Bad Santa
Pelican Pub & Brewery

Bad SantaBad Santa
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American Black Ale
Ranked #247
Ranked #18,081
3.87 | pDev: 9.3%
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Bad SantaBad Santa
Notes: 17.0degree Plato
Alcohol: 6.7% by volume
Bitterness: 65 IBU
Color: 60 SRM
Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 144 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

drinking new (to me) flavors from pelican is always such a treat. i love and respect them, and i am almost always as stoked leaving the experience as entering it, like they always live up to the lofty expectations that exist for them in my head. not enough black ipa types in the world, lets all just agree on that. nothing christmas about this beer though aside from the name and the label, a little misleading really, it could work well any time of year, and those expecting spice and booze for the holidays need to look elsewhere. sure this is a little strong, but its mellow and drinkable too, way away from winter warmer, barleywine, and old ale classes. its dark and hoppy, with notes of pine and black pepper in nose and taste, lively as heck too, with some roast, tobacco, and dry cocoa on the grain side. pine tree and juniper notes in the taste, even a subtle and weird green kool aid lime element, but nothing lingers, no palate coating hop bite or any of that, none of the northwestern oily intensity, its just clean and dry and gone on the swallow, super weird trajectory for a stronger example of the style, but its true. neat that this is so mellow in taste yet so strong, a different and relaxed hop layering, but a good and true example of the style overall too. loving me some pelican right now, all of their beer is great, truly!

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Photo of patre_tim
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a ruby tinge, and a half finger of beige head.

Smells of malts and candy.

Tastes of dark toasted malts, cascade and citrus hops, as well as Christmas spices.

Medium body with a medium carbonation.

Got in Medford, OR, drinking in Redding, Dec 26th 2018. Pleasantly surprising brew.

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Photo of bret717
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 9/19/18, reviewed 11/24/18
Poured from the bottle into a tulip at fridge temp

Look- pours dark walnut brown and appears almost black in the glass; light brown head recedes slowly; sheets of lacing

Aroma- slightly burnt, roasty coffee, floral hops, dark chocolate

Taste- starts out with roasty, bitter, burnt coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate, followed by floral and citrusy hops along with their bitterness

Feel- medium-bodied and carbed; semi-dry finish with lingering bitterness

Overall- Nice black IPA that has some enjoyable flavors and aromas

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$ 8.56 (Including shipping)/22 oz bottle ($ 0.389/oz) from Tavour, Seattle, WA.
Bottle sweat removed the date from the base – stored at 40 degrees in my garage and served at 45 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Aroma – Light aroma of roasted malt balanced by hop spiciness. It does fade over time.
Head – Large (Maximum 6.3 cm, aggressive pour), light tan, low density froth, good retention, diminishing to an irregular ring and a heaped rocky complete layer. Head retraction leaves a thick wide ring of lacing.
Lacing – Excellent.
Body – Stream while pouring is dark brown and clear – in the glass it’s very dark brown and opaque.
Flavor – Starts slightly sweet with a bit of malt followed by some peppery hop spiciness, well balanced. No alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate – Medium, almost creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression: The appearance, aroma, and palate are all pleasing, as is the flavor. A very pleasant black ale with an excellent price point.
Appearance 4.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4.25.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a high sided tulip.

Look is an extremely dark brown with amber cola highlights and an off white head.

Aroma is roasted malt and an herbal citrus hop note at the end.

I like this kinda Cascadian Dark Ale/ American Black Ale/ Black IPA. Definitely stands out as its own style and not just trying to be an IPA with dark malt, by nuancing the roasted malt.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bad Santa pours a clean and clear black with lovely hazelnut highlights. The slightly tanned foam rests comfortably on top, receding to a frothy ring and leaving large spots of islands on the glass.

An initial spicy and spruce pine scent is greeted with a roasted grain and heavily toasted bread.

Earthy and rustic hops, spice, and roasted grains again show off what they can do. Like a Christmas spiced and and heavily hopped root beer really dialing down the sweetness with a dark berry influence from deep below.

A tingly spice starts off the feel followed by a crisp bitterness. A roasty finish comes shortly after the starved for attention sweetness.

