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

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

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very good

3,200 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,200
Reviews: 1,330
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 64
Gots: 250 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-28-2001)
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Ratings: 3,200 | Reviews: 1,330 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GossageBrewery
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Fezziwig...Takes me back to when I was a young boy watching A Christmas Carol - I probably had a glass of Fizzy Root Beer....anyway- This Winter Ale is everything a winter ale should be, big, spicy and warms you up on a cold day. I poured this from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It poured a very dark reddish brown color and produced a thick white head. The lacing of this beer was outstanding. The aroma was filled with a spicy mix of ginger and cinnamon. Medium body and had traces of chocolate and burnt malt. Slight traces of ginger were also present. The finish was nice and warm. Perfect for a Winter Ale.

Photo of rlshep
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Smells a little like Coca-Cola. Malty. Cinnamon and ginger.

Appearance: Pours aggressive chunky tan head. Some lacing. Deep dark brown color.

Flavor: Good malts. A big heap of chocolate. Lots of cinnamon, some ginger. Medium low bitterness. No hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thin body, watery. Alcohol noticeable in aftertaste. Lots of carbonation.

Overall: I hate to jump on the "not as good as last year" bandwagon, but this years was a little lacking. In years past this was one of my favorite beers. It tastes kinda like cocoa mix with water and spices mixed in. Which isn't horrible. I expect more body, more malt character and more balance.

Photo of KajII
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Lager glass]

The pour was a nice coppery medium brown in color with a large (3-4 finger) rocky head that had great retention lasting almost throughout and produced some really excellent lacing.

The aroma was very pronounced with a strong roasted bread malt, a mild pine hop and a sweet yeast with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee and some dark fruit.

At first the taste was slightly bitter with a dominant malty-coffee flavor that had a hint of brown sugar, then progressed into a moderately sweet hoppy finish with the end having just a hint of spice and I am thinking cranberry. The flavor was left to linger on the palate for a nice long while allowing the flavors to really come together.

Mouthfeel was a light to medium in body and had an oily yet rather creamy texture with a somewhat prickly carbonation.

Overall it is a very satisfying seasonal Ale that had all of its flavors melding very well thus producing a very tasty brew...

Photo of ChrisCage
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a brownish color with red hues noted against a white background. The clear nature of the beer allows me to see the carbonation, which is modest looking at best. The head is plentiful and puffy looking, retaining well and leaving behind a thick film of dense foam on the glass. Nice way to start!

S- A wide range of aromas are present, including sweet toffee and malt on the front. There is a brown ale like nutty sweetness that is rich and full, and this is closely followed on the finish by a smell that is raisin like with some cocoa bitterness mixed in.

T- The flavors are just as varied as the aromas are....the initial burst is of roasted malt and toffee sweetness. Next along comes the spices, primarily of bittersweet dried citrus rind and ground baking spice. The finish is a blend of bittering hops but with a chocolate/coffee smoothness. With this said, I find the flavors aren't an enhancement of the aroma but just on par or slightly less/muted.

M- I found this more macro lager like, in the fact that it has more carbonation than I like in a beer of this style. It is refreshing however the body is thinner than I would have expected...unfortunately this category is just average IMO.

D- Well balanced overall and the thinner body makes this easier to drink more than one of in a sitting. I'd enjoy this with a meal preferably or with a chocolate/coffee based dessert. The alcohol is hidden well and is quite enjoyable!

Photo of THECPJ
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: brown with a redish hue and a 1 finger head

smell: spices, malts, sweet

taste: sweet, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, crisp

drinkability: enjoyed sitting around the fire place.


The CPj

Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Pours a berry red with an off white head.

S: The nose is full of a blast of spice and fruit: ginger, nutmeg and orange are all big here.

T: Candied orange peel with nutmeg and allspice. A bit of hop bitterness in the finish and a dry aftertaste.

D: The mouthfeel is a bit thin on this (as I find is often true with Sam Adams beers), but other than that, this one goes down smooth and easy.

Overall: This is a surprisingly good winter warmer from Sam Adams. I wish they sold these in sixers, it would be in my fridge all through the holidays.

Photo of camp0474
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2/11

A: Pours and amber brown color with off-white head.

S: Notes of light chocolate and caramel. Faint hints of tart orange peel.

T: Orange peel, raw cinnamon, and fresh ginger hit the tongue. Then the sweet malts come in. Overall pretty sweet with some tart orange and spices. Good spicing and not overdone.

M: Light medium body. Was hoping for a bit more body but good. Medium to high carbonation.

D: Easy to drink with a unique flavor.

Pretty good beer overall. Definitely seasonal and a good display of unique ingredients.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown and hazy with an ok head and ok lacing.

Smells of indistinct spices, plenty of roasted malts, and a little hops.

Tastes more distinctly spicy, with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, plus some bitter citrus. It's a bit sweet with not much obvious hops bitterness but plenty of roasty maltiness.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth bodied, almost silky, with a slightly dry and spicy aftertaste.

A nice selection from their winter seasonals 12 pack, but I wouldn't' want this one all the time.

