Portsmouth Black Cat Stout
Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth Black Cat StoutPortsmouth Black Cat Stout
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Irish Dry Stout
Ranked #6
Ranked #5,996
4.03 | pDev: 9.93%
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States
Very Good
Portsmouth Black Cat StoutPortsmouth Black Cat Stout
Notes: Yes, Arthur, there is another stout. Our Irish-style "dry" stout is brewed with four different malts, roasted barley and Chinook hops. It is big, bold, smooth & tasty, and we think it's the best thing on either side of St. James Gate.
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Reviews: 104 | Ratings: 198
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was poured into a pint glass and a mug. The appearance was a nice looking dark brown close to black color with a decent one finger white to off white foamy head that once it dissipates, there’s a decent amount of white foamy lacing that’s kinda light for the most part. The smell had a nice dry roasted coffee aroma with some light chocolate trying to come through but stays in the background for the most part The taste was mostly dry with a nice roasty sort of coffee-ness coming through. On the palate, this one sits about a light to medium on the body and it has a fairly decent sessionable aspect about it. Overall, I say this was a decent Irish Dry Stout worthy of having again.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a black color with a one and a half finger foamy white head that dissipated at a nice pace. Light lacing graced the sides of the glass nicely.
The smell started off with some smoked malts and bleeds into a nice roastiness. Dry cocoa beans and a light dark chocolate glide in for the balance.
The taste was moderately balanced between the sweet, the smoke and the roast. Cocoa beans blend with a light coffee bean. There's a light quick roasty to smoky aftertaste leading into a dry finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation felt right for the style and for me.
Overall, nice Irish Dry stout, pretty sure I could do this again.

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4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lem me start by warning that this beer is incredibly carbonated. A soft pour gets four fingers of rich carmel colored fat foam head. It has excellent retention and leaves scattered lace. Body is pure ink black. Nose has distinct hops, burnt malt and a dry mineral quality. With first sip I am taken by how the dryness of this beer teams with the soft smoked malts to form a dynamic union. There is the slightest of sweetness on the back of the tongue then a bit of citrus rind or even piney hop tone. They really hit the style perfectly with this one. Maybe the best American version of the style I have has the pleasure to try. Mouthfeel is both dry and thick with a bitter bite on the end. Wonderfully drinkable, long term sipper.

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Photo of brentk56
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: A little bit too much foam, initially, but it settles down to an impressive head level with plenty of streaky lacing left behind; the fudge brown liquid reveals some ruby highlights

Smell: Roasty, with chocolate and woodsy tones

Taste: Roasty and ashen, up front, with chocolate and a hint of mint; dry finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate carbonation; could be creamier

Overall: This bottle has a few years in it but it still drinks nicely; the mouthfeel would need to be a bit better to take the rating up to the next level

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Photo of beergoot
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served at a proper temperature at the pub, looking black and topped with a light tan head. Great roasted grain and bitter chocolate aroma; taste follows suit with an additional well-balanced hop bitterness. Medium-light body; dry finish.

This was a nice "desert" beer after eating their pollock fish and chips. The beer packed in the good, dark roasted malt flavors and felt relatively light yet rich and smooth going down the hatch. Very delightful, very drinkable...

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on nitro tap, 8 oz. into a half shaker pint glass at Portsmouth brewpub in Portsmouth.

What a gorgeous red to this body, deep and dark brown with red edges, given with a super creamy tan head, thin nitro bubbles with hints of speckled white. Lots of lacing and rings while consuming.

Nose is filled with lots of Swiss like milky creamy chocolate. Rich. Dry biscuits and chewy oatmeal cookies out of the oven, this smells fantastic.

Taste is sweet and rich, but in control. Wonderful creamy texture. Palate hits with coffee and milk cream, but very light bodied. Some mild playful carbonation, and a great lime oil finish of hop goodness so subtle.

Super fantastic and super drinkable, great beer!!

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is jet black with a low profile, dense, off-white head that clings to the glass like glue. Smokey and coffee roasted aromas, which smell light, and very tasty. Flavors are dry and smooth, with roasted coffee and a slight molasses highlight. Cloying, bitter aftertaste that is pleasant and rich. The finish is dry and bitter, cleaning the palate. Very tasty brew.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this beer at a tasting with local BA buddies on 2/11/12. Review is from written notes.

