Portsmouth Kate The Great | Portsmouth Brewery

491 Reviews
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by bewareOFpenguin on 04-07-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 491 | Ratings: 926
Photo of mbrandon2w
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler to share with my fiancee's family over christmas.
Poured absolutely Jet black. No light came through whatsover. Nice dark brown head.
Aroma of chocolate, coffee. Both in the taste as well. The flavor was so complex and unbelievably smooth. Coffee, chocolate, slight roasted grains, some alcohol.
According to the bartender when I bought it, this was closer to 12%, and I can't believe the beer was so smooth if it had that much alcohol.
I wish I could get more of this.
Of the 5 or 6 people that tried it, not a single person did not love it.

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Photo of fdrich29
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The joys of being a father know no bounds...

So at the tail end of my three month vacation I took to be a stay at home dad with my daughter I received a call from rocketfrog asking me if I wanted to go to Kate the Great Day at Portsmouth Brewing. "Why the hell not?" I say and a few days later with my daughter in tow we're heading up to New Hampshire.

We arrive around 1:30 or so and are among the last people to get a calendar page (November 7 & 8 I believe). The beer was released at 2:27pm. We wait and chat with the other people in line. Many familiar BA faces, some of which had just volunteered at the ACBF in Boston. I was offered a taste of Kate while we were waiting outside.

Love at first sip.

When the calendar dwindled down to the early Fall and we did the math, we realized we most likely weren't going home with Kate. October was called one day at a time, instead of the entire month. All of October received their beer, but that would be the end of Kate for the day. We were told to come back on rain check day with our calendar pages and we could buy the beer when they bottled more.

We had talked with Blackkristos for much of the wait and as he was leaving with his four bottles of Kate handed me one bottle as a gift for having waited for so long with my daughter. Tremendous beer karma goes out to him.

Rocketfrog and I had a glass at the bar before heading back home, and I had two glasses on that Friday with joepais when I went back up to collect my bottles on rain check day.

As for my review of Kate the Great....Totally, 100% worth the hype.

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Photo of IntriqKen
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours almost black with a half finger of coffee and cream colored foam topping the glass. Head is very sticky as you draw down.

Aromas are lots and lots of coffee, rich coffee...starbucks coffee with none of the bitterness associated with coffee.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth...not too thick...just...well...perfect.

Taste ....uh, oh....this is hard. There is so very much going on in here. Coffee...espresso coffee....caramel....cream....toffy...give me a break! Rich, creamy, sweet, smooth. Everything is wonderful in this beer.
Wow. How did they do this.
I have just discovered my favorite RIS...quite possible (and in my humble opinion) the best RIS in the world.
Thank you, sweet BA for sharing this experience.
This is heaven.

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Photo of mutterfudder
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recently opened an '08 bottle at a tasting at my buddy's house. We had heard that the 08's were aging poorly so it was time to crack one open and see what was what. Many props for pulling out this from the cellar!

A - Kate poured viscous and dark into the snifter. There was an ever-present dark tan head that stuck to the sides of the glass. Swirling the beer left a thin layer of the beer on the sides of the glass that would slowly drip down to join the rest of the beer. Nice.

S - Any concerns that the beer had gone south were set free by a smell of the nose. Roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and alcohol. Wonderful.

T - Ok, then there was NO concern about the beer. Malts opened up to a fresh roasted dark coffee tempered by whiskey notes. The few years in the cellar really mellowed out Kate's alcohol side, as there was no warmth generally associated with the style or the ABV.

M/D - The beer was soft and chewy on the palate. All the notes played well together and nothing stood out as off. Drinkability? Well I only wish that I could drink these all night. I slowly savored the glass I had but could have easily had more if it were possible.

I hate to add to the hype around this one, but Portsmouth did a great job with 08 KtG. Can only hope '10's batch is this good...

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Photo of mikeale
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

February 09 bottling. Served in my new Portsmouth snifter.
Worth the wait in line!
Yes Perfect 5's!

A. Pitch black body with tan head. The head disipates in a few minutes with nice lacing.

S. Very complex. I'm getting hints of rum soaked fruits, coffee, and chocolate.

T. Mocha, creamy chocolate, malted milk balls, do I keep going or when do I stop? Roasted malt the hops are so balenced.

M. rich, creamy, warming alochol

D. Highly drinkable! I'm restraining myself from getting another from my stash! Not as thick as the Dark Lord. My wife said "the Stone IRS has a bite but Kate does'nt"

When the camera crew came around and interveiwed my wife, daughter and myself, they asked my wife how she felt about my love of the other woman Kate. My wife responded "we have an open marriage when it comes to beer".

