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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

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907 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 907
Reviews: 489
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 10.35%
Wants: 2,698
Gots: 169 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 907 | Reviews: 489
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on-tap at the brewpub in Sept. 2005. It was called simply "Portsmouth Imperial Stout" at that time.

This Imperial Stout poured a black color with creamy, brown foam that persisted and clung to the glass and coated the inner walls of the glass as the beer level diminished. The smell was rich: dark malt with a light sweetness. The taste was sweet and rich malty and roasty with low apparent bitterness and flavors of cocoa, chocolate, and light caramel in the mix. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and rich with very full body and strong carbonation. There was a light bitterness in the finish balance nicely by a lingering malty flavor. This was an excellent Imperial Stout, but alas, they would not sell a growler of it.

Photo of jsanford
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into a Portsmouth Tulip. 2010 Vintage.

A - Pours black with slightly brown edges and a dark khaki head that quickly fades to a slight ring, leaving spotty lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Deep, dark aromas of roasted malt, molasses, raisins, oak, and ash with a touch of vanilla. About as decadently rich as a Stout can get.
T - Again, big flavors of dark malt, raisins, chocolate, molasses, oak, and vanilla. Initially reminds me of a liquid Raisinet, but as it warms the Port characteristics really come out to play. Wonderfully balanced and drinkable, despite all the big flavors.
M - Slightly thinner then I'd expected, but still quite a mouth-full. Slightly sticky with lowish carbonation. No sign of that 12% ABV, which is an amazing feat.
O - Such a superb example of a Russian Imperial Stout, it's easy to see why this is so hyped. That said, while I'm happy to try it once, I don't feel the need to search out another bottle of this. A great, World-Class RIS? Definitely. Give up a first-born child? No way.

Photo of Damian
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Served in a tulip glass at the Kate the Great Tapping on June 24th

Poured an absolute pitch black. There was not a hint of light coming through this oily mass. The three-finger, bubbly head of coffee-colored foam slowly faded to a resilient film. Thick blankets of lacing coated the glass with each sip and lasted long after the beer was finished.

The aroma was powdery and yeasty initially. Somewhat chalky and dry. Rather disappointing. As the beer warmed, the nose came out a bit more. Vanilla was noticeable along with brown sugar.

The taste was simply sublime. Bittersweet, chocolatey (dark chocolate) and rich with strong notes of roasted coffee, bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar. Figs, prunes and raisins came through in the center. The finish was slightly hoppy with espresso notes and a mild roastiness. The aftertaste was simply astounding. Like the flavor itself, it was bittersweet and rich with long-lasting notes of bourbon and cocoa. Dare I say this was the best aspect of the beer?

Mouthfeel was creamy, oily and ultra smooth. Palate coating with a fine, mild carbonation.

This was unquestionably the most drinkable Russian imperial stout I have ever sampled. Between the outstanding flavor, the amazing balance and the barely noticeable 9.5% ABV, it is simply dangerous.

To simply call this beer "smooth" would be a huge understatement, yet this one word alone may be the best way to describe it. The palate was intense, yet so mellow. Unlike most Russian imperial stouts which are dominated by bitter flavors (hops, espresso, char), this one is definitely more focused on sweeter ones (chocolate, bourbon and brown sugar). Though not the "biggest" example of a RIS, I would definitely have to say this was one of (if not) the best I have ever tried.

Photo of HopHead84
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Thanks Ben. Consumed on 11/21/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer s black with a one finger head that recedes in under a minute. The head is light brown with scattered lacing.

The nose opens up with milk chocolate, and it stays in the foreground throughout the aroma. There's light coffee and a moderate roast. It's all well balanced with a light molasses edge. Alcohol is well hidden. The milk chocolate is outstanding. The nose is very smooth without a hint of astringency or burnt malt character.

The flavor is a blend of milk and dark chocolate with a dash of caramel and a subtle roasted malt character. The chocolate is sweet with a little vanilla and a touch of a light roast of coffee. The finish is dry with lingering milk chocolate and a touch of molasses. It finishes very smooth and it's devoid of the unpleasant astringency and burnt malt that seems to have become the norm for Russian Imperial Stouts.

