Samuel Adams Boston Lager | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
9,051 Ratings
Samuel Adams Boston LagerSamuel Adams Boston Lager

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our original beer is full-flavored with a balance of malty sweetness contrasted by hop spiciness and a smooth finish.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-27-2001

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Reviews: 2,676 | Ratings: 9,051
Reviews by LtCracker20:
Photo of LtCracker20
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a 1-finger off white head with a golden amber body. Good retention and lace. Crystal clear.

S- Caramel up front, slight grassy hops, and a little biscuity.

T- Spicy, floral, and grassy hops. Cramael malt sweetness, but the floral flavors shine through.

MF- Light to moderate body with a clean finish and good carbonation.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of dmgeng
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best flagship beers ever and it is a staple of the "craft beer" world. Even-though many consider it to be too commercial to be a true "craft beer" it has all of the flavor and impact that any great beer should have.

A - Perfect light brown color basically a caramel that is crystal clear. Fluffy white head that sits nice and high. Great lacing.

S - Rich malty aroma with caramel and lager notes. Also grainy tones and some noble hops. Smells like any commercial amber lager but with more hop character.

T - Tastes of sweet maltiness with some grain, caramel, and lager flavor. This beer takes you average "beer" and kicks it up to the next level with layers of clean and delicious flavors. Only a light bitterness and some noble hop character to balance the sweet malt character.

M - Medium to light mouth-feel. Moderate to light carbonation. Very balanced in ever respect. Could drink this forever and would go perfectly with thousands of food combination.

Overall, this is a great (once craft, now commercial) beer that is perfect for drinking on Sundays, during the Summer, or just when a heavy stout or IPA just isn't what I'd like. Though big imperial IPAs and imperial stouts have my heart; I would still never turn down a good ol' Boston Lager.

Glass- Samuel Adam's Perfect Pint

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Photo of NickTrop
4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beers don't go "out of style" or "get old" or go "out of fashion". Are we talking about beer or fall fashions? A great beer, is a great beer, is a great beer. And Samuel Adams Boston Lager is just that -- a great beer, a true classic. The craft crowd who diss this one seem to lack appreciation for balance and subtlety. That hop bomb with the silly name you adore? It's most likely an out-of-balance disaster, a gimmick brew. Here today, gone tomorrow. Neither beer nor any food should punch you in the face. Flavors should blend well together. All beers should be as delicious and drinkable as a good ole Sam Adams Lager. This is a beer that makes America proud on the international stage, right up there with best the world has to offer. It's sublime. Been around a while? Sam Adams has gotten too big? It's not brewed in somebody's closet? What does that matter, and who cares?

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown, glass is raised above the label in the signature of Samuel Adams. Label is new, "It's what's inside" is under the cap ... beefing up the marketing eh?

Appearance: Light amber with golden hues. The head is rocky, creamy and frothy which sticks to the glass all the way down to the last gulp.

Smell: Good dose of sweetness both from the floral hops and caramel malt. Very aromatic and a pleasure to the nose.

Taste: Sweet malt, a little caramel, with a sublime hop oil flavour which lets through a more than ample bitterness that has a spicy bite to it. A hoppy finish with some residual sweetness and drying grain are in the end.

Notes: A very well crafted brew, enough hops to go around yet still very balanced. Soon to be a classic (first brewed in 1984), an excellent fall back or session beer also.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From time to time I love to revisit classics like this one. I still recall my first Sam Adams. It was 1993 and I was all of 14 years old, thinking I was cool to snag such a refined beer for my house party (sorry Mom!). That first one ended up as a drain pour. I was so shocked and appalled at the (gasp) flavor that the beer imparted that it just confounded me. Mind you, this was over half a lifetime ago, and I was still under the impression that fire-brewed Strohs and MillerLite cans were the pinnacle of brewing. I'd like to believe that despite the drain pour, that beer planted the seed in my mind that has grown in to my obsession for craft beer. Well enough nostalgia. Here we go...

