Mott The Lesser
Tributary Brewing Co.

Mott The LesserMott The Lesser
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Tributary Brewing Co.
Maine, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #34
Ranked #562
4.41 | pDev: 7.94%
Jun 02, 2022
Apr 01, 2015
Mott The LesserMott The Lesser
Notes: After a two year hiatus, her Imperial Highness is reincarnated.

"In some cases less is more, but here, less is great."

Batch 1 (Spring 2015): Aged in apple brandy and port barrels before blending
Batch 2 (Winter 2015): Aged in apple brandy, port and a small amount in Woodford Reserve barrels for 2 months before blending
Batch 3 (Spring 2016): Aged in apple brandy, port, bourbon, and Mount Gay rum barrels before blending.
Batch 4 (Winter 2016): Aged in apple brandy, port, Mount Gay rum, and scotch (Lagavulin) oak barrels then blended.
Batch 5 (Spring 2017): Aged in apple brandy, port, Ardbeg, and Barr Hill Tom Cat gin barrels.
Batch 6 (Winter 2017): Aged in apple brandy, port, Barr Hill Tom Cat gin, and Amontillado Sherry barrels.
Batch 7 (Spring 2018): Aged in apple brandy, port, Sazerac rye whiskey filled red wine barrels, and Sherry barrels.
Batch 8 (Winter 2018): Aged in apple brandy, port, sherry barrels, and Extra Anejo Tequilla barrels.
Batch 9 (Spring 2019): Aged in apple brandy, port, Madeira, and Extra Anejo with added Mezcal Tequila barrels.
Batch 10 (Winter 2019): Aged in apple brandy, port, Madeira, and Jamaican Rum barrels.
Batch 11 (Spring 2019): Aged in cherry brandy, port, Madeira, and Rye Whisky with apple wood staves.
Batch 12 (Fall 2019): Apple Brandy, port, Madeira, Jamaican rum barrels.
Batch 13 (Spring 2020): Port, madeira, and cherry brandy barrels, rye whiskey barrels
Batch 14 (Fall 2020): Port, madeira, and cherry brandy barrels, oak barrels, toasted gin barrels from Vermont
Batch 15 (Spring 2021): A blend from the first six editions of MTL 2015-2017.
Batch 16 (Fall 2021): Port and Madeira barrels, and Highland Scotch Whiskey and Jamaican Rum barrels.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of digboy
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by digboy from New Hampshire

Pours deep brown leather color with a 2 finger khaki head that is dense leaving sheets on the glass. Aroma is mellow with chocolate malt notes, not too sweet though.. flavor is also mellow, nicely smooth withbmild chocolate flavors over a fantastic rich malt base. Feel is medium bodied with a very smooth mellowness to it. There is no alcohol burn at all, which is amazing. Easy to write this off as having no character but I think it is very well brewed to have a clean smoothness. Please try it if you can

Jun 02, 2022
4.53 by snowmageddon from Massachusetts on May 08, 2022
Photo of mvogt
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5
by mvogt from Massachusetts

On draft at the brewery, happy release day!

Opaque dark brown, minimal head.

Smells great, sweet and promising.

Initial taste lines up with the smell, sweet malt and a little boozy sharpness. Excellent balance of bitter and sweet. Bitter is prominent, this is no sugary confection.

I can't pick out all the notes named in the official description, but I appreciate the complexity. None of them dominates - it's an ensemble performance.

Feel is thinner than I expected. I'm perfectly happy that it isn't syrupy.

Overall: bittersweet and satisfying. Glad I only ordered one draft, looking forward to enjoying my 2 bottles in the weeks to come.

Apr 23, 2022
Photo of jrc1093
3.6/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by jrc1093 from Connecticut

Spring 2020 release (Bottle 2056 of 2250); consumed on 6/12/21

Pours a jet-brown, trending black body capped with three fingers of thick, almost creamy, khaki-colored foam; solid head retention leaves a half-finger of fluffy cap and a large, velvety collar, while a comprehensive wall of soapy lacing veils the walls of the glass completely.

Aromas feature distinct apple brandy tones layering over the Front of the bouquet, with bakers cocoa in the distance overwrought with macerated raisin and a tinge of almond; dusty Madeira barrel brings a vague nuance, producing a quick hint of leather as tangy dark fruits take over.

Taste offers ripe brandy into subtle bakers cocoa with accents of leather upfront; pomegranate and toasted almond bring an eccentric mid-palate toward tannic/vinous red grape on the back end, where a tangy dark fruit medley impresses notes of young ruby port and soft oak on the finish.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-light body with a fluffy, maintained, moderate-high carbonation imparting a silky texture and naturally imbued grit sitting comfortably in the backdrop, fully realized and readily apparent into the back end; an increasingly persistent acidic twang cuts in over time toward the finishwith final impressions leaning almost semi-tart, dry, and mildly charry.

