1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Santa's Little Helper 2011 - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Santa's Little Helper 2011Santa's Little Helper 2011

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

96 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 7
Gots: 12 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website
Denmark

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.90% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brotherloco on 11-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A 9.1 % variant was sold in Sweden.
View: Beers (280) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by Ralphs66:
More User Reviews:
Photo of ianjsullivan
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: 750ml poured into a chalice. The bottle lists the ABV and vintage.

A: Espresso bean black with a huge half-a-finger brown fluffy head (like coke foam). It has nice retention and thick streaks of lacing.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, Belgian sugar, citrus hops.

T: Coffee bean, roasted malt, chocolate (bitter and sweet), spice and hops on the finish with bitter chocolate.

M: Heavy and smooth.

O: It is hard to believe this beer is almost 11 percent; the alcohol is blended so well. Strong winter flavors join slight fruity notes to create a big beer that certainly would be of help to Santa during his cold yearly visit.

Photo of Heatwave33
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle to a DFH Snifter.

Color: Black with a light brown head.

Smell: Roasted and caramel malts, chocolate, bread

Taste: Same as the aroma except with some nice cinnamon and nutmeg spices.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, slightly coarse with a mid dryness on the palate.

Overall: This brew has a great balance. Drinkability is pretty decent considering the ABV. I didn't detect any hops in it. Still good. Cheers.

Photo of dahlen22
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black and velvety with a decent brown head (almost like a Guinness Extra Stout from Ireland)

Aroma: Malt, dried figs, caramel, and other dark fruits.

Taste: The taste is what I expected once I got a whiff of the aroma. Malty, nutty, with figs, raisins, plums, coffee, and other candied fruits.

Overall: The price (12.99) is steep, but that being said, this beer is exceptionally smooth for almost 11% and is tasty for the cold long nights of winter up here in the Northeast. This is not a session beer, but one or perhaps two by the fireplace is worth trying. Cheers!!

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Black, but slightly transparent. Huge mocha head. Never dies away, just settles to a thick layer of foam.

Smell - Dark chocolate malts. Sweet dark fruits. Coffee.

Taste - Very chocolatey with a nice dark fruit presence. Figs and dates and the like. They get stronger into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, medium body. Well carbonated.

Overall - Reminds me of Black Albert, but more chocolately. This was $3.99 because it was a seasonal "past season." Can't beat it.

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

On tap at the Oswego Taphouse.

Poured into a snifter and was extremely dark. I couldn't tell f it was brown or black because of the lighting. Huge chocolate mousse colored head with loads of cascading lace.

Not only does it look like a stout, it smells like a stout. Chocolate and roasted malt. It's not very deep in aromas.

...and tastes like a stout. Chocolate, roast, a little raisin, earthy hops, and yeast.

Smooth mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Slightly warming.

It's a decent beer, although it screams stout to me, not Belgian Dark Ale.

Photo of Ruds
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on tap into a half pint 'tulip' style glass at the Craft Beer Co, Clerkenwell

dark brown to black colour

smells fruity, dried fruits, raisens, orange peel, cranberry

mouthfeel, creamy with a dry-ish finish, great taste and feel in the mouth and on the palate

tastes of mildly spiced fruits, berries, toffee, caramel a hint of nutmeg perhaps overall a rich complex beer that did not dissapoint!

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a 13oz chalice for $7.75. The menu indicated 10.5%. Sampled on 12/9/11.

A: Served with a minimal head that fades quickly leaving behind a small, crescent ring shaped collar. Very little activity on the surface. The body is black with dark amber brown edges when backlit. Lacing is just above non-existent.

S: Deep fudge, chocolate, light shoe leather and (seemingly) some type of wood treatment. I may be way off here since no other reviewer mentions bourbon or barrel, but I certainly picked up on something that made it worth mentioning. Maybe the combination of big booze and a highly phenolic yeast strain tricked me. All of the aromas are big and I find a great balance between them.