The beer has a silky and slightly creamy mouthfeel with an upper low level of carbonation. Delicious stuff.

Photo of ElGallo
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For the second year in a row I just missed out on buying bottles, but for the second year in a row I got to try a few glasses on draft later in the afternoon. As a local, I like that. Because if it hadn't worked out that way, I would have slapped my bare ass cheeks to the brewery window and cursed everyone for robbing me of a tasty inebriant. But I digress...

This beer looks good, smells good, and you would jump over your own mother to get one. I smell this beer and I get that sensation every man gets when he's at a formal party and smells stripper perfume. You know what I'm talkin' about. Your brain says you should probably walk away, but at the same time your "other brain" is reminding you that there's likely someone in the room who will take her clothes off for money. Hmmm.

Burnt chocolate, dark fruits, port, etc., etc., blah, blah. Why repeat what all y'all have already said. This beer is firkin delicious. Done.

I am curious as to how the vintages have aged in the bottle. I wonder if anyone would accept a stripper in exchange for a bottle. Hmmm.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle > split between a snifter (11 oz.) & chimay goblet (11 0z.)

Of course this gal's totally black in color, opaque for sure. Unlike the on-tap version, the crown starts off at 2" and it's amazingly thick and creamy. The crown is a dark brown color with ultra-sticky lacing with massive thick clumps all over.

The malt smells soooo sweet! honey and maple syrup with brown sugar, hershey's chocolate, cafe mocha with a shot of vanilla and cream. There is also a subtle dark fruit edge with a mild tangy effect on the nose. Slight heat tingle, let's you know it's there.

The malt complexity of this old gal is out of this world! deep chocolate, brown sugar but also roastie coffe notes as it warms up to room temp. Peanut butter and toffee, all from the malt!! The balance is very nice with a semi-bitter, earthy and leafy hop. The hop profile is actually much more noticable after some time and is much bigger than the on-tap version I thought. The hop and rather sharp, whiskey-ish heat hits the palate right after the malt flavor's fade and blend together. The fisnish was slightly more bitter than I remember when I was at the brewery, but it's still less hop-headed than it's little sis, the Smuttynose RIS.

The feel is simply perfect. full, heavy, smooth, creamy but sooo damn easy to drink. A wonderful palate massage.

This might just be a perfect "5" after a year or so in the cellar.

Photo of emerge077
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sample shared by Jay23, acquired via his trade. Thanks!
Great growler art, kitschy apres-ski scenes in 4-color silkscreen.

Into a Chimay chalice it pours a light-absorbing black, with dark crimson highlights, bordering on tones of oxblood. Spotty lace, with the occasional scalloped "m" bird on the horizon. Constant ring of foam around the edges, with a swirling "yin-yang" pattern to the surface skim.

Aromas of dried cherries and plums, light licorice, dark chocolate, with a slight caramelized sugar character that reminds me of cooking sweet plantains. Underneath, there's also crystalized sugarplum, and vague note of alcohol at room temperature.

Massive chocolate character that is deeply fudgy, with smooth oatmeal hints, dried cherry, with a residual dry char. There is a light brandyish alcohol, that is peppery in the finish. Taste is unique with an equally distinctive and enticing aroma.

Impossibly smooth, very much like chocolate milk, given the slight lactic feel. Peppery, bittersweet finish keeps things interesting, and keeps you sipping. If only this was available on draft locally, several pints would be a dream come true.

Photo of jwolfie70
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Overlord for splitting a bottle of this great beer with me.

Poured black with an excellent thick tan head. The smell was fantastic, with milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla and smokey malt coming through. The taste also did not fail to deliver, with bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla both present.

This is a great beer, and is up there with the Abyss and Stone IRS as one of my favorite RISs.

Photo of Jeffo
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The illusive Kate the Great Imperial Stout. The bottle just reads "Imperial Stout" actually. No mention of the Great Tsarina. One of the harder bottles to get for sure, but in retrospect, it was worth every ounce of effort and moment of wait. Opened it only days after receiving it last summer as well, but finally getting around to entering the review now. A big thanks goes out to KungFuMike for the trade on this one. Cheers!