Thanks for bring this rarity Duff!

Appearance: light black bodied beer with a huge fluffy head composed of many small dense bubbles. Head drops quickly leaving spotty lacing.

Smell: kind of a weak nose. Mild roast and some milk chocolate. Hints of fruit and smoke. You really gotta put your nose in this beer to get a good idea of whats in the nose.

Taste: Faint roasted coffee that is mildly bitter. Hints of smoke and a little fruitiness. Finishes fairly clean and with a bitterness that quickly fades away.

Mouthfeel: light bodied Irish dry with high carbonation levels. Its a bit overcarbonated, but it does effect the beers other qualities too much. Carbonation is even prickly at times. Easy to drink this; you could kill a bomber yourself with getting a buzz.

Overall: Not your typical Irish Dry stout; I would place it as an American stout. The beer needs to be a little more roasty and creamy to be a good Irish dry stout. I enjoyed the oppurtunity of tasting this beer and it was the first beer I have tried by Portsmouth.

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Photo of TATURBO
3.07/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tried this at a tasting I hosted thanks to Duff 27 for sharing.

Appearance was Opaque Black with close to 2" of head.

Smell: I got some dark fruits, almost "raisin-like" Slight sweet & sour smells going on.

Taste: Strong burnt/roasty flavors. Nothing really special going on to draw me back for more.

Mouthfeel: This is what kinda killed this beer for me, It was way too carbonated for my liking. Average otherwise.

Overall: Carbonation Overkill. (Bad bottle maybe?) although others tried it in our tasting group the same time as I did. Just not one that would bring me back again. Too many other better stouts out there and more easily available.

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Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a huge two inch tan head on a black body. Excellent lacing and head retention.

Its got that metallic baltic porter aroma. Not off poutting but doesn't really do anything for me.

Nice roasted notes, almost burnt or coffee-like. "Charred." Might guess at a higher ABV. Some dark fruits come out as it warms.

Medium mouthfeel, carbonation on the higher end.

A nice beer, first Portsmouth beer. Enjoyed a lot moreas it warmed. Thanks mikeyv35!

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Photo of BierBliss
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint on cask with coffee.

Aroma: obvious coffee tones

Appearance: pours black, good lacing

Flavor: slight bitter finish, no carbonation or booziness

Mouthfeel: served warm on cask, smooth

Overall impression: my favorite stout from Portsmouth. I don't always get the cask versions because they normally get hopped to much when they create cask versions.

Very drinkable and tasty

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Photo of Gatch
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery.

A - Pitch black with a creamy, light brown head. Hangs around for a long time.

S/T - Smoky, charred, roasted malt.

M - Smooth, roasty, and dry in the finish.

A good example of a traditional stout. Went well with the pulled pork sandwich.

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Photo of NardiByNature
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this guy on tap at the Brewery on the 23rd. It impressed me in the sampler (which are sweet), so I ordered a pint of it afterwards.

Black and a creamy short head that sits on top of this beer until the end. Head clings to the glass around the edges so it's sort of smooth and concave.

Licorice, coffee, chocolate and grain smells.

Delicious. I love this. Some of the nose with some roasted grains and toast.

I've seen beer described as "velvety" before, and that seems like one good way to describe it - if you like velvet, that is. Dry, yet creamy. It's great.

Loved it. Try it if you're drinking in Portsmouth then I couldn't speak more highly of the Portsmouth Brewery. The imperial stout is great and so is the Bottle Rocket IPA.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the PBC in Portsmouth NH.

Pours jet black with off white creamy foam. Very sticky. Rich roasted smell, some coff. Smooth taste with a real dark chocolate flavorful finish. Low to no carbonation. Finishes like a candy bar. Nice blend of bitter and sweet.

