1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,970 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,970
Reviews: 1,311
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 46
Gots: 136 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,970 | Reviews: 1,311 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ewlarson
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%

I got this beer through the Sam Adams winter variety 12 pack. I can safely say the Winter Lager, the Holiday Porter, and this beer are the only shining gems out of the package.

A- Dark brown with hints of red in the background. Poured pretty well, a little thin of a head

S- Chocolate malt with hints of ginger, smells like a sweeter beer.

T- Quick hit of ginger with citrus straight off the taste buds! The taste is immediate with hints of chocolate afterwards. A solid taste, but it sadly doesn't last long in the mouth.

M- Low carbonated beer with a definite tasty appeal. The mouth feel is pretty good. My only complaint is the explosion of flavor lasts so short. For the most part it's outstanding!

D- A really easy spiced beer to drink. I would enjoy and drink this beer again.

This beer is a very refreshing and sweetly spiced beer. Definitely a holiday beer that you have after you've shoveled the driveway or something to just enjoy with a good book. I would highly recommend it again.

ewlarson, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of ommegoose
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured in to my Gulden Draak tulip, which has been busy lately. Semi-opaque cherry color. Head starts off fluffy, but greatly recedes. Laces quite well.

Bright orange, cinnamon and ginger are in ample supply. Has the rich malt aroma of a doppelbock almost. Nicely potent. Lightly bready with caramel.

Even does have a bit of a raisiny bock malt flavor. The orange and spices are definitely there. I like the ginger in these seasonal ales, but cinnamon seems to come across too bitter, even though it helps the nose. Orange peel is nice though. Spicy finish takes the place of any hops, as they are surely in short supply. Almost one notch higher, but could use a little more malt complexity. The chocolate and caramel malts don't quite come all the way out, even if traces of cocoa are there.

Medium bodied. Should be a little fuller, in my mind. Carbonation is a little busy.

Very enjoyable. As I cap off the set of reviews for the winter pack, this is probably my favorite, with the porter coming close. I liked five of six, so it probably will be a repeat buy before the season is out. I might have enjoyed it a bit more if it was beefed up a bit, to compete with Great Lakes Christmas Ale, the clear winner in my mind. Not a beer for long sessioning, but certainly one to have again.

ommegoose, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Nichts
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%

The malt is very noticeable from the first opening, but overall the sweet character is enjoyable. The ginger/cinnamon finishes smoothly, contributing to its citrus notes. Honestly the citrus taste is subtle though, at first difficult to note in my opinion. The appearance has a rich, dark color that I enjoy.

Nichts, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Spidey13
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Old Fezziwig pours a very nice dark amber color with a small whitish head. The aroma is very malty with some chocolate, orange, and prune aromas.

The flavor is very sweet. Caramel flavors and a bit of roastiness. I get some of the ginger. The orange peel comes across more like lemon to me. there is some astringency in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel and carbonation are just about in the middle.

Overall, a good Christmas beer.

Spidey13, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%

a: pours a nice ruby chestnut color with thin head...

s: light spices, nutmeg, sweet sappy maltyness...

t: slight bite from the spices, more than expected from a sam adams product...almost a cinammon nip with nutmeg and malts...hint of molasses...

m: carbonated, rich, smooth...

d: the best of the sam adams winter pack without a doubt...a nice offering...


sirdrinkwell, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of yemenmocha
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%

Pours dark amber with rocky head that retains well at first and recedes to a nice thin lace. Nose has a nutty quality as well as maybe holiday spice cookies. On the palate there's a balanced expose of caramel, roasty flavors, and some ginger to sweeten things. Medium to light bodied ale, and very easy drinking.

yemenmocha, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of samie85
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%

A- Pours a dark brown with hints of dark red when held up to light. Two finger head.

S- The first thing I smell is chocolate malt. A little swirling brings out some notes of sweet orange and a bit of spicyness(ginger). It has my mouth watering.

T- I definitely taste the ginger upfront followed by the citrus and chocolate. It then finishes with a lingering chocolate malt and bitter hop aftertaste. Maybe a bit of alcohol.