From a bomber into snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Pours dark, almost black but relatively transparent, and produces a small, medium-looking tan head with half decent retention. Head fades relatively quickly to a faint wisp and bubbly ring around the sides. Black body and zero carbonation evident. A slight ring and touches of wisp remain, leaving a few dots of lacing down the glass. Decent looking but nothing special.

SMELL: Big nose on this one, and quite nice to say the least. Roasted malts with dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Smoky hints with notes of oak, vanilla and port from the chip aging. Some molasses provides a nice foundation along with the roasted aromas. Very well integrated and enticing for sure. Fantastic.

TASTE: Roasted malts and lots of sweet molasses. Oak, vanilla, and some definite port wine qualities from the aging process. Some dark grapes, caramel and brown sugar make this quite the sugar bomb. Bold flavors, and a bold aftertaste of sweet molasses, brown sugar, port and alcohol linger forever, with some bitter, pure chocolate offering some balance as well. Sweeter than the nose had indicated, but still very complex and incredibly tasty and enjoyable. A real treat.

PALATE: Huge, thick, full and heavy body. Possibly the heaviest body to date. Medium-low amounts of carbonation, though not overly creamy, and sits like a freight train on the palate. Goes down slick with a bit of heat after the swallow and finishes quite mouth-coating and sticky. Massive, heavy, sweet and syrupy. Could be slightly creamier and a little less cloying, but that doesn't detract from what is otherwise the thickest, heaviest monster of an imperial stout.

OVERALL: I think the reason it took me so long to enter this review was because as long as I hadn't entered it yet, the experience wasn't over. I've had quite a few of these big stouts, and this was one of the best for sure. My pour vanished far too quickly. Definitely a sweet, syrupy and massive imperial stout, which still managed to be an incredibly drinkable and enjoyable treat. It really is too bad that this is produced in such limited quantities every year, as I'd love to drink it on a regular basis. In the meantime, I'll wait and hope to meet Kate again. Thanks a bunch for the trade KungFu.

UPDATE: I have had a few other vintages of this over the past while, so here are some notes:
2009: Pretty lousy. Not infected, simply a stronger port and grape quality. Though the flavor profile is relatively mild overall.
2011: Much like the 2009, but with bolder flavors. Very port and dark fruit heavy, with little roast, chocolate or molasses character. Still nice in its own right.
2012: Very similar to the 2010 reviewed above. A slightly milder nose and a touch lighter in the feel, but the same elements as the 2010. Still outsanding and absolutely my kind of stout.

Photo of agirginis
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours like motor oil with a brown head

S- a real complex smell of chocolate, wine, and coffee. It smels almost as good as it tastes

T- it starts out with chocolate and coffee but ends with the sort of a wine and fruit flavor/

M- a smooth very easy drinking beer.

O- this beer lives up to all the hype and is worth the year long wait people have to go through!! Cant wait for KATE DAY!! dONT OPEN BOTTLE RIGHT AWAY give it some time. I opened one 6 months later and it had a great taste to it. Recommend keeping for longer though

Photo of davey101
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quick notes. 2011 vintage, 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Huge thanks to Doug for sharing a pour with me! A really big want of mine which I've heard far too many grumblings of it being "overrated".

Pours a dark black body with a quickly fading mocha head. The aroma and taste on this beer is really unique as the port does leave quite an impression. Lots of chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and an almost dark fruit/black grape acridity. Rich and creamy mouth feel. Its rich and decadent and the dark fruit element that the port brings to the table really works. This exceeds all hype for me as I found it to be one of the best non barrel aged stouts I have had. I really hope this recipe carries on with Mott's new brewery as I would love to try it fresh.

Photo of glazeman
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 edition. Split with airohead2001.

A: Dark dark brown in color, but not quite black. There's a 1 finger cappuccino colored head that fades fairly quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: There's tons of raisins and caramel on the nose. Those two things pretty much sum it up, as I don't get much else. The smells are rich, deep, and strong though. Perhaps a little bit of caramel and etoh at the end.

