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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.

2,215 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,215
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 30
Gots: 89 | 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: 2,215 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kfoss99
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance – brown, ruby hued when held to the light. It has a large, fluffy, tan head that leaves plenty of lace. Very light for a porter.

Smell – Sour malt wafted from away. Upon closer inspection the porter is sweeter, similar to fresh bread.

Taste – Initial detection of salt. Roasted notes are subdued, similar to a brown ale. A pleasant chocolate bitterness comes from the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and creamy with a dry hop bitterness at the finish.

Drinkability – A mild porter, a November beer – I’d say a bridge between the big winter beers and Oktoberfest.

kfoss99, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer lifted from a friends holiday box. Purchase (and consume?) before dating duly noted. Pours a healthy looking very dark brown, with a dark tan/mocha head. Nice retenion exhibited and leaves well developed froth and lacing.
nose is coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Medium bodied and flavorful. Notes of roasted coffee, vanilla, smoke, dark fruits and chocolate. Finish is a tad lite on flavor, but makes up for it with a dry,smooth velvet flow over the tongue. Nice robust porter. Worth a try.

Billolick, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of kbub6f
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is light tan and foamy: 2". The beer is black, or a deep, dark garnet against the light. Sticky, thin lacing coats the glass. The smell is sweet toffee with a little milk. Up front is sweet toffee ice cream with fruit. The middle is chewy, but not quite satisfyingly full. There is some vanilla. The finish holds bitter toffee and is sourish. There are some juicy hops and also peas. This isn't bad. There are loads of toffee and a strong hop profile. But really, I'm buying a whole twelve-pack just for two bottles of this porter. I wish it were better.

kbub6f, Jan 19, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a nice-looking brew... a clear dark brown beer with a 2-finger tan head that left a lot of lacing.

Aroma was of dark roasted malt, a slight hint of dark fruits (raisins, prunes) and a little touch of sweetness.

The taste was of bitter chocolate, roasted barley, and a little bitter coffee aftertaste. Nice.

Mouthfeel was pretty good... I wish they had this available in six-packs, rather than just the holiday pack.

connecticutpoet, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep brown, nearly black with hints of magenta as the light passes through. Nice tan head as well. Bitter chocolate roastiness, molasses..maybe a hint of citrus peel in the nose. Nice.

Big bitter chocolate malt upfront with some burnt, roasted grain notes and hints of spicy hops on the back of the palate. Hints of caramel and a touch of coffee. Quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel has a nice creamy aspect and good body. This is a nice porter that I could easily drink quite a few of. One of my fave Sam Adams offerings so far. I wouldn't mind seeing some six packs of this.

orbitalr0x, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with ruby highlights when held to light. It forms a nice creamy light brown head and leaves a bit of lace work. The aroma is a bit roasty with a tiny bit of chocolate and coffee. It also has a bit of caramel malts and some huskiness in the aroma. The flavor is malty and roasty with coffee and a bit of vanilla. It is medium in body and drying in the finish. Not too bad.

BeerBuilder, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out nearly black with a sizable brown head. The sweet malty aroma has chocolate notes and is slightly woody. Chocolatey taste up front. Nice roasted flavor. The finish is a little weak on the hops, but overall a very good flavor. Creamy mouthfeel. Nice drinkability; I could hardly put my glass down. This beer was by far the high point of a Sam Adams Winter 12 pack.

beveragecaptain, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark porter-brown with a creamy, light-tan head. Nice lacing. Smells of roasted malt, burned brown-sugar, light smoke and leather with a hint of chocolate. Considerably aromatic and better than expected. Starts out dry and roasty. Baking chocolate-like faint sweetness. Woody, with a touch of smoke. Generous roasted hop bitterness. Finish is roasty and bitter with traces of woody sweetness. Medium plus bodied, with a creamy, mouth-coating feel. Nice.

alexgash, Jan 05, 2005
Photo of 67cuda
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an inky black with a small tan head, and it has quite an aroma. I smelled chocolate, caramel, and a bit of a coffee smell as well. The taste was somewhat bitter, with chocolate and malt well represented. I don't usually like porters, but I'll make an exception for this one! I wish that this beer was available outside the holiday sampler, I really wish I had more than 2 total (one now) bottles of it.

