Santa's Little Helper | Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.

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Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
Very Good
22 Ratings
Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper

Brewed by:
Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.
Oregon, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"This is our winter seasonal beer which arrives early fall and stays around till after the holidays. Crystal malt and Cascade hops produce a well balanced strong ale that is perfect for nights around fireplace with friends and family."

Grains: 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate, Honey
Hops: Cascade
Original Gravity: 1.064
Final Gravity: 1.016
I.B.U.'s: 50
Alcohol: 6.4

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-11-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 20
Reviews by notsoprobeer:
Photo of notsoprobeer
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tasting:  Poured a hazy dark amber with a white head that dissipated fairly quickly.  Aroma is roasted malts with a bit of piney hops.  Flavor includes some caramel, brown sugar, and hints of spice (that I can't identify) followed by pine and citrus hops. Light to medium bodied and with a crisp finish.

Santa's Little Helper is a well balanced beer, with a nice mix of malts and hops.  Consider this one for your holiday gatherings.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Magpie14
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a earthy brown and flat reddish orange color make up the bulk of the appearance. A soft and dingy white head fizzled forth and slipped away quickly leaving an occasional string and gunk of lace

S: a spicy and fruity nose persists. Some of the fruit whiffs are in the like of spiced apples and maybe oranges. Their is also a definite pine hop presence with toffee candy

T: the palate comes across somewhat dry and finishes a touch grainy. It is almost reminds me of a cheap port wine type of finish, not as heavy though and nor is it as sweet...which is a good thing. The companionship of piney hops and spices (a few crushed cloves) coat the tongue and cut through with each sip. Nothing is striking me as very enjoyable in this beer and yet I find its simplicity enjoyable. The biscuit maltiness strikes the palate as buttery, nutty, and lightly sweetened. I might stretch enough to include cocoa notes rousing my taste buds

M: mild to light body and a touch on the crisp/dry side, it does move rather well. Carbonation has a good tickle factor and makes gulps suitable. Warming enhances most of the above

D: crisp and a snap in the finish. I might even vouch for a little more sweetness in the mix, maybe? Down any road, a straightforward tasty seasonal

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Photo of Elemental
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber brown color with a thin sheet of head and no lacing.

Smell: The smell is a little week, I expected a little more hop aroma but the lack of smell could have been from the last beer I just had. There is a slight amount of spice aroma that is noticable.

Taste: Nice full body with lots of flavors. there is a little residual swwetness which is pleasant. A nice spicy flora taste that is just slightly bitter towards the end.

Overall: not a bad winter all, lots of flavors to explore through nultiple drink. Definately worth checking out.

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Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat effervescent copper/chestnut with 3 fingers of tan head. Great lacing on the top of glass & above average head retention

S: Slight breadyness & piney hops

T: Citric hops & then piney hops up front. A bit of cakeyness as this warms along with some grapefruitty hops. Finishes with big-time pineyness, some cakeyness & brown sugar dryness & a bit of gingerbread

MF: Oily & chewy with just a bit of carbonation, skews a little too hoppy for my liking

Drinks pretty good, I prefer my winter warmers with more malt, but would take this as an IPA any day, just a easily, very good offering

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Photo of Spikester
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the C.L. website:
Grains: 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate, Honey
Hops: Cascade Original Gravity: 1.064
Final Gravity: 1.016 I.B.U.'s: 50
Alcohol: 6.4

Pours clear brown with a small tan head. Plenty of lacings.

Aroma suggests brown sugar.

Taste is bitter hops with plenty of dark malt sweetness to smooth things out. Notes of brown sugar, coffee, and molasses.

Mouthfeel is lighter than most winter warmers.

