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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

3,074 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,074
Reviews: 1,314
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 57
Gots: 185 | 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
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Ratings: 3,074 | Reviews: 1,314 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of bigone4
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber brown color with mild carbonation. Great dark ruby color when back lit. Tan cream colored head that dissipates to a mild layer on top. Leaves a nice lace around the pint. Smell of a roasted malt mixed with a nice caramel tone. Subtle hints of spice but hard to pick up through the malt scents. Taste is smooth and chewy. Strong caramel malt flavor up front mixed roasted tones and a mild touch of spice. Slight hint of a cinnamon or nutmeg in the aftertaste. Slight hop presence although it is really quite tamed by the heavy malt tones. Nice drink ability, flavor is very smooth and enjoyable. If you enjoy the caramel and roasted malt tones in most winter warmers this one will certainly make your mouth happy. This beer certainly fulfills the well rounded mix of flavor in the holiday mix pack from Samuel Adams. I look forward to having this one around the holidays each year.

bigone4, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of budgood1
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out the darkest of all chestnut colored ales. a rich looking thin tan head. wisps of lace. supple aromas of fruiten spice and sweet malts. rich luscious flavors of fruitcake, chocolate, caramel, with a hint of orange peel. spices of cinnnamon and nutmeg get in the mix with the malt profile. hop bite somewhat muted, just there to add balance. medium at best body...smooth and light mouthfeel. a glass full of holiday cheer SA style. approachable and drinkable for a x-mas spiced beer. this is a cheese, meat and cracker beer. a fireplace and some snow falling outside...perfect.

a re-review after a few years. not as astounded by it as i first was, but impressed by the quality nonetheless.

budgood1, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of sleazo
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany/red. Small head, but good for the style. Aroma is of pumpernickle, maybe some nutmeg, ginger. The first thing that hits you as you sip it is sweet malt, with overtones of chocolate. Raisins and cinnamon hit you as it goes down followed by a warmness brought upon by alcohol. This beer tastes stronger than it apparently is. i would think this were a higher % brew. This is a perfect beer for the winter season(even though i live in boring sd). too bad its only available in the ewinter pack. The winter lager went great in chilli by the way.

sleazo, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger off white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured an upfront butter sweet caramel and toffee with hints of nutmeg and cocoa.

The taste consisted of a sticky caramel malt with elements of gingerbread and hint of spicy clove. A very multi-tiered and complex flavor profile.

The mouthfeel was full and heavy with a surprisingly dry finish.

Overall a unique and flavorful winter warmer. Very sessionable.

plaid75, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of Foxman
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a chestnut brown, clear and rather listless, really. A finger of beige head settles promptly to mere frothy vestiges. Lacing is sparse and uneventful.

The aroma is chiefly malt, roasted and malty, along with black cherry and prunes. Ginger, more of gingerbread than the root, and a citrus touch of orange come about as advertised.

Upon tasting, the credibly sweet malt swings the biggest bat, impressing as fruity and nutty, and bringing along general dark fruits and toffee. The orange is less notable here, and the ginger takes on a more floral image, a less compatible version than in the aroma. The finish is citrus-zest bitter and dry, lingering shortly. It's different, with a tasty note or two, but it's not enticing or edgy.

Medium bodied, the malt lays softly on the palate, but the lack of carbonation lends a flat feel to the legacy.

This beer seems to want to be more than it is, but when all's said and done, it's an above average, averagely spiced warmer that suffers from a lack of above-and-beyond TLC. Perhaps some vanilla creaminess or winter spice melange might have given it some real life, but as it is, the lasting image is one almost of ennui. It goes down well enough, but I turned off the Jets-Dolphins game for the same reason I won't likely drink this beer again: it's not painfully so, but rather fairly boring.

Foxman, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of theozag
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appears crystaline brown in the glass. A frothy off-white head fades gradually into whisps of milky bubbles. Smells strongly of ginger and wheat, perhaps some cinnamon. Starts a mild and tasty ginger brew. Settles full-bodied and oily; the cinnamon coming through the longer it sits on your tongue. Finishes with a strong but short-lived aftertaste. I wasn't able to discern the orange flavor, but perhaps you will. A good beer, overall. As my fiancee put it, "it's different... not a beer that i'd have every day, but interesting." That's why I picked her. :)

theozag, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of cjhofelt
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep, clear brown with an ample head that fades to a tan skin that laces the glass nicely.

