Santa's Little Helper 2007 | Mikkeller ApS

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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.

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Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 56
Photo of nick76
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma has cola, fruit (cherries), toasted malt, and chocolate. The appearance is dark brown with a small head. The flavor is not like the aroma. It has sweet cola but both bitter and random spices seem to ruin it. The palate is a bit thin. Overall I am not a fan of this one.

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Photo of Floydster
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle (2007 vintage) purchased for about twelve dollars along with the 2008 vintage, drank side by side on 1/28/09, reviewed from notes, I liked my first experience with the first batch of this from 2006, excited to give these a shot together, each were poured into pint glasses, color is a very dark brown with some mahogany tint, 1 1/4 inch creamy tan head, some retention, minimal lacing, aroma is full of dark chocolate, raisins, sweetness, biscuit malt, various spices, caramel, and some light sugar, starts off with a dark fruit characteristic mixed with dry breaad,, then got sweeter in the middle, finish was slightly sweet with chocolate and caramel, taste the raisins I smelled earlier once it warms, lots of dark fruits by the end that are quite sugary, slightly dry, sweet, and chewy mouthfeel, light level of carbonation, pretty thin body, sweet taste lingered a bit, I am glad friends were over because I could not have finished this bottle by myself, alcohol is not hidden and it is too sweet overall, not as good as the 2008, still not a bad brew at all, just spoiled by the other two different vintages I have had of this in the past, worth trying

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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 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 Beertracker
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mikkeller's Santa's Little Helper (2007) pours up with abundant carbonation that creates a lively brownish head that sits unwieldy atop the nearly opaque dark mahogany-black body. The moderately roasty aroma has some nice chocolate (cocoa nibs) & coffee (mocha) notes which are heavily influenced by the spices which show hints of cardamom, star anise, and licorice root. The spicy phenols & alcohol combined with the roasted barley to create almost a burnt rubbery character that I find very distracting. The moderately roasted flavor starts off with some caramel & toffee sweetness intermingled with a toasted nuttiness reminiscent of black walnuts that gives way to some chocolate roastiness. The maltiness is balanced by a low bitterness and underlying spiciness. In addition to the fruitiness (black currant, bilberry, caramelized raisins), there's some acidity (balsamic vinegar), earthiness, and leathery/vanilla oakiness that further add to the overall complexity. The odd finish is a mixed bag of cloying sweetness, licorice, and higher fusel alcohols. This medium-full bodied Belgian specialty ale is very creamy and plenty strong with loads of complexity, but it lacks finesse. A bit of cellar aging might help meld all of those big flavors for a better drinkability? Overall... I find this Danish specialty a bit curious, but if you enjoy strange brews made by elves in Flanders then this is the beer for you. Here's to Santa's Little Helper.

Skål! Beertracker

*Taster's Note: Special thanks to beerhandy for sharing this bottle.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, deeply browned, tan colored head. The beer appears almost black in color, but has some amber hues to it. If held up to the light one can just barely see through it as it is so dark, concentrated ruby-red notes show up where the light is able to pierce through the beer. The aroma is spicy, malty and fruity, but the spice notes definitely seem to dominate. The spiciness has a sort of woody quality to it, though I can't quite place it. Aromas of cherries, maple, woody coriander, smoked salt, wintergreen, lightly roasted coffee, ample toasted grain, a touch of buttery dark caramel. This has an interesting aroma, the spices are hard to differentiate from the dark malt and sugar notes.

Quite sweet, much more so than I was expecting. After the first sip though it becomes much less sweet. The finish is a mix of alcohol and roasted grain flavors (though only lightly roasted like chocolate malt), with a light roast acidity, woody roast malt and espresso. Has similar flavor tones to Rochefort, which is I think the earthy / woody coriander notes. Dark fruit notes of raisins, prunes, dried figs join sweet candi sugar notes and molasses. Fairly light bodied for a beer of this strength, still a sipping brew because of the alcohol, but is dangerously drinkable. This is a touch chalky towards the finish with burnt grain husk flavors. It definitely needs a bit more texture and richness. At times with the coriander spice notes this takes on flavors of dr. pepper.

An interesting brew, I can't say I am thoroughly infatuated with the sweetness; the sweetness would be less noticeable if this was richer. This is much more drinkable out of the bottle than last years version, but I have a feeling a bit more age could add some richness and even texture.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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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 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.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark, dark head as well, leaves to ring. Some soapy lacing.

