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 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 Pegasus
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep mahogony brown in color, not quite opaque, with excellent clarity and a tan head appoximately two inches in height, with superb retention. Profuse clumps of thick foam adorn the glass wall.

Aroma: Strong and quite sweet caramel notes utterly dominate the aroma, with winter spices, and faint hints of hops.

Taste: Opens with a moment of very sweet caramel, this quickly gives way to coffee, bitter chocolate, and dark roasted malts. These carry the taste to its conclusion, whereupon a faint herbal hop note appears. The coffee and bitter chocolate notes linger on, but quite pleasantly.

Mouth feel: Smooth, full-bodied, with just a hint of carbonation sting, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Really excellent, likely one of Sam Adam's best beers. It is quite regrettable that this can only be had, like Old Fezziwig and the under-appreciated Cranberry Lambic, in holiday twelve packs, there being only four of each of the aforementioned beers in a case of twenty-four.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve ounce brown glass longneck with a pop top crown, served in a standard tap glass.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A thick creamy very light brown (tan really) head that sustains quite nicely. Near-black in color with some ruby hues (when held up to a light). Appears to have an oily texture. A rich looking beer.

Aroma: Very appetizing aroma; smooth chocolate and caramel aromas with some coffee notes. Some pleasant roastiness as well. Mostly malty sweetness and roastiness, can’t detect too much hop aroma.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Wow, a rich chocolate flavor at first, then some tasty caramel flavors, along with some roasty coffee notes with just a hint of vanilla. A decidedly chocolaty finish. Just as the appearance led me to believe, the mouthfeel is slightly oily. More than decent carbonation, especially for the style.

What a good porter, one of the best I’ve had in quite a while. Those Samuel Adams people have done it again; many of the new beers they release aren’t too remarkable, but once in a while they pull off a great new beer. Wish they sold this one in six-packs rather than just with Holiday Mix-pack. But, I might just have to go and buy another Holiday pack JUST to get two more of these (yes, that’s how good this porter really is!!). Enjoyable and very drinkable. Highly recommended!

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

Sam Adams Holiday Porter is a deep red color at the edges when held up to the light, but appears black otherwise. It has a nice tan head that fades quickly in the standard pint glass used for this tasting.

Caramel and "biscuity" pleasant aroma with a malty-spicy taste. Mouthfeel is thick, but nothing out of line for the porter style. This is a very drinkable beer with enough added flavor to mark it as a "holiday" brew, but not so much as to overwhelm. I wish this was available in my area in sixers - I could only find it as part of the Winter Sampler.

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Photo of mschofield
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wrapped in a festive label, that pairs well with the Old Fezziwig, evoking a Victorian English pub on a snowy night, it perfectly sets the mood for the beer to follow.
Pours a deep dark brown with red edges, topped with a two finger creamy dark khaki head, leaves webs of lacing.
Creamy, strong caramel and light chocolate aroma.
Caramel taste, cracker, earthy notes, chocolate aftertaste.
Full bodied, with session beer drinkability.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in color with a tan head. Sweet aroma with lots of roasted malt and nutty characteristics. The same can be said about the taste. Also noticed a little coffee in there. It leaves your mouth a little tingly which I didn't appreciate too much. I couldn't see myself drinking too many of these in a night. But it's a nice change from the other types of Sammy. A nice porter that would benefit from less carbonation. It could be a lot smoother.

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Photo of fretlessman71
4.37/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pertinent Preliminary Comments: This beer just SOUNDS good. Porters are my favorite beers, and holiday brews always get me excited, and what Samuel Adams brews lack in complexity they usually make up for in drinkability. Here’s hoping this was worth buying the entire Holiday 12-pack just to get TWO of these…

APPEARANCE: Translucent dark brown, very root beer like. Big tan head with tight bubbles, retreating to a nice little cap. Moderate lacing.

AROMA: A nice mix of malt, chocolate, red wine and a teeny bit of hops. This really smells outstanding! Smells even better as it warms.

FLAVOR: Chocolate malt dominates in the front; nice hop bite as well – not overpowering, just right. A little bit of grape essence. Sweet in the middle, medium-sweet finish. Hop flavor comes through as the beer warms – makes me wonder if it was dry-hopped. There’s a pretty heavy estery quality here, but I gotta say that I like it. Somehow it adds that “holiday” quality to it – the same way that spiced beers come out this time of year. Very nice!

