Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Winter Warmer
Ranked #53
Ranked #28,043
3.8 | pDev: 13.16%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Notes: Old Fezziwig, Rich & Sweet: Like the character that inspired it. This beer is festive and worthy of a celebration all its own. Bursting with spices of the season, its full body accompanies a deep malt character, with notes of sweet toffee and rich, dark caramel.
Reviews: 1,443 | Ratings: 3,789 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohnnyK:
Photo of JohnnyK
JohnnyK from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Nov 23, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of RonaldWilsonReagan
RonaldWilsonReagan from California

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

Slight bitterness is there but not on the front end. I usually can’t detect the trace flavors brewers claim to use, but the orange in this one shines through. Bravo. Malty. Nutty. Smooth. Delicious. The only drawback of this beer is that it’s not available in sixers, but I digress. Like many, I’d drink this stuff early and often were it readily available.

Jun 02, 2015
Photo of mbrando33
mbrando33 from California

5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my all-time favorite beers. Rich and hearty in flavor with a quick hint of cloves at the first taste, with other lingering holiday spices throughout. It's got a malty finish and almost creamy texture. I do wish Sam Adams would re-release this in a six-pack, which they did years ago. Unfortunately, we have to buy the twelve pack just to get a couple bottles of it. Give it a try this Christmas, and I think you'll agree it's like Sam Adams somehow managed to pour the holidays into a bottle. Cheers!

Sep 04, 2017
Photo of Milktoast75
Milktoast75 from Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark golden hue with a touch of red. Minimal head with terrific lacing.A scent of orange, ginger as advertised.
Nice pleasant malty taste with cinnamon, ginger with a carbonation enhanced with the spicy zing. A clean satisfying finish with a bit of spice lingering.
I’m not a huge spice beer guy but I did buy the variety pack from Sam Adams for a whirl.
I do like this as very doable holiday beer. I see why fans buy this as a stand-alone 12 pac.

Nov 21, 2018
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear; deep mahogany in color; 2+ finger light brown head that receded slowly to a thin cap; nice lacing;

S: somewhat restrained; sweet malt - reminds me of a Scottish ale;

T: orange zest for a moment, then ginger gets added in; the orange and ginger go side by side to the finish; no bitterness;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O not especially interesting, but easy to drink;

Dec 31, 2016
Photo of MNAle
MNAle from Minnesota

3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sweet malty aroma, slight spice. Tall tan head over a deep ruby body with rising bubbles. It certainly looks the part of a Christmas beer. Moderate body and mouth feel, if slightly flat. Sweet malts and spices in the taste, cinnamon is there but only slightly, with a nicely bitter finish to keep the sweetness under control.

Dec 17, 2018
Photo of PMakowski
PMakowski from New Hampshire

4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 Oz Bottle poured into glass
Look - dark amber red color, decent foam head with tons of lacing
Smell - It's familiar yet unique...sweet malt, tangerine peel, a little pumpkin pie spice, and some chocolate mousse
Taste - Less flavor than the aroma....basically just a malty ale with some background flavors. It's delicious but it's not too complex. Medium body and medium carbonation. It's not super spicy and not super bold even though the label suggests otherwise. The subtle chocolate and fruit gives it the overall pleasant taste.

Overall, my first time trying this, so can't compare to previous years. I think it's a solid beer, very good but not outstanding or anything. I think it's one of the better holiday ales.. Grade is an A-

Nov 12, 2018
Photo of Jmc181
Jmc181 from Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I love this beer enough to buy a mixed case of Sam Adams for four Fezziwigs. Don't get me wrong, the others get drank, but I buy the case for the Fezziwigs. Wish they were more widely available as a stand alone case.

Jan 03, 2015
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

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

Best before 4/2013.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the flavors aren't as good as the smells I am getting.

Nov 12, 2012
Photo of Todd
Todd from California

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

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red-brown beer with an off-white creamy head, about a finger thick, that sticks and stays.

Smell: Aroma is raisiny with soft cinnamon spice. Some ginger can be detected, but it's very subtle.

Taste: Quite flavourful with a smooth and medium-bodied feel. Malty flavours are again raisiny (fruity esters) with a roasted character that provides further depth with notes of smoke and coffee. Sweetness is modest, but keeps things in check. Chocolate and caramel flavours are also present and blend nicely with cinnamon and background orange flavours. A hop bitterness begins to stand out, but is quickly overtaken by a very distinct tingly ginger spice. Finish lingers with malty notes, then the warming alcohol kicks in.

