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

Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter
Liked This Beer
3.72 w/ 2,459 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,459 |  Reviews: 1,185
Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.04/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter poured black, with hints of red, when held to light, and a huge thick tan head. It left splid thick rings on the glass.

The smell and taste were mild roasted caramel. The feel was watery, with no richness or bitterness.

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter very much looks the part; however, it pales in comparison to many year-round porters. It was more like a black lager, as it lacked character in the flavor and feel.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i don't know where this is going, more sam adams? oh, let me back west! seal brown with burgundy highlights and a creamy offwhite head. smells of chocolate malt and a little roast and cream. the carbonation delivers the roasted grains with an extra punch that slowly fades to a creamy finish. a bit of residual malt stickiness.
i actually do like this much better than the first one i had, but i wouldn't make this a regular event.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before May 2010 notched into the label.

Continuing to make my way through the SA Winter Classics variety pack.
Good looking beer. 2 finger creamy light tan head with good retention. The beer is a deep dark brown color. A touch of dark ruby color.

Aroma is of toasted pecans, roasted malt and Brown bread.

Have to say that I really enjoy this beer. Very nutty with a great deal of roasted malt goodness. Not burnt or charcoal, but more like a crusty dark bread. Lingering roasted flavor hangs with you and makes this enjoyable.

Medium bodied leaning towards bold.

I find this very drinkable and will most likely pop the 2nd bottle in the pack, quite shortly.
Nicely done.
If this beer was produced by a small brewer the scores would be higher.

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Photo of berley31
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a small, off-white head that dissipated to a thin film. The body is extremely dark... black, really, but has some ruby hues to it when held to the light. You can then tell that the body is clear.

S: Aroma isn't overly strong, really, with some roastiness and chocolate notes present.

T: Roasted malt and a little semi-sweet chocolate is most detectable. What makes this a "holiday" porter? After drinking it a bit, I started to notice some spiciness to it, which likely leads to the "holiday" part.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly creamy, with soft-to-average carbonation.

D: A very nice beer, albeit I didn't really find it too Christmasey. Wouldn't stop me at all from buying it again, however.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark inky black color. Small dark tan head slowly dissipates into a slight film.

Smell: Mild aroma of malts and cream.

Taste: Not all that much taste, I'm afraid. I just get a malty, and somewhat watery, taste. A bit roasted, but no hint of coffee, chocolate, or anything else. Roasty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied... a bit light for a porter. Smooth, with very light carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable... not too strong in flavor or alcohol. But not particularly exciting either.

Unfortunately one of the least exciting porters I've had. Has very little flavor, and the mouthfeel is a bit off. Not very "holiday"-ish either; I would have expected it to be a bit more spicy or something.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served up in a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a clear and deep brown with mahogany highlights. Half an inch of light tan foam offers decent retention and lacing.

Nice but light roasted caramel malts on the nose. Bit of diffused cocoa/chocolate, some cinnamon and some earthy hops. More roasted/burnt notes with some warming.

Flavor starts off full with chocolate and a bit of a hop bite. Caramel notes overtake quickly and the beer finishes somewhat thin and sweet as a result. The feel improves a bit with warming but is tilted out of balance by the toasted grain and dry finish that results, yielding too much tobacco and smoke. This is notably at odds to the caramel sweetness that was overly present when colder. An interesting transformation. Better as it warms but still too much caramel.

---Three years later I revisit this brew on 12/15/2012. A bit different but no different overall. Offers less of a smoky tobacco aroma but nothing stands in its place. Caramel sweetness and spice level is more subdued and the color looks a shade lighter. Just kind of flat overall.

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Photo of afordney
2.9/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

dark brown with a bit of a reddish hue when held to the light, about one finger thick head in the pour left tight lacing on the glass

sweet caramel and coffee notes

gives a little burnt coffee favor, sweetness counteracted by a little sour.

a little thin on the mouth especially for a porter, sour hop bitterness quite strong.

This poured and smelled like a porter but drinking didn't really feel like a porter.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. A large 3 finger head instantly formed. The butterscotch froth gave way slowly...coating the sides of the glass with foam. The body is a deep brown that shows chestnut edges when held up.

The first whiff is caramel and French vanilla coffee beans. Undertones of sweet bread and malts are also present.

The flavor is similar to the nose...maybe a little sweeter than I expected. Some chocolate there, but nothing roasted. Hops at the finish balances the sweetness.

Medium mouth feel and carbonation...creamy.

Very drinkable...I liked it as is, but was expecting more roasted flavors or some spices...

