Portsmouth Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewery
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Ratings: 886 | Reviews: 485 | Display Reviews Only:
4.75/5 rDev +4.4%
Growler courtesy of citrusjim, thanks, mate! This one's been on my radar for a while, but now that it's in the Top 5, it became a must-have. Sweet, now, it's mine, all mine!
Into a chalice she goes, this Kate, pouring a solid black, with a slim brown ring of head on top. Blackety, black, black, black.
In the nose, bittersweet espresso, dark chocolate, ...didn't impress at first, but grows as it sits in the glass and warms. (This was poured about 15 minutes after taking it from the fridge.) Roast becomes more evident in aroma, favor gets bigger...deep, spicy, earthy, and warm.
Let's drink, shall we?
Enters the mouth and fills it full tilt, to the hilt, big boned and bodacious, our Katie. And there's no simplicity here, it's an intriquing stew simmering on the palate, some roasty malt, some bright tingly hops, some dark fruit...plenty of beans, cocoa and coffee, but mixed smoothly and adroitly, sliding down the throat with easy, and urging further partakings. Chocolate is in charge of the next sip, but the the sweet is matched with roast, and the bittersweet coffee kicks in next. Nice. But then along comes blackberry, and and raisins, and more...mmmm, tasty...bold, but fuzzy, fierce, but mellow, calming, a tonic for a tough night.
Full bodied as they get, with a long, long finish...finish doesn't work, as there is no termination. Just a long languor. That's a good word for it.
languor \LANG-guhr; LANG-uhr\, noun:
1. Mental or physical weariness or fatigue.
2. Listless indolence, especially the indolence of one who is satiated by a life of luxury or pleasure.
3. A heaviness or oppressive stillness of the air.
#2 fits best for our purpose here. Call me satiated by this decadent, luxurious, fruity, hoppy, chocolatey, mellow, deep, dark, and stronger than you think Imperial Stout...what not as strong as I what? I didn't...wait, there it is...
beautiful girl, Kate, lovely, lovely lass!
01-06-2008 10:23:10 | More by feloniousmonk
4.38/5 rDev -3.7%
2010 bottle shared with some people at a tasting. Beer is black but clear and reddish at the corners. The aroma is sweet but not overpowering roast like I thought it would be. Forms a brown thin head of medium and large bubbles. Head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass.
This beer is really nice drinking. Its not as big as I expected, there is some body, medium is a good descriptor. There isn't much carbonation in the mouth, some vanilla flavors, slight coffee and roast in the back, some bitterness. I would love to have this again and in a greater quantity. Next year in Portsmouth.
03-21-2010 18:25:14 | More by drabmuh
4.55/5 rDev 0%
I picked this up at KTG day '10, saved for the Big stout tasting on 10/23 -poured chilled into a tulip.
A deep brown color, not quite black, rocky tan cap, settles quickly to a ring of tiny bead, clarity is translucent w/ slight deep burgundy hues. The aroma is strong and complex, stone fruit elements are heavy in the aroma w/ a plum and fig soaked in rum type mix w/ a mild dark chocolate bittersweet nose. The feel is warming and yet smooth w/ slight vinous tinges and dry toasted grainy notes, full and alcoholic on the palate which is pleasant at times and somewhat blunt at others.
The flavor is intense and layered with stone fruit flavor which is currant and spice oriented with mild plum fruit notes with slight roasted character in the background, the flavor of alcohol is noticeable, the stout doesn't not really hide the fact that it is an 'Imperial stout'. The taste is interesting with a slight english yeast character giving mild spiciness along with the dried fruit notes. I was thoroughly impressed by this beer, wanting more after each sip -it sucked me in and before I knew it I had finished my share of the bomber. I consider this a top notch beer -worthy of its place in the realm of Imperial Stouts. I was glad I got the chance to taste this with about 1/2 a dozen world class stouts because the qualtiy of the beer shines through a great beer-kudos Portsmouth!