Decent smell. A bit malty, with fruit and spice hints

I'm not blown away by the taste. It's malty, which I like, but the ginger and orange leave a taste in my mouth that I don't like so much.

Decent mouthfeel. Like most winter warmers, it has a substantial body.

I don't find this very drinkable. I guess It's the orange and ginger that rub me the wrong way.

cjhofelt, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of BBM
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown hue with red highlights and a thin, white head. The nose was of slight spices, sweet sugar and dark fruits.

The taste was a pleasant mix of ginger, caramel malts, and some hints of oranges. Not much bitterness to it, but there wasn't an overwhelming amount of spices like some winter ales like to promote. It was nicely balanced between the malt and holiday spices. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but clean. Overall this is a solid winter ale, and perfect in a sampler pack, because it may not warrant multiple sessions. But good nonetheless.

BBM, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of clemtig76
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My favorite beer from the Sam Adams Winter Classics 12 pack. Pours a dark reddish mahogany with a thin off white head. Very pleasant malty aroma with a little cinnamon, ginger and orangen peel in the background. Taste is very well balanced between the sweet caramel malt, spicy hops and subtle spices. A litle warming alcohol in the finish. Too bad this is not offered in six packs. A great winter warmer.

clemtig76, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of therica
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

NOTE: MARCH 2011 UPDATE - I'm currently drinking a bottle bought in December 2009. It's really come together a lot more nicely, has some decent bitters and integrated flavors. Apparently aging does nicely with this brew. There's a lot more of an aged prune flavor, less sweetness and some liquor, now. It's more along the lines of a Belgian Dubbel.


Fruitcake in a bottle.

Appearance-- nice dark chestnut-brown with a yellow-brown head which is nice, shrinks to a mild lacing after a short wile.

Smell-- almost caustic but pleasureable aroma of gases just after pouring, quickly turning into a nice prune-spice nose.

Taste-- very interesting-- not very hoppy or bitter, but not lacking a little thereof. Giant mix of flavor explorations that impress me as strongly prune-based with caramel, various fruits and holiday spices.

Mouthfeel-- not bad, nothing to put you off, a little sweetness and hops florals, despite the lack of bitterness.

Drinkability-- while it's interesting, the fruitcake effect could put me off after a few, but still very drinkable in small quantity.

therica, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber brown color. Head was about 1/3 of an inch thick upon pouring and only lasted a few minutes before becoming just a thin film layer with a foamy tan ring lining the inside of the glass. Left some decent lacing. Aromas of roasty malt, caramel, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, chocolate, and fruits such as cherry, apple and orange. The flavors all balance each other nicely and the flavors do become a bit stronger as the beer starts to warm. The only drawback is that there are so many flavors going on here that they all seem to be a bit bland and nothing really stands out. Maybe there should be a smaller number of different flavors in order for greater emphasis to be placed on a few specific ones. this beer has a medium body with a crisp yet smooth mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Good drinkability here as well. Not too shabby at all. Definitely worth a try IMO.

neenerzig, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Chocolate amber with seductive highlights. The head on this beer is good but not great. Something has happened to Sam Adams flawless carbonation practices. Oh well. This rapidly fallen tan colored head has left only a film and ring around the glass. Bummer.

S: Dark cherries, milk chocolate, caramel corn, raw cinnamon rolls, nutmeg, ginger bread and apple pie. Great smelling brew.

T: Begins with a doughy chocolate character with a strong gingerbread component. Caramel red fruits nip the front tip of the tongue and blends exquisetly well with the winter spices. Some spruce like moments occur with just a touch of bitterness. Finishes sweet and chewy cafe mocha and more gingerbread.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a medium body as well. Little bit of carbo sting but its minimal.

D: I really like this beer. Honestly, one of Sam Adams best offerings. I'd like to see them make this beer into a higher alcohol version with more even more complexity than it has.

Westsidethreat, Dec 20, 2006
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 3,074 ratings.