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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.
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 goodbyeohio
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

growler from ben johnson, probably the coolest trader around

black beer, no light gets through. measly toast-colored head which leaves some spectacularly drippy lacing around the glass in circles.. kind of like a heavy-handed horizontal line by spraypaint. nose approaches the glass and BAM with rich coffee syrup and a butterscotch-laced deep caramelized chocolate malt aroma. complex but not overly assaultive or saccharine.

the flavors of this beer absolutely coat your mouth after sipping.. like chocolate syrup in a sundae flute. the body is light and some fizz is apparent, but the flavor and smooth texture which blossoms with each millisecond the beer spends on the tongue is exponentially awesome. starts with a bit of booze, moves into the bitterness and fruity sweetness of kona coffee. then comes a more pronounced bitterness- nondescript hops and baker's chocolate. the finish is all kahlua-soaked toffee bits and faint hints of dirt. this beer certainly lives up to its reputation as tops on the food chain of russian imperial stouts.

the only place i have to mildly criticize is in the field of drinkability. it's a little too light and airy to bear down with the rough edges of clearly divided alcohol presence and such high bitterness. these will work for some, but the perfect RIS would be just slightly less haywire in these categories.

but that's just me nitpicking. this beer is f-ing good and should be sampled at all costs to the drinker.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage

A. Pours black with some creamy coffee colored head.

S. Lots going on. Sweet chocolate malt, port, black strap molasses, some dark fruitiness.

T. Sweet chocolate, port, dark fruits, then a fairly dry finish.

M. Medium to thick mouthfeel with creamy carbonation.

D. Supremely drinkable. Stays on my top wants list.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't tell you how long I've waited to try this beer. So, when PatronWizard helped set-up this trade...I was freaking excited. Anyways, going into this review...Abyss was the king of all beers, so I decided to do a side by side tasting to determine (at least in my mind), who reigned supreme. Well, here goes my review...

A: Pours dark as night and looks pretty damn viscous! The beautiful tan-colored head held up for a few moments, but quickly dissipated.

* Abyss wins

S: I pick up a lot molasses, chocolate, black licorice, and some sort of dark fruitiness that dominated all the other aromas. Since I'm doing a side by side tasting with the Abyss, the dark fig quality definitely comes out much more in the Kate...but there's definitely some similarities between the both.

*Abyss kicks BUTT again

T: A very robust cherry-chocolate mixed in with the very pronounced licorice. The flavor profile doesn't consist of as much coffee as I was expecting. The flavor seems to be really rich and doesn't go away for quite some time. The alcohol is a bit evident, but does adds to the finish rather than taking away from it. As PatronWizard suggested, this brew definitely reminds me a lot of Dark Lord...with a stronger chocolate punch.

*A tight race, but the Kate has a slightly deeper and richer flavor; too hard to tell.

M: Carbonation is nearly perfect...gently massaging my palate, but invigorating all the flavors at the same time. The Kate also coats the palate the way a RIS should...THICK! 4.5

* Abyss = Kate...Dark Lord probably rules this category.

D: The only knock I have on this beer is that the alcohol is a bit more obvious than other epic stouts I have had. This includes the Abyss and Dark Lord,both having higher ABV's as well.

Overall: I hate to say it, but Kate held up to all the hype...but I still think Abyss reigns supreme! This is definitely a must try, and something worth seeking out. One of my favorite beers. Cheers!

Photo of billshmeinke
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle my friend cmorton obtained through trade, and generously shared with me (11 oz. pour). Chilled to 50 degrees, and poured into a Duvel tulip. Trying this side by side with half a can of Ten Fidy for comparisons sake.

Dead black. Half a finger khaki head that resides fairly quickly to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass with an island in the middle.

Smell is pretty ridiculous in a good way. Smell comes off as intense dark fruits reminiscent of plumbs, dark cherries, and hints of raspberries. Also, dark chocolate cake, and black licorice. There is a slight hint of piney/spearmint aromas presumably from hops.

Tastes is up front with dark chocolate cake and dark fruits that are almost tart with dark cherries, some raspberry and a bit of plumb again. The dark chocolate is reminiscent of fudge. Then there is a bit of molasses, licorice and black currants. Quite complex, and sweet. I feel like this would pair wonderfully with some dark chocolate cake with some sort of raspberry sauce drizzled on it.

