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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

854 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 854
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 10.11%


Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 854 | Reviews: 484 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dwaz
dwaz

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle - thnaks chuckycheese

Apperance - Pours black with slight reddish tinge and small head that dissipates quickly

Smell - Sweet malt with slight alcohol and smoke

Mouthfeel - Perfect, smooth, not too chewy or watery

Taste - well balanced, slight smoke, a slightly sweet flavor that I cannot my finger on, but a blend of blueberry, raisins and sweet malt. Little alcohol flavor on the back end.

Overall - a world class beer and the best Russian Imperial Stout I've ever tasted. The balance is amazing and what truely puts this beer in the class of Westy 12.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 16:27:32 | More by dwaz
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is a combination of notes taken 7/1/08, 3/22/10, and memories burnt into my mind from 4 bottles ranging from 2008 - 2011 (and some on-tap). Most recently updated on 4/28/12, from a 2012 bottle.

Note: 200th review posted to BA, I've been waiting to write this for a while

Note 2: No amount of rambling will do justice to this beer, so I'm going to attempt to be concise. I will likely be revising this in the future.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, slightly viscous-looking - head is a beautiful tan color, doesn't stick around forever, but the ring of carbonation that sticks around leaves great lacing

Smell: Simply intoxicating - a number of distinct aromas - burnt coffee, chocolate malts, baker's chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits (figs, grape skin), and some burnt port, a touch of wood - some hoppy aromas (when fresh), and they add a herbal/spicy character that blends with the dark malts - rich, complex malts, a beautiful blend of roasted malts, burnt malts, and cake-like sweetness

Taste: Beyond perfection - a complex harmony of bitter, burnt tones, somewhat sweet, candy-like tones, and some spiciness from the hops - dark, burnt malts - definitely burnt, but not excessively charred - dry, baker's chocolate, as well as sweeter, semisweet chocolate - roasted coffee - some incredible dark fruit flavors, perhaps from the port, which also adds a touch of tart - some sweetness that is reminiscent of a spice cake, as well as toffee - just breathtaking overall - the taste itself really comes in stages, with some rich sweetness at the start, chocolate in the middle, and a gloriously roasty aftertaste - definitely some variation from fresh to aged, but a 5/5 regardless

Mouthfeel: Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Kate - heavy, but not sludgy - insanely smooth - nicely carbonated (actually varies batch to batch) - absolutely, stupidly, and mind-blowingly drinkable

Overall: No other beer has caused me so much joy (and so much pain)

Having the opportunity to drink Kate the Great is simultaneously one of the best and worst things to ever happen to me. The good things are outlined above... The problem with this beer is that it's so good that it has cast a shadow over every stout I've had since the summer of 2008. Nothing is as good as Kate. And this beer is so f--- hard to get. I've waited in line for so many hours. It's an unhealthy relationship. It's become the prototype for why I hate hype. To summarize, I absolutely love and absolutely hate everything about this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 07:38:30 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured on-tap and served in a tulip, the beer is jet black, with a thin, off-white head that is clingy and retaining. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, red wine, mint, and a bit of smoke. Amazing! Flavors are ridiculously layered, hitting the tongue all over with a barrage of characteristics. Woody and smokey hinted dark chocolate first, followed by a smooth roasted coffee profile that blends and cleans the palate. Candied and sugary highlights at the end make this absolutely delicious. The aftertaste is super rich and creamy, with smokey mocha flavors. The finish is warming and supersmooth, with a richness and booze cleanliness. Amazing beer, and I can't even imagine what the bottles will age like. Tremendous!

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2012 17:01:14 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BEER REVIEW #200! Since beer review #100 was CBS, I had to pull out something epic to top it (especially since I took the MPRE in the morning).

Reviewing the infamous Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery out of New Hampshire. This is one of highest rated and most sought after beers in the world. I am absolutely ecstatic to have had the opportunity to try this beer.
Score: 100

2012 vintage bottle served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 03/17/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown coffee color with just under a half finger of creamy tan head at pour that settles into a ring around the glass and foggy layer atop the beer. Totally opaque save for a thin brown highlight strip at the top of the glass when held up to light. Above average frothy and oily lacing mix with absolutely superior retention. 5/5

Smell: Loads of rich and roasted chocolate and smooth, percolating coffee. A really nice aromatic mix of milk chocolate and chocolate. Toasted oats, prunes, figs, and roasted malts. A very light vanilla and licorice smell too. As the beer approaches room temperature, a very small amount of dark cherry comes out in the nose. Very inviting! 5/5

Taste: WOW! Move over Darkness, there is a new Russian Imperial Stout in town. The first thing I notice is the rich, complex and layered medley of chocolate flavors in this beer. There's creamy milk chocolate, fudge, bittersweet chocolate morsels, mocha and dark chocolate throughout. There's a modest amount of fig flavor and "dark chocolate raisinets" flavor on the midpalate in addition to some brown sugar. There is a light alcohol warming effect (but not flavor) on the midpalate too, but just the perfect amount to give some liveliness to the rich chocolateness of the beer. There's some toasted oat flavor and smooth coffee too. This beer honestly strikes the perfect balance between chocolate and coffee -- smooth, rich and flavorful, but not too bitter, sweet or acidic. There's another wave of rich mocha and dark chocolate flavor towards the finish, which seems to grow as the beer layers. Finishes with the perfect mocha and raw chocolate flavor that you'd expect and desire from a Russian Imperial Stout. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Rich, creamy and chewy mouthfeel. Finish is dry, chocolatey and bittersweet. 5/5

Overall: I never thought that I would ever consume a beer that I enjoyed more than Surly Darnkess, but here we are. Kate The Great is truly a perfect beer that lives up to the hype. Rich, complex and infinitely chocolatey. You could absolutely hate beer and love this brew. If only this one was more available and easy to find, it would be the only beer I would stock in my fridge for regular consumption. People covet this beer for a reason, and I would absolutely recommend paying well over the cost to acquire a bottle for a special occassion. World class indeed!

