Santa's Little Helper 2007 - Mikkeller ApS
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 46 | Display Reviews Only:
3.6/5 rDev -12.4%
Jason's bottle, aged what 3 years or so? Not lost in storage, this is the beer. Black, with little head. An anoying sourness with chocolate and roasted barley, licorice, well malted. Aroma is big chocolate. Average mouthfeel overall. Still, a sipper.
01-14-2010 02:18:52 | More by Sammy
4.13/5 rDev +0.5%
Chocolate chestnut with black cherry trim. Despite a woefully pathetic 'pop' on cork removal, the pour has produced four full fingers of coffee milkshake colored foam that looks almost as creamy. Thick sheets of cheese grater-like lace put the finishing touches on this attractive holiday brew.
The aroma is an outstanding mixture of chocolate stout and BSDA. Mostly the latter. Since no chocolate was added, the brewers must have used a boatload of chocolate malt (along with pale and special B). The clove-like character of the yeast is appreciated, while the orange peel and coriander seeds are not.
Mikkeller have themselves another winner with Santa's Little Helper 2007. This is one bold, flavorful beer that doesn't drink anywhere near its ABV. The challenge will be to drink it slowly enough so that the final few paragraphs of this review make sense.
With several more ounces under my belt, I'm not sure that it's a world-beater, but it's still quite good and is worth the $13.99 that I paid last winter. Again, think BSDA with more much chocolatiness than that style usually delivers. It's an interesting combination to be sure.
The coriander works well in combination with the peppery spiciness of the Belgian yeast. However, the orange peel adds a citric tartness that comes close to being over the top. Sweet BSDAs are fine, as are spicy ones, but sour doesn't work nearly as well. That said, the flavor and drinkability scores could just as easily be one notch higher.
That 11.0% has to be a misprint. Absolutely no alcohol is appreciated and there isn't even much esophageal and belly warming. Great job, guys. The mouthfeel, although fine and dandy, falls a bit short in the volume department. More bubbles is probably the only fix that's needed.
Santa will get more than a little help from this 2007 holiday ale. Actually, after killing the 750 ml bottle, he'll *need* some help driving his sleigh. If you're lucky enough to find it on the shelves, this is a worthwhile purchase. And to all a good night.
12-23-2008 22:26:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
4/5 rDev -2.7%
Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a small but condensed light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet dense malt with light vinous notes at the end. Taste is a complex mix between some spices and dry fruit with light dry finish including some vinous notes. Body is really full with a great creamy texture and great carbonation with no alcohol being apparent. Very well made and something I would like to try again.
05-01-2009 03:02:08 | More by Phyl21ca
4.53/5 rDev +10.2%
750ml bottle served at cellar temperature and poured into a fluted chalice
A - Poured an extremely dark brown, nearly black with essentially no light penetrating it what so ever. The were some light around the sides, perhaps taking on a bit of a reddish tone, but essentially this was as black as night. A large three finger high head of tan colored foam then rose up from the bottom of the glass, seemingly lasting forever, I was not sure, when it would finally relent and give back to the beer. However after a few minutes it did manage to finally settle down to about an inch and a half of chocolate colored pillow like foam across the top, that went nowhere throughout the session. There was some carbonation apparent, as I could see some bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass. Copious amounts of side glass lace were also present after the head finally receded. Leaving behind spider web like coatings of tan everywhere that it touched. I have to be honest here, this was really looked more like a big stout then a Belgian dark. It just looked incredibly think and menacing; I just had to go in for a closer look.
S - The aroma was very interesting to say the least. This was going to be a very complex session and that was becoming more and more apparent by the minute. The first smells I picked up were very sweet. Lots of sugar spices, well spices of all kinds for that matter. Hints of caramel as well as some light notes of oak and vanilla starting to break there way through. There was a tremendous amount of spice in here, hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and lots of earthy tones were very prevalent throughout the tasting. There were even some slight touches of a grassy smell in there. Hints of dark fruits starting to come out now, most importantly, lots of raisins, prunes, and figs that were getting wrapped up. Small glancing blows of chocolate now getting coated in with dark cherries as well. This was starting to get a bit out of hand now. The more I smelled it I could almost pick up everything but the kitchen sink. This was really quite wonderful.
