Portsmouth Kate The Great | Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great
932 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: 932 |  Reviews: 495
Photo of Hopalonglong
1.72/5  rDev -62%

Photo of SpottedZombie
1.78/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Big thanks to Adam for this one!

2011 Vintage

Pours a viscous black, pretty consistent with the style.

Smells like a heavily roasted bag of coffee, earthy, acrid, slight notes of dark fruits. The coffee smell is off-putting, not sure what the big deal is so far...

The beer starts off with a bitter/sour punch on the tip of the tongue, then moves into a chalky mess mid-palate. Coffee is highly present, not much going on here, chalky and acrid. The aftertaste is pretty awful to match, just more bitter burned coffee.

Overall I can't really see what the big deal was over this beer, it doesn't impress. I don't know if my bottle was stored right, but the mouth feel really didn't feel right, I'm going to revisit this soon.

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Photo of Franberry
2/5  rDev -55.8%

Photo of ChuckThat
2/5  rDev -55.8%

Photo of Shogun250
2.06/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

This is for 2010-2012 Vintages. All drain pours. The best was probably the latest but still a thin syrupy mess at this point. Would have been fun if they held up.

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Photo of fewa
2.09/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

had this one in a ktg, black albert, kabert and special-k line up.
Pours a deep black color with almost no head. Smell is sweet, chocolate and coffee. The taste is simply a let down. Muddy coffee, sweet molasses, fatty chocolate and dusty oak. This beer lacks complexity, is thin and has low carbonation. Easily the worst in the line up. Happy that only 33 percent of this is added to the kabert, so the true masterpiece black albert can compensate. Overhyped.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
2.12/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2010 vintage. Shared with Hopsbreath, Tulipsnifter, and witchsbrew. Got this from WkndatBernardus, thanks.

Appearance- Black with little tan head. 4/5

Smell- Weak aroma. Dates? 2/5

Taste - Very fruity. Tangy, fruity Pebbles cereal. 2.5/5

Maouthfeel- Too thin for my taste. I expect an Imperial Stout to be a lot thicker. 2/5

Overall- Wow! I am very unimpressed with this. I thought the 11 was much better and it had smoke flavor that I didn't expect and didn't care for that much. 2/5

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Photo of omegagogetass4
2.25/5  rDev -50.3%

Photo of BgThang
2.47/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A huge thanks goes out to Johnathan for the opportunity to try this.

Appearance - This poured out very black, like night fall over the ocean with no moon light in site. The head is that of a fairly quick dissipating wave that does not linger around. Swirl after swirl still not a noteworthy head on this. The head that I was able to muster was tan/sand color with some lacing , but mostly small bubbles on the sides of the glass. I was expecting some heavy phat mama legs that lingered and coated the glass but was disappointed. The legs were more of thin, skinny crack hoe looking for her next fix.

Nose - Pure alcohol at first, kinda of like going in to a bar before its opened for the night and all the lingering smells of alcohol enrages the nose hairs and start to make them tingle and not in a good way. The chocolate seeps in for a quick second then roasted coffee comes in with a small role more like a cameo. Wow did I mention alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Well so far I am disappointed with all this hype over a beer I have been seeking for a while now. Maybe this was all in my head, maybe this is what a top 3 beer should act like when the audience is so highly seeking a TOP 3 beer who people are giving their left nut to get a hold of and taste its bliss. SO here goes. The front end of this was thin with a burst of alcohol that warms the gullet up. Then you get a dryness that comes in and overtakes the scene. It leaves you screaming Chocolate oh where art thou chocolate! then it appears through the dryness. All of a sudden here comes coffee to steal the show. WEll lets just say Alcohol trips mr.coffee and stabs chocolate in the back and steals the show. It warms you up all the way down to your belly.