T: The taste had more roastiness up front than the nose let on. There was nice dark fruits in the middle specifically plums and raisins. The finish is of a slight bit of nuttiness and sweetness. Another thing I noticed is that this beer gets noticeably sweeter as it warms. No alcohol is really noticeable in the flavor. Overall, wonderfully balanced.

M: Overall, I can't really knock it much hear, as I thought the viscosity, aftertaste, and carbonation were all pretty good. If anything, I would have liked it to be slightly thicker.

D: This beer as sky high drinkability. I would love to be able to have a bomber of this to myself on a sad, cold, winter night. This is probably on of my absolute favorite non-barrel aged stouts. It's amazing.

Photo of Jwale73
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage courtesy of RomanW70 - beer #3 during the 'Motha of All Stout Tastings.' Poured two shades shy of black with a thin head that dissipates into a narrow, off-white band. No lacing during the tasting. Nose consists of dark malts, licorice and a hit of caramel towards the back. Taste reveals caramel and toffee on a solid, dark malt backbone. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and slightly creamy/oily - a brew that slides down easy and doesn't linger. Incredible balance and drinkability. There's no wonder that this is my top rated beer; however, I have to say that the experience on draft is a little more sublime.

Photo of ncvbc
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank beside the Abyss, very tough competition. The two are worlds apart and very solid.

Kate pours a gorgeous color that isn't quite pitch black and has ruby edges when held to the light. It is a shimmering velvet black that is quite the looker. A light tan head rises up and holds for a minute or so, leaving a ring around the glass and moderate sticky lacing.

Wow, this beer has a whole heck of a lot going on when it comes to smell. Licorice was the first thing that I picked up, followed by dark bitter chocolate, maybe even cocoa powder. There was also an underlying butterscotch and toffee adding depth. A spicy heat also catches my attention.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose but is still lovely. Up front, there is the sweetness of the butterscotch and marshmallow. Molasses and dark, somewhat sour fruits show their presence. Bitter dark licorice and chocolate are soon to come. The chocolate flavors become a little more rich and decadent, stealing the show for a second. Out of nowhere on the back of the tongue, an excellent roasted black coffee flavor hit me. It remains indefinitely between sips and feels great on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is rich and velvety but just a tad thin. I don't think it had to do with too little carbonation but maybe the alcohol burn that shows more at times. Maybe a spicyness from some hops? A little prickle on the tongue was unavoidable and unpredictable, while the rich feel was most consistent.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent beer. Very glad that I was able to try it thanks to Ginny, a very helpful and generous BA. I split this bomber doing a side by side with the Abyss but could have had it all to myself. I think that the Abyss is more of a tamed brew even with its bigger body. This, with some age, would be amazing, though. Yummy!

Photo of koopa
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

09' Bomber received in a trade with rhinos00 thanks!

Appearance: Pours a deep brown to black with red folds and a minimal 1 finger brown crown that shows little retention and leaves minimal swirls of lace.

Smell: Wonderful amount of milk chocolate and deeply toasted malt with little to no bitterness and no alcohol presence. Nice and inviting! I can't keep my nose out of the glass :)

Taste: Wow its much different then the nose led me to believe it would taste. Much more strap molasses and barrel presence in the flavor profile. It has a touch of heat but not to the point where I would say it has an alcohol presence. Then again I'm also getting a rum soaked raisin quality too. I'd score it at a 4.3 if I could.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick and chocolate syrup like.

Drinkability: At 9.5% abv this one has legs and the mouthfeel is heavy but the flavor profile keeps it fairly drinkable.

World Class IMHO.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a small pumpkin pie orange to brown colored head that quickly recedes to a ring. Some nice bourbony alcohol over top of a bit of leather and a sweet malt aroma, a bit of grapiness. There is also a subtle sweet chocolatiness in the aroma amd some smoky roastiness. The roasted qualities comes thru more powerfully in the taste, though, a sweet caramel, grape, and chocolate maltiness is still evident as it rolls on the tongue. Some twanginess and bourbon in the finish, but very balanced and in the right proportions. Finishes witha warmth and bite from the alcohol at the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is heavy although not overly full nor sticky sweet, just the right amount of body to add a creamy texture to balance the roastiness. Prickles on the tongue and warms the throat at the somewhat drying finish. An incredibly well balanced beer in nearly every aspect. The best things for me was how the roasted qualities were present but not over the top, just proportionate. Also, there is a sweet maltiness that shines through, almost as if this is a blend of stout and a touch of barleywine. Great beer, thanks to Jay and to Stan for this opportunity.

