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

very good
1,400 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: 1,400 | Ratings: 3,613
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A lager with initially fizzy carbonation that fades as it warms to just significant carbonation. Clearly orange and cinammon, a spot of ginger for spice, and caramel. Weak finish. Medium mouthfeel. Rather a bold herbal tea. Nice chestnut amber colour.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite winter warmer, but a unique one. it pours a mostly impenetrable brown color with a real small tanish head. the smell is quite spices, cinnamon, citrus peel, and brown sugar. flavor is pretty moderate on the malts, some caramel and english wintery feeling grains, but i taste all spice in the middle, and all brown sugar or molassas in the finish, its not s sweet as that, but the flavor is the same. its almost mapley too, and as such might lend itself well to some time on wood. big mouthfeel, lots of body and some really bold flavors, vanilla tinge too, and the carbonation is fine. its a good winter beer i guess, but its not a drinker, its a slow sipper and one was plenty for me. it was honestly one of my least favorite beers in this years winter pack though, and i will likely let someone else drink the other couple of them.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Fezziwig pours out as an amberish orange color, it's got a white head on it that leaves a bit of lacing at times. The aroma of the beer is spicy smelling and has a little bit of an orange peel in there as well. The taste is similar to some Belgian Ales out there, the spices really come through and mix with the citrusy notes this beer has. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and doesn't have a whole lot of carbonation. Overall it's an interesting brew and worthy of giving it a try.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high dense beige head that slowly died down leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some initial malty sweetness. The flavors of spices are a little stronger compared to the smell and there are some notes of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and somewhat creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: It doesn't seem to be as full-bodied compared to other beers in the style but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it's more sessionable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Winter variety pack -- part III. Another winner by BBC. Richly malted and creatively spiced. Sweet malts begin to pick up on dark syrup flavors, but not viscocity. Bready and sweet with a hint of toast, nuts, chocolate, and toffee. Spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and curraco decorate the aromas and flavors, adding a punch of variety, but never becomming distracting -- always complimentary. Medium bodied allows for easy drinking. The alcohols and hops cut through those holiday foods nicely while standing on its own if needed. Finishes with a hint of spices and a follow-through of malt sweetness.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, I love getting a few mixed packs of Sam Adams right around Thanksgiving/Christmas so I can have this beer. Sucks you only get 2 in each but its delicious. Chock full of Christmas spices and is absolutely beautiful. Could use a little bit of a higher ABV being a winter warmer and all but other than that it's very good.

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Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy russet body with a prodigious head that provides loads of splashy lacing

Smell: Wonderful spice aromas of cinnamon, orange and a touch of ginger

Taste: Starts out with a raisiny, fruitcake flavor filled with holiday spices; mid-palate, some balancing bitterness kicks in with a touch of pithy orange and cinnamon

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: With enough holiday spices to make it interesting, but nothing over the top, this is quite a decent Winter Warmer

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

Appearance - Pours the color of black coffee with an off-white head. Lots of sticky lace and fairly good head retention.

Smell - Cinnamon, cocoa and caramel. Subtle spiciness.

Taste & mouthfeel - Roasty and bready; moderate sweetness with notes of chocolate and spices; zesty citrus hops and burnt toast in the finish. Full-bodied for a beer of moderate alcohol.

Notes - An expertly balanced winter warmer; one of the best examples of the style coming out of the US.

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Photo of kojevergas
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 low altitude 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--


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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a brown color ale with a relatively large foamy head with OK retention and some light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with light toffee and nutmeg notes is pretty enticing. Taste is a good mix between some solid caramel malt with light notes of nutmeg and balanced residual sugar in the aftertaste. Body is about average with good carbonation. Easily drinkable while retaining some good complexity.

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Photo of emerge077
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tawny reddish copper color, filtered with bright clarity. Thin loose head of tan foam. Thin ring at the edges, no lacing. Carb visible rising around the edges.

Pleasant nose of bready gingerbread sweetness, vanilla, nutmeg.

