Santa's Little Helper 2008 | Mikkeller ApS

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Santa's Little Helper 2008Santa's Little Helper 2008
Very Good
55 Ratings
Santa's Little Helper 2008Santa's Little Helper 2008

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pale, special-B and chocolate), flaked wheat, dark candy syrup, dark cassonade, hops (northern brewer, hallertauer, styrian goldings and simcoe), spices (sweet orange peel, coriander seeds, cinnamon and cocoa) and yeast.

Added by cjgator3 on 11-20-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of corby112
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark ruby red/chestnut brown color that's almost black and completely opaque without even the slightest bit of lighter edges when held to a light source. Huge frothy light tan/coffee colored head with amazing retention that only slowly settles into a lasting cap that leaves thick chunks of soapy lacing in it's wake.

Spicy pepper aroma with lots of dark fruit notes, especially dark cherry, grape, raisin and plum. Also, there is some prominent candy sugar, sage, brown sugar and dry piny hops.

Peppery spice flavor up front with a full bodied dark roasted malt body. Lots of dark cherry, plum and raisin with a prominent chocolate malt presence. Very well balanced, smooth and creamy and the high ABV is very well masked. This beer is amazing.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a deep, roasted chocolate brown with reddish tints. A mushroomy 2 finger medium khaki colored head sits atop that was moderately lasting, lively and pitted leaving a splotchy spider web lacing behind.

S: The yeasty aroma of banana bread and dry cocoa powder fulfills the nose upon first uncorking. Some fresh dough, roasted barley, and coffee also offer supporting scents. Theres a touch of sweetened rum alcohol that also lies subtly in the background along with some ripe dark fruit.

T: The initial sip was yeasty with some fresh dough and banana bread which was quickly succeeded by a beautiful roasted barley and coffee flavor. The transition was near seemless and beautifully laced together. The beer then proceeded to a dark roasted nature, with some wet coffee grinds providing a earthy bitterness round things out for the finish. A strong detection of alcohol and peppery nature is detected as well providing a short little jab right before gently fading with a lingering lacing of burnt grains and coffee beans.

M: full bodied with a slight rough texture from the co2. Feels dark and brooding in the mouth with a nice earthy dark bitterness.

D: This is one drink that certainly stands out demanding attention, dark, brooding with a really nice yeasty touch that finishes with a lingering fade of roasted malt. Drinks incredibly well for 11% abv.

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Photo of cvfish
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a chocolaty brown color with reddish highlights that produced a brown fluffy head that had good retention and nice lacing on the side of the glass

S - The aroma produced by this beer were Belgian yeasts, coco powder, cinnamon and nutmeg

T - This beer had a great complex flavor with lots of smokey malts, bready yeast, hot coco, and a spicy mix of cinnamon and nutmeg to balance everything else

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This Belgian delight was probably my favorite Christmas Beer, Mikkeller is increasingly becoming a staple of mine with all the great beers they make

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Photo of CWiggins
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased just after Christmas 2008 at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC for $13.00.

Okay, I'm a sucker for anything that says "winter ale" on the bottle, else I wouldn't pay $13 for a single bottle (even a 750ml bottle). There's just something about that wintery spiciness that really attracts me. Oh yeah, and the "Belgian" aspect doesn't hurt either!

Pours a very dark brown with a dark tan head that lingers far past its assumed expiration. One perceives aromas of Belgian yeast, cocoa, dark malts, and cinnamon and coriander. There's a very light essence of citrus to the nose as well. The flavor is top-notch; there is a heavy cocoa character to it (more than I've noticed in any such beer), while rich breads, spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander supplement it in more-than-subtle way. Wow! so interesting you could spend an hour disecting the various tastes. What is truly magnificent is the mouthfeel: creamy and thick without becoming bothersome or overbearing, with enough rich flavor to overcome any perceived "heaviness." And still drinkable on top of all that! Really, it's difficult to imagine a more perfect beer than this for my taste, even if it lacks some of the dark fruit flavors commonly associated with Belgian dark styles. I need to seek out another bottle of this before it's gone!

By the way, it is a bit "boozy," but that's a trait I appreciate.

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Photo of billyshears
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: VERY dark brown appearance, coffee head.
S: Dark fruits (raisins/plums), chocolate, alcohol
T: Chocolately coffee flavors, dark fruits, dark caramel malts, (the expected) Christmas spices; alcohol is present in aftertaste, but not much of a prob for me
M: Fine moutfeel
D: Goes down easy for me, tho the alcohol aftertaste might stop some

I just had Nøgne Ø Winter Ale a few days ago. This is definitely somewhat similar, though perhaps a bit lighter and drinkability a bit higher (taking the ABV into consideration).

