Santa's Little Helper 2009 | Mikkeller ApS

very good
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Santa's Little Helper 2009Santa's Little Helper 2009

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jamie2dope on 11-21-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 64
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flute glass from a vintage 2009 bottle.

Appearance: Thin brown body, with medium bubbles at best. Head rose to at best maybe 1/8" off the body and seems like almost nada. Head was originally off-white but hard to tell since the brew for obviously reasons lacks carbonation.

Smell: Light notes of yeast and chocolate. Scent as good as it is, is light.

Taste: You can't knock on the taste light mocha and yeast with a bitter hops offset a bit because of its sweetness.

Mouth: Alright thought to judge factoring in the brew is just about seven years old.

Overall: nice find but by the best from Mikkeller. Definitely a unique brew regardless and so happy I actually did find it. Salud!

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured fom a 750 ml bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

A- pours brown with a half finger light tan head. Big trails and blotches speckle the glass.

S- honey, dark fruits, brown sugar, Belgian yeast.

T- sweet amber malts, honey, dark fruits (raisin, black cherry, prunes), some faint spices, and Belgian yeast.

M- medium body and carbonation. Drinks 3-4% lower than the abv.

O- this beer was better than I expected, especially with 3 years on it. Fairly sweet and spices are faint, and no cocoa that I noticed, but a very tasty beer none the less.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass at altitude in Denver. Drinking this in a vertical tasting with Santa’s Little Helper 2011 after a great experience with the 2010 version. Probably not aged in ideal conditions, as I picked this up at a local bottle shop without air conditioning or central heating.

A: Pours a hazy brown caramel color with a substantial off-white head and heavy lacing.

S: Cocoa, nutmeg and Belgian yeast notes that bring out coriander. Appealing and fits the bill for Christmastime.

T: Chocolate up front followed by peppery winter spices and a malty finish. There’s plenty of yeasty complexity here, but I felt that the balance tended too much toward the malty end of the spectrum.

M: Full-bodied and wet without much carbonation at all. Not exceptional, but I expect this may have been a result of the circumstances of its aging.

D: The alcohol is concealed very well in this one, perhaps partly as a result of the aging. It’s smooth and enjoyable, and while it’s not quite as good as the 2010 vintage in my opinion, I would be happy to drink it again.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 9.4 fl oz bottle serve in a nonic pint glass, reviewed from notes:

A - Pours a murky, dark brown color with one finger of fairly creamy head. Retention is average, but understandable considering the ABV.

S - Toasty caramel, spice (clove?), sweet fruit, heavy yeast, and some cream. Nice aroma all together. Medium strength.

T - Chocolate and toasted malt are more prominent on the tongue. Sweet malt and fruit are countered nicely by pepper and bitter chocolate. The ABV hardly comes through at all. It's got a full array of spices: coriander, clove, and pepper. It's awesomely complex.

M - Medium bodied, smooth, wet, and no appreciable carbonation. It works, but I think it's probably past its prime in this regard.

D - Incredibly well balanced, flavorful, complex and its ABV is hardly detectable. If I have the chance I'll have this one again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with hod and wire cap over a cork served into a nonic pint glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a two finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Colour is a caramel-brown.

Sm: Highly yeasty, with cream, spice, and light chocolate. Musty. Coriander is prominent. Some candied sugar. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Chocolate/cocoa as undertone, with nice cream throughout and pleasant spices atop. Complex and well-bodied. Quite nicely balanced. The yeast is less prominent, but still pleasant and well-suited to the flavours. Caramel. I like the coriander and maybe light cayenne.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some nice cream. A bit too thin.

Dr: Very drinkable. A lovely little winter ale. I'd definitely have it again. I think it might be best at two years age.

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Photo of PeerlessMark
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Bar Volo for $35 a bottle New Years Day 2011.

Even an aggressive pour can't coax any carbonation out of this rarish brew. Quite a lot of delicious sediment containing most of the flavour at the bottom makes this an uneven pour, and much more enjoyable after it warms up a bit and you get about half way through the bottle. Would recommend putting this on its side and rolling it a bit before serving.

