Portsmouth Kate The Great | Portsmouth Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Portsmouth Kate The GreatPortsmouth Kate The Great
930 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 930 |  Reviews: 494
Photo of rpstevens
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an 09 bottle shared by jammalamma. Poured into my dogfish head signature glass.

The pour is a dark black with a thick mocha, frothy head. The head fades quickly and leaves an oily, sticky lacing.

The smell is roasted coffee, deep/dark fruits, sweet port notes and a definite aroma of toasted coconut.

The taste is full of sweet port, some coffee and dark chocolate notes and the slight hop character backs the flavors and adds to the roastiness of the beer. The sweet port and wood flavors back the flavors throughout the taste. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had, and it amazes me every time I drink it. I will say that the 09 is not aging as well as the 08, and the port is really taking over the flavor of the beer. If I had reviewed the 09 fresh or the 08 this score would most likely be higher.

This beer is really drinkable for the high abv, the alcohol is barely present. The flavors are incredibly smooth, I can't wait for KtG day 2010.

 976 characters

Photo of sacrelicio
5/5  rDev +10.4%

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.

 756 characters

Photo of badbeer
3.68/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a beige head, decent retention and lacing. Some milk chocolate, cream, roast, sweet caramel, and a little coffee in the aroma. Sweet caramel, cream, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, some vanilla, and a touch of roastiness. Heavier than medium bodied with low carbonation, very smooth. An amazing beer, I need more of this. Thanks to Adam and Cole for the sample.

Update: Had this multiple times now. Smell has had some burnt plastic in every subsequent bottle. Taste has that as well, but not as much. A pretty smooth beer, but just not that big of a fan. Give me a Smuttynose IRS, please. More detailed notes to come eventually.

 643 characters

Photo of ghostwalker
4.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed and reviewed as part of cburian's RIS showdown. Thanks for the chance to try some great brews!

Appearance is dark brown, oily, little head.

Light coffee nose, malty vanilla flavors as well.

Sweet vanilla fruitiness. Little of the coffee/chocolate flavors that we find in other RIS. Very different, but very good.

Moderate thick and oily mouthfeel.

Good stuff. Moderate drinkability. Two tulips did go down quite nicely on KTG release day, however...

 463 characters

Photo of Sarlacc83
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of ne0m00re
4.21/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Live review of a 22oz bottle of the most recent vintage, thanks to a generous trader. Of course, there isn't a label on it.
A: Poured an opaque, thick black with a slow developing (yet thin) steadfast dark cream head.
S: Calm vanilla, strong raisin and molasses, nice woody and green notes with some oxidation with figs. Very dark chocolate and a good espresso and nice roasted notes. This smells excellent.
T: Chewy molasses and raisin turns into a thinner brandy-like acidity (very nice with the roast) and pecans, with bitter sweet chocolate throughout. It sticks to your teeth with a sweet brown sugar while the hops a bright green in the back. Alcohol doesn't really bite. It's almost too sticky and thick to be pleasureable, kind of like a toned-down Bourbon County Stout. It's not overly complex. I'm not a big fan of the finish, which comes off like sweet wort of a stout (oily and a bit thin). It's not overly complex, either, but it's damn solid.
M: Very thick, with some relief, but then a lingering silkiness.
O: Bourbon County without the heat or extreme thickness, and not quite cloying, but more bittersweet chocolate forward than Abyss. This is up there with the big guns and this will be one I'll be on the lookout for.

 1,236 characters

Photo of beerhan
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Cmack15 for sending a bottle my way

A-Jet black very viscous pour into a snifter. About a one finger dark brown head that dissipates into a thin lacing.

A-Lots of chocolate and a bit of espresso. A little oaky and very burned aroma.

T-Lots of coffee up front but balanced by almost plum notes and tons of dark chocolate in a way that nothing overwhelms another flavor.

M-Very smooth minimal carbonation and hides the alcohol very well.

