Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Port Brewing

Not Rated.
Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel AgedSanta's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

177 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 177
Hads: 548
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 8.44%
Wants: 50
Gots: 179 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Port Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 07-25-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 177 | Hads: 548
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Tops Tasting Room in Tempe, with the staff. The most knowledgeable person promised it was the barrel aged version, arrived recently, and tasted bourbon in it. I found it just a very good imperial stout. Black appearance, though no noticeable head. Very drinkable and smooth, some wood but still boozy. Coffee, chocolate. (334 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a very small 1/2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin film. Random sheets and spots of lace cling to the glass on the drink down. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and some cocoa notes. Taste is very bourbon forward with lots of vanilla, wood, and alcohol flavors along with some dark roasted malt and bitter chocolate flavors on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation and seems a bit flat and thick in the mouth. There is an alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. Overall, this is a pretty good bourbon barrel aged stout with more of an emphasis on the bourbon than the stout. (640 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle appears with red label and appears identical to Bourbon aged but indicates "Oak" in lieu of Bourbon. No date stated on label but believed to be a summer 2010 release.

Pours black with no head. Even a good swirl or a very slow pour will not yield a head of any kind. Edit: Bottle was open for 15 minutes and poured again and got a very short lived tan head.

Nose is semi sweet dark chocolate, sweet dark black coffee, whiskey and light vanilla (oak).

Mouthfeel is medium full to creamy and by second or third taste gives nice creamy "coated" feel. Light carbonation and would like to see more. Unfortunately, ability to age is lessened by diminishing carbonation - this one is already very lightly carbonated and it fades even more as it sits in the glass.

Flavors are intense semi sweet black chocolate, molasses, big semi sweet dark coffee, whiskey and light sweet soy. Flavors seem to improve and become more and more appealing with every sip.

Finish is a big chocolate, sweet coffee, light whiskey alcohol character. You get some of the alcohol (the sweet character of higher alcohol) in the flavors and especially in the finish. Long coffee bean/espresso finish.

This beer will likely age nicely for a year or two but is very nice to try now. Surprise choice for what I believe was a summer release. Nice effort. (1,330 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: very thin head on a very dark body with some light getting though. scattered lacing.

S: sweet whiskey/bourbon mostly which overall is excellent. some vanilla and oak notes.

T: alcohol is a little strong in this one. whiskey and bourbon up front. The roasted character is significantly diminished compared to the non barrel aged version. nice oak and vanilla finish.

M: semi dry finish but much less than the base beer. medium body and lighter side of moderate carbonation.

Overall: excellent whiskey/bourbon character, a little strong on the alcohol end for the flavor but still a very nice barrel aged stout. (617 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that quickly faded away, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface.
S: There are strong aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: Like the smell, flavors of bourbon really stand out in the overall taste and become even stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There is lots of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer packs in lots of bourbon aromas and flavors without making the taste too alcoholic. However, the bourbon seems to be too strong really masks any of the flavors of the underlying beer. (664 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a carbonated bottle. Didn't read too far down the reviews but I assume many of the lower scores and the overall rating from this have been affected by carbonation woes. I'll have to check.

Pours a dark brown with an off white head and spotty lacing. Nose is pretty intense with good amounts of bourbon, chocolate, oak, dark fruits, and a bit of roasted malt. Taste is pretty heavy on the bourbon with the other flavors playing nice complements. Feel is quite nice. Again, liking what the bourbon has done, especially as I am not a big fan of the regular version of this brew. Very drinkable and one of the better of its kind that I've had lately. (659 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this almost as much as older viscosity I think. Just a huge stout with as much bourbon on it as any beer I've ever had. Hershey's syrup dark brown and sludgy with a flash of mocha fizz before it settles to nearly still. The nose is all bourbon, vanilla and raw molasses spice with heave dark barley and chocolate malt, charred oak, and marshmallow. The flavor is just like the nose, do much going on but do well integrated. It's almost too much, a sensory overload that is best in small to medium doses. Sweet from the vanilla but not too sweet, and really heavily oaked. Fully bodied and teeth coating, but more flavorful than others. It feels Christmasy and may have a touch of spice in the Finnish. As strong it seems as a shot if bourbon, I love it! (760 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

After a disastrous experience with the 2009, time for another look at this. With a 2010 in hand, let's see if we can improve the score from a "D."

