Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Merry Maker Gingerbread StoutMerry Maker Gingerbread Stout

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

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as Merry Mischief

Added by Tilley4 on 10-20-2012

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Reviews: 268 | Ratings: 1,318
Photo of hreb
3.19/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Stylized 22oz bottle served in pint glass. Beer pours extremely dark and thick, like dirty motor oil. Or molasses, I guess. Holds a huge brown head, too. Aroma is solidly gingerbread man molasses cookie. Heavy on the molasses that is, light on ginger. Flavor, however, is a spicy mess. Not just ginger, maybe clove too? And I get a weird dryness, maybe even tannic.

There's a fundamental issue with this beer, which is that it's not very beery, let alone stouty. Which is a problem with a 9% ABV stout. I didn't order malt liquor here; you can't just throw some spices on a malt beverage and call it a day. But even setting aside the lack of barley malt flavor -- maybe what we're dealing with here is a fermented molasses-based beverage -- my bigger problem with this beer is that the tannic spice mouthfeel is just awful. I guess I'm glad I'm not drinking a sugary Snickerdoodle cookie here, but wow, what a way to balance that out.

I enjoyed Harpoon's UFO Gingerland a few times on my last visit to Boston, and I was hoping that the Boston Beer Company could pull off a related style with similar affect. But this isn't to my taste.

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Photo of Pukstopper
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Nice spiced beer from Sam Adams you can't tell it is 9%. Pours a dark black color in a pint glass. No lacing and very little head that fades quick. Spice notes come out up front and a little alcohol on the back end but nothing to define the 9%. Goes good in a cold winter day

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Photo of tillmac62
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as a starless night. World Class head, lacing and retention - especially for a 9% ABV. As advertised, the nose is full of ginger, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon in roughly that order of composition. Slightly above medium in body, the texture is slick with hints of creaminess. Above average carbonation, with effervescence throughout. The outstanding flavor profile is intense, quite complex and has a good bit of balance. It begins with a burst of blended spice that flows into a mild bitterness. The bitterness has roast and hop characteristics. As the bitterness fades, the spices begin to separate against a sweet caramel background. As it warms, the caramel gains in intensity. Clove and nutmeg dominate the end, but a light dark fruit (plum/raisin) is underneath. The finish is quite complex as it fades - so many flavors become evident. The 9% alcohol is masterfully hidden. The only traces of it are that nice alcohol burn at the back of the throat. If you want to taste the alcohol, you have to sip the massive head. The only "fault" keeping this from a 4.5 World Class, is their decision to classify this as a stout. There just isn't enough roast character. Had they called it a porter, they would get a 4.5 from me. This one is a true masterpiece of the brewer's art.

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Photo of Bier_Maximus
4/5  rDev +5.5%

A: Dark stout with some nice tan head ;)
S: Slight hint of gingerbread, not much though.
T: Like a basic stout, disappointed the flavor was not as profound as i was expecting. Aftertaste has me wondering if I ate ginger snaps some time ago, but unfortunately thats it. Otherwise tasty as regular stout.
M: Bit tingly, I didnt feel this had as much bitter/acidic bite on top of my tongue as most similar beers.
O: Not bad, I in wouldn't go out of way to buy, but if in a variety pack I would enjoy it.

I bought the 1pint 6oz bottle and poured into a pint glass, and i let sit for a few minutes before trying, in case anyone cares.

