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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.

2,222 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,222
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 31
Gots: 90 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,222 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Fish113d
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pouring into a pint glass, chilled, it pours a deep chocolate brown color with 1 1/2" of tan flowing and cascading head that seems to stick and stick to the glass...sustain is incredible!

Aroma is of some spicy nutmeg and hops up front with some slight coffee and chocolate malt tones. Hops are a bit grassy and really balance this out a bit.

Sipping reveals a cinemmon spice flavor up front and throughout the swallow. However, dark chocolate malt comes through as well- a bit of coffee hits on the swallow, to which the hops help add to the coffee bitterness at the end...nice!

A rather heavy feeling porter overall. Medium-body and pretty creamy. Carbonation is under control...kills the palate!

Overall, good flavor and good feel= nice brew! I was very suprised that Sam Adams could put out a nice porter. Very nice!

Photo of dedalus
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

while i usually find myself underwhelmed by sammy a, i consider the holiday porter a minor masterpiece, on par with sam smith taddy porter or fuller's london porter.

the beer is dark ruby with a foamy, caramel-colored head. the aromas are all caramel and butterscotch with a touch of earthy, leafy hops.

the thick, full mouthfeel is satisfying but not overpowering.

the palate blooms with raisins, prunes, vanilla, butterscotch, and bread pudding. just a hint of hop bitterness comes through in finish, imparting an earthy balance.

all in all, a fine recreation of the classic english porter, that equals (and sometimes surpasses) the beers that inspired it.


Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Sam Adam's Holiday pack. Very enjoyable - too bad I ended up splitting these with a friend and only got one of the Holiday Porter's. It's quite good!

Beer poured a nice, dark brown, with a lot of head that overflowed my pint glass! The lacing was alright, but the mouthfeel and drinkability were quite good. Lots of roasting here - caramel, some chocolate, and a wee bit of espresso. Very malty, with a smooth taste that's not too thick and has just a bit of bitter back to it, to savor without thinking too hard or needing another sip to quash it.

This is a bit too strong to be a session beer, but it's great for a winter warmer, after dinner brew, or just on it's own for sipping and enjoying. Probably my favorite out of the Holiday Pack, and something I wish they sold in 6 packs separately. Very enjoyable!

Photo of danielocean03
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the sixth and final offering remaining from my SA Winter Mixpack. Many characteristics including aroma and flavor strikingly similar to the SA's Black Lager I sampled a few nights ago from the same pack. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass. Appearance is a rich dark brown, similar to a flat coca-cola, thin beige head fell slowly to light sticky lacing. Smells sweetly of milk and dark chocolate, caramel and malt with slight notes of hops and citrus present as well. Tastes sweet and somewhat of chocolate and cream, finishes with a nice hop bitterness balanced well with the chocolate malts. Mouthfeel is exceptional, perfect level of carbonation matches the brew well, goes down slippery smooth and creamy, very drinkable. Might not necessarily seek out in a store but would purchase again.

Photo of akajimmyd
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Purple to brown body, light tan head. Sizable with decent lacing and retention.

Smell – Some of the roasted malts you would expect, but a whiff of sweetness.

Taste – Sweeter than I would hope. Roastiness. Could use a more aggressive hopping.

Mouthfeel – Slight bitterness. Smooth. Taste of alcohol. Bit of a sticky aftertaste.

Drinkability/Notes – Not my favorite porter. Can have a couple but would not seek it out average at best.

Photo of Jredner
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is hoppy and spirtizy with a hint of chocolate underneath. Dark brown with a pinky thick mocha head. Get a hint of molasses in the fore followed by watery chocolate and caramel. Some coffee notes, but they are more like frappachino and cream flavors. Not a world beater and not at all roasty, but still a decent enough beer.