Recommendation: Seek this beer out. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Pairings: Vanilla ice cream or steak.

Cost: $8 for an 11.2 oz bottle, but when you consider the cost of purchasing a lottery ticket to entitle you to a bottle and the probabilities of winning, each bottle actually costs $23.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2012 02:51:54 | More by jegross2
Photo of birderbeerer
birderbeerer

Virginia

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle consumed in June 2012.

Beautiful beer. It's hard to imagine a more complete beer. It's very well balanced and doesn't try to be the biggest or to tackle a specific flavor fully.

Great balance of chocolate and roast, but the roast is softened by oak. Very full and rich without being big. A subtle complexity. And on top of all of it is a consistent note of red wine that just adds another great layer of flavor and complexity.

Rich and full without being too big or overbearing. Very easily drinkable and left me wanting much more.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 13:48:17 | More by birderbeerer
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split many a bottle and shared more than a few glasses with angrybabboon. This review is #300 and is of a 2012 vintage. Some additions were made from my notes on previous vintages.

Appearance: Pours thick, dark, and completely black. Dark tan head drops to a thin collar in short order. Wispy head on the beer. Almost nothing. Coats the glass. It's not lacing. It must be congealed awesomeness. Very thick with a decent carbonation given the pour. Sits still and heavy.

Smell: Oak and booze. Deep dark fruits run the gamut from figs and plums to cherry and raisins. Dense on the dark fruit. Port is prevalent, adding some sweetness and dropping a nice sharp woody aroma. Burnt and roasted almost to the point of absurdity. Char, chocolate (both milk and bitter cocoa), with some minor roasted coffee. Leather and fresh, wet tobacco leaf. Almost fudgey without the sugary sweetness.

Taste: Big heat up front. Port and oak make up a big component of the first wave of flavor. Chewy fudge layered with cocoa. Deep red wine, day old coffee. Some dark fruit, with a preference for raisins and plums. Juicy leather. Tobacco leaf, wet and uncut. It's booze soaked dessert. Decadence. Layers of char and burnt and over-roasted malt add a layer of sweetness that helps keep things moving. Massive. Some lingering alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full and thick. Somehow the carbonation is present. Syrupy without crossing in to the realm of actual syrup. Coats the mouth, but the carbonation breaks it up just enough. So very carefully treads the line of too much. With great risk comes great power...or something.

Overall: She is that damn good.

I've had the privilege to try this beer multiple times starting in '08, only missing '09. It has been and remains the insurmountable representation of the style. The consistent level of complexity gets better with age, but damn if Kate doesn't drink like a beast when fresh. This is a beast and a half. The hype train may have run away with it, bit I have a hard time not accepting the associated accolades.

I've even tried Kate blind in a massive tasting and she stands out. Bias, perhaps, but it's a mighty tasty bias.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 18:24:35 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of reyes29201
reyes29201

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle, 2011 batch poured into snifter reviewed on 11/28/12.

A: Pours black with a thin tan head that leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Sweet dark malt with dark fruit, carmael and molasses with a hint of alcohol.

T: Starts off with sweet dark malts, raisins, figs and molasses. Leaves a pleasant lingering taste of dark fruit.

M: Super smooth and creamy full body, low-moderate carbonation and a sweet finish.

O: Very interesting and extremely drinkable for an imperial stout, the sweet dark fruit character really seperates this from other big stouts that are available. Easily the best non-barrel aged imperial stout that I have had.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 20:05:48 | More by reyes29201
Photo of CooperEllis
CooperEllis

New York

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Composite review of bottles (22 and 11.2oz) from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Appearance - Thin head, tan, light lacing; deep brown liquid with little feathering or ruby highlight at the edge. Even 2009 did not have much of a head, no gushing, etc..doubt there was an infection issue but, as notes below, there are different highlights in each vintage.

The aroma is one of the best for the style. It's always enjoyable when an imperial stout is not buried under a barrel. Here, there is no shortage of depth with roast malt, black cherry, plum, and a light brown sugar sweetness.

Lovely balance; fruit-forward with complex malt in the middle. The carbonation does assist in rounding out the depth of flavor at the end. The 2011 bomber is by far my favorite incarnation, with a strong port presence without any sour note in the finish.

Excellent mouth feel, a bit chewy with a clean finish. This is true across all of the vintages that I've had. While certain aroma/taste notes may push to the front from year-to-year, the overall composition of this RIS are consistent throughout the vintages.

I've had the 2011 and 2012 side-by-side with the port from Flag Hill and the '11 has more port presence IMO. This is one of my favorite bottles, hope to see it's next incarnation back around and available soon.

(197th)

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 21:52:01 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of nootch23
nootch23

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A friend of mine obtained a fresh 2012 bottle in a trade and after hearing so much about it we were anxious to break it open and see if it met our expectations. It exceeded them to the point that it became the best beer I've ever had. Everything about this beer was perfect. We spent a good 3 minutes just smelling this stout in our snifters. The smell was creamy with a hints of coffee and chocolate. A sweet smell.

You want to know about taste? Holy cannoli! The taste was incredible. A very subtle taste of coffee, chocolate, and malts. One of the smoothest stouts I've ever had. Not boozy at all. Couldn't even taste the 12%.

I can't say enough about this gem. Hands down one of the best beers I've ever had and certainly the best imperial stouts out there. Trying to get a hold of a bottle to age for a bit and have for a special occasion.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 20:11:02 | More by nootch23
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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 854 ratings.