Bad Santa | Pelican Pub & Brewery

BA SCORE
87
very good
45 Reviews
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Bad SantaBad Santa
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Oregon, United States
pelicanbrewery.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
17.0degree Plato
Alcohol: 6.7% by volume
Bitterness: 65 IBU
Color: 60 SRM

Added by ccrida on 01-03-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
45
Ratings:
122
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
9.54%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
19
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 122
Photo of vladdswrath
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
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 -2.8%
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 +4.1%
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 -3.4%
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 +1.3%
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 -3.1%
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 -10.1%
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 -6.7%
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%
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 -10.6%
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 -16.8%
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 +8.2%
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 -2.8%
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 -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle.
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%
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 -7.5%
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 +7.7%
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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Photo of Spikester
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Black with three fingers of tan head that lasts about 15 minutes leaving lots of lacing behind. Flashlight shined from the backside reveal a ruby red color. Smell is brown bread crusts and herbal hops. Taste begins with the dark roasted malt character which is almost sweet then the herbal hop bitterness chimes in and never lets up. Mouthfeel is light to medium with perfect carbonation. Long bittersweet dry finish. Overall a fine beer from a style I have rated but don't typically swoon over. If you like really dark ales and want big flavor give this a try. This brewery does a fine job with all the beers I have tried from them.

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Photo of vkv822
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Black, with a foamy, tan head, spotty lacing.

Citric, lightly resiny hops with a roasty, malty backbone.

Medium body, medium carbonation.

A well done Black Ale, with a pleasant balance between the hops and malts. A great beer for a windy, rainy night on the Oregon Coast.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2014-12-20
22oz bottle served in a big snifter. 11.07.2014 T14:15 is printed on the label.

Pours black with a pretty big light brown head that fades pretty quickly to a small light brown head and some moderate lacing. Smell is mildly roasty, moderately hoppy. Nondescript, but good.

Taste is very roasty and pretty darn hoppy. This really reminds me of an overhopped porter, in a good way. A little licorice in addition to the coffee and roast.

Mouthfeel is light, dry, a little gritty. Overall, pretty good beer!

---
2015-11-29
10.12.2015 is printed on the label. Mostly the same, but less emphasis on the licorice.

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Photo of plakers
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Labeled as a Cascadian Dark Ale, Bad Santa pours into a nice creamy tan head.
The smells are very much porter or stout, the hop flavor maybe not as strong as I expected.
Good solid, dark malty taste, residual bitterness but pleasant earthy finish. Overall a good beer, just not a black IPA to me, more like a well balanced hopped porter.

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Photo of ssteakley
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a fine dark ale, chocolate/ coffee start to finish mild caramel malts, A little thin on The body overall but greAt for a cold Seattle night. GreAt beer to take go a Dark Ale party. I can or IPA's and just bring home a Dark Ale occasionally so try it and see what you think .

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/30/2013. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, light coffee, light char, and floral earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of hop notes with a fair amount of roasted malt balance; and decent strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, coffee, light char, light pine, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, orange/lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, roast, cocoa, toast, light coffee, light char, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of citrus hop flavors with moderate roasted malt balance; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and moderately sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Black IPA. Flavors seemed to lean towards a standard American IPA overall, but there was still a fair amount of roasted flavor going on. Very smooth and crisp to drink; and a very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of beertunes
3.39/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dumb-assed 22oz format bottle. Bottled on date of 9/30/13. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured an almost solid black color, just some bare translucence at the edges, with over an inch of tan head that had moderate retention and very light lacing.

The aroma was low on malt, lightly roasty, and had a very subdued hop presence. A very mild version of the style. The roast was a bit more apparent at the back of the palate, and the hops (a bit of citrus and some pine) were a touch brighter, but again, not as bold as most examples.

The body was thinner than most, and other than the semi-lingering roast, had a clean, dry finish. Drinkability was pretty good, I'm not a fan of this style, and I managed to knock off the 22 fairly quickly. Overall, a solid, decent example. Not one that will blow you away, but one that's probably worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber served cold into a pint glass.

Bad Santa is a dark brown colored ale with good clarity and huge long-lasting head. It leaves some really nice lacing behind as it settles.

Aroma is not as hoppy as expected but it was bottled in late October so that doesn't help in that respect. It has a nice roasted malt and earthy hop aroma.

Flavor is bold and bitter but not over the top. It's definately a dark IPA rather than an imperial anything. The fuggles are earthy and spicy which pairs well with the roasted malts and the coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

Overall and excellent version of the style. Pelican only makes high quality beers and this is no exception.

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Bad Santa from Pelican Pub & Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 122 ratings.
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