Portsmouth Kate The Great | Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great
931 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 931 |  Reviews: 495
Photo of SteveS1
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Kate the Great 2011, on tap, from notes taken at Portsmouth Brewery:

Look: Pitch black, small, dark brown/caramel bubbly head (head differed greatly from glass to glass, much agitation needed to create decent head). Average lacing, little retention.

Smell: Faint nuttyness and sweet chocolate chocolate chocolate when cold. Licorice and dark chocolate after warming.

Taste: Milk chocolate on the tongue, dark chocolate w/roasted malts on the palate, licorice going down. Strong alcohol after warming up too much. Roast coffee aftertaste, slightly bitter.

-to compare to last year, this one opens sweet and gets complex, 2010's Kate opened sweet and then mellowed

Feel: Creamy, full and rich, but not overbearingly so. More watery milkshake than double churned. Mild carbonation.

Drink: Very drinkable, an excellent brew for all. It's certainly a sipper, but thanks to devoting a whole day to Kate I was able to enjoy many glasses.

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Photo of brdc
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage, again courtesy of LittleBreeze. The other bottle I have is in my cellar, to be revisited in a couple of years.

Poured into a snifter, it is pitch black as expected, with a dark brown head that not surprisingly holds better than the growler version I had.
The first thing that comes to mind as you smell and taste this great brew is delicacy, believe it or not. No, this is not a delicate brew, but compared to Dark Lord, it is significantly more delicate.
Chocolate dominates the aroma and flavor, more on the sweet side. Roasted malts, coffee, milk, cookies, dark fruits to a minimal extent, and a faint hoppiness round this up.
Medium to full body, but significantly thinner than DL (which is a big syrup), which keeps a high drinkability.
Lives up to the hype, a great brew, possibly more delicate and nuanced than DL, which is still my favorite. If you prefer in your face taste explosion, DL is for you; if you prefer delicate, as far as a big RIS can be, this one is for you. I loved them both.

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Photo of Beerisheaven
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage compliments of Kelp, a ridiculous trading partner from New England way.

A - pours generally black but fairly modest in its head and lacing retention. Was not sure what to expect following its initial presentation.

S - Failry modest across the nose. Fruit & licorice find their way across the nose. Nothing stands out, all very nice.

T - Without doubt, the best RIS I have had to date. Dark fruit port like in taste and absolutely no hint of alcohol. Some underlay of dark chocolate too but the fruit takes the lead and never looks back. Tremnedous world class RIS. Can't put it any way other than the measuring stick for RIS's. This was without doubt the smoothest silkiest beer that I have had in a long time. Everyone just kept saying "smooth" as they were drinking it.

M - Given the lack of head, a tad thin but still very enjoyable. Its richness and smoothness

O - Worthy of the hype. A tremendous beer that I would love to have over and over but realize that you can't.

Thanks J for the #1 beer in the tasting tonight. Everyone had this as the #1 beer of the night, hands down.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the 2010 release on tap. Got to savor 3 glasses...

A: Fantastic look. Perfectly pitch black with a thick deep mocha colored head that slowly fades. Awesome lacing left on the glass. Perfect.

S: Phenomenal nose. So many flavors hitting all at once. I get roastiness, raisin, oak, dark fruit, and slight booziness upfront all blended perfectly!

T: Very good. Again, amazingly complex. Just a hint too much boozy flavor upfront. A year of age plus on this would blend this perfectly! Raisin, roasty, boozy, and dark fruit with chocolate notes on the backend. Awesome!

M: Just a hint too much carbonation for my liking on this brew. Again, I think age would serve this well.

D: Awesome. Again the booziness settle some would make this perfect. Otherwise goes down perfect!

All in all, I'm so glad my first Kate was on tap. Things are always better on tap. For the craft beer lover, Kate is a must try! You will not be disappointed. Kind of reminds me of a Dark Lord, with the raisiny, dark fruit flavors blended better and a bit hotter on the booziness. A must try!

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Photo of bonkers
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my cousin Jeff for picking me up a bottle of the 2012. Poured from a stubby bottle into a Kate Tulip. Jet black pour, thin tan head, light carbonation. Nice roasted malt aroma, coffee notes, chocolate notes. The beer is really creamy, and balanced. Perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness. Some coffee and chocolate. A great RIS, lives up to the hype.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on-tap at the brewpub in Sept. 2005. It was called simply "Portsmouth Imperial Stout" at that time.

