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

very good
3,632 Ratings
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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Ratings: 3,632 |  Reviews: 1,404
Photo of Spineypanda
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I hate to be the one to destroy the number 777.
Pours an amber color with a somewhat lacking head.
Smells a bit bitter and malty, with a hint of spices.
Tastes more bitter than I expected, with the tastes of the spices coming through.
Not a horrible beer by any means, but I do not feel the need to drink it again.

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Photo of TheMadJack
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz. Bottle into pint glass.

A vigorous pour brings the toffee colored head right up to the rim of the glass before settling to a centimeter, leaving lots of delicate lacing. The beer itself is rich, dark brown with a hint of orange around the edges.

Sweet and malty aromas of molasses, apples, dates, speyside scotch and a touch of clove and vanilla.

Tastes of cola, apple, pear, and a smoky bitterness at the finish. Hints of clove and nutmeg in there as well. Starts off very subdued, but becomes a little more robust and gains character and enjoyability as it warms.

Mouthfeel is watery and just a little lingering with that smoky bitter. Light carbonation that covers the entire mouth.

The beer is certainly enjoyable, and I could see having a couple for dessert, but I'd definitely mix it up over the course of an evening. On the upside, it burps extremely well - fruity and sweet, with a slightly carbonated tingle in the sinuses.

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Photo of RickS95
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish-brown in color, with a thick frothy beige head that really sticks to the glass.

Smells a bit like an IPA to me, only having a few more spices. I don't smell or taste the ginger or orange, but the cinnamon notes are there.

After a few drinks it actually tastes like a mild IPA, but with some sweetness to balance the hops.

It's got a refreshing, cleansing feel in the mouth. The beer has great lacing.

It's hard to get over the fact that it's not an IPA, just enough sweet to balance the bitter spices, just enough bitter to let you know it's a beer; also just enough alcohol to let you know it's a beer. Can't wait for the next.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got from a 2009 Sam Adams Winter Variety Pack. Poured into a tuliped pint glass.

Pours dark brown. Despite a very aggressive pour, it had no head to it and left no lacing. Its very lightly carbonated. Aroma wise, I'm not getting a whole lot. There's some maltiness and some spiciness to it but its hard to differentiate the spices from each other.

As for the taste, I get some malt up front. There's some of the holiday spices in the finish but there are very subdued. I'm also getting some fruity tastes like grapes though this is also fairly quiet. Its fairly smooth and easy to drink due to the light body but I wouldn't drink a bunch of these in one sitting.

I'm fairly convinced I got an off bottle as I'm reading the other reviews. I have another bottle that I'll try some other time and edit this review if that is the case, but this beer wasn't very good.

EDIT. I said what I meant and I meant what I said, a BA is faithful 100%. I'm re-reviewing this one because I said I would if I had it again.

Previous review was 3.5/2.5/2.5/3.5/3.5

2010 bottle poured into a pint glass.

Look: dark brown, deep crimson when held to the light, two finger off white head. A little bit of lacing is left behind but not a whole lot.

Smell: cinnamon, a bit of caramel, toasted malt and some spices.

Taste: not over the top, because lets face it, this is Boston Beer Company we are talking about. Regardless, I get a lot of cinnamon. The label says it has ginger and orange but I don't get a whole lot of it to where I could've identified those without being made aware of them first. There's a bit of toasted malt is there also.

Feel: is it just me or does all Boston Beer Company beer have the exact same mouthfeel regardless of style? On the thin side of medium, lots of carbonation, sweet without a whole lot of bitterness.

Drink: could session this if you wanted to but I dunno if I would want to.

Overall, I'm still not terribly impressed even if it seems to have improved a little bit. I still don't quite understand why this beer is so beloved. To each his own I suppose! I would give this a try because getting the Sam Adams seasonal pack is always fun for some reason. Happy Holidays!

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown that has some amber hues to it when held up to the light. Started off with about an inch of white fluffy head. It dissipated fairly quickly to a thin ring. Fair amount of lacing.

S: A deep malt aroma mixed with holiday spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.

T: Pretty similar to the nose. Lots of roasted malts up front with a pleasant sweet and spicy finish. Some subtle raisins and caramel as well. No real hops to speak of.