10-25-2010 16:13:03 | More by Slatetank
4.9/5 rDev +7.7%
Finally got to try this white whale. Had to stand in line for 4 hours in the freezing drizzle and 30 degree temperatures to make sure I got in to get it on draft. All that made it taste all the more better. Made my poor wife stand with me too, God bless her for doing so. I had a lot of making up to do after. Had on tap at the brewery on Kate day.
A: Super pitch black, no light can escape its dark matter grasp. A smaller head can be seen as the beer arrives, with a nice slightly dark fluffy head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Just the sight of it arriving and the dark milky looking beer under the nice fluffy head makes my heart beat faster than a cracked out sex prostitute.
N: After sticking my nose into the head a few times and getting that little foam on the tip of the nose, I just sat there breathing it in for a couple minutes, just soaking in the moment. Lots of dark roast come flying out. Lots of malts as well, a nice dark malt and roasty aroma. With the roast comes some freshly roasted coffee, and it's finally waking me up as my body defrosts from the 4 hour freeze. A slight sweet milk chocolate aroma comes out, and then it adds a little dark fruit, some brown sugar and sweet molasses. Very light hint of a bitter hop aroma, that is almost impossible to pick up behind all the roast and malts, but the longer I nose it the more it starts to come out. It's like all the amazing aromas you can get in a RIS in perfect balance.
T: Finally time to taste this glass of pure heaven. My wife turns to me and tells me that it better be worth it. As she continues to explain my mind just blocks out everything else in the universe as the smoothest liquid I have ever tasted breaks past my lips and swirls around my tongue. My tongue can't even get through to my brain to begin with the tastes as it's just overwhelmed with the velvety smoothness of the beer. Finally my tongue starts to talk, with a really nice smooth malty taste, and lots of roast. Again, the roast leads its way towards a freshly roasted and brewed coffee. With that comes a little semi sweet milk chocolate, and lots of vanilla. A little oak seems to make it way through at first and comes out more as the beer warms, and the slightest touch of port. Luscious bakers chocolate hints it's way in as I continue to swish around the first sip. I refresh the sip with another and get more vanilla, this time accompanied by a little brown sugar, hints of booze (hidden very well for 9.5%) a little sweet malty flavor, slight dark rich fruits, and even detect a hint of cinnamon and peppermint.
M: Just the damn smoothest thing that has ever touched my lips or anything else for that matter. It's like pure velvet and silk blended into rich creamy dark beer form. The perfect touch of carbonation just makes the experience that much better.
F: As if it couldn't get any better, the finish just delivers the finishing touch. It doesn't have any of that heavy bitter charred stout finish, just smooth creamy delicious stout flavors. A slight hop bitterness starts to come through as well on the finish, but it's light and blended well. A slight lingering chocolate and coffee flavors, and touch of molasses and sweet malts stick to the taste buds, but not the mouth. It's like it just left this nice reminder of the beer but doesn't leave the clingy sticky flavor all around the mouth. This has to be the most drinkable stout ever created, not even taking into account the high abv and amount of heavy malts in it. The velvety creamy silk flavor also stays long after.
Not sure if standing in the freezing rain for 4 hours made this all the more enjoyable, and it probably did, but how amazingly smooth and drinkable the beer is, and the perfect blend and balance of all the great luscious flavors just makes this beer so perfect. After KBS I never thought I could give a beer a 5.0 rating, but there's no way I couldn't after drinking this. Benjamin Franklin once said "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Well I say, this is what He drinks all the friggen time. Next year it's hotel down the street and in line at 1AM.
03-07-2010 00:13:52 | More by jlindros
4.03/5 rDev -11.4%
We opened up a 2010 bottle at finewinemike's house this past weekend. Poured into a Colossus snifter.
Appearance: This beer pours black with a little bit of red at the edges where the light hits the beer. There is a layer of cocoa colored head that fades to a ring around the glass.
Smell: Sweet roasted malt and dark chocolate up front with lots of dark fruit and a little bit of a wine like smell. Lots of wood from the barrels and some heat from the alcohol.
