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

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Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

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2,231 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 2,231
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 41
Gots: 113 | 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: 2,231 | Reviews: 1,136
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
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!!

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


Photo of woemad
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of danielharper
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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.

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.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,231 ratings.