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 wethorseblanket
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of dfhhead25
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 04/28/12 notes. HUGE huge thanks to joepais for sending me a bottle of this one in December for the Secret Santa BIF; been one of my biggest Wants since I've been on the site, so very glad to finally try it. 2011 vintage split with some friends.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two inches of thick dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, molasses, roasted malts, chocolate, and some black licorice. Very nice nose, quite sweet. Reminds me of 2009 Dark Lord a little bit.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, black licorice, sugar, molassess, roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, light coffee. More licorice and sweeter then the nose, a slight step down for me.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is very smooth and creamy; a little more carbonation and the mouthfeel would have been perfect. Definitely does not feel anywhere need 12% ABV.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good RIS, though it isn't my favorite. It is very sweet and has a lot of sweet fruit, molasses, and black licorice to it, very similiar to 2009 Dark Lord in my opinion. Definitely does not feel like 12%, though tough to drink a ton of it due to how sweet it is. I drank about 6-7 oz.'s of the bottle and that is probably the perfect amount; glad to see they moved to the smaller bottled this year. Overall this is a great stout, but a bit overhyped and considering how hard it is to get, I'd rather seek out a few others that I could get easier (18yr EC Eclipse, DL, Darkness).

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jay for opening this bottle up! 2010 vintage poured into a small snifter glass.

A: Pours a very nice dark black color with a small mocha/tan colored head on top. Not very big and reduces rather quickly, leaving behind a ring of foam and some random bubbles on top.

S: Lots going on in the aroma, lots of dark fruits - cherry and raisins. There is some espresso and coffee and a bunch of dark chocolate. In some ways it reminds me of a port.

T: Very big, lots of flavors that change as it warms. Slightly bitter chocolate and coffee a first with tons of dark fruit in the middle. More cherries, raisins, and figs, as well as some brown sugar and molasses.

M: Full bodied, but extremely easy drinking. Goes down very smooth. Slight heat, but no heavy alcohol presence.

O: A fantastic beer that lives up to its reputation. Extremely complex, but the ease at which it drank was amazing. Can only hope to have it again someday. Thanks again Jay.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.37/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Small khaki head atop an almost black body. Doesn't last. Eventually there's nothing atop the beer.

Smell - Dark chocolate. Dark fruits, fruity and sweet like a port. Some booze.

Taste - Dark chocolate. Very rich. Dark fruits right behind, again reminiscent of a sweet port. Oak in the finish. Boozy.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation and pretty boozy. Medium body.

Overall - A touch thin and boozy. Otherwise one of the best nonbarreled stouts I've had.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

June 2008 release. Anthracite at midnight with no highlights along the edges of the glass. They don't get any blacker and more light-sucking than this. A spirited pour created three fingers of caramel colored foam that is rich and milkshake thick. The lid melts in super-slow motion and is beginning to blast all available surfaces with thick sheets of finely stippled lace. They also don't get any more gorgeous than this.

The nose is straightforward, high-quality Russian Imperial stout. It's also incredibly potent. The beer doesn't smell very hoppy and the partial port barrel aging doesn't appear to have added anything to the aroma that I can detect. No matter, because hugely roasted malt of this magnitude doesn't need any help.

Kate The Great is a fantastically delicious version of what is probably my second favorite style. The first mouthful was amazingly complex, and I'm expecting each successive sip to be even more so. Before cracking the crown, there was a wee voice in my head that kept whispering that this highly heralded stout couldn't possibly live up to the hype. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but I'm enjoying in immensely... and still have most of the bomber to go.

Although I couldn't have identified their contributions without prior knowledge, port and oak are most likely what give Kate The Great its uniqueness. The flavor profile includes dark chocolate, espresso, black licorice, blackstrap molasses, raisins soaked in tawny port and crushed vanilla beans. A lack of American hop citrusiness isn't missed since the rest of the beer works so well together.

Alcohol is essentially absent on the palate. It is, however, leading to a spreading warmth and a feeling of well-being. I won't allow any of the scores to be affected... promise. The flavor falls *just* short of perfection, so I've decided to award drinkability. Since the beer is compulsively drinkable, it isn't like it wasn't honestly earned.

After several back-and-forths, the mouthfeel just does deserve the above score. It starts out no more than light-medium for the style, then gains viscosity with each passing ounce. Crushed velvet smoothness and perfect carbonation are a tough combination to beat.

Portsmouth Kate The Great isn't one of the 10 best beers to have ever entered my glass (it's currently #10 on the Top Beers on Planet Earth), but it's a lovely Russian Imperial stout that deserves every accolade thrown its way. Kate is Great and I'm honored that she's my 4000th review.

