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Portsmouth Le Chat Noir - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth Le Chat NoirPortsmouth Le Chat Noir

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

30 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 30
Hads: 65
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 5
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DrDogbeer on 04-16-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Hads: 65
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. Chat Noir is French for Black Cat, and the style is the same noted, yet it is a Belgian style stout. Smooth mouthfeel, owing to yeast. Some Candi, chocolate malt. Very good drinkability. Dark brown coloured. Worth a try.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to the generous trader that pulled this one out of their cellar for me. I cracked it open for a nightcap last night not knowing what to expect. Twenty Two ounce bottle, served at cellar temp in a snifter. Consumed 08/17/2008.

The pour was very nice, deep dark black and completly opaque. Rich head of tan was a little small and faded to nothing, leaving a touch of side glass lace. Still though, this was a very solid looking beer for sure.

The aroma was very odd, but good. Some light sweetness from the malt was evident that this was a stout at heart, but there was a nice bit of dark fruit like yeast present in here now as well. Rich notes of plums and prunes, touches of figs and some light vinous quality on top of some light milk sugar. The flavor was more of the same, it had that dry irish stout taste, but seemed to be blended with a light farmhouse ale. Not much funk for me here, just lots of dark fruit layered on top of the base. Medium feel on this one, could have used a touch more carbonation, but still very good. THe drinkability though was off the chart almost as it was easily a sipper, but at the same time, they were large sips.

Overall not sure what to make of this one. Definitly one of those fun crossovers for sure. Would love to try this on tap as it is probably extrordinary. Still this is something i would not turn away.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nitro tap at brew pub

Big creamy nitro head fades...wait doesn't fade, upside down waterfall settling beer, almost pitch black with slightest hint of brown light coming through, big nitro notched lacing.

nose starts with nitro but doesn't overpower, creamy dark malts, similar to the black cat stout, bit of bakers chocolate and cocos nibs, some caramel, sweet like but not quite as there is no syrupy aromas, a really big mocha.

Taste starts with black cat stout flavors again, dark malts, caramel, soft creamy milk and bakers choc, creamy nitro feel but very light on flavor thankfully, a nice mocha flavor, and hint of vanilla. The difference comes in in the background and more as out warms, light esters and saison like spices, a hint if a peppery flavor, interesting light fruit almost a pear like flavor. Ask those flavors come in lightly in the background mostly overshadowed by the dark malts, chocolate, and nitro. Finish is mostly dry but creamy, bit more mocha and vanilla, saison flavors are long gone.

Mouth is creamy and full, decent nitro carb.

Overall really interesting, black cat stout is dominant as it should be, nitro is there but not overpowering thankfully, nice saison spices, esters, and fruit add a nice change in the background and still plays nicely with the creamy but dry stout, drinkable and nice.

Extra comment, I found out after that they had this in cask as well, and the cask was much better! Without the nitro the true flavors came out much stronger and great. This goes right with my feel that nitro really ruins most beer, and is only good for very few select beers.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap at the brewpub on 2/20/09. Served in an imperial pint glass.

Pours a jet black with a finger of super creamy beige colored head. Retains around the edges with some thin wisps in the center. Swirling leaves a huge cascade down the sides of the glass that settles into a solid latticework of spotty lacing and brown oils. The aroma is rich with chocolate malts, coffee, roasted nuts, and a ton of fruity smelling Belgian yeasty character that gives this bouquet quite a deep tangy quality. Also, even though the ABV of this is on the lower side, I swear that I'm picking up some light heat qualities as well.

The taste is similar, with a solid base of chocolate roast, caramel, and coffee starting things off; but once again, that same fruity tang from the Belgian yeast really kicks in, running all over the back of the profile and well into the finish where it leaves a heavy dryness that just hangs in the mouth for a good bit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy overall feel from the nitro but this is still retaining a firmness in it from the heavier flavors that I'm really digging.

