Santa's Little Helper | Port Brewing

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Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
1,514 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: 1,514 |  Reviews: 586
Photo of phichifiji00
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Coal black. Pours very thick tan/chocolaty head that fades very slowly.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malt, sweet, toffee, some estery notes, hint of cinnamon as it warms.

Taste: Chocolate, roasted malt, hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth, silky, a bit astringent. The 10% ABV is well hidden.

Overall: Not terribly complex, but well executed. Great chocolate/roasted malt aromas/flavors. Very drinkable.

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Photo of imyourhero21
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of PhatAtUT
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of danfinegan3
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for this one.

Pours pitch black with 1/2" of thick, dense, brown head that has great retention. The nose has notes of deep, roasted malts, faint coffee, faint chocolate, and a small hint of anise. The taste is deep and rich with the roasted malts taking center stage. There are small hints of chocolate, licorice, and coffee throughout. As the beer warms it becomes very full bodied, and the alcohol adds great warmth. It's well carbonated and finishes a little dry.

This one isn't super complex, but it's delicious nonetheless. This may be one of those cases where less is more. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of onefalsemove711
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of perrymarcus
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours the standard imperial stout deep mahogany / borderline black tone; aggressive pour yields a big 2+" head... very respectable retention and some lacing evident. very nice looking RIS.

nose serves up a lot of roasted malt and chocolate with some coffee notes evident as well. seconday notes of molasses and, to an even lesser degree, anise.

flavor delivers more of the same except there some hoppiness i didn't really get in the aroma, and it's not as sweet as i was expecting. some alcohol, though it's not as big a factor as you might anticipate given its 10% ABV. booze is more pronounced in the finish. very tasty but nothing extraordinary, especially within this style and it's countless worthy competitors. medium-full bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall a very solid RIS, flavorful and quite enjoyable. the B+ range sounds about right.

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Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a Southern Californian I have to give a shout to Port Brewing! One of the most underrated craft brewers in the country, it's a wonderful provider of delicious ales.

A- Pours a malty brown with a beautiful foamy head. The head looks like fluffy, porous hazelnut.

S - Deep coffee and hazelnut cream aroma with a bit a malt and zinc notes. A bit of the "penny" smell with heavy cream elements.

T&M - The flavor is heavy without being overbearing, with chocolate, bourbon and malt notes. There is a certain inherent lightness to this beer that doesn't fit with it's flavor profile, like an approachable version of much more complex imperial stouts. Chewy without being overbearing...with almost no bearing!

O - A carbonated version of a solid imperial stout, strong, and you know...just in time for christmas!

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Photo of tbizzle0
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of crewfan16
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from a bomber into a snifter.

a-black color, slight tan/khaki head

s-light anise, roasted coffee and light chocolate. overall, a tad light for the style.

t- rich roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate. very dry finish. chocolate notes linger. feels sort of one dimensional with that one dry roasted note.

m- mouthfeel is average. decent body but finish is incredibly dry.

overall, for the cost ($10) i wouldnt seek it out again. lacks some of the complexity i look for in a RIS and is so dry that its slightly off-putting.

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Photo of jeffthepony
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of Gatch
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.

A - Pitch black with a short medium-brown head. Lace sticks to the glass and a latte-brown head forms when you give the glass a swirl.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, prunes, dark chocolate, a bit of alcohol. Impressive nose.

T - Heavy dark, roasted malt and dark chocolate. Molasses and a smoked flavor. Espresso sweetened with lots of sugar. Smooth, creamy, and fantastic when the beer warms up.

M - Smooth, smoky, with a little carbonation. The roasted malt lingers on the palate leaving a pleasant taste. For a beer weighing in at 10% ABV the alcohol is barely there.

Awesome example of the style.

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Photo of AlexM
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Topher78
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured the brew into my trusty sniffer and watched as this pitch black liquid overwhelmed the inside of my glass. The beer poured with just over 2 fingers width of a coffee colored head and left behind decent lacing. The first aroma to be noticed is the coffee followed by chocolate notes. This beer is a bruiser at 10% ABV but you can't really smell the alcohol. However after the first sip you know it's there. Surprisingly the body of the beer is lighter than expected however it does leave a light coating on the tongue. There are plenty of hops used in this brew but only can be noticed in the bitterness of the beer and not the aroma. Overall a good Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of sinistarfab
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of kenm2118
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of notchucknorris
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a massive light brown head that has really great retention and big, chunky lacing down the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, anise, molasses and some hints of almond paste.

T: Big roasted note right away. Some subtle molasses and chocolate sweetness, followed by a lot of roast bitterness and a bit of hop bitterness. Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a super black color with a huge Guinness-like pour. The brown head created some nice lacing. Aroma is faint, but of milk chocolate. Taste is supermalty and roasty. This is a little boozy but I am okay with that! Feel is moderate thin but the carbonation helps. Drinkable but boozy. This needs time. I'm aging the rest of my bottles.

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Photo of AApparel
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Nightrain87
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the Watering Hole on Stout Day, inside a goblet.

Deep ebony, though a hold to the light reveals subtle crimson highlights. One finger of dense, dark tan head hangs out for quite a while. It’s sticky as marshmallow fluff and becomes a silky top layer only after a long time.

Dark, sugary, sweet nose. Molasses — and lots of it — along with subtle licorice, marshmallow and dark chocolate dipped-raisins. Ethanol is noticeable, but not distracting.

The flavor is far roastier and dryer. I get molasses again, but it’s spicier now and gives off less sweetness. Black taffy, anise and a bit of cocoa are noticeable before the swallow brings in burnt pizza crust. Maybe some woody notes as well — cherry wood? Ash? I haven't tasted enough trees. Dry finish with lingering acrid roast esters. The flavors are all smoothly blended, but they aren't fantastic to start with — though the hints of sweet marshmallow I get as the brew warms really work.

Medium, creamy body. Moderate, pinching carbonation dies down quickly. Some alcohol spice on the tongue. Very smooth and nice.

Santa’s Little Helper is better from the barrel. The flavor’s decent, but isn't forceful enough to push into the next score categories. It’s drinkable, though. Santa would have a hard time flying after a bomber.

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Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 1,514 ratings