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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

489 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 489
Hads: 918
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 7.33%
Wants: 2,680
Gots: 172 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 489 | Hads: 918
Photo of Sammy
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exception imperial stout that lives up to its hype. Smooth chocolate and expresso, although the nose was a wierd mix of coffee, chocolate and pp. Black with white lace. Creamy smooth mouthfeel. The balance between Sweet and bitter is nailed.Thanks for sharing Tom. (267 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 Version Bottled (thanks to bmanning)

Had the 2009 and 2010 side-by-side recently at a tasting.

The 2009 was a bit more complex than the 2010 version that I had on tap. The flavors had developed quite a bit more, with the licorice and dark fruits starting to really blend together nicely, creating a much more cohesive--and delicious--whole. Given the increased complexities, and the fact that this one is certainly designed to have a bit of age, I feel that the 2009 version is the more appropriate review, but definitely did not want to do a double review.
___

2010 Version On-Tap:

A: Very, very black with a slight tan head that doesn't last particularly long, although there are some decent legs as it goes down. 4.0

S: Very rich with plenty of chocolate, licorice, molasses, some dark fruits, and more licorice. The black licorice is definitely the most dominant scent, but it's blended well with many others. 4.5

T: Lots of black licorice alongside coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Very nicely blended together. 4.5

M: A bit thin for the style, especially compared with others like Dark Lord, but the flavors are layered very nicely and there isn't much of an alcohol presence at all. 4.0

D: Very, very drinkable. I would not have known I was drinking such a high abv beer if I hadn't previously had this information. Very complex, keeps you back for more. 5.0 (1,400 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours an almost jet black color with a modest head that still manages to leave some droplets and squiggles of lace

Smell: Dark chocolate and espresso, with hints of molasses, roasted nuts and tar

Taste: The first sensation is fruity, but that is deceptive as the tongue is then greeted by milk and then dark chocolate (one of those high % bars); the chocolate is joined by a subtle hint of citrus fruit for just a moment and then the rich chocolate flavor prevails, although the fruit is definitely there, providing a bitter edge; after the swallow, the vanilla creme flavors arrive, almost like a nougat, providing for a long and silky finish that is reminiscent of fine tobacco

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and creamy; with moderate carbonation; slight warmth on the finish

Drinkability: For an RIS, this is so smooth it defies description and the unusual flavor profile is what distinguishes this beer from the other great RISs out there; tough to find but worth the effort

Thanks, njhcnwk, for the initial score and mikeale, for the rebound (1,056 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011 vintage drank in 2012): Poured a pitch-black stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with huge note of black chocolate with lingering sweet notes is very interesting and quite huge. Taste is a complex mix between some huge black chocolate notes with some lactose notes with medium dry roasted notes with light espresso notes. Light liquorice notes could also be detected. Body is full with great creamy texture and good carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Huge beer with huge amount of taste while still retaining some good complexity. (618 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'08 vintage.

Appearance: Kate pours a rich obsidian color, completely opaque as any imperial stout should be. Three inches of foam rises from a gentle pour, slowly settling into a quarter-inch cap and leaving a ton of sticky lace as it descends. Head retention is outstanding, far beyond other beers of this style.

Smell: Rich and sweet - cocoa and cream with an undertone of tart fruit. Pleasantly aromatic.

Taste & mouthfeel: Pretty rich and choocolatey, like liquid chocolate cake. The malt backbone on this stuff is enormous and decidedly on the sweet side for the style. I've heard that this year's batch is around 12%, and the sweetness is fitting of that ABV. Flavors of milk chocolate, tart berries, semi-burnt toast, sweet cream and caramel fill the palate but never overwhelm it. It finishes semi-dry with a hint of alcohol and a slight acrid quality. I think that this will mellow in time however, and I can imagine this stuff tasting very good in 6 months. As it stands I'd say that it lacks the complexity of other imperial stouts I've tried, though it's a solid and enjoyable beer. (1,098 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (1,152 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

June 2008 release. Anthracite at midnight with no highlights along the edges of the glass. They don't get any blacker and more light-sucking than this. A spirited pour created three fingers of caramel colored foam that is rich and milkshake thick. The lid melts in super-slow motion and is beginning to blast all available surfaces with thick sheets of finely stippled lace. They also don't get any more gorgeous than this.

