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 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.

 848 characters

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.

 674 characters

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.

 1,121 characters

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!

 383 characters

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.

 800 characters

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.

 649 characters

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.

 546 characters

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

Had this on tap from the Brewpub. Was presented to me in a 10oz. glass the beer was pitch black with a half-finger of tan/beige head. The head itself was thick and frothy alla cappucino. No outright signs of carbonation, but an impressive sheet of lace formed all down the sides of the glass and lasted throughout the sample. The head retained well as well throughout the sample.

The smell was innitially of darker fruits. Plum and fig are coming through quick nicely with an aromatic blend of roasted malt and alcohol. Also black coffee and slight bitter chocolate in the nose.

The taste releases the fruit flavors quite nicely. The plum and fig taste almost chocolate covered with bitter-sweet chocolate. Roasted (almost burnt) black coffee flavors and a slight but no too strong alcoholic warming. The beer is exceptionally smooth for a 10.5% ABV brew. No aggressive bitterness only that which comes from the chocolate tastes.

The mouthfeel is heavy but not syrupy. An even consistancy and balance to all the flavors. Not an assertive brew that screams alcohol, but raher more mellow and subtlely warming.

This was a great imperial stout in my opinion. It gets all 5's but in a very different way than my other all 5's (as of 10/3/05): Sam Smith Imperial Stout. This Impy has a much more fruitty flavor like a good port wine and is perfect to sip and enjoy after a meal. A very strong offering from the small brewpub.

 1,432 characters

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

Waited 2-1/2 hours (or 2 years since I first found out about it) for this beauty of a stout. Wow! Outstanding is all I could say for the first few minutes. Very dark but very drinkable. Sweeter than most of the Russian Imperial Stouts that I have in the past. The smell is intoxicating. Ended up having 4 and could have had more, but @ 9.5 abv, the alcohol catches up to you. Definitely one of the best beers I ever had. Too bad they only brew it once a year, but it's worth waiting for.

 487 characters

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

had on tap at kate day this year. waiting in the cold and rain for 2 hours and the reward was worth the wait.

this beer pours nearly pitch black with just hints of light being able to make its way through around the edges. there is a thin mocha colored head that aps the beer, but goes away fairly quickly. the smell was chocolatey and roasty with hints of the warmth from its 12% abv. the tastes starts out with chocolate hints and is followed by some well balanced roasted malt. the alcohol warmth is present but the it works very well and is wrapped up in the beautiful mouthfeel that this beer has. its velvety smooth and honestly the most drinkable imperial stout I have ever had. the eer is filling and the only reasons I did not have more than the 2 glasses i consumed were, 1 the line outside of people who hadn't had one which reminded me of my experience last yea of heading up for dinner and hearing kate had kicked hours earlier, 2 full feeling from lunch and 2 kates, 3 i have 4 bottles to share with friends over the next few years. if you get a chance to try kate savor it and consider yourself lucky as it is very limited.

 1,139 characters

Photo of rye726
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'07, '10 and '11

Pours an oilish black with hues of old redwood when held to light. Thick espresso head settles to a nice silky cover.

Nose has big roasted malts, loads of chocolate, molasses, coffee, dark fruit, bitter hops. Super bready and rich, fantastic.

Taste is so deep and complex yet delicately balanced. Chocolate fudge, dark malts, ripe pitted fruit, subtle peppery alcohol, floral hops, anise, mloasses, vanilla and coffee.

Thick chewy body is perfectly carbonated. Big, lasting finish of chocolate, hops and massive malts.

One of the best beers I have ever had. Hard to track down, but well worth the effort. All three vintages are equally superb! I am sad I only have 1 bottle left!

 705 characters

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

Just busted this out of the cellar today.

Beautiful black color to the beer with a cocoa colored head that dissipates quickly. A nice trail of lacing left behind.

Smells of chocolate, fruits, molasses, and caramel. Gets better as it warms.

It tastes like the smells the chocolates, fruits, etc... blended well together. I can even get a hint of the port aging and a nice bite from the alcohol.

This was silk across the tongue. Leaves almost a film with an amazing aftertaste to it. The carbonation is just right for this heavy a beer.

I can't believe you can only get two of these. I was tempted to go break out the second bottle, but i resisted. I got see how this babe ages.

 681 characters

Photo of pd360
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to get a taste of Kate on Monday before they ran out. I was too late to buy any bottles though. It really did live up to the hype, I was nervous about it being a let down, but that was not the case. It was thick and rich, like drinking a cold melted dark chocolate bar. Surprising amount of alcohol in there. Our server said this one was at 12%, and after 2 beers it packs a punch. Worthy of the praise and if you get a chance to try it, its worth the wait.

 476 characters

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

Never have I had a better beer. In a word, delicious.

A: Black with a light cocoa head.
S: Caramel, Chocolate and some dark fruit notes lingering in the background.
T: Wonderful chocolate taste throughout. Some vanilla accents as it warms as well.
M: Creamy and thick. Lingers on the palate beautifully.
D: It doesn't get more drinkable then this for a stout.

I made two 4 hour (roundtrip) journey's for to the brewery for this beer and was fortunate to grab a few growlers and bottles for aging. It was more than worth it and exceeds the hype surrounding it.

 561 characters

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

2011 bottle - thnaks chuckycheese

Apperance - Pours black with slight reddish tinge and small head that dissipates quickly

Smell - Sweet malt with slight alcohol and smoke

Mouthfeel - Perfect, smooth, not too chewy or watery

Taste - well balanced, slight smoke, a slightly sweet flavor that I cannot my finger on, but a blend of blueberry, raisins and sweet malt. Little alcohol flavor on the back end.

Overall - a world class beer and the best Russian Imperial Stout I've ever tasted. The balance is amazing and what truely puts this beer in the class of Westy 12.

 570 characters

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