Santa's Little Helper
Port Brewing

Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
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Port Brewing
California, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #424
Ranked #10,244
4.01 | pDev: 10.22%
Mar 02, 2022
Dec 11, 2003
Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
Notes: 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.
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Photo of dacrza1
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by dacrza1 from New Jersey

DATE: March 1, 2022... OCCASION: Mardi Gras drinking with a beer that definitely says goodbye to the winter... GLASSWARE: Citrabellum pokal... pours a coal-black body, with beige head that cambers around the glass's edge... it continues to build through tiny, upward bubbles... butterscotch, thick bread malts, vanilla, cardamom, sugar cookie and overpowering hazelnut make for a complex first drag... a dessert of a breath... its body is medium-weight, patient, with a viscosity that coats the teeth and tongue... its buzz sinks its teeth in the gums, lingering well past its sip... despite its heft, this avoids any residual alcohol burn, instead leaving a smoothness akin to hazelnut creamer.. substantial and filling... its hazelnut and coffee are much more appreciable in its flavor profile, with vanilla, Irish cream, hard fruits, and lactic hints.... quite a full profile, worthy of mulling over even a few months from its namesake holiday...

Mar 02, 2022
3.47 by emptyglassagain from Massachusetts on Jan 08, 2022
Photo of Beersnake1
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Beersnake1 from California

Poured at fridge temp. Pours black with tan head that quickly dissipates. Nose is sugar cookies, vanilla, light coffee, chocolate, marzipan, and lots of coconut. Interesting for sure. Taste is also really interesting. Coconut sugar cookies all the way. Some vanilla. This is where the roasted malt bitterness starts to come through, especially on the aftertaste. Some toffee and chocolate. The coconut combined with the bitterness is a bit odd. Overall, it's pretty good but I wouldn't buy more.

Nov 18, 2021
Photo of BillAfromSoCal
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by BillAfromSoCal from California

I like it when the drinking experience is true to the can experience and this one is. The can says "Imperial Stout with hazelnut and coffee" and that is exactly what I get ion smell and taste with the hazelnut dominating, the coffee in second place, and some hint of cocoa in the back ground/. Pours black with very short lived brown head and zero lacing. The alcohol presents itself as the merest hint of the actual 9.9% ABV. Overall very smooth, mildly carbonated mouthfeel. Buy this if you want a twist on the more common (it seems) combo of coffee and/or chocolate in your stout. The hazelnut is a nice change.

Nov 10, 2021
4.25 by KT3418 from Colorado on Oct 30, 2021
Photo of Sigmund
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Sigmund from Norway

1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle, Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 10.0%. Pitch black colour, modest carbonation, low brown head. Strong aroma of chocolate, liquorice, molasses, coffee and alcohol. The rich flavour has notes of roasted barley, liquorice and strong coffee, medium sweet. Bitter hops in the finish.

May 10, 2021
4.1 by Hefsbeercaps from Ohio on Mar 28, 2021
Photo of TooManyGlasses
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

Couple years on this - from a San Diego trip long before COVID.
Pours a viscous black with finger of creamy tan/mocha head.
Aroma dark chocolate, rich coffee, hint of licorice, char.
Tastes of dark chocolate, a bit of roasty sweetened coffee, some caramel sweetness, earthy hops with and a finishing sharp bitterness.
Creamy smooth full mouthfeel - moderate carbonation - crisp bittersweet finish.

Jan 25, 2021
Photo of RyanK252
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by RyanK252 from California

Bottle poured into a Knee Deep Brewing Co snifter

A: Pours basically black with a frothy tawny brown head that settles to a thin layer and leaves some light lacing. .

S: Roasty, solid hit of coffee and dark chocolate, earthy, light char, a touch of mint, faint piney herbal notes, and a little burnt sugar.

T: Roasty, coffee jumps right out, rich dark chocolate, a little char, earthy, some mint slowly emerges as it warms, faint herbal piney notes, a touch of vanilla, and a bit of burnt sugar.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation.

O: in the world of coffee stouts, this is more like a cup of black cowboy coffee than a fancy Frappuccino. Plenty of coffee flavor and bitterness, plus a nice chocolate accent, without being overly sweet. Can't say I picked up much vanilla, instead I get a faint minty note that I'm not sure was intentional, but I'm not complaining about.. Solid on its own, but there are other coffee beers I'd reach for before this one.

Dec 29, 2020
3.98 by PaulSlazinger from Pennsylvania on Dec 28, 2020
4.04 by hopley from Massachusetts on Dec 26, 2020
Photo of bret27
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by bret27 from California

2020 version. Coffee and hazelnut.

Dec 17, 2020
Photo of TryThemAllOnce
2.94/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
by TryThemAllOnce from California

2020 Vintage - purchased in a 4 pack of 12oz bottles. Poured vigorously into a snifter glass.

Didn't get much of a foam at all, and zero lacing. Not a great beginning. Completely black (or the darkest brown), can't see through at all. That's not a bad thing for a stout. Smells of brown sugar, coconut mostly. The first sips were overwhelmingly coconut up front, which isn't mentioned on the label description, maybe something they tossed in this time only .It's way overboard get the coffee on the back. The feel is a bit more carbonated than most stouts. Wish I'd found a single, because I'm stuck now with 3 more bottles of overpriced and underwhelming stout. Bah humbug.

