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Santa's Little Helper - Port Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,077 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,077
Reviews: 536
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 70
Gots: 150 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Port Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 12-09-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,077 | Reviews: 536 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ego:
Photo of Ego
Ego

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

eyes...
at first glance this deceived, it seemed that there would be no head and then POW solid 2 fingers of cocoa goodness plumped up, nearly black with carbonation slowly meandering there and about trying to attain freedom at the top o the glass, the legs and lacing move as one, the glass leaves a cartographers mark so might remember where I have been upon finishing this 'little' helper, nearly picturesque looking brew.

nose...
deep dark and roasty, nice chocolate notes, leathery sugar, alcohol dancing whimsically on the edges, pretty nice

taste etc...
starts off a bit thinner than I anticipated, HEAVY burnt flavor on the back end is dominating this first sample, the carbonation is more prickly than smooth which is a detriment imo, before the burnt takes over there is a good amount of hop bitterness and then once you get used to the burnt tones you pick up some chocolate notes as well, something seems just off the mark here

verdict?
a good beer, if it were creamier and thicker I think it would handle the flavors much better. there are big flavors here but they seem out of place, not totally, but just enough compared to other RISs I dig.

Serving type: growler

01-06-2013 05:22:03 | More by Ego
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650 mL bottle poured into a tumbler. Bottled 9/12/2012. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Black with a nice mocha head and a thick layer of foam that remains.

Smell - Roasty chocolate malt. Very roasty. Simple, but good.

Taste - Lots of roasted malt. Bitter chocolate and coffee. Intensely roasty and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - A little boozy and the finish is a little harsh from the intensity of the roast.

Overall - It pushes the line of too one-dimensional on the roasted malt flavor, but it still works.

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Taste-off: Santa's Little Helper (S) vs. Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged (SBBA)

Look:
S: Pours with a huge, thick, creamy, billowy mocha head, has a good slow, equal retention (breakdown of medium sized bubbles). A very thick, medium-sized, creamy layer stays on top. Dark brown, heavy pour, fair amount of lacing.
SBBA: The head is a lot smaller, higher degree of medium/big bubbles, mocha head a bit lighter. Has a faster retention, mostly diminishing. Looks a bit more transparent and watery.

Smell:
S: Cherry, dark fruit on opening, dominating roast, coffee and milk chocolate, stuffy, mostly dark malt driven. Light sourness, bit salty, soy sauce and some cookie dough.
SBBA: More dark fruit esters on opening, then goes to rum-kokos Casali chocolates with a lot of oak, vanilla. Roast, milk chocolate more on the side here. Alcohol with booze feeling, oak the most dominant aroma here.

Taste:
S: Light acidity and molasses, burned sugar start with fruity forest esters. A bit rum-like transition into milky, dark malt medium sweetness that ends with medium dark coffee bitterness, it's well developed. Small boozy spike towards the end.
SBBA: Bourbon oak dominates this one. Medium molasses, burned sugar sweet start with acidity turned down, the middle, which is overrun with oak dominance, a bit of milky backbone felt, but a lot more subtle. Ends with strong bourbon oak spike that dominates the after with turned down roast, coffee bitterness and alcohol.

Mouthfeel:
S: Full, light heavy body, soft carbonation lingers on the tongue, quite pleasant.
SBBA: A bit lighter on the body (higher alcohol), light warmth, no carbonation to detect.

Overall:
The non-barrel aged version is a lot smoother and very drinkable. Solid, not too demanding take on imperial stouts. The bourbon one is a lot sluttier, the oak is (too) heavy and goes down a lot slower. The age in barrels didn't make it better IMO.

Serving type: bottle

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Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 1,077 ratings.