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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

Educational use only; do not reuse.

901 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 901
Reviews: 487
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 2,696
Gots: 170 | FT: 6
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: 901 | Reviews: 487 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of warriorsoul
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a 10oz. glass at the brewery...missed it the last time around, so was real glad to see it available.
Arrived in a standard glass w/ very little tan head...beer deep black in color w/ no light passing through. No lacing to be had with this one.
Very pleasant in the nose...sweet dark chocolate, espresso and some vanilla in the end.
Taste is phenomenal...the perfect blend of chocolate and coffee. Molasses, sweet carmelized malt and the very slight hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is quite thick, but not cloying...carbonation is perfect for the style.
Did not find out what the abv is w/ this batch...I image it is at least 8% as it was slightly noticeable w/ no burn whatsoever.
Most beers in this style don't have this feel w/ out a year or so on it...one of the best I have tried to date and one that will have me up here every time it becomes available.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to NJpadreFan!

This beer poured a thick black color with very little head (probably due to the growler being a few days older than it should). The smell is malty, sweet, roasted and molasses. The aroma gets deeper as the brew warms. The taste follows the aroma and is very smooth but also complex. The mouthfeel is full and there is a slight alcohol burn. Fantastic RIS.

Again, NJpadreFan rocks!

Photo of zac16125
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330mL bottle into a snifter
2012 Vintage

450th Beer Advocate Review
My 94th out of the top 100 (based on the top 100 list at the time I started my quest to try all 100 of the beers)

A huge thanks to kdmcguire10 for sending this one my way.

A: Pours an opaque black with some browning on the edges when held to light. A thick sliver of tan colored heads builds and then fades fairly quickly. Leaves only a few small patches of lacing.

S: Quite sweet. Vinous, dark fruit notes, big licorice, chocolate cake batter, roasty, cinnamon, a subtle hint of booze. Just layers of complexity. Wonderful.

T: Chocolate, roasted malt and oak upfront. This is followed by a vinous component, which then fades back to an oaky vanilla thats reminiscent of some of the qualities barrel aging lends to a beer. I also get some herbaceous qualities, bitter coffee and cream. Again, its amazingly complex. So many wonderful layers to this one, and the flavors are bold, strong, and linger forever.

M/D: Full bodied, chewy, fairly smooth but carbonation on the heavier side for the style, which detracts from the smoothness slightly. Effectively no hint of the 12% ABV, and drinkability is so good that I have to make a conscious effort to slow down on drinking this one so that I can savor it.

O: Overall, this is an incredible beer, absolutely no doubt about it. Lives up to the hype, and well worth the wait for me. Arguably the best non-BA, non-additive infused Imperial Stout Ive ever had. The depth and layers of the aroma and flavor profiles are impressive. World Class.

Photo of bmonty412
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!...what a day, what a crazy experience we had at our first Kate Day. First,We get in an extremely long line that streched all the way around the building at 10 am . Then we wait in 30 degree temps with 20 mph winds for the next 4 hours and 40 mins!! This was a true test of our will and loyalty to this beer and craft beer in general for that matter! Often we wondered if this was worth the wait...turns out...it was!!

A-this beauty pours a dark, almost black opaque rich color with minimum carbonation, also served a little colder than i would expect into a really nice KTG glass, nice oily legs left on the glass.

S- smells unreal! Chocolate, mocha, sweetness and a touch of alcohol

T- oh so good, rich rich choco coffee roasty flavor with a wonderful sweet finish that is super creamy! Could not tell at all that this was 10% abv. Drank so smooth, one person there described it as "drinking velvet." This beer only got better as it warmed. Superb!!

O- This "experience" was amazing and reminded me why I love craft beer so much and in particular great stouts. This is a beer i had to try and was glad I did. Not sure if I will wait nearly 5 hours again to have it, but I will buy scratch tickets again to try and attain this beer. I suspect the lines for this Beer on Kate Day will only grow longer as Craft Beer popularity continues to blow up as it has done in the past couple of years!

Photo of Lothar666
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on Tap at the portsmouth brewery on Kate Day, 3/1/2010.

A- Jet black body, foamy cream-coffee colored head which left brief traces of muddy lacing on the sides of my tulip glass.

S- Esthers lend notes of Licorice, dark chocolates, and traces of vanilla to the nose.

