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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.

2,191 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,191
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: 2,191 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of clemtig76
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Sam Adams classic regrettably only comes around once a year as part of the Winter Classics sampler 12 pack. Pours a dark ruby brown with a good rocky tan head and sticky lacing. The aroma is of roasted coffee, molasses and chocolate with slight hop spice notes. Taste is complex and well balanced between the hop bitterness and the roasted grains imparting coffee, chocolate, and caramel notes. An outstanding porter. It's a shame you get only two.

clemtig76, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of Citadel82
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Spirits unlimited in Red Bank as part of 2005 Winter Classics sampler. It poured a deep black into my shaker pint glass. Opaque with ruby highlights. It produced a tightly bubbled and long lasting one and a half inch tan-colored head. As the head withdraws it leaves a good lacing around the glass.

Aroma was hints of caramel, coffeee and some spice and hop notes. Not that impressive but not offensive either.

The first sip through the head was bitter with charcoal and espresso. Initially, I could also taste the caramel and chocolate notes. Fruit and some subtle spices become more prominent as the brew warmed and the glass emptied. The sweet and bitter became more balanced.

This has a nice, medium mouthfeel,

Very drinkable on a cold Winter's night.

Citadel82, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pleasantly surprised to see the Sam Adams Winter Sampler at a family Christmas party.

Pours a standard porter black with a short, creamy khaki head. It was served a little cold so the nose and flavor were perhaps a little muted. Notes of roasted malts, espresso and toast dominated by a milky, luxurious caramel creaminess. I've never tasted such genuine caramel in a beer, let alone one this dark. Mouthfeel was a little thin, a creamier viscosity would have matched well with the caramel notes. All in all, a unique and tasty holiday porter, a sweet desert-like beer best enjoyed with a home-cooked holiday meal.

Golden2wenty1, Dec 19, 2005
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 1/2" tan head. Falls to a cap quickly. Dark, dark brown. Some lace.

S - Molasses. Sweet caramel. Thick honey.

T - Nutty. Earthy. Roasted malt. Sweet dark fruit. Nice hop bitterness in middle and end. Coffee. Rich honey/toffee.

M - Full, rich, round mouthfeel.

D - Very nice drinkability. I would drink this year round if it was available. Excellent.

Photo of jslot38
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

05-06 Winter Seasonal. Freshness Date Clearly Marked.

Appearance: Sensuous deep tan head. Body is black with red hues on the edges. Not at all transparent. Sticky lacing produced from a 3/4 inch head that held up quite well indeed.

Smell: Deep roasted caramel and chocolate with smoked malts.

Taste: Kent Golding and Fuggle hops stand out at first (usually for aroma, but add a nice tough of sweet hop oil in this porter). Fade into a background of dark chocolate and caramel. Notes of coffee beans linger throughout.

Mouthfeel: Slick hops and a brisk early level of carbonation smoothes out to a nice malt lingering.

Drinkability: At 6%, with a great use of roasted and dark malts, could drink a few of these, but might end a bit on the filling side.

Notes: A lovely looking porter from Sam Adams. Amazes me that the 6th largest beer company in the U.S. produces this beer. A great mix of caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Makes the Boston Beer Company's Winter Seasonal Pack an easy decision.

jslot38, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of skynxnex
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notched date 12 oz bottled poured into an imperial pint glass. Forms a two inch mid-brown head that remains for much of the glass with some lacing.

Smell is there, but not super strong. Chocolate, yeast, and a touch of caramlized sugar. It's mildly roasty on the tonge and hints of chocolate and vanilla. Somewhat sweet for a porter, but not sticky at all. As the bottle says, it has enough hops to just peak through the bitterness of the roasted flavor of the malt. Very nice beer.

skynxnex, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of maxpower
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a dark brown almost black color with a beautiful creamy light brown head that leaves some lacing in the glass, roasty chocolaty malty aroma. Roasted malty chocolate and coffee flavors, nice dry burnt bitterness in the finish, a good porter I would drink this again.

maxpower, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of Freshie
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have enjoyed this beer for several years now. I look forward to buying the Holiday Pack every year and usually for this beer.

It poured little to no head, but I think that may have been my fault for just doing it crappy. :-)

The appearance is very dark and thick, like a typical Porter.