The beer pours a bright tangerine color with lively carbonation that sends bubbles streaming to the surface. This one could grace a beer commercial. Perfect, thick white head that falls gradually with lacing all the way to the rim. Impressive. Fruity esters and a buttery malt aroma in the nose. A little bit of citrus and spice from the hops. The flavor is malty, complex and delicious. I think we beer advocates forget just how good this beer truly is. There's just a touch of caramel sweetness, with cereal grain and a well-balanced bitterness in the finish. Hints of orange peel spice and some toffee on the tongue. The body is remarkably fuller than one might expect. I attribute this to a little sleight of hand with the aggressive carbonation. The prickly suds convey a creamy mouthfeel and feign fullness with masterful precision. Nice clean finish that begs for another gulp. At under 5% ABV, this is a powerhouse of flavor and texture. I cannot think of a single small lager that packs as much moxie as the flagship beer from Boston. Still world class in today's glut of aspiring craft kings.

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Photo of thorkelson
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Now this, my friends is a beer.
I love this beer so much. It's so perfectly malty and sweet with a great balance of grainy taste. Super bready and full. Available EVERYWHERE which makes it even better. A perfect beer to share with non-craft buddies.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pleasantly Surprised by this.
Smells good, smooth, flavourful taste.
Feels and tastes like a lager, but with a minor ale aftertaste. Almost feels like both a lager and an ale together.

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Photo of NJBeerNut
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Still holds it own after all these years. So much flavor and perfectly balanced, so easy to drink. The first shot across the bow of the mega brewers and it still works 25+ years later.

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Photo of moucon
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love Boston Lager. My new favorite everyday drinker (and I'm usually into Stouts) BL is every bit as good as any micro/'craft' brew - but it's available everywhere, it's consistent, and it's supermarket priced. What more do you want? We live in a wine-making area, and in the past 10 yrs or so we've had an influx craft distilleries, meaderies, hard cider producers, and most recently- an onslaught of "craft brewers". Now this is all great stuff for the local tourist economy, but unfortunately most of the beers being produced are, in a word, awful. Lots of Uber-trendy hop-bombs... joined by the crazy "dump every dried spice/flower/fruit/nut/herb under the sun in the brew" - make crazy labels, and sell it as 'hand-crafted' for $4/bottle at Wegman's. Boston Lager is the remedy for all of that nonsense. It's truly a premium product being sold at the same price point as Genny, Bud, and Miller - but it's so much more complex and as so many others have already stated - balanced. I love the amber color, the just-right bitterness and lingering malty/yeasty-sweet finish... at first flavor hits you with some aromatics (don't really know what's in there - sorry I should have researched this a little better) but is very satisfying without being over-the-top in any one area. My only sub-4 score would be the nose... not even a complaint, more of a statement since all of this is 100% subjective but to me the nose doesn't accurately reflect that first sip. Honestly - forget the 4-stars, I'd give it 5 stars but that has to be reserved for those once-in-a-great-while jaw-droppers. PS - it is quite "Ale-ey" if you taste out of the bottle but don't look at it... it is crystal clear like a good lager but does have ale qualities. Maybe rename Boston LagerAle? LOL

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Photo of _drummer_
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceptional beer. I had it while on vacation in Maine. We went camping at Acadia National Park and I picked up a 6-pack of this to have by the fire. It was rich, not lacking in flavor, and smooth. I had it with a lot of different food items over the grill and it complemented each of them nicely. I will definitely get this one again.

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Photo of andrewh995
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'll be honest, I figured it wouldn't be good because it's mass produced and advertised on TV alot. But I was wrong. One of my favorite Viennas. Mild hoppiness, great malt, perfectly balanced, and so so refreshing.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.24/5  rDev -41.1%

Notes: Best before Jan 2015. (consumed 9/4/14). Poured into a nonic pint

A: [4.00] Extremely clear beer. No haze or cloudiness. The color is like light maple syrup. An amber/tan color. The head is 1 finger and is formed of dense bubbles. The is lacing when the beer is tilted. The bottle has a best by date and does not list the ABV or IBU.

S: [1.50] I get no nose. I shoved my nose right down in there and sucked it in. Nothing. Maybe as it warms. But the initial nose is none.

T: [2.25] Slight creamed corn flavor.

M: [2.75] Fairly high carbonation. There is a "zing" on the tongue. The mouthfeel is thin and watery.

