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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.

2,214 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,214
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 30
Gots: 89 | 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: 2,214 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wasatch
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black, nice carbonation, nice little head, leaves quickly, nice islands and some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, and caramel The taste is slightlysweet, malty, nice touch of chocolate/toffee, slight bitter finish. Medium body. Drinkable, nice little porter at that.

Wasatch, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of pmcadamis
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A warm Charles Dickens-esque scene graces the lable, and a thick three finger tan head rises from a cascade effect over a pitch black brew with brown edges. Tons of sticky lace creates spiderwebs down the glass.

S - Chocolate and marshmallow over dark roast coffee. Chocolate s'mores and Count Chocula cereal. Sugary YooHoo chocolate milk.

T - Black coffee and hints of chocolate. Much more roasty and espresso-like than the sweetish aroma. Nowhere near as complex either. The roasty qualities are replaced by a hoppy bite towards the end.

M - Medium bodied, creamy, and lightly carbonated. Neutral finish with a slightly bitter dark-chocolate aftertaste. Nice.

D - Drinkability is where this one shines. This is just about the most drinkable porter that I've tried...it's a shame that you can only get two in a holiday 12-pack mixer. I would buy sixers of this for the holiday season for sure. Come on SA! Give us the good stuff!

pmcadamis, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured black with a tan colored head into my Stone 10th Anniversary pint glass. Respectable amount of lacing throughout the session.
S: A bit of malts, hint of carmel.
T: To me a lot of SA ales tend to taste similar to eachother. This is a slight exception though. Roasty, with just a flutter of chocolate.
M: Medium bodied at best. I generally expect more from a porter, and so should you.
D: Relatively drinkable. Definitely not the worse selection out of the SA Winter Sampler case.

AWolfAtTheDoor, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of Talisker
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A really nice porter - perfectly to the English style alluded to on the label. Pours nearly black, some red highlights - short brown head dissipates quickly. Balanced nose - toffee and caramel are present, maybe some grape, but integrated without too much of any one thing.

More butter and less smoke or coffee than you might expect, but certainly nothing out of balance. Fortunately I don't detect any added spices - something I feared from the "Holiday" name. Less syrupy than the aroma suggests, medium body and texture, finshes dry and powdery, exactly to style.

Very well-crafted beer. Recommended for fans of the style.

Talisker, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of BradBLR
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark rootbeer brown with a thick tan head. There was a good amount of lacing and the head lasted about three quarters of the beer. The smell was that of a toasted or burnt malt and some hints of chocolate and coffee.

The taste was a very toasted malt flavor, with hints of coffee and a slight taste of hops on the back end. There also seem to be the slightest hint of a citrus flavor, but very very faint. The mounthfeel was ok, but the CO2 was too strong and it seemed slightly thin.

Overall not a bad porter from Sam Adams, a good beer to be in the holiday pack. We definitely give it a try next year if they have it.

BradBLR, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of ndekke39
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle that's best by May 2007. This is one of the last beers from my Sam Adams holiday pack. Pours a heavy black color with ruby edges. Very small head - okay retention. Smells of chocolate, chalk, sugar, molasses, and applesauce. Tastes mostly of the chocolate, with the heavy bitterness of a dark-roasted coffee. Low/medium mouthfeel - standard for a porter. An easily drinkable beer - makes me appreciate the style more.

ndekke39, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of Foxman
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours a solid medium coffee brown, with a thin ruby disc at the bottom. Two fingers of fluffy light brown mousse head retain quiet well. A terrain of lacing maps the inside of the glass.

In the aroma there float the roasted malt standards of cocoa, coffee, dark cherry, and toffee. A mildly spicy blend joins the tickle of hops.

Upon sipping, a baked grain earthiness joins a thin stripe of dark chocolate, sloe fruit, and coffee. A soft spice note backs away to allow a charred biscuit presence to come through. The finish is crisp and dry, and the bitterness lingers well. It's in no way undesirable, but it's also utterly unremarkable.

Between light and medium bodied, it has a small measure of presence, but even that is fleeting, leaking away soon.