THoughts - Well I hope my ramblings were not too much I really was disappointed by this beer but yet it was inspiring. It showed me that out of all the top ten beers currently on BA of which I have had all but darkness That this beer is truely over hyped and I will say take Deschutes The abyss, Dark lord '08, or saint arnolds DR #5 over this any day of the week. We joked about drain pouring this and taking a picture for our avatar. If I get a chance to try this again I will only take a shot of it to see if the bottle that I had might have been bad. Do not buy in to the hype take a pass on this or drink your buddies .

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Photo of rvdoorn
2.72/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Look: the beer pours a deep black color with almost no head.
Smell: Coffee, sweet molasses, tobacco, chocolate and roasted malts
Taste: follows the nose. Very nice and sweet beer, with a bitter coffee finish
Mouthfeel: medium body and very low carbonation
Overall: I had the 2008, 2009 and 2010 version of this beer now. Al of them were completely different, ranging from sour, to flat dull and boring. The carbonation of the 2010 was way too low for my liking. Brew with consistency please. A world class beer should be world class year after year. This is average at best.

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Photo of pepsican
2.74/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pitch black with a finger sized tan head. Coffee and licorice dominate the nose. Flavor had strong black licorice, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malts. Overall the flavor comes out too burnt, and the coffee is very dull. Nice and creamy mouth feel but has an intense alcoholic burn that takes away from the overall enjoyment of this one. This is for a growler of 07. Bottles of 07 and 08 weren't as enjoyable, so this one is what I'm going to enter.

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Photo of spdyfire83
2.87/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

102nd Review
Bottle to snifter
Vintage 2008

From notes. I was looking for the "right time" to crack this mini-whale and that was just before I departed the States to move to Ireland. Enjoyed with bspringer and mtep13.

A: Deep mahogany. A few light mocha bubbles on medium pour.

S: Cocoa, roasted malt, figs, and molasses. Hint of oak and caramel. Not as inviting as I had hoped.

T: Faint dark chocolate raisins with hints of oak, coffee, and brown sugar. Almost boring. A bit too sweet for my liking and almost no defined balance. Muddled mess here - I'm guessing that has to do with the age of it which is quite a bummer.

M: Full bodied with almost no carbonation. I wish it were thicker - especially considering the style.

O: A disappointment for sure, but I can only blame myself (I think). I sat on this too long and made the mistake of acquiring a vintage beer that seems to not age well over time. I'd be willing to give this one another shot, but I would caution anyone out there from cellaring this beer.

I will re-review it when this one comes across my glass again.

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Photo of Sender
3/5  rDev -33.8%

Photo of Grant35
3/5  rDev -33.8%

Photo of nicholas527
3/5  rDev -33.8%

Photo of craytonic
3.03/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage

Appearance: Pours a solid black, with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell: Yesterday's burnt espresso, heavy roast malt, mocha, dark chocolate, blackberries, black currants, prunes, raisins. Alcohol is noticeable.

Taste: I get a burnt plastic element, not very pleasant. It is highly astrigent. Yesterday's espresso, heavy, heavy roasted malt, mocha, dark chocolate, blackberries, black currants, prunes, raisins. It is hot, the alcohol is much more noticeable than on Darkness or dark lord. Todd's review nailed the tootsie rolls and malt.

Mouthfeel: Very disappointed, not nearly as full as Dark Lord or even darkness. The alcohol overshadows everything.

Drinkability: Low

Sampled as part of a Dark Lord, Darkness, Kate the Great, Founders RIS, Sexual Chocolate, Stone IRS, etc tasting. I felt this particular beer was at the bottom of the list and is mostly hype. This was also at the low end of ABV but was the hottest, very noticeable alcohol. A middling regional offering at best - albeit one that is very hard to acquire. Perhaps it is much better on tap.

