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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

903 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 903
Reviews: 487
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 10.35%
Wants: 2,695
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:
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: 903 | Reviews: 487 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of waltonc
4.38/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a trade.

A: Very dark brown with almost an inch head. After it subsides there is still a constant layer of lacing that hangs around.

S: Milk chocolate goodness, a tiny amount of soy sauce, and deep roasted malts.

T: More chocolate and roasted malts, slightly sweet caramel, and not a ton of hops. Therefore, my kind of imperial stout. Not overly sweet or cloying. Very well balanced. Pretty amazing. One of my favorite imperial stouts because it doesn't go too far in the sweet direction or the hops direction.

M: Pretty thick body and medium carbonation.

Drinkable? Yes.

Photo of antilogic
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got an '08 bottle via trade, thanks kplynch! The label is almost disappointing (It doesn't even say KTG!), but also refreshingly simple in a craft beer industry being increasingly driven by hype.

Pours a jet black, less viscous than the WWS and Dark Horizon.
The head was minimal, tan and lacy. Aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted malts and some coffee.

Low carbonation and medium body. Very drinkable. Only minimal warming alcohol taste, and a slight bit of coffee, vanilla, and a bitter chocolate (baker's chocolate).

It is a very good beer. Maybe not 100% of the hype, but damn fun to get a bottle and give it a try. That's half the fun anyways, isn't it? I'll be seeking out more of this in '09...

Photo of badbeer
3.68/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a beige head, decent retention and lacing. Some milk chocolate, cream, roast, sweet caramel, and a little coffee in the aroma. Sweet caramel, cream, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, some vanilla, and a touch of roastiness. Heavier than medium bodied with low carbonation, very smooth. An amazing beer, I need more of this. Thanks to Adam and Cole for the sample.

Update: Had this multiple times now. Smell has had some burnt plastic in every subsequent bottle. Taste has that as well, but not as much. A pretty smooth beer, but just not that big of a fan. Give me a Smuttynose IRS, please. More detailed notes to come eventually.

Photo of miketd
3.83/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with an ok brown head. Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla and toffee. Roast coffee like flavor...slightly bitter. Medium full body and creamy. Highly drinkable and good brew for sure. Would be interested in trying this at the brew pub one day.

Photo of TexIndy
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with johnnnniee (excellent trader) - many thanks! Shipped to my buddy in Denver so we could split it during my trip there last week. Poured from a 22oz bomber (2008 edition) into a pint glass. I then split it into 2 glasses to share after getting my notes on appearance. It was pitch black in color even against the light. Some carb and great lacing. It had about a finger of dark brown head that slowly settled into a thin foam and collar.

The aroma was roasted and chocolate malts. Also a good hit of coffee in there. The aroma was much more subtle than I expected but some of that also may be due to the effects the Denver altitude and dryness where doing to my nose during the trip. The taste was excellent. It had a strong coffee taste that started to be a bit too much towards the end which hurt the long-term drinkability. Still working on my coffee issues but getting better. Had a slight bitter finish. Would have liked to seen what it would have tasted like at the end of a full bottle as it really warmed up. Mouthfeel was good but not as creamy as I'd expected.

Overall, a really,really good but not great beer....at least in this tasting. Really need to get another bottle and try it in my normal reviewing conditions to see if that would change my opinion. Recommend but don't give your arm and leg for it (maybe just your arm).

Photo of magictrokini
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easily the best beer from Portsmouth, I don't even have to try the others to proclaim this. Black pour with a tiny brown ring of bubbles on top. Thick lacing. Aroma stacked with coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts. Leather and tobacco are nearly as strong; this is one big beer. Huge flavor. The alcohol burn enhances the coffee and roasted malt, and brings out the little peppery hops contained in this one. Smoother vanilla and caramel pop in the end. Excellent beer.

Photo of tbart428
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this beer at Portsmouth brewery on Kate The Great Day where I also had it on tap. Cracked my first Kate (2008 bottle) from the bottle Nov 21 2008. Poured Black with a tan head that left a thick lacing on the side of the glass. The nose is big and malty with chocolate/roasted/burnt,molases,smokieness tones. The alchol is dangerously hidden. I feel like I could have chugged this beer it tastes so good. The flavor has a light sweetness, notes of licorice, chocolate, wood, with dark fruits. What can I say this beer is amazing

Photo of Crosling
3.38/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not black, a dark brown with a small, quickly diminishing head of light tan foam. Very simple nose, don't detect much describable character or depth besides a hint of chocolate. Flavors is a bit off balance, extremely sweet, with out much balancing hop character or bitterness. Still has some dark fruit, dark roast and chocolate character that I like. Even a decent finish. Mouth feel was a bit disappointing and could be improved with natural carbonation. A nice beer, but I was hoping for much more.

