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

Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,117 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2117
Reviews: 1136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%

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)
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Ratings: 2,117 | Reviews: 1,136 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kshizzle101


3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Very dark brown - almost black with a 2 inch tan head.

S - very malty, spicy, and some dried fruits as well

T - taste is malty with a little spice. Perhaps some caramel as well. A feint taste of booze at the very end.

M - A bit light for a porter and perhaps over carbonated slightly. medium body, a little sticky

Overall - A pretty good Porter offering from Sam Adams but definitely some room for improvement.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 06:18:02 | More by kshizzle101
Photo of Hunter


3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark black-red brew, thick head of dense tan foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Smoke, chocolate, anise.

Taste: The smells come through in the taste, but somewhat muted. The aftertaste has a small amount of alcoholic heat to it. Caramels and malts, licorice blended with coffee.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery.

Overall: Overall, not terribly bad. It's rare to find decent porters, and this fits the bill.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 22:20:06 | More by Hunter
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

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

Black in color with a thin but lasting tan head. Sweet chocolate aroma with a heavy dose of roasted malts. Delish and complex yet light enough to be a session beer and everyday drinker. Very sweet for the style but not in a bad way. Lot's of roasted flavors. Hints of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Very well balanced. Thin enough in the mouth to go down easy yet not so thin it's boring or watery. Not great but a very solid offering for the Holidays from Sam Adams.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 15:55:36 | More by wcudwight
Photo of ColdWaffles


3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes from earlier in the night. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: "Basically" black color with a steady tan head. This gets it right, and I can't really complain.

Smell: Some traces of sweet flavors like chocolate or maybe candy caramel, and malts.

Taste: A pretty standard porter with a little sweetness, roasted malts come forward, some nice light hop flavor sits in the background. A nice accessible porter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, perhaps a bit more carbonation than necessary as is what feels like a Sam Adams standard.

This is a decent porter and would be something I'd readily recommend to anyone looking to try the style with a name "they can trust." Sam could probably remove "Holiday" and keep this around all year.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 04:14:42 | More by ColdWaffles
Photo of KYGunner


3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whoever said a Porter had a ruby red color has never had this beauty. Black as night I found a bit of red in the corners of the snifter in the light. The head was stout, creamy and long lasting.

The scent is almost unremarkable, not offensive, but difficult to love. A milky sweet blend of chocolate and cheap booze.

The porter taste does shine through. Bit of burnt malt, a bit of sweet milk, not much more, but nice enough. There's a a hint of chocolate and caramel but its weak and dissipates quickly.

Not my favorite Porter but I wouldn't say no to it either

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 22:28:20 | More by KYGunner
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
5.8% ABV, Enjoy before MAY notched on the label.

A - Samuel Adams is pours a clear dark brown color with amber highlights and a big, frothy tan head. The loose bubbles have great retention, leaving chunky sheets of sticky lace on the glass.

S - Roasted malts are all over the nose featuring a dry cocoa neutrality with a pinch of chocolate and coffee but this smells much more crisp, and dry than thick and robust. An undertone of lactose sweetness gives the beer a subtle Christmas cookie nose that's very inviting.

T - Like the aroma before it, this beer is more crisp considering it's color and roasted malt character. Dry mocha and cocoa are laced with notes of caramel, molasses, and leather, finishing with a full earthy flavor of woody and herbal hops.

M - This Holiday Porter is medium bodied though crisp but not with abundant carbonation. Smooth feeling, initially, the beer makes a quick shift to a dry, gritty feel on the finish, lingering with notes of herbal spiciness.

O - Samuel Adams Holiday Porter is a good entry into both darker beer and spiced holiday seasonals with it's chocolate and cocoa malt flavors and subtle English hop earthiness and herbal spice. Not too robust, putting back more than one of these dry, roasted porters wouldn't be too much of a chore.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 15:55:51 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Like most porters dark brown, withg little light you see the natural brown coloring of the beer. Light tan head is thick (after a vigorous pour) rising to well over a finger's length.

Smell: Light malty scent, but like the first word in the sentence says light. Still appetizing sniff of caramel that I can't complain about.

