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 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 MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge, thanks to Dave (d0b) for busting this out at our "mini" tasting (there was nothing mini about this tasting!). Shared with three Daves and our associated women-folk. Summer '08 bottle served in a FOBAB taster glass.

A - One-finger of mocha foam with solid retention an some spotty lacing. Blacker than black color, with only the slightest bit of red at the edges when held to the light. Reminded me of the incredible-looking Homewood Reserve, but without the same volume.

S - Sweet roast malts, cream, milk chocolate, dark fruits, a hint of smoky wood, and a surprising touch of booziness. The alcohol was a surprise, as this was one of the lower ABV stouts we had and many of the others in the tasting didn't smell as hot. This one takes a while to warm up, BTW.

T - The taste was terrific. Sweet roast malts, bittersweet chocolate, a hint of coffee with a ton of cream and sugar, and a touch of cherry & dark fruits. The booziness I smelled is gone. This is what I expect from a non barrel-aged RIS.

M - Medium viscosity, low carbonation, creamy and incredibly smooth. Lots of residual stickiness afterward. It's nice to occasionally have a stout that doesn't have the consistency of a motor-oil milkshake, yet is still bursting with flavor.

D - This is possibly as easy drinking as it gets for a RIS. Low carbonation, well-hidden alcohol, smooth and not overly heavy. It's just a great-drinking brew.

So - some general impressions after knocking off the last of the big stouts. Kate is a wonderful brew, but she's kind of like that attractive girl in class that's kind of quiet. You take her out and expect her to open up and reveal a little more about herself, but she never does. KtG lacks the strong signature and personality that each of the other big stouts have - Abyss has those delicate hints of coffee and barrel-aging, Darkness has the candy and ridiculous hop presence, Dark Lord has the mouthfeel of a shake. Kate is subtle and shy, and a tiny, tiny, bit of a letdown (or as much of a letdown as a 4.4 beer can be).

Still well worth seeking out, but temper your expectations.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle shared with some people at a tasting. Beer is black but clear and reddish at the corners. The aroma is sweet but not overpowering roast like I thought it would be. Forms a brown thin head of medium and large bubbles. Head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass.

This beer is really nice drinking. Its not as big as I expected, there is some body, medium is a good descriptor. There isn't much carbonation in the mouth, some vanilla flavors, slight coffee and roast in the back, some bitterness. I would love to have this again and in a greater quantity. Next year in Portsmouth.

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Photo of aasher
3.53/5  rDev -21.7%
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 Rochefort10nh
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I've refrained from writing reviews on this site up until now, but what better way to get started than with this outstanding, complex imperial.

Had this in a snifter at the brewery in September of 2005

Jet black, ie: opaque in appearance

A very complex smell; currants, dark chocolate, star anise, piney hops, tar, toasted marshmellows, fresh brewed Kenyan coffee

Wow! Taste is remarkable. Vanilla powder, baker's chocolate, rum soaked raisins, melted caramel chews, very slight iron component, fresh green hops, dark roast coffee and malted milk balls all intricately woven together.

A great sipper. Smooth, velvety and lasting. You can really sit back and reflect on the world around you with this one.

Very drinkable for it's strength. No fusil alcohol astringency.

Can't wait to get back to the brewery to try this again.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Both 2011 and 2012 vintages opened side-by-side with mdaschaf during a recent trip to DE. This review score is for the 2012 version, which I thought was better. Review for 2011 is at the bottom.

Vintage 2012
Served into a tulip glass

A: Deep dark black body with very minimal head. Only a thin tan colored head was left around the edges with almost no lacing either. It's a heavy hitting, high ABV beer so some of this is to be expected.

S: Big sweet fruits, lots of port qualities, strawberry, cherry and caramel. Fairly chocolatey with plenty of roasted malts. It's very inviting and balanced with a little booze on the end.

T: Sweet but not overly so. Plenty of berry fruits, obvious port qualities, rich and roasted malts. There's a very "fresh" quality here when directly compared to the 2011 bottle I just love. Perhaps it's the vibrancy of the red fruits that come out in this one. Very unique and delicious.

M: Well carbonated, in my opinion it could be toned down a touch otherwise it would be perfect. Although for such a high ABV it actually helps keep things lively on the palate and break up some of the what would have been stickiness.


