Deschutes Brewery
from United States (Oregon)
8th highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedThe Abyss (95 / 100) Average score75 / 100 (Excellent)
Lowest RatedClass Of '88 Barley Wine (63 / 100) Number Tried29
Collage #2 (Hair of the Dog collaboration)
Reviewed by Jez on 10.11.18 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
22oz brown wax-sealed bottle purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney. This is a mix of a bunch of Deschutes and HotD beers, including The Abyss, Doggie Claws, The Stoic and Fred.

Pours a very deep brown, with some clarity, but also a murk of colour. Head is a firm crest of beige that leaves spotty lace. Body is surprisingly light, but the carbonation is still and static as the glass is tilted, which means that the illusion of weight is there. Looks good.

Nose is deep and rich. It's a melange of aromas, with deep chocolate notes marching side-by-side with strangely floral aromatics and heady spices. It has vanilla notes as well, and a buttery character from a lot of oak. The oak also gives it a phantom suggestion of acidity, but it's more by association. It's very nice.

Taste is pretty hot, and to be honest, it's a little bit of a mess. While the mix of characters on the nose felt a little bit like they were strange but placid bedfellows, on the palate it feels as though they've devolved into a little bit of rugged BDSM. There's spice on the front, and lots of boozy heat, but on the back instead of developing these characters, we drop into thick chocolate and oak. It makes it feel a bit unsatisfying. There's no denying the complexity, but the structure to keep it coherent isn't there.

Feel is hot on the front, but surprisingly empty on the back—it's a little bit as though the booze has evaporated the body at the end.

Yeah, look. This is good, but I'm not sure it's better than the sum of its parts, and in some senses it detracts from the individual elements. I like the idea, but I'm not sure this one manages to fully execute it.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Collage #2 (Hair of the Dog collaboration)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.01.17 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Bottle purchased in Portland by Chris and Julz, muled back and shared with me (and others - it's a 14.3% bomber) on 14th Jan, 2017.

Pours a dark vinous character, muscaty. Flat, heavy and sticky looking. No head, no lace. Looks very heavy; nice colour though.

Smells oaky, sweet and vinous. Fortified with dark fruit, raisins and fig notes. Largely just sweet and sticky. Pretty pleasant yet doesn't really smell like beer.

Taste is impressive. Sweet, sticky and fruity with big oaky notes. Develops some booze midway with big sweet dessert wine notes, fig and cherry and raisin and prune. Slight brandy notes, then finish is surprisingly roasty, with a slight spicy edge. Nice sweet complexities with a good dry spice along with it. Pleasantly big, without going overboard.

A bit hot upfront and then nice and sticky midway. Dry on the back.

Nice dessert beer. Pretty full-on, big and long palate. Really rather muscaty. Impressive to create this in a beer but without it being excessively sweet or rather unbalanced. It's a well-made beer, as you'd expect from the parties involved.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.75
Foray IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 08.10.15 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of 11/14/15.

Pours a pleasantly haze yellow colour, with a fine, slightly filmy heady of white that ends up as nothing more than a minor ring. Lacing forms in tine streaks and spots though, which is quite nice. Body is light and fluid. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is great—very fresh and towards the sharper end of the spectrum, with a good pine needle resinous character up front. Under this though, it's balanced with some rather broad, sweet fruit notes. Pineapple comes through strongly, as does a little mango and sweet lemon. It's nicely done.

Taste is also pretty good. Here, the pineapple note is quite noticeable, and it really provides a pleasant sweetness to rest everything else on. It's bolstered somewhat by the malt, which is present, but very neutral, which means it provides sweetness to couple with the sweeter notes of the hops, without providing and distinct flavours of its own. Yeast character is actually fairly neutral as well, despite it being a Belgian strain—I think it helps accentuate those fruity notes, without adding too much of its own twist. Bitterness is fairly mild, but it does provide a crispness and balance on the back.

Feel is fairly good too—light, but with a bite from the hops and a mild carbonation.

Overall, this is a nice IPA. I'd not necessarily be able to guess it's a Belgian-yeast-based brew, but there are signs on it that show where it's been used in the beer's craft. Mostly, it just feels pretty crisp, drinkable and tasty. Plenty to enjoy.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Twilight Summer Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 17.05.13 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
12oz bottle purchased from Whole Foods in SoMa, San Francisco.

Pours a pleasant faintly hazed golden orange, with a frothed, but slightly filmy head of white. Colour is gorgeous though, and there's a surprisingly pleasant weight to the body, leaving fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it's a pretty nice-looking beer.

