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

Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter
2,460 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,460 |  Reviews: 1,186
Photo of MrStark
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a nice dark brown/black with hues of red in the light and a one-finger tan head. Fairly good retention and lacing.

Smell is of roasted malts and caramel. A little bit of cocoa as well.

Taste is nice blend of malts, coffee, molasses and a very slight hint of chocolate bitterness towards the end. It seams pretty well balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. A nice moderate amount of carbonation with a bit of a dry finish.

Drinkability is good and it goes down pretty easy. Its not one of the best porters that I've had but still pretty tasty. I could see this as a session beer since I plan to pick up a few more of the winter classics packs.

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

a: pours a nice chocolate mahogany with ruby hues when contrasted against the light....fair to slight tan head that quicky fades but leaves more lacing than i expected...

s: roasted caramel, syurpy malt, and toffee abound; a few hops find their way into the nose as well...

t: the caramel and toffee jump right from the aroma over to the taste, slight chocolately bitterness.

m: dry, smooth, and rich but still light relative to other porters and bigger stouts i've trien, boasts even carbonation...

d: could and at this point probably will drink it all night...a fine offering from Sam...


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Photo of oluap
4.49/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - opaque espresso color, dark dark brown.. with a off white head that leaves little lacing and eventually caps...

s - chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!!! Toffee! Caramel! smells so good i want to bite it!

t - malty at first sip goes to cherry liqour, dark chocolate, hazelnut, mocha? Has a very similar after taste to dark liqours.

m - slightly oily.. slightly! gives your tounge a lil tingly feeling, a lil boost in carbonation perhaps?

d - great brew but def. a beer that should be consumed moderatly.. nothing against the abv... but just extremely filling!

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Photo of jsh420
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours dark redish brown with a 1+ finger tanish head that coats the glass with lacing

smell - like most SA beers it is faint - i pick up some pale malts hops

taste on the other is great - reminds me of anchors porter but with much more chocolate and roasted malts

mouthfeel is nice and light - welll carbonated to give it a creamy finish

drinkability is great - below 6%abv light flavorful - what more could ask for in a winter porter

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Photo of tone77
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of chocolate and malts. Taste is also malty with notes of chocolate. Feels creamy in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this makes for a pretty good selection.

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Photo of qchic
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impressive appearance! Pours the color of dark cola with a billowy light tan head that dissipates, leaving behind sticky lace. Lots going on in the aroma--rich nutty malts, tangy plum, raisins, smoke, strawberry, chocolate, hazelnut, and rum (I nominate this to be a candle scent). It tastes more bitter than expected. Fruits are prominent in the flavor, and the chocolate steps it up--sort of reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream. As it warms, it resembles Anchor's holiday ale, and that ain't a bad thing. This is one of the best brews I've had from Sam Adams, so of course I can only dream of finding it sold on its own. Delightful!

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Photo of rfgetz
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice very dark brown and brown medium bodidied head

S: Bitter cocoa notes with minor hints of dark fruit and dark earthy wood

T: nice rich malt flavors with trailing hints of bitter cocoa and dark plumlike tang

M: Refreshing medium body with great level of carbonation, little bit of a lingering feel

D: Slightly heavier then other porters but its a "holiday" issue with some originality

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Photo of generallee
4.21/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. There is a freshness date on the label.

Appearance: The body has a dark brown almost black appearance with deep crimson highlights when held up to light. Its has a stiff, creamy thick tan head on top that has very good retention and leaves lots of thick tan lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma fills the nose with lots of roasted sweet malts.

Taste/Mouth Feel: It has a wonderful full body that starts creamy and sweet on the palate. Quickly more roasted flavors take over with notes of burnt caramel and coffee. There is a quick flash of hop bitterness in the middle before the sweeter roasted flavors take over and fade off slowly into the finish. The texture is full and smooth on the tongue with soft carbonation.

Notes: Another great beer from mixed Holiday 12 pack.

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Photo of BeanBone
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A murky, deep dark brown body that blocks most light, except for a few ruby highlights. Up top, two solid fingers of tan-tinged head with good retention and great lacing.

Aroma: Equal proportions of roasted malt, milk chocolate and toffee with some hints of dark fruit and nuttiness thrown into the mix.

