Samuel Adams Holiday Porter - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,233 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,233
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 45
Gots: 122 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DFN on 10-17-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (111) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Holiday Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,233 | Reviews: 1,136
Photo of beerluvr
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan head settling over clear deep red/brownish liquid. Nice roasted malt nose with with light coffee and apparent chocolate notes too. Rich mouthfeel, bitter deep roast barley taste with coffee/espresso flavors mix with great hoppy bitterness that compliments the malt flavors perfectly. The finish is long and bitter with just a touch of sweetness, just the way I like it. Much better that I had anticipated, well done!

Photo of bditty187
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, almost black in spots, there is a ruby highlight around the edges, most noticed when held to a light. The head was over two fingers in height, beige in color. Head retention was excellent, it was slow to fade and it rested at a thin cap. This cap lasted the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing was chunky and widespread. It looks good in my glass. The nose is pleasant; the potency is low though yet I can hear what it is saying. Vanilla beans, espresso, chocolate, caramel, and roasted malts complete the bouquet. The aromas are well rounded; however it seems a little too simplistic. Sure, it smells like a Porter but it doesn’t “knock me out.” Still, it is inviting. The palate says “English Porter” to me. I like it. Roasted malts are bigger than the nose indicated, which is a good thing. Sweetness is satisfying from the start, caramel, espresso, and char as well. Vanilla. Chocolate. It becomes astringent at the finish. There is some noticeable hop bitterness but it fails to reach any noteworthy levels, however it does offer some earthy flavors. It is a nice complement to the malty backbone. On the whole this is a good Porter, it isn’t great and it isn’t something I’d buy a six-pack of. So as far as I’m concerned the BBC can keep the two bottles in the Winter Sampler but there isn’t any reason to go beyond that. Not quite medium in body, the carbonation is a tickle too low, more body is needed. Kick up the malt! The mouthfeel is too slick, too oily, and not rich enough. This aspect of the beer could be improved. Sure, this beer is drinkable but it fails to “wow” me. It is good but there are far too many better Porters on the market. This beer did sucker me into buying the 2004 Winter Sample Pack. Purchased in Omaha. Okay stuff.

Photo of allengarvin
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12-oz bottle in a mug glass. I like the label. Makes a good companion, label-wise, to Old Fezziwig.

Appearance: Dark dark reddish-brown, with smallish head of tan foam.

Aroma: Rich caramel-chocolate smell, a little coffee-like also.

Flavor: Initially sweet, with a good complexity of dark-chocolate, nutty, and caramel malt flavors. Medium-low hop bitterness provides some balance and keeps it from cloying, but aren't really a noticible factor in the taste.

Body: Medium-full body, carbonation typical of SA beers.

A fine effort from the Boston Beer Company. This would be a good candidate for a year-round beer, or at least deserve its own six-pack. Superior to most of the current SA lineup.

Photo of Bighuge
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby beer. Thin, airy light brown head. The head recedes to a collar quickly, but the collar leaves a sufficient amount of lace. Nice aroma of roasted malts, vanilla bean, nuts and chocolate. The taste really follows suit with the nose. Roasted malts, some vanilla, coffee bean, chocolate and caramel malts. Pretty nice. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy. The body checks in around medium to medium-full. All in all, a solid porter. Not one that I'd buy a 12 pack again just to get 2 though.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Darkly cast appearance, yet not quite brown, a dunnish deep burgundy, perhaps, resting under a good-sized, roasty cocoa-tan head, a solid 1/4", slowly shifting down.
Bittersweet espresso aroma, roasted, toasted, lightly spicy, burnt toast, chocolate, and a whiff of coffee grounds...with chocolate getting bigger over time...
Smooth and rich on the palate, light but almost luscious in flavor, sweetness and dark, together in tandem, with a creamy oily coating on the palate. Very well felt in the mouth, fills it fully, swishes flavor all around. Quite nice. Full in body, with a long, chocolatey finish.
Very, very nice voice rises in the choir to ask what makes it a "holiday" matter, this is nice nonetheless...why don't they so something this good year 'round, I gotsta ask...

Photo of ADR
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 2004 Holiday variety pack...