M: A little thin at times I think, but not that bad. Despite the light body, the maltiness of the beer makes it feel rather robust.

D: No complaints here. This is one of SA's better beers IMO. I wish they sold it in six packs.

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

A - This beer poured an orange bronze color that produced a fluffy white head that had good retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were toasted malts, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg

T - The taste of this beer was right along with the nose, toasted malts, and a mix of spices that reminds you of the Christmas desserts

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body along with a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - I don't have much experience with Winter Warmers, but if Samuel Adams' attempt is any indication of the style, this is a group of beers that I need to become quickly acquainted with

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my dad for picking up the SA Winter pack. Poured into my glass the beer is brownish orange with a massive tan head. The head was half the glass after an easy pour. I had to finish pouring twice.

The aroma is malty and spicy but not super srtong. Getting my snooter all up in the glass I can pick out cinnamon and ginger maybe some brown sugar and nutmeg. Sweet malt for sure.

The flavor is very nice. It's about what I would want a beer with a christmas scene on the label to taste like. Sweet malts with spices that were noted in the nose. Like a christmas cookie if you will.

Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall a very well put together holiday ale. This would be a great addtion to any christmas get together. Session beer for you and grandama.

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Photo of rambojr03
4.73/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm a huge fan of Samuel Adams as a whole, so maybe I'm biased. Having said that, I feel that Old Fezziwig Ale is hands down the best beer they offer to the masses (Utopias and Imperials excluded). Part of me is happy they only offer the beer as part of their Winter Classics each year, and the other part of me wishes they offered it individually as a sixer. I cherish every sip of this "nectar", and right now I'm on beer number 3 (yes I bought two 12 packs simply to have access to 4 of these beers) of 4. What I truly enjoy about it is how it starts out as a complex dark beer, then shortly after drinking it becomes sweet and cinnamony.

I'm not sure if this year's batch is better than previous year's, but I must say that I've appreciated it more this year than I did in years past. In fact, I'm enjoying it so much that I plan on buying at least two more 12 packs tomorrow night.

It's easily my favorite dark beer (I almost feel incorrect in calling it a dark beer, though it has that consistency and mouthfeel), and one of my 5-10 favorite beers I've ever had.

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Photo of bmwats
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into standard pint.

A: Dark brown in color. Pours into a 1 finger foamy bone white head. Settles fairly slowly leaving some lacing on the sides of the glass as it does, and a thin layer of bubbly carbonation on the surface. Sparse, but persistent, spotty lacing remains.

S: Malt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Smells kinda' like hot buttered cinnamon rolls.

T: Roasted malt. Subtle cinnamon but more nutmeg. Also, a hint of peppermint.

M: Pretty light, but robust and hearty. Really coats the palette, and leaves a hearty malt aftertaste. Feels a bit overly carbonated though.

D: This is a really great sipping beer.

Great atmosphere. Really solid appearance, terrific nose. The flavor is really malty and robust. Great combination of spice components. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of smallbatchbrewer
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber with creamy head that stays on top for a good while. Decent lacing. Looks rich and inviting

S- Malt, molasses and brown sugar come to mind at first, finishes almost with an orange peel

T- Malty and round but not as rich as the appearance suggested.

M- Average ale, again, I thought I would be sipping something much thicker and with deeper notes.

D- I could enjoy many of these. I would drink a session of Fezziwig this time of year without much hesitation

(from in winter 12 pk. sampler)

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Photo of ujsplace
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized pub glass.

A: Dark amber in color, thick fluffy off-white head that leaves nice lacing.

S: Toasted malts, mildly bitter hops.

T: Malty sweet up front with nice mild spice (maybe nutmeg) in the middle and a slightly bitter hop finish.

M: Medium bodied and crisp carbonation.

D: Overall, this is a very good crowd pleaser. Definitely caseworthy...

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

Poured into a pint glass.

This brew has an amber color with a tan fluffy head. nice lace.

This brew smells of malts, some spice.

This brew has a very nice malt flavor, with a smooth mouthfeel and a nice sweet spice flavor Very well balanced.

Very drinkable - very good winter warmer.