The nose is straightforward, high-quality Russian Imperial stout. It's also incredibly potent. The beer doesn't smell very hoppy and the partial port barrel aging doesn't appear to have added anything to the aroma that I can detect. No matter, because hugely roasted malt of this magnitude doesn't need any help.

Kate The Great is a fantastically delicious version of what is probably my second favorite style. The first mouthful was amazingly complex, and I'm expecting each successive sip to be even more so. Before cracking the crown, there was a wee voice in my head that kept whispering that this highly heralded stout couldn't possibly live up to the hype. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but I'm enjoying in immensely... and still have most of the bomber to go.

Although I couldn't have identified their contributions without prior knowledge, port and oak are most likely what give Kate The Great its uniqueness. The flavor profile includes dark chocolate, espresso, black licorice, blackstrap molasses, raisins soaked in tawny port and crushed vanilla beans. A lack of American hop citrusiness isn't missed since the rest of the beer works so well together.

Alcohol is essentially absent on the palate. It is, however, leading to a spreading warmth and a feeling of well-being. I won't allow any of the scores to be affected... promise. The flavor falls *just* short of perfection, so I've decided to award drinkability. Since the beer is compulsively drinkable, it isn't like it wasn't honestly earned.

After several back-and-forths, the mouthfeel just does deserve the above score. It starts out no more than light-medium for the style, then gains viscosity with each passing ounce. Crushed velvet smoothness and perfect carbonation are a tough combination to beat.

Portsmouth Kate The Great isn't one of the 10 best beers to have ever entered my glass (it's currently #10 on the Top Beers on Planet Earth), but it's a lovely Russian Imperial stout that deserves every accolade thrown its way. Kate is Great and I'm honored that she's my 4000th review.

*reviewed on 10-25-2009 (2,521 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (2,937 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Henry for sharing this bottle from the 2010 release.

A: The pour is nearly black with a fluffy and sturdy tan head on top.

S: A really complex set of aromas going on here. Of course the obligatory dark roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. There are also some sweet, dark fruit aromas such as cherries and figs and a bit ofcaramel.

T: The roast really defines the flavor along with dark chocolate and a few hints of coffee. The fruit component is not as pronounced as it is in the nose, but still there in the background.

M: A medium bodied beer with a low, creamy, and smooth carbonation.

D: A really nice beer, but I'm not entirely sure if it's one of the top 5 in the world. Nonetheless, I'm glad to have tried it a couple times and would not turn it down in the future either. (805 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We opened up a 2010 bottle at finewinemike's house this past weekend. Poured into a Colossus snifter.

Appearance: This beer pours black with a little bit of red at the edges where the light hits the beer. There is a layer of cocoa colored head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet roasted malt and dark chocolate up front with lots of dark fruit and a little bit of a wine like smell. Lots of wood from the barrels and some heat from the alcohol.

Taste: This beer is quite roasty and doesn't have quite enough sweetness in it to even that out. Some dark fruit and wine tartness with a strong note from the wood. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Given the hype/ratings behind this beer, I was a bit disappointed. That being said, it was still quite good, but it didn't live up to the same level as a few of the other stouts at the tasting. I would have it again, but given the cost to trade for it, I won't be doing that again. (1,015 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewpub 12/21/07.

Served in a 10oz tulip glass.

Pours a impenetrable pitch black with a beautiful tan head that settles down into a smooth, creamy covering. I don't believe I've ever been mesmerized by a beers appearance before but I just couldn't get enough of watching the swish of blackness and tan head swirl around in the glass, leaving an awesome spiderwork of glass down the edges of the tulip glass. Aroma is a HUGE nose of chocolate sweetness. This mixes with an underpining of faint heat to make for a most pleasant, warming smell.

Much like the nose, the taste is one again dominated by sweet chocolate malt. This is by far one of the sweetness Imperial Stouts I've ever tasted and I loved it! The sweetness isn't absolutley dominate though, as some secondary notes of dark fruits and coffee shine through as well. Finishes with a combo of sweetness and some slight roasty bitterness that lets is end with a bit of an oomph. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, feeling almost viscous at times over the tongue. As I drink it though, I feel like it could almost go a little deeper with the body. Just a bit. Alcohol is present but never detracts from the rest of the beer. It perfectly accentuates the other flavors, adding an undercurrent of warmth and roastiness to the overall taste profile. Definitely one of the best jobs of balancing a higher ABV that I've ever felt in an RIS.

