Home > Beers > Deschutes Black Butte Porter XXI

Deschutes Black Butte Porter XXI

Black Butte XXI on tap

Black Butte XXI on tap

Deschutes brewery was twenty-one on the 27th of July this year, and to celebrate, they released a special edition of their renowned Black Butte Porter. Given that I’m such a fan of porters in general and Black Butte in particular, it was only natural that I try this one.

I found it at the Graduate bar in Davis, and first sampled it a week ago, and of course I simply had to go back for a pint. Well, actually, it was served in a 12-ounce glass, but I’m not quibbling about that – after all, it has a walloping 11% ABV, so it’s to savour rather than chug, especially if you’re driving back home.

If I had to nominate a beer as a centrefold pinup, it would be this one. I found it hard to fault this beer in any way, from the pour to the last drop. It’s a dark beer, dark as night with all the promise of a coming dawn. It has a solid creamy tan head, which holds up well, adding a great visual appeal.

There’s coffee and burnt toast in a glorious nose, and there’s a robust and fruity bitterness in every swallow, with raspberries and chocolate kicking around. There is a little hop, but as you’d expect, it’s not aggressive – more lurking in the background playing hide-and-seek with the tastebuds. There’s no surprise that these flavours are so forward – according to their website, the brewers included “Theo’s Chocolate cocoa nibs…Bellatazza’s locally roasted Ethopian and Sumatran coffee, and then aged a portion of it in Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey barrels”.

The main event is the dark, rich malts – no question but that this is a big beer. Big on nose, flavour and body. Appropriately enough, as I was drinking it, the theme from “Shaft” was playing on the jukebox, and blaxploitation aside, could not think of a better was of describing it other than the “Shaft of Beers”.

Despite the warm September weather, this is still a delight to drink, and it’s hard to say what would improve it. The chocolate and roast coffee bean flavours could possibly get tiresome after a while, but in the thirty minutes I was savouring it, it didn’t get in the way at all, and I bet I could have gone for a second helping and still wondered at this midnight-dark, warm, absolutely delicious beer.

Black Butte XXI

Black Butte XXI

It’s rich and full-bodied, with a big flavour, great mouthfeel; one to savour as it rolls around releasing its malty wonders. Will I go back for more? Oh yes, because in the words of the song, this is “the cat that won’t cop out”. I’m hoping to get my hands on a bottle or two to lay down for a year, and try it again as a more mature ale, in the cooler winter months. With that alcohol content, it’s going to keep well, and I’m betting that it will be even more of a delight then, as a warm winter brew in front of the fire.

Happy birthday, Deschutes!

(Some of this review is cross-posted on BeerAdvocate.com.)

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