Samuel Adams Holiday Porter | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

1,183 Reviews
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DFN on 10-17-2004

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Reviews: 1,183 | Ratings: 2,458
Photo of q33jeff
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Strong Sweet Aroma. Chocolate, Coffee and Barley.
Dark Black Pour. Creamy Head. Stayed long into the beer.
Standard Porter tastes, chocolate, coffee, etc., plus a touch of earthy spices, nutmeg, cinnamon.
Thick, almost a stout.
A really good beer. I don’t always like Sam, but this one has seemingly gotten better over the years. Glad it's still available, but I wish I could buy a 6-pack of just this. Same for Old Fezziwig.


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Photo of OrtheusMaximusRex
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For nostalgia I love this beer. I love that the label has a scene from old Feziwig's Christmas party (a great beer from Sam Adams) bringing in a barrel - just like a scene from George C. Scott in "A Christmas Carol". I look forward to this holiday mixer from Sam Adams every year, wish you could get a few of those beers in 6 packs.

A = near black, can't see through, nice creamy head at first that faded.
S = roasty, some spice, a nice warming smell to have in the winter
T = like it smells mostly, smooth, drinkable
M = medium, a bit sugary but not too much where it's hard to drink
O = 3.75. 4 if I am feeling nostalgic and have one in hand.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a murky dark brown with a slight amber hue.

Lightly roasted malts, smoke, peat.

Smoky and burnt wood.

Medium-heavy bodied, low carbonation, smoky and bitter.

Overall, one of the worst porters I've had to date.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

An appearance almost indistinguishable from a stout, this one pours dark. Black even. Thin beige head 1/3". Aroma hits the familiar chocolate and coffee malt nose points.

Taste, wow, this is a thick beer under any pretense, much less something from SA. Kind of bitterness. Tiny amount of smoke/char to it. Some anise. Mild. More coffee roastiness.

Enjoyable. Slightly.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark brown, with copper tones. Fluffy tan head retains and laces well. Mildly sweet roasty aroma, not distinct but toffee-like if anything, faint fruity notes halfway between apple and banana, malt and esters but no hops to speak of, not even classic English varieties. About as sweet and fruity-tart on the palate as nose would indicate, and quite smoky, tobacco-like even, throughout as well. Hop presence in flavor toward the end, nothing particularly bright or bold, melds well with the rest. Dry leaf matter or soil I'd say, perfect with tobacco notes. A bit of peppercorn at the end. Very smoky-bitter aftertaste. Medium-bodied, sloshy, tamer carbonation, semi-smooth, perfect astringency for the style, matches with smokiness.

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Photo of hopsputin
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

a: color is dark dark dark dark dark brown. it has some black notes, but there is definitely light penetrating the bottom. 1/2 finger tan head that fades to a thin film

s: milk chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, toffee, burnt caramel, a hint of plum, and a slightly nutty aroma

t: roasted malt and chocolate upfront. some sweet toffee and malt follow that up. there is a bit of a dark fruit presence in here as well - sweet plums. its faint but there. closing everything out is more of that roasted malt

m: medium mouthfeel. a little heavier than i've seen in many porters. its a bit syrup-like too. carbonation level is mild - good for style

o: this is a good beer. its fairly straightforward, but the roasted malt flavor in here is really nice. mouthfeel is probably where this falls a bit short..its a bit too heavy. other than that, its a solid beer. nothing mind blowing, but worthy of a drink

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Posted from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Thea appearance is a brown color with a medium sized tan head. The aroma is full of roasted malt, nuts and vanilla. The taste of cocoa, malt and nuts are blended well with the vanilla. An outstanding porter.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Holiday Porter pours a toffee color which develops into a chocolate brown in the body. The head is light beige and 2 fingers, leaving slight lacing on the sides.

Smelling more like a Dunkel lager at this point, with dark malts and slight cocoa powder. A touch of nuttiness (hazelnut?) also.