Appearance: Espresso brown with just a tinge of brown highlights on the edge; a thin layer of foam appears (a good sign) and some of it sticks to the glass

Smell: Bourbon filled chocolate, with more than a hint of blackstrap molasses

Taste: Dark chocolate, up front, with licorice and the Bourbon character taking over by mid-palate, bringing vanilla and oak; after the swallow, the booze impacts the profile just a bit too dramatically, although the chocolate, vanilla, licorice and molasses make a nice combination

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation; lots of warmth on the gullet

Drinkability: While there is more carbonation in the 2010 than the 2009, this shows that Tomme has a clear view about the carbonation levels he wants in his beers; while I would like a bit more, I don't mind the lower level on this one as much as I did on the 2009; overall, characterize me as impressed - a bit too boozy and a bit too flat, but still a nice brew

Thanks, mrmiles, for the chance to re-visit (1,151 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Black and viscous in the pour, but with no carbonation to speak of, and obviously no head.

The aroma is thankfully more impressive, with plenty of bourbony goodness up front, contributing vanilla and caramel to counterpoint the chocolate and roastiness from the malt. As it warms, a fruity and vinous aroma comes out along with a backbone of molasses. Nicely balanced and not very hot at all for a big barrel-aged stout.

There's quite a bit more heat on the palate, but it's well-integrated and doesn't dominate the complex flavor. Vinous and chocolatey, boozy and fruity, there's a lot going on here, but it's marred by the lack of carbonation. A low-to-moderate level of carbonation would really benefit this beer and probably take away some of the heat. Mid-palate I get a lot of vanilla and caramel, which transitions into a roasty, bitter, lightly tannic and very boozy finish. Enjoyable but disappointing on the whole - this would be an excellent beer if it were properly carbonated. (992 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12.7oz, caged and corked bottle, 12% ABV, thanks be once again to the good doktorzee for procuring this for me from SoCal.

This beer pours a solid, light-destroying black abyss, with the barest of cola-tinged basal edges, and two fingers of wanly puffy, tightly foamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves a bit of awkwardly arched lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of big 'n sweet Bourbon barrels - acridly boozy vanilla, caramel, wood, and spiced grain - bittersweet chocolate, gritty caramel malt, biscuity toffee, black licorice, dark muddled orchard fruit, milk-dosed coffee, Japanese stir-fry umami, and an earthy, weedy, and slightly leafy dryness. The taste is still big on the Kentucky barrel-aged spirit essence straight-off, with the same testy vanilla, caramel, rye spice, and besotted woodiness from the nose, alongside a heady toffee/caramel maltiness, dark cocoa pudding, melted licorice, cafe au lait, a waning Teriyaki weirdness, and overwhelmed earthy, musty hops.

The bubbles are pretty understated in their frothy temerity, the body a hefty medium-full weight, and generally smooth, what with that 24-proof booze gnashing at the outer gates, and perhaps even a tad creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, the Bourbon, chocolatey caramel, and milky coffee kind of tightening the reins.

A pretty tasty and engaging imperial stout, aged in Bourbon barrels, at that. The wood does some good, and some not so good, but in the end, the positives outweigh the negatives. And yeah, the 12% ABV is sublimated enough that I didn't think to mention it outright until now, which I suppose is sayin' something. Cheers, Santa - after that particularly long day of work, you do indeed deserve to drink this stuff for the rest of the year! (1,779 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

So I have had these bottles for like 2 years and I decided it was about time i just got it over with and opened one. What the hell right. Cracked it open after dessert of 5/31/2010.

The pour was alright. Deep, dark, and black as night with a light ring of tan that circled the glass for maybe a minute before fading out of site and leaving it completely bare. Not my idea of the greatest of looks but what can you do.