This Imperial Stout poured a black color with creamy, brown foam that persisted and clung to the glass and coated the inner walls of the glass as the beer level diminished. The smell was rich: dark malt with a light sweetness. The taste was sweet and rich malty and roasty with low apparent bitterness and flavors of cocoa, chocolate, and light caramel in the mix. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and rich with very full body and strong carbonation. There was a light bitterness in the finish balance nicely by a lingering malty flavor. This was an excellent Imperial Stout, but alas, they would not sell a growler of it.

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Photo of jsanford
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into a Portsmouth Tulip. 2010 Vintage.

A - Pours black with slightly brown edges and a dark khaki head that quickly fades to a slight ring, leaving spotty lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Deep, dark aromas of roasted malt, molasses, raisins, oak, and ash with a touch of vanilla. About as decadently rich as a Stout can get.
T - Again, big flavors of dark malt, raisins, chocolate, molasses, oak, and vanilla. Initially reminds me of a liquid Raisinet, but as it warms the Port characteristics really come out to play. Wonderfully balanced and drinkable, despite all the big flavors.
M - Slightly thinner then I'd expected, but still quite a mouth-full. Slightly sticky with lowish carbonation. No sign of that 12% ABV, which is an amazing feat.
O - Such a superb example of a Russian Imperial Stout, it's easy to see why this is so hyped. That said, while I'm happy to try it once, I don't feel the need to search out another bottle of this. A great, World-Class RIS? Definitely. Give up a first-born child? No way.

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Photo of Damian
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Served in a tulip glass at the Kate the Great Tapping on June 24th

Poured an absolute pitch black. There was not a hint of light coming through this oily mass. The three-finger, bubbly head of coffee-colored foam slowly faded to a resilient film. Thick blankets of lacing coated the glass with each sip and lasted long after the beer was finished.

The aroma was powdery and yeasty initially. Somewhat chalky and dry. Rather disappointing. As the beer warmed, the nose came out a bit more. Vanilla was noticeable along with brown sugar.

The taste was simply sublime. Bittersweet, chocolatey (dark chocolate) and rich with strong notes of roasted coffee, bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar. Figs, prunes and raisins came through in the center. The finish was slightly hoppy with espresso notes and a mild roastiness. The aftertaste was simply astounding. Like the flavor itself, it was bittersweet and rich with long-lasting notes of bourbon and cocoa. Dare I say this was the best aspect of the beer?

Mouthfeel was creamy, oily and ultra smooth. Palate coating with a fine, mild carbonation.

This was unquestionably the most drinkable Russian imperial stout I have ever sampled. Between the outstanding flavor, the amazing balance and the barely noticeable 9.5% ABV, it is simply dangerous.

To simply call this beer "smooth" would be a huge understatement, yet this one word alone may be the best way to describe it. The palate was intense, yet so mellow. Unlike most Russian imperial stouts which are dominated by bitter flavors (hops, espresso, char), this one is definitely more focused on sweeter ones (chocolate, bourbon and brown sugar). Though not the "biggest" example of a RIS, I would definitely have to say this was one of (if not) the best I have ever tried.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Thanks Ben. Consumed on 11/21/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer s black with a one finger head that recedes in under a minute. The head is light brown with scattered lacing.

The nose opens up with milk chocolate, and it stays in the foreground throughout the aroma. There's light coffee and a moderate roast. It's all well balanced with a light molasses edge. Alcohol is well hidden. The milk chocolate is outstanding. The nose is very smooth without a hint of astringency or burnt malt character.

The flavor is a blend of milk and dark chocolate with a dash of caramel and a subtle roasted malt character. The chocolate is sweet with a little vanilla and a touch of a light roast of coffee. The finish is dry with lingering milk chocolate and a touch of molasses. It finishes very smooth and it's devoid of the unpleasant astringency and burnt malt that seems to have become the norm for Russian Imperial Stouts.

The beer has a silky and slightly creamy mouthfeel with an upper low level of carbonation. Delicious stuff.

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Photo of Dicers
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ElGallo
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For the second year in a row I just missed out on buying bottles, but for the second year in a row I got to try a few glasses on draft later in the afternoon. As a local, I like that. Because if it hadn't worked out that way, I would have slapped my bare ass cheeks to the brewery window and cursed everyone for robbing me of a tasty inebriant. But I digress...

This beer looks good, smells good, and you would jump over your own mother to get one. I smell this beer and I get that sensation every man gets when he's at a formal party and smells stripper perfume. You know what I'm talkin' about. Your brain says you should probably walk away, but at the same time your "other brain" is reminding you that there's likely someone in the room who will take her clothes off for money. Hmmm.

Burnt chocolate, dark fruits, port, etc., etc., blah, blah. Why repeat what all y'all have already said. This beer is firkin delicious. Done.