Honestly, this is a wonderful CDA. My go-to was previously the now defunct Sublimely Self-righteous, and this almost happily would replace it. I'd like to see a little more roast, really in your face like, but nonetheless a wonderful hoppy winter option. Cheers!

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Photo of pianoguy
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle No bottling info

Side note; I must admit that I have always been a little leery of this beer. Brewed from October through December (according to the brewer). I see it at my grocery store (WinCo) all year long.... Huh? What gives? Is it old stock? Brewed year round? Who knows ?! And with no bottling info I'm not about to plunk down my hard earned money on something called Santa in august ! But this November they had a holiday display set up and I dug down behind the display (Sorry WinCo) and opened a case box to get this six pack. I figure it's fresh! . As I look at some of the reviews that address poor carbonation... I think you got an old one.

Pours a solid black/brown body with a large foamy tan head. Good lacing and retention.

I'm getting the hops out front with a bit of malt in the background. It's the standard IPA scent, although the malt scent gets somewhat stronger as it warms. Overall scent is noticeable but not quite prominent.

Taste brings out a little more malt but it's definitely an IPA taste. Hop forward.

Nice smooth feel with just the right amount of carbonation.

Value(doesn't effect overall score) At $8.29 a sixer it's a decent value.

Overall it's not bad for what it is. if you like the "Black IPA" beer. (Hoppy, yet black in color) you will enjoy this beer. If you are looking for a winter warmer seasonal ale type of beer, keep looking ! This aint it.

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Photo of jeffreed61
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an undated 12oz bottle at about 60 degrees. Big, roasty aroma with maybe some pine underneath. Creamy feel for a black IPA. Malt is very roasty; there's really no sweetness at all. It's earthy, hoppy and bitter.

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Photo of vladdswrath
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate brown with scarce but perpetual bubbles rising through the glass into a small but well-textured beige head. Aroma is tough to get, but it's sweet, biscuits, chocolate, and barely perceptible peppermint. Taste is much richer than the smell. Dark chocolate, strong coffee and heavy hopping. In other words, bitter, bitter, bitter. Still, it's not one-note bitter so I think it works. Mouthfeel is watery and warm which again, works with the brew.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep, dark brown ale with a foamy, tan head. Streak lacing. Aroma is very faint. Toasted malt, dark chocolate, and spice. The flavor however is quite nice. Spice, cocoa, and toasted malt blended well with a slight hops bitterness that lingers. A very fine beer, smooth and flavorful.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark, dark brown to black with a tan foam that flared up nicely but fizzled quickly to a thin ring. Dark molasses, brown sugar, cocoa and cold brew coffee on the nose with hints of white oak. Tasty. Extra dark chocolate with almost no milk fat. More bitter coffee. Just a touch of steel and mineral aftertaste with more cocoa powder. Dry and powdery on the finish. It's a big black hop bomb. Tasty, but a huge hoppy dry beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bottle:

Pours dark mahogany with a thick tan head. Foamy lacing sticks.

The smell is mild - some lightly roasted chocolate. Fuggles hops impart a light earthy, slightly herbal aroma.

The taste is of sweet chocolate, a hint of roasted nuts and a balancing herbal, leafy bitterness. Very slight alcohol warmth shows.

It has a creamy medium body. Smooth.

A sweet and slightly roasty malt character balanced by earthy/herbal hops. A nice brew overall.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Pours a wonderful two fingers of head into my Willi Becher glass. The head is light brown, cappuccino in color. Extremely fluffy, pillowy, and creamy looking. It looks fantastic. The body is black, with some small hues of brown when held up to the light. Head retention so far is unbelievable. It’s been at least three minutes and the head has not gone down one single bit. Well over 7 minutes now, and I’ve only lost about half a finger.

Nose is sweet, chocolatey, biscuity, not too sweet though. Definitely picking up some kind of spice underneath here, very unique. Can’t put my finger on it though, brown sugar, cinnamon, peppermint?! I don’t know, it smells festive, perhaps just a very spicy hop, though, that would be a stretch. The more and more I smell this, the more it smells like chocolate peppermint. It smells very very good, and not overly sweet at all, but a CDA is generally synonymous for black IPA, and this is not much of a black IPA on the nose, especially for 65 IBU’s. You definitely get a small bit of earthy/spicy hops coming through, but it’s 100% in the back, and largely dwarfed by the other aromas. Really a fantastic smell though, regardless.

