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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

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

879 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 879
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 10.33%
Wants: 2,689
Gots: 171 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Portsmouth Kate The Great Alström Bros
Ratings: 879 | Reviews: 484 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sideshowe
sideshowe

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

11-14-2011 14:22:42 | More by sideshowe
Photo of shuajw
shuajw

Georgia

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

11-14-2011 13:29:45 | More by shuajw
Photo of inflatablechair
inflatablechair

Idaho

4/5  rDev -12.1%

11-14-2011 13:05:44 | More by inflatablechair
Photo of Jpwv
Jpwv

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +9.9%

11-14-2011 12:54:06 | More by Jpwv
Photo of jh1982
jh1982

Nevada

5/5  rDev +9.9%

11-14-2011 12:53:04 | More by jh1982
Photo of nathanjohnson
nathanjohnson

Vermont

5/5  rDev +9.9%

11-14-2011 12:25:03 | More by nathanjohnson
Photo of bombadil
bombadil

California

5/5  rDev +9.9%

11-14-2011 07:46:57 | More by bombadil
Photo of BrianTheBrewer30
BrianTheBrewer30

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.9%

11-14-2011 07:08:31 | More by BrianTheBrewer30
Photo of hopsbreath
hopsbreath

Oregon

4/5  rDev -12.1%

11-14-2011 06:41:22 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of Pdiddey3d
Pdiddey3d

New York

4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage shared with "The Core"
Big thanks to Tom for making this happen

A: Pours pitch black with a faint ring of mocha head. Decent amount of alcohol feet when swirled. Looks great.

S: Dark chocolate and espresso dominate. Faint hints of vanilla and dark fruit,cherries to be specific. A bit of alcohol but not much. Very complex aroma.

T: Much like the nose but with some molasses in there as well. The fruitiness comes through a bit more than I expected and it is almost a port like flavor. One of the more complex RIS I've ever encountered.

M: Creamy Swiss chocolate comes to mind. Very light carbonation. Slight alcohol sting but not unpleasant at all. Emphasis goes to the smoothness of this beer. It is above average.

O: This beer lived up to some hefty expectations. The hype is justified in my opinion. Very complex and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2011 02:30:32 | More by Pdiddey3d
Photo of trxxpaxxs
trxxpaxxs

New York

4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 16:11:16 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of dogfishandi
dogfishandi

New York

4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. 22oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. split with fellow BA's.

pours out with pretty much no head, but a nice thick syrupy looking opaque black that left some really thick brown legs on the glass. a little lacing as well.

the aroma was a dark chocolate cake batter like molasses syrupy smell. roasted malt, it becomes a little hot as it warms. not far off from many other good examples of the style.

a very thick syrupy molasses, sweet burnt sugar taste. just some wonderful roasted malt flavors, a hint of some dark fruits. a very nice tasting finish, chocolate cake batter comes to mind. slightly bitter.

wonderful thick syrupy mouthfeel, you can tell the FG of this was very high. minimal carbonation.

overall, this lives up to the hype for me, but theres still a very small part of me that maybe expected a bit more. im super excited i got a chance to try this, defiantly the perfect example of the RIS style for sure.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 01:29:25 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of aasher
aasher

Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh sweet Katherine. This bottle is the infamous 09 vintage. It pours a medium bodied midnight black in color with a slight beige lacing around the glass. It smells of roasted malts with smooth chocolates with a slight buttery component. Uh oh. It's not bad but I feel this MIGHT be infected or on its way. The flavor too is slightly tainted butter. You get smooth and light chocolate with moderate sweetness and an interesting roasty finish. The butter though is something that's hard to stop thinking about. Overall its ok but this was from a questionable batch. Interesting beer and I was glad to try it. I'd love to try another vintage.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 23:40:00 | More by aasher
Photo of sliverX
sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured pitch black, not much head other than a brown ring around the edge.
Smell burnt malt, brown sugar, molasses.
Taste takes the nose and amps it up ten fold. A bit boozy but holds up to the hype. Dark fruit notes at the end, burnt brown sugar.
Mouthfeel smooth chewy perfectly fitting.
Overall excellent beer do I need to murder people for it no but its pretty darn good.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 22:49:51 | More by sliverX
Photo of ms11781
ms11781

Massachusetts

4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick, deep, dark brown with lighter brown hues around the edges and bottom of the glass. It looks almost black in the glass and if I didn't pour it in the glass and take a good look at it myself I'd probably think the same. Surprisingly, a thin 1/4 finger dark brown head develops but it's gone almost immediately and can probably be attributed to the end of the pour being a bit heavy. A tan ring of soap-like foam does collect around the glass. Very tiny wisps of foam do stick to the glass but they are few and far between.

The nose is extremely strong, almost overwhelming at first, but that's not a bad thing here. It takes a few minutes of taking it all in before I can get a good hold on all that is going on here. The aroma is very sweet. Chocolate is prominent as is a wood-like character. Dark roasted malt character is here, as is some molasses and a touch of alcohol. As the beer warms some dark fruits show up, cherries being one that peaks it's head out. As a whole the nose is extremely complex, especially as the beer is allowed to warm to room temperature.

