The visual presentation of Santa’s Little Helper is nothing short of appealing. As it pours from the bottle, the beer exhibits a clear sepia hue, creating a striking contrast with the enormous brown foam. The foam, resembling a thick, chocolate mousse, adheres to the glass with a reflective sheen after each sip – a visually satisfying experience. The decision to shift from 22oz to 12oz bottles is a commendable improvement, eliminating the need to consume an excessive amount in one sitting.


Upon initial assessment, the aroma of Santa’s Little Helper may not overwhelm, as the beer is shielded by a substantial layer of foam, minimizing the release of volatiles. However, allowing the beer to warm up unveils a complex profile featuring dark chocolate fudge, tootsie roll, and a hint of grilled lemon from the acidic roast coffee character. Notably, the scent leans more towards savory than sweet, offering a departure from typical holiday-themed brews.


Santa’s Little Helper introduces itself with robust coffee and dark chocolate flavors, reminiscent of flourless chocolate cake, a 60% cacao dark chocolate bar, and a melting dark chocolate truffle. The taste experience can be likened to sipping melted dark chocolate from a glass. The standout feature here is the impeccable mouthfeel – silky smooth with an exceptional balance. While the exact recipe remains undisclosed, the absence of overwhelming sweetness and bitterness allows for an enjoyable exploration of the dark chocolate dessert nuances.


The highpoint of this Imperial Stout lies in its mouthfeel. Evidently well-crafted, the beer imparts a silky smooth texture, leaving a lasting impression of finesse. Though the use of oats to achieve this softness remains speculative due to the undisclosed recipe, the overall control of each element contributes to the beer’s appeal. The sweetness, rated at a modest 2 out of 10, perfectly balances the bitterness, which registers at a 6 out of 10. The finish leaves a subtle, lingering bitterness that gracefully transitions into a slightly acidic note, akin to a well-crafted mocha.


In the grand scheme, Santa’s Little Helper stands out not just for its taste but also for its user-friendly qualities. The absence of yeast sediment at the bottle’s bottom ensures a hassle-free pouring experience, eliminating the guesswork associated with other brews. This beer, enjoyed in a relaxed setting by the fire, proves to be a noteworthy contender in the imperial stout category. Its minimal sugar content, coupled with a touch of cocoa powder dustiness and rich melted chocolate flavors, establishes it as a classic example of the style. Remarkably, the approachability of Santa’s Little Helper extends beyond the typical imperial stout enthusiast, making it a recommendation for a broad audience, including those new to the style. The beer’s overall finesse and well-balanced attributes make it a strong contender, potentially surpassing even renowned counterparts in the category.