Portsmouth Royal Impy Stout
Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth Royal Impy StoutPortsmouth Royal Impy Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #57
Ranked #924
4.38 | pDev: 9.36%
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States
Portsmouth Royal Impy StoutPortsmouth Royal Impy Stout
Notes: A super dark, fulll-bodied Russian Imperial Stout with flavors of dark chocolate, raisins and sweet coffee that takes over the mouth. As it warms hints of aged oak help balance the alcohol in the finish. Layers of flavors in this beer is proof that great things do come in small packages.

50 IBU

2013 - Capped.
2014 - Corked & Caged. 984 numbered bottles.
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 147 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of morebeergood
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a Feb 2020 vintage while visiting the the brewery last month. Has a nice chocolate/coffee flavor, with some underlying notes of barrel aging in there. Very well built.

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Photo of Gatch
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally get to try this one. Happened to be in Portsmouth during its release but missed out on bottles. This is everything it's cracked up to be.

Super aromatic nose of maple, barrel, chocolate, roasted malt. A more bitter but stronger taste of dark chocolate, espresso, and some robust maple syrup. Deliciously creamy feel and finish. A sweet but heavy treat that I'm really happy to have tried. A proper Imperial Stout!

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Photo of SABERG
4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375ml bottle dated 2017 into the test glass
A - Black saddle leather in color, hides the steady stream of tiny spheres that collect at the surface to form a mocha cream colored cap.
S - Dark fruits are up front, then equally strong is the bakers chocolate and dark roast malts, woven in the mix is a thread of blackberry jam, finally the slightest hint of mint ,and tawny port.
T - A bit of coffee, Madagascar 80% cocoa, some wonderful lightly smoked malt, cigar wrap, a kiss of molasses, and dark brown sugar.
M - Exceptional, soft and creamy while hiding the 9+% very well, the fell is rich, with carbonation ushering in the semi dry close, Lingering on the palate is cocoa powder and the slightest dark berries.
O - A wonderful offering, excellent body, head retention, feel and aromatics, I am thrilled to have had this experince

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the brewery. Black as night. Tons of roasted malt, dark chocolate and black cherry skin. Medium to light bodied. Somewhat bitter in the mid-palate, but ends up being balance in finish. Pretty solid non-barrel aged stout. Worth the hype? Probably not, but it is good.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 batch released on February 25, 2017. Sampled out of a bottle on February 26, 2017.

The pour is jet black with a small, lasting tan head that laces as it fades.

Big aroma of chocolate malts, dark roasted malts, raisins, molasses, house yeast, wood, and a low to no hop profile. The alcohol is fully integrated into the aroma.

The body is medium to full. Quite chewy.

The taste is again a big chocolate sweetness with no booze to speak of, a hint of dark fruit, and a mild to moderate bitterness. If you like chocolate or cocoa in your Imperial Stouts then this one is for you.

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Photo of rjp217
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 bottle, so about as fresh as can be.....

A - Not much in the way of head, pretty thin type of pour with a moderate amount of lacing, obviously black as night

S - Dark chocolates, black licorice stands out

T - Fairly bitter hops, lots of roasted malts, high percentage dark chocolate, vanilla cola on the finish

M - Medium body, low carb, smoothened up as it warms

O - This was real fresh as stated and you could tell it tastes pretty young with the upfront bitterness. Some of that subsided as it warmed in the glass but I think some time with balance this one out. Unknown labeled ABV but drinks really easy in that regard. Nice overall stout!

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Photo of stevoj
3.51/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at 2014 Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. Nice crafted stout, better than average.

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Photo of Boto
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draught @ Brewpub: This one pours an opaque black color. There was no head or lacing to it. Good, but somewhat lighter nose than expected. Some chocolate, dark fruits, caramel. There was minimal sweetness. The taste is very good. There is some sweetness to the taste. Chocolate malts, some fruits. Very nice.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

350ml corked and caged poured into snifter

A: pitch black as stouts are wont to be had a pretty nice light chocolate head that disappears to nothing

S: chocolate, licorice, smells sweet

T: a lot of sweetness, some roast nice stout flavor some licorice and chocolate

M: A full mouthfeel but not lush or creamy a little thin

O: This is a solid stout if not a tad bit too sweet, it needs a little more mouth and a little bit more complexity to make it great. It's solid big not memorable

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Photo of Beerguykirk
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Beer on tap at the brewery. Looks great actually a decent amount of head for a 12%er. Smells of sweet malt not much else. Taste does not follow the nose, chocolate coffee, toffee, and caramel sweetness with a semi dry finish. Overall completely impressed. Then something magical happened the beer tender showed up with a cask drawn strawberry version of the impy. First sip no strawberry wondering if I misheard. Then it showed up on the back end of the pallet. Not the typical overly cloying sweet fruit stout. This is a masterpiece. Hats off to the Portsmouth brewery, well done. Kate the great, never heard of her...

