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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.
very good

466 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 466
Reviews: 172
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.03%
Wants: 45
Gots: 159 | 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: 466 | Reviews: 172 | Display Reviews Only:
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4/5  rDev +2%

2beerdogs, Jul 04, 2014
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4/5  rDev +2%

PlinyBubbles, Jun 21, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

IPAchris, Jun 17, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

gordo7, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of Beerzebub
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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.

Beerzebub, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of MLaVioletteJr
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

MLaVioletteJr, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of Latarnik
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Latarnik, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of tmzl
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

tmzl, May 31, 2014
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4/5  rDev +2%

HuskyinPDX, May 16, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Can-In-Hand, Apr 08, 2014
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3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

nataku00, Mar 31, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

freshflesh, Mar 16, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

random846, Mar 15, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

oldmankoch, Mar 02, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Zimm, Feb 14, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Joshpu, Feb 13, 2014
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4/5  rDev +2%

dfhhead25, Jan 27, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

BigBlueShep, Jan 27, 2014
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5/5  rDev +27.6%

Lehighace06, Jan 25, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Rhettroactive, Jan 25, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

megamass, Jan 23, 2014
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4/5  rDev +2%

Jordy777, Jan 21, 2014
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4/5  rDev +2%

thereal_adam, Jan 13, 2014
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3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

aztraz, Jan 12, 2014
Santa's Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Port Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.