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 UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 4/2013.

Pours an almost opaque super dark 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 dark roasted malt, cocoa, and caramel. Taste is much the same with a mild herbal hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and slightly medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

another goodie from the winter mix this season, this porter is inherently english in style, but with a couple of clever twists. it pours dark dark brown, hardly letting any light pass through, and an inch of off white head. the nose is sweet, more like a cream stout than a porter, and tons of deep roasty to burnt sugary malts. i though the flavor was great, lots of caramel sugar, as the malts used dont hide much at all, some coffee notes, but a lot of lactosey sugar on the back end. the feel is smooth as anything, but there should be a little more carbonation. the body is pretty full, i wouldnt need a ton of these to be satiated. overall though, this is a really nice porter, works perfectly in its small dose winter 12er context, and i appreciated this effort from sam. something different and tasty, a sweet treat.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty solid porter, the color pours out as a deep brown color with a decent head in it. The body of this beer doesn't allow a whole lot of light through. The aromas of this beer are highly roasted and kind of warming. The mix of chocate in there too. I also thought I was picking up some type of Christmas berry aroma too. The taste is pretty good, the flavors of some light coffee and chocolate mix well together here and leave you wanting more. The
Mouthfeel is a little thick but not heavy either. Its worth trying.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of burnt malts, caramel and toffee in the nose along with some hints of coffee.
T: The taste is similar to the smell; it has initial hints of malty sweetness, notes of spices and finishes with a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, relatively smooth and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness, which particularly stands out in the finish.
O: This beer is very easy to drink compared to other beers in the style because it isn’t that filling and doesn’t have that much bitterness.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, a nice solid porter from Sam Adams. This one is perfect on a nice cold night with a blanket on you relaxing on the ole couch. Full of nutmeg type spices and a nice hearty taste, its smooth, well balanced and goes down easy. One of my favorite porters to have in the winter.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter variety pack -- part II. Pretty agressive brew with strong roots and plenty of charisma. Strong porter-like attributes throughout (chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, toast, and walnuts). All show up evenly in the look, smell, and taste. A swift kick of hops (English) give a big pine flavor and aroma; adds spiciness, dryness, and a Christmas tree, get-in-the-mood kind of flavor. Aggressively bittered and flavored, but not to dominate the malts and other Porter characters. Finishes sweet and bitter with a bit of a roasted grain / hop bite. A bit dry. Good porter though.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an ice tea brown color with a beige head that leaves lots of lacing

Smell: Modest roasted notes; nutty, with a bit of dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a very rich roasted malt flavor that is joined by some nut skin in the middle; burnt almonds, chocolate and dark fruit complement the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice porter which would be welcome in my house any time of the year

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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 emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cool at cellar temperature, 58º. Into a narrow willibecher glass it pours smoothly, generating excess foam that settles after a couple minutes. Creamy texture, concentric sticky rings of lace around the sides. Retention lasts for the entire glass. Looks black until held to the light, then it has a scarlet copper glint to it.

Mellow dry sweetness of bittersweet chocolate. Pretty mild.

Earthy bitterness, dry roast, some unsweetened bakers chocolate and mellow coffee notes. Maybe a hint of dried cherry. The bitterness builds with bigger sips, leaving a nice dry coffeeish aftertaste. Smooth feel, light to medium bodied. Overall an enjoyable, versatile porter.

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

12 oz bottle from the holiday mixed 12 pack.

Appearance: Very dark but clear brown, nearly opaque in appearance except when thinned. Pours with a rich two finger tan head that leaves some sticky lace behind.

Smell: Big malty sweetness that brings to mind milk chocolate, carob and malt balls. Faint balancing noble hops, light roastiness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Malty up front, sweet but not overly rich. Tastes a bit like one of those chocolate-caramel candies. Faint acidity, medium-light in body. Great balance, an easy beer to session as it never overwhelms the palate. The finish is semi-dry and lightly oily, like a bite of dark chocolate.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a black color porter with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light dry chocolate notes with medium roasted malt notes. Taste is a mix of roasted malt with dry bitter notes and some light black chocolate notes with some subtle floral notes form the Golding hops. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not the most complex porter put there but well brewed and easily drinkable.

