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

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

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American 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.

Added by msubulldog25 on 07-02-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 1,006
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to OrpheusLA for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Best after 6/10/14.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, fig, date, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but only really shows a slight barrel aged presence in the smell in my opinion.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz black wax sealed bottle. Thanks once again to doktorzee for bringing this back for me. I remember having the XXIII a couple years ago while shutting down the patio in Bend, so I didn't get to read the underside of the cap - this one says 'Bravely done' - does that refer to opening this without getting any wax chips in the mix?

This beer pours a mostly solid black, with significant basal cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which leaves some decently macabre, roiling storm cloud lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of bittersweet chocolate, charred ash, complex dark fruit - cherry, plum, and yes, black currants - a bit of juicy fig, heavy caramel/toffee malt, vanilla, molasses, indistinct Yuletide spice, a soft whack over the olfactory senses of straight-up boozy Bourbon, and a dry weedy, burnt leaf hoppiness. The taste is again led-off by the chocolate, rendered here in its dry, powdery bakery form, followed closely by relatively subtle barrel notes - vanilla, wooden planks, and warming alcohol - treacle, mixed black fruit from hell - concentrated plum, currant, and cherry - a sidling ashiness, some soft roasted coffee notes, and a lilting Bourbon warmth.

The bubbles are just strong enough to support this groaning behemoth, the body a hefty medium-heavy weight, silky smooth, and tacitly creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, all that cocoa, dark fruit, and wood-abetted alcohol hardly capable of anything contrary.

Another (like it's a bad thing) stellar birthday brew from this sexy, sexy brewery. With all the complexity and pedantry with the guest ingredients and their role in the brewing process, everything is just evened out in the wash - which is to say, a big fruit-tinged, chocolate-fronted strong-ass porter, thick enough to keep your car's engine from seizing up, yet clean enough to keep treating as the gift from the beverage gods that it is.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed as an Imperial Porter because that's what it identifies as. Best after: 06/10/14. 11.3% ABV confirmed. 650ml brown glass bottle with awesome badass label and waxed over branded ('88) pressure cap acquired at Red Carpet Wine and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster tulip in low altitude Los Angeles, CA. Reviewed live; expectations are sky high.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of gorgeous mocha-tan colour. Great creaminess and thickness. Soft smooth complexion. Lightly frothy. Definitely supple and luscious. Light even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Lovely head for the style, but constructively it could be richer and more exquisite. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - about 6 minutes, maybe more.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black; it's a darker black but not quite a jet black per se. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

It's exactly what it should be so far, but it's not a perfect appearance.

Sm: Bourbon undercurrents, with oak and subtle real vanilla - not the vanillicin extract of your friend's homebrew. Some light tart blackcurrant and redcurrant. Definite cacao/cocoa presence. Chocolate malt. Dark malts. Cream. Dates and plums. I look for fig but I'm not getting it. I don't notice any sour elements; it does have the aforementioned tart fruits. Not getting any coffee or oats, but maybe marshmallow. Some buried roasted barley.

No alcohol or yeast character is detectable. I'm also not getting a substantial hop profile.

As it should be for the style but it's not mind-blowing. I love the blend of the fruit with the chocolate, and I hope it carries through in the flavour. A surprisingly understated and subtle aroma of above average to mild strength.

T/Mf: Love the sweet vanilla; it's not overbearing or cloying, but it doesn't feel timid. Lightly creamy open hands the baton to the dark malt and chocolate malt body as it hits the second act. Undertones of complementary yet light bourbon presence underscore the subtler elements at play here, coaxing out the best the dark malts have to offer but unfortunately further burying the roasted barley - which itself is too light for my tastes. Getting hints of caramel and truffle. Cacao comes through, but not as richly or warmly as I'd like; there's no cocoa dust or particularly evocative touches.

If you're looking for coffee, you'll be hard pressed to find any. The oak is also a bit too timid in my opinion; more could lend the already incredibly well balanced flavour profile even more natural cohesion. Neither boozy nor hot. No yeast character or hop presence is observable - nor frankly should it be.

The berry/currant notes start teasing the palate in the early second act and graduate to prominence as it hits the climax. Dashes of cherry, dates, and fig surface at that moment too; these fruits don't feel as dark as they might in a quadrupel - they're a bit brighter and less fermented, which better suits them to complementing the chocolate. I anticipated a bit more tartness based on the aroma but it's rather tame - yet still very welcome. I could probably even go for more.

Flavour intensity is superb. Depth of flavour is also great. Flavour duration is just a bit above average for the style. Undoubtedly a complex and subtle brew which brings many layers of goodness to the table. Certainly on the sweeter end, but it never oversteps its bounds; it's a treat but it's not cloying.