Photo of budgood1
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a nearly opaque dark brown colour with ruby and crimson hues when held up to the light. a thick and rich, dense tan colour head appears and stays with vigour. lots of festive and sticky lace. fabulous looking beer. reserved nose of chocolate and caramel with perceptible floral notes, i'm assuming from the variety of hops used. upon tasting, there is the usual porter flavours of bittersweet chocolate and an unusual flavour of chalky, yeasty caramel. it's a bit dry, and the flowery hops are present and there is a hint of alcohol spice in the finish which makes this a very enjoyable offering. this porter is above average body-wise and the mouthfeel is fullish but not as silky smooth as i expected. drinkability is good...a nice american version of the porter style IMO. as it warms the flavours and aromas are nicely accentuated.

this is a very nice porter and makes the holiday pack from SA very worthwhile along with the other offerings included, sans the cranberry lambic, which i just give to my wife to drink. definitely worth buying every year.

Photo of johnyeast
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and black in appearance with a half inch brown head. Nice lacing on the glass throughout. A good balance of flavor with hops and malt ringing through. A variety of tastes including a chocolatey something or other (hard to read my scribblings) and a substantial but pleasant aftertaste. A thick beer but very drinkable. (That's my style preference creeping in.)

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

appearance: The pour creates a .75" light beige color that slowly recedes. The beer is a deep brown in color.

smell: A scent of smooth milk and bittersweet chocolates is the first thing I notice. That is pretty much the dominant malt aroma, though some light caramel and toasted malt smells come in. Definately some aromas of vanilla, and a light but pleasing hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium and is composed of small, smooth bubbles. The body is a light medium.

taste: Similar to the aroma. Flavors of chocolates and caramel come first, then some roast comes in. The flavor then turns towards the bitter end with some lingering roasted flavors. Pretty good.

drinkability: easily

Part of a SA winter mix pack. Notched as best by March, with the code C27350052 printed on the neck.

Photo of maddamish
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Caramel notes were very strong accompanied with a slight hoppy smell. The chocolate and caramel notes in the taste were very strong, This is one of the best porters I have ever had. Anyone that tells you different is not giving the Sam Adams label the respect it deserves.

The mouth feel was creamy and smooth.

What can I say? I have a new found respect for the Sam Adams label after drinking this fine porter.

Good job! The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that I most likely will have to wait till next year to taste this great brew!

Photo of KarlHungus
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew pours a opaque black color. The head is two-fingers in height, and tan in color. The aroma is of roasted malt, cream, chocolate, and coffee. The taste is of chocolate and cream with a hint of coffee in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium-light bodied, almost too light for a porter. Overall, this is a decent porter, but nothing great.

Photo of hylton44
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow-I've never tasted anything like this before. Per BA's "tips" on reviewing, I'm trying to judge this with style in mind and what Sam Adams was trying to do, rather than 100% by my personal taste, because, as distinct and complex as this beer was to drink, I'm not sure the style is something I'm going to seek out on a regular basis. Perhaps just on holidays, eh?

So, it poured deep dark brown, giving an early indication of the carmel, chocolate, and coffee I was to be imbibing shortly. A solid color for the liquid, but I need to take a moment to say a word about the head. This amazing, frothy thing looked like something you commonly see on top of a root beer float. It was thick, undulating, and so solid in appearance that it looked like I could have stepped out upon it. It stuck around awhile, then left a very regular lacing as I drank the beer down.

I was overwhelmed with the taste, which was quite unlike anything I've ever experienced in my relative new world of craft/specialty/micro brew drinking. Caramel was very strong, but I think I could also taste coffee, toffee, and chocolate (reminding me almost of a liquer), but followed by a fairly significant bitterness to balance it out. A nice, smooth drink that left a good warmth behind in my mouth as I swallowed.

One other note: this beer benefits from letting it sit and warm up for just a bit. The tastes definitely became more pronounced as my "session" went on (I drank it leisurely over the course of a half-hour DVD viewing.)

Photo of Phatz
4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served at nearly room temperature in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown that looks black in the glass. It’s mostly opaque (letting slight bits of light through when the glass is raised to the light). Nice 2 plus finger head that is beige and very thick and creamy frothy with good retention.

Smell: I get oak, roasted malt, definitely chocolate a bit (just a hint) of coffee, and I think that's vanilla. But all of this is mild in porter style, not intense like an imperial stout (though this tasty beer is as good as some stouts). As the beer reaches room temperature more caramel comes to the forefront.

