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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.

2,202 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,202
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 24
Gots: 79 | 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: 2,202 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

ReebShorts, Jan 04, 2006
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.

RJLarse, Jan 02, 2006
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!

cooter, Dec 31, 2005
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.

daliandragon, Dec 25, 2005
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.

Vancer, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of RBorsato
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with ruby highlights to a light source, a nice creamy tan head, and nice lacing. Nice balanced roasty and English hop aromas but not as smooth smelling as I like... maybe this was a premonition of the taste. Roasty malts dominate but there's a biting aspect kind of like black licorice. Medium bodied with some airy aspects.

Not one I'd buy a sixer of but an OK change for the season. A bit disappointed since this was the only reason I bought the holiday pack.

Per Label: "Caramel, Munich, and Chocolate malts" & "English Fuggles and East Kent Goldings"

Per BBC website: 5 varieties of malted barley including a variety of German malt called Carafa®

Purchase Before: 04/06 (2005 Holiday pack)
Tasted: 12/16/05

RBorsato, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of NClifestyle
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours up dark brown with a tan head, medium thickness.
smell is warm and caramel/coffee.
taste is a bit lacking. dry, but still tasty. a touch of smoke in there with the coffee flavor.
the beer is light to medium in mouthfeel, smooth, and somewhat creamy.
easier to drink than some other porters. not quite as flavorful as i had hoped, but pretty good. i would buy it if it were in 6-packs, but not over taddy or london. mmm, love porters.


NClifestyle, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams' Holiday Porter, which I acquired in a mixed 12er, poured from a 12 oz. brown bottlw with a drink by date of April 2006.

The beer poured a very deep brown and almost black color with a finger of tan head with decent retention. The aroma was hints of coffee and roasted malts with some caramel as well. A good smelling brew. The taste coincides with the nose with roasted malts, espresseo and coffee and caramel as well with a very nice, dry finish. The brew has a slightly creamy mouthfeel along with a nice of carbonation: neither too much or too little. This is a very drinkable porter that is a shame that it is not availabe in other forms besides the holiday sampler packages. Sam's "Holiday Porter" is a solid American Porter that succeeds in eluding the downfall of other American Porters: overly light mouthfeel.

edmundfitzoil, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of Enola
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer out and it had a nice, creamy head. The color is a very deep black. Only a small amount of light comes through when held up. The smell is a nice malty smell. The taste is of toasted grain. It has a nice, oatmeal like taste with a good aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth. Nothing here upsets the tastebuds. The drinkability is high as well. A filling beer that I will look forward to each year.

Enola, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another nice surprise in the winter variety pack. This porter pours out dark brown with attractive ruby highlights and a small, but thick and persistant head of khaki that leaves some light lace.

Aroma is dark malts, unsweetened chocolate, raisin and prune, with hints of ciffee and nut.

Flavor is nice and malty, with roasty chocolate notes, light licorice, raisin, and leather. Has a distinctive English quality to it.

Body solidly medium with a slick, creamy texture and soft carbonation.

AlexJ, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the Holiday pack, a 12 oz brown longneck with clear freshness dating and some nice artwork on the label.

The beer pours a very dark brown/black with some ruby highlights. A decent tan head and lacing make this an attractive beer.

The nose is of roasted malts, raisins, and a bit of herbal medicinal aroma.

The taste was very pleasant. Some nice roasted grains, a bit of plum/raisin taste all backed by a bit of baker’s chocolate. The beer was a bit sweeter than I expected. Not a ton of action from the English hops.

The beer was perhaps slightly over carbonated, but it was very easy to drink. A nice mellow beer to sip and savor.

I would love to see this and the Feziwig offered in bombers!

Redrover, Dec 19, 2005
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
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,202 ratings.