Saturday, December 29, 2012

Port Santa's Little Helper Imperial Stout

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: San Marcos, CA
Price: $6.59/22oz
ABV: 10.0%
NSP: 9.86

One good thing about local imperial stouts- they tend to rate pretty highly on the NSP scale (not compared to Hollandia, though, of course), with a slathering of booze at a reasonable price.  This one's from the woefully under-reviewed Port Brewing.  The label depicts an elf pouring beer for a reindeer and a curiously blacked-out Santa.  I'm not sure if there's some sort of political statement in there, or if it's just a somewhat clever warning of how you'll end up if you have several of these in one sitting (blacked out). Or maybe Port just thought it'd be bad role-modeling for a four-year-old to see Santa hoisting a pint with a bunch of pointy-eared/antlered riffraff.

It's definitely a very pretty beer, nice and black with a good dark brown egg-white-consistency head.  Smells pretty nice too, straightforward stout aromas, roastiness, chocolate and coffee and a bit of sweet booziness.  Simultaneously appealing and not too far off the beaten path.

Yup, appealing and not too far off the beaten path in the flavor too.  Nice dark stouty flavor and fairly crisp, with very little of the fruitiness that takes some stouts into the strong dark ale range.  There's a lot of toffee nuttiness in there, the former bringing sweetness, the latter a sort of saltiness, each complementing the other nicely.  The booze is noticeable, but the hops are very well applied in that they cut deftly right through any alcohol-oriented sweetness.

Well, this probably won't blow the doors off like Abyss or Speedway, but if you've got an evening of football ahead of you at some point and you want something cheapish and stouty to make you mellow (and/or asleep on the couch before the third quarter starts), look no further.

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