Taste: Starts off (remarkably smooth) with sweet malts and chocolate, followed by white chocolate or vanilla and it has a hint of nuttiness to the flavor. There is also caramel and some other spices hidden in the flavor. mmmm

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but not heavy. It has a medium weight that feels frothy and darn near perfect. Fantastic crisp dry finish that leaves the palate empty and begging for more.

Drinkability: WOW! This beer goes down way too easy. I just (accidentally) finished the second one. Not many porters are this sessionable. It is so smooth and easy going that it just moves from glass to stomach with the utmost of ease!! :)
I love a good porter and this is exactly that. I highly recommend giving this one a try!

Hope this is helpful.

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

This beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a very nice dark chocolate coloration. The head was about two inches high creamy coffee colored. The head has major staying power. Thick lacing was left behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has a nice molasses and light roasted coffee smell with a bit of chocolate.

Taste: The taste is dam near the smell. I wish the coffee flavor was a bit more pronounced. Beer starts malty sweet and in the middle there is some spicy goodness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is full bodied. Very nice velvety mouthfeel overall. Dam this is good and I want some more.

Photo of rajendra82
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of the holiday sampler pack, the nice wintry painting on the label was definitely festive, just like the sister beer Old Fezziwig. The beer came out burnt reddish brown with a head looking similar to foam on a cappuccino. The body was quite dark looking until held up against the light. Aromatically this was quite simplistic, since the basic smell was that of chocolate, and coffee, but much too light to be very interesting. The taste was a little more robust that the smell suggested, with chocolate and toffee riding atop soda water like fizz, and followed by a fleeting hint of grainy astringency. The hop oils showed up as a spicy earthiness, but weren’t all that bitter. Light in the mouth, and in the aftertaste department, and therefore very easy to drink, I found this Porter to be in a similar veins as the Black Lager, which was also in the sampler pack. A side by side comparison indicated that I preferred the Black Lager a little more, due to the overall smoother feel. If the Holiday Porter might have beer grittier, it might have fared better.

Photo of hanco005
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I received this as part of the Holiday Pack. Reviewed on 12/28/05 and am just typing my notes now.

A – dark brownish, black, with about ½ inch of head, head was gone within a few minutes; left a little lacing

S – Mild chocolate, but a stronger combo of coffee and caramel; smells a little bit like Good and Plenty candy to me.

T – A nice bitter combo of coffee and caramel…the after taste is almost a little too bitter for my taste. Picking up on a little bit of licorice as well.

M – Nice carbonation, very smooth and mellow, but again, it’s the aftertaste that is bothering me

D – Not one of my favorites, but a good beer none the less.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a decent two finger tan head with lots of big bubbles. Head dissapears quickly over the nearly black brew.

S - Coffee and black licorice, a bit of butter odor as well.

T - Coffee malt with a sweet licorice flavor and a bit of chocolate as well. A coffee bitterness in the finish as well as some buttery not-so-goodness.

M - Thin and high carbonation, but it is refreshing.

D - The holiday porter is the best of Sam Adams holiday offerings. The gouda that I had with it really accented the licorice flavor. This beer is one of the better Sam Adams offerings, but it is nothing that I would seek out in the future.

Photo of orfeu
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, almost black, with russet highlights. Formidable beige head and sticky lacing. Aromas of vanilla, caramel, and chocolate predominate; faint evidence of hops. Vanilla-laced coffee and roasted cocoa flavors witha deliciously crispy hop finish, contrary to nose-check. Thin-to-medium body and a smooth, slick mouthfeel. Super drinkability. Reminds me that I really need to check out more porters.

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

The beer poured a deep, dark brown with a small tan head. The head has died down to a thin film on the top of the beer. A little bit of lacing is forming on the glass as I drink.

I smell cocoa, caramel, and something that reminds me of Milk Duds.

I taste bittersweet chocolate and caramel mostly. Maybe there is a hint of coffee in there somewhere.

