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 claaark13
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of BradleyR
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of thequeen711
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This ale has a lightly spiced with flavours of orange peel, coriander,cinnamon,and hints of cocoa. Very sweet aroma, again, a sweet taste, almost a watered down version of a Russian Imperial Stout. Aftertaste of orange peel and hops. Just a different beer, this is, and, I can't detect that it is 11% ABV. As you can tell by this review, I'm just as confused as you, I don't dig orange peel with my beer, so I'll have to let others decide. May need to retaste this one.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled June 2011
Pours almost dead flat, with a deeply concentrated, brown body. The beer smells of Port Wine, nutty Sherry (though not overly oxidized as Sherry usually is). The beer is quite fruit laden in the nose with notes of raisins, prunes and concentrated figs playing quite a prominent role. There is perhaps a hint of alcohol towards the finish and there is also a soft mustiness to this beer that reminds me of a damp, limestone cave, or perhaps a slightly damp cellar. The oxidation and fruit character combine to form an almost umami like concentrated, oxidized-caramelized malt character here in the aroma; despite being flat the nose is actually quite complex, rich and enticing.

Flat feeling of course as it hits the tongue, and this makes the beer seem a touch lighter than it would otherwise be. There is a rich, nutty character to the finish that really lingers along with ample Sherry notes. The nuttiness in the finish gets quite toasted at times and there also seems to be a slight metallic note that I sometimes get from the skins that are found on some nuts. The middle has some viscous heft to it (this beer would feel more rich if it had some carbonation to it), this lingers for a bit on the palate in the finish, but then seems to disappear. The rich fruitiness from the aroma isn’t quite here in the flavor, though there are some slight dark fruit notes that come through.

This beer is really reminiscent of a Port or Sherry, especially due to being completely still. It doesn’t have the richness in the flavor to pull that likeness off though; the body isn’t viscous enough, nor is there enough fruit character to round out the complexity. The aroma, though, does have the proper balance and intrigue to be quite nice; too bad the rest of the beer didn’t live up to this. I wonder why this beer is flat, the synthetic cork was a pain to remove and I wonder if a synthetic cork, when compared to the real thing, is just quit inferior when it comes to retaining carbonation. If this is the case, then a big, rich beer like this should not be packaged with synthetic corks.

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Photo of aasher
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had to open one of these on Christmas. It poured a think black with dark brown tints. It didn't have any head at all and looks pretty thin. The smell is only two fold, it smells like a stout with chocolate. It doesn't resemble a Belgian dark whatsoever. The taste is pretty blase for the style. Again it resembles a stout, a coffee stout with chocolate. The mouthfeel is far too light for my liking. This beer is just ok. It doesn't impress me in any form.

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Photo of cbutova
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Shared by Chico1985, took a three man army to remove the synthetic cork, no pop once we finally got it.

A- Murky dark brown with no head but a strange foamy ring forming late. Some suds but no lace in sight. Chunky yeast throughout the beer.

S- Dark brown old ale sugar with a molasses feel. Cocoa is big with nutmeg and roast notes. Some alcohol.

T- Very nice cocoa nib flavor and roast spice (nutmeg). Dark brown sugar/molasses and roast malt. Nothing for hops. Orange peel for sure. No Belgian notes really.

MF- Pure water, flat as can be and the most watery feel possible. 11% is impressive here. Some heat but too much water feel.

DB- Very, very strange beer. The mouthfeel is very distracting but the taste is pretty good. Cocoa is the best part about this.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found a couple of this vintage on clearance for $5 a few months ago. Damn rubber cork was nearly impossible to extract, when we finally got it out it barely popped.

Pours about black, small fizzy beige head quickly turns to a ring. Thick floaties very obvious. Age is probably to blame but this wasn't very appealing looking.

Cocoa, caramel, and orange/coriander in the scent. Pleasant but faint.

