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- Brewery: Port Brewing Company
- Website: portbrewing.com
- Country: United States
- State: California
- Style: Russian Imperial Stout
- Malts: Two Row, Wheat, Domestic and English Crystal, Roasted, Black and Chocolate Malts
- Hops: Phoenix, Challenger and East Kent Goldings
- ABV: 10%
- Tasting Notes: Roasted dates, licorice, prunes, bitter chocolate, metallic
- Preferred Glass: Snifter
- Food Pairing: Rich chocolate cake or brownies, Tiramisu
- PHM Grade: B-
Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper
Written by Tom
With the Fall months almost behind us I thought it was time to bust out a fairly aged bottle of Santa’s Little Helper in preparation for Winter. Last weekend I cut the lawn for the last time this year and started putting up plastic over the windows to seal help conserve heat (yes, I live in Chicago). Now, Port brews some crazy good IPAs, but how would they do with an Imperial Stout? Let’s see.
Pouring a moderately thick, definitely deep brunt brown color that can define a stout this beer boasted a mocha head that was dense. Despite what looked seemed like a lasting head, it died rather quickly but did provide some lacing. So far so good. It had all the makings of a RIS.
The aroma was favored the roasted grains more so than the coffee and chocolate notes. Both were present, but not the focal point. I’d would argue that this beer displayed some great qualities both in the malt and hops category. I have never had Phoenix hops before so I cannot speak to their bitterness, but the hops in this beer were spicy. Combined with the abv they lent some heat to the mix of burnt grains. These grains provided the backdrop for the dark coffee notes and bitter chocolate. After some time of being swirled in the glass a dark fruity aroma came forward…prunes and figs.
The taste was straight forward and unassuming. Smooth, boozy, and hoppy. Maybe it is the West Coast influence, but these stout had a formidable hop presence that took over towards the later half of the sip. Mind you this was not a Black IPA as the mouthfeel, abv, and malt profile all pointed and embraced the imperial stout style. The mouthfeel was rather creamy while at the same time not being overtly thick or oily. I enjoyed the malt and hop characters which were strong enough to force the abv to take a backseat. Good drinkability for a RIS, yet lacking in the darker astringent roasty flavors of coffee, chocolate and booze.