I love Kate! She is great!

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ordered some take out last night and headed down to the brewery. Looked up at the board and saw this offering. On an empty stomach, I ordered a 12oz glass. Poured dark with chocolate bubbles. Rich taste, no hint of the ABV, good malt. In fact, it wasn't until I started home that I noticed that warm blow in my stomach. I think it is 12%, but I am not sure. A growler refill at $12? I'll be doing it knowing this beer won't last long.

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Photo of tobin
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 Kate the Great Day - 3 glasses served in snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a finger of tan head. Head recedes leaving a film on the inside of the glass

S: Smell is not overwhelming but hints at the flavors hiding within of chocolate, oak, caramel and coffee

T: Tastes of dark chocolate and roasted/smokey oak with first sip. Finishes with hints of caramel, molasses and lots of dark fruit/port.

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy. Seems to have the perfect amount of carbonation

D: A very delicious beer and I really couldn't taste the 9.5% ABV. Kate lives up to the hype and I wish I could have scored more without coming off as a glutton!

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Photo of CooperEllis
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Composite review of bottles (22 and 11.2oz) from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Appearance - Thin head, tan, light lacing; deep brown liquid with little feathering or ruby highlight at the edge. Even 2009 did not have much of a head, no gushing, etc..doubt there was an infection issue but, as notes below, there are different highlights in each vintage.

The aroma is one of the best for the style. It's always enjoyable when an imperial stout is not buried under a barrel. Here, there is no shortage of depth with roast malt, black cherry, plum, and a light brown sugar sweetness.

Lovely balance; fruit-forward with complex malt in the middle. The carbonation does assist in rounding out the depth of flavor at the end. The 2011 bomber is by far my favorite incarnation, with a strong port presence without any sour note in the finish.

Excellent mouth feel, a bit chewy with a clean finish. This is true across all of the vintages that I've had. While certain aroma/taste notes may push to the front from year-to-year, the overall composition of this RIS are consistent throughout the vintages.

I've had the 2011 and 2012 side-by-side with the port from Flag Hill and the '11 has more port presence IMO. This is one of my favorite bottles, hope to see it's next incarnation back around and available soon.


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Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BEER REVIEW #200! Since beer review #100 was CBS, I had to pull out something epic to top it (especially since I took the MPRE in the morning).

Reviewing the infamous Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery out of New Hampshire. This is one of highest rated and most sought after beers in the world. I am absolutely ecstatic to have had the opportunity to try this beer.
Score: 100

2012 vintage bottle served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 03/17/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown coffee color with just under a half finger of creamy tan head at pour that settles into a ring around the glass and foggy layer atop the beer. Totally opaque save for a thin brown highlight strip at the top of the glass when held up to light. Above average frothy and oily lacing mix with absolutely superior retention. 5/5

Smell: Loads of rich and roasted chocolate and smooth, percolating coffee. A really nice aromatic mix of milk chocolate and chocolate. Toasted oats, prunes, figs, and roasted malts. A very light vanilla and licorice smell too. As the beer approaches room temperature, a very small amount of dark cherry comes out in the nose. Very inviting! 5/5

Taste: WOW! Move over Darkness, there is a new Russian Imperial Stout in town. The first thing I notice is the rich, complex and layered medley of chocolate flavors in this beer. There's creamy milk chocolate, fudge, bittersweet chocolate morsels, mocha and dark chocolate throughout. There's a modest amount of fig flavor and "dark chocolate raisinets" flavor on the midpalate in addition to some brown sugar. There is a light alcohol warming effect (but not flavor) on the midpalate too, but just the perfect amount to give some liveliness to the rich chocolateness of the beer. There's some toasted oat flavor and smooth coffee too. This beer honestly strikes the perfect balance between chocolate and coffee -- smooth, rich and flavorful, but not too bitter, sweet or acidic. There's another wave of rich mocha and dark chocolate flavor towards the finish, which seems to grow as the beer layers. Finishes with the perfect mocha and raw chocolate flavor that you'd expect and desire from a Russian Imperial Stout. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Rich, creamy and chewy mouthfeel. Finish is dry, chocolatey and bittersweet. 5/5

Overall: I never thought that I would ever consume a beer that I enjoyed more than Surly Darnkess, but here we are. Kate The Great is truly a perfect beer that lives up to the hype. Rich, complex and infinitely chocolatey. You could absolutely hate beer and love this brew. If only this one was more available and easy to find, it would be the only beer I would stock in my fridge for regular consumption. People covet this beer for a reason, and I would absolutely recommend paying well over the cost to acquire a bottle for a special occassion. World class indeed!