Taste: Chocolatey caramel taste but keep in mind this is an above average bitter brew. Dark choclate may feel a touch sweet.

Mouth: Easily medium to heavy, with a bitter chocolate after-taste that is quite appealing.

Overall: "Holiday Porter", I am not quite so sure but a good one...YES definitely indeed. I like this beer a lot and easily my favorite in Sam Adams winter variety pack. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 06:13:44 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of jimmah120


3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12pz bottle best by may

look is a dark brown amber, small creamy head. smell is roasted grain and malt, warm alcohol, and cocoa powder. dry medium feel give way to oak, alcohol, some holiday spice, roasted grain/malt, and some more cocoa powder.

An easy drinking porter. Taste was a little off in this bottle but it's been better before.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 10:52:41 | More by jimmah120
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter has a thick, creamy, beige head and a dark, reddish-brown appearance, with heavy lacing rings left on the glass. The aroma is faint, but one can detect cream and dark malt. The flavor is of dark-roasted malt, cream, sugar, and an appropriately mild hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium and velvety, and Samuel Adams Holiday Porter finishes wet, soft, mild, and highly drinkable. Overall, this is a delicious offering, and I recommend it.


Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 19:08:10 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of thlayli87

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown, almost black with very little light penetrating; one finger of tan head with moderate retention; slight bit of lacing

S - Caramel malt mingles with earthy hop aromas

T - Pleasant malty flavors; well balanced; hops not as evident in the flavor as in the nose; some earthy woodiness as well.

M - Medium bodies; very drinkable; creamy mouthfeel.

O - Pretty decent, but nothing really makes it stand out; Easy drinking porter--I could easily see having multiple of these in a sitting; I probably wouldn't seek this out, but if it's included in Sam Adams Holiday 12-pk again I'd be pleased to enjoy this next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 21:57:10 | More by thlayli87
Photo of mattkoon

South Carolina

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

this holiday porter from samuel adams has a rich deep boardering on black color. held up to the light you can see a crimson hue around the edges. the smell is nutty with smokey traces. the taste is rich and dark, almost similar to the boston lager if you took it further. this is pretty drinkable for a dark beer. as dark as it is you could drink a few of these. i would drink this more often if it was available year round.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 06:49:11 | More by mattkoon
Photo of Scotchboy


3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint shaker...

A: Darker brown, transparent red body...a cap of nice light tan lace leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: Typical porter, with the slightest suggestion of earthy hops...light roasted malts, hints of coffee bitterness, caramel, suggestions fruitiness.

T: Roasted malts with a dusting of cocoa powder...more suggestions of a dark fruit component, dark caramel, with a faint deeply roasted/burnt malt edge. Hints of a cola/tootsie roll flavor as well.

MF: Thinner mouthfeel, medium bodied or so...there are some creamy notes here...adequate carbonation.

O: Not overly flavorful, and the nose isn't really impressive either. An unremarkable easy-drinking porter.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 15:56:43 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Tuey13


3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and thick, one finger dark brown head.

The smell is roasted malts, coffee, nutty chocolate, and caramel sweetness.

The taste is espresso, dark chocolate, and toffee.... a little hop bitterness on the finish. Creamy and very drinkable. Another that i wish was available in six packs... I really need to get another Holiday sampler lol.

Another Sam Adams that is very good and easy to drink... not over the top, but very nice and tasty.

Happy Holidays!

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 23:55:55 | More by Tuey13
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep brown colored beer with a huge tan colored head. The head has a great level of retention fading over time as the big bubbles within pop and in the end end leaving a good level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is a nice blend of roasted malt, chocolate, sweet caramel and some coffee aromas. Rounding out the smell is a light nut and spice aroma.

Taste – The taste begins of roasted malt and some chocolate up front. As the taste moves on, a coffee flavor develops more toward the middle of the taste. Along with the coffee is a lighter caramel taste. While these flavors all last, they are joined by some spice flavors more toward the end. Along with the spice, and complimenting them well, are some earthy and herbal hop flavors that when combined with the coffee and chocolate leave a pleasant spiced and roasty flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the slightly lower side. The creamier body is great for the roasted and dark flavors as well as for allowing the lighter hop and spice flavors to be detected nicely in the absence of a high carbonation.