Vintage 2011
Served into a tulip glass

A: Deep dark black body with more of a head than the 2012. This stuck around for a bit longer too and had some nice lacing on the glass, as well as a retention cap on the surface of the beer. It could have been the pour, or the fact it was a much bigger sample since it was 22 ounces. (4)

S: Massive dark fruits now, plum, raisin, fig and some dates. The fresh, vibrancy of the port wine now seems a bit muddled and while it smells more smoothed out, it just isn't as inviting. Dark and caramel malts are the heavy hitters as the backbone. (3.5)

T: Like the nose, plenty of raisin, fig and dates with a very roasted, almost to the point of burnt malt back end. It's a bit more blended and rounded in a way, but not in a good one. I don't really care for how the fruitiness of the beer turned for cellaring it. (3.5)

M: Plenty carbonated just a bit less than the 2012, but the overall mouth feel is essentially the same. This could be big and sticky but it does a nice job of livening things up. (4)

O: (3.5)

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Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to purplehops for this brew.

2007 Vintage
22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice deep black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some nice oil slicks and some sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is big and malty, roasted/burnt/smoke tones, toffee, chocolate, and caramel. The taste is great big and malty, nice tones of roastyness/smokeyness, slight sweetness, toffee/chocolate/caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well and leaves a nice warming feeling. Full/Medium body, a well rounded/complex brew. Very drinkable, to me this brew lives up to it's hype 100%, very smooth, not big on the alcohol that other RIS have. Highly recommended. Thanks Stan!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to RustyDiamond for sharing this with a group of us at the Brick Store Pub. He brought it over straight from receiving it from shipping and the growler was in great shape. I'd been looking to try this for a while, and I wasn't disappointed. It strikes me as one of the species of RIS that are more to the winey side with fewer big flavors of coffee and chocolate and more dark fruit- somewhere almost between an RIS and a big Baltic Porter. This beer changed in the glass more than almost any beer I've had developing new flavors and mellowingg the alchohol in the nose out quite aa bit. It poured black with a very dark head- maybe not qquite as dark as Ten Fidy, but close. Good lacing and decent head retention. Big nose of solvent alcohol at first- very heady, but within minutes this had changed considerably to dark fruit, fortified wine, cherries, and even a wisp of smoke. The flavors as well are quite changeable in the glass. It also tastes a little hot to start, but that quickly progresses to a more sustained fruity wineiness, roasty flavors, cherrries, light chocolate, fresh cream, pears and prunes, and some nice earthy hops in the backgground. Complex and delicious. The mouthfeel is very smooth, not huge feeling at all, jut silky and delicious and surprisingly easy to drink. One of the more drinkable RIS I've had. Just a delight, and one I wish would become more available. I was really happy I had a chance to taste it.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

09' version into a large snifter glass. Split with Birradr14 oglmcdgl and mary. Thanks goes out to Jwelsh for the bottle, one which I thought I would never try.

A- Kate is a beauty. Deep dark black sky color in appearance, there is no light going to be making it through this lady. A very thick viscous looking beer once it's settled in the glass. Got a 1/2 inch of densely packed dark tan foam that left some mess on the glass.

S- Deep roasted smells of malts at first but this really opened up fairly quickly. A heaping of high end chocolate comes up with some sweet coffee closing in behind. Somewhere in between I get a bit of milk or cream scents. I was surprised to smell a bit of vanilla towards the tail end of my glass. A dark fruit variety seems to be coming to mind as well.

T- A true RIS with a focus on the dark roasted malts but there is so much more built into this. With the roast also comes just a bit of smoke in kate as well. What I get first is a lot of dark fruit, a bit more than expected actually. Picking up a lot of rich chocolate which is blending nice with the low coffee/cream taste. Some molasses while the vanilla really steps up with warming. Just a hint of alcohol & a plethora of flavors.

M- Not quite full bodied but a step down from that. The bold flavors get my senses buzzing as well as a good amount of carb felt as well. There is a alcohol bite to this but just enough to let you know it's there. Smooth and subtle for a RIS this one should be treated with respect.

D- I only wish I had more. I could of easily drank a ton more of this. Kate is pretty hard to get if your not near the brewery so I feel blessed. Saying that this is not my favorite RIS but it is a damn good one. I savored my precious oz's for some time and loved every second of it. Hats off to Portsmouth.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed back on 888, reviewed from fairly meticulous notes. Shared with SAS, Inflatablechair, and theotherbeerguy.