Mouthfeel is very rich and full bodied, not particularly syrupy of sticky for the style. Carbonation is quite low, as it should be. The beer is quite smooth with only the slightest trace of warmth going down.

Quite a drinkable and delicious example of the style, such a shame it is so limited. I wish more was brewed. It definitely was better than the ten fidy I tried along side which is certainly saying something.

Photo of hardy008
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

Pours dark black with no highlights. Less than one finger of dark tan head which disappears quickly. The aroma has dark chocolate, espresso, alcohol, and molasses.

The taste has chocolate syrup, molasses, espresso, cocoa, and the alcohol is better hidden than the aroma suggested. This surprised me, because I expected this beer to be hot with booze based on the aroma, but the alcohol is well hidden for 10.5 %. This is a very sweet beer, and a malt bomb all the way. Excellent.

Full bodied, smooth, creamy, and the carbonation is fairly low, which is perfect for this beer. I could drink this again and again.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, 2010 vintage, courtesy of rpstevens. A huge thank you to a very, very generous trader for helping me track down the last great bottled RIS I haven't had the chance to try. Allowed to cool for 20 minutes outside the fridge, and poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours an oily, greasy-looking night, fairly far to the right on the "thin ---- thick" spectrum, and thick enough that it took a good 15 seconds for the half finger of perfectly cocoa-hued head to arise from this one. It's a soapy, frothy head, the color of a good, dark bisque (#e8c094, for those who are interested), and though the retention isn't fantastic, it does leave a nice delicate collar (that's replenished by a surprisingly fast and plentiful stream of bubbles, given the apparent thickness) and a light, thin dusting. The lacing is thick and syrupy-looking, but it runs down the sides of the snifter after each sip like it wants to stick its face in this beer as much as I do.

Aroma: And how could I not want to with a smell like this? Give it time to warm and you'll be rewarded. Huge dark fruits preside over a juicy array of berry notes and some almost meaty, smoky port overtones. Blueberries, raisins, figs, and even some cherries marinate in a sea of port wine, made in to jam, and then mixed with milk chocolate syrup and spread over perfectly-done toast. Ok, it doesn't quite smell like that, but it still smells fantastic, both in its authenticity and enjoyability, but also in its uniqueness.

Taste: How marvelous. An absolutely rich and decadent mouth, that hits everything that should be hit by an RIS (in my personal opinion). I'm hardly even sure where to begin with this one. The malt bill is absolutely phenomenal - it's definitely a little on the sweet side of things, but saying that is overly simplistic. The sweetness of the sugars manifests itself in a number of ways - from dark, deep, robust toffee to rich, creamy, milk chocolate, almost Hershey's syrup-esque - and it's balanced by just enough of a faintly astringent, heavily toasted backbone that it never comes across as cloying or syrupy. Faint, earthy notes, dirt that amplifies and compliments rather than detracts or distracts, and full city coffee - one cream ... perhaps two, and one sugar - round out the malt foundation that's decadent, wholesome, authentic, and incredibly inviting. But let's not forget the supporting characters. Huge, juicy, bright blueberries, currants, and raspberries dance across the tongue over a sea of plump raisins and dark cherries. Faint, tawny port notes add hints of fruit, smooth warming esters, and a kiss of spicy, oaky woodiness. And the 9.5% abv? What 9.5% abv? It's just so quintessential, so authentic, and so complex ... it can't get anything but a 5.0.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly slick, oily, and smooth, which is both a strength and a slight knock. On the one hand, it distributes the carbonation beautifully - an even, smooth, creamy mess, like an RIS milkshake. The carbonation was a little intense at first, perhaps a little too high (the result was an eruptive, frothy mess) but after sitting out for 5 minutes or so, it improves drastically. Once it calms, though, the slickness does become noticeable - I suppose I'm nitpicking though, as it's a very near-perfect mouth.