The nose was outstanding and the taste actually kicks it up a notch. As with the nose, chocolate is again a dominant flavor. It's extremely rich and sweet. Dark roasted malt character mixes with some molasses underneath the good dose of chocolate and it gives the beer a very bold taste. The same dark fruit that were in the nose show up, cherries again being prominent. The boozy aroma that was in the nose never translates to the taste. Actually, it's not that it isn't there but perhaps it's masked a bit better by the bolder taste. The woody, oak-like character that was in the nose shows up in the finish here and lingers on the palette a bit after each sip.

The mouthfeel is huge. The body is thick and viscous. Each sip is extremely rich and velvety smooth. Slight warming from some alcohol, especially as the beer warms.

With all the hype surrounding this beer, it was going to have to be exceptional to meet expectations. After the first few sips it was apparent that this beer was going to exceed those expectations. It is extremely decadent, perhaps the most decadent, beer I have ever had. About as drinkable and enjoyable as 12% ABV stouts come. I can't say enough about this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 01:31:15 | More by ms11781
Photo of Mar02x
Mar02x

Netherlands

4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on Borefts beer festival 2011 at the Struise stand??? Yes I was surprised too, but a well informed BA buddy told me, it was correct. There is a project going on between Struise and Portsmouth. They are trying to make a new brew together, mixing Kate the great and Black Albert.

A - A beer without a head and pitch black in color.

S - A mixed smell between beer and port. There is some chocolate and burned malt in the smell as well.

T - This is beerwine! Very nice and smooth, so complex. Where is the alcohol in this brew? They must have hidden it somewhere. There is dark cherries, chocolate and vanilla in this brew with a lot of sweetness.

M - Nice and smooth again, this time on the carbonation.

O - A good brew, not the best dark beer I ever had but still very good and worth buying.

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2011 13:50:03 | More by Mar02x
Photo of kscaldef
kscaldef

Oregon

4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Thanks to rlmartin for opening this one up while I was in town.

A: Pours black with no head, just a ring of foam

S: Coffee and raisin aroma

T: Thick, heavy coffee hits you immediately. Later sips start to reveal a bit of dark fruit

M: mouthcoating, but not overly sweet. Low carbonation.

O: Glad I got to taste this. Definitely a top-notch stout, although I'm not sure I'd jump through the hoops to get my hands on a bottle myself.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 23:09:14 | More by kscaldef
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
coreyfmcdonald

Georgia

4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle at ATLBeerdog's tap house. I've been wanting to try this one for a while.

A: Black as night with thin ring of head. Great.

S: Chocolate with burnt malt and light licorice.

T: Slightly oxidized chocolate and slight vanilla with good amount of roast. Lots of sweetness.

M: Thick mouthfeel with light carb - great.

O: Great chocolate taste - wonderful - I'm very happy with this.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 04:02:53 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to Bruges glass at a small gathering of NoVA BA's on 9/4/11
*From notes

-- Bill, I can't thank you enough for introducing me to Kate --

Vintage 2010

A: A hearty pour yields a .75 finger head and decent, yet unspectacular lacing. It's got an oxblood hue around the edges, and a rich brownie-black tint to the body.

S: Some deliciously dark fruits hit the nose before the glass even gets there. 65% dark cocoa weaves it's way around the nostrils, creating a wonderful bouquet.

T: Wickedly different then my expectations. The ruby port (in which the wood had soaked) has an absolute vice grip on the flavor profiles of the brew. There's a lack of balance here, as the char, malt, hops...heck, just about anything else take a backseat to the dense red fruit. When discussing this with billab914 (who had it on tap at the release), he said the beer is not how he remembered it, and that he doesn't like where it has ended up. To be frank, he said, he preferred it fresh. As this is my first time flirting with Kate, I can only say that yes, this properly cellared, 2010 vintage is dominated solely by the ruby port's one-note, dense red fruit character.

M: Kate certainly feels good, but I can't say she felt great. The weight's decent, and both the texture and carbonation were on-point, yet I felt something was lacking here. It came off just a touch uninspired.

O: Portsmouth's Kate the Great vintage 2010 is a very, very good beer that just didn't live up to my lofty expectations. But really though, how could it? Considered the Holy Grail of RIS's, I can honestly say that I've had better, and I've absolutely had a whole hell of a lot worse. I'm really looking forward to ticking the 2011 next week, and will be sure to post my review.

I'm sure many of you are asking: Is she worth it? Is Kate worthy of dumping the entire cellar, for one measly bottle? That, my fellow BA's is up to you, though I'd heartily recommend thinking twice before doing so. At least for the 2010 vintage.

UPDATE: 9/23/11
As expected, we cracked the 2011 vintage at my 30th Beerthday Bash. From the moment the cap came off, it was apparent that the 2011 was head and shoulders above the '10. The port barrel character was in perfect balance with the beer, it really was one of the best RIS's I've had the pleasure of drinking. The room was deafening before the pour, and once the bottle circled around and their glasses were full, it was dead silent. We all took a moment and looked at each other, realizing we were drinking what may be the perfect beer. The following are my reviews of the '11:

A: 4 S:4.5 T:5 M:4 O:4.5

The moral of the story: DRINK KATE FRESH!