T- Just as I remember it, maybe even better than last year. Esthers create flavors of strong black Coffee, vanilla, some dark chocolate and a touch of powdered sugar in the finish, leaving a dry sweetness on the pallet that lingers long after each delicious sip. Beautifully complex and perfectly balanced, this beer is a true credit to the style. Absolutely Phenomenal.

M- Coats the mouth perfectly, but with a powdery aftertaste that leaves the mouth somewhere between maximum satisfaction and craving another sip. Not syrupy or oily like some other highly celebrated examples of the style, but in fact better in its own way.

D- Disguises its ABV incredibly well, but the rarity of this precious nectar makes it a slow sipper by necessity. Absolutely amazing.

Photo of mistakebythelake
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle shared by Urbancaver at Big Bad Stout Tasting served in snifter.

Wow this gem poured a dark jet black with some head that faded.
I could immediately get some port nuances on the nose with some sweet fruit and spices. I could really smell Kate all day as I couldn't put the glass down from my nose. I enjoy Port and late harvest wines, so that could be a big reason why I throughly enjoyed the nose. Taste was excellent as well with chocolate, stone fruits, slight oak and port on the finish. Very creamy and silky smooth even with all the tastes going and finishes dry.Excellent drinkability, as Kate lives up to the hype and is definitely a beer to share among the closest of friends or tasting group buddies!

Photo of Chico1985
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Woo, what a night. Had 2 of these on-tap.

Pours black with an excellent huge, spongey beige head, looks just like it does on the Portsmouth site. Head is a little light colored for a RIS. The lacing on this is insane, covers the glass in tan alien goo/spidey web lacing.

Smell is the only thing kind of lacking here, faint smells of cocoa, booze, and some dark fruit.

Tastes I can pick up include roastiness, spicy tobacco, booze, chocolate (especially awesome in the aftertaste). But the thing that makes this stand out the most is an intense port wine taste, adding a very boozy dark fruit vibe, I've never tasted this kind of thing in a beer and I loved it. It has a noticeable alcohol bite because of this but it seems to fade down over time. Also some burnt caramel taste towards the end, and many other things I can't pin down, complex stuff. It is great from start to finish, even the last few sips are divine.

Mouthfeel is not super thick, but very very creamy, unusually so for the style but it is great and is another great factor that makes Kate stand out. The lack of thickness also makes this quite drinkable, although the booze taste may be a bit much over time, I was surprised at the great price this was for the bottle and on-tap. Being my first tasted top 10 beer, it didn't change my life but definitely is among the best beers I have had. When I decide to crack open a bottle I will write some more notes here.

Photo of SykDoc
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this courtesy of brdc, much thanks for a great tasting with StoutsnIpas. Poured from the bottle into a snifter. It pours a dark brown for a 1/2 inch dark tan head that slowly reduces leaving a very nice swirly lacing. Black and opaque when held to the light.

The aroma is primarily roasted malts and dark chocolate combined with a dark fruity sweetness, almost currant cherry and just a hint of oak.

The taste includes the expected dark fruit and caramel malt sweetness combined with a bakers chocolate finish.

The mouthfeel was a bit thin for what I was expecting, although I believe this significantly improved the drinkability. Carbonation was reasonable and it was smooth with a nice modestly dry finish.

Overall, I found this beer to be incredibly drinkable. One of the downfalls of the big imperial stouts is the viscosity and intensity, when it comes to drinkability. It is also what makes them incredible. This is a very nice balance and very good.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't tell you how long I've waited to try this beer. So, when PatronWizard helped set-up this trade...I was freaking excited. Anyways, going into this review...Abyss was the king of all beers, so I decided to do a side by side tasting to determine (at least in my mind), who reigned supreme. Well, here goes my review...

A: Pours dark as night and looks pretty damn viscous! The beautiful tan-colored head held up for a few moments, but quickly dissipated.

* Abyss wins

S: I pick up a lot molasses, chocolate, black licorice, and some sort of dark fruitiness that dominated all the other aromas. Since I'm doing a side by side tasting with the Abyss, the dark fig quality definitely comes out much more in the Kate...but there's definitely some similarities between the both.