Notes: This is damn good winter seasonal IMO. Balanced to perfection, given everything that is going on. I just love this beer, and miss it dearly on its own. They should bring this back in 6-pak form. Or just bottle a few cases of bombers for me =)

Jan 06, 2002
Photo of hman43
hman43 from North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours dark amber with plum overtones. The head is tan, with a slight yellowish color in it.

Smell: it has aromas of chocolate, roasted, and a bit of toffee. There is also a slight citrus smell of oranges. It has aromas of brown sugar, nutmeg, and maybe a bit of cinnamon.

Taste: It has a sweet, fruity combination mixed with the malts. There are flavors of orange, chocoalte, roasted malts, and some spices highlighted by nutmeg. The combination also gives it a licorice type flavor with it as well.

Feel: It has moderate carbonation with a moderate fell to it. There is a slight bittering on the palate with a wee bit of tart.

Overall: This is a good holiday warmer with a good mixture of malts and spices combined with sweet fruity flavors.

Dec 25, 2015
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Perhaps one of the most talked about beers that Boston Beer Co. has, right after Cranberry Lambic. Another spiced winter warmer but its limited availability drives the demand up IMO. Big towering densely rocky tan head from a hard pour, glowing reddish brown color. You can smell all of the spices used; cinnamon, ginger and orange peel … mild chocolate malt tone in the back of the nose. Smooth and creamy with a slick full body. Mild burnt tone goes away quickly as the malt sweetness layers the palate and the spicing picks it right back up. Hint of woody hop gets lost with the spicing. Finishes off semi-sweet with a vague chocolate flavor.

Spicing does not go too far, maltiness is big enough to hold the beer together. A solid beer all around and a bit of a conversation beer as well which is good around this time of year.

Dec 18, 2007
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite winter beers! Can’t believe I have not reviewed it before. Pours a beautiful dark reddish brown with a nice head and good lacing. Sweet spice smell. The taste is great. A mix of warm spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, with dark fruit and a bit of chocolate. I really wish it was offered in six packs!

Dec 18, 2017
Photo of Brewhound
Brewhound from California

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into goblet probably about 50 degrees (let it sit out awhile). Clear brown to reddish copper when held to light. Nose is malts and mild spices. Tastes is quite nice with sweet start, followed by spice and fresh bread with fairly bitter finish. Full mouth-feel and bitter finish makes it quite balanced and I don't find spice over done as some suggested. Only thing I would say is more lace would be nice and the alcohol content is a little low at less than 6% so it is hard to respect it as a winter sipper because it goes down too fast. Overall very nice winter gulper rather than sipper lol.

Jan 02, 2019
Photo of BillBrasky
BillBrasky from Georgia

3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look: Nice appearance with a one inch head of creamy off-white head. It is dark brown sparkling with nice lacing.

Smell: Could detect some spiciness, maybe molasses, chocolate & cinnamon

Taste: starting with a slight sweetness, average carbonation and a slight bitterness at the end.

Feel: Light to medium mouth feel

Overall: Really enjoyable beer. I would certainly buy this again or anticipate it in another seasons pack.

Dec 22, 2015
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.16/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I usually love winter warmers.

A: Pours a three finger head of good cream, good thickness, and great retention. Colour is a nontransparent dark amber.

Sm: Nuts, spices, and cream. A moderately strong aroma.

T: Toasted malt as a foundation (which I love), cream, nuts, very slight spices, and light candied sugar. Boring for the style, but the balance is alright.

Mf: Smooth and wet. The thickness is off as well. Mediocre at best.

Dr: While I usually love winter warmers, this offering feels a bit like it's catering to the mainstream US market. (It probably is). As a result, it's nowhere near as good. I'd encourage Sam Adams to brew an authentic winter warmer. Where's the spice?

Low C+
Quick truncated notes from a 2013 bottle:

A: No bubble show.

Pours a one finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Decent consistency. Soft complexion. ~3 minute head retention.

Body colour is a translucent dark amber. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it looks pretty good. Standard fare for a winter warmer. Not unique or special. There are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Nutty. Toasted malts. Amber malts. Heavy caramel. A touch of chocolate malt. Cinnamon. Brown sugar. Bready malts. Indistinct spices.

No yeast/alcohol/hop notes. A pleasant inviting aroma of mild strength.

T: Surprisingly aggressive toasted malt. Toffee. Heavy caramel. Syrupy malts. Bready malts. Amber malts. A bit of chocolate malt. A kiss of char. Cinnamon as well as other indistinct spices. I don't find ginger or orange per se. Use of specialty malts is evident. Not a gestalt build, but it has fair cohesion and decent balance. Could use more complexity, subtlety, and above all authenticity. It's just not an evocative, genuine winter warmer. Decent depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Sweetness/bitterness feels really off. Some off-putting char is present as well; I like well-integrated char, but this isn't cutting it. It has its flaws.