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Photo of gregc
3.06/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

09 Bottled shared at tasting, with 4 other BA's who all had similair opinions.

Poured a deep dark ruby like black with a small tan head.
Aroma was blah...stale chocolate, coffee grounds, dark fruit and some musty vanilla. The smell was not very pleasant or inviting.
Taste was also a big dissapointment. Very bland for a big RIS. Some bitter chocolate, rasins very thin in the mouth...Its taste was almost non existant.
This is Kate the Great ? replied on of the other guys at the tasting. Really a big let down, im not sure what went on here, it was early in the night so in no way were we hammered yet or had palate fatigue. I would like to re visit this down the road, but im not sure i would be too excited. Overall it sucked.

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Photo of camil1mj
3.16/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was finally able to secure a date with this elusive mistress. Unfortunately she did not deliver as others had promised. She was fun to chase once, but I would not waste my time or effort on her again. She just doesn't stand up against other great stouts I can buy off the shelf in Michigan.

2012 vintage poured at cellar temp.
A: The apperrance of this beer is the best thing it has going. Nice dark stout with brown head.

S: Roasty with some dark fruit notes.

T: Your typical stouts flavors. Roasted malt with some chocolate and coffee notes. I really don't pick up the port.

M: A little thin for my tastes. Well carbonated.

O: More hype than she is worth. Kate is a beer I could care less to try again. Give me a 4 pk of Pt5 over this any day.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.16/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I want chicken, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix, please deliver.

More on that in a moment. '09 bottle.

Pour looked more dark brown than black. Decent head, didn't retain well, and left behind little lacing.

Ok, so this beer smells like cat food. I was struggling to come up with a way to describe the aroma, when someone in the room said cat food, and he was absolutely right. Chocolate-covered cat food.

Luckily, this beer tastes much, much better than it smells. Rich, smooth flavor makes me think maybe this beer could be worth the hype after all. Little bit of boozy heat in the finish.

Body feels much thinner than most of the heavy hitting imperial stouts. It would have been a much more pleasant drinking experience had I been holding my nose.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.23/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared at a tasting 8/26, courtesy of Kkipple. This was by far the most underwhelming beer of the night, and led all of us to question how it could possibly be as highly rated as it is.

A brash jettison into the chalice, the gents all peer languidly at the tincture which has been so little maligned of late. Dark brown, to be sure, but she does not even border on black, this Kate. Little atop save a couple of froth-bubbles, even after such a gleeful glug-glug. A bit of a stain on the snifter, but no real lace to speak of, she's not that kind of girl.
Kate may be great on the battlefield, but her bed-chamber has many a feline, not to mention her inordinate love for cocoa beans. The finest cream set on the bed-side table for the cat, the odours mingling with one another... the cat-food, the sweet cream, the stashes of chocolate under the bed. Not a bed-chamber in which I'd like to find myself regularly.
The flavour, though, doubtless the best part. Chocolate, to be sure, the morning's coffee with cream (put down the ink-pen and take another sip... there's a fellow)... Some burnt grain coming along to the tastebud-party, fresh cane sugar, perhaps browned in a frying-pan, melted to a syrup.
Not nearly as thickish in the mouth as one might expect from something that is reputedly word-class. The Dark Lord destroys this Kate with nary a glance, nary a glancing blow, simply a dagger to the heart in her bed-chamber. A very dry finish, light-syrupy at first, transitioning to thin-warming at long last.

This was quite possibly the most overhyped beer of my reviewing career. I'm glad I got to try it, as now I needn't trade for it. I'll keep it on the ol' wants on the off chance that this was a bad bottle... But I can see how one could consider this an excellent beer if the idea of "cat food" wasn't introduced into the equation... but that's simply one of our inexperienced friends being honest about the way something really is... and we realize he's spot on. Shameful.

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Photo of maximum12
3.34/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to ROBORB who recently sent me a 2009 bottle of Kate. I've been hoarding a 2008 bottle in the cellar rec'd from tprokop7 a long, long time ago, but it's one bottle I've just never been able to bring myself to open. We were actually going to bust it on my wife's birthday in December & I came down with the plague. Some things were just never meant to be.

