Santa's Little Helper 2010 - Rum Barrel Aged | Mikkeller ApS

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Santa's Little Helper 2010 - Rum Barrel AgedSanta's Little Helper 2010 - Rum Barrel Aged

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 BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 33
Photo of kojevergas
3.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.7 oz green glass bottle with standard unbranded pressure cap acquired from a friend and served into a Guinness stem-goblet glass in me parents’ gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado during my annual Christmas tasting. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I love the brewer but the current 75 rating doesn't bode well. 10.9% ABV confirmed. 2010 vintage (obviously). Reviewed as a Belgian ale brewed with spices because the label identifies it as such.

Served cold – straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it’s poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of nice khaki colour. Fluffy. Nice smooth consistency. Head retention is pretty good - about 5-6+ minutes. Nice even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a very dark cola black. Nontransparent/nontranslucent/opaque. No floating yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Rum soaked wood. Sugarcane. Dark malts. Some spice - clove, maybe nutmeg, hazelnut, and dark malts. Rum is dominant. Pretty boozy. Fruitcake. Caramel. Raisin. Earthiness.

No real Belgian yeast character comes through. It's a pleasant albeit boozy aroma of high strength. It's a bit intimidating.

T: Heavy rum up front and sugarcane. The first act has all the flavour, making it structurally imbalanced. The second two acts is pure milky rum and fruitcake. Raisin and caramel notes are in there too. It's pretty one-dimensional. Average depth and duration of flavour. Intensity of flavour is high for a Belgian ale. A kiss of plum.

Not real complex, subtle, or intricate.

No yeast character comes through. I don't find any oak wood or toasty character, to its detriment.

Mf: Surprisingly smooth, almost silky. Wet. Well-carbonated. Nice full body. Texture suits the flavour profile decently, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it. Should be creamier. Chewy. Decent presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, or harsh.

Dr: Downable for how boozy it is, but ultimately I wouldn't get it again or recommend it to friends. It's not Mikkel's strongest work, but I'm glad I got to try it. Doesn't hide its ABV too well. I think the premise is great, but the execution just isn't up to par.

Low C+

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.1/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-red with a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Sweet dark caramel malts, raisins, other dark fruits, oak, rum, vanilla, Belgian yeast, clove, pepper, and other spices, booze.

T - Dark caramel malts, raisins, plums, and other dark fruits, oak, rum, vanilla, Belgian yeast, pepper, clove, other spices, candi sugar, a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied, moderate-minus carbonation. Smooth with a warming, sweet, and lightly spicy finish.

D - Nice barrel aged BSDA. The rum is a nice touch.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
2.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – A dark, dirty brown color with a creamy looking head and nice lacing.

Smell – Whoa, this is unique! Cinnamon and other strong spices I can’t quite identify… almost like a powerful cologne, but in a good way. Maybe some gingerbread too.

Taste – The rum really comes to light in the taste, but there's also a strange bitterness I'm not fond of. Kind of a wierd sourness too. I can’t taste any of the spices that I found in the nose.

Mouthfeel – A smooth, silky mouthfeel. The alcohol is noticeable because of the rum flavor.

Drinkability – To me, the odd bitterness detracts from overall drinkability.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Pours a virtually opaque black with a puffy tan head that lingers for quite some time.

S: Aromas of molasses, caramel, rum, cocoa, and some kind of woody, unidentifiable variety of spice are present on the nose. I'm not getting huge barrel scents or many of the fruity, yeasty esters so typical of Belgian strong dark ales and quads.

T: Notes of cider apple, spiced pear, fig, woody spices, rum, caramel, molasses, cocoa, and alcohol are heavy on the palate. This ale finishes on a spicy, fruity note with flavors of rum, molasses, figs, and cider apples.

M: Way too thin and slick in body. Belgian strong dark ales should never be this slight. Carbonation is decidedly lacking. Alcohol burn is very noticeable, but one would expect it, at least to a limited extent, in this style. Not very well balanced or integrated overall.

