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 OneEye78
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a mason jar pint glass. Dark black/brown with very little khaki head. Smelled of figs and black currant and a hint of bourbon. The taste starts a sour sweet, almost pear like with an extrememly smooth finish of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Pretty light in the mouth, especially for the high ABV, almost too easy to drink. Overall, I was very impressed. Lots of character and complexity. It had the expected Porter characteristics with a bevy of additional flavors. Truly one of my favorites.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with thin white head. Nose is bourbon forward with oak, heavy whiskey, light chocolate, and significant booziness. Taste is similar to the nose. Starts with some dark fruit, light chocolate, and heavy spirit character. The bourbon brings forth some vanilla, harsh oak, a bit of booziness, along with chocolate and mild roast. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin with mellow carbonation. Overall, lots of flavor but slightly lacing in body.

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

Near opaque and black body with a one-finger thick light tan, rich and foamy head; dripping sheets of foam on the inside of the glass. Deep, rich chocolate; cocoa; deep, fruity esters in the aroma. Flavor consists of a rich concoction of dark roasted malts, cocoa, the twangy edge of wood infused with bourbon (I believe this is a bourbon barrel-aged bottling); traces of coffee with a nice alcohol subtext and some deep-rooted hop bitterness beneath the surface. Heavy bodied; smooth and silky mouthfeel; semi-dry at the finish.

I don't know how this would have tasted if I drank it a year earlier, but aging certainly hasn't detracted from being thoroughly enjoyable at this stage of its existence. It's packed with a deep, rich, chewy dark ale character complemented with a slightly tart and fruity sub-character. Bold and complex throughout. Perhaps it will make another welcome appearance on down the road...

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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 MattSweatshirt
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hate waiting for the best after date but it is always well worth it. Having had this in Dec. I can say I enjoy this more now.

Small amount of tan head slowly rises up above a dark body. Leaves some splotchy lace. Head lasts forever.

The currants play a big role. More dark fruit from the additions and probably malt as well with fig and plum. Chocolate and some coffee. Nice vanilla imparted from the barrel and a touch of bourbon.

Lots of fruitiness going on with some tangy currant, blackberry, dark cherry, fig, coffee roastiness, dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Its a little sweet and a little warm which compliment very nicely.

Heavy medium body. Fairly smooth with a medium carbonation.

Everything is fairly well integrated at this point in the beer. Very delicious and hard to put down.

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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 macrosmatic
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to eyebereej for sending this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Guinness pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown to black, nearly opaque, with a thin tan head and minimal visible carbonation.

S: Chocolate, roastiness, barrel oak, dark fruit, with booze and sweetness, both in moderation.

T: Dark chocolate, moderate booze and dark fruits (raisins, figs and plums), oak with a nice vanilla character, and deep roasted malts. Sweetness with a touch of roasted bitterness in the hang.

M: Full mouthfeel, heavy thick body. Low carbonation sensation, and the alcohol is noticeable but not at all a "hot" impression.

O: I thought this was really excellent. An improvement over what I remember last year's being. Very recommended.

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

Best after June 10, 2014. I'm afraid I will not be following that advice.

The beer is black with a small to moderately-sized tan head. Head fades at a fair pace.

Bourbon is quite prominent in the nose, despite only half of the base beer being barrel aged. Creamy chocolate and roast scents accompany it. Notes of dark fruit are there as well, presumably the dates, figs and/or black currants.

Taste is very good. A balanced mix of all elements in the beer, as the aroma suggested. Bourbon is there but not particuarly strong. The dominant flavour is really the base beer, with the cocoa nibs making themselves known. Chocolate is prominent, with dark fruit flavours there as well. A bit of oak. The bourbon is notable in the finish, with a bit of a sticky, boozy residue.

Full bodied, moderate to high carbonation. A bit sticky.

Overall, very good. Very happy to have got the chance to try this one.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

bottle generously gotanpickedupformebro by my man rathakem (thank you for all you do!). enjoyed from a deschutes teku.

a - brew pours a watery black with a generous cream colored head that leaves massive streaky chunks all over the glass as it dissolves.

s - nose is really nice. soft roast with some berry sweetness and a hint of wood. dates and figs come out with the chocolate.

t - taste is spot on and picks up where the nose leaves off. really well balanced with a touch of bourbon glazed over a nice full bodied chocolate porter. booze soaked chocolate covered fruit. really nice.

m - the mouth sticks out to me because it only shows a hint of porter char and comes across more of a stout which is a plus for me. fairly full bodied for the style, but not too roasty and with a good mix of chocolate and dark fruit.

o - overall, one of the better of recent anniversary beers from deschutes. although i'm a proclaimed fanboy of the brewery, this one really helps to reinforce my love for this brewery. now if only they would start distributing to NY (PLEASE!!!!)

