Mott The Lesser
Tributary Brewing Co.

Mott The LesserMott The Lesser
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #35
Ranked #547
4.43 | pDev: 7.9%
Tributary Brewing Co.
Maine, United States
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.
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 193 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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
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Rub_This_BBQ from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.74/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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
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Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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
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TheBeerCarl from Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful dark brown color with a rich brown head that dissipates slowly with great lacing. Couldn't ask for a better looking stout.

In the nose is chocolate, brown sugar, licorice and a hint of bourbon.

Rich brownie flavor with a bourbon aftertaste. Some hints of licorice on the palate as well. The heat lingers. While the chocolate is first there is no doubt that this is a 10.5% beer.

The beer has a good amount of carbonation but is a little light in body for such a big beer. A little more undetectable sugar could help out the abv.

Overall it's a good stout and I would definitely order a pint if I saw it in a bar but I'm not going to seek it out.

Apr 20, 2017
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.11/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 5 served on-tap at the brewery. Poured one shade shy of black with no head, just a khaki-colored froth and band. Nose expresses coffee notes, molasses and hints of ethanol. Taste is really quite pleasant. Big rich, dark chocolate notes almost akin to baker's chocolate. Some piney notes are revealed as the beer warms and it muddles nicely. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a carbonation just shy of prickly. Overall, really quite amazing for a gin barrel aged beer. Glad I had to the opportunity to try this one.

Apr 16, 2017
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Boccu from New York

4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black. Nice brown head no lacing. Aroma of deep coffee and molasses. Taste espresso grinds, dark chocolate, deep molasses,dark licorice, light vanilla with a light scotch barrel finish. Great stout and very easy to drink. Look forward to more from them.

Apr 15, 2017
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M_chav from New Mexico

3.91/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this blind thanks to my wife for grabbing the wrong beer... faint barrels, the four different types make you think that this will be a complex RIS, but they hardly represent themselves and it was hardly existent. Nice mouthfeel, smooth, not chewy. roasted malts and figs. Tastes average, in fact tastes like a well done base RIS, maybe one to compare against Ten Fidy.

Jul 27, 2016
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mothman from Minnesota

3.78/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Fall release 2015

Tan head. Dark brown in color, near black.

A fair amount of roast and char up front. Makes me think of scotch barrels. The apple brandy shows the most. Fairly rich. Raisins, molasses, dark wine notes. Chocolate notes.

Full bodied. Ends roasted.

Has the potential to be great, maybe I aged it too long, but this is a shell of Kate the great. Bummed with this one.

Jul 04, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.41/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Catch up rating from Saturday's RIS bottle share. A bit on the watery side for the style, hints of chocolate on top of the roast grains, but lacking the oomph factor as well. Just not quite there.

Apr 18, 2016
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rjp217 from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was really excited to get a shot at this. The double barrel character was overall very mild, almost tough to detect. Just subtle sweetness from the apple brandy, pretty bitter otherwise. It seems like a few more months might tame down some of that. A nice overall BA stout as the dark chocolate stands out. Would like to sit on another bottle to see if it improves.

Re-review of a fresh bottle from the Spring '16 release.... Thick mouthfeel, lots of roast, bourbon, sweet apple brandy. Also notes of caramel and chocolate. No real bitterness and a big enough body to make this a sipper. The fresh version of this is a whole new animal. It's ready to drink right away. I don't see much advantage to aging as this has all the characteristics you'd want. Drink fresh!

Mar 10, 2016
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark black pour

S: Primarily sweet molasses and chocolate

T: Roasted malt and dark chocolate bitterness. No discernible barrel present.

F: A bit thin

O: This is a solid, simple stout. Over-hyped but worth a pour for the tick.

Dec 14, 2015
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle. Fall 2015 release. Black body with an ample khaki head. Chunky collar and wispy surface. Smells of dark fruits and licorice. Light mineral aroma. Dark roasted malts. Taste is strong licorice and dark fruits. Kinda sweet and fruity. Chocolate roasted malts. I get very little of the barrels the label mentions. Maybe some light oak in the finish. Medium body. Medium high carbonation. Like it's predecessor, it's a simple stout, but almost perfectly made. I'm not an imperial stout fan, but I find this to be very drinkable and flavorful.

