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Samuel Adams Boston Lager - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Boston LagerSamuel Adams Boston Lager

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7,952 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,952
Reviews: 2,531
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.9%
Wants: 112
Gots: 1,279 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-27-2001

Our original beer is full-flavored with a balance of malty sweetness contrasted by hop spiciness and a smooth finish.
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Ratings: 7,952 | Reviews: 2,531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Urbancaver
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp clear pale yellowing orange. A good amount of white frothy head. Very high carbonation. Smells lagerish... not a lot going on on the nose. No real hops detectable but some nice malts on the tongue. Tastes a bit yeasty. I assume this is just from the lagering. I'm not really sure how to describe such a beer. Fairly non-descript but a decent mouthfeel and highly drinkable as is the goal of such a beer

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into crystal beer mug the color is a rich gold with a white head building, but quickly dissipating with little lacing.
The smell hints grains and little hops, little honey in the background.
The taste of this very light in body beer is a little honey caramel up front, being checked by a grainy feel in the middle and some bitterness of hops in the back.
For what I consider a mass production beer in the lager style, I find this a very good representative.

Photo of djaeon
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Boston Lager, to me, is the quintessential, American "beer". It looks, smells and tastes like what I think of when I hear that word. I'm not saying it the best beer in America, but just that it's what I think of as a stereotypical beer. That's also not saying anything of the styles European origins.

A: Pours a light amber color with a frothy head. It has little head retention, but leaves good lacing.

S: It has a light, sweet, malty aroma with a hint of caramel.

T: It has the same light, sweet, malty, caramel flavor, as evident in the nose, with a subtle hint of hops.

M: Feels light and bubbly in the mouth, and leaves only the slightest bitter aftertaste from the hops.

D: This is an extremely drinkable beer. I could go through 2 or 3 without even thinking about it.

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Eh, why not? Drinking this beer I've had many a time from my trusty Euro pint. Will it do it justice? Well....

Wow, it's tawny! Not too many (American) beers sport quite that particular shade. The cottony white foam is right in-line for a lager. Excellent webs of lace. Clean filtered.

Surprising grain-husky aroma I never noticed (wrong glass!). Actually some faint noble hops in there as well - just for decoration. Base malts - strong, bread-crusty.

Dry-toast(ed) grain flavor dominates. Man, is it dry! I think it's this glass (g.d. nucleation!). Drinks clean and quick but definitely has more body than the average American light lager. This ain't, however, a light lager. Maybe only traces of honeyish sweetness - squelched by the bitter from the grain? Hops?! It's crisp and dry for the Drinkin', no doubt. Most of the sweetness seems to be left in that aftertaste. Um... it touches on the Vienna Lager style. Too dry really.

I must admit, it is a darn drinkable beer. Very universally enjoyable - meaning I bet it would appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Oh, well I understood what I meant. And not the best glass, no.

EDIT: tried it again the next day in a glass stein and, yes, the constant nucleation activity (bubbles) from the other glass did make this a much drier drink. Definitely now getting at least a moderate sweet malt sweetness to this beer that gives much support to the very barleycorn predominance of flavor. Hops still play a spicy role in rounding out the flavor. Taste up to 4.0 from 3.5.

Photo of GregBlatz
4.67/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Copper and very clear. Head is white and laces beautifully.

S - Slightly metallic, sweet and earthy.

T - Smooth, sweet. Specialty grains lend a caramel like taste. Hops are present and account for a lot more of the flavor than you would expect for a lager. Earthy hops and sweet grain balanced by a clean finish.

M - Creamy and full. Medium carbonation.

D - One after another without end.

Overall - This is one of my all time favorites. I don't love all of Sam Adams offerings, but the majority of them are good. This one is absolutely excellent. Glad almost every bar and restaurant on earth carries it. The beer has a deceptive complexity to it. Depending on the meal or the mood, I can taste different characteristics. Drink one at cellar temperatures, or even better, drink one at room temperature. You will be surprised at how robust this beer really is. I love it.

Photo of guitarsnbeer
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking beer with a dull white head that sticks around.