Dec 03, 2020
3.83 by wc94wc from California on Dec 03, 2020
Photo of RaulMondesi
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by RaulMondesi from California

This one is more Myrna Loy than Marilyn Monroe, ya feel me? I’m talking thin. Then in the aroma and taste, I’m thinking more Stater Bro’s than Whole Foods. Like, they got the cheapest hazelnuts and coffee to put in this thang. It’s not terrible, but it’s just not a pinnacle effort.

I’m outta here.

Raul is kind of feelin’’ this one a bit more as it warms...

Nov 13, 2020
Photo of RacerX5k
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

I loved the original hugely roasted, bitter Santa's Russian Imperial Stout. Port Brewing was my favorite brewery in the beginning. Had 2 cans Hop 15 this year, what happened to the bitterness? i guess the Hop 15 was always more sweet than bitter? IDK, what I do know is the 2015 Anniversary Ale will always be my number 10 top 10 beer.

This beer? Very good, not great. like I said prefer the old original version haven't seen in years. Amazing nutty aroma, taste follows, the nuttiest beer I've had. but I was looking for the Founders Frangelic Hazelnut coffee vibe last year's bomb, that should've been made this year. No need to invest the lowest local price $15 in a 4 pak. Maybe $10 I would get plenty. Cause that's what it's worth, $8 - $10 per 4. I am spending as little as possible recently.

Nov 13, 2020
3.68 by stephenlee93 from England on Feb 19, 2020
4.04 by CisPiece88 from Nebraska on Feb 18, 2020
3.92 by smithj4 from New York on Feb 09, 2020
3.97 by ppavlick from New Jersey on Feb 08, 2020
4 by tbeer40 from New Jersey on Jan 23, 2020
4 by Jdells09 from New Jersey on Jan 16, 2020
Photo of mushroomcloud
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by mushroomcloud from Texas

12oz bottle - no visible date (2019 vintage). Opened 12-25-19.
1/4" tan head on a black stout. Head falls to a sudsy ring quickly. Light lacing.
Earthy roasted malt, coffee grinds, woody chicory, hint of licorice.
Intense roast / charred malt. Espresso coffee bitterness. Dark fruit. Baker's cocoa.
Full body, thick mouthfeel, low to medium carbonation. Rich, roasty, malty medium to long finish.
Good - vanilla and cacao are imperceptible here. Good flavors and a big beer but would have liked to taste the vanilla and cacao as anticipated.

Dec 25, 2019
Photo of BilleGibbons
3.02/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by BilleGibbons from Pennsylvania

Was a bit bosey. Dark and smooth

Dec 25, 2019
3.94 by stage_master from New York on Dec 23, 2019
3.96 by Donkster46 from Washington on Dec 23, 2019
4.17 by davidsonte2 from Washington on Dec 03, 2019
4.16 by vrbulldog22 from Ohio on Dec 03, 2019
4.39 by BeerMeCJS from California on Nov 10, 2019
4.1 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona on Nov 09, 2019
4.31 by eawolff99 from Minnesota on Nov 08, 2019
Photo of Beer_Right_Back
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
by Beer_Right_Back from Arizona

We found large raisin notes upfront with a smooth and muted finished that paired well adequately with our cigars. Overall, this was a classic example of a decent stout, nothing too showy about it.

May 23, 2019
Photo of chitoryu12
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by chitoryu12 from Florida

Look: Pitch black. One finger of tan head with decent retention.

Smell: Mild coffee and chocolate, sweet treacle, and a little hops. Not as bold as I would have expected.

Taste: Mostly booze and mild bitterness. A larger gulp brings some mild taste of roast coffee.

Mouthfeel: As thick as tar, with little noticeable carbonation.

Overall: Maybe something went wrong here?

May 04, 2019
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black pour with a brown head that retains at an inch. Thin rings of lacing.

S: Thick fudge sauce, heavy roast. French roast coffee beans. Smokey. Bitter dark chocolate.Whiff of earthy hops.

T: Stifling blanket of roast (in a good way). Dark chocolate, smoke, french roast coffee. Heavy dose of earthy and mildly citrusy American hops. Minty, perhaps. Vague fruitiness deep within. Brush of alcohol. Long and roasty finish.

M: Thick, rich, and chewy in body. One could cut it with a knife. Creamy like chocolate melted in the mouth. Scrubbing carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O: Damn good. Really damn good. A textbook American Imperial Stout, executed flawlessly. I'm very glad they brought this to 12oz bottles now.

Feb 12, 2019
4.27 by AlFergie from Nevada on Jan 17, 2019
Photo of REVZEB
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by REVZEB from Illinois

Had on tap. Actually liked this better than the bourbon ba version! This has more intensity in the flavor complexity without the intense booziness. Still plenty of alcohol, but coffee, sweet elements like vanilla, brown sugar, and chocolate, and the bitterness of the cocoa allowed to shine more. A boozy sweet stout for the holidays

Jan 16, 2019
Photo of OompaMentor
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by OompaMentor from Georgia


Jan 03, 2019
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

Santa's Little Helper has a thick, tan head, a very dark brown appearance, and moderate lacing. The aroma is of sweet malt, cream, and coffee. The flavor is similar, with minimal acrid char. Mouthfeel is high medium, and Santa's Little Helper finishes medium sweet.


Jan 01, 2019
4.18 by drunkenmess from Michigan on Jan 01, 2019
4.12 by mmhannon from New Jersey on Dec 27, 2018
Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1572 ratings