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Photo of oline73
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a finger of creamy light tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Just a bit roasty with a sweetness that reminds me of molasses.

Taste: Doesn't quite live up to the smell. The molasses note is there, but the roasty bitterness dominates. No real sweetness to be found here.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly, smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This is a pretty good porter but nothing real exciting. I would be willing to have another if it was served to me.

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Photo of zeff80
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the Winter Classics 12-pack.

A - Poured out a dark brown color with flecks of red. A small, tan head left no lacing.

S - It smelled of malt and a nice blending of hops.

T - It tasted of caramel and chocolate. It had an okay hop spiciness.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied porter.

D - This is an okay brew. I had hoped it would be better.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown with a thin head. Almost completely opaque. Nose brings some dark chocolate and hints of coffee. A little bit of caramel as well. Taste is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and some very mild fruit. Medium body with good carbonation. Out of all the beers that can be purchased at nearly any grocery store in the winter, this one is probably my favorite.

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Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Bottle is marked 5.8% abv

Pours 1 finger of light chocolate hued tan head. Decent retention with some nice lace rings. Color is a dark chocolate brown. Can't see through this one.

Aroma: Big rich malts here. Chocolate, caramel, and some sweet dark fruits. Lots of toasted flavors. Seems to have some sugar notes as well. Not to bad.

Taste: Lots of malts again, with some grassy hops in the background that provide some bitterness and balance. Cherry notes, chocolate, caramel, and honey are all present. I like it.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, but mainly smooth and creamy. Medium amount of carbonation with a medium bodied. Ends with a very sticky hop flavored aftertaste.

Overall, a nice porter from SA. A lot of flavor with this one. I'd rather see more of these in the winter pack as compared to some of the others. Great beer, especially for the price.

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Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of light mocha colored head, settles quickly but leaves good lace. Black body with a hint of amber when held up to the light.

S - Caramel malt, subtle hops, almonds and perhaps a hint of indeterminate spice.

T - Big coffee flavor followed by hops and a creamy, dark caramel malt character. The finish is a long procession of dark malt: coffee, chocolate, and finally some sweet almonds.

M - Fairly light body, while it is sweet and creamy at first it quickly dries out and finishes roasty and dry without lingering on the palate. High carbonation.

D - Excellent drinkability. Full of flavor, but light in body and easy to drink. This captures the season better than most of the other Sam Adams winter beers, too bad the holiday sampler only comes with two.

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Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep,rich brown with a fluffy mocha colored two finger head that settles very slowly leaving a nice sheet of lace behind,alot of nice aromas going on roasted nuts and vanilla stick out most to me with a hint of milk chocolate as well.Those roasted nuts are quite noticable in the flavors of this beer as well,along with that vanilla not overly sweet a good almost herbal-like dryness comes thru late.Quite flavorful and drinkable maybe a little different take on a porter with some different flavors going on,well done.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost black, but not quite. Very dark mahogany. A gleaming band of orange-chestnut appears at the base. Creamy dark tan head. Very good head retention. Very nice lacing.
S: Buttery toffee and caramel. Notes of brown sugar and molasses. Superb! Quite welcoming.
T: The flavor is not as sweet as the nose suggests, but the buttery side remains. Lots of diacetyl in this one, but it works! Dull chocolate and mild yeasty fruitiness round it out. It's not particularly roasty, but there is an underside of burnt coffee that's nice. And an edge of scorched caramel. The bitterness is solid, but unobtrusive. It finishes dry with a dollop of butter that lingers along with some dark chocolate and a stiff bitterness.
M: Decidedly medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.
D: As a "holiday" porter this really works! The buttery aspect lends itself to festive activities. Of course, I've always enjoyed a touch of diacetyl within certain beers myself, so maybe I'm biased. But this just seems to fit right in at the Thanksgiving dinner table!

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Photo of chinchill
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served in pint glass.

A - clear and coffee-colored with a dense tan head that rises to the top of a pint glass but not over- perfect. Head has very good retention.

Aroma: Excellent, if not quite as strong as I'd like.

M - medium-full body; moderate carbonation; near creamy.

T - This "holiday" porter does NOT feature pronounced "holiday" spicing like cinnamon and nutmeg. It does feature a smooth, roasted malt taste as part of its rich complex flavor. Hops are also readily detectable. More subtle flavor notes of chocolate, coffee, spices, and vanilla. Nice balance of sweet and bitter. Particularly nice finish for a porter.
Should be a good accompaniment to a rich holiday meal.

