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Santa's Little Helper 2007 | Mikkeller ApS

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Santa's Little Helper 2007Santa's Little Helper 2007
56 Ratings
Santa's Little Helper 2007Santa's Little Helper 2007

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at Gourmetbryggeriet, Roskilde, Denmark.

Ingredients:Water, malt (lager, special B and caraaroma), wheat flakes, dark candy syrup, dark muscovado sugar, hops (Northern Brewer, Styrian Golding and Hallertauer) and Belgian ale yeast.

Added by Gueuzedude on 02-03-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 46
Photo of indianabeerman
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -2.2%

4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Kirk
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of liamt07
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jason, 750ml into a tulip on my inaugural brewday.

Appears a few shades off black in the glass, with some brownish-burgundy bubbles yet no head - pours essentially flat, leaving no retention or lace. Legs are fairly prominent however. Nose is massively full of dark fruits, offering a different angle with every sniff - black currants and cherries, plums, grapes and a dark fruit 'skin' that was difficult to pin down. Candied sugars and some syrupy qualities are there too. Taste has more of the candy sugar and dark syrupy notes, dark caramelized fruits, light soy and an understated tartness, perhaps from the fruits themselves. A slight apple note as well. Quite sweet with a port-like character, very 'dessert-y.' Gentle spicing in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, some thinness but the alcohol is disguised (or integrated) quite well into this. Low carbonation as predicted by the head, but this does little to hinder the experience. This has aged quite nicely in my opinion (for being just over 5 years old I think at this point), still a sipper however.

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Photo of TasteTester
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I bought this beer two years ago while on discount at a local store. I was quote excited for the find. Broke this one ope Christmas Day with the wife in hopes of a great experience.

The first bad sign was the lack of any "pop" with the excavation of the cork. Sometimes this happens and the beer is no worse for wear. Unfortunately, that case was not so with this one. Ppurs pitch black and syrupy with ZERO carbonation, ergo, not foamy goodness rests atop. I guess some people don't minf a FLAT Belgian beer; I like CO2.

Aroma was quite beautiful. Tons of chocolate with spices and plenty of Belgian yeast. Slight peppery aromas and the alcohol is noticeable by the phenolic burn in the nostrils.

Taste mimiced the aroma but was slightly subdued and muted due to the flatness of the beer. A touch of oxidation was present also. Expected in an older beer.

The mouthfeel killed this one for me. Perhaps in a barleywine or RIS this may be expected, but I can't let this slide for the style. Overall a big disappointment. The wifey didn't touch this one so I was forced to frink this flat syrup alone :(

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Photo of deapokid
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of glid02
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Paul - thanks!

Pours a dark purplish-black color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts and dark fruits with large amounts of port undertones backing everything up. Faint hints of alcohol waft out every now and then.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Robust dark malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by sugar-coated raisin and plum flavors. The flavor profile takes on a vinous quality midway through the sip as sweet and boozy port flavors work their way into things. The port and dark fruit flavors carry through to a moderately sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was very impressed with how this beer has aged. Although I never tried it fresh I'd have to believe a large portion of the port influence came with age and it served the beer well. Worth a shot if you have some laying around.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Santa's little helper is probably and elf, or small little reindeer - it is probably not an 11% Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with spices. Although, no one could deny that that certainly would help Santa during his long night delivering gifts all across the globe. Everyone needs a good beer. Even Santa. Mikkeller had the same thought, so he created Santa's Little Helper, a 750ml corked bottle that contains a uniquely spiced dark Belgian style ale that is perfect for the winter, the holidays, and your cellar.

I came across this bottle in 2008 when in a beer store in the States. I was fishing though '08 vintages of various winter ales when I noticed a dusty bottle hiding in the back. Unlike most other consumables, this dust excited me, and rightfully so. I found this already 1 year old bottle and held onto it for dear life. Right away I knew I would cellar this beer and save it for just the right and most opportune moment. Finally, 2 years after its purchase, and 3 years after its bottling date I decided that the time was right to enjoy this magical holiday beer with some of my best friends. Wow.

It is hard if not improssible to know exactly what will happen to a beer over a period of three years. Because Santa's Little Helper is 11% abv, I knew that it would at leaste not go bad, and would hopefully mature nicely. I also have experience ageing Belgian Dark Strong Ales, and have seen wonderful results in the past where once ripe and rich beers turn into mellow and refined works of art. Under the right cellaring conditions (no light, cool temperature, bottle standing upright) I was confident that I would be rewarded with a special beer.

