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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,136 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,136
Hads: 2,243
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 17.65%
Wants: 49
Gots: 137 | 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:
Beer added by: DFN on 10-17-2004

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,136 | Hads: 2,243
Photo of SerialTicker
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear, black, with a bit of ruby around the corners... decent tan head. Pretty nice.

Smell: Musky, malt aromas. Dark chocolate.

Taste/feel: Much like the smell. It has a musky smell and taste, but for some reason, it's enjoyable. It makes this porter fairly unique, and it just feels Christmas-like. The malts that are in there with the subtle bits of chocolate and roastiness. This doesn't have a really thick feel to it like some other porters do, and I really like that about this beer.

The rating on this site is appropriate, but I feel like many people that don't come to this site would overlook this beer. It's above average, and a very good porter. Looking forward to bottle number 2 in my variety pack.

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Photo of Tone
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color. 1/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of hops, pine, slight sweet malt, roasted malt, hint of spice, and a hint of caramel malt. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight caramel malt, slight roasted malt, hops, and a hint of pine. Overall, decent aroma, blend, and body, but nothing outstanding.

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Photo of brewdude1982
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened this beer after a long day of work. It was a 12oz. Bottle in the winter mix pack from Sam Addams. I poured it into a pint glass. Not a lot of carbonation at first sight but would prove otherwise once I took a sip. The taste is nice with a smoky hint that develops into a robust dark malty taste.

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

Into a pint.

A - Copper hue with a frothy tan head. Retention was good with no lacing.

S - Roasted malts, coffee and caramel. Kind of bland.

T - A big wealth of flavors for a porter! Caramel, toffee, nuts, soft chocolate (semi-sweet) and a pinch of holiday spices. A bit on warm as the beer concludes. Unique porter, although I cannot say I really love the idea of straying from the traditional formula.

M - Medium-minus body with medium carbonation.

O - Not bad, just not really up my alley.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass. Purchased at Wakefield Liquors in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

A- Pours a dark mahogany body, somewhat translucent body with amber highlights. Small white head with some nice lacing.

S- Roasted malt, toffee, caramel. Subtle but nice.

T- Upfront I get some toffee, caramel, and coffee notes. Ends with a nice balancing hop bite.

M- Medium carbonation. Slightly watery body.

Overall, this is a tasty brew but I'd barely call it a porter. More of a dark autumn brew. Nonetheless, the balance is there.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the winter sampler collection. Not sure what I was expecting from this beer but what I got was a decently well balanced, lightly sweet, mostly dry, faintly smoked, pretty easy to drink brew. Black coffee sweetened with cola and a touch of boozy warmth. This beer is a nice sample to have amongst a sampler.

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Photo of acevenom
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. Pours slightly translucent dark brown with a thick, light tan head. There is some ruby red visible at the edges of the glass where the light penetrates. This beer smells like a porter should. There are some nice aromas of dark roasted and caramel malts. The Munich malt also helps add some of that bready sweetness. The hops are herbal and earthy in the aroma. The flavor includes dark roasted malts, caramel sweetness, some bready character, and a nice herbal hop bite. There are also some chocolate and coffee notes as well. The body is light to medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is slightly dry and the beer is smooth. The drinkability is high. This is an excellent beer.

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Photo of Seekerpilgrim
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pouring a very deep red, courtesy of the four types of malts they use, there is a subtle sweetness on the nose, typical of beers that add oats to their mixture, which this one does. There also appears to be a slight metallic tang that I'm a bit leery of, but perhaps that's just a characteristic of one of the three types of hops they use (though my research suggests that all three are mild). Regardless, on the tongue there is a pleasant hop bite, reminding me more of a light IPA than a Porter, and while the oats give it a satisfying chewiness, bringing some balance, the effect is fleeting, leaving one with a weak aftertaste and a feeling of being let down. To be blunt, I'm not that impressed; I prefer my Porters and Stouts with more body and weight, and while this might be considered a Light Porter, good with a simple burger or meatloaf as well as an introduction to the style, there are better examples out there. Cheers!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 4/2013.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and caramel. Taste is much the same with a mild herbal hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and slightly medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours black with large reddish hues and a nice soft light tan head. Great lacing.

