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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

437 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 437
Reviews: 169
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 14.58%
Wants: 44
Gots: 150 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Port Brewing visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 07-25-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 437 | Reviews: 169 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerzebub
Beerzebub

California

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
Photo of MLaVioletteJr
MLaVioletteJr

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

06-10-2014 16:36:02 | More by MLaVioletteJr
Photo of Latarnik
Latarnik

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

06-01-2014 15:39:55 | More by Latarnik
Photo of tmzl
tmzl

Slovenia

3.74/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

05-31-2014 16:33:22 | More by tmzl
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HuskyinPDX

Washington

4/5  rDev +2.3%

05-16-2014 22:30:18 | More by HuskyinPDX
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Can-In-Hand

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

04-08-2014 17:13:36 | More by Can-In-Hand
Photo of nataku00
nataku00

California

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

03-31-2014 18:12:16 | More by nataku00
Photo of freshflesh
freshflesh

California

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

03-16-2014 07:58:00 | More by freshflesh
Photo of random846
random846

California

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

03-15-2014 05:23:49 | More by random846
Photo of Reappropriated
Reappropriated

California

4/5  rDev +2.3%

03-12-2014 00:00:02 | More by Reappropriated
Photo of oldmankoch
oldmankoch

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

03-02-2014 21:06:13 | More by oldmankoch
Photo of Zimm
Zimm

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

02-14-2014 00:37:50 | More by Zimm
Photo of Joshpu
Joshpu

California

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
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dfhhead25

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-27-2014 19:53:22 | More by dfhhead25
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BigBlueShep

California

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

01-27-2014 16:02:00 | More by BigBlueShep
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Lehighace06

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +27.9%

01-25-2014 21:33:29 | More by Lehighace06
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Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

01-25-2014 05:19:44 | More by Rhettroactive
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megamass

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

01-23-2014 05:58:35 | More by megamass
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Jordy777

Illinois

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-21-2014 02:22:06 | More by Jordy777
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thereal_adam

Texas

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-13-2014 03:23:37 | More by thereal_adam
Photo of aztraz
aztraz

Sweden

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

01-12-2014 11:53:11 | More by aztraz
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MrDave

California

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

01-03-2014 15:55:20 | More by MrDave
Photo of JohnnieNepal
JohnnieNepal

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

01-02-2014 18:47:41 | More by JohnnieNepal
Photo of BGsWo22
BGsWo22

New York

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-01-2014 20:50:03 | More by BGsWo22
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

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.