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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.
BA SCORE
84
good

2,202 Ratings
THE BROS
89
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 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

PREFACE:
"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).
===
REVIEW:
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
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.65/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was really looking forward to this beer as I still pine for the Honey Porter and yes I know this is not it.

Pours a deep dark brown with a creamy tan head. Smells of smoky chocolate, roasted/burnt malt. Very rich nose. Lightly bitter and hints of almond.

Tastes as rich as it smells. Smoky roasted malt. A chocolate flavor that vasilates between bitter and milky. A nice hoppy finish, kind of spicy bitter hops instead of floral flavors. It is just so damn good. Wel-balanced and full flavored. Creamy mouth. Oh so tasty and goes down easily. This is not a huge knock-you-over-the-head style porter. Just well crafted and well balanced. Tasty as all get out and just a real honest, straight-forward brew. I love it. It's been awhile since i've enjoyed a porter this much. Bravo! Hope to see it regular.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of brewQ
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An excellent ebony pour with solid head.
Picked up some licorice in the nose.

Flavor is not as full as most Porters, but that may be their genius.
This beer is a nice step up from say Yuengling Porter. It is drinkable without filling the mouth with too much flavor.

Porter Purists will write this one off and Jim Koch will ponder adding it to his regular offering.

brewQ, Dec 12, 2004
Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very impressive light tan head--a full three fingers thick. Initially I didn't see any lace, but as the drink progressed, the lace became more pronounced

Chocolate and cream aromas. There's also a touch of oily alcohol.

The chocolate comes through in the taste, almost like a bittersweet hot cocoa. Very rich body, the carbonation seems a little below average. This has the consistency of the root beer float. I'm having trouble picking up the hop, but can tell it's present because the beer is well-balanced. I recommend this porter.

smcolw, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of GreenWBush
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Barely transclucent ruby/black. Bone colored head with fine lacing.

Surely one of the hoppiest beers i've had from Sam Adams, and hugely so for a porter - but not in that Alpha Klaus grapefruit kind of way. Sam's euro-leanings provide ample earthy, crisp, rich hop acids intermingling and almost overwhelming the sweet roastiness.

Taste brings all elements together in a delicious way without the annoying house yeast strain getting in the way. Earthy English-style hops can be quite remarkable when fresh and used in ample quantity.

Mouthfeel is less intense than the Stones and baltic porters i've been drinking but still perfect for a cold winter's night. Drinkable, but the collected hop acids and bitter roastiness would surely collect at the end of a session.

Worth the price of admission on the 12-pack.

GreenWBush, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan head settling over clear deep red/brownish liquid. Nice roasted malt nose with with light coffee and apparent chocolate notes too. Rich mouthfeel, bitter deep roast barley taste with coffee/espresso flavors mix with great hoppy bitterness that compliments the malt flavors perfectly. The finish is long and bitter with just a touch of sweetness, just the way I like it. Much better that I had anticipated, well done!

beerluvr, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of bditty187
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, almost black in spots, there is a ruby highlight around the edges, most noticed when held to a light. The head was over two fingers in height, beige in color. Head retention was excellent, it was slow to fade and it rested at a thin cap. This cap lasted the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing was chunky and widespread. It looks good in my glass. The nose is pleasant; the potency is low though yet I can hear what it is saying. Vanilla beans, espresso, chocolate, caramel, and roasted malts complete the bouquet. The aromas are well rounded; however it seems a little too simplistic. Sure, it smells like a Porter but it doesn’t “knock me out.” Still, it is inviting. The palate says “English Porter” to me. I like it. Roasted malts are bigger than the nose indicated, which is a good thing. Sweetness is satisfying from the start, caramel, espresso, and char as well. Vanilla. Chocolate. It becomes astringent at the finish. There is some noticeable hop bitterness but it fails to reach any noteworthy levels, however it does offer some earthy flavors. It is a nice complement to the malty backbone. On the whole this is a good Porter, it isn’t great and it isn’t something I’d buy a six-pack of. So as far as I’m concerned the BBC can keep the two bottles in the Winter Sampler but there isn’t any reason to go beyond that. Not quite medium in body, the carbonation is a tickle too low, more body is needed. Kick up the malt! The mouthfeel is too slick, too oily, and not rich enough. This aspect of the beer could be improved. Sure, this beer is drinkable but it fails to “wow” me. It is good but there are far too many better Porters on the market. This beer did sucker me into buying the 2004 Winter Sample Pack. Purchased in Omaha. Okay stuff.

bditty187, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of allengarvin
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12-oz bottle in a mug glass. I like the label. Makes a good companion, label-wise, to Old Fezziwig.

