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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 TATURBO
3.07/5  rDev -24%
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 urwithdave
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a ccb snifter.

A- Black in color. No head. Pours very thin. No lacing left.

S- A bit of dark chocolte and a distant coffee profile. Kind of week in the aroma section here.

T- Dark chocolate with a hint of coffee just like I got in the nose. Not a whole lot going on here.

M- Very thin....water like even.

D- If I were in a chugging contest, it would get a 5, however, I am not. I was pretty dissapointed in this stout. I won't be seeking it out again in the future.

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Photo of scarletfire79
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

looks very nice, smells very nice just needs to grow up more. it reminds me a lot of a beer i had out in oregon called the terminator, just without balls. if all the flavors were kicked up this would be very enjoyable but as is it's kind of boring. i might give it another shot.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.31/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery.

Pours very black, as the name suggests, but I had no carbonation, no bubbling action, no head or lacing of any kind. If not for the blackness of the stout, the rating would be much lower.

Smell is very smokey with roasted malt, the smoke really takes hold of this beer.

Taste is primarily roasted malt with a decent smokiness to it, not creamy and seems a bit thin in the mouth, overall though the lack of carbonation really hurt this beer, not sure if this is the way it's meant to be presented but it meant I've had much better stouts.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.41/5  rDev -15.6%
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 Bmoyer0301
3.41/5  rDev -15.6%
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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Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Surly nonic pint glass. It poured black in color with a modest and creamy off-white head to it. The head faded to a very thin covering and remeined through drinking it. It left some decent lacing on the glass as I drank it as well.

The aroma is on the sweet side with milk chocolate and malt leading the way. It has just a touch of roasted malts present as well.

the taste has a mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate to it. It has just a bit more roast to it compared to the nose, but still pretty reserved. Some sweeter, malty, caramel flavors bring it more towards the sweeter side. The caramel showed even more as it warmed.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is decent, but not great. It was a little on the sweet side for me overall, but not too bad. Enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9/27/05 on cask at the brewpub

Utterly black with fat yeasty tan head, just like a scoop of ice cream on a float as the (root) beer underneath starts to invade. The fluffiness never gives up, leaving grey clouds on the glass and a lumpy cookie in the bottom.

Very yeasty scent, like bread yeast. I'm still of divided mind as to whether I like this on a beer.

Sweet smooth chocolate that melts like silk on the tongue.

Slightly syrupy body.

Actually, it got a little too sweet and syrupy for me toward the end. If I didn't have to drive home, I would have tried something else.

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Photo of MisterDeeds
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DrDogBeer for grabbing this for me while up North. Aside of StoutTrooper, this is the only beer I have ever requested based on the label.

Pours pitch black with, a thin tan head that fades quickly to the outside of the glass and clings around the sides.

Smell is dark and malty. Something roasted coffee-like, maybe toasty.

Taste is malty and slightly bitter all at once. Somewhat earthy, balanced with a little bit of a bready bite. Finishes dry.

Feels a little thin for a stout, but very little carbonation makes it very smooth and drinkable. The dry finish makes it hard to put down. A vicious cycle.

If you are a fan of Uncle Arthur, this a nice similar stout. Less creamy, more bitterness. I'm not sure which would be considered more drinkable, but this is worth a shot to see what you think.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
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 levifunk
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle shared by caseyk.

a - nice black pour with a nice thick head.

s - coffee dominates the nose. some kind of cream/milk nose, but dry.

t - over-roasted coffee. kind of a weak flavor.

m - thin pallet. on the lower end of carbonation for the style.

overall - not that impressive of a beer, but i may just not like irish dry stouts?

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Photo of Damian
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 1 pint 6 fluid ounces bottle purchased at the Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH
Served in an imperial pint glass

Tasted on St. Paddy's Day Eve.

The beer poured a near pitch black with a creamy, frothy, two-finger, saddle brown head that left thick rings of sticky lacing all down the glass. Over time, the head faded to a bubbly film.

The aroma was intense. Toasted oats and a distinct powdery yeastiness came through strong. Cereal grains were apparent as well. The roasted malts lent an almost coffee-like quality. All in all, a nice mix of sweet and dry aromas. Definitely much more interesting and complex than your typical Irish dry stout.

The taste was deep, dark and roasty. Somewhat espresso-like. Toasted oats were quite noticeable. Slightly smoky in the center. A bit cola-like. Overall, quite crisp and dry with a lingering, flinty and bitter finish.

The mouthfeel was very light (almost watery) with a super fine and mild carbonation. Where is the widget when you need it?

Although the aroma of this beer was really terrific, both the taste and the mouthfeel were disappointing. I would opt for any nitrogen infused Irish dry stout over this.

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Photo of Franchise
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light black almost dark brown or a burnt brown and leaves a sticky lace on the glass. The aroma is espresso, soft cinnamon, nutmeg. The taste on the palate is some what watery which is how the mouth feel is suppose to be, more of a smooth sipping stout. The body gives you a quick taste of coffee followed by some astringent smokey hop bitterness but quickly dissapates leaving you somewhat waiting for more flavor.

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Photo of cleeze
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Now I'm still new to the porters and stouts but I've been really enjoyinh them lately

Appearance was quite dark. Black as can be with a nice tanish to brown head on with obvious sticky lacing

Smell was of roast malts with a pinch of choclate. I think I might of even picked up on some coffee as well.

