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 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 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 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 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 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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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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 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 Mazeraski
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A - Pitch black in color with a creamy-looking half-inch and slightly darker tan head that never really dissipates completely which leaves quite a sticky lacing around the inside of the glass.

S - Hints of nutmeg, cocoa, floral hops, dark roasted sweet malt, as well as a light phenol notes accompanied by a spicy hit of alcohol. A bit of a cinnamon note comes through as it warms.

T - First off, let me say how complex this beer is. The first part of the sip presents notes of molasses, nutmeg and dark fruits (raisins?) that mix with a bit of a phenolic aspect and maybe a slight hint of cocoa. This is followed by a hit of spicy alcohol and the slightest bit of hops and perhaps cinnamon , which leave a spicy and dry finish on the palate.

MF - On the lighter side of full-bodied with more of a compliment between the spiciness and the slightly higher amount of carbonation. A bit creamier which makes it relatively smooth overall.

D - Concerning the taste this one is quite the beer and very drinkable pertaining to this aspect. However, the ABC at 11% will knock you back a bit. Although a bit of a heavier beer, it isn't nearly as filling as I expected.

Notes: This Belgian Strong Dark Ale was quite the brew, having had it relatively fresh. I can only imagine how it would be aged a few years. On the whole, a brew that shows it was crafted with the finest of care and one I would love to buy again to try in a few years. Quite the complex amalgam of flavors. Definitely recommended.

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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 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 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 MrMonkey
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at Blanchard's Liquor in West Roxbury, MA the day after Christmas for $7.99.

Pours the darkest of browns with a thick and creamy two-finger tan head that fades slowly to a thin cap. Lots of really thick lacing left behind. This looks great!

Smell is chocolate, raisins, a hint of yeast, a bit of orange zest, and some alcohol.

Taste starts with some roasted malts and bitter chocolate before some yeast and raisins. Some spice leads into some more roasted malts before a bit of alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium, but it lacks the creaminess it really needs to tie it together.

Very enjoyable though, and very drinkable despite the ABV.

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