Santa's Little Helper | Port Brewing

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Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
1,513 Ratings
Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper

Brewed by:
Port Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,513 |  Reviews: 586
Photo of mriyanto
1/5  rDev -75.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
1/5  rDev -75.1%

Photo of poopsmitherson
1.5/5  rDev -62.7%

Photo of kbuzz
1.5/5  rDev -62.7%

Photo of rjvanston
2.25/5  rDev -44%

Photo of rayjay
2.29/5  rDev -43%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

When I poured it, a sickening cake of yeast coated the neck of the bottled. Wierd. Strike one. This one has a very thin body that doesn't carry the flavors of this big beer. Strike two. It's got a hard water mouthfeel, and a big dark chocolate bite, but goes nowhere. Black pepper and licorice. Nothing like I was expecting, but certainly not good enough to be different. It struggles to make a one-dimentional stout. Strike three, you're out. This bottle got dumped.

Note: I lined this one up against 16 imperial stouts, and this was the only one we all hated. Sorry, such a great brewery, but no cigar here.

 612 characters

Photo of jsanford
2.41/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

22oz bottle poured into a Lost Abbey Tumbler. 2011 Vintage

A - Dark black with a dense, creamy espresso-colored head that settles to a thick cap, leaving lots of spotty lacing.
S - Mild aromas of dark roasted malt, ash, coffee beans, and a touch of soy sauce.
T - More bitter roasted (burnt) malt, espresso, and ash. Acrid and burnt, and it only gets worse as it warms.
M - Full, creamy mouthfeel with a pretty full body and low carbonation.
O - Way to bitter and acrid for my liking, this was a rare drainpour for me. I'd almost be willing to see in the Barrel-Aged version is better, but that's a risky $16 gamble that I probably won't take.

 644 characters

Photo of Corkpuller
2.5/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of ggroller
2.53/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I gave a bottle of this beer to my brother for Christmas and we cracked it open a couple of days later.

Cool label.

I've enjoyed some great brews from Pizza Port in the past so I'm really anxious to try this one.

Black, almost opaque in the glass. Very little head, very little lacing.

Smells a bit burnt. Some caramel and raisin.

Tastes vert hot. Lots of prickly heat from the alchohol on my tongue.

Not very drinkable. I think it could be, though, with some age. I'm going to get another bottle and cellar it for awhile.

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Photo of Satchboogie
2.54/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes:
On tap at Armsby Abbey

A: Pitch black, just about 1/2 inch of mocha brown head that fairly quickly dissipated. Leaves a decent amount of ring lacing.

S: Extremely dark chocolate, darkest roasted coffee (burnt coffee), lots of booze.

T: Chocolate and coffee, but unfortunately the coffee is completely burnt and acrid, the chocolate seems like dark and dry, and the booze is strong and unpleasant. Acrid, boozy, and char. I really don't know what else to say. There's a good base of heavy roasted malts, but everything is way too dark and burnt. I could only get through a couple ounces before giving up.

M: Medium to full body, fairly light carbonation.

O: I really wanted to like this and there was a bit of depth and complexity (wood flavors, hop bite on the end), but I just couldn't get past the acrid, burnt coffee, dry chocolate, bit hop clashing, and heavy alcohol presence. I was actually pretty shocked that a 10% beer at 3 years of age still toasted so boozy.

 998 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.56/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A - A very deep brown with almost no head and no lacing.

S - Coffee, chocolate and charred brown sugar.

T - Coffee immediately... yeah, coffee. A bit of a sweet tinge, but it devolves into a potent bitterness almost immediately. It has an extremely potent bitter aftertaste of mediocre coffee and aspirin. I normally don't complain about bitterness - I love bitter! - but this is bitterness without purpose. It is simply unpleasant in the aftertaste.

M - Moderately thick, smooth, and not very refreshing, but this is a consequence of the aspirin tainted bitterness.

D - Whoa. Been a while since a single bomber got me this buzzed... did I forget to eat? The bitterness really accumulates which makes the experience a bit unpleasant. Downing the whole thing is a labor worthy of Hercules - maybe after a hard day of labors.

 830 characters

Photo of samie85
2.61/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a dark black color with two and a half fingers of brown sugar foam.

S-Plum with dark and milk chocolate with some raisin.

T-Very roasted notes with some really hot alcohol notes.

