Santa's Little Helper | Port Brewing

Santa's Little HelperSanta's Little Helper
Liked This Beer
4.01 w/ 1,482 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,482 |  Reviews: 579
Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.25/5  rDev +6%
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 +6.7%
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 +10.5%
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 +2.5%
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 -2.5%
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.

 1,576 characters

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

Photo of NickMunford
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of g00ey
3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of soupyman10
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brew33
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of ccg
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Once it settles down, it looks excellent. It leaves tons of lacing on the sides of the glass while it's the head is settling, and head retention is excellent. It looks rich and dense. The only problem is that it initially looks way too carbonated. The head filled the whole top two-thirds of the glass.
The smell is very oaky or woody. As it warms, more of a chocolatey, roasted-grain smell emerges with some earthy hops behind it, but overall, there's not a lot happening on the nose.
Good flavor. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it's a well-balanced (if somewhat mild) stout. There's roasted grain, a hint of chocolate and vanilla, and some earthiness. Sweet and bitter are balanced. Despite the name of this beer, there's no "winter spice" here. It's a regular stout, and it's solid.
Mouthfeel is also fairly nice. It's soft and chewy, almost like an oatmeal stout, but the carbonation keeps it feeling light.
This a pretty good a stout. Considering that's a $9 bomber, it's a bargain too.

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Photo of Seh4fredom
3.69/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very nice beer from Port Brewing Company. This is their bourbon barrel aged version of Santa's Little Helper, but released in July. Poured from a 12oz botte into two tulips. Very dark, sweet and boozy. A bit boozier than I prefer but a great beer overall. Worth the try!!

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Photo of chinchill
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle served in a goblet in July 2016.

Black, opaque body with a thick, durable tan head.

Appealing aroma of toffee and dark malts with hints of vanilla, dark chocolate and brown sugar. A bit mild, especially in comparison to the flavor.

The flavor largely follows. Excellent balance. Plenty of dark roasted grain without significant smoke, char or other burnt qualities.

Excellent mouthfeel from the full bodied, well (medium) carbonated liquid, although there is some mild alcohol heat.

Overall: no need to restrict this beer to winter, it's more than good enough to enjoy year around. Rich and robust enough to serve as a meal (which it may if my wife doesn't wake up for dinner).

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Photo of Uscjojo
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Just opened a 6month old bottle.
L- black with dark brown trim. It did not pour thick and oily like I would have liked.
S- smell is light Vanilla, Molasses, Roasted Malts, Dark Chocolate, and Coffee.
T- Sweet Raisin, coffee, Light Chocolate, burnt malts, and bitter hops linger at the finish.
The taste sweetens as it warms up, but the bitterness at the end stays.
F- Medium body feel.
This is a good RIS for the price of 5.99, when I bought this.
Good stout to enjoy, will buy again when it comes back in November..

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Photo of Dougwillhike
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of BEER88
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rderedin
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Photo of xacidx
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Spaceman_Jer
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bluehende
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from the bottle at cellar temp.

Appearance: black, void of light with a tan 1/2 finger head that lasts indefinitely. Well presented.

Aroma: raisins, molasses, sweet crystal malt and roast. Inviting.

Flavor: raisins, molasses and roast malt. The aroma didn't lie. The alcohol is a contributor to the flavor. Burnt toast flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: velvety mouthfeel, medium body.

Overall: Not bad at all! I paid $5.99 / 22oz bottle. This is a nice affordable imperial stout. It has been too long since I had Old Viscosity for me to accurately compare it to Santa's Little Helper, but given the discounted price of SLH, I'd say it is the better choice. A solid beer at a solid price.

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Photo of 22Blue
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 83.2% out of 100 with 1,482 ratings
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