I am curious as to how the vintages have aged in the bottle. I wonder if anyone would accept a stripper in exchange for a bottle. Hmmm.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle > split between a snifter (11 oz.) & chimay goblet (11 0z.)

Of course this gal's totally black in color, opaque for sure. Unlike the on-tap version, the crown starts off at 2" and it's amazingly thick and creamy. The crown is a dark brown color with ultra-sticky lacing with massive thick clumps all over.

The malt smells soooo sweet! honey and maple syrup with brown sugar, hershey's chocolate, cafe mocha with a shot of vanilla and cream. There is also a subtle dark fruit edge with a mild tangy effect on the nose. Slight heat tingle, let's you know it's there.

The malt complexity of this old gal is out of this world! deep chocolate, brown sugar but also roastie coffe notes as it warms up to room temp. Peanut butter and toffee, all from the malt!! The balance is very nice with a semi-bitter, earthy and leafy hop. The hop profile is actually much more noticable after some time and is much bigger than the on-tap version I thought. The hop and rather sharp, whiskey-ish heat hits the palate right after the malt flavor's fade and blend together. The fisnish was slightly more bitter than I remember when I was at the brewery, but it's still less hop-headed than it's little sis, the Smuttynose RIS.

The feel is simply perfect. full, heavy, smooth, creamy but sooo damn easy to drink. A wonderful palate massage.

This might just be a perfect "5" after a year or so in the cellar.

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Photo of emerge077
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sample shared by Jay23, acquired via his trade. Thanks!
Great growler art, kitschy apres-ski scenes in 4-color silkscreen.

Into a Chimay chalice it pours a light-absorbing black, with dark crimson highlights, bordering on tones of oxblood. Spotty lace, with the occasional scalloped "m" bird on the horizon. Constant ring of foam around the edges, with a swirling "yin-yang" pattern to the surface skim.

Aromas of dried cherries and plums, light licorice, dark chocolate, with a slight caramelized sugar character that reminds me of cooking sweet plantains. Underneath, there's also crystalized sugarplum, and vague note of alcohol at room temperature.

Massive chocolate character that is deeply fudgy, with smooth oatmeal hints, dried cherry, with a residual dry char. There is a light brandyish alcohol, that is peppery in the finish. Taste is unique with an equally distinctive and enticing aroma.

Impossibly smooth, very much like chocolate milk, given the slight lactic feel. Peppery, bittersweet finish keeps things interesting, and keeps you sipping. If only this was available on draft locally, several pints would be a dream come true.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Overlord for splitting a bottle of this great beer with me.

Poured black with an excellent thick tan head. The smell was fantastic, with milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla and smokey malt coming through. The taste also did not fail to deliver, with bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla both present.

This is a great beer, and is up there with the Abyss and Stone IRS as one of my favorite RISs.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The illusive Kate the Great Imperial Stout. The bottle just reads "Imperial Stout" actually. No mention of the Great Tsarina. One of the harder bottles to get for sure, but in retrospect, it was worth every ounce of effort and moment of wait. Opened it only days after receiving it last summer as well, but finally getting around to entering the review now. A big thanks goes out to KungFuMike for the trade on this one. Cheers!

From a bomber into snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Pours dark, almost black but relatively transparent, and produces a small, medium-looking tan head with half decent retention. Head fades relatively quickly to a faint wisp and bubbly ring around the sides. Black body and zero carbonation evident. A slight ring and touches of wisp remain, leaving a few dots of lacing down the glass. Decent looking but nothing special.

SMELL: Big nose on this one, and quite nice to say the least. Roasted malts with dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Smoky hints with notes of oak, vanilla and port from the chip aging. Some molasses provides a nice foundation along with the roasted aromas. Very well integrated and enticing for sure. Fantastic.

TASTE: Roasted malts and lots of sweet molasses. Oak, vanilla, and some definite port wine qualities from the aging process. Some dark grapes, caramel and brown sugar make this quite the sugar bomb. Bold flavors, and a bold aftertaste of sweet molasses, brown sugar, port and alcohol linger forever, with some bitter, pure chocolate offering some balance as well. Sweeter than the nose had indicated, but still very complex and incredibly tasty and enjoyable. A real treat.

PALATE: Huge, thick, full and heavy body. Possibly the heaviest body to date. Medium-low amounts of carbonation, though not overly creamy, and sits like a freight train on the palate. Goes down slick with a bit of heat after the swallow and finishes quite mouth-coating and sticky. Massive, heavy, sweet and syrupy. Could be slightly creamier and a little less cloying, but that doesn't detract from what is otherwise the thickest, heaviest monster of an imperial stout.

