2013 Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing

13528582_10103365113836860_7176845156511500108_oRating: 7/7

2013 Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing is a 12% ABV Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels.


Everyone knows that Santa delivers toys and gifts to little girls and boys each Christmas Eve. But what does he do with the sleigh the other 364 days a year? Well rumor has it he hitches up the reindeer each July testing driving to ensure it’s still in operating condition. At the North Pole they mark their calendars calling it Christmas in July.

How do we know that? Well, Virginia, each year Santa stops by Port Brewing to load up his sleigh with beer for his return trip to the North Pole. He’s a big fan of Santa’s Little Helper, and for the last nine months our brewers have been extra naughty aging some in bourbon barrels. Hopefully Santa won’t drink it all by himself, but we wouldn’t blame him if he did.


Aged for 3 years, this beer has been a staple and a favorite of mind since I first started trying different craft beers and one of the ones that really started getting me into trying different barrel aged beers. They stopped making this beer for a while but was recently released once again but in smaller bottles. So to my surprise, I was able to find this still at the local Downey Liquor in Downey California. This beer was first bottled in 22 ounce bottles and was bourbon barrel aged. Now a days, they sell the same beer for the same price ($15-16) but a 350ml bottle. Considering I was able to find more of these, I refuse to pay for the smaller bottles. The decision for Port Brewing to sell in smaller bottles for the same price is quite irritating especially for such an amazing beer. I would understand them lowering the price if they wanted smaller bottles but it is pretty ridiculous now a days. Anyways, it has been 3 years and I definitely want to see how this beer has progressed. Cheers!


Rich oak, vanilla, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, vinous dark fruits like raisins, plums, currants, black berries, dark cherries, figs, fruit cake, almond, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cinnamon, ginger bread cookies, cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream, oatmeal chocolate cookies, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Bakers chocolate, rocky road ice cream, toasted coconut, stone fruit hints, wine grapes, crème brulee and mango.


Rich vinous oak, vanilla, port wine, bourbon, roasted coffee, Kahlua Liqueur, flan hints, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Bakers chocolate, rocky road ice cream, toasted coconut, figgy pudding, dark fruit raisins, plums, currants, black berries, dark cherries, marshmallow smores, fruit cake, almond, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cinnamon, ginger bread cookies, cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream, oatmeal chocolate cookies, tobacco, leather, dulce de leche caramel, wine grapes, sweetenend condensed milk hints, crème brulee hints, raspberry chambord hints, stone fruit peach notes, dragon fruit and mild mango.


Finishing with port wine notes, dark chocolate, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, dark fruits, flan, fruit cake and figgy pudding. No alcohol in the taste, deep dark abyss full body, smooth, silky, rich and chewy mouthfeel and sipping drinkability.


A bucket list beer, especially since this one being the original when they used to sell in 22 ounces. Now a days they sell this in 375ml bottles for the same price as this one which I don’t know about. I have tried it a while back on tap and it was as good as I remembered this one. Essentially, it is the same beer as I remember before. However, this 3 year aged one for being the oldest one and the bigger bottle, a definite find is in order for you beer lovers. The beer has turned into a more vinous delight complementing the chocolate complexity along with the development of raisinettes in bourbon and rich fruit cake and figgy pudding servings. A true Christmas beer, you can have in June, July or any time of the year.

Anime Corner:

Keira Hagai from Jack and Daxter and Sansei Muramasa from Full Metal Daemon were used in this for the overall Christmas theme. I have used Keira in the past as she was to represent the colors of Christmas but she also has Daxter on her arm to represent Santa’s Little Helper. This time around, Sansei was brought in to be the Santa’s little helper as she has the reindeer antlers but also represents how the beer has essentially aged well.




Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing is a 10%ABV Russian Imperial Stout. This is the second time I try this beer. Both the Oak Aged and regular versions are awesome :P. 


Each year santa works up that famous list. He takes notes of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. To the nice people he brings good cheer. For the people who have been anything but nice, he loads up on big fat lumps of coal. Thankfully, santa knows this is one seriously nice beer. Brewed only once a year since it was first released in 1997, Santa’a Little Helper has been our annual insurance policy against lumps of coal in our stockings. Each year, we look forward to the release of this beer which signals the impending arrival of the jolly old fat man and his merry band of eves. Santa’s Little Helper Imperials stouts is as back as christmas eve with a decidedly smooth finish. We know you’ll find it the perfect companion for chestnuts roasting by an open fire paired with that lump of coal you’ll be receiving.

The easiest way to describe this beer is to say that if you were to take Old Rasputin and collided him with Christmas and made him run gift errands on Christmas Eve, you would have this. Think of a Russian Imperial stout and add Christmas spices to it like nutmeg, cinnamon, cherries and other Christmasy goodness. The flavors of chocolate, coffee and earthy hop bitterness is toned down to release more sweeter flavors. There are notes of cinnamon, cherries, raisins, molasses, vanilla, caramel. However as you keep trying it, there seems to be more chocolate flowing here. Milk, dark, baker and bitter sweet chocolates that flow into a coffee like a mocha. One of the better Christmas beers you will find along with some of the ones I have already reviewed here for sure :). Many places including Bevmo have this around this time of year. Get it before the season ends :P. LOL and you are lucky to find the Oak aged version which was released in he summer, get that too 😀

2011 Review:
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..lol even if its barely gonna be Halloween…lmao!! Anyways. We have here a nice Christmas Imperial Stout. This is the Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing company. Delicious chocolate and coffee flavors like most Imperial Stouts with 10% ABV. However, this beer is heavy in bitterness but there is this delicious note of dry cinnamon and cherry. Like those delicious Christmas chocolates that come out around that time. LOL looks like the guys took some of last years coals left in the stockings to heat and roast up the malts to use in this years beer. Definitely a good present to receive this holiday season…or even before Halloween >:)