Dark brown pour, verging on opaque but letting light through at the bottom. Tan head struggles a bit after a half a minute, but settles as a skin. Rings of thin fne lace with good coverage on a pint glass. Sweet caramel aromas, traces of black pepper and a slight roast. Pleasant medium mouthfeel, lightly slick at first but with an effortlessly well-done carbonation typical of many practiced Sam Adams brews. Starts out roasty with a good crystal malt counterpoint and finishes noticeable dryer if somewhat diminished in overall mouthfeel. The increased bitterness in the close would be better in style for me if the body held up as slightly thicker. Still, a drinkable beer without many distractions.

Photo of UncleFrank
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time I had this was at the brewery. Had it again in the bottle and I think I enjoyed the bottle better. Just MHO.
Tan head on top of an almost black opaque beer.
Smell of burnt malts, more burnt that "gently roasted". Slightly sweet.
The body is medium, nice for style. Taste is bitter from grains not hops, semi-sweet chocolate and dark grains dominate. Hops to balance but not tasted. More of a brown porter than a robust, even though the color would indicate otherwise.
I liked this beer alot, especially sice I am very critical of porters and usually only enjoy robust ones. I drank these all night at a card game and would do it again.

Photo of Dogbrick
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Sam Adams gets a bad rap sometimes, and people are overly critical of the brewer. Sam Adams brews high-quality beers, even the ones that are bland and boring. They are still well-made! This beer is no exception. Pours a dark brown color with a medium beige head that dissipated quickly. Thin and sticky lacing. The aroma is roasty with malt, dark chocolate and hops. Medium-bodied with bitter chocolate undertones. Malt, caramel and some coffee flavors. The finish is where the hops become more apparent. All in all this Porter is not up there with Fuller’s and the like but it is definitely a good beer.

Photo of soper2000
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the Winter sampler. Pours with a nice 2 finger tan head (easily the most vibrant of this years winter sampler), atop a dark brown body which turns ruby when held up to a light. Aroma leans more toward chocolate than it does towards coffee. Taste is well balanced, no notes of coffee bitterness or flavors that really jump out at you. Very mellow porter. I'm not too impressed that they traded this for the magnificent cream stout in the sampler. Not bad by any means, it's just nothing earth-shattering.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Holiday Porter is a well balanced, great tasting beer. It's too bad that it's only available once a year in the winter mix pack and not year round in six packs. I guess this will be something to look forward to each fall.

The beer pours a very dark ruby color that looks black in the glass. A very thick frothy tan head forms on top, dissolving slowly to a thick ring on the surface. There is a lot of lace left along the sides of the glass as the beer empties. The roasted malt aroma has hints of nuts and pine mixed in.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is very smooth. A roasted malt flavor gives this beer a base that lasts throughout each sip. Nuts, caramel, and toffee flavors are all present before a mildly bitter hop taste finishes off each sip. A roasted malt flavor is left behind on the palate.

This is a great tasting, easy drinking, full flavored beer. It could be used as a stepping stone for those who do not like the dark malt flavors of a stout.

Photo of mynie
4.16/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This son of a bitch looks like a PORTER. Black as a space completely devoid of all light and with a tight, sexy head.

Smells like burnt malt and little else. Kind of disappointing.

Goodness, what a tasty brew. Burnt, bittersweet malt upfront. Burnt, bittersweet malt in the back with just a little bit of a bitter hop kick. Dark chocolate and cinnamon all around. Almost an oatmeal stout kind of aftertaste. Very nice.

A bit thin on the body, but it goes down smooth as can be. Great beer!

Photo of shippos
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

in the winter holiday 12 pack, poured with a big head that settled down to a good solid .5" layer of tannish foamy goodness. along witha dark brown color. has a very subtle aroma a little bit of caramel but other than that everything elluds me. average mouthfeel and body a little hoppy aftertaste but non of the usual choc. roasty flavors that I'm accustomed to in a porter. still highly drikable and worth a shot, hell ya gotta get yer fezziwig anyway.

Photo of KoG
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hands down the best porter I've had to date.

Filled up my glass with a nice, dark red hue creating a 2-3" head that stayed creamy til I was nearly finished. Left lacing galore around my mug.

