep dark chocolate and smoke with a light bourbon flavor. The oranges provide a touch of tang and citrus as it warms.

M- Full bodied with good carbonation. Smooth and roasted with a round feel.

O- A very nice Imperial Porter. Interesting blend of ingredients but everything seemed well balanced.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Bottle says best after 6/15/12 but I couldn't wait.

Appearance: rich brown hue which is almost black when the glass is full. Head is two fingers of creamy, frothy tan foam. Nice.

Smell: extremely rich and complex aroma. First off I am hit by chocolate and oak, then the coffee and orange come in. Somewhere in the middle is a vegetal hop contribution which seems to actually work a little bit here. Going back, it's got some of the yeasty complexity of a dubbel; this is one satisfyingly complex brew.

Taste: chocolate, oak and alcohol right off the bat. This subsides into a more fruity finish, much like a quadrupel. There's a hint of tartness up front and a hint of bitterness in the back, where the roasted malt and coffee flavors come back into play. A delightfully dynamic and complexly sophisticated beer. Great stuff.

Mouthfeel: big body with a silky creaminess which is probably among the best mouthfeels I've ever experienced from a porter. This beer doesn't know when to quit being good.

Overall: this is a truly magnificent beer. I'm glad I was able to get a hold of a bottle of this.

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Photo of messyhair42
4.02/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into two pint glasses to provide adequate head space. A very dark red beer with one and a half fingers of tan head that lasts a while before disappearing.

S: Dark toasted malts with a little orange coming through, also smells very boozy

T: Burnt coffee and orange oil

M: very good body, leaves a tingling sensation like orange oil straight from the rind

O: a good beer, not great, maybe a bit too ambitious for a porter

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Photo of fatmcb1
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours pitch black. When held to light it has dark brown edges. Beige head ring with a very light layer that dissipates.

Chocolate and roasted malt are most apparent. Bourbon and oak are also noticeable.

Lots of chocolate, caramel. Orange citrus and brown sugar creep in. There is some vanilla and whiskey on the finish, but not as prevalent as in the nose.

Nice thick, creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

The orange is a great touch on this beer, which makes it a bit unique. Another good beer from Deschutes.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pretty much a solid black with nice tan head that stays as a ring for quite awhile.

The smell is very nice but a little different. While I assume it's the chili coming through if I didn't know it was in there I wouldn't be sure what I was picking up. Lots of chocolate and a slight oak.

The taste is a roasted note on the front with just a tad of chili. The big flavors come into play on the back with loads of chocolate, a slight chili bite, and a little boozy oak.

The mouth feel on this one is spot on being med to heavy.

An enjoyable beer for sure but I am not all sure I would go out of my way to get it again. I feel the chili and orange didn't add enough to justify but then again the bottle now has some age on it. If you get the chance try it for sure.

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Photo of litheum94
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Best after 6/15/12. I couldn't wait that long.

Huge and dense brown head. Thick, like sea foam. Dark black body that lets no light escape.

Tons of chili on the nose, combines with sweet chocolate, vanilla and dark fruits. Some candied oranges. Smokey bourbon aromas.

Rich and thick dark chocolate with orange zest mixed in. Slowly building pepper flavors, building to a good amount of spice that makes the tongue tingle a bit. Bombastic bourbon flavors, smokey and burning. The alcohol burn subsides as it warms, revealing a roasty finish.

I like the chili; it works perfectly with all the other components. A great beer that will probably only get better with time.

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Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Aces & Ales.

A-Pours a deep dark brownwith a thin mocha head and great lacing.

S- Lots of oak,a bit charred, rather boozy.

T- Oaky and boozy but in a good way.Nice roast character.

M Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation.

O Another good one in the series.Awesome to get to try one on draft.


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Photo of bum732
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to cduckett16 for this.

S: Roasted wood with some bourbon and light citrus notes, some liquorice.

L: Light tan head, creamy that dissipates to a ring of foam. Solid lacing.

T: Some bourbon up front with some chocolate sweetness. Medium bitterness with additional bourbon and chocolate sweetness. Quite a bit of head, both from alcohol and something else, chilis maybe? Mellow milk chocolate sweetness in the finish with some roastiness.

