Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,176 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,176
Hads: 2,423
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 17.65%
Wants: 51
Gots: 223 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States | website

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.
View: Beers (121) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Holiday Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,176 | Hads: 2,423
Photo of puck1225
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint jar.dark brown color with a nice thick head and good lacing. Nice smell of nuts an chocolate. A pleasant taste of raisins and other dark fruit, nuts, hint of wine.

 196 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.52/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter brewed by Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), with an ABV of 5.80% This brew pours out a deep brown color with a nice off white head. This brew has the look of coffee, not saying that is a bad thing. I like the look of this brew. The smell of this brew is rich with roasted grains, malts and hops. There is also a nice smooth, sweetness to the smell of this brew. This brew has the look and smell of most porters on the market. Now for the taste, it is bold with roasted grains, and malts. I like the taste of this brew, it is bold and rich. Samuel Adams Holiday Porter has a nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. This is a nice drinking brew. The mouth feel of Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, is rich bold, clean, and refreshing. Overall I'm giving Samuel Adams Holiday Porter a 4.50 out of 5. I would buy this brew again. Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), did a nic job with this one.

 954 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle notched BB Jun at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried nonic; allowed to warm to 51 degrees
Aroma weak – some roasted malt – totally fades away
Head large (5.5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to five mm frothy ring and depressed layer
Lacing poor – fair – few broken segments of rings, small to medium bubbles
Body dark brown, clear
Flavor starts slightly sweet quickly fading to slight bitterness, caramel and roasted malt come through; no hops flavor, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

 619 characters

Photo of AC-Mivsek
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bloody amber, lighter than most porters I've come across. Smells of Vanilla, hops, roasted malt. Big hop character on this porter. This drinks like a sweet black IPA.

 172 characters

Photo of Parmesan
3.49/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Dark brown Amber color. Pours a small off white head.

Smell: Sweet molasses, some roasted malt, and a little bit of cocoa, slight metallic smell.

Taste: Some cinnamon, a little roasted malt and quite sweet flavor. All of the flavors blend and nothing stands out.

Feel: Seems over carbonated for a porter with a medium body.

 334 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
2.29/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Small bubbly head, with a dark, yet relatively light, color for a porter.

A relatively straight-forward coffee bean smell, with some vanilla sweetness.

A skanky malty taste, with some minor cacao undertones. Has a fair amount of sourness to it. Overall, a quite unpleasant beer.

 282 characters

Photo of Caveworm
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer's head is one finger thick with lateral lacing, and a very deep brown body.

Smells like roasted and caramelized malts with a small touch of cinnamon.

I taste very much of the same elements in the scent, but also a very nice small tartness at the end that balances this beer out very well.

The mouthfeel I'm picking up here is medium, smooth, and clean.

Overall, I'll give Samuel Adams Holiday Porter - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) a 4.25. This came as part of this year's winter seasonal variety pack, but I'd grab this in sixers and cases.

 683 characters

Photo of RockRuler
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A solid porter. Finishes clean. A bit fizzy in the mouth and a bit light tasting and good flavor. Good chocolate, coffee and molasses flavors. A good brew. Would drink again. Cheers!

 187 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased as part of the Winter Classics pack.

This pours a dark brownish black color, with a half inch foamy head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like chocolate, caramel, smoke, and roasted malt, fairly classic porter aroma.

This tastes like a classic tasty and straightforward English porter, definitely one of Sam's better beers. Lots of warm and inviting roasted and smoky malt, almost feels like sitting in front of a warm fire on Christmas Eve. There's some chocolate, and some sweetness from the caramel. Despite that sweetness, it's a fairly bitter porter, earthy and roasty.

This is a little bit thin, I wish it was a bit more rich and creamy. It's got a moderate level of carbonation.

A really nice porter from Sam Adams, been wanting to try this one for a long time. Really glad it's back in the winter pack.

 836 characters

Photo of hophead723
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This was part of the variety pack that had six different beers, two of each. Time to give it a try.

Look: Deep dark chestnut brown with deep ruby hues in the light. Tan head that leaves solid rings of lace. Definitely a good looking porter.

Smell: Molasses, roasted coffee beans, caramel, and a bit of toffee in the aroma.

Taste: The taste is a wholesome molasses base with coffee undertones. The flavor is pleasantly burnt and caramelized, mildly acrid, and toasty.

Feel: The feel is medium-full bodied and creamy, but with a less smooth finish that was unexpected.