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

375ml? bottle into a CS snifter

A- Deep mocha brown, thin lacing around the glass with minimal head.

S- Where do I start with this. I am getting a mash of fig, dark fruit, chocolate, toffee. So decadent. Love the smell. I like it in the same way that I like Zhukov.

T- I am getting roasted plum, dark fruits, cream, chocolate, definitive fig in this one. Normally I hate fig, but I like it in this one.

M- Rich, creamy, maybe the best attribute toward this brew. Incredibly well put together.

O- This is my first Portsmouth brew, and I am very impressed. I would not be surprised if my rating is higher than average. Very well put together brew. Tastes like a Westy 12 mixed perfectly with a top tier RIS. Cheers Mike!

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Photo of stakem
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks Mark for sharing this with me. Stubby 11oz bottle into a matching Portsmouth snifter. The brew appears black in color with a dark tan to brown head. A dark brown topping gets revitalized when swirled producing some spotty lace on the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of roast, chocolate, raisin and plum. Quite vinous and almost raw oaky aspects with a fresh grain to oat quality as well. It is earthen and leathery with a hint of ash as it warms.

The taste is bitter with roast, leather and chocolatey like baker's cocoa. Some suggestions of raisin, plum, prune and molasses mid palate before blending to more oaken into the aftertaste. The faint vinous burn of alcohol does a good job breaking things up.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is chewy and smooth with booze yet complex and super enjoyable. By all accounts this is strikingly similar to it's predecessor KTG which makes sense considering how many things about this brew shadow Kate. Nicely done, would drink again.

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Photo of jegross2
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Royal Impy Stout from the Portsmouth Brewery out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This beer replaces Kate The Great in the brewery's current lineup as a new winter stout that was released during Portsmouth Beer Week 2013. This beer is different from Kate, but is the name an allusion?

Score: 94

2013 vintage bottle served in a Doom teku-like glass and enjoyed on 06/27/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a chocolately brown color with no head. No lacing or retention to speak of. 3.5/5

Smell: Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and roast. Hint of fig. tons and tons of chocolate. 4.25

Taste: Nice mix of silky/creamy chocolate notes - cacao, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Less roast on the palate than in the nose. Touch of boozy warmth in finish, but no boozy flavor. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Just shy of full bodied, low carbonation. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Quite dry on the finish. Nice bittersweet flavor balance, with more sweetness upfront and more bitterness towards the finish. 4.5/5

Overall: Delicious and well worth the retail cost. It is better than aged Kate The Great, but not quite as good as I recall Kate being fresh. Although not the most complex stout, this brew delivers in what dimensions its offers. I wish this were more readily accessible.

Cost: $8 for a 300 ml "stenie bottle."

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Photo of abraxel
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF 8, courtesy of Auror. Poured into a snifter.

A - Crude oil. Black, viscous fluid that leaves a film down the side of the glass. A small amount of dense, brown head formed slowly as I poured, but then receded to a ring and a whisp on the surface.

S - Caramel, vanilla, booze, and roasted malt. Delicious.

T - Rich chocolate, toffee, molasses, and a touch of roasty coffee. There's the slightest hint of astringence that ties the flavors together nicely. This is just so decadent and rich and smooth and delicious... From the smell I expected it to be boozy, but whatever alcohol there is (and I'm sure it has plenty) is hidden away entirely.

M - Super thick, but it almost feels light on the tongue, perhaps because it's so smooth. Barely any carbonation and just a hint of alcohol. Just about perfect.

Holy shit, this is amazing. I love it! It's everything that I love about big stouts, like it was designed to fit my palate perfectly.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

CooperEllis hooked this up in a surprise box!! John is one of the best traders out there!! Shared tonight with Buckeyeboy for an impromptu humpday tasting.

Pours thick with a long lasting brown head... great lacing.

Nose is the expected rich mix of melted chocolate, background dark malt and some licorice notes.

Flavor mirrors the aromas with some added dark fruitiness.

Body is pretty decadent with a lighter carbonation that adds to the smooth velvety mouthfeel.


Thanks again John, your generosity will not go unrewarded.