M: Medium bodied, medium low carbonation.

Excellent. Bourbon at perfect level, though a little hot. Love the head from the peppers. Chocolate is great as well, nose is lacing a little. Still, another great beer from my favorite brewery.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It doesn't say anywhere on the bottle that this beer is 10.8%, so I am surprised. I simply got it because of the description, but let's light this candle:

Appearance: Pours a very dark color with a small 1/4" head of pretty creamy tan bubbles that was pretty thick for such a strong beer. There is already some pretty thick lacing left on the glass and the head sticks around as a ring where it meets the glass and a pretty consistent layer of bubbles that are sitting on top.

Aroma: The aroma had defined woody notes to it, and you can pick up the chocolate though it seems more like malt than the nibs. The alcohol is definitely there already and is interacting with the wood to give the beer a rather dry impression already. Some earthy hops and some toasty malt notes are coming out as the beer warms a bit, but still the alcohol and wood are the bigger players.

Taste: The flavor is a pretty big departure from the aroma. The beer is much sweeter than I ever would have thought. The chocolate is very noticeable in the flavor and overall the beer is a bit on the acidic side. The second and third sips are a little softer on the palate. The alcohol is very noticeable as spice in the beginning and a defined warming on the back of the throat after the sip. The beer is balanced firmly toward the malt, though you can taste a bit of hops in the beginning of the profile, they don't stay with you for very long and let the sweetness take you with the alcohol and chocolate and such to the finish. The burps are a bit hoppy, so maybe it is a bit hoppier than I can tell right now.

Opinion: Well, there is definitely a Wow in here or two. This beer is big and complex. You assume so from the description, but it is a lot stronger than I thought, and this is a double edged sword for the presentation of this beer. Overall it does the imperial Porter concept pretty nicely as it avoids the coffee notes and replaces them with chocolate, which is nice overall. Though I am not sure how much I would go back to this beer, it is very nice and I will sip slowly through this one. If it gets tons better as it warms, I may come back to it. Otherwise, I would recommend that you give it a shot because it is a well crafted and bold beer.

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Photo of dtivp
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark black with a finger and a half dark mocha head, good retention and light lacing.

Aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and hints of citrus.

Taste followed the nose with a roasted malt, dark chocolate, black coffee, a nice citrus, orange peel middle, with a slight vanilla bourbon ending.

Mouth Feel was medium body, light carbonation, creamy smooth and leaned to the sweet side as it warmed.

Overall this is a very nice Porter, I wish I could have carried a bottle back with me to cellar. I believe a little age on this beer would make it even better.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.53/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Awesome extra from phillyswear.

A - Dark brown, almost black colored beer. Bit of a tan stick on the sides of the glass from the tan head.

S - You do get a little bit of the orange and citrus on this one with chocolate, roast, and some coffee.

T - Taste is about like the nose. It's very solid but it's not blowing anyway away. Has a bit of roast, chocolate, touch of coffee, and a bit of citrus.

M - Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - Solid, not mind blowing, I've preferred the other vintages of this series. Would drink again, but not necessarily something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark dark brown and has gigantic 2+ finger head that has great retention. Body is big and black, and it all looks great.

Nice roast with a citrusy sweetness. Nice scented porter with a little bit of sweetness

Big roast and chocolate take over with a nice citrus taste. Almost a light licorice with some woody barrel notes. Nice tasting porter that's a little different.

Medium to heavier feel feels heavy. smaller amount of small barbo bubbles

One of the best looking pours I've seen and definately a refreshing porter. Very close to an ABA with the roast and citrus but without the bitterness . I'd love t e more

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz black waxed bomber poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a very dark almost black beer with a small brown head no lacing. Nose is malty sweet and sharp.

Tate is super creamy and rich, it's sweet and chocolate lots of mellow coffee flavors as well the spice is there but not over the h top. Tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of quirkzoo
4.82/5  rDev +12.4%
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 MrVonzipper
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a 1cm foamy khaki head with good retention and lacing.

Nice Big robust nose. Notes of rich dark malt, mild leather, bourbon and vanilla.