Overall: A great beer for the winter time. I found it enjoyable.

 639 characters

Photo of MarkLinton1
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the offerings in the 2015 Samuel Adams Holiday 12 Pack. Pours nearly black with reddish hues and a thin foamy head that holds for a couple minutes. A lemongrass and sweet malt smell with very interesting flavor structure. Nice balance of hops and malts. Flavors of raisins, dark fruits, coffee and dark chocolate malts. Nice finish with carmel and a little hops bitterness. One of Samuel Adams best Winter brews. Wish I could find this beer in six packs in my area.

 472 characters

Photo of DirtyMikeandTheBoys
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is all there and then some. Poured from a bottle into a Hefeweizen glass. Color is black with a big foamy head that lasts a few minutes and leaves with some nice lacing. The smell is a grassy, hoppy malts. The tastes is smooth and creamy. Hints on raisin and figs. The Carmel is there and has kinda a milky aftertaste with mild to moderate hops. It's a good cold, rainy weather winter brew. I'd drink this beer again!

 427 characters

Photo of barczar
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is 3.5 years old...

Pours an opaque deep brown with a frothy tan head that lingers.

Aroma is comprised of chocolate, raisins, prunes, and figs.

Oxidation has set in and done this brew some good. Notes of raisins, prunes, and plums emerge in the flavor. There's a touch of diacetyl. The chocolate malt backbone is still strong, with a lightly bitter finish. Nutty notes weave throughout. Floral hops accent the aftertaste.

Body is a touch full, with modest carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Nice beer that has some shelf life. I'm sure the fruity notes are due to age.

 587 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (best by April, I'm assuming 2014)

A: A nice dark amber brown body with a minuscule slightly brownish head that dissipates pretty fast. No lacing.

S: Slight roast with just some lightly sweet malts.

T: A lot better than I was expecting. Very light and drinkable. Nice roast on the aftertaste. Just a very general and mild Porter. Good level of sweetness.

M: Slight massage from a parade of bubbles.

O: Got it from a party and it is decent. I didn't even know about this beer from Samuel Adams. Another good porter. Not bad, well done.

 586 characters

Photo of WesMantooth
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has a very nice frothy light tan head that leaves a lot of lacing.

It smells and tastes of caramel malts and toffee. Fairly sweet. Also some chocolate and smokey flavor. It is fairly bitter, especially in the aftertaste. I think there is raisin or some sort of dark berry too.

Pretty solid medium body with a nice feel. Almost milk stout like.

Excellent porter. Full of roasty flavors with a hint of semi sweet dark fruits to set it apart from many other porters. Great holiday brew indeed.

 499 characters

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark almost black, with nice dark tan head. The head did not last very long time, but did leave a nice foam coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a nice balance. Can smell both the hops and roasted malts, but neither dominates the other.

Taste: A nice mix of hops and malts, and the hops are a little more prominent than in other porters. There are hints of some sweetness from the malt. There is a nice mix of hop and malt influence in the after taste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and with an average body.

Overall: This is an interesting porter, and worth drinking again.

 644 characters

Photo of BodiesLexus
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

updating my rating and review, not having had since '11. Things have changed, both on BA and in my mouth since those times.
Bottle from the Winter mix '15, this beer and Chocolate Bock are the vote winners from the vote-off I believe.
Pours black with white head, sudsy/sticky lacing apparent.
Smell is nice dark mix of roasted malt and licorice, a tad of cocoa.
Taste tops the smell. classic roast mixes evenly with the midpoint of dark and sweet chocolate, with sweet cocoa filling up the mouthspace. A bit of assertive hop cuts off the dark tastes, creating a dryness that's almost welcome.
Feel is extremely smooth, similar to founders porter for 'softness' but a bit thinner overall.
The taste combo here is class A for standard porter. Not super complex, just really great, and more taste than you'd expect from a truly basic beer on the whole. Why they don't offer this as their year-round porter is a question I'd like answered. This and Noble Pils are, to me, the best standard non-bostonlager SA offerings, and they've decided to not produce them anymore. Hmmm.