Overall – A nice holiday take on a porter that is very smooth and drinkable with a nice light hop flavor. A great widely available winter brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2012 01:57:16 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of brewsadedotcom


3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours with an inch of foamy head that lingers. Dark brown color

S: Some coffee. Nothing overpowering.

T: Malty with notes of chocolate. Subtle hop finish.

M: Moderate carbonation. Somewhat creamy. Drinkable. Easy to put a few of these away quickly.

O: Enjoyable brew. Not my favorite out of the winter variety pack but a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 01:04:03 | More by brewsadedotcom
Photo of BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug at cellar temperature.

L – Deep brown, almost black, color with a big 4-finger tan bubbly, pillowy head. Really nice retention and some great lacing.

S – Lots of chocolate and toasted, nutty malts along with some more hearty, roasted malts, as well.

T – Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts mostly with some faint nutty and vanilla notes.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and creamy mouthfeel, and a bitter and dry finish. Sweet chocolate and bitter roasted malts linger.

O – This is a decent porter. The taste stressed the roasted malt more than the nose suggested, which is fine. The biggest problem that I have with the beer is probably the blandness of the taste. There just isn’t much complexity or richness here. Nevertheless, this isn’t a bad beer and it’s definitely drinkable. I wouldn’t turn one down, but I probably wouldn’t seek it out myself.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 03:33:38 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of fields336

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A:very dark brown, purple/red when held up to light, carbonation looks decent, the head is a light mocha brown and is about 1/2 finger, doesn't linger long.
S: light coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted, and slight burnt smell. Caramel and toffee flavors are present as well
T: a sweet chocolate flavor at first, overwhelmed by roasted coffee, then subsides and a thick chewy caramel/toffee flavor comes over your mouth

M: medium bodied, good carbonation

O: probably my favorite beer in the winter classics

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 03:04:26 | More by fields336
Photo of DavidS88


4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holiday Porter looks, tastes, and feels like something right out of a Charles Dickens novel. Jim Koch and the team at Samuel Adams really outdid themselves here with this really great bordering on outstanding brew. Holiday Porter is a nice deep dark brown almost black that allows some light to pass through. When poured, it didn't really develop that much of a head for me, but some foam remained on top of the beer as I drank it down. The smell was strongly of coffee with practically no hops. The taste was pretty much the same: very malty with lots of coffee up front with slight bitterness, but still clean and refreshing. It's a wonderful combination of both robust flavor and unparalleled drinkability. I picked up a few of these in Samuel Adams winter pack and I can't wait to try their other porters if this is any indication of what they can craft in a similar style. I greatly enjoyed Holiday Porter and can't wait to pick more up.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 17:50:54 | More by DavidS88
Photo of Sweepz189


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in April (2012 I assume). Purchased a case at local distributor in variety pack, lots of new beer I never had before. I figured Samuel Adams doesn't disappoint.

A: Since I'm drinking it cold from the bottle I gave it a 3, looks fine to me. I rarely consider appearance unless it's something noteworthy. It seems like it would be heady if I poured it.

S: Smells really hoppy, slightly spicy. Smells really good, but not like a porter, at least not the porter I'm used to.

T: After tasting, I didn't know what to think. Am I biased? This does not taste like any porter I've ever had. I'm starting to think my definition of porter is different from others, then again even the case disclaims two of the beers in the case are considered "ale" in texas, so maybe Porter means whatever you want! It looks like a porter, but my point here is it's very hoppy. It tastes like it smells. It's a very good beer, mildly hoppy, not overly spicy, very drinkable. There is almost a faint fruity, maybe apple or pear, aftertaste

M: Which brings me to this: It's carbonation is pretty light, at least to me. It's easily drinkable, even at 5.8% ABV. If you drink it too fast, the bubbles do give you that feeling of being full, though. I suppose it "drinks" like a porter; light on the mouth, heavy on the stomach.