Flavor is bigger and bolder than the nose with a huge range of flavor characteristics and great balance. Notes of robust coffee, orange peel, mild bourbon, rich dark malt, molasses, caramel, toffee and just the right amount of alcohol.

Mouthfeel Is perfect for the style. Velvety and creamy. Not quite as viscous as a big stout and not too thin. With mild carbonation.

Overall it's just about a perfect Big Porter. I Did drink before the "best after" date to see where it's at now. I can't wait to try it again down the road because it's just gonna open up more and just be exceptional.

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Photo of kcbearkat
4.83/5  rDev +12.6%
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 corylew
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Perfectly poured by the dudes at Beir One (Newport OR) into a 10 ounce tulip. Pitch black body with a thin dark tan layer of head. Looks great already.

Smell is syrupy sweet with a roasty malt backbone. Not much hop in the nose, mostly resembles if you were to open a squirt bottle of Hersheys chocolate syrup with a boozy alcohol twinge.

Taste follows suit, giving you that syrup flavor, chocolate and slight burnt malt flavor. Light carbonation allows for the flavor profile to be all beer. Body is light though, which is perplexing at a 10.8% ABV beer with such a sweet taste. Gulping it doesn't feel like it takes effort and finishing the glass seems to come way to quickly. As the glass nears empty you start noticing that even in the thinnest areas, not much light can get through.

Leaves roasty chocolate flavors in the mouth, yet as it goes down feels just a tiny bit dry.

I don't normally rate these super heavy porters that high unless the brewery can show that they can balance such a massive malt character, but Deschutes definitely proved they can handle the task with this one.

Definitely a bud drinkers worst nightmare.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently received this bottle from BrewerB in a recent box. Thanks for hitting this want Brian!

This one poured a medium bodied midnight black in color with a one finger beige head. It's too bad that I almost broke the top off the bottle scraping the wax off. It smells of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts, has a good amount of malty sweetness and is rather smooth. There isn't any orange at all or any bourbon. That said, it's still a nice imperial porter. It has a nice roasted balance and is an easy drinker. It's very smooth as well. Overall it's very drinkable and a nice imperial porter. It's just that the description on the bottle is a little misleading. I am a fan though, that's why I gave it straight 4's.

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Photo of jdense
3.92/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle purchased at Bella's, The Big, OR, $12.95, poured into wine tumblers 9.27.11.

Less than a finger of brown head over clear dark opaque brown body, no visible carbonation, quite fast dissipation with minimal lacing. Bourbon from barrel aged portion of blend fairly noticeable first whiff, but front end becomes dominated by bittersweet chocolate balanced by some cocoa nib dryness, citrus aromas pushed to background. Taste is fairly chocolaty, the orange is pretty noticeable in the middle but not overly so, nib bitterness on back, hops really buried. Mouthfeel, surprisingly a on the light side of medium, slick and light mouthfeel, not much effervescence. I'm guessing this needs a good dose of cellar time to bring out it's relatively unique flavor. Not that this tasted green, but I'd like to have seen the vanilla notes from the barrel come out a bit more.

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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 n2185
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with two fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing

S: lots of semi-sweet chocolate with some roasted malts at first. Floral notes with some orange citrus aromas follow. Simple, but pleasing.

T: roasted malts and sweet chocolate at first with a touch of molasses. Some light orange citrus and slight chili flavors follow. The finish has a very slight burn from the chilis and alcohol.

M: thick body with low carb, this beer is thick and creamy with the chili giving a slight kick.

O: tasty beer. Somewhat sweet for my tastes, but I love the slight chili burn with citrus notes.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

appearance: black waxed bottle - served in my de koninck chalice, dark cola-mahogany body, bubbly brown head with no retention

smell: chocolate malt, bourbon, orange zest, cocoa

taste: big roasty porter - charred malts, burnt espresso, bourbon and other booze, orange zest provides a sweetness that briefly cuts the bitterness. dark chocolate and a heavy roast leaves a strong bitterness. Spicy hot peppers also thrash the palate. I'm not sure how I feel about this - tasty but abrasive from a number of angles

mouthfeel: hot - both from booze and spice

overall: pretty good - might need some *gasp* time in the cellar

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Black Butte XXIII from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 787 ratings
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