T: Taste is a hybrid of BSDA and stout, and firmly leaning toward the latter with the presence of roasted malt. Some raisiny dark fruits lay low in the flavor profile adding to the complexity. Excellent flavor, and one of my favorite beers by Mikkell.

M: Medium full and semi thick. This beer is probably over carbonated, but at least this helps to keep the finish nice and clean.

O: The aroma and flavor *definitely* came as a surprise. But a very GOOD surprise. I'd gladly order again and would be very interested in trying this beer from the bottle. My experience seems quite a bit different than the majority of the reviews...

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris at Boo's for landing this one.
Appearance: near black with red highlights. Impressive billowy head.
Smell: Very nice but a bit diluted for a high % Belgian with spice. Chocolate malt up front with a hint of spice.
Taste: Very nice and drinkable but a bit of a letdown if you're expecting big and bold.
Overall: tasty, mellow for a beast. High quaffability.

Photo of Immortale25
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a seriously black color with a full two-finger tan crown which retains for a good long while before sliding down to a 1/2 inch head that has great lacing following it. I can also see little specks of sediment in the body.

S- Smells of potent alcohol combined with a musty malt aroma. As the nose gives way, it leaves an aftersmell of red delicious apple. Some earthy hops are also detected.

T- Initial flavor of well-balanced malt/hop duality that doesn't lead to the boozy quality until afterward. In a word: smooth. Very smooth. There's also some spice trying to fight its way to the front of the line but it's weighed down too heavily by the key ingredients. There's just a dash of astringency that's only really detected when I swish.

M- Heavy, but not too much so. A bit dry and tingly from the high alcohol and medium-high carbonation.

O- Probably my favorite "Christmas" beer to date just due to the sheer extremity.

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color. It poured with a finger high tan colored head that died down but left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of chocolate malt.
T: The taste has flavors of dark fruits along with notes of chocolate.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very well balanced and makes for an interesting sipper.

Photo of DustinSmall
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got on tap at the roast house in frederick md 12oz pour into a snifter

A- dark dark brown almost black, minimal to no head as soon as its there its gone, small bubbles around the edges of the glass, and when swirled it leaves a brown film on the glass, good looking beer

S- Malty, slight rasin smell, sweet tobacco, leather, also getting hints of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg, it really smells awesome

T- Sweet malty flavor, dark fruit, slight dark chocolate, yeasty pretty complex changes alot as it goes over the tongue, outstanding beer

M- medium to thick mouthfeel, coats the mouth very silky, slight carbonation

O- great beer, looks good, smells good, taste great i will deff be oging back for more of this

Photo of Arborescence
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black. Pours a very thick head that develops quickly, pour gently!

Aroma: Dark chocolate, alcohol, burnt coffee, malt.

Taste: Strong malt attack with coffee and chocolate flavours, develops into an aftertaste typical for barley wines; warms you up on the way down. Not your typical Christmas Ale flavours, although they do claim to have added some spices to it. Plenty of sweetness too from the added sugar and syrup.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and soupy, yet smooth.

Overall: Interesting! Mikkeller, which is a very productive and experimental brewery, has gone to Belgium to brew this year’s Santa’s Little Helper (not that I’ve tried the previous ones) and they have produced a fine Belgian Strong Ale. This one has elements similar to Rochefort 8 or 10, which are among my favourite Strong Belgian Trappists — Mikkeller’s version is much sweeter though. The sweetness is a bit much after a few sips, but I guess it’s ok given that it’s a Christmas Ale. The high ABV helps to balance the sweetness a bit, and makes this a beer to be enjoyed slowly. Certainly worth looking for.

Photo of blakelive784
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pt 9.4 fl oz bottle served in a nonic pint glass, reviewed from notes:

A - Pours a somewhat transparent dark brown color with a decently thick, tan head of 3 fingers. Retention is good, especially considering the ABV.