I opened Santa's Little Helper at cellar temperature and poured it into a borolo glass, as is deserving of such a beer. The pour was luxuriously smooth and gentle. The dark liquid fell softly into the glass building only the slightest film of foam, which eventually did crest just above the surface of the beer, but not even entirely. To one side of the glass a mocha brown foam was creamy and dense, pressing bubbles up against the side. At the other side it looked like the ice on a lake slowly melting, revealing the fresh water underneath - a black water. The beer was just that, black, very dark, and very opaque. No light was peering though this beer, only the slightest edge of amber brown make the edges light up. It showed no traces of real carbonation, and very quickly the head faded to absolutely nothing.

I leaned in and reached deeply for a good sniff of this beer, trying to capture everything that three years of age has done for it. The nose is so much more refined and mellowed than I had expected, and so much more than I bet it was when fresh. Smooth and rummy roasted malts show up with soft and warm aromas of cocoa and mulled spices. It is a figgy and holiday spice that brings orange peel, coriander and a lightly sweet cinnamon and maybe ginger hint. This though is fleeting as the now dry malted sensations make their way into your nose with considerable ease. There are aromas of earth and grapes, reminiscent of a delicate Cabernet, then smooth hints of cocoa, caramel and roast.

Drinking this marvel was astonishing. The first thing that I noticed is the almost milk like smoothness of its texture. The carbonation is almost completely fleeting, and the body is melty and smooth like no beer I have ever tasted before. It is lush and wide, and then shows you a flavor spectrum that we are not accustomed to enjoying in beer.

The wine like dryness of the beer is very apparent to me right away, and brings with it distinct grape flavors that merry with cocoa, vanilla and spice. A dark cherry sweetness is blended well with a lightly acidic sensation, then rounds out to citrus, earth and roast. Now as my palate is more familiar with the beer I am absorbing malts at every angle. Roast is less aparent here than it was on the nose, and is warmed by an almost whisky like sweetness. Flavors of caramel and cocoa are prominent, but balanced by earth and again, the smooth dry Cabernet sensations that are making this beer remarkably unique.

Spice flows through a mulled and appetizing manner, and brings with it the most subdued aroma of hops - which after three years are more of an after though that anything else. The finish is sweet and clean with a dry end and a satisfying touch. This is like no beer I have every had, and really beckons to be poured along side, or before a well aged wine. It has greater depth, balance and complexity that most wines, and I will argue forever that it will pair better with roasted meats and cheese that any wine ever could.

If you see Santa's Little Helper on the shelves, buy what you can and age them as you would a fine wine or port. Then enjoy them alone or with a meal surrounded by friends and family. This is a one of a kind beer.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/12/01/tasting-the-mikkeller-santas-little-helper-2007/

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Photo of schoolboy
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a few of these about two years ago along with a bunch of other nice belgians when this nice store down the road a piece inexplicably thought these were getting too old to be on the shelves and cut the prices to 75% off. Needless to say, I bought most of what they had on sale that day.

This one does not disappoint. I think this is the second or third of the Santas Little Helpers I had (and I just verified that it was the last). The brew is typical for the style. Strong, malty, yeasty. It is everything it should be. After three years the beer still looks right and tastes more than right.

I wish I had a few more, but alas I will just have to get something else to take its place in my aging bin.

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Photo of mentor
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Properly cellared since late 2007 (it is now late 2010). Pours a finger of dark brown head over a dark liquid (dark brown edgings when held to light). Smells chocolate, blackberry, mild roast, doughy bread, and some fig. Mild spicing of cinnamon and sweet coriander. Gentle clean alcohol sting.

Tastes very nice. Great balance between the malt sweet, spice zing, ferment acidic, and drying carbonation. Chocolate comes across as wet and accompanied with candied oranges, blackberry, and fig. Earthy, yet countered by sweet chocolate. Belgian yeast character without much clove influence. Late spice zing is not quite peppery and the finish dries leaving a woody and cranberry flavor and behind. Has a flavor to it similar to brownies made from those boxed kits.

Thick chewy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. Decent drinkability, though I find the drying spices in the aftertaste a bit unpleasant.

Has alot of St Bernardus Abt 12 character to it, though not as complex with the malt or fruity characters and this beer has a bit more earthy due to the spicing.

 1,060 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark brown, bordering on black with a thin layer of tan foam on top.