Smell was of sweet malt, caramel, estery hops, and a slight chocolate hint.

Taste was damn near perfect. So nice and rich with sweet malt and caramel followed up by a good balance of bittering hops. Very tasty.

The mouthfeel of this porter was way better than any other I've had. Most porters come off a bit too thin, but this hits it on the nose without going too syrupy. Good carbonation that supports the flavors and goes down ultra smooth.

I could drink this brew year round without a problem at all. I prefer this to the Ol' Fezziwig and hope they bring it to market as more than a seasonal offering.

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $18.99 at Sam's Club for two 12-packs. Great deal, glad I got 4 Holiday Porters.

Appearance- Pours coffee black, with a large, frothy head. Excellant retention for this light-brown monster. I don't know if this could appear any better.

Smell- A little bit weak. Mostly roasted malts with notes of chocolate and coffee.

Taste- Great taste, but doesn't blow the other porters I've had out of the water. Dark, roasted malts begin the sip. Dark chocolate is in the mix. Finish is hoppy, not too strong, just right I think.

M.F./Drinkability- Smooth and easy to drink. No complaints here. A great porter, please put this in sixers next year or all year-round.

Photo of Nytemare
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got it guessed it, the Holiday 12pack. Overall I'm not impressed with the 12pack. Old Fezziwig was all right, Winter Lager was decent. I hate Sammy light, and the Cranberry Lambic was definately not my pint of beer. However, the Holiday Porter was a very pleasant surprise. Nice dark appearance with a rich pillowy head. Stuck fairly well to the glass. The smell was a little subdued, but a decent roasted malt and bitter chocolate notes. Smooth creamy mouthfeel with just a little bite. Probably would have smoothed out with some warming. I drank it a little too cold. Very well done. Not the best porter I've ever had, but a definate winner. Now if they would just fill this box up with Scottish Ale, this Porter, the Winter Lager, the Cream Stout, Boston Lager, and Old Fezziwig, You'd have a helluva 12pack. I'd buy 'em by the truck.

Photo of mobyfann
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid only $10.99 for the "Winter Classics Holiday 12 pack"

The pour is as black as night base with a small-medium head offbrown-whiteish head with great retention and the lacing painted a picture on my beer stein, a beautiful beer. The aroma was a little weak, notes of chocolate, alcohol and sweetness...

The taste feels heavy but it's smooth; the sweetness is more defined into a caramel like flavor, the chocolate does carry over as does the alcohol but not so much as the nose preceived it. The mouthfeel as I stated before is smooth, nice on the palette and may be the 2nd smoothest porter to Yuengling's. The drinkability is high, given that the alc. must be in the 6% range, and I had no porblem downing it in 20 minutes, quick for a porter.

Final Thought: One of the better porters out there, too bad Sam Adams doesn't brew porters in the masses year-round.

Photo of marcobrau
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour a dark brown color with ruby accents with a typical fluffy Sam Adams head, although in this case, tan colored. The aroma is quite good and full of cocoa. This is a very smooth, medium to full-bodied and malt-accented porter; in this way it seems to be a very English interpretation. I like the chocolately malt flavors, but I'd like just a touch more bitterness towards the finish; heck, I'd like some more hops -- period! It seems almost there is more bitterness from the grain the hops with this one. Still, a very well made porter, just not terribly complex or exciting.

Photo of granger10
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is simply an all around good beer. Smell is strong in the spice and so is the flavor. Taste has more of those spices, they aren't complex but feel real Christmassy to me. Malt seems a bit weak and its tough to distinguish them. I don't really get any chocolate but more of an earthy toffee flavor in there. Lots of spices though that are backed by a decently thick, well-carbonated body. All in all this is a good holiday-style beer. This years Sam Adams holiday mixer is very, very good!

Photo of niknar
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this new offering as part of the Winter Classics Holiday 12 pack. I think it is brand new this year.