S - Modest hops aromas, caramel, bland yeast, and milk chocolate. It's bold, but a bit boring.

T - The yeast is prominent on the tongue, but a bit bland. Toasted malt and light spice. I wish the spice were a bigger character. The ABV comes through a bit on the finish. The flavors of this one seem a bit restrained, unfortunately.

M - Medium to full bodied, smooth and wet, with an alcoholic burn on the finish.

D - Not a bad beer by any means, but not what the brewer is capable. I'm a bit disappointed by this offering.

Photo of joecast
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of mulder1010.

Pours nearly black. Thin tanned head. Unassuming for such a big beer.
Opens up as it warms. Some spice, coffee. Little dark fruit or yeast character.

Big beer but manages to hide much of its flavour. Full malt, some coffee and spice. Little dark fruit or yeast. Hard to get into the beer as it sort of leads you on. Differentath. Initial impression is of a big stout. As it warms more interesting aspects appear but still a bit unassuming for the style.

Uninteresting overall. Average for the style and average overall.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy Jason for bringing this one to my Christmas party

Look: Pours a dark brown with a 1 inch tan head and great retention

Smell: Notes of cinnamon clove brown sugar and Belgian yeast

Taste: Very similar to the nose but a bit too sweet for my taste

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carboantion

Overall: The only real problem I had with this beer is that I just found it way too sweet and hard to drink. If that is your thing then this beer is for you

Photo of drtth
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a nonic glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a dark brown almost black color that looks very stout like. The ½” light tan head receded fairly soon leaving a ring around the glass, and a thin island of foam on the liquid. Sipping left a few sparse patches of lacing from the ring but there was not much lacing at all for most of the beer.

Smell: The aroma has a strong component of chocolate. There also seem to be some dark fruits and coffee here. Is this a BSDA or a stout?

Taste: As expected from the nose there seems to be some nice dark fruits here mingled with the chocolate. A coffee note balances off against the chocolate and the fruits.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is on the full-bodied side of medium with a moderated amount of carbonation to keep things active. The finish is on the long side of medium and slides out to dryness from a sweet balance between the chocolate and the fruits to a somewhat lackluster finish.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I quite enjoyed sipping my wayt through this one and would gladly have it again. Its an interesting beer in that it seems to be a nice blending of styles with some characteristics of a BSDA and some of a stout. You could have told me either style and I’d have believed it from the appearance, aroma, and flavor. My overall impression is that once again Mikkeller has sought and found a nice niche in the space between stouts and BSDAs.

Photo of JayS2629
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost black with low carbonation, a one finger head that fades fast and little lacing.

The aroma is full of dark fruit, and belgian yeast fruity esters. Coffee and cocoa with spice, vanilla, and burnt edges.

The flavor has fig, raisin, plum, and vanilla with coffee and cocoa in the background. Slight tart edge through a spiced sweet toffee rounds things out.

Medium body, low carbonation, smooth

Overall, a nice Christmasy beer...sipper...a one and done.

Photo of rarbring
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is dark foggy brown, has a very high tan head that settles slowly leaving loads of lacing and good curtains.

Smell of spices, chocolate and coffee, dark dried fruits and grape-fruit peel.

Starts sweet with dark syrup, burnt crust, figs and raisins, citric zest and seeds.

Medium carbonation, smooth and sticky, big body anda good smooth dryness.

In all a potent and good winter ale.

Photo of Rifugium
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Before tasting, this beer seemed quite stout-like to the senses. Dark, opaque brown-black in color, no head whatsoever. Aroma of coffee, predominantly, with tones of dark malts and dark, dried fruits. Coffee and dark roasted malts in the taste--again somewhat reminiscent of a stout, but the mouthfeel tells you otherwise--and additionally notes of yeast and fruity esters, that should leave no doubt that this is a Belgian strong ale. Hints of soy sauce as it approached room temperature. Medium mouthfeel, moderate booziness as expected, and a bit bland in the finish. Good overall.