S: There's so much going on in the nose, it was hard to pick out everything. There's of course a lot of dark fruits (most notably, prunes) and some nice chocolate aromas as well. The beer is slightly oxidized, but not surprising at 2+ years old. There's also some alcohol and perhaps even paint (very odd).

T: The sweet dark fruits are the main component of the flavor. Prunes, raisins, and cherries are what I notice, along with a hint of chocolate. There is also a definite sugary sweetness that you aren't surprised to find in Belgians.

M: A fairly full bodied beer with a fairly low level of carbonation which works well here.

D: A touch sweet for me, but so complex that I kept coming back for more. A nice beer and one of the better offerings I've had from Mikkeller.

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Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jason's bottle, aged what 3 years or so? Not lost in storage, this is the beer. Black, with little head. An anoying sourness with chocolate and roasted barley, licorice, well malted. Aroma is big chocolate. Average mouthfeel overall. Still, a sipper.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich dark brown, nearly black. Active dark khaki head with minimal retention and lacing. Huge whiff of dark cocoa backed by hazlenut and cream. Hints of coffee, belgian yeasts and dark bread. Excellent taste profile... dark cocoa and hazlenut backed by a lightly sweetened cream and belgiany yeast backbone. Boreding on full bodied, velvety smooth, slightly chalky cocoa profile at times, buit does not impede. This is the beer i wish Two Turtle Doves would have turned out like.

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Photo of dolemite77
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not much pop as you pull the cork, but the head pours nice and fluffy, with a ton of lacing... opaque red? if that's possible... it definitely has red highlights in the head and the body...
Smells like brandy soaked dark fruit... very strong.
Tastes deliciously boozy, with the fruit remaining throughout. Malty enough to stand up to all of the belgian sugars that were added. The moutfeel is oily and thick. Drinkability is very good, considering that it is so strong in all facets...

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Photo of kegger22
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes: Dark brown with a large tan head that hung around for a while. The aroma was chocolaty and malty sweet. The taste was chocolate, dark fruit and sweet. Feel is full and creamy smooth. Drinkability: this is a sipper, not a swigger. 750 ml at 11.0 ABV was more than enough.

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Photo of rallison
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Note: Review from 1-14 of 2008..moved from the 2006 vintage listing to the proper 2007 vintage listing. Wonder if I would still rate it so highly...

2007 Vintage.

A: Dark black color with a light brown 2 finger head that leaves quite some lacing.

S: Dark fruits and chocolate.

T: Dark fruits with a fair bit of chocolate and dark candied fruits. Some roasted character is present in the background. Alcohol is definitely not present. Nice balance and complexity. Truly bends the style boundaries.

M: Low to medium carbonation with a fulfilling mouthfeel. Definitely not syrupy in the least!

D: Extremely good. No way this is 11%!

Highly recommended. This is a very tasty brew.

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Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased from Table & Vine, West Springfield, MA. Corked & caged, red foil, 2007 version. First plastic cork I think I've seen used on a beer.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/2" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head falls slowly, with ample delicate lacing. Aroma is chocolatey and fruity. Taste is rich darkness upfront, with hearty dark fruitiness in the middle, and the melded flavors linger after the swallow. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is very nice as well. Alcohol (11%abv per label) is well hidden, probably in the fruitiness. Good stuff.

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Photo of grub
3.49/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

750ml bottle, corked and caged. 2007 vintage. sampled jan 11/08.

pours deep brown, nearly black and opaque. the big fluffly brown head drops slowly and leaves chunky lace behind.

aroma is good. milk chocolate. fruity. raisin and grape. bit of alcohol. light smoke. bit of almost musty character. touch of roast. paint? yeah, the others agree - latex paint.

taste is good. dark and milk chocolate. raisin and cherry. light smoke. bit of sweetness. that paint-like character is there again. light roast. bit of alcohol. bit of floral hop character.

mouthfeel is good. low very well integrated carbonation. big body.

drinkability is ok. flavour and aroma is a bit odd, but interesting. good balance though.

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Photo of Viggo
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared with grub and Lexx, picked up in Buffalo. 2007 vintage.

Pours a murky dark brown, some red in the edges, thick tan head, drops down leaving some massive lace, good retention, keeps a solid layer. Smell is very fruity, yeasty bread, caramel, some spices, alcohol, cherries, molasses, burnt sugar. Taste is caramel and bread, spices, some pine, iron, creme brulee, alcohol, pretty interesting, solid spices. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, a little sweet but goes down pretty easy.

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Santa's Little Helper 2007 from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 56 ratings
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