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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,194 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,194
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 21
Gots: 72 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DFN on 10-17-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,194 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Procrastinator
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from holiday 12-pack poured into nonic pint glass. March 2007 best before date on neck band.

Appearance: midnight brown with ruby hues. 2" head after vigorous pour rests into pillowy soft concentrated head with lacing.

Smell: sweet, burnt barley. Bitter coffee.

Taste: semi-sweet, nicely balanced malt sweetness with hop bitterness. Caramel and buttery sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, nice small bubble carbonation. A bit slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: a good drinking beer. Not too harsh with the bitterness
nor too sweet with the malt.

I've had this beer dozens of times thoughout the years. This is a nice well-rounded porter that always leaves me satisfied.

Procrastinator, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of plaid75
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep murky brown hue with a one finger creamy off white head. There was decent retention and good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt with hints of chocolate malt and burnt grain.

The taste consisted of a mildly sweet caramel and a solid coffee and burnt grain flavor. Soft cocoa element and floral hop apparent as well. Mild diacetyl.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a good dry finish.

Overall a very good porter. Certainly quaffable and recommended.

plaid75, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of JimFalzone
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best beer in the holiday 12-pack. It's a nice smooth porter with hints of toasted malts and carmel. It's a nice rich, dark brown color with a light frothy head. Head retention is not great, but it's somewhat typical of other American porters I have tried. The after taste on your tongue and mouth is sweet and very slightly smokey. (Not as clear as a smoked porter, it's very subtle.) It's definitely a good beer to enjoy while wrapping Christmas presents in front of the fire. And unlike a barleywine, you can comfortable enjoy three or four of them.

JimFalzone, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber brown color with a tan head that starts out about an inch thick before settling to about 1/4 of an inch. Leaves some nice lacing too. Has sort of roasty, malty aromas of chocolate, caramel, and coffee are dominant along with some spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Has a somewhat sweet flavors of chocolate and coffee upfront followed by the aforementioned spices. Also has a definite hop presence. Fairly good balance. Has a medium body with light to medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and crisp and the beer is quite easy to drink. A good effort indeed!


neenerzig, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of Drew966
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter pours a dark brown with a tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There's chocolate and coffee in the aroma. The flavor also has chocolate and coffee notes, but there are strong hop flavors right in the middle. An Americanized porter that is pretty decent. Definitely worth a try.

Drew966, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of Adamthome1
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near perfect black with good head retention. Smells like rich, nutty, and aged just as it should.

Taste is a good mix of roasted nut, chocolate, and a rich consistancy. Bitterness is noted in the aftertaste and I think is about a perfect amount for the category. Very complex flavors coming out on the palate, this immense flavor was unexpected.

Comes in at a hefty 5.9% ABV, but alcohol is not overly noticable. Worth a try.

Adamthome1, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of athensbeermaster
2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well at least this porter replaced the light beer from last year in the sample pack for x-mas! Though this is my least favorite porter I've ever tried. Very small head. The smell reminded me of two day old coffee. The faint hint of chocolate almost made this drinkable.
I like a porter, this one is just a bad example. I'll stick to Fullers,
Anchor,or Carnegie for a great version of a porter.

athensbeermaster, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of Neehan
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured a very dark, near-black with a very thin head, but some lacing and thickness in consistency. The taste of dark, burnt roasted malts with a hint of sweetness. Dominated by the burnt character. The mouthfeel is quite strong with a high, burning carbonation that has a warming effect that is pleasant, but will make you wait between sips.

Neehan, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of RustythePelican
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am probably not adequately versed in porters to give this a review according to the style. However, I know what I like, and I enjoyed this beer. Smell was of cocoa, coffee, and a hint of berries. The taste was lighter and sweeter than I expected, with a mild honey finish. Mouthfeel was also lighter than I expected; this is not a beer that coats the tongue, which makes it a good choice for holiday session drinking. Overall, another nice beer from Boston Beer Co.

RustythePelican, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of Saint
4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing. Simply amazing. It has a beautiful and robust grouping of flavors. It is sweetly caramel in flavor, has a yet a nice crisp spice, almost resembling of nutmeg, but best of all is that it finishes out with a smooth chocolaty flavor. The smooth chocolate flavor comes with a fine velvet feel at the end. The beer is stunning, it tastes as though it is significantly more pricey beer then would be featured in a winter variety mix pack.

Saint, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of coasterfreak75
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was pitch black with a nice two finger beige head that quickly dissapated and left a very thin ring around the top of the beer. Little or no lacing on the glass.

The smell was quite malty with a mix of cocoa and slight coffee aromas. I was suprised by the strength of the hop aroma mixed in the smell.

