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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

1,166 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,166
Reviews: 540
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 75
Gots: 172 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Port Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% 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: 1,166 | Reviews: 540 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by whatthehull:
Photo of whatthehull
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted oct. 23rd 2011 (from notes)

Tulip

A - deep brown, almost sludgy, 2 finger dark tan head and no lacing

S - lots of sweet malts, coffee, chocolate, spices, wood, earth and alcohol

T - lots of toasted everything. Nice chocolate, coffee, alcohol, brown sugar, oak, earth, spices, huge toasty malts and the bitterness seems to be coming from a slight hops and not just the dark chocolate

M - full bodied, low acidity, huge complexity, well balanced and very long finish

D - very nice imperial stout, lots of flavors, nice balance and an all around good beer. For the fans of bigger stouts only. Not for the faint of beer

Final thought - for $6, 10% abv and a seasonal? Port has done it again

whatthehull, Nov 22, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of tmzl
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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.

tmzl, May 31, 2014
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured jet black with only faint ruby hue when held up to the light,a large mocha colored head atop.Dark fruit stands out most in the nose along with bitter chocolate and dark roast,the fruitiness is the main component going on here.A little more sharp than I like in the feel but it's not overly annoying.Dark fruit and black licorice flavors at the start with some earthy tones and unsweetened chocolate as well,a nice complex palate.A good close to great RIS,tweek the mothfeel and it is great,I enjoyed it.

oberon, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of RoyalT
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This is a very dark brown in color with a small but retentive brownish-white head.

Smell - The malts here are roasty with a boozy bite. They are very rich and complimented with some fine coffee bean and mild raw sugar. This is a high-quality nose that portends good things to come.

Taste - The roasted malts are spot on here. They are powerful and rich with just enough raw sugars to smooth out the flavor. The hearty coffee aroma is a bit more like a dark espresso bean, and I can even pick up some dark baker's chocolate to boot. This is a real powerhouse.

Mouthfeel - This is a tad bigger than medium-bodied but not full. There's some fine carbonation; not a lot but just enough to keep the mouthfeel lively. The dark ingredients provide some decent bitterness. This RIS is smooth smooth smooth and a blessing to hold in between the cheeks.

Drinkability - I caught a bit of alcohol at the nose but that disappeared once this RIS hit the tongue. This is an exceptional brew and a represents a major accomplishment from Port Brewing.

RoyalT, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of aszatk01
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

aszatk01, Jan 16, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4/5  rDev -0.2%

SanFranJake, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of jose_alehouseSD
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%

jose_alehouseSD, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle# 427. 750ml bottle brewed in Solana Beach, therefore entered my review here since the master Pizza Port listing will be going away. Cracked this one on my b-day. Pours as dark as night black with a wonderful two inch tan head on top. No light shall escape. Aromas of dark roasty malt with a big chocolate and caramel toffee aroma. Light anise and some burnt coffee in there as well. Slightly nutty with a mild hop background. Quite nice.

First sip brings a lightly roasted dark malt with cocoa, caramel and toffee. Some anise and a bit of spiciness in there as well. A touch nutty as it flows down with a nice bitterness. A faint coffee flavor on the back end. Overall, a tasty, smooth imperial stout. A bit of yeast on the finish and a mild hoppiness. Tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, on the lighter side for an imperial stout, but still nice and that makes it more drinkable. Good carbonation. A tasty, relatively easy drinking brew for almost 10%. I will have to get another bottle again sometime!

orbitalr0x, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

danthehopslamman, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of NWer
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Santa's Little Helper.
The name is disarming but the label tips you off that this is no winter warmer.
Russian Imperial Stout. 10% ABV.
The aroma hits you the moment you pop the cap and it just gets better as you pour it and take the first sip.
Overtones of coffee, chocolate malt. Kept me company while working in the yard. Made yard work a very mellow experience.
I highly recommend this beer and will definitely pick up a few more for the cellar before it disappears from the shelves.
note: dated 2010

NWer, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev -0.2%

DaftPatrick, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of csmartin6
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

csmartin6, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

warnerry, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of Beaver13
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, 2008 version. Pours a dark brown with an extremely thin brown head that quickly goes to a very thin collar.

The aroma is very subdued - sweet chocolate, grainy malts.

The flavor is lactic chocolate, slightly tart dark fruits, and molasses with a roasted bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and watery with almost no carbonation.

Overall, I'm not too impressed. This is a pretty weak impy stout - it's light in color, subdued in the nose, and watery in the body. The flavors aren't bad though.

Beaver13, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Doomcifer, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of JakerLou
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

JakerLou, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -0.2%

megamass, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New graphics and a brown bottle, no feshness/bottling info. Pours
quite inky near black, dark tan head, that leaves a classy tiny bubble film and fine stringy lacing. Chocolate, burnt grains and smoke in the sniff.
Full throttle stout. Rich, flavorful, smoke, dark chocolate, more burnt grains, a hint of mint and crunching/drying hops in the long and flavorful finish. Thick, viscous mouthfel. More high octane/high quality brew from the fine folks at PP. Night capper/sipper/aging prospect. Go get some and enjoy

Billolick, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of ElSid
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Beers of California

#35

Bottled Date: 9/10/12

A: Classic stout jet black body with a decent of head of light brown foam which leaves a generous curtain of lace on the glass.

S: Moderate alcohol with mocha espresso with some brown sugar and raisin sweetness.

T: Bousy, but on the phenolic, cough syrup side, with mocha espresso, brown cane sugar, and raisins. A base of toasted, dark malt which does its best to hold this brew together. The espresso and chocolate take front stage with little help from the rest of the palate.

M: Good linger in the mouth and lace on the glass with a creamy smoothness which is the highlight of this brew. Ample mouthfeel and just the right amount of carbonation.

O: The Port Brewery's Christmas Imperial Stout offers an average, uninteresting palate dominated by medicinal alcohol notes with little nuances and subtleties which are needed to make a good a beer.

ElSid, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of SuperbikeShaun
4.25/5  rDev +6%

SuperbikeShaun, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of mctizzz
4/5  rDev -0.2%

mctizzz, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of tigg924
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head, black in color, opaque

Smell: chocolate, roasted malt, and cream

Taste: chocolate, roasted malt, and cream

Mouthfeel: medium/heavy bodied, light carbonation, sweet start, bitter middle, sweeter end.

Drinkability: A slightly above average RIS, that I would not turn down nor seek out. Chocolate takes the lead here, but most flavors are standard for the style. An OK beer.

tigg924, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -0.2%

aquazr1, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of badbeer
3.25/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2007 Version.

Black, but dark brown around the edges. Somewhat fizzy tan head develops but recedes almost as quickly. Smell is quite roasty. I also get sweet molasses, coffee, a hint of piney hops, and a little sweetness. Roastiness paired with smoke is what I get on the tongue first. From there there is just a touch of molasses; I get quite a few different charred flavors. Highly carbonated and less than medium bodied.

badbeer, Jul 18, 2008
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Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 1,166 ratings.