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 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,

 272 characters

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 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 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 Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
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 +9.8%
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 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 cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
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 beerthulhu
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
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 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 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 TurdFurgison
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
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 OWSLEY069
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
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 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 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 Floydster
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
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 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 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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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 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 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 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 BeerSox
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 Oxymoron
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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 younger35
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
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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Santa's Little Helper 2008 from Mikkeller ApS
3.89 out of 5 based on 55 ratings.
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