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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
2,628 Reviews
Samuel Adams Boston LagerSamuel Adams Boston Lager

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

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: 2,628 | Ratings: 8,872
Photo of Celt44
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden, clear, deep amber color. Very appetizing to look at. Creamy head lasts throughout, with lacing.

Aroma is floral with a strong scent of hops and malt.

Mouthfeel is the least of its qualities - nothing spectacular here.

Taste is superior for a Domestic American Lager

Drinkability as a session beer for the price is unparalleled in my opinion. I'm quite partial to Sam as it was my "crossover" beer from the rock gut I used to drink. No hangover the next day...even after a 12pk.

Brewer and Patriot - Truth in Advertising.

 555 characters

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I know exactly what Sam Adams Boston Lager (and most of its permutations) tastes like back in the US, but how will it suit my palate here in Australia? All it cost was AU$7 to find out. Ouch!
Poured in a tall, warm glass, 1/5 of the glass filled with a familiar off-white foam that looked familiar. Below that was a light amber-looking beer with a few bubble trains that wouldn’t let up. I had to wait a few minutes for the foam to settle down enough to allow me to pour the rest of the beer in. The head stuck around for a few minutes at least, and left behind a nice lacing on the side of the glass, and the top of the foam even curled over on itself like soft serve ice cream. Even though it’s a widely-penetrating US “craft brew” I would find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t be impressed with the looks of this beer.
The smell is a combination of sweet, yet roasted malt, and bitter, but not floral hops. The taste is, well… just as I remember it, even though it’s 8,000 miles away from where it was brewed. Upon entering your mouth, the back of your tongue senses the bitterness of some long-boiled hops, while the front of the tongue picks up a bit of malty sweetness. Somehow, my cheeks can taste this as well; I’m just not sure how that works, biologically speaking. Mouthfeel is very nice, with a pretty good amount of carbonation, but not feeling soda-like. In summary, I’m looking forward to getting Sam Adams back in the States for $6.50 a 6 pack. Here, in Australia, it’s AU$23 per 6. That’s about $18 per 6 in US dollars.

 1,556 characters

Photo of diablo14
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

if this beer wasnt so damn expensive in australia id drink it more often. as it is i only intermittently consume boston lager, like when its getting close to use by date and winds up in the clearance bin. that said, its a nice, easy to drink lager thats got real body and firm flavors that go well with me each time i drink it.

lovely color thats orange to amber, compact head of white foam, and perfect fizz. a moderately complex but not huge nose on this brew. has a nutty aroma, plenty of malt, some hop zing with some dried fruit and cherries coming into play also.i do love the smooth malty taste of this beer, good level of caramel sweetness with that hint of cherries and dried fruit appearing in the mid palate. dry, but not excruciatingly bitter, and quite refreshing for a beer thats reasonably full in body. good balance for the whole journey, always a big positive in my book.

the boston lager, despite the price, is easily the best american lager we can get in this country. you do pay thru the nose for it, fortunately its a beer worth handing over the hard earned for every once in a while.

 1,111 characters

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

As a hophead, I'm surprised I like this beer so much. It's a great fallback to have at a restaurant instead of BMC brews.

It's a lovely ruby in color with a frothy head. It smells nicely of malted barley.

The taste is quite malty with just a bit of bitterness to balance the sweetness. The body is also good and substantial. This isn't a light beer by any means.

Overall this is a good beer that's very drinkable. Hats off to the Boston Beer Co. This is one of their best brews. I'd say check it out, but this beer is everywhere and you've already had it a million times, no doubt.

 590 characters

Photo of TongoRad
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle notched Nov/2005

I poured this into a Pilsener glass- it is a deep golden amber color with a tall dense off-white head that lasts a long time and leaves a ton of lacing in its wake. A steady stream of bubbles constantly rises from the bottom. Great appearance!

Aroma is moderate but nicely put together- hops are immediately apparant (some spice, lime peel and a touch of grassiness) as is a good dose of caramel. There is also a bit of toasted bread and an underlying creaminess.