Visually it is very dark, almost a dark coal colour with only a few rays of light barely making its way through the glass. No discernible legs on the oversized wine glass I drank it from but it does leave a thin coating on the inside of the glass.

It smells a lot boozier than it tastes. Hard to describe the taste actually, as it warmed up I started getting a better appreciation for its subtle flavours. It was much smoother to drink than I expected. I got a bit of smoke and dark chocolate and the rest blended in too neatly for me to identify individual flavours.

Overall very enjoyable.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured vintage 2009 750ml bottle into snifter glass. Pours murky deep brown, with a thin beige head. The nose is meat, gravy, spice, dried fruit, caramel and brown sugar. The taste is brown sugar, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, cola, chocolate, spice, light alcohol warmth, molasses and toasted brown bread. Medium to full body, fine carbonation and slightly sticky mouth-feel. Much better than the 2011 vintage IMO.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009, thanks to whoever sent this. Dug out the cellar, into a Grand Targhee mug.

Pours a dark brown, tan creamy head and there's some frosty lacing. Smell is dark fruit and a bit of cocoa and cinnamon. Taste follows... Very nice and mellow. Cocoa follows and compliments the dark fruit. Really nice finish. Damn, this is a spectacular beer. I am swooning. Really could not ask for a better beer this evening. Toasty graham cracker with semisweet chocolate. Oh yeah. I might have opened this at the exact right time.. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of Cstromberg57
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark brown with a light tan head that quickly dissipates.

S - Heavy spice, heavy hops

T - The taste of the spice and hops are very strong. I didn't really detect any chocolate

M - Very light, moderate carbonation

O - A good beer, but not anything that I would go out of my way to have again.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer a while back. Decided to crack it tonight. I wasn't crazy about the '07 version, but we'll see. 750ml bottle...

A: A deep dark murky brown with a 1 inch tan head that fades quickly. Good.

S: I get some booze and spices upfront with some hop quickly followed in the middle. A nice vanilla on the backend. Decent.

T: A watery brew with a spiced vanilla and almost mild lactose taste in the middle. Some mild alcohol on the backend. Ok.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation. A nice spiced sweet malt finish.

O: All in all, this is an ok beer. Not anything phenomenal. Try if you're a fan of Mikkeller, but otherwise, don't bother. Many better winter brews.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

A - Clear, dark brown. Head is low but persistent.

S - Aroma is a huge hit of hops and spice. There is no alcohol or chocolate evident.

T - Flavor is mostly hop but balanced by some malt and chocolate and some alcohol.

M - Body is moderate; hop bitterness supports the aroma, but is not over the top.

D - Very in-your-face, but still drinkable and yummy.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.44/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. Caged and corked vintage 2009 drank on 3/6/11.

A - Murky brown, root beer color, thin tan head, decent lacing.

S - Figs and raisons upfront, big hop presence as well.

T - Figs, raison, after taste of grapes, light hops, light caramel, light cocoa on aftertaste.

M - Smooth, perfect carbonation (which was suprising for it being over a year aged), long and heavy after taste on tongue.

D - It is deceptive for 10.9% abv, it will hit you all at once half way though the bottle, the alcohol is hidden with perfection, but the beer is still strong and delicious just as I like belgian strong dark ales to be! My favorite Mikkeller beer so far!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy deep brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention And some good lacing. Aroma of deep caramelized malt with notes of light toffee and light cacao notes are also noticeable. Taste is also a mix of heavily caramelized malt with well balanced sugar and notes of cacao with light traces of alcohol. Body is quite full with good carbonation and light apparent alcohol. Very nice beer with good amount of complexity and good drinkability factor.

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Photo of ToddT
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Cloudy medium brown, with a light tan head. Head falls slowly and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

S- Malt, caramel, peppery spice, and a subtle note of floral hops.

T- Sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and candied fruit start things off. Some pepper and spice along with heat from the alcohol makes up the middle. Finish is dry and with bitter notes of coffee and chocolate.

M- Medium in body and low in carbonation, for all of the complex flavors in this, it is pretty clean on the palate.

D- The heat of the alcohol gives away the 10.9% ABV, it still goes down pretty easy though.

