Santa's Little Helper 2011 | Mikkeller ApS

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Santa's Little Helper 2011Santa's Little Helper 2011
Very Good
96 Ratings
Santa's Little Helper 2011Santa's Little Helper 2011

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A 9.1 % variant was sold in Sweden.

Added by brotherloco on 11-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of Ralphs66
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of jeff1973
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of SudSavant
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is only the third beer to which I've issued a perfect rating. I know it strays a bit from the typical review of this beer, but it has everything I want.

Aroma 5/5
At first it smells as a mild Belgian yeast strain should smell, but even that is behind a lemon citrus. As it sits in the glass, all sort of interesting flavors rise to the surface. Before I describe those any further, let me say that this beer surprised the hell out of me by pouring like a stout! I was expecting some lighter, maybe amber, frou-frou holiday ale that has all the cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, etc in their usual starring roles. This beer flowed dark from the bottle and even evoked a "What the..?!" from this reviewer. Now back to the aroma. While starting off with the lemon zest and Belgian yeast, two things I definitely didn't expect to smell in a beer this dark, it quickly turns to its dark roast for the majority of the aroma. The roast is rich and dark, but has an aroma that accompanies it so closely I can't be sure if it's the same thing or not. There is a sweetness to the roast, almost like a rye, but sometimes mingles with the lemony notes that I can't put my finger on it whether it IS a rye or just the dark roast mixing with the lemon and perhaps grassy & piney hop characteristics. There is only a hint of alcohol warmth and it is found only during the deepest of inhales. In case, you couldn't tell by the length of this paragraph, this smell's complexity is only eclipsed by its unique nature. Full marks. I've never smelled anything like it.

Appearance 5/5
Ok, seriously. How come nobody ever mentioned that this beer is this dark? It really surprised me! This is darker than most recent stouts I've had. It's black to its core and shows only bits a pieces of a coffee brown at the very top of the class. The brown head is giant, light as if it has been whipped, and very creamy. It left tons of ornate lacing. This looks dark and amazing.

Flavor 5/5
Oh. My. Dad. It starts a little creamy from some body-enhancing malts and allows one to still catch a glimmer of the Belgian yeast, but crescendos perfectly into an absolute mountain of chocolate malt (the beer ingredient, not the frozen treat). The chocolate isn't incredibly dark -it still allows a creamier milk chocolate texture- but it blends marvelously with the roasted notes and the present-but-not-subtle warmth. The finish is more "roasted chocolate" (roast + chocolate), but with a new, distinct, resinous hop bitter and a brief wash of dark fruit. The mouth is initially left a bit sticky, but as the alcohol and hops have their way, the tongue is left rather dry in the aftertaste and with a slight tingle of warmth. Oh so good!

Mouthfeel 5/5
This beer is ridiculously creamy, but without weighing down the drinker with a huge, heavy body. The carbonation doesn't foam a lot, just enough to lend a more silky texture to the beer. I should also mention that the carbonation is plentiful, but doesn't effect the over all composition of the beer. Normally, stouts or other dark beers shy away from higher levels of carbonation to achieve a better beer as a whole. This beer doesn't shy away from carbonation. It instead embraces it and uses it as a tool to make the beer better.

Overall Impression 5/5
This beer is right up my alley. Unique taste, aroma is interesting, body and mouthfeel are perfect, and it breaks convention with the norm. This is not your average Belgian Strong Dark Ale! It keeps all the things you love and brings even more to the table. I love even more how far it strays from the typical Christmas/winter offerings available from most brewers. It shows creativity, independence, and some damn high quality brewing.

Total 5.0/5.0
In case I didn't gush enough praise earlier, here's my chance to really heap it on. However, I will do so with one caveat. I checked BeerAdvocate after I finished my review to see if others thought this beer as excellent as I do. They don't. Thus the subjectivity of taste comes into play. For me this beer has everything I want, roast, chocolate, smokey, sweet, warmth, Belgian hints, dark fruit, great carbonation, and the list goes on.... To be honest, I'm not sure how folks have ranked it so lowly on BeerAdvocate.

I've gone through my scores and tried to see if there is a portion where I could remove some points. Perhaps I missed something where this beer could have done better, right? Not for me and my palate. This beer is complex, well-made, tasty as can be, boozy, and with a great mouthfeel. I couldn't ask for anything more. Now I know what I need to ask for for next Christmas!

 4,615 characters

Photo of darcange
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of bluesplit63
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of dougemert
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Arborescence
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black. Pours a very thick head that develops quickly, pour gently!

Aroma: Dark chocolate, alcohol, burnt coffee, malt.

Taste: Strong malt attack with coffee and chocolate flavours, develops into an aftertaste typical for barley wines; warms you up on the way down. Not your typical Christmas Ale flavours, although they do claim to have added some spices to it. Plenty of sweetness too from the added sugar and syrup.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and soupy, yet smooth.

Overall: Interesting! Mikkeller, which is a very productive and experimental brewery, has gone to Belgium to brew this year’s Santa’s Little Helper (not that I’ve tried the previous ones) and they have produced a fine Belgian Strong Ale. This one has elements similar to Rochefort 8 or 10, which are among my favourite Strong Belgian Trappists — Mikkeller’s version is much sweeter though. The sweetness is a bit much after a few sips, but I guess it’s ok given that it’s a Christmas Ale. The high ABV helps to balance the sweetness a bit, and makes this a beer to be enjoyed slowly. Certainly worth looking for.

 1,108 characters

Photo of dahlen22
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black and velvety with a decent brown head (almost like a Guinness Extra Stout from Ireland)

Aroma: Malt, dried figs, caramel, and other dark fruits.

Taste: The taste is what I expected once I got a whiff of the aroma. Malty, nutty, with figs, raisins, plums, coffee, and other candied fruits.

Overall: The price (12.99) is steep, but that being said, this beer is exceptionally smooth for almost 11% and is tasty for the cold long nights of winter up here in the Northeast. This is not a session beer, but one or perhaps two by the fireplace is worth trying. Cheers!!

 583 characters

Photo of MrJolly
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of AlastairM
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of leansean88
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of N8DAGR8
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of nmeiborg
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Nolen12
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of stbo101
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of joesc230
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Immortale25
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a seriously black color with a full two-finger tan crown which retains for a good long while before sliding down to a 1/2 inch head that has great lacing following it. I can also see little specks of sediment in the body.

S- Smells of potent alcohol combined with a musty malt aroma. As the nose gives way, it leaves an aftersmell of red delicious apple. Some earthy hops are also detected.

T- Initial flavor of well-balanced malt/hop duality that doesn't lead to the boozy quality until afterward. In a word: smooth. Very smooth. There's also some spice trying to fight its way to the front of the line but it's weighed down too heavily by the key ingredients. There's just a dash of astringency that's only really detected when I swish.

M- Heavy, but not too much so. A bit dry and tingly from the high alcohol and medium-high carbonation.

O- Probably my favorite "Christmas" beer to date just due to the sheer extremity.

 1,004 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Black, but slightly transparent. Huge mocha head. Never dies away, just settles to a thick layer of foam.

Smell - Dark chocolate malts. Sweet dark fruits. Coffee.

Taste - Very chocolatey with a nice dark fruit presence. Figs and dates and the like. They get stronger into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, medium body. Well carbonated.

Overall - Reminds me of Black Albert, but more chocolately. This was $3.99 because it was a seasonal "past season." Can't beat it.

 540 characters

Photo of st9647v3
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of bismarksays
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of UltimateLivewire
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of csfcmitchell
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of harrisjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

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Santa's Little Helper 2011 from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 96 ratings
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