My share poured into a Chimay goblet.

'07 bottle provided by Inflatablechair.... quite possibly the highlite of the tasting in my mind... Huge Thanks Sam!

Pour produced a beautiful lite brown head over a dark dark dark brew that only revealed the smallest rays of walnut highlites when held to a bright light... good lacing the entire glass.

Aroma is amazingly complex.. deep raisin and chocolate with a little bit of dried fruit... more chocolate and roasty.

For flavor.. note say see aroma but with even more complexity.. coffee and roasty with a little bit more fruit... dark dried cherries.. not as bitter as lending alot to the overall complexity.. just enough sweetness to tie it all together.. worthy of the hype... viscous but not overly thick.. still very drinkable.. even more so when we revisited the bottle a couple hours later.... wonderful for sure.

Another shout-out to Sam.. thanks sooo much.


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Photo of John_M
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewpub today. Missed out on bottles, but certainly got my fair share of this beer on tap today (KTG release day). I feel fairly certain this will be the first and last time I get to try Kate on tap.

KTG pours the expected blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. As with the bottled version I had from 2008 (thanks to the ever generous Dyan), the nose on this beer is terrific. I get coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla and cherry liquer, and maybe a hint of licorise. As good as this beer smells, the flavor profile is just flat out fantastic. The flavors generally replicate the nose, except the vanilla and licorise are a bit more prominent, and I also get some plum. This beer is fairly sweet, but for whatever reason, that sweetness never feels as if it's over the top. Maybe it's the mouthfeel, which is oh so full, rich, soft, creamy and long. If I were ever to make a RIS nougat candy, this is what I'd want it to taste and feel like. This beer is flat out decadently rich and yummy, and yet there's nothing light or insubstantial about this great beer. Drinkability is so good it's flat out dangerous. I wasn't in line early enough to buy any bottles of Kate, so I essentially drank my two bottles at the brewpub. Despite the abv., I had no difficulty knocking back 4 glasses of Kate (serving size was in the 12 to 13 ounce range), and was still relatively coherent afterwards.

As I said before, I suppose there are better beers out there then KTG, but they are extremely small in number. This is an incredibly fine beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.87/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Portsmouth Brewery. Sampled on "Kate the Great Day" 2010. The pour is nice and black with a thin brown ring of silky head around the glass. The aroma is incredibly inviting with coffee, thin malts, and a background of sweet molasses and something like black cherries. The mouthfeel is bold but smooth. It dances on rather than sits on my tongue. The taste is more on the coffee side that chocolate with a delicate hop ending. This has to be the best Imperial Stout I have ever had if not the best beer I have ever had. Simply amazing and it lives up to its reputation. They ran out a half hour after I got there.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle shared by Jonathan, thank you!

Pours a silky chocolate, dark brown with a wispy light mocha head that quickly fades to a tin crown with minimal lacing. Aroma is amazing blend of sweet oak and wine with milk chocolate, char and brown sugar. Flavor is initially sweet and dominated by by the port oak, dark fruits and red wine. Much less reliant on the chocolate and malt in the body than the aroma, though the finish offers a much more complex blend of the flavors from the aroma. Mouthfeel is perfect. Medium body with soft carbonation and an everlasting and evolving silky smooth finish. Big, bold, complex, smooth and balanced; a remarkable, unique RIS.

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Photo of Kelp
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery.

A beautiful deep blackness to the beer. A nice brown/tan head on the beer. Good lacing left on the glass.

Smells of many things chocolate, oak, fruits, a bit of a sweet smell, and coffee. Just a nice mix of smells together.

This is the second year I have had it and it wasn't as good to me as the year before. Just a tiny little bit sweeter than the previous year. By no means diminishing the quality of the taste. Though Tod disagreed with me he liked this years more and thinks it will again amazingly. This is a complex beer chocolate, fruit, and oak are the first taste that hit the palate. The sweetness ends the beer cherries (maybe?) and the port combine for a nice after taste.

This is as smooth as silk on the tongue. It just glided across my tongue and down the throat. This is what a beer should feel like in your mouth. Perfect carbonation and creaminess.

I had two and wanted more. The Abv. does cut into having too many, but if you get the chance have them while you can. Wish they brewed it more often.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
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 rudzud
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review number 700! After waiting in line for Kate day since 5:45am it has arrived....a snifter of Kate the Great!