Huge milk chocolate/cocoa that lingers for a long time. The orange peel and coriander is definitely there but faint. Much of the spice and hops listed in the ingredients have seemingly disappeared.

EXTREMELY light for 11%, this thing literally drinks like watery chocolate milk. Booze is barely there, pretty low carbonation.

The chocolate taste is great in this beer, but I gotta ask, where's the Belgian in this? A 11% BSDA that drinks like a 5% porter. Not sure if aging is complimentary to this beer.

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Photo of Floydster
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle purchased for about twelve dollars along with the 2007 vintage, drank side by side on 1/28/09, reviewed from notes, each were poured into pint glasses, color is a dark brown with some orange highlights, one inch inch slightly creamy light tan head, some lacing and moderate retention, aroma has wheat, maple syrup, coriander, milk chocolate, sweetness, Simcoe hops, orange peel, caramel, and cinnamon, starts off with a light citrus flavor, some chewy wheat and grainy malt in the middle, finish is spicy with the same spices noted in the aroma along with a lot of nutmeg, tasted a good amount of cocoa by the end that mixed in with spices pretty well, only complaint here is that the flavor was inconsistent and seemed to change too rapidly, sweet and spicy mouthfeel, moderate level of carbonation, medium bodied, sweet taste lingered a bit, alcohol is not hidden very well, packs a good punch anyways at eleven percent, superior to the 2007 that night but still prefer the first batch of this the most, they are all very different, worth trying

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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: brown/black color, dark brown head never gets too big and quickly settles to respectable layer, good lacing
s: toasty brown sugar, dark chocolate, hints of alcohol and hovering cocoa, reminds me of a russian imperial stout
t: very sweet with dark fruit and chocolate flavors. strong alcohol present throughout, finishes with minor coffee bitterness
m: starts little syrupy but quickly turns creamy with nice carbonated burst
d: something slightly different for a belgian brew but the high alcohol presence made this one less enjoyable

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Photo of erz316
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

c&c bottle into la fin tulip

an odd, and not particularly good bsda. the appearance is good, but looks more like a stout with that full medium brown head, dark brown body. the taste is odd, not much belgian about it to me except for the lack of bite from the booze; the concealment of the alcohol is quite good. the taste misses the mark to my palate, not enough depth of body and an awkward sweetness. feel is quite thin and lacks big carbonation.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 3/27 notes.

a - Pours a dark brown with an inch of white head.

s - Smells sweet, of dark fruits, some spices, cinnamon, and sweet fruits.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, sweet fruits, some spices, and yeast.

m - Smooth, medium body and low carbonation.

d - Thought this dark ale was ok. Lots of smells and flavors that mixed together pretty good. Wouldn't seek out to have again but worth checking out.

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Photo of yossarian14
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Looks like hot fudge, opaque dark brown with a big mocha head that lasts and leaves nice lacing. Just like all the other reviews, it smells of cocoa, roasted toasted chocolate, dark fruit and I anticipate the heavy alcohol. Tastes much like the smell and is very tasty but the alcohol bite is hot and this does need a year or two to mellow the F out. I think the flavors would be better served without the heat of the 11% booze, though I didn't really struggle to finish my glass.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This year's version ran about $14.99 for a 750ml bottle, and I've only seen it for sale at one store (in MI). The beer is dark brown. It looks like a stout, smells like a roasted quad. There's some sweetness, roasted malt, and ethanol flavors. The body's a little thin for my tastes but not unsubstantial. Not as impressive as last year's version, which in turn wasn't as impressive as most other Belgian Strong Darks. I want to like Mikkeller more, but it's difficult when the beers are so pricy and somewhat mediocre. This may be my last from them for a while.

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Photo of armock
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark brown color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of chocolate and spice scents

T - Starts off with roasted malt that give off chocolate and coffee then the spices and some fruit come out

M - This beer has a medium body with light carbonation to it

D - This is a good enjoyable Christmas beer most it has a good interesting flavor thats pretty easy to drink worth trying the series.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 edition

"Belgian Ale brewed with spices and cocoa powder"

The description sounds very interesting, can't wait to pop the cork on this baby!

A- Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark brownish black color with a light tan colored head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is fantastic! The nose features dark roasted malts, a good amount of cocoa, spices and alcohol soaked fruits.

T- The taste features much of the same dark roastiness that is evident in the aroma along with cocoa and a long warming finish from the alcohol. The flavors are really nice, but this one is a little hot.

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

D- This is definitely a sipper. I feel that this offering is a little too hot for my tastes while fresh. I would lay down a 2008 for about a year and enjoy it for the Christmas of 2009 or 2010.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip. Consumed at the Thirsty Monk in Asheville, NC.

Pours a deep, dark brown color with some reddish highlights. Nice, creamy tan head retains well and leaves behind some nice lacing.

Nose is of chocolate malt, yeast, some spices (Coriander, cinnamon, orange peel), and a light hop note. Really interesting combination of smells.

Lots of cocoa and roasted malt flavors. Finishes with spice and heat. This still tastes every bit of 11%. Take all of the components of the aroma, soak them in rum, and here you go. Unfortunately, not really as exciting as the nose led me to believe.

Body is on the fuller side of medium. Appropriately carbonated, a smooth drinker. A sipper for sure. Pretty sweet, pretty boozy. Not the easiest drinker in the world.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of mulder1010
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750 ML bottle poured into a tulip. 23/10/14 best before date
Cork and Caged.

A-- Poured a very syrupy dark brown with a lot of ruby in it. In the glass it was a coke syrup color with traces of dark ruby on the bottom of the glass. Did not think there was a head until the 300 ML mark, then a light kakhi colored head erupted and became one finger, finally settling to just light brown film that left a lot of lacing. Very little visible carbonation.

S-- Very spicy and sweet. Nutmeg, Coriander, Cinnamon, Orange peel, coffee, and some sweet chocolate. Almost Christmas in a nutshell. No noticeable alcohol smell with this.

T-- Spicy, sweet and syrupy. All the above mentioned flavors in the smell are in the taste but almost ramped up. Almost reminds me of the Chouffe N'Ice with the taste. There is a slight bit of an alcohol burn with this.

M-- Has a slight Pine or candy cane hop feel at the end. It helps cut through the sweetness and leave a fresh feel that pine or peppermint would with a candy cane. A bit syrupy though. Low carbonation and medium feel.

D-- I love winter seasonal beers, so this should be up my alley. it is good because it carries the smells and feel of winter but it is a little too sweet. Even though the pine hop feel really works well with it. Get a little bit of the 11% ABV but not a whole lot. Pretty well hidden, except in a few spots. Something about this I like though and would very much buy and drink again. I would think of cellaring this longer and see if the sweetness does drop off more. Could easily become a Christmas staple for me.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: near opaque, lacing around side of glass and a bit in middle but not much else
S: nice malt with cocoa undertones
T: nice balance of malt and cocoa, not overly bitter, good drinking beer overall and something different with cocoa nibs, not a huge amount of complexity but that's OK in this time of over-the-top beers
M/D: easy drinking, a bit thin

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Photo of grumpy
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think the previous reviewers have pretty well nailed this beer.

Color is dark amber, without the expected slug of yeast affecting clarity. The aroma is cocoa and winter spice. The flavors follows suit, with some dark fruit, maltiness, and a significant booze bite added to the mix. Mouthfeel is medium, with substantial carbonation that produces a tan ring of foam with moderate staying power.

Nice beer. Fits the B- / B / B+ category that it has been placed in, so far. Were it inexpensive and readily available, I'd buy it again. But it's not. So... I won't.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If that is his little helper what is his big helper? Pours a semi-hazy dark brownish color with darker hues throughout. A light fizzy off white head that hides to the edge of the glass but did last through the tasting with ok lacing through out.

