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

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very good
1,375 Reviews
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleSamuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

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

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: 1,375 | Ratings: 3,530
Photo of soper2000
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Third beer of the evening. An aggressive pour into my Sam Smith pint yields a quickly disappating 1 finger slightly off white head atop a dark ruby body. Carbonation is subdued. Smells great. Strong notes of spice mingle with sweet malts. Taste is very well balanced spice and a very distinct nuttiness comes through at the end. Finish reminds me of walnuts actually. Mouthfeel is a little thin in my opinion but otherwise this is a very good beer and perhaps my second favorite Sam Adam's after their cream stout.

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

Looks purple. Decent head. Ruby hues. Nice, but nothing too great.

Smells like chocolate and ginger and malt. Very nice, very complicated, just as strong as it should be.

Doesn't taste quite as good as it smells. Spicy, malty, loads of caramel. The malt and spice are upfront and in the back there's a very soft, smooth almost candy taste. Did you ever have divinity? It's a chocolate candy made with baking soda and it fizzes--it's what kids had to eat before they came out with poprocks. This reminds me of that. Neat.

Nice mouthfeel, but it's a bit too spicy to drink too many of these.

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

This was a little bit of a disapointment after SA's excellent Holiday Porter. Still, Fezziwig is enjoyable, and one of SA's better brews. Color is dark ruby, short head. Aroma is malty with a touch of the cinnamon and ginger touted on the bottle. Taste starts with dark, bready malts. Finish is ginger and cinnamon, which linger on the palate a little too long. A slight roasted taste is in the finish too. This is pretty good, but this isn't my favorite style. I like this as a part of a sample, but I don't think I'd buy a sixer of it.

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Photo of KoG
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice deep red fills the glass and creates a generous amount of creamy head that soon turns chunky and leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell is fruity with a bit of spice and alcohol coming through on the back. Nothing really jumps out and says "Hey, sniff me!" but it does balance what aroma it has very nicely.

Taste is a bit bland. Seems a bit hoppy and bitter for what the smell gives off. Toasted background with a decent amount of malt to finish.

Mouth is acceptable, but a bit thin and leaves a sour feeling in the throat. The active carbonation saves it from being below par.

This is not something I really enjoy. I only have one other winter warmer to compare this to, but I think I would pick Jubelale over this if both were in sixers next to each other.

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

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by month notched on label.

Dull deep brown with ruby red highlights throughout. Dense tan head leaves patchy lace behind.

Ginger, cinnamon, & orange are clearly defined in the nose. Also aromas of roast malt to add some depth.

Hints of chocolate, along with roasted & toasted malt, make for a sweet start. The spices come in with plenty of ginger & orange, along with subtle hits of cinnamon. Dries out slightly for a short finish. Medium-full body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger bubbly beige head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Clear, deep amber color. Medium bodied. Spicey nose. Light carbonation. Starts spicy, malty with a little hops, mellow finish. Comes is a mixed 12-pack so you get only two bottles. I would buy multiple 6-packs of this if it was marketed by itself but marketing includes some boring brews in the 12-pack so will only buy one. 83ยข for a 12oz bottle from Market Basket Concord, NH.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a deep, dark, amber color, with a small khaki head topping it off. Chocolate malt scent, spice. The taste has a chocolate malt front with hints of caramel, bitter hops in the back. Spices abound, ginger, cinnimon, nuts. Full round mouth. There are better beers to drink but this one is a holiday classic.

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Photo of niknar
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep brownish-crimson color with a nice 2 finger beige head. Settles to a thin foam top with little to no lacing. Aroma displays strong notes of complex malts, cinnamon, and other spices. Taste is less complex and distinguished than the smell would suggest, but still very good. Mouthfeel is slightly thin due some unexpected carbonation. Not overly thin, but enough to warrant a slightly lower score in my opinion. Not something you would want to kick back a ton of, but the style doesn't lend itself to this kind of consumption. Compared entirely against the style, its a very drinkable offering.

