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

very good
1,403 Reviews
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

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

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-28-2001

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Reviews: 1,403 | Ratings: 3,624
Photo of TheFlern
1.33/5  rDev -65%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A: Pours a dark brown redish color. head is off white in color and dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S: Malty, toasted notes. Spice. None of which smells pleasant.

T: Pretty much undrinkable. Its very spicey but what spices? I couldn't tell you because it is so muddled. The malt flavor seems almost stale. I was extremely disappointed in this beer.

Mf: Heavy, thick, milky. Combined with the flavor makes this basically a disgusting beer.

D: I will NEVER buy this beer again. It was almost a drain pour but I managed to choke it down with a friends help.

Final thoughts: Avoid at all costs and buy something else from SA or a different winter warmer.

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Photo of gun1now
1.91/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Tried this one at a recent Christmas party in which the host obviously purchased a few Sam Adams Seasonal Packs.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into Pilsner glass.

Appearance was nice. Decent head. Reddish-amber color.

It smelled pretty good, the spices came through.

The taste was awful though. I was expecting a spiced holiday beer but the spices were just way off. It just didn't seem very balanced at all. I couldn't finish it. I got through about a quarter of the beer complaining all the way before a friend reminded me that we were at a party and there were plenty of other, much better beers. I dumped it down the drain, rinsed my glass, and picked a better beer.

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Photo of TheDeuce
1.96/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Personally, I found this to be a little bit of a malty mess. Alcohol (thought the beer isn't that strong) manages to muddle in with the caramel malt so it doesn't have a clear character. On the sweet side, with no bitter character to balance it out. I'm all for a "winter warmer" but honestly this was a bit like bad candy sugar. More alcohol to counteract the sweetness and a stopgap on the caramel would help this beer tremendously to become a true "Winter Warmer".

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.07/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

So I used to love this beer... About 4 or 5 years ago, I would drink this all up... I would buy the winter seasonal packs and this was the beer I drank first!

So let's see how things are now...
Poured into a pint.

A deep clear amber body is heavy on the red hues... So heavy that it almost hints at plum and purple. A dark tan head is about the color of light brown sugar: it rises 2 fingers before dropping down to a frothy cap of bubbles. Some seriously thick and sticky lace forms rings and chunks on the side... I'm getting excited...

Well... Now it falls apart.
The smell is sweet-- caramel malts and sugar cane. Reminds me of a flavored soda-- perhaps a vanilla coke? The spices are intense, and not in a good way. I find it difficult to differentiate the spices from eachother... Just a big mess of spices melded together. The taste is the same. A caramel sweetness gives way to a soda flavor and spices. Not liking this so much anymore... There seems to be some coffee and bitter chocolate in here too... And the orange notes really one through on the finish: you'd think it would help dry the out the aftertaste, but it doesn't help at all. In fact, it seems to really be a problem.

The body reminds me of soda. Fizzy and very carbonated.

This is not what I remember. Has the recipe changed? I doubt it. It seems I have changed though, and that is a tad bit depressing. I can't even finish this beer.

Good bye Old Fezziwig.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
2.07/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is almost the same as the AB winter warmer. Light head that dissipates quickly. A dark color with a red tint, can barely see fingers through glass. Light smell of spices, very minimal for a winter warmer. Not much here to enjoy. Not sure if this should be listed as a "winter warmer". I am not trying to be rude here but I am not a beliver of Sam Adams and this proves that it is basic if that. I just don't get how this gets such good reviews.

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Photo of semihobo
2.1/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz from a sampler pack, best before April.

Pours a very dark brown, modest head that pools to lace quickly. Not a single bubble to be seen.

Big malt profile, rich and syrupy smell. Spices, burnt caramel, nutmeg, and an old lady's perfume that you can smell from all the way across the bus.

Malty, the spices and holiday flavors are dominant but taste a little off, a little chemical (even if they are real quality ingredients, they don't taste quite like it). The cinnamon and ginger blend together and complement the hops. I could do without the orange.

Mouthfeel is a little bubbly for my tastes, reminiscent of champagne. Thick, especially on the finish.

Not the best from Sam Adams -- I'll stick to the winter lager. Did not enjoy this beer. "Not impressive."

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Photo of Innocentexile
2.12/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12oz poured into pint glass

A-poured a deep brown color with a finger of head. it laced a little but not alot

S-Smells exactly what it says is in it on the bottle. cinnamon ginger way up front. couldnt find orange peel. smelled pretty good though

T/M-whoa whoa, what the hell happened. cinnamon and ginger come rushing in unabashed and reek havoc on my taste. just way too strong for me.

O-all good until i tasted it. not a fan

* I will have to try this again another night. not ready to blacklist this just yet

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Photo of Rock_Glenn
2.24/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

The foundation of barley and hops is nice, why someone thought to put all the spices in there is beyond me. I get it, winter spices, but if I wanted to drink them I'd buy some herbal tea. Also I found it thin for a winter beer.