Mouthfeel is almost luxurious, with a silky smoothness and exquisite richness that really rewards the palate and no doubt facilitates full flavour delivery. Wet, with a light dryness on the climax to really coax out the nuances. Carbonation is just a biteen high, but I imagine this will really benefit the beer as it ages. Good thickness and body; it's firm without being overbearing or heavy. Presence on the palate is near ideal. Artfully handled and very well executed. Bravo, Deschutes.

Dr: Extraordinarily drinkable for the high ABV as well as the style - which is often far less approachable. They executed the concept of a berries-with-chocolate beer quite well, and as such Black Butte XXV is a smashing success. I'd definitely get it again, and I imagine it'll be a treat properly stored for 1-5 years. I do suspect it will improve with age. I'd definitely recommend this to friends. I'll have no trouble greedily killing the entire bottle alone. Met my high expectations. Hides its ABV well. Another hit from Deschutes. Happy birthday Deschutes, but I feel like the party is just for me.

High B+

Would pair excellently with chocolate or pot roast. I'd also recommend junior mints and fig newtons.

Drinks great from a tulip, but ideally enjoy in a snifter or teku.

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Photo of mothman
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tan head. No lace. Snifter. Black in color.

Flavors are big on cocoa and vanilla. A decent dose of bourbon and oak flavors. Chocolate that is bitter. Light roast/coffee flavor. Caramel. Very malty.

Mouthfeel: rich with a little heat. Full bodied.

Overall, an enjoyable porter. These are just about as good as they get. Finish is a bit dry, but that's about it.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best after 6/10/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, toffee, dark bread, raisin, fig, date, molasses, tobacco, leather, oak, light smoke, light nuttiness, roast/oaky earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, dark fruits, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, toffee, dark bread, raisin, fig, date, molasses, tobacco, leather, oak, light smoke, light nuttiness, and roast/oaky earthiness. Light amount of roasted bitterness and slight fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, toffee, dark bread, raisin, fig, date, molasses, tobacco, leather, light smoke/nuttiness, and roast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/roasted malt, dark fruits, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/barrel/fruit balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Barrel aged blended imperial porter! All around incredible complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, dark fruit, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Iam drinking this during wich has to be the WORST officiated game in the history of BIG10 football. Pours a dark chocolate brown with a thick beige head atop.Aromas of sweet brown sugar and roasted nuts,a bit of chocolate and sweet alcohol is there as well.Smooth with sweet alcohol flavors wich lean in the direction of chocolate and boozy vanilla,some nuttiness and sweet dark fruit finish the flavor profile.I like this beer alot.

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Photo of chinchill
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bomber bottle. Dark red-brown clear but near opaque.thin head.

Moderate level of BBL effect.
Wonderful aroma is fruity with bourbon and a hint of sherry.
Rich flavor adds dates and a bit of berry flavor.
Medium-full body with appropriate light carbonation.

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Photo of mactrail
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a nice surprise on tap for the "Come taste the darkness" Fifth Anniversary of the Empire Ale House in Mt. Vernon, Washington. For four bucks the topped-off half pint, was there ever such a bargain?

To say this is big and boozy just scratches the surface. The layers of flavor are quite remarkable. Even the layers of darkness reveal more blackened and scorched sensations as you sip, carefully. Zingy, tangy, mouthfeel. A roast-a-rama of barley flavors. Browned and woody tastes plus some boozy splashes off the top shelf behind the bar.

The currant flavor is a little crazy with acidity, and at the same time there is some sweet berry syrup as in IHOP pancake ooze. But that is just a passing cloud, and then the Scotch whisky flavor takes over the waves of sweet malt. The slightest whiff of sourness even floats in. A stupendous giant beer and whatever they want for a bottle, it's probably worth it.

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Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers tan head. Super lacing & head retention

S: Cococa & coffee, plus raisins; a modicum of Bourbon

T: Carob, coffee, molasses, boozey raisin & a bit of smokeyness. Raisins, black currants, carob & oakyness as this warms, some vanilla notes & just a kiss of caramel, some charcoal & dark chocolate as well. Finishes fruity (raisins & figs mostly), dry with carob & a whisper of leafy hops, plus subdued smokeyness, lovely Bourbon notes as well

MF: Chewy with slight carbonation & a bit of slickness as this warms. Carbonation picks up a bit as it warms, also picks up some stickyness

Easy to drink, will probably get better with age, but drinking damn fine right now. Another winner from Deschutes, give this all day, tons better that collab they did with Great Lakes, I thought was better than last years, which was no slouch...

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tumbler.

