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 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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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 IBUnit63
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Portsmouth Brewery. Thankfully, they also had a couple bottles left in the off-premise store for me to take home...served in a standard pint glass.

Solid ginger head on licorice body-decent retention and lacing. Looks extra dark with a nice, bright head that stays around for quite a while.

Scent is a little mild-maybe some hop grass and a little chocolate malt and tannin but that's it at first. Fortunately, smoke and slate emerge with warmth.

Nice, clean and dry...malts emerge with solid roasted quality and great hop grass. Slate-ish on the back end, putting an exclamation point on the dry nature of this beast.

Creamy is a good way to describe this...creamy and austere. Nice, clean and even finish...yet hearty. Hop grass cuts what little weight there is, but fortunately it's by no means thin in body.

Goes down quickly. I want to down this stuff quickly, but better discretion limits the possibilities. Nothing against Guinness; it serves a purpose, but if you could have this on tap why would you even consider anything else? Extremely well-constructed.

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Photo of sethmeister
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours inky black with a small tan head. Lightly laced.

Scent is coffee, chicory, earthy and roasted notes with faint floral hops.

Taste is bitter chocolate, coffee. Roasted notes. Nice bready base.

Mouth is creamy medium

Drinkability is excellent. A consummate session beer.

A fine example of an Irish Dry Stout.

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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 joepais
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Again I have to say you can't get any prettier looking stouts than one poured from a nitro tap. Wonderful cascading tiny bubbles producing a great looking coco colored head in my Imperial pint glass. The color of the brew was the standard black stout no light coming thru at all

A rich roasted malt profile comes thru in the nose whit an ample hop presence. The flavors are more of the same, along with a slight coffee espresso note thrown in for good luck. Again the Nitro dose a lot for this brew and for sure it helps out in the way it feels in your mouth. Rich smooth and creamy are good adjectives for it.

Good drinkability on this as well, but I tend to use it as a session closer more than a session brew.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Skipped work and hung out at the Portsmouth brewery for lunch. Not a bad gig.

The Black Cat is tight. It was virtually black. I noticed some red tints on the bottom edges when the sunlight hit it.

The head had an attractive creamy cappuccino color to it, and was 2-finger in size. Nice ringed lacing.

I smelled toasted malts, espresso beans and oats. Even a little smokiness. Yum.

I liked how it tasted gritty/oaty and semi-sweet at the same time. A great balance of oatmeal and coffee. I enjoyed not getting much of chocolate on the palate, which kept this brew on the bitter side. Too many stouts and porters have chocolate in them...not necessary.

Mouthfeel was smooth, and of medium body. Finished dry.

Drinkability was pretty high for a stout. Not as thin as a Beamish or Murphy's, but delicious enough to have multiple.

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Photo of ajr24
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this while in Portsmouth, NH for Memorial Day weekend...

A- an aggressive pour into my imperial pint glass yielded an opaque, onyx beer with a relatively small amount of off-white head. Head retention seemed to be this beer's only problem. Otherwise this jet-black stout properly fills the pint glass.

S- smells overly roasty. Roasted barley is appropriately the star of the scents as it makes for a true-to-style Irish Dry Stout. Some nutty tones linger in the background. Chocolate malt, too can be picked out.

T- like the smell, this stout is nice and roasty; heartily roasty actually. Very dry finish. The first sip of this is tantamount to the first sip of coffee once you put your cream in.

M- Creamy at first, but then almost instantly turns dry. Its chalkiness is welcomed in my mouth.

D- low abv and otherwise great tastes make this an excellent session beer.

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Photo of damienblack
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, on the thinner side of stouts. Not a ton of head, or lacing. Ordinary in appearance. Smells pretty hoppy and kind of harsh, like sharp spicy bitter chocolate. Taste is great though, and very smooth. Lots of rich chocolatey flavours, some nice roastiness blending together to something that is fairly creamy, and surprisingly light and easy to drink for the style. Not boozey at all, nor is it overly hoppy. This is a pretty good beer, and a sweet session stout.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a smallish tan head. The smell is pungent with coffee,chocolate,and roasted malt. The taste has a full flavor with roasted malt,coffee,and chocolate. A pretty good tasting stout. The m/f is light with all the flavors mixing well. A very good stout from a very good brewery.

