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Black Butte XXIII | Deschutes Brewery

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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 rudzud
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared at a private tasting. Bottle nice and fresh from May.

A - Great murky brown porter pour with a super creamy head with great retention. wow.

S - super strong roasted malts and coffee notes. Big, big chocolate and a hint of spice.

T - Delicious porter here. the big ABV isnt tasted at all, instead more big roasts, chocolate, and coffee. Stuff is hands down delicious, and with a slight spice on the finish.

M - Again, exceptional. Smooth, creamy, wonderful.

O - What isnt to love about this porter. Stuff is a must buy whenever it is on the shelf. Wish I could buy a case of this as it is simply amazing.

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Photo of dcloeren
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bomber with my boy JR

Poured a deep black with 2.5 fingers of foamy dark khaki head. Slowly receded. Left some pretty good but spotty lacing

Strong roasted malt notes dominate the aroma along with dark chocolate and coffee. Great vanilla notes mixed in along with some orange peel which I thought was very well done and amazing at that. Possibly a very faint hint of peppers, but that might just be my head messing with me after reading the bottle.

Dark chocolate dominates along with robust roasted malt and coffee. The orange flavor really holds its own all the way throughout each sip, almost candied tasting. Vanilla, woody characteristics and some very smooth bourbon make up the end of the sip and it is amazing! This beer is mother fucking delicious.

Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The heat from the bourbon is slightly numbing but it is very welcomed. Each sip coats the mouth and sticks with you until you put a new coat on it.

Overall, this beer was simply amazing. Glad that I stumbled upon 3 bottles. If I saw it on shelves again I would push down old women, kick children and basically prison shank anyone who got in between me and the bottles. Cant wait to have another once it gets cold outside.

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Photo of ezperkins2
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best after 6/15/12 – Opened 9/2/11
Poured from a bomber into a tulip

A: Stout like blackness with subtle brown highlights. ¼ inch light brown head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Light coffee and chocolate with a lot of dark sweet fruits and booze. Nothing overpowering.

T: Pretty sharp and boozy with a lot of sweet dark fruits. Very subtle stout like flavors pop up and are quickly gone again. A hint of the orange adds to the sweetness followed by a touch of woody bourbon. The peppers show up in the finish with a very slight touch of heat. The flavors definitely become more pronounced as the bottle warms.

M: Very big thick mouth feel. Leaves a thick flavorful coat after it goes down. Average carbonation and right on for the type.

O: Let me start by saying that I love almost everything Deschutes puts out. I was really excited to try this one but was a little scared of the peppers. I have had a few other big beers with peppers and did not care for the flavors the peppers added. The peppers in this one actually turned out to be an addition for me and not a subtraction. Faint and subtle while adding an extra layer to this already complex brew.
I am really hoping this beer ages as well as I think it will. I am hoping the boozy flavors and the sweetness will mellow over time and the woody bourbon and orange flavors will come to the front a bit more. It is not the best reserve series beer Deschutes puts out but overall it is a really great beer. If it wasn’t $14 a pop I would have at least a half dozen of these in my cellar.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black wax sealed bomber with a best after 6/15/12 (opened prematurely 9/1/11) and lists 10.8% abv.

Appearance: Black glass with some brown edges holds a tight packed tan head patiently while I read the bottle. Curtains of lace

Smell: A bit boozy, lots of the bourbon barrel coming through a sweet roasted malt base. A bit of a malt extract smell going.

Taste: Oh my. Smooth? Where's the ragged barrel edge? Where's the alcoholic slap? All I taste is a gentle malted but balanced gentle giant. Hints of bubble gum sweetness, sweet cold coffee, candied orange peel, and deep in the finish a sophisticated swirl of the bourbon which dries out the taste and lingers like the last guest at the party.

Mouthfeel: Monster heavy, almost milkshake feel that manages to have a dry alcoholic evaporation finish.