The mouthfeel is good. The beer is medium bodied and has a moderate level of carbonation. Good and appropriate for the style.

The drinkablity is pretty good, though it doesn’t quite satisfy my porter craving. I wouldn't mind having another, but I think I'd reach for a GLBC Edmund Fitzgerald or a Fuller's London Porter first.

Photo of SurgeonGeneral
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving temp: 45F Serving glasswar: Pint Glass

Aroma: A sweet, chocolatlely aroma hits me first, very nice. Buttery toffee in there, too, along with notes of caramel & roasted malts. Very nice.

Appearance: A deep mahogany, almost black. Big bubbled tan head recedes to a thin film rather quickly, leaving modest lace.

Taste: The same chocolate/butter toffee aroma comes through in the taste very well. It dominates the flavor profile, letting the caramely sweetness poke through only near the end. I love the initial blast of flavor. Well balanced with a lasting bitterness & slight alcohol spice.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium bodied, restrained carbonation. This sensation fits this beer very well.

Drinkability: The best I've had from BBC, and a great brew. I imagine this is a pretty close approximation of a traditional English porter.

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

Glistening, off-white, 1/2 inch head, after fairly aggresive pour, dissipated quickly, leaving a few small islands. The beer itself is a very dark brown, almost black color.

Aroma is smokey caramel, chocolate, black licorice, burnt toast, and some nuts.

I'm really not a fan of the famous "Boston Lager", but this one is pretty good (as is Old Fezziwig). Toasty, burnt coffee flavor, mixed with caramel and chocolate. This beer manages this flavor while not actually being too sweet.

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

I found this beer in a Holiday 12 Pack, six different beers, two bottles of each.

I poured the beer in to a pint tumbler. It has a dark brown/black color and is all but opaque. The head is thick and dark tan in color. The head held up well while drinking, and laced the glass nicely.

The beer smells smokey, malty, and spicy. Very nice.

The taste is hearty, with a distinct caramel and chocolate malt flavor. The after taste lingers and is pleasant.

I enjoyed this beer. It is a nice seasonal (holiday) offering. A very good bottled porter. This beer is a close relative to the Old Fezziwig Ale, also a Samuel Adams holiday offering. If you find this porter has too much bite for your liking, try the Old Fezziwig.

Photo of cooter
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks doggone perfect at the pour. Pure black body with a thoroughly brown (hints of red) head that is resilient but not unstoppable. Completely impermeable to light. Solid lacing.

Smells a bit lagery. In the nose, hints of clove, generic dark malts, caramel, and butter (could it be diacetyl? doesn't seem so...?). Very slight chocolate scent.

Tastes smooth, coffee-chocolatey with a grainy finish. Robust and sharp, full bodied. With large gulps, too sharp. Peppery at times, with notes of butter and other stuff I can't identify. Amiable flavor, with that certain porter quality.

Distinctive appearance, good taste for a porter, smells alright, and though heavy in the stomach, it's light enough in mouthfeel (while retaining porterish stiff-necked thickness) to remain drinkable. Hooray for the Sam Adams mixed holiday 12 pack!

Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yet another from the Sam's winter mixed 12. I didn't love the Feziwig but this other "Brewmaster's Collection" offering looks pretty appealing. I like the thick wisps of tannish head and brown/black color. The thick, sweet, malty nose isn't too shabby either. I enjoy a good porter and this has every sign of being one.
The outstanding flavor in the taste is coffee, with caramel and a solid hoppy finish to round it out. Although there is a bit of a malty uneasiness about the initial sip, this beer improves markedly at the body and finish of each swallow. Mouthfeel is mellow and full, very nice for an English themed porter.
Overall, this is very drinkable stuff for Christmastime or any time. My favorite so far of the winter offerings from the BBC.

Photo of Vancer
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another solid offering from the Sammy boys – only 2 of the ones I’ve tried that I didn’t really care for.

Loved this brew, to bad it only comes in the holiday pack – would be nice to pick up a 6er for the holiday season.

Can’t go wrong with the pour. creamy and spicy porter-esk quaff, and drinkability of this one. Enough said.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,222 ratings.