T - The flavor was almost too complex for words. Deep rich flavors permeated throughout this one and really kept getting better as time went on. It was such a full flavored and deep profile it is hard to even begin with it. The first thing I noticed was how sweet it was. Lots of chocolate and caramel tones coming through on this one, really pushing it through and starting off quite dark. Lots of spices in here as well, nutmeg, and cinnamon, a touch of all spice. The yeast was starting to roll on through now as well, really giving some of those dark fruit flavors their turn to try and steel the show. Hints of raisins, plums, figs, and prunes all mixing in with the spices and bringing the whole thing together just beautifully. The finish was extremely long and drawn out, not really hoppy, though there was a hint of some earthy dry hops, but more of a spicy note then anything else. Really again quite complex and just the perfect capper to the whole thing.
M - Incredibly smooth and delicious, this was one of the fullest feeling Belgians I have ever had. It was bordering on feeling like a stout at times, but it also was not terribly filling, really letting put down quite a bit of it without having too much trouble. A really wonderful situation here. I could not imagine it being any smoother. The carbonation profile as well was simply wonderful, truly just never a dull or flat moment with this one and I really felt it was just in a category all of its own.
D - This is definitely a sipper, but a dangerous one at that. There were times when I truly wanted to just take a gulp as it was so delicious and smooth and the alcohol so well hidden, but you need to stop and remember that this boy is clocking in at eleven percent and it will definitely put a hurting on you before then end of the bottle, which this one more then easily did. Still I was able to go through the bottle without too much trouble.
Overall this was utterly fantastic is the only way I can put it. I mean it was just totally different then anything I had in the past and truly just unique. I would have loved to have had a few more bottles of this as it is a great example of what can be done within a style. I would say that if you can get it, you need to try it, really just too good to pass up.
03-04-2008 12:32:11 | More by mikesgroove
3.93/5 rDev -4.4%
A: The pour is a dark brown, bordering on black with a thin layer of tan foam on top.
S: There's so much going on in the nose, it was hard to pick out everything. There's of course a lot of dark fruits (most notably, prunes) and some nice chocolate aromas as well. The beer is slightly oxidized, but not surprising at 2+ years old. There's also some alcohol and perhaps even paint (very odd).
T: The sweet dark fruits are the main component of the flavor. Prunes, raisins, and cherries are what I notice, along with a hint of chocolate. There is also a definite sugary sweetness that you aren't surprised to find in Belgians.
M: A fairly full bodied beer with a fairly low level of carbonation which works well here.
D: A touch sweet for me, but so complex that I kept coming back for more. A nice beer and one of the better offerings I've had from Mikkeller.
02-22-2010 18:14:33 | More by womencantsail
4.28/5 rDev +4.1%
Pours chestnut/ebony with 3+ fingers of brown head. A motor oil like appearance swirls in the glass. Sticky lacing covers about 5% of my vandal tulip
S: Baker's chocolate, plums, raisins, & booze once warm
T: Chocolate, iron, raisins, dryness & some cakeyness up front. Slight boozey warmth, oaky dryness with some vanilla & licorice as this warms. Finishes with rich chocolate, dark fruit, dryness & whisper of herbal hops, a bit of booze. Almost gave this a 5, too dry for me
MF: Chewy/sticky with low carbonation
The 11% ABV is well hidden. This is a pretty nice Belgian Dark worth cellaring
02-27-2008 05:54:47 | More by russpowell
3.58/5 rDev -12.9%
Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, deeply browned, tan colored head. The beer appears almost black in color, but has some amber hues to it. If held up to the light one can just barely see through it as it is so dark, concentrated ruby-red notes show up where the light is able to pierce through the beer. The aroma is spicy, malty and fruity, but the spice notes definitely seem to dominate. The spiciness has a sort of woody quality to it, though I can't quite place it. Aromas of cherries, maple, woody coriander, smoked salt, wintergreen, lightly roasted coffee, ample toasted grain, a touch of buttery dark caramel. This has an interesting aroma, the spices are hard to differentiate from the dark malt and sugar notes.