S: Caramel, biscuit, a bit of chocolate, mild hop leaf, some bready yeastiness.

T: Bready, mild mint and citrus from the hops, slightly sweet biscuit, toffee, slight roasted grain in the finish.

M: Light-bodied with a somewhat creamy consistency.

O: Pretty tasty, although not very robust in the malt section.

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Photo of Jparker37
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A - Black and nearing opaque but actually when held to the light I can see perfect clarity in some ruby highlights. Tall light-tan head holds very nice. Good amount of lacing down the glass.

S - I get a beautiful roasty character. Reminds me of a mellow coffee. Dark malts are all very present but never scaring me.

T - Starts with this elongated biscuit, light caramel malt flavor that doesn't switch up till late. Way at the back end of the taste, some more mellow roasty flavors start to sink in. I never taste any definitive hop flavors but it seems to have a balancing bitterness throughout.

M - Smooth/creamy medium body, medium carbonation, barely sweet.

O - Drinkable. The highlight of the beer is its mouthfeel and drinkability. No smells or tastes overwhelm nor entice, but the feel is great. I didn't know if I was in for a spiced beer as the name is "Holliday Porter" but I perceived none. A beginner porter but flavorful nonetheless.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a dark, near black ruby brown with a light tan 2-finger head. Great retention. The resulting lace is thick and with good stick.

Smell - Light notes of chocolate, malt roastiness and a peppery spice.

Taste - Moderate chocolate flavor backed by a fair amount of roasted malt character. By mid-taste however, hops, citric and a touch grassy, cut through and strengthen as the beer nears the finish. The resulting aftertaste is a bit unbalanced, as very little of the nice, deep roast character is left.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with decent carbonation. Smooth and drinkable.

Overall - Decent porter, though the hops come on too strong in the back end, burying much of what makes a porter, a porter. Still, not a bad beer overall.

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Photo of mckenziac
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Sam Adams "Winter Classics" variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a deep black color with reddish hues. Has a medium-sized, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some modest lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of roasted and caramel malts with just a touch of earthy hoppiness.

Taste: Starts off with roasted and caramel malt flavors with a strong hoppiness. Finishes bitter with a bit of German pilsener-style noble hop flavors (something I've never noticed in the many times I've had this beer).

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a nice carbonation.

Overall: A classic and continual favorite from Sam Adams. I've always looked forward to this and Old Fezziwig in the winter variety packs from SA. However, it can still surprise me even now with something I never noticed before, like the addition of German noble hops to an English-style brew.

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

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish snifter.

A- pours black with a quick fading, one finger tan head. Disappointing on the head.

S- light roast and mild chocolate aromas. Nothing special

T- light hints of bitter noble hops and sweet chocolate. Interesting....

M- thin bodied

O- not too shabby, even at nine months old...

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Photo of BostonHops
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.
from the 2011 winter seasonal mixer.

pours a dark, cola / chestnut tone while yielding a 3/4" tan head. mediocre retention, a bit of lacing in spots. the nose i find to be on the subtle side. some roasty malt characters backed by grain an a touch of hops. really pretty muted all around.

flavor is an improvement, albeit a modest one. roastiness pulls through, couple by soft notes of chocolate and coffee. a little hoppy bitterness in the finish. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall this one's OK. some moderately enjoyable elements to it but ultimately a middle of the pack porter. along with the winter lager, probably my least favorite from this variety pack.

(originally reviewed: 01-05-2012)

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Photo of thydarkprevails
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle to a duvel tulip. Pours a midnight brown with an inch of tan head and decent lacing. Aroma is toasted malt, ginger, orange peel, and lemon zest. Taste is roasty. Toasted malt smoke, orange zest, and cinniman sugar. Thin mouthfeel. Nice porter, and I get it evey Christmas.