Very good stout.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to cooperellis for picking this up for me (along with others) when visiting the brewery. enjoyed out of a portsmouth sniftery tulip.

a - opened the bottle and filled my glass...poured thick oil like black with a thin off white creamy head that was gone quick leaving sparse bubbling on the surface of the brew.

s - very nice creamy roast. some menthol. some powdery cocoa. irish cream.

t - starts off with a charred powdery chocolate then a touch of roastiness and finishes with irish cream.

m - mouth is light and the beer leaves a charred feel. quite nice.

o - overall, this beer is to beer...what baileys is to booze. it is pretty light and has a nice irish cream thing going on. mostly char and roastiness with some subtle notes of coffee and a nice presence of powdered chocolate. this beer is totally hitting the spot right now.

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Photo of jamescain
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer.

Appearance: Jet black with an off white head about a finger thick that fades into a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Notes of roasted grain, chocolate, and a hint of caramel.

Taste: A lot more chocolate in the taste then in the aroma. Roasted notes and surprisingly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation easy enough to contemplate drinking a few more.

Overall: Probably the best Dry Stout I've had, which is not that many since they seem to be hard to come by in the craft world.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub.

A - Pours black, tan-colored head, thin cap, thin collar.

S - Nice malty backbone, coffee, roast, light chocolate.

T - More chocolate-forward here, some coffee, roast, malts, and a touch of hops.

M - Light body (perhaps a touch too thin, but still, it's only 5.5%), creamy finish, good carbonation.

O - Enjoyable. I really am a fan of the Irish Dry Stout, so this was hit home for me. That said, I've had better, but still, I enjoyed it for the most part.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into an imperial pint. Special thanks to jayli for this from our most recent trade!

A: Pours a deep cola black with russet highlights at the edges. One finger of light brown cream layed on top, briefly, before settling down into a thick and creamy collar that left a few tendrils of lace in the glass.

S: Heavy roast and burnt chocolate. Subtle coffee with cream, campfire ash, fudge, and chocolate dipped cherries.

T: Close to above with the fudgy, chocolate-y flavors dominating. Coffee puts up a valiant effort, but is steamrolled by the chocolate. Nice ashy flavor during the long finish.

M: Killer mouthfeel! Slightly sweet and incredibly creamy with a thickness I've never before experienced in this style. Excellent dry and ashy prickliness that picks up steam in the finish.

O: A wonderful example of the style. The care they put into their "everyday" beer is very apparent. Send more jax!

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Photo of rudzud
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this while at the brewery. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice dark oily black with a rich two finger head that slowly fades leaving nice amounts of side lacing and a thick film on the brew.

S - Good roasted coffee notes as well as some light chocolate. Some very faint hops too.

T - Similar to this nose the flavours are all quite smooth together. Starts a little roasty and bitter coffee notes that fade to your usual coffee and qualities with some light hop finish. Very, very light.

M - Quite thin like this style is. Ever slightly creamy too.

O - Overall this is quite the irish dry stout. Nice and creamy, really good appearance and smell. A solid brew from Portsmouth.

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Photo of Jayli
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 6/11 at the brewery
Served in a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque black with a 2 finger of creamy brown head. Head retains nicely and leaves ringlets of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is dark chocolate, light coffee notes and a hint of toffee sweetness.

T: Taste is supremely balanced! Starts off with great coffee notes, mingled with a nice roastiness. Lighter toasted malts come through. A nice milk chocolate and minor dark chocolate then come through. A huge roast presence with a light hoppiness comes in during the finish.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, on the lighter side but slightly creamy.

O: Goes down easily, ridiculously tasty, not too filling, mild kick, and excellent representation of style. This is a phenomenal drinking Irish Dry Stout. One of the easiest drinking of the style that I've had. Yea - I could get with this one all day, every day!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a respectably dark brown/black color with a thinnish tan head that I had to coax with a vigorous pour. Roasted coffee and caramel fill my nostrils along with powdered dark chocolate and a hint of toffee. Taste is roasty and creamy almost like a sweet stout rather than a dry. Chocolate and coffee mixed with caramel and toffee. Longer lingering roasted coffee bitterness mixed with just enough sweetness finishes every sip. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Another great brew from the folks up at the Portsmouth brewery.