Quite sweet, much more so than I was expecting. After the first sip though it becomes much less sweet. The finish is a mix of alcohol and roasted grain flavors (though only lightly roasted like chocolate malt), with a light roast acidity, woody roast malt and espresso. Has similar flavor tones to Rochefort, which is I think the earthy / woody coriander notes. Dark fruit notes of raisins, prunes, dried figs join sweet candi sugar notes and molasses. Fairly light bodied for a beer of this strength, still a sipping brew because of the alcohol, but is dangerously drinkable. This is a touch chalky towards the finish with burnt grain husk flavors. It definitely needs a bit more texture and richness. At times with the coriander spice notes this takes on flavors of dr. pepper.
An interesting brew, I can't say I am thoroughly infatuated with the sweetness; the sweetness would be less noticeable if this was richer. This is much more drinkable out of the bottle than last years version, but I have a feeling a bit more age could add some richness and even texture.
Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ
02-03-2008 04:53:10 | More by Gueuzedude
4.4/5 rDev +7.1%
Appearance: black in color with a short 1/2" tan head that has some large bubbles. No lacing develops.
Smell: great aroma as roasted malts, chocolate, yeast, and spices are bold but sweet overall.
Taste: definite complex beer here flavorwise. Roasted malts and some soft chocolate lay the base, then add some plums, prunes, and honey with some decent bitterness to cut the sweetness. Spicy yeast and some warming alcohol tones add another layer into the mix.
Mouthfeel: light crispness at the start, much smoother towards the finish. Very long aftertaste as the flavor components linger on the tongue for a while. Heavy bodied brew.
Drinkability: despite the high alcohol levels, this slow sipper is enjoyable from start to finish. If I had a second bottle it would have been opened. Great winter beer.
02-21-2008 12:26:09 | More by Gavage
4/5 rDev -2.7%
A Christmas 2007 gift from my wife, ksak, and sons. While I picked it out, they were kind enough to wrap it.
A: The ale is a dark wonder, thick and oily, that allows absolutely nothing to get through it. A cream colored head blanketed the glass on pour and slowy receded to a thin band.
S: Spicy sweet, the ale shows off licorice, candi sugars, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, figs, chocolate syrup and citrus (fruit not hops). The complexity of the nose is a big winner.
T: The flavor brings as much to the table as the nose, to the point that the tastebuds can't keep up. Lots of citrus notes, sweet but fast to pass. Following the citrus, candi sugars overpower the tastebuds with a deafening strength. Spices include brown sugar, licorice, raisins and powdered cocoa. Surprisingly there isn't much booze floating around, for as big as the ale is.
M: The spices seem to zap the tastebuds, leaving a dead spot occasionally. The profile is big though and should provide hours of tasting time.
D: At 11%, this is a one-and-done deal. A muggy September night is a little out of place for this beer, which would do better on a chilly sub-zero night.
09-28-2008 23:52:28 | More by akorsak
4/5 rDev -2.7%
750ml bottle purchased from Table & Vine, West Springfield, MA. Corked & caged, red foil, 2007 version. First plastic cork I think I've seen used on a beer.
Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/2" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head falls slowly, with ample delicate lacing. Aroma is chocolatey and fruity. Taste is rich darkness upfront, with hearty dark fruitiness in the middle, and the melded flavors linger after the swallow. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is very nice as well. Alcohol (11%abv per label) is well hidden, probably in the fruitiness. Good stuff.
05-07-2009 21:52:51 | More by ppoitras
3.93/5 rDev -4.4%
Shared with grub and Lexx, picked up in Buffalo. 2007 vintage.
Pours a murky dark brown, some red in the edges, thick tan head, drops down leaving some massive lace, good retention, keeps a solid layer. Smell is very fruity, yeasty bread, caramel, some spices, alcohol, cherries, molasses, burnt sugar. Taste is caramel and bread, spices, some pine, iron, creme brulee, alcohol, pretty interesting, solid spices. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, a little sweet but goes down pretty easy.
