Friday, November 21, 2008

Deschutes Black Butte XX review

Deschutes Black Butte XXWord of mouth can be a powerful promoter for a beer these days, especially when you use many of the useful social media sites these days such as Twitter. I recently heard of a 20th Anniversary beer that was brewed by the Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon. They took one of their regular porter recipes and transformed it into an imperial porter. I'm talking about none other than their Deschutes Black Butte XX imperial porter.

The Black Butte XX came in a big 22 oz bomber bottle that was topped off with a thick layer of black wax. It took a while to peel off 2 different layers of wax to get to the bottle cap. Once the wax was off it revealed a special 20th Anniversary cap underneath. That special cap added a nice touch and made the beer seem more special. After the cap was off I poured this beer into a nice goblet cup.

Appearance: This beer poured very dark and was being served cold. This imperial porter poured with very little head to it and left a thin tan ring around the glass. I should know better than to pour a very dark beer when it is too cold as it tends to inhibit the head formation.

Aroma Immediately, I could smell an abundance of rich coffee, caramel and toffee aromas. It was hard to get much hop smell out of this beer, but that's ok for this style of beer. I could smell the heat in this 11% ABV brew and also picked up some wood overtones. It smelled wonderful. This beer was made with cocoa nibs, a lot of dark roasted coffee and then a portion of it was aged in Stranahan's Colorado whiskey barrels for extra flavor. It seems like several craft brewers these days are finding the advantages of aging in Stranahan's barrels (Oskar Blues for one).

Taste: I bought this beer in the late summer and managed not to touch it until November. Given the higher alcohol content, this beer should age very well. Upon the first sip, I immediately felt the alcohol warmth. The coffee and cocoa nibs hit me up front as well. It had a nice smooth dry finish to it and warmed my throat on the way down. I could tell right away that if aged longer, this beer could mellow out quite a bit more.

Deschutes bottle capI've had their regular Black Butte porter before at an Old Chicago during the big beer run with the BeerTapTV boys (Erik and Eli) and enjoyed that, but this beer was something extra. Wow! It's much stronger than the regular porter. I definitely could taste the flavor of the whiskey barrel in this beer as it imparts some nice vanilla overtones.

As this beer warmed, the cocoa nib flavor really started to come out more. This was excellent! The beer itself packed a wallop. If you're drinking this bottle all by yourself, you'd best not drive anywhere afterward. I've tasted a number of porters and so far, this one is my top favorite so far. The 2nd pouring of this brew yielded a much better head than when cold, so if good head is important to you (no pun intended) then let this baby warm up a bit first.

I couldn't resist the temptation to pour some of this over ice cream. Good imperial porters and stouts always taste good with ice cream. In this case, I poured some over the top of some Oreo Cookie ice cream. Simply fantastic! Stock up now and age this puppy because this beer most likely disappear soon. Good thing this is an annual release.

Related articles:
- Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter review.
- Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter review.
- Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter review.
- Alaskan Smoked Imperial Porter 2008 review.

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