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

very good
2,666 Reviews
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,666 | Ratings: 9,026
Photo of jtell
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 1 finger head that dissipated. Coppery color with active carbonation. Hops in the forefront and a little malt in the background. Taste is hoppy but very well balanced with the malt. Good solid beer. Pretty highly carbonated. A little thin, if it was a bit richer it would be even better. This is a great drinking beer. Its definitely a fall back beer when I can't decide what I want or nothing exciting is on the bar/restaurant menu.

 442 characters

Photo of cooter
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hoppy but with strong balance, slight chocolate, moderate "dusty" flavor (?), very full-bodied. Good lacing. Orange/copper color with substantial foamy, gobby, thick head. Orange peel. A smooth and even-handed maltiness towards the back, followed by sweet, cloying backtaste that requires--nay, mandates by penalty of death!--another swig.

 339 characters

Photo of mdagnew
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle bought from Sainsburys...

Poured a light amber / rusty orange colour... White head pours quite big and fades to a nice thin layer...

Aroma - Toffee/caramel, nice maltiness, banana hints, spicy notes, vanilla, nice fruitiness...

Taste – Malty, peppery, some woodiness, nice hop bitterness, slight sweetness, nutty, biscuity...

Feel - Quite sharp initially but smooth after.. Medium bodied. Extremely drinkable...

Overall - An excellent beer.... Recommended...

 487 characters

Photo of tatterdash
4.57/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear burnt orange with a creamy thick white head, with very good retention. Smell was a wonderful waft of about piney noble hops, with some bready malt creeping in after a few swirls. Taste was an explosion of noble hops and slightly sweet malt, more bread, yet very well balanced and clean. This is a joy to drink, totally unexpected and easily one of the best lagers I've ever had. On tap I'd drink this all night.

 425 characters

Photo of clabaugh
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear honey-orange, with a one-to-two finger, sudsy head. The off-white head retains well and gives way to some very respectable, silky lacing.

Smell: Rich and malty, with a roasted hospitality that invigorates the nostrils. A mild hop presence spices up the senses. Some viney fruit also exudes.

Taste: Well balanced with a thoroughly pleasing flavor. Roasted nuts and French bread combine to produce an excellent malt backbone. Subtle hops in just the right proportion emerge in a floral bouquet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and really smooth. Tingly carbonation mixes with a truly luxurious feel.

Drinkability: Thoroughly drinkable. Excellent flavor, sensually inviting, smooth and easy to imbibe. Could drink all night.

Note: My first Sam Adams. This brewery does not disappoint. Forget all the micro/macro controversy, this beer's quality speaks well for this brewery.

 906 characters

Photo of RJLarse
3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler. It has a light brown color and is quite clear. The head was moderate, and dissipated slowly with some lacing.

The beer has a subtle smell and is malty.

The taste is slightly bitter, and a little smokey. The flavors are not strong. After taste lingers and is also somewhat bitter.

I enjoy this beer. It is a nice medium dark lager, and I buy it fairly frequently, especially I the fall. Sam Adams Boston Lager is a good alternative to the mega-brews, but really nothing special.

 527 characters

Photo of casualbeerman
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is another of my favorite brews. Nothing unique here. Just a good lager that's really been done right. I've had this both on tap and in the bottle, but I chose a draft beer for this review because for me the draft works pretty well with this beer. The appearance is a rather dark tan, this is probably the darkest lager I've seen. The head is usually moderate but well formed and stable. I seem to recall this beer being pitched by floating the bottle cap on the head. Anyway appearance is pleasant and beerlike but not the least bit unusual. Really the color is just about typical of the beer I usually drink. Only the head is a little different, being a bit longer lived. Smell is also straightforward. Its a hearty mix of (surprise!) yeast and malt. Definately some caramel too, and in spite of the strength of the smell its still a very clean smell. As with pretty much every beer I've ever had, the smell was reflected in the taste. This is a relatively rich, sweet brew that is balanced by a strong hop presence. The famous "two row barley" (Boston Beer Co likes to remind you this is a high quality and expensive ingredient, but damned if I know its exact significance) makes for malt flavor that's deep and rich, but still very clean. The hops are one of my favorites ever. They provide a perfect balance, and though they're strong and pretty bitter they are also quite flavorfull and the bitterness does cross the line to become what I consider excessive. However, they don't suggest any specific "notes" that I can think of, just hops. In case you're as big a fan of the hops used in this beer as I am, tells me they are "German Noble aroma hops". Mouthfeel is a little on the thick side, but usually does not inhibit the drinkability. Sometimes a Sam Adams is exactly what I feel like, and then its really a beer to be savored. Sometimes it turns out to be a good session beer for me, other times it weights on me after a glass or two and I have to switch to something lighter. While Yuengling Traditional is my top favorite, this is one of my favorites. To me its sort of like Yuengling's older (in style, obviously not the age of the brewery) and heartier cousin. It has a bit more depth than Yuengling, and its thicker. Sometimes this is just what I'm craving, sometimes Yuengling's even easier flavor and superior drinkability make me reach for it first. Anyway, as many other people will probably tell you, there's nothing this isn't complicated, it isn't fancy, its not exotic. Its just a hearty lager that they took the time to really do right. If I had to offer a lager to a more experienced beer drinker who tends to turn his/her nose up at Lagers in general because they're too wimpy and don't have enough flavor I'd probably go with this even though its very unlikely I'd be broadening their horizons any.