Recommendation: Seek this beer out. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Pairings: Vanilla ice cream or steak.

Cost: $8 for an 11.2 oz bottle, but when you consider the cost of purchasing a lottery ticket to entitle you to a bottle and the probabilities of winning, each bottle actually costs $23.

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Photo of angrybabboon
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is a combination of notes taken 7/1/08, 3/22/10, and memories burnt into my mind from 4 bottles ranging from 2008 - 2011 (and some on-tap). Most recently updated on 4/28/12, from a 2012 bottle.

Note: 200th review posted to BA, I've been waiting to write this for a while

Note 2: No amount of rambling will do justice to this beer, so I'm going to attempt to be concise. I will likely be revising this in the future.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, slightly viscous-looking - head is a beautiful tan color, doesn't stick around forever, but the ring of carbonation that sticks around leaves great lacing

Smell: Simply intoxicating - a number of distinct aromas - burnt coffee, chocolate malts, baker's chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits (figs, grape skin), and some burnt port, a touch of wood - some hoppy aromas (when fresh), and they add a herbal/spicy character that blends with the dark malts - rich, complex malts, a beautiful blend of roasted malts, burnt malts, and cake-like sweetness

Taste: Beyond perfection - a complex harmony of bitter, burnt tones, somewhat sweet, candy-like tones, and some spiciness from the hops - dark, burnt malts - definitely burnt, but not excessively charred - dry, baker's chocolate, as well as sweeter, semisweet chocolate - roasted coffee - some incredible dark fruit flavors, perhaps from the port, which also adds a touch of tart - some sweetness that is reminiscent of a spice cake, as well as toffee - just breathtaking overall - the taste itself really comes in stages, with some rich sweetness at the start, chocolate in the middle, and a gloriously roasty aftertaste - definitely some variation from fresh to aged, but a 5/5 regardless

Mouthfeel: Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Kate - heavy, but not sludgy - insanely smooth - nicely carbonated (actually varies batch to batch) - absolutely, stupidly, and mind-blowingly drinkable

Overall: No other beer has caused me so much joy (and so much pain)

Having the opportunity to drink Kate the Great is simultaneously one of the best and worst things to ever happen to me. The good things are outlined above... The problem with this beer is that it's so good that it has cast a shadow over every stout I've had since the summer of 2008. Nothing is as good as Kate. And this beer is so f--- hard to get. I've waited in line for so many hours. It's an unhealthy relationship. It's become the prototype for why I hate hype. To summarize, I absolutely love and absolutely hate everything about this beer.

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Photo of stoutluvr420
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Black color, coffee brown head. Head retention was medium.

S- Chocolate, maricino cherry, faint coffee esters and a slight woody aroma.

T: Chocolate, cherry, dark dried fruit, tobacco, licorice- in that order. Less sweet and more oak than previous years. The roasted malt here is predominately chocolate, earthy hops are noticeable, yet restrained.

M: Not as thick or viscus as previous years, but still a substantial beer.

D: So layered and complex I could drink it all night, closest thing to a sessionable RIS- besides the abv...

Compared to previous years, this is my favorite batch. Im guessing the port/oak infusion was tweaked. I will be aging this one a year longer than usual...

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Photo of Bailarge
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll preface by saying this is my first ever beer review for BA. Also, I'm from New Hampshire, but I've never actually tried Kate until I moved to Connecticut. Go figure. Huge shout out to jastack for giving me the opportunity to try "Kate the Great"

I've had other stouts before that still taste good, but definitely feel watered down. Not the case with "Kate the Great". Not in the slightest. This beer is thick with a creamy texture. It tastes like a liquid, alcohol-filled version of the chocolate brownie sundaes I would get at Lago's Lone Oak Ice Cream (coincidentally only a few miles down the road from the Portsmouth Brewery) growing up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire.

