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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

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2,224 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,224
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 34
Gots: 98 | 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:
Beer added by: DFN on 10-17-2004

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,224 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bitterbill
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.24/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

Photo of evanackerman
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of KroMagnon
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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

This is one of the most drinkable porters I've ever had. It pours typical porter dard red/brown with a tan head. It has a less bitter hop profile than other porters but still that black malt flavor. A very good brew from Sam Adams that there is really no downside too. If you like the style then you'll like this.

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

Pours out a beautiful dark brown with reddish-mahogany highlights at the edges and a finger of dense tan foam. Nice lacing and extremely persistent hold on the head. Great to look at this one.

Smell is rich with dark chocolate, earthy malts, little edges of coffee, and some very light European hops. Mostly, though, it's just a creamy chocolate that gradually lets a little vanilla come in.

Flavor was similarly big on the chocolate notes, with the vanilla coming through a bit more clearly and creamily. The coffee flavors come in mainly in the finish and are paired with a pleasant earthiness. Also, there's a nice little plum flavor that sneaks in and round things out nicely.
Mouthfeel is creamy, medium, and on-point.

Overall: This is probably the best of the mixed holiday pack, in my opinion, just a solid porter that I'd buy year-round were it available.

Photo of jakester
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from the Winter Sampler case. I drank it in a goblet. Expiry date clearly notched on the label.

Pours a deep garnet/red with light brown tints. A nice, two finger head of tan foam forms on top. The head falls eventually to islands and a ring, with nice lacing.

Aroma is a wonderful combination of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and fruits like cherries and raisins. The smells of vanilla and chocolate go very well together. Floral hops are in the background.

Flavor is tasty chocolate, not real sweet, with notes of dark dried fruits like cherries and raisins. Vanilla comes through later, as does hop bitterness. Aftertaste is semi-sweet chocolate and floral hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, yet kind of dry to medium body. Carbonation is soft to medium, finish very slightly astringent.

The flavor doesn't quite match the great smell somehow, but this is still a very good porter, and a very good representation of the style. Recommended.

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

Pours a creamy head that dissapates rather quickly. Dark copper, brown coloring in glass. Slight chocolate and carmel aromas. Mouthfeel is a little thin for a porter but nice, none the less. Smooth chocolate and toffee initial tastes with light alcohol feel in the back of throat. Nice carbonation...not forced at all. Hoppy aftertaste was a little surprising for a porter but nice.
This is a good intro to a porter....not to heavy and not bitter but with a hop taste that makes it nice and clean.
Very drinkable winter beer.
It is now the end of May, 2006 and I found another bottle of this brew in a store who obviously doesn't rotate their stock too well.
Anyway, the color, the pour, the head, the aroma, the mouthfeel...none of it suffered for age. It is still beautiful with no oxidation or off tastes.
It does, however, seem somewhat thicker in the mouth than it did before...a pleasant change.
Still like this stuff a lot...even more now than I did in December.

Photo of WetCoaster
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear mahogany with an off-white head. Initially large and dense, but retreats to a thin collar quickly. Some lace. Moderate carbonation.

Smell: Hmmm... this I did not expect. Basically a liquid Heath bar; extremely dense nose of chocolate, caramel, toffee and butterscotch. Nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Chocolate sundae with butterscotch sauce, maybe? Sweet, although not cloying. Finishes with a brace of bittering hops and unsweetened chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium-ish and a bit lively.

Drinkability: Not a textbook porter, exactly, but a pretty tasty variation. I liked it.

Photo of SteveO1231
4.67/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Still working on that Sam Holiday Pack!

Pours an opaque black, twinkle of purple highlight. Beautiful frothy tan head. Chunky bubbly lacing.

Very tempting aroma of roasted barley and chocolate malts. Hint of caramel and toffee.

Thick on the palate with a nice roasted malt flavor. Little bit of smooth sweetness, followed by a dry, bitter coffee finish. Nice roasty aftertaste clings to the tongue.

Very nice, I wish I could get this in a 6 pack.

Photo of cubedbee
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with a huge coffee colored head, nice retention, decent lacing. Nose is a nice chocolatey roast, a little sweet. Taste is malty, slightly roasted, with a slight milk chocolate and a caramel finish. Mouthfeel is pretty thin and slightly fizzy. This is an OK beer, not that great though, I prefer the winter warmers from the holiday pack.

Photo of TastyTaste
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Didn't try it last year, so I bought the sampler (with the cranberry "lambic") to do so.

Appearance: Extremely dark maroon body, barely lets any light through. Head rises up to about 1/2" and fades to a solid transparent layer on top of the beer.

Smell: Roasted and chocolatey, a little hops, maybe?

Taste: Malts don't play as big of a part as they should in this, a surprisingly large amount of the beer is definded by it's hoppy finish. Moderate chocolate malt. OK.

Mouthfeel: a little too thin, but not the worst I have had.

Drinkability: I don't think I will buy a sam adams sampler again, it is clearly not the best examples from this brewery.

