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: 917
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 7.33%
Wants: 2,684
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Portsmouth Kate The Great Alström Bros
Reviews: 489 | Hads: 917
Photo of joe1510
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber

Getting the chance to sample Kate the Great on Easter courtesy of brewandbbq, Thanks Jeff! Kate gurgles midnight black from the bottle into my snifter. This beer actually sucks up the light in the room. Not much of a head up front but halfway through the pour a fingers worth of creamy dense mocha colored head showed up and never left. Tiny carbonation bubbles rush along the glass keeping the head in place throughout. Great looking drink lines are left behind after each sip.

As this warms the aroma becomes more and more complex. Waves of anise crest throughout and then drop from sight before cresting again. Deep roasted malts, bakers chocolate, and cocoa all meld together to create an intense, inviting nose. On top of all this throw in a handful of dark ripe berries and you have yourself a mouthwatering complex RIS.

Everything I picked up in the aroma comes through in the flavor. The chocolate, roastiness, and cocoa meld together perfectly to create an intense yet seamless RIS. The chocolate comes through big mid-palate through the finish with the roastiness adding a bite on the swallow. This really is a top notch RIS with an incredible complexity of flavors!

The mouthfeel was good up front but as this beer nears room temperature the true nature of the beast comes out. The body is fantastically smooth and velvety. Kate massages the tongue on its slow tour of every tastebud in the area.

The drinkability is as high as I could expect from any big complex RIS making this one a true danger if you're not careful. My glass is disappearing far to fast as I try and figure out all the layers to this brew.

I'm always a little skeptical, and I hate to admit it but I am more critical, of a beer with this amount of buzz behind it. This is a fantastic beer no matter which way you look at it and if you read the rest of my review complex is the word! Keep Kate the Great comin'! (1,911 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Small khaki head atop an almost black body. Doesn't last. Eventually there's nothing atop the beer.

Smell - Dark chocolate. Dark fruits, fruity and sweet like a port. Some booze.

Taste - Dark chocolate. Very rich. Dark fruits right behind, again reminiscent of a sweet port. Oak in the finish. Boozy.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation and pretty boozy. Medium body.

Overall - A touch thin and boozy. Otherwise one of the best nonbarreled stouts I've had. (519 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours a dark black body with a quickly fading mocha head. The aroma and taste on this beer is really unique as the port does leave quite an impression. Lots of chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and an almost dark fruit/black grape acridity. Rich and creamy mouth feel. Its rich and decadent and the dark fruit element that the port brings to the table really works. This exceeds all hype for me as I found it to be one of the best non barrel aged stouts I have had. I really hope this recipe carries on with Mott's new brewery as I would love to try it fresh. (760 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.98/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This 2011 vintage was generously shared by Rutager.

A: Black liquid with 1/2" light brown head.

S: Chocolate, salt, caramel and grass.

T: Cherries, figs, raisins, pears, roasted barley, chocolate and caramel.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium to low level of carbonation.

O: This stout is pretty much perfect. The Belgian yeast strain and special B malt are an amazing addition to the style. (395 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle thanks to Yeahnatenelson. Served at cellar temperature.

Appearance. Pours black with 1/2 a finger of khaki head.

Smell. Prunes, raisins, chocolate, rum, cherries and caramel. Despite that description it's very unique smelling and keeps me coming back for more.

Taste. Tobacco, prunes, raisins, chocolate, plums and molasses.

Mouthfeel. On the lower side of full body with medium-low soft and smooth carbonation, unbelievably smooth.

Overall. Smooth and delicious. (483 characters)

Photo of Brewnami
4.99/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you want to know what the mouthfeel is like, or what color this beer is, take a peek at the other 700 reviews. I am writing here today to boldly state that this might be the best beer I've ever had. I luckily was able to get my hands on two bottles of this recently from the last batch made at Portsmouth Brewery in 2012. Because I am a nice guy and sharing is caring, I poured the little bottle into 5 glasses so that 4 other people could induldge in a beer in which, unless you work there, you need to win a lottery just to be able to purchase. This is as smooth as a nitro stout, perfectly balanced with chocolate notes and bitterness, smells delectable, and hides the 12% ABV very nicely. If anyone who has not tried this beer, enjoys Russian Imperial Stouts, and has the opportunity to trade for a bottle or purchase one from someone, I highly recommend doing so. I have one more bottle and I don't know when I will open it as I don't want it to go away. Hopefully the brewer will make this again one day! (1,013 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 vintage reviewed from notes. Pours like a typical RIS, thick black and opaque with little to no head. The owe starts with deep roasts malts followed by a touch of oak, a bit of smoke and char, heavy waves of dark fruit and molasses, and some ashy notes. The taste is smooth and well rounded with chocolate and molasses coming through the strongest. The body is heavy and the carbonation is mild which makes for a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this brew is very tasty and well executed. I don't really get much port character in this, and perhaps I was expecting liquid gold with all the hype surrounding this... I didn't get that, but it is still a damn good beer! (666 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duck-Rabbit snifter