In 2021, this is firmly a stout from another time, with barrels more focused and casually integrated than outright intense; while a certain depth of malty char appears as a result, the barrel combination itself leaves profile so saturated in dark fruits that any semblance of nuance is all but washed away; quirky, and even stable in spots, but the final product is imbalanced as a function of the barrels involved.

Jun 13, 2021
Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by SierraNevallagash from Maine

"Quarantine Edition" - 500ml bottle - poured into a balloon stem at 45°F.

Pours a deep coal black - relatively thin-looking, topped with a razor thin tan collar, and some sparse spotty lacing. Light effervescence can be seen feeding the collar.

Nose: Quite unique right from the start. Deep dark roast evokes aromas of dark baking cocoa, espresso roast beans, and a hint of ashy char. Quite fruity, with some dark dried fruit - cherry, raisin, prune, date, and even a whisper of apricot. There's a prominent marzipan note, with some sweeter vanilla and toffee hints, enveloped by a chocolate milk vibe. A hint of dry white oak, but I'm not finding the blend of barrels.

Palate: The first sip brings a surprisingly classic flavour - clearly a big, bold, toasty Russian Imperial Stout. Big dark roast, with some blackened, charry malt, tending much more towards bitter roasty char, rather than sweet, chocolatey dessert. There's certainly some complexity, with undertones of tobacco, marzipan, brandy-based liqueur, and even some subtle vinous qualities - presumably from the dessert wine casks, complimented by a ton of tangy dark fruit. The beer is quite dry, but towards the finish, some more tannic qualities enhance that dryness, and a touch of whiskey-soaked oak peeks through. The finish is dry, roasty, and bitter, showcasing notes of cacao nib, dark roasted malt, and a bit of char.

Mouthfeel/Body: This particular iteration of Mott is quite thin. I cannot speak for other vintages, and I must also take into consideration the fact that this one is only 10.5%, but all things considered, it's still a pretty thin stout. There's no real nslt heft, weight, chew, or viscosity to it, and is no thicker than something like Old Rasputin - perhaps even a touch thinner. Low, fone effervescence, no coating, and a bit tannic and astringent on the palate.

Overall: This is such a highly revered and respected stout, and admittedly, the description makes it sound absolutely phenomenal. On paper, this vintage sound a like a knockout, but for how difficult this is to obtain, I personally feel like it isn't up to snuff, and that there are numerous other options that are just as good, if not exponentially better, and are also easier to get. It's a fantastic straight Russian Imperial stout, but nothing about it seems to deliver what is promised.

Apr 21, 2021
Photo of DaveMaciolek21
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

Consumed in the chill on Trib's front deck in 30-degree, windy weather. An impressive stout--full-bodied, silky mouthfeel, and equal to the elements. Though conditioned in gin barrels, it's the brandy barrel aging that takes over the taste--a big, bold taste with dark fruits and chocolate prominent. This is one I'd certainly come back for.

Mar 23, 2021
Photo of Treyliff
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Treyliff from West Virginia

Spring 2020 release
550ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- dark chocolate covered cherries lead the aroma, followed by figs, prunes, marzipan, booze soaked fruit cake. Undertones of port, sweet red wine, peppery rye and oak

T- very sweet up front with some dessert wine notes that gives notes of dark cherry, port wine, plumbs, figs and raisins. Mid-palate continues with the sweet notes, adding flavors of chocolate icing, caramel, vanilla cream and cherry syrup. The finish gives more dark wine notes, cherry and chocolate

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- quite complex with the variety of barrels used. However, it's almost cloyingly sweet after a few ounces

Dec 26, 2020
Photo of sulldaddy
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by sulldaddy from Connecticut

Sampling a cellar temp 500 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Picked up the beer at the brewery recently, this is a spring 2020. Label says aged in port, madeira, cherry brandy and rye whiskey barrels.
The beer pours a dark coffee brown color with a dense creamy tan colored head of 3 cm foaming up. this foams drops to a sturdy surface layer and leaves windowpane lattice as it fades.
Aroma is malt forward and features a complex mix of characters. I get roasted malt and some dark chocolate with a bit of sweeter cherry, some light tobacco hints and mid bourbon notes as well. Also some dry oak notes come through on the nose.
Not any hop character and besides the bourbon scent this doesnt smell boozy or alcohol heat-like.
First sip reveals a very smooth almost creamy texture and gentle rolling carbonation. the body is medium and the beer does coat my palate after each swallow. enjoyable physical traits on this beer.
Flavor is malt forward as the nose projects. I get some dark chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of a coffee hit up front. Some sweeter cherry and bourbon notes carry the middle and the finish has a bit of dark red wine and port flavor. I also get some heat on the finish. This heat lingers in my belly a bit. But the beer still drinks dangerously easy.
Really glad to have tried this one and will try to get future vintages, as long as online ordering is an option.
Well worth the purchase is imperial stouts are what you like!

