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: 2,457
Photo of Kooz
1.97/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Nice 3/4 inch head; tannish. Heavy sticky lacing. dark, but more deep amber/red than black--sort of light for a porter.

Crisp, clean smell; a little malty.

Tastes too acrid and sour.

Mouthfeel is a bit weak for a porter--not much body at all. Also just feels ... thin? I can't think of a better way to describe it.

Not terribly drinkable. Too many negatives. Disappointing.

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Photo of bobhits
2.12/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Holiday Porter

Pours deep dark amber into the glass and turns black. Held to the light the deep amber is visible. Pours an ok head that leaves lacing and leaves rather quickly. Another technically perfect sam adams beer but leaves me rather underwhelmed.

Light burnt malt, touch of vanilla. Pretty darn weak smelling.

A very funky porter. That should read "really english" tasting. The malt is caramel and chocolate and dominated by earthy hops. The beer never gets really sweet nor does it get really bitter. The flavors fight each other and the beer imo fails because of this. A bit more hops or a bit more sweetness could really work well here. Instead I have a funky dark looking beer. Ultimately the hops do over show the malt, but again these flavors do not mix.

This beer has a good amount of carbonation, moderate body, and is rather drinkable. The flavors make it less than enjoyable to drink.

I really like east kent hops in a great many beers. They simply do NOT work with this beer.

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Photo of hdf561
2.13/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Another beer from the Sam Adams Holiday Classics 2011 Variety Pack

Served and consumed out of a bottle, hard to decifer look so not rated down or up for that.

The smell is harsh and I can not notice any of the "ingredients" that they say this is brewed with.

The initial taste was so harsh I almost spit it out, although it got better as I went it sitll did not get very good. I had a hard time finishing this beer.

The mouth feel is very bitter and dry, and just not my style. I will not be picking this up again ever, and probably wont finish the 2nd one in the variety pack. I think there are many better winter brews from Sam Adams such as Winter Lager.

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Photo of Greggy
2.21/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Pours a dark brown/black with ruby highlights. The head is a 1 finger semi-soapy tan color that recedes in about 1 minute. some slight lacing coats the glass.

S- dark fruits (raisin, prune, some fig), anise, some chocolate malt. There's just to much spicy fruit here.. This isn't exactly a porter nose.

T- Starts out a bunch of dark fruit and spice then some super quick dry chocolate, then a bunch of anise, and a really off dry malt. The finish is quite odd as well. This is miles away form a porter.

M- Low carbonation is fine but the finish is pretty haggard

D- The brutal honest truth is that this was a terrible porter. I am truly glad that I got this bottle for free. Will never drink again.

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Photo of athensbeermaster
2.23/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well at least this porter replaced the light beer from last year in the sample pack for x-mas! Though this is my least favorite porter I've ever tried. Very small head. The smell reminded me of two day old coffee. The faint hint of chocolate almost made this drinkable.
I like a porter, this one is just a bad example. I'll stick to Fullers,
Anchor,or Carnegie for a great version of a porter.

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Photo of fromage
2.26/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Man, I've really not been impressed with this holiday mixer. I've tried them all at this point. They're just so bland!

Poured into a pint glass and allowed to warm. Dark brown, with a good deal of bubbling. Tan, foamy head that did last a while.

Smell was very mild apples and pears and a tiny bit of caramel. Not much to go on.

Taste was dissapointing as well, with just a little bittersweet bite, fairly astringent with some caramel, and a short finish. Not very complicated.

Mouthfeel was medium.

Drinkability not so high. I couldn't believe how little there was to this beer besides a bitter chocolate bite. Ok with PF Chang's Great Wall of Chocolate, but not enjoyable on its own.

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Photo of Wer34truh
2.29/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Small bubbly head, with a dark, yet relatively light, color for a porter.

A relatively straight-forward coffee bean smell, with some vanilla sweetness.

A skanky malty taste, with some minor cacao undertones. Has a fair amount of sourness to it. Overall, a quite unpleasant beer.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.38/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark ruby brown with a big fluffy tan head that retains well.

The aroma is roasted chocolate and coffee with some sweet cream and a little bit of dark fruits.

The flavor is bitter roasted chocolate with a big chalky metallic/acidic taste and a finish that is much more bitter (and metallic) than I expected. The mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, the flavor just didn't jibe with me - too metallic and bitter causing it to be unbalanced and not very appealing.

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Photo of adamette
2.49/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Live review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Samuel Smith clean clear pint glass. Best by date of March 2009 stamped on the side of the label. Whew...just made it.

A Satisfying generous one inch head that stuck around for 3 to 4 minutes. Great looking dark dark brown body that does allow some direct light to show through as a deep deep burgundy. The look is identical to the Cream Stout that I enjoyed last night and is part of the "Brewmasters Series" along with this beer.

