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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.

883 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 883
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 10.33%
Wants: 2,683
Gots: 170 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
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: 883 | Reviews: 484 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexabull


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

Late 2007 Bottle courtesy of fo5s, thanks again!

Beer pours a flat black color with a nice tan head that quickly fades.

Aromas are of very dark bakers chocolate, roasted malts, some creamy dark sugars, and some coffee. All in all, the smell is more subtle than I thought it would be.

Taste is of subtle dark fruits, very bitter chocolates, creamy malts, sweet burnt sugars, and sharp mineral bitter hops on the finish. There is a touch of alcohol warmth that helps balance out the sweet flavors really well. This is a nice tasty Russian Imperial Stout. This has quite complex flavors, that aren't overpowering, and are well balanced.

Mouthfeel is good. But is probably my only knock with this beer. It seems a touch thin when compared to others in the style, and the finish is a bit weak. But it's not bad.

Drinkability is great. This is a tasty and surprisingly easy to drink full flavored Imperial Stout. I don't think it's the best I've had in the style, and far from the best beer I've tasted, but it is no doubt an excellent one, that I am glad I got to taste.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2008 03:58:06 | More by flexabull
Photo of ralflord


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

Poured into a small tulip glass. Dark brown, almost black color. Head was one finger. The smell was excellent. Caught some chocolate, coffee, sweetness. Not very bitter. The taste of this beverage is very pleasing, and silky. All the flavors mixed great and one did not over power the others. The mouthfeel was pleasant. I could drink this all night. Of course I would need more Kate to do this. Awesome beer, and truly one of the best RIS.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2008 13:17:37 | More by ralflord
Photo of travloh


4.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally I crack the precious Kate.

My brother and I choose a picture perfect late summer sunday afternoon and dive in...

Black pour, creamy. No, its not used motor oil. One finger head that looks like wet sand or even dirty shaving cream.

The smell of alcohol. Lets let her warm a little and see what breaks out...mmmm....coffee, dark chocolate, spice.

Taste is complex but not overpowering. Chocolate and coffee are most prevalent. Nuts, cherries, maybe raisins, and spice. The tail end burns of alcohol...perfectly.

Man this stuff is creamy...frothy...viscous...thick...chewy.

I could drink these all night, but sadly will never get the chance. The bomber is sadly only 22 or so ounces.

Thanks to DrDogBeer for sending me this gem without even getting something in return. Tom, you are at the top of my list!

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2008 23:00:15 | More by travloh
Photo of Wetpaperbag


4.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I won this beer from NJpadreFan during one of his great CLUE LIF's.

A- The pour was thick, and viscous. It looks dark and black, with a thick tan 1 finger width head. Looks like a good RIS. So far it looks the same as other RIS I've had.

S- There is lots of chocolate, with a touch of cherry and black anise. Toward the end of the smells I get the roasted coffee smell. This smells very sweet.

T- This is very tasty. There is the wonderful bitter sweet dark chocolate taste that was ever so present in the smell. I'm getting that slight cherry taste that is there in a subtle amount. I do a lot of bbq and bbq corn over charcoal and there is a nice sweet slightly caramelized/charred delicious corn taste that comes though toward the end. The anise is also present in the finish of this beer. Very complex tastes.

M- Should I bust out a fork and a knife? This is a chewy beer. Thick and fills the mouth with greatness. This is how a RIS should be, nice and thick, stick to your ribs kind of drink.

D- Very easy to drink, I'm having a hard time not just gulping it down quickly. I need to savor this beer and enjoy it. Who knows when I'll get another chance to enjoy it again.

Over all I thought this was a great RIS. It was solid and tasty. I think in some ways the hype works in favor for this beer as I was completely excited to drink it. I also didn't want my excitement lead to any let down of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 02:21:01 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of JohnGalt1


4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

My share poured into a Chimay goblet.

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

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

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

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

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


Serving type: bottle

08-19-2008 07:10:41 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of bcastine

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this recently on a trip to the brewery, was notified by the waitress while eating dinner and kicking back some cask rocket Ipa that 3 bottles were available in the store, 2 08's, and 1 06 vintage. Sprinted/stumbled to the store to find only the 2006 bottle left, hmmm novices must have grabbed the first 2 to my ever pleasant glee. Shared with my beer-drinking buddy, certainly a beer one must share; this offering is just to special for just 1 person imho.

A-Black, thick sticky brown lacing

S-where to start, coffee, dark chocolate, black cherry, tobacco, oak, bourbon to name a few.

