Portsmouth Black Cat Stout - Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth Black Cat StoutPortsmouth Black Cat Stout

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185 Ratings
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Ratings: 185
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 56
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-30-2002

Yes, Arthur, there is another stout. Our Irish-style "dry" stout is brewed with four different malts, roasted barley and Chinook hops. It is big, bold, smooth & tasty, and we think it's the best thing on either side of St. James Gate.
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Ratings: 185 | Reviews: 101
Reviews by kscaldef:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My wife actually had this offering before I had a chance to try it and she even liked this one,pours a pitch black with a great creamy,sticky head.Aroma is roasted to the hilt along with some sweetend chocolate hints.Taste is roasted malt and chocolate with a marshmellow quality about it,a very enjoyable beer to savor the different flavors of this one.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't believe, in all my trips to this place, that I've never tried this beer. It's really nice, what I'd consider an unstoutlike stout. It's dark brown, almost black, with a sticky, coffee-colored head. It has a roasted grain/coffee aroma. Taste of coffee and chocolate, but pretty smooth, like there's some cream in it. Very enjoyable, drinkable beer.

Photo of muffguy4beer
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Healthy pour into imperial pint glass. Nice tan head. Deep black in color. ominous.

Smell - Roasted Coffee, chocolate pretty typical for the style.

Taste - Again with the coffee and chocolate. Actually this is pretty tasty even though its pretty common. The only difference I taste is that its a touch milky which is very nice. Hops are only somewhat part of the taste. A little bitterness from said hops.

Mouthfeel - A medium bodied stout with a nice creamy finish.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable @4.5%. I could suck down a couple of these at the pub or at home watching a game. Nice work portsmouth.

Photo of MisterDeeds
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DrDogBeer for grabbing this for me while up North. Aside of StoutTrooper, this is the only beer I have ever requested based on the label.

Pours pitch black with, a thin tan head that fades quickly to the outside of the glass and clings around the sides.

Smell is dark and malty. Something roasted coffee-like, maybe toasty.

Taste is malty and slightly bitter all at once. Somewhat earthy, balanced with a little bit of a bready bite. Finishes dry.

Feels a little thin for a stout, but very little carbonation makes it very smooth and drinkable. The dry finish makes it hard to put down. A vicious cycle.

If you are a fan of Uncle Arthur, this a nice similar stout. Less creamy, more bitterness. I'm not sure which would be considered more drinkable, but this is worth a shot to see what you think.

Photo of magictrokini
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tap @ the Brewery. A little thin for my tastes, though it could be because I had it alongside the Portsmouth Kate. Black pour with no head. Lighter aroma of caramel and roasted malt. More chocolate and sweetness than expected. Good hop bite in the back. Very good.

Photo of jmz62565
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a smallish tan head. The smell is pungent with coffee,chocolate,and roasted malt. The taste has a full flavor with roasted malt,coffee,and chocolate. A pretty good tasting stout. The m/f is light with all the flavors mixing well. A very good stout from a very good brewery.

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Oakes bottle. Damn good for its style this one. The smell of chocolate. A bit of smoke, lighter mouthfeel. Quite nice. Chocolate and roasty flavour held up well enough after room temperature that I finished another good sized sample then. Black, nothing special on head.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Cody (GoGriz) for this one. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger frothy mocha head with moderate. Beer is an oily, viscous, opaque black. Lacing is thick and frothy right at the top with tiny legs and good stick.

S: Nose is toffee, roasted malt, coffee beans, milk chocolate, and bitter liquorice. Not the most aromatic but very appropriate and appetizing. No off flavors at all.

T: Opens toffee, sweet milk chocolate, and roasted malt. Very subtle coffee sourness. Nutty. Caramel sweetness. Robust sweet liquorice and chocolate backbone reveals itself towards the middle. Sweet chocolate and coca-cola at the end. Finish is liquorice and cocoa powder with a sweet and bitter coffee aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Smooth, silky, and oily in the mouth. Just perfect. Rich and robust on the palate and going down. Finish is subtle and aftertaste doesn't really linger.

D: I recall having this at Kate Day earlier this year and really enjoying it. However, revisiting it in bottle form has been a revelation. This is another very solid beer from Portsmouth. Feel is perfect and drinks much bigger than its ABV suggests. Really good and worth seeking out.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So I am in New Hampshire for the Great Bay Half Marathon...its the night before a race and ....why not drink some....ok....alot of the local beer!!! Here Kitty kitty kitty....The Black Cat stout from Portsmouth is good. This beer has was dark/black in color with thin ecru head and great lace. The smell has a subtle roast coffee nose. The smell funnels into the taste of this beer. The reasonable ABV leads to this beer being a Session...certainly worth a taste.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark enough to block out the sun. Robust taste, chocolate and malty. The brewery tells me they will never bottle this, so the only way to experience it is on draft, which is ok by me. My favorite stout.

