Monday, January 28, 2013

DESCHUTES' "BLACK BUTTE XXIV" TAKES A STEP TOWARD THE ABYSS

For many years now I've held DESCHUTES BREWING's "THE ABYSS" up to light and to heaven as the Greatest Imperial Stout Of All Time. Or – at least of my time. Knowing as I do that they also have been aging their flagship Black Butte Porter in barrels for a few years, and therefore ramping up both the alcohol and the flavor, I wanted to do my damnedest this year to make sure I got a bottle of "BLACK BUTTE XXIV" to see if it compares well to "The Abyss". Certainly the glass of this I had at their Bend, Oregon brewpub two years ago did – both my non-beer-drinking wife and I were floored by it. So let's see how the 2012 version sits in the pantheon of intense, inky black imperial ales.

"BLACK BUTTE XXIV" is a 11% ABV demon who brings forth his attack very subtly. It's silky smooth, like buttah. Inky, black and sweet, it has a multi-layered flavor profile with chocolate, dates coming to the fore. They say I'm supposed to taste figs and dates. I'm gettin' the dates, yeah. It's a serious dark chocolate bar pummel, though – far easier to consume than its 11% alcohol might imply, and thoroughly delicious. These guys know how to make a killer imperial dark beer, and while it may not be the mind-melter that 2010 version I had was, it was pretty special nonetheless. 8/10.

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