So, popped open & poured into a pair of tulips for my wife & I. Jet black. Even the edges hold out the light better than a velvet blindfold. The smell...oh, the smell. A chocolate factory, malts from deep in the dark mines. It even smells thick.

And Kate...well, after that heavenly smell, it's a big letdown. Taste doesn't follow the smell at all, rather, it's dominated by tart blackbeerry. The malts, & chocolate, & depthless malts are present, but forming only a backdrop, setting the stage. Infection, or intentional? I've read both sides, but I hope this wasn't intentional. Really too bad, because if it should taste anything like it smelled, it would well deserve its lofty rating.

M&T both suffer. It seems very thin given the smell & heft. And I'm still having trouble getting over the disconnect between the nose & the taste.

I'm a little weepy. If I ever decide to crack open the 2008, I'll revisit this review. I'd love to try this fresh, but based on this bottle, I wouldn't pay a trading ransom for a 2010. <sigh>

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Photo of JonathanL7890
3.38/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from 08 Release. Shared with another BA.
Poured into my DFH snifter. A small head dissipated quickly. At most I could only roust 1/2 finger of head from this thing.
Aroma is chocolate, alcohol , hops.
Taste is a bit dry in the back of the mouth with a dominant chocolate component. Slight alcohol burn down to the tummy.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin for an RIS.
Drinkability is not very good. I contemplated a drain pour but I finished it eventually.
Anyhow, I am very disappointed in this beer. I have had porters that are way more complex. If it was on special at my local pub I would not order it.
I hope that when I have a chance to try this beer again, I will be able to edit my review to be more favorable.

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Photo of Crosling
3.38/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not black, a dark brown with a small, quickly diminishing head of light tan foam. Very simple nose, don't detect much describable character or depth besides a hint of chocolate. Flavors is a bit off balance, extremely sweet, with out much balancing hop character or bitterness. Still has some dark fruit, dark roast and chocolate character that I like. Even a decent finish. Mouth feel was a bit disappointing and could be improved with natural carbonation. A nice beer, but I was hoping for much more.

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Photo of papat444
3.43/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

*** 2009 Vintage ***

Big thanks to TheRowan for this one. Split with my wife last night.

Poured from a 22oz. bomber.

Appearance: Gorgeous black body with a thick mocha cream head that cascades upward It has at least 3-4 fingers thick in my wife's pint glass and about 2 in my snifter. Reduces to a thin ring that is quite persistant.

Smell: Cocoa powder and coffee. Creamy & sweet smelling with not that much alcohol. A little fruit aroma in there also.

Taste: Good coffee presence (not bitter) with a hint of chocolate. The taste is dominated by dark fruits bordering a little on the sour side. Very reminiscent of port or sherry. Unfortunately i don't particularly like my RISs with these overtones. I prefer them with stronger flavors of chocolate and malt which this unfortunately did not have.

Mouthfeel: Wow, quite smooth and velvet-like. It literally melts in my mouth.

Drinkability: We almost finished the bottle but left a few ounces because we really didn't care for the sourness that was in the flavor. I would love to try again but not the '09 vintage. I would have scored it lower but it wasn't really a chore to drink but it wasn't a pleasure either, hence the average score.

Overall: Well, i did some research and found that the '09 batch really had intentional sourness and port-like qualities which is not what i look for in an RIS. Still grateful to have tried it and hope to try another vintage one day.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
3.43/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of 2012 KTG opened 2-17-14. This is a good stout, no doubt, but nothing spectacular. Rather quite average. Thanks to mtbdonn for sharing this beer...it was definitely on my list of "must try" beers and I'm glad to say that I got the chance to try it. It was good, but nothing remarkable. I guess a lot of the hype is because of the limited-ness of the beer and potential for it to not be made anymore, but overall an average good stout. I would not go out of my way at all to get this beer.

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Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 932 ratings