Photo of dciBA
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well after reading about this stuff in the New England regional forum for the past week I had to see what all the hype was about. Had some time to myself, and needed a break from last minute shopping so i made the drive down to portsmouth and grabbed a growler. Boy am I glad I did. This one really does live up to the hype. Exceptional, balanced, tasty brew. I make the trip down a few times year to the brew pub so i have had many of thier beers, this is definitely the best.

Poured a deep black so black I swear it sucked the light out of the room. Nice, thick consistency, on par with motor oil, and I mean that in a good way. Smells of chocolate, caramel, roasted nuts and a touch of alcohol. Taste, one word? Wonderful. I can only compare to a couple other RIS's but this one is very well balanced and flavorful. A healthy dose of malt initially, followed by a slight hop flavor, then creamy, rich chocolate on the finish. Warms as it goes down, which is expected from a beer pushing 10%, but is very drinkable, which was not expected.

I'd be really curious to taste this one after some aging although there is no chance I could ever have this in the house and not drink it. Another great stout from New England. Nice job Portsmouth Brewery.

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! This one knocked me over (literally and figuratively). Picked up a growler while at the brewpub for lunch.

Poured an almost black in color. Could not get any light to shine through. When I poured I first thought the beer was flat but after about a minute an thick, creamy, tan head formed. Lace was stringing and blotting all around the glass' interior. Nose is full of dark malts and chocolate. Slight bit of hops in there.

Flavor is incredibly complex. Alcohol is still slightly apparent but the vastness of flavors almost conceals the alcohol burn and there is just a slight bite of heat. Lots of coffee and vanilla flavors wrapped around loads of chocolate and burnt malts. Nice creamy flavor. Just a slight whispiness of smoke. The vanilla is what I like most in the flavor--just very consistent and solid throughout. Almost like eating vanilla ice cream. Very full body and creamy feel. Just kind of slides down and I pick up the flavors from the thin coating left on my tongue and cheeks. My only worry is that the open growler will not last another day because this beer is amazingly good.

Photo of beerpirates
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BIg thx to jedwards and Sean ( claaark13 ) for bringing this beast to the tasting , thx buddy !

22oz bottel poured into my tastingglass @ a tasting with some awesome BA's

A : Dark brown to black with a nice thin brown lacing around the top. Nice small creamy head

s : Really rich fudge and raisan notes. A slight hint of the ABV, but nothing unpleasant and certainly something welcome here.

T : The chocolate fudge note hits me first and strongest. Balanced nicely with caramel, raisans, anise and a touch of earthiness. Very rich, but the thing that really stands out here to me is how smooth this is. Nice lingering chocolate and sherry notes.

M: Full bodied and creamy. Leaves a nice coating in your mouth.

D : This could be the smoothest imperial stout I have ever tasted. Barely a hint of booze, other than that it is warming. Flavors are perfectly balanced. Hard to believe this is 10% ABV.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a tasting... Finally getting around to typing up my notes from my iphone.

Had the privelage of trying the 08 and 10 side by side... and later the 11 at DLD.

The beer is dark and viscousy in the legs with some red hues in the legs. Minimal tan head becomes a whisp of clouds.

Nose has some molasses and a slight hint of black licorice and a little dark fruit note.
Some chocolate and a touch of booze appears on the flavor. Some sweetness up front dries out with hints of anise srpinging from the molasses and the finish is drier than expected-- but it works.

The body has a little carbonation than I expected, but it is nice.

Overall-- this is a well made beer.
Is this the best stout I've ever had? No, but it deserves at least an A-
Numbers for the 10 and 08==
A- 4
S - 4
T - 4
M - 4.5
D - 4

Now, those would be my review numbers but I was sooo impressed with the 11 when I had it fresh at DLD, that the numbers are being bumped up. I will not try to age any Kate again-- it was so smooth and well-balanced when it was fresh, that I loved it. The appearance and nose doesn't change much, but the taste certainly went up, as well as the overall.

