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

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Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter
2,466 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,466 |  Reviews: 1,186
Photo of mjw2808
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Almost black that left a 1 1/2 finger head that left a good amount of lacing. The smell is strong with roasted malt, cinnamon and a little bit of hops, very nice. The taste is similar, first comes the roasted malt followed by nice tasting cinnamon, and a small hoppieness that goes down with a slight alcohol bite, not too much, not too little. great mouthfeel and good drinkablility.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samual Adams Holiday Porter, from the winter beer series.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A dark brown in color with a light khaki head. Lacing is found along the glass.

Aroma of bready malts which is nice and inviting.

Taste primarily of roasted malt and caramel. Minerally, with a tea like hop providing a low bitterness.

Full bodied, medium level of carbonation in the mouthfeel.

A solid, drinkable porter with a good character with roasted malt, hops and gypsum providing a soft water element.

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Photo of cvfish
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a dark brown color that produced a brown head that had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas of toasted malts, brown sugar, toffee and chocolate

T - The taste of this beer had toasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation

D - This is probably my favorite Samuel Adams beer, the only bad thing about this is that I have to purchase some of that awful Cranberry Lambic beer in order to enjoy this one

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Brew smells of caramel and chocolate malts.

Brew has a dark brown color, with a light tan head. Minimal head - minimal lace head remains. Minimal lacing.

Brew tastes of roasted malts; chocolate, caramel. Somewhat sweet, almost coffee flavor. Very smooth.

This brew is very drinkable and very good. Nice porter.

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

Poured into an oversized pub glass.

A: Pours a thick, chunky, tan colored head that sticks to the side of the glass.

S: Burnt molasses, chocolate, mild hops.

T: Mildly sweet molasses and bitter dark chocolate and an underlying coffee flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel, not overly carbonated, creamy and smooth.

D: Very tasty, would love to get a case of this. Not too heavy and the abv is descent enough to enjoy a nice session on a winter night with family and friends...very good stuff.

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Photo of OnThenIn
2.98/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: A finger of lighter tan head on a beer that is a dark ruby color when held up to the light, but appears to be a rather dark brown otherwise. Lacing was present.

Smell: Some coffee, and some wonderful roasty aroma with chocolate backing it.

Taste: The taste is super roasty, with roasted malt bitterness and dark chocolate notes. The finish is also roasted bitter. A little bit of creamyness. The roasted malt was a little heavy for me due to a lack of balance between it and some sweeter malt or even other flavors, which would have added more depth and complexity. I am not saying it is one dimensional, but there is a heavy focus on the roasted malt that clouds everything else.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with carbonation a little on the heavier side.

Drinkability: The higher carbonation than I would expect and the heavy roasted flavor really killed the drinkability for me. I am pretty disappointed in this beer, which is sad because I was rather excited to try it after hearing good things about it on BA.

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Photo of bmwats
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

A: Really dark brown. 2 finger frothy, light tan head. Slowly settles leaving little craterous pock marks, and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as it does. Eventually leaves a light blanket of carbonation on the surface. Substantial cascading lacing remains as you drink.

S: Dark roasted coffee malt, walnut, and bittersweet dark chocolate.

T: Malt is like dark french roast coffee. Just a little bitter.

M: Feels a little over-carbonated and watered down. Kinda' light, but full and robust. A bit of a pungent, peaty aftertaste remains.

D: Nice sipping beer.

Really good atmosphere. Great appearance, and a pretty basic but pleasing nose. Flavor, in similar fashion, is quite simple, but full and robust. I do think the over carbonated feel is a negative, and the peaty aftertaste doesn't seem to jive with the overall tone of the brew. Overall, this is a really good quaff, nevertheless.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer plucked from the SA winter pack. Pours a muddy brown with about an inch of tan head. A smattering of lace rings are left behind.

The aroma is sweet roasted malt with hints of cocoa and light touches of spice and dark fruit.

The flavor is an assortment of roasted chocolate malt, spices, toasted bread and a slight dark fruit finish. The taste is a bit muted overall.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Easy goin down.

Overall a decent porter. I'm not sure what's holiday about it but I'm not complaining. A good session beer for dealing with the family.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown color that lets only a little light in. Nice fluffy off-white head that dissipates to a thin ring after a couple minutes.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, a little chocolate, and sweet and spicy hops.