Having a hard time to smell anything other than a sweet malts with a hint of vinalla. as I drink on the vinalla becomes more pronounced.(EDIT: I just finished the last ounce or 2 which was warmed up and got a good whif of caramel and flavor)

I have recently just tried my first boston lager the other day and was thorougly impressed. slight bitter hops hit the tastebuds and are quickly reveresed with sweet malts than with a touch of vinalla and bitterness again at the end.

nicely done, easy drinkin', non-offensive beer. Boston Beer Company definitly earns my respect with this tasty brew.

Photo of Radome
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - Color is a medium gold with some amber. It is very clear. The head is soft and creamy. It is made up of tiny off-white bubbles. These bubbles are constantly being replenished by armies of replacements rising through the glass.

S - The aroma is earthy noble hops followed by caramel malty notes. Not much else for complexity, but there is a butterscotch-like note in the end.

T - The first taste is an earthy hop flavor. This is followed by some biscuity, caramel malt. The overall taste impression is earthiness, almost like mushrooms. The finish is very dry and the aftertaste is a little floral.

M - The body is light to moderate. There is a definite carbonation tingle. There is a moderate amount of hops bitterness. No alcohol detectable.

D - This is a very clean and well-made beer, but not very complex or exciting. From memory, I expected floral hoppiness, but I actually found that earthiness dominates.

Photo of brown2cu
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep gold with streams of carbonation rising to the top of the glass. Topped off with a fine head of foam and a good amount of lacing.

S: Nice and malty almost tea like maybe some caramel deep down. Some hop bitterness around on the outside

T: Nice and biscuity with well defined hop bitterness that balances everything out nicely.

M: palatable and quenching.

D:Easily drinkable and tastey.

Photo of JDew
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a golden reddish, great thick creamy head with tons of lacing,

S - Malty sweet and spicy at the same time, smells like a good full lager

T - Has a smooth malty start, spicy and crisp. The finish is hoppy and and pleasantly bitter. The finish is as long and smooth as the start

M/D - Lighter bodied lager, I love this one, a go to for me, could drink the fridge empty

Photo of nickthegun12
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ah...now here is a classic...the one beer sam adams makes that is perfect...jim koch has this one down pat...their signature beer!!!

has a brown reddish color...kinda dark kinda not...fading white head....with nice lacing...

smells like a lager with a nice hoppy bite to it....maybe some caramel in the nose as well...

taste is malty with a soft bitterness to it....similar to an octoberfest....except more hop bitterness to it...

mouth feel...now they have this down....more dry than creamy...but def a good balance....

great great session beer...you can kick back quite a few of these in one sitting

Photo of AEK
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml brown bottle poured into a Young's pint pot.

A. Pale orange with a good, rocky white head that leaves a nice thick lace around the glass as it diminishes. Head retention is excellent.

S. Peppery, citrusy and a nice hop presence.

T. Juicy malt tones, a crisp hop tang and possibly a touch of spice.

M. Medium, smooth.

D. A really nice lager. It tastes more like a cross between an English bitter and a German altbier than a lager. This was the first American craft beer I tried several years ago and I like it as much now as I did back then.

Photo of robnews
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottled into a Guiness pint glass.

Nice dark amber color with thick white head. Beer is very clear.
Head receded nicely to a fine lace with substantial lacing stuck on the side of my glass.

Great smell of hops, cascade I think. Really nice aroma. I love the Garrison IPA which uses a similar hop.
Not a strong smell in this beer, but present. lower carbonation levels yet still refreshing.

Really nice caramel flavor with light hops. Very nice. Malty flavor and mouthfeel with dry aftertaste. I had this beer a while back, but I really enjoy it a lot more this time around. Excellent brew. I love this style.

Photo of JLeege
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a clear golden color with a fluffy two finger bone white head. Good retention and lacing, looks great.

Smell- Not a lot going on, caramel malt, some light hopping.

Taste- Fairly smooth, caramel and bready malt start things off, leading into some light piney sided hops. Not much depth or complexity, pretty simple, but a nice 'easy' flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation, as expected.

Overall- Simple non offensive beer. One of the better crossover beers to the craft world, but not much too more once you graduate beyond it.

Photo of u2carew
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz longneck.
A) Pours with a finger thick white head. Settles some. Clear body, copper in color. Lacing is thin and sticky.
S) Caramel and toffee mixed with dry grains.
T) Malt tones are mellow at first but build on the palate. Caramel. Nutty. Noticeable hop finish.
M) Crisp. Fizzy. Lighter side of medium body. Dry in the finish.
D) Delicious! I'd drink another.