Nose is biting with hops, with a very fresh, green character coming through strongly. There's a slightly rubbery tone to it as well: perhaps more of an intensity that accentuates the hop characters. Under this are characters of orange, peach and pepper, but very little sweetness or malt. I'm interested to see how it tastes.

As it happens, the taste is really quite light, but it's also quite pleasant. The hops are also pared back, leaving some fresh vegetative and fruity tones to the palate, but providing no real bitterness. There's a slight mild acid character that forms towards the back of the palate, while the peach and orange characters evanesce on the front. There's also a faint yeasty tone which is the only drawback, but after the first couple of sips, its influence is negligible. Overall, it's very pleasant.

Feel is light, but clear and clean, with a pleasant smoothness.

Overall, this is a very drinkable beer. I could certainly see myself drinking this as part of a very enjoyable session. Were it available in Australia, it would make a pretty damn impeccable beach BBQ beer. Alas.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.25
Class Of '88 Barley Wine
Reviewed by Jez on 15.05.13 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods SoMa in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, this is not a collaboration, but part of a series of Barleywines from Deschutes, Rogue and North Coast, celebrating 25 years in the craft beer industry.

Pours a lovely clear, bright orange colour, with a bright white, slightly creamy head. The forms exquisite lacing, and sticks around even as a film for quite some time. The body is silky and smooth, and holds carbonation so densely when tilted. It's a really lovely looking beer.

Nose is, in some senses, rather subdued. There's a sharp green hop presence, a definite suggestion of booziness and some sugary malt that comes through like golden syrup. But all up, it's faintly generic, and not at all particularly strong. Some cinnamon arrives slightly as it warms up, but it's not enough to add a great deal of interest.

Taste is certainly stronger, but the booze seems to pick up most of the slack, giving a heat and a bite that mingles with the hop bitterness to make it quite oppressive, especially towards the back. There's a shell of malt to it, but again it has a fragile sugar character to it: not a true sweet, wholesome richness. There are subtleties there, perhaps again like the cinnamon spice on the nose, but the booze and the intensity tend not to let them through.

No matter what I think of the flavours and their intensity, though, the feel is exquisite. Beautifully light, silky and smooth, but with a creamy richness accentuated by fine carbonation. Really, it's excellent, and only needs a better flavour profile to make it perfect.

Overall, though, this is not a beer that won me over, despite its good points. It's heavy, intransigent and somewhat frustrating. I found it needlessly big, without the payoff that a really heavy beer can bring. There are obviously things to love in this beer, but I was too conflicted to completely embrace it.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Extinction Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 08.07.12 on tap
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)
On-tap at the brewpub in Portland, OR.

Pours a deep, dank, rather flat and dormant black hue, with a ring of fine but inconsistent moch bubbles. Lacing is patchy and partial. Body is thick: it leaves fine streams of carbonation when tilted. Looks good.

Nose is dark, toasty and almost smoky. It has a strange savoury, almost meaty character to it, along with a smoothness in the integration of it all. There's no real sweetness overall, and certainly no hint of the raspberries. But it's very pleasant overall.

The taste (oh boy) is where it's at. Powerful roast character, leavened by a silky soft body. Chocolate comes through in poignant hints, along with masses of sweet, juicy and mildy biting and acidic raspberries. The fruit blends deeply with the cacoa chocolate character leaving a devilish and delicious darkness, a smooth but sinister synergy. Wow.

The finish drifts off, while the raspberry and roast still combat each other for supremacy on the palate. In a way, it's almost sexual. Gorgeous stuff.

Feel is lighter than expected, but still pleasant.

Fantastic stuff. Raspberries provide such a wonderful counterpoint to the deep toasty and undoubtedly big stout. Really enjoyable, and complex stuff.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Arsenal XPA
Reviewed by Jez on 07.07.12 on tap
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
A beefed up version of the Armory XPA, dry hopped with an experimental hop variety. On tap at the pub in Portland, OR.

Pours an amber-ish golden hue, with just a hint of depth. Good firm head of silky white that leaves some good lacing. Decent weight to the body. Looks good.

Nose is sharp and redolent with citrus, almost explosive. Lemony, pithy with twangs of fragrant grapefruit. Not much malt to speak of to give any balance. It's all about the aroma hops, and it sure is citric.

Taste is similar, with a real brightness from those experimental hops. Sharp, crisp flavours arise, while the malt really takes a back seat. Slightly sweet lemon characters fill the void, while a touch of organic funkiness provides some interest. Not bad at all.

