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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.

907 Ratings

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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 kels
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks pwoods for making this 2009 part of my Christmas present this year. Could be part of the 2009 soured batch based on other reviews I've read, but still damn tasty nonetheless.

Pours as black as night and completely opaque. An initial 1-finger deep toasty cocoa-colored head sticks around for a good while before fading to a swirly skim and a pretty substantial glass-hugging foam ring. Spotty, spitty lace clings to the sides of the glass.

Aroma is bold - full of super dry cocoa lending a deep, chocolately sweetness. Slight fruitiness like syrupy raspberries or black cherries creeps out more and more as the beer warms.

Taste is equal parts rich, bittersweet chocolate and tart sour cherries. While I'm not sure this is brewer-intended, it still presents an interesting, complex tastiness that reminds me more of a high-hopped American Stout. Malts are syrupy and slightly roasted, bordering on the richness of a coffee roast. Alcohol is warm, but not particularly hot. Feel during the drink is sticky, yet well carbonated. The aftertaste is prolonged by the sticky coating left behind, but the overall experience really is actually kind of dry.

Drinkability isn't terribly high, but that's not so surprising for the style. As I said, the tartness reminds me more of an American than a Russian Imperial Stout, but that doesn't mean I didn't happily finish every drop.

Photo of Hautacam
4.79/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an '08 bottle( June '08 release) and I'm drinking it on 1-09-10 with barleywino and our significant others.
Super dark, almost oily with a small tan head.
Smells like leather, dark fruits, and some booze.
The taste is phenomenal. There are layers. There's the standard dark, dried fruits...almost smoky espresso, roasted malts, a bit of leather, hint of sherry, licorice and chalk along with a still smart smack from the hops...didn't expect that at this age. Some alcohol comes through. Mouthfeel is dense with a dryish finish. Low carbonation, but just enough.
It's hard to remember what the several snifters I had at the brewery that day tasted like in '08....I know it was excellent then, and it's excellent now, but I can't really put my finger on the difference....maybe the sherry flavor. I really don't think that the hops faded much at all.
This is such an amazing brew.

Photo of rayjay
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you to a certain trader who probably doesn't want to be hoarded with beermails...

The verdict first: this is a world class beer that lives up to it's name. It's got loads of depth and complexity, and the brewer managed to keep it all balanced and subtle. It's a whole-hearted tribute to the style, enhanced by the masterful touch of an artist.

One of my favorite parts is the mocha-colored head that strongly resembles that of a cask ale. Carbonation is light and foamy like heavy cream thats very lightly whipped.

Lots of subtle flavors that bounce around my nose and mouth like vanilla, cherry tobacco, hot chocolate, carmel malt, licorice, carob, and dark and milk chocolate. Quite an impressive nose considering the level of carbonation.

Mouthfeel is like velvet. Silky, chewy, and creamy (lactose? oatmeal? rye maybe?). Low carbonation is perfect for this beer and melts with the chocolate notes quite beautifully.

Mild hopping rate with noble hops. This is not one of those Storm King type beers with extreme bitterness. It is the very definition of balance and restraint.

Drinkability is way up there. Partly because it's not cloying at all, even when considering the strength, and partly because its SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!

I'm ranking this up there with the best beers I've had. This is the one that gives alot of other hyped up beer a real run for their money. Thanks for the opportuity!

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage enjoyed at one of the local tastings. Thanks, Mark! I wish I wrote more, but it was one of the last to pour that night.

Pours black with a minimal head. Looks as advertised.

Smells of figs, raisins, sweetness, and a little earth. I love the way this one smells.

Thastes of chocolate, figs, raisins, brown sugar, and dried fruit. This kind of combines the best qualities of beer and port.

Creamy and luxurious in the mouth.

Nit quite what I expected from an imperial stout. No roast, no coffee, and more like a barleywine. Awesome beer, though, that almsot defies definition. Greatly drinkable.

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I have been patiently waiting to crack this whale for a special occasion. I tasted this on my birthday, July 17th. As it turns out, this will be my 350th review as well. Just uploading some backlogged reviews now. Mega props to 603BeerMe for helping me land a few of these. Vintage 2011 into snifter.

A - This gem pours an inky black with only about an inch of mocha brown head. Several horizontal lacing streaks stuck with the glass after the head dissipated.

S - Lots of smooth milk chocolate, molasses, tobacco, prunes and raisins. A port like booziness with black licorice.

T - Lots of dark fruits of raisins, figs, and dates. The light espresso coffee was balanced with sweet gourmet chocolate. The port booze was present but subdued. Tobacco, some ash and a bit of brown sugar rounded out the back end. Incredible flavour profile.