M- It's a medium bodied beer with carbonation on the low end of moderate carb. This creates a smooth, velvety effect in the mouth.

D- Really easy drinking considering the spiced quality of this beer. I've had a few winter warmers before and this one straddles the line nicely between being under- and over-spiced.

samie85, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of tronester
3.58/5  rDev -5%

Pours a clear dark brown, with a thin tan head. Smells like gingerbread cookies, yum. Taste is very bock-like, dark molassasy malts up front, hints of ginger and cinnamon in the middle, and a tea like flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is Smooth and creamy, low carbonation. Drinkability is good, but the beer does get a bit tart tasting by the end of the glass, driving that score down a bit.

Good beer, don't know if I would buy a 6 pack of it, but a welcome addition to the Winter mixpack.

tronester, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%

Sam Adams- Old Fezziwig

A- Light copper brown with a small but solid head. Good lacing along the rim.
S- Spicy. Graham cracker/ ginger bread with hints of nutmeg and molasses.
T- Spicy. Good molasses malt with a spicy nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger touch. Finishes off spicy.
M- Thick spicy malt throughout. Finishes off with dry nutmeg.

Overall- Actually quite good. Better than expected. A very good Winter Warmer. This should be offered in 6er form.

NJpadreFan, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of bnes09
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%

Pours a magnificent dark brown with ruby hues. Light tan head that dissappears rapidly but leaves a nice blanket of silky lacing behind.

Smells a lot like gingerbread. Can definetly recognize the giner and cinnamon spice. Quite complex.

Very flavorful. Spices come through right away and go along with the smell. Malt tastes slightly roasted yet maintains a healthy level of smoothness. Hops provide a noticable crispness. Spicy flavor lingers in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied and ample carbonation.

I really like this brew. Very complex and flavorful. I would definetly suggest this one over Sam Adams winter lager. Sure to warm the spirits of beer lovers as well as any winter warmer can.

bnes09, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Ah, Old Fezziwig, I've heard a lot about this beer over the years so this year I decided to brave the odd additon to the Holiday mixed case of the new Coastal Wheat and of course the dreaded Cranberry Lambic in order to try this beer which is otherwise unavailable (I promise I will keep an open mind when I review my first Cranberry Lambic!).

Old Fezziwig poured into a pint glass is a gorgeous deep ruby, very clear with an off white head that falls fairly quickly and decisively leaving just a foamy ring of slippery lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malts with hints of cocoa, caramel, brandied fruits and raisins.

The flavor follows the nose closely with a big sweet malt body,somewhat bready with a cocoa tone. Caramel is there too along with dark candied fruits and nuts, much like a homemade brandied fruit cake (one you'd actually eat not one of those bricks that make the rounds at Christmas!). The finish is only very mildly bitter and has a just a touch of sour.

Mouthfeel is light/medium, very smooth with just enough carbonation to make it a bit lively.

I can understand now how so many people could look forward to thibeer every year as a harbinger of the Holidays. It is comforting and warming and I agree it should be available in six packs at least (along with the Holiday Porter if I can cast my vote for separate sixes here!).

BlackBearForge, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of BierFan
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. ABV of 5.9%.

Appearance: Two fingers of tan foam. The body of the beer is clear and brown. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Cinnamon, ginger, and orange mingling wonderfully with the chocolate malts. I wish they made an Old Fezziwig scented candle.

Taste: Ginger is the first and most profound flavor I experience. Finishes with some orange and chocolate malt.

BierFan, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of SpdKilz
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%

Appearance - Poured into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark chocolate/hazelnut color. About two fingers of white fluffy head that recedes relatively quickly, but leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell - Extremely malty with spices such as nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. There is also a sweeter citrus smell (not bitter like an IPA profile is often times) that just reminds you of Christmas.

Taste - God I forgot how much I love this beer. If you close your eyes and take a sip I immediately taste the ginger followed by the cinnamon and nice sweet malty/nutty flavors. This is not overly sweet by any means. It is well balanced with the spices and sweetness. I know many people don't particularly like spiced beers but I personally love them and this one hits home.