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Photo of ewlarson
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this beer through the Sam Adams winter variety 12 pack. I can safely say the Winter Lager, the Holiday Porter, and this beer are the only shining gems out of the package.

A- Dark brown with hints of red in the background. Poured pretty well, a little thin of a head

S- Chocolate malt with hints of ginger, smells like a sweeter beer.

T- Quick hit of ginger with citrus straight off the taste buds! The taste is immediate with hints of chocolate afterwards. A solid taste, but it sadly doesn't last long in the mouth.

M- Low carbonated beer with a definite tasty appeal. The mouth feel is pretty good. My only complaint is the explosion of flavor lasts so short. For the most part it's outstanding!

D- A really easy spiced beer to drink. I would enjoy and drink this beer again.

This beer is a very refreshing and sweetly spiced beer. Definitely a holiday beer that you have after you've shoveled the driveway or something to just enjoy with a good book. I would highly recommend it again.

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Photo of ommegoose
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to my Gulden Draak tulip, which has been busy lately. Semi-opaque cherry color. Head starts off fluffy, but greatly recedes. Laces quite well.

Bright orange, cinnamon and ginger are in ample supply. Has the rich malt aroma of a doppelbock almost. Nicely potent. Lightly bready with caramel.

Even does have a bit of a raisiny bock malt flavor. The orange and spices are definitely there. I like the ginger in these seasonal ales, but cinnamon seems to come across too bitter, even though it helps the nose. Orange peel is nice though. Spicy finish takes the place of any hops, as they are surely in short supply. Almost one notch higher, but could use a little more malt complexity. The chocolate and caramel malts don't quite come all the way out, even if traces of cocoa are there.

Medium bodied. Should be a little fuller, in my mind. Carbonation is a little busy.

Very enjoyable. As I cap off the set of reviews for the winter pack, this is probably my favorite, with the porter coming close. I liked five of six, so it probably will be a repeat buy before the season is out. I might have enjoyed it a bit more if it was beefed up a bit, to compete with Great Lakes Christmas Ale, the clear winner in my mind. Not a beer for long sessioning, but certainly one to have again.

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Photo of Nichts
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The malt is very noticeable from the first opening, but overall the sweet character is enjoyable. The ginger/cinnamon finishes smoothly, contributing to its citrus notes. Honestly the citrus taste is subtle though, at first difficult to note in my opinion. The appearance has a rich, dark color that I enjoy.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Fezziwig pours a very nice dark amber color with a small whitish head. The aroma is very malty with some chocolate, orange, and prune aromas.

The flavor is very sweet. Caramel flavors and a bit of roastiness. I get some of the ginger. The orange peel comes across more like lemon to me. there is some astringency in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel and carbonation are just about in the middle.

Overall, a good Christmas beer.

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Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a nice ruby chestnut color with thin head...

s: light spices, nutmeg, sweet sappy maltyness...

t: slight bite from the spices, more than expected from a sam adams product...almost a cinammon nip with nutmeg and malts...hint of molasses...

m: carbonated, rich, smooth...

d: the best of the sam adams winter pack without a doubt...a nice offering...


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Photo of yemenmocha
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber with rocky head that retains well at first and recedes to a nice thin lace. Nose has a nutty quality as well as maybe holiday spice cookies. On the palate there's a balanced expose of caramel, roasty flavors, and some ginger to sweeten things. Medium to light bodied ale, and very easy drinking.

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Photo of samie85
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown with hints of dark red when held up to light. Two finger head.

S- The first thing I smell is chocolate malt. A little swirling brings out some notes of sweet orange and a bit of spicyness(ginger). It has my mouth watering.

T- I definitely taste the ginger upfront followed by the citrus and chocolate. It then finishes with a lingering chocolate malt and bitter hop aftertaste. Maybe a bit of alcohol.

M- It's a medium bodied beer with carbonation on the low end of moderate carb. This creates a smooth, velvety effect in the mouth.

D- Really easy drinking considering the spiced quality of this beer. I've had a few winter warmers before and this one straddles the line nicely between being under- and over-spiced.

