Portsmouth Black Cat Stout | Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth Black Cat StoutPortsmouth Black Cat Stout

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-30-2002

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Reviews: 103 | Ratings: 196
Photo of Sycodrummer
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap from the Brewpub. It was presented to me in a standard pint glass the beer was a near perfect midnight black with no light able to penatrate. Atop the beer sat about 1.5 fingers of dark tan colored head. No outright signs of carbonation but a good coat of lace developed down the glass throughout the sample. The head retained well and reduced to about a half-finger for the remainder of the sample.

The smell was very strongly coffee upfront with more subtle aromas of toffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. Also some burnt expresso in the background. The smell was ever so slightly sweet like a milk chocolate candy bar.

The beer has a very smooth but robust body. A very milky-chocolately taste resembling a sweet stout (Mackeson, perhaps). Coffee flavors and vanilla were also in the taste and the beer finished as smoothly as it began with no trace of bitterness to speak of.

A moderate to heavy body with a velvety creamy consistancy that proved enjoyable but filling. Almost no carbonation.

A very drinkable stout and it paired well with my fried seafood appitizer. Would have gone equally well with dessert, or as dessert, or with oysters. I liked this one a lot.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark enough to block out the sun. Robust taste, chocolate and malty. The brewery tells me they will never bottle this, so the only way to experience it is on draft, which is ok by me. My favorite stout.

Update: they do bottle this. Must be cold in hell

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Photo of gameface23
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black pour in a pint glass. A light tan head laced the glass down its entirety.

S: Not extremely overwhelming, but dry stouts rarely are. There are hints of cocoa and coffee and other dark roasted malts.

T: This is a great example of an Irish dry stout. It's what I always wanted Guinness to be. If Guinness is a 6 on the flavor scale, this is a 9.5.

M: Creamy and silky mouthfeel. We weren't 100% sure if this was on a nitro-tap or not.

D: This is the definition of a session beer.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A chilled bottle was split between two pint glasses. Black liquid fills the glass. Atop it rests two fingers of thick brown foam. Good lacing is left behind. Some sweet crystal malts, chocolate and a slight bitterness make up the impressive aroma. It gets me excited to take a sip.

This is a well constructed and well balanced beverage. Plenty of dark malts can be tasted, imparting sweetness, but also robust toasted and nutty flavors reminiscent of a fine brown ale. The level of bittering hops is on the small side, but works very well here. It isn't an oily bitterness, nor does it remind me of coffee. It provides a sharpness that can be felt as well as tasted. This is one of the better Irish dry stouts I've had.

The beer is full bodied. At first, it feels like it has low carbonation levels, but if I let the beer rest in my mouth, I can feel a lot of bubbles popping in my mouth. A thin and slick coat is left behind. It's a touch sweet.

This is a very drinkable stout. Next time I'll opt for the growler instead of a bottle. It goes down that well. I'd also want to save some to cook with.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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 selecter70
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's nothing like getting something than from it's source: the brewpub in Portsmouth. As we sat down I noticed a gentleman sipping a dark stout along with mussels. While I opted for the fantastic ploughman's platter, I went for the stout eagerly as well. The pint gave looking perfectly poured, black with a wonderful beige with hints of orange head that stayed throughout the quaff. Roasted malt coffee aroma lent to a full flavor that tasted like a nice thick, bitter porter, with slight licorice hints. And then I had another...

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Photo of aahynick
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50F in a pint glass on tap nitro

A- opaque black with thick long lasting tan head

S- roasted malt

T- wonderfully nutty and great caramel flavor

M - smooth, rich full body

D- a pleasure to drink. Makes me wish I lived in New Hampshire.

as a side note, if you want to make the staff at Portsmouth Brewery laugh, just ask if they have any Kate the Great in stock.

