Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper

Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper is a solid, if unremarkable, imperial stout. I’ve had it a couple times, and it’s fine, but I always feel like I’m missing something. Perhaps what I was missing… was bourbon!

Port Brewing Barrel Aged Santas Little Helper

Port Brewing Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper – Pours an oily black color with very little carbonation, just a tiny ring of brown head forms at the edge of the glass. Smells strongly of bourbon, maybe a hint of the underlying roasted malts, but the bourbon (and too a lesser extent the corresponding oak and vanilla character) is clearly the focal point here. Taste is again dominated by bourbon, though there’s also a pronounced malt sweetness that comes through, and some roast too. The beer opens up as it warms, with oak and vanilla asserting themselves and more of that caramel and roast malt character coming out to play too. Definitely more complex as it warms. Mouthfeel is almost completely flat, very little carbonation, sticky, some alcohol heat. Overall, it seems like the base beer didn’t really stand up to the bourbon barrel treatment so well (perhaps the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the base beer also has something to do with it). It’s better than some, and I’m enjoying it, but there are many better BBA beers. B

Beer Nerd Details: 10% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber) Drank out of a snifter on 12/8/12. Vintage 2012.

Port/Lost Abbey continue to put out interesting stuff, even if I’m not totally in love with all of it. But when they’re on, they’re really on, so I’ll no doubt be trying more of their beer soon enough…

4 thoughts on “Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper”

  1. I haven’t heard great things about this one so I’m glad you were the unwitting taster and not me. Doesn’t inspire confidence that it’s worth whatever you paid for it.

    Lost Abbey is quite awesome though. Decadence was absolutely delicious.

  2. My pleasure. I agree that Port/Lost Abbey puts out some great stuff though. Older Viscosity was pretty fantastic (though I think I paid the same amount for a 375 of that that I did for Santa’s Little Helper), Red Poppy was amazing, Angel’s Share and Deliverance were both great too…

  3. Yeah, the prices of Lost Abbey bottles keep me from buying them but it’s definitely good stuff. I haven’t had Older Viscosity in a long time actually so don’t know my opinion on it at this point. I remember thinking it was super bourbon forward but my palate has changed a ton since then.

  4. Older Viscosity is definitely bourbon forward, but the malt backbone of the beer stands up to the bourbon better than Santa’s Little Helper. It’s a bigger, richer beer. I keep meaning to try other Port/Lost Abbey “normal” beers, like a Serpent’s Stout or a Mongo. Still expensive for what they are, but not quite as crazy as barrel aged stuff…


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