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap over a cork served into a Fort Collins Brewing glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a four finger head of lovely cream lacing, lightly dark tan influences on the colour, great thickness, and amazing retention. Colour is a dark brown-amber.

Sm: A very yeasty aroma with some spice and candied sugar. a mild strength aroma.

T: Heavy spice, with some caramel. Far more simple, with reduced yeast. Much more muted. No alcohol comes through. It's not complex nor is it particularly well built. Uninspired and a bit boring. It's balanced, but there's not much there.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours merely generally.

Dr: Quite drinkable, but inferior to the other Santa's little helpers I've had.

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a two-finger head of light brown foam. It left thin rings of lace and a good deal of sediment in the glass.

S - It smelled of plum, raisin and some spices.

T - It tasted malty and sweet with a touch of booziness. Good dried fruit flavors with notes of raisin and plum.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really good beer. Nice to find it on sale after the holiday season.

Photo of SudSavant
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is only the third beer to which I've issued a perfect rating. I know it strays a bit from the typical review of this beer, but it has everything I want.

Aroma 5/5
At first it smells as a mild Belgian yeast strain should smell, but even that is behind a lemon citrus. As it sits in the glass, all sort of interesting flavors rise to the surface. Before I describe those any further, let me say that this beer surprised the hell out of me by pouring like a stout! I was expecting some lighter, maybe amber, frou-frou holiday ale that has all the cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, etc in their usual starring roles. This beer flowed dark from the bottle and even evoked a "What the..?!" from this reviewer. Now back to the aroma. While starting off with the lemon zest and Belgian yeast, two things I definitely didn't expect to smell in a beer this dark, it quickly turns to its dark roast for the majority of the aroma. The roast is rich and dark, but has an aroma that accompanies it so closely I can't be sure if it's the same thing or not. There is a sweetness to the roast, almost like a rye, but sometimes mingles with the lemony notes that I can't put my finger on it whether it IS a rye or just the dark roast mixing with the lemon and perhaps grassy & piney hop characteristics. There is only a hint of alcohol warmth and it is found only during the deepest of inhales. In case, you couldn't tell by the length of this paragraph, this smell's complexity is only eclipsed by its unique nature. Full marks. I've never smelled anything like it.

Appearance 5/5
Ok, seriously. How come nobody ever mentioned that this beer is this dark? It really surprised me! This is darker than most recent stouts I've had. It's black to its core and shows only bits a pieces of a coffee brown at the very top of the class. The brown head is giant, light as if it has been whipped, and very creamy. It left tons of ornate lacing. This looks dark and amazing.

Flavor 5/5
Oh. My. Dad. It starts a little creamy from some body-enhancing malts and allows one to still catch a glimmer of the Belgian yeast, but crescendos perfectly into an absolute mountain of chocolate malt (the beer ingredient, not the frozen treat). The chocolate isn't incredibly dark -it still allows a creamier milk chocolate texture- but it blends marvelously with the roasted notes and the present-but-not-subtle warmth. The finish is more "roasted chocolate" (roast + chocolate), but with a new, distinct, resinous hop bitter and a brief wash of dark fruit. The mouth is initially left a bit sticky, but as the alcohol and hops have their way, the tongue is left rather dry in the aftertaste and with a slight tingle of warmth. Oh so good!

Mouthfeel 5/5
This beer is ridiculously creamy, but without weighing down the drinker with a huge, heavy body. The carbonation doesn't foam a lot, just enough to lend a more silky texture to the beer. I should also mention that the carbonation is plentiful, but doesn't effect the over all composition of the beer. Normally, stouts or other dark beers shy away from higher levels of carbonation to achieve a better beer as a whole. This beer doesn't shy away from carbonation. It instead embraces it and uses it as a tool to make the beer better.