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into boston lager perfect pint.

A: pours dark reddish brown almost black, two finger light brown to dark off white head right after pouring which fell to a few groups of bubbles
S: bitter chocolate and light roast coffee, dark roast malt
T: bitter chocolate, coffee, malt sweetness, sort of cookie like
M: smooth carbonation, coating yet silky
D: good large sipper, would be great with instead of milk and cookies

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Photo of MikeBrandman
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very deep red/brown body completely opaque. Very little creamy white head around the rim, and a good amount of lacing.

S - Very grainy coffee, burnt chocolate. Nice strong smell.

T - Taste is very spicy and well balanced. Good amount of coffee taste to compliment the chocolate flavor and smell. Almost a honey taste too. Enjoyable flavor, but not really strong or lasting enough to get a 5.

MF - Nothing special, rather heavy. Good amount of carbonation and easy drinking consistency.

D - Very drinkable. Great for dessert or a hearty dinner.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown with a big cascading head that falls to a very creamy off-white film and ring. The lacing is much like whipped cream.

Heavily roasted grains with a bit of coffee. A small hint of bitterness can also be picked up.

Tastes very much like the smell - heavy roasting, a little coffee, a hint of sweetness then finishes fairly bitter. Basic combo of flavors but simple is sometimes very difficult. Full of flavor with no unwanted guests.

Decent carbonation in this medium-heavy brew. Finishes kind of bitter which pairs well with a bit of dryness.

Satisfying porter to sip over the evening. Bit of cheese and I'm good to go.

What else to say ... Happy Holidays!

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Photo of JTahoe
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep dark mahogany, nearly black. Creamy light brown head with good retention and lacing.

S - Chocolate coated toffee and caramel with a hint of brown molasses and a fleeting roasted coffee.

T - Dark maltiness with muted chocolate, molasses, and brown sugar. Some dried fruit flavors and yeastiness pop up too. Pleasing burnt sugar and coffee bitterness and a scintilla of pine.

M - Medium-full body and slightly slick, with moderate carbonation. Bitter dryness on the finish.

D - A nice, rich holiday beer. And a very good porter.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a dark, dark brown with a small tan colored foam on top. There is some nice lacing on the glass as I enjoy this fine libation.

S: The primary aroma is roasted malt, but there are some mild chocolate and vanilla notes in there as well.

T: A fairly sweet beer for a porter. The roasted malt and coffee come through on the finish, but the initial tastes are chocolate and caramel.

M: A medium bodied beer with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Like most of the other Sam Adams beers, a very easy drinker. I wish it wasn't quite as sweet, but it's still a decent beer and easy to have a few of in a sitting.

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Photo of sophisticated
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark brown-almost black but with hints of ruby red light coming through just a wee bit. Nice brown head quickly fades and leaves a bit of a foam rim.

It smells very sweet - chocolate, caramel, vanilla, coffee.

It does not taste as sweet as it smells. Some roasted malts, buttery, bitter chocolate, and a bit of spice.

Medium mouthfeel. At 5.9% this has great drinkability and is definitely a nice winter treat and a tasty porter.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a nice creamy head that sticks around and leaves good lacing. Smells a bit of chocolate. Taste is great, kind of tastes like Christmas cookies in beer form. Chocolate, dough, nutmeg, biscuits. Mouthfeel is a little thin but spiky with weird feeling carbonation. Very good beer, maybe my favorite Sam Adams so far. I prefer this to Old Fezziwig.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was from the case of sam adams winter beers.

Appearance- dark brownish red color, thinn head

Smell- malt, spice, chocolate

Taste- very interesting flavor, malt, chocolate, a bit of holiday spice

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied

Drinkability- pretty good, I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes- Sam Adam's glass, cellar temp
A - caramel and smooth chocolate notes. Nice a subtle, but definitely present. Some faint noble hops in the background.
A - two fingers of medium bubble head that slowly dissipates to a thin film. Fairly opaque brown body with some clearer brownish hues around the edges.
M - light body, low carbonation.
T - bittersweet chocolate well balanced with caramel malt sweetness. Some doughiness.
D - True to its name this is a nice winter beer. Light but with a nice dark flavor to fit a cooler weather.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear dark brown with a terrific rocky tan head. Good lacing through most of the pint.

Coffee and deep roasted malt aromas with a good and surprising (at 5.9%) whiff of alcohol.