Feel is a bit sharp, and slightly gassy; perhaps a touch to much carbonation in this keg.

Not bad at all. In some ways, it's a standard (if big) APA, but the punch of citrus really makes it stand out.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Fresh Hop Mirror Pond
Reviewed by Jez on 14.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA. Hopefully, the "fresh" still translates.

Pours a extremely clear copper amber colour, with a full and thick head of very, very pale yellow—ok, it's almost white, but with a slight tinge to it. Lacing is thick and sheeting, forming in solid, unbroken planes down the inside of the glass. Light and bright otherwise. Looks good.

Nose is smooth and rather sweet, both with a subtle caramel malt character, and the tropical hop aroma, which gives it notes of banana and guava. It's far sweeter and smoother than I expected, with certainly no crisp, sharp hop characters. Not bad though.

Taste is similarly subdued, but well integrated. Smooth round malt characters give a crisp, if somewhat insubstantial base. This is layered with the ever-present, but never-robust hop notes, that suggest freshness while contributing little to the flavour. Feel is very smooth, with a light sparkle of carbonation—again, this somewhat matches the hop characters.

It's a good beer that ends up being just a little too tame. It's very smooth and drinkable, and has some genuinely pleasant characters to it. But by the end, I feel like "yep... what's next?"

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Jubel 2010 (Once A Decade Ale)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.09.11 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark Hellish red, but no real black despite its darkness, all just curranty red. Head is ochre, nice and dense with bubbly foam atop. Lace is nice and thick; could be thicker. Damn nice.

Smell is sweet and delicious. Plenty of chocolate with carob, walnuts, cinnamon and fresh coconut flesh on there. Hint of tang to it with kiwi and brown sugar backing up. Sweet, fresh, yet dark and brooding. Quite a delicious nose.

Taste is a lot more organic than I'd thought it would be. Starts fairly dark and gets a big nutty, woody flavour pervading from early on that continues until the back. Lots of carob, vanilla and brandied currants on there giving boozey sweetness. Touch of pecan midway with slight meatiness and a decent belt of soy sauce without the saltiness - just a quite sweet fermented flavour, with a booziness complementing a fairly dry, woody residual palate. Nice oaked body, nice beer, feels like it dries itself up early.

Not as full as it might have been, but still a prominent body. Goes down quite well.

I'm doing a lot of post-mortem dissecting of this beer, but as far as beer goes it's clearly in that upper echelon. It's lovely, sweet/roasty with a nice boozey edge providing companionship. Could also be used as a very fine converter beer to wine snobs.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Jubel 2010 (Once A Decade Ale)
Reviewed by Jez on 27.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Once A Decade Ale. That's enough to get you excited, and if there's a brewery I trust to give me a good beer once every ten years, it's Deschutes. You heard me. Purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley CA, and brough tback to Sydney to crack open with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a very deep red-brown mahogany colour, almost opaque in the centre, with a frothy and lovely head of yellowish brown. It's the same shade you get from a really heavy American Red, or an extremely hoppy oil-filled IPA. Lacing doesn't stick around, but the body leaves legs when it's swirled. Looks pretty damn good.

Nose is big and smooth and slightly woody, with smooth oak coming through coupled with a slightly tart astringency. A touch of dark grain to it, and an incredible welling of smooth rich sweetness. The lightly herbal, slightly tart character is the only thing I can fault, and to be honest, I don't really want to fault it at all.

Taste is smooth and clinging, with a hint of dark wood, but mostly sticking to the tried and true story of molasses, heavy malt, and toffee, with just a clear vibrant oak echo hanging around the edges. This lends some vanilla, some fragrance and a touch of class. To be fair, it's not astoundingly complex—as in, it doesn't have nuanced and competing flavours vying for your attention—but it's very smooth and very rich.

Lovely feel; very heavy. It's a big and smooth sipper of a beer that makes you feel warm as you drink it. It's a special occasion beer, no doubt, but it has a lovely gloss to it and a sense of classiness that really sets it apart as special release beers should.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Hop Henge Experimental IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.06.11 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a red metallic colour with pleasant beige head that dissipates fairly quickly, but with a nice cloud left behind. Lace decent. Beer good.

Smell is very nice and sweet. Good toffee character with a tangy citric hop overlying, provides a slight metallic aroma and a bit of cream cheese. Overall effect is sweet, with a good bent towards tangy.