*Abyss kicks BUTT again

T: A very robust cherry-chocolate mixed in with the very pronounced licorice. The flavor profile doesn't consist of as much coffee as I was expecting. The flavor seems to be really rich and doesn't go away for quite some time. The alcohol is a bit evident, but does adds to the finish rather than taking away from it. As PatronWizard suggested, this brew definitely reminds me a lot of Dark Lord...with a stronger chocolate punch.

*A tight race, but the Kate has a slightly deeper and richer flavor; too hard to tell.

M: Carbonation is nearly perfect...gently massaging my palate, but invigorating all the flavors at the same time. The Kate also coats the palate the way a RIS should...THICK! 4.5

* Abyss = Kate...Dark Lord probably rules this category.

D: The only knock I have on this beer is that the alcohol is a bit more obvious than other epic stouts I have had. This includes the Abyss and Dark Lord,both having higher ABV's as well.

Overall: I hate to say it, but Kate held up to all the hype...but I still think Abyss reigns supreme! This is definitely a must try, and something worth seeking out. One of my favorite beers. Cheers!

Photo of billshmeinke
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle my friend cmorton obtained through trade, and generously shared with me (11 oz. pour). Chilled to 50 degrees, and poured into a Duvel tulip. Trying this side by side with half a can of Ten Fidy for comparisons sake.

Dead black. Half a finger khaki head that resides fairly quickly to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass with an island in the middle.

Smell is pretty ridiculous in a good way. Smell comes off as intense dark fruits reminiscent of plumbs, dark cherries, and hints of raspberries. Also, dark chocolate cake, and black licorice. There is a slight hint of piney/spearmint aromas presumably from hops.

Tastes is up front with dark chocolate cake and dark fruits that are almost tart with dark cherries, some raspberry and a bit of plumb again. The dark chocolate is reminiscent of fudge. Then there is a bit of molasses, licorice and black currants. Quite complex, and sweet. I feel like this would pair wonderfully with some dark chocolate cake with some sort of raspberry sauce drizzled on it.

Mouthfeel is very rich and full bodied, not particularly syrupy of sticky for the style. Carbonation is quite low, as it should be. The beer is quite smooth with only the slightest trace of warmth going down.

Quite a drinkable and delicious example of the style, such a shame it is so limited. I wish more was brewed. It definitely was better than the ten fidy I tried along side which is certainly saying something.

Photo of hardy008
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

Pours dark black with no highlights. Less than one finger of dark tan head which disappears quickly. The aroma has dark chocolate, espresso, alcohol, and molasses.

The taste has chocolate syrup, molasses, espresso, cocoa, and the alcohol is better hidden than the aroma suggested. This surprised me, because I expected this beer to be hot with booze based on the aroma, but the alcohol is well hidden for 10.5 %. This is a very sweet beer, and a malt bomb all the way. Excellent.

Full bodied, smooth, creamy, and the carbonation is fairly low, which is perfect for this beer. I could drink this again and again.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, 2010 vintage, courtesy of rpstevens. A huge thank you to a very, very generous trader for helping me track down the last great bottled RIS I haven't had the chance to try. Allowed to cool for 20 minutes outside the fridge, and poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours an oily, greasy-looking night, fairly far to the right on the "thin ---- thick" spectrum, and thick enough that it took a good 15 seconds for the half finger of perfectly cocoa-hued head to arise from this one. It's a soapy, frothy head, the color of a good, dark bisque (#e8c094, for those who are interested), and though the retention isn't fantastic, it does leave a nice delicate collar (that's replenished by a surprisingly fast and plentiful stream of bubbles, given the apparent thickness) and a light, thin dusting. The lacing is thick and syrupy-looking, but it runs down the sides of the snifter after each sip like it wants to stick its face in this beer as much as I do.

Aroma: And how could I not want to with a smell like this? Give it time to warm and you'll be rewarded. Huge dark fruits preside over a juicy array of berry notes and some almost meaty, smoky port overtones. Blueberries, raisins, figs, and even some cherries marinate in a sea of port wine, made in to jam, and then mixed with milk chocolate syrup and spread over perfectly-done toast. Ok, it doesn't quite smell like that, but it still smells fantastic, both in its authenticity and enjoyability, but also in its uniqueness.

