Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Sam Adams Light | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
832 Reviews
Read the review
Sam Adams LightSam Adams Light

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

Style: Light Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-12-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 832 | Ratings: 2,203
Photo of Morris729
4.1/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber color with a thin white head. Very dark for a light beer. Aroma is sweet malts and grains with some floral notes. Very malty flavor, especially for a light beer, and is crisp and refreshing in the mouth. This is one of the best light beers I’ve had the pleasure to drink.

 293 characters

Photo of Winter
3.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a clear copper color. Aroma consisted of malt, hops and a slight caramel scent. This light-bodied lager has a crisp, clean mouthfeel. Taste was somewhat biscuity or malty and the finish had a feint metallic hint to it. Overall not bad for a light beer. Prior to trying SA Light, Amstel Light was probably my favorite light beer and it still might be a toss-up between the two.

I really don't think it's fair to say this is only a "lighter" version of SA Boston Lager. After trying the two back to back, there is quite a difference between the flavor charcteristics of each. Light is obviously much more bland compared to the regular. But between Miller Lite and Coors Light, the better tasting Sam Adams Light definitely gets my vote.

 744 characters

Photo of ThreePistols
3/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First of all I'm not a "light" drinker. I like a lot of beer flavor and Second, the SA Lights came in this years Winter Classics 12-pack so I tried them.

Nice amber color with a quick lived head and a thin lace. The aroma is sweet with malt. The flavor is light, smooth, malty sweet, crisp, and grainy with a touch of hops and caramel flavor. The body is light not watery. Overall, this is a good light beer.

 411 characters

Photo of BeerAngel
3.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Keep in mind, I'm basing my review as per the style. I don't condone light beer, nor do I usually ever buy it. That said, here it goes. Pours a beautiful amber/orange that has excellent clarity. It has a very small white head that disappeared very quickly only leaving a light sheet on the top. Faint aromas revealing light earthy malt are non-offensive and are fairly pleasant for such a brew. First taste reveals a carb/hop bite right off and tapers into a mild (very mild) light grain and faint malt and finishes clean and quite crisp for a light beer. This brew is very light bodied, duh!

Now, for my opinion. I'll never buy this again and I can't ever see myself in the situation where this is the best on the list. Surely if they have SA Light, they will at least have regular SA lager....so I would choose the lager. Why does SA make this stuff? Well, it's not for us BA's. Obviously trying to please everyone. Can't say I wouldn't do the same if it were my business, but I'd like to think that I would not. Cheers!

 1,026 characters

Photo of hyuga
2.88/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pure transparent amber color with a white head that's nearly gone in no time. Only a thin lace stays. Unexpectedly big aroma for a light, sharply sweet malt with a little hop character. As for the flavor, more big yet soft malty sweetness. A pretty big dose of it for a light beer, but still far from powerful. It's got a metallic sweetness to it as well, which I don't like. Hops appear in a lingering tingly bitterness that roams about the tongue. More sweet grain in the finish. As expected, it's pretty much a watered-down version of Boston Lager, but it is a bit different, the malt is much sweeter, and just too metallic. It almost has a corn sweetness, but I don't really want to get into that territory, I'm not saying they used adjuncts. Definitely good for a light beer, but the key phrase there is "for a light beer". I'd much rather have a Boston Lager. However, for the macroswillers/light beer drinkers, this could be a turning point.

 948 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is the best light beer I have ever tasted… then again, that is like being the best basketball player in Montana.

Clear goldish-amber hue, the slightly off-white head reached a very modest half finger in height. It falls to sparse soapy bubbles quickly. The appearance has some visual appeal, especially for a Light Beer. The nose is far from impressive, vaguely sweet and grainy, there is a trace of caramel. The bouquet is a tickle better than a typical Light Beer, the aroma is not disheartening but it has a way to go before I could call it “inviting.” The palate has far more pleasant flavors than any Light Beer I’ve tasted. Crisp caramel malts upfront, a kiss of sweetness mixes well in the middle, dry, slightly bitter hops at the finish. It is simplistic tasting but pleasant enough. I’d never purchase this beer alone, so thank you ‘Winter Classics’ & ‘Brewmaster’s Collection’ for supplying me with a total of four bottles to sample! Yeah! It is medium-light in body, firm, crisp carbonation. This is a respectable Light Beer; I guess you can say a beer with 124 calories is Light? I feel that every beer drinker should at least try this once.