T: Roasted malt, burnt coffee, a little spice and hops in the finish. Simple and good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

M: Nice medium to full body, a little chewy.

D: Easily drinkable porter that's pretty true to style. It's probably not something I would seek out on its own, but it's not bad and I'll gladly drink the two bottles that come in each winter sampler.

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Photo of bnes09
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opague midnight black, magenta hues shine through when held up to light. Thick tan head that disappears slowly leaving behind patches of frothy lace.

Smell is bold and roasted. Hints of coffee. Also a spicy hop presence.

Taste is roasted up front with coffee and baker's chocolate giving it a nice bitter character. Hops add to the bitterness and seem to gently bite the tongue. The malt comes through later with a molasses and raisin sweetness that mellows things out.

Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Very interesting mouthfeel which is dry and sweet at the same time.

This beer is also quite drinkable for a porter. It has a wonerfully complex flavor that changes during the drink. Another solid brew from Sam Adams and one I may be picking up again if I can ever find it in a six-pack.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black with large, thick meringue-like head. Nose has aromas of pan heated butter, brown bread, and light holiday spices. Roasty flavors are apparent with a light caramel sweetness - somewhat resembling a cola product. Somewhat light bodied, and easy drinking.

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Photo of ommegoose
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a tulip glass. Very dark brown with chestnut hues around the edges. Forms a beige head that leaves a little sticky lacing for about two inches. Fades to a ring eventually.

Roasty malts. Has a very nice potent aroma. Some spicy hops.

Sam Adams' usual spicy Fuggles and Goldings hop combo is a good start. More boldly hoppy than any other beer in the winter pack. Rich, roasty chocolatey malt character. Just the slightest hint of burnt malt and smoke. Really great balance. Spicy hop finish with molasses sweetness and just the right amount of dryness.

Feel is rather smooth, with surprisingly fine carbonation.

I'm going to end up marking this a touch higher than the honey porter. It's quite good, and there's no reason it needs to be just a winter seasonal, except for the name of course.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sam Adams- Holiday Porter

A- Deep dark brown with a thick frothy heavy lacing head. Good looking beer.
S- Good hints of vanilla, chocolate malt, light coffee, and spices.
T- creamy vanilla, lightly roasted coffee bean, molasses, caramel and chocolate malts. Light earthy hops detected but the creamy malt dominates. Very sugary sweet.
M- Very creamy and very smooth. Thick malt throughout gives this a nice soft feel on the palette.

Overall- Much better than expected. This might be Sam Adams best beer! So velvety smooth, creamy, and brimming with flavor.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. ABV of 5.8%.

Appearance: Fat tan head on a dark brown(almost black) body. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Sweet dark malty aroma. Molasses and caramel.

Taste: Flowery hop spiciness throughout. Much more hop presence than most porters. Really sets this one apart from all other porters I've had. Kind of a piney finish.

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Photo of imanidiot777
4.56/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a VERY dark brown, so dark you cannot see through it but it isn't quite black. Tan color head that stays for the entire drink and lacing also for the entire drink. One of the best looking I have seen.

S: I'm not good with the smells but possibly coffee, and I can actually smell the alcohol in this one I think. Not sure if that is a good thing.

T: Some coffee, toasted malt, and some kind of spice in the after taste but I can't decide what it is, maybe cinnamon.

M: Good carbonation level, feels pretty smooth.

D: Goes down smooth, the only problem, not a problem to some people, is that it is really heavy and fills you up fast.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sam Adams Holiday Porter pours a deep brown color with a tan had. The nose has a nice, rich chocolate aroma with some roastiness. Some raisins and orange notes also show up.

The flavor is very roasty up front and actually a bit harsh. Sweentess follows and leads to an unexpected hop bitterness on the back. The mouthfeel is medium with medium carbonation.

Overall, a pretty nice porter.

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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Best by April 2010.

(A)- Pours a super dark brown that is almost black. A huge billowy tan head formed that left behind lacing as it dissipated slowly.

(S)- Rich coffee & raisin w/ a light dusty cocoa.

(T)- Same as the smell dictated except for a lush & sweet vanilla creme finish.

(M)- Great balance & carbonation level. A great feel & complexity to this beer. Goes down smooth & toasty.