Taste is unusual, really. Nice malty note upfront with a touch of caramel, becomes quickly citric with those tangy hops asserting themselves good and early. And yet, no bitterness - just fruit and floral notes with a hint of sherbet. Finish becomes bitter, but not very hoppy, it's more of a roasty character, with minor resinous hop oil and lots of wood. Again, a bit odd, but there's nothing to complain about, it's all jolly pleasant.

Really rather lacking texture-wise, there's a bit of a pull on the back towards puckering dryness, but otherwise thin. I'd call it an oily feel.

Decent, beer, could have upped the early hopping and malt and I wouldn't be complaining. I'm not actually complaining though.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Hop Henge Experimental IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 09.06.11 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Picked this up in the US from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought it back to Australia and cracked open with @laituegonflable.

Pours a pleasant coppery gold colour, with a fine, but slightly filmy head of off-white. Lacing is speckled, but decent enough. Body is nicely thick and it leaves some pleasant static carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.

Nose is crisp and slightly metallic, it gives me the impression that it's a little bit old, with the grain notes coming through more prominently than you'd expect in an IPA. Still, there's plenty of greenery, some tight citric bite and a fresh, peppery lift that only hops could explain.

Taste is pleasant, but a little weird. Certainly, on the surface, it seems to tick all the boxes stylistically. Big hop bitterness: check. Malty sweetness: check. Big full body: check. But there are odd characters to it as well. A sherbetty character, a sweet lemonade note, even a hint of gatorade powder. It's an odd mix. Even the sweetness has an oddly confectionery tone to it: like a barley sugar lolly. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it has some oddness.

A decent brew, but with some odd twists. I'll put it down to the "Experimental" in the name, and be content with that.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Inversion IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 07.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a lovely red-tinged amber colour, with a very fine, if slight head of yellow-white. Lacing is sheeting and thick, however, which should make up for the lack of head retention. Thick body for its 6.8%. The gorgeous colour and lacing make this a very fine looking beer.

Nose is fruity and rather sweetly perfumed, without a lot of true gritty, grunty hop bite. Floral aromas with a dash of honey and some mild tropical fruits. Even a twang of green banana, laced with the remnants of passionfruit. Very pleasant.

Taste is smooth for the most part, with a mild bitterness through the centre. This, however, doesn't quite manage to cover the intense and robust caramel sweetness that forms the basis of the beer. Together, they head towards a menthol bite on the back, but the characters never really mesh that well.

Feel is smooth and supple, with a lightness that matches the lilt of hoppy bitterness pleasantly.

A nice beer, although getting outside the realms of a really good IPA. The sweetness is a bit too pronounced, leaving it more a beer to sip and ruminate over than one to drink with gay abandon.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Obsidian Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark, dark colour, slight brown up to the light but mostly black. Head is ochre, just noticeable whispy bubbles on a thin film. Lace is kind of scary and Mayan in its patterns on the glass, but quite nice.

Smell is decent, a bit weak though with mild dark coffee notes giving that slightly watered-down espresso character, but with pleasant hints of vanilla and slight coconut character. Touch of oak funk as well, and a mild cherry note peeps through at the back.

Taste is alright. Some milder-than-expected malt notes upfront, dark and kinda espresso-esque, with coffee beans and cocoa on the mid, slightly bitter with a touch of mint and a slight caramelly note to the malt. Yeah, a bit burnt towards the finish but swallowed by a thinness that really detracts from the burnt maltiness of the beer otherwise. Decent, but not wonderful.

Yeah, a decent body as well, a bit thin but not overly so, holds its own.

A pretty decent stout, although I would happily take some more robust flavours in there and still drink a few. I may have been tainted by the extremely good imperial stout I had before this, but comparing it with even Sierra Nevada stout for example I enjoyed the latter a lot more.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Obsidian Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 05.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Purchased a grey-market import in Australia. I figure at least a stout will survive better in whatever conditions we get it in.

Pours a deep and dark black-brown, with a very deep brown head. Much darker than usual, with a complex and intricate lace on the inside of the glass. I love the lace, which forms in honeycomb patterns, so beautiful. Body is pleasantly thick and heavy. Looks very decent.

Nose is roasty, but soft, just giving some subtle dark notes to an otherwise oily and supple-sweet character. It's not terribly complex, but it has some pleasant aromas.

Taste is nicely roasty. For the ABV, you expect this level of char, because it doesn't have the extra body to bring it into heavy sweetness. Some ash, a bit of toast, burnt grain, with a lightness in the feel that actually aids drinkability, if it doesn't aid the palate.