Taste comes off funky and sour, with a metallic barley flavor that stays throughout the whole tasting. Only at the end does any chocolate actually surface. Even then, it's faint and riddled with metallic components.

Feel is over carbonated and like a fizzy lager all the way to the finish. There's a slight dryness but it hardly does much to redeem the thin and paltry experience.

The rest of this is going down the drain. Straight from the pour I was disappointed, and now I've determined that the Holiday Porter is a total skip over.

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Photo of HoppyBastard
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, "enjoy before month" April 2016.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear, dark brown color with one-finger tan head that quickly dissipated until a thin, broken layer of bubbles remained, medium carbonation, there is significant lacing on the glass.

SMELL: sweet caramel, toasted bread and some chocolate, faint to the nose.

TASTE: initially sweet caramel and toasted bread then a metallic hop bite from the East Kent Goldings hop.

PALATE: medium body and carbonation.

OVERALL: I'm not a big fan of the porter style but enjoyed this one, the toasted note (which I do not appreciate) was understated and the hops were more prominent than most in this style, this beer was well balanced and the caramel and chocolate malt was very tasty.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BB april 16
12oz bottle poured into pint glass
L- dark brown with huge tan head which floats on top of beer for quite some time
S- zesty cinnamon, cloves
T- hints of coffee followed by some zestiness with a predominantly peppery finish
F- medium bodied has a slight creamy feel carbonation has a zing to it
O- nothing outstanding about this beer a nice solid porter

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, semi-transparent, with a short tan head that fades quickly to wisps. Some lacing.

S - Roasty malty goodness. Chocolate and toasted bread overtones.

T - Lovely, bright malts full of chocolate and dark molasses, a hint of coffee-like acidity in the close.

M - Very sharp carbonation, which helps keep the beer light on the tongue.

O - This is one of my favorite beers in the Sam Adams line. Full of good flavor, quite drinkable, and a solid example of the style.

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Photo of KLHBB
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighter and less coffee taste than most porters and that's a good thing for my taste. From a Seasonal 12-pack, poured into a goblet. Darkest brown, nearly black with lacing that sticks to the glass. Smell of malt and coffee, but the taste is more malt, toffee and a hint of chocolate. Medium mouthfeel, light carbonation. Overall very enjoyable.

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Photo of mike1990
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I was a little skeptical at first when I read about the hop bitterness at the end but in reality, it's not too bad

Could smell hints of chocolate, coffee and bread in the aroma
Dark brown in appearance
Didn't taste as bad as I thought it would. Really smooth and the hops bitterness at the end isnt' nearly as strong as I assumed it would be based off reviews.

Overall, a really good beer.

 392 characters

Photo of ColumbusBC
4.75/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark brown with a tan head. Not a powerful aroma but nice. Not highly carbonated. Coffee and chocolate notes are subtle and there is a hint of hoppy bitterness on the back end. Nice easy to drink porter.

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Photo of ArchimedesSox
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown to black, 1 inch off white head, good lacing

S: Caramel, Chocolate, Bread, Hops

T: Same as nose, I get the caramel, chocolate and a slight hop bitterness at the end

M: Medium

O: A decent beer, I wouldnt mind having again. Got this in the holiday sampler 12 pack which Im pretty sure they didnt have this one in the holiday sampler last year because I got one last year too.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Re-review! Pours a dark ruby color with two fingers of off-white colored head. The head's retention is okay, but plenty of lacing sticks to my glass.

There are gentle roasted touches on the nose, along with some pleasant dark fruit esters. Additional hints of coffee and hops also appear. I like what's here; too bad the general aromatic reticence is underwhelming.

The flavor starts off with notes of coffee and fruity esters (i.e. cherry), transitioning into some caramel and cream flavor. The finish is slightly hoppy. This definitely tastes like a Sam Adams beer, though that's not necessarily a bad there. It's simplistic and a little mild in flavor, but it's pleasant enough.