Taste: This beer is quite roasty and doesn't have quite enough sweetness in it to even that out. Some dark fruit and wine tartness with a strong note from the wood. The finish is bitter.
Mouthfeel: The body is thick with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.
Overall: Given the hype/ratings behind this beer, I was a bit disappointed. That being said, it was still quite good, but it didn't live up to the same level as a few of the other stouts at the tasting. I would have it again, but given the cost to trade for it, I won't be doing that again.
12-20-2011 00:52:30 | More by oline73
4.43/5 rDev -2.6%
From 04/28/12 notes. HUGE huge thanks to joepais for sending me a bottle of this one in December for the Secret Santa BIF; been one of my biggest Wants since I've been on the site, so very glad to finally try it. 2011 vintage split with some friends.
a - Pours a very dark brown color with two inches of thick dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.
s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, molasses, roasted malts, chocolate, and some black licorice. Very nice nose, quite sweet. Reminds me of 2009 Dark Lord a little bit.
t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, black licorice, sugar, molassess, roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, light coffee. More licorice and sweeter then the nose, a slight step down for me.
m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is very smooth and creamy; a little more carbonation and the mouthfeel would have been perfect. Definitely does not feel anywhere need 12% ABV.
o - Overall I thought this was a very good RIS, though it isn't my favorite. It is very sweet and has a lot of sweet fruit, molasses, and black licorice to it, very similiar to 2009 Dark Lord in my opinion. Definitely does not feel like 12%, though tough to drink a ton of it due to how sweet it is. I drank about 6-7 oz.'s of the bottle and that is probably the perfect amount; glad to see they moved to the smaller bottled this year. Overall this is a great stout, but a bit overhyped and considering how hard it is to get, I'd rather seek out a few others that I could get easier (18yr EC Eclipse, DL, Darkness).
05-01-2012 19:52:13 | More by mdfb79
4.72/5 rDev +3.7%
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.
02-10-2006 19:11:41 | More by Rochefort10nh
3.83/5 rDev -15.8%
2009 vintage shared earlier this evening with shadowane.
Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slghtest hint of lighter color when held to a light and a frothy one finger dark beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.
Nice roasted malt aroma with lots of silky chocolate, toffee and oatmeal. Slightly smokey with a prominent barrel character. Subtle coffee bean and nut with some bittersweet dark chocolate and vinous dark fruit. Strong red wine presence but it doesn't overpower the other elements.
Medium bodied with a good balance of roasted malt, vinous dark fruit, sweet barrel character and dry oak. I'm not picking up any off flavors or signs of oxidization/infection. Soft carbonation up front with a heavy barrel character giving off hints of vinous dark fruit, especially grape, dark cherry and plum. Lots of red wine flavor with subtle earthy wood and
vanilla. Underneath, there is some smokey, roasted malt with hints of chocolate, roasted coffee, toffee and oatmeal. The mouthfeel becomes more chewy/viscous as it warms but it's a bit to heavy on the barrel character. A bit too sweet and could use more of a prominent malt presence. The ABV is well masked with only some slight heat making this pretty quaffable. There's more alcohol flavor than burn with a decent amount of warmth in the chest.
Overall, I was pretty happy with this one but feel that it is a bit overhyped. A good beer but not even the best stout I've had today and I've only had two. This is supposedly the off batch so I would like to try other vintages to compare. If only it was easier to get.
02-24-2011 05:31:21 | More by corby112
4.2/5 rDev -7.7%
Much thanks to grassrootsVT for sharing this long time wish list item...
Appears a near black/dark brown with a tan head that slowly fades out into a mild floating head of foam and a light collar. Scattered spots of lace are left around the glass.
Smell is of black grapes, roasted nuts, cocoa, and mild vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a nice play on the fruity, roasty, cocoa mix.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with cocoa sticking around, light smoke, with a chewy fudginess.
We should've had this before the Dark Knight Returns b/c it was hard to top that intense beauty, which has held up nicely.
07-06-2007 17:00:52 | More by weeare138
District of Columbia
4.63/5 rDev +1.8%
2010 bottle shared by Jonathan, thank you!