(D)- A solid porter that definitely fits well with the holiday season. Sam Adams is a hit or miss for me, but this one is a good one for sure.

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Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev +7%
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 BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Holiday Porter is nearly black in the glass but has a deep ruby glow when held up to the light. A nice light tan head builds with a vigorous pour and leaves a nice amount of oily lacing behind when it falls.

The aroma has deep roasted malts, dark chocolate and clean bitter hops.

The flavor has a strong dark roasted malt presence with bitter dark chocolate and coffee. The malts are lightly sweet up front balanced with a bitter finish. A dark fruit is noted, perhaps dark brandied raisins or stewed plums.

Mouthfeel is light/medium bodied though somewhat full with enough carbonation to provide a tingle across the tongue.

A very nice porter and I'm glad it was included in the mixed Holiday case, perhaps the best of the Holiday bunch!

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Photo of TheMadJack
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured room temperature from 12oz. Bottle into Pint Glass

A: Beer is very active, producing lots of foamy, caramel colored head that is reluctant to settle. The beer itself is a warm, inviting, dark brown that lets little light through.

S: Woodiness, bitter coffee, and a distinct alcohol hit.

T: Black coffee mostly, with the barest hint of bitter chocolate. A brown sugar-like sweetness to the malts. Woodiness and alcohol scents don't come through in the flavor, but there is a noticable warmness to the brew.

M: Watery, though decidedly heavier than water, with a bit of fizziness, which is surprising given how active this beer was on pouring.

D: Rather enjoyable, especially if enjoyed as I had it, with a shepherd's pie on a rainy day.

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Photo of samie85
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Originally consumed 11/08.

A- Pours a really dark brown with a dark khaki head.

S- Smells of chocolate and roasted malts, vanilla, and a bit of spice.

T- Roasted coffee malt, chocolate malt, and a bit of spice(cinnamon).

M- A little too much carbonation for me, but gentle swirling and patience takes care of this. Feels a lot less thin after warming/swirling.

D- This one goes down pretty easy especially as it warms, and the carbonation dissipates a little. I kind of wish Sam Adams would put this in a twelve pack rather than the Winter Lager.

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Photo of advill88
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first porter I've had from Sam Adams...didn't even know they had 'em until recently. Pours black with a three quarter inch creamy head. Smell is buttery malt with some burnt wood. Taste is predominated by a creamy and malty sourness balanced with a slight butter sweetness. It was a little drier than I initially expected a holiday porter to be, but it balances a lot more nicely when it warms up a bit. Medium-light and, again, really creamy mouthfeel. I'd say this is a real winner...too bad it's a seasonal, because I could definitely drink this year round.

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

Purchased in the Winter Classic mixed 12 pack

Pours a dark brown with a slight reddish hues around the edges. Two finger tan head, falls quickly, leaving pretty good lacing.

Smells of roasted coffee goodness with a slight biscuity aroma coming in on the end.

Good coffee and chocolate malt flavors with a medium-to-full body. Slight hop finish that lingers well.

This is a really solid porter that fits nicely into a Winter Classic mixed 12 pack. I look forward to drinking the second one.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass.

Pours darkest ruby brown with a half-finger khaki head. Poor retention, lacing is average at best. Beautiful color though.

Nose is bready, dark breadcrusty roastiness. Light molasses sweetness adds some complexity, bit nutty.

Big and roasty up front, nutty with a burnt caramel sweetness underneath, leading into a nice balancing hop bite on the long, dry, lightly bitter roasty finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp, big bubbled carbonation, long finish.

Drinkability is nicely balanced, but maybe just a hair on the dry side. Still, tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of Natural510
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown-black with only the fainted of crimson highlights when held to light. Thick tan head with a solid layer of creamy lacing coats the glass nicely.
Lots of sweet caramel and toffee to the nose.
Brown sugar malt with an understated roasted character balanced by a decidedly good hop bite. Notes of caramel, molasses and dark fruit, with a slight cocoa finish.
While the flavor elements are all there, it is unfortunately a thin representation of the style. Far too watery, and a "holiday porter" one would drink in cold weather times would preferably be full-bodied and filling.
Solid, easy-drinking porter. It does suffer a bit from a thinner body, but that may make it accessible to those trying a porter for the first time.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 2,466 ratings