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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,224 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,224
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 34
Gots: 98 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,224 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Risser09
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter - 2007 winter offering

Appearance: A wicked hard pour yields a wicked huge head of 2 inches or better. The beer itself is jet black, no light escapes it. The head is being stubborn and isn't going anywhere. It is tan in nature, with various bubble sizes. It has nice moon craters as well. Laving is stubborn and clings to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Old leather, chocolate malt, toast, and baked oatmeal. The aromas are succinct and sweet.

Taste: The taste is fresh with roasted malts, burnt pancakes, wheatena, and caramel. Coffee and espresso make an appearance. Sugary and spicy. But not so spicy. Not spicy enough to be considered a holiday porter, imho. Good but not great.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smoothe. This porter bites back, not in the way that Troegs' does, but it has some bitterness to it. Sugar is the main component, but it does have other charm, like a nice alcohol warmth.

Drinkability: Very nice. This beer is tasty and smoothe. It goes down easy and doesn't ask for your number when you want to be left alone. Where are all the holiday spices? One can only imagine where they ran off to. Probably a better holiday porter at the North Pole. Drink this one.

Photo of BiereBlanche
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz Bottle from a Sam Adams winter pack.

Appearance - Very dark ruby-ebony color. Thick, dark tan head settles a bit quickly leaving patches of foam.

Smell - Roasted malts for the most part. A buttery toffee smell adds support and hints of coffee and chocolate add robust complexity. Very nice Porter smell.

Taste - Dark and roasty taste lingers start to dry finish. Coffee seems to be the other main flavor and sticks in the mouth for the aftertaste, smooth and buttery aftertaste. A bit of alcohol warming, nice for a winter offeringI noticed a very pronounced, unfitting and unpleasant banana-esque flavor just after swallowing. It seems interesting, but the banana flavor is ruining it for me.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Dry finish. Smooth (like all SA)

Drinkability - Sam Adams Holiday Porter seems like it would be really interesting in flavor, the smell is pretty great. It's smooth, rich and full flavored. It's a shame, I have to admit the off flavor I keep picking up is ruining it for me and getting through a single bottle is a challenge...

Photo of westweasel
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours out a very dark brown that is clear when held up to the light. There is about 3/8 in. of light tan head that leaves lacing along the glass.

The aroma is roasted grains and a little dark chocolate. The taste is roasty coffee and some dark chocolate with an earthy hop bite in the finish, along with a little carbonation contribution to that bite.

The mouthfeel is medium with a high level of carbonation on the tounge. This is a very good example of a robust, English porter.

Photo of jeonseh
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So this is one of the first beers that I ever reviewed and I wanted to rereview this and see if my impression have changed.

A - Dark, coffee colored beer with a reddish tinge to it. With hints of amber to it as well; Had a small cream colored head to with a slight carbonation

S - smells of malt and chocolate with hints of figs and cherry wafting up; there is also a hint of honey coming forward

T - Taste at first is heavy malt with hints of orange peel on the end. There is a hint of spice that goes along with the yeasty maltness and there is a hint of roasted coffee that underlies the other flavors. Actually reminds me a bit of the young's winter warmer that I had before with the big malt body to it. Hints of Christmas pudding also underlie the flavor with hints of brown sugar underneath and hints of cherry

MF - The body is medium with a light carbonation that helps make the orange peel flavors pop out a bit stronger.

D - Overall a decent beer to have as part of the holiday sampler pack but I don't think i wold seek it out actively. Would go well with a holiday meal of ham and sweet potatoes. A decent offering from SA

Photo of DoubleJ
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well, it's a porter for sure, but what makes it worthy to be called a Holiday porter? Find out now:

Appearance is dark as a porter should be, with shades of brown on the sides, crowned by a whitish-tan head. Smell is dominated by coffee beans, and a little espresso. The journey of this porter's flavor begins with a burnt touch on the palate. A roasted character is mild to heavy the time the beer is in your mouth. It has notes of banana and coffee flavors. Touch of charcoal and chocolate as well. There is a light hoppy flavor that gains definition as the beer gets sucked from the tongue to the throat.