T-absolutely explodes across the tongue, so many flavors combine together in Kate that its magic that they don't combine in an offensive manner. Complete harmony, I quickly realize I'm certainly not worthy of this. Certainly this is art, perfection.

M-Every swallow is one less you will have, which is depressing, an absolute sensory tease. Flawless, hides the high abv very well, and lingers on the palate for sometime, hard to avoid taking that next pull, while it lasts, its certainly addicting.

D-Amazing, if given a constant supply bad things would ensue, maybe it's a good thing KTG is hard to come by. I feel blessed to have had a bottle with some age under the belt, really anxious to see if a newer vintage compares favorably. On a desert island and could chose only one beer, you guessed it. KTG has a complexity I've only previously found in great red wines. Simply an achievement. Wouldn't even take a beer connoisseur to appreciate.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 20:01:40 | More by bcastine
Photo of DIM


4.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was almost, but not quite, jet black, I could see a little ruby around the edges. The head was slow forming but long lasting. It was frothy and dark mocha colored.

s: Kate had a subdued nose, but it was complex and enticing. Elements of dark chocolate, prickly sour cherries, biting, vaguely coffee bitterness, and a little alcoholic heat. Superb.

t: Up front I found big smoky, chocolatey malt flavors. Sour cherry tastes tinged with some citric hop bitterness came next. The finish is a bit dry and roasty with a healty dose of heat. This was well balanced despite the huge flavors.

m: Excellent overall, with a thick velvety texture and lush, creamy carbonation.

d: Big big thanks to joepais for the chance to try this one. One of the best brews I've tried from one of the best traders out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2008 15:53:58 | More by DIM
Photo of MrMonkey

New Hampshire

4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed several of these on tap at the release, but never got around to writing my review at that time. Figured I'd review from my bottle.

Pours an opaque black with a creamy two-finger mocha head that seems to last forever, but eventually fades to a floating cap and a thick sticky ring. Thick sheets/lacing left down the glass. Beautiful!

Huge nose of dark roasted coffee beans, vanilla, raisins, espresso beans, baker's chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. A few whiffs of a hop presence floating around there somewhere as well. Wow, is this complex!

Taste starts with some vinous fruits, like black cherry, raspberry and currants, before some milk chocolate, rum-soaked raisins, and some warming alcohol. There's a faint, but noticeable, grapefruity and piny hop bitterness throughout. Dark roasted coffee and chocolate covered espresso beans lead into a long dry finish.

Full-bodied, smooth, and creamy mouthfeel. It's never cloying or syrupy. Excellent dry finish.

Perfect drinkability, even for such a full-bodied complex brew. I could easily (and have!) drink several of these in a night. My hat's off to Tod Mott and the folks at Portsmouth!

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 22:32:00 | More by MrMonkey
Photo of tpd975


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

Big Thanks to the one and only BeerTruth for sharing this one.

A: Pours as dark as any liquid on earth. Likes like a mixture and pure evil. The head is big and bold with an espresso appearence. The retention is wonderful, this one don't want to die. Nice veins of lace race down the glass. Good start!

T: This one is very rich and somewhat creamy. It is heavy on the roasted malt with chocolate really standing out. Coffee makes a brief appearence only to yeild to the dark fruits. A splash of vanilla, smoke, and booze round things out.

M: Full bodied and creamy with a bit of a prickly alcohol burn.

D: Drinkable. Not the best RIS in the world but it is solid

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 19:43:09 | More by tpd975
Photo of tprokop7


4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this a few times now, first on draft at the release and then a couple of times out of the bottle. I was unimpressed with it on draft, but my friends have since convinced me that it was too cold. I rated it well at a blind IS tasting and liked it a lot tonight...

Pours into a Yeti tulip, black with just a little head. Heavy roasted coffee, with a little chocolate and molasses. It's nice and smokey, and more complex than I remembered it at the release.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2008 02:07:46 | More by tprokop7
Photo of fdrich29


5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The joys of being a father know no bounds...

So at the tail end of my three month vacation I took to be a stay at home dad with my daughter I received a call from rocketfrog asking me if I wanted to go to Kate the Great Day at Portsmouth Brewing. "Why the hell not?" I say and a few days later with my daughter in tow we're heading up to New Hampshire.

We arrive around 1:30 or so and are among the last people to get a calendar page (November 7 & 8 I believe). The beer was released at 2:27pm. We wait and chat with the other people in line. Many familiar BA faces, some of which had just volunteered at the ACBF in Boston. I was offered a taste of Kate while we were waiting outside.

