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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,267 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,267
Reviews: 1,346
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.53%
Wants: 68
Gots: 323 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-28-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,267 | Reviews: 1,346 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jmamay22
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dickensian holiday label indicates an abv of 5.9%. Best by March 08. I look forward to this each holiday and I've finally managed to review one.

Pours out a deep ruby red with a thin tan colored head. No carbonation seen rising in the glass hurts the head retention.

Smells of cinnamon and orange peel. Has a sweeter bready quality as well. Nothing comes off as overbearing, but everything blends well.

Tastes of cinnamon and ginger, but the orange peel seems to stay only in the nose. Nicely spiced and not cloying or underdone. Solid Winter Ale and a shame it isn't available in six packs.

Mouthfeel is medium with light fine carbonation that acts as a wonderful effervescent with the spices. Drinkability is fairly high due to the well balanced nature of this winter warmer. One of my favorite winter beers. If only it could be liberated from the mix 12 packs.

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

Moving on in the Winter Classics 12... Poured into SA glass

A: dark red with some brownish tinge, one+ finger off-white head and light carb.

S: caramel, orange, cinnamon and a little chocolate

T: oranges, spices and some nice caramel malt holding it together

M: medium bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel, light on the carbonation but still has some fizz

D: A beer that I could drink a couple of.

Too bad you can't buy this in a sixer

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

Appearance: Deep amber-brown color with a light-tan head.

Smell: Chocolate, caramel and spice.

Taste: Complex chocolate flavors. Starts mildly sweet. Mid-taste a hint of spices lead the way to a bitter chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Drinkability: Interesting flavor. This flavor heavy brew is a nice departure from the typically sweet and over-spiced holiday brews.

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

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Deep brown/ruby color with a 1-1/2 finger tan head that becomes a nice lace that leaves some good sticking.

S- Lots of spice, but balanced with good malt character. It smells something of ginger and caramel with hints of orange and brown sugar.

T- More caramel malts and spice. Not quite as complex as the aroma.

M- Nice and rich with a little tingle of spice and carbonation.

D- Not so smooth to call for multiple beers in a sitting, but not too much kick to call a real sipper.

Overall- A decent winter/nightcap beer.

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

I had the opportunity to re-visit this beer when I bought it in Sam Adams' winter collection. I wasn't looking forward to it, remembering how I didn't like this beer the last time I had it, has it really been almost four years?

My take has changed a lot. Either the beer's recipe has changed (unlikely) or my palate has improved (slightly more likely).

This is a nice amber ale with a good aroma of orange and spices that's nicely understated. This doesn't club you over the head with aroma.

The taste is also somewhat subtle. There is a nice malt backbone upon which flavors of orange and spices improve. This isn't a sweet beer, rather a beer with added flavor complexity.

This is a fine winter warmer and another winner from Sam Adams. I'm glad I gave this beer another try: My first impression was wrong.

Photo of brdc
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small capped bottle poured into a tulip.

Dark brown with some golden highlights, it has a light brown head with average retention.
Aroma is delicate, malty, some ginger, but not much.
Light to medium bodied, taste is mostly malty, roasted, but the ginger comes over and above everything else, and it unfortunately does not blend in that well. It gets too much quite fast.

Photo of billybob
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a medium brown color with just under a two finger light tan head that holds to just cover the beer and with a fair amount of lacing. aromas of fresh coffee and hot chocolate mix. taste is slightly sweet and fruity but i cant pick to much. think i'm coming down with a cold. mouthfeel light and carbonation ok. drinkability is very good to bad its only in the winter mix pkg.

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

A: The beer poured into a dark brown ale with a little head. Nothing overbearing as far as the head goes.

S: The beer smelled mostly of cinnamon and ginger, with the slight scent of orange but nothing major.

T: The beer taste strongly of ginger and cinnamon, but nothing overbearing.

M: The beer felt good in the mouth, in reference to the fact it was not too thick, nor too thin.

D: The beer went down easy. Reminds me of spending a winter night, chilling and relaxing after a long day of work.

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

Came home to find my wife had picked me up the Sam Adams Winter Mix Pack. Poured a relatively deep brown color with a thick head that settles fairly quickly. Smell is very caramel maltyness, ginger is there as well. The taste is very balanced, the spices blend together very well without one being more noticeable than the other. A very smooth brew, somewhat syrupy on the finish. The flavor, aroma, mouthfeel all come together preety in this one. I wish it was available outside of the mix pack, so i could pick up a sixer of it.