This brew has some meat on its bones, making it a good choice in the cold winter months. Oh, now I see why it's called a Holiday porter. And yes, it's worthy of that moniker.

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

Had this at the Falcons football game. Poured into a plastic cup (only drawback). A very dark black with red highlights and a nice head that fell with little to no lace (I think it's the cup). Had a good roasted smell with coffee and chocolate. The taste is much the same with a nice thick mouthfeel and some decent carbonation. Overall drinkability is high for me because it was right in my wheelhouse as a porter and it offered a very traditional porter taste

Photo of morimech
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black, with some reddish highlights. A nice head forms but quickly disipates to just a ring. Not much lacing is left in its wake.

The dark malt is evident in the aroma but it lacks a depth found in other porters. It also has a slightly sweet smell.

The taste lacks the depth also. Not very complex or deep. Rather bland if you ask me. Just malt, the customary chocolate and coffee flavors are rather weak. It coats the mouth with a creamy feel and finishes dry. Maybe I have been spoiled by being exposed to some really good dark beers makes me not appreciate this one.

Photo of animal69
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this was my third pick ; pours a deep burgandy-brown w/ a thin tan head which dissapates quickly, little lacing ; a caramel/toffee aroma w/ some citrusy hop notes, some faint estery yeast as well ; a rich, sweet, roasty caramel flavor, not as dry as most porters, has a nice malt profile, some spicy hop flavors as well ; a robust med. bodied brew, plenty of co2 to help keep the flavor around ; this is a very drinkable one, i like it better than their honey, in fact, this one of the best porters i've had, too bad it's seasonal...

Photo of BDIMike
4.39/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color with a very thin head.
Smells of a very rich chocolate malt. Has slight tones of caramel as well.
Has a great traditional porter taste. Very dark chocolate malt flavor. It has a bit of hoppiness at the end, but is definitely dominated by a chocolate malt taste.
The mouthfeel is a little thin.
Couldn't drink these all day, but porters aren't really meant to be.

Great hearty porter. The perfect beer for dessert or after dinner on a cold wintry night.

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

"For Brewery-Fresh Taste, Enjoy Before Month Notched: APR"
Part of an 07/08 SA Winter Classics 12-pack I picked up from the Columbia Schnuck's for $14.39.

a: Pours a very dark brown with hints of amber around the edges, light tan head sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing.

s: Typical porter mix of roasted malt, toffee, and dried dark fruits.

t: Chocolate, caramel, good charred/smoke notes with just a taste of hop bitterness towards the end.

m: Rich, creamy, smooth, the finish is a tad bitter.

d: Good balance to his one, might be my favorite from the SA Winter Classics 12-pack and when paired with a slice of pumpkin pie and MU Football, its sure making for a nice Saturday afternoon!

Photo of weeare138
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque, near-black with some ruby highlights along the edges. The dark tan head slowly fades out, leaving chunky bits of sticky lacing around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, English toffee, cocoa, roasted nuts, hints of coffee, and caramel.
Taste is that of the mentioned aromas with obvious notes of buttery biscuit in a traditional English Porter holding true to notes of fruit and diacytel.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, semi sweet with nice balance of herbal hops and mild spice with charred sugars.

Photo of scottyshades
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a gorgeous onyx color with red hues when held to light, monster sand colored 3 finger head which leaves a patchy lace on the glass...one of the best looking pours from a porter ive seen

S: Rich aroma consisting of roasted malts, caramel, toffee, coffee, and chocolate

T: Strong notes of smoked flavors, mainly of chocolate, caramel, malts, and yeast...it finishes a little bitter and very dry

MF: Thick and creamy mouthfeel, medium in body, decent carbonation, goes down super smooth

D: Pretty drinkable, maybe a little too rich to be consumed in mass amounts, but definitely an excellent beer for a BBQ

Photo of erosier
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one excellent porter. It poured a nice dark brown, almost black into the glass with a nice caramel colored head that was very thick and stuck to the sides of the glass. It smells of dark roasted malts and spices. The taste is really good with roasted malts dominating with some spices coming through in the aftertaste. Some nutty flavors come out in the aftertaste making it really nice for a holiday beer. It has a good sweet malty aftertaste and is overall an excellent beer. I wish they sold it outside of the holiday mix pack.

Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really a terrific porter, this is maybe the best reason to enjoy the return of Samuel Adams's Winter Classics 12-pack. This beer is full of flavor, creamy smooth, easy to enjoy, and usually leaves me wishing that Sam Adams distributed six-packs of this delicious beer.

The head is typically modest for Sam Adams products, but the beer leaves distinct foam lines around the glass to indicate its rich texture. The flavors are prominent but blend together very well. The roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel work nicely, and the creamy texture makes this a full-bodied yet easy-going porter to enjoy. Personally, among Sam Adams products, their porters I find to be exceptional, unfailingly excellent beverages, and Holiday Porter is no slouch. Porter fans will enjoy. This is a great beer to crack open after shoveling the driveway, or for resting with a book by the fire. First-rate.

Photo of Brad007
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown color with a small brown head. Aroma is strong and malty with a coffee presence in the nose. Nice and roasty. Taste is nice and smooth, roasty with a lot of the alcohol showing through upfront. A second sip confirms a lot of the roastiness with a bit of a burnt coffee edge to it.

I would say that the alcohol showing through isn't quite what I desire in a porter. Even at 5.9%, there seems to be too much upfront that overshadows the roastiness.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.56/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, with a Dickensian man bringing a giant cask of Porter to an 1800's Christmas gathering, very inviting and appropriate,

A: Pours a dark brown, black from afar, with a thick, off-white, to light tan head, which has excellent retention, and forms a funnel type shape in my tulip as the beer is drunk. Heavy concentric rings of lace straddle the glass, making the beer's presence known. A beautiful beer to look at before it is drunk, and while one is drinking it.

S: Nice smell of roasted caramel malt, toast, bread, chocolate, and a bit of smoke and spice. Not the most robust smelling porter I've ever had, but the qualities of the smell make up for it nicely.

T: Very tasty. Bittersweet, 60-70% cocoa hits at the first sip, with some sweet caramel coming in second. Toasted bread and a bit of molasses add some complexity to the already beautiful, full malt flavour.

M: Smooth and creamy, full-bodied, almost like a liquid chocolate bar, very soothing and enjoyable.

D: I remember liking the Old Fezziwig the best last year, and it still is great, but this year, the Holiday Porter takes the cake. I have been thoroughly impressed by this beer, truly fantastic. The holiday mix pack from Sam Adams is worth it just for this beer, probably the best American Porter I have ever had.

Photo of schoolboy
4.7/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ooooo. I am so happy to get the Holiday Classics once again. The porter was first out of the box and just as I remembered it, how satisfying it is. It actually tastes a bit boozier than it is, and that's fine. Nothing hidden. Perhaps this was because my drink tonight was barely cool. And that's fine too.

The taste is very complex, yet not at all intimidating. I could drink these non-stop. If I was expecting a run of the mill heavy porter, this would be all wrong, but expecting a slightly "flavored" drink, I get what I want.

I'll have to go out and get me a few 12's of this just in case the price goes up ($11.99 this week) and availablility goes down. I am sure they will keep. In fact, I wonder if they might age well.

Photo of MisterDeeds
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A little early in the year, but when I see the Sam Winter Classics I am helpless to resist. So I bypass the famous Old Fezziwig, and put the Cranberry Lambics away for my sister-in-law, and I go straight for the Holiday Porter.

It pours dark and somewhat thick. Strangely, it seems to perform a quicker version of the Guinness cascade, leaving a thick head that dissipates slightly but hangs on throughout. The smell is somewhere is between dark roasted coffee and baking chocolate. Not a very appetizing combo, but it somehow works here.

Tastes just like it pours, dark and thick. Starts off with a little sweetness, and finishes with a slightly bitter coffee flavor.

Not sure why I always do this, but I like to suggest a good place to enjoy a beer, and this is definitely a fireplace beer. Even better would be outside on a cold night around a fire.