Now this baby was a lot sweeter than I was expecting. Hell of a lot sweeter than my ex girlfriend but that's another story. Deffiant chocolate taste with a little chocolate in the mix. Very sweet. Maybe some mocha in there as well. But what I liked most about it was the nice hoppy aftertaste.

I could drink this black beauty all night. (once you go black, you never go back)

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Photo of Viggo
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received for BC2 from none other than mr. purplehops. Thanks Stan!

Pours a clear dark brown, reddish in the light, thick tan head forms, sticks around, nice thick layer, not much lacing. Smell is sweet and malty, some toffee, bitter chocolate, coffee roast, cream, quite nice. Taste is interesting, more brown ale than stout, light roast, caramel, nuttiness, light citrusy kick in the finish, bit of chocolate and coffee. Mouthfeel is light bodied, medium carbonation, little bit prickly. Not as smooth as I like my dry Irish stouts, but a pretty capable effort and definately a treat, flavours were nice and light, but had enough going on. Thanks Stan!

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed May 29, 2005. On tap at the brewpub. Light roasted coffee aroma. Deep balck with a super creamy deep tan head. Fresh sea salt flavors, with some very chocolate and coffee tones. Finish is smooth and creamy, like a drop of sweetened condensed milk in a teaspoon of fresh espresso. Very nice! A little oaky on the back end, with some complex depth in raisins, cinnamon and lots of chocolate, coffee and rum.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tap @ the Brewery. A little thin for my tastes, though it could be because I had it alongside the Portsmouth Kate. Black pour with no head. Lighter aroma of caramel and roasted malt. More chocolate and sweetness than expected. Good hop bite in the back. Very good.

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Photo of Jettanbass9
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hauled back from KTG day by Alex (rhinos00) and sent out to me. Thanks buddy!!

A - vigorous pour allows a pillowy head to erupt but dissipates to a thin, lacy head. Pitch black with a dark tan head. Good looking beer that fits a it's very traditional style.

S - Freshly roasted coffee beans emanate from the obvious presence of roasted barley, there is a slight nuttiness that seems reminiscent of maris otter and the unmistakable aroma of flaked barley. It's robust roasted edge puts this beer above average but is nothing out of the norm.

T - major roasted coffee notes, followed by a light nuttiness that lingers in the background. There is a unmistakable presence of flaked barley and a minerally finish, almost chalky. Again robust enough to put it above average but nothing out of the norm, chalky after taste becomes slightly distracting.

M - with out a doubt you can tell this beer is dry. it never becomes cloying or sweet, this beer has the classic irish dry down pat. there is a slight creaminess that emerges from the use of some flaked ingredient and from what seems like a high mineral content. The mouthfeel is nothing but classic, I can only imagine the stouts of back then used to go down this easy.

D - Ever so easy. Such a sessionable brew that could be an everyday drinking, pending its availability of course. Great beer from Portsmouth, I'd seek this out especially for fans of Oharas Irish stout.

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Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
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 weeare138
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to zrrbrrt for bringing this one to the table...
Appears black with a brown hue with an off-white head that quickly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of grainy oats, cream, caramel, cracked wheat, and cocoa.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mix of cocoa, cream, and caramelized grain.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, grainy, & mildly astringent. Semi sweetness up front fades away with some roasted coffee notes into a somewhat dry finish.

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Photo of gford217
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from MrRetardedMonkey and poured it into a pint glass.

Pours dark brown with hints of ruby around the edges and big tan head that hangs around as a cap for a while and leaves only traces of lacing.

The aroma has a pervasive milky sweetness throughout. on top of that are some mild roasted malts and maybe the faintest hint of hop bitterness.

Sweet roasted malts and dark chocolate start out the taste with the same lactose presence as the smell. There was a little smokiness in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is fairly creamy with little carbonation and with a definitively dry finish. Maybe a tad thin overall.

This is a very good example of a dry stout and very sessionable.

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Photo of muffguy4beer
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Healthy pour into imperial pint glass. Nice tan head. Deep black in color. ominous.

Smell - Roasted Coffee, chocolate pretty typical for the style.

Taste - Again with the coffee and chocolate. Actually this is pretty tasty even though its pretty common. The only difference I taste is that its a touch milky which is very nice. Hops are only somewhat part of the taste. A little bitterness from said hops.

Mouthfeel - A medium bodied stout with a nice creamy finish.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable @4.5%. I could suck down a couple of these at the pub or at home watching a game. Nice work portsmouth.

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Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Oakes bottle. Damn good for its style this one. The smell of chocolate. A bit of smoke, lighter mouthfeel. Quite nice. Chocolate and roasty flavour held up well enough after room temperature that I finished another good sized sample then. Black, nothing special on head.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bomber from the brewery. Shared with janlud (1st review) and ksak.

A: The stout is black, dark as night, nestled underneath a white head. Isolated patches of lace run all around my glass.

S: The nose is cocoa powder with a chemical bubbliness. Roasted malts run alongside the cocoa, a sweet body.

T: The taste is mild, befitting an ale below 6%. The sweet roasted body shows off chocolate, cocoa powder and syrup. The dryness is palpable, wringing out the sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet and dry, a thin flavor that tries to disappear but can't. A powdery taste lingers.

D: Under 6%? Good enough for me. My Irish dry stout on St. Patrick's day.

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Photo of mothman
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into darkness snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: Dark coffee, very rich, roasted malts, nuts and chocolate.

Taste: Rich coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, and nut flavors.

Mouthfeel: roasted, slight creaminess. Lighter bodied. Medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, a pretty decent dry stout. Easy drinking. Nice flavors. Good stuff.

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