Aside note observation: Once the “shockingly great taste” subsides and you revisit this beer in the future you will be disappointed. It really is not that good once you know what to expect. You notice how thin it is, you notice the overly leafy, tea-like taste, and you notice the obviously low alcohol content. You notice the flaws…

 1,513 characters

Photo of twi1609372
5/5  rDev +48.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just like the Boston lager, with a less prevalent taste, but the taste kicks in at the end. A good beer for when you don't want to get full. But still not as good as some of the other Sam Adams varieties. not bad if you just want a good beer but don't want to be filled up, or excessively drunk, still a better alternative than bud light.

 338 characters

Photo of allboutbierge
3.6/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very pleasantly surprised with this beer. Its a light and its good! I usually can not stand a light beer and I can see myself drinking this again when I don't fell like getting filled up. It pours little head which disappates in a few minutes, leaving no lace on the glass. Carbonated rather heavily with big fluffy bubbles. Nerofiddled noted its slightly sweet carmel flavor. I agree, it is the primary taste of this brew. Has secondary mellow malt flavors. If any thing is THE beer drinker's light beer (if such a think exsists as I think that is an oxymoron) this, not Amstel is.

 589 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.32/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear, rich amber in color, with a big bubbled off-white head that drops quickly and soon dissolves to nothing. Not a great appearance, but at least the head didn't immediately disappear like a Coors Light. The aroma offers a lightly sweet caramel maltiness and very subdued hops. The body is surprisingly firm for a light beer - medium/light - and it's not watery at all. It starts off with a fairly crisp carbonation but loses quite a bit as the beer warms. Fortunately, that allows some more of the flavor to come through, displaying a surprising amount of sweet caramel maltiness. The bitterness and hop flavor are understandably well-heeled. It finishes lightly sweet at first, but quickly dries out with a light touch of hop - similar to many other lights, and even somewhat reminiscent of a non-alcoholic beer. Much better than I'd expected! My new favorite light beer.

 884 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is almost a copper color. Very clear. Interesting tone for a light beer. A thin head recedes to a thin film quickly and then sticks around for a while. Decent maltiness and noble hop aroma on the nose. The mouthfeel is almost too carbonated for me to give it a good rating in the drinkablility category. Pretty big body for a light beer though. Maybe a little better than medium. The taste is a notch above most macro brewed light beers. But it's not that much better. The noble hops make their presence known only with a slight spiciness. The malt backing is o.k. For a light beer, this is decent. Still not enough taste in it to make it very enjoyable.

 677 characters

Photo of DarthMalt
3.91/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made the mistake of pouring this beer into a glass and drinking it--AFTER a night of 4 distinct micros at a local brewpub.


I recommend drinking this beer from the bottle, as that is how it was designed, is promoted, and will be consumed. Putting it in a glass, as I did, only makes your Pavlovian senses anticipate a real beer flavor, which does it a great disservice in being reviewed.

Yes, as a light beer, this is quite a phenomenal brew. A nice toasty malt flavor melts out on the tongue in all directions. Hop flavor and bitterness is slim to nothing. It's a tinge watery up front and back, but that is to be expected. There are no sour or astringent flavors, as are found in the other light beers, that make you want to barf...so, that is a good thing. Aftertaste is not invisible either and leaves a nice ale-water twinge in the background, albeit very syrupy, like an NA brew.

This is a great beer to run on the treadmill with.


 969 characters

Photo of Brent
2.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As a producer of better-than-average beers, Sammy takes a risk in jumping into the light beer market segment. They can set the standard for light beers, proving that taste and "light" are not mutually exclusive terms, or they can produce yet another dumbed-down beer to appeal to the widest audience possible. I was hoping for the former, but looks like we got the latter. Not to say that this was as bad as most lights, but I expected more. Light golden color, some sweet grain in the nose. Flavor was a little course with grain flavors, and the hopping, while I could tell it was Sammy's, was too light to punch up this beer, leaving it weak and flaccid. If the choice is this or some other light beer, I'll take this. But if I have any other decent choice, I'll pass.