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Photo of NSXAG
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Samuel Adams - Merry Maker [Gingerbread Stout] (22oz ---> Stemless wine glass : 9% ABV)

Always on the lookout for the most recent niche style brew, Samuel Adams rarely gets the nod… (Not to discredit any of their many enjoyable brews, they just never seem to be quite appealing as another…) But seein' lil' gingerbread homie with his broken leg had me sold… One of my first "Winter Warmer's" of this season and it poured quite thick, already a great sign, especially with it's beautiful 2 inch dark tan head… It seemed to have minimal carbonation, but it's hard to tell due to the opacity of the brew, also, the retention of the head and the lacing were both above average… Immediately on the nose was a nice heap of gingersnap, with a pleasant cinnamon spiciness amongst hints of cloves and wheat… As it first graced my tongue, the spice was the most prominent feature followed by a hefty gingerbread flavor… The stout "fullness" wasn't as pronounced as expected, with the finish definitely containing some roasty malts with a brown sugar sweetness to round everything out… The mouthfeel complimented the beer nicely, as the gingerbread wasn't overpowered by any other aspect, and the carbonation level made for a nice enjoyable drink every time… The spices reminded me of many Marzen/Oktoberfest style beers, but the sweetness balanced out this nice stout… I found this beer to be more of a dessert style brew, which was surprising for a stout, but none the less I feel like this would be a great way to end a holiday evening… Another good brew - Cheers!!

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Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark rusty brown with a large slowly fading creamy brown head. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, ginger bread and sugar cookie, molasses, nutmeg. Taste the same as aroma with mild toasted malt and bitterness. Palate is a medium to full body, good carbonation, mildly creamy. Finish the same as taste with a full flavored and mildly burnt toasted bitterness and dry ending. Overall would probably go well with some sugar or ginger bread cookies, a nice holiday brew.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOVE this one and found one of the last 22 ounce bottles last Thursday night (4/10/14) for around $6.59. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a Sam Adam's pint glass (LOVE beer on label glasses). Sampling right now on 4/14/14 actually.

Pours a pitch black in color with a tan head. Some sticky lacing is seen with each sip. The aroma is like gingerbread cookies (which I would eat all year around if available). No other aroma really. The taste is a less bit intense than the aroma with some roasted hops in there as well. You don't taste the higher alcohol content. Goes down easy and really like this one. No bitter or harsh aftertaste either.

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Photo of teromous
2.54/5  rDev -33%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Dark black with a huge active dark tan head. Very foamy head that stands for a very long time. Good lacing.

S: It smells of gingerbread cookies. The label says "Gingerbread Stout" and it looks like they've hit their mark. No other aromas.

T: Surprisingly weak flavor compared to the strength of the scent. There's a very extremely faint roast flavor. I pick up no gingerbread spice in the taste. It is extremely low on bitterness, to the point where it probably shouldn't even be considered a stout aside from the color. Very very disappointing.

M: The carbonation is just right, but the mouthfeel is very timid and watery. No hop or grain bitterness to speak of. It is a very lifeless beer.

O: It started out with all the marks of a really fantastic beer until I tasted it. I just doesn't have any flavor! Nothing when the beer first hits the palate, nothing mid-range, nothing on the back, nothing in the aftertaste. Just an extremely light roasted flavor and a hint of alcohol. I can't recommend this beer. It would work well as an aromatic candle for Christmas, but it tastes nothing like a quality stout and doesn't even touch the flavor of a cheap store bought gingerbread man. This beer leaves me kind of bummed out...

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.01/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Surprisingly pours a thick black with a nice dark brown head. Decent smell of raisins and spices. No gingerbread. Heavy beer but the 9% ABV is very noticeable and is so prevalent that it is hard to enjoy. Cool bottle and drinking half of this gave a nice buzz.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninteresting label art and branded black pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local TX bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; beers in this Sam Adams series tend to underwhelm. "Ale brewed with spices." Reviewed as a stout because of the beer's name. Nothing on the label indicates this beer is a sweet/milk stout as currently categorized.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temp over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a surprisingly gorgeous two finger wide head of fantastic tan colour. Amazing creaminess and great thickness. Has an awesome soft complexion and an attractive even consistency. Even consistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is quite good for the high ABV - about 5 minutes. Overall, this is a really great looking head.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, this is a good looking stout and far surpasses my meagre expectations. I can only hope it tastes as good as it looks. I'm impressed.