Love at first sip.

When the calendar dwindled down to the early Fall and we did the math, we realized we most likely weren't going home with Kate. October was called one day at a time, instead of the entire month. All of October received their beer, but that would be the end of Kate for the day. We were told to come back on rain check day with our calendar pages and we could buy the beer when they bottled more.

We had talked with Blackkristos for much of the wait and as he was leaving with his four bottles of Kate handed me one bottle as a gift for having waited for so long with my daughter. Tremendous beer karma goes out to him.

Rocketfrog and I had a glass at the bar before heading back home, and I had two glasses on that Friday with joepais when I went back up to collect my bottles on rain check day.

As for my review of Kate the Great....Totally, 100% worth the hype.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2008 22:36:10 | More by fdrich29
Photo of JoeMayo


4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours black with a nice mocha-colored head

S- The smell is fantastic cocoa dominates the scent with whiffs of cherries accenting it

T- The cherry is more pronounced in the taste, but the cocoa is still the leading flavor. Subtle notes of toffee and caramel are present as well.

M- Thick, but not syrupy with a pleasant carbonation. Very slight alcohol warmth out of the bottle, however the alcohol is not noticeable at all on-tap

D- Very

Overall a fantastic beer. I thought it was a little plain when I had it on tap, but out of the bottle, the flavors are much more pronounced

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 14:47:00 | More by JoeMayo
Photo of sholland119


4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by friends as part of a Kate/Dark Lord/Abyss tasting. I did mine blind for the first half and this was my favorite.

A-Pours a deep black with a nice tan head that lasts and lasts. Nice lacing as well. Beautiful.

S-Roasty coffee notes blend with bittersweet chocolate for a nice mocha aroma. Nice malt with faint hops in the background.

T-Exceptionally good. Following the nose with strong mocha taste and a rich maltiness. Finishes with a bit of sweet chocolate.

M-Rich and creamy with nice carbonation.

D-Outstanding. I could drink these all night with pleasure. Not overly heavy, alcohol is well hidden.

This is about as good as beer gets. Lives up to the hype.


Serving type: bottle

07-22-2008 14:20:41 | More by sholland119
Photo of rayjay


4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2008 00:57:08 | More by rayjay
Photo of prototypic


4.22/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to BeerTruth for sending me this rarity.

Appearance: It pours a damn near onyx color. I can't see any light getting through, even around the edges. Sitting atop is a one and a half finger mocha colored head. It dissipated pretty quickly and left a light, spotty coat of lace lining the glass. Probably attributed to the abv. Excellent marks for color though.

Smell: Waves of roasted malts roll off the top. Chocolate matls follow suit and it has a nice sweet aroma as a result. There is a healthy amount of roasted coffee blended in. Alcohol is noticeable on the nose. It's not overly strong, but easily detected. There's some light dark fruit notes that emerge late. Prune and raisin seem to be the main components. Ultimately, I can't help but note that it's a slight disappointment in this department. It's just a little too weak to warrant extremely high marks. That being said, it is a nice smelling beer. It's just doesn't come through as strong as it should.

Taste: It's sweet and chocolaty. Roasted and chocolate malts are blended well and give it an excellent flavor. Chocolate malts are a little stronger and give it a nice cocoa effect. The coffee flavor is very notable and complements the malt flavors perfectly. The flavor profile is very rich, yet appetizing. Raisin and prune flavors are secondary and play a complementary role. But, they add quite a bit of depth and complexity. Alcohol is faintly noticeable and has a slight warming effect. Finishes sweet and slightly dry.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's full bodied and has an excellent feel. It's extremely smooth and creamy. It's liquid silk. Carbonation is on the light side which adds to the creamy effect. Drinkability is very high for thick beer with 9.5% abv. I'm splitting the bomber I have, but would gladly attempt to take down a bomber (and perhaps more) on my own. It goes down that easy.

What's the verdict? No doubt it's a very good beer. I don't necessarily think I'd characterize it as one of the top three beers in the world. Portsmouth has crafted a very good RIS. But, given the number of quality imperial stouts out there, this one doesn't really stand out in any way. Perhaps the hype created expectations that were just a little too lofty.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 16:20:51 | More by prototypic
Photo of csmiley


4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much appreciation goes to prototypic for the chance to try this beer.