The smell was aromatic with caramel and chocolate.

The taste is amazing and the best part of the whole experience. Like the smell, the taste is very very welcoming with caramel and chocolate flavor. The taste stays with you awhile and can get a bit annoying.

I reccomend this for a Holiday meal or get-together.

Freshie, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of Hagbard
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I believe that the Holiday Porter, along with Old Fezziwig, is only available in the Winter variety pack. The Holiday Porter and Old Fezziwig are worth the price of admission and the Black Lager and Winter Lager are icing on the cake.

The Holiday Porter is not quite pitch black, a bit of light intrudes on the edges creating ruby highlights. A fairly large dark tan head forms. The aroma is slightly sweet with a bitteresweet chocolate element in the background. The taste begins with a slightly roasted malt element, which imparts a bittersweet chocolate taste. As it approaches the finish, a sweetness takes over and a butterscotch taste comes into play, which is actually quite strong. It imparts an unusual element to this porter, but it never becomes so strong as to be cloying or offensive. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I would like for a porter, but it doesn't take anything away from the beer. The drinkability is great because it's just a really good tasting porter. A great addition to the Sam Adams lineup for Winter.

Hagbard, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of eclipsehts
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this out of the holiday 12-pack...which was actually available here. Usually we don't get the good stuff here. Anyways as for my review.

Appearance-This beer pours a very dark color. This is probably the darkest beer I have ever had the opprotunity to drink. It pours a nice carmel colored head, which lasts a really long time.

Smell-You can definately smell the chocolate and carmel after opening the bottle. The aroma only gets better everytime you drink it.

Taste- The heavy munichs are easily tastable once this beer hits your tongue. A little bit more bitter than I expected, but still a damn fine taste, nothing short of what you would expect from S.A. This beer leaves a strong aftertaste of chocolate.

Mouthfeel-This beer is very smooth and with a surprisingly light mouthfeel. I was expecting something real heavy.

Drinkability-This is a great dessert beer. I could imagine saving my other bottle of this for Christmas after stuffing my face full of the traditional feast.

All in all, I believe this is a great porter. While there are some definate strong characteristics, I wonder what Sam Adams will come up with next.

eclipsehts, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one saved up from my holiday 12 pack from a while ago. Pours black, can't really see through it, brown head that fade rather quickly. A nice taste of bitter chocolate, burnt malt and a tad bit of sweetness, finishes with the bitter chocolate flavor but not too strong. I think this is becoming my favorite style of beer, keep 'em coming!!

Manosbeeroffate, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opted to do up the two 12oz bottles of this from the Sammy Holiday pack. Love the label! Reminds me of the equally cool Old Fezziwig label, a super scene from Dickens time.

This Porter is an exceedingly dark chestnut color. When held up to light you can tell it's a clear bier; no haze or cloudiness, plus you get some garnet glimmers on the edges. Hard pour enticed a frothy, creamy 1/2" topping of tan foam, though it thinned down to a miniscule layer of bubbles. Great lacing around the glass, though! Nose has mucho roasty, choco notes, with burnt malt intimations. Some floral hop action can be detected as well. Slides silk-like over the tongue, with a low carbo level making things smooth. Body is firmly entrenched in the middle/medium zone. Solid.

Flavor is loaded with roasty malt, burnt notes, some A-1 caramel sweetness and choco aspects. Though I'm not big on the English hops used (Fuggles, East Kent Goldings), they produce a welcome floral character which lends a nice balance and contrast to the malt flavors present here. Solid bier, all around. Nothing outstanding, but still quite solid. Makes getting the Holiday Pack an easier choice, along with the Boston Lager, Winter Lager, the yet untried Black Lager, and Old Fezziwig. If only the Scotch Ale would replace the "Lambic".

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


Bierman9, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of woemad
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the 12'er my brother had in his fridge when I was hanging out there while he was at a Sonics game.

Poured a dark brown, which took on a lighter hue when held up to the light. A one-inch light tan head rode atop the beer, and settled after a couple of minutes. Lace was left behind in the form of spots and streaks.

This had the roasted, coffeeish smell one commonly associates with porters, but much more toned down than I like in the style. There was also a mildly sweet, dark chocolate scent.

