Santa's Little Helper 2012 | Mikkeller ApS

very good
24 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Santa's Little Helper 2012Santa's Little Helper 2012

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by biboergosum on 11-11-2012

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 127
Photo of Jjski
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012, bought online, storage conditions unknown. Didn't know I was getting a year old bottle.

Very interesting BSDA with copious cocoa notes,rum raisins and leather and mild spice. A lot of stout like flavors delivered in a body suitable to the style. Not overly " christmasy"

Floats in the palate: smooth and elegant. Not heavy, not light. Perfect like a fine red wine.

A sophisticated beer that wows with subtlety and drinkability. I imagine that age has enhanced its nuances. Presents itself like an Old Ale that was born in Belgium.

The snow is falling hard in upstate NY, the skis are waxed, at dawn we ride.

 627 characters

Photo of Ale-ienation
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted as part of last year's Kerstbier Fest at The Trappist, Oakland, CA.

A: Dark, light beige head, thick lacing.

S: Malt, brown sugar, fruit, raisins.

T: Bit of alcohol. Roasty. Chocolate. Bitter coffee finish.

M: Medium body, bit oily.

O: Delicious holiday quad.

 271 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge props to joemcgrath27 for this gem... The last of his most recent parcel to get consumed and well worth the wait.

A - Pours pitch black, thumb of dark mocha head with solid retention and nice sticky lacing.

S - Dark fruits, raisins, plums, cocoa, molasses, hints of burnt sugar and tobacco.

T - The dark fruit notes dominate with the burnt sugar, molasses and cocoa coming through alongside cloves, toasted bread and raisins that linger on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - This brew is insanely drinkable, an ABV that at 10.5% drinks like an 8%-er and will sneak up on you incredibly fast. So pumped I got a chance to try this, thanks again Joe! Loads of flavour and a fantastic example of the style.

 741 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - nearly impenetrable black, finger of mocha head retained half way, plenty of random lacing
S - rich chocolate cake batter, mild raisins and spice, touch of coffee and a hint of booze
T - distinct dense chocolate fruit cake flavour, cherry and raisin, caramel and booze
M - rich and dense, bit of boozy heat mellows quickly, fully coats the mouth
T - must say I am impressed with both the xmas flavour quality and the drinkability given the high octane, well done!

 467 characters

Photo of srhoadsy
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served slightly chilled into a tulip.

Pours an extremely dark mahogany brown bordering on black, thought I was pouring an Imperial stout at first. Half inch of foamy light brown head that recedes leaving light surface layer and lacing.

Aromas of dried fruits, molasses and bittersweet chocolate.

A very complex mix of flavors. Dried cherries and raisins, dark chocolate, molasses, cloves and cinnamon.

Medium bodied with a sweet finish and mild carbonation. Lingering aftertaste with a hint of booze.

Impressive beer. This one is an assault on the senses, a lot of strong flavors blended together surprisingly well. Not a huge fan of winter warmers, but this one is very nice.

 681 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's with a strong malty presence that Mikkeller relies upon the spicy and fruity interplay to govern the balance even among such strong toasty, chocolaty, and toffeeish flavor- ideally suited for the holiday season!

Starting off with the strong presence of heavy toast and chocolate, the note conjures the notions of nutty Columbian coffee, walnut, cocoa, and burnt toffee but doing so with a mild backdrop of cherry, plumb and grape.

Flavors follow with the strong presence of sorghum and chocolate sweetness that evokes a savory and lightly tawny taste. Exacerbated with a complementary plumb, fig, and raisin undertow the taste retains a pleasant fruity taste that hinges on dark, dried, and pitted fruit varieties. Notes of red wine rise and give a slightly tart taste that resembles chocolate covered cherries.

Full bodied, but with exceptions. The holiday ale sings the praises of coffee cake but with richer malt influences from brown sugar, pound cake, and bitter coffee. It's supple richness is aided by abundant carbonation, yet the beer remains weighted on the palate and prefers the more succulent sweetness and savory texture that the beer has to offer.

Closing with a malty-dry taste and texture, the beer does it all with earthy notes of wood, alcohol, and soil- but in the most pleasant toasty and fruity kinda way.