No yeast character, alcohol, or hop character comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Body is inconsistent, but good for the most part. Thickness never feels quite right. A biteen overcarbonated. Unrefreshing. It doesn't have the alcohol warmth you'd find in higher ABV winter warmers. There's just something lacking here. It's almost a bit syrupy.

Dr: Drinkable, sure. But it isn't a great winter warmer. You could call it pretty decent for an American example of the style, but it can't hold its own against the best European offerings. Above average, certainly, but not world-class. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this again, but I won't mind seeing it in future Sam Adams holiday packs. It might age decently, but I won't be the one to allot it cellar space. I want more spice, and a fuller toasted malt body. There are individual elements that work well, but as a whole it doesn't quite come together.



12/22/15: 2nd impression--


10/22/17 impression:

Plum. Whoppers. Bready malts. Caramalts.

I'd like to see them steer into the skid of a mulled beer profile more...think European winter market what with the ginger and orange peel vibe they're after.


Dec 05, 2011
Photo of wuthrichj15
wuthrichj15 from Indiana

3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark brow. Small head that dissipated rather quickly. Not a bad winter warmer. Good flavors, cinnamon, orange, nice maltiness. Had one last night. Lacing was nice around the glass as well.

Jan 06, 2017
Photo of dcscientist
dcscientist from Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was decent, but not as good as their winter lager. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was just something missing from this to really make it a good winter warmer. Sam Adams has done better.

Jan 03, 2017
Photo of Impetuous
Impetuous from Montana

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Ruby red with no head and no lacing.

Flavor is malts upfront followed by a mess of spices. The flavors are muddled and indistinct leaving a weird metallic bitterness. The malt is quite good.

Feels smooth with slight burning aftertaste. Not terrible but certainly not great.

Dec 28, 2016
Photo of KLHBB
KLHBB from Colorado

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth, puts me in the mood for a fireplace and footy pajamas. Poured into a stemmed goblet, darkest brown, three finger head even with a gentle pour. Smells of malt, tastes of spice, cinnamon, not overly sweet. Velvet mouthfeel, overall quite enjoyable.

Dec 20, 2015
Photo of ABabbidge
ABabbidge from Kansas

4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Dark red-brown color. Thin head.

S: Malty with ginger and orange rind.

T: Roasted malty up front, quickly followed by some spicy notes, I get mostly ginger and cinnamon. There is a bitter, spicy finish that lingers for awhile.

F: Medium body and carbonation.

O: The spices are good and not over done, although I wouldn't mind if they kicked up the spices maybe a little more. Like everyone else, I wish I didn't have to buy a sampler pack just to be able to get 2 bottles of this.

Dec 25, 2016
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the Winter Classics 12 Pack.

12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Uber glass.

Pours a clear amber with about a finger width of tan head that retains well and leaves good lacing. Aroma is big time spicy with a sweet, fruity tinge behind it.

Taste is very sweet with tones of maltiness, spice, sour citrus. Finish is a little watery with splash of sweetness at the end. Mouthfeel is medium bodied that leaves a tingling carbonation on the tongue. Alcohol is well hidden.

Hmmm. Quite the interesting Winter Warmer. I liked the spicy aroma and taste but the whole thing just lacked a certain beefiness that I like in my cold weather beers. It was nice to try once but I dont' really see any need to go back.

Dec 18, 2007
Photo of tekstr1der
tekstr1der from New Hampshire

4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's been years since I was luck enough to have this on draught in the late 90's. My local store split out the singles from the winter pack apparently. Anyhow, glad to revisit - this pours mahogany with thin off-white head. Aroma is malty with mild spice, chocolate, and fresh-cracked hazelnut. Flavor is similar, but somehow different in a good way, with the nut and spice mixing to produce the dominant, but never overwhelming, flavors. This on top of malt and slight caramel sweetness is fantastic. I really enjoy this one, then and now.

Dec 26, 2015
Photo of BigPapaLager
BigPapaLager from Connecticut

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

From the 2003 Winter pack from Sam's. This is a good winter spiced brew. Poured a reddish brown with a modest head but decent lacing anyways. This is one of the better balaced spiced beers of the season, not too overpowering, though it had a strong ginger taste. Too bad I had to give away a couple lights and lambics for this baby and a couple stouts. O'well, happy holidays.

Dec 17, 2003
Photo of gregu2
gregu2 from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Dec 09, 2012
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 3789 ratings