After his brother didn't come through for us earlier, I snagged a bottle of this for the gathering before VDubb's wedding. 'Twas only fitting. It pours a dark black-brown topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises coffee, roasted malts, and a touch of char. The taste brings in more of the same, with the coffee and roast really leading the way and showing the world how cooperation is done. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a thick-ish feel, and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a solid, tasty beer, in the vein of former vintages, but somehow this one just seems kinda plain in comparison. I can't put my finger on it, but it just doesn't seem as "transcendent" as in the past. Still really good, though...

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer is near black with an inch of beige head. The aroma brings roast, chocolate, honey, oak, vanilla. A lot of char in the flavor with formidable bitterness in the finish. Honey sweetness and boozy vanilla. A tad tannic. Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Pretty good.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. A bit transparent. Khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Roasted malt with equal quantities of caramel malt. I smell that figgy fruitiness, too. Gives it a little licorice aroma. Chocolate. Light bourbon, if any.

Taste - Deep roasted malt. Coffee bitterness. Lots of fruitiness. Dark fruits. I can never identify figs and dates, but it seems like that. Bourbon in the finish and some oak.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Could be thicker and chewier. A little boozy.

Overall - This is nice, but it really could use some more body.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Paddy Long's. Served in a tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to a cap, thicker collar, and sheets of lace. Black body, with hints of brown at the edges of the glass.

S - This year's vintage definitely shows the increased barrel-aging percentage; more oak and bourbon than before for sure. Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, roasted malts, anise. Low sweetness here, and somewhat understated at first.

T - The taste is fairly similar, but there's a bit more dark fruit, date, and fig sweetness, particularly as the beer warms up. Otherwise, a similar mix of char, roast, oak, anise, and lighter bourbon presence. There's a light tart note in the aftertaste, although I'm not sure I would have picked up on this if I hadn't known part of the batch was soured.

M - Chewy, medium-full body, with a soft texture, and light melted chocolate and oak tannins in the finish. No real alcohol presence here, which is impressive for 11.3%.

D - Solid brew, and I like the amped up barrel contribution in this year's batch. Might pick up a bottle for the cellar, as a bit of age might impart some balancing sweetness, but otherwise pretty mellow out of the gate. Glad Deschutes is available in Chicago these days in any case.

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Photo of dar482
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark black color with a small khaki head.

The aroma has sweet chocolate along with a bit of the fruit of dark figs and raisins. Vanilla and oak comes through from the barrels as well.

The flavor follows with that sweetness that keeps going with those dark fruits along with bittersweet chocolate and coffee. There's a bit of vanilla in there too, but not too much bourbon barrel character, but it does help make the beer smooth, yet a bit boozy as well.

A quite delicious beer.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Looking forward to this!

Appearance: extremely dark ruby-brown; not quite black, as deep red highlights show when held up to the light. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam with good retention and a smooth lace. Quite attractive indeed.

Smell: rich roastiness with a big yeasty quality and a fair amount of fruitiness. Dates, cherries, vanilla, black raspberries -- it's all there. Complex.

Taste: big and fruity. There's cherry, toffee, dates and vanilla. A little woody, with a big alcoholic fruit contribution. That said, it's a little sweet and over-done, in my opinion, but still quite good.

Mouthfeel: rich body with a well-integrated carbonation and a big, smooth creaminess. Silky smooth but with body to spare. I quite like it indeed.

Overall: too, too drinkable for a beer with more than 11% ABV -- this is like a port, here! Goodness.

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Photo of John_M
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the PDX brewpub the other day.

The beers pours the expected blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, as I pickup considerable dark bitter chocolate, coffee grounds, some noticeable bourbon, and hints of dark fruits and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this moderately sweet beer, but there's a grittiness on the finish that was a bit striking. The beer struck me as fairly hoppy and bitter, with some notes of licorise on the fairly dry finish. Mouthfeil is fairly full otherwise, but the beer doesn't come across as heavy or tiring on the palate. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit.

A nice beer, no doubt, but one that probably could use some time to settle down. I tried this side by side with the XXIV (both were on tap yesterday), and at least to my palate, the XXIV was much more drinkable and enjoyable. Nevertheless, this is another impressive effort from the folks at Deschutes.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, booze, a little bit of vanilla, and oak. Medium thin thickness. Pleasant back end bitterness. The barrel adds just enough complexity without completely taking over. Real good.

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Photo of Bitterbill
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a Howler of this at Liquor Shed for $11.99. That's 2 true pints for $6 a piece. Nice.

A- it pours black, no light shines through. Small head of foam, yeah, but swirling the beer in my glass brings a decent head of foam and also some lacing. It looks both potent and delicious.

S- big Bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt, dark good of a nose.

T- all sorts of complex flavours going on here. Big but not overpowering Bourbon with tasty vanilla and chocolate, dark fruits of the fig kind, dark fruit of the black currant kind that adds just a wee bit of tartness. I was a little feared when I first tried the XXV in a bottle when I read the label and saw the mention of black currants...that and after reading about it on a post on BA. But man, I should never have doubted Deschutes' brewing skills. This is killer good and ready to drink now!