Update: they do bottle this. Must be cold in hell

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap @ the Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, NH) on 3/13/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a flat black in the glass, with ½ finger of creamy mocha colored head. This maintains a rich frothiness to it, ringing the sides of the glass with robust creamy lacing. The aroma has a nice moderate fullness here to it, with notes of cocoa, coffee, and ripe citric fruit. Going deeper reveals some additional a sweeter caramel flavor and a fresh leafy hops. This is nice.

The taste is also fairly rich with chocolate, dark roast, and bitter citric hops. Those fruitier flavors sit with a touch of boldness across the back of the palate. Overall, this feels drier with bitterness than actual roast but you do get some light dark accents from the malts which hang on the tongue. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a pleasant smooth crispness to it that has also has a touch of a chewier feel underneath. This feels about right for a 5-6% Stout.

While this didn't quite come off as a traditional Dry Irish Stout to me, this definitely packed some quality full flavors and a well balanced feel into its easy drinking sub 6% package. I could have easily had a couple of these. I believe that this is usually their staple dark beer here and it's a good one to have around.

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed May 29, 2005. On tap at the brewpub. Light roasted coffee aroma. Deep balck with a super creamy deep tan head. Fresh sea salt flavors, with some very chocolate and coffee tones. Finish is smooth and creamy, like a drop of sweetened condensed milk in a teaspoon of fresh espresso. Very nice! A little oaky on the back end, with some complex depth in raisins, cinnamon and lots of chocolate, coffee and rum.

Photo of Kinsman
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the chance to stop by Portsmouth this afternoon and grab a few pints. Out of the three I had, this was the only one I had had before but never on cask. This cask version had been dry-hopped with one of the noble hops, but the bartender could not remember exactly which one of the top of her head.

Pours a nice opaque black body with a creamy and dense looking tan head, which settled down to about 1 finger of thickness.

Aroma featured some of the roasted barley malt as well as some chocolate-like sweetness in addition to a nice grassy hop presence.

The cask and dry-hopping seem to work wonders on this beer. Starting with a base that consists of roasted barley and coffee-ish flavors with some dark chocolate mixed in, the dry hopping adds a tasty grassy and earthy hop flavor that I found to be quite pleasing.

Cask beers always deliver a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel and this one was no different. In particular, this was a bit chewy and full bodied too. Overall, I've always enjoyed this stout because it really is a more flavorful version of Guinness and/or Murphys, but the cask and dry hopping really take this one up a notch. Keep up the good work, Portsmouth!

Photo of KTCamm
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the PBC in Portsmouth NH.

Pours jet black with off white creamy foam. Very sticky. Rich roasted smell, some coff. Smooth taste with a real dark chocolate flavorful finish. Low to no carbonation. Finishes like a candy bar. Nice blend of bitter and sweet.

Very good stout.

Photo of Jettanbass9
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hauled back from KTG day by Alex (rhinos00) and sent out to me. Thanks buddy!!

A - vigorous pour allows a pillowy head to erupt but dissipates to a thin, lacy head. Pitch black with a dark tan head. Good looking beer that fits a it's very traditional style.

S - Freshly roasted coffee beans emanate from the obvious presence of roasted barley, there is a slight nuttiness that seems reminiscent of maris otter and the unmistakable aroma of flaked barley. It's robust roasted edge puts this beer above average but is nothing out of the norm.

T - major roasted coffee notes, followed by a light nuttiness that lingers in the background. There is a unmistakable presence of flaked barley and a minerally finish, almost chalky. Again robust enough to put it above average but nothing out of the norm, chalky after taste becomes slightly distracting.

M - with out a doubt you can tell this beer is dry. it never becomes cloying or sweet, this beer has the classic irish dry down pat. there is a slight creaminess that emerges from the use of some flaked ingredient and from what seems like a high mineral content. The mouthfeel is nothing but classic, I can only imagine the stouts of back then used to go down this easy.

D - Ever so easy. Such a sessionable brew that could be an everyday drinking, pending its availability of course. Great beer from Portsmouth, I'd seek this out especially for fans of Oharas Irish stout.

Photo of Hagbard
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Black Cat Stout was my last remaining bomber from a recent trip to the Portsmouth area. I was sad to see it go because I enjoyed all of them so much, but I certainly wasn't sad to do the drinking! It pours into my glass pitch black with no light penetration. A thin tan head forms and leaves a nice lacing. The aroma is very nice and strong, full of a roasted malt element perfect for the style. The taste follows in this vein. A very nice roastiness comes in providing a very different bitterness than I'm used to drinking so many IPAs. There seems to be a subtle chocolate note in the background. It finishes very dry with an added kick of roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel is good, but does seem to become a bit light towards the finish. Very drinkable. This is a very good stout that exemplifies the style. There's nothing in it that tries to set it apart from its peers, it succeeds in doing this by just being a very, very solid example of the style. No gimmicks.