Drinkability: I hate sounding like a fanboy in beer reviews. But I have to rave a little about this one. This is one of the most enjoyable, richest, decadent, authentic, and complex RISs I've ever had. I actually had to go out of my way to find fault in a few places, and feel a little bad about that. The yeasty notes and the richness of the malts is inescapably small brewery. That is, I do believe it when I hear that, if KtG were brewed at, say, Smuttynose's facilities, it would have to taste different. This is old world, hands on, delicately crafted, small barrel but big flavor, and - at 9.5% - absolutely nothing to complain about in a world of 19.5% Black Tuesdays. Indeed, this is one of a very small handful of beers I've been genuinely sad about once I've downed the last sip, and I hope one day this beautiful lady will yet again pass my lips.

Photo of rayjay
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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

Kate comes to me from a room temperature bottle. She seducively slides into a Smuttynose balloon glass. Kate is colored a deep dark brown. She doesn't allow any light to filter through, even from her top down. She briefly wore a small cap of brown foam and bubbles, but it quickly settled into a skim. If I agitate her by swirling my glass, her head returns. She coats the sides of glass in a slight film and leaves a few kisses of foam spotted around the glass. Kate has a wonderful aroma made of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and a slight twist of alcohol. I let her into my mouth and she rewards me with a cavalcade of flavors. She begins with some coffee bitterness and follows this with a chocolate creaminess. She bids farewell with a mouthful of alcohol vapors. At first I fear she is gone, but she surprises me with a final gift: a second wave of aftertaste that is reminiscent of dark chocolate. It's a incredible flavor; the only reason I've docked it half a point is that this time around, Kate tastes slightly hot to me, as though she's a bit to young and eager and is desperate to please; with a little bit of age I think Kate's flavor could mature into a perfect 5. Kate may have a heavy body, but don't let that fool you, she is still a delicate mistress. She initially feels slightly watery, like a mouth full of pure nectar. As I swirl her around my mouth, she builds in consistency and creaminess. She has a perfect amount of carbonation that let's you know there are some bubbles present, but of a level that never distracts from the flavors, only complements them. She leaves a bit of a coat in my mouth, but it's not nearly as noticeable as some Imperial stouts. She presents a great balance between the sweet and bitter. Kate is the kind of woman who comes around way too rarely, stays ever so briefly and leaves you wanting more. As they say "time goes fast when you're having fun." With Kate, every mouthful is an experience you want to savor, but all too quickly do you discover that your glass is empty. If I could I would spend every evening with miss The Great, but alas, it cannot be. She may have left me tonight, but I am not entirely sad, for I know that her twin sister is waiting for me in my cellar.

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 edbeer
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of JoeMayo
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
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

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes, 2-26-2011

2010 vintage

A - Dark body, hint of brown light through the edges, minimal light brown head.

S - earthy chocolate, peppery notes?, port sweetness. Pretty unique, and complex.

T - bitter chocolate, earthiness, sweet port. quite complex, well balanced, flavors intermingle very well.

M - smooth, creamy, fairly robust.

D - great to drink, tastes fantastic, it's not overpowering.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

8 hours of waiting on line later... Got bottles and finally get into Portsmouth brewery for this famed nectar. Served from a Portsmouth snifter.

A: Served with a slight wisp of chocolate colored head floating atop a massive, pitch black brew. Not wanting to dock points for this, I give my glass a couple of vigorous swirls to no avail. No head is gonna emerge from this abyss... Lacing is spotty and lingers a bit where the beer rises up but it fades quickly also. Very nice color but really not much else.

S: Smell is faint, possibly from a numb nose from waiting so long out in the cold... However, I'm not letting this get in the way. A deep sniff reveals chocolate brownies, molasses, honey, bakers licquorice, slight cocoa, maybe a hint of raisins, and a dash of coffee.

T: Finally, we get to the taste, and I can barely contain my excitement!!! My first Kate... Hype does crazy things to beer but I've definitely been disappointed recently so I'm cautious. My first sip reveals a full, sweet chocolate body sprinkled with a slight cocoa bitterness. The middle transitions a bit suddenly. There's a hint of dark fruit and coffee but this is quickly overtaken by the most pleasant liquified brownie taste that I ever did have. At 9.5% abv., I expect Kate to be hot, but she's deceivingly smooth, silky, and supple. Finish is fantastically clean, leaving just a bit of brownie sweetness to tempt me to take another sip.