The taste was similar to the smell: Adequate, but nothing great. The beginning was devoted to the mild, roasty coffee notes, combined with a dry hoppiness. The beer then took on a mild sweetness at the swallow. This tastes ok, just not as good as a lot of porters out there that are better balanced.

This was a little thin for a porter. I'd like it better if it had a little more body.

While I didn't dislike this beer, it did nothing to make me want to replace Black Butte with it as my go-to bottled porter (it's not available where I live anyway). A mediocre porter that's alright to make do with if it's the only porter around, but not worth seeking out.

woemad, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark brown beer that is almost black with a tall brown head.

Smell is quite sweet mostly from the scent of brown sugar and molasses. Good scent of chocolate and a bit of acid from the dark malts used. Lesser scents of butter, wheat and spices exactly like a Gingerbread man cookie.

Taste starts of sweet chocolate with a bit of malt and cookie dough. Taste through out is mostly chocolate and mild spices with a slight acid edge to it. Vanilla, caramel and clean spice flavors on the alcohol notes add to the taste. Very tasty without getting very complex.

Mouthfeel is milkshake thick.

Nice drinkable beer here that is a very respectable porter; to bad you can buy this all year.

Zorro, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark nearly opaque ruby brown forms a nice doughy textured tan head leaves thick bands of lacing on each sip. Aroma: Definitely British hop aromatics come through warming chocolate and coffee notes blended with those Fuggle and East Kent Goldings herbal notes. Taste: Great mix of dark roasted burnt roasts bring out layers of bitter dark chocolate and coffee tones. Herbal leafy hop flavor works nicely mild hop burps are welcomed nice English style porter with a touch of caramel flavor here finshes rather dry not overly sweet. Mouthfeel: Fuller bodied porter well carbonated not overdone somewhat chunky texture, quality brew. Drinkability: Smooth great tasting Sam Adams's porter where are the sixers is my only question, solid porter.

WVbeergeek, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of danielharper
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Target in Jones Valley, Huntsville, AL.

Pours very nicely into my pint glass, very black body with thin tan head. Pretty much exactly what a porter should look like.

Vaguely fruity aroma, some grapes and raisins primarily, with just a touch of bitter coffee way underneath. Pleasant.

A sharp malty flavor predominates in the taste here, with the same fruit flavors as mentioned in the aroma present afterwards. A touch of dry hops in the aftertaste. Much more balanced than I expected.

Moderate, enjoyable mouthfeel. Fairly heavy carbonation.

Overall, this is a pretty drinkable beer. I'm not always the biggest fan of porters, but this one isn't bad at all. I'll certainly drink the other one, but I wouldn't make this a staple of my beer diet even if it was available year-round.

danielharper, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep,rich brown with a fluffy mocha colored two finger head that settles very slowly leaving a nice sheet of lace behind,alot of nice aromas going on roasted nuts and vanilla stick out most to me with a hint of milk chocolate as well.Those roasted nuts are quite noticable in the flavors of this beer as well,along with that vanilla not overly sweet a good almost herbal-like dryness comes thru late.Quite flavorful and drinkable maybe a little different take on a porter with some different flavors going on,well done.

oberon, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle(room temp) a very dark brown with reddish highlights, with a thick head that only remained a minute or so settling into a fine ring around the edge of the glass.

The smell is very sweet perhaps hinting at some chocolate.

The taste is semi sweet(like the chocolate) with very little hop presence and a noticeable grainy note.

Overall, it's a pretty good porter but it isn't one that I'd eagerly seek out.

Update: Dec 6, 2008

Well, I'm sipping on this years edition and I'll be danged if my first review isn't showing a lack of appreciation for this brew. Not sure what happened..changing and improving palate?

First off, the head was big and bold and lasted for the entire session.

The smell is full of roasted malt goodness with some sweet malt tones and a light fruitiness.

The taste is very nice with strong notes of roasted malt, light chocolate, caramel malt sweetness, dark fruitiness....very damn tasty.

The mouthfeel is medium and silky, the carbonation is close to medium but still light, and it finishes slightly bitter, slightly sweet.

Bottom line: This is a very good Porter that kept my interest from first sip to last swallow and is anything but average. My new "scores" will reflect that.

