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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

890 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 890
Reviews: 485
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 2,689
Gots: 172 | FT: 8
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
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Ratings: 890 | Reviews: 485 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

BattleRoadBrewer, Jul 01, 2008
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

joepais, Jun 29, 2008
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.

Edit:

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.

deltatauhobbit, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
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.

GratefulBeerGuy, Jun 26, 2008
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.

Damian, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of edbeer
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.

edbeer, Jun 26, 2008
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)

DrDogbeer, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Add another believer to the list.

I was lucky enough to be at Portsmouth Brewing on 6/24 @ 2:27pm.

IT was hard not to get caught up in the hype and I was very concerned about Kate living up to the events excitement.

Kate lived up to it's reputation and showed that she is truly Great.

I am saving the 4 bottles that my wife and I were able to secure, but we did enjoy several glasses before heading home.

Kate was served in a tulip glass and immediately showed it's greatness. A thick creamy tan head sat atop the beer then it faded to a thin foamy top that was sticky and thick.

The aroma was great and hinted to the flavors to come. Clearly the malt came through, but I also noted vanilla and molasses.

After taking the first several sips it became clear to me why this beer is so sought after.

This is, by far,the smoothest 9+% beer I've ever tasted. While the mouthfeel was big/sticky and bold it was somehow extremely drinkable.
Balance was perfect and you were left with a bit of lingering goodness after you had swallowed the latest sip. Silky SMOOTH

My wife, who is a Pilsner fan at best, also loved this brew. That's saying something for a Stout this big.

I seriously think this opened her eyes to a whole new style. I don't know how to tell her they all don't taste this wonderful.

Bottom line, this is an aptly named beer.

Kate is Great.

Enjoyed meeting all the fellow Beer Advocate members. What a great day!

Reagan1984, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of rolands6
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At 2:27 the bar erupted into a cheer as the keg was tapped and for good reason. Poured in a tulip glass arrived at table with a decent 1cm head. Beer is very dark but drinks easily. Strong aroma, light in the mouth ,light carbonation and I could not detect any alcohol taste under the big chocolate and malt flavors. A hint of berry. Loved this beer and have 2 bottles at home to try on a special day.

rolands6, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 6/24/08 at the brewpub, poured shortly after the first keg of the June 2008 release was tapped, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a large tan head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, rich roasted malts, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and rich but very well-balanced with flavors of dark chocolate, a little black coffee and a little dark fruit. The ABV is hidden quite well. The after-taste is bitter-sweet. Not much else to say about it other than that I think what makes Kate great is how well the flavors come together.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is an outstanding beer. I'm not sure if it's worth the lengths to which many people have gone to get it, but I believe this beer has lived up to the hype it has received.

TheManiacalOne, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of JDV
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle in trade for Pastor (joepais). Thanks a ton for this one!! <Br>
Pours black with a medium sized tan head. Smell is roasty, chocolate, and not over the top at all. Taste is rich, chocolate cake-y-ness, but in a semi sweet sort of way. Fudge like and still hoppy and rich with light carbonation. This was a great brew and lived up to my expectations. I look forward to trying this again!!
Thanks again for this one, Joe!

JDV, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a growler shared at DLD weekend. Pours a very dark brown in color with a slight head atop the beer. Smell is all cocoa and slight coffee. Full and creamy on the mouthfeel. Plenty of the cocoa and coffee in the taste as well. Has a definite malted milk ball in the taste. Very well done and tasty. Just not overly complex and trend setting.

FtownThrowDown, May 13, 2008
Photo of WeisGuy
4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikesgroove for this bottle from a few months back. Not sure what vintage this is...I'm assuming the latest. The second beer (after Beatification last night) celebrating the end of law school).

a - pour very black with a big, dense mocha head, awesome lacing and retention for a big stout

s - bittersweet chocolate, blueberry and black cherry, significant port booziness, mocha

t - chocolate covered blueberries and cherries, big deeply roasted malt, lingering bitter chocolate flavors, some port mixed with the bitter chocolate and dark fruits on the finish, very long lasting flavors

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, not overly drying on the palate

d - pretty drinkable for a big stout, easy on the palate and complex enough to keep you interested

Great imperial stout overall. The long-lasting finish really stands out...this beer does not disappear at any point in the tasting. I'd love to try this again...too bad it's so freaking hard to come by.

WeisGuy, May 07, 2008
Photo of genog
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

genog, Apr 29, 2008
Photo of
4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle, courtesy of littlebreeze - Thanks very much!

My glass filled with an opaque, darkest brown, perhaps black, fluid. I held it up to a light and still got nothing in the way of color. With a vigorous pour, a small light brown head formed, which departed quickly.

Scent was port wine - dark fruits, with raisins really seeming to jump out at me. Alcohol. Coffee and roast, but milder than I expected. Chocolate and some earthiness.