Some light astringent bitterness, earthy toasted malt and light dry spices that mirror it's aromas. Light bodied and mellow, finishes slightly watery. Spices are light and not overdone, rather they are an accent in the aftertaste that compliments the primary toasted maltiness. Lingering dry bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall a good Winter Warmer, fairly middle of the road.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the Sam Adams Winter Classics 12 pack.

A - Poured out a deep burgandy color with a bubbly, tan, three finger head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spice and nutmeg. Also, some malt and other sweet aromas.

T - It had a nice complex mix of flavors. There was some chocolate, cinamon and other spices. Also, a good roasted maltiness.

M - It was sharp and very crisp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is pretty good. I think I like it better than their Winter Lager.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown color with a slight head. The nose brings a good dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some other wintry spices. A bit of chocolate and roasted malt in the background. Taste brings a lot of spicing and some malt. The feel is medium with a good balance of spicing and roast, something I find to be quite rare in this style, and thus worthy of a fairly high rating. Drinks quite well and is a nice treat during the holiday season.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of khaki tan head. Color is a clear ruby copper Head fades to a thin ring and stays here. No lace left.

Aroma: A lot of spices here. Cinnamon, ginger, and molasses. Some fruits, oranges. Caramel malts and honey. Reminds me a little of SA Honey Porter.

Taste: If I had to guess, I'd say this is the honey porter with spices added to it. Honey, caramel, ginger, cinnamon, and a light orange flavor.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spiced, and smooth. Light to medium body with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very dry.

Overall, not a bad offering from Sam Adams. It really reminded me of the honey porter. A nice cheap holiday beer. Pretty drinkable. The only bad part is that it only comes in the Seasonal 12 pks.

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Photo of nickfl
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of soft, light-brown foam on top of a dark brown body with enough transparency to tell that it has good clarity.

S - Toffee, raisins and a weak coffee note. Somewhat spicy: cinnamon and cloves with a caramel backbone.

T - Lots of sweet malt and spice upfront, followed by roastiness and some subtle hop flavor. Raisins and toffee are big players here, as they are in the nose. The finish is clean and round, consisting mostly of roast malt notes and a mild alcohol warmth.

M - Medium body that doesn't linger on the palate and moderate to high carbonation.

D - A very rich and flavorful beer but not too difficult to drink. This beer has an excellent wintry character to it and it is one of the primary reasons that I buy the Sam Adams holiday sampler every year.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time trying this brew picked it up in the variety 12 pack,pours a deep brown/red with a light but lacey head,the aroma is mainly malty with some light brown sugar notes.Taste is very raisiny and bready with a syrupy taste that lingers,a definent malt accented beer wich is nice.I think one of the better BBC offerings but not the easiest beer to drink.

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Photo of superspak
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into perfect pint glass, best before May 2013. Pours crystal clear reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a nice amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, ginger, cinnamon, citrus peel, chocolate, nutmeg, brown sugar, dark bread, light roasted malt, and light grassy hops. Damn nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of malt/spice notes. Taste of toffee, caramel, toast, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk chocolate, ginger, light citrus peel, raisin, dark bread, and grassy hops. Lingering notes of toffee, caramel, toast, brown sugar, raisin, chocolate, dark bread, cinnamon, ginger, and light herbal on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice flavor balance with good complexity; with great robustness and balance of malt/spice flavors; and nearly zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Christmas beer! Nice flavor balance with big robustness; and very smooth to drink. This was a very enjoyable offering.

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

Poured into my Sam Adams special pint glass.

A: Nice 1 finger frothy head that fades slowly with a lacing on the glass. Very clear copper reddish brown color showing all the nice bubbles rising to the top.

N: A nice red/amber malt aroma with some toasty malts, slight aromatic hops, slight spices, a creamy fruit and sweet fig newton like aroma.

T: Starts with a dark malty sweetness and some roasted and smoked malts. Theres a nice smoked malt flavor. A slight hoppy taste, but it's semi faint. Dark rich porter like flavors, with lots of maltiness. A slight spicy warming feel as well, and hints of spices.