Photo of malty
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I can't believe I haven't ever formally reviewed this beer. This one came from a variety twelve pack, along with Scotch Ale, Noble Pils, White Ale, Revolutionary Ale and something else. Best before Feb '11 notched on back. Maybe this came from the winter seasonal case I got from Sam's Club back in October, which contained the Choc. Bock?

Pours into it's proprietary Sam Adams scientific glass a perfectly clear russet-copper color with a stellar loose white 1/4" settled head. A perfect sticky microdot film remains where the 2" head stood 5 minutes ago. A nice amount of carbonation erupts from the base of the glass. Nice long drips and smatterings of lace like a Pollack painting.

For a Vienna lager, this baby has got some hop poppity-pop resonance in the nose. Balanced caramely malts counterweigh the tantalizing herbal hop homage. Very fresh, crisp and classic.

Clean, clean, clean offering of zesty hops greet the palate with a gentle handshake. The semi-savory malt backbone keeps things seamless and friendly. No bait and switch from nose to taste, just a perfect translation that's satisfying and consistent.

Mouthfeel is between light and medium with a prickly and perfectly carbonated presence. There's a little bitterness in the finish with a slight toffee tapering.

Drinkability is fantastic. Can't take nothing away from this beer in this department.

This beer has to be in the top 10 gateway beers to 'craft' beer geekery. I still will choose this over 90% of the 'usual' pseudo-craft beers in most restaurants, (ie Blue Moon, Amber Bock, etc.) The hops really shine and and are delightful to savor with the toasty pale malts. Some may call this 'basic' or maybe even 'bland', but I call it a craft beer clinic in consistency and balance. After 15 years or more, it still tastes great.

Photo of BaronRogue
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, so BA says this is a Vienna Lager, eh? Well im guessing im a fan of vienna lagers because for me, lagers dont get much better than this style.


Beautiful golden color as i pour it into my chalice, decent head and decent lacing.

Smell is nice and crisp, malt and hop in equal measure.

To me, the taste is amazing. If you're looking for a well balanced beer, this is it. The malts and hops dance in harmony, and really mix around on your tongue like they're there for you to love on. Doesn't get any better than that for me, this lager has an amazing taste. After a few of them it starts to taste like some sort of wonderful nectar.

Mouthfeel is standard, full for a lager and quite nice.

Could drink these til the cows come home. I've had it on tap and it's even better, but if you catch a bottle before the date notched on the bottle, its gonna be enjoyable.

Photo of SebD
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: : It has a nice amber/golden and cloudy colour to it. It has a nice off white head that dies down moderatly and also has nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of hops, sweet malts with caramely and fruity notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice sweetness coming from the malts but ending with more of a bitterness from the hops. You can also taste hints of caramel with a slight fruitiness at the end.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice balance of hops and malts.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas. It's an overall great lager.

Photo of DavidLindley
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here goes the first review:
Poured from a 12 oz. standard bottle into my brand new Sam Adams Glass. Had to christen it with the beer that it was made for.
Appearance: Really nice golden color, the glass, as advertised, does a really nice job of retaining head. The constant carbonation made by the lazer etched rings is really nice.
Smell: Nice hop aroma coming from the glass, not overwhelming, just a very pleasant smell.
Taste: As the smell indicated, there is a nice taste of hops as well as some malts. A really nice balanced taste that leaves me wanting more.
Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel, great carbonation. It feels really balanced.
Drinkability: This is really really smooth, I really enjoyed drinking this. Definitely makes for a solid session beer and I could easily put a bunch of these downs in a night.

Overall, I really really enjoyed this. The glass probably helped, as it really livened the beer with the constant carbonation but I will definitely be drinking more of these. Not surprised, Sam Adams always pleases me.

Photo of rdpoint
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a nice soft gold, with almost no head.

Smell is clean and crisp, no over powering scents

Taste is nice and balanced, no one thing standing out, what you would expect from this beer, very well balanced.

I've always expected a little more carbonation from this beer every time I have it and I'm always surprised by how little it has, but overall good. A good beer thats well balanced, easily drinkable, you can't go wrong with it, its like the old friend that you can always count on.