It's decent, but pedestrian. The flavor is a testament to playing it safe. It's reasonably drinkable, as it is middle of the road and harmless. Still, what does it say that my current favorite BBC beers are Longshot winners from homebrewers? But if Jim's happy, who I am to argue? I just won't have any more, is all.

Foxman, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of Beeryce
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice creamy light brown head on a dark brown-black body. Still rather opaque when held to light but maroon brown in color. Not alot of head retention, but I like that in a porter, produceing some laceing.

Very unique and pleasant nose. Rich malty base with some spicey hops. The balance and contrast is excellent. The malt is chocolatey but there is some thing I can't distinguish; possibly the Carafa malt.

The taste is very good, complex at first then melding to a maltiness acccented with hop bitterness. There is a hoppiness that is characteristic of B.B.C., the use of noble hops makes it a S.A. beer. Still nice and malty but not too much roastiness to it. The chocolate malt and the steeliness of the carmel malt are detectable.

The mouthfeel is fitting and makes it a sessionable highly drinkable porter. Could be more roasty, but a good porter.

Beeryce, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of tempest
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nothing like a nice porter. Smells of rich chocolate cake. Smooth chocolate flavor with a bit of spice and mild dry bitter finish. Maybe the smoothest porter I've ever had. Can't quite put my finger on the spice, it's fairly light, but its definately there. I always look forward to this beer in the Sam winter pack.

tempest, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of ReDave
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the holiday pack.

Pours a very dark brown. With a brownish cream head that actually sticks around for awhile. Nice lace as well.

Toasty [as in toast] aroma.

Tastes like a pretty good porter, not sure what the holiday part is, but this pack had a couple not so Holiday [at least in my view] beers, but that is OK! Some light chocolate, light hops, some nuttiness. Not too bad for pretty cheap beer. Costco had cases for like 18 bucks!!

ReDave, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is near black with the pour producing a 1/2 inch off white head. As some time passes the head fades to a cover over the liquid. Some good lacing down the glass as I consume the beer.

Smell: Big on the malt aromas. Roasted malts, scents of chocolate, some roasted caramel. there does seem to be perhaps a hint of floral hop scent as the beer warms.

Taste: While it does not scream "malt bomb" that is what carries this beer. Nice roasted malts. Very lightly hopped finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation giving it a lively feel keeping it from feeling "heavy". Touch prickly on the tongue, yet provides a slick, smooth finish.

Drinkability: Purchased the mix 12 pack with two of these in it. A bit of a shame as I'd like to be able to purchase a 6 of this during the winter months as a winter seasonal-type offering. A very enjoyable beer.

BigRedN, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of jordanmills
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Comes out black with a lot of thick, brown head. Smells amazing - malt, spices, and alcohol, wow. Tastes more realistic. Thick but lacking in flavor. Got Some dark malt at the bottom, hops up top, but nothing in the middle. It's Nice and thick on the tongue, lasting finish. It's a tad thick to drink many.

jordanmills, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of mnesporov
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: A deep, dark black allowing almost no light through, with a large creamy frothy head.

Smell: Soft full of roast malts and coffee with almost kind of burnt smell to it.

Taste: A great hoppy taste with a kick of roasted malts and dark chocolates and coffee overtures with a subtle bit of dark molasses and sweetness. Also had that distinctive twang that I’ve come to love about Sam Adams

Mouth-Feel: A sizzling mouth with a crispness that I found surprisingly pleasant and a good hoppy finish.

Drink-Ability: Another great one by Sam Adams

mnesporov, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of BeefyMee
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Okay Sam Adams let me see your porter...

Appearance: A picture perfect pint. Two finger head rose right to the top of the glass without me even trying. Body is an opaque black/brown that turns to ruby red when held up to light. Nice webbing of foam down the side of the glass as i drink.

Smell: Very, very chocolatey. Almost seems like a Rogue Chocolate Stout.

Taste: Gets a little more complex here. Chocolate still remains the dominant flavor but it is accompanied by notes of coffee and burnt caramel. An added sugary sweetness is a pleasant surprise that makes this a hard beer to put down (in the literal sense).

Mouthfeel: Tingly and not quite substantial enough. Seems to be the only point where this beer loses some ground. I could have used some of that velvety Rogueness right here, but overall it's not bad.