O-Probably the best non-barrel aged stout out there but not entirely worth the effort to get one of these. Kate is fantastic but I would choose other stouts simply over obtainability

 640 characters

Photo of Seanniek91
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of csmiley
4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much appreciation goes to prototypic for the chance to try this beer.

A - Pours almost completely black. A close inspection reveals some bright ruby highlights around the edges. The tan head rose to acceptable levels and stuck around for a bit. The resulting lace around the glass was pleasant. Kate is a pretty one.

S - Roasted notes hit the nose first and quickly fade to a combination of chocolate milk and milk chocolate. Some dark fruit is in the middle somewhere and is really too mild to pinpoint. Warm alcohol finishes it off. Aroma is much lighter than expected.

T - Roasted notes dominate the flavor. A dry smokiness also comes in strong at first. The fruit is stronger in the flavor than the aroma would lead one to expect. Notes of cherry and raisin abound. Bittersweet chocolate has a showing about midway. Coffee flavors are on the tail end and round out the flavor.
Note: Alcohol very noticeable in this one and leans toward being a tad hot.

M - Medium bodied with a near perfect level of carbonation. Remains smooth throughout. Finish is quite dry and bitter. This beer lingers on the palate forever. Beautiful.

D - Drinkability is good. Having chocolate and coffee show up last in the flavor profile is a nice touch. The alcohol is warming but comes very close to being too hot. That does put some limitations on drinkability. The finish and mouthfeel are spectacular. Overall this is a good beer that I would definitely try agian.

 1,453 characters

Photo of blitz134
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lots of new beer tasted over the past month or so, but only two reviews. I managed to pick this one up New Years Eve at the brewery, I was pretty happy to find it still on tap and I gladly took 64 oz home to have all to myself, mwuhahaha!

I really liked this beer, don't get me wrong. Appearance, aroma, and taste were all really good, something I'd rank between a 4 and 4.5. Its a solid beer no doubt, but I wasn't floored by those three. The thing that made this one for me was the mouthfeel and just overall drinkability.

Basically poured bitch black, small 1/2" dark brown head. Not really any lacing. Might have been better on draft.

Dark roasted aromas, brownie hints. Alcohol is evident after warming. Flavors of dark chocolate and brownie, once again. Some day old, cold black coffee in there. Alcohol flavors once its warmed a bit, but not harsh though, it works in nicely. Nice roasty finish.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Low carbonation lends to an incredible full body and smoothness. Not really any lingering bitterness.

This is a beer with good aroma and flavor that just goes down so damn smooth. You really could drink it all the time.

 1,149 characters

Photo of redliner8
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of nkeckhar
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of Snellgg5
5/5  rDev +10.4%

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

Pours a jet black elixir and leaves a thick tan head brown and soft. The aroma is sweet nutty wth a chocolate background. Wow the sweet malt, roasted barley, and chocolate notes attack your palate making this similar to a scottish ale than a more brisk hoppier Imperial, but not dissappointing by any means. This is a fantastic brew that finished hoppy with a slight alcohal presence on the palate.

 398 characters

Photo of KevinmusPrime
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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

Saved Kate for review #200!! Reviewing from notes a week ago. Waited in the frigid early March, rainy morning for a chance to get some Kate. Showed up at the brewery at 1 am, got in line at 3 am...calendar pages handed out around 4:30 am...went back to my car and slept until 9 am. Then it was a quick in and out...with my 2 bottles of Kate the Great! Poured from a 22oz bottle with a very basic label on it...into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass.

Pours an incredibly dark black, dense...like used motor oil. Head raises late, and doesn't have much retention. As it dissapates, it remains a small ring around the outside for a little time, until it completely dissapears. No real lacing to speak of, beer is just dark...thick...and awesome looking!

Aroma is great...just a little weaker then expected. Regardless, theres a huge molasses and chocolate aroma. If you focus, theres a slight anise hiding in the background. Makes your mouth water...and so does the anticipation...Here we go!!