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

This beer was poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle at 46º into a wine glass. A nice one finger tan foamy head resulted and dissipated within two minutes leaving behind some Brussels lace. The beer was mahogany in color.

The beer seemed to be full bodied with nice aromatics of caramel and chocolate.

The taste was spicy, full bodied and slightly sweet. Spices lingered throughout the mouth.

This was a medium bodied mouth feel with the aforementioned spices hanging on for a pleasant aftertaste.

I was not able to ascertain the individual spices but did enjoy the complete package and the warmth of this beverage.

Photo of jar2574
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby red, with a thin head.

Smells great. Malts, chocolate and caramel.

Very mellow for a Christmas brew that I thought would have some added spices. Malt dominates, but that's OK, it's tasty.

There's a cola taste to it that reminds me of having a soda, that's the only downer.

Pretty solid brew. The taste isn't quite as exciting as the smell would indicate though.

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

Poured from a bottle, into a standard pint glass.

Appeared deep red, with a think tan head, which held on for a few minutes. Smell had a sort of candy/sweet smell, with some spice. The taste was malt, and spicy. What I expected from the aroma. Has a creamy, think mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbantioan. Not the best winter warmer I have had, but a very pleasant beer no less, and very drinkable.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from Winter Mix pack into a Saranac pint glass.

A: Poured a ruby-brownish amber color with a two-finger head of ivory foam. Lacing is tight and stays the entire way down; clear shine against the oak colored beer.

S: Smells like all spice, ginger and extra nutmeg. The equivalent combination of what you'd throw on egg nog at Christmas, plus orange zest, shoved in a bottle.

T: Taste carries much of what was in the nose, plus a rich, roasted caramel malt base and some pleasant acrid citrus notes from the hops.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and slick. Easy to drink.

D: Although only two came in the pack, I could have gone for another. I'm sure you'd find it to be the same way.

I wasn't the biggest Fezziwig-fan, but now I kinda wish they could fill growlers with this stuff. It's pretty good.

Photo of BiereBlanche
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from a Samuel Adams Winter 12-pack.

Pours a clear, very dark garnet capped off by a thick, creamy cocoa-tan top. The head settles slowly to a thin layer leaving little to no lace. The smell is pleasantly spicy with a backbone of cinnamon and nutmeg supporting a toasty malt nose. Slight alcohol presence. Hops aroma is absent, yet fitting for the style. The taste is similar to the nose. The sweet and toasty malt combines with the winter spices and strong alcohol warming to create a pleasant winter warmer. Hops flavor and bitter are as absent as the aroma. Medium-bodied with moderately high carbonation. The carbonation adds a bit of bite to the tongue. Overall a good flavor and a smooth drink; a fine offering from Samuel Adams and a great choice for a winter warmer.

Photo of albern
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I finally got to sample an Old Fezziwig if only because Menotomy Liquors in Arlington, MA (which should be listed under beerfly but isn't) has beer tastings on Fridays. If you are like me, one who refuses to buy a 12 pack or 24 pack or whatever pack when all I want are individual samplers, then you don't get the chance to taste this beer. Luckily, I found a venue where I could. The beer is a deep amber, good head and retention. The smell was caramel, sweet malts, but this was difficult to discern since I was only drinking out of a plastic sampler glass. The taste is toasted caramel, ginger, maybe some nutmeg qualities, maybe some heavy fruits, such as orange rind, or raisin. This is a good beer, very complex and very interesting. I wish I could have drank the whole bottle to more fully appreciate it, but I refuse to purchase the SA winter warmer 12-24 pack in order to get there, and for me it's a matter of principle.

Update December 2008: Hurrah, I had a complete Fezziwig. This is a very good, complex beer, and I'm adding some points to the original calculation. Lots of caramel, lots of roasted chocolatey malts, nice spicey additions in the nutmeg family. This is a medium to full bodied beer, low carbonation, nice deep amber mouthfeel in the aftertaste. What a nice beer for the holiday season.

Photo of Risser09
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle enjoyed on Turkey Day 2007 - Poured into a large snifter

Appearance: Old Fezziwig pours a dark black color with some brown hues letting a little bit of light through when put up to it. The head rises to about 1.5 inches and subsides. It is a light tan color with lots of craters and lace that follows. The lace is clinging to the crystal like me grasping on to the lucky side of a wishbone (wish, please come true).

Smell: The beer smells good. It has a chocolate malt build, with some leather and tobacco making an apperance. The label claims that cinnamon, ginger and orange are utilized in this libation, but I can only discern the cinnamon and a hint or ginger in the ol' factory sense.