Photo of srandycarter
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black. Thin head, spotty lacing.

S - Soy sauce, bakers chocolate, coffee and some funk. Milk chocolate finish.

T - Taste follows smell.

M - Medium body, ok carb, great coating.

d - OK for the style.

Nice beer. Expected more from such a rare and sought treat.

Photo of egajdzis
3.85/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque brownish red / black color with a thin, light tan head, that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, light vanilla bean, nuts, chocolate, and smoke. Taste of more dark, roasted malts, light dried fruits, smoked malts, and a bit alcohol in the finish.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz beer, big thanks to LittleBreeze who sent this along around the beginning of the year

A: Pours a deep, thick black under an inch worth of brown head. Exactly what I was expecting. Nice, creamy saucer of a head left behind with some decent lace.

S: Sweet, some molasses, chocolate, coffee, espresso, roasted malt, bit of cream, candied fruit. This one just about has it all. This is what a RIS should smell like.

T: Big surprising sweetness up front, bit of fruitiness before ending in a bitter chocolate, slight coffee, spicy finish. A bit boozy, but not overpowering at all, alcohol is balanced very well. Very well done.

M/D: Thick and full bodied, creamy, carbonation is just a feathery touch on the tongue. Drinkability, well, this is a huge beer, and for that it is fine. I could drink this very slowly, all night. Excellent beer. Nearly perfect in every way.

Photo of hopdog
4.38/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle shared thanks to axilla. 2008 vintage. I'm was very surprised and happy when John opened this one!

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of chocolate, roast, dark fruits, vanilla, and licorice. Tastes of dark fruits, brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, toffee, roast, coffee, and light smoke.

This one was a great beer, but no way would I pay $300 for it...

Notes from and tasted on 10/25/08.

Photo of BgThang
2.47/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A huge thanks goes out to Johnathan for the opportunity to try this.

Appearance - This poured out very black, like night fall over the ocean with no moon light in site. The head is that of a fairly quick dissipating wave that does not linger around. Swirl after swirl still not a noteworthy head on this. The head that I was able to muster was tan/sand color with some lacing , but mostly small bubbles on the sides of the glass. I was expecting some heavy phat mama legs that lingered and coated the glass but was disappointed. The legs were more of thin, skinny crack hoe looking for her next fix.

Nose - Pure alcohol at first, kinda of like going in to a bar before its opened for the night and all the lingering smells of alcohol enrages the nose hairs and start to make them tingle and not in a good way. The chocolate seeps in for a quick second then roasted coffee comes in with a small role more like a cameo. Wow did I mention alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Well so far I am disappointed with all this hype over a beer I have been seeking for a while now. Maybe this was all in my head, maybe this is what a top 3 beer should act like when the audience is so highly seeking a TOP 3 beer who people are giving their left nut to get a hold of and taste its bliss. SO here goes. The front end of this was thin with a burst of alcohol that warms the gullet up. Then you get a dryness that comes in and overtakes the scene. It leaves you screaming Chocolate oh where art thou chocolate! then it appears through the dryness. All of a sudden here comes coffee to steal the show. WEll lets just say Alcohol trips mr.coffee and stabs chocolate in the back and steals the show. It warms you up all the way down to your belly.

THoughts - Well I hope my ramblings were not too much I really was disappointed by this beer but yet it was inspiring. It showed me that out of all the top ten beers currently on BA of which I have had all but darkness That this beer is truely over hyped and I will say take Deschutes The abyss, Dark lord '08, or saint arnolds DR #5 over this any day of the week. We joked about drain pouring this and taking a picture for our avatar. If I get a chance to try this again I will only take a shot of it to see if the bottle that I had might have been bad. Do not buy in to the hype take a pass on this or drink your buddies .

Photo of JonathanL7890
3.38/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from 08 Release. Shared with another BA.
Poured into my DFH snifter. A small head dissipated quickly. At most I could only roust 1/2 finger of head from this thing.
Aroma is chocolate, alcohol , hops.
Taste is a bit dry in the back of the mouth with a dominant chocolate component. Slight alcohol burn down to the tummy.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin for an RIS.
Drinkability is not very good. I contemplated a drain pour but I finished it eventually.
Anyhow, I am very disappointed in this beer. I have had porters that are way more complex. If it was on special at my local pub I would not order it.
I hope that when I have a chance to try this beer again, I will be able to edit my review to be more favorable.