Drinkabilty is good but with 6.4% abv it might be a brief session.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle a few weeks ago, and the bottle has no date on it... may be from last year? Either way, poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

a. Beautiful chocolate mahogany hue, very rich and dark but glowing a brilliant red when held to light. A thin one-finger head of a mocha color foams nicely and recedes fairly quickly, leaving a beautiful sticky lacing.

s. Aroma is strong with pine notes, hints of floral hops, and tons of rich roasted malts. Cocoa and maple notes pull through as this one warms, and begins to hint at gingerbread, molasses, and a well-aged port.

t. The taste is pleasantly rich and malty, nearing the malt profile of a robust porter but brought back to a true winter warmer by the pine, juniper, pepper and bitter hop notes. It's a beautiful, even warming flavor, with the hops, malts, sweet, and spicy flavors all melding together beautifully into one amazing even flavor.

m. Smooth with medium carbonation, this one is lighter and a touch thinner than some of the other winter warmers, which is a nice change. It's not chewy or chunky, and the interplay in the mouth between sweet and bitter is great. The start is malty and sweet, fading to pure roasted malt feel, and then a bit of hop bitter twang at the end.

d. I wish I had more than the one bottle. This may be one of my favorite winter warmers! Not as fruity and spicy as some, this one is an excellent blend of malt and hop with an almost perfect amount of sweetness. The mouthfeel is great and easier to drink than others. I'd definitely recommend trying this one, and I'm probably going to pick up a few more bottles as soon as i can.

* as I noted at the beginning, this may be last years bottle, and after looking over other views, it's a definite possibility. This glass didn't have any overpowering hops, and I wouldn't come close to calling it an IPA. Either this is a new bottle with different recipe, or this one ages for a year into something beautiful. As soon as i can verify a new bottle, I'll sample and revise this review.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the North Wset winter offerings I never had.
12 oz brown shortneck bottle.
Its a nice , rather attractive, clear brown ale with a great frthy/bubbly tan head, great lacing.
The aroma is not to strong but it is easy to discern the malts, actually very malty aroma with just a hint of grassy hops.
The taste though is much more hoppy then the aroma , but is well bvalanced by some yummy caramel maltiness, this becomes rarther fruity as the beer warms..
I found the mouthfeel to be well balanced and smooth.
Very drinkable winter ale..a good strongish Amber. Well done.

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Photo of ebrauser
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the bottle to the pint glass

App: Thin on CO2 and head, but rich in color. A deep bourbon red.

Aroma: Biscuity malt nose with a bitter, slightly spicy tone. A hint of coffee and prunes sneaks in.

Flavor: Big bodied flavor! Middle full of orange, cranberry, and hop bitterness. The bitter flavors trying to steal the show but a backbone of heavily roasted malts are the enforcers in this winter warming brew. Dark fruit flavors emerge as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated and slightly oily with a large body. This one was sitting pretty heavy after I drank it.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was an unexpected little treat, thanks go to Kim aka "Skyhand" for the bottle, you're tops!

Pours a deep brown in color with a light tan head to compliment, lots of retention and lacing throughout. Nose is decidedly hoppy, quite attractive. Taste carries much of the hoppiness in the nose, but with some deep caramel malt tones. Touches of fruits and a bit of a bready character. Quite warming, not sure what the ABV is, but it's got to be a bit to the strong side I'd guess. Mouthfeel was medium, a big brew to be sure, but light enough to remain refreshing.


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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Deep, clear mahogany color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Piney nose. Flavor is balanced with the piney hops and malts. Some bitterness at finish. $1.35 for a 12oz bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.

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Photo of flexabull
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright and slightly cloudy amber color with a faint white head.

Aromas are kind of dusty smelling, with a little bit of sweet brewed tea.

Taste has a crisp brewed tea flavor, lots of malts in here. It's a bit bready, spicy, with a light caramel flavor. Finish has an easy mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is very full and thick, quite nice.

Drinkability is pretty good. It's a nice malt bomb, was there was a little more sweetness and "warmth" though. Certainly a worthy offering though.

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Photo of stirgy
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I received this one from an unknown BA from Portland??? Opened this one right away, about 30 seconds from opening the box. This slightly chilled brew poured deep, dark and clear. A rich and creamy almond colored head topped off the beer. The color is like a fine cognac - deep amber to brownish orange. The aroma is very appealing with bittersweet piney floral notes, sugary caramel candy and orange liqueur. The taste is light but highly flavorful with bittersweet candy notes that gives off touches of tannic nuttiness – Overall, this is a gorgeous beer. Very enjoyable. Whoever you are, please send more. Thanks!