I don't know what else to say about this beer. I drove 8 hours up to New Hampshire to try it and it more than met my expectations. It doesn't possess the deep burnt notes and intense heat of other Russian Imperial Stouts, instead offering a profile that while still complex, is more accessable and most importantly, incredibly drinkable. After this glass, I had another on draft and proceeded to grab 4 growlers of it for myself and friends back home. Well worth the trip and I'll do it again when next year's release rolls around. (1,946 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got to try this white whale. Had to stand in line for 4 hours in the freezing drizzle and 30 degree temperatures to make sure I got in to get it on draft. All that made it taste all the more better. Made my poor wife stand with me too, God bless her for doing so. I had a lot of making up to do after. Had on tap at the brewery on Kate day.

A: Super pitch black, no light can escape its dark matter grasp. A smaller head can be seen as the beer arrives, with a nice slightly dark fluffy head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Just the sight of it arriving and the dark milky looking beer under the nice fluffy head makes my heart beat faster than a cracked out sex prostitute.

N: After sticking my nose into the head a few times and getting that little foam on the tip of the nose, I just sat there breathing it in for a couple minutes, just soaking in the moment. Lots of dark roast come flying out. Lots of malts as well, a nice dark malt and roasty aroma. With the roast comes some freshly roasted coffee, and it's finally waking me up as my body defrosts from the 4 hour freeze. A slight sweet milk chocolate aroma comes out, and then it adds a little dark fruit, some brown sugar and sweet molasses. Very light hint of a bitter hop aroma, that is almost impossible to pick up behind all the roast and malts, but the longer I nose it the more it starts to come out. It's like all the amazing aromas you can get in a RIS in perfect balance.

T: Finally time to taste this glass of pure heaven. My wife turns to me and tells me that it better be worth it. As she continues to explain my mind just blocks out everything else in the universe as the smoothest liquid I have ever tasted breaks past my lips and swirls around my tongue. My tongue can't even get through to my brain to begin with the tastes as it's just overwhelmed with the velvety smoothness of the beer. Finally my tongue starts to talk, with a really nice smooth malty taste, and lots of roast. Again, the roast leads its way towards a freshly roasted and brewed coffee. With that comes a little semi sweet milk chocolate, and lots of vanilla. A little oak seems to make it way through at first and comes out more as the beer warms, and the slightest touch of port. Luscious bakers chocolate hints it's way in as I continue to swish around the first sip. I refresh the sip with another and get more vanilla, this time accompanied by a little brown sugar, hints of booze (hidden very well for 9.5%) a little sweet malty flavor, slight dark rich fruits, and even detect a hint of cinnamon and peppermint.

M: Just the damn smoothest thing that has ever touched my lips or anything else for that matter. It's like pure velvet and silk blended into rich creamy dark beer form. The perfect touch of carbonation just makes the experience that much better.

F: As if it couldn't get any better, the finish just delivers the finishing touch. It doesn't have any of that heavy bitter charred stout finish, just smooth creamy delicious stout flavors. A slight hop bitterness starts to come through as well on the finish, but it's light and blended well. A slight lingering chocolate and coffee flavors, and touch of molasses and sweet malts stick to the taste buds, but not the mouth. It's like it just left this nice reminder of the beer but doesn't leave the clingy sticky flavor all around the mouth. This has to be the most drinkable stout ever created, not even taking into account the high abv and amount of heavy malts in it. The velvety creamy silk flavor also stays long after.

Not sure if standing in the freezing rain for 4 hours made this all the more enjoyable, and it probably did, but how amazingly smooth and drinkable the beer is, and the perfect blend and balance of all the great luscious flavors just makes this beer so perfect. After KBS I never thought I could give a beer a 5.0 rating, but there's no way I couldn't after drinking this. Benjamin Franklin once said "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Well I say, this is what He drinks all the friggen time. Next year it's hotel down the street and in line at 1AM. (4,137 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 6/24/08 at the brewpub, poured shortly after the first keg of the June 2008 release was tapped, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a large tan head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, rich roasted malts, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and rich but very well-balanced with flavors of dark chocolate, a little black coffee and a little dark fruit. The ABV is hidden quite well. The after-taste is bitter-sweet. Not much else to say about it other than that I think what makes Kate great is how well the flavors come together.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is an outstanding beer. I'm not sure if it's worth the lengths to which many people have gone to get it, but I believe this beer has lived up to the hype it has received. (1,065 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
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! (1,390 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've tasted this beer in passing, the last time was probably EBF 06'. Blurry memories so now I'm finally splitting a growler with Todd.