M- just a tad under full bodied, or is it? Great medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is super and so is the fact that I no longer see the word mouthfeel underlined in red. It's a real word now.

O- I admit, I've been a bit miserly about giving beers a perfect 5 when, perhaps, I should have. This is a perfect 5 for me though the bottles, I think, need more time as per Deschutes' putting a best after date. Cheers!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured jet black with a good hearty, rigourous pour which gives this beer a nice brown cap, loads of bubbles, good head rentetnion even after a few minutes and several sips

S: I get black currants, tart berries with a bitterness. Healthy doses of dark chocolate, light vanilla and bourbon here with a whiff of coffee

T: Initially I get some dark chocolates, a little bitterness and tartness here with some roasted notes, coffee is underlying but mainly this beer brings in some bourbon heat, black currants, dark fruits, big rich chocolate. A little underlying vanilla is present. The finish is a bit warm with a lingering tartness.

M: Medium-full bodied with layers of flavor, rich but not overlysweet but the tartness and black currants really grab you and hold on. Well carbonated.

O: This is a good beer but the bombardment of black curants was just a little to much for me, it became distracting from the rest of the beer and was a little lop-sided toward black currants

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
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 beertunes
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First post-gallbladder surgery beer. Poured into goblet. Poured a solid black, just a slight hint of reddish translucence around the edges, with about 1/2 inch of tan head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma featured a nicely strong chocolate scent right in the front, with a solid grain and malt nose behind that. There were notes of fruit and the bourbon was very low, I might not have noticed if it weren't mentioned on the label. On the tongue, the grain had the lead, with the fruit being second. The chocolate was at the back off the tongue, and there was a bit of alcohol heat at the finish.

The body was full and smooth, although perhaps a touch lighter than I would have liked. Drinkability was excellent, even for such a big beer. Overall, not my favorite of the series so far, but probably second. A truly excellent beer and a must try.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%

650ml bottle poured into a Bell's snifter 8/15/2014.

A- Dark brown- almost black- body, opaque with a thin mocha head that swirls on the top of the beer. Pours fairly thick as well.

S- Dark fruits, a slight hint of tart cherries, cocoa nibs, roast malt, and more dark fruits. A whiskey overtone is present as well. Smells quite complex.

F- It smells better than it tastes, I feel. Dark fruits don't come across quite as well as it does on the nose, but there is a good amount of bourbon, dark chocolate, cocoa and roast malts. It's good if you are a fan of particularly bitter dark chocolate with a hint of tart cherries. It's no Life is Like, but it's quite solid.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, silky and smooth on the palate. Not difficult to drink aside from being a high gravity beer. A bit hot, although not especially so.

O- Solid BA Imperial Porter. I'd prefer XXIII with its chili peppers which I feel added a bit more dimension to a beer that already had its share of chocolate and dark fruit in the base imperial porter. Brewing the base with additional dark fruits just adds more intensity to the specific flavours that I don't feel is very necessary.

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Photo of cbutova
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
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 maximum12
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle today near where I'm working in Golden Valley, & wanted to down it tonight to see if I need to pick up more. Will this be excellent like XXIII, a disappointment like XIV, or top-shelf like XX? Let's find out, shall we? 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is black, like in the name, with pretty serious carbonation for a big beer. Nose harks back to the old days of the Anniversary beers - a better dose of bourbon & vanilla, for sure. Gah, I swirfled a little into my temporary goatee. Too enthusiastic. Not much else, light roast & slight chocolate.

Black Butte XXV does some sleight of hand from nose to mouth. Bourbon slacks off to a low but persistent hum, though there's a very pleasing shot of vanilla. Berries (currants, I presume?) are interesting; not the usual "oops" factor that fruitiness usually signals in a big black beer, but a slight tartness that sets off the roast & barrel as nicely as fruitiness can. Stout/porter & fruit just don't mix that well for me. Light chocolate absorbs the middle, & the finish is long, sweet, belly-warming alcohol.

Well, this does not live up to the fine lineage of Anniversary beers past, but it's a distinct mark-up over the blase' XXIV. A good beer, but I'm happy that I won't feel the urge to stockpile this for the future.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best after 6/11/14. I guess I cracked this a little early.
L - near black, foamy tan head
S - rich aroma of cocoa, fig, date, currant, roast; bourbon really dominates as it warms
T - rich again, chocolate, dark fruits, fig, currant, raisin, oak, vanilla, bourbon, booze
F - full body, boozy
O - just as good as I anticipated. Nice treat.

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Black Butte XXV (25th Birthday Reserve) from Deschutes Brewery
4.22 out of 5 based on 1,006 ratings.
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