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Red Foil

Poured into a chalice a deep black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks and slight sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, very slight yeast, chocolate/toffee, and some spice's. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, slightly roasty, with some chocolate/toffee, some spice. Medium body, a tasty brew, not really a BSDA in my book, more of an RIS. The ABV is there, a sipper for sure. Very drinkable, recommended.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy melted milk chocolate - I knew the beer was brewed with cocoa but I didn't expect that it (or the power of suggestion) would have this much effect on appearance. The beer gives off literally no highlights even when scrutinized right into the light. In sticking with creamy, its surface is topped with a perfect amount of endurable, fresh whipped mousse.

Pack light and don't forget your passport: the aroma takes you on a ride around the world. You'll visit Scandinavian forests with the scent of pine; France with a freshly pulled chocolat chaud, the tropics with a splash of citric orange peel; the Scottish Isles with a shot of single malt sting; the Middle East with exotic, unusual spicing; and finally, we land in Mexico where a fresh, spicy mole is served under your nose.

The taste is nearly as bewildering as the aroma albeit a little more dominated by the cocoa. That's what I taste most upfront, the cocoa, and it imparts an almost milky smoothness. The finish is where the dark chocolate-like bitterness starts to linger. The flavour lends itself more to hot chilies than coriander. That and the orange are way in the back but do add a splash of citrus or exotic spice once in a while. I swear to tasting pine or spruce as well.

The most predominant spice seems to be coming from the alcohol. This is a young bottle and has no shame in turning the burners on high heat and sweating you out. How apt for a winter seasonal, perhaps I could use it to heat my bedroom for all those cold nights? Fortunately, I know the heat will simmer (and most likely mature nicely) with a little age.

You don't have to worry about this year's Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper leaving a lump of coal in your stocking nor need you be worried about that little mischievous elf Nisse playing any pranks. Christmas in Danish is called Jul, which is an old Nordic word for "feast". No wonder, it's obvious this spicy, big 11% beer was designed with gluttonous holiday festivities in mind.

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Photo of bismarksays
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a tan, big-bubbled head.

Nose is cocoa, yeasty, a bit dry, light.

Taste is big on cocoa and brown sugar, with a big, spicy, yeasty note too, and a dry presence throughout. Hints of alcohol, but really well hidden - just a bit warming. Beautifully done.

Mouthfeel is creamy and a bit light. Lots of spices and cocoa overall, a very beautiful beer.

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4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

4.25 Fresher
Carbonation is gone. Earthy nose is minimal. 1/12/18: Coffee, bitter chocolate and caramel. Better fresher. 3.25

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of illidurit
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Woodshop 5.0. Pours very dark brown with visible sediment and a light tan small head. Very fruity aroma as well as some coffee-like stout notes (the cocoa is very evident, unlike the hops). Some stone fruit ester notes and even some berries. Flavor is peachy with caramel, cocoa, ginger, and a dry, light, bitter finish.

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Photo of adamparker05
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a rich opaque mahogany. Thick head with delicious lacing.

Aroma is figs, cinnamon sticks, raisins, chocolate covered coffee beans.

Taste has thick undercurrent of chocolate with hints of pinot noir. More raisins, figs. good holiday spice with a malty finish that keeps on goin.

Mouthfeel starts lite, then fullbodied. alcohol and carbonation are a little over-pronounced.
Great to try but you couldn't have mor e than just a few glasses.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged, 750ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

Bottled 2008

A: Pours a murky dark-brown with a tiny bown head on top. Retention was average but some pretty lace was left behind.

S: Awesome aromas of dark chocolate, caramel, dark fruit, rum raisin bread pudding, sweet and spicy citrus peel, roasted malt, toffee, roasted nuts, cocoa, spices, and a dash of lemon-y hops.

T: Not as complex as the aroma. Chocolate, dark fruit, and rum soaked orange peel are the main players. Caramel, toasted malt, citrus hops, and a slightly metallic cocoa nib flavors round it out.

M: Sweet with a killer spicy dryness. Probably a combination of actual spices, roasted malt, and 11% abv!

D: Fantastic for such a big beer. The alcohol is barely apparent, more like a subtle suggestion than a whallop to the palate. We approve!

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown-ish to a black color with a light tan head. In the aroma, candy sugar, small roatiness, and hints of spices. In the taste, roasty, nutty, candy sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and just a hint of orange citrus, corriander even. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, dark fruit aftertaste. Lacking in aroma, but a nice flavor, a nice alcohol heat, but very nice.

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Photo of grayburn
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

She pours a dark brown with decent rocky head that leaves some nice rings around the goblet.
The smell is yeasty with some chocolate undertones. The alcohol is pretty well hidden in the nose.
The taste starts a bit sweet and is almost instantly countered with some bittering chocolate. This continues into a nice medium body and a crisp belgian finish, with just a touch of lingering sweetness.
I couldn't drink too much of this, but it is definitely worth seeking out next year.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: deep dark brown nearly black, nice dark brown head retention

smell: coffee, loaded chocolate,

taste: tons of dark raw chocolate, balanced belgian yeast, nice belgo dark ale. I did not get any of the spices added though, subtle if any, maybe some of the citrus

mouthfeel: full bodied

drinkability: another solid offering from the master

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Photo of bobsy
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah... its brewed with cocoa. That explains a thing or two.

