Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve) | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)
Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve)

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Malt Beverage brewed with dates, figs and cocoa nibs with 50% being aged in bourbon barrels and 12.5% with black currant added.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 1,019
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a half finger dark khaki head with great retention and nice lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, dates, figs, cocoa, red berries and a little cardboardy oxidation. Flavor is dark toasted malt, cocoa, dates, red currants, licorice, light bourbon and oaky vanilla. Lingering lightly charred malt and currants in the finish. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess and nice mouth feel. Nice. This big porter has held up beautifully for five years, with a fine mellowing and integration of flavors. Sadly, I did not review this fresh, so I don't know how the currant component originally tasted, but it gives a surprisingly fresh berry flavor to the taste from start to finish. The bourbon, if strong originally has mellowed and perhaps melded with the berry flavors. The oxidation in the aroma is not evident in taste, and except for the great integration of flavors, this has little to show its age. This is one of my favorite beers at any time and glad to see it age so gracefully.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Just opened a cellared XXV... wow! The 5 years seems to to have rounded out the edges beautifully. Still huge and roasty; big barrel flavors but little bourbon or sweet vanilla up front... now more bitter vanilla bean and a touch more of wood, figs, port wine, black strap and licorice that seemed more hidden back in 2013. Smooth feel despite roast and ABV.
More old ale-ish than porter and a delicious complex sipper. Great with aged cheese.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This might be the worst one of the anniversary series. Unless your name is Consecration, your currant addition probably sucks.

Has that familiar mixture of dark brown and black, beige head 1/3". Aroma is less bourbon than ever. Takes on more red wine barrel notes than other years.

Taste, shit, the bourbon and chocolate are woefully underrepresented in this version. The mouth feel continues to stress on the currant and red wine notes, to the detriment of the chocolate and bourbon. Too much dark fruit presence, contributes to a higher than normal ibu feel to it. Alcohol not as covered up as it used to be. A good beer? Sure. But look at the price, and look at prior years, this is more expensive and less good.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage; drank 5/15/14 on draft @ Fischman's.

Brown/black hue.

Tan head; strong lace.

Figs, red wine, oak & a hint of booze in the nose.

Thick mouthfeel, with a carbonation bite.

Raisin, fig, red wine, milk chocolate, booze & tobacco flavors; complex, but a touch to dry & hot.

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Photo of papat444
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours thick and black, lots of roasted nuts but also very heavy on dark fruits (verging on sour a bit), blackberries, chocolate, figs. I liked it but would have preferred more roasted porter flavor.

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Photo of sphmiel
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at iTap CWE. Pours very black, lingering lace, awesome aroma of cocoa, dark fruits, roasts. Carried into the flavor, very rich tasting, worth going out of the way for.

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Photo of josephandbrown
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz draft pour into a Belgian tulip glass.

Very dark but not quite pitch black. It leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

The smell is superb, one of the best things about this beer. There are hints of figs and currants, and a strong suggestion of the oaking. The taste is typical of high ABV, oak aged dark beers: it's hearty, with chocolate notes and hints of vanilla. It has a thick, chewy feel, and leaves a creamy niceness well after the swallow.

A very strong special edition from Deschutes!

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Photo of scottfrie
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into tulip. Best after 6/10/14.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a thin finger of dense light tan head that slowly disappeared into a fuzzy collar.
S: Sweet nose with notes of candied fruits, dark fruits, caramel and molasses coming through. I get notes of mild bourbon barrel, tons of grape and sweet current.
T: Tons of dark fruits up front with notes of sweet black currents easily noticeable. Cocoa, caramel, cola, mild leather, and bourbon follow, with hints of leaf tobacco, candied fruits, molasses, and raisin. The finish has a touch of prune and fig mixed with sweet caramel and bourbon. The aftertaste has hints of bitter grape skins and a super ripe fruit quality.
M: Full body, sweet and sticky mouthfeel, fuzzy carbonation, slight bitterness and tannic quality.
O: Sweeter than the others as I remember them, and a bit too sweet for me to love. Otherwise a pretty solid beer though.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber bottle (w/best AFTER date of 06/10/2014) poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. The bottle indicates it's brewed with dates, figs, and coco nibs with 50% being aged in bourbon barrels and 12.5% with black currant added. Reasonably hard pour produces a nice thick dark eggshell colored head. Mostly small bubbles, it's thick and frothy with excellent lacing. Comes out of the glass brown but looks black once it's in the bottle.

Smells good, but a year and a half after the best after date leads me to believe that the aromas might have worn off a little bit. Classic dark grainy malts detected that are in any good dark beers tend to have. Slight chocolate tones and the dates and figs are pretty easily detected. No indication of any coffee added but everything blended together sort of smells like a dark roasted blueberry coffee which is totally my speed. Everything is good, I wish it was the slightest bit stronger.