Photo of kirok1999
4.92/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mcallister for generously sharing this bottle.
Pours a beautiful black, no light stands a chance to get through. Nice light brown head that laces like sticky glue. This thing has legs like oil on the side of the glass.
Smell is very sweet. The alcohol comes through very strong in a nice way. Lots of bourbon, wood, charcoal, tannin, sugar and sweet, cold coffee.
Taste is rich, creamy and sweet but not in a real cloying way. Not at all thick and viscous. It begins nicely sweet with a good amount of chocolate in the middle. Lots of tannin and charcoal in the finish and a nice exhalation of alcohol
This is as smooth as any beer I've ever had. Richly creamy and lush.
Very easy to drink. I could seriously drink one of these every day. It's not so heavy as Dark Lord yet has many of the same characterisics. I want more!

Photo of mcallister
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A nice looking beer. Opaque deep brown nearly black with a nice mocha head with some lava like bubbles that fade into a foamy icing top. Some spotty lace here there and everywhere.

Rich roasty caramel black truffel, dark chocolates, hints of coffee, woodsy notes, with black fruits and a hint of black licorice. A great smelling stout.

What to say....delicious comes to mind. Creamy mouthfeel with a tannic finish, hints of alcohol in the chest and some hop bitterness as well. Roasty with marshmallow notes, black licorice, coffee, truffel, light in body compared to some of the other high rated brews but not in flavor. A bit of smoke and I'd swear it's slightly aged in oak as a woody note is undeniable. Hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, a bit of fresh coffee beans, caramel and mousse. Amazing.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage bomber. Pours into my glass a deep charcoal black with an inch of dark tan foam on top that leaves spotty lacing on the side of the glass. Rather viscous. Aromas start off with rich dark malts and big bittersweet chocolate. Molasses, dark fruits and somewhat of a spicy aroma as well. Hints of anise and vanilla bean with a touch of alcohol as well. Big, dense and layered.

First sip is big and rich bringing lots of dark roasty malts along with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. It melds in with a mix of molasses, dark fruits, licorice and light coffee flavors. Flows down with a bit of a spicy sweet accent and a bit of vanilla flavor as well. Rich chocolate malt aftertaste with a touch of alcohol on the finish as well. This one is big on all accounts and flavor packed. Yum.

Mouthfeel is rich and chewy with a big malt body. Really smooth with a good, more mellow carbonation. Goes down smooth given the ABV. Overall, a tasty, rich imperial stout the brings a great depth of flavor as well. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try this many time on tap and now finally in the bottle. I'll look forward to having it again sometime too!

Photo of mhewes
4.97/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A : Pours a thick dark black color (like motor oil) with a one finger tan head

S : Aromas of chocolate, dark fruit, roasted, malts, and a hint of coffee

T : A really rich and complex taste. Lots of roasted malt and chocolate flavor up front. Some coffee tries to sneak in but is drowned out by a rich dark fruit flavor (mainly cherries). There also seems to be a touch of oak on the finish

M : Smooth, full-bodied, creamy

D : This was extremely easy to drink. This is a great example of an RIS that doesn't try to do anything too flashy or fancy..just a really solid example of the style.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to naproxen for this gem.
2008 bottling.

Pours a thick black and viscous brew with a very large tan head that remains ice cream fluffy almost throughout the enjoyment of the glass. Nose is some coffee, huge roasted malt, and dark chocolate. Taste follows closely with gigantic roasted malt, subtle coffee, nice chocolate, some deep and smooth flavors. Cream, and slight vanilla. Some dark sugars Mouthfeel is just shy of perfect, with great viscosity and nice thick slick goodness. Drinkability is as good as I have seen in a beer pushing 10%. Alcohol heat is there, but quite subdued, just where it should be. Overall a fantastic representation of the style. Just a good solid, beautiful imperial stout, to be marveled at.

No tricks, no flashy labels, no special cabernet barrel special double java creme chocolate special cocoa nib milk special raisin ultra galactic special reserve vintage stout of the future. Just a straight up no bullshit, very damn well made, quality imperial stout.

Gotta love that. Great beer.

Photo of phattysbox
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to kplynch and Mike for splitting one with me.

Came later so and the beer was already poured so I can't comment on the initial head. But after 20 minutes, a nice ring chocolate brown lace remains. Beer is black, but not pitch black.

Smells fantastic - soft chocolate hits the nose followed by malty sweetness and slight bittering hops. Taste is even better - chocolate covered rasins and rum-soaked figs come to mind. There is only a small hop profile as the sweet malts are riding this one all the way. Incredibly smooth!!! Alcohol is not existent and the carbonation is perfect - my beer was gone so fast!

I was asking for more but we only had one bottle. Kate is indeed great and fits the hype.

Photo of flexabull
4.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of ralflord
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of travloh
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
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!

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

4.5/4.5/5/4.5/4.5

Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 903 ratings.