*reviewed on 10-25-2009

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Photo of Jason
4.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've tasted this beer in passing, the last time was probably EBF 06'. Blurry memories so now I'm finally splitting a growler with Todd.

Pours thick and black with a sufficient brown lacing.

Aromas of chocolate cake batter, Tootsie rolls, chocolate covered malted milk balls and dry toasted cocoa beans. Hint of dark berry and spicy herbal from the hop / alcohol combo.

Creamy and a bit slick, almost a little syrupy in the mouth. Smooth carbonation. Alcohol is warming and a little fuming but not hot, hops come through quick with the alcohol before the maltiness lays in. Chocolate syrup, molasses cookies, dried plums and a cocoa powder maltiness slowly appear with each sip as each complex layer peels away. Finishes with some hop flavor, slight charred malt and a semi-sweet choco-flavor.

Perfectly balanced, very complex yet not too over the top so it has a dangerous level of drinkibility. There is so much chocolate and cocoa goodness here, so don't expect a big burnt charred character its more mellow within the sweetness.

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Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I picked this up at KTG day '10, saved for the Big stout tasting on 10/23 -poured chilled into a tulip.

A deep brown color, not quite black, rocky tan cap, settles quickly to a ring of tiny bead, clarity is translucent w/ slight deep burgundy hues. The aroma is strong and complex, stone fruit elements are heavy in the aroma w/ a plum and fig soaked in rum type mix w/ a mild dark chocolate bittersweet nose. The feel is warming and yet smooth w/ slight vinous tinges and dry toasted grainy notes, full and alcoholic on the palate which is pleasant at times and somewhat blunt at others.

The flavor is intense and layered with stone fruit flavor which is currant and spice oriented with mild plum fruit notes with slight roasted character in the background, the flavor of alcohol is noticeable, the stout doesn't not really hide the fact that it is an 'Imperial stout'. The taste is interesting with a slight english yeast character giving mild spiciness along with the dried fruit notes. I was thoroughly impressed by this beer, wanting more after each sip -it sucked me in and before I knew it I had finished my share of the bomber. I consider this a top notch beer -worthy of its place in the realm of Imperial Stouts. I was glad I got the chance to taste this with about 1/2 a dozen world class stouts because the qualtiy of the beer shines through a great beer-kudos Portsmouth!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, now this one will be a little lengthy as I feel it really deserves a little bit of exploration to do it justice. First off much thanks goes out to my friend from up north for hooking me up with this a while back, I had not had a chance to properly review it, so I cracked open the last one last night and figured I would give it the respect it deserves.

Pulled this out of the fridge and let it sit for a while to bring it up near sixty degrees and proceeded to pour it into a nice oversized wine glass to really have the full experience. The pour was wonderful, full deep dark chocolate color, absolutely no light coming through this one at all, none, completely, and totally opaque. At first, there was no head, then on it came about five seconds later, a full two finger high head of chocolate tan foam just rose up over the top and never really went anywhere. It literally still had this thick foamy top throughout the entire session, really quite nice. The side glass lace was equally impressive with a huge amount of sticky brown mess all over the side of the glass. This is what I want my stout to look like, rich full, black as night. I was liking where this one was going.

Up next I decided to lean in and see what kind of aromas where coming in off this. I was really quite please with a full rich and dark essence coming right off the glass. Lots of notes of chocolate as you would expect, with a deep sugary sweet layer as well. Very nice little bit of vanilla in there, which was definitely noticeable and more then welcomed. As I sat there and just absorbed it there was a really nice oaky, woody alcohol note coming through as well, nothing harsh, but a little hint that it was lying just under the surface. Nice little touch of coffee coming through as it warms along with just the slightest grassy like nose.

The flavor was wonderful. The body was a little bit lighter then I thought it would have been, but not badly or weak in any way. Lots of carbonation here as well. Really full flavors of chocolate and vanilla coming through really clearly and very big. As it warmed it got even more complex bringing in hints of cookie dough, a nice warming bourbon like alcohol flavor and more sweet flavors as well. The finish was very long and dry with a big coffee and caramel like lasting flavor, very nice. I polished off this whole bottle in a sitting though I probably should not have as I was hurting this morning, but it was soo drinkable, even more so then some of its larger friends in the style. Great creamy feel and a lot sweeter then I thought it would be.

Overall, I have to say this was excellent. Is it worthy of its number two in the world ranking, that is debatable, I honestly liked the abyss a bit more, but to each his own. Still this was top notch and should be right up there in the top ten. An absolutely phenomenal beer, I would bend over backwards to try this one again, it is just that good.