O: This beer could and should have been so much more than it is. Unlike earlier reviewers, I'm not picking up on some of the off flavors, but that also could be because this bottle has been cellared for nearly two years now. Still, the all but nonexistent body, timid nose, and sickly, overly slick body severely damage what could have been a very good strong ale. One of the first efforts from Mikkeller that has thoroughly disappointed me.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +32%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a deep reddish-brown color with a tan head. The aroma has a lot of rum and chocolate in it, as well as some alcohol and dark fruit and cherry notes. The flavor is similar, with the rum notes really standing out. There is also some cherry and prune notes in the flavor, as well as some nice barrel-aging notes such as maple, oak and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of superspak
3.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy almost pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some nice spotty soapy lacing on the glass. Aromas of big apple, molasses, pepper, clove, oak, raisin, tobacco, cinnamon, rum, and booziness. Ok aromas here, a bit too boozy with some odd esters; but seems pretty balanced. Taste of apple, raisin, prune, caramel, molasses, oak, cinnamon, pepper, tobacco, earth, chocolate, rum, and slight booze. Lingering notes of apple, dark fruit, molasses, cinnamon, chocolate, earth, and rum notes on the finish for a bit. Some good complexity; with but the flavor notes as a whole are pretty odd. No cloying sweetness at all; fairly dry on the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. It feels pretty thin for being almost 11%. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a decent Belgian barrel aged Christmas ale. The flavors were a bit odd overall, but it was still pretty enjoyable and not very offensive.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.77/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter. At $16 for the bottle, this better be damn good.

4.0 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is good given the ABV and a moderately sized ring of lacing is left.

2.0 S: Wow. Huge whiff of acetone right off the top. After some acclimation, it's not so bad. Anyway, the rum is still quite potent despite this starting to get some age on it. The orange peels also stick out but the nutmeg not so much. The beer itself offers caramel, raisin, and tobacco. Anything else is obscured by the strong rum.

3.0 T: The acetone is also in the taste. Rum is a little less aggressive and allows for some other aspects to be appreciated. This is tangy and seems like it could creep into sour at some point. Plum, raisin, tobacco, and caramel. Orange peel is apparent again and nutmeg pokes through as well. Booze is moderately apparent.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation, which isn't spritzy enough for a Belgian. Still, good here.

2.5 D: Even without the acetone, this would be a mediocre beer. The base doesn't come through with enough flavor to justify the barrel aging.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-13-2012 02:49:54

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Photo of dbmernin83
1.8/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep, dark brownish black with a fluffy dark khaki head and some lacing. Looks delicious from afar.
Reeks of straight cheap booze. Sweet rubbing alcohol.
Yup, tastes about the same. There's a little "rum", and a touch of oak, and maybe some dark fruit? Who knows, the majority is straight cheap booze.
How is the carbonation this big on a "barrel-aged beer"? I'm calling bluff.
If this was served in a 40oz with a brown paper bag, for $3, I could get down with that, but with "barrel-aged" on the label, and 5 times the price at less than a third the volume, I'm good. I'll take a Mickeys.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.2/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle purchased at Holiday Market in Royal Oaks, MI. Served in an OCB taster glass during Christmas dinner.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a near-complete cap and thick collar. Opaque dark brown body with a reddish transparent glint at the bottom of the glass.

S - Nail polish remover, oak, smoke, spiced rum, rubbing alcohol, and fruit cake. Delightful.

T - Taste is a mix of candi sugar, Christmas spices, nail polish remover, licorice, red fruits, and spiced rum. Intensely oaky in the finish.

M - Something burns here - not sure if it's the alcohol, harsh medium-high carbonation, or one of the spices. I initially thought the burn was from the chili I was eating earlier, but I eventually realized it was from this beer. Medium body, very dry and tannic, with some residual tooth-coating candy sensations.

D - The aroma is downright awful, and would appeal only to those you like removing nail polish for fun. However, if you can get past that it's a bit more tolerable on the taste side of things and might appeal to lovers of spiced rum. I passed this around the table during dinner, and my wife and I were the only ones to describe the aroma as acetone - others said "booze", "molasses", "chocolate", etc. - so perhaps there's varying sensitivity to this flavor like there is with diacetyl. In any case, I feel like Mikkel has robbed me again with this one - why do I keep buying these?

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Photo of womencantsail
2.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The pour is a dark, murky amber in color with an off white head. Smells of hairspray, acetone, booze, rum, and more booze. Maybe a little bit of dark fruit in there somewhere. The flavor is harsh and boozy. Maybe some chocolate, wood, and rum in there. Some spices, a bit of gingerbread, maybe some hairspray, too. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Not pleasant.

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Photo of mcallister
3.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Deep mahagony with a half inch tan head fading quickly into some light lacing and a foamer topper.

Loads of fruit, wood, light rum, plum, prune, raisin, fig, hints of date, rubbing alcohol which may be the rum, and more. Some light spices and yeasty with crispy dark bread aromas.