Aroma surprised me as it was done very, very well. A rich mix of dark chocolate, coffee, lots of bourbon and oak. Warming brought out vanilla and light touches of molasses. Very nicely done I have to admit and I was finding hop this would not be terrible at this point. But then I took a sip. Now, here is the odd part. the feel is horrible. Flat, dull and thin. Just a mess, I cannot see how they could have tore this one up that badly. On the other hand the flavor is rich, decadent, near perfectly aged, so there in lies the issue.

Overall this could have been a very, very good beer, but alas it was a mess because of the lack of carbonation. Fix the QC issues and it would be a winner. (1,113 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick and black with a beautiful mocha colored foam that sticks around for quite awhile. Very little carbonation.

S: Wow! Bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and booze.

T: Just as decadent as the nose. I firstly noted the chocolate flavor and then the bourbon. The coffee flavors are not as present as I would have expected. The booze is very upfront in this one. I cannot wait to see how this tastes in another year.

M: Thick, creamy, and very smooth. Massive body on this beer.

D: The only reason I "marked it down" on this aspect is because the booze is still very pronounced. (578 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown, near black body and, despite a heavy, energetic pour, no real head formation beyond a few stray bubbles.

Smell: Immediately, there's a strong, heavy-handed, foreboding bourbon presence. If you don't like'm bourbon-y, I guess you could get out now while the gettin' is good. Roasty notes of coffee, molasses, and chocolate sauce suitable for ice cream sundaes. Touch of ripened dark fruitiness also.

Taste: Dark roasted maltiness with a taste of gooey fudge-flavored brownie batter, cooled espresso, blackstrap molasses, and bittersweet chocolate. Some dark fruits mingled in. Then, it comes that strong bourbon taste with its vanilla, brown sugar, and lightly tannic oak wood. Drying, roasty finish with some alcoholic warmth contained within.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full-bodied and flat.

Drinkability: Well, I've had this a few times now and always feel that, while it does taste quite good, some (any) carbonation would've really made it SING. Maybe next batch. (998 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with a small head of light tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles quickly and leaves light traces of lace on the glass.

S - Dark sugar with notes of chocolate, smoky coffee, pepper, red apple, vanilla, and sweet whiskey.

T - Sweet oak and vanilla up front with dark caramel and a toffee. Some bakers chocolate and espresso in the middle with clove and spiced apple notes in the middle. Finishes with vanilla, bourbon, and spiced cake notes as well as lingering smoky coffee notes.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very different form the non ba version, though it still has the characteristic charred roast character that the base beer possessed. As I expected it took to barrel aging very well and the vanilla and whiskey notes add a perceived sweetness that helps to push back against the harsh bitterness and allows some of the base beer's complexity to shine though. A nicely done barrel aged stout. (988 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask @ the Stone Brewing World Bistros & Gardens on 11/9/09 during the "Tomme Arthur Experience" event. Served in a snifter.

Pours jet black in the glass, with a ½ finger of burnt mocha colored froth. Big rich retention on this, which showers the sides of the snifter with of spotty lace and gooey brown oil. Cola-like Bourbon and tannic oak accents just dominate the nose. The Stout flavors are trying in vain to break through (I'm getting chocolate, roast, and just a bit of dark fruit that's trying to peak out) but it really does struggle against the barrel character.

Thankfully the Imperial Stout shows itself much more in the taste, being frontloaded with sticky notes of chocolate, toffee, dark roasted, coffee, and some fruit. But man, the Bourbon strikes back with a vengeance in the backend of this, with a boozy tasting bite that ends sticky at first and then rather drying in the finish. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a mellow creaminess to it from the cask conditioning that helps sooth things out a bit. Much like the regular Santa's Little Helper, this could be called overly hot (and the Bourbon sure doesn't help), leaving a warm hazy feel on the breath. All in all though, the alcohol presence probably isn't as bad as it could have been.

Well after hearing the horror stories about this beer in the bottle, I have to say that having the opportunity to have this on cask was probably the best case scenario for it (hooray for carbonation!). At the end of the day though, this was still just too warm and boozy to call it anything better than good. I'm glad that I got to try this here, as that will allow me to sit on the bottle that I've got for a long...long time. (1,702 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey on LA/Port takeover night. Also have to thank Ineedabeerhere for a bottle he sent me a while back that I'm aging.

