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Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

Educational use only; do not reuse.

907 Ratings

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Ratings: 907
Reviews: 489
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 10.35%
Wants: 2,699
Gots: 169 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 907 | Reviews: 489
Photo of rolands6
4.95/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of JDV
4.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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!

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of genog
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.42/5  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!

Photo of Avryle
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of jwolfie70
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of Overlord
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
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!

4.92/5  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.

Photo of ncvbc
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
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!

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.22/5  rDev -7%
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.

Photo of Viggo
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BIG thanks to my man purplehops for being super generous and hooking me up with this bottle.

Pours an opaque black, some brown in the edges but otherwise as black as can be, medium sized tan head forms, settles down to a solid layer, great retention, leaves behind a bit of lace. Smell is very nice, toffee, lots of chocolate, dark fruits, roasted cocoa, alcohol, some prunes and figs, very rich, alcohol is superbly hidden. Taste is burnt fruits, toffee, charred woord, chocolate roast, nuts, alcohol, light smokiness, coffee, very rich. Mouthfeel is medium bodied but pretty slick, low carbonation, perfect body, not too heavy but just heavy enough. Lives up to the hype, an excellent RIS! Thanks a ton Stan!!

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

Big thanks to njhcnwk for hooking me up with this fine beer.

A-- Black like night, thick khaki head fades quickly

S-- Blackstrap molasses and coffee roast malts

T-- Deep roast malts almost a smokey hint -- coffee/ chocolate -- dry not over hopped good balance

M-- dry tight carbonation-

D-- The 9.5 percent is well hidden and goes down pretty easily.

A very good RIS, I truly enjoyed it, top 2-3 in my book but not the best I have head a very good beer if you can get your hands on some I strongly recommend you get some from the next release

Photo of NoLiberty
4.1/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks for grassrootsVT for sharing this rare and delicious beer that he helped brew with Todd.

App: Pours a deep dark solid color. Nice thick head with high bubbly lacing.

Aroma: Big chocolate. Sweet, malty biscuits and alcohol,. Full rich flavor with slight toffee notes.

Taste: Rich, bright, bold with a hoppy finish. Rich Chocolate and colorful.

Mouth: Nice but slightly thinner than I'd expected. Not as round as I'd hoped. Carbonation is ok, but not full enough.

Drink: Pretty drinkable and especially so for a beer of its strength.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, I wanna give massive props to drseamus for giving me the chance to drink this masterpiece.

Into my favorite Nonic, pours as black as could be, a solid inch and a half tan head, a bit bubbly for me but it looks delicious, and on the second pour leaves a silky smooth surface to contemplate life and the meaning of beery goodness. It leaves thin streaks of lacing around the glass.

The aroma is a tricky buoy. Its like coffee, but not really. Its like chocolates, but not really. Its like roasted malty toastiness, but not really. Its all of those, and none, which is a testiment to how well they go together and define not individual pieces of a puzzle, but a completed whole. And the taste is much like this too, a very complex thing that takes a whole bottle to unravel. And sure, there are the chocolates, the brown sugar, molasses, coffee, cocoa, some hops and alcohol warming, and its all great and wonderful. But this is one to not think about, to simply enjoy.

The mouth has a very nice tingly feeling to it from a very fine carbonation, a slight warmth too. I feel like the body could be a little bigger, but that very well could detract from it too. In all, this is a damn fine beer, thanks again Jeremy, this was outstanding.

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

Thanks to metallitone1 for sharing this bottle at Lost Abbey.

The beer poured a deep coal black with a nice dark brown head.

The aroma of the beer was full of rich coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some faint vanilla. Also in the mix was port wine. The alcohol helped carry the aroma brilliantly.

The flavor of the beer was full of intense flavors that transitioned well from one to another. Coffee - Chocolate - Rich roasted malts. Some port wine flavors were present and seemed to help bring everything together. The hops were there in good presence, but not too intense. The finish had a faint smoky note that blended very well with the rest of the flavors.

The mouthfeel was thick and maybe just a touch heavy, but it coated your mouth with a ton of flavor. The carbonation seemed dialed in well.

This beer is a masterpiece. It's one of those beers that makes you take pause with its amazingly rich and well blended flavors. Cheers to Tod Mott and his team at Portsmouth for creating a nearly peerless brew.

Photo of IntriqKen
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours almost black with a half finger of coffee and cream colored foam topping the glass. Head is very sticky as you draw down.

Aromas are lots and lots of coffee, rich coffee...starbucks coffee with none of the bitterness associated with coffee.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth...not too thick...just...well...perfect.

Taste ....uh, oh....this is hard. There is so very much going on in here. Coffee...espresso coffee....caramel....cream....toffy...give me a break! Rich, creamy, sweet, smooth. Everything is wonderful in this beer.
Wow. How did they do this.
I have just discovered my favorite RIS...quite possible (and in my humble opinion) the best RIS in the world.
Thank you, sweet BA for sharing this experience.
This is heaven.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to RustyDiamond for sharing this with a group of us at the Brick Store Pub. He brought it over straight from receiving it from shipping and the growler was in great shape. I'd been looking to try this for a while, and I wasn't disappointed. It strikes me as one of the species of RIS that are more to the winey side with fewer big flavors of coffee and chocolate and more dark fruit- somewhere almost between an RIS and a big Baltic Porter. This beer changed in the glass more than almost any beer I've had developing new flavors and mellowingg the alchohol in the nose out quite aa bit. It poured black with a very dark head- maybe not qquite as dark as Ten Fidy, but close. Good lacing and decent head retention. Big nose of solvent alcohol at first- very heady, but within minutes this had changed considerably to dark fruit, fortified wine, cherries, and even a wisp of smoke. The flavors as well are quite changeable in the glass. It also tastes a little hot to start, but that quickly progresses to a more sustained fruity wineiness, roasty flavors, cherrries, light chocolate, fresh cream, pears and prunes, and some nice earthy hops in the backgground. Complex and delicious. The mouthfeel is very smooth, not huge feeling at all, jut silky and delicious and surprisingly easy to drink. One of the more drinkable RIS I've had. Just a delight, and one I wish would become more available. I was really happy I had a chance to taste it.

Photo of sfoley333
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz handbottle off growler from njhcnwk(Thanks) poured into a delirium tremens snifter. Poured an oynx black color with a finger thick tan head. Smell is roasted coffee, chocolate, and molasses. Taste is so well balanced not to sweet but with molasses and vanilla carmel flavors mixed with rich coffee and mild hoppiness that combines to form a etheral RIS. The mouthfeel is sticky sweetness, chewy leather,and bitter coffee hoppiness without the alcohol over powering. I wish I could drink this stout everyday.

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 907 ratings.