 1,082 characters

Photo of dbossman
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish dark brown hue with a huge and fairly steady head; nice lacing

S: Some spicing up front and lots of herbal, musty, and grassy hops--quite bready and toasty

T: Kind of a strange metallic, slightly sour flavor up front followed by herbal and grassy hops and finally toasty, caramel, bready malts

F: Medium body; fairly creamy and chewy

O: A decent porter but the herbal, almost metallic flavors up front are hard for me to get past; but I really like everything else about this beer--but like I said, something doesn't quite mesh on the flavors and though it's not bad, it's a bit difficult to get past

 615 characters

Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking beer and smell has some roast and breadiness. Taste is quite nice. Sweet upfront with a crisp bitter finish. Actually for Sam Adams, its got quite a lot of punch on the hops than usual and more aggressively flavored than many of their brews.

 258 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter is a full-flavored porter inspired by the famous drink of London's Victorian era luggage porters. Brewed with generous portions of Caramel, Munich and Chocolate malt, this hearty porter finishes with traditional English Fuggles and East Kent Goldings. Cheers! Brewed in the style of an American Porter, although it certainly does have its roots in the English Porter.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter. Served north of 54º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a medium-thick mocha-white head of a creamy froth texture. Body color is a very deep brown with mahogany highlights. Carbonation is plentiful and active. Head retention is quite nice- it thickens into a thin cream cover but lingers for a significant time. The lacing is thin and streaked. Very nice appearance overall. 4.25

(Smell) Aroma contains traces of caramel, semi-sweet chocolate cream and coffee bean compliment a clean roasted malt backboard. Biscuity malt character with some mild dark fruit accents. Light, earthy hop presence with a mild floral afterglow. Despite the complexity, potency is very muted, even at higher temperatures. 3.5

(Taste) Sweet chocolate malt amongst lightly toasted caramel bread malts. Mild nutty dry finish paired with a mildly bitter floral hop assortment. The flavors are all more pronounced than in the aroma. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Medium creamy, slick texture. Medium+ bodied for the style, medium body overall. Very filling. Not watery or thin taste. Finish is mildly bitter. 4.25

(Overall) Great porter, lots of flavor and depth. 3.75

Boston Beer Company's
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter

Vertical Notes:
Winter 2011 (1 year, 6 months aged)

Very little change in appearance- retention is a touch worse than the fresh batch. Aroma is similar, although most of the subtleties are gone, and a mild sourness has set in to the roasted malt character. Flavors are wet toasted bread malts and a pinch of candied sugar with a mild oxidation on the finish. Mouthfeel qualities are the same, albeit a slightly dryer finish.

 2,056 characters

Photo of TeamMathis
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Black. Quickly dissipating dark tan head.
Smell: Deep chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Roasted. Chocolate and coffee.
Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated. Smooth and slightly creamy.

I'm so impressed with this year's Holiday Porter. It really is a great tasting porter. The subtle taste and smell of a coffee and chocolate blend with a smooth feel gives this brew an all-around, great experience. I will get this again next Christmas.

 441 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. Fine two finger light brown head with good retention and lacing. Light aroma of toasted malt, chocolate and unidentifiable spicing. Flavor follows with lightly toasted malt, light chocolate and coffee. Finish is slightly dry with residual malt and a hint of hops and chocolate. Light to medium bodied. A pleasant, but subdued American porter. Not sure what the holiday connection is, but certainly would be as drinkable then as any other time. No stand out features, but like most Sam Adams, well made, looks good and nice to drink.

 619 characters

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Twelve oz bottle poured into New Belgium glass.

A: Pours a dark brown with 2 finger light brown head.

S: Roasted malts, toffee, some slight caramel and sweetness on the nose.

T; Toffee, slickly sweetness, roasted malt. Watery chocolate taste.

M Medium bodied, leaves with a sticky residual sweetness that coats the mouth.

O: Decent porter, worth a shot if nothing better is available.

 394 characters

Photo of deebo
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass this porter has a thick dense tan head which laces the glass nicely while the head breaks down into a thin layer. Transparent when held to the light the color is black with ruby highlights.
Aromas of dark malts which are very chocolate-like. The taste is rich roasted malt with a slight end note of spicy slightly peppery hops. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth with a bit of a carbonation bite in the finish. Overall this beer has a clean malt bill with nice rich chocolately malt flavor without being bitter which is often a problem with porters. Well done, tasty brew with high drinkability and good flavor.

 628 characters

Photo of Cavanaghty
2.9/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Dark brown/amber in color with a thin beige head.

Smell: Chocolate and roasted malts mostly.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied. Taste was bitter all around, roasted malts and carmel with a hint of chocolate.

Overall: Not really a fan of Porters, I did not really care for this one. Just personal taste.

 360 characters

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 1,176 ratings.