S - Cocoa, astringent, a little medicine like.

T - Cocoa, sharp alcohol and medicinal flavors. Acidic sour finish.

M - Medium body, good carg.

D - Maybe past prime, but a bit medicinal and cloying at the same time.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle from the 2007 release. Leaves a crazy and foamy three-plus finger espresso-foam colored head that has merely good retention ( especially considering the depth of the head - but then maybe I poured too vigorously ), and it leaves thin webs of very good lacing. Body is black. This is a very handsome ale.

Smell - the nose is filled with the aromas of dark fruit such as plums, prunes ( yes, dried plums, I know ), dates, and raisins, with some coffee, and a hint of chocolate, as well as some roasted malt. There is a very slight hint of horseblanket. Well hidden alcohol.

Taste - much like the smell, but with the coffee and roasted malt upfront, and then with the plums, prunes, dates and raisins showing up in the middle, as well as dominating the rest of the way out. Again, well hidden alcohol. Yummy.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, and slightly semi-dry ( probably from the well hidden alcohol ).

Drinkability - this is a good ale, only its high abv limits its sessionability.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle

A- Corked and caged 750 with red aluminum foil wrap around the neck of the bottle. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is dark alcohol soaked fruits with sugar and spices. the aroma is somewhat boozy but it smells delicious.

T- The taste like the aroma is sweet with dark fruits and spices with a warming finish from the alcohol.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- The alcohol is definitely there, but it is pretty well hidden considering the high ABV and adds complexity to the brew almost like a fine liquor.

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

I'm a big fan of the Mikkeller beers that I've had so far, and grabbed this near year old bottle after trying about 5 of their other beers.

This beer is really dark with some light brown head. There wasn't much pop to the cork but there is some carbonation for sure. The smell has a bit of roast, a lot of Belgian candied sugar, and some citrus fruit.

When this beer was cold it tasted too light and sugary, but now that its closer to room temp the flavors have evened out a lot. I get some Belgian sugar, and a lot of the orange I found on the nose. It's lighter and more candied that I would expect from the look of it, and it's stealthy ninja skills continue by hiding that 11%. The flavor at the beginning is nice and roasted but the end has a little too much sweetness for me.

Overall a great beer but for my tastes its a little light and a little fruity (there's a broadway musical or san franciso joke there somewhere).

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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 Phyl21ca
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a small but condensed light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet dense malt with light vinous notes at the end. Taste is a complex mix between some spices and dry fruit with light dry finish including some vinous notes. Body is really full with a great creamy texture and great carbonation with no alcohol being apparent. Very well made and something I would like to try again.

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Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Christmas 2007 gift from my wife, ksak, and sons. While I picked it out, they were kind enough to wrap it.

A: The ale is a dark wonder, thick and oily, that allows absolutely nothing to get through it. A cream colored head blanketed the glass on pour and slowy receded to a thin band.

S: Spicy sweet, the ale shows off licorice, candi sugars, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, figs, chocolate syrup and citrus (fruit not hops). The complexity of the nose is a big winner.

T: The flavor brings as much to the table as the nose, to the point that the tastebuds can't keep up. Lots of citrus notes, sweet but fast to pass. Following the citrus, candi sugars overpower the tastebuds with a deafening strength. Spices include brown sugar, licorice, raisins and powdered cocoa. Surprisingly there isn't much booze floating around, for as big as the ale is.

M: The spices seem to zap the tastebuds, leaving a dead spot occasionally. The profile is big though and should provide hours of tasting time.

D: At 11%, this is a one-and-done deal. A muggy September night is a little out of place for this beer, which would do better on a chilly sub-zero night.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was a little cautious about buying this as it is at least seven or eight months old at this point. Dark brown, almost black with a tan coffee head. It smells delicious and perfect for Christmas. Spicy, maybe nutmeg, chocolate, and bubblegum(?). Very spicy taste, sweetened black licorice at the end not bad. This has a nice mouthfeel. The alcohol is not noticeable in the taste. This was pretty good and would be a lot better at Christmas time when its a little colder. This one is a sipper for me.