Nov 21, 2020
Photo of papposilenus
4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by papposilenus from New Hampshire

From the 500ml bottle, fall release 2020 - bottle number 1188 of 2200. Served in a Tributary-branded ‘ Less is Great’ tulip, because totally proper glassware.

Pours chestnut-black. Utterly opaque and without discernible highlights in the glass, and with a finger-plus of foamy, mocha-coloured suds. Retention is only so-so-decent, but leaves a cheerful, bubbly cap and a creamy, tattered curtain of lacing.

Aroma of milk chocolate, chocolate-covered cherries and a sort of woodsy, tea-like character.

Taste is mellow and boozy, damp wood and pots de creams, cherry pits, chocolate covered cherry, and a prominent woodsy, juniper, tea-like quality which I think must be how I’m tasting ‘toasted gin barrel.’

Feel is soft and smooth, unctuous and full bodied but with fine, bright carbonation surreptitiously making it feel a little lighter than maybe it really is.

Overall, a worthy 1,000 beer! The combination of cherry brandy and toasted gin barrel in the blend was improbably fortuitous. Absolutely delicious. The beer is perhaps a little sweeter than I’d prefer but I suppose that’s only right and proper relative to the style. Stated abv is 10.5% which I am not believing pending any attempt to get up off this sofa.

Nov 14, 2020
4 by atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire on Oct 17, 2020
Photo of Rainintheface
4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Rainintheface from Massachusetts


Sep 30, 2020
4.5 by eawolff99 from Minnesota on Aug 05, 2020
Photo of hopley
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by hopley from Massachusetts

Batch 10 - Winter, 2019 - drank 07.19.20

Batch 16 - Fall, 2021 - drank 10.26.21

Jul 20, 2020
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

16.9oz bottle poured into a snifter. Spring 2016 release.

A: Black pour with a bubble beige head. Wispy lacing.

S: Roast and fudge, touch of smoke, oaky, fruit skins, hint of vanilla extract, whiff of soy sauce, sherry, distinct rum.

T: Roasty malt up front, chocolate cake, fudge, hints of soot and smoke. Some booze-soaked raisins and fruit skins. The apple brandy barrel is quite apparent, as is the rum. Port and bourbon are more subtle and I probably would not have picked them out if not for knowing. Oaky, toasty wood. Some cardboard-like oxidation is present. Long finish of baker’s chocolate and lingering brandy and rum.

M: Profoundly rich and thick mouthfeel. Firm and chewy, and downright heavy. Plenty of gently lifting carbonation. Texturally it’s like having a nice chocolate cream pie in your mouth.

O: Tod is forever tweaking this beer and experimenting with different barrels and blends. That said, the soul of it is still very much Kate the Great. The same familiar malt textures and flavors are there. The barrel aging adds a great deal of complexity and keeps the beer geeks lining up to compare against past versions. I very much enjoyed the apple brandy component he’s gravitated toward. It’s great to have one of the original “hype beers” still alive and well, still evolving, and yet also much more attainable now. It’s a treasure for old-school beer geeks in the know. I only wish I drank this last bottle from this vintage a year or so ago, as at four years old it’s showing a little more age than I would have liked. That’s completely my fault though.

Apr 03, 2020
Photo of Rub_This_BBQ
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Rub_This_BBQ from Massachusetts

Seems fitting in 2019 release day, to drink the 18.
L dark black Body with strong 3 finger head
S: hint of barrel and roast
T nothing stands out but in amazing way, I hate the word balance but a perfect fit
Overall a great beer I was lucky enough to secure

Oct 27, 2019
Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by brentk56 from North Carolina

Appearance: Pours with an impressive bubble show that builds to a three finger tan head that retains at two fingers and leaves squiggles of lacing across the glass; the liquid, of course, is pitch black

Smell: The complexity of all the barrels used here wafts in the aromatics; roasty with some dark fruit and chocolate but the Anejo and Tequila is distinctive as is the Apple Brandy