Mouthfeel - Extremely creamy and silky smooth. There is a great balance between the carbonation making it refreshing and not over done. Finishes with a bit of spiciness at the backend which again lets your mind wander to the smells and tastes of Christmas and makes you want to go in for another sip.

Drinkability - For a spiced holiday ale, extremely so. I am sitting here trying not to quaffe this down reminding myself I only get two in the holiday twelve pack. I could easily session this beer and not get sick of the spices. As stated, it is not overly sweet - the spices balance it well. I wish they made six packs of these during the holidays because I would grab a couple and sit up next to the fire with friends and family and just enjoy life. Cheers!

SpdKilz, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of craftaholic
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%

Appearance: Has a nice deep ruby red kissed brown hue with an eggshell creamy head thats about a finger width thick and has a great amount of lacing.

Smell: The nose is very subtle and is predominantly some toasted malts and an array of spices. there is a faint almost bubblegum sweetness that makes itself known.

Taste: The flavor is not as subtle as the nose but isn't very powerful nonetheless. It is sweet up front with a caramelized malt/ yeast backbone that holds it all together. There is a presence of citric fruit as well as spices such as clove, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Tastes much like a holiday spice cookie.

Mouthfeel: Zesty with medium carbonation and quite smooth. Isn't syrupy or cloying as the sweetness would normally suggest.

Drinkability: Thankfully it is only a seasonal brew because I think any other time of year it would seem out of place.

Overall: Perfect for the holiday season, it really fits the bill. I would prefer the brew as a whole if it were more forceful/bolder but it is still the taste of the season. Pass the cookies!

craftaholic, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of Natural510
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%

Pours a dark, crimson-brown color with little in the way of head or lacing, yet carbonation is apparent. Similar in appearance to a barleywine.
Smells sweet with cinnamon, raisin, molasses and assorted spices.
Flavor notes of cedar & pine, cinnamon, ginger, molasses and hickory. Full-bodied malt with a nice bite from both the hops and ginger to round things out.
As stated, full in body, with good carbonation and a nice burn from the ginger to keep things interesting.
A good winter-warmer offering. Unique and true to form, rather than being a lesser knock-off of better takes on the style.

Natural510, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of degerbah
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Pours a thick and dark red-brown with little head at all. Maybe a finger of head off of a not very gentle pour. The aroma is a variety of differnet malts with a very slight spicy scent that I couldn't identufy. The taste is thick and malty. Much more complicated than the smell. Light and slightly plain for a winter warmer. This has loads more flavor than the usual sam adams flavors. The thick taste coats the tongue and prevents quick drinking, but the taste is good and compared to many winter warmers I've had 5.6% is sessionable. I wish it came in it's own six pack because It's a pain to have it packaged with other stuff I don't reall like.

degerbah, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of advill88
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours a brick red almost cranberry juice color with a half inch frothy white head.

The smell is sweet and malty with hints of fruit and cinnamon.

The taste is initally dominated by a sweet and fruity malty flavor with hints of cinnamon and other spices, giving way to a short dash of hops to cut through the malt, and finishing with the combination of cranberry tartness and sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

I'd say that this beer is a really nice example of a winter warmer, and I'd definitely drink again.

advill88, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of psujesus
4.53/5  rDev +20.2%

that was a good beer, just reading the label made my mouth water

a beautiful, ruby red color poured into a pint glass, a great cinnamon smell with some ginger and malts, a nice taste of cinnamon and hops the whole way down, when ever i'd burp, i'd get a yummy taste of ginger and cinnamon, i agree with the others that its a great winter beer

i would love to see this in a 6-pack form, cant wait to enjoy the next one from the winter collection pack

psujesus, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of spointon
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%

I poured this from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a rich brown/garnet color with a big fluffy off-white head. The head settled slowly and left some clingy lace on my glass.

S= Lots of spice to fill your nose here, but nothing was overdone. I noted a blend of holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and quite possibly ginger. The malts were pretty aromatic too, lending lots of sweetness.

T= Spicy like the nose indicated, but with a good amount of chocolate and treacle in the malt presence. No real hop presence and a medium sweet and spicy finish capped each sip.