Taste: How marvelous. An absolutely rich and decadent mouth, that hits everything that should be hit by an RIS (in my personal opinion). I'm hardly even sure where to begin with this one. The malt bill is absolutely phenomenal - it's definitely a little on the sweet side of things, but saying that is overly simplistic. The sweetness of the sugars manifests itself in a number of ways - from dark, deep, robust toffee to rich, creamy, milk chocolate, almost Hershey's syrup-esque - and it's balanced by just enough of a faintly astringent, heavily toasted backbone that it never comes across as cloying or syrupy. Faint, earthy notes, dirt that amplifies and compliments rather than detracts or distracts, and full city coffee - one cream ... perhaps two, and one sugar - round out the malt foundation that's decadent, wholesome, authentic, and incredibly inviting. But let's not forget the supporting characters. Huge, juicy, bright blueberries, currants, and raspberries dance across the tongue over a sea of plump raisins and dark cherries. Faint, tawny port notes add hints of fruit, smooth warming esters, and a kiss of spicy, oaky woodiness. And the 9.5% abv? What 9.5% abv? It's just so quintessential, so authentic, and so complex ... it can't get anything but a 5.0.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly slick, oily, and smooth, which is both a strength and a slight knock. On the one hand, it distributes the carbonation beautifully - an even, smooth, creamy mess, like an RIS milkshake. The carbonation was a little intense at first, perhaps a little too high (the result was an eruptive, frothy mess) but after sitting out for 5 minutes or so, it improves drastically. Once it calms, though, the slickness does become noticeable - I suppose I'm nitpicking though, as it's a very near-perfect mouth.

Drinkability: I hate sounding like a fanboy in beer reviews. But I have to rave a little about this one. This is one of the most enjoyable, richest, decadent, authentic, and complex RISs I've ever had. I actually had to go out of my way to find fault in a few places, and feel a little bad about that. The yeasty notes and the richness of the malts is inescapably small brewery. That is, I do believe it when I hear that, if KtG were brewed at, say, Smuttynose's facilities, it would have to taste different. This is old world, hands on, delicately crafted, small barrel but big flavor, and - at 9.5% - absolutely nothing to complain about in a world of 19.5% Black Tuesdays. Indeed, this is one of a very small handful of beers I've been genuinely sad about once I've downed the last sip, and I hope one day this beautiful lady will yet again pass my lips.

Photo of atremains
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

"It's the best it's ever been" - Todd Mott
Missed the bottles by 30 minutes or so at 5:45...
A - Nearly opaque, motor oil black with an extraordinarily resilient two-finger light cocoa head that foreshadows the mouthfeel. It dies down (after a substantial amount of time) to a mystical swirling sheet with a bubbly ring around the edges. A "blanket" seems fitting.
S - The smell contains all the elements of a good ole... (Must interject that Todd Mott interupted us to ask if his beer sucked and exclaimed "holy fuck are you kidding me" at my friend's notes)... RIS. The alcohol stands out to me, most likely enhanced by the aspects of the port soaked oak spirals that this beer is aged with for 5 months. Subtle chocolate and dark fruit (again attributed to the port) are also present. The alcohol hits me as a bit spicy. There is also a milky, vanilla scent here.
T - The taste follows suit to the smell. Initial heat from the alcohol is quieted by the mix making it surprisingly smooth. The chocolate is much more present especially in the aftertaste. The port is extremely interesting to perceive as you make your way through the glass.
M - The mouthfeel is so creamy it's almost weird. I've had thicker brews, but this may be the creamiest RIS I've had. The alcohol is present and warming but it's not overpowering. More of an enjoyable, relaxing feel that helps with the 4 hour wait in the nearly freezing rain.
D - Not that you would drink this in large quantities but it is rather filling and the alcohol take it's toll at 9.5%. I had 2 pours in about 2 hours and would've been in for another if I had not needed to leave. Extremely drinkable and smooth, excellent blend and take on a great style.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed back on 888, reviewed from fairly meticulous notes. Shared with SAS, Inflatablechair, and theotherbeerguy.

My share poured into a Chimay goblet.

'07 bottle provided by Inflatablechair.... quite possibly the highlite of the tasting in my mind... Huge Thanks Sam!

Pour produced a beautiful lite brown head over a dark dark dark brew that only revealed the smallest rays of walnut highlites when held to a bright light... good lacing the entire glass.