O: [2.25] It seems hard to believe but I was disappointed - and I had pretty low expectations. I have had Sam Adams Boston Lager before - but never reviewed it critically. It has no appreciable nose. The taste is not something that I like and the body was unimpressive. Overall this is not a beer I would ever seek out. Even on a hot day I'd skip this in favor of water. I guess if this was the only "craft" beer at a place that server BMC then I'd go for it.

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Photo of Cure_Tap
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet malt balanced out with a little bitterness in the hops. Smooth drinking, dry, and refreshing. A bone simple lager, and very enjoyable. A good all rounder. I could drink this anytime, and it's easy to see why this is Samuel Adams' flagship product.

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Photo of Roadhouse_Blues
4.62/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If it's on draft, I have a hard time choosing anything else.

Look: Deep amber color with a lively and lingering vanilla ice cream colored head with generous lacing.

Smell: Rich, inviting, rather malty aroma with faint citrus notes.

Taste: A wonderful balance of malted barley and hops.

Feel: Crisp and refreshing with just enough carbonation.

Overall: Visually very appealing, delicious and satisfying - my favorite macro lager.

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Photo of DrainBamage
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cooper color, high carbonation, and quarter inch head. Has malty aromas similar to a amber ale and slightly hoppy. Goes down a tad bitter and dry. Tastes a lot like an amber ale. Overall a really good beer for the style.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a wine glass.

L- Between gold and amber with brilliant clarity. A white head builds up and retains very well. I had a small head for over 30 minutes.

S- Dry toast from malt. Very clean.

T- that dry toast comes through, and its balanced impeccably by hop bitterness, without much on the way of hop flavor.

F- lively carbonation keeps things light, and the finish is good and dry.

O- Vienna lager is a simple style, but it's hard to argue with BBco's take on it.

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L-Dark amber with perfect head on it. Looks great.
S-I get notes or caramel, sweet smells also. Very malty too.
T-Crisp flavor, malty and exceptional. Slight caramel/sweet flavor.
F-Slight fizzy carbonation. Crispy and creamy. Very refreshing.
O-My overall go to beer. Boston lager was the first "craft" beer that I've ever had. This beer really did solidify my love for beer. Its just so solid. You can never go wrong with this lager.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This classic lager pours a bright clear amber color with
a moderate head of white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin pool, and light lacing.
Nose of caramel malts, light breaded malts, spicy hops, and light herbal hop notes. Flavors
exceed the nose with caramel malts and light breaded malt notes on the front and sides, subtle
herbal notes hit nicely on the middle and fade into a floral hop note that is perfect for this classic
brew. Nice mouth feel, medium carbonation, and a lightly herbal bitter hop note on the aftertaste.

I still taste the flavors I remember, but the look has changed a touch with the now faster dissipating
head, and while this is not a problem I remember distinctly putting the cap atop the foam to many
peoples surprise and then taking a drink and it was still there. I have many fond memories of getting
this brew and cherishing it back when it was a rarity to find in the Cincy area prior to them brewing
it here. That said, the flavors are still present and I am reminded of how much I appreciated it on the
brew landscape when the best you could get was Sam Smith and Lowenbrau.

Cheers SA, keep up the good work....and PLEASE bring back the foam!

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Photo of PaulSlazinger
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this in bottle and on tap on numerous 0ccasions over the years. A safe choice when other offerings aren't available. Always solid and consistent.

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Photo of JakeScully
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had this for the first time being European earlier this year, and it felt good. Many European lager wouldn't live up to this classic. Also relatively cheap considering the shipping here. A smooth after work six-pack and the day is complete. Cheers!

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Photo of GregJ
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber and smells sweet, floral and malty. Sweet malts up front, caramel notes and maybe some pine towards the end. Body and carbonation is medium. Not an outstanding beer but I can always count on it as a good option in an average bar.

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Photo of dcjones82
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my go to beer when at a restaurant or bar. I'm a big fan of Vienna style, amber lagers, and this is one of the better ones out there. This review is of a 12 oz. bottle from my fridge.