05-07-2009 18:20:40 | More by Viggo
4.33/5 rDev +5.4%
Bottle shared by Paul - thanks!
Pours a dark purplish-black color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.
Smells of sweet dark malts and dark fruits with large amounts of port undertones backing everything up. Faint hints of alcohol waft out every now and then.
Tastes very similar to how it smells. Robust dark malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by sugar-coated raisin and plum flavors. The flavor profile takes on a vinous quality midway through the sip as sweet and boozy port flavors work their way into things. The port and dark fruit flavors carry through to a moderately sweet ending.
Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with soft carbonation.
Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.
Overall I was very impressed with how this beer has aged. Although I never tried it fresh I'd have to believe a large portion of the port influence came with age and it served the beer well. Worth a shot if you have some laying around.
12-13-2010 02:55:24 | More by glid02
4.1/5 rDev -0.2%
Bottle shared by Jason, 750ml into a tulip on my inaugural brewday.
Appears a few shades off black in the glass, with some brownish-burgundy bubbles yet no head - pours essentially flat, leaving no retention or lace. Legs are fairly prominent however. Nose is massively full of dark fruits, offering a different angle with every sniff - black currants and cherries, plums, grapes and a dark fruit 'skin' that was difficult to pin down. Candied sugars and some syrupy qualities are there too. Taste has more of the candy sugar and dark syrupy notes, dark caramelized fruits, light soy and an understated tartness, perhaps from the fruits themselves. A slight apple note as well. Quite sweet with a port-like character, very 'dessert-y.' Gentle spicing in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, some thinness but the alcohol is disguised (or integrated) quite well into this. Low carbonation as predicted by the head, but this does little to hinder the experience. This has aged quite nicely in my opinion (for being just over 5 years old I think at this point), still a sipper however.
02-28-2012 02:12:27 | More by liamt07
4.35/5 rDev +5.8%
750ml bottle poured into my large St. Feuillien goblet, Santas Little Helper 2007 is a dark, blackish brown with a dark tan head that is pretty quick to settle to a thick skim but leaves decent lace. Another De Proef bottling with the synthetic cork (which I applaud from an enviromentally friendly point of view) that limps out silently. Luckly, this beer still had some moderate carbonation, but not the large rocky head I look for in the style.
Served ~50F, my cellar sure is cold this time of year!
Smell is fruity, grape and lemons, with more Shiraz like red wine and citrus notes developing as it opens up and warms, as well as some chocolate and boozy vapors.
Taste is rather chocolaty, with fruity esters, mostly grape, some fig and raisin, as well as some orange. There's some acidity that makes this rather vinous as well, save for the chocolate of course, with just a hint alcohol on the finish. Strange bird this one, very good but not at all what I was expecting.
Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, with a lighter body, highly digestible for what is a basically a Belgian porter.
Drinkability is very good, high then the sum of it's parts. This is just a flat out tasty, very easy drinking beer. As I worked though it, I kept bumping up the scores as I realized how great it really was. The high ABV is hidden behind the robust flavors, making it dangerously quaffable for the size. To bad it was only brewed once, last year, and I'll probably never get to have it again!
12-25-2008 00:39:59 | More by ccrida
4.58/5 rDev +11.4%
I bought this from South Bay D&Ls. Thanks Joey!
This pours from red foiled, caged and corked 750ml bottle(2007) a pitch black..ok, there's just the slightest hint of some reddish highlights, with a 2 finger head of tan foam that shrank quickly to a solid and stubborn 1" head with some nice lacing.
The smell is all malty and fruity with notes of caramel, dark fruit, some spice, and a touch of alcohol.
The taste is very sweet. Good caramel malt along with some very nice fruity flavours of raisin, plum, cherry(?) or is it strawberry or maybe both? Anywho, it's a very fruity beer and I'm liking it.
A few more sips in and the spice starts to be more assertive with flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon, and something else that's on the sweet side. I can also taste some anise but it's done lightly and, imo, nicely. Very very tasty; much more so than I would have guessed from the smell. And what of the 11%abv? Yet *another* brew that does one hell of a job of hiding its strength. Well done!