Appearance: Dark dark reddish-brown, with smallish head of tan foam.

Aroma: Rich caramel-chocolate smell, a little coffee-like also.

Flavor: Initially sweet, with a good complexity of dark-chocolate, nutty, and caramel malt flavors. Medium-low hop bitterness provides some balance and keeps it from cloying, but aren't really a noticible factor in the taste.

Body: Medium-full body, carbonation typical of SA beers.

A fine effort from the Boston Beer Company. This would be a good candidate for a year-round beer, or at least deserve its own six-pack. Superior to most of the current SA lineup.

allengarvin, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of Bighuge
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby beer. Thin, airy light brown head. The head recedes to a collar quickly, but the collar leaves a sufficient amount of lace. Nice aroma of roasted malts, vanilla bean, nuts and chocolate. The taste really follows suit with the nose. Roasted malts, some vanilla, coffee bean, chocolate and caramel malts. Pretty nice. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy. The body checks in around medium to medium-full. All in all, a solid porter. Not one that I'd buy a 12 pack again just to get 2 though.

Bighuge, Dec 09, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Darkly cast appearance, yet not quite brown, a dunnish deep burgundy, perhaps, resting under a good-sized, roasty cocoa-tan head, a solid 1/4", slowly shifting down.
Bittersweet espresso aroma, roasted, toasted, lightly spicy, burnt toast, chocolate, and a whiff of coffee grounds...with chocolate getting bigger over time...
Smooth and rich on the palate, light but almost luscious in flavor, sweetness and dark, together in tandem, with a creamy oily coating on the palate. Very well felt in the mouth, fills it fully, swishes flavor all around. Quite nice. Full in body, with a long, chocolatey finish.
Very, very nice porter...my voice rises in the choir to ask what makes it a "holiday" porter...no matter, this is nice nonetheless...why don't they so something this good year 'round, I gotsta ask...

feloniousmonk, Dec 08, 2004
Photo of ADR
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 2004 Holiday variety pack...

Dark brown pour, verging on opaque but letting light through at the bottom. Tan head struggles a bit after a half a minute, but settles as a skin. Rings of thin fne lace with good coverage on a pint glass. Sweet caramel aromas, traces of black pepper and a slight roast. Pleasant medium mouthfeel, lightly slick at first but with an effortlessly well-done carbonation typical of many practiced Sam Adams brews. Starts out roasty with a good crystal malt counterpoint and finishes noticeable dryer if somewhat diminished in overall mouthfeel. The increased bitterness in the close would be better in style for me if the body held up as slightly thicker. Still, a drinkable beer without many distractions.

ADR, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of UncleFrank
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time I had this was at the brewery. Had it again in the bottle and I think I enjoyed the bottle better. Just MHO.
Tan head on top of an almost black opaque beer.
Smell of burnt malts, more burnt that "gently roasted". Slightly sweet.
The body is medium, nice for style. Taste is bitter from grains not hops, semi-sweet chocolate and dark grains dominate. Hops to balance but not tasted. More of a brown porter than a robust, even though the color would indicate otherwise.
I liked this beer alot, especially sice I am very critical of porters and usually only enjoy robust ones. I drank these all night at a card game and would do it again.

UncleFrank, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of Dogbrick
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Sam Adams gets a bad rap sometimes, and people are overly critical of the brewer. Sam Adams brews high-quality beers, even the ones that are bland and boring. They are still well-made! This beer is no exception. Pours a dark brown color with a medium beige head that dissipated quickly. Thin and sticky lacing. The aroma is roasty with malt, dark chocolate and hops. Medium-bodied with bitter chocolate undertones. Malt, caramel and some coffee flavors. The finish is where the hops become more apparent. All in all this Porter is not up there with Fuller’s and the like but it is definitely a good beer.

Dogbrick, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of soper2000
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the Winter sampler. Pours with a nice 2 finger tan head (easily the most vibrant of this years winter sampler), atop a dark brown body which turns ruby when held up to a light. Aroma leans more toward chocolate than it does towards coffee. Taste is well balanced, no notes of coffee bitterness or flavors that really jump out at you. Very mellow porter. I'm not too impressed that they traded this for the magnificent cream stout in the sampler. Not bad by any means, it's just nothing earth-shattering.

soper2000, Dec 05, 2004
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,202 ratings.