OVERALL: I think the reason it took me so long to enter this review was because as long as I hadn't entered it yet, the experience wasn't over. I've had quite a few of these big stouts, and this was one of the best for sure. My pour vanished far too quickly. Definitely a sweet, syrupy and massive imperial stout, which still managed to be an incredibly drinkable and enjoyable treat. It really is too bad that this is produced in such limited quantities every year, as I'd love to drink it on a regular basis. In the meantime, I'll wait and hope to meet Kate again. Thanks a bunch for the trade KungFu.

UPDATE: I have had a few other vintages of this over the past while, so here are some notes:
2009: Pretty lousy. Not infected, simply a stronger port and grape quality. Though the flavor profile is relatively mild overall.
2011: Much like the 2009, but with bolder flavors. Very port and dark fruit heavy, with little roast, chocolate or molasses character. Still nice in its own right.
2012: Very similar to the 2010 reviewed above. A slightly milder nose and a touch lighter in the feel, but the same elements as the 2010. Still outsanding and absolutely my kind of stout.

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Photo of agirginis
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours like motor oil with a brown head

S- a real complex smell of chocolate, wine, and coffee. It smels almost as good as it tastes

T- it starts out with chocolate and coffee but ends with the sort of a wine and fruit flavor/

M- a smooth very easy drinking beer.

O- this beer lives up to all the hype and is worth the year long wait people have to go through!! Cant wait for KATE DAY!! dONT OPEN BOTTLE RIGHT AWAY give it some time. I opened one 6 months later and it had a great taste to it. Recommend keeping for longer though

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Photo of Gingerfart
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of davey101
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quick notes. 2011 vintage, 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Huge thanks to Doug for sharing a pour with me! A really big want of mine which I've heard far too many grumblings of it being "overrated".

Pours a dark black body with a quickly fading mocha head. The aroma and taste on this beer is really unique as the port does leave quite an impression. Lots of chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and an almost dark fruit/black grape acridity. Rich and creamy mouth feel. Its rich and decadent and the dark fruit element that the port brings to the table really works. This exceeds all hype for me as I found it to be one of the best non barrel aged stouts I have had. I really hope this recipe carries on with Mott's new brewery as I would love to try it fresh.

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Photo of glazeman
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 edition. Split with airohead2001.

A: Dark dark brown in color, but not quite black. There's a 1 finger cappuccino colored head that fades fairly quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: There's tons of raisins and caramel on the nose. Those two things pretty much sum it up, as I don't get much else. The smells are rich, deep, and strong though. Perhaps a little bit of caramel and etoh at the end.

T: The taste had more roastiness up front than the nose let on. There was nice dark fruits in the middle specifically plums and raisins. The finish is of a slight bit of nuttiness and sweetness. Another thing I noticed is that this beer gets noticeably sweeter as it warms. No alcohol is really noticeable in the flavor. Overall, wonderfully balanced.

M: Overall, I can't really knock it much hear, as I thought the viscosity, aftertaste, and carbonation were all pretty good. If anything, I would have liked it to be slightly thicker.

D: This beer as sky high drinkability. I would love to be able to have a bomber of this to myself on a sad, cold, winter night. This is probably on of my absolute favorite non-barrel aged stouts. It's amazing.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage courtesy of RomanW70 - beer #3 during the 'Motha of All Stout Tastings.' Poured two shades shy of black with a thin head that dissipates into a narrow, off-white band. No lacing during the tasting. Nose consists of dark malts, licorice and a hit of caramel towards the back. Taste reveals caramel and toffee on a solid, dark malt backbone. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and slightly creamy/oily - a brew that slides down easy and doesn't linger. Incredible balance and drinkability. There's no wonder that this is my top rated beer; however, I have to say that the experience on draft is a little more sublime.

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Photo of ncvbc
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank beside the Abyss, very tough competition. The two are worlds apart and very solid.

Kate pours a gorgeous color that isn't quite pitch black and has ruby edges when held to the light. It is a shimmering velvet black that is quite the looker. A light tan head rises up and holds for a minute or so, leaving a ring around the glass and moderate sticky lacing.