Overall Impression 5/5
This beer is right up my alley. Unique taste, aroma is interesting, body and mouthfeel are perfect, and it breaks convention with the norm. This is not your average Belgian Strong Dark Ale! It keeps all the things you love and brings even more to the table. I love even more how far it strays from the typical Christmas/winter offerings available from most brewers. It shows creativity, independence, and some damn high quality brewing.

Total 5.0/5.0
In case I didn't gush enough praise earlier, here's my chance to really heap it on. However, I will do so with one caveat. I checked BeerAdvocate after I finished my review to see if others thought this beer as excellent as I do. They don't. Thus the subjectivity of taste comes into play. For me this beer has everything I want, roast, chocolate, smokey, sweet, warmth, Belgian hints, dark fruit, great carbonation, and the list goes on.... To be honest, I'm not sure how folks have ranked it so lowly on BeerAdvocate.

I've gone through my scores and tried to see if there is a portion where I could remove some points. Perhaps I missed something where this beer could have done better, right? Not for me and my palate. This beer is complex, well-made, tasty as can be, boozy, and with a great mouthfeel. I couldn't ask for anything more. Now I know what I need to ask for for next Christmas!

Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.31/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass at altitude in Denver. Thanks once again to kojevergas for this one, my third vintage of Mikkeller’s Santa’s Little Helper.

A: Pours a dark amber color with a huge tan head of nice retention. Great lacing.

S: Caramel malts are the strongest presence here, with some chocolate and Christmas spices.

T: Chocolate up front with some yeasty spice character to follow. Caramel malts support these flavors and give it nice balance, but it’s not particularly complex, especially compared to the 2009 and 2010 vintages of this brew.

M: Full-bodied with a smooth, wet mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style, but not particularly interesting.

D: Good and quite drinkable; the ABV is concealed quite well. However, this pales in comparison to the 2009 and 2010 vintages. I would have a hard time buying this again given the price point, and I think I’ll wait on the verdict on the 2012 vintage before buying (although at this point it might be hard to let go of this tradition…).

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

750ml foiled and capped bottle. 2011 vintage. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very deep brown, almost opaque black. Big two and a half fingers of dark tan pillowy foam. Slowly settles to a generous thick ring with medium amounts of lacing.

Aroma of sweet and roasty chocolate malt and fruity esters. Pineapple seems to dominate. Dry christmas spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice are quite prominent. There is also a noticeable hop presence, much like you get in a Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale. Also, a touch of alcohol.

Flavor is a lot drier and less sweet than I was expecting from the nose. Roasty malts and hoppy bitterness starts sharp and spicy and then quickly gives way to a softer soda water middle and finish. Fruit notes are there, orange being more prevalent than the pineapple in the nose. Still, they sit somewhat quietly in the background. Aftertaste lingers a bit and is mildly bitter. Overall the flavor is good, but emptier than I'd like. I should note though, that it improves as the beer warms.

Body is on the lighter side of medium with medium-high, soft and natural carbonation. The big 10.9% ABV is very well buried, which is quite impressive given the mild flavor, so this is quite drinkable.

Apart from the fruity esters from the yeast, this beer is very subtle about it's Belgian nature. There's a lot of American influence here too.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown (almost black) with a perfect two finger chocolate head. Massive amounts of lacing on my snifter glass. The head sticks around for the entire session- amazing. The nose is chocolate, coffee, some dark fruit, and spices. I'd like the nose to be a little stronger, but it's still very good. Taste is heavy on the coffee (a little too much so), some chocolate, hops, malt, dark fruit, and a hint of grapefruit. It's very good, although different than what I expected. Feel is medium, with a dry finish. Slight alcohol burn on the aftertaste, but it's not overpowering. The malt really has a silky coating effect on your throat as well- excellent. Overall, this is a very good beer... VERY close to great, but just not quite there. Still, this is definitely worth picking up if you're a fan of the style. Cheers.

to view more.
Santa's Little Helper 2011 from Mikkeller ApS
89 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.