67cuda, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of taez555
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a black body with a decent sized tan head.

Really quite an amazing nose. Very fresh roasted malt, chocolate, dark malts, oak, wood with just hint of smoke. Damn!!!

The taste was light to medium bodied with a dark roasted bitterness. Lots of dark malts with an almost milk chocolate sort of malt note. A rather big bitterness for a porter. Some subtle slight toasted and burnt malt notes.

I was just floored by the nose of this beer; the taste on the other hand was just your typical porter. Nice, drinkable, but really just another simple sam adams session beer. I miss the honey porter.

taez555, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of garymuchow
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is actually quite mild. Malty, slightly sweet, and seems to show a hint of alcohol, slightly roasty and caramel.
Heas smallish and lef fairly quickly. Very dark brown with red hues.
Nice full flavor and richness. Dark malt character with a strong chocolate taste. Considerable bitterness, especially in the middle, which decreases towards the finish without ever really leaving. Nice complexity of malt and hops. Fairly dry.
Rich. Relatively soft and smooth. Intensity of malts creates a bit of a bite.
Hearty, rich, full. All aspects improve with warming.

garymuchow, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. Freshness date etched into side of label.
It pours a roofing tar color with a beige/tan head that fades to a thin permanent coating.
The aroma of strong coffee leaps out. A smell of bitter chocolate vies for attention as does a whiff of dry dark roasted malt.
Toasty malt flavors are supported by tastes of strong coffee and dark chocolate.
This brew is fairly hoppy for the style. A bitter resinous hop taste mingles with a dry hop and peppery spiciness.
I wonder why this brew isn't offered in its own 6 pack and/or on draught.

BeerResearcher, Dec 26, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This must be a new BBC brew, I’ve hadn’t read anything about it, but found it in the holiday 12-pack. It pours a dark brown, nearly black color, with a light-cream head. Moderate lacing. There’s an average porter-like, roasted malt and toasted aroma. Caramel, black malt, and chocolate. Nothing extraordinary. Taste is relatively sweet and has a little fruit quality to it: plum and raisin. Finish is on the sweet side, and is only slightly hoppy. It’s a decent, enjoyable porter, but certainly not outstanding.

Suds, Dec 26, 2004
Photo of sabrills70
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep almost black amber with a minimal beige head and Ok lace. Smells of roasted malt but not a very strong scent for a porter - a timid aroma. Tastes of a typical porter - a nicely roasted maltiness with some coffee, chocolate, a bit smokey but with a nice bitterness to it. It is fairly drinkable, especially at holiday time. The only thing that sets this apart from other porters is the fact that its bitterness at the finish is a bit stronger than most. Not a bad porter, but there are much beteer ones (and worse) out there.

sabrills70, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

"How very exciting", I thought when this year's Winter Sampler from Samuel Adams added a new taste. In the past, they have used this gift pack to hand out some of the beer that wouldn't normally sell (like the Vienna Style, the Cranberry (non)Lambic, and most recently, Sam Light). So, I was excited to see a new holiday beer - one that I hoped would meet my level of enthusiasm toward Fezziwig (aka, the beer that turned me on to beer).
Appearance: Pours a very nice dark black/brown in the glass. There is almost no head at all. Visable carbonation/activity in the glass.

Smell: There are notes of caramel and other burnt sugars as well as a roasted malty smell.

Taste: It is certainly heavily flavored with dark malts. This beer is very sugary despite its rather dry aftertaste. I was hoping for something to come of the roasted smell, but the flavor doesn't get very deep. In fact, it is one of the most shallow porters I have tasted.

Mouthfeel: This is not good. Its a very thin, watery texture - the expectation of a holiday porter was not met well in the mouth. I wonder if the flavors would have been more pronounced in a bigger bodied beer.

Drinkability: This isn't one that I'd go out and buy. It is worth trying and it is certainly better than many of the other Samuel Adams Winter-Pack beers. However, I'd rather drink their Fezziwig anyday. In fact, I'd rather drink their Boston Lager or Winter Lager. But, better than a yellow macrobrew...for what that's worth.