M: Semi thick with good carbonation.

F: Semi dry, a little bit of the smokiness still, roasted malts lingering with a little bitterness.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Fezziwig name couldn't be more appropriate for such a rich and lively ale. Its reddish-chestnut body displays glowing ruby highlights and its creamy ivory head holds well and leaves some nice lace about the glass. Rich, caramel-soaked and hop-infused malt dominates the nose, beckoning you to take another whiff where subtle spicing may be found. In the mouth its fine, median carbonation gently zests on the tongue before warming to become just slightly creamy. The spicing is far from over-done, and simply lends a bit of extra character and depth to an already rich brew. Deeply caramelized malts abound, and a touch of dark chocolate helps to anchor it although that's where the hops come into play. Much like the spicing, they play a supporting role, but a full on at that. The bitterness is firm enough to balance the sweetness of the malts, but never surpasses that function; and the grassy and floral hop flavors help to thin the richness of the malt so that it doesn't appear as "sweet", all the while adding breadth of character. The cinnamon, ginger and orange perk up in the finish as the dark caramel subsides, allowing you to notice them more at the start of the next sip. Like a bright, well-orchestrated symphony, Fezziwig evolves with each new movement, adding new layers to its themes without losing focus, and ending with a brilliant crescendo once the beer has warmed. It may not be quite the beer it once was, but it's certainly worth buying the winter seasonal case to have it on hand when friends and relatives drop by. An exceptional holiday beer!

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

12oz bottle served in pint glass

pours a fine looking orange-tinted mahogany with light tan head. Head is sparse but has good retention. Clear.

A wonderful rich aroma, with a flavor that is at least as good. Spicy yet clean. Spices include cinnamon and ginger; whatever they are, they are present in good proportions, providing an excellent complement to the rich malty taste. Plenty of toffee and a hint of chocolate. Not too sweet or spiced. Taste borders on 4.5.

M - medium to full with good carbonation. Smooth.

A brew that works great for a winter holiday occasion or a winter day in general. Heck, this refreshing brew is not heavy and would be quite enjoyable on a hot summer day. {verified on 8/16/11 and in May 2014}

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Photo of Kegatron
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a short and foamy off-white head and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: Cinnamon, ginger & malt with a slight bit of hops and fruitiness, but not very strong.

T: You definitely taste more hops than you smell, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a Winter Warmer and I don’t think that’s a bad thing in this case. There’s also the cinnamon, ginger & malt sweetness that you detect in the smell and remains in a faint after-taste.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, not as thick as other Winter Warmers that I’ve had.

D: Tasty and not to filling, given the style. I could definitely drink more that the two bottles that I get in one sampler 12-pack.

This was a very good beer and an excellent representation of the style. I’ve had other Winter Warmers that go overboard with the spice and sweetness. This beer gets it just right and still maintains the Sam Adams signature.

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice appearance with the reddish brown clear color and nicely foamed up in the Leffe chalice. Light fragrance with some hints of cinnamon and ginger. The usual Sam Adams pleasing fine carbonation and clean flavors.

Some caramel flavors, but not too sweet. Just a tang of hops and slight bitter aftertaste, or it could be some old spices. Maybe a touch of nutmeg. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a milky feel, coating the mouth. It's all rather discreet and more subtle than a lot of the winter beers. Less spiced-up than Anchor's, for example.

From the 12 oz bottle. A nice reminder of Christmas in April. I have enjoyed this over the years, but it doesn't seem so great on this tasting. Quite drinkable in any case.

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

First had: on tap at Gullifty's, Wayne, PA

Poured a deep amber color with ruby highlights, and a finger of beige head. Caramel in the nose, slightly fruity with notes of spice. Toasty toffee and caramel in the taste, with flavors of orange, raisins, cinnamon. Medium mouthfeel, slightly syrupy, and pretty drinkable.

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.8 out of 5 based on 3,613 ratings.
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