Pours out very dark - blackish with perhaps just a tiny hint of crimson whne the light hits it just right. Poured with a tiny tannish head that settled within a few minutes. The aroma on this one is something special for sure. Strong chocolate notes with a hint of alcohol. Also some hints of dark, rich malts. The flavors match the aroma quite well. Lots of chocolate and roasted malts. Well balanced with hop bitterness as well. Slight alcohol taste in the finish, which is every so slightly dry. Very good. The mouthfeel is excellent and true to the style. Quite think and substantial, but not quite as solid and chewy as a stout. For the style I think this is a very drinkable beer. Not something you'd want to kick back 6 or 8 of, but definitely a homerun hit for the BBC.

Photo of Tballz420
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a dark black body, with brown hues on the sides. Khaki-brown head leaves behind some lace. The main scent is chocolate malts along with some spicy tones as well. Chocolate malt in front, muted hop accent, along with some spice and nut notes. Med bodied. Overall pretty good

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure what qualifies this as a "holiday" porter, other than calling it that gives SA an excuse to include it in the winter sampler. Marketing aside, this was a very well put together porter. Rich, a touch creamy with nicely roasted malt flavors that did not stray too far to the caramel or over-roasted ends of the spectrum. Nicely punched-up hops qualifies for the robust porter designation (I think of it as a category). I lamented the passing of SA's Honey Porter, which was a nice crossover beer to introduce the style, and I'm happy to see SA put this beer in the lineup. I'd be happier if they made it a regular offering, rather than a seasonal. Surely they could kick a few cases of the cherry wheat off grocery shelves to make room. Nice label - a bottle of this and one of Old Fezzi and I'm ready to watch A Christmas Carol.

Photo of Hibernator
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz bottle and served it in a British imperial pint glass. Cool looking label a la Old Fezziwig with a man carrying a keg of Holiday Porter in a wintery backdrop. A surprise addition to this year's Sam Adams Winter Classics 12 pack seasonal. Freshness date is clearly marked on the side of the label for March.

Appearance is solid black in color with a tannish, fluffy brown head that rests on top. The head diminshes, but keep some form with awesome sticky lacings.

Blended aroma of chocolate, caramel and hops.

Silky and creamy mouthful. Roasted malt profile give some nice chocolate and mocha flavors. Mini hop snap bite on the finish. Is that the East Kent Goldings ? The hop feel, even though much smaller in presence reminds me of the Brooklyn East IPA.

Very nice porter and one of the better offerings from Boston Beer Company in a while. BBC should consider selling this beer all year round.Ever since the void of the Honey Porter, this would make a nice year round addition to their line up of beers.

5.9 % ABV

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i found this to be spot on and a pleasant new additon to the winter classics pack. it pours a lovely deep brown colour with a big fluffy and chunky off white head that leaves a mess of residue on the glass. the smell is subtle but solid: caramel, chocolate, a touch of coffee and some roasted malt. a touch sweet and a touch earthy. nice. the flavour is equally good if not better: sweet but not overpowering earthy and malty but not too rugged. it definitely has a winter/holiday tone to it. there's a warmth here that just fits in right, and it;s not the alcohol as it does not make itself known at all throughout. it tastes at times almost likea mix of the chocolate bock and the honey porter bleded together seemlessly. really good stuff. if only they could eliminate the cranberry lambic and add an extra one of these and the fezziwig. grab the winter classics for this one alone, i'd say.

Photo of Winter
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 2004 Winter Classics 12 Pack. An English-style porter was a nice edition this year. The label artwork has a similar "Dickens" feel to it and compliments the Ol' Fizziwg bottle nicely. I'd love to see more of these and less of the Cranberry and SA Light.

Pours a dark brown/near black in color with a light tan head. Aroma of milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel and a touch vinous. Full-bodied and well carbonated mouthfeel. Front features dark chocolate flavors and roasted malt. Hop bitterness emerges midway and really dries out the palate. Vinous flavor seeps through behind the hops. Dryness continues in the finish.

Photo of danadeny
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice black body with brown head. Smells bready and sweet. Flavor is overall light, kick of flavor in the beginning and coffee aftertaste. The mouth feel is light and crisp, and drink ability is pretty good. Not a big beer that a lot of BA's look for, but it's light charactor is refreshing when you are not looking to blow your sences away.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,233 ratings.