Pours thick and black with a sufficient brown lacing.

Aromas of chocolate cake batter, Tootsie rolls, chocolate covered malted milk balls and dry toasted cocoa beans. Hint of dark berry and spicy herbal from the hop / alcohol combo.

Creamy and a bit slick, almost a little syrupy in the mouth. Smooth carbonation. Alcohol is warming and a little fuming but not hot, hops come through quick with the alcohol before the maltiness lays in. Chocolate syrup, molasses cookies, dried plums and a cocoa powder maltiness slowly appear with each sip as each complex layer peels away. Finishes with some hop flavor, slight charred malt and a semi-sweet choco-flavor.

Perfectly balanced, very complex yet not too over the top so it has a dangerous level of drinkibility. There is so much chocolate and cocoa goodness here, so don't expect a big burnt charred character its more mellow within the sweetness. (1,035 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge, thanks to Dave (d0b) for busting this out at our "mini" tasting (there was nothing mini about this tasting!). Shared with three Daves and our associated women-folk. Summer '08 bottle served in a FOBAB taster glass.

A - One-finger of mocha foam with solid retention an some spotty lacing. Blacker than black color, with only the slightest bit of red at the edges when held to the light. Reminded me of the incredible-looking Homewood Reserve, but without the same volume.

S - Sweet roast malts, cream, milk chocolate, dark fruits, a hint of smoky wood, and a surprising touch of booziness. The alcohol was a surprise, as this was one of the lower ABV stouts we had and many of the others in the tasting didn't smell as hot. This one takes a while to warm up, BTW.

T - The taste was terrific. Sweet roast malts, bittersweet chocolate, a hint of coffee with a ton of cream and sugar, and a touch of cherry & dark fruits. The booziness I smelled is gone. This is what I expect from a non barrel-aged RIS.

M - Medium viscosity, low carbonation, creamy and incredibly smooth. Lots of residual stickiness afterward. It's nice to occasionally have a stout that doesn't have the consistency of a motor-oil milkshake, yet is still bursting with flavor.

D - This is possibly as easy drinking as it gets for a RIS. Low carbonation, well-hidden alcohol, smooth and not overly heavy. It's just a great-drinking brew.

So - some general impressions after knocking off the last of the big stouts. Kate is a wonderful brew, but she's kind of like that attractive girl in class that's kind of quiet. You take her out and expect her to open up and reveal a little more about herself, but she never does. KtG lacks the strong signature and personality that each of the other big stouts have - Abyss has those delicate hints of coffee and barrel-aging, Darkness has the candy and ridiculous hop presence, Dark Lord has the mouthfeel of a shake. Kate is subtle and shy, and a tiny, tiny, bit of a letdown (or as much of a letdown as a 4.4 beer can be).

Still well worth seeking out, but temper your expectations. (2,108 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of citrusjim, thanks, mate! This one's been on my radar for a while, but now that it's in the Top 5, it became a must-have. Sweet, now, it's mine, all mine!

Into a chalice she goes, this Kate, pouring a solid black, with a slim brown ring of head on top. Blackety, black, black, black.

In the nose, bittersweet espresso, dark chocolate, ...didn't impress at first, but grows as it sits in the glass and warms. (This was poured about 15 minutes after taking it from the fridge.) Roast becomes more evident in aroma, favor gets bigger...deep, spicy, earthy, and warm.

Let's drink, shall we?
Enters the mouth and fills it full tilt, to the hilt, big boned and bodacious, our Katie. And there's no simplicity here, it's an intriquing stew simmering on the palate, some roasty malt, some bright tingly hops, some dark fruit...plenty of beans, cocoa and coffee, but mixed smoothly and adroitly, sliding down the throat with easy, and urging further partakings. Chocolate is in charge of the next sip, but the the sweet is matched with roast, and the bittersweet coffee kicks in next. Nice. But then along comes blackberry, and and raisins, and more...mmmm, tasty...bold, but fuzzy, fierce, but mellow, calming, a tonic for a tough night.

