1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
85
very good

3,061 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,061
Reviews: 1,312
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 57
Gots: 183 | 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: 3,061 | Reviews: 1,312 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of atsprings
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown that with a thin diminishing head. The aroma is dominated by a wide array of spices; cinnamon and ginger are most predominant. The taste is a good blend of malts and spiced with a subdued hop backbone. The beer is light on the tongue and low in carbonation. This is an enjoyable winter warmer, just not Highland Cold Mountain.

atsprings, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of Chuggnutt
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear brown with garnet tints. Tan head, smooth, collapsed relatively quickly.

Smell: Spicy and malty. Hint of cinnamon; toffee; molasses?; maple syrup.

Taste: Brown ale with a kick. Black pepper at the back of the throat; bitter orange; cinnamon bark; chocolate malt; twiggy/woody. Cloves?

Mouthfeel: A little light, with a woody feel. Kind of wassail-y with the spices and orange.

Overall: Not sure what to expect with a name like "Old Fezziwig," but I thought it turned out remarkably better than I was expecting. A good holiday ale, not overpowering in the spices.

Chuggnutt, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of Grundle20
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:
The beer is very dark like a porter with some ruby tones when held to light. There is a good sized tan head to the brew that shows some good retention and lacing.

Smell:
Ginger takes the show here with the cinnamon and coriander falling in to the background. There's an overall vanilla smoothness to the scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The flavors work a pretty good balance here, notes of ginger, orange, and cinnamon can be distinguished as the bottle indicates. No single flavor really overpowers another. The beer drinks rather crisp with a very mild but refreshing bitterness in the fore. As the initial flavors fade there is a cherry cordial flavor in the finish but the aftertaste is mostly clean with a little exception to a dry cinnamon.

Drinkability:
I think the beer serves it's purpose quite well, there's something about it that does ring "Winter Warmer." A good amount of body and flavor are present without sacrificing its refreshing qualities.

Bottom Line:
I should probably look in to this but I'm really doubting whether or not there are any guidelines to a "winter warmer" because I have run the gamut with them this season. Old Fezziwig certainly stands out amongst the rest to me. I don't know if it's true to the winter warmer tradition but it's an enjoyable brew.

Grundle20, Mar 02, 2007
Photo of BradBLR
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark brown with a slightly orange tint. The head was lightly tan and very thin lasting less than a quarter of the beer with very little lacing. The smell of this beer was a malty aroma with a hint of orange and all spice, the aroma was not very strong.

The taste of this beer is best described as a pale ale and a porter blended together with some spices added to give it the feel of a winter beer. The mouthfeel was ok, with the CO2 being a little strong and the thickness being ok.

All in all I was a little disappointed in this beer. I was expecting a little stronger aroma and wanted the taste to be a little less of a blended taste. Not a bad beer, will give it a try if they make it next year and see how it compares.

BradBLR, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice small fizzy tan head which leaves quickly, some sticky lacy afterwards. the nose is of sweet malts, slight cinnamon, slight ginger, and caramel. The taste is malty, slight cinnamon in there, and a nice touch of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice/different tasty brew. Thanks Samuel Adams.

Wasatch, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of macpapi
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Fezziwig pours a dark brown (almost purplish) color. It has a small tannish head and decent lacing.

Smell is dominated by malt. It has a good presence of orange and spices--clove, cinnamon. Also sweet fig aroma. This is a nice balanced pull.

Taste is dominated by toffee, caramel and alcohol burn. Not balanced at all, but strong and flavorful.

In the mouth O.F. is crisp but not terribly substantial.

On the whole, this beer is not as smooth or impressive as many others of the style. Still it is very drinkable, if not the best.

macpapi, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of auxiliary
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Dark brownish color, nice head and some lacing. Goes away afer awhile.

Smell - Spicey smell, fruity, tad hoppy.

Taste - Fruity, spicey taste.

Drinkability - Interesting beer, 2nd winter season drinking this, not bad, but not on the top of my list.

auxiliary, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of pmcadamis
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Brownish black soy-sauce colored brew that appears deep rby/purple and clear in the light. A tan one finger head reduces to a thin cap over the course of several minutes, and lots of nice tan lace is left on the glass.

S - Nutty malt foundation with sugar, sweet oranges, toffee, and christmas cookies. Also, I can smell cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup.

T - This is a bit disappointing given the excellent nose, but it's still good. There is an overabundance of dry cinnamon and nutmeg flavors that I really don't like. This is sweet and molasses-like in flavor. Orange juice notes are there too. Woody, nutty. Reminds me of an English nut brown with some spices thrown in.

M - Low carbonation levels and a mild feel make this seem very English IMO. Mouthfeel is slick and full bodied and the finish is dusty....like putting powdered cinnamon in your mouth. Smooth, but dull.

