Santa's Little Helper 2012 Grand Marnier Barrel-Aged | Mikkeller ApS

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Very Good
18 Ratings

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by tbryan5 on 12-21-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 6
Reviews by mrfrancis:
Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque brown-black with a creamy, lingering khaki head.

S: Aromas of oak, caramel, cream, spices, black cherry, plums, coffee, figs, dates, and blood orange fill the nose.

T: The entry presents robust notes of blood orange, oak, and woody spices. Impressions of coffee, toast, vanilla bean, candy sugar, dark chocolate, heavy cream, caramel, Medjool dates, plums, figs, raisins, and dried black cherries emerge around mid-palate. The finish is smooth and sweet with oak, toast, caramel, black cherry, spice, and blood orange flavors giving way to a delicate, liqueurish fade.

M: Relatively full-bodied, but much, much lighter than many ales of this style. Carbonation is delicate. Alcohol is restrained. Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

O: How much you will like this ale largely depends on two factors: 1.) how much you dig Mikkeller's aesthetic and 2.) how much you like Grand Marnier and/or other sweet, fruity liqueurs. Fortunately for me, I do not have a problem with either, thus I enjoy this beer quite a bit.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tbryan5
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a dark ruby brown color, with a small foamy mocha colored head, and a very small amount of lacing.

Smells like chocolate, Christmas spicing, oak, toffee, and vanilla.

This tastes barely anything like Grand Marnier, which is disappointing. My guess is it wasn't in the barrels for very long. There is some light oak and vanilla though, with some toffee, cinnamon and a good amount of chocolate.

This is medium bodied, with a very creamy and rich mouthfeel.

A bit disappointing. Even though it didn't deliver on its premise, I still enjoyed it though.

 619 characters

Photo of user785335
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of leckart
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice subtle hint of raisin in an ale that balances a sweetness with a little bit of a bitter on the backend. Not at all syrupy but not watery. Though raisin is the dominant flavor I get, it's not one note at all. Overall, it's a bit pricey but rather enjoyable.

 261 characters

Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of ThePaleRider
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As the standard offering of Santa's Little Helper is always one of the most anticipated beers to close out the year, new combination of tastes about as the barrel-aged variations abound. With the common sweet, strong, spicy and fruity flavors comfort the palate, its porterish and stouty toastiness are unique.

Like the standard "Little Helper", this Grand Marnier version leads with dark brown hues with cocoa-laden haze. Seemingly mistaken for porter, its head character is slow to build and is dainty in its structure. Though the ale is sturdy, its foam simply lacks confidence. A tepid trail of lace is much lighter than the ale deserves.

Fruity-sweet aromas are moderate as they are burried underneath bold toast, coffee and chocolate tones. Its barrel influence rolls in with sweet booze but little to showcase the true orange liqueur flavors that are anticipated. Instead, other fruit flavors of grape, date, fig and apricot do their part in creating complexity, power and intrigue.

Its taste is equally as complex as the taste of brown sugar, toffee and sweet liquour play out on a dry cocoa and coffee upstart. As the earthen sweetness rises, so does the honey and orange blossom flavor for a rise to the malt sweetness within. That's when its fruity middle palate really takes hold with plumbs, blackberries, currant, cherry and grape. Wrapping up with a notion of fruity booze, the taste of both fruit cake and orange fortification are bright early and often.

Full bodied throughout, the ale has a zesty quality that's lightly acidic but its full body is creamy, carbonated and lavish as its savory, succulent and rich taste offers up bready sweetness, sweet booziness and light toasty spice. and agave linger.

All of the Santa's Little Helper Beers are so rewarding and frustrating. They give all the necessary character of fruity, spicy and sweeter Belgian ales, but they offer porter-like chocolate and coffee with stout-like roast. Yet the beer doesn't really stand out with any of the best of these tastes. Its satisfying, yet forgettable.

 2,060 characters

Photo of golf4collet
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ronricorossi
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a very deep, dark brown with a half inch, mocha head. Pretty decent lacing for almost 11% and being 2012 Vintage.

Dark fruit, spice and light Gran Marnier make up the moderately light smell. Oak drys out the end.

Plum, spices and slight chocolate start off the taste. Grains, slight orange and oak round out the middle. Pear and oak, with a bit more spice finish it off. Very light for bring a barrel aged spiced beer. Not bad, just surprising.

I liked it, but it is certainly not worth the steep bottle price more than once.

 538 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.09/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2015 Version here. Not sure if new entry necessary.

51 characters

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of BeerBeast
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

this has held up pretty well, although for whatever reason the base beer seems so much lighter in this than i remember it being in other versions. i know it may change a little from year to year, hence the vintages listed here, but this is almost more like an imperial brown or something than what i remember, which was a much thicker, darker beer. the grain complexion here is caramely and chocolaty, without being roasted or even bitter in the least, its very tasty, just a little different. the barrel treatment is cool here, i dont get a ton of wood but i get a whole lot of the orangey candied liqueur, which is great with the chocolate notes from the grain, and of course the warming alcohol in here, which isnt exactly subtle. toffee and raisins there too, brown sugar, light vanilla from the wood, and a fading spice profile that is sort of christmasy, but now also sort of dusty and stale. light oxidation hasnt hurt this much though. great carbonation too, unique in a beer this loaded, it goes down a little too quickly. this isnt for everyone, its sweet and strong and best appreciated in the context of other beers in this series i think. for the mikkeller lover though, its not to be missed. a little less grand marnier than some of their other beers to feature these barrels, but its just right for this particular beer i think.

 1,343 characters

Photo of Barnchaser
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DCLAguy11
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Wolberjs
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Santa's Little Helper 2012 Grand Marnier Barrel-Aged from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 18 ratings