Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVIII – Imperial Porter at 11.8% ABV | 51 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVIII Imperial Porter at 11.8% ABV | 51 IBU (C$23.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 13-Jun-2016, acquired 18-Sep-2016, reviewed 8-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, smoke, chocolate, oak, citrus, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full slightly viscous body, moderate-low carbonation, dry building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Yes, this might be kind of an odd choice for one of the hottest days of the year, but I’m enjoying my nicely cool basement media room, and figured, why not? Like my sticker says, life is short so drink good beer – and they’ve taken a lot of swings at getting this one right, so I figured it should at the very least qualify as “good”. It took a bit of hemming and hawing for me to zero in on this particular one, since I have multiples of multiple vintages of the birthday reserve in my cellar, but I figured this could be the sweet spot for tasting, and if the mood takes me I can try one of my two one-year-older ones in quick succession to compare, or give them another year in the cellar before splitting one out, while still continuing to build on my four-year-plus run of vintages for a future vertical. (Yes, I actually plan tastings years ahead. Sad, huh?)

Anyway. Beer. This is interesting, all right, and lots of fun. I noted smoke as my first aroma note, which it was, but in a relatively short-lived fashion. Fairly early into the glass, the chocolate, woody bourbon, and citrus notes take the helm, and the peated malt retires gracefully to the background. It’s tempting to say there’s a milk chocolate note there, but I think that’s more a function of the combination of vanilla and cocoa, than any real lactose aspect. Orange peel and dark fruits are buried fairly deep and never really come to the forefront, but provide a nice background for the aforementioned. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable slow sipper, complex without being overly busy. I’m looking forward to several years of comparing differing flavour and ageing profiles. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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