Full bodied as they get, with a long, long finish...finish doesn't work, as there is no termination. Just a long languor. That's a good word for it.
languor \LANG-guhr; LANG-uhr\, noun:
1. Mental or physical weariness or fatigue.
2. Listless indolence, especially the indolence of one who is satiated by a life of luxury or pleasure.
3. A heaviness or oppressive stillness of the air.

#2 fits best for our purpose here. Call me satiated by this decadent, luxurious, fruity, hoppy, chocolatey, mellow, deep, dark, and stronger than you think Imperial Stout...what not as strong as I what? I didn't...wait, there it is...

beautiful girl, Kate, lovely, lovely lass! (1,920 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 04/28/12 notes. HUGE huge thanks to joepais for sending me a bottle of this one in December for the Secret Santa BIF; been one of my biggest Wants since I've been on the site, so very glad to finally try it. 2011 vintage split with some friends.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two inches of thick dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, molasses, roasted malts, chocolate, and some black licorice. Very nice nose, quite sweet. Reminds me of 2009 Dark Lord a little bit.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, black licorice, sugar, molassess, roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, light coffee. More licorice and sweeter then the nose, a slight step down for me.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is very smooth and creamy; a little more carbonation and the mouthfeel would have been perfect. Definitely does not feel anywhere need 12% ABV.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good RIS, though it isn't my favorite. It is very sweet and has a lot of sweet fruit, molasses, and black licorice to it, very similiar to 2009 Dark Lord in my opinion. Definitely does not feel like 12%, though tough to drink a ton of it due to how sweet it is. I drank about 6-7 oz.'s of the bottle and that is probably the perfect amount; glad to see they moved to the smaller bottled this year. Overall this is a great stout, but a bit overhyped and considering how hard it is to get, I'd rather seek out a few others that I could get easier (18yr EC Eclipse, DL, Darkness). (1,532 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to FooFaa for bringing this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. 2010 bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark roast up front with hints of chocolate sweetness, dark fruits, dark roasted malts, and a tiny bit of booze. Nothing too over the top but still a very well balanced nose.

T - Very similar to the smell. Lots of dark roasted malt mixed with chocolate, dark fruits, and dry oak from the wood chips. Finish has some dark roast and some light astringency, lingering for some time after consumption. This one has very good overall balance with nothing really overtaking the rest. Very nice beer and easily one of the best I have ever had.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice smooth feel with some lingering dry roast in the finish.

D - Very high. I have had the pleasure of having Kate before and this one was just as good. I think this may be my favorite non-barrel aged stout. Complex yet enjoyable with the 12% A.B.V. all but undetectable. (1,149 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle shared with some people at a tasting. Beer is black but clear and reddish at the corners. The aroma is sweet but not overpowering roast like I thought it would be. Forms a brown thin head of medium and large bubbles. Head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass.

This beer is really nice drinking. Its not as big as I expected, there is some body, medium is a good descriptor. There isn't much carbonation in the mouth, some vanilla flavors, slight coffee and roast in the back, some bitterness. I would love to have this again and in a greater quantity. Next year in Portsmouth. (597 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Breakdown of Kate Vintages

2008 with 2 years on it - best version I had, didn't review it.
2009 with 2 years on it - not infected, but very port forward
2010 fresh and aged a year - see below for detailed review
2011 fresh - Too young. I think time will do it well.

This review is for the 2010 edition. I have had the 10 fresh and I think I prefer that one over this one.

Pours a light layer of tan head. Color is black. A swirl leaves some legs. A bit of lace is also left.

Aroma: Creamy flavors and caramel. Milk chocolate, coffee roast. All malt goodness. A bit of oak as well.

Taste: Dark dried fruits show here with some molasses and syrup, but nothing overly sweet. Oak and vanilla show with some milk chocolate and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and roasted. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry, but clean.

