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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 (120) | 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 ElCommodoro
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This smells like chocolate and hops. That's about it. It has a very clean aroma and flavour. Maybe I've just been spoiled on very yeasty beers, but it seems very clean and thin to me. Not necessarily in a bad way. It's nice to have porters like that every now and then. Cocoa nibs are what hits first in flavour and it's what hits last too. There's some nice, simple balancing hops too. But there's really not a lot going on outside of the chocolate. It looks surprisingly awesome despite how thin the mouthfeel is for a stout. It's almost Guiness-thin. But that makes it refreshing, like a black lager. The feeling it leaves in your mouth is very sticky, though, and strongly of cocoa. This is basically ,an average, run-of-the-mill thinish stout with a very chocolatey edge. So, if that's what you're going for, this delivers.

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Photo of mwilbur
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a dark brown hue with a hint of red around the edges. 1/4 inch tan head with decent retention. Moderate lacing.
S: Chocolate malt and toasted grains...not a ton here.
T: Chocolate malt, black pepper, toasted grains, and a hint of caramel malt.
M: Light body. Some sticky sweetness. Hint of hop bite in the finish.
D: A decent, but not great porter. Good sessionability.

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Photo of Bills453
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle.

Appearance - dark brown, it looks like coffee.

Smell - smells of roasted cocoa...mmm.

Taste - cocoa flavor. Roasted aftertaste. Very good flavor.

Mouthfeel - nice thick smooth

Overall - a great porter and great offering from Sam Adams.

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Photo of FlatRabbitRed
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer, love getting this one every year in the variety pack every year, I allways have one of these and then an old fezzywig...great combo! Very hearty tasty brew, one of the best handcrafted artesian brews!

Malty, coffee, roasted caramel ...thats right, just like it sounds super mega deliscious!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a black color porter with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light dry chocolate notes with medium roasted malt notes. Taste is a mix of roasted malt with dry bitter notes and some light black chocolate notes with some subtle floral notes form the Golding hops. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not the most complex porter put there but well brewed and easily drinkable.

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Photo of Damian
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle
For brewery-fresh taste, enjoy before month notched MAR
Served in a pint glass

Thanks to my dad for saving me one of each beer from the Winter Classics Variety Pack.

Dark brown in appearance with ruby highlights. A tight, creamy, two-finger, tan colored crown topped the liquid. Impressive lacing. Thick, drippy patches coated the top half of the glass.

A mix of roasted and caramel malts dominated the nose. Good balance between sweet and dry. Dark and milk chocolate notes were noticeable. Some cold coffee as well. Overall, not super intense but pleasant and fragrant.

The flavor profile was a bit drier than the aroma. Good amount of roasted malts on the front end. Espresso notes appeared in the center. The finish was dry and roasty and contained hints of English-style bittering hops.

I had a difficult time determining whether or not I liked the mouthfeel. It seemed to alternate between slick and creamy and watery and airy.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter is a fairly typical example of the style. While enjoyable, I probably would not seek it out.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The “enjoy before month notched” is “MAY.”

Appearance: Poured into a Becker glass. The color is deep, ruby brown. Two fingers of dense, billowy, light tan head dissipated slowly, leaving trails of foam along the glass and a frothy, cappuccino-like ring around the edge.

Smell: At first it smells like a dark English pale ale. Lots of toffee, caramel, and grassy hops. As it warms, scents of vanilla, honey, dark fruit (mostly plum), chocolate, and roasted malts emerge.

Taste: Excellent mouthfeel. The bitterness from the roasted malts lingers after the first sip. The roasted malts play a much more prominent role in the flavor than they do in the smell, which I like. Caramel, toffee, dark fruit, a hint of grassy hops, chocolate, and a little coffee.

Drinkability: I like it. It is not heavy but does provide a lot of nice flavor.

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Photo of punky796
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown, like a porter ought to be, with about a finger of big-bubbled head. Dissipates, but leaves moderate lacing.

S - Mostly chocolate malt and breadiness.

T - Chocolate malt, barley, a bit of coffee, and breadiness. Not as much breadiness in the taste as in the smell.

M - Pretty thick feel, but smooth, if a little too over-carbonated for my taste, for a porter.

O - Pretty decent porter, but not what I remember from the first time I tried it a couple years ago. The alcohol-y taste is a bit too pronounced.