M: Medium to full bodied in just the right way. Kate is the smoothest beer that I've ever tasted and may be the smoothest I will ever taste. Drinks like a 9.5% but its not from an unpleasant hotness, rather I get such a healthy dose of complexity that my mind just can't reason it to be any less strong. Little carbonation perfectly complements the body as does a finish that is surprisingly clean.

D: It really doesn't get any better than Kate when it comes to experiencing what an RIS is all about. Amazing complexity without a suffocating body, silky smooth while still maintaining the perfect amount of carbonation, you just can't go wrong with this beer. Sometimes hype can create a "good" beer, here though, the beer no doubt created the hype!

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

Photo of zac16125
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330mL bottle into a snifter
2012 Vintage

450th Beer Advocate Review
My 94th out of the top 100 (based on the top 100 list at the time I started my quest to try all 100 of the beers)

A huge thanks to kdmcguire10 for sending this one my way.

A: Pours an opaque black with some browning on the edges when held to light. A thick sliver of tan colored heads builds and then fades fairly quickly. Leaves only a few small patches of lacing.

S: Quite sweet. Vinous, dark fruit notes, big licorice, chocolate cake batter, roasty, cinnamon, a subtle hint of booze. Just layers of complexity. Wonderful.

T: Chocolate, roasted malt and oak upfront. This is followed by a vinous component, which then fades back to an oaky vanilla thats reminiscent of some of the qualities barrel aging lends to a beer. I also get some herbaceous qualities, bitter coffee and cream. Again, its amazingly complex. So many wonderful layers to this one, and the flavors are bold, strong, and linger forever.

M/D: Full bodied, chewy, fairly smooth but carbonation on the heavier side for the style, which detracts from the smoothness slightly. Effectively no hint of the 12% ABV, and drinkability is so good that I have to make a conscious effort to slow down on drinking this one so that I can savor it.

O: Overall, this is an incredible beer, absolutely no doubt about it. Lives up to the hype, and well worth the wait for me. Arguably the best non-BA, non-additive infused Imperial Stout Ive ever had. The depth and layers of the aroma and flavor profiles are impressive. World Class.

Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours an almost jet black color with a modest head that still manages to leave some droplets and squiggles of lace

Smell: Dark chocolate and espresso, with hints of molasses, roasted nuts and tar

Taste: The first sensation is fruity, but that is deceptive as the tongue is then greeted by milk and then dark chocolate (one of those high % bars); the chocolate is joined by a subtle hint of citrus fruit for just a moment and then the rich chocolate flavor prevails, although the fruit is definitely there, providing a bitter edge; after the swallow, the vanilla creme flavors arrive, almost like a nougat, providing for a long and silky finish that is reminiscent of fine tobacco

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and creamy; with moderate carbonation; slight warmth on the finish

Drinkability: For an RIS, this is so smooth it defies description and the unusual flavor profile is what distinguishes this beer from the other great RISs out there; tough to find but worth the effort

Thanks, njhcnwk, for the initial score and mikeale, for the rebound

Photo of BostonBrewins
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark as night with a foamy, creamy looking tan head. Quite a few bubbles on top.

S - Smells of Chocolate and some hope tones. Smell becomes much more pronounced as the beer warms.

T - Wow! What really strikes me about Kate is how balanced she is. Roasty, chocolate, coffee and cream flavors are all there yet in perfect harmony. Nothing towers over the other. Hop flavor is prevalent, particularly in the finish. The alcohol is masked as well as any "big beer" I've ever tasted, showing itself only slightly.

M - As good as the taste is this might arguably be the brew's greatest strong point. Creamy and extremely SMOOTH. Low carbonation level helps to accentuate this.

D - My first tryst with the lovely Kate but I don't intend on it being a one night stand. Totally lived up to the hype and definitely was worth the trip up from beantown. Smooth and delicious, this might be the ultimate example of a big beer in session beer clothes.

Photo of mnj21655
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber purchased from the Brewery Gift Shop in February.

I've had this on tap as well (it was just as good then) and have simply been too lazy to write a formal review while at the Brewery but this stuff is so damn good I just had to review it.

