Black Butte Porter – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

image

Black Butte Porter – Deschutes Brewery, 5.2% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-right label:

“An opening volley, this pioneering dark ale signaled Deschutes’ renegade intentions. Its creamy mouthfeel, complex layers, hop edge and chocolate finish personify passion-forward brewing.”

  • Style: Porter
  • Taste: Light roast caramel malt coffee chocolate smooth start-to-finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: Pours dark cola brown with barely any head, a thin layer of micro retention, lots of medium-speed streams.

Nose: roast caramel malts. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming roast

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, micro fizzy, (MAIN) light roast coffee, molasses, malt, chocolate

Finish: burpy, light roast malt exhale, malty finish.

Summary: The difference between a porter and a stout? This exemplifies it for me right here. Crisp and lighter bodied without the heaviness, cleaner malt flavours, and straighter light roast delivery with a soft finish. Other online sources may tell you otherwise, but this distinction rings true for me at least.

The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

image

The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.1% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front label:

“The Abyss: malt beverage brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels.

It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.”

wpid-img_20150428_022147.jpg

  • Style: (bourbon, oak, wine) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Evolving with temperature roast malt chocolate raspberry alcoholic soy sauce vanilla woody
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn (Bby, Hastings)
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., February 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, annually
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way, it’s a trip

Visual: 2014 edition, black wax sealed. Pours coffee black with a very small head, petri dish lacing, SUPER-fine bubbles.

Nose: roasted dark malts, cherry wood, wet red wine barrels. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: very slick-oily mouthfeel, subdued alcohol

Mid-palate: light sourness, (MAIN) brown sugar, thick malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, woody, raspberry ->transition-> (lvl-7)-sweetness+malt

Finish: soy sauce, licorice, roasted-burnt bitter exhale, light burpy, cascading alcohol buzz, sweet-light bitter chocolate malt finish.

Summary: A beer with impact, both in taste and alcoholic bite. Layers upon layers of flavour, every year is exceptional. Notice the changes in flavours as the temperature decreases; less malt and more fruity characteristics emerge.

Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

wpid-20141127_014003.jpg

Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery, 5.3% ABV – 22oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

  • Style: Amber Ale
  • Taste: caramel barley malt soft bitter hopped
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 22oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours copper reddish brown with a small creamy head, well sticky lacing, a very thin layer of micro retention, several slow singular streams.

Nose: sweet honey/barley malts, mild hoppy backdrop. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp-sweet-hopped balance

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, fizzy-tingly, (MAIN) barley malt, soft-prominent hopped bitterness, caramel, subtle roast.

Finish: lingering bitter hops, light caramel-bitter hopped finish.

Summary: A crisp, semi-malty, semi-sweet but hop-dominant beer. Very drinkable with a meal or alone, although a bit tiring on the palate.

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

wpid-20140517_202040.jpg

  • My Rating: A-

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.3% ABV – 650ml.,(Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

Dates, figs and chocolate. Black currants, barrel-aged in bourbon casks. The result is an Imperial Porter with a tart berry and chocolate aroma with luscious layers of dried fruit, oak and vanilla. A fitting tribute to the 25th Anniversary of our flagship beer.”

  • Style: (flavoured) Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Sour malt date/fig cocoa coffee currant
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off) – 650ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Now in their 25th edition with every year a little different and a bit more special. Pours ultra dark brown with virtually no head, a super thin layer of retention, lots of micro streams scattered throughout.

Nose: super malty with some cocoa. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sour-sweet deep maltiness

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) fig/date fruitiness, malts, cocoa, black currant depth, coffee, bourbon booziness

Finish: coffee bitterness, alcohol detection, malty bittersweet finish.

Summary: Extremely well-bodied and drinkable, albiet very heavy malty. Having tried the 23rd version, I like that one better. This one is a bit more deep and sour whereas that one was citrus-chocolate spicy. Check out that review here.

Conflux Series No.1 – Deschutes & Hair of the Dog Collaboration (Bend, Oregon, USA)

wpid-20140409_174140.jpg

  • My Rating: C

Conflux Series No.1 – Deschutes & Hair of the Dog Collaboration, 11.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

“Deschutes Brewery and Hair of the Dog Brewing join forces to weave The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam into an artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy. Damn. Beer is fun!

Conflux No. 1 – Malt beverage aged in distilled spirit and wine oak barrels.

  • Style: (barrel-aged) American Strong Ale
  • Taste: Red wine sweet/acidic brown sugar malt beer
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not quite

Visual: Pours cloudy pale beer bottle brown with almost no head, thin ringed retention, several very slow streams.

Nose: Soy sauced malts with some fishiness. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: dense tangy-sour malts

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-dense sweetness, medium sour/tangy, (MAIN) sweet malts, brown sugar/candi sugar, mild soy sauce, red wine grapiness + acidity

Finish: oaked malts, soft bitter sweet malted hopped finish.

Summary: Hmm.. normally I love barrel-aged beers but I’m not quite sold on this one. The acidity/sourness doesn’t quite balance out nicely with the brown sugar malts. I must say the high ABV is well hidden though. Brewdog does a better job with their similar style Abstrakt AB:10 (A).

