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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
1,373 Reviews
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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-28-2001

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Reviews: 1,373 | Ratings: 3,517
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A lager with initially fizzy carbonation that fades as it warms to just significant carbonation. Clearly orange and cinammon, a spot of ginger for spice, and caramel. Weak finish. Medium mouthfeel. Rather a bold herbal tea. Nice chestnut amber colour.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 4/2013.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the flavors aren't as good as the smells I am getting.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite winter warmer, but a unique one. it pours a mostly impenetrable brown color with a real small tanish head. the smell is quite spices, cinnamon, citrus peel, and brown sugar. flavor is pretty moderate on the malts, some caramel and english wintery feeling grains, but i taste all spice in the middle, and all brown sugar or molassas in the finish, its not s sweet as that, but the flavor is the same. its almost mapley too, and as such might lend itself well to some time on wood. big mouthfeel, lots of body and some really bold flavors, vanilla tinge too, and the carbonation is fine. its a good winter beer i guess, but its not a drinker, its a slow sipper and one was plenty for me. it was honestly one of my least favorite beers in this years winter pack though, and i will likely let someone else drink the other couple of them.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high dense beige head that slowly died down leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some initial malty sweetness. The flavors of spices are a little stronger compared to the smell and there are some notes of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and somewhat creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: It doesn't seem to be as full-bodied compared to other beers in the style but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it's more sessionable.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Fezziwig pours out as an amberish orange color, it's got a white head on it that leaves a bit of lacing at times. The aroma of the beer is spicy smelling and has a little bit of an orange peel in there as well. The taste is similar to some Belgian Ales out there, the spices really come through and mix with the citrusy notes this beer has. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and doesn't have a whole lot of carbonation. Overall it's an interesting brew and worthy of giving it a try.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Winter variety pack -- part III. Another winner by BBC. Richly malted and creatively spiced. Sweet malts begin to pick up on dark syrup flavors, but not viscocity. Bready and sweet with a hint of toast, nuts, chocolate, and toffee. Spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and curraco decorate the aromas and flavors, adding a punch of variety, but never becomming distracting -- always complimentary. Medium bodied allows for easy drinking. The alcohols and hops cut through those holiday foods nicely while standing on its own if needed. Finishes with a hint of spices and a follow-through of malt sweetness.

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Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy russet body with a prodigious head that provides loads of splashy lacing

Smell: Wonderful spice aromas of cinnamon, orange and a touch of ginger

Taste: Starts out with a raisiny, fruitcake flavor filled with holiday spices; mid-palate, some balancing bitterness kicks in with a touch of pithy orange and cinnamon

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: With enough holiday spices to make it interesting, but nothing over the top, this is quite a decent Winter Warmer

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours the color of black coffee with an off-white head. Lots of sticky lace and fairly good head retention.

Smell - Cinnamon, cocoa and caramel. Subtle spiciness.

Taste & mouthfeel - Roasty and bready; moderate sweetness with notes of chocolate and spices; zesty citrus hops and burnt toast in the finish. Full-bodied for a beer of moderate alcohol.

Notes - An expertly balanced winter warmer; one of the best examples of the style coming out of the US.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a brown color ale with a relatively large foamy head with OK retention and some light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with light toffee and nutmeg notes is pretty enticing. Taste is a good mix between some solid caramel malt with light notes of nutmeg and balanced residual sugar in the aftertaste. Body is about average with good carbonation. Easily drinkable while retaining some good complexity.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown color with a slight head. The nose brings a good dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some other wintry spices. A bit of chocolate and roasted malt in the background. Taste brings a lot of spicing and some malt. The feel is medium with a good balance of spicing and roast, something I find to be quite rare in this style, and thus worthy of a fairly high rating. Drinks quite well and is a nice treat during the holiday season.

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Photo of emerge077
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tawny reddish copper color, filtered with bright clarity. Thin loose head of tan foam. Thin ring at the edges, no lacing. Carb visible rising around the edges.

Pleasant nose of bready gingerbread sweetness, vanilla, nutmeg.

Some light astringent bitterness, earthy toasted malt and light dry spices that mirror it's aromas. Light bodied and mellow, finishes slightly watery. Spices are light and not overdone, rather they are an accent in the aftertaste that compliments the primary toasted maltiness. Lingering dry bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall a good Winter Warmer, fairly middle of the road.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the Sam Adams Winter Classics 12 pack.

A - Poured out a deep burgandy color with a bubbly, tan, three finger head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spice and nutmeg. Also, some malt and other sweet aromas.

T - It had a nice complex mix of flavors. There was some chocolate, cinamon and other spices. Also, a good roasted maltiness.

M - It was sharp and very crisp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is pretty good. I think I like it better than their Winter Lager.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, I love getting a few mixed packs of Sam Adams right around Thanksgiving/Christmas so I can have this beer. Sucks you only get 2 in each but its delicious. Chock full of Christmas spices and is absolutely beautiful. Could use a little bit of a higher ABV being a winter warmer and all but other than that it's very good.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I usually love winter warmers.