 2,848 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another of those beers that I've had literally dozens of times in my decade or so as a legal consumer of malted beverages but never reviewed for whatever reason. Then today I picked up Sam's Winter Classics 12 for tommorows whistle whetting in case my Dad didn't get anything good (which of course, he didn't).
Sam's flagship pours reddish and trasparant with lots of visible carbonation and a thin cap of white head. The major extant smell whiffs of moderate hops, along with a bit of caramel malt.
The taste has a few distinct stages:first some sweet malt flavor followed by a hoppy crest with some pleasant bitternesss, and finally a clean tasting finish with a hint of metal. I always thought there was a tinge of fruit flavor to this beer but I can't locate it tonight. Some decent complexity for such a mainstream beevo. Mouthfeel is overcarbonated as I mentioned but otherwise palatable, hitting the roof of the mouth pleasantly and showing reasonable fullness.
This is overall respectable and likable beer, although not overly exciting. Easy to quaff, and a good fall back option for swill bars that carry only the big name macros.

 1,154 characters

Photo of unknownlamer
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this at Whoville out in Bellmont on Long Island (visiting my dad for the week).

Poured a clear copper color with a reasonable head (probably the only good pour I got all night) in a standard pint glass. The head fizzled away fairly quickly, and there was no lacing left on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma was a mixture of generic two row barley and Saaz smelling hops. The taste was similar being a bit caramelly, but mostly bready and clean. The hops finish was decent with moderate bitterness and a good spicy bite. The aftertaste, however, was mostly grainy and not very hoppy.

The carbonation and body were really nice. It felt solid in the mouth at least. It's good that this is available as many places as it is because it makes a decent backup beer when the other selections suck. I wouldn't order this as my first choice, but that is mostly because I prefer a solid pale ale over anything else so the cleanness and lack of any fruitiness aren't my cup of tea.

 984 characters

Photo of murphysbleachers
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (from the seasonal mixed 12-pack) into a pint glass:

Appearance: Amber, head dissipates a little quickly

Smell: Malty sweet and a note of citrus in the floral hops

Taste: Hops and malt nicely balanced with some sweetness in the front and then some dryness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little astringent dryness in the finish, makes you want to have another sip.

Drinkability: I never used to like Sam Adams Boston Lager, but it has grown on me (maybe there is something in their seasonals that has increased my appreciation). I still don't like it as a session beer, but I've come to appreciate it as a reliable, well made beer that is easily and readily available.

 692 characters

Photo of jslot38
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz, Freshness date marked

Appearance: Pours a copper amber with a frothy, sticky head of about 1/2 inch. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Oily hop aromatics. Slight notes of orange and a tinge of caramel. Malty ale background from a lager - interesting.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Slick oil hop punch (a light jab, a passing blow) rounded out by a smooth barley background. A spiced hint, smooth carbonation and a touch of orange rind.

Notes and Drinkability: Koch claims nothing beyond the German Purity Laws are used in this brew - which holds back from many robust flavours that you see in many popular ales these days. This is exactly what I look for in a lager, and this for me is the prime example of one. A great session brew, a backup beer that I have no problem turning to.