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Photo of abenf
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a tulip glass, accidentally aged a year in my dad's fridge, I can't say I have much to compare it to because I'm relatively new to beer, especially porters. Very tasty beer. Not a lot of head. Really pretty held up to the light: black with dark, translucent red coming through. The nose didn't jump out at me but there was definitely a little caramel as indicated on the bottle. The taste was very chocolately with some caramel in the background. Toasty, nothing resembling coffee, but a lot of chocolate and vanilla and caramel and toastiness. Creamy mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation. Very enjoyable, especially on a cold day.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees . The beer was dark and poured no head at all. Even though it did have good lacing I was surprised of no head. The beer smelled like caramel and had a nice creamy taste. There was a slight bitter finish but it was not too bad. Liked the beer and would buy again.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from Walmart Liverpool NY for 2$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly decent lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an above amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and some roasted/toasted/smokey notes. There is also a bit of a coffee bitterness and a graininess. It ends with a malty slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall - A solid porter that might have a touch too much carbonation. It has enough flavour to keep it interesting and also has terrific balance. I could drink a few of these.

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Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unless you're the person expecting to find coal in your stocking it's very unlikely that anything about Samuel Adams Holiday Porter will remind you of Christmas. I wasn't expecting something red and green but there is positively not a trace of holiday cheer to be found anywhere in this beer, least of all in its dark sooty appearance. Not bad looking for a porter though.

As established, lest seeking disappointment, it's best to leave all thoughts of holiday spicing behind. Porter fans, on the other hand, are likely to be pleased; this mildly roasty, milk chocolate-y aroma is spot-on for the style. Light caramel notes appreciate with warmth. It's a bit lean and unembellished but overall nice enough.

Holiday Porter tastes like an emaciated stout: it has some coffee flavour but a very mild roast, a moderate cocoa component but is not overtly chocolatey. Porters were the precursors to stouts, and some American interpretations drink like 'em. This one, however, is simple and medium-light - a textbook traditional porter.

Historically a blend of different beers, this modern porter is nonetheless a blend of roast and specialty malts, which account for the smoky and nutty-caramel undertones. The brewery describes it as "spicy and savory", which is just plain delusion. A pinch of Noble hops, however, does provide traces of earthiness and zest.

I was glad to have a second bottle on hand; it's casual enough that it doesn't last long. Also, however, it's so conventional that writing about it is, well, a bit difficult. I needed a little further reflection to appreciate some of its subtler components, such as the finish, which features a crystalline malt purity that is quite attractive.

I'm fine with breweries going so on-the-nose with style guidelines (as Samuel Adams typically does) so long as they do it properly. Indeed, this is a buttoned-down, to-the-point porter if ever there was one, but it's good. Here's an idea: Drop the "holiday" part - or else explain to me what makes this "holiday-ish" - and offer the porter as a year-round offering.

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Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a 20 oz Imperial Pint glass
A - Pours a dark brown Black, Obtuse Body, leaving behind some lacing.

S - Moderate strength aroma of roasted grains, chocolate, barley

T - Balanced. Malts/barley hints of chocolate. some bitterness.

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

O - A decent porter, nothing great. But do get it every holiday season.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured from the bottle into a pint glass. It was a nice dark brown/burgundy colour. The initial smell was slightly roasty, but there was not much to it. The beer tasted bitter upfront, with a malty and roasted aftertaste.

Would I buy this beer again? Probably not.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep black with a one finger head. No lacing.

S - Chocolate, roasted malt.

T - Burnt rubber, a bit hoppy, chocolate and roasted malt. Pretty much what a porter should be.

M - Heavily carbonated with a light body. A bit odd.

O - Overall, a good porter. Nothing amazing, but good.

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Photo of circus_cat
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a slight burnt orange hue. Dark end of off-white soapy head leaving moderate lacing as it goes down.

S: Roasty chestnuts, semi-sweet to bitter chocolate, coffee, heavy malts that impart toffee, caramel, and dark chocolate. Just a *hint* of vanilla extract. Biscuit notes and maltiness become more prominent as the beer warms.

T: Burned chocolate (reminiscent of the taste of melting chocolate that falls on the bottom of a toaster oven and cooks for a while), goes bitter around the sides of the tongue. Smokiness. Toffee/caramel aftertaste. A little burnt toast. Bitterness is the word for this beer.

M: Pretty full mouthfeel that lingers a bit. Very smooth as well.

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Photo of kshizzle101
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Hunter
3.52/5  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.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.44/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.44/5  rDev -8%
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

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.71/5  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!

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Photo of jimmah120
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle from the 2015 Winter Pack. Poured into an SA Perfect Pint
Look - Vigorous pour unleashed a big fluffy tan head. Took it's time to settle into a pool on top of the beer. Splotchy lacing left on the glass. Cola in color. Lets some light through. I expect a porter to be darker.
Smell - Little whiffs of chocolate, coffee roasted something and vanilla.
Taste - Smell leads the way to the taste. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and nuts ... I'm thinking pecans. (I wanna try that Maple Pecan Porter ... hint SA hint)
Feel - Slick and creamy at the same time. Cola styled carbonation. Lighter in the feel than what you'd expect from a porter.
Overall - I like the way SA does the darker beers and I am hoping to try more. A solid porter from them; slightly above average and totally enjoyable. Another SA beer that always has me looking forward to the holiday beer season.

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