S Kind of a minimal smell basic porter, a bit dissapointing and even a bit boring. Sure, there is the roasted malt but it is thin smelling and not much else going on.

T Eh...thin roasted malt taste without much body behind it. This is actually what I expected most Sam Adams offerings to be like but a few (Old Fezziwig and Cream Stout to name two) were nice surprises. This is a better-than-BMC-but-not-by-much tasting beer. The roasted malt is probably medium roasted. The aftertaste produces a soapy taste that is fleeting and unpleasant (no, my glass did not have soap in it!).

M So maybe Porters are supposed to be thin and maybe I am subconsiously comparing this to several Stouts I have had recently (not fair if I am) but it is just too thin for me.

D Not good.

Notes: A thin Porter from Sam Adams that will not have me coming back for more.

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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 schellsbeer
2.56/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Very disappointed with this one this year. Not up to the Porter name. Weak in almost every area. Sam...what are you doing?

Dark brown but thin. Not up to the norm.

A - Good but this is the highest mark that I can give.

S - Average at best.

T - Bland and weak. What is happening? Are you cutting corners this year? Easy to forget with all of the other great porters out there. Glad I just got one Winter Sampler this year.

M - Low marks again. Thin and not up to snuff.

D - Ok. Lower alcohol than most good porters but this is not the reason that I drink a porter. A good porter should taste like something....not just look like one.

Until next year Holiday Porter...I hope you get better next year.

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Photo of grindcore666
2.56/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with a small quickly fading head. No sign of it 10 seconds later. Looks like a flat coke.

Smells kinda sour and pissy, akin to the smell of a starfish. All I can dig out of this one is cranberry and light molasses, and nasty ocean water.

Has a little roast to it. The sour muskiness from the aroma is carried over unfortunately. I get a little fruity tang to this. Aftertaste is a plus, dry dark fruit.

New flavors, but I was still unimpressed with this one. Probably won't have this one very often.

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Photo of bwan15
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Beautiful pour. Super dark-brown opacity with a foamy, two-finger head that clings nicely to the glass as it settles down.

Smell: Gentle cocoa with metallic underpinnings wafts up following subtle agitation.

Taste: The chocolate is barely there but bright and roasty when it is. The aftertaste is boring and centers on sawdust and bottle-caps.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly dense.

Drinkability: Meh. This beer is rather boring. One is enough for me.

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Photo of jar2574
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Great pour. Full, tan head. Very dark brown-black beer. Yummy looking.

Chocolate and malts in smell and a touch of licorice as well.

Rich, thick, smokey, coffee-tasting beer. Bitter chocolate rather than milk chocolate flavor. But mostly this is just a smoky, acidic, coffee-like brew.

I want to be open to the style, but doubt that this is it's best representative. It doesn't taste good, and I don't need another.

Each pint is a meal, and coffee is the main ingredient. I'll pass.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This porter pours an average dark oil-like color with no transparency. The head is tannish and thin with no lingering lace to speak of.

The aroma is barely noticable. I detected small traces of malt, but no chocolate or coffee flavors that are normally associated with a porter.

The taste is fairly bland, but bitter. The malt taste is barely there. There may be a hint of caramel as it is mildly sweet. Most porter that I have tried have some sort of flavor, but this one is not very flavorful.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are moderately high; this is me favourite style.

A: Pours a five finger head of nice pleasant appealing cream, good thickness, and good retention - though the ABV is only average. Colour is a nontransparent dark brown. It's littered with bubbles, indicating potential overcarbonation.

Sm: Heavy nuts, cream, light caramel, and vanilla. Moderate in strength. Generally appealing.

T: Heavier caramel than expected, which is a bad thing. Some nice cream is put to the side by the strangely out of place chocolate. The problem is the foundation, which I assert is munich malted barley. Munich aids the drinkability, but this is a porter, not a festbier. They need to pick a more suitable foundation; this the beer's main flaw. It's fairly complex but a touch over-hopped for a porter. Overall, it's badly balanced and strangely built; it lacks a clear focus or direction in terms of style - which doesn't work for this beer.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Not creamy enough. Too thick for the flavour. It doesn't really complement the beer, but it does suit the style.

Dr: It's drinkable, but forgettable. Munich malt was a flat out bad choice. It doesn't feel like a proper porter, but it drinks like one. I won't be getting it again, but I'd happily try it on draught. Normally I find their seasonals to be better than the Boston lager, but this is an exception.

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Photo of tkeHijacker
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark Brown to black with a 1' mocha colored head. Dissipates at an average pace leaving a nice lace on the inside of the glass.

S: Alcohol, toffee, chocolate and a slight earthy hops aroma

T: Alcohol comes through, coffee and chocolate (a bitter bakers chocolate type flavor), some nutmeg?

M: Seems a little to thin being light to medium. Nice carbonation.

D: one maybe two of these at most in a session but no more. Good for a nice cool winter evening with a few friends.