 795 characters

Photo of Enola
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After my last Sam Adams, I was hoping this one would be an improvement. I am happy to say it was. The beer pours out the color of sourwood honey. I was unprepared for the head on it. It had a thick head that was about two fingers. The head had the appearance of fresh fallen snow. The smell is similar to a good red beer. The taste is somewhere between a quality light beer and a red beer. The mouthfeel is exceptional. No bite whatsoever. As a result, I could drink these all night. This would certainly be a session beer. I think a 12 of these will come along with me in a couple weeks to the annual New Year's Eve bonfire. A good beer I will certainly drink again and again.

 677 characters

Photo of badbeer
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To be honest, the first time I had Sam Adams was a bad experience, it was warm and skunked, so I chose not to review it then to be fair. I finally had the courage to try it again and was pleasantly surprised. The beer pours a nice copper color with a decent head. Fairly well balanced in my opinion and I could not find much I didn't like about this beer. This beer will not give you something new, but it will treat you to a solid beer that you can enjoy over the course of a night.

 483 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pleasantly surprised to see the Sam Adams Winter Sampler at a family Christmas party. My first vienna lager as well...

Pours a copper orange with a sturdy white head. This is a robust, "Old World" smelling and tasting lager. Sweet, grassy, toasty malt profile, bready with a spicy kick and a hint of hop bitterness to round it out. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with biting carbonation. For being the standard lager of an almost macrobrewery, I was mightily impressed. An easy-drinking, rich and flavorful lager, that is worth its billing as solid fall-back beer for many a craftbrew drinker.

 590 characters

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. Not the greatest in the world by any means but this is what brought myself and others to the world of something else than BMC. Dark amber pour, fuzzy head that doesn't last too long. Nice malty taste with real noticeable hops. Finishes real nice. The best part of this it's found anywhere and when your stuck in a bar full of macros, this one is usually present too. Thank you Jim Koch!!

 409 characters

Photo of shererjt
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear light copper and was well carbonated with a rich, long-lasting, off-white head. Aroma was flowery hops balanced by a sweet maltiness--very nice! Flavor had the malt up-front followed by a lingering bitterness. Lops of hop flavor as well. Nice taste; maybe a bit too much hop bitterness (not flavor) or, more likely, needs a bit more malt backbone. Gets more balanced as it warms, so don't serve it too cold.

This is not the best beer, but it's probably the best beer you can get just about anywhere. An American classic, and one I've enjoyed for years.

 570 characters

Photo of Phatz
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer poured into my pilsner glass a light coppery color with a slight hint of golden amber. I got a huge 3-4 finger white head; very frothy even after the head dissipates. Significant lacing. There were tiny bubbles of carbonation rising the hole way throughout the length of the beer. Nice appearance; above average in its class.

Smell: The smell is malty but also slightly sour; with nice spices though. It is certainly acceptable but not overly enticing.

Taste: In the taste, there are noticeable spices like in a winter warmer. It is malty and sweet, followed by a bit of sour and gentle wheat and hop flavors. It is pleasantly robust. Nothing irritates me more than watery beer and this is a full taste but not overly complex. It is rather straight forward and simple. This is very easy drinking with nearly no bite at all on the tongue. The aftertaste is nice and gentle. Definitely makes of an approachable beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is crisp and slightly creamy but still thinner than I'd prefer. It is certainly above most in its class and price range.

Drinkability: This is the definition of Drinkability. It is a slightly boring beer if you are looking for something extreme. But if what you are looking for is Drinkability; this is it! It is so easy to go down, so pleasant and inoffensive in the mouth, it is mild, and it sits light in your stomach. This is definitely a 'Bar beer' for me; or a (session) beer that I'll take one after another. Party beer all the way! This is also easily available where many micro-brews may not be. It is a great choice over other American Macros when you’re out!

Many BAs seem to consider this beer to be too mainstreamed. I think that pedjudice is partly due to the overwhelming success of SA Boston Lager. You can easily take a case to a Macro-Dinking friends party and it will go over very well (in my experience).

Hope this is helpful.

 1,950 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

~12 oz poured into pint glass, Mar 2006 sell by date. Pours a good dark golden color. Head is full and lasts and the lacing is more than ample.
~Can't really smell much, a bit dissapointing, but a classic lager smell, the carmelized malts, and can't smell any of the hops, though I'm sure they're there.
~Taste is shorter than I'd like, but definitely full of taste. Carmelized malts and mild hop bitterness. An ample after taste is sweet and slightly hoppy.
~Mouthfeel is good and enjoyed good action on the tongue and a warm feeling going down.
~Very drinkable beer, very enjoyable. Even though other categories are lower, drinkability scores high.