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

Clear crimson/bronze color, fuzzy beige foam.
Aroma is surprisingly mild, but on close inspection, we find spicy hints, notes of nuts, and it opens up with time, revealing ginger, cinnamon, clove, the whole panoply of holiday spices. Smells a bit like a Christmas cookie baking.
Soft, lush entry on the palate, not too forceful on the tongue. big malty flavor, bright and just a bit fruity, but the yeasty/spicy character is king. Nice and sweet, with spice joining in, and getting stronger with each subsequent taste.
Ideally, I'd like it a bit bolder, bigger, fuller of flavor and body, but that's just me. As it is, I can't fault it too much. In fact, I pretty well like it. Good Old Fezziwig!
(just now perused the label, and I'm thinking "yeah, now I can taste the orange...sure...")

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

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a British imperial pint glass. This offering is part of the Sam Adams Winter Classics 12 pack collection. Freshness date clearly notched for February 2004.

Nice appearance....light brown in color with a nice fluffy head on top. The head doesn't sustain for very long, but sticky lacings cling all over.

One whiff of the aroma and there is something that reminded me of the Sam Adams Triple Bock. Is it the malts ? Not sure. Nevertheless, a hint of ginger and dried citrus fruit also add to the scent.

Roasted malt flavors with a sweetness supplied by a caramel taste. Chocolate and hop bitterness complete the finish.

This is spicy holiday brew from Sam Adams that I look foward to seeing every season. A solid piece to the Winter Classics 12 pack.

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Photo of granger10
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark brown color with red highlights along the edges. Medium, slightly fizzy tan head. Smell is of maple syrup and caramel ice cream. Really nice. Taste isn't quite as good as the aroma but it's good nonetheless. There's a lot of sweet maltiness upfront, the top middling, and the finish is slightly citric and spicy. The malts have trouble distinguishing themselves. There's a chocolate aspect in there that kind of muddles the flavors. The spices are the same way. I can't really discern each spice but rather taste a generally spice flavor. There is a citric tartness at the end but the beer finishes with a hoppy spiciness and slight dryness. I think I'd be satisfied with about 2 of these but I liked it nonetheless. Also, it seemed to improve as it warmed. Very good, comparable to the Winter Lager I had the night before but I think I like the Winter Lager a bit better, the flavors are more pronounced in it.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.69/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a Sam Adams beer that I have been wanting to try, but never got around to buying because it only comes in the holiday sampler. It pours a reddish brown color and has a tan and white head that did not stick around for very long, but did leave nice lacing. It smells malty and like raisins and cinnamon and a hint of ginger. The flavor is every bit complex,raisins, caramel,ginger,cinnamon and nice mix of hops at the end, but is smooth and perfectly blended. This is the best holiday spiced beer I have ever tried and is the only one I will look forward to enjoying for a second time or in this case many more.

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

Pours a medium-dark brown with ruby highlights. Small off-white head that falls to a persistent foam ring. A little bit of lacing. Malty-sweet aroma with little hint of the spices. Spice is apparent up-front in the taste, however. Spice flavors are muddled, however... not distinct (not that that is necessarily bad!) You do occasionally get a little hint of cinnamon or ginger. After the spice, you taste some coffee notes and sweet carmel malts. Minimal hop flavor. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Pretty good overall... kind of grows on you as you drink it. I probably wouldn't want more than one of these in a sitting, however.

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Photo of hobbes2112
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle from the holiday package.

Clear medium brown pour with very light (color and size) head. Small amount of lacing left behind. Not a very strong aroma from this one, seems that the last was stronger but I forgot to review it then. I do catch some dark-dry fruit (raisin) and some back of the mouth spice (like ginger.) Taste is pretty complex and I am having trouble defining which flavors are which. Though this is usually a good thing because they flavors alternate and complement each other...this time everything just gets jumbled. I don't think this really stands up to the winter warmer category but appreciate it as a better than average beer.