M - By far the smoothest, creamiest beer I've had. The alcohol is not noticed at all. It's like drinking molten silk. Wow.

O - I have waited for this in anticipation for a long time and it did not disappoint. Totally worth the effort it took to get this. Absolutely amazing beer.

Photo of LaChupacabra
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of PatronWizard
4.05/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I sort of 'brokered' this bottle in trade with a super cool trader, who shall remain nameless at this time to prevent unwanted Kate solicitations (you rock man!), and my kickass local partner OlieIPA. Olie threatened to open Kate when he came to pick her up but I mostly thought he would just take her home. Oh he opened her all right, with both our ladies, as part of a stupid ridiculous can't-fucking-believe-I'm-drinking-all-this-good-shit-in-one-night-line-up that included Kate, Abyss, Barrel Aged Decadence, Black Butte XX, and all my sorry ass could offer in the face of this brutal onslaught was a well placed and tasty Southern Tier Choklat extra from same unnamed awesome trader. Poor me caught in the crossfire. Mike and Amy know how to share the shit outta some brew. There's the long winded intro, here's the beer:

The pour frothed up a little head, medium tan, then died out. Black with ruby highlights.

Smell is a nice mix of black and red licorice over ... cherry chocolate says I. Maybe just a faint trace of booze. Maybe raisins.

I taste some dark to light fruit. Probably the licorice. The alcohol is just a little too out in the open. Not that it's bothering me as I love alcohol, and it's just barely showing, but you come to expect beer of this hype and caliber to have the alcohol completely under control. Taste is good and enjoyable. Much more remniscent of Dark Lord than any other big ass stout I've had. Fruity.

Silky smooth, a great offering. I would have it any time I was in it's hood, but I won't be overextending my resources to chase her down. Very lucky to have friends that just come to my house and open this kinda stuff.

Overall: good, not perfect

Photo of surlytheduff
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage shared with some friends at Kuhnhenn's. The beer was black with a little bit of dark brown at the edges. It wasn't a huge pour, so there wasn't a terribly large head - what was there was a bit under a finger of light mocha colored foam. The smell was rich, roasty with a little vanilla, coffee and chocolate. The taste went right along with them nose. Very well balanced mix of sweet roasted malts, cocoa, vanilla, licorice, coffee and just a hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel had a nice velvety viscousness to it with a full body. Carbonation was light to medium, well tuned to the beer. Was a real treat to try it today.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.31/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thought I already reviewed this but I guess not. It's been a while since I've had a full glass in front of me to dissect. Seems like a good day to do it since they tapped a sixtel for the locals today.

Black body with a light mocha head. Nose hits sweet and rich with deeply caramelized sugars, cocoa and dark fruits. Some roasted malt but this isn't what Kate is all about. The nose isn't as decadent as the taste.

First sip reveals deeply rich chocolate fudge flavors. I've never experienced such a fudgey flavor in any stout I've had other than maybe Black Tuesday. The light touch of port wine intensifies that chocolate flavor then recedes into a bittersweet finish from roasted malts and residual sugars. Reminds me of a port cheese spread where there is a bold, robust dark fruit flavor mid palate.

Slightly thick mouthfeel but silky smooth. I think the stout on it's own seems solid but the addition of the rich, dark fruit flavor combined with fudgey decadence is what makes this stout top tier.

Photo of bpk59
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of rudylaw
4.95/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First beer in the Holy Stout tasting (2009 bottle). HUGE thanks to masterhomebrewer for the opportunity!

Pitch black pour with a thick, tan head which dissipates immediately.

Lots of chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits in the sniffer.

The body of the beer is a little lighter than I hoped for, but man is this smooth! Raisins, chocolate, toffee, sweetness. Not much coffee at all which is just fine by me.

Low carbonation leading to an extremely smooth mouthfeel.

All in all, one of the best RIS's I've ever had. I made sure we started the evening off with this as my taste buds deserved nothing less. Absolutely incredible!