A - Poured into a 20th anniversary snifter that states "twist off...my ass!" a oily black pour with a nice creamy one finger mocha head that leaves light lacing and fades to a nice thin blanket. A little swirling brings everything back to life.

S - Aromas of sweet roasty malts and deep rich chocolate. Excellent port chips coming through. Very rich and roasty and decadent.

T - Oooohhh yeah. Rich roasted malts and deep delicious liquid dark chocolate. There is excellent oak, earth, vanilla, and some nice port aging notes intermingled in this beer. The finish...no booze. So so harmonious.

M - Mouthfeel is creamtastic. Silky smooth like a velvet curtain drapes along my pallet. Stupendous feel with no ABV detected. Magic.

O - Overall holy zombie Jesus. Beer was well worth the wait to get a pour. This is really good stuff and while the hype is getting out of control it really is an excellent Russian stout. Not sure how they do this. Oh wait...kid magic.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 version. Pours a one finger brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Totally black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Coffee and molasses nose, flavor is roasted coffee and hints of molasses, high ABV is hidden. Good RIS but is this worth two trips to Portsmouth ($21) plus raffle tickets ($20) and $8.00 for a 330ml bottle from the brewery in Portsmouth, NH? No, got it for my collection, this is bottle #3222. Stone has a RIS that is $7.70 for a bomber and is equally good.

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Photo of weeare138
4.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to grassrootsVT for sharing this long time wish list item...
Appears a near black/dark brown with a tan head that slowly fades out into a mild floating head of foam and a light collar. Scattered spots of lace are left around the glass.
Smell is of black grapes, roasted nuts, cocoa, and mild vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a nice play on the fruity, roasty, cocoa mix.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with cocoa sticking around, light smoke, with a chewy fudginess.
We should've had this before the Dark Knight Returns b/c it was hard to top that intense beauty, which has held up nicely.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.05/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 Vintage. Yet another huge thank you to Adam for sharing!

(A)- Pours fairly thick and pitch black. Some tan bubbles formed, but otherwise no head formation.

(S)- A good richness and roastedness on the nose. Some molasses, cocoa, and coffee. Rather dry, but a good overall aroma.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A big richness. not as much roasted elements as I would have liked to see, but it does have a big sweetness in its place. Plenty of raisin, molasses, and cocoa, with just a tiny hint of dark oaky fruits from the port chips.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rich, sweet, yet smooth and well balanced.

(D)- Definitely a great imperial stout. It is rich and sweet with just about everything where it should be. I would have liked to see more roasted elements come through to further balance it out, but perhaps I am just being picky. While this is quite good, I do not see why this is worth the trade value it is getting other than simply of the fact that only 900 are made each year.

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Photo of corby112
3.87/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage shared earlier this evening with shadowane.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slghtest hint of lighter color when held to a light and a frothy one finger dark beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Nice roasted malt aroma with lots of silky chocolate, toffee and oatmeal. Slightly smokey with a prominent barrel character. Subtle coffee bean and nut with some bittersweet dark chocolate and vinous dark fruit. Strong red wine presence but it doesn't overpower the other elements.

Medium bodied with a good balance of roasted malt, vinous dark fruit, sweet barrel character and dry oak. I'm not picking up any off flavors or signs of oxidization/infection. Soft carbonation up front with a heavy barrel character giving off hints of vinous dark fruit, especially grape, dark cherry and plum. Lots of red wine flavor with subtle earthy wood and
vanilla. Underneath, there is some smokey, roasted malt with hints of chocolate, roasted coffee, toffee and oatmeal. The mouthfeel becomes more chewy/viscous as it warms but it's a bit to heavy on the barrel character. A bit too sweet and could use more of a prominent malt presence. The ABV is well masked with only some slight heat making this pretty quaffable. There's more alcohol flavor than burn with a decent amount of warmth in the chest.

Overall, I was pretty happy with this one but feel that it is a bit overhyped. A good beer but not even the best stout I've had today and I've only had two. This is supposedly the off batch so I would like to try other vintages to compare. If only it was easier to get.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.12/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to Bruges glass at a small gathering of NoVA BA's on 9/4/11
*From notes

-- Bill, I can't thank you enough for introducing me to Kate --

Vintage 2010

A: A hearty pour yields a .75 finger head and decent, yet unspectacular lacing. It's got an oxblood hue around the edges, and a rich brownie-black tint to the body.