Overall: W.o.w. The bourbon flavor builds as I get deeper into the bottle, but it's in no way unpleasant. Dangerous drinkablility, nothing slows you down on this but the alcohol is starting to give me a warm flush. Socks completely off, this is a great beer. My have to head back to the store and clear the shelves. Seek and enjoy.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle at Deschutes Portland. Bought 6 to go. Tasted with consistent results.

Poured a deep brown, mahogany hue with black undertones. Very lovely oatmeal hued head dissipates leaving a good amount of lace. Decent carbonation.

Aromatically this is about as good as it gets. Massive explosion of chocolate, coffee, spice, and gobs of black cherry, currants, cassis, and smoke.

On the palate you really get the peppers working with the orange. It's a nice contrast. It really reminds me of the Green and Black dark chocolate infused with orange peel. Really good, bitter, dark chocolate, toast, raisins, is this really a porter?

Texture is perfect. Not too blowsy like a trumped up imperial stout, instead the alcohol works into the body well with a nice streak of acidity to cut the texture up into enjoyable pieces. Really good grip, insanely long finish. I think my first response was "hummmanaaahhh".

Impeccable balance and texture make this a winner. This is the best vintage black butte I have tasted in recent years. Masterful!

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

Pours a dark brown that appears pitch black when in the glass for a bit...strange. Small, off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is tons of chocolate...very little bourbon... not much of the orange, but I do get the chili. FYI... this beer is being tasted at room temperature. Very lovely smell...taste is just as good. The orange comes through a little more in the taste, but the chili definitely comes through. So does the booze. Very boozy, especially at room temp. Great chocolate and borbon flavors though. Very tasty and complex...I'm extremely curious to see how all these flavors mesh with age. Drinkability is fairly high right now...but has the potential to be very high...regardless of ABV. Overall, still young, but tasty beer. Hoard this one, and pray it's not infected (poking fun at '09 Abyss).

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.91/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/17/11- Had this on draft at SF Toronado.
A: Opaque black with a nice dark cream head and lacing.
S: Interesting... freshly ground malt, good smokey coffee, and toasted marshmallow.
T: Chewy brewer's licorice, coffee liqueur, vanilla, whiskey with a good cream. Crisp black berries and nice grapefruit hops.
M: Starts a bit thin and then develops a thick cream with a crisp finish.
O: Good.

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Photo of julian
3.96/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black, with a nice beige colored head that required a more or less aggressive pour. 4.5

S: Smell is of bourbon fumes, faint roast, very mild dark chocolate and a hint of raisin (special b?). 3.5

T&M: Taste up front is dark roast mixed with dark fruit; raisin/plum (makes me think there’s special B in this brew, except according to their website the previous year’s recipe didn’t...), chocolate and a lots of bourbonny goodness to warm your throat. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and big bodied. Feels and drinks very nicely or such a big beer. 4 / 4.5

O: Pretty good, although still a bit hot. As indicated by the label, this beer isn’t “best” until 6/15/2012. Good job I bought another 3 bottles for aging :) I’ve had aged Black Butte Anniversary beers before and they’re phenomenal. They really mellow out and develop some complex and amazing flavors. 4

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Photo of dgilks
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black colour with a dense, fluffy, long lasted tan head. Nice lacing.

Mild oak with a hint of vanilla and bourbon. Creamy chocolate. Good.

Big, bold sweet chocolate flavour with some nice oak notes. Moderate bitterness and a hint of citrus. Well balanced bourbon flavour.

Medium full body with moderate carbonation. A touch fizzy.

A great Imperial Porter with solid flavour and great balance. I love the citrus touch that adds depth and complexity and the sweetness that is accentuated by the bourbon.

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Photo of DavidST
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, best after date of next year, I have another I'll save.