Decent beer, if I see it again, I'll pick it up but I'm not going to hunt for it.

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Photo of claspada
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aromas of cocoa, slight Belgian yeastiness and some earthiness. Some lesser banana, clove and darker fruits.
The taste, just like the aroma, is very average to be honest. Light dark fruits (prune, cherry, figs). The finish is dominated by the Belgian yeast clove character but the sweetness and alcohol aren't as dominate as I would have expected. A year has helped this mellow, but probably too much in my opinion.
The mouthfeel/body is somewhere between light and medium, with nice fine carbonation. It drinks very smoothly, really cannot detect the high ABV here at all. Overall it is a good beer, but not remotely worth the inflated $15 tag associated with it. A great beer to be given as a gift, but not one that merits seeking out and/or overpaying for.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pretty impressed to find this gem on shelves in Worden's in Missoula. I had to pick one up while I was there. Poured into my Stone Old Guardian chalice.

Appearance: Santa's Little Helper pours out a dark brown with dark amber highlights. Definitely darker than I was expecting. About a finger of light caramel head forms, and resulting lacing is a thin film that forms a pretty nice ring around the edge of my glass.

Smell: This is very interesting. Lightly roasted malts, a bit of cocoa, raisins, figs, spices, and fruity esters combine to form the scents in this beer. Once again, not exactly what I was expecting, but still nice.

Taste: Slightly roasty malts, cocoa, dark fruits, and spices make up the opening half of this beer. Fruity esters finish it off. An odd combination, but it really works well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Body is between light and medium, with nice fine carbonation. It drinks very smoothly. Believe it or not, Mikkeller went big on this beer. I'd have to say they pulled it off. I can taste some alcohol, but not too much considering it's 10.9% ABV. Hopefully I'll get a bottle of the '10 version next winter.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: 750 ml poured into a chalice.

A: Dark mahogany brown with a fluffy tip of a finger nail brown head; it leaves very nice lacing. It looks slightly chestnut brown in the light, though it is not possible to see the carbonation.

S: What an interesting and complex aroma: cocoa, fruit (raisins), bread, even what seems like the slight aroma of cheese, coffee, smoke, spice (clove?), and fig.

T: It begins with chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit, a bit of fig, and spice. The chocolate continues to evolve all the way into the finish, until it turns to powdered cocoa (like powdered quick). The spice comes out in the finish, and some warm alcohol is present as well.

M: Creamy and heavy.

D: Though the alcohol is heavy (almost 11 percent) it is rather smooth.

Overall: I had a friend tell me this was one of the best beers he ever had, and I trust his opinion. I actually found it in a store just a week ago. I do not know if this beer is late released after a year or I just got lucky. It has a complex smell, and a complex taste. What an interesting beer. It is an excellent winter ale to sip in front of a fire. There is alcohol that warms the back of the throat, but not in a bad way. Chocolate and then cocoa powder dominate the overall taste from start to finish, but there is a lot more going on than just that. I wish I had bought two, I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if I had let the beer age a little longer.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a thin head and almost no hesd. The aroma pretty chocolaty and slight smokey with roasty character and some underlying toffee notes in the back ground. The taste was also full of chocolate goodness alongside caranel, toffee, and roasty accents but had some subtle boozy hops notes. the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, slight boozy, and silky finish, It drank really good and has been a solid offering every time I've had a tick of it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap @ 1702, Tucson; April 2010
The beer arrives from the tap with a one-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head that leaves some lacing on the sides of my glass. It is a dark, concentrated brown and amber color that shows a hazy, dark plum to amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of lots of raisins backed by some slight rum like aromatics with other notes of fig and prune. There is a whole grain note here that seems coated in brown sugar and this moves towards a toasted malt character as you dig around in the nose. The aroma gets earthy and maybe even musty at times which helps to boost the complexity. There is a soft spiciness, but the fruit seems the most obvious yeast influence to be found in the aroma.