MF= Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and moderate carbonation despite the huge head at the pour.

D= A pretty good winter warmer here. I would gladly drink a few of these on a cold winter evening!

spointon, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Best by April 2010.

(A)- Pours a pretty thick yet clear dark brown/ mahogany color that produced an ample tan head with good retention.

(S)- Very malty with sweet bread, honey, and vanilla. . . like a sugar cookie.

(T)- Again, very malty with obvious gingerbred cookie character. Nice spice & a creamy vanilla-like finish. Actually, this gets better as it warms up a bit.

(M)- Very very malty, but is supplemented with the spice of gingerbread and creamy vanilla. Good carbonation level.

(D)- A great winter beer for sure. Malty & sweet with nostalgic xmas flavors. My only complaint is how full one of these makes you feel.

sweemzander, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass.

Pours beautiful dark copper blended with ruby brown, clear, one-finger light-khaki head that disappears fairly quickly. Not much in the way of retention or lacing.

Nose is bready, darkly toasted, loaded with ripe candy plums, raisins, and spices (ginger comes through in particular).

Taste is dry and very fruity up front, full of spices (cinnamon, orange peel, ginger - pick up some nutmeg also even though it isn't on the bil, likely just an effect of the recipe overalll), with an underlying burnt-caramel sweetness. Light bitterness on the finish, both from the spices and from a light hopping.

Mouthfeel is medium light in body, nice carbonation (soft but dry), but a bit thin in body. Would like more creaminess in this one.

Good drinkability - well balanced and tasty.

JohnQVegas, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Mosstrooper
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured from 12oz bottle into Roanoke College branded American pint glass.

Appearance: Caramel/amber color with a medium tan head that leaves quickly. Lots of bubbles sticking to the sides.

Smell: Caramel and chocolate malts, with hints of cinnamon and citrus.

Taste: Sweet malts up front, finishing with toasty bitterness. Hints of orange and spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth and sticky.

Drinkability: Another damn good one from Sam Adams.

Mosstrooper, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of McGuire75
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%

A- A small but steady head with full lacing. A crisp, clear, deep reddish copper color that at times appears almost brown. Old Fezziwig appears to smolder in the glass, deep and inviting.

S- Roasted caramel and buttery toffee with hints cinnamon, nutmeg, and ripe blood orange rind.

T- Deep but not overpowering flavors of caramel corn and toffee and with a crisp very dark chocolate finish that has hints of ginger. A nice lingering finish remained on the tip of my tongue, inviting me to continue enjoying. Overall very well balanced.

M- Nice light carbonation with a velvety smooth medium body.

D- Very solid choice, an excellent seasonal beer and one of the only things I enjoy about the winter season. Would pair great with Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners as well as being an excellent everyday choice. I wish The Old Fezziwig were more easily available(6-packs please).

McGuire75, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Augustiner719
3.58/5  rDev -5%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA taster glass: marked 5.9% abv.

Appearance: Nice dark caramel color. Crystal clear with nice 1 finger head and present lacing down the glass.

Smell: smells like shaved unsweetened cocoa and scotch with a hint of orange peel. Nice aromas of wintery spices and dark fruit.

taste: tastes a little off from last year to me or my palate has changed. Tastes like whiskey and caramel with a little bit of hops finish on the end. not bad, but not what i remember.

Mouthfeel: pretty good carbonation, could use a little bit of sitting time in the glass to make the bubbles go down a bit.

drinkability: solid. sessionable beer. I would have again. too bad its not offered in 6 packs.

Augustiner719, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of Blitzstyle
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Poured into a pint SA pint glass. Small head and a deep deep red almost brown color. Laces really well in the SA glass.

Caramell malts dominate with a little citrus buired in there, also some winter spices.

Roasted caramell right up front, then some winter spices, cinnamon for sure. Then a citrus back end (could be orange). The winter spices balance well with the citrus in the beer.

Somewhat hearty but no lingering on the palate. Will drink selveral during the next cold snap. This beer and the Holiday Porter by SA are really great winter beers!

Blitzstyle, Nov 07, 2009
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 2,970 ratings.