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Photo of afksports
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Introduced to me through my friend John who provided the bottle, Black Cat is supposedly thought by some to be as Great as Kate. It seems that annual release of 900 bottles has turned some towards the more readily available option.

And I'm certainly not complaining. Black Cat pours a deep brown to black body, leaves bubbles tickling the glass, and sustains a ring throughout the drink. It smells like chocolate and coffee, rather standard I guess, but well-composed. The taste is really not all that boozy, and features dark chocolate and hops bitterness that pair up for a colorful tinge. Plus, from start to finish, sweet sweet stout malts. Those are probably the only overwhelming component of the brew - it just might be too thick to drink that much of.

Still, with its full body, this Black Cat makes me just as happy as Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" made my sister back in the day (Black Cat was a song title, right? I'm not being dirty).

That said, I'll withhold judgment on the debate between Cat and Kate. I'd rather have both.

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Photo of danmcg62
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bought at the Portsmouth Brewery store up in NH.

A-Pours a deep, dark black color with a creamy head. Very nice.

S-Dark chocolate malt comes to mind first. Sweet caramel is around there too.

T-Thick and choclately, super malty. Tastes like a dark chocolate bar in a glass. Very tasty.

M-Chewy and creamy. Feels like a chocolate milkshake.

O-Overall this is a very good stout. Very drinkable and very pleasing to all the senses.

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this bomber on the way back from snowboarding at Wildcat and decided to take a slight . I poured the beer into an Imperial pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a pitch black color with a one finger mocha color head. It reduces down to a thin layer of head and slight lacing right before I decided to take a sip.

Smell: Roasted caramel sweet malts and some slight coffee and chocolate hints.

Taste: same flavors that I could smell folllowed by some dry bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel: slightly chewey and medium bodied. Very smooth and medium carbonation.

Overall: I think this beer fits the style very well. Would purchase this again at the brewery to take home or have a pint if I was ever driving through Portsmouth. Very easy drinking beer and would recommend it to anybody.

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Photo of Bmoyer0301
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Tonight I pulled out another one of my favorite glasses and this is probably the most frequently used, my trusty English pint glass. As I proceeded to pop the cap there was a generous amount of hissing and the carbonation gasses seeped out and floated away. On the pour I decided to go slowly just in case the head wanted to flow over the neck of my glass. When I was done I was left with a good looking one finger thick head that was a milk chocolate mocha colored. As I hold my glass up to the light this baby is deep deep black and has absolutely no light passing through it at all. There is no yeast chunks or haze floating around which is a good sign. As I give a quick swirl the viscosity seems pretty tame and nothing really to mention of and not leaving any long streaking legs on the walls of my glass.


Roasted malts, and cocoa powder are the main event here. Some slight ashy undertones followed by chocolate and raisins. As I left my glass warm up a bit there are lots of dark fruits shining through and some rum-esq aromas. In the middle I am pulling out some light roasted coffee maybe a iced coffee smell, actually to be more specific I am reminded of non-dairy coffee creamer. I am liking the faint sweetness that rounds out the roasty bitterness through.


Its really nice to sit back and enjoy a simple style like this once and awhile because it really puts the extreme beers back in check and makes you appreciate other styles so much more. Right out of the gate you are loaded with dry roasty malt and dark cocoa flavors and even a touch of molasses. Very thin on the palate and easy drinking makes this quite a session-able beer when you have a craving for a few darker beers. In the middle I am pulling out some minerals that resemble ocean water maybe some salt? (Oyster Stout?) I don't want to forget to mention that I am actually tasting some citrus hops behind all of these flavors which really surprises the heck out of me for this being a dry stout. The finish is long and really leaves you with a great coating of chocolate that goes on and on and pulls you in for another sip.


This is as good as they come in my opinion, easy drinking and oh so smooth. Don't get me wrong when it comes to Portsmouth, Kate the Great is where it's at but don't turn your nose up to their other offerings because they are just as good. I believe this is my sixth or seventh bottle from these guys and I have yet to have on that was bad or off flavored. So again I say if you get a chance to try or trade for one tonight's beers, this is a no brainer and sure win in the flavor category.

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Portsmouth Black Cat Stout from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 198 ratings