 777 characters

Photo of Delirium
2.73/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer does not remind me of a typical Sam Adams brew. It pours light and thin like a club soda and it's shallow head quicky dissipates leaving little to ponder behind on the glass.
The light hint of metalic hops reminds me of a mass produced beer. The flavor meets the expectations set by it's fragrance.
There is too much carbonation here for me to even enjoy the flavor of Sam's Light, but it redeems itself in the sense that it is a lite beer that tastes a little better than a typical American Lager.

 516 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.19/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright golden color with a low head that virtually disappears. Suprising nice light hop and light malt aroma balance. Light malt flavor with a decent balanced flavor - certainly not as hoppy as SA Boston Lager. I found the taste and finish to be a bit metallic (tin?). Light bodied but creamy compared to the BudMilCor light beers.

 335 characters

Photo of Pegasus
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely crystal clear copper color with quite lively carbonation and a lingering thick and creamy off-white head with lots of sticky lace. Mild malty aroma with understated hops. Taste begins with sweet malt flavors and some soft carbonation, hops assert themselves towards the middle of the taste, finish is dry and crisp.

I do not concern myself with the caloric content of beer, so the fact that this is a light beer would not cause me to buy it again. However, this is a really good beer and one that I will drink again. It also might serve to gently introduce friends to the universe of better beer.

 618 characters

Photo of jtw5877
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber with a little white head. Tastes maltier & hoppier than any light beer I have tried, not a bad beer. I am sure it would be a good session beer. If you put aside all bias towards or against BBC, you have to admit it's not bad.

 248 characters

Photo of Zraly
3.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Light beer is the exact reason why beer turned me off for a long time. So, I was rather skeptical but nonetheless curious as to what Sam Adams could do with a light beer.

It definately has a deeper gold color than your standard light American brews. And upon tasting, it definately has more flavor. I actually get a malty feel from the taste of this, something that is not very common to most light beers, say a Bud Lite.

The finish is smooth, crisp, and clean...very non-aggressive. I don't notice any particular aftertaste or lingering. I think this indicates that Sam Adams Light is true to the lightweight form, but with a sense of quality. And that might be what seperates this light beer from others that have filled up the market for years.

I think that this beer is a worthy option for light beer drinkers. It is my personal opinion that The Boston Beer Company actually deserves some respect. They carried through with consistency and quality that they are known for rather than just dismissing this as a light beer that doesn't need to be contended with. I value that brand of integrity.

 1,106 characters

Photo of budgood1
3/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

dark, deep golden color. thin head that died quickly and left no lace. light toasted caramel malt aromas with a light hop balance. tastes ok....more flavor than any other light beer i've ever had, not to mention more flavor than most domestic "heavy" lagers. decent mouthfeel and drinkability. not a beer to overanalyze, just to enjoy and thank the beer gods that someone came up with a light beer worth drinking. not worth the price though. i hope SA gets their cut of the light beer drinking market and maybe will change a few minds about what beer can and should be.

 578 characters

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was prepared to jump on the anti-BBC bandwagon, seeing the comercials and all. Has a nice copper color with a whispy white head. Does have taste, almost like a good summer beer. I am not a big of lights, but will not turn down an offer of one of these. Buying one however is another matter....

 293 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.83/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Okay, I've been a fan of Sam Adams products for many years, from the now extinct Honey Porter to the Boston Lager to the Triple Bock. When I heard they were coming out with a light version of beer, I immediately started looking for it. You see, after playing ball, many times you want a beer that tastes great, but not one that has so much quality flavor that you feel guilty taking a good healthy pull from the bottle. Sam Adams Boston lager is like that. It's so full of flavor, you just want every last milliliter to traverse its way over your tongue, getting max flavor from every lovely bottle. Ahem...