Photo of Bigboyash73
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is what was expected! Most foreigners have told me this is the beer america offers! Its good, but maybe not the best. I would love to have this beer on tap. It had a nice dark color to it and had a great mix of bitterness and sweetness! Perfect balance!

Photo of AlexanderSelby
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am torn on this brew. First off, I always have noticed some very unpleasant smell from this beer and wasn't able to pin it down until today. I was bottling my homebrew this afternoon and cleaning out my fermenter and naturally got the trub (muddy, gross fermentation by-product) everywhere. Now smelling this beer again, I think trub is the smell I'm getting: a muddy, old, armpit aroma. It kind of smells like a Budwiser. I get no hop lovin' and the sweetness is a little stale.

The taste is a very different story, but not all together a revival. A very smooth drinking brew, with caramel-like malt flavors in the spotlight. Herbal, almost Italian seasoning flavored, hops spruce things up throughout. No doubt a balanced taste and smooth finish. Light, yet noticeable, bitter hop bite helps to dry out the finish. But all flavor is whisked away from your senses a bit too quickly and slightly under the radar.

I would almost like to try this recipe with an ale yeast to "dirty" things up a touch and fill in the gaps. The clean drinking lager vibe almost works against it, in my opinion. Also, I most definitely prefer this brew in a bottle, because it needs a good carbonation level to give it that pop. Overall, I never have liked this beer that much and don't think I ever will.

Photo of DrewKid4
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had many times on bottle and on tap.

A: Pours a golden straw colors with slight hints of red hues. Half inch white head which dissipates rather quickly and nice lacing.

S: Hops and caramel.

T: Toasty from the heavier malts used while balanced perfectly by the perfect amount of hops.

M: Very balanced between the sweetness of the malts and the bitterness from the hops. Sticks to the tongue for a while.

D: Being fro New England, this is my session beer. If there aren't any pitcher or PBR sales, this is the one I fall back on. Never had a bad time with the Boston Lager and is the most consistent of Sam Adams' brews.

Photo of Kinsman
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not really sure why I'm reviewing a beer I've had a thousand times before, but I've got time so why not?

Clear looking cooper color with some lighter golden orange hues mixed in. Ecru would best describe the color of the head which was just shy of 2 fingers thick to start and faded to leave a lace which was stickier than I remember.

First whiff and I'm not sure I've noticed such a strong hop aroma before on a Boston Lager. Maybe it's because I'm not usually paying this much attention to the beer, but this is reminding me of why I love the German hops so much. Some maltiness is there but I would say that this fresh bottle of Boston Lager is relatively hop forward.

Taste is a bit more balanced than the aroma, with the nice malty sweetness Jim Koch always talks about in the ads making a nice showing. Still, the Hallertau provide their wonderful earthy spiciness that makes this such a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel is crisp with a moderate body giving it plenty of umph. Overall, what else can be said about Sam Adams Boston Lager? It is a true American classic that I will always gladly have as a nice refreshing lager.

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had both on tap and from a 12 oz bottle poured in a pint glass. Clear, golden to orange coloured and sparkling beer. Medium-sized blond head. The aroma has citrusy and slightly herbal hops. Clean, slightly bready barley malts. Clean maltiness and light bitterness in the flavor. Dryish and a bit unfresh in the finish. Light to medium bodied, smooth palate. A bit sharp carbonation. Can't do it with this one.

Photo of masstransplant
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sam Adams Boston Lager was my very first experience with a micro-brewed beer. At first smell, sight and taste, in the enlisted club at Westover Air Force Base somewhere back in the early 90's, I was completely blown away and will never forget the experience....completeley unexpected and utterly delighted. Since that time I've religiously avoided mass produced beer of all types and haven't looked back. So fair warning....there's some nostalgia working to bolster my rating here.

Dark copper appearance with a thick, creamy head. Smells quite pleasantly of malt and hops...really has a smell of it's own that I will constantly use as a base of reference. Balanced taste, easy to drink, and utterly reliable as a go-to beer all across the country.

Not sure what's changed since the early 90's, or how a micro-brewery is able to keep the wal-mart shelves stocked, but the beer is still reliable. I find that it often the only viable choice at many restaurants.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 7,952 ratings.