A: Pours a three finger head of good cream, good thickness, and great retention. Colour is a nontransparent dark amber.

Sm: Nuts, spices, and cream. A moderately strong aroma.

T: Toasted malt as a foundation (which I love), cream, nuts, very slight spices, and light candied sugar. Boring for the style, but the balance is alright.

Mf: Smooth and wet. The thickness is off as well. Mediocre at best.

Dr: While I usually love winter warmers, this offering feels a bit like it's catering to the mainstream US market. (It probably is). As a result, it's nowhere near as good. I'd encourage Sam Adams to brew an authentic winter warmer. Where's the spice?

Low C+
Quick truncated notes from a 2013 bottle:

A: No bubble show.

Pours a one finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Decent consistency. Soft complexion. ~3 minute head retention.

Body colour is a translucent dark amber. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it looks pretty good. Standard fare for a winter warmer. Not unique or special. There are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Nutty. Toasted malts. Amber malts. Heavy caramel. A touch of chocolate malt. Cinnamon. Brown sugar. Bready malts. Indistinct spices.

No yeast/alcohol/hop notes. A pleasant inviting aroma of mild strength.

T: Surprisingly aggressive toasted malt. Toffee. Heavy caramel. Syrupy malts. Bready malts. Amber malts. A bit of chocolate malt. A kiss of char. Cinnamon as well as other indistinct spices. I don't find ginger or orange per se. Use of specialty malts is evident. Not a gestalt build, but it has fair cohesion and decent balance. Could use more complexity, subtlety, and above all authenticity. It's just not an evocative, genuine winter warmer. Decent depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Sweetness/bitterness feels really off. Some off-putting char is present as well; I like well-integrated char, but this isn't cutting it. It has its flaws.

No yeast character, alcohol, or hop character comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Body is inconsistent, but good for the most part. Thickness never feels quite right. A biteen overcarbonated. Unrefreshing. It doesn't have the alcohol warmth you'd find in higher ABV winter warmers. There's just something lacking here. It's almost a bit syrupy.

Dr: Drinkable, sure. But it isn't a great winter warmer. You could call it pretty decent for an American example of the style, but it can't hold its own against the best European offerings. Above average, certainly, but not world-class. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this again, but I won't mind seeing it in future Sam Adams holiday packs. It might age decently, but I won't be the one to allot it cellar space. I want more spice, and a fuller toasted malt body. There are individual elements that work well, but as a whole it doesn't quite come together.



12/22/15: 2nd impression--


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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time trying this brew picked it up in the variety 12 pack,pours a deep brown/red with a light but lacey head,the aroma is mainly malty with some light brown sugar notes.Taste is very raisiny and bready with a syrupy taste that lingers,a definent malt accented beer wich is nice.I think one of the better BBC offerings but not the easiest beer to drink.

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Photo of nickfl
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of soft, light-brown foam on top of a dark brown body with enough transparency to tell that it has good clarity.

S - Toffee, raisins and a weak coffee note. Somewhat spicy: cinnamon and cloves with a caramel backbone.

T - Lots of sweet malt and spice upfront, followed by roastiness and some subtle hop flavor. Raisins and toffee are big players here, as they are in the nose. The finish is clean and round, consisting mostly of roast malt notes and a mild alcohol warmth.

M - Medium body that doesn't linger on the palate and moderate to high carbonation.

D - A very rich and flavorful beer but not too difficult to drink. This beer has an excellent wintry character to it and it is one of the primary reasons that I buy the Sam Adams holiday sampler every year.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams special pint glass.

A: Nice 1 finger frothy head that fades slowly with a lacing on the glass. Very clear copper reddish brown color showing all the nice bubbles rising to the top.

N: A nice red/amber malt aroma with some toasty malts, slight aromatic hops, slight spices, a creamy fruit and sweet fig newton like aroma.

T: Starts with a dark malty sweetness and some roasted and smoked malts. Theres a nice smoked malt flavor. A slight hoppy taste, but it's semi faint. Dark rich porter like flavors, with lots of maltiness. A slight spicy warming feel as well, and hints of spices.

M: Semi thick with good carbonation.

F: Semi dry, a little bit of the smokiness still, roasted malts lingering with a little bitterness.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange-copper topped by a very large, tight-bubbled, ecru colored crown. The lid eventually falls to a thick disk and deposits shredded sheets of lace. There isn't a great deal going on with the nose. Just toasted malt and assorted spices that I'm unable to guess at due to a lack of power.

The flavor is decent, but isn't especially exciting. Like the nose, sweet caramel malt and indeterminate spices are present. According to the label, Old Fezziwig Ale is brewed with cinnamon, ginger and orange. There's no way that I could have identified any of them without knowledge of their presence.

As the beer gains a few degrees, cinnamon comes to the fore, ginger is questionable, and orange peel is essentially absent. There's also a little coffee lurking around the edges. The mouthfeel is at least medium and is enjoyable enough for the above score to be granted.