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Photo of Jeffo
4.01/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager a while back. Thanks again for the awesome exchange man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Best after 10 June 2014
50% aged in bourbon barrels
Dates, figs & cocoa nibs added and 12.5% with black currants added

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a three finger, medium-thick, fluffy looking, light tan head with excellent retention. Clear dark brown body with lower levels of carbonation. Head eventually fades to a full cap and clings to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains leaving lots of beautiful lacing down the glass. Great looking porter for sure.

SMELL: Dark grains, caramel, figs, dark, dried fruits and light chocolate notes. Hints of bourbon qualities, but not much. Medium strength and well balanced; nothing overpowers, but nothing really stands out as being special.

TASTE: Dark malts, caramel and figs with dark, dried fruits up front. Flavorful, with a big finish of dried fruits, dark caramel malts, bitter dark chocolate and some nice bourbon and vanilla, sweet cream notes from the aging. Pretty nice stuff.

PALATE: Fuller body and medium of carbonation. Lots of weight, thick and slick on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Heavy, thick, full, silky smooth with no heat at all. Phenomenal stuff.

OVERALL: Really good and very well executed. Not sure if the flavor is exactly what I'm looking for in a porter, but it's certainly nicely balanced and put together really well. Good look on it with a feel for a king as well. Wonderful stuff. Give it a shot if you have access to it; would gladly have another to save until after the best after date. Recommended.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow... Silky like a ghost, but I'm not scared. Light and airy like Miranda Kerr's breakfast, but this is actually flavorful. Rich and robust chocolate and dark fruits like it should be done. A lil sweet, but hey, sometimes your grandmama pinch your cheeks.

Feelin' it hard, feelin' it good and feelin' it well.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Black, with traces of tan. 1/2 inch foamy head and nice lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee. Some sour fruits, a little oak, and vanilla.

Taste - Starts off with the malts and chocolate, then a sour/bitter flavor comes in. Lots of fig, raisin and plum mixed with bitter coffee and oak. Currant really adds the sour flavor. Vanilla is smooth but not dominate in flavor. Some warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Tongue gets the smokey notes, then gets lots of sour from the coffee and currants. Palate gets a lot of the same flavors, and even more dark fruits. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish. Aftertaste is bitter/sour and warm.

Overall - Very different, lots of flavor, and fun to drink. The addition of the dark fruits mixed with the coffee and such makes this closer to a black ale/ipa then a porter to me. I could have done without the currant to tone down the sour some. Still, a good drink and glad I got to try it.

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Photo of hayesjw
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - midnight dark chocolate. poured into ten ounce goblet.

S - undecided due to temperature served. too cold in this case. slight spiced sugar candy.

T - malt forward. not roasted grain heavy. no burnt grain to begin taste. syrup and deep sugar flavors on the palate. finishing hops round out the burst of dark raison bread. good intensity.

M - warming alcohol with malty coating.

O - this midnight dark pour is a rare gem of an anniversary ale celebrating the brewery's twenty five years as enjoyed by Oregon's obsidian king seated in a red chair on a green lake near the Bend of mirror pond on a early winter morning.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a purple-black in color with almost no foam.

There’s an aroma of dark chocolate and Italian roast coffee, with a licorice backing and some boozy rum. Flavors are integrated, and the alcohol/heat doesn’t come across until well after this beer opens up. I found the body to be appropriately porter-esque, with more rum sweetness than bourbon whiskey on it. Terrific.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured to brandy snifter. Black Butte anniversary reserves are one of those beers I seek out year after year. XXV is no exception. Really doesn't sit in the porter category at 11.something abv, I'd call it an imperial stout, even if the name sake is a true porter.

Black as night. Pours with a tan head that quickly lays down to a film of bubbles... spot on for an imperial

Huge battery of flavors... current, fig, roasted malt, butter and toffee up front, oak and whiskey slip in as it warms. Not as boozy as a lot of other strong beers, incredibly complex. Every sip reveals a new layer as it warms. A haunting bitterness strives to balance an immense sweetness. It doesn't, but it does add another counterpoint.

Smell is oak, whiskey, and fruit, and a bit of breadiness.

Mouthfeel is heavy, slick and almost syrupy moderated by a lash of alcohol burn... totally out of bounds for a porter, on the mark for an imperial stout.