Well as freaky as this Frankenstein of a Irish/Belgian Style Stout sounded at first, I think that this came out about as well as you could hope for and I for one really liked it. Solid Irish Stout flavors that mix it up with some yeasty fruity esters that does give this a touch of a funky edge but thankfully not TOO funky. Another unique brew from Todd & Co. Nice!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the source for a late lunch.
Dark brown with a huge tightly bubbled tan head that persists forever. Rich creamed coffee with hints of peppery spice and a touch of earth and light fruit. Creamy silky smooth mouthfeel. the Belgian yeast is a little odd, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Brattleboro, Vermont Brewers Festival on May 22, 2010. The pour is a very dark brown with a thin, silky brown head. The aroma has more in the way of malts and oak wood than hops or chocolate. The taste has a wide array of light hops, muted malts, yeast, and a tiny hint of fruitiness. All told it was a nice beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Cat Stout made with a Belgian yeast strain? Very interesting. Served in a pint glass this was a very dark brown, almost black, beer with a thick tan head and lots of lacing. It had a big coffee/roasted malt aroma. Similar taste, but there was a little sweet interlude in the taste. More on the dry side. Great beer.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap yesterday (24AUG11) at the Brewery, during lunch with Alewife.

My imperial pint glass was filled nicely with a deep, dense, opaque black liquid. Sitting on top was a tan, 1/2" layer of pure creaminess, looking as smooth and satiny as all get-out. Lacing was A-1 along the insides of the glass. Aroma was an inviting mix of roasty choco and some enticing bitterness. It was as smooth as expected on the tongue, though the medium body was a slight let-down; was hoping for more chewiness.

Flavor picks up where the aroma left off - with more roasty malts and choco notes. Has a little mocha, and almost a hint of smokiness, then it segues into some tasty floral bitterness and subtle fruity action. Nowhere near as dry as the Black Cat Stout this morphed from. I'd call it a Belgian Stout, if that category existed here. Quite enjoyable, to the tune of 3 pints out on their patio. Prosit!!

4.03 rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Body is an opaque dark brown hue. Pours with a 1 finger or so creamy dark tan head that quickly fades to a thin collar.

S- Nose is good and reminds me more of a milk stout than a dry stout. Chocolate milk all over the place-just as this should smell.

T- Taste is where this one starts to drop off a bit. The chocolate and relative milkiness is there but aren't as good as they are in thse nose-initially everything is good but the milkiness lingers and it comes off as that cheap milk chocolate that you get from your great aunt Penny for Easter. Not bad but not nearly as good as it could be.

M- Medium carbonation and a body that is slightly more than medium weight-.slightly dry

D- This is an ok brew overall. I'm sure this was great fresh and on-tap- or maybe it tasted like generic milk chocolate then too. Not bad overall-but could be much better.

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Photo of DIM
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note: This is the Black Cat recipie made with a Belgian yeast strain.

a: This was a very dark brownish ruby red color. It poured with a smallish tan head that faded fairly quickly.

s: Somewhat smokey, roasty, chocolate malts are the most obvious aromas. Also, fresh smelling sweet grains, vanilla, and, very faintly, some funky cherry aromas.

t: Wow, I think they got exactly what they were trying for here. I just wish I had tried some Black Cat first for comparison purposes. All the elements of a great Irish Dry Stout are here. Clean, chocolatey, roasty malts that have some smoke and vanilla. The finish is dry and I think made drier by the Belgian yeast. There are some subtle cherry/apple sour flavors blanketing everything that become more pronounced at the end. I swear I tasted some alcohol, but at 5%, that might be my imagination.

m: This is thick, satisfying, and gently carbonated. The dry, roasty, cherry finish lingers for a long time.

d: This is absolutely unique and well worth seeking out. This is inventive brewing at its best. Big, big thanks to DrDogbeer for the chance to try this fantastic Frankenstein of a brew.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass at the Portsmouth Brewery.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Some caramel, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, sweet notes, Belgian yeast, and bready notes.

