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Peter LaFrance

Monday, February 2, 2009

A taste of… Black Butte XX

Deschutes Brewery
Bend, OR

Preface: Last night (Super Bowl ’09) I found this bottle hiding in the back of the refrigerator. I have no Idea how long it has been in there and can’t find any promotional material to describe it. The label tells me that it is a 20th anniversary reserve.

A note on the label says, “XX It usually means bigger, richer and we can think of no better way to describe the taste of this even-bolder take on our classic, black butte porter. Black Butte XX is an imperial porter with a lot more malt and hops, a wealth of coffee, cocoa nibs and aged in bourbon oak barrels. It also means twenty. Enjoy one on our twentieth anniversary. On the flavor scale – it’s legendary.” Also noted on the label – “Porter brewed with chocolate beans and coffee added. With 20% aged in bourbon barrels.”

Alcohol by volume: 11%

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: This is a very deep garnet red brew, almost black and not opaque. A maglight can be seen shown through the pint glass. The head is a very rocky but well built mocha tan rich and creamy construction. It falls gradually and leaves a fine brown Belgian Lace.

Aroma: As soon as I opened the bottle the rich malt aroma, followed by chocolate was very evident. The first impression of aromatic sensations is of toast, followed by a dark chocolate aroma. The second impression added the bourbon aromas… The lip-to-sip was rich in chocolate and then bourbon.

Mouth feel: Rich, creamy sensations followed the refreshing cool sensation. There is only a hint of the alcoholic “heat”.

Flavor: An initial refreshing chill of the brew there is a series of flavors here. Chocolate is shy but the coffee and bourbon are less inhibited. However there is also some oak, leather and burnt malt there also. None of these flavors become overpowering.

Finish: There is a remarkably quick finish to this brew. This is not to say that is a bad thing. There is no cloy or soapy finish. All of the flavors remain for a moment but then bow out gracefully.

Comments: This is a “sneaky” brew in that if you didn’t know how powerful it is you might want to make short order of the first pint and only then take your time enjoying the complex flavors you will find if you take your time with the second pint. If you swallow the second pint with the gusto of the initial one you are on your way to perdition.

I would pair this beer with either a prime rib (roasted), hash-brown potatoes with lots of onions and peppers, and creamed spinach. Or save it for a few choice chocolates after the meal.
It is perfect to share with a dining companion.

The Brewery: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/brews/reserve-series/black-butte-xx/default.aspx

What others say:

BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/63/42836

RateBeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/deschutes-black-butte-xx/74573/

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