Shared by PDXHops; thanks Jeff!

2011 vintage

The color as it pours is a clear-ish medium brown. Thin layer of a lighter brown foam which departs to the inside perimeter of the glass. A ring of bubbly retention remains as do a few tiny specks of scattered lace.

This has quite the hefty aroma. There is a good deal of burnt dark sugars; licorice, molasses and a faint, semi-sweet chocolate note. Hints of cocoa dust, too. Undertones of prunes. As it warms, dark fruit tones emerge; slightly vinous. Mild earthiness on the second pour.

The flavor profile is different than what I am used to in an imperial stout. The vinous tones are more apparent than in the aroma and set the tone for the beer. It has a tangy middle that eases towards sugary, burnt flavors. Molasses and heavy prune. Not at all boozy; just ever-so-slightly warming.

Full body but not absurdly heavy. The vinous aspects seem to impart a slick, viscous feel. Carbonation is low and offers just enough of a perfectly-proportioned fluffiness to match the feel of the beer. Hints of burnt sugar linger.

This is a really interesting and enjoyable take on the style. It is seated comfortably on the sugary side of things but it is far from being too sweet. Also, it's very unique; no other beers I have had strike me as similar. (1,331 characters)

Photo of CJS
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Darkness in a glass. Finger width head that soon dissolves to think brown lace.

S Big bitter dark chocolate on the nose above anything else. Molasses and dry herb.

T Big Bitter dark chocolate taste as well. Aromas match taste.

M Nice viscosity and nice bitter notes. Slightly sappy and thick.

O Nice delisious RIS. Expected a bit more from the hype. I will go as far to say it's over rated. But that doesn't take away from it being a fine crafted stout. (460 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kate the Great '12
11.2oz
KtG snifter
***700th BA review***

A: Pours pitch black ala a good imperial stout. No light gets through. Initially a thin layer of light tan head. Faded into a nice ring around the edges. Nice alcohol feet.

S: Pulling lots of dark chocolate on the nose. Deep rich dark chocolate. Also some slight dark fruits. Deep raisins in there. Some roasted malts. Not getting any big coffee or anything really.

T: Up front, dark chocolate bitterness lingers on the tongue. Lingers there for a long time. Delicious. Mid palate, you get some roasted malt and minimal coffee flavors. Mostly that really decadent chocolate drifts into the taste. Maybe a little touch of dark fruit in there too. And the finish is very subtle, but that lingering dark chocolate (for a dark chocolate lover) is awesome.

M: Big and full here. Definitely mouth coating RIS. Lower on the carbonation, but it's still a nice enough amount.

This is a very very good RIS. It's incredibly balanced with all it's flavors, so I understand why it's so highly rated. That being said, it's not the BEST stout that I have ever had. High up there, just not the best. (1,148 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'12 11.16oz bottle poured into HF stemmed glass. Thanks Don for sharing this with me.

A- Pours an opaque pretty much jet black with some translucency around the sides. Not really any head with just a few small mocha brown bubbles and fairly minimal carbonation. Nothing in terms of lacing just some oily alcohol legs left along the sides of the glass. Looks fairly standard for a RIS with a nice full body.

S- Dark fruits, molasses, figs, raisins, some light integrated booze. Decently sweet, very well balanced, and fairly aromatic.

T- Molasses, a bit of dark chocolate, dark fruits consisting of a mixture of figs, raisins, and some cherries giving a port-like quality on the finish. Nice lingering aftertaste of cloying molasses/dark fruit sweetness. Overall nicely sweet without being overpowering and very well balanced.