Taste: Roast and dark chocolate forward with the Apple Brandy, the Madeira and then the Port creating a fruity aspect; after the swallow, the Anejo and Tequila make their appearance and drive home the finish; just a little of the sweeter chocolate and dark fruit tones linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet but a relatively smooth finish despite the high ABV

Overall: A longtime want as I miss Kate the Great; I did review my notes from those days and this one is quite different and far more complex due to the many different barrels used here; a really superb effort

Thanks, BeerRay, for the opportunity

Aug 16, 2019
3.92 by DeFender from Maine on May 03, 2019
4 by BeerRay from Rhode Island on May 01, 2019
4.27 by JakerLou from New Hampshire on May 01, 2019
Photo of puboflyons
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by puboflyons from New Hampshire

From the 500 ml. bottle that was released on April 27, 2019. Sampled fresh on April 28, 2019.

Gorgeous looking dark brown to nearly jet black pour with a long, lingering and delicate, tiny bubbles, mocha head. The head is soft and enticing.

Aroma of dark sweet and roasted caramel malts, chocolate, and a dash of coffee. A little woody too. Zero alcohol for 10.5% ABV.

The mouthfeel is smooth yet full and bold. Creamy and soft on the tongue.

The roasted dark malts and sweet characters lead the way in the flavor with a warming moderate bitterness that lingers at the end. Like the nose, I do not pick up any alcohol in the taste. This is an amazing Russian Imperial Stout and if you can try it, you should.

Apr 28, 2019
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

On tap. Never tried Kate The Great so this is a treat. Pours thick and pretty; oily, Served very cold so a lot of that zany barrel aging took a while to come out.Once it did it was a pleasant beer. I thought the apple brandy and wine barrel treatment added some cool flavors. Strong offering.

Feb 26, 2019
4.6 by fermentedbarley from New Hampshire on Dec 27, 2018
4.5 by KMcGrath from Massachusetts on Nov 27, 2018
4.85 by Bfiucp from New Hampshire on Oct 27, 2018
4.68 by lebriarjr from North Carolina on Sep 11, 2018
4.53 by DVMin98 from North Carolina on Sep 03, 2018
4.23 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania on Jun 21, 2018
4.25 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts on Jun 21, 2018
4.28 by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania on Jun 21, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by GreesyFizeek from New York

April '18 release.

This one pours a very dark black color, with a small foamy head, and a little bit of lacing.

There's so much going on here, aroma-wise. This is aged in an absurd amount and variety of barrels, so this makes sense. There's lots of dark fruit, spicy oak, and milk chocolate, with additional notes of port, rye whiskey spice, tannic red wine, tobacco, cigar smoke, and earthy roasted malt.

Honestly- this is staggeringly good and a testament to how dynamic the imperial stout style can truly be. People who only like pastry stouts need not apply here- this doesn't taste like liquified cake, it actually tastes like a stout, with a lot of little interesting twists and turns of flavor. Of all the barrels, the rye whiskey/red wine Frankenbarrel comes through mostly strongly, with a good amount of fruity port/sherry character as well. The rye comes through as a nice spiciness that fuses well with the big earthy and woody character from the barrel. The base is delicious, too, surprisingly dry, with lots of chocolate and an unexpected smokiness, with a restrained and elegant roast character.

This is medium bodied bodied, and really creamy, with a surprisingly high level of drinkability for the ABV.

I'm very sad that I'll likely never get to try Kate the Great. However, this is a nice consolation prize. It's one of the better barrel-aged stouts that I've ever had. It's great to have beers where clearly a lot of care and planning went into the final product. This is stout brewing at its best.

Apr 23, 2018
4.53 by Argento from Rhode Island on Apr 08, 2018
4.38 by rab53 from Washington on Apr 07, 2018
4.59 by jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts on Mar 25, 2018
4.44 by 7irondave from Massachusetts on Dec 23, 2017
4.1 by Didier from New Hampshire on Nov 24, 2017
4.25 by Kegatron from Pennsylvania on Oct 27, 2017
Photo of Phineasco
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Phineasco from Massachusetts

Look: Pitch Black with 2 inch khaki head. Medium low carbonation.
Smell: Gin, apple brandy, herbs, fudge, and marshmallows.
Taste: Fudge, marshmallows, red wine, and apple brandy.
Mouthfeel: Medium, slick and smooth.
Overall: A very good barrel aged stout from Tributary.

Oct 21, 2017
4.38 by Texasfan549 from Texas on Aug 19, 2017
4.5 by kjkinsey from Texas on Aug 16, 2017
3.72 by Ryannotbryan from Texas on Jul 09, 2017
Mott The Lesser from Tributary Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 206 ratings