Photo of JDK
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich chocolate color with a nice 1 finger head that lingered for quite a while.
Medium lacing that clung to the sides and never disappeared top to bottom.
Very nice mouthfeel. Just the right amount of carbonation for this porter
Very strong tastes of caramel and chocolate but not too sweet at all.
Excellent beer overall and definately worth a try. I got mine in the SA Holiday Sampler

Photo of Rudgers73
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams pint glass. There is a really decent head on this beer. About a 1/2 inch tall and retentive as well. I don't see many porters with rich heads. The beer is a couple shades darker than cola and there is mild carbonation. The nose is very much porter-like. Toasty, burnt, bitter hop aroma. The flavor profile is really nice. It's smooth and complex with good balance. It starts out rich and smooth with a touch of burnt grain, then the burnt flavor introduces the bitter hop taste. It finishes clean and doesn't leave you hanging. I enjoy the mouthfeel of this one. It is neither too thick nor too bold. It is very drinkable just for that reason: it's rich but not too rich, and it's strong but not unsessionably strong. 1 or 2 would be nice on a cold night.

Photo of botham
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a new Sam Adams glass. pours a dark chocolate color with garnet highlights and a solid tan head that is frothy.

smell is of black and chocolate malts, with a notable roasted character. a light hint of caramel is present as well. a base of bready yeast is also present, which offsets the sweet malts. good balance and concentration.

taste is sweet and malty up front, with a roasted character and notes of chocolate and caramel. finishes on a toasted note without much character in the aftertaste. overall a bit on the weak side when compared to what the aroma suggests.

mouthfeel is a bit thinner than would be expected. a medium to full body makes it a bit weak for a porter. a more bold mix of flavors and a heavier body would do this one well.

drinkability is good for a porter. the thinner body makes this one easier to finish. truth be told, this is a suprizing offer from Sam Adams. a little lacking on the body and boldness. nevertheless, this one is worth a try. cheers!

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of light mocha colored head, settles quickly but leaves good lace. Black body with a hint of amber when held up to the light.

S - Caramel malt, subtle hops, almonds and perhaps a hint of indeterminate spice.

T - Big coffee flavor followed by hops and a creamy, dark caramel malt character. The finish is a long procession of dark malt: coffee, chocolate, and finally some sweet almonds.

M - Fairly light body, while it is sweet and creamy at first it quickly dries out and finishes roasty and dry without lingering on the palate. High carbonation.

D - Excellent drinkability. Full of flavor, but light in body and easy to drink. This captures the season better than most of the other Sam Adams winter beers, too bad the holiday sampler only comes with two.

Photo of JamesS
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My second favorite in the holiday pack, this porter is excellent. It’s not very dark, more like an average coffee than a nice dark porter stout, although it does have wonderful head and lacing. It has a fantastic aroma and taste, though! Excellent scents/flavors of chocolate and roasted barley, but the best part is how it smells and tastes almost like a smoked porter. Goes down well and would make a great digestif. Very much worth a try!

Photo of bigdeuce
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour on this one, with a terrific head and great lacing. Little smokey on the nose, but smell is a little lacking, which is not common for a Samuel Adam's brew. Dark chocolately, roasted malts with a nutty flavor as well. Some coffee also, maybe? Medium bodied with a little twingy hop flavor at the end. An overall nice offering by the Boston Beer Company.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love it when the holiday brews come out! This is part of the SA Holday 12 pack.

A robust crimson hued brownish color, deep and vibrant displaying a thick, clumpy and very sticky head that has very slow retention and a nice 1/8" cover remain until the end.

The nose has a robust, zesty chocolate malt, later caramel brown sugar sweetness and a peppery, barbaque-zesty hop underneath it all.

The flavor brings forth a bold smoked-oats and chocolate flavored malt, with currents of vanilla cookies and finishing hop-zesty and a slightly bitter peanutbutter aftertaste. The big malt boldness is also very smooth and hefty, just like it should be, with a slick, creamy feeling.

This is pretty rad winter brew.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,224 ratings.