1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

2,176 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,176
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 21
Gots: 66 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Holiday Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,176 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JanM


4.33/5  rDev +16.4%

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.

12-11-2006 15:50:00 | More by JanM
Photo of BEERchitect


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%

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.

12-11-2006 02:07:19 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of jasonjlewis


4/5  rDev +7.5%

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 :(

12-10-2006 21:48:06 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of bluejacket74


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

12-10-2006 00:48:54 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of medic25


3.85/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

12-09-2006 06:10:29 | More by medic25
Photo of BeerRun13


3.95/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

12-07-2006 23:31:13 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of sleazo

New York

3.73/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

12-06-2006 08:05:20 | More by sleazo
Photo of joe1510


3.63/5  rDev -2.4%

12oz. Bottle

Poured a deep dark brown into my pint glass with ruby highlights when held to the light. There was a 1 finger creamy tan head that stuck around nicely but eventually faded to a dusted covering.

The smell is full of malts. Lightly roasted grains with a touch of chocolate and vanilla. I even pick up a little hazelnut. My last homebrew was a hazelnut brown and this actually has a lot of the same aromas. Smells fresh and warm, as in a good winter beer.

The taste is above average but nothing special. Starts off with the roasted grains and a touch of coffee bitterness. The bitterness pushes through and theres even a small hop bitterness. The vanilla shows a quick flash of flavor but can't compete with the roasted grains. The roastiness gets bigger all through the palate. Theres even a mild warming on the way down to my stomach, not even an alcohol warming but more of a warm drink warming. Strange? I know.

Mouthfeel is above average but could use a little more body and creaminess. A little lighter than I would have liked. Light on the carbonation as well.

This is a tough one that will be different depending on the drinker. Beers with the coffee bitterness, while I enjoy them there aren't very many that I would want more than one or two. It's just not as drinkable as other styles to me.

Overall Holiday porter is an enjoyable winter beer. Nothing exceptional but a sold winter seasonal. I happily drink these when I buy the Sam Adams Winter 12-packs.


12-06-2006 03:18:40 | More by joe1510
Photo of mnfinnkidd


4.03/5  rDev +8.3%

Put in fridge sixer by my roommate. Another Samuel Adams brew that I was eying up. Nice 3/8" tan head with lacing. Subtle burnt aromas.Taste of coffee & chocolate with light hop usage. Very drinkable. Yet another Sam Adams brew I like. Might have to buy another winter variety pack...

12-05-2006 09:28:14 | More by mnfinnkidd
Photo of Bierguy5


4.03/5  rDev +8.3%

12 oz. bottle, 5.9% ABV. Best before May. Very dark brown in color, with some ruby highlights. Thick tan creamy, rocky head lasts forever, and when it does shrink, it leaves some great patches of lace. Roasty, buttery, and milk chocolate like in the nose. Smooth caramel, toffee, and chocolate, with a hint of fruit. Seems along the lines of an English style, as hops seem restrained. Very easy to drink, with a medium to full body. This one is worth searching out, however you probably have to buy the sampler pack to do so.

12-03-2006 17:48:45 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of scoobybrew


3.8/5  rDev +2.2%

This was poured into a pint glass. It has a opaque black color with a thick, rich head that is extremely well retained. It looks very inviting. There is a strong hop aroma with subdued malt sweetness and some very minor 'roasted' grain character. The strong hop flavor is balanced by strong roasted grain malt, without being astringent, and has a noticeable hop finish. It has a medium body with low carbonation.

This is a very tasty (and very hoppy) porter. The hops are very emphasized here, more so than the roasted malt character.

11-30-2006 00:34:19 | More by scoobybrew
Photo of Domingo


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%

Part of the Samuel Adams holiday pack. The more of these packs I buy (I'm in the middle of my 3rd) the more I wish they sold all of the beers in 6-packs!
Pours a dark brown/black color, nearly reminiscent of an imperial stout. Forms a small bit of foam at the top, but it's relatively small...which is a good thing for a porter.
The smell of this beer's really nice. Molasses, cocoa, sweet dark malt, and maybe even a little caramel and ginger.
Flavor takes many of the smells, but I think the malt subdues some of the candy flavors and adds a little bit of a orange zest zing.
Mouthfeel is just right. Not too thick, but not watery like some American porters can be. Almost reminds me of a cask texture.
Drinkability is also solid. Like I mentioned earlier, I'd love to have this beer and Fezziwig in a 6-pack. 2 just isn't enough!