Sm: Ginger. Dark malts. Cream. Chocolate malts. Nutmeg. Clove. Cinnamon. Sweet bread is prominent on the back end. It certainly evokes the holidays/holiday spices.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, or hop character is detectable.

Overall, it's a pleasant aroma of mild strength and delivers on the premise of the beer. It smells like you'd expect a gingerbread stout to.

Mf: Has a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Smooth and wet. Unrefreshing. Medium-bodied. A bit more filling than I anticipated, but by no means too heavy or overbearing. Chewy. Supple. Has a nice softness to it.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

Has a nice presence on the palate. While this texture is above average and suits the taste well, it doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to the flavours this beer showcases. Good execution overall.

T: The holiday-evoking spices are definitely noticeable here; you'd recognize them if you drank this blind: nutmeg, ginger, and hints of cinnamon and clove. I'm not finding the wheat mentioned on the label, but I do taste a generic dark malt and chocolate malt foundation. Cream. Lactose sugar. It's certainly on the sweeter side for a stout.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Overall, it's a balanced if simple flavour profile, and has excellent cohesion - but isn't quite gestalt. There's some nuance here; I've never had a gingerbread stout before. But as far as stouts go, it's not particularly complex or intricate. It does layer its flavours nicely, and has some nice subtlety. Good amplitude. I quite like the beer, and it tastes better than anticipated. The cream/creaminess is a highlight for me specifically.

Dr: I want to point out how well this beer's soft texture works for it. I didn't anticipate that ginger and holiday/festive spices would work this well in a stout, and in that sense this beer is a success. In fairness though, it's less a gingerbread stout than a stout with ginger. Decidedly not bready. Overall though, this is largely a success and I'm going to enjoy finishing the bottle. Very drinkable for its well-concealed ABV, and likely the best beer I've had in this Sam Adams series (though in fairness, that isn't saying much). I'd actually recommend friends pick this up if they chance across it, though it's not good enough to warrant a second purchase - at least not at this price point. This is the kind of beer that would be excellent as part of a Sam Adams winter pack. Well-executed overall, and well worth picking up once.

Bottom line: I'm surprised how well this seemingly unlikely combination of ginger and stout character works. This is a pleasant surprise in a normally underwhelming bottle series from Sam Adams.

High B-

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Photo of neenerzig
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter, this beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color that lets in no light whatsoever, along with a nice tan, light brown, creamy, frothy looking head that is well over an inch thick when poured. Settles to a nice 1/3 inch thick. Good head retention here and good lacing to boot. Head eventually settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with little spots of foam here and there dotting the beer's surface. Aromas of roasted caramel malt, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all nicely present. Flavorwise it has a good roasted caramel malt sweetness along with hints of black coffee and dark chocolate bitterness that gives way to the ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices. the spice are pretty nicely balanced and no one particular spice seems to overpower the others. Has a somewhat crisp, frothy, creamy, and somewhat smooth, somewhat chewy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. This one really coats the inside of my mouth and likes to linger on my tongue for awhile. Drinkability is pretty damn good in the way it ought to be for a 9% ABV beer. Certainly worth a try.


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Photo of AmishLightning
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Super dark even during the pour. Also, a ton of head even with a gentle pour. A good lacing on the glass looked pretty nice.

Smell: This does not smell like beer. Any malty notes are overpowered by the massive ginger aroma. A little bit of nutmeg and cinnamon were present.

Taste: Pretty easy to drink, just surpirsing. It definitely lived up to what they were advertising. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and A BUNCH OF GINGER. The beers intensity comes from the spices and thats about it. The malts and alcohol were more of a backup taste compared to the overall flavor bill.

Mouthfeel: Good consistency. A thick body and moderate carbonation give a great mouthfeel.
The warming alcohol adds a fantastic finish that really put the beer up there for me.

