Saturday, July 2, 2011

Deschutes Black Butte XXIII - Not just an Anniversary Ale

Each spring some of my favorite beers are bottled. Bourbon Porters. I've been looking forward to this years anniversary beer from Deschutes. Their Black Butte XXXIII. Deschutes folks have been stringing us along and teasing us with their twitter updates. It's their bourbon barrel aged Imperial Porter. This years has Spanish Seville oranges, cacao nibs and 25% bourbon barrel aged Black Butte. That sounds like a recipe for success (or a chocolate bar) to me.

It's recommended that you lay this beer down for a year or so to let the flavors mellow and develop. It's pretty strong fresh and I expect it to mellow and become more subtle if you're patient enough to give it time.

The nose has an orange and hot chocolate smell. It has a very dark and rich smell and appearance. It pours with a doughy head head like pancake batter. It's black and opaque and carbonated. Not too thick or motor oil like. It maintains the lighter weight of a beer.

The Bitter chocolate and crystal malt jump out at you immediately and weigh heavily on your tongue. The carbonation adds weight to the mouth feel to keep it from tasting too thin. It's hot and citrus tart at the end from the orange peel. The bourbon is not overly present. You can tell it's there from the warmth in the chest afterward. Time will mellow out the bitter and bring the bourbon forward. As you sit back and mull over what your tasting, the cacao dries out your mouth and the tart citrus lingers on. And on. The finish is very complex with just as much happening in the finish as there is while drinking. Take your time with this one. Sip, sit back, and wait for it to unfold. The wait some more and watch as more of it reveals itself. This deserves a leather club chair, smoking jacket and a cigar. When your single malt buddies invite you over to sniff scotch from a rocks glass and snob out, this is your chance to ambush them with a beer that gives them just as much to savor and gab about.

4/5 fresh and expect it to get better from here.

Pros: you can sit next to your single malt buddies with this in your snifter and hold your own.

Cons: most people won't understand why you like this.

Verdict: a beer for the beer snob in you.

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