Santa's Little Helper 2009 | Mikkeller ApS

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Santa's Little Helper 2009Santa's Little Helper 2009
Very Good
63 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 |  Reviews: 44
Reviews by WesWes:
Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is excellent. It has a very nice hop aroma that hits you up front and seems to work well with the fruity Belgian yeast esters. There is a solid cocoa scent that's mild at best along with some subtle caramel/roasted notes. The taste is awesome. This beer has a ton of complexity. First, it has a well developed malt bill which provides a nice base of crystal and roasted mats. The hop character is outstanding. It's bold and in your face; bitter and fresh. The Belgian yeast compliments the flavor with a bit of fruity esters. The cocoa character is subtle, but adds a really cool finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. Mikkeller brews up some pretty damn good beer. This one stands out to me.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours dark brown with a tan head. The aroma is caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruit. The flavor is similar - caramel, sugar, dark fruit and some light hop presence. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mjtiernan
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of mondegreen
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap at Trappeze in Athens

A: Dark brown with a one finger frothy head that lingered for a bit. Very nice lacing at each sip mark.

S: Sweet, Alcohol, Chocolate. Probably in that order. Malts are dominant.

T: Wonderful brew. Very reminiscent of bitter chocolate in the mouth, with a substantial alcohol bite on the back end. Taste a bit of bitter hops with the alcohol. A unique and thoroughly enjoyable palate on this one.

M: Medium bodied and crisp. Love it.

D: I could have as many of these as I can hold except (a) it's near 11% and (b) it's $8.50 a pour. Other than that, I'd like to take a keg home. Please?

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
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 Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of nickhiller
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2%
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 peabody
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out like dark ice tea with three fingers of tan suds that leave lacing around the glass.
Smell is chocolate and toffee. Sugar is very prevalant here. Some raisin and fig.
Sweet malt and lots of alcohol. Kind of a milk chocolate but this is very slight.
Mouthfeel is a little sticky but other than that, boring.
Needs more punch or more flavor or something.

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Photo of PeerlessMark
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
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 mwilbur
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a muddy brown (slight amber is seen with backlighting) with 1/2 tan head that quickly dissipates. Decent lacing.
S: Surprised to encounter piney hops with the first whiff. Some caramel malt, spice, and dark dried fruit lies behind the hops.
T: Takes a few sips to decipher this one. Cocoa, caramel malt, and piney and citrus hops hit first. Peach and soft pineapple. Hint of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) in the background. Complex and definitely interesting, but a little overboard and muddled at times.
M: Medium body. Slight alcohol burn. Mildly bitter finish.
D: Good drinkability, especially considering the ABV. This is certainly an interesting brew with good construction. At times, it goes in too many directions at once, but I would recommend a try of this one.

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Photo of Xul
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
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 blakelive784
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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 JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of claspada
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
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 rdickey
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very deep reddish brown into a tulip. A moderately rough pour produces nothing at first, but then a delayed reaction three-finger head threatens to overrun the glass. The rocky head lingers a long time and leaves impressive lacing.

Smell: Chocolate is most prominent, but there's also fruit and maple syrup.

Taste: More chocolate, but also spice and fruit that I can't identify. Piney hops provide a nice balance to the malt assault. Overall, there's a lot of stuff going on here, and it could easily have turned into a 12-car pileup (I write this as the Northeast is getting a ton of snow dumped on it). However, the brewers did a tremendous job of making all the elements (including the alcohol) work together.

Mouthfeel: There is a whole boatload of alcohol in here, and although I can't say that it's hidden or not noticeable, it doesn't come across as "hot". Instead, it just works.

Drinkability: This is a huge beer, and you obviously shouldn't drink a lot of them, but the composition is such that the risk is there. Beware.

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Photo of levifunk
4/5  rDev +2%
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 edelman900
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This poured what I would call a black amber. Enjoyed from beer of the month club courtesy to coalceller.

A: It pours what appears black but when held to a light shows as dark amber eith a tan head.

S: The smell is complex at the front there is sweet fruity nose and on the back there are hints of rated malt and maybe some chocolate.

T: One word "delightful" it is sweet on the front roasted on the back and has a very pleasant aftertasete that excited the taste buds for another sip.

M: It is refreshing just like you would expect a belgian ale to be.

D: I can sum this up it up quite simply pour me another.

I am tasting this as i write i think this would while this is incredible at this stage i am curious to see what it will be like next holiday season.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.25/5  rDev -42.6%

Photo of jdklks
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours the same shit brown color I've been noticing more and more in belgian dark ales lately and I'm not a big fan of it. It looks a lot better when backlit and it features some amber, light brown, and golden tints. The head is a very light brown, but almost non-existent unless poured with a vengeance. I love mikkeller, but many of their beers are under-carbonated, and this seems typical. The smell is outstanding. That they brewed this with cocoa powder is amazing to me because it so nicely melds with the other characteristics, which is surprising to me for the style, and it is very subtle. sweet dark fruits, peaches and pears, spices all over the place, and sugars. fantastic smell.

Wow. the flavor is great, but not at all what i was expecting. Much more hop forward than you would think from the smell or the style. Bitter hops all the way through. Lots of peaches, sweet dark fruit, and a little alcohol burn. dry and burnt all the way through, which I would guess is due to the cocoa powder, which is very bitter. No belgian yeasty flavor at all, which is a relief because I'm not sure it would blend well with these flavors. Plenty of spices. Fairly complex, not the most intense beer in the world, but certainly very drinkable and enjoyable.

It has a big, thick body, but is unfortunately undercarbonated (but not so much that it kills the beer, cough, cough, Lost Abbey). It gets hotter and hotter on the palate as you make your way through the beer, which so far has no negative effects. Great drinkability as it has you constantly reaching for more, but the burnt flavors are a little much to enjoy more than one at a time. Overall very good beer from what is quickly becoming a top brewery for me.

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Photo of jojomdma
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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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Santa's Little Helper 2009 from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 63 ratings