Just about pitch black colored beer with a light creamy dark head with lacing.

Nose of bourbon and light oak, dark malts roast chocolate dark chic, little vanilla and caramel, little booze, oatmeal.

Taste is rich with lots of chocolate, baker's and dark as well as cocoa nibs. Chewy oatmeal dark malts, little vanilla and caramel, some bourbon but not as much as the nose, pretty boozy too. Some bitterness spicy tingly booze. Bitter from malts and earthy spicy hops. Plenty of roast and coffee. Finishes smooth and long bitterness chocolate roast and more bourbon. Boozy. Rich creamy thick mouth. Some woody esthers and smooth oak.

Mouth is pretty thick and somewhat boozy, with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is OK, some booze and a bit of stickiness, but otherwise drinks smooth and well. (939 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic pilsner glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at Wally's Wine in Westwood.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and abysmal retention. It's gone right after it settles. I had to give it a vigorous poor just to see it. Colour is a solid black; nontransparent. I'm concerned that it's undercarbonated, but the ABV is certainly high enough to destroy the head.

Sm: Extremely strong aroma of bourbon, oak, and caramel. The bourbon overpowers any other more subtle notes that might be present. Sweet Jesus that's strong.

T: Heavy bourbon notes over top a smooth foundation of oak, chocolate, cocoa, and light caramel. It's certainly strong in alcohol, and the flavour is heavy without hitting you over the head. The finish is delightfully creamy, keeping the aftertaste from burning. It's certainly quite rich. The chocolate/cocoa comes through most in the third act. The oak is magnificent; I'd like it to come through more. It's certainly complex and bold, but the bourbon might be too strong, disrupting the balance. I do like it, but it's not built with balance really in mind - to its detriment.

Mf: Smooth and wet. The alcohol burns in the stomach, but it's a pleasant warming sensation. It suits the flavour generally, but in this style I prefer a thick, coarse, creamy texture.

Dr: It's a heavy beer that's just a little more drinkable than most sippers. It lacks the balance and subtlety to be truly great, but it's enjoyable for what it is. I expected more coming from this brewery, but I don't know that I'm disappointed. It will please fans of the style, but there are certainly better examples. I'd like to try it without the bourbon barrel aging. (1,805 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from Sinners Club. Shared with friends at Dave's new apartment. Served in Dogfish Head pint glass.

A - A thing layer of big bubbles that quickly dissipates to a ring. Looks like cask ale. Deep black color with a hint of brown at the fringes.

S - The smell is super-intense barrel, bourbon, vanilla, boozey heat, roastiness and s'mores (yes, s'mores - marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker). It could stand to have a little less heat, but it was otherwise pretty delicious.

T - Taste is a bit of a step down. Roasted malts, bourbon, butterscotch and vanilla, with a woody tannic aftertaste. Again, it's slightly hot, and seems a little less rich than the smell, but it's still quite good.

M - Pretty much flat, syrupy aftertaste, thinner than I'd expect for a 10% brew. I've had straight-up bourbon with more texture than this stuff.

D - 6-8oz of this stuff is more than sufficient - I'm glad I had some friends helping me out on this one. The alcohol isn't particularly well-hidden either, as I remember asking Dave if this was 11% or 12%. The smell and taste are pretty good, and I can see them getting better over the next year or two, but without more than the mildest carbonation the experience ultimately falls flat (pun intended). (1,258 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 12/24/11 notes. 2011 vintage, tried side by side with a 2010 bottle of the normal Santa's Little Helper, served in my new tasters from Sara.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with one inch of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Less head than the year old bottle of the base beer. No real lacing or retention.

s - Smells of whiskey, roasted malts, dark fruits, chocolate, and light coffee. nose has less chocolate than normal version, even after a year on it.

t - Tastes of whiskey, oak, roasted malts, bakers chocolate, sweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and light fruit. Pretty nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Some light alcohol warmth; I think some time on it would help.

o - Overall I thought this was a good beer, and is better than the normal base beer when fresh, but I preferred a 1 year aged bottle of the normal base beer to this. Little bit of alcohol warmth; I think a year in the cellar would help it a bit. Would have it again. (993 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with light hints of dark brown at the edges of the glass when held up to the light. The beer has a quarter finger tall mocha head that reduces to a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Huge aromas of bourbon upfront with this beer - notes of bourbon sweetness, oak, and vanilla. That is followed by coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, and light notes of alcohol.