The palate is crisp yet full, perhaps a bit sweet, and dominated by the malty elements. Bitterness doesn't hit you over the head but it's there. There is lingering toasted grain on the finish. Some hop flavor comes on late and adds another facet of interest.

This is a classic beer and a real pleasure to revisit from time to time.

 823 characters

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

The colour is golden yellow; the two fingers high off white foam forms compact firm foam.

The smell got notes of caramel, some white bread, roasted notes, some sourness and some metallic notes. Nice.

The taste is quite complex with flavours of roasted malt, some sourness, butter and maybe even some iodine. The aftertaste got notes of metal, aroma hops (challenger?), iodine, cookies and a perfectly balanced medium lasting bitterness.

The carbonation is fresh and pleasant.

A enjoyable American micro-type lager.

 527 characters

Photo of elricorico
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper with a finger of fizzy white head. The head fades to a thin cap, but leaves some lacing on the edge.

Smell is a very flowery hop bouquet. Not what I expect when I pour a lager, it is a pleasant surprise.

Taste is again dominated by hops. The flavour is big, no watery lager here. This would hold its own with a pale ale or a bitter. The first flavour is a mild molasses sweetness, but the finish is much bigger and bolder. Lingering dry hoppiness leads to the next sip each time.

Mouthfeel is good, light but not watery, well carbonated but not coarse. A little bit of slickness when rolled over the tongue.

A very drinkable beer. Your average swill drinker might find this one to be too much taste, but I find it a pleasant change from a watered down lager.

 791 characters

Photo of ryantupy
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This poured nice golden hues with a nice rocky white head that was a little on the creamy side.

Smell: Very floral on the hops and malt sweetness were most noticeable. Definatly an aromatic beer that was unique in its scents.

Taste: Malt sweetness with a nice creaminess with a nice floral hop flavor that laps through your mouth. It a floral hoppy finish with a little bite.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth as it laps over you tongue and through youre mouth.

 477 characters

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

Sam Adams Boston Lager pours a dark gold/almost amber color into my pilsner glass. A 1/4" head forms, and quickly dissipates. Moderate carbonation, little lacing. The smell is grassy, with a hint of caramel sweetness and a bit of floral hop spice.

The taste of this beer is very well balanced: there's just enough hop bitterness to complement the moderately sweet, toasty and caramel malts. The mouthfeel is perhaps the only real weak point of the Boston Lager. It's a decent balance between lightness and fullness, yet the finish is somewhat harsher (and is a bit metallic) than what it ought to be. The aftertaste, however, is mildly sweet and bitter and is pleasant enough on its own.

Overall, this is a good fallback lager, and is enjoyable on its own merits.

 769 characters

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

Dark yellow with a huge foamy head that stubbornly sticks around. Smell is mild malt, nothing else too exciting but nothing off. Taste is clean crispy lager with a tiny bit of hops. Mouthfeel is thin, but not too watery for the style. Drinkability is fine for this style. If this is offered, have one. Certainly better than the typical macro.

 342 characters

Photo of ReebShorts
3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale orange color, decent white head but fades pretty quick to a thin layer. Some lacing evident at the top of glass only.

Smells grainy, maybe grapefruit and/or orange, hops, and caramel malt.

Taste is ok a first (a bit sweet for a lager), but there is a slight mediciney astringent aftertaste. Plus this goes down watery in the last half. Not the best or worst lager i've had. Somewhere in the middle I suppose

 426 characters

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, what can I say? It's a lager. Despite that, it doesn't actually suck. One can detect some caramel malt behind the whole lot of carbonation and the ginormous head, and then the big hit of hops hops and more hops. There's some background warmth of the malt, and a little bit of what might be a sour cherry note, but not much here in terms of complexity. A little more complex mouthfeel than most lagers.

As lagers go, this is a good one -- but lagers, for the most part, are just too one-dimensional to be very attractive.

 529 characters

Photo of baiser
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper colour, with a thin white head and decent amount of lacing. A very pleasant aroma - sweet, floral, caramel and fruity. Taste was very nice - sweet, caramel and floral. Nice sweet malt balanced by a decent amount of hoppiness. Very bold and flavourful lager. Great session lager in my books.