 1,336 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, Westvleteren chalice

Very dark body – mocha head but no retention. This is an interesting beer and not quite how I remembered it – the 11% is pretty well masked. Chocolate definitely in the foreground, dark cherry, dark fruit, molasses. Very nice stuff.

 272 characters

Photo of beerdrifter
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great little beer store in Arlon, Miorge Mihoublon. Surprising dark as night pour with caramel-colored two finger head with great retention and crazy lacing. Wonderfully earthy, unique nose with hints of soy sauce, roasted coffee, rye bread, licorice, and plums, becoming a bit boozey as it warms. The taste is really complex with hints of black cherries, cola, dark chocolate, licorice, soy sauce, cloves, molasses, espresso, and dates with a bit of coriander and vanilla as well. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and chewy with a subtle syrupy finish. This is a fabulous example of what I think a Christmas beer should be. A flavorful sipper to warm you up on a snowy winter day!

 700 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great great holiday beer. my bottle said 11%, not 10.5% abv, but either way its a monster. the pour is dark brown with a thin looking texture. some light passing through creating an amber glow, and there is some grainy sediment settling out in the bottom of my snifter. the head is just a half inch and light brown, but it fades fast. the nose is very complex. lots of belgian candy sugar and a powerful yeast which reacts well with it to create a dubbel style brew. same taste notes as the smell, but theres some dried red fruits on the back end which proveide additional sweetness and a sprucey character that makes this just right for christmas time. i like that there isnt a ton of spice to this, just a rich and balanced belgian beer without all the frills. the alcohol is real potent though, and it feels like all of 11%, especially as it warms up. full body with light carbonation. a few more bubbles would make this even better, but i liked this a whole lot. worth the price, around 15 bucks for a 750ml bottle.

 1,019 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml red foil covered bottle poured into tulip 3/12/12

A pours more like a stout, nearly black with a deep cola edge, big three finger dark mocha head sits around for a few minuets leaving some random lace

S smells great, lots of molasses and some licorice, dried fruit, raisins, prunes and over ripe plums, some citrus peel, some random spices, earthy notes, dark rye bread, brewers candy and a little booze. there's plenty going on with this one and I'm liking all of it

T more licorice and molasses then the nose and a little chocolate and cola I didn't smell, its harder to pick things out like I could with the nose, everything's blended together, it works well and is quite nice but the smells working wonders for me

M not as thick as the color would let you believe, mellow carbonation and a little heat, long finish of chocolate covered licorice

O drinking well for a big fresh Belgian, lots going on and I could only imagine what some age would do as its smooth young

well suited for this chilly evening, a complex brew that's worth some attention and being reasonably priced for Mikkeller at around 12$ I might find out what an aged bottle tastes like

 1,173 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shapely goblet. Dark brown with a miniscule head. Very much like the color of a quadruple.

Plums,dates and a touch of boozy spice make up the aromas of this ale. Reminds me a lot of a winter warmer.

Sweet with a strong resemblance to plum and with just enough spice and alcohol to warm the mouth. Very stout-like finish to the malt.

Lingering sweet malt and spice. Alcohol heat too. It could probably use a bit of aging to mellow out the overall profile.

Not a bad ale for a cold December night. It's simple, unpretentious and warms the soul as well.

 568 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served on tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It arrived in a snifter glowing a rich mahogany coloring. It held a one finger tall head of taupe foam, showing nice retention. Thick sheets of chunky lacing were left around the glass as it went. There was a chill haze to the clarity, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appeared average. The aroma gave vinegar, licorice, soured wood, and Belgian yeastiness off the top. Working in were thickly roasted coffee, chocolate, and caramel malts, booze, musk, raisin breadiness, molasses bite, and white sugar sweetness. Our first impression was that the flavoring was strong and complex, with nice spiciness to it. As we sipped, sweet and lightly roasted malts, soured woodiness, clovey phenols, fusel booze fire, and savory hickory smokiness started things off. The fusel booze came to a peak, working with buttery chocolates, bittered salt water toffee, raw coffee bean, and synthetic cherry syrups to the top of the palate. Washing through the finish were medicinal phenols, bittered wood, lightly roasted chocolates, yeast, fig, breadiness, and spicy booze. The aftertaste breathed of more bitterness of booze, licorice, molasses, phenolic clove, and leathers. The body was thick, and the carbonation was medium. There was fantastic slurp, sip, cream, and pop, with excellent froth on the tasting swirl around the mouth that isn’t overdone or overbearing. A thick coating was felt around the mouth, with boozy fuzziness and burn to the tongue, and no real dryness except, again, for boozy rumbles up from the swallow. The abv is fine, and the beer sips nicely.