MOUTHFEEL: NICE. Just a little on the oily side, which I like. Carbonation feels great even after a vigorous pour and several swirls.

DRINKABILITY: As good as it gets. Hard to get tired of this one.

OVERALL COMMENTS: A bit off-style with the lack of black malt character and the fruity esters, but who cares, I say – I could drink these all day! Terrific!

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a rubied dark brown color with a 2 finger tan head that falls to coat the top. The nose is slightly chocolatey, slightly fig, with a bit of roastedness. The flavor is also very roasty, with a slight chocolatey coffee finish. Not bad at all. The feel is moderate, with a light carbonation. Overall, I was surprised by the amount of roasty. Its a little too much for me. The beer holds up very well though. Not a bad offering at all.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very dark brown beer with deep mahogony highlights when held up to the light. Has a small light brown head. The aroma is rich with carmel and toffee with a spicey background and a hint of cinnamon. The flavor starts out with a strong bitter roasted malt character and then fades with nothing else between that and the bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pure brown in hue; carbonated tan head. Some light espresso beans and freshly microwaved butter on the nose. Creamy and very oily and slick; well rounded mouthfeel that shows life of chocolate, licorise and dark roasted malts. Hints of vanilla and even some raspberry and fresh cracked pepper; rich, smooth and how’s about delicious. This is a well made porter, can you say “How about year round?”

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

Part of a holiday sampler case picked up from Costco for 18.99.

This nice looking brew pours a midnight black with hints of ruby when held up to daylight. Poured a nice 2 inch tan head leaving generous lacing. Smell is more malty than a classic porter usually is. Picking up faint hints of chocolate and coffee. Taste is a melody of malts, chocolate, and a smooth coffee hopped finish. Mouthfeel is pretty good although thinner than some porters I have had. Overall drinkability is good. I recommend this brew!

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Photo of clvand0
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the holiday 12-pack from Sam Adams. Pours a dark brown color with a small head that falls fast and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma has a grany character but with prevalent coffee. The flavor actually has a great maltiness - dark malts, chocolate, some coffee. Nice. The body leaves a little to be desired, could be thicker. Drinkability is ok, but I'm not sure I would buy a whole six pack of this one.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An extremely dark brown body, with just a hint of red highlights. Huge micro bubble head, a light tan, relatively flat, but with some creamy peaks. Decent lacing.

Enticing mocha aroma. Chocolate with coffee, but the coffee is light, not a deep dark roast.

A nice initial impact of mocha, with herbal hops following, and imparting a strong pleasantly bitter note to the finish. Soft, dry aftertaste doesn't overpower. At first I thought it could have used a pinch more mocha in the finish, but I found that improves greatly as it warms up. Make sure you take the chill off this beer.

Once it warms up, a good full mouthfeel, with a bit of weight to it.

Drinkability is quite satisfactory.

My favorite of the Sam winter seasonals this year. Shame it was only available in the Winter Classics box, since that means for everyone one of these bought, a Cranberry Lambic was also purchased (shudder). Hardly seems just, or in keeping with the holiday spirit. Bring this one back next year, maybe let it solo.

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Photo of Kookiekwan
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours dark brown with a tan one finger head, it has good retention and an average amount of lacing. The aroma is of coffee, caramel and mocha. The taste is of burned bitter coffee. The body is thick and creamy and goes down easy.

Reflection: This beer is pretty good when mixed with the holiday winter pack but I wouldn't pick this one up on it's own.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - dark garnet color, creamy mocha head that laces well.

Aroma - coffee aromas initially evident and some type of grain mixed in there, too. I can't place it but it reminds me of a lager or pilsnery beer. Settles down to a standard cocoa and coffee smell.

Taste - rich and flavorful, the roasty malts jump right out, providing lots of espresso flavor. Some sweetness up front fades in a blend of charcoal. A fine play of flavors and a nice addition to the Holiday assortment.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky, average carbonation, overall effect maximizes the taste appeal.

Drinkability - one of the better SA offerings, get 'em while you can.

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Photo of Todd
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours near black with shimmering dark ruby hues. Think tan head, with a settling lace of ample stick and stay. Roasted malts, blackstrap molasses, subtle coffee, and chocolate. Wonderful complex roasted malt flavor. Burnt, molasses, pleasing acrid astringency, smooth light toffee character beneath, with some chocolate in the finish. A tasty Porter, and another curve ball beer from Boston Beer Co ... keep 'em coming.

