Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Portsmouth ALTernator | Portsmouth Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
9 Ratings

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Double/Imperial Altbier.

Added by Bierman9 on 10-15-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 9 |  Reviews: 8
Reviews by sethmeister:
Photo of sethmeister
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear caramel brown which shows ruby when held to the light. One and a half finger cream colored head which drops to a ring but leaves sticky lace decorating the glass.

Scent is a strong caramel malt and a hint of alcohol esters. Hint of chocolate malt.

Taste is caramel, a hint of chocolate, sweet, dark fruit (I can pick out figs). Toffee. Rich and malty. A very slight hop bitterness in the finish. The 7.5% ABV is undetectable.

Mouth is creamy and substantial.

Drinkability is excellent. The relativly high ABV is hidden well.

Not my favorite style of beer but as usual for Portsmouth a finely crafted and delicious beer

 645 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An Imperial Alt. Very interesting. The beer was a cherry amber color with a medium-sized white head. A little bit of lacing. It had a fresh fruit, caramel aroma. Nice strong malt presence, a little bit of cherry taste. A robust, chewy beer. One to savor and enjoy.

 264 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub on 11/1/08. Served in a tulip glass.

Pours a brilliantly clear ruby red with a finger of creamy brite-white head. Nice 1/4 finger of retention flares up nicely, leaving a solid latticework of lacing behind. This is a very handsome looking beer here! The aroma is very malty smelling, with notes of chocolate and caramel sweetness, nuts, thick breads, and hints of dark fruit tang.

Much like the aroma, the taste is a bready malt bomb of flavors, with chocolate and caramel dominating but I'm also picking up cherries and figs that give a sharp tang to the surroundings, as does a touch of bitterness that punches up the finish and lingers with a dry feel. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a creamier carbonation that keeps things moving as well as a bit of alcohol beef.

A very well done "Imperial Alt Beer" with robust flavors that doesn't sacrifice drinkibility for the sake of a higher ABV. I thoroughly enjoyed my glass of this.

 968 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a small fizzy head that fades to almost nothing almost instantly, slightly clear auburn ruby color.

Nose has a decent altbier aroma, herbal and earthy hops, a slight estery aroma, quite earthy and almost chewy like hops, some sweet brown malts with a bit of brown sugar, and reddish copper malts.

Taste starts with toasty brown malts, brown sugar, molasses, caramel, toffee, etc. A bit of a reddish copper malt flavor too with light toasty almost bready malts. Some darker fruits with hint of fig and date maybe. Then more hops, which are light overall in flavor but a decent bitterness. Brings a light earthy chewy hop, and quite herbal and earthy again, not quite hedgerow hops, but getting there. Light esters and perhaps a hint of tannins. it gets a bit more bitter and spicy hops as it goes. Finish brings even more bitterness, with spicy chewy hops, light creamy caramel malt flavors, slightly syrupy but drier.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, almost syrupy, decent carb.

Overall not bad, decent malts and hops, overall hop flavors are so-so, but malts are nice. Good balance.

 1,099 characters

Photo of mcgwire756
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown that is clear and shows strong ruby hues when held to light. Malty and nutty nose. Flavor is a slight bit stinging with alcohol. Overall though it's a smooth sweet tone with a fruity tone that reminds me of barleywine. Grainy, fruity sweetness. Liquid feel is very smooth. Lower carbonation. Extremely easy to drink. A nice version of an under-appreciated style.

Thanks to brewandbbq for this one.

 417 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, dark amber with a mahogany hue.
A quarter inch head of beige sank quickly, leaving behind a few whisps on the surface.

Honey-roasted malt, sweet caramel, and fresh dough lead off the nose. Hints of plums, nougat, and grape jam follow through.

Medium bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. A bit sticky.

Ripe, plump malt and honey-drizzled wet dough start the palate. Caramel, fig bits, and a hint of toffee follow through.

Finishes with a slightly drying, firming bitterness, fading fruit, and caramel. A trace of alcohol warmth in the extended finish.

Very smooth, fresh, and malty.
Perhaps a reincarnation of the Quincy Ships Alternator?

 662 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by today with offspring #1 for lunch. First round was a pint of this new (?) Tod Mott offering. Alternator? Seems I've heard that name before... Let's see... Quincy Ships Brewing? Head Brewer? Tod Mott!! I had that original offering on their last day of business, in June of 2002. I closed my review of that bier with this: "Note to Tod Mott: hope this bier re-appears on the scene down the road somewhere!".

Well, here it is! Hot dog!! Filling the standard pint glass was a clear, deep chestnut-hued liquid, with scant carbo. Head was thinnish and tan, though good stick was left on the glass. Nose was on the light side, with a little caramel malt coming forth. Body was nice, a solid medium, with a decent smoothness on the tongue.

Flavor kicks off on the sweeter side, with lots of superb caramel malts. This maltiness is spot-on, never getting cloying or overwhelming. Some subtle dark fruit action makes a play here, too. Following up is a healthy amount of floral hops, providing some balancing bitterness in the dry finish while always keeping things pleasant. No hint whatsoever of the 7.5% abv in this one, save for me getting a pint as opposed to the normal 20oz. :-(

Anyhow, a real tasty reincarnation. Nice job, once more, Tod!!


look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5


 1,333 characters

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big 'ol Growler from Porthsmouth. Always nice to get these when I'm out of state.

Pours a deep brown with a slightly reddish hue. Not so much of a head on this one, but definitely great off-white lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell is caramel, roasted chocolate malts, a slight hop bitterness in nose, and loads of great fruity flavors.

Taste is pretty damn impressive. Great plum, pear, dark cherry, and fig flavor. Loads of bitter sweet chocolate, and just a hint of coffee and hop bitterness to balance this all out.

Overall, mouthfeel is okay. I would prefer this to have been a bit more carbonated, but as is my experience with growlers, if you don't drink them fast enough, they can go flat pretty quickly...oh well, even with little carbonation, this is an easy drink. If this is truly a dopplesticke it's pretty damn close to style (if there is even a guideline for such a thing). Overall a great beer.

 917 characters

Portsmouth ALTernator from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 9 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.