Taste was sweet, raisins hit me again at both the start and the finish. Alcohol present, but very well hidden. Toffee and vanilla. Chocolate, dark of course. Roast/coffee there, but low key, increased considerably as the beer warmed.

Body was full and silky. Low to medium carbonation. Not dry at all.

Ridiculously drinkable for what it is. I want another right now and later! Probably not a really good idea....

Excellent beer, seek this one out. I wouldn't put it down as my #2 beer in the world, but it would certainly be up in the top 10.

, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours motor oil black with a tan 1/8 inch head. Smells of rich coffee, heavy malt, chocolate, and toffee. First sip is creamy with bitter espresso, chocolate, hints of vanilla. Complex but balanced - very smooth, slightly under carbonated. Lighter than expected lacing. As it warms, the smoothness increases with coffee remainng the dominant flavor, followed by the chocolate. The complexity remains high as the malt sweetness goes toe to toe with the rich coffee bitterness. Wow - This is GOOD!

ATLbeerDog, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of Avryle
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Night in the Woods" tasting 3.29.08
A huge surprise & many thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for bringing this out at the "end" of the tasting!!

2006 Vintage- aged in a keg at the brewery for a year.

A- Black. No light shining through anywhere. Some dark tan head on the pour. Lots of intricate lacing throughout tasting session

S- Sweet malts, chocolate and roasted malts right up front. Coffee in there as well. A lot of "standard" RIS smells but this is so magnificently balanced in the nose.

T- Stardust, unicorn hair, fairy dust & rainbows!!
Oh and chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate. So incredibly complex & so well-balanced. This was truly amazing and lived up to the hype. The flavors increased dramatically as it warmed.

M- Creamy full body. Almost milky. The epitome of the style.

D- A 3oz pour was not nearly enough to satisfy my want of this beer. Again, wow. No clue that there was even alcohol in this. Again, huge kudos to littlebreeze and mred137 for this unexpected surprise.

Avryle, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nothing but coincidence makes this my 200th review. Massive thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for cracking this open during our tasting.

2006 version. Aged in a keg at the brewery for a year.

A: Black. No light could get through this. Some dark mocha head with tons of lacing.

S: Chocolate and roast up front. Hints of coffee in the back as well. While most RIS have these smells they were blended so well together. There really was not a dominant one.

T: Roasted malt, oats, chocolate, sweet malt then dark chocolate. It was like each taste took their turn then passed it on to the next with a seamless transition. I love it when beers do that. Probably the most complex RIS I have ever had to date.

M: Nice thick body that sticks to everything on it's way down.

D: I was told that the 06 makes the 07 seem rough and boozy. This was anything but that. The drinkability was off the charts for this beer. No hint of the ABV at all and it went down so easily. Reminded me of choklat in that regard. Glad I finally got to try this beer. Definitely lived up to the hype in my mind. Again big thanks to littlebreeze and mred137 for this surprise.

aerozeppl, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, now this one will be a little lengthy as I feel it really deserves a little bit of exploration to do it justice. First off much thanks goes out to my friend from up north for hooking me up with this a while back, I had not had a chance to properly review it, so I cracked open the last one last night and figured I would give it the respect it deserves.

Pulled this out of the fridge and let it sit for a while to bring it up near sixty degrees and proceeded to pour it into a nice oversized wine glass to really have the full experience. The pour was wonderful, full deep dark chocolate color, absolutely no light coming through this one at all, none, completely, and totally opaque. At first, there was no head, then on it came about five seconds later, a full two finger high head of chocolate tan foam just rose up over the top and never really went anywhere. It literally still had this thick foamy top throughout the entire session, really quite nice. The side glass lace was equally impressive with a huge amount of sticky brown mess all over the side of the glass. This is what I want my stout to look like, rich full, black as night. I was liking where this one was going.

Up next I decided to lean in and see what kind of aromas where coming in off this. I was really quite please with a full rich and dark essence coming right off the glass. Lots of notes of chocolate as you would expect, with a deep sugary sweet layer as well. Very nice little bit of vanilla in there, which was definitely noticeable and more then welcomed. As I sat there and just absorbed it there was a really nice oaky, woody alcohol note coming through as well, nothing harsh, but a little hint that it was lying just under the surface. Nice little touch of coffee coming through as it warms along with just the slightest grassy like nose.

The flavor was wonderful. The body was a little bit lighter then I thought it would have been, but not badly or weak in any way. Lots of carbonation here as well. Really full flavors of chocolate and vanilla coming through really clearly and very big. As it warmed it got even more complex bringing in hints of cookie dough, a nice warming bourbon like alcohol flavor and more sweet flavors as well. The finish was very long and dry with a big coffee and caramel like lasting flavor, very nice. I polished off this whole bottle in a sitting though I probably should not have as I was hurting this morning, but it was soo drinkable, even more so then some of its larger friends in the style. Great creamy feel and a lot sweeter then I thought it would be.