Taste: The taste follows the aroma well, but is a little less sweet and adds a mild coffee dimension. This is very much a Porter, but perhaps a little lighter in intensity than usual. The aftertaste is nicely roasty and nutty.

Mouthfeel: A silky body that's perhaps a little fuller than medium accompanied by smooth carbonation. Dries in the finish.

Drinkability: Securely in the middle of the drinkability spectrum.

Verdict: Holiday Porter is certainly a welcome inclusion in the Sam Adams Winter seasonal pack and fits the season well. But, that being said, I can see why they don't offer it year-round - it's just not very compelling.

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

*Notes from Holiday Sampler Session 1/23/09*
Pours a medium/light bodied dark brown with a thin lacing of quick dispersing tannish head.
Smells got notes of toasted malt, caramel, and sweet malt.
Taste definitely allowed the toasty caramel flavor to come through, decent bodied.
Finish is kind of loose but a little sweet flavor is left for an after-taste.
Drinks very well, and warms decently for cold weather consumption.

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Photo of BeerCon5
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black in color with a thick tan head and sticky lacing.

The scent is of roasty malts, molasses, and some coffee.

The taste consists of roasty malts, coffee, and a bit of chocolate.

Full bodied, creamy feel, moderate carbonation.

Easy to drink a couple of, though filling. Very flavorful.

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

A: Pours a deep burgundy color with a thick, sudsy head. Deposits some thick lacing on the glass and the head retains fairly well.

S: Interestingly rich caramel/butterscotch aroma, chocolate, slight coffee. Holiday spices are present, as well. It's a rich and inviting aroma, for sure.

T&M: Roasted black malt mixed with healthy amounts of diacetyl and a slight reprise of spice. A rich flavor with nice bittersweet chocolate notes. The body is medium/full with a slick mouthfeel that really coats the mouth well. Flavor lingers for quite a bit.

D: A solid porter. Rich and inviting flavor that goes down smoothly, as a porter should. In my opinion, the best beer in the Winter Classics pack.

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Photo of fatalbert23
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review so please be kind as I don't totally understand the review quite as well as some as the seasoned BA members.

A-Upon pour, noticed a rich dark color which held to light only passed very little thru. There was a considerable head after pour which subsided after about two min with some lacing.

S-I really enjoy the smell of this beer. It reminds me of winter and other holiday ales. The smell has considerable caramel flavors but all in all is very easy on the nose.

T-The first taste compliments the smell of caramel with some very light hints of fruit. From the first sip to the aftertaste, the taste seems to reveal a different ingredient all the way through. Sweet in the begining with an almost smokey mid and a nice smooth aftertaste of the fruit.

M-Smooth all the way thru. Refreshing and crisp are the best words I can use here!

D-This is one of my first darker holiday style ales that I could consider drinking multiple pints throughout the night. It's smooth and clean and has great flavor. Very much enjoyed this brew.

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

A - Deep black, small tan tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, faint chocolate character.

T - Roasted malt a hint of chocolate. I'm not picking up anything very complex.

M - Medium bodied somewhat sticky, very smooth

D - High drinkability. Not a very complex beer but it tastes good and is a pretty sessionable porter in my opinion. It was a dreary, rainy day and this hit the spot with a bit of chocolate.

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Photo of Riccymon
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cleaning out my fridge-- this SA winter pack beer has best by March 2009 notched in its label.

Pours a dark black color from the bottle with two fingers of rocky, off-white head--beautiful off the pour. I smell a sweet, bready aroma with lactic notes, and the sweetness turns out to be a nice caramel flavor when I sip. Also dominant in the taste is baker's chocolate, which contributes to an acrid but not unpleasant finish. That the beer is balanced without any overwhelming flavors or qualities makes it pretty drinkable. Mouthfeel might be a touch thin, and it leaves my mouth sticky, but I think Holiday Porter's other qualities redeem it, and I thoroughly enjoyed both bottles from the twelve pack.

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Photo of adamette
2.49/5  rDev -33.1%
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 smibroncos
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I poured this beer from a 12 oz bottle from the holiday sampler into a standard pint glass. The apperance was a little cloudy light brown, with a one finger creamy brown head. The lacing was lasting on the glass.

The smell was an earthy malt, roasted coffee,I also noticed some mollasses, and caramel.