The drink starts kind of empty and thin with flavors that are hard to pick up, even as it warms. The middle is a light hop spice followed by a nice malt/coffee finish with just a hint of caramel flavor in the end.

All and all quite a good beer, I was just a little let down by the start of the drink. I was hoping for something a little heavier. But I do recommend it.

coasterfreak75, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of arnulfooxblood
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance--nice and dark, decent tan frothy head.

Smell--notable roasted malts, faint cocoa aromas. Not bad.

Taste/Mouthfelle--Good carbonation, fairly thick mouthfeel. The flavors are not as pronounced as I would hope. Tastewise, unfortunately, I think it falls a little flat for an American Porter.

Drinkability--Goes down easy enough, but the weak taste leaves me wanting something else.

Overall--not too bad, but certainly not the best porter I've ever had.

arnulfooxblood, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of GPHarris
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a two fingers thick coffee-colored head into a tumbler. body is black with red hints that make look almost dark purple. nice sheeting action with sticky lace throughout.
s - light chocolate malt with a little spice to it. maybe cinnamon? as it warms caramel tones come through.
t - once again a light chocolate tone with a little caramel in the finish.
m - crisp hop bite to it and a slick mouthfeel.
d - really a nice winter brew. i may have started it out too cold because as it neared room temperature the tastes and scents really came through.

GPHarris, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle with a shoulder embossed with a brace of “Sam Adams” text sealed with a gold colored crown cap. The main label looks very similar to the one pictured on BA. ‘Holiday Porter’ is in white text set against a gold edge red sash. As with the ‘Old Fezziwig Ale’, the main label is heavily influenced by Dickensian London with all of its Victorian connotations, a tall chap seems to be delivering a wooden Cask of Holiday Porter to a Tavern. Has a nicked “APR” Brewery Fresh Date and a listed Strength of 5.9% ABV.

Appearance: Jet black body, oh but wait, no, a strong light will produce some thick mahogany flashes, claret like with a burgundy clarity. The head is massive on the pour, a thick tan colored uneven cap soon drops to leave some fantastic looking side wall lacing; a gentle swirl reveals the finely dissolved conditioning and recaptures the crusty head lacing on the glass walls and pulls them back into the body of the beer to recycle them and produce a more uniform ½”thick disc that remains with an envious longevity. Superb looks.

Nose: The malts that escape in vapor form are heavily roasted. The background is of dark chocolate. The finish is of walnuts and caramel.

Taste: Roasted malts are tempered with a toasted backdrop in the beginning. Walnut encrusted Bourneville dark chocolate fills the middle; whilst ember roasted Horse Chestnuts dryness slakes the plate. A chocolate bitterness, no doubt influenced from the Fuggles and East Kent Goldings, breaks the smoothness and leaves a very attractive defined lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Gorgeous creamy body with an above average thickness that assists in enabling the Holiday Porter to exhibit a rich smoothness.

Drinkability: My first bottle was quite literally quaffed in several mouthfuls. The second bottle afforded me some respite to analyze the Drinkability of the Holiday Porter….so yeah, it is rather quaffable…..a terrific “Session Porter” for the Holiday season. Man I love this stuff.

Overall: If I could I’d be picking this one up in Six-Packs tomorrow, hell I’d even buy a case of this terrific Session Porter!!! I’d even be tempted to pick up another Winter Classic Case…well, except for “that” beer, you know, that l….l…l..l..lam…..nah, I can’t even bring myself to say it. Note to Jim: please put four of these in next years Winter Pack and ditch the Turkey Juice.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of Backer2004
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like many others, picked this up as part of the winter mix pack from Sam Adam's. My smartest move was letting it sit at room temperature about 20 minutes before diving into it. Not sure what's so holiday about it, but it's a pretty good porter on all parts. Lots of caramel, chocolate nose and taste. Easy to drink with a creamy mouthfeel. A great example for someone just getting into this style of beer.

Backer2004, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of Dizzy
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a reddish tint. Creamy tan head with lots of lacing, great head retention. Smells like chocolate and coffee. Taste is roasted malt and chocolate. Medium body. This is probably my favorite Sam Adam's beer so far. It's too bad you have to buy the holiday twelve pack to get two of these.

Dizzy, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of UnionMade
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive dark brown, keeping a thin film of head for the full term. Nice sheeting lacework. Roasty, nutty aroma, rich with malt and very smooth. Silky coffee with mild english hop undertones. The flavor is smooth and roasty, with caramel sweetness balanced by subtle herbal hops and coffee roastiness. A bit of plum fruitiness rounds things out. Melllow, english-styled carbonation. Lightish body. I'd call this beer exactly to style, nothing more, nothing less. What it lacks in adventurousness, it more than makes up for in tastiness. Probably my second favorite in the holiday variety pack, or equal to the black lager.