Pours a silky chocolate, dark brown with a wispy light mocha head that quickly fades to a tin crown with minimal lacing. Aroma is amazing blend of sweet oak and wine with milk chocolate, char and brown sugar. Flavor is initially sweet and dominated by by the port oak, dark fruits and red wine. Much less reliant on the chocolate and malt in the body than the aroma, though the finish offers a much more complex blend of the flavors from the aroma. Mouthfeel is perfect. Medium body with soft carbonation and an everlasting and evolving silky smooth finish. Big, bold, complex, smooth and balanced; a remarkable, unique RIS.
07-14-2011 00:03:13 | More by yourefragile
4.5/5 rDev -1.1%
Thanks to FooFaa for bringing this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. 2010 bottle poured into a taster glass.
A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving light lacing down the glass.
S - Plenty of dark roast up front with hints of chocolate sweetness, dark fruits, dark roasted malts, and a tiny bit of booze. Nothing too over the top but still a very well balanced nose.
T - Very similar to the smell. Lots of dark roasted malt mixed with chocolate, dark fruits, and dry oak from the wood chips. Finish has some dark roast and some light astringency, lingering for some time after consumption. This one has very good overall balance with nothing really overtaking the rest. Very nice beer and easily one of the best I have ever had.
M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice smooth feel with some lingering dry roast in the finish.
D - Very high. I have had the pleasure of having Kate before and this one was just as good. I think this may be my favorite non-barrel aged stout. Complex yet enjoyable with the 12% A.B.V. all but undetectable.
03-09-2011 00:18:22 | More by orangesol
3.68/5 rDev -19.1%
A: Poured a jet black with ok carbonation and a dirty white head
S: Some funk, wood, dark fruits, tobacco
T: Has aome light funk, dark fruits like fig and raisins, wood, tobacco, vanilla
M: Has sordove a diminsihng feel on the mouth like the beer just feel flat on its face after initial taste
D: Very good
09-20-2010 04:31:40 | More by barleywinefiend
4.83/5 rDev +6.2%
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.
01-30-2008 21:18:58 | More by Georgiabeer
4.4/5 rDev -3.3%
Thanks to CaptinRedBeard for sharing this 2010 bottle on 1/22/11.
Poured into a snifter, this brew pours a black color in the glass reminescent of (unoriginal descriptor here) used motor oil. A thin ring of dark tan head hangs close to the edges of the glass. Spotty lace is left on the glassware along with some legs.
The aroma of this brew is roasty with dark fruit indications. A light amount of citrus hops and a pleasant estery booziness fills the nose. A mingled concoction of chocolate and earthy tones mixes with an oat grain character that seems very fresh smelling and very enjoyable.
The taste of this brew is fruity with alcohol somewhat reminiscent of plum or raisin but also roasty and slightly bitter with character that is earthy, mineral filled an lightly metallic. Sweet with a bit of residual sugars yet filled with alcohol enough to keep it in check. It has an oats aftertaste that is fresh and very enjoyable. As it warms the alcohol becomes a bit tangy and more of the citrus hop character pushes through.
This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Very drinkable with an awesome blend of dark fruitiness verse roasty bitterness. The fresh grainy flavor was unexpected and very much enjoyed. For being almost a year old this brew is still tasting pretty fresh. While some aspects of this brew were mediocre and I didn't care much for it (dark fruits mixed with mineral character is odd) the good aspects of this brew far outweigh the bad.
02-04-2011 19:02:08 | More by stakem
4.38/5 rDev -3.7%
Thanks to jamie2dope for this bottle that was from the winter 2007-08 release. I wanna say December but can't confirm that.
A: The stout is a black murky singularity, absorbing all all light on the other side of the glass. A finger of head quickly dissapated, leaving nothing in its wake.
S: The nose is rich, decadent with chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee, licorice, molasses and dark fruis. Nuts and graham are equally intense but nearly lost in the shuffle.