Photo of Franchise
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light black almost dark brown or a burnt brown and leaves a sticky lace on the glass. The aroma is espresso, soft cinnamon, nutmeg. The taste on the palate is some what watery which is how the mouth feel is suppose to be, more of a smooth sipping stout. The body gives you a quick taste of coffee followed by some astringent smokey hop bitterness but quickly dissapates leaving you somewhat waiting for more flavor.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into the Southamton IRS release snifter (slight different than my dfh snifter, but really, it's all just glass)

Great dark color with a silky head. The head dissapates quickly, but leaves very nice mily lacing.

Very strong grain presence in the nose, slightly milky/cafe latte aroma.

Mistakenly was told this was a 'coffee' stout, but this is an Irish Dry stout and an excellent brew across the board. Wonderfully subtle notes within the milky malt body. This is highlighted by a full and rich mouthfeel, but the end is crisp, very nicely balanced.

Despite all the wonderful characteristics of this stout, I'm a bit unhappy. It's probably because I was expecting a stronger coffee presence. Still, damn fine across the board.

(1-1-5, I'll never catch afksports)

Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bomber from the brewery. Shared with janlud (1st review) and ksak.

A: The stout is black, dark as night, nestled underneath a white head. Isolated patches of lace run all around my glass.

S: The nose is cocoa powder with a chemical bubbliness. Roasted malts run alongside the cocoa, a sweet body.

T: The taste is mild, befitting an ale below 6%. The sweet roasted body shows off chocolate, cocoa powder and syrup. The dryness is palpable, wringing out the sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet and dry, a thin flavor that tries to disappear but can't. A powdery taste lingers.

D: Under 6%? Good enough for me. My Irish dry stout on St. Patrick's day.

Photo of danmcg62
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bought at the Portsmouth Brewery store up in NH.

A-Pours a deep, dark black color with a creamy head. Very nice.

S-Dark chocolate malt comes to mind first. Sweet caramel is around there too.

T-Thick and choclately, super malty. Tastes like a dark chocolate bar in a glass. Very tasty.

M-Chewy and creamy. Feels like a chocolate milkshake.

O-Overall this is a very good stout. Very drinkable and very pleasing to all the senses.

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on nitro tap, 8 oz. into a half shaker pint glass at Portsmouth brewpub in Portsmouth.

What a gorgeous red to this body, deep and dark brown with red edges, given with a super creamy tan head, thin nitro bubbles with hints of speckled white. Lots of lacing and rings while consuming.

Nose is filled with lots of Swiss like milky creamy chocolate. Rich. Dry biscuits and chewy oatmeal cookies out of the oven, this smells fantastic.

Taste is sweet and rich, but in control. Wonderful creamy texture. Palate hits with coffee and milk cream, but very light bodied. Some mild playful carbonation, and a great lime oil finish of hop goodness so subtle.

Super fantastic and super drinkable, great beer!!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

was very happy to receive this one in a recent trade. I had wanted to try some of their other offerings and this one surely did not disappoint. Served at a decent cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/12/2009.

The pour was wonderful. Rich dark black in color with a huge head of tan that came up and over the top, settling down for just a moment and totally coating the insides and the bottom of the glass as it went, really full and very dark looking. Rich roasted malts that came over the nose as I lean in for my first smell. Really very well done here I have to say. Lots of light cocoa and a hint of subtle cookie dough like aroma as it warmed. The first sip revealed a very full bodied and well carbonated dry stout. Very sweet with loads of lactose sugar and a wonderfully complex flavor. Rich chocolate and sweet notes that really just put on an incredible show here. Smooth as could be with as close to a session stout as you are going to get. I had no issue with putting this one away quickly.

Overall this was like kates little sister for me. Rich, smooth, decadent and slightly dry this was a nice lighter stout that I really enjoyed and would have no issue at all going back to another day.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery.

Pours very black, as the name suggests, but I had no carbonation, no bubbling action, no head or lacing of any kind. If not for the blackness of the stout, the rating would be much lower.

Smell is very smokey with roasted malt, the smoke really takes hold of this beer.

Taste is primarily roasted malt with a decent smokiness to it, not creamy and seems a bit thin in the mouth, overall though the lack of carbonation really hurt this beer, not sure if this is the way it's meant to be presented but it meant I've had much better stouts.

Photo of carln26
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a decent tan head that settles to a light lace after I drink. The nose has a ton of roast malt that gives off a little chocolate and maybe licorice. The taste has a dominant roast malt flavor. Some of the licorice comes through in the flavor along wit a pleasant hop bitterness and some floral hop flavor. Very dry in character with a mildly slick mouth feel. Very drinkable beer.

Photo of mountdew1
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. A nice dark brown/black color with a light chocolate colored head. The head clung to the sides of the glass and lasted for about 1/2 the beer. Aroma was malty with slight hidden sweetness, maybe brown sugar?? The taste was solid. Very little acidity/bitterness that was not noticable. Hints of malt and with slight sweet, same as the aroma. Very easy to drink, felt solid in the mouth. A well rounded stout, good choice to be on their taps year round.

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Portsmouth Black Cat Stout from Portsmouth Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.