Dec 01, 2015
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M-Fox24 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour is black, dark brown, with a mocha essence; head is off-white, has some retention, and fair lacing

S: Aroma depicts malt, oak, and smokiness. Scent is a good indicator for chocolate/cocoa, sugar, coffee, leather, and faint grapes

T: Perception of dark fruits, coffee, chocolates, brownies, vanilla, marshmallows, and a tad bit smoky. Very well done oaky, malty, and smooth RIS

M: Medium body and carbonation; ABV is not overboard, has a nice silkiness. Thick, full, creamy, and smooth feel for a chocolatey brownie treat

O: Predominantly an ingenious RIS; compare to KtG all you want, but this bad boy is its own beast

Nov 16, 2015
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smanson56 from New Hampshire

4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle from the 10/24/15 release. It poured a deep dark black color with a nice lacey tan head. The nose has hints of apple brandy and some bourbon with a rich malty overtone. The taste follows with a rich complex taste with hints of bourbon and brandy and wonderful chocolate overtones. The mouth feel is smooth and soft. A well done BA Stout well worth the time in line to pick up a few bottles.

Oct 26, 2015
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WoostaBia from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap 8 ounces at Tributary Brewing Co. Awesome beer, glad I tried it, would not go out of way to find it. It tasted like a good beer to age.
Look:Pitch black with brownish edges where the light passes. Mildly thick (not thick nor thin).
Smell: Porto, balsamic, dark fruit, roasted malt, milk chocolate, bourbon,
Taste: Same as smell with light hopping. Smooth and creamy, almost as if Lactose is added. bitter roasted malt and alcoholic heat on the finish. Beer got smoother and better as it warmed up.

Oct 25, 2015
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mynie from Maryland

4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery.

I'd had had small sips of Kate, at tastings and fests. Never enough for a proper review. Very glad to see it (kinda sorta) brought back.

Pours dark, and nicely effervescent for the style. Smells of rich chocolate and lightly burny booze: oak, cocoa powder, fudge. Little by way of hops or wine (I don't pick up any port whatsoever), but wonderfully sweet and smooth.

Tastes like it smells: like a boozier, chocolate-ier version of their near-perfect porter. Sweet malt up front with heavy barley and light caramel, moving into a silky smooth middle of milk chocolate and porter malt, ending on smooth notes of oak and brandy with even more chocolate. No burn or harsh booze A tremendously smooth RIS.

Oct 25, 2015
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ScaryEd from New Hampshire

4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a nice, creamy caramel-colored head. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

The aroma is pretty much your standard affair for Imperial Stouts; dark fruit notes, tons of chocolate, coffee, and a bit of oak from the brandy barrels. This is not a knock as I love the aroma. But there's nothing here that stands out to me.

The taste is very chocolate-forward. Has a similar taste to hot cocoa. The brandy is present but not as much as expected. I get some notes of charred coffee on the back end which is balanced out by some sweet caramel malt. Has a slight, fruity overtone which is very pleasant.

This beer has one of the best mouthfeels I've ever encountered. While the alcohol burn is slightly present, and there's some subtle stickiness, the body is incredibly creamy and smooth. It's full-bodied with good carbonation, and leaves a nice flavor of chocolate and coffee on the aftertaste.

Overall, a great RIS that is well worth the hype. Would love to try this one with a few years on it to see how the flavors hold up. But fresh, it's a fantastic offering.

Oct 25, 2015
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle of the first batch from Tributary; served in a snifter glass.

Pours a dark black body, with shades of brown hue, half finger brown head that sticks around for a little while, eventually dropping into a very thin collar without a film. No lacing. Smells of deep roasted malt, espresso, milk chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, cocoa, oak. Just a little bit of sweet apple, perhaps from the brandy. Flavour has a little bit more of that sweet apple and dark fruit, presumably from the partial barrel aging, but for the most part it is dominated by the roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, candied sugar, oak, and a bit of espresso. It's very RIS-like, and even though the barrels seem to give just the slightest contribution of their constituent spirits, it's still very much a big, complex straight RIS. Mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied, lower carbonation, silky smooth and not difficult to drink. A small bit of heat, but not too much. Not prickly or watery. Overall, despite the beer having the same recipe, I'm not sure that it's kept up with the new fangled barrel-aged stouts that have come out in the past two years. Still a very high quality stout, that's for sure.

Aug 19, 2015
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mportnoy from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Disappointing. Barrel character was incredibly muted. Not quite sure about the hype on this one. It's fine as an example of a RIS but loses several notches once you consider that it is barrel aged.

Jul 16, 2015
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dar482 from New York

4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma hits of sweet brandy barrel, dark fruits in raisins, along with licorice bitterness, roasted malt and cacao.

The flavor bursts of that brandy up front, then onto the base beer of bitter chocolate, sweet candy licorice, along with a medium mouthfeel with a bit of a jagged finish of alcohol and bitterness.

Apr 28, 2015
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garyloveman from Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, smell is chocolatey; smoky. Layers of flavor, chocolate, coffee, smoke, fruit. Awesome mouth feel. Like silk on the tongue. Best beer mouthfeel I've had.

Apr 23, 2015
Mott The Lesser from Tributary Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 193 ratings