As the beer first hits my mouth it feels pretty thick and tastes sweet with lots of rich, dark fruit flavors. The finish has lots of hot, harsh alcohol to it at times, though I am certain that the pizza I am eating is accentuating this. Rich fig and prune notes mix with the malty sweetness and alcohol brings out some flavors reminiscent of brandy or even rum. Once my palate has been washed free of the pizza the alcohol heat gets tamed a bit, but it is still fairly noticeable. A toasted grain character also becomes more prominent too, which helps to balance the initial sweetness and fruit character. Some clove notes are noticeable under the fruit and there is a touch of earthy / woody black pepper here. The beer is definitely thick and creamy in the finish, but it is not cloying.

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Photo of nickhiller
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: reddish brown, leather color, almost like light roast coffee and root beer. A nice rim of head sticks around after quick flourish of foam following the pour

S: minerals and malt, almost exactly like sniffing vitamins in the bottle, sour yeast, a lot of alcohol on the nose portends its high ABV

T: juicey juice (I get this smell a lot with Belgians for some reason), fruity malt, a hint of sweet cocoa and fiery alcohol on the finish, very warming, like whiskey, and you can feel it in your chest but it stops just short of being unpleasant, but right on the edge of the unpleasantness threshold

M: sharp carbonation quickly subsides and is followed immediately followed by a weak frothiness that doesn't fully back up the alcohol; the body should be far more substantial for something this strong. Intensely warming alcohol at the finish, maybe great for a cold winter night, but one of the main things that I would change about this beer--it's a little too much

D: a decent showing from Mikkeller for sure, but not my favorite of theirs. I find the high ABV a little overwhelming and I get very little suggestion of the spices and cocoa advertised on the label

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Photo of Xul
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dense brown with a one finger pale tan head that recedes rather quickly, leaving behind a solid lacing.

S: Lots of spices up front, almost a smell of caraway seeds, along with some cloves. Base is a caramely malt aroma, with some hints of chocolate coming through.

T: Malty base with all manner of flavors melding on top of it - spices, chocolate, some banana, and some darker fruits that seem to be largely cherries. Less dark fruits than a lot of other beers in the style, but the spices and cocoa meld very well.

M: A bit on the thin side with brisk carbonation, would benefit from being a bit thicker and smoother

D: With the spices and strength, it's a definite sipper that I wouldn't want more than one of.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown with a creamy thick head and somewhat milkshake like lacing.

S - Hoppy and spicey with the typical belgian dark suspects in there as well. Had kind of a dirty sugar smell.

T - The alcohol is there for sure. Beyond that, nutmeg and sweet cocoa seem to jump out the most to me.

M - Soft and silky but a bit syrupy. Leaves a nice spicey feeling in my mouth.

D - With all Mikkeller brews, I find that they are really fun to try but not really something for a session. More of a special occasion or treat beer. This was was very good, but the alcohol was definitely on the heavy side.

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Photo of levifunk
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

appearance - dark black
smell - sweet, candy fruit.
taste - cherry, sweet, super mellow flavor in a good way.
mouth - light carbonation results in a slightly syrupy feel
overall - good beer, glad to have tasted it, but probably won't go crazy trying to get it. If I see it on the shelf, I'd pick it up.

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Photo of jojomdma
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, as I finished lunch, decided to try this christmas brew. Just took out my infamous 24 oz glass and popped the huge rubber cork on my bottle. As I pour, I am looking at a golden chocolate dessert erupting in front of me. Thick, sticky head and as it disappears, it leaves a nice trail of bubbles. As I make the smell more open, i notice a hoppy, woodsy, spicy chocolate sense. As I always do, I take my first real drink after 15 min..Yum got lots of chocolate and some smoke flavor, a little spice and some wood flavor. The mouthfeel is a good thickness but as you swallow, there are hints that stay behind and tease ya. As for drinkability, its alright to drink but the warmer it gets, the easier it is to drink.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle on sale for $12. I liked the 2007 version so I figured why not grab this one. First off, this was quite easy to drink for a 10.9% beer, no hint of alcohol and not too thick or sweet. it smelled like a little chocolate, spice. It tasted good, slight sweetness, cocoa, malt, and a yeastiness. I'd love to buy another bottle but I think they are all gone.

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Santa's Little Helper 2009 from Mikkeller ApS
3.94 out of 5 based on 64 ratings.
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