Deschutes Black Butte XXIII, Porters Don’t Get Much More Imperial Than This

I never really know how to straddle these imperial porters. Regular porters are often so far away in scope and execution, but imperial stouts are completely different beasts altogether. Suffice it to say, I enjoy this style a ton when they are executed well, but if it’s too big, it eats shit like a Korean gymnast. Lucky for us, this one sticks the landing, sticks it so hard.

Droppin twanky tres on em.

Deschutes xxiii Black Butte Imperial Porter 10.5% abv

A: This has a slippery BP black with mild wateriness and deep amber hues, great carbonation and a fantastic presentation. The legs do not show through that well and if this is an imperial porter, it’s a pretty fucking powerful empire because the maltiness toes the line into a stout-tranny, er, you know what I mean.

I won’t say I am afraid of this beer, but it is capable of some dangerous shit.

S: There is an orange rind smell with licorice light and smokiness. It smells amazing. This is one of the most aromatic porters that I have ever encountered and I still get jazzed every time someone busts one of these out. You get some nice vanilla, oak, and light waft of alcohol.

T; There is a great slickness with a little juniper herbal finish to it. The front is similar to dark chocolate notes but the mouthfeel is distinctly porter not stout. It has a finishing dryness with a lingering sweetness. Just fantastic all around on the tastey sesh. I really enjoy the interesting venn diagram that it creates between stouts and porters in that it is still distinctly huge and mildly watery, relative to an imperial stout, but still maintains its character very well. It’s the difference between a chocolate milkshake and some gourmet Yoohoo. Feel me?

There’s a bit of gentle lightness in this deep darkness that delivers the sweetness to your facehole.

M: The coating is huge, probably the thickest porter that I have encountered. This easily gives Victory at Sea a run for its money. I want more and alas, I cannot obtain it that easily after the run is done. I would stack this right next to Birth of Tragedy, albeit below it as a fine example of a beastly porter that delivers harder than a Ramen courier.

D: This is a split ticket decision. On one hand you have a big foamy, filling, high abv porter that imparts considerable dryness. On the other hand, it is so well balanced and delicious, you could drink this into a stupor. Ultimately I will side with the party that supports consuming delicious things at length. If you have soft little hands and a light stride, sure, have an 8oz taster and move on. The rest of us will engage in a bacchanalian festival of porters and rejoicing.

This is deep and dark but menacing at the same time.

Narrative: Mocha stared knowingly at the horizon, sensing a storm was coming. Her penguin bretheren were too busy diving for squid in the shallows to pay attention. However, deep in Mocha’s soul she felt that insightful knowledge, that looming storm. They would chastise her, call her serious and forlorn and continue with their gallivanting. Day by day the temperatures were steadily rising and no one seemed to care. Sage old Mocha wiped her brow and pecked at the shallow pools. No one believed her when she predicated the great migration, no one trusted her when she foresaw the epic enclosure and flock partition, but now, here they were, in the Cleveland Zoo, and things were getting worse. Some Browns fans had showed up to the habitat and were throwing pork rinds into the water. Their jowls shook violently as they guffawed at the penguins splashing playfully. Mocha lowered her gaze at these overweight humans and noted, “mom’s gonna fix it all soon, mom’s gonna drown us set back to the way it oughta be.”


Total Eclipse of the Stout, 50/50 Imperial Eclipse Stout, Evan Williams’ -bals

A Total Eclipse of the Stout

Astronomy getting all twisted like a bag of ropes.

Imperial Eclipse 50/50 Brewing Co, Imperial Stout, 9.5% abv, aged in Evan Williams Barrels

A: Not the hardest convict on the block, nice oiliness but not unapproachable. It has a good carbonation that flees cell block 50/50 immediately. There is a nice lacing that sticks around looking all like Mervyn’s cargo shorts.

S: Holy hell, the bourbon has still not settled down at all. This smells like whiskey, oak and raisins all the way down. This doesn’t come across like those tame ass raisins in barley wines either. I mean angry California Raisins after years of being portrayed as a racist demagogues. That sort of pissed.

T: The bourbon shows up immediately and opens the door for a series of cronies, each one more hateful than the last. Filing in succession we get coffee, wearing an eye patch, raisin, brandishing a switchblade, and the mute, fig, silent but deadly with the sais. What a band of rogues this barrel assembled for my palate.

