Santa's Little Helper | Port Brewing

very good
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Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper

Brewed by:
Port Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Santa’s Little Helper, our Imperial Stout, starts with an emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee aromatics. The finish lends hints of sweet crystal malt, warming tones of alcohol and a touch of hops, making a perfect accompaniment to leftover fruit cake and sugar cookies.

Added by Boilermaker88 on 12-11-2003

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,477 |  Reviews: 577
Photo of poisoneddwarf
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 backlog. Bomber. 2008 vintage. Aroma of coffee, sweet malt--I want to bathe in it. Pours like midnight with a beautiful tan head and perfect lacing. Tastes of black coffee, hints of bourbon, and a touch of sour. Nice bitterness; the alcohol lingers on the tongue. This beer reminds me of how much I love imperial stouts.

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Photo of tigerbeer90
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 release from bomber

A: Jet black with a big creamy head, almost like a very light mousse
S: Roast and coffee, but getting some dark fruit in the nose. Not sure with allergies atm, but smells great
T: Roasted malts and coffee bitterness. Still getting a little dark fruit on the backend. Finishes with just a splash of hop bitterness
F: Seems a tad bit thin for 10.5 ABV, however being that it is June, it makes it quite nice.
O: Super surprised by this one. Found it discounted on a shelf and picked it up on a whim. It has been a while since I have had a solid no-frills imperial stout. This one is damn near perfect! As one who traditionally stays away from hoppy IRS, this one is done correctly. It has an extremely slight hop bite on the backend that leaves you wanting more (unlike the some that verge on black ipas). Excellent job Port Brewing! Hope I find the barrel-aged sometime, but for now, back to the store to clean out the rest of their supply of these :)

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Photo of fthegiants
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dvmin98
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

From a 22 oz bottle. This is a nice straightforward imperial stout. No adjuncts, not barrel aged, very roasty with a thick mouthfeel. Really no flaws with this beer.

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Photo of vidisad
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of philbe311
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hoping this helps with the stout craving I've been having recently...

L - Standard pour yields a voluminous four fingers worth of dark khaki / medium brown colored creamy froth comprised of loads and loads of big chunky bubbles... Excellent retention... Gobs of lacing cling to the sides of the glass... The color is a deep dark brooding brown with faint reddish mahogany highlights... Still with no discernible carbonation anywhere... A really beautiful looking brew...

S - Rich roasted malts... Bitter dark chocolate... Hints of licorice... Some light dark fruit notes.. Just a kiss of soy sauce mixed in as well... Outstanding aroma but a bit more subdued than I would have expected...

T - The roasted malt cuts through everything else and is dialed exponentially on the palate... Next up is the dark chocolate which only provides a glancing blow... Everything else comes next in a highly muddled fashion - licorice, dark fruits, soy sauce and even a hint of sweet milk chocolate as well...

F - On the lighter side of full bodied... A surprising bit of carbonation on the tongue... A bit chewy... A bit sticky... Goes down smoothly and easily enough... Perhaps a bit thin overall given the style...

O - World class appearance... Outstanding smell... The taste and feel our solidly above average... The end result is a really really good Russian Imperial Stout... Just a notch or two below exceptional... Definitely worth seeking out and having in your fridge on a dark, cold even leading up to the winter holidays...

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Photo of brianmandell
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Timtac
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of firkingroovin
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BeenTired
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of josanguapo
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From Cervezalandia. In Teku glass. Playing The Bug Butcher and Blackwell's Epiphany Sweet, smooth, with no torrefact notes and a noticeable alcohol presence that goes up to the head pretty easily. Very foamy

 208 characters

Photo of Beginner2
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A RIS, maybe destined as a classic.
Looks like I expected. Aromas recognizable, but balanced. Tastes are toasted malts and balanced well with hops.

147 characters

Photo of Avatar113
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of akk14
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Bottle shared at August THT. Pitch black with a medium height tan head. Notes of roasted malts, dark cherries, molasses. Medium to full bodied with a roasty bitter finish.

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Photo of MikeBogert53
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of powdersoldier
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is definitely a winter Russian warmer! Sharp edge with Leah. Sweet, bitter and heavy on the alcohol. If your cold and in need of warming, hit this one! Excellent choice for a cold snowy night!

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Photo of Nunya
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very solid imperial stout.

26 characters

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

on draft. coffee, dk choc mixed w decent booze. very good on cold evening

73 characters

Photo of alarmclock314
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, dated 2014, non-BA version. Pours black with a huge sized dark khaki head; some lacing. Smells of roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, licorice, earthy/lager hops, dark fruit, and char. The taste follows exactly with roasted malt, cocoa, licorice, hops, caramel, coffee, dark fruit, and char; fairly good intensity. Medium sweetness, bitterness, and dryness. No noticeable spice. High carbonation and above average body for the style. Overall, it isn't spiced despite the festive labeling, but it's a solid RIS with some depth. Worth a try.

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Photo of Tdizzle
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2016 edition.

L - Poured into a snifter, Santa's Little Helper pours black with a light brown head of very effervescent foam. Seems over carbonated for an imperial stout of this stature. Regardless, the head gradually settles to a thick cap atop the beer, leaving a few streaks of lacing clinging to the glass on the drink down.

S - Bold, rich notes of espresso, bitter baker's chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, star anise, and over-ripe dark fruits prevail. A bit of leafy hoppiness and a touch of alcohol phenols linger in the background. However, the hefty 10.5% ABV is very well hidden. A good swirl reveals a kind of woody note, but mostly just augments the enticing stout aromas.

T - Flavors of heavily-roasted grain, bitter espresso, and dark chocolate hit the palate, accompanied by more bitterness in the form of hops and a fairly prevalent phenol alcohol presence. The finish is very dry, leaving a lasting bitterness of both the astringent and roasted variety.

F - This beer is over carbonated. Aggressive bubbles scrub the palate clean between sips. However, the texture is viscous and a bit chewy. You can tell that there's a great imperial stout "feel" competing with the carbonation.

O - This would be a terrific imperial stout if it weren't for the off-kilter carbonation. Still, this is certainly a beer worth trying. I pick it up once every other year or so, just to check in on it. Not bad, but just misses the mark. I can forgive the boozy quality of the flavor because I'm sure the brewers created this with a "built to age" philosophy behind it.

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Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,477 ratings.
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