Aroma is amazingly complex.. deep raisin and chocolate with a little bit of dried fruit... more chocolate and roasty.

For flavor.. note say see aroma but with even more complexity.. coffee and roasty with a little bit more fruit... dark dried cherries.. not as bitter as lending alot to the overall complexity.. just enough sweetness to tie it all together.. worthy of the hype... viscous but not overly thick.. still very drinkable.. even more so when we revisited the bottle a couple hours later.... wonderful for sure.

Another shout-out to Sam.. thanks sooo much.


Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, now this one will be a little lengthy as I feel it really deserves a little bit of exploration to do it justice. First off much thanks goes out to my friend from up north for hooking me up with this a while back, I had not had a chance to properly review it, so I cracked open the last one last night and figured I would give it the respect it deserves.

Pulled this out of the fridge and let it sit for a while to bring it up near sixty degrees and proceeded to pour it into a nice oversized wine glass to really have the full experience. The pour was wonderful, full deep dark chocolate color, absolutely no light coming through this one at all, none, completely, and totally opaque. At first, there was no head, then on it came about five seconds later, a full two finger high head of chocolate tan foam just rose up over the top and never really went anywhere. It literally still had this thick foamy top throughout the entire session, really quite nice. The side glass lace was equally impressive with a huge amount of sticky brown mess all over the side of the glass. This is what I want my stout to look like, rich full, black as night. I was liking where this one was going.

Up next I decided to lean in and see what kind of aromas where coming in off this. I was really quite please with a full rich and dark essence coming right off the glass. Lots of notes of chocolate as you would expect, with a deep sugary sweet layer as well. Very nice little bit of vanilla in there, which was definitely noticeable and more then welcomed. As I sat there and just absorbed it there was a really nice oaky, woody alcohol note coming through as well, nothing harsh, but a little hint that it was lying just under the surface. Nice little touch of coffee coming through as it warms along with just the slightest grassy like nose.

The flavor was wonderful. The body was a little bit lighter then I thought it would have been, but not badly or weak in any way. Lots of carbonation here as well. Really full flavors of chocolate and vanilla coming through really clearly and very big. As it warmed it got even more complex bringing in hints of cookie dough, a nice warming bourbon like alcohol flavor and more sweet flavors as well. The finish was very long and dry with a big coffee and caramel like lasting flavor, very nice. I polished off this whole bottle in a sitting though I probably should not have as I was hurting this morning, but it was soo drinkable, even more so then some of its larger friends in the style. Great creamy feel and a lot sweeter then I thought it would be.

Overall, I have to say this was excellent. Is it worthy of its number two in the world ranking, that is debatable, I honestly liked the abyss a bit more, but to each his own. Still this was top notch and should be right up there in the top ten. An absolutely phenomenal beer, I would bend over backwards to try this one again, it is just that good.

Photo of nhindian
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #200!

22oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Big props to 603BeerMe for finding someone willing to trade their extra bottle, thanks a ton Clark! Bottle split with russwbeck.

2011 vintage.

A - Pours a dark black, no highlights at all to mention. A relatively normal pour yields a modest 1-finger head, almost cream-colored, much lighter than I would've expected. The head is velvety smooth, and the retention is moderate. Once its gone, it leaves a ghostly wisp in its wake and a small, bubbly ring around the edge. Not much lacing at all.

S - My first whiff brings a huge nose full of coffee and chocolate. Much more rich and robust than any other Russian Imperial Stout I've had previous to this. It's very bold and rich, bringing flavors of freshly roasted espresso and dark chocolate. As it warms up, the alcohol comes through a little, mixing with the sweetness and bringing out teases of anise and dark fruit.

T - The taste leads with a formidable malt influence, which comes through in a very roasty taste, not so much coffee but toasted grain. The roast and coffee leads into a semi-sweet chocolate. It's a thick and flavorful chocolate and lasts well throughout the drink. The anise in the nose is subtle but there is still a little bit of black licorice, but can't say that the dark fruits are represented in any capacity. The alcohol does come through a little, but its rather sweet. Finish is incredibly long and full of roast, chocolate, and sweetness.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with low carbonation. Incredibly smooth and it feels very good on the palate. It's almost to the point of being creamy and it goes down so easily.