Pours pitch black with a full 2 fingers of creamy brown head and loads of lacing. Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, and some dark fruits. As for the taste, well... WOW. I can barely begin to describe this. Starts off with a nice coffee flavor which is quickly replaced by a combimation of sweet roasted malts and chocolate. This is followed by an appearance by some hops just before the coffee returns for the finish accompanied by some toffee. Mouthfeel is great, full body, which is just a bit lighter than I expected but still near perfect for the style. Drinkability is excellent. The only distraction is the ABV which quickly makes its presence known with a wonderful warming that quickly makes its way from the stomach to the extremeties. Bottom line: this stuff is amazing. I've had a fair few imperial stouts and this is the best. I suggest you make the trip to Portsmouth and give this brew a try.

Photo of siege06nd
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, Eric, you continue to be far too generous. Thanks for letting me have a share of this bottle!

2012 vintage poured into a snifter...

A. Thick, rich, motor oil in my glass. Darkest of browns, almost black. About a quarter finger of light brown head with some good, spotty lacing down the sides of the glass. Really nice wisps of head float atop the beer.

S. Mmmm. Cocoa powder, ripe fruit, cherry juice, vanilla, roasted malt, toasted caramel, subtle touches of hops, almost citrus-like. Hints of roasted coffee as well. I really like this...especially the infusion of dark fruit and some citrus zest from what I assume are hops. The bouquet here is near perfectly integrated, and hits a lot of nice notes.

T. Super dark chocolate drops, strawberry, cherry juice, whole coffee bean, bread crust, roasted caramel, mocha, citrusy hop, almost like a chocolate covered orange. De-freakin-licious. Pretty boozy finish, but at this point, I'm not caring. Barrel adds a lot of subtle char qualities but also contributes a cloying dryness that subtly burns the back of the throat. A decadent beer and the complete antithesis to brews like Chocolate Rain. This doesn't try to go over the top sugar-bomb on you. It lets chocolate, coffee, caramel, and roasted malt each have its turn. Very very very impressive.

M. Thick and full bodied with moderate carbonation. Flavors are well-integrated. Slightly boozy and tannic finish detract ever so slightly.

O. A spectacular concoction. Top-notch imperial stout that brings a lot of new flavors to the table, making it an exercise in unparalleled complexity. Might could use some age with the alcohol burn that exists at this stage, but it drinks nicely nonetheless. One of the best coffee and dark chocolate finishes I have encountered, and a great creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Bravo.

Photo of pixieskid
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was feeling a little nutty this evening and decided to open this after the CBS when my fiance said "Kate the Great; which one is that again...told her the details...fuck yeah sounds awesome".

11' Bottle

Pours, pretty straight up Imperial Stout like, thick and syrupy with a nice off-white head.

Nose; oak (slightly smokey), some wine, caramel and chocolate.
Taste; milk and dark chocolate, rich wine notes, vanilla, oak, and a lingering bourbon vanilla ice cream, a touch of espresso. Finishes with a hint of ripe fruits; must be the port coming through and finally a suggestion of no-bake cookies; wtf!?!?!

This is most definitely dessert in a bottle...so much richness and decadent flavors!

Overall; very complex, layer upon layer of decadent notes with a great milky mouthfeel.

Killer stuff; lives up to the hype most definitely!

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kate the Great '11

A: Pours thick and syrupy, with only a tiny mocha head that lines the edge of the glass. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells mainly of brown sugar, molasses, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. There is a slight alcohol presence in this beer, but it's very subtle.

T: Tastes exactly like it smells. Roasted malt, molasses, and brown sugar. I also get hits of raisin, plum, cherry, and vanilla. This is a really complex beer. I'm amazed at how much is going on here. It's absolutely delicious.

M: Full bodied beer, that coats the palate and hangs on for dear life. Slightly sticky and chewy, but that fades.

O: This beer is wonderful. It totally lives up to the hype.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I've refrained from writing reviews on this site up until now, but what better way to get started than with this outstanding, complex imperial.

Had this in a snifter at the brewery in September of 2005

Jet black, ie: opaque in appearance

A very complex smell; currants, dark chocolate, star anise, piney hops, tar, toasted marshmellows, fresh brewed Kenyan coffee

Wow! Taste is remarkable. Vanilla powder, baker's chocolate, rum soaked raisins, melted caramel chews, very slight iron component, fresh green hops, dark roast coffee and malted milk balls all intricately woven together.