 311 characters

Photo of Weizenmensch
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Sam Adams "Boston Lager" - reviewed as a Vienna lager, 355mL brown bottle, no freshness date.

The appearance of a Vienna lager is very important to the style - this conforms to a good standard, but is slightly the wrong colour (a little too pale orange rather than red), has adequate but not great head retention, and acceptable lacing. Average appearance for the style, but it still looks good in this stemmed Grolsch glass.

Smell is very nice: sweetish honey notes, maybe clove or some other earthy vegetable smell, perhaps citrus as well. Complex enough to pull apart into its components; one of those aromas that hits you as a fine, complex beer smell.

Taste: The smell sets the beer up to taste fuller than it does. Bitter hops, malt, citrus perhaps, but with quite a thin mouthfeel. Not the infinite blend of flavours present in some Vienna lagers I've had. A little bit sweet, probably from the choice of malt, and rather bitter. Pleasant but definitely nothing special.

Mouthfeel is too thin for this type of beer. Needs more to back it up. Carbonation is particularly low, and it shows. However, it is full enough to drink a few of - if I could afford a six of this, I'd be content drinking it at a party or something. Overall, quite nice.

 1,260 characters

Photo of horshack7
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice amber with slight copper hues with a frothy head.

Smell: Caramel notes with floral hops.

Taste: A nice balance between hoppiness and malt with caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: A nice bite of hoppiness yet smooth.

Notes: This one will is and always will simply a great all around brew for any season. Still tastes as good as the first time I had it. A perfect fall back beer. Cheers!

 413 characters

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

Served in 12 oz bottle which then was poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Amber color with about a finger head that quickly disappeared. Also some lacing on the glass.

Smell: A slight caramel nose with a strong hop smell coming through. Also slightly citrus.

Taste: Starts with a sweet malty taste then a hoppy citrus flavor in the middle and then finishes with a grainy taste. Overall, a good taste.

Mouthfeel: Clean and smooth. The carbonation is just right. Somewhat watery.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, a good session or fall back choice.

This is my first Sam Adams beer and it was an overall good lager. I wouldn’t drink this all the time but it is a good fall back beer.

 719 characters

Photo of Citadel82
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a beer you can usually find in most bars in the downtown area as well as most local beer stores. It is a decent brew, but I have to be in a certain mood to drink it. There are so many good alternatives.

I was at the Seaport with friends and running through the taps. I had tried the Summer Ale and the PU Amber this was my final beer of the night.

The beer arrived at the table a tad cold with little or no head. As I let it warm the aroma was hoppy with faint caramel malt. The taste was floral hops and some decent malt in the middle with a decent "leafy" finish. It was not a disappointment and I am willing to drink this stuff when there are no new taps to try or when there is nothing better available. Not a bad beer , I am just spoiled.

 759 characters

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

About time I sampled the seminal American "gateway" beer. If only we could get hold of more American craft beer in Aus. Shame.

Slightly cloudy golden brown body, with an off-white filmy head

Sweet caramel with a slight hop fragrance. The sweetness is most prominent though, hints of butterscotch, a little aniseed, and overripe fruit. A nice nose, but a little subdued.

Starts off with the same sweetness as is on the nose but this is quickly followed by a toasted bitterness. A rich finish with hints of honey ties up the package, which, overall, is very tasty.
Mouthfeel is smooth and clean, with a slight tingle.

Overall, a nice beer and a nice style.

 695 characters

Photo of jakester
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from the Brewmaster's Collection sampler case. Expiration dates clearly marked on the case and on the bottles!! Yay!

Pours a beautiful clear orange with a two finger head of just off-white foam. Impressive looking beer. Head drops to a good coating and leaves perfect lacing all the way down.

Aroma is nice spicy/grassy hops and clean bready malts. Freshly mown grass and black pepper come to mind. A little caramel malt is there as well.

