Santa's Little Helper 2008 | Mikkeller ApS

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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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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 55
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.31/5  rDev -14.9%
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 CampusCrew
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
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 aasher
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
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 -12.1%
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 -10.8%
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 Arenbeer
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Volo's. Chocolate black with a little white head. Complex, the taste is mostly Belgian chocolate, with alcohol in the finish. Understated hops, sugar, hint or orange. A tad of cherry mid-sip, and other spice: cinammon. Above average mouthfeel. Good drinkability,

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Photo of mulder1010
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
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 armock
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
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 mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8%
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 illidurit
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
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 wedgie9
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
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 wisrarebeer
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
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 thequeen711
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
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 erz316
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
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 fastpass17
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

25 oz Bottle

A: Roasted Coffee color, thin yet retaining head, good carbonation.

S: Light brown sugar, chocolate truffles, slightly fruity.

T: Caramel malt, homemade chocolate cookie, round, light alcohol warmness at the end.

M: Full rich, slightly viscous, coats the mouth wonderfully.

D: Enjoy half a bottle with a friend over a rich meal.
Very enjoyable for the style.

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Photo of bobsy
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
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 billyshears
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
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 corby112
4.78/5  rDev +22.9%
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 TheDoorman
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 mrmanning
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
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 Gyle41386
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
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 GbVDave
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
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 Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
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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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.54/5  rDev -9%
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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Santa's Little Helper 2008 from Mikkeller ApS
3.89 out of 5 based on 55 ratings.
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