D - Not very good. I couldn't drink two of these if I tried, and it's not quite complex enough to be a slow sipper.

pmcadamis, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of ReDave
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sort-of a cloudy brown ale.
A fairly decent creamy tannish head, that even sticks around a little.
Some spicy aroma, malty.

Tastes kinda like it smells. some nutmeg, mostly porterish.
This is OK for holiday times and meals, but shortly there-after, it's not quite as appealing. Still, it's OK for meals.

ReDave, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of cowislander
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Fezziwitg is a great winter warmer. Nice smooth taset with a hint of chocolate caramel, cinnamon, orange and ginger, the best flavors of Christmas. It had a great feel in the mouth and went down quite easily, too. I love the label with a scene from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", too.

cowislander, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of rallison
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Relatively tasty Winter Warmer. It's got a decent spiced caramel taste, with a bit of astringency. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but decent. Drinkability is good. It's enjoyable, but somewhat forgettable - a characteristic of many Sam Adams brews. This is a beer I wouldn't turn down, but wouldn't go out of my way to get.

rallison, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a semi-transparent dark amber with a mahogany hue. A 2 finger light tan head slowly fades into a mild cap of milky marshmellow. Scattered islands of lace are left around the glass.
Smell is of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, roasted nuts, some citrusy hops, light toffee, and mild fruitiness.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a brown sugar base that mellows out the spices where they are tolerable.
Mouthfeel is very smooth, medium bodied with balanced sugar and bitterness.
Drinkability...not bad at all with a drinkability that fits perfectly for the holidays.

weeare138, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of Budlum
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this ale produces one inch of tan head. The body is a glowing ruby and brown color with moderate carbonation displayed. The head drops down to an eighth inch layer on top of the beer.

The nose of this beer presents strong spices with a very nice sweetness. The spices are a great blend with plenty of cinnamon and ginger. The sweet smells are quite enjoyable combining toffee and a red licorice candy aroma.

The rich spices smelled earlier lead the flavors abruptly. Soon after, a very rich, malty quality rises with sweet flavors of caramel and candied yams. The finishes approaches with a burst of hops, a light citrus flavor and lingering sweetness.

Drinkability is quite good. Even with the dominant spice taste, this is very easy to drink with a creamy feel and spice pop in the mouth. I only wich I could buy this beer by itself.

Budlum, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of pjcummings
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: deep amber color, blood red tones, clear, thin foamy head

S: sweet molasses, hints of sugary cinnamon, earthy/leafy

T: cinnamon, nutmeg spices,vanilla, heavily malted, nicely balanced flavors complementing each other, light carbonation

M: medium/heavy body

D: A nice winter seasonal, but not for me. The one I drank was enough cinnamon and spice for the night. Although I thought this beer was very interesting and unique, it was sweet and contained too many cinnamon spices, not hoppy enough. After one I decided to drink a different beer from the Sam Adams Winter 12 pack.

pjcummings, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of jordanmills
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

found some at central market Houston. Poured from a 12 OZ into a pint glass. Pours dark amber to brown with a fine creamy head. Smells Spicy and hoppy. I expect bitterness. Does not taste bitter. I find lots of caramel malt, some orange, and maybe other Spices. Medium on the tongue. a nice sharp, fizzy finish. It's a little thick to drink many , but it's good.

jordanmills, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of atigerlife
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A nice brown/burgundy color with a very creamy medium head. Lots of small carbonation seen rising. Very good lacing.

Aroma is dominated by malts. Also some sweet caramel/brown sugar coming through.

Taste is roasted malts. Caramel and light hops. A nice dryness to it. Has a Belgian dubbel-like character of ripened dark fruit. chocolate and orange undertones. Nicely balanced. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel has a medium body. Nicely cleansing. Smooth and creamy.

Overall, a wonderful beer. Perhaps BBC's best. Quite impressive. Very tasty and interesting. Could definitely drink a few of these. The spices and flavor seem totally natural [unlike some other beers in which they seem fake/forced].

atigerlife, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of claytri
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a translucent rich amber with a tan head. The aroma was of rich malt and spice. The taste was wonderful it had a rich malt base with plenty of cinamon and other spices filling it out. The feel was heavy and wet This was a wonderful beer to drink. I've been a big fan of SA's Winter Lager for some time, but this was my first try of Old Fezziwig, and was I surprised at the jump up. Now that's probably due to my inherent preference of ales to lagers. While the lager seems to be spiced the ale has fully accepted the flavors and plays them out beautifully. Wish I could get twelves of this as it would be my primary winter brew. As is I guess I'll be buying more of the holiday packs next year.

claytri, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Color was a dark brown with reddish hue to it. Slight head that quickly disappeared. Aroma was spiced with a hint of orange. Tasted exactly like it smelled. Nicely spiced with a hint of fruity sweetness. A very mild bitterness, but complimented the flavor well. Went through the mouth a little to quickly. Overall a well done winter warmer. Nicely balanced, should be popular for the type.

mountdew1, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a brownish red with a nice 1/2 inch off white head. The head has some staying power with some spotty lacing down the glass.