Taste: After a few hearty swallows I am left with a buttery, leathery malt flavor. I get a touch of licorice, and a sweetness that eludes my flavor receptors. I can only guess that cinnamon and nutmeg are the main spice flavors. What happened to the orange curacao? Ok taste.

Mouthfeel: Slick and buttery. The taste is sugary and carbonation goes easy on the mouth and throat. Alcohol is awake, but not grumpy. My belly is warm.

Drinkability: This is a pretty god winter warmer. One of the better ones I've had. I think it could use more complexity in the taste department, but otherwise gets my vote for Senator.

Photo of jeonseh
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very Dark and deep brown color with a red tinge to it and a thin head that disappeared rather quickly. The smell is rather fragrant, full of cinnamon and i would say molasses. Kinda carbonated on the tongue and can definitely taste a lot of spices in it almost a cinnamon with a taste of i would say maple syrup with a very faint hint of orange. However, the syrup taste is a little too much for me and don't care too much for the aftertaste and couldn't see having too many of them. Good thing they only come two in the 12 Winter Specials pack.

Photo of cjveitch
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass and was immediately suprised by its extremely dark color. Only a dark magenta color is seen with enough lighting.

Able to get a nice white head on it pouring directly into the glass. It acts much the same as a porter or stout...hard to get but then hangs around forever.

The beer is not as heavy as it appears. It actually has somewhat of a pleasant copper taste with a hint of cherries. The extra spice is apparent without being obnoxious.

Overall good beer. Will keep you warm in winter while your friends think it's something much darker and heavier than it really is.

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

I'm enjoying this now with roasted chestnuts- a great snack match for this hearty winter ale. The nutmeg and wisp o' cinammon taste enhances the smooth feel. Nice dark amber color that pours nicely then settles in to a ring around the glass. A great winter brew, even if it's 73 and you are in Florida, like me.

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

Believe it or not had this at an Atlanta Falcons game the GA dome. Poured into a plastic cup but the head was nice and the aroma was pretty good, lacing was somewhat subdued and I'll chalk that up to the cup. The taste was a very balanced blend of roasted malt tastes with a nice hop pop along with some spices overall a very good beer I enjoyed it thoroughly

Photo of BDIMike
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is brownish-red ale with a sizeable head.
The smell is awesome. Great hoppy smell, as most Sam products have, but a good amount of spicy smell as well.
The taste is malty with hints of caramel and chocolate malts. You can also taste hints of cinnamon, ginger, and orange.
It has a very full body, with a nice smooth mouthfeel.
Great winter beer. I think Sam Adams excels with hearty winter beers for a cold New England night.

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

Nice beer. Not overdone. Well balanced, subtle for a winter warmer. Like the descriptions says - hints of spices and flavors. Alcohol is mild. One of the easiest of this season’s beers. Has a nice light head and plenty of lace. Good, but not overdone carbonation. Lovely dark reddish amber. The spiciness is not overdone, which is the better way. Almost a session beer.

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

A- deep reddish brown with 1.5in chunky puffy beige head and wisps of lace.

S- cinnamon, milk chocolate, and a hint of orange (like those break-apart chocolate oranges), whole grain bread, ginger bites the nose a lil bit

T- ginger snap holiday cookie, milk, very subdued orange peel, another hint of cinnamon, toasted malt, and dark fruit maybe date or fig.

MF- creamy, coating, and low carbonation

D- dammit, the spices get to me after a while, but a fine example of the holiday style beer.

Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue. A large head forms and hangs around for a bit leaving some nice lacing.

The aroma is caramel malt, cinnamon and other winter spices. I think I sense some alcohol there also.

When I tried this beer I expected bigger flavors. It is not as sweet as other winter warmers and not as spicey as other winter seasonals. I taste the malt with just a hint of cinnamon. The low ABV I think hurt this beer. No warming feeling. It is also a little thin for a winter release. I want a beer with some body this time of year. It does make it easy to drink on the other hand. It is a good beer but I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Photo of animal69
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

i'm glad i saved this one for last ; it pours a dark reddish-brown w/ a thin off-white head which dissapates quickly leaving little lacing ; a strong, roasty caramel aroma with a slight citrusy undertone, not really sensing the exotic spiciness claimed, maybe some faint orange ; a tangy, rich caramel and choc. malt flavor, you can taste a hint of nuts and some mingled spices but nothing pronounced ; a good, med. body, slightly dry, not too much co2 feels warm on the tounge ; not a bad beer, i just don't care for flavored beers....

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 3,267 ratings.