Overall, what we liked best about this beer was the silky and thick feel, and beautifully foamy appearance and lacing. From the pour on this beer was warming and inviting, with dark spice and nicely contributory booziness to the sweet grainy base. The flavoring followed robustly in the same vein. The feel, however, is really what makes this beer. There was thick froth to the lip, with massive foamy creaminess to the back of the throat. This beer is nice for a cold winter’s day, and certainly worth your time.

 2,142 characters

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into Globe glass.

A. Poured 3 fingers of dark tan colored head. Thick lacing. Good retention. Color is all black.

S. Belgian yeast, molasses, dark fruit, spices, caramel,. Spicy BSDA is what we got here. Has some roastiness to it that you don't often find.

T. Taste definitely has some stout characteristics. Molasses, roasted malt, Belgian yeast, a hint of coffee. Chocolate flavor lingers on the back of the tongue.

M. Medium/full bodied. Medium carbonation.

O. Very interesting. Maybe more of a Belgian RIS than a BSDA, but a good beer never the less.

 588 characters

Photo of Meerkey
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: A good amount of beige, slightly apricot head ~2 fingers. Dark, impenetrable raw umber.

S: A lot of spices and something that vaguely reminds me of nail polish remover and metal -- probably just the alcohol. Lots of malts and vanilla. Molasses, chocolate, and burned toast.

T: Wow, lots of flavor. Chocolate malts, alcohol, smoke/roasted notes, molasses - something syrupy sweet like that. A little yeasty. Delicious.

M: Smooth, silky, and full with just enough of a bite from the carbonation to keep things interesting. Nice.

O: Good, the flavors linger for a while on the tongue and the sweetness does coat the mouth, but not in a cloying, unpleasant way. Smell is a bit too boozy for my taste to be really good. All in all, quite good. I'd have another. Recommended.

 776 characters

Photo of barczar
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma had a touch of tequila and roast malt initially. Tequila became more prominent as it warmed. Flavor is cocoa dominant, with a hint of tequila aftertaste.

 159 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml, red foil capped bottle. This year's offering boasts Northern Brewer, Hallertau, and Styrian Goldings hops. Thanks again to John from Solstice Imports for the sample.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with ever so slight cola edges, and one very anemic finger of thinly foamy mocha head, which leaves some rather prominent honeycombed lace around the glass as it lazily abates.

It smells of sweet caramel/toffee/treacle malt, some pungent plum and prune pudding fruitiness, a sugary coriander spiciness, prominent leafy, earthy hops, and a more than subtle booze warming. The taste is more sweet, multi-pronged caramel malt, restrained earthy savoury spice, a moderate anise character, some understated Belgian yeast, boozy florals, and tame earthy, leafy hops.

The bubbles are pretty sedate in their wan frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and adequately smooth. It finishes off-dry, the fruity caramel simulacrum malt ceding halfsies to the hop and yeast dryness.

Overall, a nicely warming, Yuletide-friendly, boozy fruit bomb, of the Belgian persuasion. Something to help keep one's cockles toasty at this early winter juncture, before we all have to really get serious about emulating the titular character.

 1,232 characters

Photo of stephens101
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight black in color with a dark tan head and a thick sheet of lace as topping. Nutty aroma is followed by chocolates, beer bread and plums. Tastes of molasses, nuts, ripe dark fruits, cream, milk chocolate and some phenols. Some astringency is noticed to the end, followed closely by a balancing bitterness. Creamy with a medium to heavy body. Hot and edgy. Good little winter respite as the gray days begin in earnest.