This pours a pitch black color with a large foamy mocha colored head with good retention and lacing. The smells are kind of like a regular butte on steroids, I could easily smell the roasted malts from a little away while pouring. I get the obvious roasted malts, coffee smells, some chocolate and a little orange, there also a little alcohol presence. Feel is medium to thick and creamy, I already get a mouth coating bitterness. The taste is definitely still a little hot, and I get some alcohol burn on the way down, but that doesn't bother me much. Anyways the taste is beautiful, I get loads of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, The orange and bourbon barrel flavors are subtle hints, being very overpowered by the coco. There is plenty of bitterness going all around with the high IBU and the bitter roasted malts, I love it! Overall this beer is pretty great, too bad its a reserve and so expensive because I already want a few more. Excellent.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. Near black with a fat and dense cap of dark tan head. More legs than lace, but the retention is very impressive.

Robustly roasty nose with the orange zest and cocoa nibs announcing their presence right away. Rich roasty malt profile with an increasing chocolate presence as it warms. Subtle notes of bourbon and chiles (the subtlety being of particular importance for that potentially overpowering ingredient). Pleasantly warming booze ushers in flavors of singed wood, molasses, bittersweet chocolate and orange. Loads of buttery caramel in the smooth and lengthy finish. As usual for the Reserve Series, a cellarworthy gem of a beer that’s already plenty smooth for enjoyment right now.

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Photo of velosuds
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two Deschutes snifters to share with my son. Paid $12.49 at local grocer for a beautiful waxed dipped bomber.

"Welcome to crazy." - per the Deschutes website.

"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."

No worries about the oranges, and especially no worries about some of the best chocolate on the planet from Theo in Seattle. It was the chilies that had me worried, and reluctant to try this beer. Glad I overcame my doubts since this was better than I expected.

A-Pours a dark brown almost black hue with a two finger, thick, creamy tan head with good retention and ample lacing. Deschutes' beers are adorned by some of the most beautiful caps brewed today, and amazingly consistent.

S-Chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts with a pleasant hop presence at 55 IBUs. This is the best smelling porter I have encountered.

T-Rich malt, creamy dark chocolate (more bittersweet than milk, but luxuriant nonetheless), orange zest, coffee, and some slight warming (but not heat) from the chilies, but done very well. Sweet and adequately hoppy. No alcohol tasted which is remarkable given the gravity.

M-Very smooth, but a tad light. Otherwise a very good beer.

O-This is the better than I expected and I will procure some more for cellaring. Not as good as XXI (which I didn't review), but close. I still am a bit prejudiced against this beer since I despise chili peppers, especially in beer.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black, one finger head that is a light tan.

S-Chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee.

T-Rather chocolaty, roasted malts. The orange peel is in there but not prominent. Bitterness is present in the finish.

M-Smooth but not much carbonation.

O-A great Imperial Porter, it would have been nicer if the orange peel came through more as it seems like it could be an interesting combo. However it is still a great beer.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks Dave for sharing this beer!

Pours dark and thick, like a stout--opaque black with a few ruby-amber highlights, but not much. Moderate tan-brown head on top. Nose is big on the roasted malts, a bit of chocolate, some nuttiness underneath. Big roasted malts, a bit of booze, and some chocolatey sweetness on the flavor. The bourbon comes through as well, though not overpowering at all. Big beer, good beer, but I can't help but think that this beer is really just an imperial stout. I love the big sticky, but still drinkable, mouthfeel... This is like Abyss light, which is still heavier than most beers out there. Worth a try for sure!