Photo of tedpeer
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to johnnnniee for this 08 vintage in a trade.

bomber poured into a tulip.

A - Poured black, with a quarter inch mocha head that quickly dissipated. No lacing. Not as thick as Dark Lord.

S - Dark fruit, chocolate, coffee.

T - Complex. Chocolate and Coffee up front. Malt in the middle. Slight alcohol warmth.

M - Low carbonation. Medium thickness. Smooth.

D - Pretty balanced, but still butt kicking.

Photo of Deuane
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to fellow central PA BA Kegatron and his trusty sidekick Kim for making the journey to Portsmouth to secure us growlers!

Poured into my new Sam Adams "scientifically engineered" pint glasses.

A-Deep black with ruby highlights along the edges. Nice, creamy medium dark tan head.

S- Chocolate, licorice and smoke in the back. Alcohol warming with a bit of coffee in the background. A very complex and enjoyable brew to sniff!

T-Such a complex brew! All the flavors from the smell come thru with the nice burn of alcohol coming in at the end. This is a very tasty and luscious beer.

M-GIANT, smooth and delectable. This is one of the smoothest, best feeling beers I have ever had in my mouth! This is stellar....the overall lack of serious carbonation actually makes this MORE enjoyable....all those damn bubbles aren't getting in the way!

D-This is a seriously good beer. Does this beer live up to the BA hype? I say yes! One of the most complex but yet drinkable RIS I have had...ever. A wonderful effort that may make me take an annual X-mas time pilgrimage to NH!

Photo of AlexFields
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I picked this up at KTG day '10, saved for the Big stout tasting on 10/23 -poured chilled into a tulip.

A deep brown color, not quite black, rocky tan cap, settles quickly to a ring of tiny bead, clarity is translucent w/ slight deep burgundy hues. The aroma is strong and complex, stone fruit elements are heavy in the aroma w/ a plum and fig soaked in rum type mix w/ a mild dark chocolate bittersweet nose. The feel is warming and yet smooth w/ slight vinous tinges and dry toasted grainy notes, full and alcoholic on the palate which is pleasant at times and somewhat blunt at others.

The flavor is intense and layered with stone fruit flavor which is currant and spice oriented with mild plum fruit notes with slight roasted character in the background, the flavor of alcohol is noticeable, the stout doesn't not really hide the fact that it is an 'Imperial stout'. The taste is interesting with a slight english yeast character giving mild spiciness along with the dried fruit notes. I was thoroughly impressed by this beer, wanting more after each sip -it sucked me in and before I knew it I had finished my share of the bomber. I consider this a top notch beer -worthy of its place in the realm of Imperial Stouts. I was glad I got the chance to taste this with about 1/2 a dozen world class stouts because the qualtiy of the beer shines through a great beer-kudos Portsmouth!

Photo of TK5150
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this many times over the past few years, so after yesterday's release, I'm finally deciding to rate it.

2011 version on draft.

A- Pours extremely dark brown/black with a light brown head. The size of the head varied with each pour, ranging from small to large. Nice, small bubbles. Head recedes to a small ring around the glass.

S- Smell did not jump out at me; light roasted malts and liqueur with port like qualities. What was there smelled nice.

T- Bold chocolate liqueur which transitions to port soaked oak (raspberries, and various dark fruits), and finishes with a slight medicinal quality. Completely balanced flavors. Much less emphasis on the port and oak from the past couple of years, which I like. Alcohol is completely hidden to me. The taste of this vintage reminds me a bit of Darkness 2008. Sweet, yet excellent.

M- Full bodied and very smooth. Carbonation was there, yet fairly low - which was good IMO. Not the thickest stout on the planet, but definitely enough body to fit nicely with other top imperial stouts.

D- Dangerously drinkable. 5 glasses later I was wasted.

Overall a fine imperial stout. One of my favorite beers, especially on draft. Way too drinkable. 2008 KtG was my favorite vintage, but this is up there too.

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 907 ratings.