Wow, this beer has a whole heck of a lot going on when it comes to smell. Licorice was the first thing that I picked up, followed by dark bitter chocolate, maybe even cocoa powder. There was also an underlying butterscotch and toffee adding depth. A spicy heat also catches my attention.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose but is still lovely. Up front, there is the sweetness of the butterscotch and marshmallow. Molasses and dark, somewhat sour fruits show their presence. Bitter dark licorice and chocolate are soon to come. The chocolate flavors become a little more rich and decadent, stealing the show for a second. Out of nowhere on the back of the tongue, an excellent roasted black coffee flavor hit me. It remains indefinitely between sips and feels great on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is rich and velvety but just a tad thin. I don't think it had to do with too little carbonation but maybe the alcohol burn that shows more at times. Maybe a spicyness from some hops? A little prickle on the tongue was unavoidable and unpredictable, while the rich feel was most consistent.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent beer. Very glad that I was able to try it thanks to Ginny, a very helpful and generous BA. I split this bomber doing a side by side with the Abyss but could have had it all to myself. I think that the Abyss is more of a tamed brew even with its bigger body. This, with some age, would be amazing, though. Yummy!

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Photo of koopa
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

09' Bomber received in a trade with rhinos00 thanks!

Appearance: Pours a deep brown to black with red folds and a minimal 1 finger brown crown that shows little retention and leaves minimal swirls of lace.

Smell: Wonderful amount of milk chocolate and deeply toasted malt with little to no bitterness and no alcohol presence. Nice and inviting! I can't keep my nose out of the glass :)

Taste: Wow its much different then the nose led me to believe it would taste. Much more strap molasses and barrel presence in the flavor profile. It has a touch of heat but not to the point where I would say it has an alcohol presence. Then again I'm also getting a rum soaked raisin quality too. I'd score it at a 4.3 if I could.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick and chocolate syrup like.

Drinkability: At 9.5% abv this one has legs and the mouthfeel is heavy but the flavor profile keeps it fairly drinkable.

World Class IMHO.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a small pumpkin pie orange to brown colored head that quickly recedes to a ring. Some nice bourbony alcohol over top of a bit of leather and a sweet malt aroma, a bit of grapiness. There is also a subtle sweet chocolatiness in the aroma amd some smoky roastiness. The roasted qualities comes thru more powerfully in the taste, though, a sweet caramel, grape, and chocolate maltiness is still evident as it rolls on the tongue. Some twanginess and bourbon in the finish, but very balanced and in the right proportions. Finishes witha warmth and bite from the alcohol at the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is heavy although not overly full nor sticky sweet, just the right amount of body to add a creamy texture to balance the roastiness. Prickles on the tongue and warms the throat at the somewhat drying finish. An incredibly well balanced beer in nearly every aspect. The best things for me was how the roasted qualities were present but not over the top, just proportionate. Also, there is a sweet maltiness that shines through, almost as if this is a blend of stout and a touch of barleywine. Great beer, thanks to Jay and to Stan for this opportunity.

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Photo of jakeaustin
4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well after reading about this stuff in the New England regional forum for the past week I had to see what all the hype was about. Had some time to myself, and needed a break from last minute shopping so i made the drive down to portsmouth and grabbed a growler. Boy am I glad I did. This one really does live up to the hype. Exceptional, balanced, tasty brew. I make the trip down a few times year to the brew pub so i have had many of thier beers, this is definitely the best.

Poured a deep black so black I swear it sucked the light out of the room. Nice, thick consistency, on par with motor oil, and I mean that in a good way. Smells of chocolate, caramel, roasted nuts and a touch of alcohol. Taste, one word? Wonderful. I can only compare to a couple other RIS's but this one is very well balanced and flavorful. A healthy dose of malt initially, followed by a slight hop flavor, then creamy, rich chocolate on the finish. Warms as it goes down, which is expected from a beer pushing 10%, but is very drinkable, which was not expected.

I'd be really curious to taste this one after some aging although there is no chance I could ever have this in the house and not drink it. Another great stout from New England. Nice job Portsmouth Brewery.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! This one knocked me over (literally and figuratively). Picked up a growler while at the brewpub for lunch.

Poured an almost black in color. Could not get any light to shine through. When I poured I first thought the beer was flat but after about a minute an thick, creamy, tan head formed. Lace was stringing and blotting all around the glass' interior. Nose is full of dark malts and chocolate. Slight bit of hops in there.

Flavor is incredibly complex. Alcohol is still slightly apparent but the vastness of flavors almost conceals the alcohol burn and there is just a slight bite of heat. Lots of coffee and vanilla flavors wrapped around loads of chocolate and burnt malts. Nice creamy flavor. Just a slight whispiness of smoke. The vanilla is what I like most in the flavor--just very consistent and solid throughout. Almost like eating vanilla ice cream. Very full body and creamy feel. Just kind of slides down and I pick up the flavors from the thin coating left on my tongue and cheeks. My only worry is that the open growler will not last another day because this beer is amazingly good.

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 931 ratings