Pours a rich dark brown with a tan head that soon dropped to a thin film and then nothing. Sweet, spicy aroma, with strong chocolate notes and a lot of sweet malt. Large dusty cocoa powder flavour throughout, mixed in with a pleasant fruitiness, and some citrus. Nice spices compliment the chocolate, with cinamon and coriander coming to the fore. Medium body with a restrained carbonation.

A nicely done festive brew. Nothing too exceptional for the style, but very fun and appropriate for this time of the year. The alcohol isn't apparent and I really like the drinkability of this one.

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Photo of wedgie9
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from bottle.

Appearance - Pours an opaque extremely dark brown with very little head.

Smell - Dark malt with a distinctive alcohol burn. The cocoa and coriander come through nicely. There are also aromas of vanilla and cinnamon that I usually associate with oak treatment.

Taste - The front of the palate is sweet. On the mid-palate, the coriander, cinnamon and vanilla come through, as do the hops. On the back of the palate the bitter orange peel, dark chocolate, coffee and hops are dominant.

Mouthfeel - On the palate, this beer is absolutely perfect. The carbonation is mild but there. The beer affects every area of the palate, not to mention, the finish lasts a very long time.

Drinkability - My only complaint about this beer is that the alcohol is a little out of balance. Other than that, it is very enjoyable. There is a high level of complexity, and the finish is very long, not to mention, there is still plenty of aging potential.

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Photo of bort11
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml? corked bottle. To start off with, nylon corks just piss me off. They are a pain in the ass to remove. Anyways. Poured into a Smokestack goblet. Solid tan head stands a fingers width and has a solid retention. A thin can of lacing sits on the surface and reactivates with a quick swirl. Color is a dark purple-ish brown. Flaecks of fine cocoa powder sediment sifts to the bottom.

Smell as a sweet cocoa aroma mixed with hints of coffee and berries. The cocoa really pops with the taste, hint of alcohol and spices. A bit of pepper in the finish.

Mouthfeel is powdery and dry. Has a solid mocha after-taste. The 11% wears a little bit towards the end of the bottle, but still a very enjoyable endeavor.

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Photo of jspruit
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank from 33cl glass on tap from Brewpub in Copenhagen in late November 2008.
Pours a dark brown, almost black but let a bit of light through, with a light tan small head that left plenty of lacing.
Smells wonderful. Malty, chocolately, fruity, raisiny, spicey and strong.
Dark flavor just like it looks and smells, some more roasted malts too. Goes down remarkably smooth for something this strong, but there definitely is a kick to it. Tastes a bit unmature and I do agree with others that it may need to sit for a bit before it really can be fully appreciated.
A bit of carbonation, but not much, and remarkably medium bodied for something so strong.
Took awhile for me to drink this one, and probably a good idea that it is served in small servings. Because it is so strong and full of so many flavors, this is a beer that I would just have one of before moving onto something else, or drink it after drinking something lighter. Overall though, I had to take this rare opportunity to have it on tap and I am glad that I did.

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Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked/caged into 25oz wine glass.

Pitch black with a thick and dense two finger tan head that settles to a thin cap. A one finger wall of lacing is left in its place.

A light mix of cocoa and dark fruit. The spices are hidden in the aroma.

A little bit of bitter roasty malts along with a little bit of phenolic and earthy yeast flavors. The spices are pretty tame, barely even noticeable. The cocoa is in there, but not as noticeable as I would have liked. The alcohol comes out a little more as the beer warms. Full bodied.

Very close to a porter, or any Belgian Ale/Stout crossover. The Belgian characteristics are there, but well hidden. Recommended.

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Photo of TheDoorman
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown hue with a light brown head. Complex aroma of roasted malt, dark chocolate and alcohol. Taste follows the nose with some coffee flavors appearing alongside some plum and prune. Medium-to-full bodied with a dry, sticky finish. Alcohol warmth is pleasantly present. Very nice.

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Photo of mnapier
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Judging Temperature, 60 degrees. Judging Glassware, 12ounc "New Belgium" Rastal glass *it was a gift.

Pulled this out of my newly acquired beer cellar (purchased the beer a few weeks ago).

The bottle opens and out of pours a dark black hole into my glass where a strong dark almost wet wood fire smoke color head rests before dying to leave behind a wreathe of lace into the glass and a fog of foam on the top.

The nose is interesting with essence of fig, cocoa, berries, and some coffee aromas.
As I taste this with the smell of cooking in the background I detect orange peel, figs, cinnamon, and a medium alcohol that courses its way down my throat. Mouthfeel is medium.

Looking forward to trying this with some bree or maybe even put a bottle or two down for next year (or after that)!


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Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev +2.6%

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Santa's Little Helper 2008 from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 55 ratings