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Photo of jaasen64
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml corked bottle from the 2014 release. Had this last year but didn't review it.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears an opaque black in the glass, about a half finger of creamy mocha head forms that has excellent retention, nice consistent carbonation that's the exact amount I like seeing in a stout.

S- Rich coffee, toffee, burnt sugars, molasses, hints of caramel, light bourbon. Fairly decadent smelling but not overpowering, nice balance of flavors lending quite a bit of complexity.

T- Creamy rich coffee that lends a hint of bitterness, molasses, toffee, figs, lightly burnt sugars, leather, finishes with creamy decadent dark chocolate and thick molasses. Boarderline being almost too sweet and decadent but otherwise very tasty with a very nice complexity.

M- Thick, very viscous, low carbonation but good for the style, pretty much no alcohol burn.

O- This is easily one of the better stouts I've had with lots of complexity and flavor. The only downside is that due to it's decadence and viscosity it's hard to consume an entire 375ml bottle, it's probably best to be shared with a few people. This is definitely one of the better fairly under the radar stouts out there and without a doubt worth seeking out.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Camden for graciously volunteering to grab me a few of these bottles. Much appreciated buddy! Thank you for the opportunity.

11.16 oz stubby bottle featuring a delightful display of Royal Russian Midgets. Will they ever get their due?

Pours a very dark brown with some burnt reddish highlights along the edges and some soapy mocha bubbles to boot.

Smells of toffee, raisins, and molasses with a prelude of some nice boozy hots.

Rich and sweet from the starting blocks. Huge raisin notes and prunes charge head first into a cavalry of toffee laden ice coffee surprise. Melted dark chocolate along the back end gets swallowed up by a wave of tempered, yet focused, alcohol. I'm not sure if this is port barrel aged or there's some deep recess of my primitive bear brain that points me this way, the there's a grapeesque sweetness along the back end that lingers and lasts.

Feel is oily and supple with a nice weight that sits along the tongue and slides all along my tasting places.

This is really good. I really enjoy Kate and I really enjoy this as well. I am happy to have had the opportunity and should I not die along my next salmon raid, or perhaps during one of my long ass siestas in some far flung cave, I have another bottle just waiting for me. Thanks again Cam!

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery

A: pours pitch black, very little head as it arrived at the table. Agitation led to about a half inch of head. Thin rim of mocha head around the glass

S: lots of chocolate and a little coffee. Dark fruits and a little alcohol, fairly roasty. Floral hops noticable. Honestly does remind me just a bit of Kate.

T: follows the nose. Very balanced mix of mocha, dark fruits, hops - getting a touch of citrus- and complimentary alcohol. Big maltiness and fairly complex.

M: just about a full body, great smooth mouthfeel, just a touch of alcohol heat. Very pleasant finish.

O: while its not kate, its still a very well executed RIS that is reminiscent of Kate.

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Photo of CooperEllis
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from my brother, cheers. Stubby.

A fine effort all around, with the light and effervescent characteristic I love about New England beers in general and PB in particular.

Highlights from this bottle are the nose, with plenty of action. Dark fruit - raisins, plums - light cocoa, and faint oak/booze around the edges. The booze is certainly right there in this one. In that one regard, this is reminiscent of Kate. The booze is evenly balanced throughout, with the malt and booze blending. I'm in no way a brewer but I wonder why more of their ilk do not use spirals over barrel aging. Seems gentler.

Flavor mirrors the nose perfectly. There is something of a rich malt missing from this. Given that it is an RIS, I'm rating to style, not preference. For me, this is a straight-up 5. It is in line with one of my all-time favorites: Foothills Baltic Porter. Speaking of which...

Dear Foothills,

This year I would like you to take a few barrels of your Baltic Porter and toss in a stone of bourbon barrel spirals. Thanks.


Mouthfeel is smooth, on the light side, without much of a presence beyond crossing the palate.

I'd be happy to see this in the annual rotation and hope to catch it on tap sometime.


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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.01/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had last night, taken from my notes.

Pours a dark dark brown, essentially black color, about half a finger of a tan head, left some bits of lacing on the glass.

Smell is primarily roasted malt which aspects of chocolate and caramel, not picking up much dark fruit as I would have expected though.

Taste is dominated by the roasted malt, chocolate is the most prominent flavor after that, dark fruit or any type of wood aging is weak which makes this RIS a bit more straightforward, alcohol heat is present but for the most part is very well hidden, body is not as thick or viscous as others, carbonation a touch high but not distracting enough, not a cloyingly sweet RIS or one that pounds you with many flavors.