Tasted on 1/17/08

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #103
Served On: 01/07/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 5.8%
Date/ Code: April

Got this from the current Winter Classics mixed pack.

Look: Pitch black pour with a thick tan head that dissolved quickly but left some amazing lacing.

Smell: I couldn’t pick up on much aroma. I got some faint hops. That was about it.

Taste: Upfront was burnt sugar with a mild bitter coffee. Finish was a residual bitterness that started to get annoying. Very watery mouth-feel for the style.

Not much was going on with this beer. A little disappointing.

 560 characters

Photo of fourplayed
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from SA holiday 12 pk.
Lite Brown rocky head. Dark Brown color with Red Hi-lites.

Smells are very subtle roasted/burnt chocolate malts, caramel, coffee. some burnt bitterness.

Tastes a Mild chocolate roated malt, caramel, coffee hint.

Medium body, medium carbonation (a bit too much carb). Somewhat watery.

Drinks fine, but could use more flavor & better balance. All too subdued to my mind for a solid porter. Not a brew I will look for in the future.

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Photo of bort11
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle purchased as part of a mix-and-match six pack. Best By date lists Apr 06, so I'm a month behind. I like the label design, it's much more interesting than a regular Sam Adams label.

Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Color is black with reddish tints around the edges. Solid tan head about a finger thick. Nice lacing. Smell is of coffee/toffee malts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

So far, everything that I would expect from a porter. The taste is the suprizing part. It is very hoppy for a porter. Usually I would expect maltiness up front with a slight hop flavor to finish. This one is almost in reverse. It doesn't seem very balanced. I don't think this is due to it being past it's prime. There are many other porters I will go to before coming back to this one.

 787 characters

Photo of Erish
2.77/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: clear, dark mahogany, tan rocky head has above average retention and good lacing. Unfortunately, it goes downhill fast from here...

S: cheesy, funky, a little like spoiled milk, underneath there is just a hint of sweet malt. I have nosed cheesy/spoiled milk aromas in other porters, but they have been accompanied by other, more pleasing aromas. This porter is all cheese and no payoff.

T: semi-sweet, mild coffee/chocolate note up front, quickly followed by that cheesy off-note, there is a earthy/fruity flash right before a smoky finish. Not horrible, but not well integrated.

M: medium to light weight, somewhat watery at times, the carbonation is adequate, somewhat mineral-like in the finish.

D: There are so many good porters out there, I would not waste my time with this one. I'm glad that I got this in the sampler pack, so I can pawn off the other one to one of my unsuspecting friends!

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Photo of goldbot
2.79/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown in color with thick, fluffy tan head. Great head retention and plenty of lacing. Aroma is muted malts, slightly roasted with a touch of herbal hops. Malty flavor with hints of chocolate with a lingering charred, astringent taste. Medium body and decent drinkability. Nothing to write home about here; as far as porters go this one is below average in most respects.

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Photo of livingregret
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Serving Type was a 12 fl oz bottle that I picked up in a "Holiday" Pack

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, dare I say black?, w/ little fizzy head but there is plenty of lacing.

Smell: A strong fig smell, light molasses, a touch of chocolate and a hint of Winter Warmer

Taste: Light chocolate, roasted malts, and a touch of molasses. The Roasted malt is a touch almost burnt. Overly roasted I guess I should call the taste....if the chocolate, molasses or even a touch more of the Alcohol had come through I would have enjoyed the taste a lot more

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first but than overly carbonated near the end. Very fizzy....instead of a smooth finish you get tingles.

Drinkability: Well...I'll finish the 2 in my Holday pack but I think that is going to be it for me.

 787 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Didn't try it last year, so I bought the sampler (with the cranberry "lambic") to do so.

Appearance: Extremely dark maroon body, barely lets any light through. Head rises up to about 1/2" and fades to a solid transparent layer on top of the beer.

Smell: Roasted and chocolatey, a little hops, maybe?

Taste: Malts don't play as big of a part as they should in this, a surprisingly large amount of the beer is definded by it's hoppy finish. Moderate chocolate malt. OK.

Mouthfeel: a little too thin, but not the worst I have had.

Drinkability: I don't think I will buy a sam adams sampler again, it is clearly not the best examples from this brewery.

 664 characters

Photo of SuperNova777
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 11/24/10

A:Pours a see thru brown with a white head that falls really fast leaving no lacing
at all

S:Not much coming thru except for some roasty malts, also a metallic aroma is coming
off it as well.

T:Just as the nose detects there is roastiness up front and in the middle followed
up by that sour metallic taste that hits on the back and lingers around.

M:Body was fairly thin but it was decently carbonated. Not to much of a great taste left
in the mouth

D:A not impressive version of a porter going on here. Not very tasty and pretty
un-enjoyable, Sorry Sammy wasn't digging this one at all.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,457 ratings.
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