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

We pour a brew of the deepest brown, with flecks of maroon when held to the light. It holds an airy one finger head of medium brown bubbles. These dissipate at a medium pace, leaving thick islands atop the liquid, with spotty lacing around the glass. No sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be standard. The aroma opens up with rich chocolaty malts. These are deep, with a huge roast to them. The cocoa imparts a steely raw quality to the nose, enhanced by vanilla and a bready yeastiness. Alcohol is far back on the nose, with the bourbon barreling apparent, even though only 25% is aged. As promised, hot chilies appear, and really pop forward with warmth. None of the oranges advertised, however, are noticed. As we sip, orange zest and hot chilies break through a thick shroud of charred malts. There is also a sticky sweetness of cooked sugars and dark cherry fruits. The middle punches forward with the alcohol becoming visible, and a further sting from the chilies. Here, too, there are more dark and chocolaty malts, and a further drying chalkiness of raw bitter cocoa nibs. This peaks with a candy sweetness, to quickly transition us into a dark and bitter end. The result is peppery and spicy, from both the alcohol and the chilies exhibiting their full glory. The malts also give their beyond-roasted quality one last suggestion, to insure a thoroughly bitter finish. The aftertaste breathes with dry malts and bitter chocolate, with alcohol and a strong sense of that bourbon barreling. The body is full and carbonation is medium. The feel to each sip is exquisite, with a serious froth and creamy slurp. Coating remains around the mouth, but rather than cooling it results in a significant dryness. With a stark warming quality this brew has a large abv, and is correspondingly more of a sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was that despite how complex it was, it retained all the needed characteristics of a traditional porter. The nose was huge with the deepest malts, a sweet stickiness, and even a bit of heat, while the flavor carried out the outline laid down by this aroma to the T. The feel was wonderfully soft, and genuinely supported the rest of the big aromas and flavors, making for a unique and exemplary porter.

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Photo of vkv822
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
Best After: 06/15/12

Body is black with deep brown edges and a thick tan head.

The aroma is of sweet cocoa upfront. I'm not really able to pick up much from the orange zest or peppers in this years batch unfortunately.

The taste is of more cocoa, though with a slight roasty backing. The orange does come through towards the finish and the peppers add a nice warming touch right at the end, that increases as you drink more of the beer.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation.

A very enjoyable beer and one I look forward to each year. The orange was a bit more subdued than I remember in last years but it does make an appearance. I especially enjoy the sweet cocoa upfront and subtle pepper notes in the finish.

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Photo of Yagman3000
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Tripel Karmeliet goblet. The bottle was generously shared by fellow BA CosmicEvan.

Appears a really nice dark color - almost black - with a little bit of brown peaking through at the top. Practically no head on this - just a serum resting.

Smells chocolatey with a tiny touch of citrus coming through.

Tastes of dark chocolate with a touch of coffee and a little of the orange comes through.

A bold strong flavor that generously expands. The mouthfeel brings the bourbon barreling out.

Overall a nice beer but it could probably use sitting on a nice wooden shelf for a year or two. The XXI was a more complex beer. This might still be a bit warm at this point but it has a really nice flavor profile at its heart.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared with yagman.

A-dark as the queen of the harpies' soul. Not much head there at all. Slippery lacing. Not the most attractive when it comes to porters.

S-crisp almost brisk menthol on the nose. Smells fresh. Really sharp porter. roasted maltiness.

T-wow...that is a flavor explosion. Sharp porter taste. Definitely some salsa spiciness in there but it works. Big rubbing alc booziness. Roasted burntness. Chocolate in the background. After yagman reminding me of the orange, I get it too.

M-leaves a vodka like boozy tingle. Medium bodied. Rich and full for a porter. Silky.

O-had the xxi tonight as well and there is a definite freshness and urgency to this beer. The heat on this beer, the heat is on the street.

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

Thank you to a Tuesday at toro with some solid stouts and porters! Oh and a "tasty burger". Jules

So let's get to the XXIII

A bright caramel black color, hold the tulip glass to the window and a slight beam will find it's way through the beer on the first 1/4 inch of the liquid. A short soft brown almost Gregory tan head sat apto the beer and dissolved quickly.

Roasted sweet malts, with a hint oh so slight hint of orange in the nose. You get porter but with some acidity.