EDIT: Note that in spite of the dates on the bottle, I'd recommend drinking this as fresh as possible. I had one on 2/20/07 that tasted like all the flavor had gone away in spite of it supposedly being good until April.

11-29-2006 17:35:19 | More by Domingo
Photo of GilaMinumBeer


4.47/5  rDev +20.2%

Poured from bottle into an oversized weizen glass.

A: Poured a deep amber (brown bottle) color producing a cascade of effervescence along the insides of the glass reminiscent of sparkling fountain fireworks. This one filled the glass as a dark black but when held to the light it shone with ddep burgundy accents. The thick almost caramel colored head fizzled out slowly leaving huge amounts of residual lacing.

S: A strong sweet malt aroma with very a light hop grassy, spicey hint. Fruity aromas rounded off at the end.

T: Rich and malty with a tickling, dry, hop bitterness at the end. No perceivable hop flavoring and no perception of alcoholic heat.

M: Medium bodied and creamy. Effervescent.

D: Avery good dark beer. Very nearly a session type dark IMO. By no means will it replace my appreciation of the Imperial Stout (No comparison really) but overall a very enjoyable beer that I would gladly keep a stock of when available. More importantly, I could see myself longing for a clone recipe to brew again and again.

11-29-2006 05:00:23 | More by GilaMinumBeer
Photo of Rennpferd


4.15/5  rDev +11.6%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

Pours a solid dark tar color with a good inch or so of tan head. It is so dark that I can not visually detect any carbination and I barely hear any as well.

A faint smell of malt wafts from it but nothing more.

A smooth blend of bitter hops and malt carresses the mouth and goes down so very smoothly.

I normally do not like dark beers but I wish this came in 12 packs.

11-28-2006 05:20:27 | More by Rennpferd
Photo of beeragent


3.85/5  rDev +3.5%

This was part of the Sam Adams Holiday pack. 12oz. bottle, with a freshness date of Apr.2007, poured into a pint glass. The beer appeared a deep dark brown, with no head, and very little lacing. The nose is roasted malt, with slight cocoa aroma. The mouthfeel is medium, about average for a porter. The taste is what you would expect from an American Porter. Nice chocolate/coffee flavor. This is a fine offering from Sam Adams. Too bad its only a seasonal release. I would easily buy a sixer of this, if it were available.

11-27-2006 06:33:21 | More by beeragent
Photo of BeerSox


4/5  rDev +7.5%

12oz bottle into mug

Stout-like opaque black with a light tan head that doesn't quit. Stringy and spotty layered lacing along the glass.

Roasted coffee bean aromas with light spices.

Bitter malts and bits of spiciness swirl on the tongue. Some burnt chocolate flavors are available.

Your standard porter with a bit of spiciness added to it. Be sure to give this not-so-typical beer a try.

11-27-2006 02:47:34 | More by BeerSox
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.95/5  rDev +6.2%

A pretty decent beer. Very dark brown/black, with a cafe au lait head that retains well. A nice toffee aroma, with a little chocolate. Coffee/chocolate taste, some hops. Medium to thin mouthfeel. A nice porter, wish there more than two in the 12 pack.

11-26-2006 19:09:38 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.1/5  rDev +10.2%

A: Almost black, but not quite. Very dark mahogany. A gleaming band of orange-chestnut appears at the base. Creamy dark tan head. Very good head retention. Very nice lacing.
S: Buttery toffee and caramel. Notes of brown sugar and molasses. Superb! Quite welcoming.
T: The flavor is not as sweet as the nose suggests, but the buttery side remains. Lots of diacetyl in this one, but it works! Dull chocolate and mild yeasty fruitiness round it out. It's not particularly roasty, but there is an underside of burnt coffee that's nice. And an edge of scorched caramel. The bitterness is solid, but unobtrusive. It finishes dry with a dollop of butter that lingers along with some dark chocolate and a stiff bitterness.
M: Decidedly medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.
D: As a "holiday" porter this really works! The buttery aspect lends itself to festive activities. Of course, I've always enjoyed a touch of diacetyl within certain beers myself, so maybe I'm biased. But this just seems to fit right in at the Thanksgiving dinner table!