Light and dry, what this beer lacks in richness it compensates with its high drinkability for the style. Despite its slightly astringent finish and aftertaste, it does feature a modicum of creaminess pre-swallow. Carbonation is subtle.

Not my favorite porter, but it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first examples I've had. Granted, I've sampled many better porters since then, but this isn't really a bad beer at all. It's perfectly fine being featured in the SA Winter 12 pack; I probably wouldn't buy this on its own in six packs.

3.03/5: Acceptable, but quite a few other porters are superior

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Photo of stlfatguy
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown with reddish edges in the light. Roasted malt smell. Slightly chocolate in the taste with roasted malt. A little bit to the feel, maybe from the carbonation. Not bad. Had it in the mixed 12. In the mix, I would rank it in the middle. Behind the chocolate bock and Boston Lager, but ahead of the seasonal ales. Now I'll have to go check my ratings to see if that's accurate.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Black body with hints of brown at the edges when held to the light. Large off white head. Fades slowly and leaves heavy lacing. A beautiful looking beer.
S-Light roast, light coco. No detectable hops.
T-roasted malts. Some coco. Some bitterness from the hops.
M-Body is surprisingly light. Carb is a little high which helps move the flavor across the palate.
O-This is a great beer. Always happy to have a couple around the holidays. Perfect as part of the winter variety pack.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L- dark brown with a thin light tan head
S- roasted coffee
T- coffee, hints of chocolate & malt
F- slightly lighter body than expected, medium carbonation

Decent porter from Sam Adams. Better than I expected from them, but still not memorable.

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Photo of illpass78
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a short white head. Held to the light, it's kind of deep amber.

Aroma: Some coffee, some roasted malt.

Taste: Coffee, roasted coffee beans, a little burnt sugar, a touch of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than typical.

Overall: Solid straight-up porter. Not overwhelmingly holidayish, but works for a cold weather seasonal.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A decent offering. Not as dark as I would expect from a Porter; a dark amber. The taste of this offering is okay. Not special, but adequate. Had from a bottle in a mixed 12 pack.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque brown, but some ruby hues come through; definitely not a black beer. The tan head is smallish and dissipates quickly. The smell is very spice-forward, with some maltiness to it as well. The flavor is a little muted in spite of a big, rich body that could pass for a stout as easily as a porter. This is a good beer, but a pretty uninteresting one.

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Photo of atr2605
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours black with a tan head with decent retention
S-lots of roasted coffee, dark cocoa, subtle burnt sugar
T-mainly roasted coffee flavor dominates, with some chocolate notes in the finish. Hops providing balance but not lending much in the way of flavor
M-medium bodied
O-pretty solid porter, wouldn't mind having again

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Photo of Catracho5
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours dark mahogany lots of light comes through, looks a little thin as well, tan colored head with some slight head retention, decent amount of lacing, head has lots of tiny bubbles giving it a creamy smooth look.

A: Malty sweetness, roasted nut aroma, hints of coffee and chocolate, no alcohol on the nose, has some depth and complexity to the aroma.

T: Malty sweetness, roasted nut not as noticeable but still there, some coffee, bitter chocolate, moderate bitterness in the middle, dry finish with an chocolate/coffee aftertaste, subtle flavors, very drinkable.

M: Light bodied, good amount of carbonation, dry finish, smooth and easy on the palate.

O: I actually enjoyed this beer, very drinkable, has a decent amount of flavor, a good mouthfeel, but compared to other porters it's a little light on the mouthfeel and not as abundantly flavorful as other porters, enjoyable, probably won't seek it out again but I would not refuse if offered.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark almost black, tan head that lingers good lacing. It has a nutty smell you can also smell some bitter chocolate good earthy smell. Taste little chocolate up front oak little smoke flavor hints of caramel. Very smooth has a slight bitter aftertaste does not linger on the palette. Over all a very good porter smells and taste improve as this beer warms some.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,458 ratings.
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