D - Drinkability is very high. Everything about this beer screams tantalizing, from the nose to the taste and finishing with the mouthfeel. The alcohol is noticeable but not astringent. This is a damn good beer and I'm glad I've had the luck to get this bottle!

Photo of phattysbox
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to kplynch and Mike for splitting one with me.

Came later so and the beer was already poured so I can't comment on the initial head. But after 20 minutes, a nice ring chocolate brown lace remains. Beer is black, but not pitch black.

Smells fantastic - soft chocolate hits the nose followed by malty sweetness and slight bittering hops. Taste is even better - chocolate covered rasins and rum-soaked figs come to mind. There is only a small hop profile as the sweet malts are riding this one all the way. Incredibly smooth!!! Alcohol is not existent and the carbonation is perfect - my beer was gone so fast!

I was asking for more but we only had one bottle. Kate is indeed great and fits the hype.

Photo of mnj21655
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber purchased from the Brewery Gift Shop in February.

I've had this on tap as well (it was just as good then) and have simply been too lazy to write a formal review while at the Brewery but this stuff is so damn good I just had to review it.

Pours pitch black with a full 2 fingers of creamy brown head and loads of lacing. Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, and some dark fruits. As for the taste, well... WOW. I can barely begin to describe this. Starts off with a nice coffee flavor which is quickly replaced by a combimation of sweet roasted malts and chocolate. This is followed by an appearance by some hops just before the coffee returns for the finish accompanied by some toffee. Mouthfeel is great, full body, which is just a bit lighter than I expected but still near perfect for the style. Drinkability is excellent. The only distraction is the ABV which quickly makes its presence known with a wonderful warming that quickly makes its way from the stomach to the extremeties. Bottom line: this stuff is amazing. I've had a fair few imperial stouts and this is the best. I suggest you make the trip to Portsmouth and give this brew a try.

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kate the Great '11

A: Pours thick and syrupy, with only a tiny mocha head that lines the edge of the glass. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells mainly of brown sugar, molasses, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. There is a slight alcohol presence in this beer, but it's very subtle.

T: Tastes exactly like it smells. Roasted malt, molasses, and brown sugar. I also get hits of raisin, plum, cherry, and vanilla. This is a really complex beer. I'm amazed at how much is going on here. It's absolutely delicious.

M: Full bodied beer, that coats the palate and hangs on for dear life. Slightly sticky and chewy, but that fades.

O: This beer is wonderful. It totally lives up to the hype.

Photo of drseamus
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black body with a nice mocha head. Picturesque beer all around.

The aroma is great. There is a bunch of milk chocolate and coffee and it smells delicious.

The taste is crazy good. It is creamy chocolate and coffee blended together. There is a bit of hotness that is probably alcohol but could be some bitterness. I can't wait to see how this ages.

When it's cold, the body seems pretty thick but as it warms it thins out a bit and becomes almost more of an old ale consistency. I prefer RIS's on the thicker end and served on the warmer end, so this didn't quite meet the terms of perfection.

This is a DAMN good RIS. With a little age, I think the bitterness will reduce a bit and make this awesome. This beer is MUCH better cold rather than warm, which is usually the opposite of what I find. It still has good flavor and aroma cold and the body is much better.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I've refrained from writing reviews on this site up until now, but what better way to get started than with this outstanding, complex imperial.

Had this in a snifter at the brewery in September of 2005

Jet black, ie: opaque in appearance

A very complex smell; currants, dark chocolate, star anise, piney hops, tar, toasted marshmellows, fresh brewed Kenyan coffee

Wow! Taste is remarkable. Vanilla powder, baker's chocolate, rum soaked raisins, melted caramel chews, very slight iron component, fresh green hops, dark roast coffee and malted milk balls all intricately woven together.

A great sipper. Smooth, velvety and lasting. You can really sit back and reflect on the world around you with this one.

Very drinkable for it's strength. No fusil alcohol astringency.

Can't wait to get back to the brewery to try this again.

Photo of edbeer
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After much anticipation and with great enthusiasm I finally got to try the much-touted Kate the Great and I must say I was not disappointed. The presentation was perfect, after purchasing my two bottles I returned to my table to find it was the first table to receive the beer.