Taste:Same as above. A bit sweet and finishes light. Slight bitterness in the rear too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light bodied, a little sweet, low to medium carbonation, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice stout. Belgian yeast strain and dome sweetness. More American than an Irish stout.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Irish Dry Stout is a style I am very torn on and only really like examples pushing the boundaries of the style and this did that.

S: Mostly black in color with some mocha colored head. A touch of lacing.

S: The aroma was a touch of chocolate with quite a bit of roast thrown in. It was a little bit estery but it really did not go that out of style. Really just came across as complexity.

T: Taste was more IDS than anything else. Nice balance of roast and chocolate. The yeast did it's job in the finish but it was never fruity again it came across as complexity.

M: Dry. Carbonation was light. Friend has this in nitro and said it was about perfect.

D: Am I the only one thinking Cadillac Mountain Stout? Just a nice riff on IMO what is a boring style while not getting too crazy. I would drink this on the reg if it were available on nitro. Really nice beer.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at the brewpub. Pours a black color with a thin, tan head. Some lacing. Aroma is chocolate and roasted malts. Hints of booze with some coffee. Earthy. Taste is some roasted malts with some burnt coffee and some chocolate. Earthy flavor with some dark chocolate bitterness at the end. Very light and thin mouthfeel to this beer. Overall, its an alright beer but nothing special.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.

Murky, russet-brown; near opaque. Creamy, lightly-tanned head that lasts as a filmy sheet. Traces of thin and spotted lacing.

Roasted chocolate malts with a spicy peat aroma. Generous hints of vanilla sweetness along with the rich caramel and chocolate.

Peat-smoke flavor up front with a hint of sourness that recedes behind the creamy, roasted malts. The malts are smooth; not chewy, but filled with chocolate, toffee, and caramel. The finish is abrupt with a spicy bite.

Medium bodied; smooth, somewhat airy with a distinct gaseous-quality from the hefty dose of peat.

A flavorful Dry Stout; a little too slick in flavor with the intense smokiness. Nonetheless, a more bold version of the style.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark mahogany verging on black. Inpenetrable even when held up to light. Thick, creamy espresso like brown head. Head is initially about one finger after a somewhat agressive pour but it quickly fades to a thin foam cap.

S - Roasted malt, hints of coffee and a faint floral hoppiness. The roastiness is certainly the dominant aroma in this one.

T - Surprisingly strong fruity hoppiness backed by light roasted malt. The hops are primarily citrus and they carry through the entire drink. Somewhat odd.

M/D - Medium bodied with a velvety feel. Good carbonation as well. Easy drinking but the strong fruitiness is a little odd to me.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint at the brewpub. Pours dark brown with a finger of creamy khaki colored head. Real nice retention here.

This one has a very faint aroma. Light coffee aromas with a little bit of plumbs. Nothing very strong here, but pleasing either way. The flavor is chocolatey right up front with light coffee notes and a little bit of fruit in the finish.

The feel is full and ver creamy. Low and soft carbonation. Pretty much your run of the mill nitro feel. Overall pretty good here. A nice take on their black cat stout

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Photo of u2carew
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber.
A) Opaque. Thin head, tan in color. Semi-sticky lacing.
S) Bready. Subtle smoky notes. Earthy.
T) Profound smoky flavor. Woodsy. Roasted grain in the finish.
M) Fizzy. Dry. Full body. Feels a bit harsh in the finish.
D) A decent stout. Wears a bit on the palate.

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Photo of joepais
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The bartender was nice enough to go grab me one of these from the cask downstairs it arrived in my Imperial pint glass at cellar temp with a wonderful rich frothy head on top of a jet black body

This cask was dry hopped with Cascade hops so the aroma was a little bit hoppier on this one. You also get the nice Belgian yeast as well. Along with the roasted malts and coffee aromas

You get the same roasted malts and smokiness but the flavor's of coffee and chocolate is more pronounce in the cask version most likely due to the hop bitter as well. The Belgian yeast tends to make this a little sweater than the regular black cat at the start a nice change up on the style

The mouthfeel is great from the cask as well full and rich just the way I like my stouts

Highly drinkable stout, very much a session brew I think the experiment with the Belgian yeast was a success

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Photo of drseamus
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First off, big thanks to Tyler for answering all my questions and especially for telling me the cask was about to kick, which it did right as my pint finished.