Overall: Great beer with a great spin off the normal. I really apreciated the effort the The Boston Beer Company takes to mix up the holidays with an out-there beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a finger of light brown head that dissipates to a thick cap and lacing. Aroma of sweet dark malt, slightly toasty and gingerbread, as advertised. Flavor is sweet dark malt, hints of lactose, gingerbread, cinnamon and a light hop finish, which actually gives the impression of the spicier types of gingerbread with bite. Medium bodied with light creaminess. I waited to drink this because it seemed a little gimmicky, but I have to say they pulled it off. Nice sweet malt body supports the gingerbread spicing which is well done. The alcohol is well covered. Much better than I expected and a very nice winter stout. I'd buy this again.

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Photo of ranger7
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.
Review from notes: December 17th, 2013.

A: Dark with a thin off-white head.

S: Spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and gingersnaps.

T: Spicy front, smooth ginger finish. Very good and drinkable. The alcohol is sneaky.

M: Low carbonation, smooth and a dry finish.

O: Very good. This is a great winter seasonal. It's most similar to another of my favorites: St. Arnold's Pumpkinator.

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Photo of DPJ3322
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle.

Appearance - Poured into a snifter, made a two finger head that went away quickly. It lingered around the glass, real light brown head. It poured a really, dark black color.

Smell - Nutmeg, cinnamon, an overall spiciness. Very nice.

Taste - Gingerbread, not much, mostly nutmeg and that overall spiciness.

Mouthfeel - Extremely nice. Creamy, viscousy, light carbonation. Stoutly but not too heavy, I like it.

Overall - A nice beer, glad to try it, I may have served it a little too warm.

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Photo of WayneScoting
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pour: nearly black as tar; a finger or so's worth of dark brown head of medium density

Smell: Gingerbread, malt, a touch of clove and a faintest whiff of cinnamon.

Taste: Didn't taste nearly as much of gingerbread as the smell suggested it might (nor as much as I'd have preferred), but there's a spiciness that's pleasant regardless. The label cites "nutmeg, cloves, and ginger." Sweet without seeming dessert-y. I liked this stout.

Mouthfeel: A slight roughness, but overall satisfying, full enough to satisfy as one would want a milk stout to do, but perhaps a bit thinner than one might expect.

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Photo of Ohmmygawd
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle to glass

A- Good thick color with a finger of creamy head. The warmer the beer you pour the thicker the head so pour slow.

S- Ginger, cloves and chocolate malts.

T- Cream followed by ginger followed by chocolate and cream and then ginger sitting on the tongue

M- Creamy feel that fills the mouth and follows nicely. The ginger, however, bites hard if the beer is too cold but if the right temperature is balanced nicely by the creamy following.

O- Very nice milk stout but the ginger adds to the bite and really isn't needed. Honestly it almost ruined the beer for me. I think that this would make a better high ABV milk stout.

Temperature makes a huge difference with this beer. Too cold you're getting too much bite and warmer stout temperatures really bring out the creamy quality of this milk stout and cut down the bite. Honestly if you plan to enjoy this beer right drink it around 42-45 degrees or else your review will change drastically.


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Photo of BierJager89
4.54/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a brown head.

S: Ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon in the nose.

T: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, chocolate, ginger, gingerbread.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: You have to like sweet beers to like this one, but if you do, you'll love it. It took me some searching to find, but It was well worth the time and effort. Im glad it's a yearly release.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass from the tap. Pours pitch black with a nice brown head. Smells of gingerbread cookies with sme cinnamon. Tastes of gingerbread, chocolate, and spices. Beer is full bodied, good carbonation, nice finish. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of thehooksman
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Not being a fan of stouts, this has to be the best I've had and will be waiting for this every year.

The appearance in very dark black, but you can get light through it, which creates very beautifully deep reddish-brown. There was a finger or two of light brown, frothy head.

The aroma struck me as somewhere between pumpkin pie and pecan pie with a mild hint of gingerbread.

The flavor backed up the aroma well. Unlike many spice ales the spices in this one are not obnoxiously overpowering. You really can imagine a gingerbread cookie, even as the label points out there is no ginger or gingerbread used in the making.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. It is very light for a stout, but in this case I think it a bonus that it isn't so heavy and immediately filling.