Overall, good but not great, definitely not something I would take the day off for as some might. I don't see this as replacing Kate in the hearts of beer geeks, but then again, no beer should really try.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent beer!
In a tulip the beer was very dark brown, near black in color. There was a good-sized tan head that subsided quickly and left a little lace.

Rich dark chocolate aroma, some dark fruit.

Taste followed form. Lots of dark chocolate with raisins. Fairly sweet. The alcohol was very well hidden, not noticeable at all (until I stood up after my second one).

A rich but not heavy beer. Wonderful!

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Photo of Bierman9
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wicked day at work today, so I said WTF, Gus! and blew off to Portsmouth after work to "relax"... The fact that this new RIS was on tap had no bearing on my decision whatsoever.... ;-)

Battled through the snow, rain and wind and settled down in the fishbowl for a few small tulips of Tylers RIS.... It was a deep, dark opaque brown/black, looking oily and thick. Head was mocha-hued and creamy, though it thinned rapidly, leaving some rim-job lace. Had a lovely aroma, with rich choco and mocha, currants and dates. Nice!! Body was medium-plus and a bit chewy, plus being quite smooth heading down.

Flavor had lovely sweetness without being cloying. More choco notes plus some light roastiness hit the palate, accompanied by espresso, raisins, and black currants. Had a little floral hoppiness in the finish with subtle bitterness, but it mostly had smooth, chocolately sweetness while closing things up. Real nice... real!!!! Nice work, Tyler!!


4.54/5 rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


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Photo of Gosox8787
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: On tap at the Brewery served in a Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Pour is around 10-12 oz. I've had this on tap three or four times since it went on and decided to finally review it.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. Pours a pretty nice, one finger, beige head considering the 11.5% ABV advertised.

Aroma: Big milk chocolate and fudge cake tones really take over. A touch of light oak with some booze tones that contribute some nice character. The alcohol is pretty much spot on for the style and blends incredibly nice with beer. Lots of caramel, molasses, and dark fruits.

Taste: The chocolate and fudge cake notes really stand out and make for a sweet base beer that is also really tasty. The ABV is there, but the sweetness makes this scarily drinkable. Lots of caramel, molasses and dark fruits create a really nice malt interplay. Some light oask as well. Perfect as a desert beer and a nightcap.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and a touch creamy. Carbonation is there but on the lighter end.

Overall, this beer really stands on its own and comparing it to Kate is really not fair. The big chocolate notes and strong malt sweetness really make this stand out. Really well balanced and easy to drink. I keep going back to this time and time again at the Brewery despite the other really good options on tap lately. Definitely looking forward to this being brewed yearly.

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Photo of lostsurf24
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Grabbed myself a Snifter on tap release day at the Brewery, so about as new and fresh as it gets. Wonder how this would do with some time?

Apprearance - Dark, oily, brown 1.5 finger tan head. Receded somewhat quickly but some nice lacing on the glass

Smell - Caramel, dark fruits, Toffee, raisins, Chocolate

Taste - Hard to tell served cold, First was some sweetness of the caramel and chocolate then the dark fruits, raisin, toffee and molasses blends all together with a faint hit of alcahol but damn does she OR he hide it well. Easy to drink but enjoyable and still a social sipper. That should be a class of beer???

Mouthfeel - I find it to be quite nice, a bit oily and chewy and coated the mouth nicely. It invited me for another sip right away. I hadn't felt that in quite some time from a beer. Warming but not boozy. Again she OR HE hides "their" strength well.

Overall - Be aware...and respect the new Brewers Beer. He made a New beer people SHOULD hype and COULD hype as in years past. Excellent beer for the style. Well done...

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Photo of Auror
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a typical black stout color with a 2 finger light tan head.  Receded at a moderate pace for a stout.  Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell- Raisins, dark fruit, chocolate, alcohol, vanilla, and oak.

Taste-  Starts out with a lot of chocolate and oatmeal.  As it warms, there's plenty of dark fruit and vanilla/ caramel sweetness. The flavors shine pretty bright. Not much roastiness, and only slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Coats the mouth, medium body and chewy.  Carbonation is a little low.  That makes it pretty drinkable though. Very little alcohol presence felt, only a very slight warming. Impressively hidden for 11%.

Overall-  She who must not be named is a hard act to follow, but this is a damn good Russian Imperial stout from Portsmouth Brewery.  It's very smooth and pretty dangerously drinkable, with nice flavors.

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Portsmouth Royal Impy Stout from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 147 ratings