UnionMade, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of bark
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The liquid looks very smooth when poured. The colour is opaque pinch black; the large creamy head is pale beige and compact. It sinks slowly down leaving fine lacing. Nice one!

The smell is creamy and a bit sweet. Roasted chocolate malt, dried fruits, matured strong wine, apricot candy, caramel, honey and a hint of herbs.

The taste is at first sweet and creamy but it develops slowly to a robust dry-bitter flavour. There are notes of coffee, bitter chocolate, nutmeg, “old fashioned liquorice”, some cream and a clean bitterness. The aftertaste is dry with lots of black coffee, some cocoa and a fine bitterness with hints of spices (nutmeg, basilica, tamarinds?) and a touch of sweet liquorice. Although the beer is 5.9%, there is just a weak hint of alcohol in the taste.

The carbonation is rather strong, but the (very small) bubbles are short lived; leaving room for all the flavours.

A fine American porter in all, but as such it could be a little too much for my taste buds.

bark, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of JanM
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spotted a tiny bottle at my local Systembolaget and seized it. Next day there were no more Holiday Porter in south Sweden. I'm glad I did it. I'm not really a Sam Adams fan but this beer was good! It poured in a dark brown color but not with much foam. The smell was like dark bread and butcher's shop with notes of caramel and chocolate. The taste was sweet, dark bread and lots of chocolate. Maybe some coffee too. Arranged to have some more bought for me up north. Gotta have it with my Christmas dinner.

JanM, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter variety pack -- part II. Pretty agressive brew with strong roots and plenty of charisma. Strong porter-like attributes throughout (chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, toast, and walnuts). All show up evenly in the look, smell, and taste. A swift kick of hops (English) give a big pine flavor and aroma; adds spiciness, dryness, and a Christmas tree, get-in-the-mood kind of flavor. Aggressively bittered and flavored, but not to dominate the malts and other Porter characters. Finishes sweet and bitter with a bit of a roasted grain / hop bite. A bit dry. Good porter though.

BEERchitect, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had a nice big head but it wasn't that thick. let me explain. Some heads have bubbles that are tight together and huge and stay for a long time. These bubbles were more sepearted though.

Smell was of chocolate malts primarily.

Taste: was smooth and chocolate malt dominated. Caramel malts were present, but not nearly as much as the chocolate malts. It was very very smooth though and not very bitter. I really enjoyed the malting of this brew.

Mouthfeel was crisp and full.

Drinkability: THis was an easy to drink beer for the colder months. I wish this and Old fezzwig were sold in six packs individually. Oh well :(

jasonjlewis, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a very dark brown with a good sized tan head. There's also a lot of lacing. It smells like caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Pretty malty all the way around. It tastes like coffee, sweet malt, chocolate and a bit of caramel. Along with the sweetness, there's a nice slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light/medium, a little lighter than I expected it to be. The drinkability is good, it's not too hard to drink this at all. I think it's a decent beer, but there's a lot of porters I'd pick over this. With that being said, I'd drink this again. It is a good beer.

bluejacket74, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of medic25
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick, black-brown color with a coffee colored head. Malty aroma. Taste is a pleasant mix of burnt malt, coffee and sweetness, nicely blended together. Finishes with a little bit of bitterness. Just the right amount of carbonation. Overall a tasty porter.

medic25, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a little reddish brown at the edges. Small but persistent tan head and some thin filmy lacing.
Caramel/cocoa aroma. Quite nice.
Chocolateflavor in there for sure. Has a noticeable hoppy finish. An almost burnt caramel flavor is very nice. A touch of spice in there somewhere as well.
Full bodied and nicely carbonated. Flavor distributes niceley throughout the mouth.
This is one of Sam's better beers for sure.

BeerRun13, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of sleazo
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in the Holiday pack.

A Dark brown almost redish colour. Minimal head with a good ammount of lacing.

S Roasted malts, coffee, a little vanilla with a hop background

T Dark coffee with a roasted grain flavour. Nice ammount of english hop flavour.

M- Above average but i prefer a chewier porter

D- I could down a bunch of these, a very drinkable porter.

All in all a good porter from Sam Adams that i dont know if i would try without the holiday pack. So far this is the strongest beer of the 4 i have tried. This beer is worth a look. Make sure you let it warm up out of the fridge.

sleazo, Dec 06, 2006
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,194 ratings.