This is a great dessert beer for sipping on cold evenings.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: totally black with some brown highlights around the edges. Head is two fingers of frothy dark-tan foam with decent retention. Quite good looking indeed!

Smell: very nice ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg spicing on top of a decent milk stout base. Gingerbread may not be your thing, but this beer is definitely as-advertised. I happen to think these aromas work together very well.

Taste: the spices are far less prominent in the flavor than in the aroma. The stout base is a bit on the harsh side, with lots of burnt roastiness and a pretty hard alcohol edge. There is some good flavor in there, but the overall flavor is a bit rough.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess. I would have expected a little more body out of the style, though.

Overall: this beer is decent enough, but it could be a lot smoother. The spicing works out great in the aroma, not so much anywhere else.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown pour settled into a near black liquid into the glass, and the head above that was khaki in color, and two fingers thick. The smell of the beer was very malty and had aromas of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The smell wasn't particularly like gingerbread, but the taste was a little closer. The ginger was heavier in the taste, and the malt was most like brown sugar. There were also flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg in the taste, making it more complex. than the cookies. The wheat in the malt was also evident in the bock like bready flavor. The label mentions cloves, but those were not easily detectable for me under the other spices. The mouthfeel was a lot thinner than most stouts, and the finish had some lingering spice. This beer was nice winter seasonal.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one looks rather nice. I got just over a finger of light brown head over a nearly black body. The head recedes slowly. Decent lace.

Smells of malt and christmas. Really. It names cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger on the bottle, and you can clearly make them all out. Dark fruit fills out the impression.

Up front is bready malt with sweet dark fruit. This is closely followed by the spices. Nutmeg and ginger are powerful, with clove finishing it off.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. It goes down rather quick and easy, leaving a little residue on the back and middle of the tongue. Carbonation is easy going.

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Absolutely one of the most impressive pours I've ever witnessed. An unfathomably creamy dark tan head almost completely filling the pint glass before the absolutely BLACK liquid begins to manifest itself. When the cascading is complete, a 1/2 inch of creamy head remains with substantial amounts of lacing all over the glass. The head retention is excellent—that 1/2 inch head remaining until nearly the last sip. I don't usually throw around perfect scores, but this brew deserves nothing less than a 5 in the aesthetics category.

S: Much of what you'd expect from something called a "gingerbread stout." Strong spice notes, namely ginger, cinnamon, and some clove. A bit of roasted coffee and burnt sugar underneath. Nothing here really grabbed my attention; it was all rather simple, laid-back, and expected.

T: Ginger, cinnamon, and an almost overwhelming amount of brown sugar, with small hints of milk chocolate and cherry tart. The roasted black coffee hint of bitterness does come in towards the end of the sugar rush, but it doesn't do enough to cut through the absolutely belly-aching sweetness of this brew.

M: Another high point of this brew is the mouthfeel. It's everything you'd want and expect from a stout weighing in at 9% ABV. Rich, full, and creamy, this one feels smooth and makes it's way down easy. A mild carbonation meshes well with the alcohol to warm and tingle the face.

O: While Merry Maker scores well in three out of four categories, it lacks in the most important department—the flavor. This brew truly lives up to its name as a gingerbread stout, and even though I have nothing against gingerbread men (they're my favorite holiday treats), Sam Adams has gone slightly overboard in the sweetness department. If they tone down the sugariness (is that a word?) of this brew, I can see it being one of my seasonal "must-haves". Until then, however, one bottle of Merry Maker has been more than enough to last me a lifetime.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Merry Maker pours a blackish color with no head. There is an aroma filled with gingerbread and cinnamon. The taste also has a strong gingerbread flavor, with cinnamon, and frosting notes. Very good flavors, but overall its a bit light. Overall its a very tasty beer, wish it was just a bit richer in taste.

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Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.79 out of 5 based on 1,318 ratings.
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