Overall: while nothing wrong with this beer right now, indeed it is oh so right, I'd love to see how the flavors meld with a year or two of aging

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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 Kuaff
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

The head is two fingers of what looks like cappuccino froth. The body's pretty near black.

It has an aroma of milk chocolate, bourbon, cherries, and currants or raisins (the two kind of smell the same). I think the figs are in there too. Smells kinda figgy. Outstandingly true to the listed ingredients.

Tastes like tart dark fruits and chocolate... milky chocolate. Think chocolate-dipped strawberries or cherries. There's a bit of a boozy bourbon burn in the finish, but I don't mind. In fact, I like it.

The feel is ultra-smooth and velvety.

An anniversary release that's definitely worth trying, I'd say.

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Photo of garuda
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Nearly black with a brown head that retains and laces very well. Ruby highlights around the edges, mostly clear.

Just the right amount of bourbon/barrel that I prefer. Hs a nice depth of dark fruit flavors with fig, plum, dark cherry, rounding off with some caramel/vanilla oak with booze on the finish. Long aftertaste with rich dark chocolate, slightly bitter feel.

M - Medium body, feels a little thin considering abv.

O - So glad I got to have this, a beer I've had my eye on for some time. Solid depth of flavors and just the right amount of barrel character for me. I'd absolutely get it again, but I expecting a little more considering how much I enjoy the standard Black Butte.

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Photo of SHerninko
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed @ TJ's -Kick the keg event

I have enjoyed the 23, 24 & now it's the 25!
A lovely sales Rep. greeted & spoke to me about Oregon and this special Butte.

It is similar to the other years and is excellent overall. The addition of licorice & anise combine to taped off the raison and plum sweetness. It is a nice balance and produces a very subtle sour note on the front of the tongue. As it warms the initial nose & sweet taste increases but so does the slight sour at the back of the tongue. It is not a negative (as I'm not a big sour fan) but just adds to the complexity. Still some smokiness from the base black butte lingers also.

Again for a "porter" this is a winner and a leader in the category.
Try it.
Ok now they are giving out Class of 88 smoked porter. TBC!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Lone Oak in Eagan. Seemed like a 12 oz pour for $7.50 at happy hour.
Good looking. Black and more black with a lighter tan head with relatively short stamina, but decent lacing.
Aroma that clearly exhibited the three primary characteristics of this drink - vanilla, bourbon and roast. Roast had almost a burnt quality at times, but not to excess.
Flavors nearly match aroma. Seems the vanilla may a bit heavy here, but there is more oak and the roast is balanced nicely. Little tributaries of hop flavors show with searching.
My favorite part of this is the good soft and creamy feel. That's a really plus.
Overall quite smooth without any excess in the fresh malt sharpness, which blends well and is quite nice. Quick shots of warmth in the gut and thin streams of alcohol in the flavor, which is enveloped quite nicely overall for such a big beer.
Glad I finally got a chance to try this one. I've been waiting for awhile.

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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 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 Powderhornphil
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark. In the glass appears black but deep brown cola on the pour.

Smells quite sweet. Bourbony sweetness, chocolate sweetness. There's also a richness to it. Rich ddark fruits. A bit of tartness from the soured portion.

I like that they increased the barrel aged portion to 50 percent. But I could honestly do without the currants or at least a smaller portion.

Thinner mouthfeel than xxiv.

Nice beer but I think I prefer xxiv but a bit.

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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 lordofstarside
3.84/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber to a snifter, 15 mins out of the fridge to warm a little

Pours jet black with a finger of mocha colored foam, some brown and a little red hues in the meniscus of the glass. Mild carbonation, short retention, and nice lacing and legs. This thing looks pretty good

Smells of bourbon, oak, raisins, chocolate, cinnamon, molasses, vanilla, figs, cherries, dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. The cinnamon gives a nice spicy touch, everything comes together pretty well. Tremendously complex, the bourbon comes off a bit strong though. As it warms the fruits come across stronger

Taste is a lot different from the nose. Strong currant along with other dark fruits hit really strong and first. Bourbon, oak, raisin, cinnamon and chocolate come across once the initial fruit passes, finishes with a pretty strong taste of alcohol. These blend poorly, it's sort of over load on the palate, these will come together much better with age

Feel is hot and heavy. Thick body, dry boozy finish

Overall this needs to lie down for a while. Smell is great, taste and feel have a long way to go. Three more in the cellar, I'll be back after they sit for a year

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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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