Taste is outstanding. Again the classic dark roasted ready malts are there. There is bourbon detected this time a sweet vanilla/oakey flavor. Cocoa nibs aren't as present as the dates and figs are. It all blends together nicely. The black currant (I guess I've never had it before) meshes great with the figs and dates. It certainly has the dark fruity flavors. Sort of some tannins at the end

Mouthfeel is good. Full bodied and a nice moderate carbonation level; nice long lingering flavors. Starts sweet, maintains smooth with an earthy set up and a dry finish. Great drinkability a nice sipper, almost like a good quality Russian Imperial Stout (with a partial bourbon barrel blend). These Black Butte birthday beers area always pleasing. Thanks JJ!

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Photo of EMV
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Champs in State College, PA. Poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a deep black. Thin tannish head and nice lacing.

S: Toasted malts, dried fruits, and booze.

T/F: Absolutely delicious beer. The roasted malts mixed with the bourbon give this brew a ton of flavor. Lots of dark candied fruits... raisins, plums, and figs. Gets even nicer as it warms to room temperature. Smooth and silky. The bourbon is in the background but gives it a great boozy feel.

O: Absolutely spectacular beer.. complex and delicious, and definitely let this one age a bit if you're fortunate enough to have it in a bottle. Deschutes delivers (again).

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Photo of ajm5108
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lots of vanilla oak booze aroma with some bitter chocolate undertone. Front is bitter chocolate with roasted coffee, a little abrasive, though it segues into a more vanilla bean bourbon that finishes very smooth. It definitely isn't over the top with the bourbon flavor. There is some dark fruit in the end as well, maybe from the currant but I'm not very familiar with that otherwise.

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opened 11-6-15
Pure, solid, blackness. No light can shine through it. Head is peculiarly two toned, off-white to tan, clinging well to glass.
Scent is like chocolate pudding creamy smooth chocolate, very rich and strong. Beckons you to drink it.
Taste follows closely to scent. Chocolate and smooth, the aftertaste is very bitter however, to the point of it being a little distracting. But this is a very small negative to a delicious aged beer.
The mouthfeel is silky and really could not be better for the beer.

at this later date (over a year past the "enjoy after" date) this beer becomes amazing. There is nothing that should keep this beer at this time less than world class. The best Deschutes beer I have ever enjoyed.

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Photo of Tele
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle (Best after 6.10.14)
Consumed: 10.17.15

A: 4.5 The beer is clear, and very dark brown, nearly black. There’s a very small tan head, only about half an inch, that dissipates quickly.

S: 4.5 Aromas have really developed after two plus years in the bottle. Bourbon seems more up front with chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, roasted malt, and a bit of dark coffee. The bourbon starts to back off as the beer warms but caramel and toffee elements show up, which go very nicely with the fruit.

T: 4.25 Tastes is similar to the nose. The bourbon is a bit too mild, giving way to the fruit flavors. There’s definitely a lot more cherry and chocolate from the nose with a nice roasty bitterness lingering on the finish.

M: 4.5 Body is really nice if a little thin. Despite it’s appearance, carbonation is spot on making the beer feel more substantial.

O: 4.5 I was hesitant about Deschutes’ “enjoy after” date, but a bit of age really did wonders for this beer, especially for the nose. The fruit is really nicely integrated and compliments the roasted malt. If the bourbon was a bit more forward (it was pretty mild fresh too) this would be an incredible beer.

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Photo of Gryphon69
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cellered from 6-13

A- Pours near black, white lacing up the glass, small head that never really goes away

S- dark fruits, oak, sweet

T- is so much more than the nose, dates and figs really stand out, flavor bomb goes off from the first sip and lingers well after you swallow.

F- thicker, sticky on the lips

O- had 3 bottles on my cellar shelf since 13, down to 2. So much flavor its crazy good, will be looking to find a few more bottles - its really that good.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Dark ruby, nearly opaque with cola highlights when held to light. Full tan head on the pour. Messy lacing that lingers.
smell: Cocoa and full dark fruit. The figs and dates shine through. Some bourbon and spice. Some notes reminiscent of cola and root beer.
taste: All them nose flavors are there though not as independently distinguishable. Balanced very nicely into a tasty whole. a slightly spicy finish.

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Photo of Moose90
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a lightly dark amber hue, there is more translucency around the edges than I would expect to see for a BA Porter. There is a light, rich looking brown head that forms, leaving behind nice lacing along the inside of the glass.

S — Smells of darkly roasted malts and cocoa, little bit of fruitiness on the nose as well, raisins, light plum tartness, fig, date, currant. Sweet overall.

T — Tastes of a plethora of dark fruits and cocoa, as well as some lightly roasted dark malts. Big date and fig fruitiness, as well as a cocoa bitterness. Just a bit odd, very fruit forward.

M — Medium bodied, a bit light overall, a little bit of alcohol burn as well.

O — Nice overall, this is quite fruity and bright for a BA beer. Would love some more bourbon presence. Really not convinced that time would do this beer any favors.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a quarter of a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved away in to a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic with lots of roasted malt along with lots of fruit, such as figs, dates, prunes, as well as lots of brown sugar and dark molasses, dark chocolate and caramel as well as hits of vanilla, oak and bourbon-like alcohol. Complex, rich, inviting and delicious!