11-26-2006 16:20:58 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of billysj


3.15/5  rDev -15.3%

12 oz bottle. A very dark brown color with a nice head. The taste is roasty with a hint of chocolate malt with almost no bitterness.

Just like the taste, the smell has a scent of chocolate malt and a hint of caramel.

Overall the Sam Adams Holiday Porter is an above average beer. I'll drink this one again.

11-25-2006 23:55:13 | More by billysj
Photo of GeneralZod


3.53/5  rDev -5.1%

Looks to be the correct consistancy, however, it does not hold the head very well. With that said, it does look inviting enough to down it.

Has a hint of chocolate and malt and a twist of roastiness. Quite inviting.

Taste above average. Taste roasty like it smell with a dash of chocolate and malt.

A bit coarse. Not at all carbonated.

I'll drink it again. Beats the hell out of egg nog during the holidays.

11-25-2006 03:08:28 | More by GeneralZod
Photo of fank2788


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%

Served from the 12 oz bottle marked best before Apr. Pours a very dark brown with red highlights. This beer has decent head retention, rare for a Sam Adams from my experience, with nice lacing. The smell is all malts a nice profile from toffees and caramels to chocolate. The taste is much like the smell a little bitter and it finishes dry. Mouthfeel is good, the carbonation level seems just right for this beer. This a great beer to have on a cold winter night I may have a new favorite out of the Boston Beer company.

11-21-2006 20:38:34 | More by fank2788
Photo of cabsandking


3.58/5  rDev -3.8%

Big tan head, rocky and three fingers tall. Faint notes of chocolatey malts and vanilla. Burnt malts, charred grains, bitter cocoa, and some sour acidity, which is fairly pungent a little detracting, probably resulting from a slightly higher than average hop addition. Good carbonation that translates into a creamy mouthfeel. Excellent sticky lacing all the way down. Not a bad brew but I could have preferred something sweeter and and a little more “holiday”.

11-20-2006 02:02:29 | More by cabsandking
Photo of afinepilsner


4.13/5  rDev +11%

12oz brown bottle

Samual Adams Holiday Porter was nearly black in color (red-brown when held to a light) with a thick tan head. The head had good retention and left rings of lace behind. The aroma was sweet and toasty dark malt with some toffee and caramel. The taste was about the same as the aroma with some bitterness and a dry finish. The body was medium-full with plenty of carbonation. Drinkability was good. This is a good porter. Recommended.

11-18-2006 22:51:21 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of DogFood11


3.68/5  rDev -1.1%

Poured into a small tulip it forms an easily managed head to whatever size you want. Head is tan sitting above a black body and leaves some spider web lace.

Smell is interesting in that it has some similarities to one of my favorite porters. It has a unique yeasty aroma like the famous taddy porter. The similarities end there though. This has a lighter body but it packs a big punch in taste. Chocolate is the theme w/ little to no spices. Smooth body that is medium to thick and low carbonation levels. Dark fruits enter the picture. In the end the fruit profile is an afterthought but initially a small factor. Slight alcohol warming

Notes: Sam adams has a ton of offerings and this has to be up towards the top for me. The double pilsner was a delight, and the cherry wheat I thought held up well within style. This is right in that league. Nice brew but nothing I'll throw punches over to get like those PS3 psychos.

11-18-2006 04:01:53 | More by DogFood11
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.22/5  rDev +13.4%

Pours very dark with some ruby trying to peak through when held to the light. Nice frothy, tan head that retains very well. Nice lacing.

Smell is of sweet malts, coffee, chocolate, caramel...bit of faint hop spiciness.

Taste is of bittersweet chocolate, roastiness, coffee beans, some slight hoppiness in the finish with loads of roastiness sticking to the palate. Wow.

Mouthfeel is extra rich and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Delectable.

Extremely drinkable, this beer is. I remember loving this beer last year as part of a mixed Sam Adams 12 pack on christmas at my father's house last year. This confirmed my memory. Great beer.

11-18-2006 01:13:25 | More by Doomcifer
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,176 ratings.