GuinnessSmurf, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of chilidog
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up the Holiday pack for this beer, and im glad I did. It poured a dark, almost black, with a full tan head. Great on lace all glass long.The aroma was of toasted sweet grain and coffee bean. That sweet toasted grain is carried over through taste along hints of nut, caramel & vinilla cap/coffee. A good balance of the malts at start and hops towards the finish. The body seems mid-level which may aid the drinkability. It dose aid the fact you wish you could get more than two. A nice holiday offering.

chilidog, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of tweeder263
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out nice and dark with a one finger tan head. Smells really nice almost invoking a feeling of a imp stout.That malty licorice smell.Taste was well balanced malt up front and hops towards the end.I gave it a low score on mouthfeel i felt it was a bit thin for the style.All in all a nice brew that i wish was more available then just in winter variety packs.

tweeder263, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of Gusler
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer evacuates the 12-ounce brown bottle a deep brown to almost black with a portly light chocolate head that is semi-creamy in texture as it evaporates the lace forms a thick blanket to obfuscate the glass. Nose is lightly toasted grains with a hint of caramel, sweet and fresh, start is lightly sweet with a decent malt profile, top is middling in its feel. Finish is benignly acidic and the hops adequate, quite dry almost chalky in it feel to the palate, a so porter, will not win any ribbons with me.

Gusler, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of BeerBob
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams “Holiday Porter” pours a midnight scarlet from a 12oz dark brown glass bottle. Head goes well over three finger before disintegrating to a lumpy clumpy field of foam, lace and islands of foam on and about the entire top of my glass.

Nose is of fig and of hops. Nothing jumping out and really getting my attention.

Major bitter chocolate in the palate with a slice of drying grapefruit. The malts are there, but somehow getting upstaged by the hops. The mouth feel is outstanding, to the point of being lip smacking and among the best I've had.

BeerBob, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of far333
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inky dark brown with a light brown thick and lumpy head of various sized bubbles. The head recedes a bit, but leaves a quarter inch layer atop, and a ring of lace around the inside of the glass. Inviting aroma of roasty malts, some raisin. Flavor is roasted malt, a little chalky, some raisin and plum, but also a bit of a tang, almost cherry-like, and a lingering coffee bitter. Interesting hop flavors moving in and out. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, although a bit tannic.

far333, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a two-finger brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Almost black. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts and finishes with a sweetish roasted chocolate/coffee flavor. 83¢ for a 12 oz bottle from Market Basket Concord, NH - should be sold in 6-paks instead of two in a 12-pak.

jdhilt, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of xgrigorix
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by month notched on label.

Deep dark brown, opaque - except for ruby highlights at the edges. Beautiful fluffy tan head leaves plenty of lace clinging to the glass.

Notes of chocolate mixed with some grassy hop notes.

Cheap coffe, some earthy / grassy hop flavours & a light chocolately finish. Medium bodied, easy carbonation. Nothing all that special.

xgrigorix, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of ZAP
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not as good as the fabled Honey Porter but not bad....really looks the part...nice tan fluffy head...brownish black in color...nose has some subtle java notes...and dark cocoa...flavor is roasty...accented by vanilla bean....finishes with a piney hop hit...body is medium..creamy....overall a solid brew but nothing I wound buy again....

ZAP, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of beertaster13
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This porter is exceptional, pours a black ruby color with a mocha chocolate brown head that is amazing to see. The smell is of strong dark roasted chocolate and espresso beans, hints of maple syrup and light toasted grain, the taste is smooth simple and robust, a nice espresso up front and a smooth whipped cream with chocolate finish, very nice. This one warms me up in December, grab one today.

beertaster13, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of JackStraw22
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark with hints of red in the light, and an inch of head with some lacing. This feels great in the mouth, a great weight for a cold night. It didn't taste very sweet to me, the caramel and chocolate flavors were hinted at but not strong. It tasted a lot better as I let it warm, malts really came through. The hops have a complex, rich feel to them. The more I drank it, the more I liked it, I think because the beer was warming up some. I'd certainly recommend giving it a try if you like porters.

JackStraw22, Dec 13, 2004
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,215 ratings.