A - Pours almost completely black. A close inspection reveals some bright ruby highlights around the edges. The tan head rose to acceptable levels and stuck around for a bit. The resulting lace around the glass was pleasant. Kate is a pretty one.

S - Roasted notes hit the nose first and quickly fade to a combination of chocolate milk and milk chocolate. Some dark fruit is in the middle somewhere and is really too mild to pinpoint. Warm alcohol finishes it off. Aroma is much lighter than expected.

T - Roasted notes dominate the flavor. A dry smokiness also comes in strong at first. The fruit is stronger in the flavor than the aroma would lead one to expect. Notes of cherry and raisin abound. Bittersweet chocolate has a showing about midway. Coffee flavors are on the tail end and round out the flavor.
Note: Alcohol very noticeable in this one and leans toward being a tad hot.

M - Medium bodied with a near perfect level of carbonation. Remains smooth throughout. Finish is quite dry and bitter. This beer lingers on the palate forever. Beautiful.

D - Drinkability is good. Having chocolate and coffee show up last in the flavor profile is a nice touch. The alcohol is warming but comes very close to being too hot. That does put some limitations on drinkability. The finish and mouthfeel are spectacular. Overall this is a good beer that I would definitely try agian.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 17:45:28 | More by csmiley
Photo of largadeer


4.03/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 05:50:36 | More by largadeer
Photo of ghostwalker


4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed and reviewed as part of cburian's RIS showdown. Thanks for the chance to try some great brews!

Appearance is dark brown, oily, little head.

Light coffee nose, malty vanilla flavors as well.

Sweet vanilla fruitiness. Little of the coffee/chocolate flavors that we find in other RIS. Very different, but very good.

Moderate thick and oily mouthfeel.

Good stuff. Moderate drinkability. Two tulips did go down quite nicely on KTG release day, however...

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2008 00:34:57 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


4.15/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temp in a small taster from a 22 oz bottle.

Very dark cola syrup brown, viscous, with a surprisingly light tan head.

Nose is big with caramel and vanilla and a hint of bourbon. Slight alcohol aroma, but not boozy.

Big chocolatey flavor with plenty of coffee.

Feels like a high ABV beer, but still very clean, heavy body makes it linger at the finish.

This beer has really excellent drinkability, it's smooth and clean. Served as part of a blind tasting, beer wasn't revealed until reviews were done on all eight RIS's. Failed to guess who this was, really thrown off by the complexity and the (imaginary?) bourbon.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2008 05:20:06 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of joepais


4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery I guess it time I finally review this wonderful elixir.
The barkeep brought me my tulip style glass the body was Jet black almost looks like molasses topped of with a coco colored head that turns to thick lace that slides down the glass while you drink it .

Aromas of roasted malts so you get your typical coffee and chocolate notes but you have to let Kate warm for her true colors to show in the nose .I sat one glass aside while I drank my first and the second glass really had wonderful vanilla notes along with the port oak note as well

Coco flavor's my wife said at one point it was choc full of chocolaty goodness so it kind of reminded her of ovelteen slight bitter roasted aftertaste to help balance out the malts This is the 4th batch I have had and I will say I think this one is a little bigger in the alcohol then the rest maybe it because it warmer out but it did sneak up on me this time

Thick, rich and full are words that come to mind when describing the mouthfeel almost no carbonation after the pour

I ended up with getting my usual 6 glass per batch even though she didn't stay around as long but I normally don't drink two of them in one day either I did this time around. my common practice it to nurse a glass for about an hour it is one of those brews you just hate to finish I gets better at room temperature so I always take my time anyways .Now I will tell you this is a beer geeks beer so its not for everyone. I have seen people send it back, and a few of the regulars just can't drink it. Although lately they are in the minority

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2008 00:49:00 | More by joepais
Photo of deltatauhobbit


4.88/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ended up spending about 6 hours total just hanging out, talking to people, trying other Portsmouth beers and then having a few pints of Kate after they tapped the keg on her big day.

Poured into my Imperial pint glass (aka, a regular pint glass for Kate). Very dark and viscous, good sized head that leaves some lacing.

Smell is out there, tons of things flying into my nose, strong roasted malt presence along with chocolate, coffee, and many other things I couldn't possibly separate into names.

Taste hits your tongue immediately, the malt, coffee and chocolate assault your taste buds and make them tingle, although that could be the slight warming sensation from the alcohol, which while drinking is very hard to make out. Near the end of the taste, there is a slight bitterness, probably not from the hops but the dark chocolate presence.