Bitterbill, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of Gavage
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Holiday 12 Pack.

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a decent 1" head. The head slowly disappated. Spotty lacing.

Taste: the aroma was of chocolate and coffee. The flavor was mildly sweet, as bitter chocolate, caramel, and a hint of prunes. Mild hop bitterness rounds it out.

Mouthfeel:smooth at the start and finish. The chocolate and coffee tones linger on the tongue shortly after swallowing.

Drinkability: the drinkability is OK, and overall the beer is decent but not overly exciting.

Gavage, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a thick, frothy three finger thick light brown colored head. This beer is a deep dark, almost black, brown color. At first the beer smells quite chocolate-like and spicy. It quickly gains a note that is quite reminiscent of buttery diacetyl. The more I smell the more convinced I become that this beer reeks of diacetyl. What is the taste like?

The beer has a rich chocolaty mouth feel to it. This seems to suppress the diacetyl that is found in the aroma, at least to a pretty good extant. Chocolate is the dominant note, with a bit of acidity in the finish, plus a bit of roast character. In the finish is that diacetyl note though, not so great that the beer is undrinkable, but enough that it is unpleasant. This was a bit disappointing, I was really expecting a decent Porter, in fact without the diacetyl notes this beer would have exceeded my expectations. I should note though, I am particularly sensitive to diacetyl.

Gueuzedude, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of evanackerman
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a very nice porter.

much like many american porters such as edmund fitzgerald except a more piney bitter hop profile, deep dark porter color with a nice head. aroma of dark malt, mouthfeel is just right, drinkability is high, too bad there are only two of these in the holiday pack. very good porter!

man, i love this brewery, almost everything they make is among my favorite for the style.

evanackerman, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with red highlights and tan head that doesn't really stay yet sticks to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Chocolate and caramel malts; it smells sweet and that's about it, but it's not an overly sweet aroma so that's a good thing.

Taste: Malty sweet; dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes with slight bitterness in the finish--bitterness more from roasted malt than hops.

Mouthfeel: fairly light, considering the color and the taste, though that could be from the carbonation. Then again, I tend to judge anything short of a "beer-shake" as light in mouthfeel so I am not a good reference for this.

Drinkabiliy: This would make a fair session beer, but I think the sweetness of it might get to me after a few.

MurphyMacManus, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of OStrungT
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown with a dark tan head. The head fades quickly leaving a good amount of laces, and a thin layer of foam floating on the top.

This beer has a malty aroma. Roasted malts dominate. It has a slight chocolate aroma. It has a very slight coffee aroma. The hop aroma is ever so slightly noticable.

This beer has a malty sweet flavor. The chocolate flavor is quite present. It has a slight caramel flavor. Not much hop flavor.

This beer is quite smooth. It leaves a malty, chocolate flavor. This beer is carbonated well for the style. It has a creamy mouthfeel.

This beer would probably make a good session beer. It is low in alcohol, allowing you to drink a few. Also, the flavor is not overly aggressive. This is a good beer definately worth a try.

OStrungT, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of KroMagnon
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black, tan head that doesn't stay long. The aroma is pretty clean, roasty, with a touch of caramel and grainy maltiness. The flavor is dry, with a nice roasty bitterness that is punctuated with some hop flavor that seems kind of herbal or woody and gets stronger at the end. The two bitterness types blend well with the dryness of the beer and give a good finish. This isn't a strong, overwhelming porter and it seems more like an English porter than an American porter based on BA's style descriptions. This is admittedly influenced by the ingredients list on the bottle. I rather like this porter, its bitter without being exceedingly so and has a very nice balance of the different flavoring malts and hops.

KroMagnon, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is practically black with hints of red. Ginormous, firm tan head that lasts and lasts, with a thick lace coating all the way down the glass.

Smell of burnt sugar on dark chocolate. Nice. but not very pronounced.

Taste was surprisingly balanced -- good malt darkness and thickness with a balance of hops. Five kinds of malt and three kinds of hops are used. Pretty impressive.

Mouthfeel was a bit odd -- thinner than I expected from the head and lacing, but it seemed a bit slick. Wierd. Are all porters like this?

Drinkability was good except for the odd mouthfeel.

ColoradoBobs, Nov 30, 2005
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,191 ratings.