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Photo of tronester
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear dark brown, with a thin tan head. Smells like gingerbread cookies, yum. Taste is very bock-like, dark molassasy malts up front, hints of ginger and cinnamon in the middle, and a tea like flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is Smooth and creamy, low carbonation. Drinkability is good, but the beer does get a bit tart tasting by the end of the glass, driving that score down a bit.

Good beer, don't know if I would buy a 6 pack of it, but a welcome addition to the Winter mixpack.

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

Sam Adams- Old Fezziwig

A- Light copper brown with a small but solid head. Good lacing along the rim.
S- Spicy. Graham cracker/ ginger bread with hints of nutmeg and molasses.
T- Spicy. Good molasses malt with a spicy nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger touch. Finishes off spicy.
M- Thick spicy malt throughout. Finishes off with dry nutmeg.

Overall- Actually quite good. Better than expected. A very good Winter Warmer. This should be offered in 6er form.

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Photo of bnes09
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a magnificent dark brown with ruby hues. Light tan head that dissappears rapidly but leaves a nice blanket of silky lacing behind.

Smells a lot like gingerbread. Can definetly recognize the giner and cinnamon spice. Quite complex.

Very flavorful. Spices come through right away and go along with the smell. Malt tastes slightly roasted yet maintains a healthy level of smoothness. Hops provide a noticable crispness. Spicy flavor lingers in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied and ample carbonation.

I really like this brew. Very complex and flavorful. I would definetly suggest this one over Sam Adams winter lager. Sure to warm the spirits of beer lovers as well as any winter warmer can.

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

Ah, Old Fezziwig, I've heard a lot about this beer over the years so this year I decided to brave the odd additon to the Holiday mixed case of the new Coastal Wheat and of course the dreaded Cranberry Lambic in order to try this beer which is otherwise unavailable (I promise I will keep an open mind when I review my first Cranberry Lambic!).

Old Fezziwig poured into a pint glass is a gorgeous deep ruby, very clear with an off white head that falls fairly quickly and decisively leaving just a foamy ring of slippery lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malts with hints of cocoa, caramel, brandied fruits and raisins.

The flavor follows the nose closely with a big sweet malt body,somewhat bready with a cocoa tone. Caramel is there too along with dark candied fruits and nuts, much like a homemade brandied fruit cake (one you'd actually eat not one of those bricks that make the rounds at Christmas!). The finish is only very mildly bitter and has a just a touch of sour.

Mouthfeel is light/medium, very smooth with just enough carbonation to make it a bit lively.

I can understand now how so many people could look forward to thibeer every year as a harbinger of the Holidays. It is comforting and warming and I agree it should be available in six packs at least (along with the Holiday Porter if I can cast my vote for separate sixes here!).

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Photo of BierFan
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. ABV of 5.9%.

Appearance: Two fingers of tan foam. The body of the beer is clear and brown. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Cinnamon, ginger, and orange mingling wonderfully with the chocolate malts. I wish they made an Old Fezziwig scented candle.

Taste: Ginger is the first and most profound flavor I experience. Finishes with some orange and chocolate malt.

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

Appearance - Poured into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark chocolate/hazelnut color. About two fingers of white fluffy head that recedes relatively quickly, but leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell - Extremely malty with spices such as nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. There is also a sweeter citrus smell (not bitter like an IPA profile is often times) that just reminds you of Christmas.

Taste - God I forgot how much I love this beer. If you close your eyes and take a sip I immediately taste the ginger followed by the cinnamon and nice sweet malty/nutty flavors. This is not overly sweet by any means. It is well balanced with the spices and sweetness. I know many people don't particularly like spiced beers but I personally love them and this one hits home.

Mouthfeel - Extremely creamy and silky smooth. There is a great balance between the carbonation making it refreshing and not over done. Finishes with a bit of spiciness at the backend which again lets your mind wander to the smells and tastes of Christmas and makes you want to go in for another sip.

Drinkability - For a spiced holiday ale, extremely so. I am sitting here trying not to quaffe this down reminding myself I only get two in the holiday twelve pack. I could easily session this beer and not get sick of the spices. As stated, it is not overly sweet - the spices balance it well. I wish they made six packs of these during the holidays because I would grab a couple and sit up next to the fire with friends and family and just enjoy life. Cheers!

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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.8 out of 5 based on 3,632 ratings.
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