M- Fairly thick and full-bodied, fairly low carbonation, extremely smooth with a hint of alcohol warmth appropriate for the style. Overall extremely nice feel for a RIS and one of the best feels I've experienced for a beer over 10%.

O- This is definitely one of the best examples of a non barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. There were nice complex flavors, a nice level of cloying sweetness, and an extremely high drinkability. I hope they continue making this in the future and I would love to drink it again. If you love RIS then this is a must try however I wouldn't go absolutely crazy seeking it out. (1,437 characters)

Photo of nootch23
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

I can't say enough about this gem. Hands down one of the best beers I've ever had and certainly the best imperial stouts out there. Trying to get a hold of a bottle to age for a bit and have for a special occasion. (848 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 CooperEllis
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

(197th) (1,316 characters)

Photo of reyes29201
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

O: Very interesting and extremely drinkable for an imperial stout, the sweet dark fruit character really seperates this from other big stouts that are available. Easily the best non-barrel aged imperial stout that I have had. (649 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours chocolaty black into the glass with a thing, white rim that forms around the edges of my snifter

S - nose is chocolate and grain malts with some sweet tobacco in the mix

T - sweet soy chocolates move on to rich milk chocolates. These hold strong for a while but eventually give way to some mild tobacco notes and ultimately ends with more of the chocolate that is so dominant throughout the other phases of this beer.

M - smooth and full bodied makes this a nice RIS

D - good, but not as complex or deep as I was hoping it would be given the hype and difficulty of obtaining a bottle of this. Worth a try, but not at the cost. (640 characters)

Photo of MrVonzipper
3.62/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

09 bottle. Infection check.

Pours a fairly viscous dark brown. Just a bit of fizz for head for a sec.

Nose is fantastic. Big sweet fruit, maple syrup, brown sugar. Big nice sweetness.

Flavor follows the nose for a sec and then turns just a bit tart. Not fully sour, but I think there is a small infection. Hard to tell cuz this is my first Kate and it's not a major infection.

Mouth is medium bodied, a touch dry and low carb.

Seems infected. Not major but it must be. Still drinkable. Not terrible. (509 characters)

Photo of quirkzoo
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Opened on 9/9 to celebrate the birth of my son, Micah, on 9/6.

Special thanks to ajcormier, I never thought I would get to try this one.

Pours straight black with minimal lacing, not exactly the best looking stout I have ever seen, but not the worst either. I love the stubby bottle.

The smell is very nice, lots of deep, dark aromas, definitely some port and wood, dark fruits, touch of roast but not as much as I expect from a RIS.

The taste is where this one really excels. Amazingly complex and balanced. I kept trying to not buy into the hype because I know this might be the last time I get to try this beer. But damn, it just keeps giving me what I want. I get a lot of chocolate up front, with a strong port wine follow up, fruity but not overly so, with a perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness.

The mouthfeel is phenomenal. No touch of heat but just the right amount of viscosity. It is thick, without being engine oil or cloying, but it is not thin either, it has a good amount of heft.

Overall, this is a great RIS, definitely worth seeking out. It's reputation is well deserved however it is a situation of diminishing returns. It is good, for sure but considering how hard it is to get, it is not an equal measure better than a beer like Abyss or Parabola. (1,281 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
3.74/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

651mL 2010 Ed thanks to jblauvs. Pours clear deep maroon not black or ink. Bubbly, aerated, weak head. No real thick creamy foam. Nose is tawny, oaky, spiced graham cracker, moderate dark chocolate and cocoa. Taste is earthy, silky, tangy, mild tart acid, mild soil and dirty earth. Finish is sharper and tangy. Seventh bitter. Not overly sweet. Mostly dry. With warning the decanting the nose opens up to show rich dessert complexities: more cinnamon sliced graham cracker, vanilla, moderate bourbon expression, spicy vanilla. Really nice aroma. In taste, very oily with mild brown sugar. Dirty soil and hints of iron metallic off character separate this from the worlds best imperial stouts. 5/27/2012 8/3/7/4/15=3.7 (718 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review # 500!!!

Huge thanks to Number45forever for trading me this bottle! Thanks Bill.

poured into tulip glass.

reviewed from notes taken on 8/24/12.

I gotta say this has been a beer that I have been hunting down for a long time probably 2 or 3 years! Very ellusive creature this Kate. Lets see just how "great" she is.... Glad to see the wait is finally over. Drank this in celebration of my birthday this year!