M-A little light-bodied with loads of carbonation and avery dry finish.

D-Not very drinkable at all; the roasted notes are over-whelming and the hot alcohol notes doesn't help the flavor here at all.

 391 characters

Photo of sia478
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

Photo of adhokk7
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

Photo of LibraryTom
2.76/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2009 Bottle

I have to say I was disappointed with this beer this year.

I poured this into a 6 oz taster glass, and a small tumble produced a gorgeous cascade of CO2 bubbles rising up to form a full-bodied head, that left good lacing.

The nose leads you in, barely hinting at the alcohol within, consisting mostly of coffee and nuts.

But right out of the gate this beer blasts you with the alcohol after the first sip, and then lingers on, far after the taste of the beer has left. There is some beautiful malt characteristic behind it somewhere, but once must search, rather then sit back and enjoy the ride.

Next year...

 627 characters

Photo of Dancolostate
2.84/5  rDev -29.4%

Photo of charlzm
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 bottle, consumed 12/19/07.

Pours a dark clear brown with small head that quickly disappears. Only a very thin ring of tan foam clings to the sides of the glass.

Aroma is subtle roasted malts with a hint of chocolate and a metallic undertone.

Mouthfeel is only a little thicker and smooother than water.

Not much flavor, oddly, perhaps due to the burning astringent sensation on the tongue. Hints of bitter chocolate, maybe. Finishes with an alcohol burn.

Not really a great imperial stout; disappointing from this brewery.

 536 characters

Photo of doucmehu
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I had one goal in mind in selecting this bottle tonight - a CA beer while packing up a trade for a Cali BA. Received this as a gift from a generous local BA.

A: Pours a fully-sugared cola brown with an average dirty brown mocha head. Leave a solid foam ring and moderate lacing in my Boulevard tulip.

S: Smells very much of black-strap molasses and burnt sugar, followed by faint esters and licorice. There are some soft oak tannins and alcohol as well.

T: Alcohol hides a lot of the flavor here, but once you get past the ethanol there are notes of burnt malt, unsweetened bakers chocolate, mild toasted oak, and bitter but relatively flavorless hops.

M: Alcohol heat is excessive and overwhelming. A rather sharp and thin RIS with a very bitter finish.

O: I am a little shocked by the good reviews of this beer. It starts out strong, but I thought it was average at best for the style (once it hits the lips). The alcohol and bitterness were high, and detracted from what I expect in a good RIS. I drank the whole bomber, but it was not particularly enjoyable and I would not choose this again.

 1,101 characters

Photo of Dreynolds1808
2.94/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of Higravity
2.95/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Well I thought this could have been something really special from the accailmed Pizza Port, but it was more of a flop.

Pour a nice dark body with a slight tan head, no real lacing noticed. Smells winey and alcoholic with some roasty bits of malt. Taste is very winey, more like a sweet barely wine laced with alcohol and a roastedness more like a regular stout than an Impy. The hops are really not there and I wish it was a bad bottle or something but it does not taste oxidized at all or anyhting else that would constitute a bad bottle. The body was thin and wel carbonated. A sipper for sure but not something worth seeking out.

 635 characters

Photo of champ103
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign IL

A: Pour nearly opaque black. A two finger tan head forms with good retention. Lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Soft roasted malt at first. Some acrid and bitter chocolate lingers. Like bakers chocolate. I don't really get anything else.
T: Roasted malt is much more prevalent. So is the acrid and astringent coffee. Some chocolate that is really bitter. Lingering in the finish is some bitter hops. The two bitter flavors are at odds with each other. Plenty of alcohol as well.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A bit thin for a big stout. The alcohol and two different types of bitterness makes this hard to drink.

I am not impressed with this. There are two different bitterness flavors going on, and it does not mess well. Not something I would recommend.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Source/Serving: 22oz. Bottle (2010, not aged)

Smell: Smooth rich roastiness without too much coffee or chocolate flavor remaining. Nice caramelized sweetness. Intense but not too interesting.

Taste: Slightly sweet up front with a dry finish. Solid, balanced roast character overall, but standard RIS characteristics that don't stand out. However, the finish has a nice licorice note that lingers well alongside coffee. Notably full mouthfeel as well, but overall pretty bog standard RIS offering.

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Photo of Stebow1289
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of timjim1327
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of Hophead717
3/5  rDev -25.4%

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Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 1,513 ratings