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Photo of Cyrano41
2.3/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Tried this beer as part of their holiday sampler. First Sam Adams I've had that was wholly unimpressed with. Smell was OK but taste and mouthfeel were unimpressive. Would not recommend. I'm a big fan of Sam Adam's in general but they phoned this one in! Defininatly lowered their bar here.

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Photo of buschbeer
2.34/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I poured into a pint glass to a half inch of light tan head. It is copper colored. I have to admit that I am hugely disappointed in this beer. From the threads it is supposed to be one of the better beers in the Sam Adams winter sampler. I have not found this to be the case.

As I poured it I immediately smelled caramel and toffee. The taste was pretty much the same. As a winter warmer I expected some spices on the nose and in the flavor. It leaves an almost gritty coating on my mouth and tongue. This is my least favorite winter warmer of the season. This is disappointing because Sam Adams makes quality beers.


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Photo of BeerDocT
2.34/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

-Appearance 2.0: Poured out with little to no head and lots of soft drink style carbonation. The beer has a cola-like color and this, along with the cola carbonation, makes me confused. This is a beer, right?

-Smell 3.0: I smell a nice malty flavor, but also a very strong sweetness. That's about it.

-Taste 2.5: Sweet up front and then a barley-esque flavor, followed by a very unpleasant...what the heck is this? Sour and bitter at the same time? What beer ingredient is this? Aftertaste is pure adjunct dregs.

-Mouthfeel 2.0: Cola carbonation and the same "runny" liquid feel as a mass-produced beer. Again, this is beer, right?

-Overall 2.5: The Boston Beer Company just dropped a load of coal in my stocking of aesthetics. Someone notify the bald dude with the Heavy Metal chin-whiskers from the commercial: you need to get back in the brewery and start all over again with trying to find a holiday ale recipe. Not recommended.

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Photo of shbobdb
2.4/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Let me start by simply stating that I do not like spice-beers. But, I decided that maybe I should try and expand my palate a little, so I was kinda excited about this beer. It pours pretty much like SA's boston lager, and it smells pretty good. As my girlfriend described it, "It smells very Merry Christmas". It even poured with a nice solid head, to help me enjoy the smells.
That was where my enjoyment of this beer ended. Baaag! The cinnamon and other spices just didn't do it for me. Nononononono. I didn't want to pour it down the sink, since I figured maybe it would get better as the temperature of the beer rose. Big mistake. The spice flavours continued to dominate, and even grow in strength as the beer warmed. Man, it was like dumping a bunch of mulling spices in SA Boston Lager. Gross!
If I want a christmas drink with these spices, I'll mull some cider, or (if I want booze) make some gluehwein or some mulled mead.
Then again, I freely admit that I just don't dig spice flavours in my beer. If that's your thing, then you'd most likely love this beer. Enjoy it. I've got one that'll be sitting in my fridge for a while if you want it.

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Photo of Overlord
2.4/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a tough beer to review, because I realize that my subjective reaction to it is probably significantly more negative than the beer's objective qualities.

Pours an attractive, ruddy red, with a dollop of nice white foam. Smells, and tastes, of malt, orange, cinnamon, more than a little vanilla, and some coffee and chocolate notes. Sounds good, but the combination, for me, was head-ache inducing. It could be that I just hate cinnamon. Put cinnamon in any product, and I'm guaranteed to hate it.

Not nearly my favorite Sam Adams offering.

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Photo of hopbar
2.52/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sal's Bar and Liquor in Wash. Twp., NJ.
12 oz. bottle from the Sam Adams Holiday 12 pack
March 2007 Expiration
Pint Glass

A: Poured a dark brown color with very little head.

S: Very sweet and sugary with definitely a touch of cinnamon.

T: It was almost too sweet and reminded me of flat Coca-Cola.

M: Lack of carbonation left it flat.

D: I was not overly impressed considering how much I enjoyed the Winter Lager. I'll probably let someone else have the second one in the pack.

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Photo of montageman
2.56/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass.

Finishing off my Sam Adams holiday pack. Not a huge fan of spiced beers, so didn't expect much from this one. Looks nice. Has a dark, almost gingerbread like color. Smell & flavor are similar to Christmas cookies & spices, which while nice, doesn't strike my fancy. This beer is heavily carbonated making it almost feel like soda going down. I can drink this, but having a hard time with it. Not something I'd ever seek out - not recommended.

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Photo of jlervine
2.62/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a deep brown with ruby hints. Glorious off white/nearly tan head formed, fell back, but stayed creamy throughout. Smell of oranges, ginger, toasted and caramel malts. Taste was a harsh orange and ginger at the beginning, giving way to roasted characteristics and finishing with a weird herbal astringency. Mouthfeel is very rough and unfinished. Blech. Not my bag, baby.