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Photo of karst
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color, Head, lacing and CO2 well done for the Robust Porter substyle! Having made a few porters I would be very pleased to have brewed this - apparent IBU's toward the upper range (25-40) I suspect but that is good I like English Fuggles and E.K. Goldings even when the linger long afterwards.

I find this " Holiday Porter's aroma truely outstanding and have reviewed other who have reported on this Sam Adams Seasonal. Great taste whose good Caramel, Munic and Chocolate malt blend lives up to its "hearty porter" claim.

I was reading the Dig article "Something black this way comes" by Jason and Todd Alstrom. I thought I'll see how they reviewed it. And dug through my coolers until I found the remains of the holiday sampler I recieved for Christmas. I would like to try the Black Lager (a Schwarzbier) just hit the shelves in six-packs and mix-packs as part of the Sam Adams Brewmaster’s Collection they they describe.

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Photo of waughbrew
2.83/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice frothy head and lacing, deep redish black. Smell is very roasted with some acidity apparent, toffee, and a fuzzy creaminess. Taste is sweet dough, dark chocolate, and a roast acidity that is a little too much in the finish, which is very dry and hoppy. "Bitter beer face!!!" Low carbonation but still a little bubbly. As far as porters go, this is one of my least favorites.

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Photo of kfoss99
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance – brown, ruby hued when held to the light. It has a large, fluffy, tan head that leaves plenty of lace. Very light for a porter.

Smell – Sour malt wafted from away. Upon closer inspection the porter is sweeter, similar to fresh bread.

Taste – Initial detection of salt. Roasted notes are subdued, similar to a brown ale. A pleasant chocolate bitterness comes from the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and creamy with a dry hop bitterness at the finish.

Drinkability – A mild porter, a November beer – I’d say a bridge between the big winter beers and Oktoberfest.

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

12 ouncer lifted from a friends holiday box. Purchase (and consume?) before dating duly noted. Pours a healthy looking very dark brown, with a dark tan/mocha head. Nice retenion exhibited and leaves well developed froth and lacing.
nose is coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Medium bodied and flavorful. Notes of roasted coffee, vanilla, smoke, dark fruits and chocolate. Finish is a tad lite on flavor, but makes up for it with a dry,smooth velvet flow over the tongue. Nice robust porter. Worth a try.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is light tan and foamy: 2". The beer is black, or a deep, dark garnet against the light. Sticky, thin lacing coats the glass. The smell is sweet toffee with a little milk. Up front is sweet toffee ice cream with fruit. The middle is chewy, but not quite satisfyingly full. There is some vanilla. The finish holds bitter toffee and is sourish. There are some juicy hops and also peas. This isn't bad. There are loads of toffee and a strong hop profile. But really, I'm buying a whole twelve-pack just for two bottles of this porter. I wish it were better.

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

This was a nice-looking brew... a clear dark brown beer with a 2-finger tan head that left a lot of lacing.

Aroma was of dark roasted malt, a slight hint of dark fruits (raisins, prunes) and a little touch of sweetness.

The taste was of bitter chocolate, roasted barley, and a little bitter coffee aftertaste. Nice.

Mouthfeel was pretty good... I wish they had this available in six-packs, rather than just the holiday pack.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep brown, nearly black with hints of magenta as the light passes through. Nice tan head as well. Bitter chocolate roastiness, molasses..maybe a hint of citrus peel in the nose. Nice.

Big bitter chocolate malt upfront with some burnt, roasted grain notes and hints of spicy hops on the back of the palate. Hints of caramel and a touch of coffee. Quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel has a nice creamy aspect and good body. This is a nice porter that I could easily drink quite a few of. One of my fave Sam Adams offerings so far. I wouldn't mind seeing some six packs of this.

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

Deep brown color with ruby highlights when held to light. It forms a nice creamy light brown head and leaves a bit of lace work. The aroma is a bit roasty with a tiny bit of chocolate and coffee. It also has a bit of caramel malts and some huskiness in the aroma. The flavor is malty and roasty with coffee and a bit of vanilla. It is medium in body and drying in the finish. Not too bad.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out nearly black with a sizable brown head. The sweet malty aroma has chocolate notes and is slightly woody. Chocolatey taste up front. Nice roasted flavor. The finish is a little weak on the hops, but overall a very good flavor. Creamy mouthfeel. Nice drinkability; I could hardly put my glass down. This beer was by far the high point of a Sam Adams Winter 12 pack.

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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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