Santa's Little Helper
Port Brewing

Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
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Port Brewing
California, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #397
Ranked #10,382
4.01 | pDev: 10.22%
Jun 01, 2023
Dec 11, 2003
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 stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bottle from Jeremy, 2008 vintage. This has held up extremely well. Pours black and flat. Aroma is malty, smoky, sweet. taste follows, heavy on the malts, sweet, mildly boozy. A bit dry at the finish.
Jun 01, 2023
Photo of bigdeuce
Reviewed by bigdeuce from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
This is an amazing offer! Pours a huge 3 finger head with sticky lacing down the glass. Opaque black color.
The one drawback is it’s a bit boozy but it’s a full bodied beer with tons of chocolate malts. There are all different flavors. Chocolate, nutmeg, Vanilla, cinnamon. Very smooth besides the initial booziness and only a sipper. The alcohol creeps up fast right as the hazelnut and coconut seep in.
This is a uniquely fantastic beer!
Feb 18, 2023
Rated: 4.11 by minterro from California

Dec 30, 2022
Rated: 4 by zotzot from Vermont

Dec 23, 2022
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Reviewed by maddogruss from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A: pours a dark brown, almost black body with a chestnut brown head with decent retention and lacing.
S: sweet hazelnut, coffee and chocolate notes; hints of sweet alcohol.
T: sweet, creamy hazelnut, chocolate notes.
M: medium bodied and pretty smooth
O: solid feel and taste combo
Dec 18, 2022
Photo of Historiker
Reviewed by Historiker from Ohio

4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Poured a nice deep brown with a 1/2" head. Not much retention.

Smells of hazelnut coffee, coconut, cocoa, and Nutella. Smells boozy. I really love the smell. It's atypical of most Christmas brews, but still very fitting for the season.

The taste follows the nose. Chocolate, hazelnut, some coconut. You taste the alcohol less than you smell it. As it warms, the boozy flavor all but disappears. At 10% ABV, this is impressive. The chocolate, hazelnut, and coconut give this sweet vibes up front, but the coffee notes help balance it with a slightly bitter finish. Really, really nice.

Mouthfeel is on the edge of medium and full. Yeah, maybe a hair light for an imperial, but works really well with the flavors.

Overall, one of my favorite holiday brews. I can't find this for sale in Ohio, and I enjoy it so much that I often use shaftcrack to get it. Like I said, this isn't you typical "ginger, cinnamon, honey" beer. It's unique, well made, and delicious.
Dec 18, 2022
Photo of dano213
Reviewed by dano213 from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
12oz can purchased from the fridge as a single for $3.99. No canned on date, but this is a seasonal release and it seems to be pretty fresh.

Look: Pours a very dark brown color. Looks almost black in the glass. There is a quarter finger of light brown head with a nice small-bubbled froth, before it ultimately dissipated to just a thin rim around the edge of the glass.

Smell: It basically smells like hazelnut coffee with lots of dark, roasty qualities and some chocolate notes. It has a very nice hazelnut aroma, getting Nutella vibes too. Touch of sweet vanilla. A bit of amaretto/almond quality. Very faint licorice aroma. Nice coconut / chocolate-covered coconut macaroon aroma. Smells a bit boozy. Overall, it smells nice.

Taste: Up front, there are a lot of sweet notes. Nutty and chocolatey along with coffee. However, the finish balances things out with the bitter coffee and roasted notes. The finish is mildly astringent.

Feel: The mouthfeel is a bit thin for what one would hope to expect from a 9.9% imperial stout. The coffee adjunct could be contributing to that lighter mouthfeel. It has a full, bold flavor and has some glimpses of a "fuller" body, but overall it falls a bit short. I think that they did do a good job with the carbonation; it's soft, velvety, and appropriately carbonated.

Overall: My friend had this beer and said he couldn't finish it because it was too sweet for him. While I could kind of see how someone would say that, I don't feel the same way. I like the flavors here and they did a good job with their use of adjuncts (first off, it does taste like hazelnut and coffee). The aroma does give off a lot of sweet notes, however the beer leans away from being too sweet on the palate. It is a bit sweet (it's an imperial stout with hazelnut and coffee, after all), but it works for me.

From the website:
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.

Dec 16, 2022
Rated: 3.55 by WynnO from Florida

Dec 16, 2022
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Reviewed by KenjiN from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
This is my first sample of a product by Port Brewing.

The beer is thick-looking. Its head is tan and long-lasting.

The nose has an interesting, spicy quality -- oh, it's the hazelnut with which it is made. Yeah, the hazelnut is very pronounced on the palate.

The beer is rich, full-bodied, sweet and chocolatey. Very tasty. I'll gladly have it again.
Jun 29, 2022
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Reviewed by dacrza1 from New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
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
Rated: 3.47 by emptyglassagain from Massachusetts

Jan 08, 2022
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Reviewed by Beersnake1 from California

3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
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
Reviewed by BillAfromSoCal from California

4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
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
Rated: 4.25 by KT3418 from Colorado

Oct 30, 2021
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 4.1 by Hefsbeercaps from Ohio

Mar 28, 2021
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Reviewed by RyanK252 from California

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 3.98 by PaulSlazinger from Pennsylvania

Dec 28, 2020
Rated: 4.04 by hopley from Massachusetts

Dec 26, 2020
Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1581 ratings