Wow...really deserves it's reputation! Huge, smooth, creamy, thick-full body, viscous...but at the same time, so freakin drinkable!! I can't believe how drinkable this huge thick stout is. Tons of sweetness up front, only a minimal hop late on the backside that perfectly compliments the entire flavor. Great booze warmth as it slides down your throat! Very, very malty. What an incredibly balanced beer...and I'll say it again, so drinkable! This was a 2010 Kate, relatively fresh considering its only the first week in April. This beer is only going to get better with age! I can't wait...

 1,585 characters

Photo of Viciousknishs
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of mullenite
4.18/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a one finger medium to dark tan head. Decent retention but not a whole lot of lacing.

Smell is sweeter than most imperial stouts with a lot of caramel, molasses and port notes. Not a whole lot of roast or chocolate comes through the nose.

Taste is very similar to the nose but with more chocolate flavors and some added alcohol heat. The alcohol was a nice touch though and not overpowering.

Medium bodied with lower carbonation (which is something I prefer in all of my beers, especially stouts.)

Overall this beer is worth seeking out once, if it were easier to get it would be a favorite but I don't think it is worth what it trades for.

 673 characters

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

Sampled at Sexual Chocolate 2011.
Pours a deep dark pitch black color with a somewhat thin brown head and a ton of lacing. Smells of roasted malts, expresso, coffee, and dark chocolate. Tastes of tons of roasted malts, espresso, dark and milk chocolate, raisin, date, and a little touch of coffee. Mouthfeel is medium with a tiny amount of carbonation. Drinkability is actually pretty good. The alcohol doesn't burn the hell out of you so its pretty good.

 455 characters

Photo of Romulux
3.75/5  rDev -17.2%

Photo of flipdog0
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Jmoore50
4.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 fresh. I have had the 2008 earlier in the year, but this is such a different beast that it needed a different review.

The appearance is dark black with a nice fluffy tan head. The head stays around for a while and leaves very light lacing around the glass. Slight leg.

The smell is of black licorice. I don't understand from other reviewers who have not pointed this out, this brew is so licorice forward that its too obvious. It also has hints of bitter bakers chocolate.

The taste is chocolate licorice, a little ABV hot, still young and not as complex as the one I had with two years on it. Some smooth earthy grains, but nothing much after that. It has that nice thick mouthfeel that I love in RIS, just delicious.

This thing has a lot of hype around it, but for whats in the bottle, it is worth it. The 2008 blew me away, this one is good and has potential to get way better. Hype deserved.

 910 characters

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage

A. Pours black with some creamy coffee colored head.

S. Lots going on. Sweet chocolate malt, port, black strap molasses, some dark fruitiness.

T. Sweet chocolate, port, dark fruits, then a fairly dry finish.

M. Medium to thick mouthfeel with creamy carbonation.

D. Supremely drinkable. Stays on my top wants list.

 331 characters

Photo of kels
4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks pwoods for making this 2009 part of my Christmas present this year. Could be part of the 2009 soured batch based on other reviews I've read, but still damn tasty nonetheless.

Pours as black as night and completely opaque. An initial 1-finger deep toasty cocoa-colored head sticks around for a good while before fading to a swirly skim and a pretty substantial glass-hugging foam ring. Spotty, spitty lace clings to the sides of the glass.

Aroma is bold - full of super dry cocoa lending a deep, chocolately sweetness. Slight fruitiness like syrupy raspberries or black cherries creeps out more and more as the beer warms.

Taste is equal parts rich, bittersweet chocolate and tart sour cherries. While I'm not sure this is brewer-intended, it still presents an interesting, complex tastiness that reminds me more of a high-hopped American Stout. Malts are syrupy and slightly roasted, bordering on the richness of a coffee roast. Alcohol is warm, but not particularly hot. Feel during the drink is sticky, yet well carbonated. The aftertaste is prolonged by the sticky coating left behind, but the overall experience really is actually kind of dry.

Drinkability isn't terribly high, but that's not so surprising for the style. As I said, the tartness reminds me more of an American than a Russian Imperial Stout, but that doesn't mean I didn't happily finish every drop.

 1,384 characters

Portsmouth Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 930 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.