 655 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Coppery-gold. Much darker than I expected, good sized off-white chunky head.

Lager-y I guess. I can definitely smell some floral hops, with some sweetness. Grassy? Nothing "off" at all.

Mild hop bitterness, but lots and lots of flavour. Light aftertaste is definitely there but not overpowering. Tastes like a good, solid beer.

Carbonation is a little on the strong side, giving it a bit of bite, but otherwise very smooth, a little bit creamy even maybe.

Fantastic. I could down these all night long without getting tired. Yum

 595 characters

Photo of UberWasser
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, freshness date on box of 06/06, served in a Stein

Pours a clear, pale orange/amber color with yellow highlights at the periphery. An effervescent head builds to about two fingers thick. It dissipates rather quickly to a thin lace on the surface of the beer, with some lacing on the glass as you drink as well, and it is fortified by a shower of bubbles from below. An attractive beer.

The smell is rather one dimensional, with smells of fresh bread taking the forefront. Sweetish, with a little graininess in the background. Nice enough.

A nice grainy, bread-like malt taste is what hits first. This is quickly followed by a pleasant bitter-sweetness as the hops join in to balance it out, which plays well on the tongue. It finishes quite dry with some notes of dry hay.

Mouthfeel is quite nice, with a silky smoothness that goes down well.

A nice enough lager, with good color, carbonation, and plenty of flavor. Malt presence is far from overwhelming and the hop balance is very subtle, so this beer is quite easy to enjoy.

 1,061 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came a very clear golden brown with a creamy, slightly tan, dry head that left a little lacing around the top few inches of the glass. Smelled like sour skunky corn chips with a hint of lime and a tiny bit of dryness. Tasted of smooth non-aggressive lager sourness, with some good wheat and oat flavors along with an apple and raspberry sweetness. This beer finished with a crisp hop dryness. The mouth feel was thick with playful small bubble carbonation. This beer is fantastically drinkable as its flavors are very subdued, and well done at the same time. Also, the mouth feel makes this a very easy beer to drink.

 627 characters

Photo of Tim460
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper color with small white head that turns to a nice lacing. Smell is a nice balance between hops and malt. The malt tastes hits you up front followed by hops in the back end of the drink. The beer is smooth with some carbonation. This makes for a great session beer due to the low alcohol content and good taste.

 330 characters

Photo of orfeu
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, best before March 2006. Clear golden-brown, moderate carbonation, pristine white and fluffy head with adequately sticky lacing. Nose is spicy hops and doughy yeast. Hallertau spice at the front of the tongue, impressive tasty biscuit middle, dry hoppy finish. Juicy mouthfeel, and very drinkable. Always a good option early in the day or when other, more "special" craft brews aren't available. Consistent quality despite growth gets BBC many props from me.

 472 characters

Photo of Terp96
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have had this on many occasions as most people have but this is my first review.

I had this in a bottle at a restaurant in Little Italy, Baltimore last night with dinner. Not much of a selection as my choices were Peroni, Sam Adams and the rest of the American Macro crap. This Sam was welcomed after my Peroni starter.

This beer looks great. Nice amber color. Just the right amount of carmonation and head all in one package. This is the example other macros should follow.

Smell is mostly malt with a little bit of floral hop spike. Smells of warm bread.

Taste is solid. I am not a huge fan of Vienna Lagers but this one is good. Nice malty sweetness up front. A very smooth finish with a nice dry finish. Very balanced.

Mouthfeel is good as well. Heavier than I typically like in a beer, especially with food but very balanced. Not overly carbonated. Very smooth.

Drinkability is good. You could drink this one all night if you favor the style. Again, it goes down smooth and is tasty. Low alcohol makes it a very good beer for parties. The prototypical cross-over for macro drinkers.

 1,108 characters

Photo of Finite
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don’t care if it’s a macro! This is a great beer. Pours a sexy red golden colour with a perfect sized lager head which reduces a slightly thicker leaving some of the greatest lacing I have seen for a lager.

The smell is of sweet caramel malts and floral hops which fill the noise with perfect balance. The taste is of smooth caramel malts, accompanied with some refreshing floral hops.

The taste if sweet for a long time with the sweetness lingering on the edges of the palate for as long as possible.

Ending with a perfect bitter aftertaste and a tad of those yummy malts, which just teases you to have more.

The mouthfeel is great carbonation which makes for a very refreshing drop.

This brew kicks arse

 727 characters

Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.8 out of 5 based on 9,026 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.