Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Port Brewing
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Ratings: 437 | Reviews: 169 | Display Reviews Only:
4.08/5 rDev +4.3%
2009 bottle, aged for 4 years and 10 months; temperatures 60s-70s for a year or so, and then 55. Slight hiss when the bottle opened, and indeed there is a bit of carbonation. What??!
Very dark red-brown color. Zero head/froth. Pretty red-gold meniscus.
Smells good. Cohesive pine, brown sugar, and mellow roasty notes.
Tastes delicious. The last time I tried this, a few years ago, it was completely flat and was simply a disappointment, despite some promising flavors. I was prepared to give this bottle a perfunctory tasting and then pour it down the drain. But there is a tiny bit of carbonation, and it makes a big difference. Tasty molasses and piney/herbaceous sorts of flavors, along with smooth, sweet, caramel and vanilla bourbon character, all very cohesive and tasty. Long bourbony finish.
Good silky texture; a little undercarbed, but very far from the expected flat mess.
06-12-2014 11:13:02 | More by Beerzebub
3.74/5 rDev -4.3%
Taste-off: Santa's Little Helper (S) vs. Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged (SBBA)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
05-31-2014 16:33:22 | More by tmzl
4.25/5 rDev +8.7%
Poured from the bottle to a snifter. 2013 release.
A: Poured black with a small tan head.
S: Huge barrel characteristics. Oak and bourbon.
T: More big barrel characteristics. Oak and bourbon. Dark chocolate and coffee. Maybe some dark fruit, cherry. Slight butterscotch sweetness as it warms.
M: Medium to full bodied. Nice and creamy smooth. Goes down nice.
Overall a great stout. I normally don't rate this high when compared to the average, but it just kept getting better as it warmed.
02-13-2014 07:31:14 | More by Joshpu
3.48/5 rDev -11%
In review is a 2011 vintage.
A - Pitch black with a thin toffee colored lacing ring.
S - Subtle blended dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, toffee, traces of dark fruit, and light char.
T - The bourbon is quite dominant with everything else falling in after the booziness: oak, some char, dark fruit, and chocolate molasses...with more bourbon.
M - Thick, full bodied, slick, sticky, and significant alcohol warming on the way down.
O - Not sure I'd let another bottle of this sit so long, the flavors faded leaving a more significant bourbon and oak presence. Want to try a '12 or '13 for comparison. I love bourbon but the balance is way out of whack with too much bourbon and oak.
12-31-2013 22:21:55 | More by jzeilinger
Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Port Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 437 ratings.