Mouthfeel wise, I'd say it's medium light, the carbonation is light, and it finishes as fruity as it starts. Very drinkable and I think it's a wonderful offering for the festive season but to be honest, I could drink this *any* time of the year. ;^)
Bottom line: A truly satisfying BSDA that kept my interest from first sip to last swallow and if you like spicy and fruity examples of the style, don't pass this one up!
03-23-2008 21:04:25 | More by Bitterbill
3.9/5 rDev -5.1%
A- Corked and caged 750 with red aluminum foil wrap around the neck of the bottle. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.
S- The aroma is dark alcohol soaked fruits with sugar and spices. the aroma is somewhat boozy but it smells delicious.
T- The taste like the aroma is sweet with dark fruits and spices with a warming finish from the alcohol.
M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.
D- The alcohol is definitely there, but it is pretty well hidden considering the high ABV and adds complexity to the brew almost like a fine liquor.
12-13-2008 05:06:11 | More by cjgator3
4.22/5 rDev +2.7%
1pt 9.4 fl oz. corked & caged bottle served in my DFH snifter. Bottle opened with a suppressed pop. Poured a deep opaque brown with rubye red highlights. One inch mocha-colored head with tiny ringlets. Fairly consistent skim and ringlets present during the tasting, with sheets of sticky foam that adhered to the bulb of the glass throughout. Heavy nose of dark fruit off of this one detectable from a distance. Upon closer examination, also detected a wine-like quality in the nose suggesting a somewhat tangy body. Flavors revealed a pleasant coffee-character up front, followed by dark fruit (cherries) and a tangy finish with a touch of alcohol. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with just enough effervescence to add some additional character to the body. Some alcohol, but predominantly detectable as a slight warming at the back of the throat. This is an excellent offering that is meant to be sipped; subtle character changes as the elixir warms. Very reminiscent of De Dolle's Extra Export Stout, but flavors are much bolder. Unfortunate that this was only brewed once.
06-15-2008 17:46:44 | More by Jwale73
4.7/5 rDev +14.4%
moved from the retired listing
a: Into my Piraat snifter, gives a pretty nice mocha head with good retention and lacing. The beer is an attractive deep brown in color, nearly black.
s: Outstanding aroma that almost resists description and certainly defies stylization. Awesome juniper berries, cola syrup, delicate sweet smoke, milky roasted cocoa, rich sugar plums, vinous blackberry and currant, dried cherries...all integrated into a wonderfully rich and smooth black malt body. Light aromas of Belgian yeast and a touch of mild hop spice. Gentle, sweet ethanol fumes. Very unique.
m: delicate low-medium carbonation with a clean, full body that just glides down the the throat and finishes perfectly...I'm very much on the line about giving the mouthfeel a perfect score
t: Flavor backbone of black malts, with a smooth roast character becoming more astringent/bitter after the swallow when the sweetness fades. Adding complexity are notes of smoky chocolate, spicy evergreen shrub fruits, dark tree fruits (dried cherries) and much more. Aged, papery hop flavors Great finish, with more roasted malt character coming through and notes of complex chocolate lingering long.
d: drinks like a 5% beer...any parameter I didn't give a 5 is damn close
2007 vintage, synthetic-corked 750 (dated 23/09/11) picked up at Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville a couple weeks ago
02-14-2008 00:34:44 | More by blackie
4.05/5 rDev -1.5%
I was a little cautious about buying this as it is at least seven or eight months old at this point. Dark brown, almost black with a tan coffee head. It smells delicious and perfect for Christmas. Spicy, maybe nutmeg, chocolate, and bubblegum(?). Very spicy taste, sweetened black licorice at the end not bad. This has a nice mouthfeel. The alcohol is not noticeable in the taste. This was pretty good and would be a lot better at Christmas time when its a little colder. This one is a sipper for me.
08-24-2008 02:18:52 | More by ArrogantB
Santa's Little Helper 2007 from Mikkeller ApS
91 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.