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:
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Ratings: 931 |  Reviews: 495
Photo of rondufresne
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BEER REVIEW #200! Since beer review #100 was CBS, I had to pull out something epic to top it (especially since I took the MPRE in the morning).

Reviewing the infamous Kate The Great from Portsmouth Brewery out of New Hampshire. This is one of highest rated and most sought after beers in the world. I am absolutely ecstatic to have had the opportunity to try this beer.
Score: 100

2012 vintage bottle served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 03/17/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown coffee color with just under a half finger of creamy tan head at pour that settles into a ring around the glass and foggy layer atop the beer. Totally opaque save for a thin brown highlight strip at the top of the glass when held up to light. Above average frothy and oily lacing mix with absolutely superior retention. 5/5

Smell: Loads of rich and roasted chocolate and smooth, percolating coffee. A really nice aromatic mix of milk chocolate and chocolate. Toasted oats, prunes, figs, and roasted malts. A very light vanilla and licorice smell too. As the beer approaches room temperature, a very small amount of dark cherry comes out in the nose. Very inviting! 5/5

Taste: WOW! Move over Darkness, there is a new Russian Imperial Stout in town. The first thing I notice is the rich, complex and layered medley of chocolate flavors in this beer. There's creamy milk chocolate, fudge, bittersweet chocolate morsels, mocha and dark chocolate throughout. There's a modest amount of fig flavor and "dark chocolate raisinets" flavor on the midpalate in addition to some brown sugar. There is a light alcohol warming effect (but not flavor) on the midpalate too, but just the perfect amount to give some liveliness to the rich chocolateness of the beer. There's some toasted oat flavor and smooth coffee too. This beer honestly strikes the perfect balance between chocolate and coffee -- smooth, rich and flavorful, but not too bitter, sweet or acidic. There's another wave of rich mocha and dark chocolate flavor towards the finish, which seems to grow as the beer layers. Finishes with the perfect mocha and raw chocolate flavor that you'd expect and desire from a Russian Imperial Stout. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Rich, creamy and chewy mouthfeel. Finish is dry, chocolatey and bittersweet. 5/5

Overall: I never thought that I would ever consume a beer that I enjoyed more than Surly Darnkess, but here we are. Kate The Great is truly a perfect beer that lives up to the hype. Rich, complex and infinitely chocolatey. You could absolutely hate beer and love this brew. If only this one was more available and easy to find, it would be the only beer I would stock in my fridge for regular consumption. People covet this beer for a reason, and I would absolutely recommend paying well over the cost to acquire a bottle for a special occassion. World class indeed!

Recommendation: Seek this beer out. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Pairings: Vanilla ice cream or steak.

Cost: $8 for an 11.2 oz bottle, but when you consider the cost of purchasing a lottery ticket to entitle you to a bottle and the probabilities of winning, each bottle actually costs $23.

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Photo of london1o1
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of deldredge
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of mcintire78
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Lenny1203
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Hopsiam14
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of bkny27
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of angrybabboon
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is a combination of notes taken 7/1/08, 3/22/10, and memories burnt into my mind from 4 bottles ranging from 2008 - 2011 (and some on-tap). Most recently updated on 4/28/12, from a 2012 bottle.

Note: 200th review posted to BA, I've been waiting to write this for a while

Note 2: No amount of rambling will do justice to this beer, so I'm going to attempt to be concise. I will likely be revising this in the future.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, slightly viscous-looking - head is a beautiful tan color, doesn't stick around forever, but the ring of carbonation that sticks around leaves great lacing

Smell: Simply intoxicating - a number of distinct aromas - burnt coffee, chocolate malts, baker's chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits (figs, grape skin), and some burnt port, a touch of wood - some hoppy aromas (when fresh), and they add a herbal/spicy character that blends with the dark malts - rich, complex malts, a beautiful blend of roasted malts, burnt malts, and cake-like sweetness

Taste: Beyond perfection - a complex harmony of bitter, burnt tones, somewhat sweet, candy-like tones, and some spiciness from the hops - dark, burnt malts - definitely burnt, but not excessively charred - dry, baker's chocolate, as well as sweeter, semisweet chocolate - roasted coffee - some incredible dark fruit flavors, perhaps from the port, which also adds a touch of tart - some sweetness that is reminiscent of a spice cake, as well as toffee - just breathtaking overall - the taste itself really comes in stages, with some rich sweetness at the start, chocolate in the middle, and a gloriously roasty aftertaste - definitely some variation from fresh to aged, but a 5/5 regardless

Mouthfeel: Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Kate - heavy, but not sludgy - insanely smooth - nicely carbonated (actually varies batch to batch) - absolutely, stupidly, and mind-blowingly drinkable

Overall: No other beer has caused me so much joy (and so much pain)

Having the opportunity to drink Kate the Great is simultaneously one of the best and worst things to ever happen to me. The good things are outlined above... The problem with this beer is that it's so good that it has cast a shadow over every stout I've had since the summer of 2008. Nothing is as good as Kate. And this beer is so f--- hard to get. I've waited in line for so many hours. It's an unhealthy relationship. It's become the prototype for why I hate hype. To summarize, I absolutely love and absolutely hate everything about this beer.

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