The appearance was as expected, opaque with a nice chocolate head. The aroma was very mild and sweet. This beer was very drinkable, smooth and malty with perfectly balanced notes of coffee, chocolate with a nice toffee finish. I perceived a little bitterness at the end either from the hops or possibly black patent malt, either way the sensation was welcome. There was a little heat detected from the alcohol. This was apparent even while the beverage was cold though the heat didn't increase as the beer warmed.

Overall I'd say this brew is worthy of nobility and common folk alike.

Photo of mdurkee11
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to taste this amazing beer off the tap and was not disappointed. Very light taste and finish for such a big Imperial Stout. KTG starts out with a wonderful aroma and strong head when served. Hints of mint/chocolate combine with the obviously high ABV make for a nice pairing. This brew is light when first sipped but followed by wonderful flavor. A world class beer if you are lucky to get it off draft.

Photo of claspada
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Adding review of 2011 sampled 1/20/12 with HimerMan. Just as amazing as I remember. Even better actually. Aromas are ridiculous, berries galore. Everything remains true that I described below. Mouthfeel was better than I remember, carbonation was slightly higher in this more recent example, maybe the freshness... Adjusting ratings, this is as close to perfect as a beer can be.

Bottle courtesy of rlmartin at our most recent tasting. 2010 edition. My hand is shaking as I pour the bottle I am so nervous. I have been waiting to try this beer for as long as I can remember.

Pours a dark brownish black, not the darkest I have ever seen, with a nice small dark brown head that you don't see all the time, which quickly recedes leaving some minimal lacing.

Aroma is ridiculous. Waves of initial complex smells; raspberry/blackberry jam, dark and milk chocolate, lesser darker and vinous fruits as well. I am really getting a lot of dark chocolate covered strawberry here. I have never experienced such a berry presence in a beer. Port barrels did this... interesting, wow!

The tastes directly follow the nose with waves and waves of dark chocolate covered strawberries, lesser sweet milk chocolate bar and tons of raspberry jam and a little vanilla in the background. I have never had a stout with so little roasted/coffee presence and so much dark fruit character but I am 100% in love with this, with KATE I guess, whoever she is!

Mouthfeel is soft and sweet and velvety. Low-to-medium carbonation which I normally dislike but I couldn't care less here. This is full yet almost dry in the finish.

Overall, words cannot describe not pleased I am with this beer. Usually the hype train is off course but this beer is worth it, holy S! I wish I had more. I am considering moving to Portsmouth now is how good this was. Highly recommended, track it down, trade for it, just WOW!

Photo of siege06nd
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, Eric, you continue to be far too generous. Thanks for letting me have a share of this bottle!

2012 vintage poured into a snifter...

A. Thick, rich, motor oil in my glass. Darkest of browns, almost black. About a quarter finger of light brown head with some good, spotty lacing down the sides of the glass. Really nice wisps of head float atop the beer.

S. Mmmm. Cocoa powder, ripe fruit, cherry juice, vanilla, roasted malt, toasted caramel, subtle touches of hops, almost citrus-like. Hints of roasted coffee as well. I really like this...especially the infusion of dark fruit and some citrus zest from what I assume are hops. The bouquet here is near perfectly integrated, and hits a lot of nice notes.

T. Super dark chocolate drops, strawberry, cherry juice, whole coffee bean, bread crust, roasted caramel, mocha, citrusy hop, almost like a chocolate covered orange. De-freakin-licious. Pretty boozy finish, but at this point, I'm not caring. Barrel adds a lot of subtle char qualities but also contributes a cloying dryness that subtly burns the back of the throat. A decadent beer and the complete antithesis to brews like Chocolate Rain. This doesn't try to go over the top sugar-bomb on you. It lets chocolate, coffee, caramel, and roasted malt each have its turn. Very very very impressive.

M. Thick and full bodied with moderate carbonation. Flavors are well-integrated. Slightly boozy and tannic finish detract ever so slightly.

O. A spectacular concoction. Top-notch imperial stout that brings a lot of new flavors to the table, making it an exercise in unparalleled complexity. Might could use some age with the alcohol burn that exists at this stage, but it drinks nicely nonetheless. One of the best coffee and dark chocolate finishes I have encountered, and a great creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Bravo.

Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 901 ratings.