Photo of Brez07
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the pleasure of drinking 3 glasses yesterday at Kate Day. 10oz pour, served into a snifter. Note - the ABV listed on the chalkboard was 12%

A: Sits motionless in the glass. Jet black. Very thin mocha head, but a quick swirl of the glass garners about 1/2 finger. Didn't get any retention the first glass, but it was pretty decent in glass 2 and 3

S: To be completely honest, I initially thought this beer basically had no aroma. Towards the end after it warmed a bit, I got some cocoa and vanilla, maybe a little roasted malt. Also just a touch of alcohol

T: My first sip of this beer was devine. A huge chocolate presence but not crazy sweet. Reminiscent of cocoa powder. There was a nice underlying roasted malt flavor that was blended in gracefully. Some light port and dark fruit was detected in the finish. Absolutely no sign of alcohol

M: I've always heard that the mouthfeel was the best part of this beer. And I couldn't agree more. Full bodied. So thick, very smooth. Very light roast aftertaste with some sweetness. Perfect

D: All I wrote in my notes was "holy shit amazing". Kate meet all my expectations and then some. Had planned on just one glass, maybe two because there were other beers I wanted to try. But that wasn't an option as Kate had a strong hold on me. Worthy of all the praise she gets

Photo of genog
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 vintage - big thanks to Zutmin for hooking me up
22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Opaque rich and dark thick black liquid with a small amount of a frothy dark tan head that sticks around for a while.

Smell is of sweet roasted malts and sugars up front with some dark roasted coffee peeking through. Not a really strong aroma once I took a sip of this one.

Taste was my favorite part here bringing together a perfect harmony of all tastes lingering. Dark roasted coffee, espresso, sweet candied cherry, molasses burned espresso, chocolate, all delicious in thin quantities.

Mouth feel is lively and bubbly, and ties everything together.

Photo of SykDoc
4.72/5  rDev +4%
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 bewareOFpenguin
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ordered some take out last night and headed down to the brewery. Looked up at the board and saw this offering. On an empty stomach, I ordered a 12oz glass. Poured dark with chocolate bubbles. Rich taste, no hint of the ABV, good malt. In fact, it wasn't until I started home that I noticed that warm blow in my stomach. I think it is 12%, but I am not sure. A growler refill at $12? I'll be doing it knowing this beer won't last long.

Photo of pburland23
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just returned last night from a trip to Portsmouth. With the help of good friend who lives in town, I was in possession of two winning Kate tickets. Lucky me.

Poured from the bottle into my also newly acquired Portsmouth Brewery bubble glass.

Pours an intensely murky, squid ink black. No light escapes from Kate. Beer left a thin ring of coffee colored head which melted away to some unobtrusive lacing.

The smell is quite complex. Four different inhales lead to four different flavors. I picked up bitter chocolate, coffee, Tootsie rolls, and a hint of smokiness. There was perhaps a slight booziness around the edges, but it certainly wasn't overpowering.

The taste is equally complex. Hops bitterness jumps to the foreground but is replace by a sweet, toasty maltiness. There is a musty, earthy undercurrent that runs through the beer adding incredible depth to the flavor.

The mouthfeel is full and viscous, almost syrupy, but it works oh so well. The 12% abv is hidden remarkably well. But I did notice that as I drank the bottle, I got warmer and warmer, but it was worth it.

This was my first Kate experience and wow, what a great beer. I was slightly worried the beer could not possibly match the hype, but I was glad to be proven wrong.

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from short stubby bottle into KTG tulip - 2012 release.

A: Poured a deep black with with one finger head that descended into a thin frothy lacing, slight webbing as it lowered , good carbonation.

S: Dark roasted malts , toffee ,caramel ,coffee .

T: Deep roasted malts with decent coffee flavors, chocolate, sweet toffee and caramel ,slight vanilla hints, slight char, light hops.

O: Overall this is a very good RIS that I recommend trying at least once if given the chance , I was lucky that a great BA gave me the opportunity , Thanks again Hollie - You Rock !

Photo of 3Hops
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of redliner8
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Auracom
4/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of Grant35
3/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of alalvarez75
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of ricke
4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure what vintage this was, the bottle lacked marking.

A: Black with a small beige head that settles fast into a small ring of lacings.

S: Roasted malts, molasses, chocolate and a hint of soy. Perhaps a hint of toffee. Very balanced, not overly powerful but very pleasant. No sign of the alcohol.

T: The taste is somewhat sweet with lots of roasted malts, hints of dark fruits and pleasant chocolate flavors. Molasses. The finish is somewhat bitter with a hint of alcohol and lingering notes of licorice. Very well balanced composition.

M: Not overly full-bodied. Mild carbonation. Surprisingly easy to drink.

D: This is definitely not the biggest imperial stout I've come across. It doesn't display any overpowering in-your-face flavors. Instead, it comes out as really balanced, very tasty and very easy to drink. I was actually a bit surprised that its character was so ordinary. But after thinking about if for a while, I think this is what makes it stand out - it's just a top example of how a plain old imperial stout should taste like.

Photo of VAbdoyan
4/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of pest
4/5  rDev -11.9%

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