Yeah, this is a nice stout, without being astounding. It's certainly good enough to be worthy of a couple of retries, and is certainly something I'd happily drink as a session brew, if I wanted something dark. I think that's the mark of a good simple stout.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
The Abyss
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a deep, dark brown colour, very dark with just a murky brown at the rim. Head is a deep, dark umber - possibly the darkest head I've seen. Sinking here and there but retains a wonderful, really impressive thick amount. Lace is very impressive and clumpy and just hangs around. That beer is here to stay. Very impressive.

Smells very rich and roasty, but not burnt. Has a strong unsweetened chocolate component, sweet at the back but mostly just intense toastiness. Pleasant spice along with it, some cumin, star anise and nutmeg. Slight sour woody note as well; very pleasant indeed.

Taste is really quite intense. A lot of dry roasted characters with potent cocoa and leather on the front as well as dark roasted grain. As with all very good imperial stouts, one sip explodes with flavour in my mouth, foregoing the need to drink this too quickly without savouring. There's a really strong alcohol heat from quite early in the palate, which is complemented by harsh spice, pepper and aniseed. Fortunately there is no fusel alcohol flavour and it's just warm and a delightful stinging giving me exquisite pain. Some fruit on the back, with figs and oak wood and a slight smokey edge. Very explosive, flavoursome and complex beer. However, I can't say I'm as enamoured with this as I have been with others in the same vein - Avery Mephistopheles remains the yardstick to me.

Perfectly weighted body, heavy but smooth with a Midash touch as it glissandoes down. Marvelous.

Yeah, that hot alcohol is a downer. But don't let that put a dampener on this otherwise damn fine gargantuan beer.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.0
The Abyss
Reviewed by Jez on 15.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
95 / 100
(Best of the Best)

Here it is. I purchased this bottle of the 2009 vintage early in 2010, and have been savouring it for as long as possible. I feel my 1,000th beer review on BeerAdvocate was a suitable time to crack it open. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours in a sinewy curve, a black and oily body. Even the pour seems heavy, although once it's in the glass and has settled, it's remarkably fluid. Head is huge and boisterous to begin with, leaving quite a dark mass of brown bubbling on top, and cascading down the sides of the glass. Lacing is thick, sticky and intricate. It's a fantastic looking beer. There are few better that I've laid eyes upon.

Nose is that absolutely classic American imperial stout melange of bourbon barrel, vanilla, coconut sweetness and raw, aggressive blackness. Rich and thick, with enough almost corporeal aroma to stick around, dancing inside the nostrils for a long time. holy crap, what an astounding nose.

Taste is where this starts to set itself apart from the general flow of the style. Here, the liquorice starts to assert itself, giving a sharper character to the palate, along with the dark and brusque roasted bitterness. The sweetness has all but dropped out in the flavour, although the bitterness in the back gives hints of overcooked chocolate cake. Feel is phenomenally good. Smooth and silky, but leavened by the almost physical character of spicy anise.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. What a way to celebrate #1000. This is a truly phenomenal and exceptional beer, with such classic characters mixed with such uniqueness and a full-bodied head-pound of complexity and flavour. There's a reason this is so well regarded, and it's totally deserving of its place in the craft beer zeitgeist.

Fantastic.

appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a dark, murky brown colour with delicious ochre head, sinking around the edges but leaving a nice marshmallowy pillow in the middle. Lace is gorgeously sticky around the edges. Could maybe be more black around the edge, because it's actually got quite a light brown rim to it.

Smell is beautifully Cascadian, with gorgeous floral hop character, so much pineapple, citrus and sherbet with cakey malt and cocoa underlying, just for good measure. But it's predominantly IPA-esque, floral, grassy and citric. Just a delicious aroma, a cracker.

Tastes pretty decent as well. Lots of roasty malt on that though. Very chocolatey throughout palate, especially on the front and mid. Mid-palate then takes on big hoppy characters with nice grassy notes and citric tang. Quite bitter with a zest to it and a slight flaxy flavour. If I have a criticism of this (and I do) it's that the feel is very dry. Body overall is quite foamy; fairly solid as well but just leaves so dry and doesn't really need to.

A very pleasant flavour harmony here struck between light and dark shades. The flavours of dark-bitter from the roasted malt and fresh-bitter from the hops just work together nicely. The resultant beer is very enjoyable, and an indictment of why the India Black Ale (that's my preferred terminology; sue me) is the style of the moment.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 16.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a certainly dark, almost black colour, with a reddish tinge around the edges. Head is frothy and bubbly and extremely voluminous, leaving chunky and solid lacing around the glass. Something about it seems very three-dimensional. There's something solid, real and believable about the beer, and I like that.