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon, USA)

wpid-20131213_173246.jpg

  • My Rating: B

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 6.0% ABV –1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

“This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: hoppy/creamy -> toffee malt/pine/tangerine -> grapefruit hoppy bitter/caramel malt bittersweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours translucent bright copper brown, small foamy head, thin layer of retention, sticky lacing, several slow streams, suspended sediment.

Nose: grapefruit hops, toffee malt. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: incoming bittersweet hops, creamy texture

Mid-palate: (5)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, pine, tangerine

Finish: deep semi-sweet grapefruit bitter hops, clean caramel malt finish.

Summary:  The freshness of the hops reminds me of a less boozier version of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. Great drinkability and body. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter – Deschutes/Great Lakes Collaboration (USA)

20130910_025033

  • My Rating: B-

Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter – Deschutes/Great Lakes Brewing Collaboration (Brewed by Deschutes), 9.1% ABV, 1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon)

on the front label:

“From the brewers of the celebrated BLACK BUTTE PORTER and EDMUND FITZGERALD PORTER comes this limited-run collaboration, brewed with ROASTED and SMOKED MALT for a rich chocolate aroma and subtle smoky flavor.”

on the front-side of the label:

“Class of ’88. A quarter century ago a passion for craft brewing ignited across the country. Today, the founding breweries of 1988 have united to commemorate that seminal year with a special selection of  beers. Every bottle is a portal to the renaissance of craft brewing. Each steeped in heritage and expert craftsmanship. Enjoy this tribute to the class of 88′.”

  • Style: (Smoked) Imperial Porter
  • Taste Profile: sweet malts -> thick caramel malts/chocolate/cola -> alcohol/sour coffee/smoked applewood malty finish
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off), September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, if you already like porters

Visual: I was impressed by Deschutes’ Black Butte last year so I when I saw this bottle I knew I had to try it. Also, it’s a collab so it should be twice as good, right? Pours ultra dark brown with almost no head, very thin micro CO2 retention, slow stead streams along the perimeter.

Nose: Thick and thicker malts mixed with hints of roasted applewood

Attack: sweet(8/10) malts, fizzy, incoming dense malts

Mid-palate: thick mouthfeel, (MAIN) caramel malts, chocolate, (HINTS) cola

Finish: mild alcohol detection, sour bittersweet coffee, smoked applewood malty finish.

Summary: Fully bodied, medium-thick, and bold flavours though somewhat heavy on the palate. It needs to go with something sweet or cheesy to clean your palate, otherwise it gets heavy by itself.

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, USA)

image

  • My Rating: C+

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 5.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, OR, USA)

On the front side label:

“You pair wheat, hops and Belgian yeast and suddenly ‘bingo, a wheat like nobody else’s.’ With real depth, coriander and sweet orange peel, it’s citrus-packed and silky smooth going down.”

  • Style: (wheat & spiced) IPA
  • Taste Profile: banana malt -> sour citrus/grapefruit/barnyard -> coriander/pepper/dense malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15/6pack, June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy light yellow with a smallish dissipating head, a soft layer of retention, lacing, and some barely visible activity. Wheaty banana and guava with a bit of barnyard on the nose.

Attack: tangy malted banana

Mid-palate: 6/10-citrus sourness, white grapefruit, hints of barnyard, 6/10-sweetness

Finish: cuts to off-dry, bitter coriander, mild pepperiness, lingering dense sugars with a wheat-malt background.

Lots of interesting flavours here balanced with fine drinkability. I’m not a huge fan of IPAs but this one is acceptable.

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes (Oregon, USA)

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes, 6.7% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“Jubelale is classified as a “Strong Ale” or an “English Olde Ale,” and has ties to the traditional Celebration Ales of England. Characterized by a very large malt body and pronounced bitterness, Jubelale contains five different varieties of hops and a healthy amount of caramel. The perfect ale for surviving the long, cold nights of winter. Our tradition is having a different local artist design our Jubelale label & packaging each year. October – December – draft and bottles ”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Creamy malted bittersweet caramel -> hoppy/burnt roast/cola -> long lingering heavy dry bitterness.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16/6pack, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours dark amaretto brown, decent foamy head, ringed retention, sticky lacing, some slow streams. Caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a thick creaminess up front, quickly turning caramel hoppy bitter balanced by 4/10-sweetness, burnt roast, cocoa, finishing long lingering dry hopped bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. The heavy bitterness is taxing on the palate.

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes (Bend, Oregon, USA)

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes, 10.8.% ABV, (Bend, Oregon)

On the front and back label:

“Black Butte XXIII: Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and natural flavors added, with 25% aged in Bourbon Barrel. XXIII. So where to next? What’s 2011’s rich imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges, Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo’s. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn’t it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: A+
  • Why I like: wow amazing unique flavour
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: $30 , 1pt 6 fl.oz., 10/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours jet black, minimal head, micro CO2, thin ringed retention. A lot of coffee, caramel and malts on the nose. This beer is an OMG beer. Bold flavours of malted caramel up front, smooth 6/10-sweetness level milk chocolate, orange oil in the background, orange peel near the finish along with a spicy peppery finish. Toffee from the bourbon barrel aging, and a bit of roast coffee as well. High complexity, high depth, excellent transitions, excellent carry, long length, excellent drinkability. The ABV is well hidden and this is a delight to drink. Try it before I buy all of the rest available.