There's also a fruity flavor to the beer that lingers for the right amount of time, an added bonus that turns the beer from great to outstanding. And the heat of the alcohol is never overpowering. You know its there, but it won't overwhelm you.

I'll admit my palate may not be experienced enough to be able to search for all the other various flavors withing "Kate the Great", but I don't think that's necessary to be able to simply state that this is the best beer I've tasted in my life.

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Photo of NorthsideFred
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a 2009 bottle with krtman and jcnd9803.

Thanks to TheRowan for providing this incredible beer!

I've read some of the reviews and threads on here about a contaminated or sour taste. I'm here to say there was not even a hint of sourness in the beer I had.

A: It looks out of this world. This is as black as black can be. There is a thin dark tan head with minimal lacing.

S: It smells amazing. Very complex, with dark fruits, and chocolate, perhaps some licorice.

T: Wow, this tastes better than I ever imagined! The dark fruits and roasted malty chocolate blend together in perfect harmony.

M: This just feels right. Not the thickest RIS, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

D: Exceptionally drinkable. I could never see this being too rich and becoming a burden to finish.

This is possibly the finest Russian Imperial Stout I've ever had.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured on-tap and served in a tulip, the beer is jet black, with a thin, off-white head that is clingy and retaining. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, red wine, mint, and a bit of smoke. Amazing! Flavors are ridiculously layered, hitting the tongue all over with a barrage of characteristics. Woody and smokey hinted dark chocolate first, followed by a smooth roasted coffee profile that blends and cleans the palate. Candied and sugary highlights at the end make this absolutely delicious. The aftertaste is super rich and creamy, with smokey mocha flavors. The finish is warming and supersmooth, with a richness and booze cleanliness. Amazing beer, and I can't even imagine what the bottles will age like. Tremendous!

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Photo of alkchrios
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I feel a review isn't even going to do this beer justice. This beer undoubtedly lives up to the hype. One of the best RIS's I have ever had and probably ever will have. Pours jet black which gives way to about a half inch head. Smells of coffee grinds, chocolate and licorice. Taste is more than I expected. You can taste the coffee, hops, chocolate, floral tones as well as the licorice. Mouthfeel...perfect amount of carbonation.. finishes so smooth and feels absolutely amazing (thats what she said). I had three tulips and could of had maybe one or two more. Its a heady brew and an absolutely amazing one at that.


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Photo of DNICE555
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just had a KBS last week. The bar has been raised high. I did have to wait in line for this beer for hours in the rain. That was months ago and I barley remember it at this point. My point is I am measuring this stout up against the best and there are no outside factors influencing my judgement. The yankees red sox game is on so I am in a good mood and ready to review this sought after gem. I have kept this beer in my wine fridge at 55 since I obtained it. I poured it into my portsmouth pint glass. I haven't had a beer on this Easter in hours and I have eaten some crackers to cleanse my palate.

The appearance. Midnight. A serious brown head. It appears to have a very high viscosity. A beautiful looking stout that I have anxiously been awaiting. Looks exactly how a stout should. Spot on as far as aesthetics.

The smell. I don't need a smell to have a bunch of components. I am impressed when the aroma has a few components and they are all big and distinct. I smell the chocolate, coffee, caramel, hops, and they are all deadly accurate. The aroma is huge and addicting.

The taste. Wow. Hype? Bullshit. I am drinking a properly stored clearly not infected bottle of KTG. It's served at the proper temperature and warming as I type this review. I've already traded my extra bottle so I am not looking to amplify the magnitude of the bottle's trading prowess. Drinking my one and only KTG I can honestly say... this is one bad ass beer. I am somewhat a beer extremist. DIPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts are my two favorite styles. Pliny the elder was my favorite beer before this one. I can honestly say this blows anything I have ever had before out of the water. To say I get toffee, chocolate, hops, vanilla, spices, out of this beer would be a great disservice. I love reviewing beers but I am by no means a legit reviewer. This beer is so complex I cannot pretend to know all that goes into it. The flavors I pick up are so pronounced but my palate is not mature enough to understand all that goes on with KTG. Normally comparing beers within styles makes sense but this beer surpasses my favorite DIPA for whatever that is worth.