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, and here I thought I found a hard-to-come-by beer but from the number of reviews that is obviously not the case.

Samuel Adams' Old Fezziwig Ale is an "ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel" (according to the label). Apparently it is not to be confused with their "Winter Lager" which says the exact same thing on the label, though it lists the spices in a different order! The Winter Lager is good as is the Old Fezziwig Ale, yet unlike the lager the latter's description does little to prepare you for what you are about to taste when you crack one open: a spiced porter. Why not just call it that? Despite the somewhat cryptic and misleading label, Old Fezziwig Ale is great!

Old Fezziwig Ale is a deep, cola-colored brew with a pillowy beige foam head and latte-like lacing. This is first time I've seen a beer that so closely resembles cola.

THE SMELL is of very sweet, roasted barley, indistinguishable spices, and a little hops. Almost smells like a barleywine, but it's more malty.

THE FLAVORS of this one are pretty hard to pin down. There is a strong roasted malt quality along with a nutmeggy/cinnamon spicy, tartness that is present throughout the entire beer. However, nutmeg and orange peel feel most present. There is very little hop bite due to it being masked by the curry of spices that are used. There is a sour, spicy, and slightly dry aftertaste. Overall, this beer is sweet and spiced and tastes very much like a light English-style porter that has been spiced.

THE FEEL is surprisingly nice in that it is medium-thick, and gives the taste buds a workout.

DRINKABILITY, I would say, is still good despite being rather confusing for my mouth. The spice hurts this aspect of the beer, but it is still as drinkable as a heavy porter or a medium-light stout with regard to its flavor intensity. Even with the craziness that is going on with Old Fezziwig Ale it is oddly well-balanced.

Last thing I will add, is "Props to Boston Beer Company for giving us a good, interesting beer without a bunch of snooty, pretentious packaging and geek jargon!" This is a nice, enjoyable beer and is worth picking up when you see it (I got mine in their "Winter Classics" 12-pack.)

Photo of Jdmpolk
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A mahogany brown body is capped with a slight amount of tan grey foam. Ample lacing clings to the side of the glass.

S- Strong malt aroma is the canvas for this beer. Notes of cherry, brown sugar, and cinnamon adorn it. A hint of syrupy sweetness hangs around the edges.

T- Malt is strong in the flavor, slight roasty quality but predominantly caramel. A hint of spice is drowned out by a bitterness akin only to bitter cucumber skin.

M- Slightly separated waffling from syrupy to watery depending. Full bodied with carbonation easily detectable on the back end.

D- Sadly as you drink this beer it starts to deconstruct itself as you get to the bottom. Initially very tasty but at the end is not what you originally thought.

Photo of bushwilliams
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark crimson color with a medium brown head. This beer is clean and crisp on the tongue and then grows bolder after that first taste. I really enjoy this brew, especially with a handful of pretzel sticks. The only bad thing about this beer is resisting the urge to chug it.

Photo of horshack7
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: It pours a dark mahogany with about two fingers of frothy white head. Decent lacing is left behind upon the head thinning out.

Aroma: Cinnamon,ginger and notes of all spice and clove to finish out the spices. The hops are there very well simply to add a balance to the beer in partnership with the malts.

Taste: Medium to full bodied lots of spice cinnamon ginger along with the malts and hops. It's balanced and certainly not overwelming.

Notes: What a great Winter Warmer dam this beer is dam tasty. I only wish it was back into six packs if only seasonal. Cheers.

Photo of chefhatt
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured into a perfect pint glass, has a dark red color body with a little white head to it. The smell is malty, and a hint of cinnamon comes through. The taste is malty with some spiciness, cinnamon jumps out first then a hint of ginger come through. This beer has a little sweetness to it but malty. Very smooth on the mouth and is highly drinkable.

Photo of earthboundagain
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one came from the holiday/winter variety pack. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, not much of a head or lacing. Ok I have some malt and spice in the nose, the nose is subtle. The taste is much livelier, some caramel malt, roasted grain, some dark fruit and a spice note that's just right. I find the mouth feel to be smooth with ample carbonation as to not be cloying. The drinkability is not bad, but I couldn't do more then two at a sitting just because I'm not that big on winter warmers.

Photo of NHGrafx
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle.

Pours a dark red color with small head.

The aroma is rather spicy. Aromas of cinnamon and some very faint ginger. Sweet molasses and citrus are also present. Lots of malt too.

Taste is very good. Lots and lots of malt in it and feels smooth. There is some spiciness in the taste too. The cinnamon is there and also citrus tastes as well. Some nice sweet tastes there too with hints of ginger. Overall its very malty.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Drinkability is good too. This is one of my favorite winter beers.

Photo of ksimons
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a very dark ruby with a small amount of lacing on top

S-nice sweet malts and spices. Smell isn't very strong but is still decent

T-creamy malts and hints of spice. Malt is the dominate taste, but as the beer warms caramel is more noticable

M-medium body, light carbonation, very smooth

D-Not especially exciting, but not bad either

Photo of zdk9
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The fifth beer in the Dallas Ice Storm '11. It finally snowed last night and the land is beautiful, white, clear, and calm. So tonight a northern winter warmer to celebrate!