M: It is not overly filling but it is still intimidating given the panoply of items being presented. I don’t feel like I need to sign over the title deed to my tongue, but it certainly is implied. The coating is nice and similar to a breakfast stout until bourbon comes rolling in and busting up the place. If my tongue owned a PS3, he would be smashing it. Now where am I gonna find another copy of bourbon barrel Katamari Damasi on such short notice?

D: Well given the fact that my mouth feels like an oil refinery, I would say “not very.” This feels like a barrel crude oil and not in that cool Abyss ‘09 way. This just feels dangerous like I shouldn’t smoke around it. I don’t care about the different versions, there is something inherently insane about this beer. Some might opine “oh this cousin cuts himself LESS” but that doesn’t matter, it is still patently insane. Usually I would complain about the abv but here it is just the execution. It is like someone with ADD was in charge of the secondaries and my palate is a proximate victim. Coffee splash damage +24.

Narrative: The life of an oil refinerist was not glamorous, hell, it wasn’t even recognized by Google as a legitimate profession. That didn’t stop Slick Crudework. His parents almost named him knowing his future prospects, but that is a story for another time. He had been the overseer at the Mobil platform #42 in Long Beach for as long as he could remember but he didn’t mind it at all. Slick would come into the local AMPM covered in sludge and the recalcitrant Korean man would yell at him but, hey, if not for Slick, would those pumps be pushing out overpriced unleaded for Mini Cooper owners to feel good about themselves? Probably not. “A 211, some henny, and some Listerine strips.” The truth was that Slick did not even want these items, he had heard E40 order these items in a song and wanted to seem relevant. The Korean shop keep presented them to him balefully. He followed his own mucky steps out to his car. Sure everyone thought he was a drunk and overpowering, but who really was the crude boss in this bossocracy? That’s what I thought.


Surly Darkness, 10.3% Imperial Stout, Charlie Murphy: DARKNESS

It's like Baudelaire hooking up with Minnie Mouse, so dark, so dirty.

What perfect beer for the day after Halloween, DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, than Darkness, an inherently evil stout

Surly, 2010 Darkness, Imperial Stout, 10.3% abv

A: This has a deep black, 1970’s exploitation film sort of darkness to it. There is a bit of shiny resplendence but it is as inky as a frightened squid through and through. It lives up to its name, dark as satan’s magic, like post-Milton Satan, really dark. Also the carbonation is like 5% tint baller, thick, and mocha.

S: It has the smell of deep dark melted raisins, melted dark chocolate, roasted coffee, figs and a vanilla sweetness. It’s like that movie Problem Child, sweet, but dark and disturbing at the same time.

T: This beer has a fantastic sweetness at the outset similar to maple syrup with cocoa and chocolate tastes throughout. The alcohol is well hidden and presents a nice oakiness on the finish. It’s like being whipped with black licorice, but at a pagan Steinbeck festival, deep, sweet, and bothersome.

M: The mouthfeel has a great maltiness and depth that just delivers on so many levels. It coats initially like Behr paint, the nursery mocha color of negligent parents. It lingers when you cleanse the palate and gives a nice tobacco taste. It’s like kissing the smoky old chocolate mixer at the Godiva factory, with his sweet Guatemalan mouth.

D: This is thick, rich, and dark; the Lamar Odom of the stout world. While in most instances, a beer this ambitious suffers but, I have a tough time knocking this because the sweetness is there, the coffee is there, and it washes away clean. This tawdry barista is good for the long haul.

Narrative: “Dear Warren, I have longingly written to you every day, please, just let me know if the flame, that burned so brightly when we embraced each other underneath the Bakersfield moonlight at the water park, still smolders within your breast.” The rain pounded the window sill and Kaitlyn cried soft alligator tears that rolled down her cheeks and the Energy Star windows of her track home. The winters in Bakersfield had a biting cold that was paralleled only by the winter wonderland that was Stockton. “Dear Kaitlyn, I am not sure if our summer romance was a fleeting apparition in your mind, but I still think back to the warm buzzing of the Kern County air, and coughing mildly at the humidity and pollution. I still miss the sweet taste of your Dr. Pepper chaptick. My letters go unanswered, please answer me sweet muse.” Barreling down the streets of California avenue was a Post Service truck painted matte black, its occupant maintained a hateful twisted smile. Bags and bags of correspondence were ignited before the authorities caught onto his exploits. The Dark Courier knew no boundaries. “Dear Kaitlynn, I heard of a tragic fire in Bakersfield and double homicide on Cedar ave, near our favorite water park, please respond to let me know that all is well.”