This beer was part of a very nice 2010 winter mix pack.

{description and rating confirmed/tweaked by tastings on 5/12/11 & 3/2/13)

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Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the Winter Classics 12 pack.

12oz bottle into my Sam Adams Uber Glass.

Pours a clear medium dark brown with some nice garnet hues around the edges. The head is a nice medium poof of light tan foam that retains well and leaves great lacing. The nose is dominated by roasted malts and toffee sweetness with just a tad of hop citrus lingering in the background.

The taste is big with roasted malt, chocolate sweetness, caramel, bread. Finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness and just a dash of sweetness on the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a crisp finish.

Mmmm. Sam Adams comes through with a winner of a Porter here. Robust flavor, a good body, and low ABV make this one highly quaffable wintertime brew.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep brown with a short but thick tan head and leaves a thin, even lace.

S: Coffee, roasted malt and a bit of chocolate & fruit.

T: You notice the smoky coffee flavor at first along with some fruitiness (I want to say some type of berry flavor, but it's too faint for me to tell. Raspberry? Raisin maybe?), then a little hops bitterness. A bit more than most porters that I've had but not too much, enough to give it that distinct Sam Adams flavor. Overall the taste isn't very strong though.

M: Very smooth, low carbonation and doesn't leave the typical syrupy, sticky feel in your mouth that you can get from other beers of this style.

D: Goes down easy and not too filling considering the style. It's definitely a beer that you can sit and relax with for a good long time. It's just too bad that Boston Beer Co. only puts this out in a mix-pack.

Overall I thought this was a very good beer, although if I'm going to drink a Sam Adams beer of this or a similar style, I'd prefer the Black Lager, which I can at least get in a six pack rather than have to get 2-out-of-12 in a mix pack.

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Photo of mactrail
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy-complexioned dark brown with a nice head. Carbonation lasts well in the glass and provides a good sparkle on the tongue. A gentle rasp of charred malt and dark caramel gives this an edge. A touch of coffee grounds along with some hoppy bitterness and walnut skins. While fairly malty it has just a modest sweetness. A whiff of sweet vermouth. Medium body and lots of flavor with the modest 5.8%. Nose of caramel and dark chocolate.

It would be interesting to blind taste some of these common Sam Adams beers with fancier stuff. I have trouble finding much fault with both this and the coffee stout. From the 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a full, fluffy beige head.

Smell: Aroma comprised chiefly of dark malts with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and toasted dark caramel. Vague hint of sour fruits.

Taste: Pleasant array of flavors roll by the tongue - semi-sweet chocolate, dark caramel, burnt breadcrusts, and chocolate-covered coffee beans. Hint of tart fruitiness. No more than a light hop bitterness to pair with the mild roastiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Good stuff! Unless the Old Fezziwig really wins me over I'd have to consider this to be my favorite of the Samuel Adams Winter Mix-Pack.

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Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours mahogony to black, barely letting light pass. Tan head was huge anf fluffy but settled down to a 1/4" head half way through the glass and held up the rest of the way with good lacing all the way down.

Smell: Some molasess and raisin with hints of choclate and alcohol

Taste: Smoothness and a pricklyness that showcases choclate, fruitiness and bitterness under the tounge and down the throat. Goes down well on a cool (not cold suprsingly) november night in colorado.

Mouthfeel is lacking a little more malt kick to balance the carbonation level.

This is one of my favorite SA beers, wish I didn't have to buy the winter 12 pack to get at it, but the addition of the black lager & the price ($10.50) are making this a sweet deal

I could drink this well into the night if it were my only choice

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes (11/27)

A: Pours a very dark brown, but not quite black. Nice 2 fingers of tan head with decent retention. Nice lacing.

S: Roasted malts and some dark chocolate. A slightly toasty aroma as well.

T: A little bitter at first and is then dominated by the roasted flavor. A little bit of chocolate and coffee round this one out.

M/D: A little lighter than expected, but smooth drinking. Overall easy to drink and pretty tasty, but the thin mouthfeel took a bit away from it. I liked it, but prefer Fezziwig.

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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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