Beer Number 81: Deschutes Black Butte
Black Butte is my favorite porter… and just nearly my favorite beer. It was one of the first beers I have ever had when I got into craft and really changed my world when it came to matters of flavor. The first anniversary beer I had was Black Butte XXIII, I still have a bottle of it I am planning to open soon. I recently had Black Butte XXIV, and now things have finally come to Black Butte XXV.
Deschutes’s founder and president Gary Fish credits Black Butte Porter’s success, in part, to Jim Kennedy, one of the first distributors of craft beer in Oregon and the United States. Kennedy had advised Fish to focus on Promoting the inky-black beer when Deschutes opened for business in 1988, a time when almost all beers in the country were pale yellow and fizzy. Crafted from chocolate and crystal malt, Black Butte Porter remains its flagship beer to this day, enjoying a loyal and passionate following.
I love the class of 88 caps and got 4 of them from all the beers I had while home on my trip. I cannot wait to get back there and finally visit the Bend brewery rather than going to PDX… Not that anything is wrong with PDX, but I want to be where it all began and see the infamous Black Butte.
I know it is just a picture and perception is different than in real life but when Black Butte pours into the glass it appears to be solid black all the way through. Only when you bring it up to the light you can see the amazing brown highlights a little ruby poking its way through. A tan head that is billowing and full. It died down a little bit in that picture but mainly because of the way I poured it. In that first link, you can see the head on an older bottle that is still insanely crazy… Double negative?
The nose is really roasted and you get a bit of chocolate, cocoa rather filling the space around the top of the glass. A dark roast, kind of coffee-esque up front and it finishes dry. Very sharp and it caries a high level of carbonation with a medium body, and a very refreshing, easy drinking mouthfeel. A little grainy as well. Just an overall fantastic beer. Having it after a couple of years being excluded from the Deschutes distribution circle, it is nice to be reminded why I love this beer. Clocking in at 5.2% Alcohol by Volume.
I guess now this brings me to the anniversary edition. A whole 25 years of Deschutes and Black Butte… If only I were born one year away from where I was and about a month later… We could be celebrating out birthdays together!
So, this one is considerably bigger than its predecessor… and I’m not just talking about bottle size. It is 11.3%ABV and a whole lot of beer. I first fell in love with XXIII like I said earlier and it just totally blew my mind that one of my favorite beers could be made even better. You can’t say that about much I love the guys who put it together and can’t wait to see more from them in the future.
So, you would be surprised how this one compares in other ways as well. You would think that they would go all out and make every aspect of this beer extreme… NOPE! They knew exactly what they were doing.
I feel the nose on this beer is quite mellow but it still has that nice roasty character. Some dry fruits come across as well. They threw figs and dates into here, and I feel those dates are a bit more tamed than last year and quite pleasing.
Black Butte XXV opens up in a bit way with those figs and dates but a nice chocolatey smoothness comes across and smoothes everything out. A nice dry finish and lingering dark fruits. Hints of vanilla peek through and tell you to love every bit of their flavor. Then there is some oak and a little sourness. Not a lot, but just a smidge. It could have just been my perception but it was not out of place at all. I feel this beer would age well for years and years.
XXIII was my overall favorite of the ones I have had while comparing them fresh, but I think it may have some competition with this one a few months or maybe years down the road.
920 Bottles Of Beer To Go!