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Port Brewing Santas Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel

Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 433   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
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Barrel-aged version of Port Brewing Santas Little Helper.
2009 will be the inaugural release of this winter time classic. After brewing the 2008 batch of Santa’s we thought “wonder what this would taste like aged in a bourbon barrel?”

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
andrewje41 (511) - Kenmore, Washington, USA - OCT 17, 2014
Corked bottle, poured and split. 500th rating so a fun beer seemed necessary, and it did not disappoint. Pours black with a tan head that lasts. Sour cherry and a little vanilla on the aroma, with some chocolate too. Hints to be sour at first in the flavor, then switches to a bold flavor full of vanilla and cocoa goodness. Just a touch of bourbon feel to it in the finish. Super smooth, and not too heavy. Not too surprised, these guys don’t tend to disappoint with anything. Memorable beer for sure. Great stuff.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Aaron68 (595) - Oslo, NORWAY - OCT 15, 2014
Shared bottle with a guest @ "Schouskjelleren", Oslo. October 09, 2014. Beer from a tulip glass. Black thick oily look with a creamy brown head and medium carbonation. Aroma is roasted malt,coffee,dark sugar,dark chocolate and some spices. A sweet,malty and warming alcohol feeling in my mouth. A nice bittersweet finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
kaser (2791) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 5, 2014
Black thick pour from a 12oz bottle. Vanilla and whiskey taste. Sweet ashy aftertaste. Licorice. Tobacco. Lots going on. Good beer

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Rrauth (1196) - North Carolina, USA - AUG 22, 2014
over all a nice beer but something I dont need to chase again as it had a bit of a funky aftertaste.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Stuu666 (2850) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - AUG 2, 2014
Bottle at home. Pours black, nose is toffee, vanilla, chocolate, taste is more of the same, sweet.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ACHops (709) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JUL 29, 2014
On tap @ Chuck’s 85th. Pours deep inky black with a thick creamy mocha head. Aroma is rich darkly roasted malt, raisins, port, charred barrels, and a bit of bourbon. Taste is super dark malts that somehow dance on the edge of being over roasted but stop just short of that. All the big imperial stout flavors you’d expect (and get from standard Santa’s Little Helper...): dark chocolate, espresso, oak, soy sauce... plus amazing barrel flavors - bourbon, port, aged chocolate. Hugely thick mouthfeel, almost milkshake-like. The barrel-aging really takes this beer where it deserves to go. Maybe not quite as good as the best imperial stouts in the world... but this is close. Incredible beer, well worth the premium $ over the regular version.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
rodenbach99 (3183) - Longueuil, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 15, 2014
Une bouteille partagée avec SlovakSniper. Une robe profonde avec un anneau de mousse beige. Un nez intense de vanille, de chocolat, un nez boisé. Une bouche soyeuse où les saveurs boisées ne sont pas agressives. La texture est soyeuse. Une finale un peu trop sur l’alcool.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SlovakSniper (3219) - Out Of This World, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 15, 2014
Liquide plutôt brun et presque noir. Tête fondante qui se transforme rapidement en anneau. Nez généreux en chêne, en fruits foncés, en cuir et en chocolat, en vanille, en bois et en bourbon caramélisé. Goût réconfortant avec du bourbon, des notes boisées, des malts gras, du café, du caramel, du chocolat et des raisins bleus. Bouche moins crémeuse que la version originale. Bon corps et bulles molles. Finale chaude et persistante, autrement amère que sa grande sœur mais plutôt riche, douce, boisée et légèrement astringente. Agréable nez fruité et saveurs moins excitantes.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
tmzl (89) - SLOVENIA - MAY 31, 2014
Taste-off: Santa’s Little Helper (S) vs. Santa’s Little Helper - Bourbon Barrel Aged (SBBA)

S: Pours with a huge, thick, creamy, billowy mocha head, has a good slow, equal retention (breakdown of medium sized bubbles). A very thick, medium-sized, creamy layer stays on top. Dark brown, heavy pour, fair amount of lacing.
SBBA: The head is a lot smaller, higher degree of medium/big bubbles, mocha head a bit lighter. Has a faster retention, mostly diminishing. Looks a bit more transparent and watery.

S: Cherry, dark fruit on opening, dominating roast, coffee and milk chocolate, stuffy, mostly dark malt driven. Light sourness, bit salty, soy sauce and some cookie dough.
SBBA: More dark fruit esters on opening, then goes to rum-kokos Casali chocolates with a lot of oak, vanilla. Roast, milk chocolate more on the side here. Alcohol with booze feeling, oak the most dominant aroma here.

S: Light acidity and molasses, burned sugar start with fruity forest esters. A bit rum-like transition into milky, dark malt medium sweetness that ends with medium dark coffee bitterness, it’s well developed. Small boozy spike towards the end.
SBBA: Bourbon oak dominates this one. Medium molasses, burned sugar sweet start with acidity turned down, the middle, which is overrun with oak dominance, a bit of milky backbone felt, but a lot more subtle. Ends with strong bourbon oak spike that dominates the after with turned down roast, coffee bitterness and alcohol.

S: Full, light heavy body, soft carbonation lingers on the tongue, quite pleasant.
SBBA: A bit lighter on the body (higher alcohol), light warmth, no carbonation to detect.

The non-barrel aged version is a lot smoother and very drinkable. Solid, not too demanding take on imperial stouts. The bourbon one is a lot sluttier, the oak is (too) heavy and goes down a lot slower. The age in barrels didn’t make it better IMO.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
bytemesis (3311) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - MAY 25, 2014
Bottle from 2012. Pours opaque black with a small quickly dissipating beige head that leaves some lacing. Aroma is bourbon, molasses, chocolate, oak, vanilla. Flavor follows, medium sweet and light bitter, bourbon, chocolate and dark sugars. Well balanced and minimal astringency. Medium plus body.

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