Overall, a really good ris. Near the top for the style. Very drinkable. I do prefer this vintage fresh, but still pretty good with a little time on it. (997 characters)

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (854 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jay for opening this bottle up! 2010 vintage poured into a small snifter glass.

A: Pours a very nice dark black color with a small mocha/tan colored head on top. Not very big and reduces rather quickly, leaving behind a ring of foam and some random bubbles on top.

S: Lots going on in the aroma, lots of dark fruits - cherry and raisins. There is some espresso and coffee and a bunch of dark chocolate. In some ways it reminds me of a port.

T: Very big, lots of flavors that change as it warms. Slightly bitter chocolate and coffee a first with tons of dark fruit in the middle. More cherries, raisins, and figs, as well as some brown sugar and molasses.

M: Full bodied, but extremely easy drinking. Goes down very smooth. Slight heat, but no heavy alcohol presence.

O: A fantastic beer that lives up to its reputation. Extremely complex, but the ease at which it drank was amazing. Can only hope to have it again someday. Thanks again Jay. (964 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Both 2011 and 2012 vintages opened side-by-side with mdaschaf during a recent trip to DE. This review score is for the 2012 version, which I thought was better. Review for 2011 is at the bottom.

Vintage 2012
Served into a tulip glass

A: Deep dark black body with very minimal head. Only a thin tan colored head was left around the edges with almost no lacing either. It's a heavy hitting, high ABV beer so some of this is to be expected.

S: Big sweet fruits, lots of port qualities, strawberry, cherry and caramel. Fairly chocolatey with plenty of roasted malts. It's very inviting and balanced with a little booze on the end.

T: Sweet but not overly so. Plenty of berry fruits, obvious port qualities, rich and roasted malts. There's a very "fresh" quality here when directly compared to the 2011 bottle I just love. Perhaps it's the vibrancy of the red fruits that come out in this one. Very unique and delicious.

M: Well carbonated, in my opinion it could be toned down a touch otherwise it would be perfect. Although for such a high ABV it actually helps keep things lively on the palate and break up some of the what would have been stickiness.

---

Vintage 2011
Served into a tulip glass

A: Deep dark black body with more of a head than the 2012. This stuck around for a bit longer too and had some nice lacing on the glass, as well as a retention cap on the surface of the beer. It could have been the pour, or the fact it was a much bigger sample since it was 22 ounces. (4)

S: Massive dark fruits now, plum, raisin, fig and some dates. The fresh, vibrancy of the port wine now seems a bit muddled and while it smells more smoothed out, it just isn't as inviting. Dark and caramel malts are the heavy hitters as the backbone. (3.5)

T: Like the nose, plenty of raisin, fig and dates with a very roasted, almost to the point of burnt malt back end. It's a bit more blended and rounded in a way, but not in a good one. I don't really care for how the fruitiness of the beer turned for cellaring it. (3.5)

M: Plenty carbonated just a bit less than the 2012, but the overall mouth feel is essentially the same. This could be big and sticky but it does a nice job of livening things up. (4)

O: (3.5) (2,212 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to CaptinRedBeard for sharing this 2010 bottle on 1/22/11.

Poured into a snifter, this brew pours a black color in the glass reminescent of (unoriginal descriptor here) used motor oil. A thin ring of dark tan head hangs close to the edges of the glass. Spotty lace is left on the glassware along with some legs.

The aroma of this brew is roasty with dark fruit indications. A light amount of citrus hops and a pleasant estery booziness fills the nose. A mingled concoction of chocolate and earthy tones mixes with an oat grain character that seems very fresh smelling and very enjoyable.

The taste of this brew is fruity with alcohol somewhat reminiscent of plum or raisin but also roasty and slightly bitter with character that is earthy, mineral filled an lightly metallic. Sweet with a bit of residual sugars yet filled with alcohol enough to keep it in check. It has an oats aftertaste that is fresh and very enjoyable. As it warms the alcohol becomes a bit tangy and more of the citrus hop character pushes through.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Very drinkable with an awesome blend of dark fruitiness verse roasty bitterness. The fresh grainy flavor was unexpected and very much enjoyed. For being almost a year old this brew is still tasting pretty fresh. While some aspects of this brew were mediocre and I didn't care much for it (dark fruits mixed with mineral character is odd) the good aspects of this brew far outweigh the bad. (1,496 characters)

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.