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Photo of orangesol
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to FooFaa for bringing this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. 2010 bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark roast up front with hints of chocolate sweetness, dark fruits, dark roasted malts, and a tiny bit of booze. Nothing too over the top but still a very well balanced nose.

T - Very similar to the smell. Lots of dark roasted malt mixed with chocolate, dark fruits, and dry oak from the wood chips. Finish has some dark roast and some light astringency, lingering for some time after consumption. This one has very good overall balance with nothing really overtaking the rest. Very nice beer and easily one of the best I have ever had.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice smooth feel with some lingering dry roast in the finish.

D - Very high. I have had the pleasure of having Kate before and this one was just as good. I think this may be my favorite non-barrel aged stout. Complex yet enjoyable with the 12% A.B.V. all but undetectable.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle with a few folks at my latest tasting.

A: Very black, but not opaque. Substantial, beautiful, dirty, wet sandy head with ample lacing.

S: Massive aromas of roasted malt, vanilla, bitter chocolate

T: Wonderful. Fantastic roasted malt. Huge flavors of bitter and sweet chocolates, subtle coffee notes, and a very pronounced, delicious vanilla finish that I found surprising and intriguing. This is truly a unique beer. It was the highlight of the night for me.

M: Great carbonation blended with a silky smoothness. Very well done, but not quite as spectacular as it was on draft.

D: It's such a treat to drink this. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Henry for sharing this bottle from the 2010 release.

A: The pour is nearly black with a fluffy and sturdy tan head on top.

S: A really complex set of aromas going on here. Of course the obligatory dark roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. There are also some sweet, dark fruit aromas such as cherries and figs and a bit ofcaramel.

T: The roast really defines the flavor along with dark chocolate and a few hints of coffee. The fruit component is not as pronounced as it is in the nose, but still there in the background.

M: A medium bodied beer with a low, creamy, and smooth carbonation.

D: A really nice beer, but I'm not entirely sure if it's one of the top 5 in the world. Nonetheless, I'm glad to have tried it a couple times and would not turn it down in the future either.

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Photo of rab53
4.95/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Photo of johnnnniee
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler obtained same day from the brewery.

Pours a dark black with a thin tan head that dissipates and laces the glass all the way down. Smell sends out chocolates, and coffee and a faint hop aroma. Some alcohol comes through as it warms. Taste is a chocolatey toffee like sweet indulgence. Has a bit of alcohol warming as it warms. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. I'd love to watch this one age, this is one of the best Imperial Stouts that I've had!

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Photo of chippo33
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to CaptinRedBeard for sharing this 2010 bottle on 1/22/11.

Poured into a snifter, this brew pours a black color in the glass reminescent of (unoriginal descriptor here) used motor oil. A thin ring of dark tan head hangs close to the edges of the glass. Spotty lace is left on the glassware along with some legs.

The aroma of this brew is roasty with dark fruit indications. A light amount of citrus hops and a pleasant estery booziness fills the nose. A mingled concoction of chocolate and earthy tones mixes with an oat grain character that seems very fresh smelling and very enjoyable.

The taste of this brew is fruity with alcohol somewhat reminiscent of plum or raisin but also roasty and slightly bitter with character that is earthy, mineral filled an lightly metallic. Sweet with a bit of residual sugars yet filled with alcohol enough to keep it in check. It has an oats aftertaste that is fresh and very enjoyable. As it warms the alcohol becomes a bit tangy and more of the citrus hop character pushes through.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Very drinkable with an awesome blend of dark fruitiness verse roasty bitterness. The fresh grainy flavor was unexpected and very much enjoyed. For being almost a year old this brew is still tasting pretty fresh. While some aspects of this brew were mediocre and I didn't care much for it (dark fruits mixed with mineral character is odd) the good aspects of this brew far outweigh the bad.

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Photo of BMart
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of aasher
3.53/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh sweet Katherine. This bottle is the infamous 09 vintage. It pours a medium bodied midnight black in color with a slight beige lacing around the glass. It smells of roasted malts with smooth chocolates with a slight buttery component. Uh oh. It's not bad but I feel this MIGHT be infected or on its way. The flavor too is slightly tainted butter. You get smooth and light chocolate with moderate sweetness and an interesting roasty finish. The butter though is something that's hard to stop thinking about. Overall its ok but this was from a questionable batch. Interesting beer and I was glad to try it. I'd love to try another vintage.

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Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of AlexFields
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%

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