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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 Crosling
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intricate malt and yeast complexity, with flavors of hazelnut, espresso roast, apple and plum. Very dark brown color with a small head. Nose of rum soaked dark fruit. It's a very alive, very well balanced and authentic beer with great aging potential. It's a very nice ale.

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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 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 BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate chestnut with black cherry trim. Despite a woefully pathetic 'pop' on cork removal, the pour has produced four full fingers of coffee milkshake colored foam that looks almost as creamy. Thick sheets of cheese grater-like lace put the finishing touches on this attractive holiday brew.

The aroma is an outstanding mixture of chocolate stout and BSDA. Mostly the latter. Since no chocolate was added, the brewers must have used a boatload of chocolate malt (along with pale and special B). The clove-like character of the yeast is appreciated, while the orange peel and coriander seeds are not.

Mikkeller have themselves another winner with Santa's Little Helper 2007. This is one bold, flavorful beer that doesn't drink anywhere near its ABV. The challenge will be to drink it slowly enough so that the final few paragraphs of this review make sense.

With several more ounces under my belt, I'm not sure that it's a world-beater, but it's still quite good and is worth the $13.99 that I paid last winter. Again, think BSDA with more much chocolatiness than that style usually delivers. It's an interesting combination to be sure.

The coriander works well in combination with the peppery spiciness of the Belgian yeast. However, the orange peel adds a citric tartness that comes close to being over the top. Sweet BSDAs are fine, as are spicy ones, but sour doesn't work nearly as well. That said, the flavor and drinkability scores could just as easily be one notch higher.

That 11.0% has to be a misprint. Absolutely no alcohol is appreciated and there isn't even much esophageal and belly warming. Great job, guys. The mouthfeel, although fine and dandy, falls a bit short in the volume department. More bubbles is probably the only fix that's needed.

Santa will get more than a little help from this 2007 holiday ale. Actually, after killing the 750 ml bottle, he'll *need* some help driving his sleigh. If you're lucky enough to find it on the shelves, this is a worthwhile purchase. And to all a good night.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt 9.4 fl oz. corked & caged bottle served in my DFH snifter. Bottle opened with a suppressed pop. Poured a deep opaque brown with rubye red highlights. One inch mocha-colored head with tiny ringlets. Fairly consistent skim and ringlets present during the tasting, with sheets of sticky foam that adhered to the bulb of the glass throughout. Heavy nose of dark fruit off of this one detectable from a distance. Upon closer examination, also detected a wine-like quality in the nose suggesting a somewhat tangy body. Flavors revealed a pleasant coffee-character up front, followed by dark fruit (cherries) and a tangy finish with a touch of alcohol. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with just enough effervescence to add some additional character to the body. Some alcohol, but predominantly detectable as a slight warming at the back of the throat. This is an excellent offering that is meant to be sipped; subtle character changes as the elixir warms. Very reminiscent of De Dolle's Extra Export Stout, but flavors are much bolder. Unfortunate that this was only brewed once.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hey! A Mikkeller beer that actually goes "pop" when the cork comes out! Brilliant!!!

Pours a deep dark ruby, almost impenetrable black, just some slight ruby highlights. A big solid light tan ice cream head retains "ok" but leaves very good lacing.

Nose is quite complex with some tartness, dark fruit, spices, and sugar. Dark cherries and licorice come through, along with some anise.

Taste is quite unique. Some great belgian spice in here. Similar to the spicing in Het Ankers Noel, but different at the same time. Some anise, licorice, dark black cherries, candy sugar and rum soaked fruits. There is an ever so slight tartness here. A bit of vanilla. The finish rides a malty sweetness and leaves lingering sugar on the lips and spices on the palate. Slightly dry finish, and there is slight tartness.

Mouthfeel is right where it should be. Maybe a touch thin, but still seems very hearty and thick to get down. Wierd.

Drinkability is very good for the abv, but you will not be having more than one of these tonight, and even that is quite a stretch. Tough to get through, but a pleasure to drink, and hides the abv relatively well.

Overall, this is a tasty winter brew. Lots of complexity and alot of interesting winter spice. A rich beer to be enjoyed in the dark of winter in front of a roaring fire with good munchies and good friends. A very intense beer, not to be scoffed at. Good work by mikkeller here.

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Santa's Little Helper 2007 from Mikkeller ApS
4.09 out of 5 based on 56 ratings.
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