From the first taste I noticed that maybe there was a taste of mollasses cookies not coffee, I could taste some vanilla, brown sugar, a bit too sweet for me.

The feel was not too creamy, not too thin I think the texture was perfect.

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Photo of gestalt162
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Sam Adams winter sampler

A: 1 finger foamy light khaki head, black body with a hint of red. Small but ample lacing on the glass.

S: Roasty malt, caramel, a hint of dark chocolate, dry/oily hops?

T: Sweet caramel leads into a mild roasty malt and touch of chocolate and dark fruit, finishes dry and fairly clean with a bit of roast left in the mouth and dryness on the tip of the tongue.

MF: Smooth, moderate to heavy body, lightly carbonated. Spot on.

D: A smooth, easygoing porter. Fairly refeshing for an unrefreshing style, I could see myself having a few of these. Not too robust, no powerful or unique flavors. A fairly well balanced, if unspectacular porter.

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

Pours an opaque dark brown with mahogany hues. Two fingers of tight foamy tan head has good retention and leaves nice lacing behind. Smells of chocolate, caramel, spices, nuts, fruit, and floral hops. Tastes of molasses and caramel up front, then some chocolate, roasted malt, light notes of coffee, dried fruits, spices, and floral hops. Medium in body with low to medium carbonation. Smooth, sweet with a nice bitterness. Well balanced, a good winter porter, easy to drink but not something I would session.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.89/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was a nearly opaque brown/black color. The tan head was a full, three-fingers of foam that became a rocky cap that displayed good retention and excellent, consistent lacing. The aroma was semi-sweet, a blend of chocolate, caramel and toasted malt and spices. The flavors started with caramel malt, then went into chocolate malt, roasted malt, spices and the semi-bitter finish of Fuggles hops. The mouthfeel was average, the body full and the carbonation medium. Quite good, but their other winter offering, Old Fezziwig Ale, was better still.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the hoppiest of all the christmas variety pack. The appearance and the aroma are excellant. The aroma is actually my favorite part of this beer. The taste and drinkability are just not there. This is beer that you can have one of, but not much more. The taste is alittle off. It is like it is trying to be an ipa more than a porter.

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Photo of horshack7
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A twelve ounce bottle out of the Samuel Adams winter classics pack. It pours a drak brown with red amber hues around the edges with fairly thick tan head.

Aroma: Big roasted malt notes the choclate notes present themselves right upfront. With a nice hop nose. Mild hints of bourbon.

Taste: An interesting sweetness from this one. Nice notes of roasted malts and burnt hops. The caramel malt notes are a nice backbone to this one. A very smooth mouthfeel tops it off nicely.

Notes: This is a remarkable fall and winter beer to one through a cold night. Cheers.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/5/2007 (bottle BBMar):

Pours a very dark brown/red colored body. Very big tan foamy head, lasting, okay lacing. Very malty aroma, nutty, coffee. Medium body taste, coffee on the mid-palate, light aftertaste. Some spices. Not too watery. Not bad. Some bitterness, good.

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

12 oz. bottle tried 3 Feb 2008. Gift from R&T, thanks guys!

Very large foamy tan head. Very dark brown in color, almost black. Aromas of chocolate nibs and coffee. Lots of milk chocolate and coffee flavor. Fairly roasty sweet, reminiscent of cappuccino. Finishes nicely bittersweet. Fairly heavy body, nice mouthfeel. Ethanol is mild.

Overall pretty good, not sure what makes it 'holiday'.

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Photo of wspscott
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: A vigorous pour yields a thick head that dissipates quickly leaving a bit of lace. The color is almost perfectly black with only a little bit of ruby colored light coming through when held up to a light.
S: On pouring, an intense "sweetness" hits the nose. Smells like dried fruits (cherries, figs, prunes) with some caramel or molasses mixed in.
T: Some light chocolate mixed with dried fruit. A little bit of roasted grains to balance out the sweetness. Ultimately, there seems to be something missing since the taste doesn't quite match the nose.
M: Slightly drying (astringent) on the tongue, a low level of carbonation, comes across as "rich" and "creamy", but not heavy.
D: I don't know that I would want to drink a 6er of these in one sitting, but this beer is a very nice nightcap. It would be easy to reach for a 2nd one. A nice beer and worth trying.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 2,460 ratings
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