This has a peppery spiciness to the flavor. Noble hops for sure. Tastes clean and crisp. A pretty strong amount of hop bittering is present for a beer of this style. The aftertaste has a long, lingering residual bready sweetness, but not real sweet, if you know what I mean. A well made beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth but crisp. A pleasant soft bite from carbonation skips across your tongue. The finish is slightly sweet, with a bitter grab at the back of your throat at the end.

I would like to see this reviewed in a blind taste test. I think it gets downplayed because it's Sam Adams. This is a damn good Vienna lager. Recommended.

 1,095 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle into a pint glass the beer yielded a light, white and fluffy head about a finger thick that settled to little more than a sliver and left spots of lace down the sides of the glass. The beer itself was an amber-orange color with about average light penetration and some streams of carbonation running up the sides of the glass.

The nose was suprisingly hoppy with some malt and slight citrus undertones. Some mild scents of oranges as well.

The hop character of the beer suprised me. An innitial malty taste quickly gave way to the hops creating a sharp a bitter crispness to each sip. Not IPA bitter, but a more mild even bitterness that seemed to coat the entire palate. Very well in balance with the maltiness and the citrus scents in the nose were only slightly detectable in the taste.

Moderate mouthfeel with modest carbonation despite the appearance of what looked like more than ample carbonation.

Very drinkable and enjoyable. Enjoyed it alone for the purpose of the review and then paired it with some Hungarian Gulash. The bitterness and hop character of the beer were perfect in neutrlizing the spiciness of this dish and it made a great pairing.

 1,202 characters

Photo of BrewMaven
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a "drink from the bottle" road test so the appearance rating is based on the fact that this looked darker than the average macro lager. I was outdoors so I couldn't get a good read on the aromas. Moderate carbonation and mouthfeel was more substantial than a macro type beer. This has more of a Euro lager feel to it. Went down smooth and easy and served it's purpose that day as a cookout beer very well. Also goes well with most any dinner I've had it with. Cheers.

Update: The above review was definitely based on a slightly skunked example of this beer. I've had it several times since and it's quite a tasty/malty beer! Dangerously drinkable.

It ranks as one of my top five or so favorite lager style beers.

 727 characters

Photo of drunkensailor
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the tap at the "Galley Yard" (I think that was the name) in Boston, after visiting the USS Constitution. Amber in color with a thin creamy head and noticeable amounts of carbonation. Aroma was sweet, fairly fruity. mouthfeel was thin and fleeting. Taste was a bit fruity with some slight hoppiness. Fairly sweet and light. A good summer beer. Originally tried it out of a plastic cup (not my fault, all they had) so I tried it at home from a bottle with similar, but more favorable results.

 495 characters

Photo of phishgator
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The best of everything else when your at a night club or country club. This brew really introduced me to good beer. I think though as I have journeyed through the crazy world of fine brews I realize that my tastes evolved. Still reliable but just not the one I used to enjoy.

The taste is spicy for a lager. The body is full and filling with a nice carbonation. An attractive lager compared to all the rest.

 410 characters

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

Pours a light amber with a light head that stuck around for most of my glass. Taste of sweet caramel malt, with a bite of hops that provided more bitterness than expected. Bitterness lasts through the finish. Really a very nice beer, easy for session drinking and versatile when paired with food. You really have to respect what Sam Adams has done for increasing beer awareness.

 378 characters

Photo of Fish113d
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring chilled at 50 degrees (F) into a pint glass, this lager pours a honey/amber color leaving a 1 1/2" light white head. Very clean and nice looking.

Aroma is mainly of some lemon and grainy malts. Some wheat aroma comes through along with some grassy hops. Nothing really exciting about it.

Taking a sip, I get a sharp biting wheat flavor along with some slightly sweet caramel malts, followed up by a bit of earthy hops. Maybe even some slight vanilla comes through ahead of the hops flavor on the finish. Robust in flavor, and tasty overall.

Mouthfeel is rather nice. Not as carbonated as other lagers, and much better balanced than most. Enjoyable on the palete and some slight bitterness makes it interesting.

Overall, this is one of my favorite "swill beer bar" brews. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with "Sammy A.".

 842 characters

Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 2,628 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.