Nose, expectedly, is extremely hop-forward, with Cascade citric characters being of course the dominant character. It's true, it smells like an IPA, not a dark ale; very fruity, hoppy with resin, but perhaps with a slightly roasted grain note behind it. The hops are indeed dominant though, and it has a genuine west coast IPA swing to it. It's nice.

Taste is where this beer, and the style in general, comes into its own. Initial fruity and lightly spicy hop hints come through robustly, but almost immediately a dark, roasted character wells up to remind us that this is where the beer is at, really. It ends up lending a cherry-kirsch kind of bite to the beer - the deepness giving an astringency to the otherwise dry and fragrant hop bite. Finish is very dark and rather confrontingly roasted and bitter. Surprisingly, the bitterness on the back certainly comes more from the roasted grain than from the hops. Feel is rather light, although if it were thicker, it would be harder still to place this as something other than a heavy stout.

This is a very complex and deep beer; one that requires respect and recognition. While, unsurprisingly, the dark and the hoppy characters jangle against each other uncomfortably, they also create a kind of harmony that is hard to ignore, and which demands recognition as a unique style. A fascinating brew.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Black Butte XXI
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a murky oaky-brown colour, very dark but a nice brown hue at the edges. Head is beiege, modest but good, retaining a thin crown with some specks of lacing but it clings wonderfully to the glass. Yeah, colour could be a bit darker but otherwise good.

Smell is strong, and wow! Bizarre! That's nuts! Huge booziness but lots of spice and funk. Chilli, coriander seeds and dark chocolate, yeah, massive spice with some hints of banana, copper, star anise and black pepper. Pretty bizarre, vanilla and brown sugar as well for some sweet notes. It's so bizarre I'm a bit unnerved, but it's fascinating.

Taste is less bizarre, and I'm not sure if I'm disappointed as a result. Lots of brown sugar through the palate with boozey notes and hints of walnuts and star anise. Notes of berries and chocolate and some espresso coffee on there as well. This is complex, so I might need to throw out one-word flavour descriptors. Coconut. Figs. Dried apple. Licorice. Peanuts. Wood smoke. Metal. Fascinating, but it just doesn't quite charm me that much. I'm more interested in it as a case study than as a full-time sexual partner.

Swills nicely, nice stickiness, slight sharpness form the warming booze, but overall very nice feel to it.

Distinctly odd but decidedly enjoyable.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Black Butte XXI
Reviewed by Jez on 25.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)

Pours an absolutely lovely deep ruby-black colour, with a frothy and solid head of chocolate brown foam. Body is incredibly thick, and it pours with some amazingly awesome cascade. Really delicious looking.

Nose... Holy crap. Big spicy characters all over it, giving some chilli spice, but it's mingled with huge dark chocolate characters and a huge whisky booze character. Oh my god. It's amazingly powerful, and so incredibly delicious. Amazingly awesome.

Taste is very rich and dark, extremely boozy and heavy. Big and delicious. Spice is also present here, with some sharp prickly adherence midway through the palate. Leaves a big and extremely robust character all over the palate that dances and sparkles to the very end. What an excellent beer.

This is really, really good. Deschutes do an amazing job in general, but with this special release, they have really given us something special. So smooth, yet so complex and delicious. I love it.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Black Butte Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 07.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a deep garnet brown, with a phenomenally thick and boisterous head of tan foam. Lacing is excellent, leaving tiny shell patterns down the edge of the glass. This is a very fine looking beer, and an excellent look for a porter.

Light sweet, dusty chocolate notes on the nose. A hint of carbonic acidity, and a decent amount of cellar mustiness. Quite dark, but with a wonderful fresh leavened note. Quite good.

Really nice clean dark character. It's certainly not ashy; it's just deep with dark chocolate notes, that ride lightly over the palate. Plenty of sweet characters, but they're very delicately handled. Finish has a refreshing note of seaweed. Mouthfeel is disappointingly thin, but you probably pay for the lightness on the palate somewhere.

An extremely drinkable porter. Not huge on the palate, but it has really pleasant characteristics, which are well integrated, and make for an astoundingly sessionable beer. I could certainly drink this all night. Unfortunately, I only have one bottle.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Mirror Mirror
Reviewed by Jez on 06.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5