The nose has a lot going on. The malt is limited though with some minor Belgian grainy notes and noticeable roast. Some minor chocolate but light. Noticeable spice notes with ginger really coming out. Some other background spice notes, cinnamon, orange peel and coriander. The ginger is a bit strong though and hides some of the other notes. Some minor yeast notes and a light plumy aroma but limited.

The taste is a bit more defined and balanced. The malt comes out more with a caramel and chocolate mix. Some roast but sweet with a dark chocolate note mostly. The spice is there and again the ginger comes out a bit strong. But not as bad as the nose. Other spices back off with minor notes of coriander and orange peel. More of a citrus kick. Noticeable alcohol and some fusel notes. There is a chalkiness in the finish that is a bit of a deterrent.

The body is closer to moderate than full. A bit sweet but ok for style. Carbonation is a low and would like to see more bite. Some warming effects with the noticeable alcohol. Overall some nice notes but would like to see less spice, specifically the ginger and more Belgian yeast characteristics.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle sampled at Chancey Smith's in London, ON- Very dark brown, almost black. Pours a frothy mocha cap. Nice sticky lace. Nose is belgian candy sugars, dark pit fruits, perfume, spices, some alcohol and a bit of yeasty mint. Tastes quite sweet and minty. Dark fruit, cotton candy, milk chocolate, some woody earthy coffee, with a sharp, dry hop profile making it seem a bit less sweet. Creamy on the palate, perhaps a bit too heated for mass consumption, but overall quite well done. Thanks for getting in this one Milos!

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Photo of younger35
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this brew as a Christmas present from my girlfriends sister. Apparently they were having a tasting at the Coop in Boise and she thought I'd like it. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior snifter.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brownish black that allows through zero light and presents a nice one finger creamy dark tan head. The head recedes VERY slowly leaving a thin cap and collar with a more than adequate amount of lacing.
Smell- Pretty big nose with lots of roasted malty goodness. Some chocolate nougat and caramel sweetness really pop especially as the beer warms. Fairly spicy with something resembling coriander, orange peel and ginger. Lightly yeasty at times with a bit of alcohol.
Taste- Chocolate from the start as those chocolate malts and cocoa powder really seem to dominate. Lightly roasted and slightly sweet they give the flavor more of a bitter bakers chocolate taste than milk chocolate. A bit of alcohol comes through in the middle actually seeming to play more of a role than the spices. A TINY bit of hops come through towards the finish adding an extremely light citric kick that tingles the mouth. A long roasty alcoholic finish seems to linger and linger.
Mouthfeel- A bit thinner than I would have liked but it's not too bad. Fairly creamy for the thinness though with not a lot of carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall I really enjoyed this brew. A bit more body would be nice but the flavor is pretty good. Really chocolaty and fairly unique for a Belgium Christmas ale. I'm sure another year would knock out some of the alcohol presence and really round this thing out nicely.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 Cork And Caged Bottle Into A Snifter

A- Pours a really dark murky brown that appears pretty much pitch black. Absolutely no head on this sucker at all, just a few bubbles on the edge that pop pretty quickly.

S- Really nice dark malts with a sweet milk chocolate not that's very inviting. Definitely a slight bit of alcohol in there but not to bad. Not to much spice left though, just straight malts and cocoa.

T- Much like the smell, really nice darker roasted malts with a good amount of sweet milk chocolate in the finish. Definitely has a nice tart Belgian sourness to it from the yeast and a slight bit of hops and spice that comes out with it. Not as much alcohol as I would predict, barely noticeable and really smooth.

M- Full bodied with pretty much no carbonation and a nice tart sour like finish that is only a little bit dry.



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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention but minimal lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt mix with some cookie dough notes. Taste is also somewhat dominated by chocolate malt with notes of cookie dough and light dry fruits. Body is fuller then average with some filtration and good carbonation with no appearance of alcohol which is appreciated considering the brewer has sometime issues with masking alcohol taste.

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