Crazy beer. The rum barrel aging really thins the mouthfeel which is no big surprise. A zippy carbonation, milk chocolate, layered holiday fruits, almost like a spicy fruit cake. Sweet bready malts, and a bit of an obtrusive alcohol component. Overall not bad bur very odd.

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Photo of largadeer
1.34/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Cola appearance with a fleeting tan head.

Intense and intoxicating aroma of hairspray, acetone and spice rack. Kind of gives you a chemical high with each whiff.

The palate exhibits a wonderful blend of nailpolish remover, hair product, holiday spice and burning car. Body is a bit thin, and the finish is mercifully mild beyond a bit of burning ethanol.

Yes, another fine Mikkeller product.

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Photo of biga7346
3.49/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A very deep brownish, turbid in color, looks chalky, lots of foam and lacing

N - Heavy on the black licorice, rotten apple, brown sugar, nail polish, kind of juicy sugary type notes like an overripe honeydew melon, some medicinal and astringent qualities but not overwhelming,, a little plasticy, kind of a rum boozy quality; but what I'm most digging is the faint tartness, a little granny smith apple, grape skin.

T/M - Almost bourbony alcohol burn in the finish, a little charred bitterness that comes to close to being off-putting, almost like charcoal or very strong oakiness; furniture polish, astringent; as the beer warms the sugary and potpourri-like spice notes become more present, it gets more viscous. For a strangely medicinal type of beer, it's easy drinking. It is definitely an odd mix of seasonal spices with booziness.

D - This beer has taken a serious hit so far but I really enjoyed it. Would drink it with a rich dessert.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.48/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Am I really the first person to review this? My friend held onto this for a year so it was nicely aged. It poured a huge tan head that faded really slow. The color was dark brown and the head looked like a rootbeer float. Huge foamy rings.

Intense and intoxicating aroma. Definitely dominated with spiced rum, oak, and sweet malts. Spices are subtle. Belgian aromas and dark fruit notes. Plum and dates.

Huge boozy flavors of spiced rum with the burn. Oak notes, vanilla, brown sugar and subtle spices like nutmeg. Complex, interesting, and a definite sipper. Dark fruit; dates and plums througout a rich, sweet, boozy, and complex beer.

Rich, thick and boozy burn.

Overall very enjoyable, but intense. A definite sipper. Almost like a shot of rum instead of a beer.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.31/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with some brown peaking thru. A frothy beige 2 finger head tops the beer and is slow to recede. When it does it leaves a ton of heavy sticky lacing. Smells of booze hits first followed by holiday spice that overwhelms all. First sip is creamy smooth with the holiday spice dominating the flavor. Rich roasted malts balance somewhat. Rum notes come to the forefront quickly and blend nicely with the spice and the malt. As it warms the rum takes on a bigger role while the holiday spice is still in your face. Mouthfeel really shines on this one. It is super creamy and perfectly carbonated. The 10.9% ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of seeswo
1.6/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Thanks Norm, I guess...

Pours brown with lighter highlights and very minimal head. Smells very strongly of acetone. I spent a fair amount of time smelling this beer because it was interestingly bad. Nail polish remover, spices and a bit of candied sweetness. Really bad. Two sips and I was out. Sweet carmel malts and spices are destroyed by the acetone flavor. This isn't just normal barrel hot, this is undrinkable. Mouthfeel, I don't know. This is one of the worst beers I have ever had.

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Photo of Urbancaver
1.45/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Thanks?? Norm... I hate you ;)

Pours a clear orangish brown. A touch of white head. Not bad looking. Smells like nailpolis remover and grossness.... Ewww. Spices? Barrel? Maybe. Tastes like it smells... Naiolish remover...
Dude... Mikel...what the he'll are you doing.
This beer is awful

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Photo of chefmikeanderson
3.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: quite a bit of head from initial pour but calms down to a nice layer atop. lots of full bodied lovely lacing when stirred.

S: a very different smell for me. its a spiced alcoholic smell but i cant quite pick out any certain spice.

T: the alcohol is a bit less than expected from the smell. everything is a little less than expected. the rum has thrown my tastes off a but its the barrel with a little banana spice right upfront and then it just dies off somehow. the taste is powerful and i expect it to get stronger but then it disappears.

M: quite thin for such a big beer. makes for easy drinking though.

O: overall.. its a little underwhelming compared to most barrel aged beers at 10%. its easier to drink though but the spices are hard to grasp for me

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Santa's Little Helper 2010 - Rum Barrel Aged from Mikkeller ApS
3.03 out of 5 based on 33 ratings.
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