A great sipper. Smooth, velvety and lasting. You can really sit back and reflect on the world around you with this one.

Very drinkable for it's strength. No fusil alcohol astringency.

Can't wait to get back to the brewery to try this again.

Photo of younger35
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review # 200.

Received this brew from LittleBreeze, god love her. This is my first brew from Portsmouth and it couldn't possibly be a better way to start! Drank from my snifter while watching New York vs. Green Bay at about 50 degrees.

Appearance- Pours black as the darkest night with a huge two finger fluffy medium tan head. The creamy hat stays for days and leaves a perfect cap and collar for the duration of the brew. Loads of spotty thick lacing is left all over the glass.
Smell- If the nose of a beer can smell creamy, this one succeeds. Vanilla and caramel give me the perception of a candy bar, not a beer. Chocolate NesQuick, a bit of French roast and a dark berry like fruit are really nice. Very feint alcohol vapors make there way through the thick scents but not to a great extent. One of the best noses I've ever smelled on a Russian Imperial Stout.
Taste- Wow, so much ridiculously good stuff going on here. Dark roasted malts are a plenty as is a resonating vanilla latte like flavor throughout my mouth. Cocoa beans and baker's chocolate are rich and abundant. A caramel/toffee sweetness is perhaps a tad strong but it's definitely not cloying. Some dark fruits (raisins, figs, prunes and maybe even some black cherries) are floating around in the back of my mouth and in the aftertaste. Finishes sweet with a lingering smokiness and plenty of nice warm alcohol.
Mouthfeel- Probably my favorite part of the beer. Its super rich and velvety with a smooth silky feel loads of tiny refreshing carbonation. Perfect!
Drinkability- So the real question that comes to mind is does this brew live up to the hype? I firmly believe it does; and then some. Regardless of what the naysayer's out there (you know who you are, it's not just a regular run-of-the-mill RIS) say, this brew is the real deal. It's unique and loaded with a complexity of flavors that I absolutely loved. Big thanks again to Ginny!! You went above and beyond and I'm extremely appreciative!

Photo of coachdonovan
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Attn BA Bros: please don't delete this review. I realize it was not on tap, but I want to create a new review separate from my 2009 bottle.*

2011 bottle, aged in a true cellar. Want to enjoy this in celebration of the impending home purchase (and also to avoid anything bad happening to the bottle while moving). I was at '09 KTG Day, and I can't wait to taste this one again.

A tiny psst when the cap comes off makes me a little concerned, and it takes a hard pour to get just a 1/2 inch of head. Beer itself is obviously jet black. Aroma is that dark mysterious blend I love in a RIS... sweetness although I'm not sure whether it's coming from chocolate or dark fruits; complex roasted malts but not overly smoky; alcohol makes its presence known for sure.

Taste follows the same complex lines. It's fruity without being hoppy, it's roasted without tasting like coffee, it's thick and viscous without feeling like motor oil. I am glad I started this above cellar temp, as I wouldn't want to miss any of the intricacies. I might want a tiny bit more carbonation, but this style really doesn't need it.

I can't get over how smooth this is. It has all the oaky vanilla you get from a bourbon barrel aged beer without any of the burning booze. If you'll excuse me, I'm leaving now to enjoy the rest of my glass without a keyboard in front of me.

God bless you, Tod Mott.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jay for opening this bottle up! 2010 vintage poured into a small snifter glass.

A: Pours a very nice dark black color with a small mocha/tan colored head on top. Not very big and reduces rather quickly, leaving behind a ring of foam and some random bubbles on top.

S: Lots going on in the aroma, lots of dark fruits - cherry and raisins. There is some espresso and coffee and a bunch of dark chocolate. In some ways it reminds me of a port.

T: Very big, lots of flavors that change as it warms. Slightly bitter chocolate and coffee a first with tons of dark fruit in the middle. More cherries, raisins, and figs, as well as some brown sugar and molasses.

M: Full bodied, but extremely easy drinking. Goes down very smooth. Slight heat, but no heavy alcohol presence.

O: A fantastic beer that lives up to its reputation. Extremely complex, but the ease at which it drank was amazing. Can only hope to have it again someday. Thanks again Jay.

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