The mouthfeel. Damn. Rich. Creamy. This is the thickest beer I have had the honor of trying. You feel the thickness as soon as it hit your lips. It coats the palate. The carbonation is right there. It allows the flavors to explode while you get a tingle on the tongue enhancing the already unfathomable amount of data to a level that puts your senses in a utopia.

The drinkability. I haven't hesitated in giving every single category a 5 until this last one. The first sip was so thick and powerful I was a bit intimidated. As I continued on I realized how fast I was consuming this 22oz bomber. Despite being a thick, delicious, russian imperial stout... this beer is smooth, creamy, and heavenly. I can't think of one thing that could improve this beer. Seriously, It is perfect in every way to me. I give this beer my first, well deserved, perfect 5. Cheers KTG.

Supplement: '10 KTG stored at proper temp aged 8 months for my Birthday by the Larse. All I have to add is MMM just how I remembered my favorite beer. Thanks Larse... you da man.

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Photo of bcastine
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this recently on a trip to the brewery, was notified by the waitress while eating dinner and kicking back some cask rocket Ipa that 3 bottles were available in the store, 2 08's, and 1 06 vintage. Sprinted/stumbled to the store to find only the 2006 bottle left, hmmm novices must have grabbed the first 2 to my ever pleasant glee. Shared with my beer-drinking buddy, certainly a beer one must share; this offering is just to special for just 1 person imho.

A-Black, thick sticky brown lacing

S-where to start, coffee, dark chocolate, black cherry, tobacco, oak, bourbon to name a few.

T-absolutely explodes across the tongue, so many flavors combine together in Kate that its magic that they don't combine in an offensive manner. Complete harmony, I quickly realize I'm certainly not worthy of this. Certainly this is art, perfection.

M-Every swallow is one less you will have, which is depressing, an absolute sensory tease. Flawless, hides the high abv very well, and lingers on the palate for sometime, hard to avoid taking that next pull, while it lasts, its certainly addicting.

D-Amazing, if given a constant supply bad things would ensue, maybe it's a good thing KTG is hard to come by. I feel blessed to have had a bottle with some age under the belt, really anxious to see if a newer vintage compares favorably. On a desert island and could chose only one beer, you guessed it. KTG has a complexity I've only previously found in great red wines. Simply an achievement. Wouldn't even take a beer connoisseur to appreciate.

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Photo of nootch23
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A friend of mine obtained a fresh 2012 bottle in a trade and after hearing so much about it we were anxious to break it open and see if it met our expectations. It exceeded them to the point that it became the best beer I've ever had. Everything about this beer was perfect. We spent a good 3 minutes just smelling this stout in our snifters. The smell was creamy with a hints of coffee and chocolate. A sweet smell.

You want to know about taste? Holy cannoli! The taste was incredible. A very subtle taste of coffee, chocolate, and malts. One of the smoothest stouts I've ever had. Not boozy at all. Couldn't even taste the 12%.

I can't say enough about this gem. Hands down one of the best beers I've ever had and certainly the best imperial stouts out there. Trying to get a hold of a bottle to age for a bit and have for a special occasion.

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Photo of palphen
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the brewery for Kate the Great Day 2010

After an hour and a half waiting in line we had our first Kate the Great's. The beer arrived with a small 1/4" thin tan head. Wicked dark body, the look alone was incredible.
Theres a small smell of the alcohol but more of the chocolate and malt.
The taste was incredible. The first sip was overwhelming. Everything was just perfect very rich and sweet taste tastes of dark fruit and chocolate, the alcohol is hidden behind the chocolate taste but it does come through. The mouth feel is also incredible, it is so smooth like liquid velvet. One of the best beers ive had. The drive and the waiting in line was worth it.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split many a bottle and shared more than a few glasses with angrybabboon. This review is #300 and is of a 2012 vintage. Some additions were made from my notes on previous vintages.

Appearance: Pours thick, dark, and completely black. Dark tan head drops to a thin collar in short order. Wispy head on the beer. Almost nothing. Coats the glass. It's not lacing. It must be congealed awesomeness. Very thick with a decent carbonation given the pour. Sits still and heavy.

Smell: Oak and booze. Deep dark fruits run the gamut from figs and plums to cherry and raisins. Dense on the dark fruit. Port is prevalent, adding some sweetness and dropping a nice sharp woody aroma. Burnt and roasted almost to the point of absurdity. Char, chocolate (both milk and bitter cocoa), with some minor roasted coffee. Leather and fresh, wet tobacco leaf. Almost fudgey without the sugary sweetness.