A- Pours a rich mahogany brown color with ruby highlights. A full finger of head tinted cocoa and grey tops the transparent fluid. Good webby lacing as i slowly drink down the glass.

S- Strong aromas of spice- cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, bit of pepper.

T- The taste is more complex, with some additional punches thrown by the malt. The spices are still here- cinnamon and ginger, but now accompanied by some roast, caramel, tobacco, and woodiness. There is a slight tangerine/ sweet orange thing going on, which I only mention because it's listed as an ingredient but is subtle at best.

M- Pretty sweet and syruppy. I wish it went down a little lighter.

O- Not a bad winter warmer. Spicy and malty, perhaps a touch too sweet, but besides that very drinkable.

Photo of StaveHooks
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep amber clear brown with a 2 finger khaki head that retains excellent. Great spiderweb lacing.

S - Spicy gingerbread, caramel malts, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins,

T - Caramel/toffee slightly toasted, some metal notes, butterscotch, citrus hides in the background, caramelized brown sugar coats the mouth, cinnamon and nutmeg are there but aren't pronounced.

M - Medium body, slick feel.

A solid easy drinking winter warmer. Very good looking brew. Nothing spectacular flavor wise but goes down easy.

Photo of david131
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear, dark ruby red liquid with a thin bone white head that leaves some nice lacing as it works its way down the glass.

S- Mint, cola, pine, and caramel. Not too shabby.

T- Exactly the same as the aroma with an emphasis on the mint and cola.

M- A smooth amount of carbonation. Rather clean finish.

D- Interesting flavors that don't build on the palate too much leads to easy drinking. I don't think I'd want multiple bottles of this, but it makes for a nice winter time treat.

Photo of Vonerichs
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has a beautiful rusty red-orange color. The body is clear. Thick and fluffy tan head.

The nose is cinnamon, light chocolate and light ginger.

Good flavor, too. It's heavy on the malt, roasted and chocolate. The spices of cinnamon and ginger are more prevalent than the orange, but the orange peel does add a nice finishing touch.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium-bodied.

A pleasant winter warmer and, in my opinion, one of the better offerings Sam Adams puts out.

Photo of kindestcut
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale pours a dark ruby with a lively beige head. The beer has a spicy aroma with a hint of citrus. The flavor is typical of many spiced winter ales- warming and flavorful with an initial shock of spice giving way to a smooth sweetness.

This is a smooth beer. Unlike many winter warmers, the warmth does not come from alcohol. However, it is not overly spicy.

A good beer that I hope to find next winter, preferably on a snow day.

Photo of ramseye4
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another beer from the Sam Adam's Winter pack. I'm trying to down them all before I can move on to the Brewmaster's choice one or whatever it's called. Pours a surprisingly dark mahogany brown with a one finger fluffy head, good lacing down the glass. Smells like dark caramel malts, some faint spice, though I don't feel it is as pronounced as others have. I get caramel malt in the taste primarily, with the spices finally becoming pronounced in the aftertaste. I also get a bit of dark fruit, especially raisin. The spice is perfectly balanced, with it being just enough to make this stand out in the winter warmer market. Mouthfeel is full and rich, and the drinkability is great, especially in cold weather!

Great beer, and much better than the winter lager IMO

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my Samuel Adams favorite which is found in their holiday variety pack. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a dimpled mug. Poured a dark brown, not much head on it but a lively carbonation. Had a very complex aroma, with cinnamon really standing out. The flavor is complex with roasty notes, caramel, spice, fruit, a little sourness, and low on hoppiness. A fairly interesting beer and a good and different offering from Sam Adams. I found this beer to be very drinkable.

Photo of jdflyer06
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. into a pint glass.

A: Deep amber/ruby in color with a clear body, moderate carbonation and a thick head which reduces quickly and leaves a small bit of lace.

S: Malty, bready with some sour citrus notes. Slight spice profile; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Maybe some faint dark fruit, grapes as it warms.

M: Mild carbonation with a creaminess up front that is quickly cut through by some tartness and dry finish. Fairly watery body.

T: Bready, biscuity with a sour finish. Fresh baked bread with some citrus notes and pleasant alcohol warmth. I'm not getting a whole lot from this beer, although it's still pretty tasty. Very refreshing for a winter warmer.

O: I like this, although I can't quite tell you why. It's just a satisfying winter warmer but I wish there were more spice in the flavor. It's well balanced and reminds me almost of a Moerlein OTR, toned down a bit. I feel like I could session these all night. Unfortunately you can only get them two at a time in a 24 pack.

Photo of dstc
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, ruby brown color with full, tan head. Head falls to a very small one, thin lace.

Aroma is of caramel malts with mild spice. Smells a bit roasty. Smells good.

Tastes of roasted malts. Bit of bitter chocolate with a mild, bitter finish. Nice Christmas spices give it wonderful flavor.

Medium bodied yet a little chewy. Lowish carbonation.

Good stuff. I do look forward to this every year although I've missed it the past two winters. Now that I've had it again I don't think I'll go a season without getting some.

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 3,200 ratings.