Hmm, flavor is very interesting. A tad watery, with light hops mixed in nicely from beginning to end. Finishes very strong, with a ridiculously creamy taste, light chocolate and vanilla flavors mixing together perfectly. The flavor is good, but pretty simple, and does not hit super hard, somewhat watery. I hope it gets more interesting as it warms, for now, it’s a good taste.

The mouthfeel is ok. It is definitely a tad watery, but it’s not the end of the world, it probably aids the drinkability in a beer that is already very dangerous at 7.5% The carbonation is about medium, fits perfectly. The beer is creamy, but it really comes across more in the flavor than the mouthfeel. Overall this mouth feel is far less than perfect, but it’ll do.

The drinkability is very very high, I get no booze kick here at all, and it’s a very creamy tasting beer. While more bitterness may be desired, the smooth bitterness profile makes for an easy drinker.

The appearance stayed fantastic. Great lacing from top to bottom. The head hung around for a very long time, but it eventually mostly dissipated, which is the only reason it’s not a 5.

What I would classify as a “heavier” malt character, eventually started to come through as this beer warmed. Perhaps some dark fruits as well. As it really warmed, I got some herbal hop notes, very nice. Still, not enough to really improve this beer past “good” which it still remains, good. Overall it’s a solid beer, but just lacking in the big punching flavor and complexity I’m looking for.

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Photo of mactrail
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark and serious brew with a hoppy edge. Pours very dark brown with abundant foam in the Bitburger Pils glass. Outstanding creamy mouthfeel with the fine-grained carbonation lasts to the end of the glass. Light toasty aroma.

Pleasant notes of cocoa in the malt flavors. Just a touch of sweetness and honey. Very dark roasted malt flavors with a touch of charred grain. This grows on you after a glassful. More drinkable and less bitter than many of these black IPAs. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at the Mount Vernon Co-op market..

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Photo of stevoj
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice opaque black with abundant fluffy beige head. Mellow roast grain aroma, some sharp hop bitterness in the taste to accent the dark malts, but finishes fast and kind of weak.

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Photo of woemad
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle purchased at the Spokane Valley Total Wine for $1.79. According to the stamp on the bottle, this was bottled on October 28, 2015. Also according to the label, this is stronger than what is listed on BA, clocking in at 7.5% abv, and at 65 IBUs. Also, I somehow never picked up on Pelican's shift of production to Tillamook before.

Poured into a Mad Bomber pseudo-IPA glass, this was a very dark, mahogany color, with a rubyish tint when held up to light. Huge, fluffy, rocky head that settled unevenly and left lots of lace on the sides of the glass.

The nose is a little subdued, no doubt owing to how long I sat on this, but I get notes of piney hops, along with toasted dark malt notes. For a CDA, the latter are more mellow than I was expecting.

Fairly muted tasting. Mildly piney hops mingling with softly sweet, cocoish and nutty toasted malt notes. Mild dryness at the swallow.

The body is at the upper end of medium, with a creamy, ever so slightly oily mouthfeel.

I guess I could chalk it up to its age, but it’s not very divergent from fresher reviews. In general, this seems a kinder, gentler take on the Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/whatever BA calls it. Not bad, but not essential, though it did look great in the glass. I might revisit it next year when fresher.

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Photo of gandres
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank 01/18/2016 Bottled 10/12/2015
22 ounce bottle to wine glass
Appearance: Brown, deep red against the light, small brown head, minimal lacing, inviting to drink
Aroma: smell of toasted malts, boozy smell
Taste: strong taste of toasted malts, hint of chocolate coffee, pine
Mouth feel: Creamy
Overall: Very good beer, aroma and taste comes out if drank close to 50F

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of unknown age into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Much lighter than expected, more brown than black with 3+ fingers of light tan head. Good head retention and thick lacing. Nose is too mute for the style, not nearly enough hop character. Taste reminded me of a hoppy brown, not an OR CDA. Needs more dark malts and hops. Good body and finish. Wanted much more from this beer as I love the CDA style and have heard great things about Pelican. Won't revisit.