Overall, I have to say this was excellent. Is it worthy of its number two in the world ranking, that is debatable, I honestly liked the abyss a bit more, but to each his own. Still this was top notch and should be right up there in the top ten. An absolutely phenomenal beer, I would bend over backwards to try this one again, it is just that good.

mikesgroove, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of jwolfie70
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Overlord for splitting a bottle of this great beer with me.

Poured black with an excellent thick tan head. The smell was fantastic, with milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla and smokey malt coming through. The taste also did not fail to deliver, with bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla both present.

This is a great beer, and is up there with the Abyss and Stone IRS as one of my favorite RISs.

jwolfie70, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled this with angry John McCain on Saturday night.

Pours a deep black. Surprisingly lively and robust light tan head. One of the more carbonated RIS's I've seen.

Smells like chocolate malt mixed with coffee and smoke. Taste definitely leans toward the sweeter side, with the roasted chocolate, dark fruits, and a hint of vanilla being offset by coffee, rather than vice versa. There are some roasted fruits, and maybe even a bit of hops, in here.

The mouthfeel was a nice change of pace for the style, and thick enough that the carbonation wasn't offputting. An excellent beer.

Overlord, Mar 03, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to purplehops for this brew.

2007 Vintage
22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice deep black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some nice oil slicks and some sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is big and malty, roasted/burnt/smoke tones, toffee, chocolate, and caramel. The taste is great big and malty, nice tones of roastyness/smokeyness, slight sweetness, toffee/chocolate/caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well and leaves a nice warming feeling. Full/Medium body, a well rounded/complex brew. Very drinkable, to me this brew lives up to it's hype 100%, very smooth, not big on the alcohol that other RIS have. Highly recommended. Thanks Stan!

Wasatch, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slides out of the bottle settling in to the glass like used motor oil black. Head is carmel brown in color standing at an inch and a half, fading fast and leaving no lace. The nose imediatly has strong tones of alchol soaked black cherries and some anise all wraped up in dark chocolate syrup. With first sip you get a bold rustic gritty richness that really soaks the senses. Layers of dark chocolate, rich fresh toffee, roasty carmalized maltiness and honey buttered biscuits. This beer really shines with complexity and balance for a big stout. Mouthfeel is big and thick but pleasant with zesty coco notes. A vanilla sense is there also. Exceptionally drinkable and completely worth all the noise. As close to perfect as a stout gets.

SPLITGRIN, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of ncvbc
4.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank beside the Abyss, very tough competition. The two are worlds apart and very solid.

Kate pours a gorgeous color that isn't quite pitch black and has ruby edges when held to the light. It is a shimmering velvet black that is quite the looker. A light tan head rises up and holds for a minute or so, leaving a ring around the glass and moderate sticky lacing.

Wow, this beer has a whole heck of a lot going on when it comes to smell. Licorice was the first thing that I picked up, followed by dark bitter chocolate, maybe even cocoa powder. There was also an underlying butterscotch and toffee adding depth. A spicy heat also catches my attention.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose but is still lovely. Up front, there is the sweetness of the butterscotch and marshmallow. Molasses and dark, somewhat sour fruits show their presence. Bitter dark licorice and chocolate are soon to come. The chocolate flavors become a little more rich and decadent, stealing the show for a second. Out of nowhere on the back of the tongue, an excellent roasted black coffee flavor hit me. It remains indefinitely between sips and feels great on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is rich and velvety but just a tad thin. I don't think it had to do with too little carbonation but maybe the alcohol burn that shows more at times. Maybe a spicyness from some hops? A little prickle on the tongue was unavoidable and unpredictable, while the rich feel was most consistent.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent beer. Very glad that I was able to try it thanks to Ginny, a very helpful and generous BA. I split this bomber doing a side by side with the Abyss but could have had it all to myself. I think that the Abyss is more of a tamed brew even with its bigger body. This, with some age, would be amazing, though. Yummy!

ncvbc, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.22/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber from Jamie2Dope. Thanks for the trade man.

Appearance: Black coffee body with a persistent tan lacing.

Aroma: Spicy, smoky, beefy, meaty, sweet booze, bittersweet coffee, tootsie rolls, and molasses.

Taste: I'm instantly impressed by the meaty, smoky notes and then the spicy/herbal, tobacco flavors. Yummy. Peppery. Boozy. Molasses. Prunes and plums.

Mouthfeel: fairly sweet but in a pleasant way. Rich and smooth. Nicely carbonated. Spicy/bittersweet finish.

Drinkability: It gets a bit syrupy after a while and the booze becomes more filling and pronounced so KTG takes a small hit int his category.

Excellent beer.

DaPeculierDane, Feb 23, 2008
Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.