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Photo of Gavage
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Luckily this was just added on tap before I left my barstool to return home. So bartender poured me a pint which showed up black in color with a super thick 2" tan head. Thick coating of lace develops through the drink. Nice aroma of roasted malts and chocolate. Strong roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, light coffee, hint of licorice, and some nice bitterness levels makes the tastebuds very happy.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Medium-heavy in body. The finish is long on the bitter chocolate and roasted tones after swallowing. Another outstanding beer at Portsmouth. It's almost a meal in itself.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff smells like a better-than-Starbucks mocha, you could almost swear there were chocolate chips floating in it. Has the color and texture of motor oil, as a good stout should. A dark chocolatey head with great lacing as well, but suprisingly only a mild chocolate taste with a more predominant roasted coffee bean flavor. This stuff is Barry White-smooth with just the slightest bit of coffee bitterness at the finish, just barely enough to keep this off a 5 for drinkability (I agonized over this one.) An awesome beer.

Both the beers I tried at this place were really good. I'm going to have to make a special trip up here to try some of the others, or beg and plead these guys to roll some kegs into the Blind Tiger.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Shout out to Reagan1984 for this bomber. He had to drive several hours to the brewery to get it.

Appearance: Pours an oily black with tight brown head. Head slowly expands for several seconds before topping out at around two fingers. Head has a very creamy look to it and pulls fluffy lacing behind it. Great retention as well.

Smell: Big-time mocha, burnt malts, and a dark chocolate bitterness that lingers in the nostrils. A nice milky aroma smooths out the overall smell, making it cool and inviting.

Taste: Sweet chocolate, mocha, caramel / toffee, charcoal-burnt malts, and a dry hoppy finish make this a very well rounded stout. Great balance and consistency. Flavor is mild and very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with a good amount of carbonation (more than expected). Wish the carbonation were a little lower, but I believe that's a typical characteristic of this type of beer. EDIT: this beer is a meal in itself.

Drinkability: Top notch. The kicker here is the taste: not over-powering but extremely enjoyable. True to it's style, yet very unique. Wish I had another one of these, but oh well... guess I'll have to make another trade.

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Photo of NardiByNature
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
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 GrittyMug345
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Portsmouth Brewery on 10/16/09, poured into a shaker pint. Beautiful cascading nitrogenation leaves a two finger tan head on top of a black body, head dies away slowly to leave very thin head, lacing is more like sheeting. Big nose of roasted malt, slightly acrid dark chocolate and espresso. More of the same on the tongue with a complex, dry finish. Medium bodied and infinately smooth. I could drink this one all day, an extremely sessionable stout, very much enjoyed.

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Photo of mschofield
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black with red highlights, topped with a one finger creamy tan head, leaves a sheet of lacing.
Coffee and caramel aroma, earthy with coffee grounds.
Coffee, chocolate and an earthyness pervade the taste, roasty malt, wood note. Chocolate aftertaste.
Full bodied, smooth and just a touch sour - nicely offsets all the sweetness that would otherwise be there. They should add a beer engine to their setup and run this one off cask. I picked up a couple of bombers from the store to bring home.

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Photo of BierBliss
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
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 bcastine
4.36/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pub pint glass at the brewery, fresh batch

A: Doesn't get any better then this. Black with the slightest tinge of red on the edges when held to the sun. 1 finger dense white head that left exceptional lacing allowing you to count the sips down the glass.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, bakers chocolate, oats and carmel

T: Balance! the perfect of amount of roast, hops and sweetness. Perfect harmony of the expected dry stout flavors. Comes across as very fresh in the malt flavors, where as many pub stouts have a stale out of balance astringency from the roasted malt.

M: If you never had a Portsmouth Brewery stout or porter you don't know what a 5 in feel is lol. It is the slickest, silkiest stout you will ever drink. Its almost as if they cheat somewhere in the brew process to achieve this feel. As a brewer myself I've tried with no success to duplicate the feel of Portsmouth's black beers.

D: As drinkable as a 5%+ stout can be. The feel really leaves you longing for another sip. This is by far the best dry stout I've ever had the chance to drink. Been all over Great Britain and the US drinking stouts and this is the best Dry Stout imho.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
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 lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

jet black in color with a small, tight tan head. Some great lacing going on. Great aroma-a rich, deep chocolate like quality to it. Nice roasted grain smell. Deep and rich tasting-nice blend of roasted grain and "dark spices" such as anise and licorice. Nothing is overwhelming but well blended together. Cocoa flavored. Silky smooth and very full bodied. Nice dry finish. Just a great beer in general. More flavor then any Irish stout I can remember. Thank you sir may I have another?