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with a 1 finger tall medium brown almost mocha colored head.

Smell: smells of milk chocolate with nice notes of oak barrel. Big smooth roasty, smokey, and charred notes.

Taste: I really like the complexity and balance this beer has; it honestly reminds me of The Abyss but its just tastes way better! The beer starts off sweet with milk chocolate, light vanilla and barrel notes. A hint of port and a decent dose of earthy / woody oak barrel. As the beer progresses, it goes into a lite bacony / meaty smoke note which starts to fade away as the roasty notes begin to surface. Also getting a touch of dark fruits, molasses, and tobacco in the middle of this beer. The beer finishes with a surprisingly moderately charred / roasty bite that still stays in balance with the same level all other flavors in the beer. The charred notes seem to linger on for quite some time after each sip without being an overbearing flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. This beer drinks like its 7 to 8%. Super smooth for a 12% beer; not a hint of booze. The beer is really silky and soft on the palate. Yes it is a little bit thinner than I expected, but that does not really hurt this beer one bit and fits well with the beers flavor profile.

Overall: Kate is truely a fantastic beer! Here is the thing about her though... She is a very delicate and subtle beer that really needs your undivided attention to catch all the flavors going on in the beer. This beer will probably be appreciated more by someone with a veteran palate. I can see how some people are dissapointed by this beer, but what I really enjoyed most from this beer is that everything is so balanced and complex with a nice silky, smooth mouthfeel. Its does not have to be in your face roasty and robust to be amazing an amazing beer which is what most beer nerds crave from this beer style(Russian Imperial Stout). It is honestly a nice change from all of the "in your face" BA RIS out there in the craft beer world today! Kate the Great has got some class! (2,508 characters)

Photo of camil1mj
3.16/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was finally able to secure a date with this elusive mistress. Unfortunately she did not deliver as others had promised. She was fun to chase once, but I would not waste my time or effort on her again. She just doesn't stand up against other great stouts I can buy off the shelf in Michigan.

2012 vintage poured at cellar temp.
A: The apperrance of this beer is the best thing it has going. Nice dark stout with brown head.

S: Roasty with some dark fruit notes.

T: Your typical stouts flavors. Roasted malt with some chocolate and coffee notes. I really don't pick up the port.

M: A little thin for my tastes. Well carbonated.

O: More hype than she is worth. Kate is a beer I could care less to try again. Give me a 4 pk of Pt5 over this any day. (754 characters)

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

2012 bottle poured into a Surly tulip.

Appearance: Appears black that looks like a rich brown with light behind it. Just a rim of bubbly head that pushes to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Some chocolate, oak, and dark roasted malts. Nothing dominating.

Taste: Oak flavor and port comes through, along with a nice chocolate sweetness that isn't overwhelming. Rich roasted malt flavor is satisfying. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Smoothness is superb, but felt like the body was more thin than it should be. Low-medium carbonation.

Overall: Very smooth for a 12% beer and nice flavor. Still, not that wow factor that one tends to expect with a RIS like this. (660 characters)

Photo of Treebs
3.92/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage split three ways. Served in a FW tulip.

A: Pours a dark black color with dark brown edges. A light tan head forms on the pour and recedes to a thin ring. No real lace, just some small splotches.

S: Dark fruity port with some oak. Light roasted coffee bean and some toasted malts. Minimal chocolate.

T: The oak has a much bigger presence than in the nose and the port quickly follows suit. Dark chocolate and roasted wiht some caramelize sugar and raisins.

M: Silky and oily, but a touch thin for a 12% RIS. Medium carbonation as well.

O: This was a nice beer, but definitely not worth everything it commands. I'm glad I got to share this guy and find out what all the fuss is about, but I certainly wont be looking to acquire it again in the future. (767 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 11.6oz bottle opened on 8.10.12.

A - Pours a motor oil black with a thin dark tan head that moves quickly to the edges.

S - Chocolate hits you first, then some roasty nice malts.

T - Chocolate, strong licorice finish. Not as complex as I was hoping.

D - Decent carbonation with a heavy body. Sweeter finish.

O - A very good beer, but not great. I was very glad to try this one, but it was too licorice heavy for me. (425 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

Overall: She is that damn good.

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

I've even tried Kate blind in a massive tasting and she stands out. Bias, perhaps, but it's a mighty tasty bias. (2,153 characters)

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