Taste: Wow! Exactly as the aroma advertises! Rich, complex, inviting and delicious! Tons of roasted malt and dark chocolate up front, followed with big flavors of stone fruit such as figs, dates, and prunes. There’s also lots of brown sugar and candied sugar-like sweetness, and slightly boozy, harsh, oaky flavors of bourbon. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and very smooth, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 12.5%, there is a pleasant alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What a delicious beer! Tons of rich, complex, inviting and delicious flavors! Very, highly recommended!

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Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked some of the earlier versions better. Some of these fruit flavors along with the bourbon and the bitter clash a bit both in taste and in the body. Still a good beer.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cracked in 2019, so 6 years in the bottle. Poured from fridge temp. Pours jet black with good carbonation. Bubbles throughout and continue for several minutes. Light tan head that lingers. Nose is dominated by molasses and black licorice. Really smooth. Secondary notes of raisin, fig, bread, black currant, and a bit of vanilla. Getting a slight nutmeg after a little warming. Taste is super complex and smooth. Molasses, black licorice, black currant, toffee, raisin, bread, nuts, vanilla, cherries, brandy, and a bit of dirt/earth. Mouthfeel is super viscous and thick. Overall, this has aged perfectly. I would add this to the list of beers that DO get better with age. Super impressed.

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Photo of MIrvine
3.18/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Don't know why I have to enter a review just because me opinion of the beer differs from most everyone else. I also wish BA would let users to simply make private reviews for our personal use instead of public reviews.

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Photo of marieli
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Very fortunate to find this at The Hay Merchant today (2/15/2015). Dark brown to black with a pretty dark tan head that stood tall. Was surprised by how sweet it smelled and it carried over to taste. Fruits led the way but there was also some chocolate or malts. Whatever, it handled the big alcohol very well. I think I prefer the regular Black Butte and half the alcohol is plenty for most days. But I would gladly drink this one again. A real treat for Porter fans.

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Photo of cbutova
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought as a part of a 5 year vertical from a great bottle shop in Colorado Springs back in August. Best after June 2014.

A- Appropriate super black pour to several pint glasses. Light tan head to a finger, creamy and decent retention. A big sheet at the top from a huge belt with spottiness below.

S- Somewhat musty and oxidized but the big BB porter exists below that. Big fruits with figs and currants certainly prominent. Fudge brownies, deep cocoa, chocolate chips and caramel sweets beyond the fruits.

T- Currants and figs contribute much more than I would have guessed. Deep dry fruits like raisin and softly tart cherry lead to the aged and somewhat oxidized base beer. Dirty cocoa nibs cascade or roast grains, truffles and caramelized sugars. The barrel is secondary with oak and slight vanilla.

MF- Medium bodied and perhaps a bit dried out, lacks the oily thickness of most 12%+ brews. Carbonation is medium high and the finish is roasty bitter.

Currants do me good and the ABV is invisible. Barrel is very light but it doesn't really matter. Roasty brownies with currants and figs.

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Photo of leaddog
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate brown with two fingers of creamy mocha head.

Smell - Bourbon, roasted malts, fig, oak, cocoa, black currants.

Taste - Warm flavours of roasted malts, cocoa nibs, fig/dates, black currants and bourbon. The bourbon flavour is very smooth, not at all overly boozy.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with light carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant sweetness from the black currants and bitterness from the cocoa.

Overall - A stellar American Porter. Deschutes delivers yet another winner of these anniversary brews. The bourbon adds a nice smoothness to this brew while the ABV is nicely hidden in this one. Too bad I don't have another to continue aging.

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Photo of spoony
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml bottle (best after June 11, 2014) into a tulip.

A-A gentle pour produces about a half-finger of medium-brown head. The beer is nearly opaque and almost black in color. I cannot see much in the way of carbonation happening.

S-The aroma is complex and intense. I smell chocolate, creaminess, some bourbon flavors like caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla, oak, and some dark fruit like cherries. I like it.

T-The taste is similar to the smell. I get flavors of chocolate, cocoa, bourbon, oak, and intensely sweet dark fruit. I also taste an almond-like bitterness and mild roasted flavor. The alcohol is well-hidden. The beer is almost too intense to drink more than a few ounces.

M-The heft is medium to full but the carbonation is higher in volume than many beers of this size.

O-This is a tasty, complex beer that is not for the faint of heart. It looks good, smells good, and feels good. The taste - while nice - doesn't quite live up to the smell for me. I think there may just be too much going on here. Anyway, this is a full-on sipper for those who like big beers.

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Photo of deebo
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this one before. Reviewing this on tap at a yr+ after release. On tap along with 26 and 13 and 14 abyss at pats tap.
Light black and trulescent, served without a head. Aromas of dark cocoa powder, sweet ripe dark fruit, a little vanilla and bourbon present too. Taste is dark roasted malt with a fair amount of ripe cherry like fruitiness with hints of vanilla and bourbon. Nice flavors. Not real heavy bodied for such a big beer. Mod to high tingly carbonation bite. Hints of booze, but definitely not overpowering. Overall a very nice big dark beer from a brewery that I would expect no less.

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Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 1,019 ratings