Drinkability: Good marks here. I could drink this one all night, which is high praise for such a rich beer. Never gets too cloying and goes down oh so easily.

Beef Notes: Man I wish they made this one year round. Definitely one of the better porters I've had recently. Do not miss this beer if you can find it during the holiday season.

BeefyMee, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of rebel1771
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a beautiful reddish tint around the edges of the glass when held to the light. Pours with a big frothy head.

Aromas of chocolate, caramel and candied fruit dominate the nose of this beer.

The flavor of caramel is the first thing you notice with this beer along with a slight bitterness. It finishes with a dry chocolate and candied fruit flavor.

I have to say that I enjoyed this brew quite a bit, in fact I think I'll have a couple more.

rebel1771, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a nonic.
Enjoy before 04.2007.

Deep, maple brown in color with underlying shades of coal. Creamy, light brown head that slowly recedes to an intact, bubbly sheet. Webbed lacing with good strength down half of the nonic.

Sweet caramel and pleasant toffee aroma. An inviting, not quite dry nutty profile: hazlenut, peanut, and nutmeg. Slightly sweet hints of vanilla.

Sweet toffee and peanut brittle engulfed by a rich & robust roasted malt character. The sweetness is gaseous with artificial hints of lasting vanilla. A rough bitterness filled with floral hops leads to a dry finish. The aftertaste is of milk chocolate, toffee, and dried hazlenuts.

Full bodied; rich and chewy, but very harsh on the palate due to the aggressive hop presence.

A flavorful American Porter that tastes artificially sweetened at times. Not my favorite version of the style, but I wouldn't mind having another.

NEhophead, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Budlum
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring this beer produces one inch of creamy, tan head. The head is retained nicely with a decent collection held on the side of the glass. The body is a relatively heavy shade of black with a lot of red colors visible.

The nose is quite simple yet still a good porter smell. A roasted barley smell leads in to a smooth chocolate and vanilla blend before a touch of hops at the close. This is much sweeter on the nose than many other porters.

A strong, roasted barley flavor leads off this beer and holds for an entire sip. Hops are plentiful throughout and add a very appropriate bitterness to the all around sweetness of this beer. The finish is rich with chocolate and a strong hop taste. This is a very solid porter.

The mouth presence of this beer is lightly carbonated and has an appropriate thickness for the style.

Drinkability is quite good for this porter. It is definitely not a leader for the style but it is just a solid beer that is easy to enjoy.

Budlum, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of allergictomacros
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Medium tan head over dark, dark, dark liquid.

S - Fruity with some espresso notes.

T - Dark, roasted malts and slight tartness. Mild roasted bitterness in the back with a spicy note. Some coffee as well. Pretty much a basic porter.

M - Maybe a touch on the light side.

D - Tasty, but nothing special. I would chalk this up as yet another porter.

allergictomacros, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thin, looking chocolaty auburn color. Not as thick as your average porter. Head is nice, decently lumpy raw oatmeal color. Its leaving creamy rings behind after every sip.

S: Berries, caramel, chocolate pudding and a bit of roasted coffee beans.

T: Very caramely with marionberry sweetness. Really is a lot like how it smells. Lot of milk chocoloate flavors swirling around as well with smidgeons of butterscotch and vanilla. Moves towards a buttery coffee taste which gently ramps up then finishes with brown sugar and lingers roasted grains.

M: Medium body, full mouthfeel with a good carbonation.

D: I like this beer. Good flavor, well balanced with just the right amount of bitterness.

Westsidethreat, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of gubbt
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a small brown head that dissapears quickly.

Aroma is faint with notes of chocolate and burnt caramel.

Taste follows the smell. There is some chocolate at the tip of the tongue that shifts into a deep roasted caramel flavor that seems to be prevalent in a lot of Sam Adams beers. This then transitions into a slightly bitter somewhat sweet finish where the English hops are noticeable. Big malt character overall.

Mouthfeel is a little watery with tame carbonation that provides a very drinkable beer.

This is a nice changeup from the hop bombs I have been drinking and what I have been craving in these winter months: a nice malty, smooth ale. My favorite out of the holiday pack. Bottoms up!

gubbt, Jan 03, 2007
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
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.