A great beer but an even better day of hanging out at the downstairs lounge while Reg kept the beer flowing.


Had the 2010 version on-tap on Kate day and found it to be highly disappointing. It was a sugary, syrupy, cloying mess. If I was to rate it again, it would be vastly lower than the 2008 version I had. Gone is the complex dark fruit aroma and taste of cherry and raisin, in is a massively sweet sugar beer. Honestly, I don't see how Tod thought this was the best version of Kate he's made yet. At least I still have a bottle of 2008 to fall back on, which still tastes good.

Serving type: on-tap

06-27-2008 02:40:11 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

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

2008 bottle > split between a snifter (11 oz.) & chimay goblet (11 0z.)

Of course this gal's totally black in color, opaque for sure. Unlike the on-tap version, the crown starts off at 2" and it's amazingly thick and creamy. The crown is a dark brown color with ultra-sticky lacing with massive thick clumps all over.

The malt smells soooo sweet! honey and maple syrup with brown sugar, hershey's chocolate, cafe mocha with a shot of vanilla and cream. There is also a subtle dark fruit edge with a mild tangy effect on the nose. Slight heat tingle, let's you know it's there.

The malt complexity of this old gal is out of this world! deep chocolate, brown sugar but also roastie coffe notes as it warms up to room temp. Peanut butter and toffee, all from the malt!! The balance is very nice with a semi-bitter, earthy and leafy hop. The hop profile is actually much more noticable after some time and is much bigger than the on-tap version I thought. The hop and rather sharp, whiskey-ish heat hits the palate right after the malt flavor's fade and blend together. The fisnish was slightly more bitter than I remember when I was at the brewery, but it's still less hop-headed than it's little sis, the Smuttynose RIS.

The feel is simply perfect. full, heavy, smooth, creamy but sooo damn easy to drink. A wonderful palate massage.

This might just be a perfect "5" after a year or so in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 22:36:25 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of Damian


4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Served in a tulip glass at the Kate the Great Tapping on June 24th

Poured an absolute pitch black. There was not a hint of light coming through this oily mass. The three-finger, bubbly head of coffee-colored foam slowly faded to a resilient film. Thick blankets of lacing coated the glass with each sip and lasted long after the beer was finished.

The aroma was powdery and yeasty initially. Somewhat chalky and dry. Rather disappointing. As the beer warmed, the nose came out a bit more. Vanilla was noticeable along with brown sugar.

The taste was simply sublime. Bittersweet, chocolatey (dark chocolate) and rich with strong notes of roasted coffee, bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar. Figs, prunes and raisins came through in the center. The finish was slightly hoppy with espresso notes and a mild roastiness. The aftertaste was simply astounding. Like the flavor itself, it was bittersweet and rich with long-lasting notes of bourbon and cocoa. Dare I say this was the best aspect of the beer?

Mouthfeel was creamy, oily and ultra smooth. Palate coating with a fine, mild carbonation.

This was unquestionably the most drinkable Russian imperial stout I have ever sampled. Between the outstanding flavor, the amazing balance and the barely noticeable 9.5% ABV, it is simply dangerous.

To simply call this beer "smooth" would be a huge understatement, yet this one word alone may be the best way to describe it. The palate was intense, yet so mellow. Unlike most Russian imperial stouts which are dominated by bitter flavors (hops, espresso, char), this one is definitely more focused on sweeter ones (chocolate, bourbon and brown sugar). Though not the "biggest" example of a RIS, I would definitely have to say this was one of (if not) the best I have ever tried.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2008 18:05:44 | More by Damian
Photo of edbeer

Rhode Island

4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2008 17:26:05 | More by edbeer
Photo of DrDogbeer


4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at hte brewery- my first one at aproximately 2:32 p.m. on tuesday. I think I was the 9th or 10th pour. Poured into a tulip glass. Very, very black. Nice 2 finger tan head. No light gets through this one. Maybe a tinge of redness at the bottom of the tulip when held up to the light. Smell is very inviting and warming- lots of roasted malt flavor, coffee and chocolate. Little bit of alcohol in the back to boot. Taste is similar. Extremely smooth, but tons of different flavors. THe coffe and chocolate come to the front, but there is also some alcohol, some light hops flavor for a bitter kick, and I also get some dark fruit and cherries. Great mouthfeel, little bit oily. Extremely drinkable for an ris. I can have a few of these at a sitting. (and I did)

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2008 13:21:38 | More by DrDogbeer
Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 883 ratings.