Okay, so I'm thinking SA Light oughtta have that same great flavor we know and love, but in a light form so when we're thirsty we can take a big mouthful and have no regrets. Well guess what, Boston Brewing is spot on with the SA Light. It is just as I was hoping. Most light beers taste like pee colored soda water, this beer has character. You can taste the Sam Adams classic taste, but it's not so intense that you can't take a good swig. 'Sweet nectar of life' may be a bit strong and I don't think I'd ever go light on a non-sports night, especially if they got regular Sammy on tap... :-)

But it is a great pick for thirst-quenching without coming across as too heavy. Big thumbs-up here...

 1,310 characters

Photo of marc77
3.38/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crystal clear copper hue, covered by a fluffy two fingered ivory white head that manages lace. Much more enticing in appearance versus the typical insipid light. Light caramel sweetness and a hint of toasty malt in aroma, along with a very mild floral hop nose. Bland, but above average characterwise aromawise for a light. Unfortunately, flavorwise this brew falls prey to the typical dearth in flavor of a typical light, and is both thin in body and malt character. Sweetness is caramel malt derived, and hints of dry, toasty malt provide character a bit above the norm for a light. Hop bitterness is above the norm and provides a crisp, quenching feel. Paltry Mittelfruh hop flavor eeks its way in, but isn't assertive enough to prevent overall blandness. Very well attenuated and dry overall, w/ a slightly watery mouthfeel. Finishes dry, w/ trace biscuity malt briefly lingering. SA Light tastes like a Boston Lager diluted with Seltzer water. Although perhaps the most flavorful light I've tasted, it's still very much a lackluster beer.

 1,051 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First the good news....this is without question the best light beer I have ever had...

Now the bad news...for the price, I can't rationalize spending this much for a light beer. True it has better flavor than any other light beer, but if I'm spending Micro $ I want something more than this..

It is golden in color...pours a puffy white head that fades very quickly...not much of a nose...the taste is toasty to me...the noble hops add a lot to the overall taste...the body is light, but for the style it is excellent....not as much of a floral hop flavor as S.A BL, but a fine beer in a different way...

If this was the same price as any other light beer it would be a staple in the ZAP household....maybe some day.....right now I'll be spending my $$ on Octoberfests/stouts/doppels/IPA's/etc...

Still...I challenge anyone to find me a better tasting light beer....

 879 characters

Photo of Todd
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with freshness date on the side.

Appearance: Bright, clear amber in colour with very active carbonation and a semi-sticky thin white creamy lace.

Smell: Soft metallic, grain and floral aromas.

Taste: A light bodied, dextrin malty sweetness starts this brew off, followed by grain notes, a smooth and creamy palate (fizzy, tight carbonation), a slighty dry crispness and background metallic and very faint caramel flavours. Hop flavour is soft with a mild citrus quality to it. Ends with a drying grain tannin feel and flavour.

Notes: This is a light beer that is sure to revolutionize the perception of light beers! Okay, no it's not ... and it's not even really a light beer. Sam Adams Light is full of flavour, colour and aroma at 128 calories (no different than most non-light beers) per 12oz serving. It's also made from two-row barley and 100% noble hops -- unlike other light beers that are chuck full of adjuncts and sometimes other icky things. In the light category, this is at the top, hence my rating, but as a beer this is something that I would not normally buy.

 1,119 characters

Photo of yen157
2.99/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Unlike other Light beers, it's better than bad! However at 124 calories, it's not as light as Miller Lt. or Amstel Lt. (96 & 95 cals). It's pretty dark for a Light beer, a nice dark gold. Average head, and sweet aroma with some hops noticable. Malty and grainy in taste, the hops are there, too. Good job, Jim!

 310 characters

Photo of StevieW
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a very pleasantly surprising clear copper color, with a better than expected white head. Smell had the characteristic Sam Adams "2 row barley malt" and decent hops as well. Very much in the Boston Lager tradition. Taste was creamy, smooth, and very enjoyable. Enough barley, and crisp dry finish to make this taste like a beer. Easily the best light beer I have had. A pleasant surprise and another winning product for the Boston Beer Co.

 449 characters

Sam Adams Light from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.36 out of 5 based on 2,203 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!