S: Some deliciously dark fruits hit the nose before the glass even gets there. 65% dark cocoa weaves it's way around the nostrils, creating a wonderful bouquet.

T: Wickedly different then my expectations. The ruby port (in which the wood had soaked) has an absolute vice grip on the flavor profiles of the brew. There's a lack of balance here, as the char, malt, hops...heck, just about anything else take a backseat to the dense red fruit. When discussing this with billab914 (who had it on tap at the release), he said the beer is not how he remembered it, and that he doesn't like where it has ended up. To be frank, he said, he preferred it fresh. As this is my first time flirting with Kate, I can only say that yes, this properly cellared, 2010 vintage is dominated solely by the ruby port's one-note, dense red fruit character.

M: Kate certainly feels good, but I can't say she felt great. The weight's decent, and both the texture and carbonation were on-point, yet I felt something was lacking here. It came off just a touch uninspired.

O: Portsmouth's Kate the Great vintage 2010 is a very, very good beer that just didn't live up to my lofty expectations. But really though, how could it? Considered the Holy Grail of RIS's, I can honestly say that I've had better, and I've absolutely had a whole hell of a lot worse. I'm really looking forward to ticking the 2011 next week, and will be sure to post my review.

I'm sure many of you are asking: Is she worth it? Is Kate worthy of dumping the entire cellar, for one measly bottle? That, my fellow BA's is up to you, though I'd heartily recommend thinking twice before doing so. At least for the 2010 vintage.

UPDATE: 9/23/11
As expected, we cracked the 2011 vintage at my 30th Beerthday Bash. From the moment the cap came off, it was apparent that the 2011 was head and shoulders above the '10. The port barrel character was in perfect balance with the beer, it really was one of the best RIS's I've had the pleasure of drinking. The room was deafening before the pour, and once the bottle circled around and their glasses were full, it was dead silent. We all took a moment and looked at each other, realizing we were drinking what may be the perfect beer. The following are my reviews of the '11:

A: 4 S:4.5 T:5 M:4 O:4.5

The moral of the story: DRINK KATE FRESH!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.65/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a jet black with ok carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Some funk, wood, dark fruits, tobacco

T: Has aome light funk, dark fruits like fig and raisins, wood, tobacco, vanilla

M: Has sordove a diminsihng feel on the mouth like the beer just feel flat on its face after initial taste

D: Very good

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.63/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Comes in super pitch black with a mixture of that beige and cherry cola colored head on top. Aroma was lots of earthy, soy, tobacco like notes.

Plenty of dark fruit notes, more raisin and soy, kind of sweet. Does have a mouthfeel that absorbs the alcohol quite nicely.

I really never understood why this one was so loved. Its pretty basic stuff, just had a low bottle count, special release kind of thing furthering the hype of a decent beer along Dark Lord lines.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.32/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Thanks to rlmartin for opening this one up while I was in town.

A: Pours black with no head, just a ring of foam

S: Coffee and raisin aroma

T: Thick, heavy coffee hits you immediately. Later sips start to reveal a bit of dark fruit

M: mouthcoating, but not overly sweet. Low carbonation.

O: Glad I got to taste this. Definitely a top-notch stout, although I'm not sure I'd jump through the hoops to get my hands on a bottle myself.

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Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jamie2dope for this bottle that was from the winter 2007-08 release. I wanna say December but can't confirm that.

A: The stout is a black murky singularity, absorbing all all light on the other side of the glass. A finger of head quickly dissapated, leaving nothing in its wake.

S: The nose is rich, decadent with chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee, licorice, molasses and dark fruis. Nuts and graham are equally intense but nearly lost in the shuffle.

T: The first sip is a punch of dark flavor and boozy strength. As the sip fades, a full coffee flavor arises, leaving a harsh landscape in its wake. Prior to the finish, rich chocolate and dark fruits set the stage. The boozy complexity is reminiscent of a well-aged World Wide Stout, with full vinous elements mixing with the dark sharpness of the stout. A real mouthfeel that gets a little to alcoholic at times.

M: The mouthfeel is full, unwilling or unable to stay with one flavor for long. The myriad flavors make the stout work and the coffee finish seals it.

D: The boozy heat makes the stout seem larger than 9.5%. Nonetheless, Kate is a nice sipping beer that has held up nicely over the past 15 months.

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