Photo of jmz62565
3.39/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very black color with a nice two finger creamy head that lasts.The smell is a little weak.There is a hint of coffee and malt,but not much else.The taste is malty,but not as coffee and chocolate filled as other porters.It tastes like a little like a cola.It's not bad,but there are other porters that are much better.The m/f is a little too light for me.This isn't a bad beer,and I would have it again,but compared to other poters it is a little weak.

Photo of kmcnair
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh boy, another from the 2005 Sam Adams Winter Gift Box.
Deep dark opaque brownish black color, very slight bit of a tan head and some fancy belgian lace. Aroma is rich roasted chocolate. Flavor opens with a rush of peppery spice from the earthy english hops and is dominated by dark bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee-like malts. Medium bodied and coats the palate with a layer of sweet caramel and finishes slightly dry. This is a really nice porter that I think I would pick up regularly if it were a year round offering.

Photo of babydoc
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the 2005 Holiday pack, this bottle was notched "Purchase before April" and cellared at forty-eight degrees. Poured syrupy, dark, molasses that let little light through. There were ruby tones when held up the the light. Generous two-finger spongy head was the color of frozen cola, and was rough and rocky as it disappeared long before the beer was gone.

Nose was disappointing- pleasant but just not a lot there- some roasted malt, a bit of molasses.

Chocolate flavors jump out from the start- both dark and sweet milk choclate, with roasted malts, a bit of hops at the finish, and a bit of metallic flavor finding it's way to diminish the finish. Mouthfeel had moderate carbonation, just a bit thin.

Despite that, I enjoyed this one and would go back for another. It's drinkable indeed.

Photo of Mitchel
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This porter pours a dark, dark redish black with a creamy head that quickly disappears and leaves some lacing which sticks pretty well to the glass. It smells of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt which add to the overall drinkablity.

It tastes of caramel and molasses with light undertones of coffee. As always, it has that Sam Adams bite to it. It is a little spicy and is a relatively dry stout which could be excellent all year round. Chocolaty..mmm.

Photo of PSUDREW
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I really like this beer. Well balanced and great tasting. this makes for a great brew.

Pours a nice pitch-like color. It has a tanish head, and laces quite a bit. Very light, kinna piney nose. Over all, nice first impression

Tatse is a mixed bag....but in a good way, Carmel, roasted, matly, and balanced all in the same bag. The carmle plays very nicely with the roasted malts. There is some hop interaction, but, it is always in the backround.

Over all a very nice nrew. refershing, tasy, and drinkable. I implore Jim Koch to brew this year round.

Photo of fromage
2.26/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Man, I've really not been impressed with this holiday mixer. I've tried them all at this point. They're just so bland!

Poured into a pint glass and allowed to warm. Dark brown, with a good deal of bubbling. Tan, foamy head that did last a while.

Smell was very mild apples and pears and a tiny bit of caramel. Not much to go on.

Taste was dissapointing as well, with just a little bittersweet bite, fairly astringent with some caramel, and a short finish. Not very complicated.

Mouthfeel was medium.

Drinkability not so high. I couldn't believe how little there was to this beer besides a bitter chocolate bite. Ok with PF Chang's Great Wall of Chocolate, but not enjoyable on its own.

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tonight was one of those nights. It's the first really butt-cold night of the year, my mind is a week ahead on food and beer, and I come home to a fridge full of beer. Do I go to the gym? No...too cold. But I DO feel like havin' me'self a mug o' porter! And this fits the bill. Pours a deep dark chocolatey brown. A hint of spices are notable in the nose, along with molasses and chocolate malt. Toffee and thick caramel find their way home, with mild notes of dark, bitter chocolate and some pine sap as well. Subtle hoppiness bitters slightly throughout. Carbonation nips the tip of the tongue and hangs there all throughout the aftertaste. Quite nice. Gulpable. One I see myself drinking throughout the holiday season.

Photo of shbobdb
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, now this is a porter.

Like SA's Oktoberfest, there are better porters out there; however, unlike their Oktoberfest, none come to mind. I mean, I can picture the taste of those better porters, but not their names. Regardless, this is a niiice brew. It seems like it is actually brewed with chocolate malt, rather than pale malt with a pinch of black patent thrown in. Smooth, silky, delicious. One of the better porters I have had.

But I can't shake the feeling that I've had this beer before . . . Oh yeah, SA's Schwarzbier! How 'bout that? Swap the lager yeast for an ale yeast and maybe up the ratio of choclate to caramel malt and there ya go!

On second sip (well, OK, tenth), actually, it ain't the malt. Switch noble for english hops.


Photo of mmmbeer
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of the mixed winter pack. 12 oz., best by April notched on the back and 5.9% ABV - served chilled in a nonic. Pours a black that doesn't really thin at the edges like most porters but has ruby highlights in the right light. It has an inch of beige head that is cratery when it recedes and leaves great lacing for the first half of the beer. The aroma is soft and complex, creamy and buttery, with caramel, sweet chocolate, roasted malts, sweetness, and some kinda spiciness (nutmeg?, spruce?) that is akin to Anchor's Special Ale. The flavor is not as strong, with additions of coffee and piney/spicy hops that leave a good bitterness. The body at first seems quite thick, but it is medium with a carbonation that is a bit high at times. Overall it's a quality beer and I wish it came in sixers.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,224 ratings.