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Photo of oelergud
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark ruby body, big rocky tan head, tiny to medium bubbled, great lace leaving rings after each pull and good retention. little carbonation.
Strong sweet spiced scent with a hint of alcohol.
Taste is even better than the smell. Sweet malts and caramel with alot of complexity to it. Orange peel pretty apparent, supposedly this brew also has ginger and cinnamon which could be the rest I'm tasting. Aftertaste is sweet and burnt, not lingering for long though.
Mouthfeel is decent though I wish it was fuller.
Great drinkability and a great winter brew.


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

Samuel Adams hit the nail on the head with this one. In stores at the end of October, but, should be out all year round. Pours a dark amber brown with nice clarity. The head is ample and leaves a thin amount of lace at the top of the glass.

The aroma is coffee like and cola like at the same time, indicating a nice blend of malts. The taste is very good with a background of coffee and blended malts. There is also a hint of a strong tea. There is also a nice spiciness too. Very good.

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Photo of bronxlord
4.72/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Merry Christmas! This is a great winter beer. Again, Sam Adams surprises me with this spicy, rich, caramel ale. Wonderful aftertaste and overall great beer. Along with the Cream Stout, this ale should liven up your winter! I wish I was able to get it year round easily.

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Photo of DFN
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A coppery-red beer with a nice creamy tan head. I poured one into a cut-glass tumbler and it really looked classy! Taste is on the light side, with just a hint of fruits and spices, making this an ideal beer to have with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You probably wouldn't want to drink this every day, but as a Holiday Treat, it's a definite contender!

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fezziwig pours a very red colour. Nice single finger head that stuck around for a while. Decent lacing. The smell to me, reminded me a toasted almonds. I do not know why. It just smelled like almonds; had a toasted/roasted smell to it. The taste was very complex, but there is definite spice in there, and a little bit more hops than I was anticipating, which it hurt its rating as I do not care for hoppy beer/ale. Nice full body. A bit heavy. Quite nice.

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Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick brown color. Medium head. Head has a brown/almond hue. Citrus aroma, with a hint of caramel and chocolate. Strong roasted malt flavor, however it rests softly on the palate and finishes with a tangy, slightly spicy aftertaste. Very well balanced ale.

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Photo of Guinness4me
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imagine creamy turtle pralines that melt in your mouth and you've got Old Fezziwig Ale.

It pours smoothly with a creamy head and a mahogany body with ruby highlights. Its aroma is malty and sweet and very indicative of the flavor to come.

As I said above, the flavor is much like a praline with chocolate, caramel and pecans. Vanilla and warm winter spices finish the taste....quite sweet.

The mouthfeel was a bit carbonated for me at first, but mellowed nicely and was extremely easy to drink.

In the future, I hope Jim decides to sell it in six packs and not just part of a sampler.

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

This one was another good one from Jim Koch. A nice deep brown in color, but with a rather short head. It has a nice, lightly roasted malt aroma with hints of citrus and spice.

The taste was reminiscent of roasted malt and caramel, with a slight cinnamon aftertaste.

I first had this one when they had it available in larger bottles individually... I wish they'd offer it by itself again. This one makes it worth buying the multipack, though.

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Photo of cbl2
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note: 2003-2004


Crystal clear deep reddish brown with an inch thick tan head.


An orange/citrus with brown sugar/maple syrup tingle the nose.


Very malty with definite orange flavors and a bitter hoppy finish. Well balanced, and goes down smooth. I wish they sold this in six packs, rather than forcing us to purchase a sampler, and only get two of these.

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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 CSquared
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark reddish-brown color with a light brown head of tight bubbles. Moderate lacing.

Aroma: Pleasant nose of malt prevails, with a slight spice notes present

Taste: Malt prevails again in the taste, with suprisingly little spice flavor as advertised. This beer was donated to me though, and was rather old. It was slightly oxidized, and I'm thinking some of the spices may have mellowed.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thin, but hangs and lingers of the tongue a bit.

Drinkability: This was OK for the age of the beer, but I wouldn't seek out another one in this condition. Will definitely try to get a newer sample this winter.

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,375 ratings.
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