O: The Holiday Porter is not at all what I expected, but in a way I should have expected it. Sam Adams, although domestic, brews very original, crafty beers. If you're used to your run of the mill porter and someone hands you a Sam Adams porter, it's going to be different and something you don't expect. It is indeed a dark beer and has a sort of acquired taste, like a porter, but it's hoppy and near-fruity taste are a delight you didn't see coming in an interesting way.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 04:21:48 | More by Sweepz189
Photo of TempeBeerMan


3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a dimpled mug.

A - Pours a dark brown with edges of ruby, with a three-finger off-white soap sud style head that dissipated quickly, leaving behind small patches of lacing.

S - Moderate strength aroma of roasted grains, chocolate, and toffee. Some earhty hops as well.

T - Follows the nose almost exactly with toasted malts and toffee forward, but overall the flavors are pretty subdued. Very grainy. A hint of chocolate flavor. Decent balance between sweet and bitter malts.

M - Thin and kind of watery, even for a porter. Moderate carbonation.

O - A decent and drinkable porter, but nowhere near rich enough or flavorful enough to be considered memorable. A decent enough additional to the Winter Classics craft pack, but doubt I would seek it out over other available porters if it was available on it's own.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 00:15:11 | More by TempeBeerMan
Photo of mashedpotatoes


3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a winter warmer pint glass. Dark black with hints of amber in the light. Huge head, three finger retention with tons of lacing; everything you want it to be! Mouthfeel is a bit thin and metallic. Roasted, somewhat burnt and estery. If I could mix this with Sam Adams Chocolate Bock it would be the perfect mix for a Chocolate Holiday Porter. A solid beer for sure and the presentation is exceptional. I would recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 04:01:46 | More by mashedpotatoes
Photo of StonedTrippin


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

another goodie from the winter mix this season, this porter is inherently english in style, but with a couple of clever twists. it pours dark dark brown, hardly letting any light pass through, and an inch of off white head. the nose is sweet, more like a cream stout than a porter, and tons of deep roasty to burnt sugary malts. i though the flavor was great, lots of caramel sugar, as the malts used dont hide much at all, some coffee notes, but a lot of lactosey sugar on the back end. the feel is smooth as anything, but there should be a little more carbonation. the body is pretty full, i wouldnt need a ton of these to be satiated. overall though, this is a really nice porter, works perfectly in its small dose winter 12er context, and i appreciated this effort from sam. something different and tasty, a sweet treat.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 02:11:48 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of smalenberg


3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful dark mahogany with ruby highlights.

S - There isn't a lot going on in the nose - it is subtle

T - The malty sweetness of the rich carmel from the munich malt blends well with a slight roast bitterness.

M - Very full bodied with significant carbonation.

O - The second best reason to buy the holiday variety pack. I'd drink this any time of the year.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 01:23:06 | More by smalenberg
Photo of jjamadorphd


3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I turned back to my Sam Adams sampler pack and pulled out the Holiday Porter (after what I had last night after the game this was a good surprise.)

Out of the bottle the beer pours a very dark brown to almost black in color, reminding me of the Guinness Black I had earlier this year. The head that forms is an eye-pleasing tan that sticks around for quite some time. Lacing was good as well - the best I've seen in a while.

I really couldn't smell anything but the hops and malt and the same thing for the taste. Mouthfeel wasn't anything out of the ordinary, good or bad.

Overall, it was a very pleasing to the eyes and surprisingly good taste to the mouth for a full-bodied porter I will definitely partake more of in the coming days.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 20:47:31 | More by jjamadorphd
Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9

3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams cup

A- Deep, dark mahogany body with an 1" of fluffy off white head

S- Roasty malts, metal, floral hops

T- Roasty nutty malt bomb, floral hops balance it out somewhat, metallic lingering after taste

M- Medium body, above average carb, coats everything, including my teeth (...TF??)

O- Pretty good, I'd say it's more like a really malty brown ale. The malts are really nutty and it's pretty well balanced with the hops. Metalic twang seems to be a reoccurring event with these winter pack sam adams, and it lingers and stays in your mouth long after drinking the beer. I might as well throw a handful of penny's in my mouth...

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 19:20:24 | More by Chris_Cali_2o9
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,117 ratings.