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Photo of beerguy101
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reddish amber color. Medium head. Aroma is malty and sweet with a hint of dark fruits. A medium bodied winter ale. Malts are nutty, sweet and fruity, touches of chocolate and toffee. Hops are spicy and a touch bitter. Malty and smooth this one is a nice belly warmer. Hides the 8.0% alcohol well. Nice smooth beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color, very little head to speak of. Smell is fairly mild, some light maltyness, a bit of caramel sweetness. Taste is a lot hoppier than the aroma seemd to indicate, but it's balanced with a hefty malt backbone, as any winter warmer should be. Mouthfeel is fairly medium in body, smooth finish. Fairly low abv makes this an easy one to drink and is a good example of the style.

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Photo of birdypowder
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if they change the Santa's Little Helper recipe significantly from year to year because when comparing my tasting notes to other reviews I found more differences than usual. My 2009 Santa's Little Helper was an enjoyable seasonal ale that was easy to drink yet had a modest amount of complexity. It has less flavor than Jubelale from Deschutes which works for and against this seasonal ale from neighboring Cascade Lakes Brewery.

Slightly burnt caramel drowns out a very mild citrus hop aroma. Faint grassy and light malty aromas come and go.

A light tan head fobs up and looks imposing until it quickly fades to a thin veneer meekly trying to hide the rich copper brew beneath. Lacing was unimpressive.

This is a smooth, medium bodied and well balanced brew that leans slightly towards the malty side of the spectrum. There is a semi-sweet chocolate kick right towards the end that I looked forward to before each sip.

The semi-dry finish leaves a very mild lingering bitterness, neither dissuading nor encouraging the next sip.

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Photo of ccrida
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into my Delirum snifter, Santa's Little Helper is a dark, chill-hazed ruddy brown with a small khaki head, large bubbled, leaving scattered lace.

Smell is caramel, a bit muted, though I served this at fridge temp.

Taste is a bit chocolaty, with a light herbal hoppiness, like a brown porter, very clean, semi-sweet, super balanced and quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium light, smooth, a bit on the drier side. Really digestible for the strength, I'd guess it's more like 5.4!

Drinkability is high, this is a very well made winter warmer, again, more like a brown porter, which I really dig. A pleasant surprise, I need to seek out more from Cascade Lakes, all their beers I've had have been solid.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass murky, cloudy and deep dark amber with a barely off-white yet tall head that fell rapidly but clung to the surface to lace the glass as the beer was consumed.

The aroma was diacetyl with some caramel and toffee thrown in.

The flavor was again more diacetyl with caramel and toffee. The hop bittering was fairly low but present and the malt was buttery, but not over the top.

The finish was dry with a slight hop presence lasting into the aftertaste. The body was medium full and the carbonation was low. The diacetyl was not overdone, but did not exactly add to the brew. Santa could certainly use a little help here...

12 ounce twist off bottle...thanks weefisheads!

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Photo of chumba526
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appears amber color with almost no head.

It smells slightly like toffee, carmel, and a little pine like.

Appears amber color with almost no head.

It smells slightly like toffee, caramel, and a little pine like.

It tastes slightly sweet and caramel like there is a bit of a nutty and toffee like taste. I get a little bit of a grassy and pine like hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite smooth and low.

Drinkability is pretty good I could drink a couple of these.

Overall, the beer is not bad it is good tasting but there is not much about the beer.

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Photo of shelby415
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of cswhitehorse
2.96/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The Santa's little helper poured a dark brown with a tiny quick dissipating foam head.

The aroma was a little funky with some what a semblance of crystal malts. The taste was similar but I could gather a chocolate presence with a hoppy finish. Tasted a little unbalanced. As it warmed it didn't help too much. I won't be buying this one again as even after i was done it left a odd taste that took a while to leave.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

“Our Jubelale,” said one off-duty employee. “Some say it’s better than Jubelale,” added the bartender. Me, I’m with the bartender. This is by far a much better winter warmer than neighboring Jubelale. It is the darkest of cranberry color (cran-beery?) with an abundance of nutmeg and spice, a full fruity body, and taste references alluding to port wine and cherry brandy.

Though Santa has no head or lace to speak of, its deep clarity and aroma of porter-meets-sherry are a delight to the senses. The taste is a veritable fruit basket with every complimentary composite of your grandmother’s spice rack and your uncle’s liquor cabinet.

Listed as 6.3% ABV on the Cascade lakes website.

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Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Santa's Little Helper from Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 22 ratings