You wouldn't be able to tell this was a cask beer by looking at it. It came with a dark but opaque body topped with a nice frothy cream head. The head had really tight bubbles and looked like a nitro beer, as the non barrel aged beer is. It has a pretty tight nose. The wine influence in the beer is fairly hidden. All that really shows is a slightly fruity sweetness and a touch of vanilla up front. The beer opens with some of that fruitiness and them some roast comes in later. The mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy which is weird for a cask beer. This is pretty good though and I could drink a lot especially at the relatively low ABV.

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Photo of ericj551
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apparently La Chat Noir is just the Black Cat fermented with a Belgian yeast. The aroma is fruity with tons of sweet esters contrasting the roasted malt. Ripe banana shows its way through for sure. The flavor is a little more towards the stout end of things at first, with dry burnt, but not astringent malt coming through. This gives way to sweetness and more fruity esters. Overall I like this version of the stout, and I think it's really cool to be able to try two versions of the same beer with a different yeast.

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Photo of snowmageddon
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown/black with a small brown head.
S: chocolate malts, raisins,
T: cola, raisins, light roast coffee, Belgian yeast is subdued. Hops are sparse, but add a slight earthy, anise bitter note.
o: the black cat is a great stout, and this Belgian yeast addition adds a nice wrinkle. A nice beer and worth trying.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 rate.

Should be changed to "Le Chat Noir" as that's what the bottle says.

Pours a dark brown with a small tan head. Nose is lightly roasted coffee beans and burnt, smoky malt, with a touch of bitter chocolate. Malt presence is not overly strong. Lightly roasty, bitter flavors, pleasant marriage of the coffee and bitter chocolate with the lightly toasted malt. Reminds me somewhat of an unsweetened cereal. Really comes across like a dark saison rather than a dry stout.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade some time ago. Just pulled it out of the fridge to try it. An interesting style, I think they did well with it.

The appearance is black, thick, and it owns a tan foamy one finger head. Light lacing with the head not lasting long, a dark thick stout.

The smell is of roasted grains, chocolate, and a little bit of alcohol. The roasted grain are really strong, but everything else is fairly muted.

The taste brings back the roast, but now it is paired with the chocolate very well. Nice medium thick mouthfeel that lets the beer show its flavors. Chocolate, earth, are all accompanied flavors.

Good beer that is a fun representation of this style. Portsmouth does well with this one.


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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not really an Irish stout, but it starts with their black cat stout, and-Paraphrased from the Portsmouth website- Fermented out with a begian yeast strain- makes it a "belgian style stout"

Anyways- Impressive looking beer- nitro poured deep black with nice 1" tan head. Smells of slight alcohol with little bit of roasted malt. First sip is deceiving- I get teh normal dry stout flavor, but backed up with a nice sweetness from the yeast. Very nice, smooth finish. Irish stouts not being one of my favorite beers, this one is definitely different! Nice change up on the style. Very drinkable and actually refreshing!

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Photo of quirkzoo
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ajcormier for this one.

Pitch black, an aggressive pour yields 1 scant finger of khaki head.

Tons of roasted malt, slight caramel sweetness. Some acidity and astringency. Just a touch of alcohol heat on the nose (bottle did not label ABV but I see now it is only 5.5).

More of the aroma but it is very densely flavored. When I worked with a sommelier he used the term "concentration". This beer has a very good concentration of flavor.

Decent carbonation with a full mouthfeel.

Overall this is not quite as dry as some other Irish Dry Stouts I have had (perhaps this comes from the very full body) but it is a great beer.

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Portsmouth Le Chat Noir from Portsmouth Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.