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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 JohnQVegas
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught (nitro) @ Portsmouth Brewpub.

Pours opaque black with a moderate, creamy tan head.

Nose is roasty, a bit of cocoa.

Taste is round and smooth - cocoa and a bit of coffee, roasty malt, and a very light acidity to balance, very light roasty dryness on the smooth finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy with a big round body. Delicious beer.

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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 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 younger35
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew from the man, the myth, the legend (BeerTruth). I loves me a good Irish Stout. Drank from my Darkness Snifter.

Appearance- Pours black as night with a soft light brown head that slowly recedes to a light cap and thin collar. Some random spotty lacing is left that generously dots the glass.
Smell- Wonderfully smelling stout! Loads of semi sweet chocolate that is very Tootsie Roll like. Some caramel and vanilla are fairly pungent and really accentuate the light sweetness. Lightly smoky and roasted this thing just smells smooth as glass.
Taste- Super kilned with a sort of ashy type roast. Somewhere in between smoky and burned, the level of roast is perfection. Some chocolate is indeed present, but not as abundant as the nose led me to believe. It's semi-sweet, semi-bitter. A bit more of that vanilla and a touch of caramel finish.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with a super slick, semi creamy feel with a bit of light carbonation and dry feel.
Drinkability- Man this stuff is tasty! It's got this sort of half semi-sweet half semi-bitter thing that I'm totally digging. It's got a beautiful finish that is dry and oh-so-delicious. Big thanks for sharing Adam!

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Photo of DIM
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this label!

a: This was pitch black. It pours with a big but short lived light tan head; moderate lace.

s: Lactic, nutty, toasty malts. I smelled something like coconut.

t: Quite dry, mirrors the smell. Grassy, cocoa bitterness at the end.

m: Gentle, creamy carbonation.

d: I've never tasted anything quite like this, very tasty! Thanks joepais.

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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 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 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 BeerTruth
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple bottles of this at the brewery this past Thanksgiving. I had a pint on cask at the brewpub and loved it.

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic, slightly chilled.

Pours a deep dark onyx black with a thin one finger light brown colored head. A fair amount of spotty lacing remains on the sides of the glass. Smell consists of smokey malts, roasted barley, and faint citrus hops underneath. Some coffee and chocolate linger in the nose as well. I really, really like the aroma of this stout. Taste begins with milk chocolate, roasted malts, and some caramel mocha. Coffee flavors emerge midway with a touch of lactose and vanilla. Some earthy and floral hops tickle the tongue in the aftertaste with faint cocoa powder as well. Light and creamy body with a smooth texture from the soft carbonation. The drinkability is through the roof. Lots of flavor and low abv at 4.5% is a perfect session beer. I really wish more breweries would produce this style. I like this beer alot, and it's even better on cask. Another winner from Portsmouth.

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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 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 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 Georgiabeer
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the brewpub in Portsmouth. Poured black with a beautiful head that is satiny smooth with very tight bubbles. Great, very fine lacing. Smells roasty and creamy with an undernote of espresso. Tastes roasty as well, followed by a slight nuttiness, the slightly startling and faint flavor of oyster liquor, and a creamy finish. The oyster flavor I'm referring to is a brash brininess with a metallic tang and is evocative of the sea. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy, and this is a pleasure to drink. Quite a complex Irish dry stout, particularly for such a low abv.

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Photo of ericj551
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up at the brewery along with a bottle of Le Chat Noir, in order to do a side by side comparison. The beer pours an inky black with a fluffy off white head that slowly retreats to a thin layer. The aroma is dry roasted malt with some chocolate and caramel. The flavor is a little sweet, with almost a milk like quality. There is plenty of burnt, chocolatey and roasty flavor to balance the sweetness. All in all this is a solid stout, although it may be trumped by their oatmeal stout.

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