T: The flavors of this beer really follow the smell, there is a nice roasted malt flavor with some coffee notes and dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit sweetness. There is a significant amount of bourbon flavors including the oak, vanilla, and some light alcohol.

M: Just shy of full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: There is a nice complexity to the flavors of this beer and it smells exactly like it is advertised - bourbon barrel aged American Double/Imperial Stout. Really enjoyable but not the easiest beer to drink because it is really big - sip slowly and enjoy. (1,132 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter glass.

Pours a pitch black color. Absolutely no head. None. Zip. Wow, big letdown already.

Aroma: Bourbon and heat, vanilla, chocolate, oak. It is too hot already.

Taste: A lot of bourbon and heat, vanilla notes, chocolate, some nut flavors. Big malt flavor. Not too bad but too much heat.

Mouthfeel: Flat, dry and not. Full bodied with a super low amount of carbonation. Ends with a lot of heat in the mouth.

Overall, not impressed with this one at all. LA needs to start stepping up their game with the carbonation issues. This is an absolute joke. (575 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mar.

Beer pours black with no head. This is one of the flat Port/Lost Abbey beers I have heard about. The aroma is alcohol, chocolate and the notes you expect in bourbon aged beers - oak, bourbon and vanilla. The flavor is similar with the alcohol being pretty hot, but the vanilla and bourbon being very present as well. The mouthfeel is medium but I think the beer would be better if it was properly carbonated. (433 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle split with durwoodx. Thanks Darrell!

Served side by side with Santa's Little Helper.

A: Dark brown with very little carbonation. Very little head and no lacing.

S: Bourbon, alcohol, spices.

T: Decent tasting beer, with prominent bourbon and chocolate notes.

M: Really smooth feel with relatively low carbonation. There's a bit of an alcohol burn in the finish.

D: Good for sharing several ways. A lesser version of Angel's Share.

Overall, I was expecting a bit more, but I am glad I got to try it. (513 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" tan colored head.

Smell: vanilla, oak, and a bit of bourbon are easily picked up by the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, oak, bourbon, vanilla, prunes, mild alcohol, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp at the start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a very enjoyable but slow sipping beer. Great beer to sip in front of a fire place. (438 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 1 Bottle; Sampled December 2011
A steady pour barely produces a few, large, brown tinged bubbles that settle around the rim of my Lost Abbey Teku glass. The beer is a deep, concentrated brown, almost perfectly black color. The aroma smells of spicy bourbon, caramelized & toasted coconut, lots of vanillin and woody oak. The nose is definitely a bit hot and easily dominates the base beer aromaitcs, which I am really not noticing much the first go around; if I relally dig, some roasted, toasted malt notes start to become noticeable, though not enough to balance the Bourbon Barrel notes in any way.

The beer is spicy and a touch hot up front, this continues as it flatly slides across the palate and the finish has a spicy Bourbon like note, an oak astringency and some warm / hot alcohol character to it. Some sweetness works in concert with and is accentuated by vanillin notes; though the sweetness is not enough, nor is it nearly rich and malty enough, to stand up to the Bourbon laden notes from this beer. More roasted character is in the flavor at least; it adds a burnt bitterness, perhaps a touch of sharp acrid roast character and a touch of rounded, dark maltiness that isn’t quite a richness. Dark chocolate notes and something a bit like a sweet, coffee liquor also plays a secondary role here.

I was hoping this would have picked up some carbonation over the two year rest it spent in my cellar, still this could have been good if the Barrel character had not so completely dominated the base beer; more malt richness would have gone a long way towards helping a balance here, but the malt richness just isn’t here. In the end I strongly prefer a beer that has subtle Bourbon barrel influences; if you like Bourbon heavy beers then I could see you enjoying this beer. (1,796 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Port Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.