L- Golden amber color, over a finger of off-white creamy head. Nice lacing on tulip style beer glass.
S- Caramel, malt, roasted nut, hops. Very fulfilling amber lager smell.
T- Very hop forward for this style. Caramel malt flavor, roasted bitterness. Finishes very nice and refreshing.
F- Full mouth feel, heavy style lager. You definitely know your drinking a full bodied beer.
O- I'm a little biased towards this beer, I do buy it often. If I had any negatives about it, it would be that it's heavy, maybe too bitter sometimes. If you love light beers or adjunct lagers, you will probably hate this. This maybe a little too much for someone new to beer to start out on, but it should be tried by everyone at least once. Very nice beer! Highly recommended!

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Photo of kevin3046
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The granddaddy of craft beer. Clear light amber color. Biscuity dry smell. Thin dissapating head. Decent lacing. Has a malty, caramel, lemony, biscuit flavor with a nice light hop balance. Every place that sells or serves beer should at least offer this. But unfortunately, they don't. They are too busy selling Bud Light to know a decent beer.

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It's been years since I've had a Boston Lager. Two were included in the Holiday Classics 12 pack. This beer brought the craft beer movement to the forefront. Boston Lager was my first step out of the "Bud Light"comfort zone. Sweet malts up front flow gently into a subtle hop bite and somewhat dry finish. Beautiful, flavorful and very drinkable. This reunion with Boston Lager will keep me from overlooking it next time I'm in the craft beer isle.

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Photo of Strat58cat
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I opened a bottle and poured into a Samuel Adams beer glass. The eggshell head foams up very abundantly - more than an inch. It hangs in forever. Lacing is prominent to the bottom of the glass - quality malt on display. The color is a slightly red-tinted amber, not fizzy yellow beer as was ubiquitous when Boston Lager emerged in 1985. This lager is pure eye candy. There's no better-looking lager in my experience.

Inhale that incredible honey-spice aroma. It's the unique product of a mysterious interaction between the noble hops and the caramel malt. The pine of a Torpedo is 100x as powerful, and not as divine. Yet, if you try snuffing in another big snout full . . . it's gone . . . instead you will get a slight aroma of the malt - caramel toast, with just the hint of noble hops around the edges. Hey, it's not a Tricerahops or a Stone IPA, okay? It's a lager.

Quaff a nice gulp. The hops and malt have the alchemy to create a honey caramel note. Yet, the second sip isn't as distinct. Chase that initial glimpse of paradise and you can't grasp it. What you will find instead is a substantial and high-quality malt. Chew on that malt. It is something special, bringing home the German saying that beer is liquid bread. The heart of Boston Lager is the malt. The aroma is from the malt, and the taste is from the malt. Boston Lager is a very old beer. Jim Koch states that it is his great-grandfather's recipe from the 19th century. Don't expect citric west coast hops in this brew. Boston Lager is malt-forward. Yet, the IBU is 30, and all those hops make themselves known in the deeper bitterness that balances this complex lager. Sit back, enjoy, and in the finish paradise returns as the hops lend a suggestion of flowers. Boston Lager cannot be pigeonholed. The flavors are complex, unfolding differently on different occasions.

The feel is substantial for a lager. It's not as thick as an Octoberfest, which is very filling. Yet, it's not at all watery, finding a middle ground between an overwhelming malt and a thin beer. It's not trick of carbonation. The malt is thicker than an ordinary beer - hence unrestrained head that piles on top of the glass and retains as well as any I've seen.

With Boston Lager, paradise can be glimpsed - although it cannot be seized. Boston Lager is the original no-compromises lager. With generous helpings of noble hops, a rich malt, and the resulting unique interplay between these elements, nobody does lager better. Samuel Adams started with the best and never compromised. The grandfather of craft beers is still doing it right. It's as good as lager gets.

Note: Boston Lager is widely available. If you buy a six-pack that's been sitting out in a brightly lit grocery store for months, don't blame the beer. Light severely impacts beer, particularly the aroma, even when in a dark bottle. Personally, I buy a sealed 12-pack, which is very affordable, of the most recent vintage that I can find in one of the darker aisles at Bev Mo.

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Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.8 out of 5 based on 9,051 ratings.
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