T: The first sip is a punch of dark flavor and boozy strength. As the sip fades, a full coffee flavor arises, leaving a harsh landscape in its wake. Prior to the finish, rich chocolate and dark fruits set the stage. The boozy complexity is reminiscent of a well-aged World Wide Stout, with full vinous elements mixing with the dark sharpness of the stout. A real mouthfeel that gets a little to alcoholic at times.
M: The mouthfeel is full, unwilling or unable to stay with one flavor for long. The myriad flavors make the stout work and the coffee finish seals it.
D: The boozy heat makes the stout seem larger than 9.5%. Nonetheless, Kate is a nice sipping beer that has held up nicely over the past 15 months.
05-23-2009 01:26:26 | More by akorsak
4.38/5 rDev -3.7%
2012 version. Pours a one finger brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Totally black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Coffee and molasses nose, flavor is roasted coffee and hints of molasses, high ABV is hidden. Good RIS but is this worth two trips to Portsmouth ($21) plus raffle tickets ($20) and $8.00 for a 330ml bottle from the brewery in Portsmouth, NH? No, got it for my collection, this is bottle #3222. Stone has a RIS that is $7.70 for a bomber and is equally good.
05-21-2012 22:14:30 | More by jdhilt
United Kingdom (Wales)
4.38/5 rDev -3.7%
Breakdown of Kate Vintages
2008 with 2 years on it - best version I had, didn't review it.
2009 with 2 years on it - not infected, but very port forward
2010 fresh and aged a year - see below for detailed review
2011 fresh - Too young. I think time will do it well.
This review is for the 2010 edition. I have had the 10 fresh and I think I prefer that one over this one.
Pours a light layer of tan head. Color is black. A swirl leaves some legs. A bit of lace is also left.
Aroma: Creamy flavors and caramel. Milk chocolate, coffee roast. All malt goodness. A bit of oak as well.
Taste: Dark dried fruits show here with some molasses and syrup, but nothing overly sweet. Oak and vanilla show with some milk chocolate and caramel.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and roasted. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry, but clean.
Overall, a really good ris. Near the top for the style. Very drinkable. I do prefer this vintage fresh, but still pretty good with a little time on it.
01-18-2011 18:07:54 | More by mothman
4.53/5 rDev -0.4%
09' version into a large snifter glass. Split with Birradr14 oglmcdgl and mary. Thanks goes out to Jwelsh for the bottle, one which I thought I would never try.
A- Kate is a beauty. Deep dark black sky color in appearance, there is no light going to be making it through this lady. A very thick viscous looking beer once it's settled in the glass. Got a 1/2 inch of densely packed dark tan foam that left some mess on the glass.
S- Deep roasted smells of malts at first but this really opened up fairly quickly. A heaping of high end chocolate comes up with some sweet coffee closing in behind. Somewhere in between I get a bit of milk or cream scents. I was surprised to smell a bit of vanilla towards the tail end of my glass. A dark fruit variety seems to be coming to mind as well.
T- A true RIS with a focus on the dark roasted malts but there is so much more built into this. With the roast also comes just a bit of smoke in kate as well. What I get first is a lot of dark fruit, a bit more than expected actually. Picking up a lot of rich chocolate which is blending nice with the low coffee/cream taste. Some molasses while the vanilla really steps up with warming. Just a hint of alcohol & a plethora of flavors.
M- Not quite full bodied but a step down from that. The bold flavors get my senses buzzing as well as a good amount of carb felt as well. There is a alcohol bite to this but just enough to let you know it's there. Smooth and subtle for a RIS this one should be treated with respect.
D- I only wish I had more. I could of easily drank a ton more of this. Kate is pretty hard to get if your not near the brewery so I feel blessed. Saying that this is not my favorite RIS but it is a damn good one. I savored my precious oz's for some time and loved every second of it. Hats off to Portsmouth.
04-29-2009 16:12:00 | More by BARFLYB
4.83/5 rDev +6.2%
Thanks goes out to purplehops for this brew.
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!
03-02-2008 19:18:09 | More by Wasatch
Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
100 out of 100 based on 886 ratings.