Aside from the 10+% alc showing off the chilli sends little spicy ninjas all over the pallet. Although ninjas they are pleasant and not over powering. Very drinkable for the first glass, but not too sure how many I could power hour through.

The finish on this butte, is very pictureable; half dark half milk chocolate covered oranges rolled in esspesso and chilli powders.

Thank you for the tasty treat!

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Photo of mactrail
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sprightly, sweet and tart, dark brown ale. Not as syrupy and black malt tasting as some other big black beers. I would call this the Polish Imperial Porter style. Rich with a good touch of sugar in the malt. Less intense than the Imperial Stouts, but full of flavor and plenty powerful. Hops are under control but they lend a nice bitterness. Aftertaste is more of burnt raisins, and toasted malt rather than scorched. Less aromatic than some other big dark beers. Very spicy hot after a few sips. Hint of vanilla. Interesting and different.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle $12.99. I remember the Black Butte 20 being super heavy on the coffee but I guess this doesn't have any coffee in it. Dark black color, shocking. The aroma has orange zest, dark malt, smells alright. The flavor definitely has orange, malt, a hint of the chiles, a dash of dark chocolate. Very interesting but I would have liked more chocolate and more viscosity/decadence.

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Photo of onefalsemove711
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A - Pours dark chocolate, finger tip head that mostly dissipates after about a minute and a half.

S - Chocolate, espresso and dried figs with a nice malty backbone.

T - Roasted coffee, chocolate, vanilla, slight citrus and malt with a hint of chili that lingers in the back of the throat.

M - Viscosity and carbonation fight to win you over but the balance of both persists throughout.

O - A solid offering from Deschutes. That said, this is the first Black Butte anniversary offering that I've sampled from. Really solid. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another and recommend to friends.

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Photo of Sweasty
3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Deschutes for their 23rd anniversary. Black Butte XXIII pours a nice shade of black. The edges are ruby hued. Things are topped off by a finger or so of khaki head. The head settles to a ring rather quickly. Some lacing is left in its wake.

The aroma is classic porter on a bit of steroids. Plenty of dark malt shines. Dark roasted coffee stands out first. Plenty of dark chocolate notes present as well. There is a hint of sweet orange complementing the chocolate. The hops lay down just a touch of an herbal/earthy quality. Only the barest hint of bourbon comes through in the nose.

The taste like the nose has a porter on steroids quality. The chocolate is much more dominant on the palate. Ultra dark chocolate notes shine. A sweetish coffee quality undercuts the chocolate. A fair bit of alcohol spice cuts through the chocolate and coffee notes. Some light bourbon and vanilla try to cut through the dark malts. The orange in the nose makes a bit of an appearance in the finish. The finish is sweet with a bit of drying tannic quality.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the light side. XXIII is a medium bodied porter. The carbonation is also fairly light.

Black Butte XXIII is a tasty strong porter. Plenty of rich complexities. The brew is definitely drinking a bit hot right now. A few months to a year in the cellar to mellow will do this beer some good. All in all this is a wonderful anniversary brew.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Mages64. Tandem shared with JM03.

End pour results in a black liquid. Medium tan head, creamy, nice retention. Nice lace too.

Big chocolate and roasted malts, secondary bourbon and barrel. Light char and alcohol.

Chocolate taste, roast malts. light alcohol, light bourbon and oak.

Thick, upper medium-full bodied. Creamy, low carbonation.

Definitely want to try the older Butte's!

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Photo of JayS2629
4.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chocolate covered candied orange?

Pours a dark black with a huge, creamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves walls of thick lace.

The aroma is of cocoa, orange rind, black pepper, roasted malts, bourbon and woody notes.

The taste follows with some nutty notes in the background of dark chocolate, coffee, cream, orange rind, burnt caramel, molasis, black pepper, bourbon and oak. Hints of vanilla round things off with a great balance. Some earthy notes peek through as well.

Complex, rich, and creamy. Very smooth.

Awesome sipper of a stout.

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