 423 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a large foamy head with some retention. Aroma of residual sugar notes with some dry plums notes and some caramel notes is pretty enjoyable. Taste is also dominated by dry plums notes with some caramel malt, some light chocolate and dry fruits notes. Body is pretty full with good carbonation with no real apparent alcohol. Interesting beer that did age pretty well.

 409 characters

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 750ml poured into a chalice.

A: Black with a huge brown head. Light gives the beer a deep chestnut brown appearance. The head sits on top like thick cream and does not move. Leaves thick lines of lacing.

S: Heavy metallic aroma that might simply be alcohol, roasted malt, coco, nutmeg, vanilla.

T: Sweet thick malt with some caramel, lots of dark bitter chocolate, and hints of smoke and medicine from alcohol.

M: Thick and creamy

O: Great flavor but unbalanced alcohol, this beer needs more time to age and mellow. The sweetness of the beer is balanced nicely by bitter chocolate flavors, but the alcohol at the end adds a medicinal edge and warmth that distracts. A noel should have some warmth, but I need more balance. A few years could turn this into a gem.

 776 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Admittedly, it is old, but it poured DARK into the glass with a moderate tan head. Alcohol noticeable on the nose and taste. Enjoyable with reservations. Take it easy with this strong beverage.

 196 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby-tinted black with a dark tan head.
Nose shows doughy bready malt, sultanas, golden syrup, fruitcake, and faint chocolate.
Flavours comprised of booze, bready malt, soft roasted malt, treacle. The alcohol is a bit harsh.
Thick creamy body. Could use more carbonation.

 277 characters

Photo of RandomExile
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: muddy reddish-brown; no head, scant rim and surface film; scant snowflake and loop lcaing
S: chocolate, roasted coffee
T: dramatically chocolate and coffee; virtually nothing else registers to my palette, although I can imagine the ginger and sense the malt behind it
M: dry, medium-bodied
O: Would be improved were it less of a one-note beer, tasting almost exclusively of chocolate, with a ginger tinge.

12oz / Snifter / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

 460 characters

Photo of bmwats
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice.

A: Dark brown. Pours a 1 finger, foamy, brown head. Settles pretty quickly leaving a smattering of bubbles. A bit of sporadic lacing.

S: Molasses, raisin, a little pine, coriander. A little dark chocolate, coffee, and peat.

T: A little hoppy and pretty bitter. Pecan shells, rye bread, and booze.

M: Boozy and dry in the finish.

D: Sipping experience.

Atmosphere is pretty solid. Nice head, and some persistent lacing. Nose is characterized by sweet components, chocolate, coffee, and peat mostly. Bitter, peaty, and boozy. Overall, this is pretty decent quaff.

 611 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.32/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

My notes below are truncated; I'm having this beer as part of my annual Christmas tasting. Reviewed live at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO.

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Pry-off pressure cap.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served cold into a nonical pint glass.

No bubble show forms as it's poured. Expectations are above average given my experience with past vintages.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Nice creaminess, thickness, fullness, and softness. Decent complexion and consistency. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is good - about 6 minutes.

BODY: Dark opaque ruby-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

It's generally appealing, but not unique or special.

AROMA: Syrupy, prune, raisin, wilted plum, cocoa, dark malts, molasses, and booze-soaked fruit. Sugarcane. It's almost a bit rum-esque.

A pleasant aroma of above average strength. Unnecessarily boozy. I expected more spicing.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Dark malts, cream, licorice, raisin, prune, dark plum, unrefined sugars/treacle, sugarcane, molasses. No real well balanced by any means. Sticky, syrupy, smooth, wet, full-bodied, and boozy. Overcarbonated (and this is at 2 years of age). Overly sweet, with no hop profile or yeast character.

Subpar depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

It's a mess, but there's focus behind it. Maybe it's grown chaotic over time? The sweetness seems atypical of a beer that shoots for a spiced flavour profile. Any spicing has receded.

OVERALL: More of a sipper than it has the right to be. Way too boozy to the point that I'll have trouble finishing my relatively meagre pour. Not one of Mikkel's strongest offerings. I wouldn't recommend this to friends.


 1,786 characters

Santa's Little Helper 2012 from Mikkeller ApS
3.92 out of 5 based on 127 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.