A very different version of the standard porter, particularly when compared to SA's Honey Porter. This one has much more warming bite to it. Good sharp bitter edge to this one, with some light immediate sweetness that gets kicked the hell out of the way by a clean bitter coffee/bitter chocolate edge. Light caramel note are also overshadowed by the bitterness. This is NOT just a bitter brew, but a well balanced one. Some warming alcohol peeks out too. A porter with some balls, and one that changes it's mind from sweet to bitter in an instant. Still, I find myself liking other porters better than this one. A contradiction for sure, but an honest one.

Really appropriate mouthfeel on this one. Just thin enough to help clear the palate and aid in drinkability.

Overall, this can go down real easy, but you still tend to sip. Flavors are solid but not overly muscular. I would have liked a bit more intensity. Also, this is a beer that takes sharp turns/corners. Not as smooth as I would have liked. Good solid porter overall, but I don't think I'd seek this if it wasn't in the holiday 12 pack. If you see it at a party, try it, but don't buy a 12 just to taste this.

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Photo of glamphetamine
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black. One and a half finger head that fades quickly to a light film of foam on the surface. The film is a thing to behold, like a stylized drawing of a galaxy. The head, and foam, had a very slight mocha tinge.

S - Smells kind of oaky, a light malt fragrance with a background of just slightly floral hops. There's a hint of dark fruit in the scent, just slightly. On some level the smell reminds me of a freshly pruned evergreen bush.

T - Strong hops, floral but not overpowering, with a solid warm and malty back. A tad bitter. Has an oaky flavor throughout that's very pleasant.

M - Leaves the mouth slightly coated with a strong bitter hop aftertaste. Feels slightly warming.

D - This would make a great mindblower if you hand it to someone who's just finished a lighter-flavored lager or something less flavorful. This isn't the most complex beer I've had, but it's flavorful enough to be enjoyable. It is a bit filling and rich, though, so if you don't like lingering aftertastes or oaky or hoppy mouthfeel then you might not enjoy more than one of these. The flavor lingers on for a while and may influence the taste of beers you have afterwards. It's nice to get a couple of these in Sam Adams' seasonal sampler, though. I'd say have just one of these and then have something with a strong contrast to the porter taste, like an IPA or something hoppy to clear your tastebuds.

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Photo of JRed
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black cola with fleeting white head. Smells of chocolate cola, malt, subtle dark fruit. Dark flavors of chocolate, cola, some syrup and dark sugars. Thick in body but not as milky as most porters. The ABV works in your favor for drinkability and none of the tastes get on your nerves after a while. One of the better winter classics for Sam.

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Photo of tronester
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear very dark brown, with red highlights. Thin tan head. Smell is of toasted malt and cinnamon. Taste is quite spice oriented, cinnamon, orange, and ginger are what I taste. A light malt middle, and a slightly tart finish. Mouthfeel is slightly watery, medium carbonation. Pretty drinkable, this is a good beer, though a bit too heavy on the spices IMO.

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Photo of bob3701
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Very drak brown, almost black body with an off-white head. Laces nicely. Big malty aroma. Very smooth taste, very slight bitterness be covered by the malty sweetness. Another good holiday brew that I wished came in a 6-pack.

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Photo of confer
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It looks like I just poured a diet Coke, that has a 2 finger head.
The smell is really super. When first poured there are raisins and after a little warming it give off the smell of chewy caramel.
The taste is a mellow malt with a small hop finish. A little to watery for a porter.
This beer is highly drinkable. I will look for it again next year.

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Photo of roblowther
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours coal black with a hint of a light tan head and a bit o' lace for interest. Smells a little like burnt toast but not that acidic. Taste is biscuity malt up front, followed by a sharp, almost burnt roast and then a crisp finish. I can see this going well with a sweet-ish meat dish. Mouthfeel is soft and pleasantly carbonated. Drinkability is good but a bit too roasted for me to settle in for the evening with this one. A good, approachable version of the style, it maintains more biscuit than burnt and that maintains my interest.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got this at my local "Beer Nutz" since the stocked the beers from their winter seasonal set.

A - Deep brown in color. White head about an inch.

S - Smells sort of like chocolate. Mostly malt

T - OK for the style I guess. Not really as good as I was hoping. Chocolate and malt with slight bitter.

M - Not really lacing the mouth. Was expecting more bite for a beer around 6 but came off more as a lager than a porter.

D - Had one and that was good enough. I really wanted a lager after this one since it let me down a bit in flavor. Out of all the beers in the winter seasonal the Old Fezziwig Ale was the best.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 57.7% out of 100 with 2,459 ratings
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