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Photo of oline73
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a finger of creamy light tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Just a bit roasty with a sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

Taste: Doesn't quite live up to the smell. The molasses note is there, but the roasty bitterness dominates. No real sweetness to be found here.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly, smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This is a pretty good porter but nothing real exciting. I would be willing to have another if it was served to me.

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Photo of tkarsies
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Porters have become one of my favorite styles. This was from the holiday mixed 12-pack from Sam Adams. Getting warm out so figured I should drink before it was too late.

Served in a pint glass. Nice dark brown color. Poured a bit too cold so not too much head. Tan lacing lasts, though, so not bad so far.

Smell is nice. Malty, roasty. A hint of that odd porter sourness in the nose (not sour like belgian, but something I just can't place).

Taste is much like the nose. Roasted malt, a rich sweetness. Again that little twang on the tongue. Not as rich as some porters.

A bit thin and not as creamy as I would like. Light carbonation, which is good.

This is a solid beer. Not quite to the level of my favorite (Edmund Fitzgerald) but I would put this up against beers like Sam Smiths or Anchor Porter. Wish this was a little easier to get year round. Definitely would go for this again.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle is notched that it ought to be enjoyed before April 2012. Taking the plunge.

A medium pour reveals a finger of nearly tan head. This sits atop an unremarkable dark brown body. The head takes its time shrinking, and beer attempts to leave some lacing.

Weak aromas of caramel and chocolate mix with some bready/spiced cookie scents.

Flavor is a confusing jumble of different malts, none of which really stand out to well other than weak spiced cookies and light chocolate and caramel candies.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Carbonation bites the tongue pretty well. It leaves a decent coating near the back of the tongue.

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

Pours very dark brown with thin head that dissipates quickly. Some light lacing on sides of glass.

Smell is toasted malt, bread, and a little faint hint of smokiness.

Taste is mildly toasted malts. No alcohol taste to it. Minimal bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall this is average-good. Easy to drink. Would make a good session beer for me.

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3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to pint glass. Sampled 11/16/11 and best before April [2012] notched on the label.

A: The light brown, semi-rocky head billows up to 2 1/2 fingers, and slowly deflates while creating a fizzy sound. The body is dark brown and has a small degree of transparency that reveals ruby edges along the glass. Random straggles of lace take hold of the glass.

S & T: Chocolate is the dominant malt but it is still pretty tame - as the entire malt bill comes across lighter than most beers of the style. Trace scents of cookie, toffee and toasted grain. English Fuggles and EKG provide a light resiny aroma/flavor and a solid bitterness up front. Mildly earthy.

M: Medium light body with a below average level of effervescence.

O: A fine beer, but nothing to get too worked up over.

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Photo of dtivp
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black with a one and half dark tan head that faded slowly into a nice cap with moderate lacing.

Aroma of sweet cocoa, hints of hops and spice.

Taste of dark malt, sweet chocolate, nutmeg and hints of hops.

Mouth Feel is medium body, moderate carbonation, very smooth and clean.

Overall this is a very nice porter, leans a little sweet, a very nice porter from our friends in Boston.

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Photo of Labeerfinder
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a thick tan head that leaves lacing on the glass. Aroma is sweet and malty, and almost sherry-like. Flavor is not typical for a porter. There are some subtle roast flavors, but in general, this beer tastes grainy, hoppy, and malty. Some coffee-like acidity in the aftertaste. Hops are a little too present; body is a bit too thin.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out almost black with a two finger sand colored craggy head that doesn’t stick around for long but leaves behind some decent lacing. Aroma is a musty / earthy and noble spice hop crust on a roasted chocolate malt scent. Flavor follows the nose’s guidelines, but also punches in with some herbal and grassy hop accents. Medium body with a smooth inoffensive texture. Nicely done!

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Photo of Ruger
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a black with a ruby hue when held against the light, a tan one finger head with good lacing.

S - Very sweet malts and chocolate.

T - Right off its like eating a really high percent cocoa dark chocolate, not much else besides some slight coffee but there is a sweetness to it.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation pretty smooth.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 1,136 ratings.