Taste: Big heat up front. Port and oak make up a big component of the first wave of flavor. Chewy fudge layered with cocoa. Deep red wine, day old coffee. Some dark fruit, with a preference for raisins and plums. Juicy leather. Tobacco leaf, wet and uncut. It's booze soaked dessert. Decadence. Layers of char and burnt and over-roasted malt add a layer of sweetness that helps keep things moving. Massive. Some lingering alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full and thick. Somehow the carbonation is present. Syrupy without crossing in to the realm of actual syrup. Coats the mouth, but the carbonation breaks it up just enough. So very carefully treads the line of too much. With great risk comes great power...or something.

Overall: She is that damn good.

I've had the privilege to try this beer multiple times starting in '08, only missing '09. It has been and remains the insurmountable representation of the style. The consistent level of complexity gets better with age, but damn if Kate doesn't drink like a beast when fresh. This is a beast and a half. The hype train may have run away with it, bit I have a hard time not accepting the associated accolades.

I've even tried Kate blind in a massive tasting and she stands out. Bias, perhaps, but it's a mighty tasty bias.

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Photo of Stockfan42
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was highly worth the trip and the wait. Highly recommend going to the next release when ever that may be. I could not get there early enough to get some bottles to take home but still a very good time and very good beer.

I did not get to see the actual pour of the beer, my seating was in the center dining area right near the bar that was full of people who had gotten in before me,but im happy to just HAVE a seat and enjoy the occasion. So KTG gets dropped off on my table and I waste no time picking it up and sipping away.

Its a Dark, creamy beer with a pretty dark tan head that smells of fruit and chocolate. Not really overpowering but a nice coffee or mocha smell also reveals itself.

It has a very dark chocolat malt flavour that isnt overdone at all, and a sweetness from some figs and plums, maybe some raisons too. Its not that heavy, but heavy enough to fill you with just 1 to 2 servings (3 servings put me on my ass for a little bit).

The beer goes down really smooth and leaves a great after taste that does not dissapoint. I highly recommend trying this beer if you ever have the oppertunity.

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Photo of Hawthorne
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes taken during the September secret release of an 08 keg.
It is December and I still recall the moment my lips touched this beauty.
The smell is amazing with deep malt, cherry and raisin. The taste is a rollercoaster ride of deliciousness. Starting with that nice malt, moving to a black cherry then to a dark chocolate - crazy good. Be careful, Kate packs a punch!

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Photo of boMD
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A 2009 bottling that I've been cellaring and waiting to enjoy on my fiancee's birthday (who is appropriately also named Kate).

Poured pitch, jet black with a thick, brown head. The head faded quickly and kept a consistent ring around the perimeter of the glass. Nose was very refined, dark sugars, bark chips and roasted meats, wine-like in a sense of its complexity. Smooth, silky, velvety texture. Bold and boozy but far from astringent. The typical strong stout characters of oats, roasted grains which carried a malt sweetness, and even a slight fruit creaminess. But also hazelnut flavors meshed with more roast which countered a dark, wine-like alcohol presence. I even detected some brine towards the finish surrounded by chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon flavors. Divine, a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of reyes29201
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle, 2011 batch poured into snifter reviewed on 11/28/12.

A: Pours black with a thin tan head that leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Sweet dark malt with dark fruit, carmael and molasses with a hint of alcohol.

T: Starts off with sweet dark malts, raisins, figs and molasses. Leaves a pleasant lingering taste of dark fruit.

M: Super smooth and creamy full body, low-moderate carbonation and a sweet finish.

O: Very interesting and extremely drinkable for an imperial stout, the sweet dark fruit character really seperates this from other big stouts that are available. Easily the best non-barrel aged imperial stout that I have had.

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Photo of birderbeerer
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle consumed in June 2012.

Beautiful beer. It's hard to imagine a more complete beer. It's very well balanced and doesn't try to be the biggest or to tackle a specific flavor fully.

Great balance of chocolate and roast, but the roast is softened by oak. Very full and rich without being big. A subtle complexity. And on top of all of it is a consistent note of red wine that just adds another great layer of flavor and complexity.

Rich and full without being too big or overbearing. Very easily drinkable and left me wanting much more.

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
4.51 out of 5 based on 926 ratings.
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