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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.

2,192 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,192
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 21
Gots: 70 | 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: 2,192 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bierguy5, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of scoobybrew
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

scoobybrew, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of Domingo
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Domingo, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of GilaMinumBeer
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

GilaMinumBeer, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of Rennpferd
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Rennpferd, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of beeragent
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

beeragent, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BeerSox, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

lordofthewiens, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

NeroFiddled, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of billysj
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

billysj, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of GeneralZod
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

GeneralZod, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of fank2788
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

fank2788, Nov 21, 2006
Photo of cabsandking
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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”.

cabsandking, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of afinepilsner
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

afinepilsner, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

DogFood11, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Doomcifer, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of pweis909
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The third seasonal brew I've tried from my SA winter mix pack.

A- This one pours dark, chocolate, paque, with coffe tawny foam. The head dissapates fast.

S-Some fruitiness and chocolate in the nose, not too intense

T-Fuit and chocolate in the mouth as well. Mild hopping. Slightly sour finish. There seems to be a lot going on here, but nothing intense. A little hard to tease out and put a name on the different taste elements

M - Full bodied

D- I like this one, but I might get tired of it. The various tastes as tough to find, so I could see myself losing patience.

pweis909, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Part of the 2006 Winter Sampler... fresh through March of next year. Served in an imperial pint glass at cellar temperature.

Appearance- This beer is a very rich mix of brown and caramel red that displays beautiful nuances as it pours along the inside of the glass. The bold three finger head shows some fine structure... after several minutes in the glass, it remains a soapy mass that drapes walls of lacing the whole way down. Really nice on the eyes.

Smell- The strongest aroma here is clearly chocolate malts, with some fainter suggestions of the others and what smells like molasses. Not as burnt of a nose as some other popular porters from the Northeast.

Taste- Here's where the props come... the seamless integration of caramel, Munich, and chocolate malts work better here than the aroma. Dark and full, the flavors combine and never outdo each other... in the middle, the hops begin their drying bitterness, and in the end we have a feeling of roasted coffee and dark, bitter chocolate along with a bone dry English hops.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Lately it seems that Sam Adams' beers have a superb handle on mouthfeel... this one really shines, with a silky texture with barely noticeable carbonation that just rolls like seafoam. The light, airy weight is perfect and certainly carries the true character of an American Porter, with its effortless drinkability over an entire session. Smooth.

yelterdow, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of mnj21655
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with hints of ruby around the edges and a nice two-finger fluffy light brown head and great lacing. Smells of roasted chocolate malts and hints of coffee. Tastes much like the smell raosted dark chocolate malts that add a hint of bitterness and some spices. Nice, smooth mouthfeel that is smooth and creamy. Body was solid enough to let you know it was there without being too heavy. Drinkability is great. I can certainly see how this is great for a winter's day but I would enjoy drinking this tasty porter year-round.

mnj21655, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of dustylong
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black color with nice, thick, creamy head, and very good retention and lacing to match (poured from a bottle into a mug). Has a very malty smell to it with a hint of chocolate and caramel. The taste is also very malty with more than a hint of coffee. Toasty. Strong after-taste. Feels very thick, and heavy in the mouth, although there are thicker porters i've had. Overall a good beer. I was kind of disappointed with a few of the other Sam Adams holiday beers, so I didn't get my hopes up...but it ended up being one of the better ones in the mix pack.

dustylong, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of EPseja
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle in a pint glass at just below cellar temperature. Best by April 2007... a nice fresh bottle.

A - Deep, clear burnt umber color with dark ruby port highlights. Head rises slowly and steadily to a full inch; sand in color, rocky in texture. Staying power is very good. Lacing is fantastic.

S - Toasty caramel malts laced with molasses. Faint flowery hoppiness and light chocolate notes. Some wet cardboard. Good balance overall.

T - Sweet, roasted malts and dark chocolate start off the taste. The middle reveals dark figs and some alcohol. The back of the tongue perceives a nice, crisp bitterness that follows all the way through the swallow. Medium dry.

M - Nice and tingly on the way in, rising to a dense froth that makes it seem very dessert-like. Viscous, satisfying swallow.

D - Another reason to look forward to the coming of winter -- Sam Adams' Holiday Porter. A very nice take on the style, and one that I wish they would sell in sixers. Easy to drink, easier to enjoy.

EPseja, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of eberkman
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with red highlights visible when held up to a light. Nice creamy light-brown head which left its lacing and seemed to hold up.

Smell: Malty sweetness with an aroma of dark chocolate and dark fruit.

Taste: Again, malty sweetness with a slightlier hoppy finish, brief sweet aftertaste and a lingering mild hoppy bitterness on the back of my tongue. Very pleasant -- definitely spicier and hoppier than other porters I've had recently.

Mouthfeel: Thick-bodied and chewy. Very satisfying. A big beer in presence of not necessarily in alcohol content.

Drinkability: nice drinkability. I especially like the lingering hop bitterness that remains after each sip.

Overall, I'd probably buy this again if it was available on its own, I was looking for a good porter at a reasonable price, and I couldn't find any Sierra Nevada porter. And I really can't see why this isn't available on its own, as I didn't detect anything particularly "wintery" or "holiday" about it -- certainly none of the egg-nog-in-a-bottle spicing you typically associate with a winter warmer type beer. Why not just call it Samuel Adams Porter and make it available year-round?

eberkman, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of veech
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a mild but just flavorful enough to be enjoyable porter that was in the winter classics 12 pack from Sam Adams. A: medium to dark brown with thin head and transitory lacing. S: Very mild chocolate malts with a hint of coffee comes through late on the palate. T: Very smotth with a pleasant chocolately bitterness that is complimented by the light hop finish. M: A little thin for a porter but it didn't really detract from the enjoyment of the beer. D: A very drinkable porter, I just wish the 12 pack had more than one bottle in it.

veech, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of xav33
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter
12 oz bottle
Best before 04/07, Portaged 11/06
Medium pour in an English pint.

Poured black with mahogany highlights with an average light brown frothy somewhat diminishing head with good lacing.

Smelt of moderate sweet licorice, toffee, dark chocolate, smokiness.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet black licorice with light bitter roast followed by a moderate dark chocolate, dark soil and vanilla on an average length bitter coffee finish. Palate was medium to full bodied, velvety and creamy, softly carbonated with light astringency.

Overall, this porter turns harshly from sweet to bitter, and shows too much schizophrenic character to be truly enjoyed.

xav33, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of tastybeer
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chocolaty brown color under a cocoa brown head. Nice retention. When the head does fade it leaves a bit of sheety lace. Nose is full of smooth caramel and chocolate, slightly nutty and lightly vanilla. Flavor matches well. Its a bit more roasty, and this plus the bitter hoppiness contrast the sweet malts rather well. Mouthfeel is decent. Smooth and soft, with a full-medium body. The light prickly carbonation meshes well with the bitter finish.

A friendly, easy drinking porter...

tastybeer, Nov 10, 2006
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,192 ratings.