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Photo of josephandbrown
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle pour into a shaker pint glass.

Bad Santa pours a very dark amber with a robust head. I've had several pours so far, and there has not been any haze. Personally, I do not get very much out of the smell. As for the taste, I'm a bit thrown off. Even though it specifically says on the bottle it is a CDA, the name and branding suggest holiday beer. I keep expecting more malt and spice! It isn't bad on its own but my own expectations keep getting in the way.

If I try to ignore this bias and focus strictly on the flavor, it's a fine enough beer. It's main flavor component is a bitterness I am not accustomed to from Oregon hops and beers. It's pretty strongly carbonated, which I like.

Overall, not my favorite beer for the season or my favorite from Pelican.

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Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

7.5% ABV with 65 IBU. A very nice CDA! Pours dark brown/black with lasting head retention. Mild nose with some chocolate nuttiness and piney resin dominating. Smooth, robust mid body with pleasant bitterness to dry it all out! A very pleasant seasonal, one which I will probably buy again!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with two fingers of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thick lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Rich, earthy, aromas of bready toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly toasted pumpernickel bread, as well as aromas of brown sugar, licorice, clove and quite a lot of assertive, floral, piney, grassy, resin-like, hops.

Taste: Nice flavors of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of brown-sugar and caramel-like sweetness, some spices of clove, star anise, and a touch of black pepper, finished with quite a bit of assertive, floral, piney, grassy, resin-like, hops. Maybe too much hops for my liking.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 6.7%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a good beer, but not a great one, at least to my palate. I like the flavors of the bready, toasted malt, the sweetness and the spices, but to me the beer is too far out of balance in favor of hops. The floral, piney, grassy, resin-like, hops are way too assertive to my tastes, but I’m certain that hop-heads will love this beer.

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Photo of jellikit
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark brown with light ruby highlights. Clear when held to light. Fizzy. Thick foamy head.
Smell: slightly sweet malts. Light Grassy hops.
Taste: black patent and pine tar hops. Bitterness from burnt malts.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Medium body. Dry.
Overall: although I'm not a huge fan of the style, this is a decent beer. Not sure if I can review it fairly as I don't enjoy black patent.

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Photo of Harvest06
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:The label is bad ass. Dark brown with reddish hue with an off white head. Nice lacing.
S: Subtle balance of pleasant malts and subtle spicy/earthy hops. The malts are the feature.
T: Front has sweet creamy malty flavors of a stout: chocolate, coffee, licorice, slight smokey roastiness with the creaminess of an oatmeal stout. Earthy spicy hops mingle with the stout like characteristics in the middle. Bittersweet very dry finish.
M: Medium mouth feel. Good carbonation (medium to high) with a nice creamy texture.
P: This dark CDA is composed of lower gravity stout like dark ale with spicy earthy bitter hops of an English IPA. The stout like characteristics dominate but the hops adds a nice touch. Along the lines of Storm King but with a dryer finish and a lighter body. Wish it was year round. Loving the new 6 packs format. My favorite black IPA to date. Wish it was year round.

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Photo of hreb
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle promises Winter Warmer with its evil looking Pelican on the label, but the caption promises CDA (American Black Ale on BeerAdvocate). Served in a chalice, beer pours dark reddish brown in color with a thick, dark head. Very little aroma to speak of, which would not be a good start if we are to expect a CDA. Flavor is however very much like a CDA: spicy (there's your Winter piece) hop bitterness accompanied by a relatively thin body that just so happens to be dark in color. Drinkable and enjoyable, but as others have said, not a great example of the style.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber poured to tulip.

Pours black-brown with a big tan head

Aroma has a piney-citrus hop note, but brown sugar and toast

Taste is hop forward with a nice slug of bitterness... coffee, roasted malt, brown sugar

Mouthfeel is pleasantly thick

Overall a damn tasty christmas surprise hop bomb. Plenty of malt complexity and a full on blitz of bittering, flavor and aroma hops

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Bad Santa from Pelican Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 144 ratings