Smell: Initial aromas are slightly sweet. Mostly malty, sweet, perhaps a touch roasted caramel. The spices that are suposed to be present are a mish-mash of scents, no predominate spice rises to the front.

Taste: Contrary to what I get in the smell, this is not a sweet beer. Some roasted malt charater. A touch bitter, perhaps due to the spices as I really don't get much in the way of hops here. I can not pick out an one spice coming through (but this is well spiced), although I think there is a taste of cinnamon that is a bit more pronounced.

Mouthfeel: Light in body, nice carbonation, a little prickly on the tongue.

Drinkability: Part of a mix 12 pack. The two I had were a real treat. Alas, I just have to look forward to this again next year. While classed as a winter warmer I could even see this as a Herbed/Spiced beer.

BigRedN, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of kajerm
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured pretty dark with a reddish cast into a pint at a mini-tasting. Lots of spices on the nose, and some definite malt character in the flavor. The palate was pretty insipid, but all told, it's a decent if uninteresting beer.

I'd drink it again, but not if I'm buying.

kajerm, Jan 24, 2007
Photo of Hefe
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely dark ruby/mahogany colour with a tannish head that sticks. The aroma is rich with sweet malt and spice, and a subtle fruitiness. The flavour has a nice complexity, with plummy fruitiness, alongside toffeeish malt, milk chocolate and a hint of orange. The spiciness becomes more prevalent as it warms, notes of ginger really stand out. The body is rich and creamy, with solid but restrained carbonation. All in all, simply a delicious brew.

Hefe, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of allergictomacros
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear dark ruby red. Inch thick head is somewhat loose, but laces well.

S - Fruity with metallic tones. Supposedly has cinnamon, orange and ginger but I'm not really smelling any of that. Smells a little sweet. Cinnamon is more noticeable halfway through the glass.

T - Again, I don't taste the spicing. Taste reminds me of an EPA. Quite fruity and buttery, with some nice balance.

M - Full bodied, and somewhat heavy.

D - This is a big, flavourful winter brew. Fairly warming, and heavy.

allergictomacros, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of JimFalzone
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Each year I look forward to the Old Fezziwigs in the Sam Winter Sampler 12-Pack. They have one of the more festive labels you'll ever see, and the name simply can't be beat.

There is much anticipation as it's poured into the pint glass. It's that rich reddish brown color that changes under different lighting. The foam head is rich and thick from an average pour.

But to me the disappointment starts with the first sip. It's never as full bodied and rich as I want it to be, like a Sierra Nevada Winter Ale. And the spices just taste weird in the Sam version. It's a mix of cinnamon and possibly orange.

There are better beers in the Winter Sampler pack (the porter and black lager) and there are plenty of better Winter Warmers on the market.

But that being said, I'll probably get all excited for a taste next year when I open a new 12-pack sampler and see that festively dressed bottle again.

JimFalzone, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of PhillyMonk
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I really enjoy and look forward to this beer every year, and wouldn't mind seeing it in six-packs for the season. It's not one that you'd want to drink all year long, but is perfect for a cold night with some hearty food.

Pours a clear dark-amber color with a moderate amount of head that lingers for a good bit. Smell is spicy: cinnamon, malts, and a hint of alcohol. Taste is a little hoppy with moderate carbonation up front, then the cinnamon and ginger flavors emerge, and it finishes with a slightly alcoholic, malty flavor. Well-balanced.

If you're a fan of spiced ales or just looking for something different, I actually think this is one of Sam Adams' better seasonals and is pretty consistent from year to year.

PhillyMonk, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a nonic.
Best before 04.2007.

Pours a deep brown, maple in color with a hue of burgundy. Densely creamy, off-white head that hugs the glass' walls. Cascading lace with good strength.

Semi-sweet caramel and toffee aromas with hints of soft, rich milk chocolate. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar spices that don't smell artificial or powdery at all.

Creamy milk chocolate and toffee malt character; smooth, yet not necessarily rich. Spices of cinnamon and light, brown sugar add a slightly dry character followed by a mild citrus tartness. This orange, pear flavor is very mellow and provides a pleasant break to the creamy malt character. Notes of toasted biscuit, light diacetyl, and nutmeg in the aftertaste.

Almost full in body; creamy, yet somewhat dry. Well balanced in flavor and texture.

A tasty Winter Warmer, that doesn't taste artificial in the least. A pretty surprisingly well crafted ale from The Boston Beer Company.

NEhophead, Jan 01, 2007
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 3,061 ratings.