Sam Adams Old Fezziwig is a nice attempt at a winter warmer, but I've had better. I'm not sure what changes would improve it. A different combination of flavors perhaps? But then it would be a completely different beer and there's not much point in that. Or is there?

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Photo of Kegatron
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the Winter Classics 12 Pack.

12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Uber glass.

Pours a clear amber with about a finger width of tan head that retains well and leaves good lacing. Aroma is big time spicy with a sweet, fruity tinge behind it.

Taste is very sweet with tones of maltiness, spice, sour citrus. Finish is a little watery with splash of sweetness at the end. Mouthfeel is medium bodied that leaves a tingling carbonation on the tongue. Alcohol is well hidden.

Hmmm. Quite the interesting Winter Warmer. I liked the spicy aroma and taste but the whole thing just lacked a certain beefiness that I like in my cold weather beers. It was nice to try once but I dont' really see any need to go back.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

reviewed from notes, part of the big sam adams tasting on xams day. we plowed through everyone we could find in the damn state! served cold and poured into a pint glass.

nice pour with a thick look to it that id manage to let some light through though not terribly much, still not a terrible look overall by any means, aroma is charged with spice, cinnamon, hints of brown sugar, ginger and touches of all spice dot the landscape among a sea of nice malty notes. flavor is interesting as it starts sweet and quickly moves over with an earthy hop note and a decent mix of spices that dry the finish and give it a kick,

overall not bad, it seemed to hold its own quite nicely, would definitely try this one again,

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark garnet-hued body with a beige-colored head.

Smell: Some caramel, some chocolate, with dried orange peel, cinnamon, and just a tiny bit of ginger.

Taste: Light chocolate taste with some toasted bread and a caramel sweetness. Spicy, with hints of cinnamon, orange peel, and ginger. Y'know, it actually reminds me of some pumpkin ales I've had. Finishes with the spices lingering into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A solid wintertime release, and a fine addition to the Sam Adams Box of Winter Delights.

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice appearance with the reddish brown clear color and nicely foamed up in the Leffe chalice. Light fragrance with some hints of cinnamon and ginger. The usual Sam Adams pleasing fine carbonation and clean flavors.

Some caramel flavors, but not too sweet. Just a tang of hops and slight bitter aftertaste, or it could be some old spices. Maybe a touch of nutmeg. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a milky feel, coating the mouth. It's all rather discreet and more subtle than a lot of the winter beers. Less spiced-up than Anchor's, for example.

From the 12 oz bottle. A nice reminder of Christmas in April. I have enjoyed this over the years, but it doesn't seem so great on this tasting. Quite drinkable in any case.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Fezziwig name couldn't be more appropriate for such a rich and lively ale. Its reddish-chestnut body displays glowing ruby highlights and its creamy ivory head holds well and leaves some nice lace about the glass. Rich, caramel-soaked and hop-infused malt dominates the nose, beckoning you to take another whiff where subtle spicing may be found. In the mouth its fine, median carbonation gently zests on the tongue before warming to become just slightly creamy. The spicing is far from over-done, and simply lends a bit of extra character and depth to an already rich brew. Deeply caramelized malts abound, and a touch of dark chocolate helps to anchor it although that's where the hops come into play. Much like the spicing, they play a supporting role, but a full on at that. The bitterness is firm enough to balance the sweetness of the malts, but never surpasses that function; and the grassy and floral hop flavors help to thin the richness of the malt so that it doesn't appear as "sweet", all the while adding breadth of character. The cinnamon, ginger and orange perk up in the finish as the dark caramel subsides, allowing you to notice them more at the start of the next sip. Like a bright, well-orchestrated symphony, Fezziwig evolves with each new movement, adding new layers to its themes without losing focus, and ending with a brilliant crescendo once the beer has warmed. It may not be quite the beer it once was, but it's certainly worth buying the winter seasonal case to have it on hand when friends and relatives drop by. An exceptional holiday beer!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: The pour is a clear, dark amber color with a finger's worth of off-white foam.

S: The smell is caramel malt, mild spices such as cinnamon and ginger.

T: The flavors are similar to the nose, but amped up a bit. There is a sweet caramel flavor along with a nice cinnamon and ginger spiciness. There is also a bit of fruit, maybe cherry and orange.

M: The body is medium and the carbonation is quite light, but works nicely for the beer.

D: This is an amazingly drinkable beer. I've never had this beer before and was quite pleasantly surprised by it. One of the better beers in the Winter Pack.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a short and foamy off-white head and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: Cinnamon, ginger & malt with a slight bit of hops and fruitiness, but not very strong.

T: You definitely taste more hops than you smell, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a Winter Warmer and I don’t think that’s a bad thing in this case. There’s also the cinnamon, ginger & malt sweetness that you detect in the smell and remains in a faint after-taste.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, not as thick as other Winter Warmers that I’ve had.

D: Tasty and not to filling, given the style. I could definitely drink more that the two bottles that I get in one sampler 12-pack.

This was a very good beer and an excellent representation of the style. I’ve had other Winter Warmers that go overboard with the spice and sweetness. This beer gets it just right and still maintains the Sam Adams signature.

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.