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Photo of Hibernator
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Cat Stout
22 oz brown bomber (purchased at the brewery)
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a jet black with a tan colored head. Excellent sticky lacings all over the glass. There is no seeing through this beer, it's as black as you can get.

Pleasant aroma in the nose. Whiffs of dark chocolate, cherries and hops.

Slick mouthfeel. Juicy malts with a nice coffee, mocha and chocolate blend. Very smooth and enjoyable with just the right amount of hops on the finish. This beer also has a bitter coffee or espresso presense.

This is one solid stout. The Black Cat stout is well crafted and made with quality. Wish I could find this in stores around me. Check it out if you have the chance.

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Photo of danmcg62
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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 mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

was very happy to receive this one in a recent trade. I had wanted to try some of their other offerings and this one surely did not disappoint. Served at a decent cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/12/2009.

The pour was wonderful. Rich dark black in color with a huge head of tan that came up and over the top, settling down for just a moment and totally coating the insides and the bottom of the glass as it went, really full and very dark looking. Rich roasted malts that came over the nose as I lean in for my first smell. Really very well done here I have to say. Lots of light cocoa and a hint of subtle cookie dough like aroma as it warmed. The first sip revealed a very full bodied and well carbonated dry stout. Very sweet with loads of lactose sugar and a wonderfully complex flavor. Rich chocolate and sweet notes that really just put on an incredible show here. Smooth as could be with as close to a session stout as you are going to get. I had no issue with putting this one away quickly.

Overall this was like kates little sister for me. Rich, smooth, decadent and slightly dry this was a nice lighter stout that I really enjoyed and would have no issue at all going back to another day.

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Photo of Jayli
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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 Kelp
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured forth the color of cappuccino with a small brown head that went away slowly. Smells like coffee, smoke and cocoa. The taste is probably what guinness would be(if it didn't taste like bog water and chocolate syrup). all the smells com through in the taste and it ends with a nice smokiness too it and coffee lingers on the tongue. It feels silky and creamy and ends with an enjoyable bitterness on my tongue that made me wait longer than usual to have another sip. I actually wanted more of this brew once i had finished the bottle, which for me is a lot to say since i tend to go from one beer to another when i drink, and this was 22oz to boot. I do wonder how much nicer this would have been straight from the tap though.

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4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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 KrisPaulk77
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Brewery.
The beer was served in one of the brewery's branded pint glasses.
The beer was deep and dark, with a tight collar of creamy, khaki-colored foam. The head stayed substantial for quite a few sips, and never really receded. Impressive rings of lace showed the progress of this pint as it was consumed.
The aroma was rich and roasty, with a touch of bitter chocolate, some caramel, and sweet grains, with a balanced hop profile.
The taste was good, rich in flavor, with tastes of cocoa, coffee, sweet grains, a nice, clean hop flavor, and a good dry finish. The mouthfeel of this beer was smooth, silky and creamy.
I could drink this beer all day. My first offering from the Portsmouth Brewery. I picked up a bomber to bring home.

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Photo of CooperEllis
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into the Southamton IRS release snifter (slight different than my dfh snifter, but really, it's all just glass)

Great dark color with a silky head. The head dissapates quickly, but leaves very nice mily lacing.

Very strong grain presence in the nose, slightly milky/cafe latte aroma.

Mistakenly was told this was a 'coffee' stout, but this is an Irish Dry stout and an excellent brew across the board. Wonderfully subtle notes within the milky malt body. This is highlighted by a full and rich mouthfeel, but the end is crisp, very nicely balanced.

Despite all the wonderful characteristics of this stout, I'm a bit unhappy. It's probably because I was expecting a stronger coffee presence. Still, damn fine across the board.

(1-1-5, I'll never catch afksports)

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Portsmouth Black Cat Stout from Portsmouth Brewery
4.04 out of 5 based on 196 ratings.
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