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Photo of Hunter
2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep reddish brown ale with a thin head than dissipates into a wispy thread almost immediately.

Smell: Light notes of malt, honey, citrus

Taste: Strangely bland. It's not bad, just seems like much of the flavor that's meant to be there is muted. Malt, caramels, light hops. Some hint of orange zest and coriander in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thin, easily forgettable

Overall: Despite my scores, this is not a bad ale. It's primary attribute, however, is how utterly mediocre it is. So far as seasonals go there are much more complex, rich offerings to choose from.

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Photo of KI9A
2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wierd beer.

A: Beautiful dark cola, with a white puffy head.

S: Christmas. Nutmeg, cinnamon, spicy.

T: Too much going on. Can't pull out distinct flavors. Seems all mashed together.

M/D: Stickey finish. Almost like molasses. Had to struggle to finish the bottle. Will pass on this again.

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Photo of LeRose
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from bottle, around 40 degrees. DEcent head, about two fingers. Lingered a little bit. The color is a nice translucent reddish/brown.

The aroma reminded me of cookies. Get the malty bready thing going on right away, then some trace of spices, and a bit of raisin/prune that is not unpleasant.

Sweetness hit me up front with the bread/malty notes as well. Then just a bit of the spices - cinnamon, nutmeggy, a bit of the raisin/grape and maybe plum-like flavor - definitely not the raisin I could smell. For some reason, liked the mouthfeel - seemed almost like you could chew this one for a bit. Liked the lack of carbonation too - wasn't very "bright" in that sense. Not a refresher for sure - something to just sit down and drink as a treat. Way too much of a Christmas cookie for me.

This is not my thing. Seems over done.

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Photo of benmiliron
2.71/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I got this in a 12-pack SA winter variety sampler thing. I'm glad I didn't find it as a sixer or I'd be intrigued enough to try it. It looks beautiful in the glass, kind of a smoked ruby color. The taste is pretty awful though, burnt, stale malts throughout, I couldn't really notice the ginger, orange or cinnamon. And one notable ingredient missing: hops! I didn't detect a bit of hops in this one at all.

Get the 12 pack to try the Cranberry Lambic though, very nice!

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Photo of aracauna
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This one is a dark clear copper with an ok head. The aroma is slightly malty, the spice is evident but far from overpowering. There’s also a slightly cheesey or mushroomy smell, that I think may actually be a trick of the spice/malt interaction on my nose instead of more sinister reasons. The flavor’s a bit flat, fairly dry, with no finish.

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Photo of crossovert
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a reddish brown with a foamy off white head.

It smells like caramel.

The flavor is pretty tame. It has some caramel malt, some roastiness, and some spices, but it also has a certain wateriness and some metallic flavor.

It certainly isn't as good as their winter lager, but that isn't saying too much.

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Photo of DrewKid4
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nut brown with fizzy brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Slight nutmeg and cinnamon, but really not much of an aroma for this brew.

T: Slight toasted malts and even slighter hops. Some lasting spice along the back of the tongue.

M: Very light for a self proclaimed Winter Warmer. Bite is merely from the heavy carbonation. Some lasting spice along the back of the tongue.

D: Due to the lightness, you can knock a few of these back in a sitting. Not a bad tasting beer I mean its more like a very introductory winter beer, but I see winter warmers as being a much thicker and creamier beer rather than a Boston Lager with nutmeg in it.

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2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to pint glass. Best before April 2012 notched on the label. Sampled 11/20/11.

A: Old Fezziwig pours with a small, 1 finger high head, medium brown in color and creamy/foamy in texture. Mediocre retention. The body is clear and has a medium saturated mix of amber and ruby. Spare lacing.

S: The malty backbone is comprised mostly of caramel and chocolate - gently toasted. Hops provide a mix between pine and an orange-forward citrus. There is a light menthol mintiness in the background that works against the aroma profile.

T: Malt flavors continue, giving way to a very prominent flavor of orange peel which adds a little bitterness but focuses on a citric sweetness instead. In my opinion, this flavor detracts from stylistic expectations, and throws the overall flavor out of balance. Light hand of ginger and noticeable cinnamon.

M: The body is medium-full with a lively and fizzy effervescence. Rather expansive. As per usual, BBC gets the mouthfeel right.

O: I find it odd that a brewery with *unlimited* resources chose to release a sampler pack where two of the beers were brewed with the exact same spices: orange peel, cinnamon and ginger (referring to the Winter Lager). Surely there is more creative freedom at BBC than this?!?

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Photo of NilocRellim
2.79/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This ale poured out from a bottle and was very dark amber in colour; almost brown, and clear. There was little smell other than a slight hint of malt. I could not detect any of the spices other than a slight smell of cinnamon within the nose. The ale was sweetly malty in taste; clean cinnamon and orange peel flavour. No clear aftertaste.

Would I buy this beer again? Probably not.

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.8 out of 5 based on 3,624 ratings.
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