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 23:16:43 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Post-birthday I think it's time to bring out the big guns. Thanks to ShogoKawada for this lovely 2010 vintage bomber. Chilled lightly and poured into my Portsmouth tulip (natch).

Deep seal brown liquid is capped by a low pearling lumberingly active fawn head. A surface slick unfurls like a massive amoeba in the glass. This beer is alive. Very delicate lacing, and not a lot of legs surprisingly.

The aroma when you pop the cap is superbly potent - Vanilla, toffee, prunes, blackberries, maple, grape must, brown sugar, and maybe the slightest hint of oxidation which comes across as faint port aromatics. Cinnamon and allspice come through over time as well.

Incredible depth of malt, toasty, roasted, charred, biscuity, syrupy...myriad elements blend into a superior whole. Like other really great RISs, the base reminds me at times of a baltic porter albeit accompanied by much richer flavors. Bourbon, treacle, maple, oat and wheat bran, carmelized hops (grassy and earthy with a vague hint of grapefruit), and more lead into the finish with whispers of tobacco. Somewhat sweet, but the phenols and alcohol balance the sugars very well. Low but present bitterness throughout.

Velvety, full-bodied, though not heavy. Well carbonated with a very gentle fleeting astringency. ABV is dangerously hidden.

Distinctive, delicious, and obviously sought after for a reason...I could see some finding it just a touch sweet...but it would be difficult to improve on this beer...it has left me wearing a huge grin.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 06:39:43 | More by augustgarage
Photo of ne0m00re
ne0m00re

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Live review of a 22oz bottle of the most recent vintage, thanks to a generous trader. Of course, there isn't a label on it.
A: Poured an opaque, thick black with a slow developing (yet thin) steadfast dark cream head.
S: Calm vanilla, strong raisin and molasses, nice woody and green notes with some oxidation with figs. Very dark chocolate and a good espresso and nice roasted notes. This smells excellent.
T: Chewy molasses and raisin turns into a thinner brandy-like acidity (very nice with the roast) and pecans, with bitter sweet chocolate throughout. It sticks to your teeth with a sweet brown sugar while the hops a bright green in the back. Alcohol doesn't really bite. It's almost too sticky and thick to be pleasureable, kind of like a toned-down Bourbon County Stout. It's not overly complex. I'm not a big fan of the finish, which comes off like sweet wort of a stout (oily and a bit thin). It's not overly complex, either, but it's damn solid.
M: Very thick, with some relief, but then a lingering silkiness.
O: Bourbon County without the heat or extreme thickness, and not quite cloying, but more bittersweet chocolate forward than Abyss. This is up there with the big guns and this will be one I'll be on the lookout for.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2011 00:42:38 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of boralyl
boralyl

Oregon

4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage.

A - Black as night, with a 2 inch dark tan head. It has nice retention and leaves some great lacing. Beautiful imperial stout.

S - Medium roast and a slightly boozy sweetness, possibly port. Very different then most imperial stouts I've tried. The aroma really opens up as it warms.

M - Full in body, light carbonation, slightly syrupy, but it still contains a nice creaminess.

T - Some sweet malts up front with some boozy Port sweetness. Chocolate and oak flavors make up the middle of the beer. It's sweet and roasty on the finish, but not overly so like many big stouts.

An extremely complex beer full of character. This beer actually lives up to the hype. Very glad I got a chance to to try it.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2011 00:10:28 | More by boralyl
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire

Florida

4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Blaine for the share; the beer is hype-worthy, in my estimation. The brew has an average look for an RIS; if anything stands out, its that it is more brown than black, and it has a more airy head than usual. Dark chocolate, smores, graham crackers, light nutty caramel, candied dark fruit, fudge and a plethora of other specialities of a chocolatier come to mind, and all of these elements are expressed with the utmost sophistication. The nose is the very definition of decadence; the flavor is lesser in intensity, partially owing to a thinner body, but this lends itself to a more vinous-tinged character than the aroma suggests, and it works out in the favor of added complexity. Lots of lingering oak and booze are noted on the finish, as well as lots of raisin. The beer is too hard to get, obviously, but it is a hell of a brew if you get a crack at it.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 22:23:33 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Azurescens
Azurescens

Washington

4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle, 2011 batch poured into snifter reviewed on 8/27/11.

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2011 01:55:10 | More by Azurescens
Photo of julian
julian

Washington

4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #200. Been waiting for awhile to get this one in :)

A: Pours a near black with beautiful dark brown head from a slow gentle pour. Nice curtainous lacing all the way around. 4

S: Lots of fruit, fig, dark plum, raisin mixed with some booze, and residual molasses sweetness. 4.5

T&M: This is very interesting. Lots of fruit, some sherry like sweetness, molasses, raisin. Mouthfeel is thick, super creamy and incredibly smooth. 4.5 / 4.5

O: Wow, did not know what to expect from this but pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure if it’s just a ton of Special B or the Port oak aging, but this has a very unique dark fruity flavor. Exceptional. I love it. 4.5

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 16:11:57 | More by julian
Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 879 ratings.